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DonRedwood

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Member since: Tue Aug 9, 2011, 03:40 PM
Number of posts: 4,011

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It Was At This Moment Democracy Died.

Once upon a time Democracy was sitting on the side of the river sunning herself. It was a lovely day with Democracy. The air was clear and sunny, the water was clean and sparkled as it rushed beneath the old growth forest on the mountain.

Yes, Democracy lived in a beautiful world.

And then the Republican Scorpion crawled out from under a rock. His whisper sounded like a hiss. A testy hissy little voice that sounded like Golum, if Golum's voice had a Cuban/Canadian/Texas twang about it.

"Democracy, I need to cross the river. Can I sit on your head while you swim me across?"

Democracy laughed at the absurdness of such a request.

"Mr Scorpion, I know you. You are cruel and hateful and you will sting me and kill me!"

"No, no," twanged the Canuck, "Why would I do that? If I were on your head and stung you, you would drown and I too would die!"

And Democracy thought long and hard. In fact, she had a cup of tea while she was waiting. She gave Mr. Scorpion a cup of tea too. He drank it fast and begged for more.

Democracy thought the tea was bitter. Mr Scorpion had a second cup, and then a third.

"Well," he hissed, his black scales oily and dark in the sunshine, "Will you swim me across?"

And Democracy, thinking a nice drink of clear river water would help rinse the bad taste of the tea from her mouth, agreed.

She slipped off her robe and stepped into the brisk, fast-running river. She sank down and her lovely hair spread out around her.

"You promise you won't hurt me?" She asked as she leaned her head towards the Scorpion.

A line of drool fell from his mouth as he assured her. "No, Sweet Democracy, for I love you like no other. If you were to drown, so would I."

And so Democracy tipped her head and the Scorpion skittered on. And Democracy swam out into the river thinking she was safe, for who would hurt her if it meant their own demise?

And then the burning streak flashed across her brow. The Scorpion had stung her. Burning ripping pain flashed through her mind. And again, and again he stung. Her beautiful face began to swell and then he jammed his stinger into her eye. His poison ran down her face as she flailed and kicked in the rushing river. She screamed in pain, but then her limbs began to sink to her side. Her face was almost slipping under the water. Death was rushing forward to take her.

"But why did you do it?" She sputtered with her last breath, Her remaining beautiful blue eye glittering like a sapphire in the sun.

"Because it is my nature, Democracy. It is my nature." And he stung her in her remaining eye.

And Democracy slid to her watery grave, with the Scorpion clinging to her hair as it pulled him under.

"But I thought I would be King," he thought to himself as the darkness enveloped him as well.

And the moral to the story? Ted Cruz is a nasty piece of work. Oh, wait, I mean, the Scorpion can't help himself, because, um, like, I don't know. His brain is the size of a pinhead?

Help me out here DU...I'm not quite sure of the moral.

Stay tuned tomorrow when I retell the story of the little foxes starring Cruz, Paul and Ryan as the little foxes. Don't miss out your you'll miss them spoiling the vine!

A DU Challenge...if you dare except it.

Well, the dare part was just to pique your interest.

But here is the challenge:

There are a bunch of people hurting in this country. I would bet there is probably a hungry child within a mile of almost everyone of us. I can make a difference. You can make a difference. As a group WE can make a helluva huge difference.

So, let's do that. Let's be the people that make a difference. When you go to work tomorrow take an empty cardboard box, make a few signs and start a food drive. If you have gumption, make it a contest between sports teams, or offices. Make it something special if you can. But if you can't, then just take an empty cardboard box to work tomorrow and write "Food Drive" on the side. It doesn't matter how much you get. Two cans of food to a hungry person is a feast.

If you don't work, sweeten up your spouse into taking a box to work, get your roommates or your neighbors to take a box to school, or to church, or to the business of a friend that might have room for one little empty box.

What if just 10 of us collected a box of food! Imagine 100! Hell, I even invite all the DU Trolls to join me in this one. Your neighbors need your help too.

I promise I will do this tomorrow. Will you promise me the same?

That Rumbling Sound You Hear Is The Republican Base Fracturing Apart--My Red Neighbor Turned Purple

In the 12 years I've lived here I've had a lot of conversations about politics with my Republican Neighbor. She's a nice lady who has worked at the polling places since I was a kid. She's a very knowledgeable red Republican.

I said something to her about gay marriage and how a new change in tax law was helping gay couples all over the country...except in the states with Domestic Partnership instead of marriage. My partner and I find ourselves paying a huge amount of taxes on health care because we have a DP.

She said to me: "I just never thought of all that. In my day everything you heard about homosexuals was terrible. But my friends know about you (meaning her friends know she has homosexual neighbors!) and they've asked me about you guys and all I can say is this."

(and I'll do my best to quote her but let's say it is a loose quotation since I didn't write it down right away)

"You are the neighbors who always check on me. When it snows you are the one who shovels my driveway. You always make sure I'm OK in bad weather. Do you think anyone else does? (and she looked up and down the block). Gay doesn't matter, good people are good people. That's what I tell my friends."

And she looked at me with her beautiful twinkly blue eyes, and she smiled at me with the sweetest smile, and she showed me that she is proud of herself for being smart enough to learn from the situation, and not from what others tell her to think. It was an important moment for her to tell me that.

And an important moment for me.

And a reminder to us all. People learn from our actions. People learn from our compassion. And, mostly, people learn from our kindness.

And then she said something I think you all will like to hear. She shook her head and got a worried look. "I don't understand my party right now. I just don't feel the same way as they do." And then that worried look turned to disgust and she shook her head again. She told me she doesn't understand the Tea Party.

I told her, "There's room for you in my party!" and gave her a big smile.

She gave me a smile, laughed a few times and went back to her raking. She didn't say she wasn't going to vote Republican. But if gay marriage comes up again, I think we'd have her vote. And she is clearly upset with the Tea Party. So, I think I'll call her purple. Whatever she is, she is an example of how Republicans are starting to feel pushed away by their party.

This new Republican Party is starting to break apart at the base ladies and gentlemen. When dyed-in-the-red-wool Republicans are disgusted and feeling out-of-place, then the damage must be significant and deep. They are losing the social issues of hate that used to keep them strong.

And it has all been self-inflicted. That's the true beauty of it all. Sweetly orchestrated by President Obama, of course, but the damage to the Republican Party has been mostly done by the Republican Party.

They have gone from "Don't burn that bridge til you cross it" to "don't burn that bridge while you are standing on it." It's like watching someone punching themselves in the face. And, hold on, the Monday news cycle is starting up, and Senator Cruz will step up to the mic and punch himself in the face a few more times. And then mini-Paul will give himself a roundhouse punch to the face, and then that wingnut lady that Minnesota keeps sending us will slap herself a few times. Self-inflicted political suicides, one right after another.

The Republican Brand is taking a beating this week. That's for sure. They are losing their social issues, they are chasing off the elderly and the women. Imagine what is happening with the Independents.

Happy Monday People.

I Have Faith That The Rat Trap Has Been Set

I love politics. I read politics every morning with coffee and every night, (once I wrestle the computer away from my partner and his Video Game--Some world building schemer where he is the king and constantly plotting to take over the world). So I consider myself knowledgeable.

Well, at least somewhat knowledgeable. I mean, compared to Fox News I'm practically the sharpest tool in the shed.

But I am the first to admit that I don't understand what President Obama is doing most of the time. He plays a very strategic chess game of politics that is so many steps ahead of the game, that I never know what the hell is going on. I'm a smart guy, and I can't figure out what his moves mean most of the time. Usually though it seems he doesn't do what I want him to do.

And it frustrates me sometimes because I don't think Obama is being aggressive enough, or linear enough, or, damnit, he's always seeming to be caving this way or that way.

But then, SUDDENLY, his rat trap snaps shut on the Republicans, and they squeal and thrash...but then there was Obamacare.

and instead of trumpeting his greatness, Obama just quietly went back to his game of chess.

And, again, another rat trap snaps shut and the Republicans are screaming and crying and gay marriage has suddenly leaped forward in a way I have been praying for and working towards since the 80s. This President, who I never in a million years would believe would become THE best President EVER for us gay peeps. If I were to ever meet the man, I think I would burst into tears at how deeply thankful I am for what he has done for me, my partner, our family.

But, my point is this: President Obama is a master politician. He beat Hillary Clinton. He won reelection even though the Republicans had spent enough to buy the seat 100 times over. His traps are long and complex and I've never seen one coming until after it was already done and over.

But it almost always starts the same way. He gives them just enough rope to hang themselves...

And so I wait to hear this current trap to snap shut. The last one kept the Senate Blue. I wonder what this next one will do.

Happy Weekend People. Thank you for the brilliant conversations during these times. It is good to know there are other smart, caring people out there who have taken the time to educate themselves. Cheers all.

Wanna Know What Just Made This 6'1" 275 lb He-Man Cry?

Tears are running down my cheeks like two little creeks and for some reason I can't seem to quit.

The military of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA just gave two week leaves to their gay members who are stationed in states that won't allow them to marry their partners. Two weeks of leave to gather your family in a state that allows such things, marry, maybe even a quick little honeymoon before being sent back to battle, or desk duty, or whatever. That marriage also will now allow benefits to your spouse.

Yes. Our Military just did something amazing.

An act of kindness.

After so many hard fought battles for civil rights, after so many court cases just to be treated like other Americans, after just one nasty-hard-fought-campaign after another...much of it hateful and painful. And today an act of kindness. In just a few short years we have come so far.

To offer a few weeks off to start a new life. Can you imagine how many lives just changed and shifted in an instant?

I cannot imagine another President, another administration, will ever, EVER compare to President Obama and how he has treated the gay people in this country. Under his leadership the military has truly gone above and beyond in how they have handled gay integration. I thought electing a black American President would help this country heal. I thought that President would be a great civil rights leader with a place in history no matter what. But President Obama has earned his place as a great leader in Civil Rights... and today's announcements by the military should seal that matter without a doubt.

My tears are drying up a little, finally. But this is a pretty amazing day for gay Americans. Its one of those days where we got a little bit closer to the dream that "all men are created equal". I hope you can all enjoy the importance of it.

I think this calls for a smilie....

It Was Like One Slap In My Face After Another... Gay Husbands Go To Red America.

I did it.

I went to my husband's family reunion and I survived.

I'll admit to you (but didn't to him) that I was terrified. His family are the people who work hard for groups like the Heritage Foundation. They are the people who think my partner and I shouldn't have partnership. They are the people who think gay people should lose their children. They are against gay teachers (hello!). But they invited me and I had to go. One of those times in a relationship when you just bite the bullet for your sweetie.

Four days and nights with them.

And they were very kind. I talked to all of them, we had nice conversations. They've been my in-laws for almost six years (whether they like it or not). It was my first time meeting almost all of them.

And then they had a slide show of all the family. Lots of pictures of every child and grandchildren and at least two or three of their spouses. When it came time for my partner's slides there were lots and lots of his cute kiddie shots. (OMG he was SO CUTE! --there, that's the teenage girl in me coming out). Then finally a few grown up shots of him. Then it cut to his sister and lots of shots of her (newest) husband. And on to the next branch of the family.

And I sat there in the family room, sort of in the front, and I knew that everyone was looking at the back of my head and each and every one of them made note that I was not included in what they would consider the family slide show. OK. That's fine. I can handle that. But my poor partner. I know it hurt him badly. When the ones you love hurt the one you love. Ugh. Poor fellow. Cute as a bug though.

And then they pulled out their new family tree. A big framed thing, quite lovely, with a photo of every member of the family on their branch. Some of these people are on their third marriage so there were lots of kids. And on every branch the current spouse. And alone on his own little twig....my partner. And it was hard to look at him when he saw it. Oh man. I can take it. I kept my smile on and was charming as everyone looked over the family tree and oohed and ahhhhed over the pictures. And, once again, it was very obvious who they considered their real family. Wife number three of one uncle was A-OK. My partner? Only deserved his own twig, I guess that message was pretty clear.

And it hurt to see him take another slap in his face. And he hurt because he felt it was just a big a slap in my face. Two birds with one stone, eh?

And I told him it was OK. I did my best to make him feel better. I told him it was the first step for them and they had invited me. They had sent me a Christmas present. They were doing their best.

I kept to myself that I was furious they would treat my honey like this. I smiled and was charming and I was seething and I was...well...going to smile and take it some more.

And then all the cameras came out and the family pictures started. The grandparents, then with all the aunts and uncles, then all the grand children, and soon it was only the spouses left taking pictures. Then grandpa said, Let's get all the spouses in here. ("Oh Hell!" I thought as I wondered what in the bloody f**k (pardon my British, but those were my exact interior words) I was going to. And the patriarch of the family took care of my indecision for me. "Don, would you do us a favor and take the pictures?" Even a boyfriend of a couple years was invited into the family picture.

And so my partner and all of his family and their children and their spouses, and a boyfriend and everyone they considered family, stood and smiled while I took pictures with everybody's cameras. Eight or nine cameras. Flash flash flash. It took five minutes. Five minutes of them all staring and smiling at me.

And I couldn't look at my partner. I just couldn't see what kind of pain was behind his big smile. I couldn't even look at that side of his family for fear I'd catch his eye. ANd I couldn't look at his parents who have been so kind to me in our two meetings. And I couldn't look at that whole wall of in-laws who were sending me the message.
"You're over there because you aren't one of us." I just kind of blurred my eyes and kept snapping away. God knows if a single picture turned out. I didn't want to look at those faces.

And my poor partner. I have a feeling it will hurt when his mother sends us copies of that family portrait. I am pretty sure it will be put deep in a drawer or maybe will be thrown away. I don't want to ever see it. I don't want to see the look on his face. I don't want to look at the looks on all their faces as they stared and smiled at me.

It was like standing in front of a firing squad but all the shooters were wearing clown make-up. Big huge smiles. Big pirahna smiles that were not meant for me. But smiles that were pretty biting and hurting.

It was awful, and wicked and strange and I felt like I was in a Kubrik movie for a while.

I survived. But it hurt to see my partner hurt. It hurt I couldn't do anything but smile and try to pep talk him. "They're doing their best." "This is a big step for them." I deserve an Oscar as my roll as "man who didn't let anything bother him." I was not going to let those people see my smile falter for one second. Or my husband. I was going to be the rock that stood firm while the water went around me. That is the picture I put in my own head.

But after the family picture I gave up. I just started watching the clock. "We fly out of this hell hole in 12 hours" was my mantra. "Stop hurting my husband" was my inner plea. "Stop stabbing me in the back" was my thought as they offered me cake and thanked me for coming.

But as I told my hubby later. With some people, all you can do is be nice, and charming and show them that what they have heard might not be correct. If they are big enough people to evaluate personal experience against the hate speakers they like to hang around with, so be it. But that's the best we can do.

As I explained it to him: "I think of it sort of like a little Lost in Space Robot in their head, waving its arms around with flashing lights and "Does Not Compute! Does Not Compute!" repeating in robot voice. I've shown you the truth and now you must evaluate your lies.

That, sometimes, is the best you can hope for.

But I'm thankful for my mom who hugs my husband, and loves him, and thinks of him as her other son and sometimes gives him nicer presents at Christmas than I get. At least we have that. And each other.

ANd that DU, was my vacation into Red America.

Oh. And we kissed and held hands in public. Which we've almost never done, ever. Because we had a message for them too.

They aren't going to stop love.

No matter how hard they try.





Hey Straight DUers, I Have To Have A Word With You...

On this hot and beautiful Friday evening, with a lovely weekend stretching ahead of my partner and I, I am feeling truly blessed.

Not because of the deaths of DOMA and DADT, not because we have a President who, though maybe not always jumping up and down in support of gay rights, seems to somehow work behind the scenes to get things done without ever really talking about it much, but because I have found a group of straight people who stand so amazingly firm in support of gay Americans that it brings tears to my eyes.

Grannies from the South, weightlifters from Texas, moms who like ice sports, just so many amazing people who have taught me a thing or two about standing up for myself.

Thank you DU for being so staunch in your support of your gay members. I can speak freely and demand my rights because I have the strength of you people behind me. You all are teaching me how to do it.

I remember during the gay rights ballot initiatives here in the 80s. Heartbreaking to see so much hate aimed at gay people, especially when you are that young and trying to figure things out. And then one day I saw a "straight but not narrow" sticker on some cool dude's car and I burst into tears just being so grateful that someone decent had the guts to speak up. That's how you people make me feel every day.

Thank you very much straight people of DU. Your thoughtful support of LGBT people is truly special. In my life you are the Sun that balances out the darkness of the other side. I'd bet there are many gay DUers who would agree with me.

A beautiful weekend to you. May we all eat something delicious, see something beautiful and snuggle up to something (or one) that we love.

A Room With A View. A Tale For Father's Day.

My father and I weren't super close. He had terrible health starting at 36 (and a string of heart attacks) and he really took the "Boy Named Sue Route" in some aspects. I was 10 and they gave him only a couple of years to live. So, my dad made me stand up like a man. No crying. No running for help. Just deal with the damned problem as best you can and stand up and take the consequences of the choices you made.

Hard stuff for 10. But 36 is awfully young to be planning your death. Hard stuff for 36.

But despite laying on deathbed after deathbed, after being given last rights more than once, the guy just hung on. Heart attack after heart attack, one on a riverbank where his best buddy did CPR for half an hour before life flight zapped him on the helicopter. His heart started back up but when we got to the hospital the dr. said, "He won't wake up, and you wouldn't want him to. He'd most likely be a vegetable." Hard words for my mom to hear, he was just 45.

A few hours later he woke up and said, "Where am I? I was fishing." I looked at the Dr. when he said it. He was standing there with a look of shock on his face and his mouth hanging open. This was a dead man talking.

A few months before I graduated from college I was in a terrible car accident. T-boned in a little Toyota by a kid seeing how fast his new Dodge Charger would go. (at least to 85...that's what he was going when he hit me). The cop at the scene said I should have died. I didn't. But, it was decided as soon as I was out of the woods I'd be moving home. I was heartbroken. It was terrible. I was so close to graduating with a double major.

It was something my dad understood. He broke both knees in a college football game and had had to move home from college as well. He knew how hard it was going to be.

And I was freaking out. Saying goodbye to my health, my friends, my cool college apartment. And I was moving home to our teeny tiny 1920s farmhouse where my room was smaller than my dorm room had been. Horrible.

And when I got home, and I limped my way sadly back to my tiny dark high school bedroom, I couldn't help but start to cry. No 22 year old wants to go back to high school. And I opened the room to my tiny bedroom and, well, it wasn't there.

My father, despite his crappy health, was a builder, and he had built an addition on the back of our tiny house. There was a giant closet for all of my boxes from college, a big giant window right at the level of the bed so I could see outside, a wall of shelves to put my stuff on, a desk to sit at. No more dark little room, it was bright and sunny and big and wonderful.

He wouldn't talk about it. Barely accepted my tearful thank you. Walked off to the barn to get away from all those human emotions. But a man with a sick heart and a bad body built me something I could never ever forget. He built me a place to heal. He built my frail emotional state a place that wasn't stepping back. He saved me.

He was gone soon after. And when my mom sold the house I wept over that addition. It wasn't something I could pack up and take with me though so I said my goodbyes to the biggest kindness I've ever been given.

Happy Father's Day Dad, and thank you for not naming me "Sue".

Share some thoughts of your father with us. It's a good day for that.

It Looks Like I Slept In A Raspberry Patch... An Update on the Little Deaf Kitty.

This is the kind of month that can leave your knees shaking and your stomach in knots. Several hundred of my coworkers were laid off. Of my team of six, I am the only one who didn’t get a pink slip. For the past month I’d been waiting for it, trying to stay calm and not freak out.

So Fate, in her usual manner, decided now would be a really good time to screw with everything else in life, because why have just one piece of craziness going on when you can have a dozen? I don’t want to bore you with all the details but just imagine how you’d feel if you woke up one morning and everyone you work with was gone, Michele Bachmann was President, the weight of the world was on YOUR shoulders and one of your teeth fell out. Just one serious mind-****(bleep) after another.

It was that kind of month.

And I was seriously close to freaking out. My partner and I have never had an argument, but we got close. Emotionally I was getting to that stage where even little things were upsetting me. Last week I started crying because my French press coffee came out tasting gross. Seriously. It was not looking pretty.

And then we brought home the little deaf kitten.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022908026 (It Is Very Quiet In His Little World)

I cannot begin to tell you all what an amazing addition to our home he has become. Our first reaction to figuring out he was deaf was sadness. But, let me tell you, there hasn’t been much sadness since. This little fellow has been such a light in our life! So much so, that I’ve been coming home from my terrible situation at work and the minute I walk in the door, I’ve forgotten everything about work. Everything. I mean, who can even think about work with a tiny white kitten crawling up your leg purring and chirping “hello!!!”

We are doing our best to figure out how to train him. Three gentle taps for “no” has been working (most of the time) but that doesn’t help much when the kitten is waking you up by biting your nose at 3 in the morning. We bought a couple of spray bottles but we haven’t used one yet. We don’t want to scare him unless it is a big rule (climbing the drapes, eating my face, etc.).
He meows a little but mostly he has little chirps and purrs. When I get home from work and he sees me for the first time he’ll jump up in the air and start purring immediately and then he runs as FAST AS HE CAN to me. His purr is so loud I can hear him purring from across the room as he runs. It melts my heart!

We still talk and sing to him as much as our other pets. We haven't picked a name yet and my partner said, "We can just let people call him whatever they want since he can't hear it." When he looks at us we say "Meow". It might sound silly but when you say "meow" your mouth moves in a really distinct way. We don't know what his name is yet, but he's coming now when he sees our mouth form the word meow.

We’ve learned to make sure he sees us go when we leave the room or the house. Otherwise he cries and cries while he searches for us. Our older cat as been OK about the things but he is sick of the kitten attacking his tail. The kitten can’t hear his warning meows or hisses. But so far our older cat has been a good cat uncle and has merely gotten up and walked away. We’re keeping his nails trimmed just in case, bus so far he’s been pretty nice about the whole thing.

And our Big Old Moose of a dog (85 lbs the last time we weighed the beast) continues to be the most amazing dog. The kitten has three favorite things in the world: chewing on the dog’s tail, chewing on the dog’s ear or attacking the dog’s paw. “Get the Paw” is probably his favorite since no matter what the dog is doing there is a paw the kitten can reach. (Here is game #4311 of “Get the Paw!”)

And through it all that Big Moose has taken chomp after chomp from those shark-like kitty teeth, and swipe after swipe of those dagger-like little kitty claws. She just patiently sits there while the kitty crawls on her back, her head, roots around for some milk, gnaws her snout, her leg, her ears. She is gentle and sweet. We knew we had a good dog but this kitty has shown us just how blessed we are with our Giant Moose Dog.

And so this scrappy little deaf kitten that we thought really needed us, just might be what we really needed. The Moose has a little buddy she adores, and licks, and frolics with all day, our older cat gets a break from being frolicked with by 85 lb dog all day, and my partner and I get this tiny little white piece of fluff who makes us giggle and laugh pretty much all day long.

And my stress almost seems gone. I’m sad about work but I can’t do anything about it. But it isn’t hanging over my life like a black cloud now either. All I can think about is the kitten. What is he doing? Where did he go? Why do my legs look like I slept in a raspberry patch? Now what is he knocking over?

And he’s so cute that I just keep melting every time I look at him. I’m even taking naps for the first time in my life because the kitty is sleepy and all I want to do is curl up with him. (My partner is upstairs right now curled up asleep on the bed with this little white tuft sticking out from under his arm). At night he sleeps in my armpit. At least until 3 a.m. or so when his desire for nose biting wakes him up.

So there is an update on our new little friend. He’s put on a little weight, no more fleas, his being deaf has made us love him more but I don’t think we love him as much as the Big Moose does. All is well. He found a really good home and we found a really good friend.

And now I know the answer for stress, sadness and misery. Kittens. Kittens!! KITTENS!! For God’s sake people, if you are feeling down, if you’re sick or downtrodden, I highly recommend this amazing cure-all. Kittens. (except for scratches…that is the major side-effect to kittens).

Have an awesome weekend everybody.

It Is Very Quiet In His Little World (About our New Deaf Kitten)

We've been talking about a kitten for quite a while. We have a giant Moose Dog (85lbs) who was raised by our 14 year old Burmese. The Moose Dog is very sweet but the Burmese is getting just too old for those dog & cat wrasslin' matches. Somedays now, after they've been playing for a while, the Burmese will wobble away, his legs kind of rubbery underneath him.

So, we had been talking about a kitten.

Saturday we found the tiniest little runt of a kitten at the Farm store. The little fellow was pure white and cute as anything. We wanted a girl cat but this little guy just seemed like the cat that was for us.

We brought him home and any worries about the Moose being too too rough were pretty much put to rest immediately. She adopted the little pipsqueak the moment she laid eyes on him. He hasn't gone five minutes without a bath since we got him. He's been licked, carried, snuffled and followed like a shadow since the minute we brought him in the door.

We are pet people. Our pets have toys and treats and each one of them has a goofy song and half a dozen pet names. I was once told by a mystic-sort-of-fellow, "You don't talk to your animals as if they were animals. I'm pretty sure your dog thinks she is a human." So we started trying out new names, singing little kitty songs, calling the kitty to us. But something was off. He's affectionate, sweet, playful and, we realized, stone deaf.

You can clap your hands as loud as you can six inches behind him and he doesn't hear a thing.

So while we thought we would be making up a name and cat songs, we've been going through our dog commands to see what hand signals we already use. We got a laser pointer and we are reading up on how to raise a deaf kitty. I'm a special ed teacher. I can figure this out.

But I will admit that we are kind of sad for him. We have a garden that is a wonderland but a corner lot that has corner traffic. Our house is situated between three parks so every few minutes there is another big dog on (or off) a leash trotting on our sidewalk. We worry about our cat that can hear. So this little guy, sadly, gets an indoor life. He won't hear his cute little names or the goofy little song I will probably make up about him. (though he likes to lay on my neck while I hum). I'm sad that he won't hear me talk to him like he is a human.

But my partner summed it up nicely. Our pets, in the past, have kind of picked us. The puppy at the pound who waddled over and fell asleep on my shoe (we buried her as an old grey dog three years ago on New Year's Eve) or the little orange cat at the pound who laid on his back, stuck his arms out of the wire cage, and mewed happily at us as though he'd just found his long-lost human family. This new fellow? "Fate gave us this little guy, he needs us," is how my partner put it. And we love him like crazy already. It never crossed our minds to take him back or not keep him.

And the Moose? She's adopted him. The baby crawls on her head, her back, looks for some milk which means at any time the kitten is trying to nurse on the dog's leg, or her ear, or her snout. If the kitty mews the dog is there in seconds.

It is very quiet in his little world but I think he's going to be OK.

(and just so you all don't worry...my partner is driving out to the farmstore today to check to see if the other white kittens are deaf. We're afraid the farmstore won't be as compassionate as we are. We are going to offer to foster the deaf kittens and find them a home if the farmstore doesn't want them.)

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