I really didn't know what to do about her birthday.  Should I mention it and see if the kids remember?  Should I make a cake?  No clue.  So I asked them.  Grace said, "why don't we get pizza and then go to the bookstore and each pick out a book for Mommy's birthday?"  But then she kind of ruined it by saying "and then when Grammie dies we can get a book and when Poppy dies we can get a book and when Ripley (the dog) dies we can get a book."  Calvin thought it was a good idea as long as his could be Power Rangers.  So that's what we did.

Then the next night I was asleep and the cat jumped on the bed and started pawing my arm.  She does this every night.  I give her a little scratch behind the ear and then she lays on my chest until my alarm goes off.  This is actually how I found out I sleep with my mouth open because every so often she will attack my tongue.  Thank God she is declawed.  But this night she kept pawing and then I suddenly felt something drop on my chest.  It was a very alive mouse.  The mouse scrambles to get away from her and runs through my beard onto my face where I fling it into the air and the cat follows.  I had fallen asleep reading so the light was on and I saw the whole thing.  When I stopped screaming I went downstairs and had three cups of Tension Tamer tea followed by a beer to calm down.  At the hardware store the next day I spent my paycheck on mouse traps.  As I was telling the clerk my story and he was laughing and then he got serious and said, "I can help you get rid of the cat too if you want."  No, cat good.  Mice bad.

Then today I was doing some organizing and I came across one of her journals.  She had tons of these because she would write a few pages and then forget about it and then buy another.  Since she has been gone I have been finding them everywhere.  Why do we write in journals?  Isn't it so after we are gone people can know what we were thinking about?  I wanted to read them but didn't at the same time because what if there's something I don't want to know?  But today, the day after the mouse, I decided to flip through this one.  It was dated sometime in the 90s when she was with someone else.  She had run into a friend who had seen me.  She wrote with a lot of exclamation points, "I knowTom's no good for me but Susan should have told me!!!!!"

I never knew I was bad for anybody.  Me, who plans my spontaneity six months in advance, was actually bad for someone.  It's the best gift I've ever gotten.  Much better than a mouse.

Richmond, VA