Thursday, December 29, 2016

Adieu, little cat

Meet Lou, the adorable black kitten who was adopted from the SPCA on December 23 by my Canadian family. They had fostered his mother and three siblings since early December. The family had collectively decided to keep the only male in the litter because he seemed the most connected to the humans in the household. As one might expect, he was alert and interested on Christmas day during all the activities of the morning. So much fun to see the gift opening, to follow a cloth ribbon wriggled on the floor, to pounce on the little blue cat toy ball and watch it roll.

At his ripe young age of two-plus months, he typified the life of a kitten--buoyant playfulness followed by short, restorative naps. The four of us who were celebrating Christmas together that day constantly kept our collective eyes on him. If he left the room for any reason, someone jumped up to check up on his activity (usually something as basic as a food or potty break) to make sure he wasn't getting into anything that would be dangerous. Nothing bad was going to happen to that little cutie.

When he became less interested in the activities around him  later in the day and more prone to napping, our collective assumption was that he was worn out from his antics and the stimulation of the morning. Also, we thought it was possible that the routine neutering surgery he'd undergone two days earlier might be catching up with him.

But just three days after Christmas, Lou died. He had spent the better part of Monday and all day and night Tuesday at the veterinarian with a mysterious fever, lethargy and dehydration. By Wednesday morning his health had deteriorated to the point-of-no-return. There was no definitive diagnosis of the cause of his demise, as of my departure from Canada later that day.

Lou was an adorable baby cat with the promise of a joyful lifetime spent with caring guardians. With tears and trauma 'his people' are still adjusting to the terrible news. This will be a Christmas no one in his human family will forget.

 Sweet, Lou, the pleasure and joy
you brought to your adopted family was a lovely gift,
even if for just that short period. 
You will be missed for a very long time.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Recycled box claims poster-child status for its owner

Our waste disposal company in Bothell, Recology Clean-Scapes, just sent its customers an email encouraging people to buy local to reduce the enormous amount of cardboard utilized this time of year in packaging for deliveries. It's true--I've noticed more cardboard than normal arriving at my house in the last few weeks, and by most people's standards, I get very few packages. But the several items I've ordered online (one was an ordinary food item no longer available at the four local grocery stores I visited) arrived with more packaging than may have been necessary. And yet, it's hard to be critical of the overkill of cardboard because good protective wrapping assures minimal damage when packages get dropped into sorting areas from conveyor belts and stacked on top of each other in delivery trucks.

The email from Clean-Scapes brought to mind my own thirty-year-old Christmas wrapping-paper box. I guess I don't have to apologize to anyone for wasting that cardboard! The home office of Northwestern Mutual Life in Milwaukee ordered its premium-payment envelopes in boxes of 2,500. In the service division where I worked, one such carton of envelopes was delivered to our supplies area on a regular basis. Made of heavy-duty cardboard, the boxes had sturdy lids and were an especially convenient size for lots of things one might want to store at home under a bed! Service reps practically fought over whose turn it was to "recycle" (e.g. take home) the empty box.

After working at NML for three years, it dawned on me that I could use one of those boxes to store our leftover Christmas wrap, so I became the proud owner of an empty envelope box in 1985. Now, these thirty-plus years later, the very same box is loaded with ribbon, tissue, flat-paper, left-over cards and stickers and tags, the sole keeper of Christmas wrap at my house. I hauled it upstairs from the basement last week, marveling at how well it has held up through three moves, one of which was cross-country. Sure, it's pretty battered, but it's still sturdy!

It owes me nothing, and I'm pretty sure I qualify as a veritable poster child for recycled cardboard.