Squirrel!

It’s like goddamn Wild Kingdom in this apartment.

Yesterday I woke up, started my usual half awake bumbling about in the kitchen.  I was doing last night’s dishes when I heard something weird and scratchy in the living room.

I walk out and both cats are fascinated by the radiator.  Tim is pawing under it and Bijou is on top, pawing down.

SIGH.

I go over and it’s A GODDAMN SQUIRREL.

That door to the balcony had been open 5 minutes maximum.  5 minutes.  I imagine it was eating the last tomatoes of the season and Tim ran out and like a moron it ran into the apartment instead of down the side of the building like any reasonable squirrel would have.

This squirrel (or a similarly cheeky one) has been a pain in my ass for 2 years.  And it’s capped the whole show by showing up in my damn living room.

So I opened the door wider and threw 2 very offended cats into the bedroom.  Bijou in particular gave me a good growly talking to on the subject.  Tim had a more dignified acceptance of his fate.

I gave that squirrel 45 minutes to figure his escape out.  I figured if he didn’t, I would get involved – which was probably a bad plan, but HEY.  It’s not like getting bitten by a squirrel scares me.  I’m now IMMUNE to RABIES.  Who knew it would come in handy?

Squirrel 1 : Sara 0

Possibly Sara -1.

I went out to check on Squirrel 45 minutes later.  It was up in the bars of the radiator still.  Apparently 45 minutes of open safe escape route was not sufficient.

So I decided to drag him out.

I got a broom handle and tried to gently push him.  But let me tell you.  Squirrels are VERY strong.  And because I’m very worried about hurting him I wasn’t going to push too hard.  Plus he made adorable growly grumbles.  Which didn’t do him any harm in making me feel more sympathetic to him.

I finally got him nearly to a place I could grab him and he scuttled back into the radiator grid.

I think he was fully prepared to die there.

So I grabbed his tail and pulled, hoping to drag him out by main force. The screams he emitted could be heard 3 streets away.  They were enough to stop that plan – although it honestly seemed like the most likely solution.

I retreated to the bedroom.  The cats were looking at me like I murdered someone.  They no doubt heard the squirrel scream.

Possibly they were offended that I took care of the murder without them.  It’s hard to tell with cats.

I’m not sure what to do at this point.  I have to leave for work at 11:30ish.  I was not keen on leaving the door wide open when I left.  But I wasn’t sure if I had a choice.

Sigh.  I wonder if I should call off due to squirrel crisis.  That would be utterly ridiculous.

I mean, the odds of anything bad happening due to the open door are mostly small – and hopefully once he gets over himself, he will leave.  And hopefully no other vermin will invade in the meantime.

I made a second attempt to make the squirrel leave later in the morning before leaving for work.   I achieved nothing but changing his position in the radiator and getting the broom bitten.

So  when I went to work, I left the balcony door open, and blocked off the rest of the house, kept the cats locked in the bedroom with litter, water, and food.

But it made me anxious.  Not least because I normally get home after dark and we all know that bats are prone to fly into my apartment.

So I left work early at 6pm and got home while it was still light.  The squirrel was gone.  The cats did a thorough check and there is no squirrel.  I was so relieved.

I am considering burning the apartment down if anymore vermin invade.

My co-workers were joking about a raccoon moving in next and honestly I wouldn’t even be surprised at this point if a raccoon showed up.

I love this apartment, but it’s starting to lose it’s loveliness in the light of the constant vermin.

 

Nesting

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, it is Fall.  And Fall brings out a nesting instinct in me.

I want to create a cozy space for the winter.

So I spent money.  This is not something I generally like to do.  But Macys was having a great sale!  20% off clearance.

So I bought a bed in a bag and will soon have a new cozy bedroom.  I have an extra check in October.  I intended to spend it on a sofa.  I have a mostly empty living room with nothing to sit on. But I got distracted by the comforters and one thing led to another.  It was a great deal though, so I still have money for the sofa, but possibly not the rug.

Or I may not spend the money.  I find the savings account very cozy too.  I live in fear of two things – have an emergency without the funds to cover it.  And having people judge me for spending money frivolously.  Only one of those is sane.

I have no idea why it bothers me what ANYONE might think of the way I spend money.   Reality is that they don’t even think about it.  But I think I have been self identifying as “poor” for long enough that spending money on unnecessary things feels like I’m a hypocrite.  But, I’m no longer quite so poor.  I have enough money in every check to save a decent chunk.  But I still think of myself as poor.

Perhaps because I grew up without any money concerns.  Which taught me NO money skills.  When I moved out of the house I was poor.  I just didn’t know it.  And was constantly overspending and getting myself into financial trouble.   Even as I made more money I just felt like I could spend more.

It wasn’t until I became homeless that I recognized the dangers of being poor.  That radically changed how I managed money.  Now I’m frugal in my daily life.  It’s amazing how the daily choices we make can save money.  Bringing lunch to work instead of buying lunch.  Bringing pop to work instead of buying pop.  Not buying every whim.  But sadly my biggest savings came because I’m not social.  Having a social life can be expensive.  I stayed at home, I didn’t go to happy hours or movies or dinners.  All of those choices allowed me to live in a very small income but never to save money.

But for a while now I’ve been bringing home more than I spend and have been saving.  And also spending more.  I go out to eat with a friend about once a month.  I have been more willing to buy new clothing.  And now I’m thinking of dipping into the savings to buy major things.  And the thing that sticks most on that is what other people will think.

Intellectually I know that the savings serves a function and I should preserve this check for the unexpected.  But emotionally I’m worried about what the neighbors will think if I have a sofa delivered.  They are all financially strapped.  It also feels like I don’t belong here anymore if I can afford to buy a sofa?  It’s a weird and entirely irrational feeling.

This off projected shame is ridiculous.  I’m not going spend based on what other people think.  I earned this money, it’s mine and having a living room I can use is not frivolous, it’s just life.

 

 

 

The Bat and Rabies Saga

So.  Saturday before last I woke up to a bat in my kitchen.  Just hanging on the wall, sleeping.  img_20180908_115122550After I screamed like an idiot, I retreated to my bedroom to consider my position and to wish heartily and deeply that the damn bat would just disappear.

It didn’t.  So after a bit of googling and asking tumblr for advice, I decided I would block off the kitchen with a sheet over the doorway and open the window.  The bat would then go out the window and all my problems would be gone.

So I set up by bat escape plan and made lots of noise doing it and the bat never moved.  The cats and I spent the day locked in the bedroom and I checked on the bat periodically and it continue to not move.  Eventually it got dark and I went in to check on it and it was gone.  HOWEVER,  the sheet had fallen partially down.  So, there was no way to be sure it left.  I checked all over the apartment, but couldn’t find him.  And finally decided, it  left.  I mean there was an escape into nature right there.  Why would it head into the apartment instead?

It was at this point that my brain began to connect some dots.  When I woke up Saturday Morning, the kitten had two tiny scratches of  blood on his nose.  I had blamed her Calico Highness and gave her a stern lecture on being gentle with delicate kittens.  But.  Then I realized that while I was asleep that bat was flying about the house and a bratty grey kitten had seen it and thought it was a magnificent play thing.  And been bitten for his trouble.

I had then taken the kitten into the bedroom to wait out the bat escape plan.  And as kittens are wont to do, it played with me.  And scratched and bit me.  Not so unusual.  Nothing I would even have given a second thought.  But. It turns out that in this area bats are the most likely carriers of rabies.  How nice.

Now the kitten had an updated vaccine, but I didn’t know if that was only to keep it safe but would it stop the virus from just jumping over to me?  Sigh.  I should have caught the bat instead of setting up it’s escape.

So I spent Sunday in an ever increasing level of anxiety over my potential death by rabies.  And because it was Sunday, I couldn’t call the doctor or the vet or the public health officials.

But then Sunday Night, there was a crash and I open the bedroom door – Bat is flying around the damn apartment.  I ran to open the window – my first instinct was to rid my life of the bat.  But then I remembered – I’m supposed to catch the bat.  So I instead I caught the bat.  It landed on the ground and I just put a tupperware on it and slid a place mat under it.  And I caught a bat.

I took him the to SPCA on Monday Morning, and left a message for the doctor and the vet.  The SPCA was not very informative about how I would find out if the bat had rabies.  “I don’t know what happens to them after we ship them out.”  Great.

The vet told me the kitten would be fine.  The doctor told me I had to get a rabies shot.  And that the only place to get a rabies shot is at the ER.  So I had to leave work and go the ER.  That was 6 hours of unenjoyable life.  Most of it just waiting.

If you are interested in how rabies vaccine works, let me tell you.  First they give immunoglobulin, in and around the place you were bitten.  In my case that was many places on my forearm.  So they had two large syringes and two nurses and both of them gave me dozens and dozens of injections in my arm.  I was bleeding from them.  Then they sent in another nurse who gave me 4 more injections.  One in each shoulder and one in each hip.

AND THEN.  There are 3 follow up shots, I had the 2nd one today.  But having said all of that, it’s actually not as bad as it sounds.  It really wasn’t overly painful.  Even the ones in my forearm.  The ER was mostly annoying for the long wait.  The follow ups happen in a pharmacology clinic and the parking is more annoying than the shot.  And all the people have been super nice and kind.

And what is most annoying is that the chances that I could have gotten rabies are so very tiny.  But if you get rabies and don’t get the vaccine before the symptoms – 100% death rate.  And to be honest, getting the vaccines curbed a rampaging anxiety that was consuming me over that weekend.  Particularly since no matter how many different people at the hospital I told this unlikely story to, all of them were – Yeah you need to get the vaccine.

Oh, also my cat got quarantined by Cincinnati Public Heath Dept.  keep-out-quarantine-caution-sign-s-6379 It sounds worse than it is.  He’s just not allowed out and no one is allowed in.  And since that is the normal situation here, it’s not really a thing.  Tomorrow an official from the Public Heath Department is visiting me to see if my cat is still alive.  If he is, I guess they release him from quarantine.  And nothing will change.

So.   By next Monday I will be fully immune to Rabies.  So that’s nice.

I’m not fond of bats.

Addicted to the Dot.

My cats are addicted to the laser dot.

It’s problematic in that I keep 2 lasers hanging on bedside table.  Every morning, I let the cats into my bedroom and they begin a quest to reach the lasers.

I’m not a fan of playing laser dot.  It eventually cramps my fingers from pressing the button and it’s awkward to run two different dots in two different parts of the room.

But they won’t share a dot.  And Tim is ruder than Bijou, he is entirely focused on the chase and has no boundaries when the chase is on.  Her calico highness will just sit back and wait for him unless it’s directly in front of her.  But that means she gets very little fun or exercise from the dot.  So I usually have two going at once.

It’s the quest to reach the lasers that is annoying.  Because I’m between them and the bedside table.  More accurately, I’m the path they prefer to the bedside table.  They could just jump up from the floor, but that isn’t quite so annoying and therefore not Good Cat Policy.

And then once on the table there is a great deal of pushing and biting at the pointer as though this will some how create a dot that they can chase.  This often involves knocking things over and is noisy.

They understand I’m the one moving the dot.  It’s not a mystery to them.  They still adore it.  Lily loved the dot as a kitten until she realized it wasn’t real and that I was the one creating the moving dot.  Then she lost interest entirely and never did more than watch it with bored disinterest.

But they get it fully and still ADORE the dot.  Related image

Work and Kittens and Medical Tests

So I changed jobs a couple of months ago.  Same company, different department.  I work in Billing now.  Accounting.  It’s fun to learn new things.  The actual job though is often tedious.   However because they are working in a crazy old fashioned system and because the people who work in the department aren’t really trained bookkeepers (myself included) it’s all kind of crazypants.   Yesterday we discovered a rather large error that made my stomach hurt as I was auditing the bill and finding more and more not right.

I am a LONG WAY from perfect in my work life, but I have this ideal of what things SHOULD BE.  And sometimes I internalize it, so when I see a mess like that it makes me stressed even when I’m not the person who made the mess.  Maybe more so out of empathetic stress for the person who quite unwittingly caused the problem.  Because I’ve never met anyone who deliberately messes up.  We all want to do our jobs well.

I feel like we need to change things up on how we process the work, but I’m the new girl so it’s definitely not my place to direct that and I’m not even sure what would be the best solution.  So.

+++++++++

The kitten is a panter.  Like a dog pants.  He runs around like a banshee and then jumps on my lap panting.  It’s SUPER adorable.  But it’s odd too.  I mean I’ve seen cats pant, but generally it’s rare.   Tim pants daily.  Probably several times a day.  After each session of zoomies he’s panting.  I’m wondering if there is something wrong or if that’s just his little quirk.

So naturally I looked it up.  The list of potential medical issues is very disturbing.  I am now considering taking him to the vet.  Because even though it’s only after exercise, it’s also ALWAYS after exercise.   We can’t have him be sick.  It’s not allowed.  He’s the young one.  Also Bijou and I have grown exceptionally fond of the little brat.

++++++++++++++

So, I’ve been having chest pains.  Daily.  I’m fairly sure it’s anxiety, but it’s there.  And I have other risk factors.  My father and both grandfathers died of heart disease.  I’m overweight.  I have high blood pressure that I control with meds.  I don’t exercise.  I eat terribly.  I’m basically a walking statistic.  So I told the doctor on my last check up.  She ran an EKG in the office and there was one odd thing on it that could or could not mean something.

So she ordered a stress test with echo.  I scheduled it.  And then they called me to tell me that insurance wouldn’t cover that test.  How nice.  My doctor specifically told me she was ordering that test because it is much better at catching heart issues in women.  But I guess it’s more expensive and so now I have get a different, no doubt inferior, test.  This has naturally led to more anxiety and chest pains continue.  I don’t get the test for a couple of weeks because that’s how the urgent things work in health care.

Still, I think if it was my heart I would be dead already because it’s literally daily for periods of an hour or more.  So it’s probably anxiety or possibly it’s GERD.  We will see. Or not since I’m getting an inferior test.

everything is fine

 

 

 

Watering the Beasts

rebel tim

Above us is the Rebel, Tim.  He is usually referred to as The Kitten.  But I think he’s all grown up now.  He’s not a big cat though, so I will probably always call him The Kitten.

He’s excellent at distracting me from my chores and just generally being in the way.  In other words, he cats very well.

One of his peculiarities is that he insists on drinking his water just when he knows I will be picking it up to change it.  I’m not sure why.  It’s not because he prefers the old water because he will also immediately drink the fresh.  I’m pretty sure it’s because he knows I will stop and wait for him.  And any action that causes me to change direction or pause is  GOOD CAT POLICY.

Recently I’ve taken to putting a giant ice cube in the water bowl.  I don’t actually have an ice cube tray.  I freeze water in solo cups.  I keep two standard size cups frozen and one small dixie cup frozen.  I put the dixie one in the cat’s water.  It bobs around and makes for an excellent distracting toy and he likes to lick it.  Bijou shows zero interest.  She’s above such things.  Royalty does not deem to notice icebergs in water bowls.

Seeing that he is interested in water generally, I decided a water fountain would probably work well.  So I bought one.  Naturally, since I’ve invested money he just stares, doesn’t drink.  At least so far.  I really need for it to work because I’m supposed to take a small trip and this water fountain will make me feel less worried about the water situation with the cats.  It has a large reservoir and a filter.  So I think it will keep fresh water for up to 4 days.  And hopefully I won’t be gone more than 3.

The more you rely on cat’s reacting a certain way, the less they are reliable.  sigh.

img_20180321_103801028_hdr
Here’s a young Tim, involving himself in my interests. 🙂  

 

Balcony Gardening: The Battle.

The tomato has been planted in it’s ginormous pot.  Pot has been placed on it’s stand.  I have sustained a life threatening injury, that seemed minor in the whole accomplishment.

I cut myself.  There was not a knife within 20 yards of me, but I managed it on wire.  Rusty wire.  I expect to die by the end of the week.  But the tomato is outside in it’s home.

Flowers have been purchased.  I spent too much by going to a small local landscaping company that had a small selection of expensive flowers.  But all of them were in great shape and since I don’t really have a ton of space to fill, it really wasn’t outrageously expensive.  But key to the experience – NO CROWD.

Next Year: All plants with the exception of the tomato will be purchased in the pot they will live the rest of their life in.

No more repotting.

I dumped a nearly done planted pot on the ground, probably killing both plants in it.  It obviously needed to be repotted again.  I like putting things directly into the ground.  You can’t drop the ground.  Just saying.  I miss the ground.

I ruined a beloved t-shirt, possibly for even longer than til I wash it next.  Which won’t be today because instead of laundry I did balcony gardening.  Shut up.  Multi-tasking is a loser’s game.

I had a total of 6 plants to pot.  SIX.  In 4 pots.  And I made a mess that rivals people with gardens that cover acres.  And I still have to clean it up!! grrrrrr.

Also.  It’s not pretty.

More accurately,  it’s not as pretty as I magically thought it would be since I did not put any pre-thought into it and it shows.  Planning.  It’s so simple and generally enjoyable.  I’m not sure why I didn’t indulge in it.

Next year will be different.

I’m seriously considering throwing away every damn thing but the tomato, although it’s what I cut myself on.  And I still haven’t netted it.

Remember when I was excited to balcony garden??!!   I used to enjoy this.  I don’t know what happened.

drama llama

New Neighbor

My downstairs neighbor moved out in December.

Yesterday someone finally moved in downstairs, so I have go back to feeling guilty everytime I walk around in my creaky apartment.

Seriously – the creakiness of this apartment is louder than a vuvuzela. I’m sure it would drive me crazy if I lived below me.

But I can’t very well not walk around so…

Anyway – about the neighbor.  It’s a man, about my age I think.  Seems super friendly.  Which, because I’m antisocial, makes me nervous.  I don’t actually want to interact heavily with my neighbors.  Saying hello once a month because we meet in the hall or whatever is the extent of how much I want to chat.

But he strikes me as an extravert who will want to get to know the neighbors.  I could be wrong.  Today was his first day.  You always want to seem friendly when you meet people.

He has a pot of flowering plants already on the balcony – which seems like a very positive note.

I don’t think he is deaf, which was my only real hope for the new neighbor.  Hopefully he won’t be driven to distraction by the cats and I walking around. I’’m up 3-5x a night.  So.  sigh.

I really don’t think deafness was too much to ask for.  I didn’t want total deafness, just someone with hearing aids, who would be unlikely to notice me or the cats stomping around.  Of course that would mean loud TV, so maybe it’s just as well.

I’ll just deal with the ongoing guilt/shame of living in my apartment and bothering someone with my very existence.  Welcome to the crazy corner of my mental state.

How many people does it take to stop the fire alarm from beeping every minute?

Today I got to work and the fire alarm was beeping in that “my battery is dead” beep.  I told the dispatcher and said that if he could change the battery it would probably save the life of the person I would kill if I ended up listening to it all morning.

He and company’s general dogsbody guy went in and opened up the alarm.  No battery.  It’s hooked up directly to the electric.  There was no button to push to turn it off.  It just continued to beep.

So they called the owner.  He came in and was sure he knew the solution.  But couldn’t figure it out.  One of the general managers showed up and spent sometime in there with the owner, at one point falling off a ladder but not getting hurt.  Several drivers gave pointless commentary.

So the owner called the fire alarm company.   Turning off the electricity was tried on multiple occasions.  He even went so far as to turn off the electricity in the entire building.  That fucking thing just kept beeping in the dark.    The fire alarm company told him it couldn’t be beeping if they turned off the electricity, despite the very reality that it was in fact beeping.

He called in an electrician.  He and the electrician spent 2 hours searching for a sensor that could be beeping.  Finally the electrician gave up and left.  It was still beeping.

You know – in the old days this beeping would have been competently handled by the dogsbody.  He would have replaced the battery.  The owner would not even have been aware that the dogsbody did it until Monday morning, if then.  It would have been that trivial.

Instead highly paid people spent 6+ hours trying to fix it and failing.  And I’m not really sure we have that much greater advantage to this fire alarm system than the old independent battery operated units being set up every so many per number of square feet.

When I left it was still beeping.  Tomorrow the fire alarm people will show up and attempt to fix it.  I don’t hold out much hope.  I think the building could burn down and that fucker would still be beeping every minute.

Kitten and Snow

We are having a lovely winter storm in Spring.

Much hand wringing and disaster predicting has happened for a week.  And after stepping back from the dire predictions of 12″ the weather people have come to the unreasonable conclusion that we will have at least 2″ and as much as 8″.

In spring.  I’m just saying.  Mother Nature is off her meds and someone needs to see to it.

Anyway, Tim was sitting in the window, watching the big fat flakes falling and swirling and clearly feeling like he was missing out on a fun time.

So I let him out on the balcony.  He ran out like he was going a play date.  He arrived back looking a bit cowed.  It was COLD, MOM!  Also, despite a desperate attempt to cajole her, his babysitter, Mrs. Fluffy Pants, aka, Her Calico Highness, known to her familiars as Bijou, FLATLY REFUSED to go out into the cold.   The advantage to age is knowledge.

He was clearly disappointed in the whole experience.  Poor Rebel Tim.  Life is so much more disappointing than one expects when looking out a window.

But don’t worry.  He has overcome his disappointment and is current chasing ghosts at top speed through the apartment.

Bijou and I are less active on Saturday Mornings.  We have elected to watch his antics rather than participate.