Epidermal macabre

Various things have been happening, none of them good. Most notably: my grandfather has fractured his hip, been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and taken to cursing and flailing at the hospital staff and yanking out his own catheter.

And in the midst of deadlines last week, I lost my night guard, for good this time. Consequently I broke two more teeth — on a tomato, of all things — after grinding them for a few nights. I still haven’t worked up the nerve or the spare cash to call the dentist. Then, well: you know how people and their pets supposedly start to resemble each other? My freaky, flighty, miniaturized cat (the calico) has just been diagnosed with her own teeth problems, to the tune of $450. And since she got home from the vet yesterday, the other cat (the high-strung Siamese mutt) keeps chasing her around the apartment, growling and hissing and threatening to go on a hunger strike.

(The last time The Vet Smell disrupted relations between the feline members of the Maud household, the high-strung one stopped eating. This was right as the events of September 11, 2001, unfolded, so I didn’t notice anything was amiss until her weight had dropped to five pounds and she was halfway through death’s door. Twenty-five hundred dollars in vet bills later, there was a tube in her neck and she had to be fed something that looked and smelled like fecal matter through the tube four times a day for six weeks. Mr. Maud was unemployed at the time, which didn’t make paying the vet bill any easier, but did enable him to keep the cat from dying.)

Rather than fretting out loud about everything else that’s going on, I’ll just point you to the week’s weather outlook, otherwise known as five variations on five days of rain. (See above; thanks, Bill.)

And here’s your gratuitous literary link: Theodore Roethke’s “Epidermal Macabre.”


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