Monday, June 16, 2008

Old cats and old people

My cat, Wywy is an old man at 17, almost 18. Wywy is a shortened version of Wynona (after Wynona Judd--Jamie's idea) but it's led to complications. Wynona is a male, and over the years we've vacillated between "he," "she" and "he, she, it." I've known he was failing, as they say--the vet told me in January he had the beginnings of kidney failure, and he'd lost half a pound. But, essentially, he got a clean bill of health. The last couple of weeks, though, I thought he looked thinner, and he began to lose coat, so I took him back to the vet. Putting him in a cat carrier and taking him to the vet is almost on a level with the dentist in things I don't want to do, so I was most proud of myself today. Expensive, but probably not a mistake. All his blood work was "borderline"--not bad but on the edge of being bad. His kidney function was a little bit off, so they gave him IV fluids, and they sent him home with vitamins and antibiotics, the latter in anticipation of cleaning his teeth and gums next week. He's not a happy camper tonight--doesn't think I've fed him. I really have, but if he won't eat it, I can't do much about that. And I put the antibiotics in the food! I know he won't be with me for a long, long time, but I'd like to make his final years as comfortable and graceful as I can. But now I have to put him in the carrier again next week--yikes!
I'm afraid I'm less successful with my cousin in Canada. She's 74 and bipolar, has been institutionalized most of her adult life and in trouble when she wasn't. I'm now her only living relative and so responsible for her, with power of attorney. She has gotten so difficult that the assisted living lodge where she's been has decided it's time for her to go to a nursing home. In Canada they're all provincially owned, but so far two have rejected her for behavioral problems (she can't share a room--it wouldn't be fair to the roomie). But what came as a great lesson to me today is that the second home rejected her because they don't allow smoking and have no services to deal with people with "that addiction." Of course, it makes perfect sense. If you had nursing home patients smoking willy nilly, you'd have fires all over the place. I just hadn't thought of it. I know we can't get Jennifer to quit smoking at this point, but beyond that I'm bumfuzzled--my being in Texas and her being in Toronto doesn't help, but I really don't want to have to go to Toronto to straighten it out. Strikes me as a futile trip. She does know who I am and is grateful I'm handling her finances, but I have visions of her anger if I told her to quite smoking! Another reason to give up the filthy weed.
I'm writing my mystery, averaging about four pages at a time--sometimes I'm very pleased with it and other times I think it's trash. I'm not querying, because the editor to whom I sent it suggested I wait a while. I will, but then I'll query him again if it gets to be too long. I've decided the thing to do is complete the second novel and then move on to a different series. I'm amazed at the number of unpublished books some of the unpublished writers on the Sisters in Crime AgentQuest listserv have written--and the science they make of querying. I think they spend much more of their time at that than writing. I'm also finding that quite a few of the published ones are ebooks only, small publishers, etc. The writer who makes it with a NY publisher, even a mass market house, is rare. And today's listserve messages made it clear that the writer who earns as much as $12,000 a year is also rare. The consensus on the listswerv was that we do it for our own enjoyment, which which I would agree, except that writing without an eye on publication seems pretty fruitless--and publication to me still means print media. Maybe I'm a Luddite (took me a long time to learn the meaning of that!).

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