Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm that person

I just opened up my phone/TV/internet bill, and it was sixteen bucks more than it was last month, so I called the cable company to find out why. And when they explained that I had been under a special promo offer when I signed up three months ago that had now expired, I dropped the HBO and Showtime to get the bill back down to where it was.

Yeah, I'm that person.

I'm the person who will get home from grocery shopping and, upon discovering that I was charged twice for a $5.99 package of chicken, will take my receipt and go right back to the store.

I'm the person who knows who's got the best price on cat food, and whether the extra gas I spend to get to that store will pay itself off in the lower cost. Yeesh. Yeah, that's me.

I'm the asshole ahead of you in line who counts out her change. I'm sorry. I really am.

I clip coupons. I scour store flyers. I buy generic paper towels. I purchase my clothes at thrift stores. I've never owned a brand-new car in my life. My nineteen-inch TV is now twenty years old.

I was raised upper-middle-class, but once I went out on my own, I was low-income for so long that I think this stuff is ingrained in me now.

And honestly? It hurts me to buy something one place, when I know I could get it someplace else cheaper.

I'm not proud of it or anything; actually, it's kind of embarrassing. My name is RockyCat and I'm a cheapskate.

But you know what all those years of scrimping did? It bought me a house.

I never, ever would have been able to save up the money to buy a house if I hadn't already been so used to cutting corners. All I had to do was a cut a little further for a couple of years, and I had my down payment.

Now, of course, I don't own the house. The bank owns the house. But I'm building equity, and someday I will own that house, flat-out.

All thanks to generic paper towels and the thrift store.

How about you? Any good money-saving ideas? Let's hear 'em! Maybe I can save another five cents. Ha.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

and speaking of kittens ...

... Panko and Ponza, the two white boys, have been adopted. That leaves three.

Chobani says, "Why has no one adopted me yet? LOOK at me! I iz adorabuls!"

and Kikko says, "YOU?! What about ME?! Look in my pretty, pretty eyes, and explain to me what I'm still doing in THIS dump!"

and Princess Kamiko says, "I don't know WHAT you two are going on about! Everyone KNOWS I'M the prettiest kitten in the world! WHY has no one claimed ME yet?"

Yep, they're still here. Come and get 'em!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

and then I broke my got-dam toe

Okay, okay, it's probably not broken, but maaaaaan, it hurts like a mother.

I was getting ready to feed the cats this morning, and at the same time getting their meds ready. For Soda, it's an antibiotic pill. For Tinks, the same. (Did I mention that a week after Soda got sick, Tinks came down with the SAME THING? No? I forgot to mention it? Sorry, I've been a LITTLE BUSY. Ha. Over the weekend, Tinks was on THREE different meds. Fun.) For Pony, it's his sixty-dollars-a-teeny-bottle (I just can't get over that) eyedrops. (It's seventy dollars when you add in the refrigerated-shipping charges.) (NOT OVER IT.)

So! Okay, I'm getting the cats' breakfast ready, because once I feed and pill them, it's time to get the fosters' food ready, and did I mention that it's five-blessed-thirty in the morning? No? I forgot to mention that? *sigh* THIS is what happens when you have cats AND foster cats AND a full time job.

And oh! There are still three adorable fosters in my spare room, waiting for adoption, if anybody's interested. HINT HINT. Two gray/black tabbies (Kikko and Chobani) and one little white princess (Kamiko). (I DID NOT NAME THESE CATS.) They have been to TWO adoption events so far (there went my weekend) and there are still NO TAKERS, which would be mind-boggling, except for the fact that there are approximately nine million free kittens being advertised on Craigslist right now. Thanks, Kitten Season!

and this train is going off the track now, isn't it? OKAY. Back to breakfast. Tinks and Pony are in the kitchen, and I'm getting ready to med them, when I look out the window and see Soda meandering through the backyard. I figure I'll go call him in, quick, so I can med everybody at the same time, so I rush out into the garage, in the process falling down the garage stairs.

All two of them.

There are all of TWO stairs leading from the house to the garage, and I fell down them.

Olympics, here I come.

And am I the only person who, even when being observed by no one other than CATS, still tries to go for the save and not look like a total idiot? Still tries to maintain some sense of decorum as my big toe is bending underneath my foot and hurting like hell? Still tries to get to the damn back door so I can call in Soda? No? That's just me? That's what I figured.

So yeah, I'm limping like hell and my toe hurts like crazy and it keeps falling asleep in a PAINFUL way and I briefly thought maybe this could justify a day off from work but even I'M not THAT lame so here I am at the office, telling you about my broken toe.

The end.

Anybody got any good broken toe stories for me?

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hoping I'm not making a big mistake


On Friday, I bought a "refurbished" portable air conditioner. On line.

Here's the deal. A while back, I put a window AC unit in the spare room.

To keep the foster kittens cool, doncha know. SHUT IT.

And ... well ... we had a couple of really hot days last week, and stepping into that cool, cool spare room? Was awesome. And I was feeling guilty, depriving my OWN cats of AC, while the fosters basked in cool comfort. SHUT IT AGAIN.

I thought about getting another window unit, for either my bedroom or the living room, but I hated to lose a window to the air conditioner. So I started looking into portable units. They are not, I discovered, really all that "portable", but the only window space they use is the space for the drainage vent, so ...

I started pricing them out. The cheapest model that could reasonably be expected to do the job was up around three hundred bucks, which ... no. Nope. And as it turns out, upstate New York is not exactly a hotspot for air conditioner sales, so I couldn't even FIND a local store that carried them.

Time to turn to the internet! Where doing a simple thing like pricing out an air conditioner can suck up just as much time as you want it to, which in my case turned out to be half a day.

Which is where we come to "refurbished". I kept seeing these Best Buy air conditioners that were a hundred bucks less than at the other stores. Because they were "refurbished". It turns out that when someone returns an air conditioner to Best Buy, either because it doesn't fit in their window or it doesn't work right or they're just really, really stupid, it goes back to the Best Buy warehouse, where they test it, fix anything that's wrong, and then sell it at a discount. In the case of the air conditioner, an over-thirty-percent discount. The unit still comes with a warranty, and you can still return it, but it's cheaper than buying a brand new unit.

So I bought one. Which will be shipped to my local Best Buy store in the next few days at no charge. They will call me when it gets there and I will go and pick it up and somehow I feel like there is some giant catch to this someplace, that I am reprising my role as the Village Idiot for buying a "refurbished" air conditioner, but I guess we'll find out in a few days, won't we?

Stay tuned ... and in the meantime, if anyone has any stories about (a) "refurbished" or (b) Best Buy, feel free to regale me with 'em in the comments.

Friday, June 22, 2012

I really should start up Freaky Friday again ...

... because this stuff just keeps finding me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The bus monitor

Okay, by now I'm sure you've all seen the video or read the reports about the elderly school bus monitor who was ruthlessly taunted by her middle school charges. I have not seen the entire video and probably will not; you only have to watch for a couple of minutes to get the gist of the thing.

I have a couple of thoughts:

1. Someone commented on a web site that this exact same thing happens on school buses every day, except with a fellow schoolkid as the person being tormented, and a couple of other people commented that no, this level of tormenting doesn't happen to kids, to which I say, "HA!" Those people obviously never rode the schoolbuses I did in the seventies, when the level of verbal evil being perpetrated upon kids by their fellow students was truly astounding. The only difference between then and now? Back then, I don't remember "f*ck" being flung about. I don't know if I even knew the word back then, and if my fellow students did, they weren't using it, because of the knowledge that they would surely go up in flames if they ever uttered it.

2. Where was the bus driver? Oh, wait, probably the same place MY bus drivers were back in the day, driving the bus and ignoring anything and everything going on behind them. The only way to get a reaction from the bus driver? Throw something at the back of her head.

3. Why did this lady sit there and take it? Obviously, she couldn't beat the shit out of the thugs like I'm sure she wanted to (or maybe that's just me), but why didn't she ask the driver to pull over? Why didn't she call dispatch or the school and hold up her cell so they could hear what was going on? Once the ride was over, why didn't she tell someone what had happened? Why didn't the driver tell someone what had happened? (Oh yeah, that's right, drivers only react to being beaned in the head.)

4. She was the monitor for the bus. What, exactly, was she monitoring? The number of times the little darlings could hurl "f*ck" at her during one twenty-minute bus ride? And since she refused to stand up for herself, it makes me wonder what she was doing when the little darlings were tormenting their peers or beating the sh*t out of them in the back of the bus. Isn't that what monitors are supposed to prevent? Or had she remained silent for so long when they went after each other that they finally got bored and turned on her?

That's my half-assed thoughts, upon viewing a couple of minutes of the video and reading some of the news reports. Investigative journalism, RockyCat-style! What's your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Oh yes I said it. Oh yes I did.

"Hey! Kid! Get off of my lawn!"

Okay, so it was more of an, "Excuse me! You've got the entire park to play in! Would you please stop playing ball in my front lawn?"

It was a holiday - Father's Day - and so of COURSE my elderly neighbors were throwing a party. And the problem is not them. Well, a lot of the time it IS them, but during their beer blowout parties the problem is their grandkids, who are now in their tweens and teens and evidently inherited the "no boundaries" gene from their grandparents. The parents and grandparents, who are busy getting their drink on and don't want to have to mind the kids, send the kids to the park next to my house. Instead of walking down the road to the park, they cut through my yard. The front yard, the back yard - makes no difference to them. ALL DAMN DAY Sunday, I had herds of yelling, screaming, shrieking, shoving kids and teenagers running through my yard.

The older grandkids were sneaking beers from the party and sucking them down in the park, just over the brush line from my property. One herd of younger grandkids was playing paddleball in my neighbors' front yard, with the ball bouncing into MY front yard every thirty seconds or so, followed by a pack of shoving boys trying to get to the ball. Another herd of younger ones were playing frisbie tag in the park, next to my yard, shrieking and screaming so loudly you'd have thought they were being killed.

And they almost were, I'll tell you that right now.

You know why I never had kids? BECAUSE I DON'T LIKE KIDS. And having a couple of dozen of them tearing through my yard, yelling and screaming, was making me insane.

Finally, finally, I'd had it. I looked out my living room window to see that two of the secret drinkers were wobbily tossing a ball back and forth, in MY front yard. When one of them tromped through my front garden to go after an errant ball, I snapped. And yelled. And the kid apologized, and stumbled back in to the park. Bastid.

I think I'm gonna invest in some fencing. Electrified fencing.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Look who's home!

I guess they don't have scratch posts at the vet's.

Catnip, either.

Five days, an amount of money I'm not about to discuss, and no real definitive diagnosis other than "Fever of Unknown Origin" later, our bud is back home.

Good to see ya, SodaPop!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Monkeys in a tree

No, this is not one of my masterpieces. I saw it on a walk this morning. (See? I'm not the only crazy one!)

Soda update: As of this morning, he's doing well. The vomiting has not returned and his temp has stayed down. Provided he doesn't relapse again (crossing fingers), he'll be coming home tomorrow. We miss you, Soda!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Soda Update

So! Soda was supposed to come home this afternoon, but then his fever spiked again and he had to stay at the vet's.

She called a couple of hours ago to say that he'd since gone full-on Exorcist, with vomiting and diarrhea and the whole nine yards. And in a valiant attempt to blow smoke up my butt, or maybe it was just a kind act to try to comfort me, she assured me that this was the last gasp of whatever was laying him low leaving him, that the illness was finally exiting, that he should be feeling much better soon. She gave him something to stop the puke-fest, and the IV meds continue. She is going to call in the morning with an update.

Soda, buddy, stay tough. You can get through this. And I miss you. And so do Pony and Tinks - they're waiting for your return. Get well soon!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kind thoughts for SodaPop

SodaPop is in the hospital tonight.

He'd been off his food for a couple of days, and yesterday evening and last night all he wanted to do was sleep and sleep and sleep. When he was still lethargic when I got home from work tonight, and still not eating, I called the vet.

She said to bring him right in. It turns out he had a temp of 105, which I guess is quite high for a cat.

The vet seems confident that this is just a one-off, that he picked up a bug somehow (because God knows he's been vaccinated for everything known to man), and with an overnight stay and some IV fluids and something to bring the temp down, he will be fine.

It just seems awful quiet around here ... get well soon, SodaPop!

Peelin' the easy way. Oh lord.

I was watching a slideshow on somebody's blog the other day, and they had it set to "Time for Me to Fly", by REO Speedwagon. An old classic from my high school days. *cough*

You know how it goes ...

"You got me stealin' your love away
'cause you never give it
Peelin' the easy way
and we can't relive it"

And I was thinking, like, "Dude canNOT be singing "Peelin' the easy way". What the hell does that even MEAN? I know that I've always THOUGHT that's what he was singing, but it makes no SENSE."

So I googled. Of course. I don't think the internet even EXISTED when that song came out, so excuse me for not doing it sooner.

"Peelin' the years away".


hahahahaha I'm an idiot.

Remind me to tell you some time what I thought the lyrics to "Landslide" were.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A perfect life. A perfect mind.

Okay, I was reading something about someone having to apologize after describing something as "gay". And then, someone in the comments described his apology as "lame", at which point the commenter was lambasted for using a euphemism for, oh God, I don't even know how it was phrased, but it was along the lines of "lame" equates to "crippled", which is making fun of the differently abled. Something like that.

And I just ... sometimes I want to give up. Sometimes there are things I would like to talk about here, that I don't even know how to start the conversation, because I know somebody's gonna jump on my stuff. (Want to know an example? Fine. I hesitated to post pics of my cats outside, because I worried that it was just gonna start a shitstorm of "How DARE you let your animals outside?" And if I had more readers (ha), if I was a Dooce, it probably would have.)

So ... here's a question: Is free speech dead? Are we now supposed to self-monitor to the point where we can't even mention certain terms ("lame") anymore without the shit hitting the fan? If someone calls someone else a "dumb blonde", should they then be expected to make a public apology? If someone gets their feelings hurt because someone else referred to someone ELSE as a "retard", is it the end of the damn world for everybody? And is this the way it should be?

Because I'm starting to worry that if that's the case, there won't be any good insults LEFT.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Grazin' in the grass is a gas, baby, can you dig it?

I can dig it he can dig it she can dig it we can dig it they can dig it you can dig it

Oh, let's dig it - can you dig it, baby?

Oh, let's dig it - can you dig it, baby?

Everything here is so clear, you can see it

And everything here is so real, you can feel it

And it's real, so real, so real, so real, so real, so real

Can you dig it?

Can you dig it, baby?

Youth in Asia

This post was originally written back in March. I just found it in my drafts folder, and I don't know why it never made it to the blog (probably because I NEVER STOP TALKING), but I thought it was worth putting up. (and NO, I'm not out of posts, do I EVER run out of posts? I just thought this one was interesting. So there.)

So, anyway, last Saturday (Ed: Three months ago) I drove out to East Jeezus, where I ended up adopting two cats, and how the hell did THAT happen, anyway?

And the house where I went, it belonged to the woman who was rescuing all of the trailer cats. She volunteers for a small rescue group, which suddenly found itself completely overwhelmed when a call to come and get "a couple of pregnant cats" turned out instead to be, at last count, fifteen cats of varying ages and feralosity, with another five or so still to be caught.

And oh, what a story I got! About how the woman who owned the cats was living in the unheated trailer along with them. About how the dining room alone had about three inches of cat shit on the floor. About how, when the rescue worker was talking with the woman, one of the woman's dogs lifted up a leg and nonchalantly PEED on a basket full of laundry, and the woman said nothing. About how at one point the cops were called ...

But ANYWAY. So I go to the rescue lady's house, and of course the first thing that hits you when you walk in the door is eau de dirty litterbox. Maaannnn, that is one smell I do not like. But when you suddenly find yourself caring for a bunch of random cats, I guess it's kind of unavoidable. The healthy cats were upstairs in the living room, and the cats with respiratory viruses were down in the basement. The unfinished, gloomy basement. In cages. And I swear, for a minute I wondered if they wouldn't have been better off back in the trailer. But the rescue woman explained that they would be brought upstairs as they recovered; she couldn't risk infecting the entire group with respiratory disease. It was just ... sad.

Also sad? The rescue woman was sad. Because, as it turns out, that very morning, she had to make an emergency trip to the vet. To have her pet mouse euthanized. The mouse had been very sick, you see, and the day before it had taken a turn for the worse, and she couldn't just let it suffer ...

I ... I ... I kept a straight face. Here she was, in a house full of feral CATS, and she took a MOUSE to the vet to have it euthanized?

hahahahahahahaha oh she's a better woman than I am, that's for sure.

Friday, June 08, 2012

hahaha oh wait, it gets better - NOW WITH AN UPDATE!

Okay, so the FC wanted me to do a solo meet-and-greet, which I declined. But this afternoon, I went the extra mile, lined up another volunteer to go with me, called the potential adopter, and rearranged my Saturday so I could take two kittens to the potential adopter for a meet-and-greet tomorrow morning.

Twenty minutes ago? I get an email. The potential adopter's landlord allows adult cats, but not kittens. REALLY? You've been contacting our rescue group, wanting to adopt a kitten ASAP HURRY HURRY RIGHT AWAY, and just now you've checked with your landlord to see he'll even allow it?

Oh man. This shit makes me tired.

UPDATED! I just got an email from the FC - would I like to go to a meet-and-greet on Sunday night with one of my fosters and three of hers? You know what I wanted to respond? "Are you high?"

I just ... I like helping out. I do. But this not my whole life. Gah.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Am I crazy?

I got an email from the FC (foster coordinator) tonight. Someone had seen the kittens I am fostering on a pet adoption website and was interested in meeting two of them (the person was looking for a specific gender and color). The FC asked if I could contact this person, and take the kittens to the person's house for a meet-and-greet.

Ummmmm ... no.

I emailed back, explaining to the FC that I did not feel comfortable going alone to the home of someone I did not know. I offered several options for a meet-and-greet, including having someone else from the rescue group come with me; meeting in public; or meeting at my place of work.

So, am I just paranoid? I've been on meet-and-greets before, but always with another person along. I did offer to go to a meet-and-greet alone last week, but that was with a person who had already adopted from us and was familiar to the FC.

I mean, regardless, I'm not budging on this one. I am too familiar with the weirdity of the internet to do anything like this. But I'm curious - what would YOU do?

Movie Review: "The Fighter"

"The Fighter" stars Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale. Mark plays a boxer on his (sort-of) way up, and Christian plays his brother, who used to be a contenda but is now a drugged-up mess. It's kind of hard to like Mark Wahlberg after his dick-shittish comments about 9/11. I mean, he's always been kind of a toad, but that just pushed it over the edge. A day after watching The Fighter, I didn't remember how it ended, so meh. Unexpectedly funny in spots. Christian Bale was amazing.

My Nexflix queue is nearing bottom - up next, I've got a doc about Irish jig competitors. Anybody seen anything good lately?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Gratuitous Cute Kitten Pics

Princess says, "Meh. I'm so TIRED of the paparazzi":

Tabby Girl says, "What IS this fascinating device?":

And all five chow down:

There. You're welcome.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Here I go, being all inSENsitive again

Pic from a recent local obit:

So, who died?

I'm sorry, but I can't go along with this shit. Not unless they did some kind of whack-ass sacrificial pyre in the backyard, and the dogs went with him.

Oh, there are LOTS of things that bother me about obit photos. The ones where the subject has been cropped out of a larger picture; you can tell because he's got a phantom hand on his shoulder. The ones that are out-of-focus, or were taken several years ago., or were obviously the only photo anybody could find of the dude.

You know what? If nobody gave enough of a shit about the dude to snap a decent photo of him in the last twenty years, chances are nobody's mourning him too awful hard. Just skip the photo.

And oh, man, I was was reading one the other day that read, "He passed (passed what? Gas? Final exams?) at his home ... while playing hymns on his piano." My, my, my. Aren't WE a tad bit holier-than-thou? They shoulda added, "And then he went STRAIGHT to heaven, where God loves him BEST." Jeez.

Oh boy, and one more thing. A line like this - " In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice in Marion's name." - is tasteful. A line like this - "Donations are being collected to help defray the financial needs of the family." - is AWFUL. DO NOT GET ME STARTED. THROW A SMALLER FUNERAL, PEOPLE.

Look. I get it. Dying people are expensive. Funerals are expensive. And maybe the family is poor. But begging for money in the obit? NO. WRONG. I am also not a big fan of, "Donations may be made to a trust fund for the children." ALSO WRONG. For one thing, how much money do these people think they're gonna get? A couple grand, tops? And that's worth whoring out your family in an obit? "We're so damn poor, we gotta beg for money in Dad's death notice"? I don't THINK so. GOD.

Have a little dignity, people. It's the last damn thing you can do for the deceased.

Monday, June 04, 2012

and just to cap it off ...

... I got poison ivy on my neck. No place else, just my neck.

and it looks like a big ol' hickey.


Saturday, June 02, 2012

... and then I forgot about my ceiling fans

First off, scroll down to view my latest adventure in stupidity.

So! After illustrating yet again what a Village Idiot I am, I got the new AC unit home before my friends came over to help with the install, i.e., do all the work while I stood around helplessly.

And at one point one of my friends mentioned how they have a ceiling fan that helps on hot days. And a little something *clicked over* in my mind, and I thought, "oh yeah ... I have ceiling fans."

Because I do. I have one in the living room, and one in each of the bedrooms. Which I had totally forgotten about.

In my defense (and I wish I had a buck for every time I've used that phrase - I shoulda just named this thing "In my defense"), I actually TRIED to use the ceiling fans, back when I first moved in, and The Runt and Little Girl FREAKED. They acted like they were being strafed by enemy aircraft every time I turned the fans on. So I just ... forgot about the fans.

Oh! And let's not forget that the ceilings in my house are disgusting old ugly-ass acoustic tile which I cannot afford to replace, so I try not to look up, which may have contributed to my forgetting about the ceiling fans. Hmmm ... the ceiling fans which also have LIGHTS in them which I turn on and off EVERY DAY ... okay, forget that argument.

So! I had been reminded that I have ceiling fans. And I decided to do a little experiment. Waiting until all three cats were in the same room, I turned on one of the fans, staying clear of the exit in case they were going to go mental. And ... nothing. As the fan started to turn, the cats glanced up once, and then ... no reaction. Evidently the "freak out at the ceiling fan" reaction was limited to The Runt and Little Girl's family gene pool.

Yay for ceiling fans! I'll bet I'll be using them a lot this summer. Now that I've remembered that I have them.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Stupid is as stupid does

Last Monday it was time for the big window air-conditioner install. I had purchased the unit a few days before, and some friends were coming over to help me put it in the foster room.

That morning, I decided to unpack it and browse through the instructions, just to get a heads-up, although as possibly the least-mechanically-inclined person on the planet, I'm not sure what good I thought this was gonna do.

I pulled out the manual, started to unpack the unit, and saw that the instructions kept mentioning a "top rail" that had to be installed first. The top rail was supposed to have been shipped on the side of the unit, and there was even a handy little diagram showing where the top rail would be.

There was no top rail.

I looked, and looked, and checked the instructions again, and poked around some more, and ... no top rail.


I looked at my watch. I had an hour before my friends, who were traveling a little distance to get to me, were supposed to be there.

I put the foam stuff back in the box around the AC, threw all the parts in on top, hoisted it into the car, and headed back to the store.

I got to Returns, explained the situation, and they asked me to take the unit over to the Service area. I got to Service, explained the situation again, and the guy started looking through the box. "Hmmmm," he said. "I don't see the top rail. Let's open up another one." So he got another AC unit, opened up the box, and started looking. "There's no top rail in this one, either," he said. "Maybe we got a bad shipment ... let me just lift up the unit. Maybe ..."

You know where this is going, right? He lifted the unit up, and there, in the bottom of the box, was - ta-da! - the top rail.

Lesson learned?

Take the damn thing OUT OF THE BOX before you conclude that parts are missing.

I'm like the village idiot or something. I do all the stupid crap so you don't have to. You're welcome!