From Deep in the Heart of Texas--an Update on Homer, the Kittens, and the LOVE SAVES THE DAY Tour
Don't leave, Mommy!
I write from my hotel room in Houston, having spent my first 12 hours--ever--on Texan soil as I get ready for the road-launch of the LOVE SAVES THE DAY National Shelter Tour. So far I haven't seen much beyond the highway overpass directly outside my hotel room window, but today I'm heading over to Friends For Life, the shelter that tomorrow evening will host the first of five tour stops I'll be making over the next 10 days in Houston, Dallas, and Austin. (For a complete list of my Texas itinerary, click here).
Originally I was going to make only two stops in Texas--the one tomorrow in Houston at Friends For Life, and the one on Saturday May 18th at Austin Pets Alive! But then I started thinking that since I was going to be in Texas with a week between events, it made sense to add an event in Dallas on Wednesday the 15th with Take Me Home Pet Rescue. And then the SPCA of Texas invited me to do an event with them in Dallas on Tuesday the 14th. I also heard from Shadow Cats in Austin. They rescue ferals and FeLV kitties and don't publicize their address, because they're located in an area where people would be apt to abandon cats on their doorstep (they're a very small organzation with limited resources). I therefore can't do a public event with them, but they invited me to read to the FeLV kitties in "Cookie's Room" at 7:00pm Central time on Friday the 17th, and they're going to live stream the reading on their "Kitty Cam"--which means that even if you can't meet me in purrson on the LOVE SAVES THE DAY Tour, you can still see me doing a reading and answering questions--with a bunch of adorable kitties in my lap. :D
And suddenly my two-city, two-stop Texas tour became a three-city, five-stop Texas tour. I guess everything really is bigger in Texas!
Although the tour officially launched last Thursday in New York, this is my first road trip, and so this feels more like the official launch to me. Most of my away trips will only be two to three days long (and many of them--paritcularly the ones in the Northeast--won't require me to be away overnight at all), but I'll be in Texas for 8 more days. And while I'm incredibly excited to be here and to meet with so many truly exceptional rescue organizations, it's almost unbearably painful to leave Homer for so long. I'll miss the kittens too, of course (those little stinkers!), but after 16 years of having Homer continuously on my knee or in my lap or cuddled up next to me in bed, it feels like leaving a piece of my own body--not to mention my heart--behind.
Homer sitting on my left knee while I work
Laurence isn't joining me in Texas for a few more days, so he'll be at home to do just as good a job spoiling Homer as I do--better even, because all the little treats and tidbits in our home (from Temptations to turkey to chicken to Homer's New Favorite Thing, buttered lobster) are there because Laurence can't resist spoiling the cats. After that Homer's favorite pet sitter will be with them, so they'll be well looked after.
But still, I know how unhappy it makes Homer when I'm gone overnight. I've wrestled--and continue to wrestle--with the question of whether or not this tour was even a good idea in the first place. And yet, what I keep coming back to is the reality that this is what I do for a living (and I love doing this for a living!), and the further reality that earning a living is a necessity for those of us without trust funds or spouses who work in the financial industry. I know how lucky Homer and I both are that I get to work from home and be together all the time. As I said to Laurence the other day, I've been working from home for five years now, and Homer probably doesn't even remember what life was like back when I was away from him 10-plus hours a day, five days a week. The rational part of my mind knows that a few weeks at a "real job" would equal more hours away from Homer than all the time I'll spend on the road over the next few months combined.
But...still...who among us is rational when it comes to our kitties???
Of course, I probably worry more than I need to. While it's tough to know what's really going on with Homer--since he's...ah...let's just say "forcefully declined" ;-p medical intervention--he eats and cuddles and purrs and plays like a little champion. A few months back the doctors told me that, based on his blood-work, Homer was pretty much dead already, and I shouldn't expect to have him around for more than a few weeks at most--especially since he flat-out refused to let them run any more tests. But here we are five months later (almost to the day), and the only difference I can see--aside from a bit of weight-loss--is that he sometimes climbs up to high spots on the furniture that he used to jump onto. But he is 16, after all--who among us ins't a bit less limber than we used to be?! ;p Laurence swears every day that "Homer is immortal," and I pray every day that he's at least partially right (all I ask is for another five years with Homer--10 years, tops).
Laurence knows how I worry and miss my boy when I'm away, so he arranged to have these waiting for me when I arrived in my hotel room in Houston:
along with this card:
I assume that "Lauren" and "Sammy" are supposed to be Laurence and Fanny (hee!). At least they got Homer's name right!
Eight more days until I see my baby boy again. In the meantime, hope I get to meet some of y'all here in Texas!