Monday, September 4, 2006

Labor Day Weekend and Beau-Woe Woes

It was a beautifully planned weekend, and it went well. Most of it, at least. Three couples met in Hot Springs, NC, for a long-weekend camping trip: Hubster and me, Pepe and Analisa, and John G. and Kim. Hubster and I got there first, on Friday afternoon, and started dinner and set up camp. We'd bought a canopy with a gift certificate Hubster had received, so we set that up, too. Nice little setup, we had.

John and Kim showed up a couple of hours later, and we had dinner. They set up camp, we had a campfire, etc. Nice evening. I turned in early because I was extremely tired, for some reason.

Next day. The four of us went hiking on the Appalachian Trail, starting about five miles north of Hot Springs. As always, Hubster and I bored our trail visitors with reminiscences of our thru-hikes on this particular section (Hub hiked north out of Hot Springs around Easter of '99; I hiked in southbound after a 26.2-mile day, in pitch black night, in below-freezing temps). It was Kim's first hike ever, so I hope we didn't turn her off to hiking; the last mile or so is a pretty rocky, rugged, steep downhill. (Note to self: When taking novice hikers out on the trails, choose hikes that are easy and less than three miles.)

We got back to camp to find Pepe and Analisa unpacking their car and setting up their tent. Yay! Everyone was here! We hung out, then everyone but Hubster and I went to the Hot Springs Spa to get massages (Hub and I are broke, so we opted out of massages for this time). We grilled steaks and heated broccoli for dinner at the campground. (Note to self: When planning to have steaks with friends, tell them not to buy Waterfall a steak. Waterfall is a vegetarian at heart, and the smell/taste of pricey grilled steaks does very little for her.)

That night, we had reservations for a group hot tub, but Pepe and Analisa had their dogs with them. Dogs were not allowed, but we didn't know that. Things got a little ugly. P & A ended up going back to the campsite while Hub, John G., Kim, and I did the hot tub thing. Then we went back to the campfire and told stories over beer and wine and snacks.

Here's where the real story begins ...

Next day. 6 a.m. My travel-clock alarm went off. I was playing piano for church in the morning (about an hour away from Hot Springs), so I needed to head home, get a shower, get dressed, and get myself to church. The sun hadn't risen yet, and I made half the winding-road trip in dark and fog. Got home, showered, dressed. Realized I had an hour to kill, so I made a pot of coffee, practiced a bit of piano, and had a monster snuggle-session with Hideaway, my calico. "Hm," I thought to myself as I sent Hideaway into ecstasy by rubbing her belly, "I wonder where Beau is. I haven't seen that big cat all morning."

I went upstairs and gathered my music for church. Found Beau inside, at the front door. Sitting with his right paw off the ground. Said paw was very swollen. I tried to look at it and he hissed and swiped at me. Drew blood. I needed to get to church, so I promised him I'd be back in an hour. On the way to church, I called the Hot Springs Campground and told them to find Hubster and tell him there was an emergency at home and to call his wife immediately. There's no cell phone service at the campground, so he had to race up a mountain in order to get his cell phone to work. (No. I don't know why he didn't think to use the campground's pay phone. I didn't ask.)

Finally talked to Hubster a few minutes before church. He said to take Beau to the animal emergency hospital in Asheville, get him treated, and get my butt back to Hot Springs as soon as I could, hopefully in time for the group picnic on Max Patch, and definitely in time for the group hot-tub reservation at 5:30.

After church, I came home. Called REACH and told them I was coming in. Sustained numerous injuries, but successfully got Beau into the cat carrier. Left for Asheville. Sat in stop-and-go traffic for twenty minutes while Beau cried. (You may recall my elation several weeks ago, when Beau and I completed our dreaded annual trip to the vet for shots.)

Long story short ... I was at REACH for five and a half hours. Beau was hell-on-paws. I sustained additional injuries while trying to get him to come out from under the examination table. Blood flowed copiously (my blood), but they were finally able to get him sedated via anesthesia.

Turns out he had an abscess on his paw. They jacked him up with antibiotics, gave him oxygen to wake him back up, charged me an arm and a leg (and a couple of paws), and finally discharged Beau, complete with a big paw-bandage that looked like a cast, at 7:30. I took him home, got him settled, and headed back to Hot Springs. Arrived at 9:30--so I missed the romantic picnic and the romantic hot-tub. Hub got to have a romantic picnic and a romantic hot-tub hour with two other couples. Fun, fun.

We stayed up late, drinking wine and chatting (and I finally ate, for the first time since scarfing a granola bar before church that morning). Woke up this morning, packed up, and came home. Unpacked, washed clothes, cleaned everything up, went to the gym even though I felt exhausted, and ran seven and a half miles.

It was a good weekend. The Beau-Woe Woes were not so good, but I was glad that I came home for church and found him. If I hadn't, my saber-toothed, razor-clawed little angel would have had to suffer for at least 24 more hours.

So, I'm feeling a little harried and tired tonight. I'll respond to comments and post a few weekend pictures tomorrow. I want to go practice piano, but I can't because my hands and fingers are rather painfully sliced up, compliments of the darling Bobcat Beau. So I guess I'll just turn in early. Good night!

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