Rest In Peace, Tommy

My wife put it best on Facebook, so I’m just going to echo her words:

I was up for hours last night, staring at the ceiling. Trying to find the right words. After about two dozen drafts of this post, I decided to be short on description, but long on love and gratitude.

Last night Pack and I received the call we had been quietly dreading. At 9:40pm Tommy went into cardiac arrest. We raced to Oradell Animal Hospital to be with him and they were able to revive him long enough for us to have the chance to say goodbye…
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An end for some things and a beginning for others…

Well, many things have finished up here at Packy’s Place, and new things are starting.  I’ll go over the endings first.

The box office of Nutley Little Theatre right after Superstorm Sandy.  The person who took this picture says the base of the tree didn’t so much look like it had been blown over and more like Chuck Norris had roundhoused the trunk.

A Bad Year for Tomatoes closed, after losing our opening weekend to Superstorm Sandy.  In addition to the falling tree damage, we had blazing transformers burning up the utility pole in front, no power, and, in completely unrelated to Sandy bad luck, no heat.  We found out that when PSE&G had been out to do some work on the gas line in September, they had neglected to turn the gas back on.  Normally, this would have been an “Oops!  Sorry! We’ll send someone out right away to turn the ‘By law, this knob can only be turned by certified technicians’ knob!” but with power out over much of the state, turning on the gas for a business that only operates in the evenings wasn’t a high-priority for them.  However, we got power back after the first weekend, and we got the gas back for heat the day of our delayed opening night.  We did dress rehearsal with space heaters.  The performances themselves went well.  The sound design wasn’t particularly challenging: lots of doorbell sounds (which I foisted off on the cast by installing a real doorbell on the set for them to ring), a phone ring, some scene change music, and some pre-recorded dialogue that was supposed to be coming from a tape recorder on stage.  I hung some speakers over the spots where the tape recorder was being played and called it a day.

The sadder news is that Lily finally passed away.  She was getting weaker and weaker as October passed, and we knew she was going soon.  By the closing day of Tomatoes, we knew it was that weekend.  By the time Kay and I had to leave for the final performance, we didn’t know if she’d make it until we got home.  She didn’t.

We wanted to be with her when she died, but there was no way to bag out on the show.  As it was, we’d made her as comfortable as we could have, and we’re positive that she knew she was loved.  The next day, we took Lily upstate to my parents’ house to lay her to rest next to my cats Tiger (1981-2000), Kitty Galore (1990-2007) and Twinkletoes (1990-2008).  In the spring, we’re going to plant some flowers there.

RIP, Lily  (1997? – 2012)

So much for the endings.

Kay is busy planning out our Christmas episode for PacKay Productions, and she’s planning on introducing a whole lot of NEW in this next video.  First, this will be the first outing for our new HD video camera and tripod.  It will also be the first appearance of someone I’ve been working on for quite a long time.

Because we need him for the next video, Kay has taken over finishing off my rug monster. I’ve been home sick the past few days (something in my GI tract kept me close to a bathroom and a smidge feverish yesterday, today I’m keeping to bed to kill it for good), but Kay’s been pulling me down to the basement every few hours to show me things and have me make decisions about how certain elements work.

I swear–my wife is a genius.  And so, because of her genius, I’m able to introduce you to my new friend… Rudy Monster.


There’s still some work to be done on him, but he’s mostly there.  Since these photos were taken, Kay’s already affixed his eyebrow, and I’m debating whether I want to give him palm pads like I’d originally designed or leave his hands furry all over.  But this is close enough that I can show him and say “This is it.  This is the monster I’ve wanted to show you.”

And he’s a rabid Bruce Springsteen fan from Little Furry, NJ.  *sigh*  I don’t quite know how I wound up with a monster who’s really into The Boss (while I can take Springsteen or leave him), but, hey… sometimes new friends can throw you some surprises.

Has it been two months already?

Well, a lot has been happening since I was last able to post to my blog.  First and formost, my wondrous wife Kay and I have moved.  We’d been getting tired of apartment living and having to share the building with other people.  So, after a frenetic search, we found an absolutely adorable single-family house in Hackensack. Once we found the house and signed the lease, then we started the month-and-a-half long process of frantically packing things into boxes and moving them from the old apartment to the new house.  Making the process of moving even more annoying was the constant harassment by our old landlord about when we would be out of the apartment.  “When will you have all of your property out of the apartment?” he would ask me.  My reply was always the same: “My wife and I will have everything out and the apartment cleaned up by the end of the month when our lease ends.”  This didn’t make him happy, but I didn’t care–I’d paid my rent through the end of the month, and I had enough stress to deal with trying to get everything done without having to worry about getting out of my old apartment earlier than I needed to.

Lily, at the vet’s after the worst of her ordeal was over.

One of the great stressors I had to deal with was my oldest cat, Lily, stopped eating after the move and became very weak.  She’d been losing a lot of weight recently, too, so we took her into the vet.  There, we discovered that she was in kidney failure, and, after some discussion, my wife and I decided to check Lily into a veterinary emergency clinic so she could receive 24-hour IV fluid injections for a few days.  She took to the treatment well, and after about two-and-a-half days of treatment we were able to check her out of the clinic and continue giving her daily subcutaneous fluid infusions. After another 10 days, we took her back to the vet, and her blood tests came back with excellent results.  She was still a sick kitty with malfunctioning kidneys, but the numbers that had been the worst were drastically improved, and her Phosphorous level was 0.1 MG/DL above the “normal” range.  She’s had her subcutaneous fluid infusions cut back to twice a week, and she’ll be checking in with the vet in September.

So, with all that going on, I didn’t have any time to work on my puppet.  However, on July 1st, once we were officially out of the old apartment, I started work again.  I spent much of my free time over the past week hand-stitching the hands for my monster.  We couldn’t machine-sew the hands because there wasn’t really enough room for a decent seam allowance, so Kay taught me a slightly modified whip stitch, and I was able to sew a finger or two a day.  Today, I finished both hands and Kay popped the proper thread into the sewing machine and we stitched up the rest of the seams:

All the sewing is done! Now all that’s left is…

… to turn him right-side out!

All in all, I’m quite satisfied the way the sewing portion of the project has turned out.  Next, we’re going to be tackling his mouth and his eyes.