Addition BEFORE and AFTER.
Our previous owners had nothing short of a fetish, for intensely pigmented and blindingly obnoxious paint…
Their criteria for choosing colors seemed to be the question: what will be most jarring?
If you have not seen the before pictures of this house, they basically painted every room a different color.
The orange in the addition was the last surviving evidence of their dedication.
Above is where we were two weeks ago.
Before I show you the AFTER, let’s remind ourselves what the addition looked like BEFORE.
gutted the bathroom.
took out the floor.
installed the windows.
And yes, my husband DOES still have tanktops from 1999… Paul’s theory of clothing is that if it has not absolutely disintegrated it is not time to get rid of it.
I have been trying to finish this post in a coherent way for going on two weeks— there is more to this project that is worth explaining… but Elvis hasn’t been doing well, and I feel like my brain is in cement.
Last week her eating started to go downhill, but then over the weekend she rallied… not in a way that makes me think she changed her mind about the finale, but enough that I’ve had a brief reprieve from the shock of realizing that I only THINK I am at peace with the next part.
I know I don’t have to explain to you the degree to which this is leaving me frantic but also paralyzed.
The strange thing is that other than poor eating, she seems FINE. She is not having any of the issues I expected (yet) and she is still enjoying all of the things she loves; her favorite activity is being brushed while she rubs her face on her fuzzy ball in a blanket nest… so that’s mainly what I’ve been up to.
Other than that, I am unable to cope with anything. Including some really important things I’m supposed to be doing and soon they may catch on fire. I should be concerned, but the cement-in-brain issue is preventing me from even caring.
Instead I’ve been re-reading comfort books, (particularly this which is magic— about grief and human friendship and how animals save you.) And buying earrings I don’t need, in a push to fill the dark, sad pit in my soul with shiny things… my aptitude in this area seems undiminished, proving concretely that my life skills are useless to anyone, myself included.
June 28, 2016 @ 11:56 am
So sorry to hear Elvis isn’t doing well. Hugs to you both.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:00 pm
Those of us who have gone through similar experiences with our beloved pets totally understand cement brain. There is no sugar coating what you are going through. It is going to hurt. I don’t think you can ever really prepare for the parting. Just keep doing what you are doing with Elvis. Love her, comfort her, and treasure each moment.
I will tell you that the heartbreak does get better over time, even if it never totally goes away. Our sweet Rico has been gone three years, and I thought I would never want to put myself in the position of going through that kind of heartbreak again, but a few months ago my friend called me about a mini dachshund that needed a home. I was reluctant to even have a look at him, but so glad my husband and I did. He was ours the first moment we saw him, and I am so glad that enough time had passed that we were finally ready to accept a new love and responsibility into our lives.
Thank you for sharing with us. Know you fans support you.
The room is so lovely and Paul will surely be granted sainthood status any day now. He might even bring back tank tops.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:05 pm
My heart goes out to you. There seems to be one special cat, no matter how many you have over the years, and the loss of that one is so hard. I lost my special cat 13 years ago and remember her like it was yesterday. She was sick, but the vet had to tell me she was dying. I just couldn’t admit the thought. Knowing what will happen, as you do, doesn’t make it easier. But at least Elvis is still enjoying her favorite things.
When the worst happens, please let your readers know. A post saying nothing but “She’s gone” will be enough. Then we can mourn with you and pray for you.
By the way, she may visit you for a little while after. The presence is there, and you feel like you’ve just missed catching sight of her. My friend would hear the jingling of her dog’s collar. It’s comforting, in a way.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:13 pm
Loving your precious Elvis is your best choice of activities for now. I can just see her rubbing her head on her fuzzy ball in a blanket nest while you brush her. Precious time.
The before and after contrast is incredible! So beautiful now. Hugs and prayers for Elvis and for you. I feel like you are a friend even though we have never met. I always look forward to your new posts.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:14 pm
We have just begun renovations on our newly purchased humungous income generating/vacation home (six bedrooms and five bathrooms, not where you would expect them to be) and we’ve discovered a new level of reno frustration – getting things done in a small town when you have to drive 5 hours home after each weekend. Interesting challenges to say the least. These frustrations have led to a new level of gratefulness for all of the people we have just met in our small town and who have been incredibly helpful. There is nothing like a reno to get all your new neighbours talking to you, offering advice, offering tools and lawnmowers and freshly picked fruit, offering actual free labour and introductions to the best tradespeople along with friendly encouragement. We have been relying on a bevy of recently retired tradespeople who also love living in a tourist town but are bored silly and still very active. Some of these people grew up in our town and they know the entire history of our house down to who did the electrical work during the 1980 renovations.
Anyway, I feel for you with those bright, jarring colours. I recall that small moment in time (fall of 1998?)when those colours were very popular. Before I wrapped my head around painting any walls in jarring colours, the fad had passed but there is still evidence everywhere. We are joyfully ripping out the endless supply of 1980 brass lighting fixtures with country flowers on the glass that look like they were stolen from the set of Bonanza. By endless, I mean endless; one bedroom alone has two sconces, a ceiling fan light, along with four other assorted brass/glass/country flowers ceiling fixtures. I forgot there were light fixtures with frills at one point in time.
Please accept my heartfelt best hopes for Elvis and be kind to yourself during this very sad time.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:18 pm
I truly feel for you. This is the worst part of living with animals.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:25 pm
I lost my beloved dog last year. A friend shared this quote with me and it helped. I hope they help you too.
“There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.” —Suzanne Clothier, “Bones Would Rain from the Sky”
June 28, 2016 @ 12:32 pm
I was afraid of this when we didn’t receive any posts from you for a while. I completely understand what you’re going through. My Bandit turned 19 in April and I have the constant dread of losing him hanging over my head. Like you with Elvis, I treasure every single minute with Bandit and drop everything to make sure he gets all the attention and love he wants. Take care Elizabeth — you, Elvis and Paul are in my thoughts.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:51 pm
I’m so very sorry. The base of your grief is the depth of your love for Elvis and she knows that with every cell in her kitty body. She has shared an amazing journey with you. Of course you have cement brain…, it will mend but you will always have the ache. Ironically, you wouldn’t want any other way. Its a barometer of your commitment and love to Elvis. I wish you peace on your final chapter with her. I am so very sad and so very sorry.
June 28, 2016 @ 12:56 pm
First, the after version is AMAZING…light open airy. Second, you can ALWAYS use more earrings and those, sister, were a fabulous choice! Thirdly, so sad you and Paul are going through this…my husband and I are cat owners and have always had multiple cats in our 30 years together….we are broken up when one passes, some more than others, and it took me a full two years to get over losing two of my more favorites within 3 months of each other. Pet owners understand your pain, if that is any solace. hug Elvis and Paul in whichever order is best…xoxo
June 28, 2016 @ 12:57 pm
Having been through the same, no words I can say will make this time easier or less painful but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you, Elvis and Paul. Our kitties are so precious to us and you are a wonderful mom to Elvis.
June 28, 2016 @ 1:01 pm
Sweet, you both have done an amazing job providing Elsa with a wonderful life. All things pass and change, it is natural and unavoidable. If she could speak, she would tell you not to postpone your real life for her, right?
I believe in heaven for all. In the fullness of time, you will all be reunited.
Nine Dark Moons
June 28, 2016 @ 1:03 pm
Your addition is amazing. As is everything you’ve done to your house. It’s gorgeous. I am sad about Elvis. I wish you good strength as you deal with this part of her life. I know she is a part of you and always will be.
June 28, 2016 @ 1:05 pm
Dear VEB – love the transformations in you home. I live way far, far away in sunny southern California (about 100 miles north of the border) where sunshine is clear and golden.. Strong colors do well in our climate. As you have already determined, strong colors are probably not such a good idea in your neck of the woods .
Anyway, regarding ELVIS, have you considered fresh nutmeg as an appetite stimulant? It works for humans (ancient Ayurvedic medicine therapy) but the quantity needs to be small because in “large” quantities, it can cause hallucinations, convulsion and even death. Don’t know the proper dose for cats. You might ask your vet.
Best wishes, Carol
June 28, 2016 @ 1:10 pm
Cement brain is such an apt description. Know that we are with you, and Elvis, and Paul. So glad you can spend this time with her.
June 28, 2016 @ 1:41 pm
My heart goes out to you. We went through the final days with our lovely Winston J., our beautiful, long-haired black kitty, and there is no way to ever really be prepared for the end. For us, that was Christmas Eve 2014. He had completely quit eating and with other signs we knew it was time. We had a vet service come to our home so he had no last trauma of the vet’s office and they made the transition so much easier on him and on us. Thank God for the wonderful vets who perform this service for those of us who must say Goodbye to the loves of our lives. I have told several friends about this mobile service and it seems this service is not well known. I hope this is available in your area. We asked Winston J.’s vet for information on a service in our area. Take the time you need and spend all the time you can with Elvis. Be kind to yourself during this trying time and during your grief. It can’t be rushed and everyone handles it in their own way. You, Paul, and Elvis will be in my thoughts and I hope you can find some comfort in the fact that Elvis was loved as much as any kitty can be while on this earth and she will be waiting for you and Paul across the Rainbow Bridge when the time is right for you to join her.
June 28, 2016 @ 1:46 pm
My sympathies about Elvis; nothing is more important than spending time with him right now. As for the changes to the addition, your pictures are worth a thousand words — it looks great.
June 28, 2016 @ 1:50 pm
You have my heart. xoxoox
June 28, 2016 @ 2:16 pm
I SO empathize. My rescue kitty of 14 years has her first foot on the Rainbow Bridge. My heart is breaking as I cradle her and love on her. Her purrs are weaker every day, but she knows I am here. Hugs to you and Elvis. ?
John Guehlstorff III
June 28, 2016 @ 2:18 pm
I have read your writings for a number of years. We think alike when it comes to “stuff” that others have that is actually ours. I shared your blog on my FB page… Truth be told, I asked my FB friends not to tell you that I (we… my wife Jayna and I) have an antique store out here in the SW corner of Iowa.
Keep up the fun and informative writing Victoria.