Entries 125 - 101

ENTRY # 125
DATE:  04/29/06 (Saturday) - 9:00pm
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 8)...

     Well, something is definitely still up with my cat, regardless of what Dr. Miles said. She seemed to be fine all week long, but now she's got diarrhea. From what I can tell, it started sometime yesterday afternoon. Considering all the tests that were done on her already, I have no idea what to think at this point.
     Since she has already pooped today, I'll clean out the litter-box first thing in the morning and start Poop Patrol all over again. Good grief! If it doesn't clear up in a day or two, I'll take her to my other Vet for a second opinion.
     I'm really hoping it's just the recent change(s) in her diet that's causing it. For the last three years she's been eating an eighth of a cup of dry kibble (special food purchased from the Vet's office to maintain a healthy bladder), combined with a heaping tablespoon of canned (either 9-Lives or Fancy Feast), with a tablespoon of hot water mixed in to soften the dry food a little. Once it's all mixed together, it's approximately a third of a cup... and this she eats twice a day. One bowl for breakfast at 7:30am, the second bowl for dinner at 6:00pm.
     Dr. Miles had said that an "older cat" like Sweety Face shouldn't really be eating dry food. But, once I described her meals to him he said I didn't have to take her off the dry food right away. I could wean her off of it - gradually - over a six-month period. However, because she wasn't pooping regularly, he told me to just give her the canned food for a few days. He said IF she was a little constipated, the canned food would help her digestive system. Once she starting pooping again, he said I could go back to mixing the dry food into her meals like I usually do.
     SO... for four days (right after that Vet appointment) I gave her only canned food. Then, once she started pooping on schedule again, I gradually mixed the dry food back into her meals. By Sunday (the 23rd) her meals were back to normal. And now, five days later, she's got diarrhea. I'm at the end of my rope here!
     The last two days have not been fun. For either one of us. A cat with diarrhea is one thing. But a LONG-HAIRED cat with diarrhea is a whole other ball game, folks. This sucks. Trust me. Every time she climbs out of the litter box, I am now forced to check her butt to make sure she doesn't have poop smeared all over herself. The first time was terrible. What a mess!!!
     Once I finally got her cleaned up, I thought to myself, "I'm not dealing with this again." Plus, I wasn't looking forward to scrubbing any future "skid marks" out of my carpet, after she dragged her ass across the rug to wipe herself. No thanks! With this in mind, I got my scissors out and trimmed all the long fur away from her butt and hind legs. She wasn't too happy about it, and to her credit, she did put up a fair fight, but I prevailed at the end! She's now neatly clipped and smear free! So is my carpet! Thank God!
     Now I'm back at the beginning all over again. There's something wrong with my cat, and I have no idea what it is....

ENTRY # 124
DATE:  04/25/06 (Tuesday) 11:30pm
SUBJECT:  Doctors n' Stitches n' Pills, Oh My!

     OK, I gotta tell ya, I think I've been cursed with bad luck. The last two weeks have been pretty lousy. First, it was my car. Then, it was my cat. And now, I've got stitches in my back. Yes, I said stitches. In my back. Two of them. I've got two stitches in my back.... and, y'know what? It kind'a sucks. There's obviously a story involved, LOL, so here it is...
     It all started about six months ago. One night, as I was taking a shower, I felt a little bump on my back. It was tiny. No bigger than the head of a pin. When I got out of the shower and dried off, I looked in the mirror to see what the bump was. It looked like a pimple so I ignored it.
     About a month later, it was still there. It was no smaller, nor was it any bigger so I continued to ignore it. This went on for some time as you can probably tell.... It wasn't red, or itchy, or painful. It was just "there." Since it wasn't bothering me in any way I just thought to myself, "Whatever. Who cares. It'll go away eventually."
     Another two months passed before I paid any attention to it at all. One afternoon, when I was at work, I accidentally backed into the corner of one of our counters in the press-room. It hurt, a lot, and I knew I'd be black n' blue later that night. When I got home from work, I checked the mirror to see if I did have a bruise. I did, and it was black n' blue. While I was standing in front of the mirror inspecting the bruise, I happened to notice the little bump had gotten bigger. It was approximately the size of a pencil eraser. Still no redness, no sensitivity, no itch, no pain... nothing. Fine. Whatever. I was a little concerned with the size of it, and - of course - I was wondering why it wasn't going away, but I was far from worried about it. I put a dab of Medicated Ointment on it, threw a Band-Aid over it, and - basically - forgot all about it.
     It never entered my mind again until Thursday of last week (the 20th). Absentmindedly, I scratched an itch on my back, and discovered this "little bump" had grown to about the size of a quarter. Now I'm thinking to myself, "OK, well, let's see... maybe it's a clogged/infected pore, or an ingrown hair, or - who knows - maybe it's a bug bite." I honestly didn't care what it was. It didn't hurt, so it wasn't important. What was important was my cat. She was sick, and I was worried about her. I didn't have the time, or the energy, to care about some stupid, little bump. My cat needed my full attention. I'm all she has, and when she doesn't feel good, she relies on "Mommy" to make her feel better. It's my job. She's my little girl, and that makes her my priority.
     Thankfully, by Saturday, my cat was doing better. She was eating, she was pooping... all was right with the world. Amen!
     Sunday evening, I flopped down onto the couch to watch some TV and - instantly - found myself in agony!!! All of a sudden, out of nowhere, a searing pain tore through my back. Apparently, when I flopped onto the couch, I hit the "bump" just right, and it decided to let me know!!! I raced into the bathroom to check the mirror, and sure enough, the bump was an angry red-purple color. Goody, goody. Even though I still didn't know what it was, I could tell it was definitely infected. For the rest of the night, and well into Monday, I was in excruciating pain.
     One of my customers is a dermatologist, so as soon as I got to work yesterday morning I called his office. Unfortunately, they weren't accepting any more new patients, but they were able to refer me to someone else. And, unbelievably, this other dermatologist's office is a block away from my house! Cool! I called them right away and made an appointment for 3:45 yesterday afternoon.
     As it turned out, it wasn't infected. It was a cyst. The red-purple color I saw didn't mean infection, it just meant "Hey, I'm a Cyst!!!" And it was a damn big cyst too! Even though, to me, it only felt about the size of a quarter, the doctor said it was - in actuality - the size of a golf ball. Damn! The doctor also said he was amazed that I was only in pain for a day. Judging by the size of the thing, he said I should've been in pain for at least a week, if not longer.
     Then, for the next fifteen minutes, he described - in great detail - the procedure he was going to perform on me. Honestly, I was in so much pain at that point, I was practically delirious. All I heard was, "Blah, blah. Blah, blah, blah. Blah. Blah-blah? Blah!" And in my mind's eye, all I could see was Rocky Balboa sitting in the corner of the boxing-ring yelling to his manager, "Cut me, Mick, CUT ME!!!"
     Anyway... after FOUR injections of Novocaine he was finally able to slice the damn thing open. He dug out all the yucky cyst stuff, sewed me up, bandaged it, gave me a prescription for some antibiotics, and sent me on my way. Thanks to the Novocaine, I didn't feel a thing!
     Since I was given so much Novocaine, I thought I wouldn't feel anything for quite a while so - get this - I actually went back to work. I showed up at 5:00pm. By 5:30, the Novocaine had worn off completely, and I was in agony all over again. Good grief. I was so sore by the time I left work (at 8:45 last night) I could barely stand upright. And to make matters even worse, I couldn't go straight home. I had to stop at Walgreens first to get my prescription filled.
     I finally got home at 9:30... I fed the cat, took a pill, and sat - very still - on my couch for the rest of the evening trying to avoid as much pain as possible. Two hours later, I was forced to take a couple Extra Strength Tylenol GelTabs to ease the pain enough so I could, at least, lay down. By 1:30am - my usual bedtime - all the pain was gone. That Tylenol is some pretty good stuff!!!
     When I woke up this morning, I felt fine. I couldn't feel any pain at all. By the time I got home from work tonight though, the pain was back. It's a dull pain though.... I can live with it.
     I have another appointment with the dermatologist on May 8th to get the stitches taken out. Thank God it's only two! Hopefully - after a quick SNIP SNIP - this whole ordeal will be behind me. Wish me luck!

ENTRY # 123
DATE:  04/24/06 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 7)...

     I finally managed to get another stool sample to the Vet. I put it in the drop box last night, and - this time - they didn't lose it! Yay!
     When I got home from work tonight, there was a message on my answering machine from the Vet's office. All the tests they ran on her stool were normal. No problems at all!
     Sweety Face seems to be fine right now. It's as if she was never sick at all. Her appetite has fully returned, and she's pooping regularly too! Thank goodness!

ENTRY # 122
DATE:  04/22/06 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 6)...

     I've learned something new, today, about my cat. She can't poop under pressure! I've been on Poop Patrol all morning, waiting for her to go to the bathroom so I could bring the Vet another stool sample. Every time I heard her scratching around in the litter box I'd stop what I was doing and get up to check. Today is Saturday... the Vet's office is only open from 8:00am to noon. That gave Sweety Face four hours to work with. It's 2:15, the office is now closed, and we're still poopless. Figures.
     Dr. Miles called again today with more news. After examining the blood test results a little further, he said that her Thyroid is "borderline." On the Thyroid scale, 2.5 (or over) signifies hyperthyroidism. He said that Sweety Face registered at 2.2, which is mid-range. This means it's not a problem now (nor was it the cause of her recent illness), but it might be later on. He wants to see her again in six months just so he can keep an eye on it. Fine. No problem. Whatever you say, Doc! Knowing me, I won't wait the full six months. I'll make an appointment for some time in September instead.
     While I had him on the phone, I told him about our "poop free" morning. He said that wasn't a problem at all. There's a drop box outside their building that I can put it in if they're not open. LOL, I wish I had known about this last night. I could've put yesterday's poop in the box and they could've tested it today. Oh well...

ENTRY # 121
DATE:  04/21/06 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Random Ramblings...

     Since I've been so wrapped up with car problems and a sick cat, I haven't been able to write about anything else lately. Now that both of these issues have been dealt with, here's some random topics that have been kept on the back burner...

1.  (Not really a "back burner" topic... I just want to mention it now before I forget.) I called the Vet Clinic this morning about bringing in a replacement stool sample on Saturday (since they lost the other two)... they said Saturday would be fine. Cool! Now all I have to do is hope that my cat's bowels will cooperate, and she'll go before they close up for the day.

2.  Since the last week has been so warm, I was finally able to turn my heat off the other day. I'm thrilled about this!!! I was getting really tired of paying a hundred-and-fifty dollar gas bill every month. Now that the heat is off, my next bill should be about twenty-five bucks! WOOHOOOO!!! Considering I've dished out almost nine-hundred bucks this week - between car repairs, and Vet bills - every little bit helps, y'know what I mean? ;-)

3.  This is the middle of April... school should be closing down for summer vacation in about eight weeks. This means that School Bus Dodging season is almost over! THANK GOD!!! If you're a regular visitor here, you'll probably remember my school bus rant. If you're new here, check out entry number 81 for the details...

4.  "Flight Plan" with Jodie Foster was terrific! I was on the edge of my seat through the whole thing. I had heard from numerous people that there was an unexpected twist at the end. They said it's one of those movies where you think you know exactly who the bad guy is, but it's someone else entirely. This didn't happen to me. My "gut feeling" turned out to be correct. Even though I had it all figured out by the time the twist was revealed, I still enjoyed it a lot! Some scenes were so intense I had to remind myself to breathe.

5.  Sudoku, Sudoku, Sudoku! I am completely hooked on these puzzles! They're so addicting! I can't do just one... I have to do three or four in a row before I finally get tired.
     My boss is the one who first told me about them. He emailed me a link to the official Sudoku site (
www.sudoku.com), but I didn't want to download the "free trial" software, I just wanted to play. If you're an AOL user, you can play online - for free - at keyword GAMES, then search for "Sudoku." At first, I wasn't too crazy about it. I just didn't understand what the fascination was. I played a few games then signed off. My first impression was, "Big deal."
     A few days ago, I was walking around in Walmart and I found a Sudoku puzzle book. For some reason I brought the damn thing home with me.... and now I can't stop working on them! They've definitely enhanced my "OCD" streak...

6.  The same day I found the puzzle book I also found "Must Love Dogs" on DVD with Diane Lane. All the copies they had were full screen editions (which I hate), but I bought it anyway. Plus it was only nine bucks, LOL. I watched it as soon as I got home. It was a really cute movie. The "chicken scenes" with the Butcher at the grocery store were a riot! And the "racing around town trying to find some condoms" part had me rolling!
     It was cool to see Christopher Plummer again too. I haven't seen him in anything new for quite a while, so that was nice. But then I was horrified when the first scene with Stockard Channing flashed across my TV. Oh my God. That woman is not aging well... at all. Her "Rizzo" days are definitely over. Yikes!

7.  I missed the opportunity to see Tommy Lee Jones' new movie "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" in the theater. A couple weeks ago I was driving by the cinema in Orange and I noticed "Three Burials" on the marquee. I thought to myself, "Cool, I know what I'll be doing this weekend!" The very next day I drove by that same marquee and "Three Burials" was gone. Apparently it had been playing for a while and I never heard a thing about it. Again, the rock I live under is getting bigger n' bigger. So now I'm forced to wait for it to be released on DVD before I can see it. And since it's an independent film, who knows how long that will take. AARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

8.  In a previous entry (I think it's number 95, but I'm not sure), I wrote about Ana applying for her Visa so she can visit the United States. Our original plan involved her coming here for a whole week. Unfortunately, the plan has changed...
     Last month, when I was on vacation, my boss had a horrible time trying to get all the work done. He doesn't want me to take another vacation. Instead, to use up my remaining vacation time, he wants me to take long weekends. OK, fine. Whatever. As long as I get to use the time that's owed to me, I really don't care. However, this new arrangement totally shot the possibility of Ana coming for a week.
     Our new plan is centered around the Fourth of July. She's gonna come for three days, instead of eight. As of right now, she plans on flying into LaGuardia Airport Friday evening, June 30th, and leaving on Tuesday (the fourth). I still have to find out if I can take Monday, the 3rd, off from work. As soon as I find out, she's gonna book her flight(s). If everything works out, we'll have all day Saturday, all day Sunday, all day Monday, and part of Tuesday, depending on what time her plane leaves. It's not as cool as eight days, I know, but - hey - at least it's something!
     If I can't get that Monday off, we're gonna try to work something out for Labor Day weekend instead. And if that doesn't work out either, then we'll revert to our original plan (a whole week), but it won't happen 'til next summer.

9.  A bird has taken up residence in the crawl-space directly above my apartment. I know this because of the incessant chirping sounds I hear coming from my ceiling.
     Sweety Face has learned that a bird has taken up residence in the crawl-space directly above my apartment. I know this because of the "yearning intensity" I see on her face when she's staring at the ceiling.
     Wonderful. By the time migration season finally rolls around, we'll both be climbing the walls.

10.  General Observation #1: If a dog is a man's best friend, and a diamond is a woman's, then shouldn't women be the ones who make more money?

11.  General Observation #2 (with a Rant included): People, please! When you're getting onto the highway, you need to remember that it's your job to YIELD while merging into traffic. Those of us already on the highway have THE RIGHT OF WAY!!! You do not! It is not our responsibility to slow down (or to switch lanes) so you can merge. You are supposed to YIELD until you can find a break in traffic. You don't just pull onto the highway as if you're the only one on the friggin' road!!!! If you don't know how to drive, stay the hell home!!!

     OK... I guess I'm all caught up now. I can't think of anything else that I wanted to mention. Plus, while I've been sitting here typing, I've been sucking on Dentyne FIRE mints, and Spearmint Altoids. My tongue is now thoroughly fried so - yeah - I'm done for now...

ENTRY # 120
DATE:  04/20/06 (Thursday) - 7:00pm
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 5)...

     WOOOHOOOOOOO!!! Got the blood test results back when I got home from work tonight. Dr. Miles left a message on my answering machine. Her blood was scanned for 24 different things, and everything was normal. In fact, he even went on to say that it's very unusual when they receive test results this good. He actually said, "Her blood is perfect." I am so relieved!!!
     They lost the stool samples though, LOL, both of them. He asked if I could bring in another one. I'll have to call them tomorrow to let them know it won't be until Saturday, since their hours don't coincide with mine. They're not open yet when I leave for work in the morning, and they're closed when I get home. Oh well. I'm sure Saturday will be fine.
     So, for now, I guess I've done everything I can do for her. Her appetite is gradually returning to what it used to be, and she pooped again this morning too!
     The act of my cat pooping has turned into a theatrical production. I get so excited when I find a new one in her litter box now, I do a little dance in the middle of my kitchen. Thank God I live alone. If anyone ever saw me performing it, they'd run to find a straight-jacket! I'm sure it resembles some kind of satanic poop worship, or a Voodoo hexing ritual, but - whatever! - I don't care! My cat is pooping again! I'm happy. It deserves a little dance!

ENTRY # 119
DATE:  04/19/06 (Wednesday) - 10:00pm
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 4)...

     I called my primary Vet at 8:30 this morning. They didn't have any openings until May 3rd. Immediately I thought to myself, "Oh, my God, she'll be dead by then," so I hung up and called my secondary Vet's office. They had two open slots for today, one at 10:40am, one at 4:40pm. Since I had no idea when my boss would show up for work this morning, I took the 4:40 and planned on leaving work early. However, since my cat's health is more important than my boss sleeping in, I called him at home and woke his ass up! I explained about my cat and then I lied... I told him I already booked the 10:40 appointment 'cause it was the only one they had, and that he had to get to work "NOW" so I could leave! Then, I called the Vet back and told them I'd take the 10:40 instead of the 4:40. When my boss finally showed up at 10:00am I bolted to my car and practically flew home.
     When I walked into my kitchen, right away, my cat's bowl caught my eye. She ate! She actually ate something! Her bowl wasn't empty, but at least some of the food was gone! WOOHOOOO!!! Then, when I was scooping the old poop from Monday out of the litter box for a stool sample, I noticed another lump buried in the litter. I dug around, and sure enough, there was a new poop from this morning! DOUBLE WOOHOOOOOO!!! I scooped that one out too, bagged it separately from the old one, and labeled them accordingly. I figured, "What the hell, I'll take both samples with me," just to be on the safe side. I grabbed her medical records, coaxed her into her pet-carrier, and off we went!
     The appointment went well. But, of course, "well" means that I didn't receive any bad news today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring when we get the blood test and the Fecal Float results back....
     She weighed in at 8.3 pounds, which is perfect for her breed since Persians are considered "petite" in comparison to other cats. Her temperature was 101, which is normal. He said her ears looked good... there was dirt on the outside of them, but her inner-ear canal was clean. That's cool! He cleaned her teeth too... she had some plaque build-up but nothing that would cause her any pain while chewing.
     When he took her into the back room to draw a blood sample he also managed to tap into her bladder to get a urine sample (which they tested right away). All the tests on the urine were normal. And throughout all the poking and prodding, Dr. Miles said, "everything inside feels fine, nothing unusual at all."
     Only one thing surprised me. He told me that "older" cats really shouldn't eat dry food, meaning the hard, crunchy kibble-type stuff. This was news to me. I've been a cat owner for about twenty years, and I've never been told this before. When I asked if there was a "recommended" canned food he said, "9 Lives, Friskies, or Fancy Feast is fine." He feels that, at this time, there's no need for her to be on a "special" diet. Cool! Since she already eats 9-Lives and Fancy Feast (mixed into her dry food for a little extra zing) she'll hardly notice the difference.
     And, basically, that's it. Overall, the Vet was very pleased with her condition. Now we wait... I have to call him in the morning - around 10:00 - to get the results of the blood and fecal tests. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that those will come back normal too!
     After the Vet's office, I brought her home, then I went back to work. When I got home tonight, I checked the litter box... nothing new there [yet], but when I put her dinner down she ate some more. That was at 6:00pm... and I just peeked into the kitchen a minute ago, and she's nibbling on a little more of it. So far, she's finished about a third of a can of 9-Lives (Shredded Turkey). That's not a lot, I know, but - hey - it's something.
     I feel a little better now. Hopefully she does too.....

ENTRY # 118
DATE:  04/19/06 (Wednesday) - 7:00am
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 3)...

     Good grief. The Saga continues. I just put down her breakfast and, again, she only drank the gravy. And, after rooting around in her litter box, I've discovered she still hasn't pooped yet. This is Wednesday, dammit! She's hardly eaten anything since Saturday night, and now she hasn't pooped since Monday night. That's it, I can't take it anymore! This is truly alarming. I'm calling the Vet AS SOON AS I GET TO WORK THIS MORNING!!!

ENTRY # 117
DATE:  04/18/06 (Tuesday) - 11:30pm
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 2)...

     Well, as of right now, she hasn't had anything to eat (except for a little gravy, and a few bites of Tuna fish) since Saturday night. This is definitely not good. I've tried everything I can think of to get her to eat, but she's just not interested. Once she laps up the "cat food juice" in her bowl, she walks away, leaving all the food sitting there. I even got down on my hands and knees at one point and tried to spoon feed her but that didn't work either.
     I put her on my scale again and - remarkably - she doesn't weigh any less... yet. I double-checked her breath too, and there's still no ammonia smell either, so that's good. With her mouth still held open from the "breath inspection," I also checked the color of her gums and, thankfully, they're nice and pink just like they're supposed to be, so I can probably rule out Anemia too.
     Every couple of hours I check her litter box. She seems to be peeing regularly, but she hasn't pooped since last night. That's not normal. She usually poops twice a day, once in the morning, and once at night right after dinner. Because she's not eating any solid food, and since she's been poopless for almost 24 hours, I'm still wondering if a hair-ball is the cause. This is driving me crazy. I hate not knowing what's wrong. This totally sucks.
     She doesn't seem to be sleeping any more than usual, and her general behavior is, for the most part, normal. In fact, about an hour ago, she was running around - from room to room - chasing a piece of balled up paper. That's somewhat reassuring, but her lack of appetite really has me concerned.
     And, from what I can tell, there doesn't seem to be any visible symptoms of a cold or flu either... she's not sneezing, wheezing, or coughing... and there's been no vomiting since Saturday evening. There's also no discharge from her eyes, nose, or butt. Her ears seem to be OK too. They're not inflamed and/or itchy. Granted, I'm not a Vet, but as far as I know, those are all good signs.
     I really wish animals could talk...

ENTRY # 116
DATE:  04/18/06 (Tuesday) - 7:15am
SUBJECT:  Update On Sweety Face (Part 1)...

     As soon as I woke up this morning I checked the litter box. She is peeing and pooping so I feel a little better, but she's still not eating. She's only lapping up the "gravy" around the food in her bowl, but not eating the actual food itself. It's as if she's put herself on some kind of liquid diet. I'm not liking this at all.
     I don't know what it could be... I even sniffed her breath last night (more than a few times, in fact) to make sure there was no ammonia smell. Her breath smells perfectly normal, thank God, so I don't think I have to worry about kidney problems... for now, that is.
     Maybe it is just a hair-ball after all. I have no idea. I'm gonna give her ONE more day, and if her appetite doesn't get any better, we're definitely going to the Vet.

ENTRY # 115
DATE:  04/17/06 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  $$$ Ching, Ching $$$

     Well, I got my car back today, and it was the alternator. I had them change the oil too, since they were already working on it. And, damn, the bill came to $425.00. 392 for the alternator, and 33 for the oil change. Add on the price of the rental car ($220.00) and I spent $645.00 today. Wonderful! That's probably more than the car is worth.
     Getting the car fixed is out of the way... but now I'm stressing over my cat. She's sick. She's been sick since Saturday evening. When I came home from Jen & Mark's house Saturday night, there was puke all over my apartment. She nailed every room. She barfed up her entire dinner and then some. What a mess!
     Sunday morning she hardly touched her breakfast... and she only picked at her dinner Sunday night. The same thing happened with her breakfast this morning too. I'm starting to get a little worried. When I came home from work tonight, to get her to eat something, I decided to give her some Tuna fish for dinner. I scooped half a can into her bowl and she's only had a few bites so far.
     I'm hoping it's just a hair-ball that's affecting her appetite. I've been waiting for her to puke up a good one, but - so far - ever since Saturday night, there's been no more throwing up. I have no idea what's going on.
     I put her on the scale tonight and her weight is still the same... but I'm still worried. I know she doesn't feel good, and there's nothing I can do for her. This bothers me. A lot. I'll give her another day or two, and if there's no improvement, I'll make an appointment with the Vet. I've got my fingers crossed it's nothing, and I'm just over-reacting...
     I brushed her tonight for about an hour. I managed to get rid of two hefty handfuls of hair. Maybe that'll help with the hair-balls in her tummy. My next chore for this evening is cleaning out the litter box. Since her appetite isn't that great, I'm gonna start monitoring her litter-box use. If she doesn't pee or poop sometime tonight she's going to the Vet tomorrow!
     [*sigh*] It's always something...

ENTRY # 114
DATE:  04/16/06 (Sunday)
SUBJECT:  Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, y'all!

     Hope you all had a nice holiday. I did! Went to Adrienne's house and we all pigged out (pun intended) on a magnificent ham dinner. Ham, greens, sweet potatoes, corn, potato salad, cupcakes, cheese cake, jelly beans, and coffee! Good stuff! I ate way too much but had fun doin' it!

ENTRY # 113
DATE:  04/15/06 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Update on the "POS Lemon"...

     Good grief!!! After calling Kia three times today, I still don't know what's wrong with my car. They haven't even touched it yet. It's still sitting in the exact same parking spot where the tow-truck guy put it last night.
     And, to make matters even worse, Kia's rental cars were never returned today. I had to rent a car through Enterprise instead at the last minute... and it's costing me a fortune: fifty dollars (the rental fee), and an additional eighteen dollars for insurance, making the grand total a whopping sixty-eight bucks a day. Good Lord! I sure hope my car will be fixed on Monday.
     So, temporarily, I'm driving a little red Hyundai Elantra, and it's really nice. It's a brand new 2006 model, with only 3,754 miles on it. It's fully loaded... power windows, power locks, power mirrors, sun-roof, CD player, you name it. It's a V-6, and let me tell you, it moves! It's quiet too. You hear practically no road-noise at all. Even on the highway! I'm really impressed with this car. Even though it's only a Hyundai it's a really nice ride! But, then again, anything is nice after you've driven a Kia Rio Piece-Of-Shit Lemon for five years.
     It's definitely an expensive rental though. Unfortunately, Enterprise wasn't running any "Specials" this weekend, and of course the fact that it's also a holiday weekend didn't help the cost either. But at least I'm not trapped in my apartment now. Freedom is cool!
     Thanks to the Hyundai I was able to visit Jen & Mark tonight. Had a good time. They surprised me with a little bouquet of flowers for Easter... and their six-year-old son, Zachary, gave me a hand-painted Easter egg to bring home too.
     We ended up sending Mark out to Friendly's for ice cream. He came back with three gigantic Reese's Pieces Sundaes (five scoopers!), and we chowed them down in front of the TV while watching "The Wedding Crashers." There were a couple funny parts, but other than that, the movie wasn't all that great...
     The ice cream made up for it though. ;-)

ENTRY # 112
DATE:  04/14/06 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  My Car (a Kia Rio) = A Big, Fat LEMON!!!

     OK, people, listen up! Whatever you do, when you're shopping for your next car, do not - I repeat, DO NOT - purchase a Kia. They suck!!! Well, it's not all Kias, I guess, that suck, but MINE sure does. I bought it in 2001, brand new, and I've had nothing but trouble with it ever since...
     Shortly after I bought the damn thing, I received two "Recall" announcements. I should've known, right then, that I bought a lemon. Thankfully, those two repairs were free since they were "manufacturing" problems. By the time it was one year old, it already needed a full tune-up (300 bucks). When it was two years old, the fuel pump malfunctioned and had to be replaced (400 bucks). When it was three years old, the thermostat went (another 300 bucks). When it was four years old, the timing belt snapped which caused the engine to seize. Needed a whole new engine put in. Thank God that was covered under the warranty! It didn't cost me a dime. The only thing I had to pay for was the rental car....
     After the new engine was put in I figured I'd be safe for awhile. I mean, damn, what else could go wrong, right? Ha-ha-ha! What was I thinking? Six days went by - SIX DAYS - and the friggin' radiator blew. The radiator is NOT covered under the warranty. Super! That cost me 600 bucks...
     And now, at five years old, it's in the shop again. I have no idea what's wrong with it this time...
     For the last couple of days, the engine has been shifting kind'a rough, but I didn't think much of it. I just figured it was time to have the transmission fluid changed.
     This morning, on my way to work, it was fine. No problem at all. It was shifting normally... a very smooth transition from one gear to the next. But then, later in the afternoon - when I was out making some deliveries - it started acting up again. Since I'm due for an oil change soon, I decided to call the garage tonight when I got home from work to make an appointment for sometime tomorrow (Saturday). I figured I'd have them change the oil and the transmission fluid at the same time. However, I never made it home with my car.
     On the highway, it started acting up again. The engine began to "rev up" as if it was trying to shift. I was driving at a steady 60 mph, so it shouldn't have been making that sound, since it wasn't shifting gears. Then, all of a sudden, my CD player/radio/clock (it's all one unit) died... it just shut itself off. When I hit the "Power" button to turn it back on, nothing. It was totally dead. The next thing I noticed was the seat-belt light on the dashboard. It was on. I was wearing my seat-belt, 'cause I always do, but the light was on for some reason. I unbuckled my seat-belt, then buckled it again, but the light stayed on. Then, my windshield wipers started acting funny. They were working, but the longer I kept them on, the slower they went. They finally slowed down so much it was pointless to leave them on, so I shut them off altogether. I have no clue what that means, LOL.
     At this point, I had reached my exit so I got off the highway. Once I got on the side roads, the engine felt like it was dragging... like it didn't have the power it usually does. Now I'm thinking, "Damn, I hope I can make it home." I couldn't go straight home though. I had to stop at the bank first to deposit my paycheck...
     I made it to the drive-up ATM with no other mishaps to speak of... just the "dragging" engine. There were three cars ahead of me, so I had to sit there - in "Drive" - waiting for my turn. As I'm sitting there, I could see the reflection of my headlights in the bumper of the car ahead of me, and they were getting dimmer and dimmer. Then, as if all this wasn't enough, the engine started to sputter, and then it stalled out completely. I turned the key, and nothing happened. Nothing at all. All the lights on the dashboard came on like normal, but the car did nothing. All I got when I turned the key was a clicking sound. Just one click though, not the usual "click, click, click" you get when you've got a dead battery. Wonderful! Now I'm stuck in the drive-up line, blocking traffic.
     I hit the Hazard lights, grabbed my cell phone, and jumped out of the car. I was forced to direct traffic around me with one hand, while dialing "AAA" on my cell with the other. In the rain, no less! LOL. Once there was a break in traffic, and since I didn't have anything better to do, I walked through the drive-up ATM and deposited my paycheck. I figured, "Hell, I'm here, I might as well do it."
     Forty minutes later, the AAA tow-truck shows up. In the process of hooking up my car to his towing rig, he dented my front bumper. The damage isn't anything major - it's just a dent - so I'm not even gonna bother having it fixed. I'm only concerned with getting my car running again. Plus, the car probably isn't even worth the cost of the body-work. So, screw it. I can live with a dent. I don't care.
     We arrived at Kia (in Milford) a little before 7:00pm. The tow-truck guy deposits my car in front of the garage, then leaves. Kia was already closed for the day, but - as luck would have it - my mechanic showed up. I was thrilled! Since I'm there all the time to have my piece-of-shit car worked on, he recognized me right away. I told him the whole story, giving him all the "breaking down" details I could remember, and how it finally stalled at the bank. He said it sounds like it might be the alternator, but - of course - he won't know anything for sure 'til tomorrow. Once our discussion was over, and since he couldn't do anything to my car at that moment, he left...
     SO... now I'm standing at Kia, in the rain, alone, trying to figure out who to call for a ride home. I have no family in Connecticut at all so calling them wouldn't help. I only had a couple of bucks on me so a cab was out of the question. My friends Jen & Mark live all the way up in Naugatuck so I didn't want to call them. I figured I'd call them only as a last resort. And my friend Adrienne drives, but doesn't have a car. I was about to call her house to see if her Dad could come and get me, but then I thought, "Hey, my boss might still be at work." He works late a lot, and since my shop is only a couple miles from Kia, I was hoping he'd still be there. When I dialed the number, he answered on the first ring!
     Once I told him the whole story and asked if he'd mind giving me a lift, he said the one thing I've been telling myself for the last five years. He said, "Man, that car really is a piece of shit." He also said that giving me a ride was no problem at all. Cool!
     A half-hour later, he finally showed up. I live approximately four miles from Kia. The trip home should've taken about five minutes. With my boss driving, it took a half-hour to get to my house because he insisted on giving me a demonstration of how his new GPS system works.
     By now, I'm beyond impatient. I'm tired, I'm wet, I'm hungry, and I have to pee. I just wanted to get home. I was in no mood for a GPS demonstration. Add on the fact that I am also a smart-ass, I said, "Dude, you don't need directions, I'm sitting right next to you, I can tell you how to get to my house." At that moment my sixty-year-old boss morphed into a ten-year-old who just had to show me his new toy. He said, "Yeah, yeah, I know... but this is really, really cool. You've gotta see this. It's really cool. I love this thing." Fine. I sat back and tried to humor him which was far from easy. I mean, c'mon, I can only feign interest for so long. Especially when I have to pee!
     At 8:00pm I finally walked through my front door. I fed the cat, then started making phone calls. I called my Mom first to tell her everything that happened... then I had to call Adrienne to tell her I might not be able to make it to her house on Sunday for Easter dinner since I'm now car-less... and then, last but not least, I had to call Jen & Mark to tell them I probably won't make it up to their house either tomorrow night since I have no idea when I'll get my car back.
     Good grief. Car trouble is such a pain in the ass. I absolutely hate not having a car. It's awful. Unless I decide to walk somewhere, I'm basically trapped in my apartment. This sucks.
     I just hope Dave (my mechanic) is right. I hope it's only the alternator. At least that's a quick fix. If it's the transmission, or another blown engine, I'm screwed. I'll go insane...
     Tomorrow is Saturday. The garage at Kia is only open until 12:30... and, according to Dave, there's already eight or nine cars ahead of me. Right now, I don't expect my car to be fixed tomorrow, but I'd like to - at least - get the diagnosis and estimated cost by tomorrow. They're not open at all on Sunday... so, I've got my fingers crossed that I'll get my car back on Monday. Wish me luck!!!
     I also have to figure out if/when I need to get a rental car. If I don't get my car back 'til Monday, or later, I need to get to work somehow. I need a car, dammit. Dave said they might have a rental for me in the morning, but he's not sure. One is due to be returned to them sometime in the morning. He said if it comes in he'll call me and I come get it. Yeah, OK, fine... and how, exactly, do I come get it? I don't have a car to get there. Guess I'll need to bum another ride off someone...

ENTRY # 111
DATE:  04/13/06 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Change Is Bad (Especially When It's Pink)!

     I had to stop at 7-11 today on my way home from work. I needed smokes and a bottle of Sprite. I handed the cashier a twenty-dollar bill, and when she gave me my change, she handed me two singles, a couple of coins, and this thing that resembled a ten-dollar bill. I checked out the front of it, then I flipped it over to inspect the back. It looked like a ten, but it had a whole bunch of pink ink all over it that I had never seen before. Not ink from a pen or marker, but printing-press ink. Since I wasn't expecting to be handed a bill covered with pink ink I asked, "What the hell's this?" The cashier, who looked no older than sixteen, replied with, "Oh, that's the new money," as she chomped her gum, and twirled a lock of purple hair between her fingers.
     I didn't trust the authenticity of the ten she handed me... the pink ink made it look fake. It kind'a looked like Canadian currency, and at the same time, it kind'a looked like Monopoly money, LOL. Just to make sure I wasn't being handed a counterfeit bill I said, "I don't like it. Can you give me a different ten? A regular ten?" She took the "play money" back, popped open the PowerBall cash-drawer, and handed me a normal ten-dollar bill.
     As soon as I got home, I signed on and did a search for U.S. Currency. I found a link for a site called The Money Factory and - sure enough - this "new money" is real. Apparently, this series was put into circulation a month and a half ago, and I hadn't heard anything about it at all. I really have to get out more. The rock I live under is getting bigger and bigger by the minute, LOL. Oh well... at least I know about the "new-and-improved" ten-dollar bill now, so I won't refuse it the next time one is handed to me.
     According to the website I found, the ten-dollar bills are the only ones in circulation so far. Eventually, they're going to print new pink twenties, fifties, and hundreds. The pink ink is a new security feature so people won't be able to produce counterfeit stuff. (Yeah, right!)
     Even though I know it's real now, I still don't like it. It's ugly money. It's still green, but the new pink color that's been added is hideous. It's not even a nice pink. It's more like a salmon color. Maybe it's supposed to be red, and it was just a lousy printing job, I dunno. Whatever! It's gross, and I don't like it.
     If you haven't seen it yet, click
here to take a peek.

ENTRY # 110
DATE:  04/11/06 (Tuesday)
SUBJECT:  Got Milk? Chocolate?

     At 9:30, right on the button, my Mom walked into my shop carrying an Easter basket for me, and two other tiny baskets for the guys I work with; one was for my boss, the other one was for the Septage Sucker.
     As it turned out, the Easter basket was the only reason for her trip. LOL, she's nuts. I can't believe she drove all morning just for that. If that's not love, I don't know what is!
     She only stayed for about forty minutes. When she left, she went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, then drove all the way home.
     It was a nice visit. Definitely too short, but nice. So... she's got the cow (which she loved), and I've got enough chocolate to last about two months, LOL. Seriously! Two months, at least! Out of curiosity, I stuck the Easter basket on the UPS scale we have, and it weighs almost six pounds! Good grief... diet? What diet?
     If you don't hear from me in a while, don't blame me, blame the basket... it will mean that I've fallen into a sugar-induced coma!

ENTRY # 109
DATE:  04/10/06 (Monday) - 11:30pm
SUBJECT:  "Brokeback Mountain"

     I bought "Brokeback Mountain" on DVD earlier this evening. I had to go to Stop n' Shop tonight for groceries and while I was at it, I strolled up and down the "Books/Magazines/Music/Movies" aisle to see if anything would catch my eye. I was actually hoping to find "Must Love Dogs" with Diane Lane but they didn't have it yet... (*shrug*) ...oh well, maybe next week. Instead, I grabbed "Flight Plan" with Jodie Foster. "Brokeback Mountain" was an afterthought, and since it was only twenty bucks I figured, "Eh, what the hell?" so I tossed that one into my shopping-cart as well.
     I haven't watched "Flight Plan" yet. I ran out of day. It'll have to wait 'til tomorrow... but "Brokeback Mountain" was incredible. Ang Lee directed it, and I gotta tell ya, I think he did an amazing job! The scenery is breathtaking; the cast is fantastic; and the screenplay (written by Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana) is outstanding!
     This two-hour-and-fifteen-minute drama is based on the short story by Annie Proulx. It originally appeared in The New Yorker magazine almost twenty years ago; sometime in the late '80s, I think. It took forever-and-a-day to bring it to the big screen, and unfortunately - ever since - I've heard people referring to it as "the movie about the gay cowboys," or "that gay guy film." Now that I've finally seen it, it's obvious that the people who call it the "gay cowboy movie" haven't seen it yet. It's so much more than that. This isn't a story about two "gay men" falling in love. This is a story about "two people" falling in love. Their sexual preference is - basically - irrelevant.
     It's plain and simple... love is love. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, a Democrat or a Republican, tall or short, Jewish or Catholic, gay or straight. Love just "is," and that's what "Brokeback Mountain" is really about. The story deals with the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of ALL relationships.
     It's a damn good movie. If you haven't seen it yet, don't be afraid of the "subject matter," just go out and rent it! It's really good. It's too bad it's based on a "short story" though. It would've made one helluva great novel!

ENTRY # 108
DATE:  04/10/06 (Monday) - 6:30pm
SUBJECT:  Her Lips Are Still Sealed!

     Talked to Mom again tonight. She still plans on driving all the way down here tomorrow morning to deliver the Easter basket (and to pick up the cow statue)...
     ...and I still haven't been given any other reason for her trip. This is so bizarre! I'm totally at a loss here...
     She said she'll visit with me for a little while and then she might go to Cracker Barrel for something to eat, and maybe AC Moore's, too, for some craft supplies... and then she's heading home. That's it. That's all I was able to get out of her.
     My Mom is horrible at keeping secrets so maybe the Easter basket IS the only reason. I have no clue. I'll find out soon enough, I guess...

ENTRY # 107
DATE:  04/07/06 (Friday)
SUBJECT:  Hmmmmmm...

     So I just got off the phone with my mother and something's up, but I can't figure out what it is. Here's the story...
     A couple weeks ago my Mom called me and asked if I could find a cast-iron statue of a cow on eBay for her. Fine. No problem. I found a couple that I thought she'd like so I emailed her direct links to them so she could tell me which one she wanted me to bid on. The one she wanted offered the "Buy It Now" feature, so that's what I did. Once I did all the official eBay stuff to get the transaction rolling (i.e. contacting the seller, and figuring out the shipping costs), I emailed my Mom again to let her know that the cow would soon be on it's way to me. We agreed that once I received it, I'd ship it to her from work.
     The cow was delivered to me today. I found it on my front porch when I got home from work. After inspecting it, I called my Mom to let her know that it arrived. She was thrilled. Then she says, "Well, don't ship it to me." This obviously prompted me to ask, "Why not, I thought you wanted it right away?" She laughs and says, "I'm coming to see you Tuesday morning at work. I'm bringing your Easter basket, so just give me the cow then."
     This totally freaked me out. First of all, my Mom lives in western Massachusetts. It's a four-hour round trip. Second of all, she plans on arriving here at 9:30 in the morning which is way to early for me to even take my lunch-hour when she's here, so we're gonna have no time to visit with each other. She's basically just gonna drop off the basket, pick up the cow, and then head all the way home again. This makes no sense to me whatsoever. I don't get it.
     I can't imagine her driving all the way down here just to give me an Easter basket. There must be another reason. There's got to be. But, for the life of me, I couldn't get it out of her while we were on the phone. Out of pure desperation I figured maybe it's a "Mother/Daughter Secret Mission" kind of thing that my Dad knows nothing about so I asked, "Is Dad in the room, and you can't talk about this right now?" and she said, "Oh, no, Dad's right here, and he's fine with it. He knows I'm coming." At the same time, I hear my Dad in the background saying, "Hey Dove... Happy Easter. When are ya comin' to visit?" That completely shot down my "Mom-Is-Speaking-In-Code" theory.
     So... um... right now, I don't know what to think, LOL. Is she bringing me bad news? Is this Easter basket crammed with gold and diamonds and she doesn't trust shipping it? Is she coming alone? Maybe Dad is coming too and it's supposed to be a surprise (since I haven't seen him since last March (of '05)? Did she get another new car and she wants to show it off? Or maybe a new hair cut? Tuesday is April 11th... is the date significant somehow and I've forgotten it's meaning? She's driving four hours to hand-deliver an Easter basket????? I don't get it! There's got to be more to it than that. I don't know if I should be excited, nervous, or scared... and honestly, right now, I'm a little of all three, LOL!
     Stay tuned...

ENTRY # 106
DATE:  04/05/06 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Another Cool Website...

     Inquiring minds want to know? Then you should check out HowStuffWorks.com to find some interesting answers. It's a very cool site!

ENTRY # 105
DATE:  04/01/06 (Saturday)

     Happy days are here again!!! Baseball season is FINALLY upon us! Today is Opening Day, and I've only got one thing to say...


     Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday they play the Texas Rangers.... and I'm pissed. I can't watch any of those games. They're not televised in this area. At least not on any of my channels. Damn! I have got to subscribe to NESN one of these days!!!

ENTRY # 104
DATE:  03/29/06 (Wednesday)
SUBJECT:  Favorite Poem/Sonnet...

     I watched "Patch Adams" earlier this evening, starring Robin Williams. It's such a great movie! I think the best scene is when Patch reads "Sonnet 17" by Pablo Neruda. It's one of my "all time favorite" poems, so I thought I'd include it here for y'all to enjoy (in case you've never heard/read it before)...

"Sonnet 17"
by Pablo Neruda, ©1959 - translated by Stephen Tapscott

I do not love you as if you were Salt-rose or Topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved...
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms,
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love, a certain solid fragrance
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexity or pride.
So I love you because I know no other way than this...
Where "I" does not exist, nor "you."
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand;
So close that when you close your eyes, I fall asleep.

     If you liked that one, click here to read more of Neruda's work. Enjoy!

ENTRY # 103
DATE:  03/25/06 (Saturday)
SUBJECT:  Spring Cleaning  Clutter Cleaning!

     Started a major cleaning project today. I usually don't go hog-wild when it comes to "Spring Cleaning" since I keep my apartment pretty clean on a regular basis. However, because this apartment is kind'a small, I've been feeling a little "boxed in" lately due to all the clutter piling up around me. Last night, before going to bed, I found myself studying my bedroom, trying to figure out where I should begin. I decided the easiest thing to sort through first would be all my clothes...
     At 9:30 this morning, I designated the bed as the "Get-Rid-Of Zone." Everything I didn't want anymore for one reason or another was flung onto the bed to be thrown away later. I started with my bureau. It's got six drawers and a side-cabinet packed with clothes! Once that was fully sorted through, I moved on to the second bureau. This one has a double-cabinet on the top, and three large drawers on the bottom. By the time both bureaus were cleaned out, the "Get Rid Of Pile" was aleady substantial and I hadn't even come close to the closet yet, LOL.
     By the time I started working on my closet, I was on a roll! My closet is very small, but it contains three bars to hang clothes on; two are located up high (for long stuff like dresses, suits, and skirts), and one down low (for shorter stuff like blazers and blouses). When I started, all three bars were tightly crammed. Three hours later, the closet was done and the pile on the bed had reached epic proportions. And, I'm proud to say, only one bar in the closet has stuff hanging on it now! The other two are completely bare.
     I can not believe how much stuff I ended up getting rid of today. It's truly amazing! Between all the stuff that didn't fit anymore, stuff that was out-dated, Dry Clean Only stuff, and stuff that was discolored from age and dust due to never being worn, I couldn't even see the top of my bed anymore. I was so proud of my "Get Rid Of Pile," I actually dug out my digital camera and took a picture of it, LOL!!! Really, I did. Honest! And to prove it, here's that picture:

     And here's some shots of my now-empty closet, and [some of] my now-organized shoes...


     Impressive, huh? Damn! I got rid of a little bit of everything... underwear, bras, nylons, socks, jeans, sweaters, blouses, blazers, scarves, belts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, dresses, skirts, shoes, boots, sneakers, sandals, and even some coats. It felt really good to stand back and look at that pile. But then tragedy struck. I looked out my window - down at the dumpster out back - and (*GASP*) saw that it was already full. It was bad enough knowing that I had to lug all this crap down three flights of stairs to get rid of it all... but when I realized I had no where to put it once I got it all down there - for a few moments - I was appalled.
     After a brief panic attack, I finally remembered the dumpster we have at work, and - EUREKA! - problem solved! I bagged up everything (six Hefty bags, to be exact), loaded up the car, and off I went!
     It's gone! It's ALLLLL gone! And now, when I come home from the Laundromat, I'll actually have room to put everything away. I won't have to live out of my laundry-basket for a week. This is way cool!!!
     What's even cooler is the fact that I'm still in a "Throw Away" mood. I think I'll conquer one of my storage closets tonight! My goal is to fill that dumpster at work by the time the weekend is over. Wish me luck...

ENTRY # 102
DATE:  03/23/06 (Thursday)
SUBJECT:  Much Better!

     Woohooo! Was almost 60 degrees today... Now that's more like it!!!
     I believe Spring has finally sprung! Hopefully I can shut my heat off soon. I'm tired of paying for it! Oy!

ENTRY # 101
DATE:  03/20/06 (Monday)
SUBJECT:  "Burrrrr!"

     First day of Spring, my ass! It's cold outside, dammit! It never got any warmer than 39 degrees today! I actually saw a few snow-flurries coming down. What the hell?????

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