November 13, 2020

From the Woman...


This is not the post I wanted to write. Ever. And it’s not the post Max deserves, nor what all of you deserve. But right now I’m shattered, and I can’t find the words that will do him justice. I’m not sure I will ever be able to.

Max had a spectacular day on Monday. He felt okay, ate well, and his Younger Human came to see him. He was given all the treats he cared to eat, and was about as happy as a cranky old man could be. Tuesday through Thursday were okay. Not fantastic, but okay. He ate, he sat in my lap (a lot) and just kind of hung out. Last night I couldn’t sleep, so at 2 am he curled up in my lap for an hour, even though I wasn’t wearing pants.

We all know how much he hates bare legs.

But this morning he was off a little bit. He didn’t want his cheese bite (with a dreaded seed inside) and wasn’t interested in food. I wasn’t worried then because sometimes it takes a while for his appetite to kick in, so I left him to nap in his room for a bit. I offered fresh food later, which he licked at, but he didn’t eat anything.

I wasn’t worried until he pooped in the bathroom and stepped in it. He didn’t fight me when I washed his feet off, and when I was done he just curled up on his favorite floor spot in his bedroom. Even then, I thought it was just a bad day.

But a little while later I found him near the litter box, he’d clearly tried to make it, but couldn’t quite stand up to do it. And when he made his way back to his room, he walked with his legs splayed, not in a straight line, and he just looked miserable. His eyes were glassy, face was pinched, and he just looked done.

Mike made the call, and we took him in at 4:30. He wanted to be held, so I wrapped my rms around and rocked him back and forth until the vet came in, and he stayed there until the end. I felt his last breath on my arm, felt him finally relax, and he left us at 4:50.

I am gutted, yet also so incredibly grateful that we had 19-1/2 years with him. He was, without exaggeration, the smartest cat I’ve ever known, and was absolutely amazing. He was spoiled beyond belief, but he deserved every bit of it, and because of him I’ve met people who have become the best friends I could hope for. What started as a whim—a blog written from his point of view—turned into something amazing, and was admittedly at the forefront of cat blogging. My only real consolation is that he’s on his way to be with Buddah, to help his little brother navigate the Bridge, and I’m sure there will be a raging Bridge-trashing party that runs all weekend.

A little truth…online Max was snarky and grouchy—and he was in real life, too—but he was also sweet and affectionate, and loved me at levels that often felt unnatural. My lap was where he wanted to be, he often wanted to shove his nose up mine, and we carried on long, drawn out conversations that I’m pretty sure I got right on my end. His intelligence often blew me away…and irritated me. We still talk about his discovery at 4 years old, when we had the dresser in the bathroom near the light switch. He figured out how to turn it off and on, and did so with glee…at 3 in the morning.

The light—and he knew it—streamed right to the head of the bed, in my face.

Max was the cat who could sit on the bathroom vanity and look in the mirror, understanding that the cat he saw was him. If he’d had something on his face, seeing it in his reflection would have prompted him to swipe a paw across his face to get it off (conversely, Buddah was positive the cat in the mirror was an intruder, though he did finally stop hissing at it. Gawd, I miss that goofball.) He could puzzle things out, and the only thing that saved us from an obnoxiously high gas bill was because he wasn’t strong enough to flip the switch on the fireplace.

He knew how, he just couldn’t get leverage.

Our world got quite a bit quieter tonight. He was a small cat in the end, having gone from nearly 19 pounds to 9, but he filled all the quiet spaces with his personality. I often joked that I’d stolen him from his Younger Human—when he brought Max home it was with the caveat that when he moved, so did the cat—but Max made it clear who his chosen person was, and I will be forever honored.

On Monday, I told the Boy that I wasn’t sorry anymore that I’d stolen his cat. Tonight I thanked him for it.

I will miss that furball forever, but doods, having him…it was glorious.


November 06, 2020

I have the power...

See me there by the window on my new perch? It's become my favorite place. The red thing in front of it is a footstool and just in front of that (hard to see) is a brown thingy. They're there for me to use as steps so I won't try to jump that high.

What you can't see is there are a couple plates of food on the floor by the dammit machine. I get food there, and food in my bedroom--I hardly ever eat in the kitchen anymore because why would I? They put a piece of carpet down in the kitchen so I can ear without slipping, but I just like eating other places more not, and they're okay with it.

But doods...I discovered a great power yesterday. If the People are concerned because they haven't seen me eating in a while, they will sit on that little red footstool and HOLD MY PLATE WHILE I EAT LOUNGING ON THE NEW PERCH!!! They'll even turn it so I don't have to stretch too far.

Just a little while ago, the Man sat down and held a plate for me. He didn't realize I had just been in my room nomming the food in there (the Woman did but she didn't tell him because why would she?) 

Yesterday and the day before were not a super great days for me, but the Woman was not surprised and had even surmised on Tuesday night that I probably wouldn't feel good, at least on Wednesday. Tuesday had been a really good day and I was all over the place, going up and down the stairs to my perch and on and off her lap...but one time getting down from the perch I slipped and that's when she said I'd probably have a bad day on Wednesday.

It's like a roller coaster. If I have a super good day, I pay for it the next. If I have a moderately good day, I'll probably be fine the next day. The problem with my bad days is that I don't want to eat. Anything. Wednesday was a not great day and I nibbled, just enough to keep her happy. Yesterday sucked, so I didn't really eat anything except a few bites of steak.

I'm eating today, which makes them both happy...and spurs them into sitting there, holding the plate, trying to get me to suck down a little bit more.

October 26, 2020

Wow...Seventeen

Seventeen years ago, around 3:30 in the afternoon, I started this blog. I had no clue, really, what I would do with it other than make fun of my people. The Woman had notions that I would share my world views, but really, what's funnier than people and the stupid things they do?

I think it was after we hit "publish" on the first post that we began searching for other cat blogs. I mean, if I had one, there must be others, right? We spent hours looking and found lots of blogs about cats, but none written by a cat. It felt like I'd stumbled on a private island, which is cool and all, but private gets boring after a while. I wanted more.

The very first post...typo included

Visitors trickled in at first. Friends of the Woman poked in to see what was going on, and some of them shared the blog link. But it didn't take long before the spread of it was more organic and people to whom we had no personal connection began visiting. Some got in the spirit and commented as their cats. Some got the joke and started blogs for their own cats. It became a thing unto its own self: there were suddenly tons of cat blogs as others followed, and before I knew it there were cat blogs started by cats who had never even heard of mine.

There was a real Cat Blogosphere, and I made friends.

More importantly, I think, the Woman made friends. Friends that have turned into genuine, in-real-life friends, some of the best friends she could ever hope to have.

I wish the commenting system I used in the beginning was still there--Blogger originally didn't have their own and we had to use third party commenting--because there were some great conversations that happened in the comments. 

As the Cat Blogosphere exploded in size, it turned into Way Too Much Fun. There were house trashing parties--of course we teleported to each others' homes where we enjoyed niptinis and mountains of food--and we even had the Cat Olympics. We opened chat rooms so that we could talk to each other in real time. We celebrated together, not just holidays but the birth of sticky people, new furry household additions, marriages, and milestones. And we mourned together as the friends we grew to love left us early to run off to the Bridge, as our People lost treasured family, and we cried together.

Some of you guys have been here from the beginning, from the time after I lost Hank the Dog (which happened a few months before the blog began) and were here when Buddah came to live with us and damned near killed me with his cooties. You saw him grow from Buddah Butt to Buddah Pest, and listened to all my complaints about him.

I miss him, doods. I never thought I would, mostly because I never thought he would go first, but here we are.

You suffered through all the M-words with me. And there were a lot.

I gotta admit, the idea that I would still have this blog even five years from the day it began, never occurred to me in the beginning. I especially never would have thought it would launch a career for me, even if I did piggyback off the Woman's. 

I never could have conceived of all the friendships that would come from it, not for me and not for the Woman. She loves her friends. Not just, like, the way people love Cheetos or new shoes; she loves them.

Doods...I am so grateful.

For every one of you who found me so early on, who have stuck with me, who stumbled in along the way and who played along, got the joke, for whom this all became real, who helped their own kitties begin their own blogs...I am grateful.

Thank you for 17 awesome and amazing years.

Now let's squeeze out a bit more...


October 23, 2020

Today...is good

The Woman thought today was going to be a bad day for me because of all the poking and prodding of yesterday, along with it being the last day before I get my appetite medication again. But so far it's been good. I've eaten pretty well--it's not even 3 pm here and I've probably had 6 or 7 ounces of wet food--and I'm moving around.

The little cat thingy (see yesterday, bottom of post) is my new favorite spot, and I've been napping on it, getting down to eat and drink, getting back up, and I even got to say hello to the pest control dood through the window (things like that don't bother me anymore. The Woman says I have, like, zero farks to give now.) She bought this for me because she felt bad about taking the cat trees away, but doods, this is awesome. The cup is bigger so I'm more comfortable when I curl up, and I can still see out the window thanks to the box the Man made, that it's sitting on top of.

Since I get my meds tomorrow, she expects it will be a big food day, like a can an hour after it starts working, and I'll get something right up until she goes to bed...she'll leave two plates full for me so I have food overnight. Well, she does that anyway, because what if I get hungry? The rule now is Don't Let The Cat Be Hungry. I might even gain some weight.

Remember when I started this blog? In three days it will be 17 years. Back then, I was "14 pounds of sleek black and white glory" but I managed to push that up to nearly 19 pounds. At the stabby place I weighed in at 8.5 pounds and was probably down to 8 at one point. I'm allowed to get as fat as I want now...I have a super high metabolism these days because of my thyroid, but the doc said this mass is probably contributing to it, so yeah, eat whatever I want, when I want, as long as the People can figure out what that is. 

Yesterday the Woman opened THREE cans trying to figure out what I wanted. One got tossed out because of the way I ran from it, but the other two got left on my bedroom floor, and I grazed on them both (even the one I hadn't wanted) until bedtime when I got two new cans.

So, paws crossed that tomorrow is as good as today. 

Oh, and I did pee outside the box a couple times, but once was in the middle of the night and I just didn't feel like walking all the way down the hall, and the bathroom is right next to my bedroom and there are puppy pads on the floor just for that. Luckily, no one gets upset by it. The Woman has said "please don't" a couple times when she thought I was going to pee in the living room, but when I did she just shrugged and said she owns stuff to clean it up and I'm not hurting anything.

We'll see what she says if I ever pee on her bed...

October 22, 2020

Dang, they really did shove a needle in me


Do I look annoyed? I was annoyed. This was taken this morning, when someone should have been feeding me, but after a night of NO FOOD WHERE I COULD GET TO IT, they did not. And then they compounded it by shoving me into the PTU, then to the car, and I wound up at the stabby place.

Apparently this time no one cared if I peed all over everything. But right off the bat I was manhandled and STABBED, then left alone for a little bit while I began to feel sleepy and saw the sound of colors. For reals, doods. All the pretty colors.

I wasn't, like, under major anesthesia, just kinda nicely floating while the vet flopped me onto a table whereupon he took a picture of my insides. Worth noting: everything is where it belongs. But he didn't note a break, and he did see a mass, which meant I was getting stabbed again with a longer, more intrusive needle.

I was too loopy to really give a damn, and after he was done I took a nice long nap in my carrier, which was placed inside a cage to protect me from all the other animals. I suppose they could have just put me in the cage, but my PTU is nice and comfy and they know that given a choice, that's where I want to be.

Long story short...the mass is a soft tissue sarcoma. Stabby dood says it's typically a slow growing one and also doesn't tend to metastasize, so there's not a lot of worry that I'll wind up with is spread throughout my body (it's possible, just not likely.) But it will grow. And because of that, the People will count my good days and my bad days, and decide what I need most based on that.

For now, I'll get an appetite stimulant and nausea meds (one that has a bit of an analgesic effect) and if the pain seems to be getting to me before I stop eating, he might put me on Gabapentin. Right now I have more good days than bad, but I gotta be honest guys, the bad days are pretty bad. I don't want to eat and I pee all over the house. But the good days I eat and I use the litter box, and I seek out the Woman's lap and she says I'm almost my old self.

I'll probably spend a lot of my time here. They took the cat trees away because they were afraid I would hurt myself trying to get up high enough to see out the window, but they replaced it with this.

I can see out the window if I want, and it's easy enough for e to get onto. If the foot stool starts to look too tall, the Man will build another box for me to use as an additional step. I really dig this...the little cup is bigger than the one that was on the cat tree, and I can snuggle in and sleep really well.

So.

It's not great news, but it's not the worst news, either. I still have some time, whether it's weeks or months, and I know the People were scared they would have to say goodbye to me really soon. Or even today. 

They promised they're going to spoil me as much as they can, so I'm looking forward to that. I get to eat whatever I want, when I want, as long as they can figure out just what it is I want. If I want a lap, I get a lap, no matter what they're doing. And if I ask for the fireplace, even if it's warm, I get it.

Pretty spiffy way to live, I think.


October 18, 2020

In Honor of the Pest

I've been thinking a lot about what I could do in honor of Buddah, something tangible that could make a difference. I could write about him until everyone started yelling at me, but I'm pretty sure that's not the difference he would want me to affect.

But then I thought about our book, Interview With a Pest, and how Buddah came to live with us. And I knew.

All of the royalties from the sale of that book from the date it came out to the end of November will be donated to the SPCA we adopted him from.

I know a lot of y'all have already bought it, so I won't spend that money when I get it, so if you could pass the word along, I would appreciate it. This particular SPCA has done a lot of good for the community. Not just adopting out cats and dogs, but when they have space the rescue animals from kill shelters, and when Northern CA was hit with fires all around, they really sprung into action to help, all while evacuating the shelter because of fire encroaching them.

Buddah was one that they rescued from a kill shelter. We never would have known he existed otherwise.

I would really like to cut them a huge check in December. So please share this. It doesn't matter what platform you get it on--print, Kindle, Nook, Apple Books, Kobo--I will donate everything we earn from it.

October 17, 2020

We are adjusting...

No one likes the new norm, but we're slowly adjusting. Buddah's ashes came home yesterday, and the People bought a very nice urn for him. It's a black kitty sleeping in a basket...once they have it set up, I'll show you. 

But.

THEY TOOK ME TO THE STABBY PLACE WHEN THEY WENT TO PICK HIM UP!

All I did was pee on the bathroom floor...and then in the living room...and all the sudden it's OMG TAKE HIM TO GET STABBED! And doods, I totally got stabbed. The stabby guy stole a bunch of blood and sighed super hard when I peed all over everything because he wanted it for himself, and all for what? I've peed on things before and no one got excited. Sheesh.

But...I heard the People talking today and apparently my blood looks fine for an old man with thyroid and kidney disease, and there was no sign of an infection. So now the stabby guy wants to get an x-ray of my rear left left because I may or may not have broken it back in July, which could be why I occasionally pee outside the box. He felt a mass back there but it could be anything...a knot from a break, or even something else. If the x-ray doesn't show a break, he'll do a needle biopsy.

The Woman is not concerned that it might be something else, because of the timeline. In July, I tried to jump onto the footrest of her recliner and didn't quite make it, landing pretty hard. I got up and walked away, but it was a couple days later that I went through all the OMG HE'S GOING TO DIE stuff, when she found me in the closet passed out with my face in my food dish. 

She thought then that I was having some pain, but let's just say I was a bit less than cooperative at the stabby place, so there was no blood work, no x-rays taken. She watched me closely, and noted improvement, slowly, until I hit a point where it wasn't bad at all...right at the same point she always felt better after she broke something.

So I have days when I don't eat a lot because I kinda hurt, and she thinks that's what the next exam will show. I probably did break that leg. And since it bothers me sometimes, those are the days I pee outside the box. She says that's perfectly okay because she owns a bunch of Kids N Pets to take the smell away, but she kinda hopes I stick to the puppy pads that are now covering the bathroom floor.

I am also getting something that will hopefully make me hungrier, because my weight is way down, and they want me to gain some back.

I ate well today, though. I had 6 ounces overnight (she's leaving me 2 full cans in my room every night now) and I've probably eaten 4 since 8am and it's only 5:20pm and I'll get offered at least 6 more ounces before bed time. I think they want me to eat a lot more than that, though.

In any case, we're doing okay here. Everyone misses Buddah a lot, but we're okay.

October 11, 2020

Today is a better day

 

After yesterday and feeling like total krap because of those two absolute jerkwad units, we feel better. We're still not happy but we felt every bit of Mojo y'all wished and it helped a lot.

I think what helped the Woman the most was typing out the things we both needed to say. She's had an undercurrent of guilt, peppered with some doubt. Like, what if? What if the decision was made too soon? Why did it have to be that day? Why not one more?

The people had been saying out loud, "he's just not eating" but as we sat here and wrote, the truth bubbled up. It's not just that he wasn't eating. He was starving. And to let that go on would have been cruel.

If the meds he was on were going to work, they would have by then.

Everything settled with her after that. The doubt slipped away. So she thinks that while it hurt, the accusation was actually a blessing. It made her face things, and accept things, and while she's still sad, she's okay.

I think I'm okay, too. I keep looking for him, even though I know he's not here. I peed on the blanket he'd been on just before he left. And now I'm sleeping on his favorite cat tree, though not in his favorite spot. I probably would, but he liked the top level and it's just not safe for me to make that leap, and I know it.

For some reason it made the Woman happy to see me there. She and the Man almost took both cat trees out of the house on Thursday but just weren't ready, so now she's doubly glad they waited. I haven't used the other one yet, but they're leaving it in place to give me a chance to use it, too.

I'm making an effort to be not so grumpy because they really don't need that right now. I even got the Woman to laugh at 3 o'clock this morning. She woke up and got out of bed when she heard food calling to her, specifically cinnamon toast, and I jumped onto her lap and started eating it from the other side she was biting into.

The big surprise was that she didn't stop me.

BTW, cinnamon toast is awesome and if you haven't had any, get some. I have high hopes for a few more bites tonight.  

October 10, 2020

I'm a couple kinds of mad right now, guys

Like, the kind of mad where it would be easy to blow up at someone and start this nasty grudge thing, slinging litter box contents at each other online, where other people get in the crosshairs. But I'm going to do the petty thing instead, and blog about it, where the instigator has no real recourse because I've already blocked them on Facebook and will delete any comment they make here. Because I'm mature like that.

I'm probably going to use things off the Bad Word List. Fair warning.

To paraphrase... "You knew Buddah was sick and that's why you released Interview With a Pest when you did. That's unfair. Because if you didn't know he was sick then you didn't give him enough time before you had him put down, and either way, that makes you awful."

No, we did not know Buddah was sick when the decision was made to release IWAP ahead of schedule. The biggest reason for that push was because everyone feared *I* was going to die soon; we had no idea about Buddah. We were all counting on him being here for years after me. What would have been unfair, I think, was publishing it when planned, in December, had I died before then. That seems like rubbing salt in a whole bunch of wounds.

We had fewer than ten days with Buddah from the day we learned how ill he was until the day we let him go. We had less than two weeks from the day he started throwing up and when he stopped eating. At the beginning of 2020, he weighed 16 pounds. In August, he weighed 13. The day he was diagnosed, he weighed 12. The day he died, he weighed under 10.

Could we have given him a few more days? Maybe. But at what cost to him? He couldn't make himself eat, even on an appetite stimulant, and even though he clearly wanted to. 

Buddah was starving to death. How much more time should we have let that go on? Days? Weeks? 

He was stumbling. He fell from the back of the recliner and was lucky he didn't break his neck. He sat on the floor and we could see his entire upper body pulse with each heart beat.

Did he deserve to go through more days of starving and feeling horrible, just so we could keep him?

We wanted him to live, but the awful reality is that he was never going to get better, and he was starving. The past few days I've been wandering around the house, looking for him, smelling him, peeing all over everything because I cannot find what I'm looking for. I'm super old, too, so half the time I'm not even sure what it is I'm looking for, just that it should be there and it's not.

My people are broken, so how fucking DARE you suggest they let him go too soon. 

And to the twatwaffle who suggested to the Woman that she wanted me to die instead of him...go crawl up inside your own ass.

She didn't want either of us to die. The reality is that I probably will soon and she hasn't even come to terms with that, so your suggestion was about as hurtful as it gets, and I am having a very hard time not wishing horrible things happen to you.

I accept that those kind of thoughts sip through brains--did they do enough, could they have done more--but holy pope on a pogo stick, those are the thoughts you don't say out loud to the ones who are hurting. Keep that shit to yourself, and let us grieve.

October 07, 2020

Doods...damn

 


It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was supposed to go first, to wait at the Bridge for him. I practically promised him, and even though we talked about the possibility he would go first, no one believed it.

Buddah was the mischievous little boy, always the baby cat no matter how old he was. Even a couple weeks ago he played THoE by himself, racing down the hall into the office and up the bookcases to the top of the TARDIS. His downturn was so sudden, so unexpected, that it feels wrong and unfair. But he tried hard; he took the medications even though they tasted bad and he only bit the Man once. He tried to nibble the food they set down for him, despite feeling nauseated. And last night and today he snuggled with the People, going back and forth between their laps.

I stayed out of the way, because this was not my time to interfere.

Earlier today he fell off the back of the recliner, and since he’s been unsteady on his own feet—the Woman took UP away from him last week because it was no longer safe—and when she heard herself tell the Man that they needed to take the cat trees away so that he wouldn’t climb them, she knew.

It took a few hours for it to really sink in, though. He spent the afternoon under a bed and turned his nose up at snack, which meant he’d had maybe half an ounce all day, and he didn’t eat much more than that yesterday. He’s been on an appetite stimulant and nausea medication, but it wasn’t enough to beat down the pain in his belly. But the way he sniffed at it and then turned away made the Woman say the words out loud. We have to let him go.

They understood that we’d reached the point where doing anything more was for us and not him. So the decision was made to let him begin his journey to the Bridge, and the stabby guy did not want to make him wait any longer, either. So this evening at about 5:40, Buddah exhaled one last time and headed off to meet Hank and Dusty, and to see all out friends who have gone before us.

Doods…if you read our last book, you probably got the sense that he and I had finally made our peace. And we had. He stopped picking on me and I stopped running away from him. Last night, we drank from the fountain at the same time.

I complained about him all the time, because he was a furry pain in my asterisk, but doods…he was glorious.


And dignified...

September 28, 2020

Buddah Needs Mojo

If you follow my author page on Facebook, or the Woman's personal feed, you already know why Buddah needs mojo. So I'll copy her post here, so you know what's going on with him.


He has a shaved tummy and is still loopy from the sedation he got today, but he ate a lot a little while ago--stabby dood gave him an appetite stimulant--so right now we're just hoping he keeps it down. Tomorrow the people can pick up the steroids that we hope will reduce the obstruction so he feels better, and then they just have to keep an eye on him.

We just didn't want anyone to be blindsided if he gets really sick, and he could use the Mojo.

He's been pretty good to me lately, not bugging me, and he stays out of my room so that I can rest and eat without worrying what he might do. I'm gonna stay out of his way, too, but I'm not going to complain when he poops on the floor right in front of the litter box anymore. We kinda need to see it, so I'll shut up about that.

Just...think good thoughts for him. He's a pain, but he's our pain and we want him to be comfortable.

September 14, 2020

Today is a quiet day...

Oh, and I got a new nip banana!
I've spent most of today either in my room or in the closet, and a bit of it tucked into a space near the Man's computer chair. I wandered out for food and water earlier in the day, but by morning snack I wasn't feeling like it, so the Woman has been bringing food to me. I'm eating, so she's not worried; it's just one of those days.

She says she was pretty sure that I'd be kind of quiet today. I spent a lot of time in the living room yesterday, and I lounged on her lap for a while. I would have spent more time there watching Enterprise with her, but I got something in my eye and was rubbing my face, which prompted her to try to wash eye boogers off the side of my nose, and, well, I wasn't having any of that.

If she'd left it alone for five minutes, I would have gotten it myself.

There's a lot of smoke and ash in the air here. The fires (and there are a lot of them) are far enough away that we're not in danger from them, but the People have to keep the windows closed and the a/c on, but every time they have to go out, something gets in, so it's no surprise to get a fleck of something stuck where I don't want it to be. It could be worse...some of the Woman's friends have dogs who have to go outside, and they're having issues with coughing and irritation, and there's no real way to avoid it.

Then again, they don't have to deal with the Woman's whining about not being able to play outside. She's halfway through a charity bicycle thingy, and because of the smoke she's had to do a lot of it inside on her bike that goes nowhere, and she's starting to hate it. Well, lady, so am I, because that bike is loud and you're no fun when you're on it.

On the plus side, she raised over $2600 for childhood cancer research and treatment. But that also makes her more determined to get the miles in, and she said she'd do 300. Outside it would be a bit of a stretch as it is; inside, she says it feels like torture.

Suck it up, sunshine. It's just pedaling.

Oh, and those of you waiting for a print copy of Interview With A Pest...Amazon has it, which means other stores will soon. It's even got its first review on Amazon, and it's 5 star! Oh yeah, reviewer, you know who you are. Thank you. I got warm fuzzies from it.

September 11, 2020

Look! The Book Y'all Helped Write With All Your Questions

 

Last year, Buddah and I sat down and had a nice talk. It started as an interview--with most of the questions supplied by y'all--but after a while it turned into a conversation, and we just...talked.

This is it, the book where Buddah gets a say, and where the King of the Run-On Sentence maybe, just maybe, starts to listen.

Oh, and he wrote the afterword.

Like, he wrote it yesterday, the Woman jetted it off to the editor, and it made it into the book before it was took late.

The digital version is available now on Amazon for the Kindle and Kindle apps, and will start to propagate to other digital retailers soon. The print version might start showing up this weekend, but sometimes it's slower to work its way through the distribution system.

This is a little more than a conversation. There's also some writing advice for Buddah that extends to anyone who needs it, but most of all, some peace for us both.

August 21, 2020

The Woman Just Posted This on Facebook:

"The State of Max: All this week, he's eaten reasonably well. There were a few days when he didn't want to come out of the closet or his bedroom, but food was welcomed and he seemed pleased to see me bring it...though I was not allowed to remain while he ate. That's fine. I think he feels safest eating in the closet because he can take his time and Buddah doesn't bother him.

Yesterday and today he's been wandering out to the kitchen and the living room, and has been taking his meals in the kitchen. He's napped in the living room, yelled at the window by the front door, and forced me to put down my computer for lap time. Definitely a couple of good days in a row.

Switching his meds from oral to the ear gel has been a major factor, I think. Lowering the dose was huge. Right now, he's just acting like a very old man, and I don't have that feeling of impending doom. Really, the only worry in the last few days has been a what-if worry if we needed to take him out of the house for any reason, because of the smoke from all the fires nearby.

As long as he eats--even if he wants to hide in the closet--and seems happy to see someone bring food to him, I'm calling it a win. And I'm not overly optimistic, BUT...he's having some good days and the days that aren't good aren't horrible. So. Just an old, old man right now. And that's amazing."

Yep, I'm definitely having some good days, and today I even graced her with my patented GLARE because she interrupted a nap by announcing she was going to the store to buy more cat food. Now, I didn't need the announcement because I had ordered her to do just that half an hour earlier, so I would have known where she was if I'd woken up and she was gone. I mean...really.

Oh, and apropos to nothing... Buddah barfed on the top of every single one of those bookcases the other day. It was AWESOME. 


August 15, 2020

Doing ok today

Today was a stay-in-my-room kinda day...but I did eat really well. It's nice having my minions bring food to me.

Now, I get checked on a lot, and when a person comes in I always say hello (unless I'm deeply asleep) so they know I'm okay, just feeling antisocial, so no one was worried about me today. I really just like my room a lot. It's all mine, and Buddah tends to be respectful of that most of the time. Not ALL the time--he comes in once in a while mostly to see if there's any food--but he knows it's my room and is okay with that.

I did go out into the living room a couple times. Once, I went out, sat and stared at the Woman for a few seconds, and then went back to take a nap, because she always feels judged when I do that and I think it's funny. Later I went out to see if there was any steak for me, and there was. She heated it up for me and then stood and watched because apparently watching me eat is fun, but also to make sure Buddah didn't come in and chase me off.

The little freak doesn't even like steak, so I'm not sure what she was worried about, but I appreciate the effort.

Oh, yeah. I did this the other day, snuggled up to the Woman. She seemed to need it. I think my reputation can take the hit. Yes, I was affectionate. It happens.


August 12, 2020

Ok. Where Have I Been?

 Seriously did not intend to go so long between posts. Right after the last one I had an idea of something to write about, but then...well...I wasn't feeling too hot. In fact, I was feeling not so hot that the Woman took over my Ask Max Monday column to explain why I hadn't done one (go read it if you haven't; it has details) but the short version is that about a month ago, she was pretty sure I was about to die.

Since then, my life has been a roller coaster. I've had some really good days and some really bad days, and we all suspect this is how it's going to be from now on. I'm struggling with my thyroid medication--I can't live comfortably without it, but it's beginning to upset my system and it squashes my appetite, so the stabby person changed it from a pill to a gel that gets smeared on my ear.

They thought that would solve things, but it hasn't. It makes me feel just as bad when it's on my ear, so now they're looking into things to soothe an upset kitty tummy yet also wondering if I'm actually nauseated or what. I don't have the words to tell them what bothers me.

But mostly, I'm just an old guy. Sometimes I'm hungry, sometimes I'm not. Some days I want to go into the living room to see people and ask for food, but more and more I'm staying in my bedroom and waiting for them to bring food to me. And on days I just don't feel well, I go hide in the bedroom closet. They bring food to me but on those days all I really want is water.

Still...the Woman says we're not near the day where That Decision has to be made. I perk up when someone comes in to see me, even if all they have for me is water. I talk to them. And usually when they sit on my bedroom sofa, I grunt and then go into another room because I am still mostly antisocial.

Today was a good day.

I woke the Woman up at 6:30 in the morning by howling outside her bedroom door. She jumped out of bed just in case there was something wrong, and when there wasn't, she happily went to the kitchen to get breakfast for me (ok, she said she was happy to get it, but she kinda looked like hell...) and afterward I sat in her lap for a while. I've eaten decently throughout the day.

Tomorrow who knows? The people are very aware that just because I ate today, that means nothing for tomorrow, but they'll bring me things to drink and cans of stinky goodness and bites of steak and shrimp, and I might nom a bit.

I'm not sick, I'm really not.

I'm having issues with my meds, but mostly...I'm just old.

Last night, I got comfy and snoozed...

And there's nothing wrong with being old. It changes things a bit; people have expectations of the younger you and they want you to be as spry as you were, but sometimes a guy has to just sit back and snooze, and let everyone cater to (and guess) his whims. When you hit 90-100--and I hope you do--you'll probably sit around a lot, too. By then, you deserve it.

Now, before I had the really horrible awful weekend, we finished the final draft of the second Wick Shorts book, and it's in the final edit stage. The cover work is done. The publisher is, thankfully, rushing it to print, so it should be available next week. Maybe even this weekend.

It's not the last Wick book, but it is a nice capstone to this part of the Blackshear's tale. After this, after a break, the Woman will move forward with it, jumping forward in time. The original plan was to leave my name on the next series, but we're not sure if that will upset people if I'm not still around.

Oh, and if you read the first one...please leave a review at Amazon. There are, like, zero reviews and thousands of people downloaded it. No reviews can kill a book. 

I'll try to keep up with this blog, but you can usually get updates on my "official" Facebook Page (not so much my personal page...it got hard to juggle everything.)

July 04, 2020

Two points for Buddah

At precisely snack o'clock, the Woman opened a can, split it between two plates, and set one in front of me. Since I was tummy-rumbling hungry, I took a bite before sniffing, but then sat back and informed her it wasn't any good.

Well. She just walked away, as if she hadn't heard me.

Now Buddah was sound asleep and didn't hear the can open. But an hour later he woke up and stretched, then asked when snack time was. She heard this, picked him up and plopped him down on the counter in front of his plate, and then walked off to answer the call of nature, which happens at least 29.57 times a day.

It's worth reminding everyone that Buddah is not as polite as I, and after one bite he ran down the hall, and as she exited the bathroom he yelled at her, "Bitch, that chit is WRONG and we need something else."

Well. He could have used better words but he made his point. And she grasped his intention, and finally opened another can.

This one was acceptable.

And Buddah now has a potty mouth, and I couldn't be prouder.

June 20, 2020

Happy Birthday To Me


I've been celebrating all month because when you get this old, you get the entire 30 days, but doods...I made it another year.

I AM NINETEEN FRICKIN' YEARS OLD!!!

Now, I might have actually turned 19 a couple weeks ago; we're not really sure what my actual birth date is but the people picked the 20th, so here we are.

And tonight I get fresh steak! Fresh steak night is my favorite night of all. Except maybe for the start of a new Doctor Who season, and who knows when that will be.

All in all...I'm doing pretty well. I look a little rough sometimes and the Woman calls me her Raggedy Man, and I have days where I don't feel like eating much but I make up for it the next day. My back end is getting weak and I stumble a bit now and then. But doods, I am happy, I get a ton of attention, and I still really dig life.

That's not to say I'm sure I'll make it to 20. And I don't want anyone to tell me I will, and they hope I will, because if life stops being awesome, well, 20 isn't worth it.

But today is good. And today is what I have. And I freaking love it.

May 21, 2020

I was as unhappy as I look

Look at this. Look closely.


Can't see it?

ME EITHER.

That's how small the bite of chicken I was offered was. TOO SMALL TO SEE.

I was not amused.

Also, the Woman needs to mop that floor because it's gross and I don't want to eat off it.

In other news, she's threatening to wash my tail because there's something on the top, but I've been devious and cunning and have managed to thwart her attempts so far. Tonight there was a fresh real live fresh dead steak for me and I suspect she was going to try when I was happy and full of meaty bites, but as soon as I was done eating it I hid in a closet, so here we are at 10:30 at night and she still hasn't done it, so I think I'm safe until tomorrow.

Cripes, she needs a hobby.

May 12, 2020

Dooooooooods...

The people have joined the Quarantine Baking Club and have made bread a couple of times. The Younger Human has also brought them bread a couple of times. Now, they enjoy fresh bread like this nice and warm, with lots of butter on it.

I quite enjoy fresh, warm bread with lots of butter on it. I don't eat the bread, but I lick the everloving FORK out of that bread. So tonight after the Woman enjoyed some fresh, warm bread, she set the plate on the floor for me. And DOODS! It was amazing!

IT WAS BUTTERPALOOZA!

Buddah didn't get a plate, but he got to lick the butter knife, which is just as good.

Where has Quarantine Baking been all my life???

May 01, 2020

Um...I GOT STABBED

Do I look smug? The Woman says I look smug.
Ok, so I made sure the people had a little adventure today. And it was a spendy one, I heard the Man say, "well over four hundred" when the Woman asked him how much it had cost (they were not really complaining.)

Here's the thing. They took a bike ride this afternoon, and when the Woman got back (she was first, which tells me she's speedier) she came looking for me to offer to get lunch, and found me in my bedroom, on the floor (which is unusual because I prefer my sofas.) I was also drooling and panting. So she yelled at her phone I NEED YOU TO GET HOME and then the Man was there, and next thing I know I'm off to the stabby place.

It was so sudden I didn't even have the chance to tell them what had happened, and since they were too rude to ask, I decided I wasn't telling.

So.

Next thing I know, someone that is NOT the Man or the Woman grabbed my PTU and rushed me inside--and they made the People wait OUTSIDE--and then it was all poking and prodding and "Well, he's not doing it now" and they discussed what to do. Someone left for a few minutes and when she came back she announced that the Woman had actually taken video of me while I was panting and drooling, and she'd seen it and yes I was, so the stabby lady went outside to look at it, and apparently agreed that yep, they weren't exaggerating. And then I heard her say that the Woman was all, I don't care what the tests and x-rays cost, do it.

So they did it.

THEY STABBED ME.

And then they held me down and took a picture of my insides.

When all was said and done...my blood looked pretty good for a 19 year old guy with thyroid and kidney issues, and my chest showed no heart issues or fluid or anything. The stabby lady thought perhaps it was stress...at which the People looked at each other and growled Buddah.

So.

I got to come home and now I'm acting fine, and the Woman changed all the Feliway containers just in case. And there's talk about separating us when they're not home, because Buddah really is a jerk sometimes.

The important thing is that the stabby lady said that for a guy may age with my issues, I look pretty damned good. She was even surprised that I am only just now at stage 2 kidney disease with my thyroid problems. And even that hasn't changed much, that hadn't changed since my last checkup. I have lost more weight, but not as much as the Woman thought, only 1.5 pounds since last year.

Still. I'm 10.3 pounds now and I used to be almost 19. She kinda wonders if I would even be here if I hadn't been so heavy.

We'll never know.

BUT I'M OKAY. I'm not sure the People are because I heard the Woman say that she honestly thought I would not make it to the vet and I'm pretty sure she was making peace with the idea of what had to happen if I did...but why would I make it that easy on them?

It's like they don't even know me.

DON'T TELL BUDDAH...

...but we have some Fancy Feast dry food and the Woman has been sneaking it to me when he's sleeping.

(She's not trying to be mean...it makes him throw up but it's one thing she knows I'll happily eat and I'm down to 10.3 pounds, so I get what I want.)

Huh. What? Did someone say FOOD???

April 29, 2020

Finally...

Oh, look. It's a bouncing baby book! Now that most of y'all got it for free LOL it's starting to pop up at online retailers. Amazon has it I think Kobo has it. B&N, Apple, and others should follow soon. The print edition *should* have made an appearance, I'm not sure why not, but that part of things is in someone else's hands. But it should be soon, I think.

We're hard at work on book two of Wick Shorts...and there will probably only be two. And that's a good thing--and don't worry, it's not the end of Wick, but will lead into a new beginning later in the year.

In other news, today I managed to hock up a small hairball, small enough to be easily overlooked, and placed just where the Woman was sure to step in it. And doods, she totally did, it squished between her toes, and she was about 3 kinds of skwicked out by it. My day is made.

April 24, 2020

He was all kinda of awesome...

Bear in mind this is a heard from a friend of a friend kinda thing, but I was told today that Anthony Bourdain was a fan of my blog and even used my X levels/kind of Y thing on occasion. It makes me kinda sad that I didn't know that when he was alive. It also makes me happy...but I wish I'd known.

April 22, 2020

Sheesh. Weenie.

Ok, so I was in the front room, just got a drink of water and was thinking about bugging the Woman for something to eat, when the neighbor's yellow lab came up to the screen door. Now, I'm nothing if not polite and I headed over to say hello...dood took one look at me and then turned around and RAN AWAY.

I mean, I am an overwhelming amount of awesome, but sure he understood there was a security screen door between us, and I wasn't going to eat him.

April 17, 2020

Mine. All Mine.

One of the good things to come out of all the people isolating themselves is the serious limiting of shopping trips. When the people do venture out to get groceries, they're getting enough for at least a week, and this week they braved Costco to get meat.

They came home with two packs of ribeyes. Four steaks per pack. Now, the Woman is not a fan of having steak at home because she doesn't enjoy the smell and gags a little when she has to slice it up for me. The Man likes it, but out of those 8 steaks, he'll probably eat two, maybe three.

That leaves 5-6 steaks just for me.

No kidding. I get steak every day, twice a day. It's the first thing I get in the morning--though they're still really bad about getting the seeds out--and I get it again as a snack in the evening, and luckily there's usually only one seed in the 6-7 bites I get.

I'd complain, but...who wants to risk not getting steak because the people get annoyed?

And totally unrelated...a couple people asked when the print versions of Waiting to Inhale will be out. And the answer is...I dunno. We kinda jumped ahead of the publisher in putting out the digital version on Book Funnel when we were doing freebies, so it still hasn't really been "published." I would think it's soon, but I might be the last one to know.

I'll let ya know when I know...

April 04, 2020

=sigh=

Day 5,923 of the quarantine. The Woman is speaking to me as if I were a toddler. Apparently I have a mooshy wooshy cutie face and she wants to kissy wishy it. Fortunately, I also have death breath, which has saved me from several unwanted cuddles. I would complain further, but I am also His Widdle Starving Majesty, and Too Cute To Not Feed On Demand. Bast help us all.

March 29, 2020

Here we go...the last 4 books

Okay, doods, this download link is for the four books in the Return of the Wick Chronicles books.

CLICKY HERE

It expires in one week, so get it now.

With this, if you took advantage of the other links, you'll have every available Wick story. I hope you like them. This is, basically, my life's work after all.

For clarity, the reading order is 1) Wick Chronicles Omnibus, 2) Wick After Dark Duology, 3) Return of the Wick Chronicles Quadrilogy, and 4) Waiting to Inhale.

I'm now going to take a nap, and when I get up, I'm getting back to work on the second of the Wick Shorts books. There are already 3 stories for it (including the last one that will be in it and doods, IT IS GOOD) but they're still first draft stuff, and there are a couple of stories I still want to write.

Oh, and I was asked...Waiting to Inhale is not yet published, not in print or "official" digital form. Consider this one a "leak" LOL. I'm not even sure that the cover I gave y'all with this edition is the final one, though I haven't been given any other artwork so I think it is.

Oh Oh, the cover for this quadrilogy? That was almost the cover for The King of Saint Francis. I really dug it, so I'm glad we got to use it.

I hope y'all are being safe out there! In there. STAY INSIDE. Remember--and I saw this in a meme on Facebook so you know it's true--you're not STUCK inside. You're SAFE inside. I like that. Be safe. You're awesome and I need you to be safe.

March 28, 2020

Oops

There was an error with the Wick Shorts download and it expired early. This has been fixed. It should now be good until next Saturday.

March 27, 2020

Is it the weekend?

It's Friday. Close enough.

Okay, here we go. Links to download to download the first 5 Wick books, the Woman's Charybdis series, AND the first volume of Wick Shorts. By the end of today, maybe tomorrow, I should have a digital download for the four books in the Return to the Wick Chronicles set, but I wanted to get the links up for these before diving into that.

For the Wick Chronicles Omnibus (books 1-3) CLICK HERE

For the Wick After Dark books (4 & 5 ... the more adult stories) CLICK HERE

For the Charybdis series, CLICK HERE

For the new WICK SHORTS book, titled WAITING TO INHALE, click here.

All of these links expire on 3 April 2020, so get 'em while you can. If you already have them, feel free to share. And check back for the link to the Return to the Wick Chronicles download. Right now there's no cover art for a single volume, so we need to slap something together (it probably won't be pretty) and digitally sew the four books together.

I hope y'all are doing well! This is what I'm doing when I'm not working:


March 26, 2020

Coming this weekend


Okay, doods... sometime this weekend, this will drop here, for free, before it technically gets published. It's the first of two planned Wick Shorts books, and if you followed the website, you probably read the first 3 already, in 2nd draft form. (well, the first 4, but 2 were combined.) You didn't read the last and longest...and arguably the best--Drew's pulse-pounding, hold-your-breath inaugural trip to Elysium.

Also hopefully sometime this weekend...free digital download of the Return of the Wick Chronicles books, and we'll put the others up again for a short time, too, in case you missed them last week. This also includes the Woman's Charybdis series.

March 24, 2020

We will not mock...

Okay?

No making fun of something just because it's obvious to you. But I got a question for next week's Ask Max and it's timely and I felt like it needed to be answered now.*

"Max, my kids keep telling me about social distancing and how it can save my life. I agreed to do it. Now all my club friends and gym friends are calling me to video chat, and it feels rude to not answer. I don't know what to do or what to tell them, but I promised my kids. I don't understand most of it, either. But I do remember that one of your humans is in medicine and you might be able to help me figure out what the harm is. I'd like to at least talk to friends and I've cried almost every night because of it all."
All right. No worries, you're fine. You can answer your video chats without worrying about breaking the social distancing rules.

This is when better phrasing would help. People under 50 might grasp exactly what social distancing means, but the older crowd, where a lot of the cool kids are, might not. And don't feel bad; those kids who are on your virtual lawn playing where they've probably been asked not to probably don't grok the language of your youth, either.

I think the better term, one I heard yesterday, is physical distancing. It has nothing to do with being social. Trust me, people are finding ways to be social, even going so far as to have in-person meetings with neighbors...while sitting in lawn chairs more than 6 feet apart, while they drink coffee and just hang out. Or something better than coffee.

Be social with the friends who are calling. It's important that you keep those connections. Talking to other people is vital; maintaining those friendships is vital. Technology has been an amazing tool for people who are doing the right thing and self-isolating. They're still able to see their friends and talk to their friends, and many of them have learned to do group video chats and spend hours just talking and laughing.

So go for it. Answer the calls, and have as much fun with your friends as you can. I'm super happy you're tech savvy enough to video chat, but even regular phone calls are pretty freaking sweet. Go ahead, surprise someone, and pick up the phone to call. Hearing your voice is totally going to make someone's day.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Doods...I know this is hard. Staying home when you want to is one thing; staying home because you have to is another. But I am super impressed with how seriously most of you are taking this, and I am grateful for it.

You're awesome.

I just thought you should know that.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

*I did reply to the email to make sure that the person who asked saw the answer. Not everyone who reads Ask Max over at Mousebreath reads my blog, and vice versa. Though you should be reading both, you really should. ;)


March 21, 2020

Look at it this way...

Asked in a message to me: "Aren't you worried about the fallout from offering your books for free after what happened the last time? Aside from the people who wanted free print copies, what about the people who paid for those books and now feel upset about it?"

Okay. No, I am not worried. The print people weren't a consideration this time around; if someone cannot grasp the money involved in providing print editions for everyone who wants one, I can't help them. Digital is easy, doesn't cost me anything other than a few royalties, and anyone with a computer can download the books. You don't even need a dedicated digital reader, just a Kindle app.

But the people who already bought my books, and paid real money?

Yes, they were a consideration. But most of the people who read my work are pretty cool and I think most of them know that the money I make on my books doesn't go to hooker and blow, or even food on my plate.

It goes to this:


Car loads of toys every Christmas. This was the first photo I could easily find, taken in 2016, and was the first load of three. The people stuffed the back of the Mazda CX-5 with toys, all paid for by my royalties.

That's what you're doing when you buy my books. You're really buying toys for kids who otherwise might not get any for the holidays. You're also buying food donations throughout the year. Charitable donations.

The stories you get are the icing, I think. I hope you like the flavor.

And right now? Well, things are different right now, and it's a time when I think the creative arts are standing up and saying, hey, we're here to distract and amuse you; we're here to entertain and amaze you. For most artists, it's not really about the money, though for those who need it to put food on the table, the money certainly helps.

Writers write even if they don't sell. Painters keep painting. Artists draw, sketch, digitize, cross mediums...we all do what we do because it's what we are.

Right now, when boredom is a Real Thing, we offer of ourselves what we can. So I'm offering my books--right now the first five in the Wick books, while the Woman is offering up her entire Charybdis series--because it's one little thing we can do.

Yes, it might make a tiny difference in the number of toys we buy in December. We'll figure it out. Maybe make the Man kick in  a few things.

But that's really what you're buying. Not my books; you're buying toys.

So I hope if you've already bought all of my books, you understand and are okay with me giving them away for free right now.

And the first book of Wick shorts will drop soon...and yes, you're getting first crack at them. For free, before they go to print. Just don't tell my new publisher. ;)

March 20, 2020

March 15, 2020

Free Wick Books

Doods...you might be stuck at home, bored, so if you haven't read the first three books in the Wick Chronicles, here they are. For free. You can get them in either Kindle or ePub format, easy to download. I hope it gives you a nice way to spend some downtime.

The link expires in one week...share if you like!

CLICKY HERE

Edit Later: Oh, doods...a lot of you already read the first three Wicks. So in celebration of Buddah's 15th and ENJOY YOUR SOCIAL DISTANCING, here's a link to download the two that come after those, the Wick After Dark duology. 

That's five books to get you through the first week (they're quick reads!) and I hope it helps stay home a bit. WASH YOUR HANDS, DOODS!