Archive for November, 2003

Nov 27 2003

Oh, The Poor Cats

Published by under Pets

I am probably not supposed to own cats.

I don’t have the proper mindset for it. I read people’s journals and sites who own cats, and I always think that my cats must have gotten a defective human. While some people are cowed into submission by their cat’s evil glares, I just mutter “What’s your problem, Cranky McBitch?”. I don’t let my cats sleep in the linens. I don’t let my cats lick the inside of the bathtub faucet. And. . . as just happened. . . when I am carrying a full load of laundry and I trip over a cat who decided that now would be a good time to stand in front of me, I just bellow “Move it or lose it, sister!” and expect the cat to respect that instead of dropping the laundry to cuddle the rumpled feline.

I read about people who rig up elaborate bridge and tunnel systems in their home so that their cats can move from room to room with ease, or have “vertical territory” or whatnot, and I wonder if these people ever SEE their cats again afterwards. If I gave my cats “vertical territory”, they’d probably drop down on my head like mini-panthers in retribution for all the things I don’t do for them. If I gave my cats more hidey holes than they already have, they’d probably never want to come out, except for food.

Oh, that’s another thing: the cats have not properly trained me to leap out of bed when they want food. If they are meowing in the morning, or dancing on my back, more often than not they don’t get the result they were after. A garbled version of “Shut UP, it’s six in the freaking morning!” is the best the cats can expect.

They also don’t get fed table scraps, leftover cereal milk, or even very many treats, although that last one is their fault. I’ve bought several kinds of cat treats — Destiny just sniffs and Fate will try to lick them up. I’ve told her over and over again that I am not giving her Tootsie Pops and she should really try to chew the damn things, but she just looks at me and walks away.

I always was a dog person, and maybe that’s why I don’t have the proper cat mentality. Up until I hooked up with , I never really considered getting cats — I had loved the many dogs that were always around in my childhood. The cats were really just more farm workers — barn mousers for the most part. In my childhood I didn’t know that some people kept cats indoors and the cats really didn’t do anything around the place. My first experience with an indoor cat was when my mother remarried and we inheirited my stepfather’s cat-by-default: a stray that one of my stepsisters had been feeding. My stepdad called the cat “Dead Meat”, which was a pretty accurate portrayal of how he felt about it. My mother took the cat in and started spoiling it to death, but to the end of its long life, the cat remained a tough little bitch. Even the rechristening of the cat from “Dead Meat” to “Catty J. Catty Cat” (no, I don’t know what the J. stands for either) did nothing to soften its personality. My mom fed the cat Fancy Feast and made it blanket nests all around the inside of her home, and the cat reciprocated by killing the birds she fed. Nevertheless, the cat was revered in our household, and when it died recently, there was mourning in several associated households across the state. Only the adoption of another stray, Sammy, and his subsequent spoiling has really perked my mom up again.

In the meantime, my own cats are far less spoiled, but I think no less happy. Regardless of their defective human, both of my cats love to hang out with us, lay on top of us, sleep in the bed with us, and cry out for us if they don’t know where we are. And even though they are loud, obnoxious, dumb, cranky animals, I wouldn’t have any other pet in my house that couldn’t get along with my cats.

It makes me sick when people abandon their cats with the stupid notion that since they are such self-sufficient creatures, they should be able to make their own way. Cats put up a good front, but they need their humans and they need care. If you can’t be bothered to care for your animals, at least do the cats the courtesy of taking them to a shelter. Someone else out there will be more than happy to take the animal in and feed it, love it, and yes, even call it Cranky McBitch on occasion.

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Nov 26 2003

The Parting Blow

Published by under Education,Outdoors,The Man,Work

The tale of the snowstorm keeps getting worse and worse.

After my harrowing drive home last night, The Man and I spent a quiet night of computer games (me) and working on D&D (him). We smoked a few cigarettes, dealt with a couple of cranky cats, and went to bed at about 11 PM, where we laid there and chatted for another hour. At midnight, I rolled over to go to sleep and my eyes snapped open in horror.

“I forgot to go to class tonight!” I exclaimed in disbelief.

Now, for most of the college students out there, forgetting a class or even skipping one on purpose is not that big of a deal. But this is a math class, and math is and always has been something that I need to work very hard at. This class has been particularly good for me because the instructor gives us an outline on our “no test” weeks that lays out the formulas very exactly and tells us just what we need to study. I love those outlines. They make my life so much easier.

But this week I didn’t get my outline.
Because I was so worried about driving home in the snow that it didn’t occur to me that I wasn’t supposed to be going home.

I also didn’t get my test results from last week, the test on compound interest which I studied my behind off for because it contained so many formulas that my head was spinning. I was quite interested to see how I did on this test, and I didn’t get my results last night. My instructor doesn’t have a habit of toting our tests around with him, so I probably won’t get my results next week either. I just will never know how I did on that test. And it is KILLING me.

Two things have happened today to make me feel slightly better about the state of my world: 1) an e-mail got sent out from our corporate office stating that all facilities will close at 3 PM tomorrow, except for critical job functions. Well, I am NOT that critical, so I get to go home early tomorrow and 2) Stylin gave me a present that he brought home from China: two long, beautiful strands of pinkish pearls that live in their very own green silk bag. Mmmm. . . jewelry.

Tonight is D&D night, which means The Man will be gone until the wee sma’s doing whatever D&D characters do, and Michael and I will probably be at my house, drinking rum and watching “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. Sweet.

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Nov 25 2003

Trail Blazing OR Driving in a Snowstorm

Published by under Outdoors,The Man

You leave work at six PM, after a very cheerful reunion with your boss. You open the door to go outside and are struck in the face with a bunch of thick snowflakes. Oh, you were wrong. The flurries from earlier HAVE developed into a real storm and lo and behold, they ARE sticking to the ground. Rather tenaciously.You skid your way across the parking lot to your car, get in and call your finace’s cell phone to determine routes. Should you take the southbound that leads you over The Big Bridge, or the southbound that takes you through downtown? Your fiance regretted taking the bridge. You will go through downtown. You change your mindset from “clear road driving” to “snow storm driving”. No music. Wipers on. Brake early and gently. Slow take offs. You curse as you remember the stupid traction control in your car, and repeat to yourself SLOW TAKE OFFS. You do not want the gas cut out as you are trying to make a left turn.

On the freeway, everyone is driving 35 – 40 mph, for which you are grateful. This means you won’t have to be the only person doing 35 and holding up the show. You realize that you can’t tell where the highway begins and ends, so you decide to follow the tail lights of the person in front of you and hope he knows where he’s going. You remember that this is the part of winter you hate, and feel like an idiot for being a little happy earlier that it was finally snowing.

Whoa, pay attention! You make a controlled but last minute lane change because you realize the person you’ve been following like your beacon of hope has decided to exit at Jefferson St, and you didn’t notice that you had been following him into the exit lane. You don’t want to go to Jefferson St. You have another 20 miles to go.

As you exit the downtown area and begin to join up with the main freeway again, you notice that the cars in the right lane are coming awfully close to you. You glance in your rearview mirror and notice that there seems to be some confusion behind you — no one knows where the lanes are as opposed to the on and off ramps, so people have merged into one very crooked lane. Some of them are more to the left, and some more to the right, but everyone is clustering together as if the other cars will protect them. It looks like a recipe for disaster to you.

You see the sign for your exit, but you can’t see the off ramp. You begin to wonder if you can find the off ramp, or if you’ll end up driving down the bank into someone’s East Side backyard. You wonder if the gangsters on the East Side will be helpful and understanding once a 2000 Cavalier becomes their new lawn ornament.

You begin the ascent onto the ramp. This particular off ramp becomes a bridge that goes over the freeway and turns into an on ramp for northbound on the other side. You know that this ramp is curvy, and often icy, so you go 15 mph. Halfway up the ramp you become annoyed because it’s snowing so hard you can’t see well. You wonder if you should just turn off your headlights because all they are showing you are snowflakes. You realize that this is a stupid idea and just try to see through the snowflakes. You navigate the off ramp very slowly. You make it onto northbound with no trouble, drive another quarter mile, and take another off ramp that gets you to the road you need to take to go home.

The road home is a little bit better than the freeway, which you think is odd. When you are almost out of town, just before the road changes to two lanes, you glimpse the lines on the road peeking from a spot with no snow and discover that you’ve been driving in the left turn lane. You ease yourself back to the right and consciously relax your hands, reminding yourself yet again that squeezing the wheel does not give you better control. You squeeze the wheel hard every time you are driving under horrible conditions. You wonder if this is a genetic trait, because your mother does the same thing. The two of you have commiserated about how sometimes your hands hurt after driving in the snow because you’ve been gripping the wheel so hard.

You see a snowplow in the distance and you let out a small “woo” which quickly turns to a louder “shit” when you see that the snowplow is going in the opposite direction. You wonder why all the plows in Michigan only seem to comb the snow, or groom it like someone will be coming down the highway in cross-country skis. You chuckle as you think about the “Comb the desert!” scene from “Spaceballs”. You give yourself a mental shake and remind yourself that you are “snow storm driving” and you need to pay attention, not think of connections to old, funny movies.

Halfway home, you remember that your fiance’s car has no anti-lock brakes and a crappy heater. You start to worry about him, and hope he made it home okay, but you can’t be distracted by making a call while you’re on the road. Then you wonder if your brother-in-law got all of his fields plowed before the storm hit. You call yourself a moron for worrying about your brother-in-law’s farm when you still have 10 miles of slick road to get through.

Hello, you seem to be driving considerably left of center again! Move back to the right before a semi-truck turns you into a hood ornament. Sheepishly, you move to the right and wonder why you always want to drive in the center of the road during a storm. It’s not like it’s any clearer there. You console yourself with the fact that you can’t see the lines on the road, so you don’t know where you are in relation to the shoulder.

You pass another snowplow, also going in the opposite direction, and wonder if MDOT has decided that only people traveling west need clear roads and salt. Maybe there’s a conspiracy to kill everyone who lives on the eastern side of the county. Another mental shake to chastise your mind for wandering away from the serious task of “snow storm driving” and you keep trucking on.

Ah. . . the four-way stop. You’re almost home — only five miles to go. You chuckle a bit as you think about how the car dealership’s fluorescent lights against the snow give their lot an almost celestial glow. You wonder if Jesus has stopped in to buy a new or used car at rock bottom prices. You scuttle through the four way stop and see a Blazer off the road, on its side in a ditch, headlights on. You pull over and put on your hazards to call 911 and report it. For some reason, your 911 call hooks you up to dispatch one county over. They try to transfer you to the right county, but you get some kind of recording asking you to hang up and call 911. You don’t want to tie up the emergency lines all night, and you know there’s no one in the car, so you give up and continue on your way.

On your residential street, you rejoice in the fact that for the first time all night you are actually doing the speed limit — 25 mph. You get home and see about an inch of snow on your deck. In the house, your fiance brings you a Diet Coke and your slippers, and you collapse in relief that the first night of navigating a snow storm is over. Only a few more months to go.

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Nov 25 2003

Snow, the Weekend, and More Moving Talk

Published by under Moving/Real Estate,Outdoors,Pets

It’s snowing today in the frozen land of Nador. It’s also snowing today in Mid-Michigan. I hope I don’t have to eat any minstrels. If I do, I want the guy with the lute.

It’s just flurries, and really there is no chance of it sticking because the ground isn’t cold enough yet, but it’s kind of nice to finally see weather that matches with the season. All the back and forthing was really screwing with my throat — I have pretty inflamed tonsils and weather changes seem to make the problem more severe.

The only thing that disappoints me a little is that looking back, I was really hoping to be in the house before it started snowing. One more dream that has been crushed into oblivion by the cruel hands of a real estate agent and a poisoned well. Oh, the drama!

Three-day work week, can you get any better than that?

This weekend was spent in packing and moving stuff. We borrowed Stylin’s truck, since he’s in China and doesn’t need it right now. Got a lot of the office cleaned out, and bought one of those Aerobeds. Chris can sleep on it for as long as he needs to, and then we’ll use it in case we have any overnight guests. Washed a bunch of my old twin sheets for the Aerobed, moved about 8 million boxes, the kitchen table, the chairs, a recliner, and several bookshelves to storage. Now we just need to get some Cat 5 cable so we can hook up the computers in the kitchen, break down the brick and board bookshelves, vacuum the office, and Chris will actually have a place to sleep when we get home Saturday night. Although I can’t guarantee that the cats won’t still hop all over him at night.

Speaking of the cats, I think they’re going through a bit of a manic/depressive cycle with the whole moving thing. Manic because there are tons of cardboard boxes around, and they love to play in boxes. They also are not getting yelled at for climbing on empty bookshelves, so they think that is pretty cool. However, a lot of their hiding and napping places have disappeared, and I think this is bumming them out. I hope that this move is not too traumatic for them, and I’m interested to see how they’ll deal with having TWO levels of house to play in. They’ve never really encountered stairs before, so I’m anticipating some tumbling before they learn the best way to go up and down.

Me, I just want to start moving from storage into the house. It amuses me to think how much stuff I’ve got scattered around this state. Some of my stuff is at mom’s, some is at Grandma’s, some is at home, and some is in storage. I feel very scattered right now, and it’s not making planning for the holidays any fun. I can’t really get in a Christmas mood because I don’t have any decorations. They’re all in storage. Oh well, I guess I’ll forge ahead and just look forward to the time when we can be HOME, and we don’t have to worry about going anywhere else for a number of years.

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Nov 22 2003

Pizza Parties and Threesomes

Published by under Stupidity,Wedding,Work

Apparently all you have to do to motivate people is promise them pizza.

My company has this group of people who volunteer their time to organize fun events for the employees, and they also are in charge of the annual charity thinger, which for the last couple of years has been Adopt a Family. I call these people the Company Morale Boosters because that’s pretty much their mission statement.

So, it’s charity time, and it’s pretty well known that if you just send around an e-mail asking for people to donate to a worthy cause, not too many people will respond. The Company Morale Boosters realize this and came up with a game to make it more fun for people to donate to charity. They divided our building into four quadrants and gave each quadrant a jug. You put money in the jug — pennies score positive points, silver and paper count against you. So you put pennies in your own jug and the other money in your enemy’s jug. The group who comes out ahead gets a pizza party.

Keep in mind: a pizza party is the prize here. Not a gold-encrusted pizza or even a keg party. Just pizza and soda.

People are going INSANE over this thing. I’m pretty sure the final moments have just passed and donations are closed now, but today was completely unreal as people were forming strategies, changing $20.00 and $50.00 bills to pennies, and dropping tens and twenties into other people’s jugs. I just came in from smoking and there was a crowd in the breakroom, feverishly dumping pennies into their jugs. Someone mentioned that so-and-so had gone to the ATM for more money to put into an opponent’s jug. It blew my mind for a two reasons:

A. The level of fervor going into this game suggested that the winners would get a new car.

B. Why can’t people get this excited about giving without a prize attatched?

Don’t get me wrong, I think this was an outstanding idea and probably the best idea the Company Morale Boosters have ever come up with. I know they were sure surprised at the level of participation — I think their goal was $300 or something and I know they have left that number behind long ago. The only thing that is blowing my mind is how crazy it’s gotten. I work in a really large building, and my desk is almost as far from the break room as you can get — nevertheless I can still hear muted “Woo Hoos!” while sitting at my desk from people who are eager to win it all and get that party.

In other news. . . whoever you are leaving comments about the possibility of a threesome involving you, me, and The Man on our wedding night, I’ve decided to say a few things to you:

1) First off, the answer is no. Even if we were into threesomes (which we are not) we would not be participating in one with a complete stranger and on our wedding night.

2) Even though I don’t know you (or at least I hope I don’t), I am concerned that you are approaching strangers on the Internet about sex. I hope you are taking the appropriate precautions and safety measures, but you need to be a little more selective because you never know who is going to be cool and who is going to kill your ass. Plus you know. . .AIDS. Condoms aren’t really a good protection against that, you know. If you don’t know that, it’s time you learned.

3) While initially it was sort of flattering in a sick way that you would offer this to us, upon reflection it’s really more of an insult, kind of like when a hooker tells you that she thinks you’d make a good business partner. If that offends you, good. Maybe it will make you think a little bit about the image you’re projecting which is “I’ll fuck anyone”.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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