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Cats

I’m angry with my cats right now. I have four of them. I am pretty frustrated with one of them in particular. This cat is obnoxious. Every night after midnight, until about 3:00 a.m., he decides to get active. It’s as though someone injected a high dose of stimulants into his bloodstream. It’s making me crazy and depriving me of sleep…a lot of sleep…for a long time now.

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Surviving Difficulty in 20 Not-So-Easy Steps

Yes, I’ve bemoaned my pitiful luck this month here on several occasions.

No, this is not going to be another down-in-the-mouth, woe-is-me bitch session.

I’m actually going to be positive for a change and since I have only small change, I guess that’s a good thing.

I’ve bemoaned my financial fate of late and poured out my misery as to how deplorable and desperate I really am…economically…right now.

I’d like to make the following observations of the data of my financial life this month:

1. I began the month by ending last month in the negative numbers…oh…about $300. (This is NOT normal for me…at least not since those first few months after leaving The Evil Ex.)

2.  At the end of last month, in addition to the negative bank balance, I had to post-date two checks to my mechanic one for last month and one for May for the water pump that broke.

3. I am still trying to pay off utility bills for the rental unit (aka, my old house that I am walking away from).

4. I started my month with about $200 to pay over a thousand dollars worth of bills.  (That was after I paid some of the other bills first.  I don’t just have a $1,000 overhead.)

5. I was looking forward to a $3300 tax return, the first in 5 years, which would have been a nice windfall, allowing me to get caught up and all and I was required to turn this over to the bankruptcy court trustee.  Thanks to Ms. Trustee, I was allowed to keep the money I received from my partial rent payment I recieved.

6. I put everything possible up for sale on Craigslist.

7. I did have to write one post-dated check to The Good Ex for a hundred bucks to get through this week after the cat started oozing mysterious pus last Friday night. (Please, do not tell me I should have let the poor cat die.)

8. I sold nearly everything I put up on sale, except the stupid juicer, and paid all but two bills, small ones, which I will double pay tomorrow because it is payday in exactly 10 minutes.  At midnight that paycheck will dump in and I can start over for another month. The bills were the water and garbage and I’m writing the checks now for double the amounts.

9. I just checked my bank balances.  I have exactly $7.49. 83 cents of that is my savings.

10.  I have no credit cards.

11.  I have 83 cents in savings.

12. I am NOT overdrawn, in spite of this nightmare of a month.

13. Someone just called about a coffee table I had advertised on Craigslist.  20 minutes after answering that call, I now have $27.49 to my name.

14. I still have a $200 post-dated check that my mechanic will cash on the first and a $100 check that The Good Ex will cash tomorrow coming out of tomorrow’s paycheck, but…

15. I’m not overdrawn!!!!!!!!

This, in and of itself, is a huge step forward for me financially. It is small, but very definite, progress.

16.  I have not had an unexpected car repair this month…and I won’t because the car is parked and I’m not going anywhere tonight.  If it breaks down tomorrow that will come out of next month’s pay.  Let’s hope it does not break down.

17.  I had to pay $150 to an attorney last week on top of having to pay bills, put gas in two large gas-sucking vehicles, and feed a family of five, two of whom are teenagers.

18.  I got all my paper work in to the District Attorney’s office in response to The Evil Ex’s request to review the child support order. I feel better now.

19. I made a decision about what to do about the tenants in my house. I’m terminating the agreement, because I can.  The money and the stress are not worth it.  I feel even better now.

20.  I paid my bills, didn’t go into the red again, and I survived this month.

April 2012 was, by far, the most financially stressful month I’ve had in four years and I made it.

I can, for the first time all month, breathe deep, relax…and feel very, very good about being very, very strong.  Lesser people would’ve slit their wrists or swung from rafters if they faced my difficulties. (They do this because they have life insurance.  I do not have life insurance because I cannot afford it…yet.)

Someone Shot My Cat

This evening when I got home, The Hesitant Boyfriend noticed that a patch of hair was worn off my black cat. The location of the patch was on the meaty part of the back thigh. It looked, at first, like maybe a tick or flea was bothering the cat and he’d dug away hair to get at the pest. Upon closer scrutiny, we discovered a perfectly round puncture wound that was oozing bloody puss. And by oozing, I mean, this ooze was of volcanic proportions. THB thought someone might have shot our cat with a BB gun or a .22. We tried to clean the wound, but our cat fought his way out of that one and ran off.

I figured that cats are pretty good at fending for themselves, so we turned our attention to some episodes of West Wing a friend let us borrow. I couldn’t get THB’s comment out of my mind, though. What if something was lodged in the cat? It seemed infected. What if it didn’t heal on its own, but got worse? And who would shoot someone’s cat? Further, since he’s an inside cat, how and when was he out? I also didn’t exactly relish the idea of that ooze ending up all over the furniture and the house.

I searched the house for my cat. He’s a beautiful black shorthair. Exactly the kind represented on the Halloween decor each October. In fact, I make certain he’s safe inside during the fall months especially. Of the four cats, he is my own. I picked him out when he was a kitten after going to pick up another kitten my daughter reserved a few weeks earlier. He was pure black, so adorable, and I fell in love. Somehow this cat knows I love him, because as the most standoffish cat in our bunch cats, he is a cuddly creature only when he is with me.

I was worried that he might really be hurt, so we ended up taking him in to the emergency vet clinic not far from our place. Mind you, between the two of us, THB and I have less than $150 to buy gas and groceries for the next week. It’s not the norm for us, but with the Bankruptcy Trustee taking my tax return and, my car’s hot water pump and extra medical expenses coming due, we are ultra tight this month. Had I not sold some things, we would not even have this much.

I knew we were in trouble when we walked in the place at 11:30 pm and the sign said payment due at the time of service. And then we discovered they no longer take checks. I’m now wondering if I can just use my debit card and let it overdraw. The minimum cost to walk in the door is $105. I’m just sick. It is going to cost even more than this for sure. The last thing I needed was another financial blow and here it is.

Well, this is going to be interesting.

And, yes, I am worried about my cat.

Later…

The tech just came in and informed us that the cat is not the victim of a gun shot wound but of bites from other cats that have become infected or abcessed. Well, that’s the good news. Now, how about the financial devastation this is about to wreak on my life?

Even later….

We have been here nearly two hours. I am beginning to wonder if I will ever see my cat again. This place has never been this slow. THB mumbles,”We shaved too much hair off your cat so we are letting it grow back before you can go.” He’s delirious. He’s not a night owl at all. I’m tired, too, and might even be able to sleep if I were anywhere near a bed. I’d just like my cat and the bill, please. Well, I’d really just like the cat. You can keep the bill.

Much, Much, MUCH Later…

$159.00 later, I have my half shaved cat back, with the diagnosis of abscess of the left thigh.

That was our last amount of money until payday (I don’t even have a credit card to fall back on). How I’m going to get by with $20 for food and gas for the next week, I have no idea. I just need some sort of financial reprieve or windfall and soon.

At least the cat will will not need further care. It is a small comfort to know that none of the neighbors actually shot my cat.

Not Sleeping Alone; Cats and a Crowded Bed

We usually sleep (when I sleep) pretty peaceably together, my four cats and I. I’m not a cat hoarder, nor am I one of those who will even remotely come close to having a million cats stuffed into tiny cages in my rundown shanty. First off, I live in a newer 1800square foot town home. There is tons of space and the cats have free reign to come and go indoors and out. Plus, they have several very large cedars to exercise their stealth climbing skills and to sharpen their claws on. Further, I don’t even like cats. Or I didn’t, until these particular four changed my mind.

It all started several years back when my youngest had a friend whose cat got out and played hanky-panky with a neighboring tom. This was about the fourth litter since I’d know the family that entered the world in this way. I must have grown weary of my daughter’s begging and of hearing how the babies were just going to be disposed of at the neighborhood humane society if homes weren’t found. I finally relented and allowed my daughter to choose a kitten. She was overjoyed. When we went to pick up her little fluffy baby, his brother caught my eye. He was jet black and so wobbly on his feet even for a kitten. I feared he might have brain damage, but I was smitten by the black kitten. Instead of leaving with one cat, we came home with two.

It wasn’t long after bringing the two brothers home that I realized that, other than the litter box, cats are very low maintenance critters. In fact, I was surprised to discover how well these cats fit into my lifestyle. It’s also a lie that cats are not affectionate. While less needy and demanding than dogs, cats are every bit as affectionate as dogs. They are just not as sloppy about showing it.

About six months after we brought the brothers home, a friend of mine found a stray kitten that she couldn’t keep. I agreed to take it for her and help find it a home. Right. My home ended up being the little guy’s new home. The last thing I needed was another cat, but he was a sweet thing and my kids would have hated me forever had I given him away.

A year later, I begin dating and eventually shacked up with The Significant Other. His cat brings the total cat family to four. Yes, I think we are done now.

I don’t know when it happened but somewhere along the way, the cats took over my bed. Now, I have a rather large bed, a California King, and I don’t use the entire space at night, so for a while, this was fine. It was even comforting at first. But then, the cats began sleeping on me instead of on the bed. Add to this another man-type human and the once expansive space begins to get very crowded.

But last night was the worst.

I think someone slipped my cats a full-strength dose of stimulants or else they discovered the Red Bull stash. It was a 4-cat high speed chase…all.night.long.

To make matters worse, the man-type was flopping around like a big fish just hauled in from the sea. One of the things I love about him is that we do sleep well together. In the past, sleeping with someone else in my bed doesn’t happen without a fairly long adjustment period. In my first marriage, that period lasted for 16 years. It was remediated through divorce. My SO is pretty easy to sleep with and to get along with most of the time. Last night being the exception.

So, between the cats and the Man Human fish-flopping all night, there was just not going to be any sleep. I’d just barely drifted off to doze when I felt him jerk again. I peeked open one eye and he’s sitting up in bed staring at me. It’s 8 o’clock and night is long over. I’d been out for maybe an hour. The cats were comatose finally. It was Sunday morning after a night of no sleep. It appeared it was going to be a day of no sleep.

Nights aren’t usually that rough for everyone in the house, just me. Last night was definitely strange, because for the first time I had company during my insomnia. Fortunately, I was able to catch a nap later in the day. There is a downside to doing that, however, because here I am…wide awake again.

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The Family Dog and Other Things That Kill Romance

Events of this evening conspired, from the very beginning, to sabotage a good night’s sleep.  I should know better than to play a board game with my boyfriend before calling it a night.  Besides both of us being very competitive people, he’s a poor loser.  He’s even worse when in comes to winning.  I do believe “ass****” was the word I used to describe him to his very face.  On top of that, I absolutely hate playing games where it is a slaughter with me on the losing end.  It isn’t all that fun for me to be on the winning end of a slaughter either; I much prefer a challenge where I, at least, feel as though I’m somewhat competitive even if I lose.  After tonight’s third slaughter, with my beau (not sure that’s even an appropriate word for him right now) gloating ruthlessly, I just got up and walked away.  Okay, huffed off, is more like it.  I heard him laughing about it after I left the room.  I didn’t talk to him the rest of the night.  I detest arrogant ass**** winners.  His words?  “I don’t play to lose.”  Really?  Seems to me that you sure lost out on something tonight, with all that arrogance, Big Guy.  Put that behavior on the top of the list of “Things That Kill Romance.”

Now, I’m not suggesting, by any means that he should have “let” me win.  That, in a way, is arrogance in reverse order, in some situations.  However, given that I’d played this particular game maybe five times total and he grew up playing it like some people used to play backgammon back in the eighties, it wasn’t exactly an even match.  I think he could have saved his championship tournament play for another time.  The whole scenario just didn’t engender any loving, caring, positive feelings in me for him.  In my words, “Well, there’s really nothing about this that is fun for me.”  If you win by a landslide, for crying out loud, at least have the decency to be kind to the person you annihilated rather than divesting them of their last shred of human dignity. Big romance killer.  Just.don’t.touch.me.

As soon as I’d settled in to attempt to sleep, as if that was even going to be possible with my annoyance meter soaring off the charts, the dog comes into the room and begins licking herself.  It’s a sound I hate.  I mostly hate it because it happens incessantly these days.  She’s licked off most of her fur on her haunches and she is LOUD about it. Loud.  Lick. Lick. Lick. Lick.  It is worse than a dripping faucet and far noisier.  It grates on me.

So I banished the dog from the bedroom and closed the door.  Most of the time, she will just sleep outside the bedroom door or find another place in the house to camp out for the night.  Tonight, she decided to sit outside my bedroom door and bark.  Bark….Bark…Bark….Bark.  I get up and let her out.  She comes back in; same routine.  In the bedroom:  lick, lick, lick.  Banish to the hall: bark, bark, bark.

So, I’m infuriated and exhausted by the dogs in my life, and now, both of them are in the bedroom resting peacefully and I’m here typing away about ready to code out, I’m so frustrated.

And…I am out of sleeping pills.

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