“the other side of takeout is mildew on rice”

It’s April. Zelda F is in the process of losing her winter coat, which means I and everything in my apartment are literally covered in cat hair. We took a field trip to Dan’s backyard this weekend, which went kind of okay.

The plan was for Zelda to enjoy the amazing spring weather, which I worry she is missing out on because we live in a garden level apartment and get very little sunlight, so we bought a cat leash and halter-thingy and packed her off to Marion St. The thing I sort of forgot is that Zelda is a hider, especially when she is nervous. So with this giant yard to explore, she decides the place to be is behind the recycling bins. After we coaxed [read: Dan dragged] her out of there she found a hiding place behind an empty wading pool next to the garage. Eventually we got her to hang out next to the table where we were hanging out. The upshot of all this was that I was the one familiar thing in the situation so Zelda was friendlier toward me than she’s ever been. She spent nearly an hour sitting on my lap, which is unheard of.

The moral of the story? If you scare the living shit out of your pet, she will like you more until she is back in her comfort zone.

In other news, my still-living grandmother is haunting me. She started showing up on the fringes of my dreams a few months ago. Just in the background, a face in the crowd. I would have an impression of her when I woke up – a flash of light reflected off her glasses or the smell of her hairspray.

Lately, she’s started taking a more active role – sort of like a Disney villain, plotting and scheming and making people unhappy. She’s pretty short (think 4’11” on a good day) and kind of heavyset and in my dreams she’s always waving her arms and yelling, usually at me or my mother. There are always complicated storylines to these dreams and she’s this huge obstacle to whatever we’re supposed to be doing.

It’s happened enough that I’ve started to see her when I am awake too (keep in mind that she lives in American Canyon, and I am safely ensconced in Denver). But a woman with grey hair and glasses will be walking toward me on the street and I jump and look for a doorway to duck into until I realize that this is a skinny white women, and definitely not Grandma.

The back story is that I haven’t seen or spoken to my grandmother in a couple of years. She and my parents had a huge falling out – the details of which I prefer not to go into – and it doesn’t look the rift will be healed anytime soon. She’s my only living grandparent, the only person who remembers where in Mexico my family is from and why we moved to the U.S., and the woman who taught me how to make better Spanish rice than my mom.

It’s become a bigger deal to me lately. I’m actually doing well in Denver – I’m really proud of the life I am making for myself and the work I am doing. I’d like her to know that. My sister moved in with her boyfriend last year and it sucks that if they decide to get married Grandma won’t be there. She wouldn’t be able to pick Dan out of a crowd, and he’s a huge part of my life.

Besides that, she’s in her 70s for Christ’s sake. What a stupid time in your life to sever ties with half of your remaining family. (So that was an insensitive thing to say.) (I’m pretty frustrated by this situation, and I feel like I have zero agency to fix it.) (Which is probably not true. I know that if I wanted to contact her my mother would support me, but I’m not sure I want to.)

It’s funny that I don’t dream positive memories about her. We spent so much time with her as kids and I know I loved going to her house.


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