Under the Weather

Our cat Sam snuggled up in my lap

Sam’s not been feeling well the past couple of weeks, his appetite has been off and he’s had diarrhea. He had been throwing up too early on but we think that was a red herring as he was having trouble getting a hairball up. One benefit of getting laid off is that I can be home to give him extra feedings as he only eats so much in one sitting, so he’s ultimately getting enough food and hasn’t been losing weight, but we don’t know what is going on yet. His blood and urine tests both looked great, and he’s not in pain, so the vet wants to give him another week on gentler treatments before getting more aggressive. I’ll be a lot happier when he’s back in the pink of health.

The Dapper Young Man

A close-up of the face of our cat Sam as a kitten

One of my favorite pictures of young Sam when he came to live with us in 2007. My lasting impression of him from that time is of a kitten who purred easily and loudly. This impression was formed right from the start, he purred the moment they brought him in to see us in the meeting room at the Humane Society when we were deciding if we should adopt him. Once we gave him free reign of the house, I loved to climb into bed at night as Scout jumped up to join me, and I could listen to a purring sound grow louder and louder as it moved from my office, as it climbed the stairs, as it jumped into bed with Scout and I. Sometimes he and Scout would start rubbing faces and then they’d both be purring at full bore, the sweetest music to fall asleep to.

21 Years

Our tortoiseshell cat Trixie sits at the top of the cat tree, framed by the arch behind her

After 21 years at the same company, the company I joined out of college, my luck ran out today and I got laid off. Not just me, but my entire engineering group. I’ve worked with some for most or even all of those 21 years, and we made a great team, so it was a heartbreaking day saying goodbye to such a good group of people. I had an inkling it was going to happen the night before when a meeting with the new management suddenly showed up on my calendar at 11:30 at night for the following morning. I was unable to sleep so eventually I apologized to Boo, curled up asleep in my lap, and got up and went downstairs and typed up a quick resume.

I haven’t written a resume in 21 years, but there was a position open in a different group that I thought I was a good fit for, so I brought my laptop to the meeting and the moment they announced we were all losing our jobs I uploaded the resume and applied for the new one. A handful of my friends are equally qualified and equally deserving, I hate that we’ll be in competition when we worked so well together for so long. My wife and I have plenty of savings and I have a decent amount of severance if I don’t get rehired, so I’m very fortunate to have some time to find a new job (although I desperately want to find one in the Portland metro area, it will break my heart if I have to leave).

I’m proud of the work we did, and all things considered even this bad news isn’t nearly as bad as what many people in the world face every day, day after day, and I’m very thankful for those 21 years and the team I got to work with. It’s been an emotional day, particularly since I got little sleep last night (I did end up getting an hour and a half after finishing my resume), goodbyes are never easy, and I’m physically and emotionally spent.

This picture of Trixie has nothing to do with today, but it makes me smile, and I need to smile. We were playing a game of string on a sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago when I paused to take her picture, framed by the arch behind her, as she patiently waited for me to put down the camera and play with her once more.

Gray and Green

Our cat Templeton sits in the mint and raspberries in our garden

Templeton in 2006 exploring the backyard. I used to give the cats supervised time in the fenced backyard but don’t do it anymore, it was easier then with just the two of them and the yard more closed off. Everything in this picture has changed. Templeton died a year later. I dug up the mint and raspberries years later (but they keep coming back). There’s a wildflower garden there now.