Musings on Cats and Vampire Summers

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Oscar, pre-scar days.

I was out early this morning getting something out of my car. OK, I was looking for my purse. I thought I left it in my car last night. I didn’t. While I was outside I heard the sound of an angry cat. You know that snarling, growling, hit pitched sound from Hell that cats project when they’re really pissed off and ready for a fight.

It wasn’t one of my cats. At least it didn’t sound like either one of them. I decided to walk down the street to the mail boxes and find out where the gosh awful noise was coming from.

My cat Oscar, my sweet baby boy was standing in the front yard of my neighbor Josh. Josh lives alone. He rides his bicycle when it is 120 degrees F outside. Everybody likes Josh, but I don’t think he has a cat.

On the front porch (a favorite place of the neighborhood wild turkeys) was the largest calico cat I have ever seen. Her head was the size of a honeydew mellon. She was screaming at Oscar.

Oscar sat there and meowed with a confused little voice. Then he looked at me, then looked at the giant calico.

“Hey, Oscar,” I said. “Come on baby, let’s go home.”

As always, Oscar looks hopeful when his mom (me) is around. I’m always there to rescue him. I scooped him up.

I walked home like a crazy cat lady with Oscar under one arm, and an armful of junk mail in the other arm.

Oscar will always be like a baby, despite a notched ear and a scar across his face. He is thirteen pounds of fur and love. He is also an asshole, but he is my asshole.

This has been a long hot summer. Not all of us are handling it as well as my bike riding neighbor Josh. Then add massive wild fires to the heat and it gets really fun. If someone ever tells you “Burn in Hell Vampire,” you can tell them “FUCK YOU ASSHOLE I live in California.”

After the cat adventure I dropped off a trunk load of supplies that will go up to a fire shelter near Redding (Carr fire.)

By the time I got home my son Garrett was peeling tape off of the walls. We’re painting the insides of our home. From neutral to color. It looks great. As we’re peeling long steps of blue tape from around the windows we talked about all kinds of stuff.

Garrett will be in his fourth year of college. He is twenty-one now. No longer a child. I have kids now but I also have adults – Vampire adults.

“I hate summer necks,” said Garrett.

“It isn’t that bad,” I said.

“Oh come on mom, they’re gross. All covered in sunscreen, sweat, foundation, hair products, and body spray. The body spray is the worst. It smells great, but oh my god, the taste… How did you do it before people took showers everyday?”

“I don’t know. I guess we were used to it. You know, like cigarette smoke and rancid bacon grease.”

“That’s disgusting. I’m sticking with wrists until October.”

“Sounds like a plan to me,” I told him. I didn’t mention that I go to nice adult people with indoor private offices. But I’m sticking with wrists more often than not as well.

College classes start soon for both of my kids. It already seems like fall. This morning was unusually cool and nice. On morning like that I pretend I’m living by the ocean or up in the mountains. For a myriad of reasons I’m still here, in the Sacramento Valley with the smoke and the ghosts of the 49ers and the first Vampires to settle in California.

Anyway, that is how my day went.

Hope yours went well.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Parenting Young Adult Vampires – Quick Notes

vampire teens

Even after your kids are grown, or in this case sort-of-grown, you still worry about them.

They graduate from high school, turn eighteen, vote, drive, get jobs, go to college, and they’re adults.

Sort of.

They’re also maybe drinking, having sex, forming strong opinions, dabbling in drugs, staying out late, and exploring the dark side of culture.

They’re exploring all sides of culture. That could be a good thing. A mighty good thing.

And if they’re Vampire kids you have a whole other thing to deal with.

It is one thing if your younger child starts to hunt a little on their own, but it is a whole new game when a young Vampire turns into an adult.

This isn’t something you can push off on the old traditions. Our old timers didn’t make the rules in the 1950’s. They made the rules in the 1750’s, and those rules don’t work anymore. Just like with any other parent you need to keep up with your kids, be open and honest, and teach them the rules of the 21st Century Vampire.

Your young adult children are going to start collecting their own sets of donors. Make sure they choose wisely. Guide them. By guiding I don’t mean vague references like “don’t  pick criminals,” or “watch for people with Hep C.” They need to pick safe donors. Safe means people with calm personalities. That means people who live private lives. It means people who can mentally and physically withstand being a donor.

You also need to continue to talk with your kids and be open with them. Donors are not friends. They are not serious lovers. They are not someone you will fall in love with. Sure you can care. Of course you SHOULD care, but not in a romantic way. Never get involved romantically with a donor. Also do not turn your donors into Vampires. Do not EVER let your donor know you’re a Vampire. These are tough conversations you need to have with your young adult children.

Encourage them to attend seminars about avoiding, and dealing with Vampire Hunters. They have enough going on with trying to find jobs, go to school, and juggle their activities, and start to live on their own, without having to deal with someone trying to put a stake through their heart, or worse. Make sure their only heartbreak is the kind they sing about in pop songs, not literally having their heart ripped from their body.

Vampire Teens Rock

This is just a quick thought for today. Just a reminder. I’ll go into more depth on the subject later.

In the meantime, no matter how old or young they are, talk to your kids. Talk with them, not at them. Listen to them. Engage them. Laugh with them. Share with them. Learn from them. Yes, learn from them – you’d be surprised what they can teach you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire mom

 

Comforts of Darkness

Darkness isn’t necessarily evil.

My 18 year old son Garrett has had an increasing sensitivity to light, mainly sunlight. It is expected but it is difficult.

He has a good attitude. I try to explain that it isn’t a medical problem. It is just something one has to adjust to and work around. Vampires are masters at the work around.

College starts at the end of September at a university on the coast. He requested a dorm room that faces either North or West. Randy, Garrett’s best friend will be sharing a room with him. Randy isn’t as light sensitive but he still has to be more cautious than their warm blooded friends.

I’m not worried about either one of the boys academically. They’re smart and engaged.

Their charm and sense of humor will get them through. As Vampires that guarantees they’ll never go hungry. Hey, that is important to a Vampire parent.

I seem to have spent most of my time here on earth with work-arounds. I am generally a rule follower, but rules don’t work for me. It isn’t exactly rules but more than the laws of physics and time don’t seem to apply to me at all. Electrical things don’t work for me. At the same time I can get odd things to work and nobody can figure it out. I can fix a computer or a car or figure out a mathematical equation and never know how I got there. Don’t ask me to duplicate it. Despite all of that I am good at process. Trial and error. It is like a puzzle.

When I look at most things in life as a puzzle it saves all sorts of frustrations and in the end I can usually figure it out. If not, it wasn’t worth figuring.

Relationships, whether academic, professional, or personal don’t fall into that category. When something works in that area it is more of a sort of magic.

How can one explain that old friend you don’t see for 20 years yet, when you meet again it is like yesterday? That doesn’t happen with just everyone.

Garrett and Randy will make those kinds of connections when they go off to school. There will be others of their kind there – other Vampires. They’ll all be from different backgrounds with different points of view. At all hours of the day and night they’ll talk about everything under the moon and stars. They’ll solve the problems of the world. They’ll argue and debate. They’ll laugh until their sides hurt. And there will be times when they lend a shoulder for each other to cry on. Or they’ll just silently listen.

Garrett will bring his guitar. Randy will bring his mandolin, keyboard. They’ll both bring sketchbooks and a few art supplies. Randy’s mom and I found some beautiful heavy goblets for the boys to bring along with some fireless candles. They’re Vampires, so sometimes they need something nicer than mugs and plastic red beer cups for when they splurge on a bottle of blood or don’t feel like going out and getting it direct from the source.

The college they will be attending has one of the larger Vampire populations so they’ll be in good company.

Tonight as my husband I went for a walk down by the lake we talked about being young and starting out. The sense of discovery and adventure is always grand. The first heartbreaks and disappointments sometimes seem overwhelming. Then there is the in between where it is closer to discovery and wonder, but in a calm way that sometimes even makes sense. There is hope for the future and room for dreams. It isn’t always easy, but I encourage parents not to say that too often. Let them try and feel and learn for themselves. It is scary. And I mean scary for parents.

We walked in the dark. We’re always in the dark in a way. It isn’t a bad thing.

The kids came after us, along with the dog. They told tall tales of another school, a rival school, where the big thing was girl fights. We had a full description of the fights complete with epic hair pulling and nail scratches. Then they talked of surfing at night as the cool night air came up from the bluffs off of the lake. The conversation moved to the girl at their school who does body piercings and the teen tattoo artist (who is getting really good or so we were told.) Then 15 year old Clara told Garrett that she was going to miss him when he goes off to college. He said there would be more Vampires there. She said it was going to be fun to visit him. And so it will be, if they both promise to behave – but they will. They always do.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Deep in the woods

Deep in the woods

 

Only 72 days until Halloween!