Blogsam and Jetsam

Flotsam is the part of the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on the water. Jetsam is cargo or parts of a ship that are deliberately thrown overboard, as to lighten the ship in an emergency, and that subsequently either sinks or is washed ashore. This is my personal blog version of the above. Loot freely.

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Location: The Hinterlands, Upstate NY

I'm annoyed that the world is going crazier faster than it used to be. But it's interesting to watch.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sad Garden

Candy the Gippy-Pig died early Wednesday afternoon. Probably a heart attack since she was okay in the morning and had eaten the lettuce I'd given her. She had a pretty significant rectal prolapse (which didn't seem to be getting her down all that much actually) and had been dwindling a bit but it's still rather shocking.

She did indeed have a long full guinea-pig life--average age for a guinea pig is 2-3 years with 4 uncommon and 7 as oldest recorded age so at five she was venerable (Eldest said she was "in the competition for 16th oldest") but of course we're all crushed. She was a Good Critter. Always great to hold and pet, rather like a tiny teddy bear. She was quite demanding of tomato--got to the point where whenever she heard HBF's voice in the kitchen she'd start squeaking. Squeaked for any fresh-smelling fruit or vegetable being cut up in the kitchen and particularly liked lettuce and cantaloupe but not as well as tomato. She loved tomato. She coo-ed in the way all guinea pigs do and was just so damned loveable. Had a bath just a couple days ago.

The funeral itself was low-key. I found a nice cotton scarf that had been Grandmom's to use as a shroud then wrapped the shrouded body in white tissue paper right after I got home. Youngest, who is only seven and hasn't ever seen death close-up before (she was too little when Grandmom died) held the body for a few minutes and was surprised it was stiff and cold. When I put the cage out in the garage I saw that although "Candy liners" had been on the refrigerator whiteboard for three days and I'd been kicking myself for not ordering them sooner we still had three or four left...which was hard for me because this was the FIRST TIME (despite multiple reminders every time the issue came up) that Eldest had remembered to ask for more cage liners before we were completely out and had to use paper towels/newspapers till the new batch came. So I stood there clutching the liners and bawling while thinking of how I'd clutched Grandmom's new L.L. Bean sheets and bawled the same way five years ago.

Proceedings had to be interrupted because MIL and Middle Duckling were due back from their trip to NYC (part of his birthday from Grandmama.) We picked them up at the corner store (where she was mightily pissed at having been waiting a whole five minutes.) Instead of listening to MIL yammer, I went out to the front garden, picked out a nice corner and started digging. That whole process once again reinforced my deep respect for our human cemetery out back since as bad/hard/rocky/heavy as the dirt is up here I'm amazed that anyone dug a real grave in the days before combustion engines. I went to the old stone wall where I knew there was a huge cornerstone lying on the adjacent grass...a couple of years ago when I'd first seen it I attempted to pick it up and couldn't so had thought (a tad morbidly) "when the time comes, that will make an excellent headstone for Candy" and it turned out to be true. Two years of gardening later I could just barely wrestle the stone into the wagon.

We cut all the roses from my last “you got promoted” bouquet down to the length of the shroud, lit a candle and went outside--Youngest volunteered to carry Candy and I thought "crap, she's like me that way." Eldest was planning on not participating (preferring to remember Candy as she was) but ended up coming out after all where she watched as Youngest put the body in the grave, I put the flowers in and said she'd had a good life and been a great pet and that we'd miss her and remember her. Youngest and I were crying profusely by then. Eldest was trying hard to keep it all inside and did. We put the dirt back and as I was struggling to get the headstone upright Eldest decided it needed to be flat on top of the grave so we did that instead...and she was right; it did look far better. We put one rose on top of the stone and left the candle lit on the porch all night.

HBF commented that "making a sandwich will never be the same" and I know he's right because the next morning I was sad all over again at opening a new head of lettuce for BIL's sandwich and not having anyone to eat the outside leaves. Then on my way out to the car I saw that Eldest Duckling had put a tomato on Candy's headstone and completely lost it...cried halfway to the office. Yeah it's not a person but she was a member of the family all the same. Not only am I missing her in my own right and miserable seeing Eldest Duckling grieve but also we got Candy the day before we went to do Hospice for Grandmom so the two are quite linked in my mind. I'll never forget the visual of coming out of Grandmom's bedroom to see a then-two-year-old Youngest Duckling standing IN the cage with a terrified Pig-Pig (that was her nickname) and cedar shavings everywhere.

The remaining three pets seem to have figured out what's going on...they were all quite subdued last night and the dog slept in till an unheard-of seven the following morning then sniffed all over where the cage had been. The two cats seemed fine and were chasing each other when I left. I was intermittently weepy all the next morning...and of course had to tell everyone at the office so they'd know it wasn't them or the job or anything like that. Which makes one feel a little dopey since there's always that little voice in one's head saying "but it wasn't a PERSON so why don't you just snap out of it?!?" Fortunately my department is a caring bunch.

Youngest asked "shouldn't there be writing on it [the stone]?" Well no, it would look tacky...but if there were it would say:

Requiscat In Pacem Candy

August 2002 - July 25 2007

Beloved Gippy-Pig and Good Real Critter

She will be missed.


Blogger Mel said...

I actually once treated a guinea pig who had made it to 8 or 10 - absolutely phenomenal. She belonged to a gay couple who were incredibly devoted to her. My guinea pig, who was found on a roadside here in Maine, made it to about 4 1/2 before developing hind limb paralysis. I always assumed tumor, as he'd developed some deficits in one limb initially, then went acutely down in the other without any apparent pain, but I never posted him to confirm. Had him cremated and scattered his ashes where those of my other pets and myself and David shall go someday.

July 29, 2007 12:28 AM  
Blogger Vera Charles said...

I am so sorry and understand completely. Our pets are our family.

Miss you like crazy kisses,

July 30, 2007 5:27 PM  
Blogger SamD said...

Of course you didn't post your pet; that would be awful.

Oh VERA! Miss you like crazy too; if only you did transcripts. Thanks for your kind words. I'll email you.

July 31, 2007 7:23 AM  

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