+Friday, April 08, 2005+
I've had my cat, Ashes, for just over two years now. He was actually a gift from Matt for our first Valentine's day together, and ever since I got him, I've spoiled him rotten. Literally. He's a rotten little sh*t now, but I still love him, and as a result, still continue to spoil endlessly and wait for the day when he actually "goes bad."

My roommate's boyfriend had to keep his puppy at our house briefly, and unfortunately, the puppy quickly learned that he could squeeze through the cat door to my room (the master bedroom came with a cat door already on the door...so very convenient!), so for the past couple days or so, I've been closing the cat door to prevent him from coming in and disrupting my sleep as curious puppies have a tendency to do. Ashes, of course, thought this was absolutely atrocious and decided at about 5 a.m. this morning that he wanted out of the room and scratched and scratched and cried and cried until I finally woke up and opened the cat door.

I figured he need to go to the bathroom from how insistently he scratched at the door, and I'd certainly rather roll out of bed at 5 a.m. than have a kitty accident in my room (he's an indoor/outdoor cat and doesn't have a litter box, so I actually have to "let him out" like a dog). Unfortunately, he didn't ask me to get out of bed at 5 a.m. so he could go potty. He wanted nothing more than to walk up and down the hallway outside my room and meow as loud as he possibly could for about 10 minutes before coming back into the room and sticking his head in his food bag ::CRINKLE CRINKLE CRINKLE:: (I really need to put that bag in a cupboard). This he did just to be a brat - he didn't want food for when I lugged myself out of bed once again to feed him and shush one of his many ways of letting me know I'm his servant, he simply looked at the food bowl, looked at me, looked at the food bowl, and continued with his incessant crying.

If my cat isn't crying because he's hungry or needs to go to the bathroom, I'm stumped, so I crawled back into bed, thinking that I could get at least another hour of sleep before my alarm went off. Ashes had other plans. For some strange reason, he really didn't seem to want to let me sleep, and proceeded to walk through my blinds so they could clank together in their own musical chorus of annoying. This might not seem so bad to you; it might even seem docile since he is, after all, just a cat. But he's not "just a cat." Oh no, not Ashes. He doesn't do this because he wants anything. He does it to see how much trouble I'll go through to figure out what it is he wants. He does it to see how much I'll do for him. He does it...to torment me.

I finally just grabbed him and cuddled up in bed with him. At least if I've got my arms wrapped around him, there's little he can do to control me, and Ashes is a cuddle monkey. He's not your average independent cat. He's more attention needy and cuddly than my dog. If you give him a modicum of love, he'll jump up in your lap and never ever leave you alone, not even when you're bleeding from him kneeding his claws into your chest or suffocating from inhaling cat hair.

Around the same time I finally got Ashes to stop wreaking havoc on the precious little time I had before my alarm clock went off, Matt called. Matt is the only person in the entire world that could wake me up at that miserable hour without the result being a hissy fit. If my parents or any of my friends decided it would somehow be a jolly good idea to call me at 5:30 in the morning...well....I probably wouldn't pick up the phone (I was going to talk some s**t there, but it would've all been exaggerations of things I never would've said). I am simply not a morning person. That line from the Simpsons: "There's a 4:30 in the morning now?" That pretty much sums up all my thoughts on morning, and usually sticks with me at least until 11:30 am.

But I digress. I'd talked to Matt briefly on Wednesday - he called me around 1 in the morning to let me know that he was okay and that the Chinook wasn't from our unit, but since everyone else in the unit also wanted to call home, our conversation was limited to about a minute. Before that, he'd called on Tuesday, so imagine my surprise (and utter, complete, and total happiness) when he called AGAIN this morning! I told him I was already awake when he called. And then I told him why, and as someone who fully understand what it means to be tormented by Ashes, his "sympathy" consisted of a real hearty laugh. Thanks Matt :-P Thanks a lot. Like father like son, right? LOL.

On April 3, TF Storm had its Transfer of Authority ceremony, and I was pleased to find pictures posted on the website so that I could another round of "Where's Matt?" (similar to Where's Waldo? except finding a DCU clad soldier in a picture where everyone is wearing DCUs is a lot harder. It's like trying to find a specific straw of hay in a haystack. At least Waldo had that hideous red-striped shirt and hippie beanie). To my dismay, he's not in any of them, but well, I suppose it's not like I've never seen a picture of Matt before.

In all the pictures I've seen from Afghanistan on other blogs and at TF Storm's website, it's interesting to see how incredibly similiar it is to Nevada. They're both big ass deserts. They're both basically barren wastelands (everyone raises a commotion about Yucca Mountain because "Nevada is not a wasteland." Boy, do those people need to take a drive around the state. Nevada has two cities - Las Vegas and Reno. I wouldn't go so far as to call Carson "City" a city. It's the capital, and that's about it. Everything else in Nevada is either barren wasteland or real-life run down cowpoke one-horse towns with a few minor exceptions like Elko. Don't get me wrong, I love Reno and Nevada - can I get a "HELL YEAH" for no state income tax? - but that doesn't change the fact that it's a barren wasteland. Of course, I don't want Nevada to be a dump for nuclear waste, but it's still a wasteland. Wow, have I gone off on a tangent....). I forgot where I was going with that, but it was strange to peruse through the Transfer of Authority ceremony pictures and think that they might as well be at their base in Stead because they really do look like the same place.

After talking to Matt this morning, my entire day was great. Hearing his voice is a huge part of it, but I'm convinced that we could just sit in silence on the phone, and I'd still hang up having that great warm fuzzy feeling. Knowing that he's out there somewhere and that he still loves me is a deep solace. The presence of Matt and his love is what keeps me going.

WELL, I've been all over the place with this post, huh? Hehehe. What better way to end it than with a picture of our "kids"?

wishing matt was here @ 5:21 PM+

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