Friday, January 31, 2014

Science-Like Tip!



So, I take probiotics in a possibly vain attempt to keep my guts from going berserker on me again.  Probiotics may indeed be this generation's version of snake oil, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I take a nifty little med called Accuflora.

And each bottle of Accuflora comes with a little informational pamphlet, extolling (natch) the benefits of probiotics, and explaining how Accuflora (supposedly) works, complete with a vastly simplified diagram of the human digestive system, which frankly I could have done without.

And plopped down in the middle of all this nifty info is this little tidbit:

"Science-like tip!  You can also try the gel matrix at home by placing a caplet in a glass of water and watching the gel matrix form on the caplet!"

Okay, (a) I do not know what a "gel matrix" is and I do not care, (b) this smacks of the talking Barbie that said "Math is hard!", (c) what the hell is that section of the Sunday comics where the kids write in their science questions called, because I think somehow this segment of print wandered over from there, (d) what the F*CK is "science-like", and (e) why does this whole thing make me think of Sea Monkeys?

"Science-like", indeed. 


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Twelve Below




What. The. Actual. F*CK.

I am SICK of this weather.  I have HAD it. 

Last Wednesday morning, it was thirteen below.  This morning?  Twelve below.

STOP IT, WEDNESDAY.

I know, I know, it could be worse, I could be in Duluth or something, but as far as I'm concerned, anyone who would volunteer to live in Minne-godforsaken-sota is out of their damn mind to begin with. Oh, and if you visit the Duluth website?  They conveniently LEAVE OFF the little weather icon from the homepage.  Maybe they're not so dumb after all.  "If we just don't mention it, maybe no one will notice!"

My utility bill for last month was $330.00.  Let's see if we can DOUBLE that for this month!

Sh*t.


In other news, is anyone else watching 90-Day Fiance?  Oh lord, there is some trash TV at its finest, right there.  I have several questions, including, what the hell is a Mormon doing on there?  And, okay, that one woman is from Brazil, not, I don't know, the Stone Age or something.  Are we really supposed to believe that she has never been exposed to things like ,,, packaged food?  And supermarket scanners?  I'm not buyin' it.





Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Like herding ... yeah, you know



So, Operation Integration has begun.

I originally had planned to let them stay out of the foster room for as long as they want, and go outside when they eventually discover the cat door, but when I checked the forecast Saturday night and found out that it was supposed to go back down below zero this week (DAMN YOU, Polar Vortex), I decided that things would have to wait for a bit.

Even though these guys went in and out at their last foster home, they haven't been outside in months.  And seeing as how they were born last Spring and were taken into rescue in August, they have never been exposed to really cold weather.  I don't want to chance them getting outdoors right now.

So!  Saturday went great.  They romped around the house for a few hours, while the permacats alternately ignored them, played with them, and swatted them for their young-cat insolence, and by evening they wandered back into the foster room, and I closed the door for the night.  Yesterday, same story - Out playing and exploring the house (and digging in the houseplants GOT-DAM IT), and then back into the foster room for the night. 

This morning?  Six a.m., and I went in to feed them, with the intention of keeping them in their room while I was at work, and as soon as I eased open the screen door, Bindi squirted out between my feet.  Freeeeedom!  I turned around to try and scoop her up (HA) and Callie was right behind her. 

And of course, the problem with ferals is that you can't just pick them up and put them back in their room, unless you want to lose an arm or something, which I have learned from hard experience (Thanks, PETEY.).  No, you have to WAIT for them to DECIDE to go back into their room, which, thankfully, they did after about half an hour of screwing around.

I will tell you what, you guys, my nerves are SHOT.  The weather is supposed to warm up by this weekend, and we will start the whole thing over again.   Hopefully I can avoid having a nervous breakdown between now and then.

Anybody got any Zanax?




Saturday, January 25, 2014

Liberation Day







Whoa ... the door is open.



Whaaaa?  I'm going out there.



I dunno ... it's kind of scary ... I'd better put my ears back ...


CHECK IT OUT!  THERE'S FOOD  IN THESE OTHER ROOMS!1!!



And we're off to the races.




Friday, January 24, 2014

Man, I hate January



Last Sunday, I took a ride up to State Park and froze my  butt off.

The picnic tables patiently wait for Spring:



While the streams flow past the snow:



In other news, I evidently have the dumbest birds in the world in my neighborhood.  Ponyboy got TWO last weekend by simply running up and plucking them out of a flock on the ground.

I hope they're not slow because they're zombie birds or something.  I could be in trouble in that case.

Oh, and in There-Is-Someone-In-This-Neighborhood-Dumber-Than-The Birds news, I somehow sat myself down and watched the entire two hours of  Lifetime's presentation of Flowers in the Attic last Saturday night.  I told myself it was so that I could enjoy watching Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn chew the scenery, but ... yeah.  I have no excuse.

 I just wish it would warm up outside.





Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thirteen below




... That was the temp in my back yard when I left for work this morning.

What's it like at your place?



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

And in neighborhood news ...




My crazy-a** neighbors evidently got themselves a dog.  A small, terrier-like dog, whom they have been tying to the fire hydrant out by the road.

It's twenty degrees outside, and about to get much colder.

No, they never leave it out there for very long.  And yes, if they DID, I would be over there like flies on sh*t.

But why tie a dog to a fire hydrant out by the road at all?  The poor thing sits out there and barks and barks and BARKS.

Are they dog-sitting?  I don't know.  I don't want to get any more involved in this than I have to, and thankfully I might not have to at all, because last night when I got home from work, there was a cop car out in front of their house.  Maybe somebody ratted them out on their twisted idea of animal care.  Thank goodness.  The dog was not out there this morning.

I'll tell you what, I'll bet this town's cops are as sick of these two as I am at this point.

Sheesh.

 

Oh, and scroll down to my last post, would ya?  I'm looking for somebody to tell me what to doooooooo.







Monday, January 20, 2014

And in foster room news ...



... Remember these guys?  Bindi and Callie?






Yeah, they're still here.  Substantially bigger now, seeing as how they've been my houseguests for FIVE MONTHS.

My, time does fly, doesn't it?

And while Bindi is starting to come around, Callie still shows no signs of friendly-ing up.  Which means that they are currently unadoptable, and may be that way for some time to come. Which means I have a decision to make.

I can't keep them in the foster room anymore.  That isn't fair to them.  So I can either (a) integrate them into my household as fosters-in-residence, or (b) return them to the rescue, where they will stay in the rescue leader's home. 

Normally, it would be a no-brainer, i.e., return them (because I don't DO long-term fosters), but there are some things complicating the decision.  The rescue leader is currently overloaded on fosters, meaning they would be going into a house with many, many other cats (like, over TWENTY), which is not a good thing, health-wise. They would be allowed to go in and out (as they would at my house if they became perma-fosters), which is fine, except the rescue leader's house is situated in a very busy, very sketchy neighborhood.  Indoor-outdoor cats in that area can have a pretty short shelf life, is what I'm trying to say. 

So, you say, what's the problem?  Keep them for a bit longer!

Well, over the weekend, I learned that the rescue leader has put herself in a pretty precarious situation, financial-wise.  She came close to losing her housing, which ... yeah.  If she goes belly-up, as rescues around here tend to do with alarming regularity, I may end up with two more permanent members of my household.

So, you say, what's the problem?  Return them, quick, while you still can!  Wash your hands of the whole thing!

Annnnnnd I was all ready to do that. 

And then got-dam Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day rolled around, and THIS quote started popping up all over social media:

"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake.  Society's punishments are small compared to the wound we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."


Oh, f*ck.  NOW what do I do?




Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friday, January 17, 2014

Hypocrite



Okay, so today, let's talk about Facebook phonies.

You know who I'm talking about - those annoying friends of friends who somehow start showing up in your Facebook feed every five minutes, all, "Now I'm enjoying a pumpkin spice latte!"  "Now it's time to go work out!" "Now it's off to the post office!"

And you're all, like, ummmmmmmm, okaaaaaaaay, why is this person broadcasting her every breath?  And why doesn't she understand that pumpkin is so YESTERDAY?

Normally, once I get the gist of what the person is laying down, i.e., the endless minutiae of a bullsh*ttedly perfect life, I just block their feed.

But sometimes I can't, due to work or volunteer obligations, and so I just skim over the entries.  And it's always fun when you catch them in random acts of hypocrisy.

This one facebook acquaintance, for example, is a big wheel in one of the local animal rescues. She's always plastering her feed with all the do-good stuff she's accomplished that day.

And then a random "I heart Michael Vick!" pops up.

This same person wants EVERYONE to know that she SUPPORTS GAY RIGHTS, and GO RAINBOW, and IT GETS BETTER.

And then out pops a "Can't wait for the new season of Duck Dynasty!" slips out.

The truth will out, if you're bored enough to wade through five thousand pumpkin latte status updates.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

I got bored, so I started a flame war on Craigslist


Yeah, so as I've explained, I've not been in the most charitable mindset lately.

Things got a little slow at work the other afternoon, so I decided to peruse the "Pets" section of the local Craigslist, as one does when you want to get all rage-y about the stupidity of the human race.

Craigslist never disappoints.  On this particular day, some people were ranting about how they were denied adoption by local rescue groups.

A few random samples:

"Now keep in mind that we had a kitty that was dropped off when we own a place out in the country. He (the kitty) adopted us. After a few months went by, we took him and had him fixed and de clawed seeing how we wanted to make him a totally indoor furr ever family member. 16+ years he was with us, going to the vet only twice in his whole life."

and this:

 "I was so glad to see this posting. I am in total agreement--there are so many animal "rescues" with their judgmental, holier than thou attitudes that hurt more than help by denying perfectly good singles/families pet adoptions. Some, not all, probably make money off of their so called rescue groups."

and this:

"We could not agree more with the poster. S.P.E.A.K. has they're (sic) nose so far up in the air, they would not allow a pet to be adopted by a completely professional couple with no children and no other pets, just because we had to travel and would be gone a week every month. What kind of crap is that anyway?"

Well.  You know me.  I just had to chime in:

"Declawing a cat is inhumane and flat-out cruel. How would you like your doctor to remove all of your fingers at the first knuckle? Declawing is illegal in most civilized countries. Not taking a pet to the vet for recommended vaccinations puts that pet at risk of easily preventable diseases. Leaving a cat at home for a week while you're out of town is insane.

The rescue groups are trying to prevent these kinds of situations. That is why they ask lots of questions. If you think declawing a cat, neglecting vaccinations, and leaving a pet alone for days at a time is okay, THE RESCUE GROUPS DON'T WANT YOU ADOPTING.

End of story."

Holy Mary Mother of F*ck, these people burn my ass.

Thankfully, other people started chiming in:

"It is also illegal in NY to have a cat (or dog, or ferret) indoors or out that is not up to date on its rabies vaccination. That would be one reason rescues will not adopt to someone who cannot keep up with a pets vaccinations."

Sadly, the wingnuts outnumber the rationals by about ten-to-one on Craigslist.  But hell, I'll go down swinging.





Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Full speed ahead



I am going to get this off my chest, and then I am going to let it go.  This involves family drama, so feel free to skip right over this whole thing.  I am quite aware that publishing this may mean that some see me as a lesser person; frankly, I don't give a sh*t.  Herewith is the contents of an email I sent to a family member, a few days after Mom passed away, when I was taking crap from all sides.  I decided to damn the torpedoes.

"Just in case anyone is wondering why I am so furious with Shirley and Dale*:

Shirley took hundreds of thousands of dollars from Mom  over the years. Forty thousand a year for providing a spare room for your still-active mother is considered reasonable? Shirley got an $800 monthly stipend, plus she took another thousand in cash out of mom's checking account every month. Some months it was more than a thousand. Plus mom paid the utility bill, and the cable bill, and the phone bill. PLUS “mom” often bought groceries at Wegman's.  A check was written on her account for $177.00 in groceries at Wegman's on the day before Thanksgiving; in essence, mom bought Thanksgiving dinner for Shirley and her family. A dinner that mom was unable to eat because she was struggling for her life with undiagnosed pneumonia. 
(I was told only that mom had  "a cold".  If I had had any idea how serious the situation was, I would have taken mom to the ER.)


And in all the years that mom spent with Shirley, I never once saw Shirley give her a kiss, or a hug, or a shoulder rub. Mom got much more person-to-person contact from the aides in the nursing home than she ever got from Shirley.


Shirley and Dale berated Chris and Karen (my sister and her boyfriend) repeatedly, loudly and IN FRONT OF MOM, for feeding her. (Priceless comments were also made about "a choking cat will swallow if you shove food down its throat" and "Look at her!  What kind of life is this?", again, all in front of my conscious and aware mother.)  In reality, it was the lack of timely medical care that ultimately resulted in mom's death. If Shirley had not waited until mom was half-dead before finally taking her to a doctor, the outcome may have been different. And if Shirley and Dale had spent any time at all at the hospital or at the nursing home, they would have known that feeding mom was also being done by myself, the nurses, and the aides, because there was a very real possibility that mom would recover.  She was placed in a rehab facility and not in hospice because she was EXPECTED TO SURVIVE.  If at any time the medical staff felt that feeding mom was detrimental, they would have issued an NPO order, and the feeding would have stopped per mom's wishes via her Living Will. Again, if Shirley and Dale had chosen to be involved in her care, they would have known this.  Instead, they washed their hands of the whole thing, stopping by only to bitch at the people who were actively working to get mom back to health.  It is my understanding that Dale has been telling people that he spent hours with mom in the hospital and nursing home every day; that is a flat-out lie. He would fly in, toss a rosary over something, and go right back out the door.  

And on the Friday before mom's death, he declared to Chris that it was “all our fault that he couldn't go on vacation”, meaning, I guess, that Karen, Chris and I should have made mom die quicker so that his plans wouldn't be ruined. And then Dale and Shirley left for vacation anyway.

And, of course, the reason they washed their hands of mom's  care was because they were furious that mom was in a nursing home. Why? Because that meant the nursing home was getting a chunk of mom's trust fund, a trust fund that Shirley and Dale would be getting a portion of. More money for mom's care meant less money for them.

And then, with mom literally at death's door, they chose to go on vacation.

As far as I am concerned, Shirley and Dale are nothing less than monsters.  Who you choose to associate with is your decision; however, I am baffled that you would continue to support such despicable people."




I will tell you, I felt a lot better after I let that sucker fly.



*their real names, not the pseudonyms I usually use for them here.  F*ck it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

They oughta let me teach at BITCH SCHOOL



I'm getting back into the swing of things, at work, and at home, and I've gotta tell you, I'm really in a pretty piss-poor frame of mind.

I've fought so many battles over the past month and a half that I'm having a hard time re-adjusting my mindset back to "calm". 

So, get ready for some snark.  I can't suppress it right now, and I'm not sure that it's healthy to try, so I'm going to use this blog as my little venting outlet for the next few days. 

Bear with me while I bitch.  Or, you know, just come back in a week or two, when I'm back to my mild-mannered self.

Buckle your seatbelts!  It's going to be a bumpy flight.

Monday, January 13, 2014

I don't mean to brag, but ... FIVE



We had an adoption event on Saturday.  We took ten cats.  We adopted out FIVE.

First to go was pretty Willow:


Next was Cookie:  (no, we don't cram them in cages; they tend to all bunch up in one corner:


Don't you just love how Cookie's giving us the ol' stinkeye, there?  Cookie almost missed the event; she had to be pulled out from under a couch, TWICE, in order to catch her ride.  But she got there, and she found her family!

and Cookie's sister,  Darling: (She's the one in the back on the left)



Cookie and Darling were adopted together, as sisters should be.  (Well, as long as you're not in MY family, at least.)  Oh, and in that pic above, you can see Angel, the orange-and-white next to Darling.  Angel took a chunk out of my palm on Saturday.  Angel will be excused from future adoption events until he gets over himself.

Next up it was Clancy's turn:



Clancy is a BIG BOY, and he can be a bit of a bully, so we were thrilled to find him a home where he will be an only cat.  He will be much happier without a bunch of other cats annoying him.  I had the privilege of chauffeuring him to his new home yesterday; it is a beautiful house, on lots of land, with doting people and a basset hound named Elvis, and Clancy was purring up a storm when I left.

Finally?  Pretty Aggie, also known as Ms. Mustache:


In an effort to gain Miss Aggie more exposure, we wheeled her around the store in a shopping cart all afternoon.  She loved it, and she loved the attention, and she found her people. 

Five cats in one day.  Five ADULT cats in one day.  For a rescue the size of ours, that is HUGE.

And they are all going to good, quality homes. 

Man, this stuff can be fun.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Relief




I hate to say it, but it was almost a relief to get back to work on Wednesday. 

After the chaos surrounding Mom's illness and death, and then the subsequent funeral planning, and family flying in and out, and the funeral itself (I managed not to punch anyone.  Am proud.), and my sister Texas staying with me (Texas, if you're reading this, I love you dearly but oh my god the CIGARETTE SMOKE), and the weather going up and down like a ping-pong ball,

it felt, well, good, to pull into the office parking lot on Wednesday morning.

Oh, sure, my desk was covered in snowdrifts of paperwork, and I'm still feeling sad, and there are still details to take care of for Mom (I'm an executor of the estate), but things are getting back to normal.

And one of the biggest reliefs of this whole thing?  Is the knowledge that I will never, ever, EVER again have to see or speak to my sister TIB.  For years, I was civil to her, as being nice to her was the only way to gain access to Mom (Mom lived with TIB), but now?

Done.  donedonedonedonedone.


And life marches on, yes it does, and I've got an adoption event tomorrow, and I've got to (finally) take the tree down on Sunday,  and I've got an appointment to get my hair cut and dye it RED a week from now,  and right now I'm just enjoying the mundane.

Well, except for cleaning the litterboxes, of course.  I don't think I'm EVER going to enjoy THAT.



Wednesday, January 08, 2014

It's not a BUS, for Christ's sake



My family is all kinds of messed up, which I guess is inevitable when there's a ton of kids, but I think the WTF award, funeral division, has to go to my sister Ditzy, who, when learning that her son was running late on his way to the funeral service, asked the minister to hold the funeral until he got there.
Ooooooookay.

WTF award Number Two goes to her son, who could not manage to make it to his grandmother's funeral on time.  There was even a visitation beforehand, meaning he had a built-in cushion, and he still managed to display an utter lack of respect by showing up late.

WTF award Number Three goes to the minister, who was asked to pick the hymns, and proceeded to choose hymns that no one had ever heard of.

And the final WTF award goes to certain members of the family, who called dibs on which of the flower arrangements they wanted to take home with them.  I just ... can't with these people.  Really?
 
And then there was all the fun of  family members trying to get here and then get back to Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington state during the worst stretch of air travel in recent memory. 

Yep, that's my family.  They can even f*ck up a funeral.




 

Friday, January 03, 2014

Mom










Marjorie Grace (Barnes) Clark, 89, born June 14, 1924 passed away on December 30, 2013. She left this world surrounded by love. Marjorie was predeceased by her husband Burt, whom she was married to for nearly 60 years, and a brother, Leonard. She is survived by six children, Alan Clark, Arline Clark, Meryl Kovac, Shirley Crotsley, Karen Wells and Wendy Walter; nine grandchildren, Sarah Wells, Jesse D'Onofrio, Anne Marie Lay, Guy Crotsley, Lugene Crotsley, Eric Crotsley, Addy Trussell, Michael VanWagenen and Vincent VanWagenen; eleven great grandchildren, Jackson and Matthew Crotsley, Henry and Owen Lay, Charlotte Trussell, Alex Crotsley, Michael VanWagenen Jr, Blake VanWagenen, Amber, Ciarra and Skye VanWagenen; one great-great grandchild, Kyleigh VanWagenen; and brother, Raymond Barnes. Marjorie was blessed with a sweet, gentle nature and wonderful sense of humor that shone through even though the last 13 years of her life bore the stamp of Alzheimer's. Daughters, Karen and Wendy and Karen's fiancé, Chris Mayville would especially like to thank Kim Carter and the staff of Elizabeth Church Manor for their compassionate care of mom during her final weeks, and their warm support and concern during her final hours. You touched our lives, and certainly touched hers, and we will never forget it.

Memorial Services will be held Monday 11 a.m. at the Allen Memorial Home, 511-513 East Main Street, Endicott, with the Reverend Nancy Krembs officiating. The family will receive friends at the Allen Memorial Home, Monday 10:30 a.m. until service time at 11 a.m.


Thursday, January 02, 2014

Notes from the nursing home

I wish I had something profound to say, but I'm not that deep.  Mom lived for 89 years; the first 75 were pretty damn good, and the last 14, not so much, but still, she had a good run.

And the one saving grace about dementia is that even as it is taking you away, piece by piece, it also erases your ability to realize what is happening.

I will tell you what, people talk smack about nursing homes all. the. time., but the facility mom was in was excellent.  Everyone, from the nurses to the aides to the janitors, cared about the residents.  All of the residents were clean, and well-fed, and entertained, and genuinely loved by the staff.

And that's saying something, when you're talking about patients with advanced dementia.

There was the woman who was constantly angry.  "Stop looking at me!," she'd mutter.  "I'll come over there and knock your lights out, I swear to God.  It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!  A conspiracy!"  That went on 24-7.  I never did see her sleep, although I supposed she must have, some time.

Then there was the Cookie Monster.  Starting on Friday morning, there was a hospitality cart in the hall outside mom's room at all times.  In the mornings it would have coffee and hot tea and juice and muffins, and in the afternoons and evenings it would have bottled water and soda and cookies and snack crackers.  It was meant for the guests visiting mom, but one of the residents would make raids on the cart.  She'd wheel up furtively in her wheelchair, grab a package of cookies or a muffin, rip the wrapping off with her teeth like she was pulling the pin out of a grenade, and then tear off down the hall, eating as she went.  Sometimes she'd stash her prize in an empty tissue box she carried around, and sometimes she'd hide stuff in the aides' carts.  The woman liked her sweets, is what I'm saying.

And then there was the one staff member who gave me pause.  After mom died, my sister Ditzy and Ditzy's boyfriend and I spent some more time with her, and then Ditzy's boyfriend went to alert the staff, who did a final check and then called the funeral home and started making arrangements.  They sent up a pair of aides to prepare mom for the funeral home, and the one aide, well ...

Let's put it this way.  I spent a lot, a lot of time in that nursing home over the last two weeks, at all hours of the day and night, and I was pretty sure I knew all of the staff.   But this dude ... anybody see the movie "Phantasm"?  And in the movie, there's that creepy dude in the funeral home? The Tall Man?

This aide looked just like that guy.  I'm not even kidding.  I had never seen him in the home before the night that mom died.  I'm really, really glad they sent another aide along with him, one who I did know, because I would not have felt comfortable having that creepster alone in the room with my mom.

But even he provided a bit of macabre comic relief.  Many jokes about zombies and basements were made, courtesy of creepy aide dude.

In the end, the room was nice and quiet.  Per her wishes, mom was not hooked up to any monitors or devices.  The room was dark, and it was just my sister, my sister's boyfriend, me, and my mom.  Her breathing became somewhat labored and rapid toward the end, and then her breathing quieted, and her breaths came less often, and then her breathing stopped and she was gone.  Just ... gone.

And I'll tell you what, it may seem kind of odd, but I don't fear death anymore.  I've seen it, it's been in the room with me, and I'm not afraid of it.  Her passing was beautiful.

Rest in peace, mom.