All week, I was telling Chooch that we were taking him to a foster home. At first he was like, “Yeah, OK” while laughing to himself and going back to whatever lame YouTube video was currently rotting his brain. But I kept it up, subtle mentions and reminders here and there. I would say things to myself like, “I need to start packing Chooch’s clothes…” pretending like I didn’t know he was listening to me, and he would cry, “I DON’T BELIEVE YOU!”
But there was a glimmer of doubt in his eyes. I know what that looks like and I saw it.
Before Chooch left for school Thursday morning, I hugged him and whispered, “I’m really going to miss you.” And then when he and Henry picked me up from work that evening, I asked Henry where all of Chooch’s clothes were.
Henry is really lame (see also: not as twisted as me) and struggled to play along.
“You were supposed to PACK HIS CLOTHES,” I said, making “FOLLOW ALONG, MOTHERFUCKER” eyes at him.
“Oh….yeah. I didn’t have time. I, um, brought that blanket though,” Bad Actor mumbled.
“I know you’re lying!” Chooch spat, shaking his head and looking out the window. And then, realizing that we weren’t going the normal way home, he nervously asked, “OK seriously though, where are we going?”
I kept saying “your new home” while Henry said, “Don’t worry about it” until finally, Chooch got so frustrated that he willed himself to fall asleep.
When we arrived at our destination in McKeesport, I woke Chooch up. He looked all around and saw a woman, presumably his new mom, standing in her driveway.
“I’ll just wait here,” he spat, trying to pull the car door shut.
(Wow, as I’m writing this, I can see why Wendy called me a rotten mother…I’m totally like my own mother! She would have 100% done this same thing to me. But you have to understand something: this is what we do in our house. We are deep into psychological games up in this piece and TRUST ME – Chooch gives it right back. His memoirs are going to be rockin’ someday.)
The only way I could get Chooch to come out of the car was by finally telling him I was just kidding. Even then, he was skeptical.
Last month, Sandy told me that her friend Suzanne had some kittens who needed homes, and for a minute, I was all about it. I sent Suzanne a message on Facebook, but by the next day, I was so overwhelmed with guilt and grief over Marcy that had something of an emotional breakdown. I sobbed so hard, that even hours later when Henry and I were at Target, I was doing that involuntary shudder-sniffle. YOU KNOW THE ONE. My eyes were all red and swollen, people probably thought Henry and I had just come inside to grab some toilet paper and Tim Tams after having a domestic dispute in the parking lot.
So I had to tell Suzanne that I changed my mind. And I felt like a gigantic asshole.
But then on Tuesday, I heard Sandy talking about how there were still three kittens left and that it was almost shelter time. I quickly texted my friend Evonne to see if she could spread the word, because she is a big cat person. Within five minutes, she had me completely turned around and I was sending Suzanne a message on Facebook without thinking twice.
Or even consulting Henry. Shocking.
Evonne is just really good at clearing my head. She made me realize that if I’m not ready now, I’m probably really never going to be ready….so I might as well just rip off the Band-aid and take one for the team, because Chooch has been slowly dying in our cat-less abode.
And that’s how we ended up at a virtual stranger’s home in McKeesport, 8:00 on a regular Thursday night.
I will be honest and admit that I cried a few times yesterday at work every time I looked at Marcy’s picture (I have many scattered around) and at one point whispered, “Please don’t hate me, Marcy.” I mean, I know she’s down with her father Satan right now, watching me and Chooch squeezing new kittens, and she’s laughing and thinking, “Better those dumb cats than me!” I didn’t even tell many people that we were doing this because I was worried I was going to back out.
Turns out, Suzanne is an awesome lady and she was so understanding of my previous wishy-washy behavior. We were walking into the house when Suzanne thanked me for coming all the way out there. If I had just picked a cat from the pictures she sent me, she would have gladly the kitten to my house. But I had to be difficult and ask to see all three because I thought it would be fun to surprise Chooch and let him choose. Because that’s how I was coping with this process–by trying to convince myself that this was going to be Chooch’s pet.
Suzanne took us to the basement where the kittens were, and once she was finally able to corral them all out of their hiding spaces, I asked Chooch which one he wanted.
“WE’RE GETTING ONE!?” he cried, like actually cried. Just a little bit though, and he’ll probably try to deny it, but I saw a few optic wets on his face.
Of course Chooch didn’t pick the one I had my eye on since December, so Suzanne jokingly said, “You know, you could take two if you really wanted.”
“HENRY CAN WE?!” I begged, and Suzanne quickly apologized to Henry and swore she was just joking.
But Henry just shrugged and mumbled, “Whatever you want.”
SO I GOT MY KITTEN TOO.
However, these little babies weren’t easy to wrangle, so we settled on just Chooch’s for that night, and Suzanne said she would bring mine to our house another day since it was getting so late and it was beginning to look futile.
I was pretty much in a stupor the entire time we were there. Of course I’m excited about this new kitten, and the arrival of the other one, but it’s still pretty tough on me. I miss each one of the Original Crew so desperately. (Yes, even No Personality Willie.)
The first night was pretty sad for Chooch’s pal, understandably. She was frightened and disoriented, but hung around long enough for Chooch to name her Nightmare.
She slept in my bed for about 20 minutes before HENRY moved abruptly and scared her away. Fuckin’ Henry.
This morning, she was very interested in exploring Chooch’s stinky room. He changed her name to Drew Walden then, after his favorite singers: Christofer Drew of Never Shout Never and Bradley Walden of Emarosa. I definitely co-signed this.
I thought maybe I’d leave the TV on for her today, so I put on Animal Planet and she was 100% NOT into it.
But by this evening, she seems to have definitely made herself at home. She adores Henry which is ugh-worthy, she’s litter-trained, and she is also fucking psycho, so she basically fits in fine. I think she’ll be even happier once her sister gets here, too.
About twice an hour, I start to cry because Marcy really broke me, you guys. I worry that I won’t love these new additions like I loved the others. I know that it will get easier and that this was the right thing to do, because they needed a home and Chooch needs cats like he needs air. I guess I’m just so afraid of going through it all again.
But then kitten-y antics like this happen, and I’m all “THANK GOD WE HAVE A CAT AGAIN”:
So thank you, Sandy. You thought you ruined my weekend last month when you told me about the kittens, but look! It all worked out!
(P.S. Marcy, I will still always love you most! Please don’t be mad at me! I mean, even more mad than normal!)