I received a call from the hospital this morning telling me that Mac had taken a turn for the worse. She was struggling to breathe, and our doctor did not think they could do anything else for her, since she did not respond to chemotherapy.

Rob and I were with her, holding her and stroking her as she fell asleep in my arms for the last time

RIP, my beautiful little friend. I swore I would never allow you to suffer, and I kept my promise.

We will all love you for eternity.



It’s about love (Scroll down for an update)


Sixteen years ago on a sunny day we brought home a little ginger kitten from the local shelter. We named her McGwire, because it was the same day as Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run. And she was a ginger, so it fit.

The Redhead was not quite a year old then, and she was only a few months. From the moment he laid eyes on this tiny little ginger ball of fur and poked her with his pudgy little finger, she was his kitty.

They grew up together. McGwire, or Mac, as we like to call her, didn’t like very many people. She shunned most everyone except her immediate family. But, oh how she loved the Redhead! You could see her little head perk up every time he walked into the room. He would pick her up and hold her like a baby in his arms, while kissing her smushy little face. She licked his fingers and rubbed her furry head against his hands. If he happened to have his room door closed, barring her from entry, you could hear her yowls from other floors in the house as she pounded her little paws against his room door until he opened it.

Two gingers

Two gingers

I can’t begin to describe the swelling in my heart when I would look in on the Redhead sleeping every morning before going to work and see two gingers on that bed – a small feline and my son. She would sleep with him every night, and when she heard me peek through the door, she would lift her head to ensure that no one was out to hurt her human, look at me, and peacefully close her eyes again.

The bond between an animal and her human.

Last week I had to take Mac to the vet, because she refused to eat. At first I thought it was because she was grumpy with us for leaving her with Rob’s step brother while we went to Vegas. After all, he’s not us. But no. She refused to eat again, and began vomiting spectacularly green, foamy liquid after a few days. Her calcium and kidney levels are off the charts, and she’s so weak, that the internal medicine doc put her on a feeding tube. They’re running a bunch of tests – ultrasounds, blood tests, biopsies, x-rays…

Mac is still alive and being fed through a tube. So far her treatment is costing us $4000. It’s a lot. Who has that kind of money lying around? And it could be more before her calcium returns to normal. But I refuse to let my friend die because it’s too expensive to help her. I refuse to break my son’s heart because I couldn’t afford to save his buddy. I won’t go back on my promise to care for this beautiful sweet creature, because of money. When you make a commitment to an animal, it’s no different than a commitment to a human being. These are creatures completely dependent on you for food, shelter and care. Would you really let them die, because it was too expensive to help them live?

Poor, sick kitty.

Poor, sick kitty.

It’s not about money. It’s about love.

Look, you’ve seen me ask for support for my friends on this blog when they needed help healing their furry friends. I’m good at asking for help for others, but not so good for myself. However, I’m also smart enough to know when I can’t handle things on my own. $4000 is a lot of money, and it may wind up being much more than that.

So I’m swallowing my pride and asking for your help today. Help me save my friend. Help me heal her – something the doctors say is very possible. Help me give my son a few more years with his best friend. She is in the hospital. She needs tests. She needs IV fluids and already has a feeding tube. She needs medication to control her calcium. And then there’s the cancer.  It’s very likely that she has it, according to the hospital. So she will need chemotherapy.  They’re taking care of this soft, sweet, dedicated creature, but the cost is ridiculously high, and I need help.

If it helps me save Mac, I will resort to begging, and that’s essentially what I’m doing, because when you love something this much, you swallow your pride. I’m not above begging for my friend, because I love her so much. And I love my son, and I want to do everything I can to help him have a few more years with his little feline sister.

I know $4000 is a lot of money, but I also know the generosity of people who understand what it’s like to love and commit yourself to an animal. I will pay it. I will do whatever I have to do to make her well again, but I need help.  I did create a GoFundMe site to raise money for Mac, and I have shared it with Facebook friends and Twitter followers.

There is also a PayPal button in the upper right hand corner of this blog where you can help as well.

I know times are hard. I know today’s economy has a lot of folks worried about their finances. I know I’m asking a lot. But anything you can do at all to help me save the Redhead’s best friend would be appreciated. Anything at all.

Please help me live to watch TV for a few more years!

Please help me live to watch TV for a few more years!

Anything I don’t use for Mac will be donated to a no-kill shelter to help other animals find loving families.

UPDATE: Well, we’re going to start her on chemotherapy. It’s just a shot, and it doesn’t harm her in any way. She won’t lose her hair and she won’t vomit like humans do. But the doctor hopes that in a few days, she will start eating and recovering. The one thing I don’t want to do is keep her on a feeding tube forever. I can’t imagine this is good for her quality of life in any way, but I guess I’ll need to talk to her doctors some more. If she doesn’t start eating, even after the chemotherapy, what do we do?

30 Day Ab Challenge – Starting Sunday June 1


I’m in. anyone else?


30 Day Ab Challenge – Starting Sunday June 1.

After Action Report: car buying


Well, those of you who have been following the saga of the Mercedes from Hell will be happy to know that the piece of shit is gone. History. Sayonnara.

No, I didn’t drive it into a lake or into the Potomac, although I seriously considered it. The Redhead persuaded me not to do that, lest I get arrested or something. He’s a smart kid, that one. But we did trade that thing in for another… JEEP!


Why a Jeep? Because it’s a Jeep, DUH! An awesome, sturdy workhorse that runs and runs and runs. Plus it’s infinitely cool, and can drive up an icy hill (or in and out of a muddy swamp – something the hunk of junk Mercedes just couldn’t handle.

When we last left that rancid piece of crap, it needed new rotors, it had leaky seals, and worn rear spring link bushings. I decided to get the most pressing things done first, so I had new rotors put on it, as well as a new rear tire. I was going to fix the other stuff with subsequent paychecks.

And then… in April… the Redhead’s “service engine” light came on. You ever get that feeling of dread when you take your car to the mechanic? Like you know you’re about to get heinous news that will force you to decide between buying groceries and fixing your car that week? Yeah, I had that feeling. And sure nuff…

…the Mercedes dealership told the Redhead he needed two new fuel pumps at a cost of $1200. Well… I’d had enough. It wasn’t going to happen. I told him to get that car out of there and never look back. He did, but not before I was forced to pay a $135 fee for them having done nothing at all other than look at the vehicle and keep it overnight, because even though the place closes at 8pm, apparently the service shop people left earlier and didn’t specify if they had finished putting the car back together).

I then called Benz Elite, which is the most awesome automotive shop I think I’ve ever had to deal with. They took a look at the hunk of junk and told us it did need new fuel pumps, because the sensors went bad on the old ones, but it definitely wouldn’t cost $1200! That was welcome news. But at this point, I’d just kind of had it. I told the Redhead that if one more bloody thing goes wrong with this car, it was going away. Far away. And then I made the appointment to get the fuel pumps replaced.

On the morning of our appointment at Benz Elite, the Redhead got into the car, turned the key in the ignition… attempted to turn the key in the ignition… tried and tried again to turn the key in the ignition… But nothing happened. The key wouldn’t turn. I called Benz Elite and explained the situation. They said it was either the key, or the electronic ignition switch, but they couldn’t determine which until they saw the car. Enter the towing company, dispatched by my insurance company.

The Benz from hell was towed to Benz Elite, where they determined that the electronic ignition switch was bad. They called to see how quickly the supplier would get the part. They were told that they will no longer be selling electronic keys or ignition switches to private shops – just Mercedes service centers.  Seriously. Not even kidding. Mercedes will get their money one way or another, apparently.

So………. off we went to the nearest Mercedes service center. I think my anger was fairly palpable, because when the service guy told me it would cost $1200 to repair that ignition switch, and another $260 to replace the key, I just about lost it.  Needless to say, I did not pay that much.

After that fiasco of a morning, the Redhead and I headed to the gym, where he asked me, “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back, isn’t it?”


When we got home, I handed him the keys to my Jeep Wrangler, and told him to practice driving it. He already knew how to drive a stick, but he just needed to get more proficient on hills. Within the hour, he came back and declared that he was confiscating the Jeep for good! Apparently, the kid likes driving it. And he drove it, and drove it, and drove it, and now it is his.

Know why?


And because the Mercedes from hell has been traded in for another JEEP! And that Jeep is mine!

So what have I learned from this fiasco?

1 – Deal with a reputable dealer. I got the Jeep from an Acura dealership that happened to have the vehicle on its lot. I told them how much I wanted to spend. They worked with me, and I got a very fair deal. They also gave me a repair record of everything they did to this car before they sold it.

2 – If the dealer won’t let you take the car to another mechanic, run away. The Acura place let me have the car overnight, encouraged me to drive it around and allowed me to take it to the mechanic of my choice. I also had another buddy, whom I trust implicitly, and who knows way more about cars than most people, look at it as well.

3 – As the State Police officer, who is in charge of the inspection stations in the area told me: don’t deal with any of these shady dealers who open up used car lots and who have their buddies do any work that’s needed.

4 – Mercedes sucks! It may be a tank. It may be safe. It may be a luxury car that’s very pretty, but anytime anything goes wrong with it, expect at least a $1000 repair! Screw that. Plus, a Mercedes that a dealer tells you is in near “mint” condition can literally fall apart mere weeks after you drive it off the lot.  Take it to your mechanic. If he won’t let you and tries to assure you that the car is great, see #2.

I did a lot of stupid things when getting this car. I stupidly assumed that the Mercedes would last and last and last (aided oh-so-helpfully by the dealer who assured me what kind of good deal I was getting). I stupidly assumed that him taking the car to HIS mechanic was sufficient, and that taking the car to MY mechanic would be superfluous. I stupidly bought the damn Mercedes, because I wanted the Redhead to be safe and happy, and because it really did appear to be a good deal. Right up until it wasn’t. I stupidly trusted the dealer, who postured himself to be extremely knowledgeable about cars.

I will not make that mistake again.

Because JEEP!

A good business

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It occurred to me today that with all the BS I’ve been dealing with as far as bad businesses go, I have failed to make mention of good ones! There are plenty of those in the area, so I’m happy to give them a plug.

One such place is Sonic Sound in Arlington. This is a place that installs car audio, and since I got the Redhead a new receiver for his car for Christmas, I figured I’d call and see what it would cost to put the thing in this car.

I spoke with Kevin Juarez. I’m not sure if he’s the owner or the manager, but he couldn’t have been more helpful! We spoke for a while on the phone, I explained to him what I got, the car model and year and what I needed. I was disappointed when he said that if I had that receiver installed, I may experience an issue with sound degradation. But he was honest with me, and I appreciated that. We then discussed just putting an auxiliary jack in the car. He quoted me a price, and told me to go ahead and have the Redhead bring the car in.

I am more than thrilled with the results! Not only did they examine the car and determined that they could indeed put in the new receiver with no sound degradation, but they also charged the Redhead less than what they had originally quoted. That’s right. Less. Not only that, but they did the job in time to send him off to work on time.

The treated the Redhead with respect and kindness, even though he’s just a ginger kid. They did the job well. They did it quickly. And they did it without trying to jack up the price!

I can’t thank them enough for their professionalism, their courtesy and their skill, and I’m thrilled to give them a plug here, because they’re nothing short of fantastic. I’m betting that’s how they’ve been in business for 14 years!

So, thank you Sonic Sound!

They know how to take care of their customers, and I highly recommend these guys if you’re in the area!

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