Sunday, August 28, 2011

Why it's really about the little (useless) things

Lit-up signs sit on both ends of town this weekend, blinking, "TAKE CAUTION/PREPARE FOR HURRICANE!!!" or some such alarmist nonsense. Even an idiot without TV (like me!) knows there was a hurricane a'comin. So thanks for that memo.

And now that I'm pretty sure Irene has taken her bitch ass further north to Maine and Canada, I'm left looking at some scattered branches and leaves and feeling pretty sure that my office building is still standing, so there will be work tomorrow. For that reason, I figure this hurricane was pretty useless.

And while many are without power, I'm guessing there are still a lot of people scratching their heads and wondering what the hell to do with the batteries they bought yesterday, and perhaps also wondering how to get the 20 minutes back that they spent in line at the gas station filling up.


I know I'm a cranky broad. But I find it's the little things that really make my brow wrinkle. And because misery loves company, I'd like to share this month's findings with you...

Recently, I spent an evening at Barnes & Noble, reading magazines I'm too cheap to buy. Because I'm an old maid, I read things like knitting magazines. And I came across this little nugget:

Dear Debbie, you are useless. This is a stupid question, and I truly hope Knit Simple made this up because they needed to fill space. Years ago, I joined Weight Watchers. Many of the women were just as useless as Debbie here. Our leader handed out a simple recipe that called for kidney beans. Hands shot up around the conference room table--"I don't like kidney beans; can I use black beans?" "What about navy beans?" "Do you think cannellini beans would be okay?" Ladies, are you fucking kidding? Open a can of fucking beans and toss them in. No one cares what you do with this sad, unfulfilling recipe. It's your g-d kitchen. Throw in a log of kielbasa--it'll be our little secret. Damn, these women made me want to eat more. So, Debbie, when you ask a stupid question like this you make me hate my sex. Debbie, you are hereby sentenced to scarves only--and no fancy cable bullshit--for LIFE.

Leaving for work the other day, I found this rolled up and shoved between the doorknob and the jamb. It was part of my lease (apparently they are four months behind down at the office). This apartment complex consists of approximately 15 buildings, containing six apartments each. I'm estimating that they take in $90,000 each month. So why would some poor slob use a Public Service of New Hampshire (i.e., the electric company) return envelope for lease papers? Useless! No worries, landlord. I am going to slip a nickel into a Chase return envelope, along with the lease papers, so you can buy a proper envelope for our future correspondence.

Speaking of Chase... 
I am terribly sorry, Chase, for carrying such an extreme balance. I completely understand why you would need to charge me $35 dollars if I run late on this, and push my APR out the window. Thank Christ I have a job and can probably pay this bill. PS, I'm going to play mean editor and inform you that there's no apostrophe in "APRs."

Speaking of Christ...
At least God buys his own envelopes. Unfortunately, he wasted postage on the wrong gal.

Meet my new neighbor (burgandy SUV, top center). He is useless. As is the company he keeps. So twice last week, I came home to see different friends of his parked in my assigned spot. And check out this asshat's parking skills. No, please, take two spots. We insist.
As if I needed a reason to dislike Connecticut more...

Now only I would bitch that a check made out to me is useless. But shit, it won't even cover my Chase bill this month. Where the hell am I going to come up with the balance?

On Amazon last month, I came across a book review that started with, "Do yourself a favor and read this book!" Then I saw that the author was doing a reading in Portsmouth, so I got right on it. Now the book is its own issue. I'm not quite through yet, but I'm going to tell you to do yourself a favor and maybe don't read this book. But I kinda dug the author--sort of gypsy hippie heavily inked open minded geeky smart. So I bought the book and waited in the short line for her to sign it. We chatted a little, she scribbled, handed me back the book, and I left the store. Under a lamp post, I opened the cover and saw this:
Thank you, V-a-n-e-s-s-a- V-e-s-e-l-k-a, for this excellent signature. This will bring in a fortune at Christie's some day because it looks so legit. 

Looking forward to September's idiocy.


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Because. she's. a. cat.

When I found her at the SPCA, her name was Mama Tinker (take a moment and really appreciate that: Mama Tinker). She was underweight, missing half her teeth, scratching at ear mites, and dealing with the runs. She was in a corner by herself, curled up and facing the wall.

She was an older cat, and her owner had died. I was going through a funky sad period and had just put my old cat, Charlotte, down. Charlotte was the love of my life.

When she was brought to the getting-to-know-you room, Mama Tinker jumped onto my lap and immediately put her head under my chin. I swooned, got her into the car, and changed her name to Millie.

Millie is a love. She's crabby, chatty, and demanding. Because of all the missing teeth, sometimes the left side of her face droops, making her look like a 10-lb stroke victim. She has an old man cough, can't hear worth a damn--can't smell either. She likes to go to a corner of the apartment, face the wall, and scream bloody murder. It's a little fucked up, but normalcy is such a bore.

Erm, don't look at me. This was after my surgery and I look like hell. But Mill was right by my side.
When I first felt the odd-shaped growth on Millimeter's nipple, I made an appointment at the vet and we took a looksee. After a couple overdue shots and a $5 nail trim, the vet confirmed that the lump was a tumor and said we could set up an appointment to do blood work and remove the bugger. She also said that Millie's an old girl, and we'd want to be realistic about decisions going forward. I was happy. ($108)

Two days later, I received an email that the vet clinic had shut down.

So a month later, I went to vet clinic B and explained our status. Clinic B is fancy and features an adorable, young, idealistic vet. I give her an A for enthusiasm. Wheee! She touched Miss Millie in places I've never dared to go. She and the tech scolded me for not brushing Millinocket's teeth daily. Really? Because she's a cat. And she has a tooth. The vet took blood, nixed the charge for a second exam, offered a $21 dollar nail clipping (yeah, no), and sent us away. ($380)

Great news--the blood work says she's practically a kitten! It's Miller Time!

But we should really do some x-rays. X-rays will tell us what's going on inside and whether we're dealing with a body full of cancer or just one odd external growth. I dropped her off for the day. ($400)

So, doc? Wait--what? What do you mean the x-rays are inconclusive? No big reveal? What the fuck is going on inside this cat?

Vet: words words words This line is abnormal. words words words See how this lung is deflated? Could be cancer. But maybe not. words words words This is odd too. words words words Major arthritis. She's in a lot of pain. words words words But see, even from this angle, we can't see anything. words words words And where this is just a fuzzy spot, maybe her spleen is enlarged. Maybe it isn't. words words words The next step is an ultrasound, which will truly tell us what's going on in there. ($500)

Oh, and here are two prescriptions for the terrible pain she's in. The meds really need to be used together. ($80/month) Vet tech later, to the side: Just try the cheap one and see how she does. (-$75/month)

Me: So if we don't do the ultrasound, we already know that she's got a lot of issues going on. And if we do the ultrasound, we'll know more about those issues. Either way, she's got enough issues and is old enough that it may not make sense to do much. Because she's a cat.

Vet: [blank stare]

Awkward moment.

Vet [hopeful]: Um, well, you can sleep on it and then decide.

Grand total so far: $893ish before the ultrasound that isn't going to happen

When I went to the SPCA that day, I decided walking in that I wanted an older cat--a cat that had been loved and had lived in a stable home. I didn't want a stray, used to fending for itself; I wanted a cat that needed to live the rest of its life comfortably, sleeping on a king-size bed and eating too many cookies.

Now, I love the little bitch. But at some point, it doesn't do justice to either of us to go down this road of experimentation. She's old. She can't hear or smell or jump. Her insides apparently are seven kinds of fucked up. But she's eager. She's loving and follows me like a puppy. Her job includes putting me to bed at a reasonable hour and waking me at an ungodly hour. Even on a hot day, she puts her chin on my leg and purrs while I play on the computer or read in bed.

Another bad postop pic. But this is a pretty typical evening before bed.
I'm not going to opt for the ultrasound. I'm not continuing down this path. The buck stops here. I refuse to let the sweet but idealistic vet make me feel bad for not doing everything possible to give her a couple more years. She's not a child. She's not a $40k thoroughbred race horse. She's an old, banged-up kitty. And I love her. I promise to make her as comfortable as possible for the time she has remaining. But I'm not going much further than that. Because she's a cat.