Meet Our New Yard Crashers
Okay, so I am admittedly a crazy cat lady. We have 4 cats, and I just can't get enough of them. It's funny because most of my life I assumed I hated felines....I had terrible allergies to them, for one. It was BAD. My throat would close up, my eyes would burn and water, I'd sneeze like crazy, and I would even break out into hives if I touched a kitty. Also, I had the incorrect assumption that all cats are evil bastards. (My mom had cats when I was growing up, and almost ALL of them were just plain mean!)
Anyway, when we moved here to Ohio, we started to experience all 4 seasons, and distinctly so. Fall and winter get incredibly bitter here, which causes all the mice to seek indoor shelter. Meaning in MY house. We found a few mice in the kitchen. Literally every single time I'd open the pantry, I'd see a mouse. It was more than one, too, since every time we saw one, we would dispose of it as humanely as possible. I wouldn't use poison because I have kids and dogs, and the traps were a hazard to curious little fingers.
So after being unable to find a way to rid our pantry of mice once and for all, I called my husband at work and told him we needed a cat. Which shocked the hell out of him since he knew I supposedly despised cats. We got one kitty, Noodles, and she immediately started killing off the mice. She loved hunting them down and toying with them. I grew quite attached and was thrilled that the mice decided to vacate the premises.
So we ended up rescuing 3 more cats, one of whom was on Death Row in a crowded NYC shelter and had a New Hope Only rating. This basically means that she is deemed almost unadoptable because she showed fear and aggression when they waved a giant rubber hand in her face while she was cooped up in a tiny little shelter cage. She also had a URI, which basically always condemns cats at this shelter to euthanasia. She was scheduled to die the next morning, and we learned about her at about 8:00PM. Thankfully, I was able to provide vet references, find a 3 day foster, and arrange transport from NYC here to Ohio. Pringles is now happy, healthy, and not the aggressive kitty we first met.
Anyway, lately, probably for the past month or so, I have been seeing this gorgeous gray cat hanging around my yard. I'd see her during the day as well as at night. We have motion sensor lights, and when they go off, I always step out onto my deck to investigate.
Today, my husband noticed the kitty and was surprised that she didn't retreat. She just sat there in the middle of the yard. I had explained to him that I had been seeing a lot of that cat, and he suggested that we give her some food.
When we brought out a plate with some cat food on it, we were shocked to see not only the one cat, but 2 tiny kittens with her. So it's a mama kitty and her babies, and they're obviously living on my property. I'd estimate the little ones to be about 8 weeks old or so. We put the food down and backed away, and immediately all the cats came right out into the open and started eating. They allowed us to get very close, too. Mama cat kept a watchful eye, but meowed at us and showed no real signs of aggression. Just a little skittishness, as they are feral.
So we've decided to help this mama and continue to feed her kitty family. We're also going to make some cat shelters for inclement or cold weather, and take them to the vet to be spayed and neutered and get them some vaccinations. Even outdoor kitties deserve to be cared for, in my opinion.
The kids have decided to name them Blueberry, Butterfinger, and Praline. Here are some pics. I am thinking that they will become much more comfortable with us as time goes on.
Okay, so many of you know, I suffer from pretty severe social anxiety and had a mini-meltdown a couple of weeks ago because I was absolutely TERRIFIED of going to my brother's wedding. (Terrified is actually a bit of an understatement...The idea of being around SO many people I don't know had me in a state of absolute panic.)
I just wanted to update and let you all know how the day went, as well as thank everyone for all of the kind, supportive words. Social anxiety makes a person feel very, very alone....You didn't let that happen, and the outpouring of sincere words made me feel anything but.
Well, my brother was married on Saturday. Due to an oversight regarding the day's plans, we had 20 minutes to get ready. You see, my husband was in the wedding party, and had to show up early for photos and to help the groom get ready for the big event. So we got a text message at 12:50PM, when we were still in PJ's, saying "See you at 2:00". Yikes!
So we rushed and rushed. I didn't have time to do my hair and almost panicked when I couldn't find my scary granny-panty-tummy-sucker-inner thingamobob. (Hey, I have had 3 c-sections and wanted to hide the evidence of that!) We rushed out the door and I had to put on make-up in the car. Which was awkward, since we've still got lots of residual potholes here in Ohio after our especially brutal winter. Thankfully, I didn't accidentally stab myself in the eyeball with a mascara wand.
Here's a pic in the car on the way to the first location. You may not be able to tell, but I was about to puke. Seriously.
We actually arrived before the groom, and had the chance to walk around the grounds and enjoy the nice weather as we waited for others to arrive. Here is a selfie of me and my husband before the festivities began. And yes, I was still about to puke.
Once all of the wedding party arrived, it was time to head into the hotel to help the groom, my little brother, get ready. He was nervous,too, so I felt right at home. My husband, one of the groomsmen, looked wonderful in his suit. You know, I have never seen him in one, and I have known him since I was 13 years old. He's more of a blue-collar guy, so he doesn't dress up much.
Yes, I hung out with the guys as they got ready. I know. Weird. But I have always been more "one of the guys", so I was pretty comfortable. Until I had to go see the bride and bridesmaids. My confidence started to wane and I got choked up and almost started crying. It's weird, but I have ALWAYS been very intimidated by other women. Especially when they're about 10 years younger than me, thin, and drop-dead gorgeous. Which all of the bridesmaids were. Ugh.
So of course, I immediately started to feel totally inadequate and rather Shrek-like....Of course they didn't really even speak to me, with the exception of the bride, and I did my best to remain invisible while in the brides' quarters.
Boy was I glad to get back to the guys! And grateful when my Dad handed me a glass of Scotch. I don't even particularly like Scotch, but at least it was super-smooth and helped with my nerves.
Then we headed outside to get shots of the wedding party on the groom's side. Here they are, looking rather spiffy. From left to right, it's my husband, the bride's father, my Dad, my brother the groom, and the bride's brother. I tried to stay out of the way, and was very surprised when my brother told the photographer, "I want a photo with my sister." It almost made me cry! (I don't have that photo yet.)
Then we were on the way to the wedding venue. The decor was beautiful, and I got choked up when I saw the way my brother looked at his bride as she walked down the aisle. She was absolutely glowing... Seriously, she couldn't have been any more stunning.
The ceremony was performed by a friend of theirs, and they even worked in a Harry Potter reference, which I loved. He also told the couple that one of the keys to marriage is learning to say "I'm sorry" and learning to forgive. Of course he did say to my brother that HE would be the one apologizing most often, which got a good laugh from everyone attending. This sounds so dumb, but I was crying during the whole thing...My baby brother, the same annoying little boy who used to try and kill me with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles weapons, was going to be a husband. I was just so thrilled for them, and the waterworks came out of nowhere. I guess I am just a sap like that!
After my brother kissed his gorgeous new wife, the bridal party headed off to get more photos taken. Which meant I was on my own. Dan had to go, too. I was pretty nervous and made awkward small talk. There was an open bar, and while I do not drink often, I did have a couple of cocktails to tame my nerves. I ended up chatting with cousins, like the one below, aunts and uncles, and even some of the bride's family, who I had never met before. I was functioning socially, without my husband acting as my "security blanket."
After awhile, the bridal party returned and it was time for dinner. They served some delicious bread and veggies, along with an amazing Brie-stuffed chicken and Prime Rib. Dan started the meal at the head table, but after the toasts were given, he made his way over to me. I'm not even gonna lie...I was relieved to have him back!
After everyone ate, it was time to open the bar back up and hit the dance floor. As the new couple had their first dance, we all watched them...They looked so happy, hopeful, and completely in love. Just as it should be as they embark on their new life together.
We spent the next few hours talking, dancing, eating and drinking. My Dad, who was not present at my very small, totally informal wedding, scooped me up for a Father-Daughter dance. (I think it made my stepmom cry.) He will get another chance, though, to do it right. Dan and I have always wanted a "real wedding", and plan to have a vow-renewal ceremony. My dad even offered up his own huge yard for the occasion and said we'd have a BBQ after. Guess I need to start planning!
So I survived. I made it through a situation, largely without my husband's help, and I did okay. Many people said they couldn't even tell I was suffering from some pretty extreme anxiety. (And I can't even lie...There were moments that I just wanted to hide in the corner and become invisible.)
We had a wonderful time. I did something I didn't think I could do in a million years. I faced a very uncomfortable situation and got through it without a major panic attack. As someone who suffers from extreme, crippling anxiety, this was a HUGE deal.
But more importantly, I gained a sister. My brother couldn't have chosen a sweeter, more intelligent, or more beautiful woman to spend his life with. I never thought my brother would be the "settling down" type. After meeting Angie, I could see why he fell head over heels in love.
I am so absolutely thrilled that my children have a new auntie, and even more thrilled that my brother has found his soul mate. You can just see the love they share on their faces and in the way they look at each other. Love is a beautiful thing, and these guys clearly have an abundance.
Here's hoping they have many, many wonderful years together as man and wife. Oh! A little birdie told me they're thinking about children, too! So that means I would become an aunt! And you'd better believe their kiddos will be incredibly loved and spoiled by their Auntie Brandy,lol
Here are the bride and groom enjoying their first dance. Isn't my new sister gorgeous! My little brother definitely did good!
I just wanted to share how things went since I had so many amazing and supportive replies when my anxiety was through the roof. I was so comforted to see that I am not the only one who suffers from social anxiety. I had my moments, but I made it through the wedding and had a fantastic time. If I can do it, ANYONE can.
Thanks again for all the kindness and support, and I hope everyone had a great Father's Day weekend!