Monday, June 19, 2017

And then there were three

I was at the rescue on Saturday when a distraught family came in with a wee little kitten.  They said they had found it by the side of a busy highway with no mama cat or littermates in sight, scooped it up before it got hit by a car, and brought it in.  The kitten was terribly frightened, and had an odd chunk of fur missing out of one side, and had conjunctivitis, but didn't seem to be injured in any way and didn't have any fleas or ticks or signs of respiratory problems.

Oh boy, another one!  haha.

I set up a crate in the back while another volunteer called the founder.  Could we, somehow, some way, make room for one? more? kitten?

The founder said yes, if a foster could be found.  When no one stepped up, I offered to take it and put it with my ringworm kittens, with the understanding that the new kitten would also be treated for ringworm, in the hopes of avoiding him catching it from the my fosters.  Seeing as I was the only one who had room, if a less than ideal room due to the ringworm, the decision was made to send him home with me to Foster Camp.

And then we did the FeLV/FIV test.  And he tested positive for FIV.  It was a very FAINT positive, but it was a positive.

If he had tested positive for FeLV (leukemia), he could not have stayed at the rescue.  FeLV is contagious and always fatal, and when we have a cat come in who tests positive (which, thankfully, happens VERY rarely these days), the founder has an FeLV rescue group she works with to place the animal.  FIV (feline AIDs) is a little different story, especially with a faint positive.  Kittens are sometimes born with FIV in their system, often from their mama, but manage to shed it as their immune system develops. Even if they don't, it is a less contagious and less, well, fatal disease in cats, and our group has a different rescue that we work with to place FIV-positive cats.

Our veterinarian was called and consulted, and the decision was made to let him come to Foster Camp, with the understanding that he would stay in foster care (and not at the rescue) until it was time for his re-test in six to eight weeks.

Welcome to Foster Camp, Nicky!  (The family who found him named him Nicky, I'm guessing because of the chunk of fur missing from his side.

Look at those paws!: 

He is a wild little thing, all teeth and claws, and having to stick meds in his mouth (de-wormer) and gel in his eyes (conjunctivitis treatment) and give him a BATH (ringworm treatment, as a precaution) and stick him with NEEDLES (testing and vaccinations) are not making him feel any more kindly disposed to humans.  The other kittens are scared of him because he plays AWFULLY rough, but they already are learning to swat back and sometimes just walk away when he's mean. And that's why Foster Camp and the other foster homes are really, really important when singletons come in - they NEED that interaction with other cats while they're still kittens and are learning the ways of socialization, with people AND other animals.

Of course, there is that looming FIV retest hanging over us.  Needless to say, a lot of other rescues would just euthanize a kitten with even a FAINT positive FIV test, but our rescue does not.  And I'm not really worried about it.  Even if the retest does come back positive, there is a rescue who will take him and find him a home, so his life will be saved regardless.

Welcome aboard, little Nicky!  And mind your manners, good sir. :)  (We won't talk about how he pooped in the salad bar yesterday.  ahem.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rescue 911

Okay, first off, just as I thought might happen, within 24 hours of accepting the job yesterday, I have started receiving requests to interview with other companies.

Sorry, dudes!  You snooze, you lose.  HA.

This morning, I went in and cleaned at the rescue. 

This enterprising girl figured out the perfect way to bogart some wet cat food:

This tortie beauty was a little reserved:

 Until, that is, I broke out the catnip:

 Former Foster Mama Rio was NOT PLEASED to be at the rescue, but when I reached into her cubby bed and rubbed her ears she purred and purred and purred:

And former Foster Camper Duran Duran would give me no peace until I shared a cheesy cracker with him.  Cinderella is doing fine, also.

And then, after the center opened to the public this afternoon, the flood started.  A couple came in and said that a mama cat had "shown up" on their porch with a litter of kittens.  When they called another local rescue, that group told them that they were full, but that the couple should bring the cats directly to us, and we would take them.


This situation happens all. the. time.  The two "big" rescues in  this area (neither one of which I have volunteered for for several years, in case you're wondering), constantly tell callers that they're full, and that the callers should contact us.  Last summer, the one rescue, which has paid staff and a budget ten times ours, even posted a sign on their flippin' front door telling people that they were full and that they should bring animals to our rescue.

Double ahem.

While we do our best to accommodate every animal that comes our way, often double- and triple-booking our foster homes to make room, and to my knowledge we have NEVER turned an animal away, it still puts a strain on all the volunteers and all of our supporters, to know that in a lot of cases, we are the animals' last hope.  

So.  When this couple came in, without so much as a phone call or an email first, and announced that they had a feral mama cat and her kittens in a carrier in the back of their van out in the parking lot, we started scrambling.  One of the volunteers started calling our fosters, while I asked the couple to bring in the cats so I could take a look.

Mama cat was completely feral - hissing and spitting and terribly frightened. Sadly, trying to foster adult ferals or make them into housepets almost never ends well - it stresses them awfully and they often end up refusing to eat.  I advised the couple to make an appointment to get her spayed and told them that I would help them catch and transport the cat once they had an appointment,but that for now, she should go back to her neighborhood where she has been living. It's not an ideal situation, but at least her kittens are young enough to become socialized and will not be having kittens of their own six months from now, and mama cat won't be miserable trying to be something that's not in her nature.

The kiitens? Are adorable, as all kittens are.  They all have conjunctivitis, but that is treatable, and a foster home stepped up who could take them in, so once again our rescue made room when there was no room at the inn and all of the other rescues said they were full.


Kitten season, man!  It's EXHAUSTING.  And extremely CUTE. :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pounding the Pavement

I've continued to fill out application after application after application.  By Monday, reasoning that any income coming in was better than NO income, I started applying for retail jobs.  Petco.  Christmas Tree Shops.  Tractor Supply.  Dollar Tree.  This afternoon, I stopped by a local construction outfit and filled out an application for a paving flagger, reasoning that at the very least I'd have a good tan by the end of the summer.  I printed out a ton of resumes in anticipation of a job fair coming up this Friday.

You know what comes next, right?   Today, I received a job offer.  It's the job I interviewed for last Wednesday - the interview that lasted for an hour and a half.  I joked with friends afterward about having just been a part of the Spanish Inquisition, but the grueling process paid off - I got the job!  Good benefits, PENSION PLAN, and working with good people in a fully staffed office.  No nights, no weekends, no holidays, no working alone, and no walk-ins.  Hallelujah!  Pending a successful background check, etc., which I just sailed through with flying colors at that OTHER company (ahem), I should be back to work in a few weeks.

And I don't feel too freaking shabby right now.  A person of my age, trying to break into a new technical field, receiving TWO job offers in six weeks?   F*CK YEAH. 

I got a job!  Give me my medal. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Bath Time for Foster Campers! (well, sorta)

Yesterday, the Spring session of Foster Campers (Mama Rio, Cinderella and Duran Duran) went to the adoption center to find their new families, and so the Summer Session of Foster Camp could start, with two of three kittens I rescued a week and a half ago, who had been staying with the founder of the rescue.  (The third kitten, the one with the badly injured eye, is holding his own, but is still under veterinary care for being underweight.)  In a complicated swap of foster kittens necessitated by several new groups of kitten coming in, these guys came to me.  And they came with a bonus: Ringworm! Yaaaay!  Time for a lime-sulfur dip, babies!

Come on in, guys! The water's fine!

 No more, laydee!  Don't do that to me no more! :

 A little food makes everything better:

The two cutie patooties when they're not all wet:

Welcome to Foster Camp, guys!  I promise that not all days will be bath days. :)

Monday, June 05, 2017

Gotta Get Away

Last Friday, I felt so overwhelmed  by everything that's going on lately on the job front that I knew I had to get away.  So I hopped in the car and headed for Gorge Country.  I was so stressed and depressed that halfway there I had to pull over in a rest area, crawl into the back of the car, and sleep for half an hour, but I pressed on.  When I am frightened, my first impulse is always to run. :)

And hiking always makes me feel better, or at least less frantic, for a couple of hours.

I can't say that the hike eased my mind completely, but it calmed me down for the day. 

And on the job front:  I have submitted 19 applications in the last week.  I have one interview scheduled on Wednesday morning, and I have a solid lead on another position, plus several of my applications are currently under review.    I am scrambling like mad to find another job.

And here's something that I have to laugh at:  Back when my mom was alive, she would occassionally gift me with a self-help book.  I'd always laugh, and say something like, "what?!  You think I'm in need of help?!", but I knew she meant well.  I remember Dr. Phil was a particular favorite of hers.  Most of those books I've given away over the years, but the other night, as I was sitting here at home feeling helpless and depressed,  I looked over at my bookshelf, and there was one of mom's books.  "I Will Not Be Broken", by Jerry Smith.  I laughed, and picked it up, and started reading it, and after a few pages I grabbed a highlighter and started marking passages, and I'll be damned if reading that book hasn't helped.  Thanks, mom!  I love you!

So yeah, a lot of mood swings lately, and a lot of fear, but I'm pressing on.  What the heck else am I going to do?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Starfish story starfish story STARFISH STORY

The rescue I volunteer for asked me to contact a woman who had called them looking for help TNR-ing the cats in her neighborhood.

WARNING:  Some of the pictures that follow are NOT easy to look at.  These are the kinds of situations that arise when the low cost spay/neuter programs in an area are limited and the community cat populations get out of control. 

I headed over the the neighborhood this morning.   One of the property owners was feeding the cats in his backyard and providing them with rudimentary shelter.

One little kitten had an eye so badly infected that I wasn't sure it could be saved.

The two other kittens in the litter had eye infections as well, but not nearly as bad as that little one.

As soon as I got the okay from the rescue, I scooped up the worst kitten and took it to the vet.  It turns out that the eye is savable!  It's just a really bad case of conjunctivitis, which is treatable.  As soon as the rescue moves some fosters around to make room, all three of these wee ones will be going into foster care.  The rescue is stuffed to the gills right now, but we'll make room for these three.  And as soon as vet appointments can be made, I'll go back and start trapping, to get the population on this block under control. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Where It's At

Well, on Sunday morning, I called my supervisor.  I told her that due to the 12-hour shifts and the fact that I would be working virtually alone on evenings and weekends, I would not be continuing in the position.

On Sunday afternoon, I stopped by the rescue to help out because they were shorthanded, and the volunteer who had originally notified me of the job opening and flagged my resume for consideration was there.  Awkward!  She asked how it was going, and I explained the situation.  She said she completely understood, and felt bad that it didn't work out, and mentioned that she knew of a couple of new openings in the system for the same position, but with no nights or weekends and no being alone in a walk-in.  She said she'd message me the ID numbers when she was back in the office on Tuesday.

Hmmm, okay!

Long story short, I spoke with a company recruiter this morning. She suggested two positions that would be a good fit for me, and I have applied for both, with the rescue volunteer promising to put in a good word for me.  No one seemed to hold the walk-in thing against me, and I am hopeful that I many be able to work with the company after all, just in a different location with different hours.

Of course, I'm also applying (many) other places, to get my resume back out there in the fight again.  Is it discouraging to be back in the same place I was a month ago? Of course!  But I KNOW that job was not right for me, and now I'm hunting for something that's a better fit.

Am I depressed?  Yes.  Am I tired? Yes.  Do I have to keep plowing forward? Absolutely. And when this is all said and done, I SWEAR I am going to get some terribly tacky tattoo to commemorate this. :)

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Long story short, I'm walking away

So,  I completed the first week on the new job, and it will be the last.

There are many factors going into the decision; one of the main reasons is that it turns out that after 5 p.m., I would  be handling the walk-in alone.  As in, I would be the only person staffing the walk-in. There would be a nurse there, but as far as initial patient interaction, it would be me alone.  I stayed until 8 last night to see what it's like, and ... no.  No no no.  There is no hospital emergency room within 30 miles of this walk-in, meaning this walk-in is the only game in town, and ... no.  nope. nope. nope.

Today, I talked to two people whose judgment I trust implicitly and discussed the situation, and they both said to walk.  If either one of them had advised staying, I would have, but a two big thumbs down from trusted advisors is enough for me.

I will call my supervisor tomorrow and let her know of my decision.  And maybe then I'll finally be able to get some sleep. And stop crying.  

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


So!  The new job.  This is my first week in the office.

and ... things are not as they were represented to me during the interview process.

I was told that while 12-hour shifts were required, they would never be back-to-back.

Turns out that's not quite true.  One of the women there is working THREE back-to-back 12s this week, and she says it's not unusual.  Oh, and that it's often more like 13 hours, depending on the patient load.

I am confident in my ability to learn the position, and I'm told that I'm doing great so far, but there is NO WAY I am doing multiple back-to-back 12s, which sometime turn into 13.  The intensity level for the position is quite high, and I KNOW I'd be burning out by hour 10. 

So!  I am going to talk to my supervisor the next time she is in the office, and tell her that unless the schedule can be altered, I am not interested in continuing in the position.  There are simply too many other admin jobs out there right now for me to commit to that kind of a schedule.  I don't see the point in me burning myself out for a job that, frankly, doesn't pay all that great to begin with.

I'll let you know how it goes ...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Y U so stressed

Oh my God it has been a week, I'll tell you.

Monday and Tuesday were orientation, and while I can't divulge a whole lot about my new place of employment, I will say that the HR department is SERIOUSLY mucked up.  It was a frickin' circus of malfunctioning Powerpoint presentations, screwed-up software, and disorganization.  Holy cow.  I could have committed identity theft about forty times over, just by a stack of paperwork that was left RIGHT NEXT TO ME while I was completing online training.

And I had to get yet another TB test, because reasons, and when I went back to get it checked this morning, oooops!  There weren't any nurses readily available to check it.  IN A SEVERAL  HUNDRED BED MEDICAL FACILITY.  eeeesh.

Then, THEN, I went into work for what was supposed to be a couple of hours, and ended up spending seven hours putting out fires left and right, because, GUESS WHAT?  The company still needs a full-time admin assist.  And I was there for one day.

THEN I get home to discover a voicemail - Evidently my titer did not reveal sufficient immunization from measles, so I'm going to have to get re-vaccinated.  Hopefully that won't affect my start date, which is ... MONDAY.

Oh lord.  I am so tired right now I just want to collapse.  And I kept wondering, why is this stressing me out so much?  When I got thinking about it, most of the major stressful situations in my life previously were of my own choosing.  When I left my abusive ex and got a divorce, that was my call.  When I bought the house, that was my call.  When my Mom died, of COURSE that was not my call, but it was not unexpected.

And then ... this.  Almost completely unexpected, with very little notice, I had to find a new job.  And as Becs mentioned in her recent post, once you are of a certain age, finding a new job is not easy, even if you've kept your skills updated. Add in that I do best when I'm in control, and this was just ... hard.  Terribly hard, and terribly sucky.

And now, starting Monday, I will be going through two more weeks of training at my place of employ, although THANK GOD it will at the office where I will actually be working, instead of the place where the mucked-up orientation was held.  I keep telling myself that I'm getting there, I'm making progress, and very soon, things will get easier, and six months from now, I won't even remember how stressed out I was now.

Onward!  *sob*  Send me some peace, somebody!

Monday, May 15, 2017


Today was the first day of orientation for the new job, and it was ... long.

Orientation is held at the core hospital for the health care system for which I will be working.  And there were lots of malfunctioning Powerpoint presentations, and lots of stuff to learn, and some pretty f*cking depressing videos.

The "active shooter" video was not easy to watch, in particular since there WAS an active shooter situation with multiple fatalities in my little town not that many years ago.  The gist of the active shooter training seemed to be, well, RUN, unless you don't where the shooter is or how many shooters there are (which would seem to be the situation most of the time, I would imagine), in which case you should HIDE, which was presented as a pretty piss-poor option although it was the one I can most imagine myself picking, and if all else fails you should FIGHT LIKE HELL.  FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT.

yeah, no.  I'm not going up against anybody with a semi-automatic, excuse me while I cower in the corner over here.

And then there was the video about a 17-month-old toddler, admitted for trauma, who died as the result of a pharmacy screw-up.  Complete with, I sh*t you not, a photo montage set to Garth Brooks' "The Dance", like, yes, a baby dying because of a completely preventable error isn't already sad enough, let's set it to a heart-rending song.  I don't even HAVE kids and I was crying.  Christ.

And then it was time to learn more stuff, and absorb more information, and Round 2 is tomorrow.  Onward!  Hopefully the presenters tomorrow will be a little better with the Powerpoint.  And I'm thinking the actual job is going to be a piece. of. cake. after I get done wading through all this.

Oh!  And I got my ID badge today.  I'm official.  :) 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

More walking photos

These past couple of weeks have been really weird - I've been hired, but I haven't actually started the new job yet, as I still have to go through orientation and get tested AGAIN for TB before I can start work in the clinic.  I've been working some hours at the old job, studiously avoiding doing anything productive around the house, and walking. Lots of walking.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Marching-band Camel-bladder. Yes, it's a thing.

Today I had to go for my pre-employment physical for my new job.  Because I'll be working in a medical facility, I had to provide proof of vaccination for, basically, every disease known to man.

Amazingly, I still had the little vaccination booklet that my mom kept for me as a child (thanks, mom!) (keep in mind all my standard vaccinations were done far, FAR before the computerized medical records area).  There was one vaccination (measles, I think) that I didn't have adequate proof for, necessitating a titer, and also I didn't have any recent TB testing, which might mean a brief delay in my employment until I can go through the required, two-tests-a-certain-amount-of-time-apart TB tests.

And then it was time for the drug screening, meaning urine test.  I've given urine many, many times before at my doctor's office (ewww, sorry) for various things, so I figured, sure, no problem.

Except, I was not prepared for the sheer AMOUNT of urine (gross) I would have to give for the drug screen.  I flunked on the first go-round (not enough of a sample), so they tossed that sample and I was told that I had three hours to tank up on water, wait for it to move through, and then produce an adequate sample.  And I had to stay right there, in the office, and if I could not produce a sufficient sample in the three-hour time span, it was Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Get Job.

No pressure.

And here's where the Camel-bladder comes in.  Back in high school, I was in the marching band, meaning a lot of travel to "away"football games and band competitions.  Via school bus (no toilets).  And once we got to wherever we were going, the lines for the bathrooms at the destination facility were always LOOOOOOONG,  not to mention that at the football games, the "facilities" usually consisted of sketchy port-a-potties.

So I learned to "hold it" a very, very, very long time, is all I'm saying.  And not that it actually comes up in conversation a lot, but many people over the years have remarked on how long I can go without needing to pee.

So.  Three hour time limit, no pee and no job.  And I can hold it FOREVER.

Oh snap.  Time to chug.  I estimate I drank AT LEAST a gallon of water, if not more, during the first hour.  Then I waited.  And waited.  At that point, the facility was getting ready to close(!), and I would have to return the next day, first thing, to try again if I couldn't produce.  And I still didn't have to pee.

Well, damn! 

I grabbed the nurse, said "let's give this a shot, because I don't think I can do this again tomorrow" (water intoxication, it's a thing, guys) and headed for the bathroom.

SCORE.  I had plenty. (yuck, sorry.)  I aced the pee test!  And I swear, it's going to be a long, long time before I voluntarily drink a glass of water again. *urp*

How can people be so, well ...

I was perusing Facebook last night, where one of my Facebook "friends" had posted something that went like this:

"Can't believe the great deal I got today!  One of my neighbors had their driveway sealed, and the contractor had enough sealant left over to give me a bargain price!  Sure, it cost a chunk of change, but it was a lot cheaper than it would've normally been!  Good thing I just happened to be home this afternoon!"

Ummmmm ...

Okay, I'll say it.  HOW CAN PEOPLE BE SO STUPID?!  This scam has been around LONGER than the Nigerian Prince thing, and yet somehow, someway, people are still falling for it.  I just ...

*shakes head*

This is a person who has an advanced degree and a highly technical job with a high-level security clearance.  And yet ... and yet ... some gypsy shows up at her house with a scam story, and she falls hook, line, and freaking sinker.

People, man.  I don't get it.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Rescue time!

We had severe storms last night, and I woke up this morning to power but no phone, internet or TV.  After running a few errands, which were limited due to the power outages, I headed over to the rescue's adoption center because I'd heard they were short-handed.  Many of the center volunteers and foster families were without power themselves, and were scrambling to find temporary homes for the bottle-fed foster kittens until the power came back on.

I hadn't been there long when a call came in - Workers renovating a house that was vacant because the previous tenants had been arrested on drug charges had found that the tenants had left several cats behind, and the landlord said he wanted the cats out by 5 p.m. or he would "get rid of them".

Well, shit.

Another volunteer and I grabbed crates and gloves and supplies and headed out.  When we got there, the three adult cats had been contained in one room.  But one of those cats had given birth recently and had hidden the kittens in the attic, and of course we couldn't take the mama cat without all her kittens.

The house must have been beautiful once - there was a stained glass window in the attic, for Pete's sake! - but years of being occupied by low-income tenants had taken their toll.

We got the adult cats out of the room and into carriers:

And then it was time to head up to the attic to try and locate the kittens.

The attic:

I will tell you right now, those floorboards were pretty sketchy, and mama had hidden the babies under the floorboards in a far corner - we had to pull the babies out of this crawlspace:

Luckily, one of the workers at the house had long arms, and he was able to reach in and grab out the kittens, one by one.  We did sweeps of the crawlspace with a flashlight to make sure we had gotten all the kittens, and then it was time to reunite the kittens with their mama and get them back to the rescue.


And here is their gorgeous mama:

Here are the other two cats we took out of the house. The female, on the right, has severely matted fur, and at one point someone had taken scissors to her to cut some of the mats out.  Volunteers will work with her and she will be taken to a groomer if necessary to get her looking good again:

The mama with the babies is safe in a foster home tonight where they will be pampered and cared for, and the two adult cats will be neutered and spayed PRONTO and put up for adoption.

And I will tell you what, none of the other rescues in this area, including the local Humane Society who has a paid staff and a budget ten times ours, would touch a case like this with a ten-foot-pole.  But there we were, the crazy ones, the little rescue who could, taking in these cats who were going to meet a bad fate unless they could be rescued today.  Oh, and did I mention?  Our adoption rate is more than DOUBLE the local Humane Society's adoption rate, even though we take in the sick, the elderly, the injured, and the other animals (like these) that the Humane Society would deny or euthanize.

Okay, stepping off my soapbox now.  All I can say is, it was a heck of a day, and our rescue done good. :)