Wednesday, February 24, 2010


There are myriad methods to save funds. Namely, don’t buy anything beyond an absolute necessity. Per example, I used to treat myself to a take-away (to go) meal a couple times per week. My weakness is Asian cuisine. Even though I would eek out two or three meals from the dinner, it was expensive - $15.00+ so that got cut from my lean budget.

I buy food at Aldi’s, Target Supermarket, and Walmart (rarely). I participate in a nonprofit’s food program where you volunteer and can procure food at a reduced cost. During the summer I consume produce from my garden. Alas, the only item to consume fresh during the winter, which transplanted well this year, was parsley. Good greens but not enough nutrition.

Besides food, heat is another necessity. I opt for a cool house. The abode is kept at a brisk 58 degrees (F) when I am at home and it is permitted to drop to 50 while I am gone. The cats shed less, yeah. This temperature is tolerable when I am in physical motion. I do have to wear a warm sweater, heavy sweatpants, socks and slippers or tennis shoes. The only time I feel chilly is when I am sitting still while reading, watching tv, chatting on the phone or typing at the computer. I adapt by plugging in an electric blanket and wrapping it around myself. I put on a hat and wrap a scarf around my neck. It works well except for my fingers while typing. I need to procure some gloves with their fingertips exposed (ala Ebenezer Scrooge). I also use an electric blanket to warm the bed before I snuggle between the sheets and six layers of blankets. The blanket is on a timer as not to run all night or mess up my electro-magnetic field. Spring is still several months away…

I make minimum mortgage payment each month, zero out my credit card each month, and there are no other loans. My auto died during the spring of 2009 and I purchased a different used car (2000 Toyota Camry). It is the most complicated auto that I have other owned but it works well. Thankfully, it is not affected by acceleration problems – yet (holding of breath). I do worry about the cruise control, though. I was able to pay for the auto from savings. I always combine driving trips; such as today I visited the post-office, library and grocery store in one stop. I have convinced my friends to carpool as much as possible. Fuel prices are guaranteed to rise as the economy improves.

My savings account is being slowly depleted despite my best efforts. I work part-time and add to my funds through temporary assignments. I purchase only necessities but mortgage, phone, electricity-natural gas, and other fixed expenses consume all that I am able to earn and more. I recently met with a person from the bank about modifying my mortgage; I must examine how it will affect my credit rating before I accept their offer. I have been diligently seeking a full time job since June 2009. I shall now start selling some possessions that I do not require. Anyone collect comic books out there???

Perhaps the cats will get a job.
© 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010


NOTE: Please read “Here Comes Trouble” for the first section of this story.

The saga continued a few days later when Zoë somehow reopened the stitches. I rushed her over to the vet; Dr. C, who opted to stay open late to perform her second surgery. I was filled with anxiety as I sat out in the lobby. This silly troublemaker had bonded to my heart. They carried her out to me immediately after the operation was completed. She reeked of ether, her pupils were oddly dilated but as soon as she smelled me and heard my voice she began to purr. They affixed a better Elizabethan Collar, a big ol’ funnel cone around her head, and only charged $200. I thanked them profusely and dropped off flowers the next day as a thank you.

Zoë adapted to the cone. Dr. C said that she should not be jumping so I closed her off from stairwells and moved all the chairs away and either made ramps or placed boxes on all the locations where she would normally venture. Mo was not thrilled by all these changes and the attention that Zoë was receiving. Zoë would be sequestered to the bathroom while I was gone but could roam the first floor while I was home.

After two weeks, the vet said that she could climb stairs so I permitted her to be out of the bathroom while I was gone. A week later, I came home to find pee piddled on the kitchen floor. Zoë was lethargic so we went on another trip to the vet. This time the diagnosis was dehydration. They had to squeeze saline solution under her skin. It created an odd lump over her shoulder blades. Her body absorbed the liquid quickly and she ate some special high calorie soft feline food. The result was immediate; she perked up and wanted to play. The cost was only $100.

We went to see the vet several more times and he did not want her to remove the collar until fur grew over the wound. Zoë learned how to pick up her favorite ball with the inside rim of the hat and pitch it across the floor. If she was annoyed with Mo, Zoë would head butt her with the collar. Mo hated the collar. Zoë hated bath-time. I would wet a clean towel and wipe her down daily. She would complain the whole time. Despite this effort, she started to be odiferous. I opted to wash her hindquarters in warm water. She did not agree with this plan and began to twist and turn. I lost my grip and she splashed into the washbasin – wetting most of her body. I grabbed the drying towel and wiped her down. It was the first time she ever hissed at me and I received the look of pure hatred. However, the result was no more smelly cat. Despite the passage of time, she now reacts with fear every I carry her near a sink.

After four long months the vet said that she was healed and the collar could be removed. I took it off her head and she looked surprised. She immediately started running around the house and squeezing behind all the furniture and nooks where she could not venture due to the collar. Thankfully, her leg has been fine ever since except for a bit of arthritis and a bald spot over the hock. Nearly $1,000 in medical bills but she has paid me back with purrs…

Gotta go hear that furry accordion music.
© 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010


A forlorn sound is heard. What could it be? “Yeeaawwhh? Yeeaawwhh?” Alas, poor Zoë, she has once again become trapped behind a door. Pickles aka Ms. Trouble! I rescue her from the guest room. She snuck in there when I ventured in to retrieve an item. She must have been content for a while because she did not start mewing for an hour. No worse for the wear, she waltzes out as if nothing out of the ordinary has occurred.

Her curiosity has caused her to get shut up into cabinets, closets and boxes. Thankfully, someone always heard her forlorn pleas and let her out. Her worst mishap was gashing her left hind leg at the hock (knee). Zoë was just over a year old. I arrived home from work to find her bleeding on the kitchen floor. The gash must have just occurred because there was not much blood but she had ripped the skin through to the bone. It was unsettling to see the tissue and sinew around her hock joint. The veterinarian speculated that she was chewing an itchy spot and accidentally ripped the skin since there were no other abrasions to her skin.

Unfortunately, my veterinarian’s office was closed. I rushed her over to the emergency vet’s office and they performed an operation to close the wound. I nearly had a heart attack when I received the bill of nearly $500 but she was alive. I asked what I needed to do and they said that I should leave on the bandage and take her to my regular vet in a couple days. We were both exhausted so I put her into the bathroom (for safety) with a clean litter box, food, water, toys and a blanket and went to bed.

I arose the next morning to check on her. Much to my dismay, her foot was quadrupled in size; it looked like Sylvester The Cat’s foot whenever he damaged it. I tore off the bandage and she was crying in pain. Of course, I had an important meeting at work, which I could not cancel. I called my vet and they said that I should drop her off. I took Zoë in and went to work. I was distracted throughout the meeting and called the vet as soon as it was finished. They said that the emergency vet had not removed the restriction bandage and that is why Zoë’s leg swelled – literally called “cartoon foot.” The removal of the bandage allowed circulation to return and she was doing okay. They didn’t even charge me for watching her for a couple hours and checking the wound. Yes, I used sick leave to tend to the ill cat.

Critters are a responsibility. TO BE CONTINUED
(c) 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Fever – chills – and other unpleasant symptoms, all due to a recent virus. I wasn’t able to eat so I felt weak and a bit dizzy. I had been suffering for about 14 hours when the thought occurred to me that I could faint the next time that I rose out of bed. There would be no one to find me.

The next time I got up to use the restroom, I procured the phone and placed it at my bedside – at least I would have a better chance at calling for help if it were needed. The ol’ “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” situation. I would then have to heave myself downstairs and unlock a door so that the EMT crew could enter or they would have to break the door down. Not a pleasant option. Plus, I would be heartbroken if the cats ran outside.

Thankfully, I recovered before having to call for aid. I regret residing alone when I am ill, lonely, needing romance, or could use assistance with a project. As an introvert, I expend a lot of energy when I interact with others so it’s nice to come home to a quiet environment. I always planned to find a partner but that didn’t happen so I bought a house on my own. I adore the felines, but they didn’t even bring me soup during my illness. Sometimes, I just don’t want to be alone. Another lonely Valentines Day. Sniff, sniff…

Time to buy myself some Toblerone or Godiva chocolate.
© 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010


“Pickles” is Zoë’s nickname. She taught herself fetch, despises milk, loves peanut butter and tomatoes, and runs to the window whenever a truck, school bus or large vehicle drives by. I had to kitten proof the house because she was more destructive than a two-year old child. She even chewed on the dining room table. She is just over four and half years old and still seeks chaos.

She has gotten herself trapped behind a stack of boxes, stuck under a radiator, crawled into a box with a closed lid and many more misadventures. Luckily, I was usually nearby to rescue her each time. Zoë cannot sit still for very long. I call her thunder-kitty when she rushes through the house. Her sharp nails have scratched the linoleum tiles. She loves to jump on one area of the dining room wall. She rushes to the spot, jumps up about three feet from the ground, makes a happy sound, and springs off in another direction while making small scratches in the paint. Heavy sigh.

Pickles hates being alone so she is either shadowing Mo or I. At least she will venture to the basement to use the litter box and eat without us. When I am on second floor for too long (the door is closed), she will stand at the top of the landing and mew for me – loudly. She even follows me into the shower – not to get wet but to sit in the same room and wait for me to wash off the dirt. When I am outside during warm weather and the windows are open she will mew for me through the screen. She is very vocal so I have learned a lot of her communication cues “Mew-lish.”

Since we reside in town, the cats do not venture outside. Too many dangers exist in an urban environment. Mo is neither very bright nor fast. Zoë is bright and fast but naïve. My grandmother had farm cats and many of them perished due to the perils of living outside. Happiness is when Momo & Zozo are sitting on top of me and purring. Aww.

Gotta clean the zoo.
© 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Intuition is usually correct. The old “sick” feeling which is not an upset stomach or GI track issue. I knew that something was awry but could not figure out what. It wasn’t until my boss pulled me into a meeting and told me that my full-time job was being cut to part-time that the intuition was sadly satisfied. That occurred in June 2009.

The economy always sucks when I am seeking a job. The last time it happened was December 2002 and I was laid off. At least during 2003 I procured interviews but not this time. I did receive one telephone interview a couple months ago but they decided to only meet with internal candidates. I have to dip into my savings a bit each month to pay the bills.

This has caused considerable angst. I feel disrespected and there is no less work to do in half the time, in fact, my boss wants me to do more. I would love to quit but require the funds to pay for necessities (food, shelter, gas/electricity, cat food). It is painful to go into the office every day but I trudge in. Thankfully, the Economic Stimulus subsidy will help me to afford health-care until November, which is another necessity. I better get a job by that time or I don’t know what I will do when the subsidy ends. I just wish my cats would get a job but they lack motivation.

Always seek the positive. Time is valuable. I have had the opportunity to volunteer more. Hang out with friends, read, and be a bit lazy. When I was working full time I had to rush from one task to another. I can now be a bit more leisurely. I worked on a lot of low-cost projects at home during the summer of ‘09. I painted part of the house and moved a lot of perennial garden plants. These are all tasks, which would have required the use of vacation time or exhausted me during the weekend. I now have tasks in the house to tackle – such as the dreaded piles of paperwork in the office.

Time to read more Jeeves and Wooster! My favorite is “The Tie That Binds.”
NOTE: I don’t care for the author’s subtle bigotry & sexism (I give him some leeway due to the society in which he was raised).
© 2010