Update in three completely unrelated acts

I know most of you who read here have probably seen this on Twitter or Facebook already, but Eldest Cat had to leave us finally earlier this week. He was eighteen, and had been sick with hyperthyroidism for years; he had a heart murmur, his kidneys felt ominous, he walked crooked, he weighed less than half he did in his prime, and he continued to lose weight. The vet had given us medicines to try to halt the weight loss, and he lost four more ounces. He was clearly hungry – he wanted food all the time – but it didn't make a difference. Wednesday night, he cried for food much of the night, and he was so weak that he couldn't counter his crookedness anymore, so he kept falling over into things. He was no longer comfortable.

I'm glad we did it, and our vet was – as always – amazingly nice and supportive. He went very peacefully, without fear. But when they took him away, I had an awful moment of thinking, Wait! I take it back! I made a mistake!

I got Eldest Cat just before my college graduation; I'm not sure I know how to be a grown-up on my own without him. And when I hear (Formerly) Middle Cat's collar-bell jingle, I still can't help wondering, for a minute, which cat is that?

* * * * * * *

The last day of my internship was Friday. It was a good experience: I learned a lot, I liked the people I worked with, and the big boss told me a number of times that he was happy with my work, volunteering to be a reference for me, so I accomplished pretty much what I set out to accomplish (I wanted a good reference and a writing sample I could use, but everything I worked on turned out to be too confidential to use as a sample, so nothing I could do about that).

Something valuable I realized, I think, was that I do like working with people, more than I realized. I think I used to underestimate how social teaching really is; academia values research more highly, and research (in the humanities) is a relatively isolated endeavor, and so I always thought of academics (and myself) preferring to work independently. And it's true that historians don't have traditions of collaborative work the way that people in the sciences and social sciences do. But when I started my internship, I was one of the only interns there, and got given work to do and sent off to my cubicle to do it. And that work was interesting, but became much MORE interesting when there were other interns around and I started to be able to discuss it with them.

Anyway, it was a good experience. Certainly other summer opportunities would have given me different experiences, but overall, this was a good one.

But I am still looking forward to not getting up to my alarm tomorrow.

* * * * * * *

Wish me luck at the tailor tomorrow – I pick up my amazing suit, and am crossing my fingers that it looks decent. I bought it thinking, Of course, the tailor can take the jacket down a size, tra la! But it turns out that the tailor didn't want to take in the shoulders, which, it seems, is reasonable since it turns out this is the most complicated kind of tailoring you can do, requiring you basically to reconstruct the entire jacket. But which I didn't know at the time I bought the suit. It's just frustrating, because I can't buy a suit in a size that fits both halves of me, so I'm stuck either taking in the jacket or letting out the bottom – and many garments don't have enough extra fabric to let out, so that's no good, but if every jacket ends up too big in the shoulders and therefore gapping across the chest, that's no good either (there are always separates, of course, but they're harder to find). I mean, I'd pay for the darn shoulders to get taken in! But if the tailors don't want to do that… What I need is a size ying to my yang, so we could buy the same suit in two sizes, and I could take the smaller jacket and bigger bottom, and she could take the bigger jacket and smaller bottom. Sigh.

I also have to see how the pants look. To get pants to fit me properly in the waist, they tend to have too much fabric in the, um, rise. But since these are non-stretch pants (all hail the glory of Lycra), they can't be too fitted when I'm standing up, or they'll be too tight when I sit. Which perhaps really means I should just wear skirts all the time.

15 thoughts on “Update in three completely unrelated acts

  1. So sorry to hear about your kitty. I felt about the same way when a cat I had since I was 15 died just short of 19 years old. I felt, well, off for quite some time. But, I had to make that same decision about that final trip to the vet and I know it was the best thing for her. I couldn’t handle the idea of her being miserable. It’s really a kindness to the animal, even though it hurts us so much.
    As for suits/separates, they can be a bit pricey, but Talbots sells most if not all of their suit pieces as separates. I have some sizing weirdness and I was happy to discover this. Plus, the store/brand is trying to be a tad less frumpy than it use to be. Like I said, pricey (at least to this grad student) but I’d rather have a suit that fits properly. And, there are sales on occasion.

  2. So sorry, again, about eldest cat. A companion of 19 years is quite something!
    I would try to get suits as separates, because like you (and probably most people) I’m different sizes top and bottom. Talbots works, and I did really well (surprisingly) at White House Black Market. I always end up with pants that are WAY too big at the waist in order to get them over my hips. Sigh.
    Glad your internship went well. One of the reasons that I enjoy committee work is that I’m a very sociable person, so I know what you mean about enjoying the cameraderie.

  3. My condolences, too, on Eldest Cat. And I would third the recommendation of Talbots. I routinely buy jackets in their Women’s Petite sizes, because I am very short-waisted, and matching skirts or pants from their regular size line. And they often seem to offer jackets that go with both a skirt and pants, or sometime a couple different styles of skirts or pants – great to have a selection!

  4. So sorry to hear about Eldest Cat. He is at the Bridge.
    Glad your internship went well. You’ll have some great knowledge to take back with you for your second year.
    Happiness is a well tailored suit. 🙂

  5. So sorry to hear about Eldest Cat. We said good-bye to our eldest kitty last fall, and know how hard that can be.
    I always am very interested in your reflections on the differences between academic life and your current path. Glad the internship was such a success. Kudos. Hope the suit can be tailored to your liking!

  6. Condolences too, for the loss of Eldest Cat.
    What a good life he had with you, and what a kind end you gave him.
    Our animals mark a chunk of our lives, so when they go, we mourn them and also our past selves I think. 19 years is a great run.
    This makes me think that I’ve got another decade with my beast, if I’m lucky.
    And on the tailoring front: word. I have the wide shoulders/long arms/skinny torso problem. To fit in the chest, I look like I’m wearing doll clothes. And don’t even get me started on the pants problem: wide and high waisted/narrow hips/long inseam. What fits the ass pinches the waist. Sigh. I know it sounds crazy, but the Gap (online) isn’t bad for weird sizing. And it’s mix-and-match enough that you can make things occasionally work.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about Eldest Cat, though like others, I am glad he is at peace. Lots of supportive vibes to you with the impending interviews!

  8. So sorry about Eldest Cat! I had to let my first one go, at the same age and for similar reasons, and I still miss him.
    My best tailored-clothing finds were women’s trousers constructed like men’s tuxedo pants. They have little clips on the side of the waist that adjust the size; the extra fold of fabric is cleverly folded into a slash pocket at the side. I have one black pair that’s been a mainstay of my wardrobe for a decade, and a few years ago managed to find a brown pinstripe pair with a similar construction. Totally solves the waist-to-ass proportion problem.

  9. Thank you for the sympathy, everyone! (And yes, Sisyphus, formerly Middle Cat is now the Last Cat! She is getting immense amounts of attention, which makes her very suspicious…) It’s awful that pets live such shorter lives that we do (although I have a friend from grad school who had a parrot who’s in his will, since they live a loooonng time… another dilemma, I guess!).
    I completely second the Talbots recommendations, but it’s really weird, because recently they have NOT had many suit separates at all! They’ve been trying to get more chic, I think, so they’ve narrowed their offerings, and they have very very few suit things. It’s quite frustrating. (Although really, I need to get a job requiring me to wear suits before I worry about buying more suits… just have my fingers crossed for the tailoring!)
    And MaryEliz, hello again! It’s so good to see you! (I meant to say this in response to your last comment…) I’ve missed your blogging!

  10. My WFP cat died seven years ago, and I still miss him. He was a, noisy, opinionated guy who could (and did) curse in three languages. And I still miss him. My Eldest Cat is now 16, and I’m storing up memories.

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