Birthday Cruise to the Bahamas

We’re counting down to Rich’s birthday cruise to the Bahamas. After the month we’ve have, we really need to get away – we’re so glad we made the decision to book another cruise when we got back from my birthday trip to L.A./cruise to Ensenada.

I’m looking forward to my first Margarita and Rich can taste those Guy’s Burgers. Sipping, relaxing, noshing… ah, life at sea!

Shadow, Daisy, and I are up again during the night. I’m hoping they’ll keep quiet and let Rich sleep before getting up for work in a couple of hours. They’re now asleep at my feet as I write this. In this moment, we’re all okay so it’s hard to get up from the computer and go back to bed.

Shadow is getting better about howling his grief – I suppose we all are. It still takes Rich and I by surprise, though, like all the places we still see him or the little things we did with Skipper in mind and now we either don’t need to or don’t especially want to. His presence is all over this house – I suspect we built it for him. After all, he was king! 🙂

Looking back at a few photos from the Vegas years, I’m posting a few of Skipper that especially stood out this morning. And as much as I was desperate to leave Las Vegas, I do miss it sometimes. Certainly, the memories. I definitely needed a break from it, though.

Late Sunday afternoon reminded me of how good we have it here. We just hopped in the car and drove to the beach and there I was dipping my feet in the water. Heaven! You can’t do that in the desert.

A friend and I were talking about meeting my father 16 years ago and how it was too short and I realized I knew Skipper longer than I knew my father.

That reminds me of a story about a woman I worked with in San Francisco when we were in ours 20s. Her dog died and then her father died and I said to another co-worker, “She seemed more upset about her dog dying than her father.” And Stefany said, “I suspect she got a lot more love from her dog than she ever did from her father.”

Anyway, here’s to Skipper. Look at those eyes – he would give me that look and he seemed so human. I will miss him forever! Love you, sweet boy!


“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Six: LAX to MCO (Final Thoughts)

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

We got up early the next morning, had coffee in the room, and dropped off the rental car at National. The shuttle was waiting for us and then we were dropped off at the American Airline terminal at LAX. We didn’t get Pre-TSA this time so we had to take off our shoes. I hate walking on the bare floor and I kicked myself for not bringing socks.

So then we walked to our gate, scoped out some breakfast and Rich got us each a coffee and something, which I don’t remember. Dunkin Donuts had a huge line so he got something else. He also stopped at Sees Candy (favorite West Coat candy company) and got us a box of milk chocolate/dark chocolate creams.

We had a pretty uneventful flight – we had the usual turkey wrap but this time also got a glass of wine. We were both dreading going home to a house without Skipper, but we were eager to be there to comfort Shadow and Daisy.

Overall, this was a fantastic trip! We had so many things we longed to touch and didn’t get to them all – like the Disney parks. But the Napa Rose dinner was so awesome that I felt like I’d had the best Disney experience I could have had as part of the trip.

The sadness of losing Skipper hung over it all, though, and we are still grieving. First, I was mostly depressed. I longed to cry but tears were very far away – buried deeply. He may have been a cat but he’d been our special boy for 18 years!!

Shadow has been racing around letting out primordial screams. Skipper had been his “big daddy” for almost 4.5 years and he adored him. He seems to be getting better and yesterday I started to release some tears and we grieved together so maybe we’re on our way. It took three months after Lovey to even think about moving on without her so I’m sure we’ve got some time to heal.

And losing Skipper has caused us to miss Lovey and Buddy all over again. They were the 3 Musketeers, the family we had had for so long. How could they be gone?

Skipper, April 9, 2000 to July 11, 2018

But Shadow and Daisy are special, too, and we’re just beginning to see what this family might look like. They love to snuggle with each other and Daisy is a lot like Skipper – she even has his tail. We sometimes call her “Skipper girl.”

Daisy with her “Skipper” tail (left) and
“Big Brother” Shadow

We’ve booked a cruise for Rich’s birthday next month. These cruises are a much-needed release from all that’s going on and we’re so looking forward to it.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day One

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Before we get into the actual trip report, I must get the sadness out of the way. We’d just landed at LAX and picked up our rental car and were trying to find the 405 S but missed our turn. Rich pulled into some driveway, I don’t remember now because I was totally devastated by the phone call from the pet sitter: “Skipper is gone!”

Our 18-year-old cat Skipper, who was more our son than pet, was looking amazingly well on his birthday in April. Our new vet who made house calls told us his kidneys had improved and he was doing quite well. We began to hope he’d be with us for several more years. But as the weeks went by, when he had good days and bad days, we realized this was probably his last year.

He was still having good days and bad days but on the day we left, it looked like one of his bad days. He didn’t wake us up at 6 am yelling for food. He was sleeping in the closet when I got up and peeked in on him. Rich carried him to the food dish and he ate a bite or two. He was a bit slow so I picked him up and carried him back to the closet where he loved to hide out and sleep for hours. Before leaving the house, we both peeked in on him and told him we loved him, hoping he’d still be here when we returned from the trip.

The pet sitter blamed herself for not checking on him earlier (we reassured her it was not her fault, and I blamed myself for leaving him, but Rich and our friends pointed out that this was Skipper’s way of shielding us from pain, and of doing this his way, as he did everything in his life his way. He was a very private cat – “stealth kitty” we called him.

This was our first pet that actually just died – we’d always had to make the Euthanasia choice for each one and that was extremely painful. Just writing this report is a bit too much so I’m not sure I can go into the many ways he was so special like I did for the other cats when they passed. It’ll probably take more time before I can do that.

But I just looked at my iPhone to gather pics for this report and I was greeted with this message: “On this day July 20, 2017.” Of course, there were 2 photos of Skipper. But I will post one of my favorite recent photos of Skipper when he and Shadow were hanging out like father and son, as if Skipper was revealing the secrets of the world to Shadow. We just had this photo framed and it looks adorable.

It will be good to get on with the trip report because, in spite of the sadness hanging over our hearts, it really was a wonderful trip! Later, when I can, I’ll share Skipper stories as a tribute to him. But, for now, I’m just too sad and depressed, to be coherent.

Photo taken in 2015 when Skipper (on left) was 15 years old and Shadow (on right) was 16 months

Skipper looking good on his 18th birthday, April 9, 2018

Our last photo of Skipper, just 4 days before the end

We love you, Skipper!
April 9, 2000-July 11, 2018