Thursday, March 15, 2018


My new(ish) job is working in administrative support in a hospital-based outpatient physical therapy department, and it's really introduced me to a whole new set of people.

Our unit specializes in two types of patients: Pediatric and Neuro.  The pediatric patients are largely referred through a county-run program for early intervention services, mainly for help with developmental slowdowns and speech services, but we also see young patients who need help with walking after lower-extremity amputations, including one charming little girl who lost her foot after getting run over by a tractor, and a toddler who was born with leg deformities.

The Neuro patients are mostly adults, who have either suffered strokes or traumatic brain injuries.  The stroke patients tend to be elderly, although not always; one of our current patients is a middle-aged man who had a stroke while sitting in a tree stand during hunting season, causing him to fall out of the tree stand and break his neck.  Yeah. The elderly stroke patients tend to come in with an entire armada of shell-shocked family members for their initial evaluations; it's obvious that the entire family is struggling to deal with their new reality.  It's nice to see the patients progress over the weeks and months and watch the family members visibly relax as they see their parents learning that they can deal with their new situations; that life does go on, and improve, after a life-changing event.

Oh, and there's that subset of heroin-addict-stroke-patients:  The young men (and they are always men), who stroke out after OD-ing and are now trying to get back whatever they can of their former abilities.  Sadly, these guys tend to come for a few visits and then drop back off the map again., although sometimes they can turn out to be very dedicated. 

TBIs (traumatic brain injuries) aren't as common in our office, but we do see them occasionally,  most often when somebody's fallen backwards off a bar stool, and I'm not even kidding. Moral of the story:  If you're gonna get sloppy drunk, do it in a booth at the bar, and not at the bar itself.

We also see developmentally-disabled people whose new group homes are trying to figure out why they're wheelchair-bound even though medically they should be capable of walking, and other wheelchair patients who we are trying to help become ambulatory again.

Including one charming, wheelchair-bound, giant teddy bear of a man in his early thirties, who didn't show up for his appointment today.  It snowed pretty heavily here yesterday so his missing his appointment wasn't unusual; he relies on medivan transportation and also needs his landlord to clear the handicap ramp at his family's home in order to make it to his appointments, so sometimes when the weather is inclement he ends up cancelling. But he always DOES call and cancel; he doesn't just not show up.

A few hours after his scheduled appointment, I was about to call and make sure everything was okay and ask if he wanted to reschedule when one of the department heads came in and asked me not to make the call.

Because he committed suicide yesterday.

Rest in peace, good sir.  Rest in peace.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

To Catch a Cat

There's a feral cat who's been appearing around my place for a few years now, off and on.   He'd show up on my gamecam, and occasionally I'd catch him sneaking in through the cat door in the morning to eat some of permacats' food.  He's really a pretty cat, black with green eyes.

But he fought with my cats and sprayed all over everything, and you KNOW he was busy making lots of little ferals with whichever females were available.  So whenever I'd trap for other people and I thought there might be an extra neuter appointment available, I'd set a trap for the feral, but he wouldn't go in.  I don't know if he'd been trapped before or had maybe seen another cat get trapped at some point, but he wasn't falling for it.

Things took on an added urgency last week, when one of my gamecam pics seemed to show that he could be wearing an embedded collar. The picture was taken at night, by my lesser-res gamecam, so it was hard to tell, but I decided that it was time to bring this boy IN.  The rescue I volunteer for helped me get a neuter appointment for yesterday, and I started leaving the trap in the garage every night, with the safety on so he would go in and eat withOUT being trapped.

At first he was all, oh HELL no lady I ain't that dumb:

So I moved the food to the open end of the trap, and every night I would move it back a little further into the trap.

Slowly he turned, inch by inch, step by step:

And then it was Monday night, with the neuter appointment for first thing Tuesday morning.  I baited the trap,  unlatched the safety, and waited.

The moment before:


I was sitting in the living room and I HEARD that trap go off, and I felt liked I'd just hit a home run in the World Series.  I GOT HIM!

I hurried out, took a couple of victory photos because I'm only human:

then quickly covered the trap and put it in a dark corner of the garage until I could take him to the neuter appointment Tuesday morning.  He came through surgery just fine, and while he was out I had his ear notched so that if anyone ever traps him again, they will know he's been neutered.  Turns out he wasn't wearing a collar after all, and was apparently healthy. I had him vaccinated, and they even trimmed his nails while he was under. 

Last night he came back from the vet's, and within a couple of hours of being released, he was back for some chow.

This cat is feral, and will likely always BE a feral, but when I dropped him off at the vet's for surgery they needed a name for their records, and so he is now Good Boy.  Because I believe in naming something what you hope it will be, not what it is. :)

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Mama Minkie finds a home

Minkie, my current foster, took a long and circuitous route to get here.  She was obviously somebody's pet at some point, because she was socialized.   She found herself somehow living in a barn out in the country until the barn burned down and she took refuge under a neighbor's porch.  They worked hard to gain her trust, and she came into their house to have her kittens (!), but they had an aggressive-to-cats dog and she couldn't stay. So she ended up at the rescue, and as I had a vacant room at the time, she and her litter came to stay with me last October.

The kittens grew, as kittens do, and got adopted, in pairs. Which left sweet Minkie, who was so afraid of new situations that I hesitated to take her to the adoption center to stay. So I started taking her in on Saturdays, getting her used to the new environment.

There were several people interested in her, but they didn't pass the application process.  Lots of people loved her beautiful blue eyes, but no one seemed to be the right person for her.

Until today, when a woman who had adopted from the center before and had experience in dealing with cats who need special care decided that maybe she could give the right home to Minkie.  She came in to see her today, and the rest is history.  Minkie has a home!

Congratulations, Minkie!  I'll always remember what a sweet girl you are.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ah, the late Seventies.   Gotta love the outfits! But still a great song.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Mama Minkie gets a gift.

Mama Minkie, my current foster, had her debut public appearance yesterday.  

  Being a famous celebrity is so TIRING!

And when we got home, there was a gift waiting for Minkie!

"Oh look!  One of my many fans sent me a present!"

"Well, open it up, lady, will you?"

The gift-opening was then delayed for several hours while Minkie took a nap in the box:

"Okay, lady, let's go - open it up!"

Look - it's a gift from James Fitter, aka Ginny!

"We are gonna have a blast with this thing!  Thank you, Ginny!

Now excuse me while I explore my new digs."


Thursday, February 01, 2018

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

So!  Last night, when I got home from work, I had a voicemail on my home phone from my old boss at my old job.

He wanted to know if I'd done the W2s for the company yet.

The company that I no longer work for.  The company that I haven't worked for in several months.  The company that unceremoniously downsized me after 30 years with no severance and no pension and a grand total of two weeks' notice.

To tell the truth, I was somewhere between amused and flabbergasted when I listened to that voicemail.  What did he think?  That I had come back to the office at some point (and I don't even know if the office is even in the same location anymore - at the time I left, he was supposedly preparing for a move), let myself in (with a key I no longer have) accessed the spreadsheets on my old computer (that I no longer remember the passwords for), and magically prepared the W2s for 2017, out of the goodness of my heart?

Oh, my.

I didn't trust myself to return the call without totally telling him where to get off, so I emailed him that no, as I was no longer a company employee, I had not prepared the W2s. I explained how to access the pertinent spreadsheets and advised him as to how to contact the IRS re e-filing.  I also told him where the paper files had been at the time of my departure if he wanted to access those for reference.  (Keep in mind that he hadn't bothered to do anything regarding the W2s until January 31, the day he was required by law to have them released by.)

There.  I'd gone above and beyond, considering I was no longer an employee and hadn't been  one for several months.

But wait!  It gets better!

When I got home from work tonight, I had an email from a former co-worker.   Demanding to know why I'd screwed him (and his entire family!) over by not preparing the W2s ONCE I KNEW I'D BEEN CANNED LAST SPRING.

That's right.  According to this former co-worker, once I'd gotten the old pink slip last spring, I should have sat right down and prepared everybody's W2s for the year right there, on the spot.  To spare him any inconvenience lo these many months in the future when he was ready to prepare his taxes.

I replied, explaining that W2s cannot be prepared until the end of each calendar year, because employees often come and go during the course of a year and I had no way of knowing what may have happened with payroll in between the time I got canned last spring  and the end of  the year.  I reminded him that I had not been employed by that company for SEVERAL MONTHS, and that it was the responsibility of the company, not myself personally, to make sure that W2s were released in a timely manner.

I called him a "dumb fuck", and I ended with email with, "In conclusion, fuck you".

My only regret is that I forgot to add  "... and the horse you rode in on."

It sure has been an interesting week, I'll give it that.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Winter Sunsets

I keep a little camera in my car, and all winter, as I headed home from work each night, any time there was a pretty sunset I'd snap a quick pic.  But now the days are getting longer (OH YES THEY ARE!), so I won't be heading home at sunset unless I'm working late. So I thought I'd post some of my favorite sunsets from this winter here.

 Not a sunset, but my favorite tree on the commute:

Tonight's sunset: