Thursday morning I got up early, packed Maddy up in her carrier, and took her to the vet. She hit two pounds on Monday and the person who’s adopting her (who is not, for the record, ME) wants to adopt her this weekend and I was hoping I could get her spayed before that happened (it’s the shelter’s policy not to adopt out kittens ’til after they’re fixed), and was pleased to see that her recent voracious eating had brought about the needed weight gain. So it was off to the vet for Miss Maddy, who also got an ID chip. I dropped Maddy off at the vet, then drove from Ardmore to Smallville – a drive that took me about 25 minutes. In Smallville I went into the house and fed the stray Momma cat, the Daddy cat, and the kittens. Did I even mention that Fred lured them into the house Tuesday evening, and they’d been staying in the master bedroom? They adapted pretty well, which was probably helped by the fact that we got into the habit – a BAD habit, probably – of taking canned food to them a couple of times a day. All the cats were suffering from diarrhea, which made the litter box situation pretty nasty (and WAY smelly, as you can imagine), so I took a third litter box with me, bought some new litter (made for “small spaces”), and dumped out the old litter from the other two boxes, cleaned the boxes, and refilled them with fresh litter. The car of a crazy cat lady.   I fed the cats, swept the floor of the master bedroom, and headed back to Madison. Thursday being the spud’s birthday – her 18th birthday, even – I wanted to make the actual day kind of special, so earlier in the week I’d ordered a balloon bouquet to pick up Thursday afternoon. Then I took it to the spud’s school and left it in her car, so she’d be surprised when she got out to the parking lot to go home. Not only did she get a balloon bouquet from us, she got 18 roses from her grandparents in California and a bouquet of carnations from her father and his wife. It was a bouquet-filled kinda day, which I think she really appreciated. Thursday evening I went to pick up Maddy, brought her home and let her out of her carrier, worried that she might be in pain and need to be put in her room, away from the boys and their rambunctiousness. Instead, she bounced out of the carrier, bounced around the room, jumped on my mother’s feet, jumped on Mister Boogers, and howled to be fed. I’d say she wasn’t too traumatized.   Friday I had to get up bright and early again, this time to go to the Smallville house and box up Momma Kitty and Daddy Kitty. They had an appointment to be tested, get all their shots, and be spayed and neutered. I was worried that it was going to be really hard to get them in the carriers, but all I had to do was walk through the door with a plate of canned cat food, put it down on the floor, and as soon as they came running over, I picked up Momma and Daddy and put them each in a carrier and close the door. They freaked OUT, running around in circles and trying to dig their way out of the carriers. I felt like a total jerk, traumatizing the poor things first by locking them in a room, and then putting them in carriers. Either they’d never been in carriers before or they HAD and knew that bad things happen after they put you in a carrier. They calmed down pretty quickly, and I put the carriers in the back seat placed so that they could see each other. Then I drove from Smallville to Ardmore in the pounding rain, which was OODLES of fun. To add to the fun, Momma Kitty howled most of the way, with Daddy Kitty chiming in every now and then. At the vet’s office, I told them the story of Momma Kitty and Daddy Kitty, and when we went back to weigh them, found that they both weighed just under 8 pounds. Since all the And3rson kitties weigh 9 pounds or more, you can imagine how little Momma and Daddy Kitty look to me. I had to give them names for the cats, and since I would have felt like a dork telling them that the names were Momma Kitty and Daddy Kitty, I named them on the spot. Maxi.   And Newt.   Isn’t it nice that I named cats that aren’t mine? Anyway, I asked them to call me after the testing (they test for Feline Leukemia and FIV) to let me know what the results were, and then I left. As I walked through the door at home, the phone was ringing and my mother held the phone out to me. “I didn’t know who it was, so I didn’t answer it,” she said. I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was the vet’s office, and my heart sank. I was POSITIVE it was bad news. I called them back, and they put the vet on the phone with me. The testing came back just fine, AND it was the vet’s opinion that Maxi wasn’t pregnant. Fred and I were pretty sure she was, because she’d started to get kind of barrel-bellied recently, and Fred thought when he’d picked her up the day before that he could feel the head of a kitten. If the vet had determined that she was pregnant, we were going to let her have the kittens and then have her spayed when they were weaned. I’ve gotta say – I was WAY relieved to find out that she wasn’t pregnant. We talked about what shots Maxi and Newt needed, and the vet told me that I could pick them up after 5:00. A few hours later, the phone rang. It was the vet’s office again, and the woman I talked to told me that (1) They’d come through their respective operations just fine (2) Newt had giardia and (3) They both had ear mites. They told me that slippery elm bark could help soothe their digestive systems while they were being treated for giardia, and so instead of hanging out in the living room reading, I spent the next two hours going from store to store looking for powdered slippery elm bark. Which I found at Garden Cove, the health food store in Huntsville. Around 4:15, my mother and I went to the vet clinic and picked up Maxi and Newt, who regarded us warily, and drove from Ardmore to Smallville, where we went to the house and put Maxi and Newt in the laundry room with a litter box, bowl of food, water, and a couple of cat beds. We’re keeping them at the house until they’re done with their giardia medication – which will be tomorrow evening – and Maxi’s incision has gotten a good head-start on healing before we take them over to the neighbor’s house. Oh, an interesting side note: the vet estimated Maxi’s age at about two years. When I asked her about Newt, she paused and said “Is there any reason to think they might not be related?” We had thought that maybe he was her kitten from a previous litter and I told the vet that, and she said that was pretty likely. He’s not fully grown yet, though she didn’t really give me an estimate on his age. The kittens are going to be spayed and neutered (did I mention there are three boys and one girl?) tomorrow, so I’ll have to leave the house early, go to Smallville, put the kittens in carriers, drive to Ardmore, drop them off, drive to Madison, pick up my mother, and take her to the airport. Then in the evening I’ll pick the kittens up at the vet’s, take them to Madison (where they’ll take over Maddy’s room – how RUDE, to be displaced like that) and get them settled in. You could say I’m using up a lot of gas lately. Oh, and the kittens have been named, courtesy of Fred. Meet… Fezzik.   Inigo.   Westley.   And Princess Buttercup.   Yeah, Fred’s a Princess Bride fan. Saturday morning I went out to Smallville, scooped litter boxes, talked Fred through what medication to give which cats (the kittens are now being treated for giardia as well), swept the master bedroom (those kittens can scatter that kitty litter all over the place), and went back to Madison, stopping to fill up my gas tank on the way. My mother and I left Madison at noon, and ended up in Nashville on Music Valley Drive almost exactly two hours later. I didn’t think we’d be able to check in so early, but I asked (can’t hurt, right?) and since they’d just finished cleaning the room, they let us check in. It was the Comfort Inn Opryland, nothing fancy or anything, but I’ve ceased in my old age to be much impressed by any hotel rooms (but maybe that’s just because I haven’t stayed at a really nice one?) and as long as it’s reasonably clean, I don’t much care about anything else. We unpacked, then went out to find a convenience store so we could stock up on water and snacks (the downside to the room was that it didn’t have a refrigerator!). We didn’t have to go far, and then went back to the hotel where we read and talked. We had dinner at a Tex-Mex steakhouse I can’t recall the name of. I had the shrimp; she had a steak. There were far more people in the restaurant than we’d expected to see at 4:00 on a Saturday, so we figured the majority of them were going to the Opry as well. After we ate, we went back to the hotel room and killed time until 5:00. There’s a bus that stops at all the hotels on Music Valley Rd, and for $5 round-trip, they’ll take you to the Opryhouse and back to your hotel afterward. We were told that the bus would show up between 5 and 5:30, but it didn’t show up until almost 5:45. Which wasn’t a big deal – the show didn’t start until 6:30, so we had plenty of time to get there and find our seats. The place was PACKED, and we killed time watching the people go by. Then the show started, and just like last time I went to the Opry, it was one hell of a show. Apparently on Saturday nights they televise the Opry from 7 to 8 (central time) on GAC. I text-messaged the spud and told her to call Fred and tell him to tape it in case any of the pans across the audience captured us. She didn’t get the message in time, though, so he didn’t tape it. Oh well. The 7 – 8 pm portion of the show was hosted by Barbara Mandrell – you should have SEEN my mother’s jaw drop when she saw Barbara Mandrell walk onto the stage – and it had Suzy Bogguss, Lorrie Morgan, and Randy Owen featured, singing songs from the Barbara Mandrell tribute CD. I hoped like hell that Barbara would sing I Was Country (When Country Wasn’t Cool), but she didn’t sing at all. Apparently she no longer performs in public, damn her.

Opry - Rodney Atkins2 Rodney Atkins (in the cap). Opry - Lorrie Morgan Lorrie Morgan. I LOVE HER. Opry - Barbara Mandrell Barbara Mandrell. Opry - Suzy Bogguss Suzy Bogguss. I LOVE HER. Opry - Barbara Mandrell, Randy Owen Barbara Mandrell and Randy Owen, from Alabama. Barbara said that she was in the studio when Randy Owen taped the song for the tribute album and “It literally melted my heart.” Someone better call Dr. Preston Burke and report the medical miracle that is Barbara Mandrell walking and talking after her heart melted out her body. Opry - Sponsor One of the sponsors. Sounds like a gentlemen’s lounge, doesn’t it? Apparently it’s not.
It was, all in all, a very good show. I wish we’d been more front and center than several rows back on the left side of the stage (left side facing the stage, anyway); next time I’ll have to get tickets a little more in advance. There were a lot of acts I didn’t know at all, but the last act was Rodney Atkins, who sings Watching You and If You’re Going Through Hell – which, no coincidence, happened to be the two songs he sang. The thing that’s awesome about the Opry is also the thing that sucks: each act sings, at most, three songs. When you don’t know or don’t care for the act, it’s good that they’re not onstage, but if you like the act, you’d like to see more. When the show was over at 9, we went to the gift shop, but it was so busy and everything was so expensive (I mean, come on. Fifty bucks for a freakin’ sweatshirt?!) that neither of us bought anything, and we headed out to find our bus. Which we did easily, and when the bus driver pointed out that tips were accepted in the guise of thanking those who had tipped her, my mother and I rolled our eyes at each other, but I still tipped the woman a couple of bucks on my way out of the bus. In the hotel room, my mother took a bath and then she and I read until almost midnight. I slept fairly well, only getting up a couple of times to go to the bathroom. When we were both awake, I asked what time it was, and was shocked to find out it was 8:00. (Well, actually 7:00 because of the turning-the-clock back, but we’d gotten 8 solid hours of sleep, so I was shocked. I never sleep that well in a strange bed!) We were checked out of the hotel by 9, and went off to have breakfast before heading for home. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel (GOD I love the Cracker Barrel gift shop. I picked up a Christmas present for my youngest nephew while I was there that just cracks me the hell up.) and then hit the highway. The trip home went well until we took our exit off highway 65. We had just turned onto the exit when a deer came FLYING out of the woods next to the road and ran directly in front of the SUV in front of us. My mother and I both gasped “Oh no!”, and I instantly stomped on the brakes and pulled over to the side of the road. The image I remember most is watching one of the deer’s antlers break off and go spinning down the road. It happened so fast that the next thing I remember is looking up to see the deer caught under the SUV. “He’s still alive!” my mother said, and I said “He can’t be!”, but I looked at the deer and could see him moving, trying to stand up. The driver of the SUV clearly had no idea what to do, so hit the gas and basically dragged the deer down the road until the SUV’s back tires went over the deer. The deer twitched and tried to stand, then was still for a few minutes, then tried again to stand. I called 911 (in restrospect I should have called 411 and asked for the Ardmore, TN police department, but I was pretty freaked out) and reported what was going on. They connected me to the police department and I told them what was going on, and whoever it was who’d answered the phone told me they’d send someone out. I thought about sticking around until the police showed up, but I suspected that they’d end up shooting the deer to put it out of its misery, and I really didn’t want to see that, so I pulled up and told the driver of the SUV that I’d called the police and they were sending someone out. I think I shook for about an hour afterward. I thought about calling Fred, but was afraid I’d burst into tears (I’m such a softy that I loathe the thought of ANY animal being terrified and in pain) and didn’t want to go to Ugly Cry while driving down the road with my mother beside me. And that was pretty much it. We got home a few minutes after noon, hung around the house, I went through my pictures, made unfried chicken for dinner, and then my mother and I ran out to Smallville so I could give the cats their medicine (the kittens LOATHE the metronidazole I give them for the giardia) and scoop the litter boxes. I noticed that Newt’s eyes were red and painful looking, so I put antibiotic ointment in his eyes. If his eyes don’t look better when I go out the house a little later, I guess it’ll be back to the vet for him! In closing, check out the slippers my mother bought for herself. She bought me a pair, too (which I don’t get until Christmas), and I told her the other day that they look like Muppet slippers, as if perhaps they were made from the skin of a slaughtered Grover.   Maddy seems to like them.  
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Oh, and while my mother and I were off hanging out in Nashville, Fred was working his ass off, and finished another of the upstairs rooms.   **************************************************   Meester Boogers, he hate you.    
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Previously 2005: No entry. 2004: List of fives. 2003: (Also, Nance called me “nice.” That bitch!) 2002: But I don’t guess that introspection is the forte of that particular diva. 2001: Who tells stories about you? 2000: This morning, red and goopy. 1999: (Side note: I did nothing, and that just pisses me off. I wish I could go back and smack the shit out of that jerk. I hope his life is hellish).]]>