I'm an inquisitive portly boy.

An update on 6/14/02:

   I'm a very sick rat.  :( :( :( :( I have pneumonia.  :( :( :( :( -And even though I have grown significantly in length, I have still lost over 100g (!!) since my last visit to the "mediciney-smelling place with the stranger Giant Hands that always pick me up." I'm an emaciated rat:

   Things seem to be looking up, though.  "Giant Hands that bring me yogurt" is bringing me yogurt that tastes a little bit funny.  I don't mind.  I have more energy, now--and my appetite is better.  I also cough less.  I feel that I will be healthy rat again, before too long.  :)

An update on 1/16/03:

   On 11/23/02, NAV died.  :( :( :( :( He did recover from the pneumonia, and managed to put on some weight.  However, it was not nearly as much as he had carried before the illness.  Also, it seemed as if his spine was having problems, somehow.  :( :( I'm not sure, but I think he got emphysema, from having pneumonia too long.  :( :( :( :(

   I suppose what happened wasn't totally unexpected--I remember a few times during the previous two weeks lifting up his "privacy box" and saying, "You okay in there, buddy? -You're scaring me."--but I still thought that he was getting better.  I had this fantasy of NAV living long enough for me to take him down to Pennsylvania, when I leave this icebox once and for all.

   It was quick---and I don't think that the NAVster suffered all that much--except at the very end.  Laura called me and said, "Your rat's doing something strange." I deemed it an emergency, and was on the phone for a while--trying to get a vet on Saturday in Interior Alaska.  By the time I got "down the hill," Laura told me that she had been trying to call me--that, "He wasn't doing anything anymore." At first, I thought that this meant that his strange behavior had stopped.  When I went into the room he and Puffy shared, I learned the truth.  I was faced with what countless people through all history have encountered: A once breathing and vibrant being, now a lifeless lump.  It was really something for me to see him lying there. . . .  :( :( :( :( I was then faced with just what to do with him--in Interior Alaska, with the ground frozen all the way to the surface, in a land where I own no property.  I ended up having him cremated.  The woman at the animal shelter checked him over--looking for outward signs of abuse.  -How could she do that??!! I loved that rat! :( :(

   The response(s) I've gotten from the people around me have been just about amazing.  My cousin wrote me a postcard in sympathy---that is only the second time he has written me, ever.  NAV received a Moslem prayer from my officemate: He told me that a human being gets four recitations at a funeral--a rat deserves at least one.

   I thought on the day it happened that I could just update his webpage, feel really sad---and then that would be the end of it.  I just couldn't, though.  Seeing the pictures of him. . . .  Remembering the times we'd shared. . . .  That guy just broke my heart.  :( :( :( :( I will never forget you, NAV.