Friday, March 27, 2009

A grammar lesson that I think may be wrong. Don't judge.

See you on Tuesday, when I'm back from a weekend of camping in the non-stop rain at Huntington Beach State Park with all of Abe's siblings.

Prepositions! They're fun. In sentences. On my blog.

Monday, March 23, 2009

things old and new

Today we had a meeting at work for the case coordinating team, where we were reassured that our jobs are (relatively) stable. I'm glad, because now's not the time to be unemployed, but I wonder how much I'll want my job when they get through cutting everyone else's. Now I'm a baby sitter, a teacher, a counselor, a substance abuse therapist, a case coordinator, and a driver. God help all of us if they make me a maintenance guy, a chef, and a social worker too. My emergency back-up plan was to sell our cars and move my tiny family to Innisfree Village. (I hoped they take kittens. And married folk.) Other than figuring out how to afford a cell phone plan (not to mention retirement) on $500/month, that sounds like such a wonderful and simple life.

I don't mean to be ungrateful for my job, but maybe I am a little. I like what I do well enough, but I sometimes resent having to do it just to pay for life. This is why Abe and I are looking for a tiny house or duplex where we can have a tiny garden, why all of our furniture was free secondhand or from Goodwill, and why it took me a month to decide whether or not to get a new phone.

The new phone (so new! so shiny! and with an fm radio, a better camera than my camera, and an accelerometer that is a real feature, and not something I made up!) was "free," meaning I don't have to pay anything for it so long as I stay with At&T for another two years. I wrestled with this. I wondered: Where will I be in two years? What if I want my family to live on $500 a month? What if we have to live on $500 a month? Right now, that's less than our rent alone. And I freaked out a lot. Then I put on my reality hat (Abe crocheted it for me), and thought realistically. Realistically, I'll work at Florence Crittenton for another year (ish) or more. And after that, hopefully Abe and I will move to Idaho to be house parents at an awesome group home/ranch, or we'll move to Haiti to be hangers-on at my sister's house (please?), or I'll start grad school. I realized that this struggle wasn't just about really wanting to make a good decision about financial commitments - it was also me, thinking that denying myself things would somehow bring me closer to being the person I'd like to be (among other things, a person who is a little less attracted to new and shiny things).

If we're being honest, I didn't take care of my old phone the way I should have. I dropped it the first week I had it, putting a ding in the side and voiding the manufacturer's waranty. Then, when the phone turned out to be crazy (half the time, in some mode for 'emergency calls only'? If it was really an emergency, I could just yell my head off and I wouldn't need a phone. Also, I'm neurotic, and everything is an emergency. Don't try to tell me it's not an emergency to call my husband about whether we need baking powder or baking soda. I'll call 911.), I just had to deal with it. Could I have continued to deal with it? Yes. And I would love to be without a cell phone contract. But chances are good that I'll keep my cell phone plan for two years anyway, and a free phone that works beats a free phone that doesn't. I decided that there's nothing inherantly evil about new things. I need to care for the things that I have, new or not, and I need to reuse or recycle the things I don't need anymore in a responsible way.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

short hair and green eyes run in 3/4 of the family

If Kina looks frightened, it's because she probably is. She's never been featured on the internet awake before. The internet would be a safer place if that were true of all of everyone. (Obviously, as a good parent, I've educated my kits on the dangers of talking to strangers with cans of tuna or with sketchy sounding user names in chat rooms.)

Keep coming back, as some day I may write posts on the joys of life with hair shorter than my husband's beard, delicious carrot ginger soup, and the latest thing to make me feel guilty, conflicted and convicted.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Health care costs are off the chain

Dear President Obama,

Thanks a lot for whatever tax-related legislation you passed that gives me an extra $35 on my paycheck twice a month. Keep up that great work! Also, please don't turn it all around in January 2010 by asking me to pay it back in taxes, because I'd love to keep it. It would help a lot, because it turns out that even after all I pay for health insurance, I'm having trouble keeping up with all my health care costs.

If you could please, please find some way to help my insurance company actually insure me, I'd appreciate that. They say that they pay 90% and I pay 10% at the doctor's office, but it turns out that they "don't cover" any of the care that I need.

Please make the removal of impacted wisdom teeth equally pain-free and available to all Americans, without this business about "anaesthesia's only covered if administered by an anaesthesiologist," and "we can't cover an anaesthesiologist, because it's not 'medically necessary' to have your wisdom teeth removed in a hospital."

Good luck with Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and the economy!


FRANKENFRANC (No aminals were harmed in the creation of this blog)

A funnier person than I might not have put off writing this story, because a funnier person would have an easier time making it funny. A less procrastinating person than I might have asked a funnier person to guest-write this story a long time ago, because a less procrastinating person would have meant it when they said this post was "coming soon."

This is my very bad kitten Franc, starring as Frankenfranc, the villain of our story. And yes, those are staples in his stomach. And no, there was not animal cruelty involved in the creation of this photo. He was purring the whole time, I promise, because that's the kind of villain he is. I hope there was no cruelty involved in the stapling of his belly, because the Lord and the vet know how much his anaesthesia and pain pills cost.

If you are a cat hater, you will love the story of Frankenfranc, and if you are a cat lover, Franc is happy to accept your total adoration in the forms of food and cat nip. And if you have an easy gag reflex, you should maybe carry on with your day elsewhere, and be very thankful that you weren't at my house Tuesday morning.

It was Monday when Abe and I noticed that our 9 month old Franc was mouthing off. He was making strange with his mouth, opening and closing it a lot, and sticking out his tongue (yes, you should have been there). Before I left for work, I noticed two spots of white foam on the carpet. It wasn't long before there were white foam spots all over the apartment. We wished and hoped he was working on a hairball, and I went to work. Abe called me halfway through my shift, and said "I know why Franc is throwing up!" And I said, "Why?!" And he said that he had found a rubber band in his vomit. (Aside: I think that vomit is a very disgusting word, so I'll try to call it "throw-up" for the rest of the story. Which will make all my sentences redundant, but possibly less gross.) I felt relieved and guilty that I had laughed off the warnings I read about mixing your cats with rubber bands. My cats were clever. And they play so nicely together with the rubber bands! My cats are above those things.

Oh, no. No, they are not. It was just a tiny taste of the negligence I would feel when we took Franc to the vet the next morning. After throwing up the rubber band, Franc continued to throw up. And throw up more. And throw up liquid-er, and yellower. He hadn't used the litter box or had anything to eat or drink in almost 24 hours, so at 5 am my husband tempted him with a can of Fancy Feast roast beast. Franc finally ate a little, we went back to sleep, and then Franc threw up all over the bathroom. I heard him, and went in, and found not one or two or three or four or five or six or seven or eight, but nine earplugs in the middle of his vomit (there's that word again. Sorry, I know I promised) all over the bathroom floor. And half of another rubber band. We called the vet, who of course wanted to see him right away (I thought probably just to laugh at us, or maybe to alert the Humane Society to tell them we are unfit to raise kittens). They took x-rays, one of which will someday be featured as a lamp shade in our apartment, if Abe has anything to do with it, because he charmed the lady vet into letting him take one home for keeps, and in the x-rays there was a tiny round gray thing in what we were told was Franc's small intestine. It was a tiny, round, earplug-shaped gray thing, that was doing exactly what an earplug should : plugging... the entrance to his intestine from his stomach. There was also something spotted in his stomach. A lady bug? A leopard? My red and white polka dot blouse? It could have been anything. So the vet kept our little Franc, who seemed a little uncomfortable, but not nearly as concerned as the vet, or his parents (negligent as we are), cut him open, removed what didn't belong, and stapled him back up. He's done with his meds now, which were scheduled for such awkward times that one day (known forever as 'Bring Your Fatty to Work' Day at Florence Crittenton), he came to work with me, charmed all the ladies, and tried to escape by jumping over the counter that is my desk. Like Zorro. So in the end Frankenfranc is fine, really, and completely non compliant with the vet's orders to avoid strenuous activity. They'll take his staples out on Monday.

Now he's on a special kitty diet of food for the gastro-intestinally impaired, which he is not remotely interested in, but which Kina (his kitten sister) seems to love. The weirdest thing I learned through all this (besides the obvious: that my cat, who can hardly open his mouth as wide as an earplug, is well and capable of eating ten at once) is that cats take Pepcid AC for heartburn just like you. They should put that in their commercials. And in the cat's version of Us magazine: "Cats - they're just like us! They want to nap! They lose their hair! They eat and play! They take their Pepcid!" "They get their over the counter medication at Harris Teeter!" At least Abe bought Franc's at the Harris Teeter. Kitties just take tiny, tiny bits, though, so if you need some relief from painful heartburn, we have plenty left over.

Frankenfranc is now sleeping on my delete button, which is making it slow to type. So I'm almost done here, except for a short explanation of why we had so many dog-gone earplugs at our house in the first place. Our little Kina, the girl cat, is especially bright, and she is in love with playing earplug fetch. She really will chase them, bring them right back, and drop them right in your hand. As a treat one day, Abe brought an actual pound of them (which is a lot; they are foam earplugs) home from work, where he's supposed to wear them to protect his hearing from the constant nosie of jet engines. Franc has always been ambivalent about them; he tried to pick one up in his mouth once, but he didn't seem to care for it. He spat it out and made a face like "that's not food. What's the point of that?" That, of course, turned out to be NOT HIS TRUE FEELING, since a few weeks later he turned around and ate 10 of them.

So what have we learned? You can never trust a Frankenfranc.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Procrastination bites again

This weekend, it will be in the sunny 70's. I AM SO EXCITED THAT I AM SHOUTING TO THE INTERNET. I want to mountain bike, swim, rollerblade, and teach children to sing in the mountains of Switzerland.

Instead, Abe and I will be doing our taxes. This is what we get for letting all of January, all of February, and parts of March slip by without so much as a sniff of a 1040 EZ.

We will also be looking at a tiny duplex where we would be allowed to have a vegetable garden, and going to a 9 pm softball game. (Abe joined a league at work; he is both the only person who has never played before, and the best player on the team. He is so atheletic that we should throw melons at him, except that with his superhuman agility and aim, we would be destined to fail.)

My next post is going to be dead serious. [Trailer: it will be a tale I wish was made up of a ferocious housekitty who tried to eat the inedible. Spoiler: his curiousity didn't kill him, but his parents almost did when they got the vet bill.] You can also stay tuned for a picture of my playful new haircut, scheduled for tomorrow morning, and planned to be even shorter than I am!