Long time no see...I hate it to be on these terms.
So, it's been quite a while since I wrote a blog entry. To both of you who read my blog regularly, I'm sorry. :) Google AdSense suspended my account, one of my friends, or possibly my co-workers (we have a shared WAN IP for 35+ machines) was probably clicking the links often (which is apparently a policy violation). I have yet to write them because I've been wrapped up in life, hopefully they don't care about time (like me). That line about "getting head on work" in my last post...well...ha! ;-)
After getting back from Yahoo, I spent an awesome weekend with some Delaware friends and the one and only Mr. Odenheiser playing too much beer pong and cards. If only life were like that every day...[sigh]. Anyway, I have pictures of that, and the Yahoo trip, but they're going to have to wait until the weekend so I can sort them. After the weekend in the Poconos I flew down to Georgia (near Marietta) to visit a client, that was a fun trip - no pictures though, it was a very short, hurried trip. Since my return from Yahoo I've been working like a maniac on a bunch of projects, one of which is getting back into PHP - so far so good. But the main reason that I haven't posted is because I'm re-working my site - I plan to actually make it usable! There will be a new design that isn't stupid like the way it works now, and posts will be divided into categories - one major section for work-related things (like Yahoo Store tips and tricks) and a separate site for my personal stuff (animals, gardening). Speaking of which, it's about time to clear off my extra desk and start seeding indoors, the season is rapidly approaching. I'm going to stick with sunflowers, morning glories (and some other nice-looking flowers), tomatoes, peppers, and herbs as my main crops - but also experiment with some things I've not done before - daffodils, onions, and I'm not sure what else right now.
But none of that is the reason I came back to my blog. Almost a year to the day we lost Rascal, our second ferret, Smoke, is looking pretty bad. He probably won't make it through the night, and if he does we're going to take him to our vet tomorrow (she's not open tonight). I have a strong feeling it's not going to be something we can fix, so we'll probably have him put down so he can stop suffering and be reunited with his brother Rascal at the bridge. Although it's the most heartbreaking thing in the world to lose a pet, it's an inevitable part of pet ownership and something you have to be willing to accept in order to allow yourself to share in the type of love you can only get from an animal. Although it obviously saddens me more than words can describe, I don't like to think of it as a sad thing - instead I feel that it gives me an opportunity to reflect on what they've meant to me, the happiness that I would have never had without them around, and the things they've taught me. So, I wanted to write about him as my outlet, and take a moment to share with anyone here how great it can be to share your life with a pet - take a minute to read it, even if you've never met a ferret before - and let him make you smile. What Smoke has given to me makes all the pain in the final days unbelievably worth it.
Smoke's an old ferret who's lived a long life, originally a pet store ferret that we liberated (with the help of a friend who worked there) when he had been there for over 6 months, nearing the end of his tenure in this particular pet store. Because he was the pet store's only white ferret, he got handled a lot - but nobody wanted to take him - so when we got him, he was a biter who didn't trust humans. I'll never forget the time I was visiting Kris at Penn State, and cuddling him a little too close (I don't generally fear animals, and try to radiate love when I'm near them, which sounds insane but has worked out to my advantage most of the time) and he latched on to the thing between my nostrils. And man, do I mean latched - I was crying like a little girl and even let go of him at one point, and he just hung there. In hindsight it makes for a hilarious picture - anyway long story short, I had to turn the shower on him to get him off - and having never felt water on him before (I assume) he screeched the most horrible noise I've ever heard in my entire life. But then we were both all good. :)
We got him over his biting habit relatively quickly, except feet with socks on them - he's always had a fetish for dirty socks. That took a while to break - so then he'd just steal them off the floor, literally by the twenties and thirties - we could tell it was nearing laundry time when the mountain of white started to spew out the bottom of his favorite black chair. He's like a big dumb jock with a child's awe - in fact, he got his name because unlike almost every other animal in the world, his raw curiosity always led him into drifts of smoke around the house. He never did come to like other ferrets, probably because of his pet-store life, but he and Rascal were inseperable best friends who formed a stronger bond than I've ever seen two animals (and maybe even people) make. I'm truly shocked Smoke made it this long after we lost Rascal; I always thought they'd go together like an old married couple. He came to have a very full, enjoyable life - when we lived at my dad's house, he and our pup Bella used to love to play together. He'd latch onto her jowels, she'd swing around until he fell off and swipe him with her butt and fake-sit on him - he'd dive at her, and she'd put her entire mouth around his back (but never, ever close it). I feel privileged to have been able to share in it.
Smoke was the biggest ferret I've ever owned, weighing in at over 5lbs in his prime (he's lost weight as he's gotten older), and that meant for a good cuddle - probably the reason he's my sister Kate's favorite of our ferrets. He's also the only ferret we own who 100% of the time used his litter box (except for human stupidity weeks, ie: me forgetting to clean the litter box often enough), and he had complete loyalty to me, Kris and Rascal. Those of you who own ferrets can understand this sentence: he was a completely honest ferret. He didn't look up at you and poop on the floor because he was mad, when he saw you walk by the gate between rooms the only thing on his mind was jumping up and down saying "come see me! come see me!" - he truly has been an amazing ferret, like his older brother Rascal, and a pleasure to have in my life. I couldn't have asked for more in a pet or a friend.
So this post is a request to anyone reading this to think about Smoke, smile, and wish him the best you can. Pray, meditate, or just sit and think about how nice it is to have someone so special touch your life, even if just for a fleeting amount of time. If there's one thing Smoke taught me it's that the best thing in the world is complete, trusting, unbiased love. I'll never forget him, and I know he's going to be happy when he finally gets to meet up with Rascal on the rainbow bridge.