My parents have very close friends - my father and Mr. T. grew up together and escaped Hungary in the 50's - who recently lost their dog, unexpectedly. The kids and I were at a family function, yesterday and happened to run into them - yes, really, I tripped over air and nearly dropped a whole platter of chicken salad sandwiches - so, I took my cousin's advice, put the food down and struck up a conversation with Mr. and Mrs. T.
They asked how our Doofus-dog was doing and after I finished telling them all of the Doofus-type things he's managed to do (and eat) they seemed almost as surprised, as I was, to learn that he wasn't dead, yet.
"If the chocolate doesn't kill him, my husband will...he's lucky to be alive, really...so, you looking for a dog?"
Mrs. T.'s teared up and she nearly dropped her cigarette.
"I mean...oh, Jeez...I'm sorry...I didn't mean to make you sad."
I immediately changed the subject and asked if they knew of a good doctor in the neighborhood, who could help surgically remove my size 9 foot from my even BIGGER mouth!
"Even though he IS such pinhead, Doofus is an important part of our family and I know how much you must miss Coco."
Personally, I hated the dog.
Okay - so this is where, if I had a penis, I'd ask you to call me an insensitive prick - but, it was one of those yip-yip-fru-fru-type high maintenance little buggers that had more toys, grooming products and hair appointments than, you know, my kids.
But, Mrs. T.'s children are grown now and ALL of her grandchildren live out-of-state and I know how hard it is for her to get used to NOT taking care of, well, something.
Yes, pets and children are very humanizing and we've been spending A LOT of time with my parents.
"I don't want to go home!"
"It's fun staying at mama's and papa's house."
"Yes...I know...but, we haven't seen daddy all weekend!"
I gave my husband a belated Father's Day gift and - because he hasn't had a weekend to himself in, well, weeks - I told him that he and Uncle Steve could go out for, you know, a daddy play date.
"So, how were the car races?"
Imagine my surprise to learn that he decided to stay home and build a rabbit fence for my vegetable garden, instead!
Yes, I hate rabbits, but - short of shooting my neighbor for constantly feeding the little suckers - she doesn't care for my pets getting into her yard, either and I trust that the new fence will certainly help keep the peace, at least.
But, then I saw the hole in my cat.
"Hon, come here...QUICK!"
It was an ugly, round and about the size of a large bee-bee.
"Look what the hell happened to Old Man?"
No, I don't sit around and imagine my 98 year-old-neighbor shooting my cat, but - it sure as hell looked like someone did - I had a hard time trying NOT to believe it.
The vet at the emergency hospital, not so much.
"It looks more like a bite."
"In fact, it's not a new wound...it looks more like an abscess...probably been festering for a while...see, how the tissue around it is all dead."
"Are you sure?"
[eyes go wide]
"I mean, how didn't we notice this?!?"
Yes, I was very upset.
"I mean...the poor old man...we've been taking really good care of him, I swear...and it would be almost easier to take...if I believe that it was one of our nutty neighbors!"
Even though she did laugh, the vet seemed to have a hard time understanding what the big deal was about.
"Do you have any children at home?"
[eyes go wide]
"Um...yes...they're home...why?...I mean, we have 4 kids...but, they're with a babysitter...I mean...my oldest daughter is watching them...she's 13...I mean...until Grandma and Grandpa get there...uh...yes, they're home.
I buried my face in my hands.
"No, sweetie, don't get upset...all I meant is...well, these things are sometimes very easy to miss... and you already seem to have your hands full."
Yes, the vet was soooo right - I mean, she is a mom with 3 kids - but, what I failed to tell her is that my grandmother gave us this cat and made me promise that I would take care of Old Man, before she died!
Yes, he's fine and - although, they did have to surgically remove a rather large portion of his backside - he's a tough old man! And there's nothing more humanizing than staying up most of the night, with your pet, and having your children help take care of, well, in keeping a promise.
Watching the cat walk into things and laughing our asses off, not so much.