Sunday, May 09, 2010

It's Raining Cats and Dogs

I have to start this post by saying that I am really REALLY lucky, and I know it. My house didn't wash away, my car is fine, I'm ALIVE, and the damage to my place was so minimal that I felt absolutely ridiculous emailing my homeowners association to check the roof after I noticed a couple of water spots on my ceiling. I have a ceiling to have water spots on- hundreds of people have absolutely nothing after all of the flooding in the area.

I have a healthy respect for the weather. I used to be really scared of storms and just freaked out every time it got cloudy (seriously, ask my parents). I'm nothing like that anymore- but I have my favorite severe weather coverage people (Hello WSMV Channel 4!) and I have a weather radio and I keep an eye on what's in the forecast. Last weekend was supposed to be sort of medium bad weather- we didn't have any of the dire warnings we got the weekend BEFORE that. Some storms, some rain, nothing too terribly serious but keep an eye on things and everybody should be fine.

So it was pouring rain but I still went to my book club meeting, and drank a margarita and had a quesadilla. And it kept raining really hard and didn't let up, but nobody was really concerned or anything. I went over to a bar with friends and that's when we got a clue that maybe things were not right. First of all, we were running into a bar to the sound of tornado sirens- that's never a fun feeling, but for a while it felt like a hurricane party. Then when we were sitting in front of the TV they cut the derby coverage and flashed up the TDOT cameras on Interstate 24 which was a LAKE. A lake with cars floating in it. (And for just a second- can you imagine driving down the road in a thunderstorm and suddenly you're up to your windshield in water???) Then the real drama started. Green Hills was flooded. I-24 was closed. We watched roads on TV that looked like rivers- and we couldn't figure out exactly where we were looking at. Some tree-lined street in Nashville somewhere? Wait, is that the Kroger on Harding Pike? WHAT IS GOING ON?

I made it home fine and basically watched TV all that day and the next. First I was watching the countless tornado warnings and dangerous storms coming on the radar (I became quite religious a few times on Sunday), and then pictures of the flooding. The creek behind my apartment turned into a river- pictures don't do it justice, but here's a picture anyway. There was major flooding up the road from my condo and probably some flooding in my condo complex itself, but my tiny patch of the world was ok. Looking at the images on TV still feels so surreal. I donated money to the local Red Cross and the local food bank, and I volunteered at a Disaster Relief Center this weekend. I wish that I could do more. I want to help but I work full time and we're still going about business as usual. So there's not much else I can do at the moment. If I knew anyone who lost their house and needed a place to stay I would absolutely let them live with me until things got figured out, but I don't.

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. I've only been downtown once since last weekend- and Bicentennial Park was a LAKE. I love that park- I've walked through it countless times, reading the history timeline and the counties and the map of the state and playing with the huge globe fountain. And ALL of it was under water. It's hard to comprehend. The Opryland Hotel and Opry Mills are just a few minutes from where I work and they got so flooded that no one knows when they'll be open again. The water stinks because of all the diesel and sewage, and the mold and mildew are crazy.

And so while there was all of this crazy drama going on in Nashville, there was a lot of personal stuff happening too. See, last Friday I adopted a cat from the local shelter. First of all, I have to say that I am not really a cat person, but I know that there are cats out there that I have liked in the past. And I met this little cat, and she's a sweetheart. She's curious and adorable and likes to follow you around and play, but she didn't have any of that attitude that cats typically have. She's a dog-cat.

But 6 hours I after I brought her home I was wheezing and coughing. My family had cats the whole time I was growing up and I never had a problem with allergies- it never even crossed my mind until I woke up unable to breathe. (I also never had a problem with seasonal allergies until 4 or 5 years ago, so why not add cat allergies to the mix as well?) If it was a situation where I just could take some Zyrtec and be ok, I would have just dealt with it. But Zyrtec wasn't touching this- this was like asthma. I started to get a clue on Saturday that this was not going to work out. On Sunday I was wheezing even more. And on Tuesday I had to give my cat to a friend.

(I am really lucky that I have a friend who wanted a cat, because I would rather have had asthma attacks than take her back to the shelter. Her former owner was allergic to her too- I don't think the shelter would have kept her alive for long with that track record. Anyway this friend is a cat person, and the cat loves her, and they are getting along great. She texted me this morning that the cat woke her up today by licking her forehead- how cute is that???)

I have to say that I never expected to have such major emotions come up when I realized she couldn't stay. I was a MESS. A crying heartbroken mess. I would be ok for a while and then get sad again and start crying again and it just kept happening over and over. I got so attached to that little cat in four days (and honestly I am getting teary just writing about it). The night she left I drank a lot and watched ENDLESS episodes of Sex & the City and cried and cried and took the next day off because I clearly needed a mental health day. But after talking to several people (including my therapist in what turned out to be a very well-timed appointment) I have realized that this has almost nothing to do with the cat herself. No, this has to do with loneliness and wanting to care for something that depends on me and filling a void in my life that is not ready to be filled with a husband or a family (it's not even the same thing). I want a companion that needs me, and we'll be a team. Something that will greet me when I come home and miss me while I'm gone. So, while I got a cat knowing that a cat is lower maintenance than a dog, a cat is just not going to work out with this particular owner.

I've been researching dogs this weekend. Dog breeds, dog training, dogs up for adoption on I've gotten books from the library and read lots of websites and have spent a ton of time immersing myself in the subject. But part of me is so scared that I'll be allergic to the dog I choose. I know that whatever hole was opened when I had to let the cat go could not handle having the same thing happen with a dog. If that happens I'll need to be medicated.

So my allergist appointment is in a week and a half. I have to get to the bottom of the physical issues before I can move on to the emotional ones. Right now this is a really sad story but soon there will be a happy outcome when I bring a wonderful little dog into my life. And you know the blog will hear all about it.

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