You Nork


Scott’s Grandpa passed away recently and while it is sad, it is also kind of a blessing. He was in his 90’s and lived in a nursing home. He couldn’t hear and had trouble with his vision. In his prime he was a funny, warm, witty person. He loved his huge vegetable garden and watching the Yankees. Things he was no longer able to do…. I think he was ready to go see Helen, ready to leave this place for whatever comes next.
There will be a small, family graveside service sometime in April. Maggie is super excited to go see Gram Cooley and the goats in You Nork. Wait, what? What goats? Turns out Maggie remembers going to York’s Wild Kingdom (in York, Maine, where yes, they actually have a petting zoo and goats) and also remembers visiting Gram Cooley in New York and has combined the two places. Thus, in her wonderful words, “I can’t wait to go see Grandma Cooley and the goats in You Nork.” Wonder how Judie would feel about letting some goats attend the graveside service?


breakfast conversation

At the breakfast table a this morning enjoying a few moments of conversation before we make a mad dash to finish getting ready for school and work. Randomly, Sam says, “If it’s a boy I’m naming him Nate.”

I swallow my coffee, and say, “If what is a boy? What are we expecting?”
Sam replies, “Y’know, my kid. If when I have kids I have a boy I’m going to name him Nate. And if it’s a girl, maybe Moira JR.”

A little earlier to be considering names, but Sam is a planner. And, on the up-side, he is planning on giving us grandchildren.

I get up to get a tissue and Maggie says, “Oh, my Gosh, mom, you sound like a fairy whistling when you blow your nose like that!”

Do I have to go to work? Can’t I just stay here all day with them….


So, Milo the rattie is still peeing on EVERYTHING. Trying to keep things clean is a full-time job and I am honestly, sadly, reluctantly ready to just admit defeat. He recently had a full medical work-up. He is not old, merely middle aged. After speaking with a private trainer, the trainer for the SPCA, my vet, a second vet, the adoption counselor for the SPCA and two rattie rescue groups, the bottom line is that everyone feels the behavior is anxiety driven and there’s a 50/50 chance that if he is re-homed to where he is the only dog and in a quieter environment the behavior will stop. Great. Who can help me re-home him? The SPCA says he is “not a good candidate for our shelter, given his anxiety he would just deteriorate in a kennel situation.” Ok, I get that…. I contacted the rescue groups and given his behavior they are saying (I emailed 4 or 5, only 2 got back to me) it would be tough to find a home for him. Yes, yes, I see the problem. EVERY DAY! And the behavior is getting worse. Someone suggested a belly-band (read doggie diaper) but OMG, really??? It was bad enough when the kids were in diapers. And that is just masking the symptom and not managing the poor things anxiety. Sigh…. It may time for some very tough decisions. I hope, like my daughter, I can rally to the cause and manage to tackle the hard stuff.

The long good-bye

Clara Pig (1)

February is such a cruel month and this year was no exception. It brought colds and conjunctivitis, frigid temperatures and snow-leaden roofs to shovel. And, to our house, it brought death. The day after Valentine’s Day, on a bitter, snowy afternoon, Clementine guinea pig passed away.
I noticed she was not herself early Saturday. She was lying on her side, breathing abnormally and looking miserable, poor baby. We pulled her out and held her wrapped in a towel and she seemed comforted by the contact and settled a bit. But, I know the signs. And this is the part of pet owner-ship I loathe. Yet, this, too, is a part of having a pet; the responsibility to help them pass with dignity and ease.
I called the vet, but of course, it was Saturday and our regular vet wasn’t there. We called an emergency animal clinic nearby only to discover that the only doctor on duty was severely allergic to guinea pigs. No, I am not making that up. (They did say the shift change was 8pm that evening, so we were more than welcome to come then. Super helpful, obviously.)
We sat in the living room on the couch, while the snowflakes swirled outside the windows. Scott, Maggie, Moira and I talked and held Clementine and whispered good-byes to her. I told Moira that Clementine was dying, that she was an old piggie and there really wasn’t much we could do other than hold her and comfort her and let her know she was loved.
Moira was inspiring, strong and brave. She held her pig in her arms for nearly 4 hours. And some of it wasn’t easy. I was so proud of Moira. She was sad and upset and yet she was so able to put Clementine’s needs first. Moira is so incredibly sensitive, yet tough. She did not let her emotions get in the way of what she needed to do – there are many adults who have not mastered that skill. So, while it was sad, it was also amazing to watch Moira in action and see what an incredible person she is… I felt pride and love and I feel blessed to have such a daughter.