The New Mortimer

Hi there. It has been a little while. Sorry about that, it is totally my fault.

Since the last time we visited Cody and I have taken some incredible beach walks, discovered a couple of amazing bakeries and went on a Whale Watching excursion. On our seafaring adventure we saw no less than FIVE whales. This set a benchmark for us as a five whale day. Today, Sunday is nice, rainy and cool, I guess it is a three whale day, not bad. We have also been applying for jobs and getting to know our immediate community. It is an odd time in that there is both so much and so little going on for us right now. It is an adjustment to be sure.

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Here is the thing, if I am being totally open here I should tell you that I have been trying for more than a week, maybe two it is hard to keep track, to sit down and write you a little note. Just say hello and tell you how we are doing on our grand adventure. I have had a bit of an issue though, in that every time I have tried to sit down and just make a note or two I have inexplicably been met with a total lack of words available to me and a couple of tears to boot.

So, my fear of proving myself to be a spoiled whiny baby has been compounded by actually being a spoiled whiny baby. Excellent. I think I am staring to get a handle on what is going on with me though and I think I’m on the cusp of bringing it all back around. Don’t hop off the boat just yet, this is not a voyage to the depth of my feelings or a metaphor for riding the waves of life through a storm or anything as precious as all that. What this is, here today, is a story about my cat.

Mortimer has lost his damned mind. Let me back up a smidge. When we first arrived a little more than a month ago Mortimer took immediately to his new home. He played and ate and snuggled exactly as he had in Missoula without skipping a beat. Steve on the other had hid under the bed and sulked. We had to go coax Steve out of the inside of our box spring. He was hunkered down.

I could not tell you for sure if Steve was thrown by the new smells of the sea, the giant dinosaur size birds soaring by the windows or the foreign layout of this dwelling but whatever it was, he was having none of it. Slowly though, over a period of weeks, Steve is coming around. He climbs up on our laps and purrs. He tries to pull food off my plate. Steve lays on the ottoman and blocks the signal between the television and the remote. He is making this place his home on his own terms, and slowly. It is working for him so I don’t interfere.

Steve trying to figure out why the birds are so huge

Mortimer however, who at first seemed like he had always lived here has started to retreat. He slips away and sleeps in hidden corners. After the first two weeks, he gave up virtually all lap sitting which used to be his favorite pastime. To be totally truthful here his favorite pastime was climbing into a lap and the vigorously grooming his only hairless part so I can’t say I miss that “quality time.” He’s eating and he’s not shedding any more than usual. He still plays with Steve and they groom and wrestle but it is different. Mortimer is less playful.

Mortimer hiding his head from the world

This could all be a result of just growing up. He’s two now and not really a kitten anymore. I think though that it might go deeper than that. When Mortimer is out in the open with us he is generally hunkered down in an antique rocking chair with my Griz snuggie (don’t judge). This was the first piece of furniture he took to when we brought him home. I presume it is familiar and comforting.


When we got here he tried so hard to make this new place his own. He behaved as if nothing at all had changed for him. Unlike Steve, Mortimer did not take any time to mourn for the known. He was all positive all the time and fully embraced the adventure of the future without giving the past the respect it deserved. Now, as the days roll one into the other and time continues its relentless march forward, Mortimer is feeling the strain. He misses the familiar smells. He imagines his favorite spaces in the sun surrounded by the world he crafted for himself. I think he misses sitting with Dakota after dinner on Sunday and watching a movie. He must feel the impact of the empty space that used to be full of laughter and camaraderie with his community. The companionship outside of his family, his time with Jay and Salina and Theresa.

Halloween is coming and I think he knows on some level that his friends won’t be coming to see him. He’ll certainly miss John in pajamas and James in a dog costume. He is longing I think for dinner with Tim and Kim and Jon and Amanda. Mortimer is acutely aware that Amanda’s baby is coming any time now, he would love nothing more than to sniff that new baby. I don’t think he’s been thrown by the transition, we are all making that together. It seems more likely that by trying so hard to fully appreciate the new, the chosen adventure and the remarkable change, Mortimer has not yet given himself permission to really miss what he left.

I wonder if he thinks that looking backward fondly will somehow color how he feels about where he is now. I wonder if he is afraid of being perceived as unappreciative of what really is a positive change. I wonder if he has the strength to let himself just feel what he feels without apology, so that he can come to a new understanding of what might come next. I wonder if he knows that he is not the only one to have made the mistake of glossing over their own transitional angst.

All we can do for Mort is love him, and each other. We are all at a place now where we need take care of each other, we’re what we have. The other day while Cody and I were at the Smelt Sands watching the tide roll out I thought “You can only watch the tide go out for so long before you are watching the tide come in.” There it is, Mortimer needs to watch the tide go all the way out, feel all the feels, pick up a memento or two and then enjoy the new tide coming in. I think maybe he and I can do that together.

Thanks for coming by. Hey, stay in touch. We’d love to hear from you.



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