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Rites of Summer, Rambling

There are no more rats in my life.

Kingdok, glorious Kingdok, saw her final day yesterday. She gasped quietly to death. She was two and a half years, not bad.

What makes it so remarkable, I suppose, is I've had her since she was barely weaned (or not even weaned, yet), that she survived accidentally getting squished between the coils of the couch seat and its headboard, lived to see roommates come and go, and not die of a horrible, tumorous death, or given away. And, at least for a good long while, she'll be the last.

My rat history is convoluted and full of the joys of companionship and learning to communicate with a new species (my rats were particularly patient), and the horrors of learning certain things the hard way, from ignorance. I've a lot of rat deaths on my hands, three from sheer stupidity and others from things I couldn't understand or control. And more rats I've had to give up due to not having a home and other reasons which are reasons nonetheless, but to me there's never a good reason to give up your pets that doesn't carry guilt, anyway. I wouldn't do it to a child, as far as I know, and a pet is no different. (Except where a pet is considered a "son" or "daughter" or "fur child"...this nomenclature I won't abide. Because they're not my sons or daughters, and I sure as hell am not their mother.)

Kingdok and I have been through a lot together, traveled across the states (legally), and in the last few weeks she was suffering from diarrhea and it was hard recovery for her. She was going strong and adventurous right till that moment, so I couldn't really say it was old age that got to her, but probably made it hard as hell for her to fully pull herself back together. I can't say she was my favorite rat, but she did mean a lot more to me if only because she spent her entire life with me.

So her body sits in the freezer, waiting for me to get a shovel and bury her. In a year, I'll be cleaning up her bones. I had a brief flight of fancy to have her mounted, possibly with a little bindle stick slung over her shoulder, but as much as I like looking at little taxidermy creatures, it seems pretty crude not to put the body back to ground, especially for my pet. (Along the way I found this, which fucking creeps me out.)

The only thing about burying Kingdok's body in our yard, especially the front which is most prime, is that the neighborhood cats have taken to using it as their litterbox. Now I like cats as much as any other feline lover, and I know animals outside will defecate outside, but it's starting to drive me crazy, seeing flies and smelling shit every day when I walk outside. Fresh shit is bad because it stinks and attracts bugs; old shit is worse because I won't realize Pavlov is sniffing at it and eating it until it's too late. I suspect the neighboring raccoons have also been participating in this activity.

Now aside from worrying that they're going to dig her up, I also have to watch where I step...and dig.

Mourning aside, I've spent the entire day cleaning out and reorganizing this little apartment of ours thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly—I started at 8am and am just taking my first break), and the worst part of it is the dust. Which is great for my asthma. Oakland, I've discovered since moving in, is the capitol of dust collection. It doesn't matter how anal you are, it will collect, and continue to collect. You're kind of fucked if you have a mammal for a pet, too. I don't think my mother would survive two days here.

I've just discovered exactly how much yarn I have. And I would never call it too much yarn, but, well, it's a bit. I need to reorganize it, and I need some kind of organizer(s) for my needles and hooks. Which is really an excuse to use this coupon I have at the local fabric store and sew up some needle holders in exciting prints. Or plain canvas I can paint. O-ooor I could use some of this fabric that's been lying around that I'd saved from my grandmother's stash, but I've been wracking my brain over what to make out of their crazy patterns.

There is also this comic I'm working on, and it is progressing, if not infinitely slower than I'd like. At least it is progressing, though, which is better than nothing for me. I need to really, really figure out how to let go of this horrible perfectionist grip I have on myself that deprives me of production.

Work and the job market, I'm not even going to go into. Suffice to say I'm steadily searching, and I still have two weeks left before I really need to worry.

My sister gets married next Saturday.

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