Thursday, April 25, 2013

I've been adopted ... again.

So our house is kind of surrounded by stray cats. I have counted at least fifteen, ranging from feral to obviously abandoned pets, and it just breaks my heart. I'd love to adopt all of them, but um, our house is kind of beyond capacity now with our recent addition of Little Shit. 

About a week ago, I was taking out the trash when I noticed this beautiful orange and white kitty that was sleeping under our car in our gravel driveway. He was curled up in this little ball, and he had a fresh scratch on his nose. At first, he didn't seem to know I was there, even though I'd unintentionally made quite a bit of noise, but when I dropped the trash into our bin, he jerked a bit and looked at me. Then, he stood up and loped over to me, meowing. He rubbed up against my leg and even followed me toward the house, trying to get in the door. Of course, Kitkat, our resident hall monitor, was not about to let him inside, so I closed the door and brought out a little bowl of food.

Which, I know. I know, I know, I know. This is how you get strays to stay around. But he was very clearly starved. You could see his backbone through his medium-length fur, and he had this strange gait that made me wonder if he'd been injured. 

Anyway, he ate and ate and ate, almost as if he hadn't done so in days, and I just stood there, occasionally petting him and making cutesy voices at him. It was cold outside, and I was basically in a T-shirt and pajama bottoms, so I told him I was sorry that I couldn't bring him inside but that he could come back for food any time. 

The next day, right as Three got home from work, the kitty was at the house. Three was just smitten with him (Three is a giant cat person), and he cuddled with the cat after he ate. Then we saw the wound on his leg: something had taken a huge ass bite out of his rear left leg. I couldn't tell if it was infected or anything, since I'm not a veterinarian, but Three reminded me that we couldn't really afford to do anything about it right then. 

"Maybe with my next pay check?"

I sighed and nodded at him, disappointed that this poor little guy was obviously suffering. He had adjusted his gait (he walked kind of like a German shepherd) so the other tomcats wouldn't realize he was injured. I called around the local shelters (in our county, there aren't a lot of cat shelters, so it didn't take too much time) and a few vets. None of the shelters responded to me, as they were probably already overwhelmed with cats, and all of the vets were telling me that it would cost $50 just to get him seen. Not even for any treatment. Who knows what that would cost? Plus, I was worried that he had feline leukemia or FIV, and God, what would we do, then? 

Then, my lovely sister offered to help pay for a vet visit, and I called up Value Vet, about whom I'd completely forgotten, even though six months ago I took Bina there because she was acting weird (she had a fever and, we discovered, a very sensitive tummy). Plus, they are absolutely awesome and have great pricing. It was only going to be $33 for a visit, plus whatever other services it took (i.e. cleaning the wound, antibiotics, etc.). 

So I took the kitty, who Three named Zeus (because why the hell not), there this morning. It was a pleasant ride, actually, compared to Kitkat and Bina who act as if it's the end of the world if they're in a car: he sat on my lap and just chilled the whole way. They cleaned out his wound and patched him up, giving him an antibiotic shot and taking some blood for tests. 

I cannot tell you how worried I was about this cat. The whole time we were in the exam room by ourselves, he was in my lap, purring loudly, and even though I'd just forced him to sit there while they cleaned him up and gave him shots, he still oddly trusted me. He was friendly with the vet techs, except when he tried to bite the guy who was cleaning him, but he seemed to just be bonded to me. And I'd scratch his chin (his favorite), telling him that he'd be A-OK.

The vet came back with great news: 100% healthy, as far as FIV and leukemia were concerned, although she did want to get him get rid of what she thought were worms, on which she blamed his thinness. Unfortunately, I had a budget, so in two weeks, he'll be going back for treatment. 

When we got back to the house, I put him in the crate on our covered porch, where it's about 10 - 15 degrees cooler, with a little bowl of water and a bit of food. He slept for about two hours and then decided that he wanted to go exploring. Or it's just that he's a stray and being confined is kind of scary for him. Either way, he screeched until I let him out, and then he sat on my lap for about forty-five minutes before trotting on his merry way. 

Zeus looked back at me and meowed, almost as if he was saying, "I'll be back tomorrow!" I know that he wasn't because he's a fucking cat, but I can't help but to feel connected with the little guy. It's possible that, like Tramp from "Lady and the Tramp," he has several people that treat him this way, but I honestly don't think so. There's no way right now that I can let him inside, but he's got a nice, comfy blanket on our porch and a plate of food waiting for him. 

I have been suckered. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thirty day challenge ahead.

So I'm doing this way after it started because I apparently am the opposite of a hipster. Or maybe I am totally a hipster because I'm doing something after it was popular ... or something. Either way, I figured I'd try it for May 2013. And the topic I've chosen? Well, of course, it's going to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It's one of the only TV shows that I have watched the whole way through (the reimagined Battlestar Galactica is the other one, which actually sounds like a lot of fun to do ... hmmmmm) and even now, I'm relating to the characters and everything on a different level now that I'm close to 30.

But anyway, here's what you'll get to look forward to in May!

Day 1: Favorite Season
Day 2: Favorite Episode
Day 3: Favorite Song Used in an Episode
Day 4: Favorite Female Character
Day 5: Favorite Male Character
Day 6: Least Favorite Female Character
Day 7: Least Favorite Male Character
Day 8: Favorite Friendship
Day 9: Favorite Romance
Day 10: Least Favorite Season
Day 11: Least Favorite Romance
Day 12: Least Favorite Episode
Day 13: Favorite Potential Slayer
Day 14: Favorite Female Villain
Day 15: Favorite Male Villain
Day 16: Episode You Like that Everyone Else Hates
Day 17: Character You Relate to the Most
Day 18: Character Who Didn't Get Enough Screen Time
Day 19: Character You Like that Everyone Else Hates
Day 20: Best Spike-centric Episode
Day 21: Best Willow-centric Episode
Day 22: Bes Xander-centric Episode
Day 23: Two Characters You Wanted to Get Together that Never Did
Day 24: Favorite Example of 90s Special Effects
Day 25: Favorite Buffyverse Saying
Day 26: Favorite Scooby Moment
Day 27: Cutest Moment
Day 28: Character You Love to Hate
Day 29: Episode You Hate the Everyone Else Loves
Day 30: What You Think Made Buffy So Great

I'm actually really excited about this now, since this means that I'll be rewatching a lot of episodes, starting with my favorite season - which I'm not going to disclose until May 1st, so ha.

EDIT 7/18/2014: Sorry about so many of the images that are broken, but I don't really have the time or the desire to go back and replace them. :( Use your imagination!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

If it wasn't such a soul-sucking corporation, I might actually like Wal-mart.

I never thought I'd say this, but thank GOD for Wal-mart. This week has been trying, for multiple reasons, and ugh, today? TODAY.
I'm actually thinking of doing this just to ease some stress.
As some of you know, our debit card information was stolen so some idiot or idiots in Canada could order liquor, and honestly, that's just about shitty enough. But of course, as soon as you say, "OMG THIS IS THE WORST DAY EVER*" the world just laughs and hands you a big Pile O' Crap.

Just a rundown of the events as they were. Three called up our bank to report fraud and they closed the credit card, which is standard procedure and everything, and when Three asked for a new card, the CSR - possibly the dumbest, most incompetent person in existence - ordered it through regular delivery. The problem here? That's the only card we had, and our bank is online only, soooooo ... how in the hell are we supposed to get access to anything resembling money so we can, you know, buy gas to get Three to work?

Checks. Because those aren't going down the path of cassette tapes or anything. I was hopeful, though, as we drove around town, trying to find someone to cash a personal check**, although even Kroger was like, "Nope, can't help you." And everything down here closes at 4P because of course it does, so even if any banks in our town would have accepted our check, they weren't fucking open. I was trying to remain even-keel about the whole thing, but even I was getting to the point of just wanting to scream.
No desks or Alan Rickmans were harmed in this gif.
No one would let us write checks for more than was due, either, which I guess makes a sort of sense if you are used to people fraudulently writing checks, but dear God, it was getting ridiculous.

And what sucks is, the only reason that we had one card in the first place was because our bank had sent my replacement debit card (for my expired one from oh November of last year) to some random place and had yet to get me a new one. Because why not. I had basically decided there was no use in trying to get them to send me another one, but I just got so fucking mad today that I called the bank up again.

Our exchange went something along these lines.

Me: Um, hi, remember how you guys never sent me another card last year? You record everything (and tell me so every time I call you), so you have it somewhere in your data files about all the times you had to hear from me. Yeah, anyway, I really need that card like yesterday.
Bank: Oh! Well, your card is showing as active.
Me: Have any purchases been made by this card in, oh, ever?
Bank: ... No. Actually, no.
Me: That's because I never got it.
Bank: Oh. Well, we'll expedite you a card. Should be there by Monday.
Me: What about my husband's card?
Bank: We're showing it was sent out ... Monday?
Me: Yeah ...
Bank: Hahahahaha it won't be there until next Friday.
Me: Well, I'm sure he'll be happy to know that his CSR was a dumbass who didn't believe him when he said that we only had the one card.
Bank: I hate banks***.
Me: Me, too.

Now, even though this has been somewhat resolved - and by somewhat, I mean not really because we still have no card - we're still in a pickle. Three has only twenty dollars in his pocket to pay for gas. We're running out of groceries, and eating is kind of important.

But then, like a shining star of opportunistic capitalism, Wal-mart appeared over the horizon, and both Three and I were like, "Seriously, we have nothing else to lose."
I think this is the first ever Matt Smith gif I've used. 
This plucky little thing behind the counter was super sweet and let me bitch (after I told her that I really just wanted to bitch at something) for about five minutes, and although we couldn't use a personal check to get one of those prepaid cards (again, we had to use cash or a card), we wrote a check for a gas card plus some extra cash so we could buy food. And then, as if she was an angel from some type of asshole-free heaven, she let us know that we could do the same thing inside the store if we needed more cash. We left that store with our hearts a little lighter.

Now, I'm not saying that Wal-mart is this great bastion of what good's left in the world. It's still kind of a shitty company that treats its employees horribly and completely abuses foreign workers for its own benefit. But their policies helped us out, which is more than I can say for the many banks and the Kroger. It's almost like they understand that a lot of their consumer base isn't necessarily the wealthiest set, who also work during the day and probably can't make it to their money center by four. And I kind of like the gas card thing, too; we get ten cents off every time we get gas from them, and since we're in a small town, gas is about thirty cents cheaper than in the city. Win/win.

I will tell you this, though. If this entire experience hasn't given me a reason to never, ever use any kind of card that has access to my bank account, I don't know what could. I know that there are all these credit bureaus and everything, but I'm kind of with Dave Ramsey on this one (mark today on the calendar, Mom): if I have the cash up front and you still won't work with me? Well, then you don't get my money. If I have to put more money down on a house instead of being some sort of weird slave to banks and their credit ratings, then okay, I'll rent for a bit longer. I just hate that our current bank - who also decided that we no longer could have full access to our account, only the mobile version because it's somehow different or something, after we filed for bankruptcy - is holding us hostage after someone stole our information.

If this is what technology can do, then fuck it. I'd like bartering to make a comeback in a big way.

* Which I totally didn't do because, um, I understand not to coax the universe into proving me wrong.
** I kept thinking about that episode of Miami Vice with Suzy Amis (you know, James Cameron's wife? I couldn't pinpoint where I'd seen her before when she played Rose's granddaughter in Titanic, but I kept thinking, "I've seen her personality-less acting before, but where???" And then I rewatched the second episode ever of Miami Vice and was like THERE YOU ARE! See also: Al Bundy.) where she was playing a role in a porno and they guy who's there to "fix her furnace" is like, "Oh, I don't take personal checks but I'll totally check your person winkwink."
*** Direct fucking quote.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Open Letter

Dear Assholes Who Stole Money from Me and Three to Buy Alcohol in Canada*:

I know that your actions aren't even close to those of the perpetrator(s) in Boston, and ultimately, complaining about such an insignificant thing seems, quite frankly, insipid. I actually wondered if I should even address the issue, especially in light of the shittiness that was Monday, but I decided that I might as well just get it off of my chest. Because I'm actually more angry than I thought I was.

So.

Let's get the trivial stuff aside. The husband and I had plans this past weekend. They weren't big plans - just a cheap sushi dinner - but they were plans. The past few months have been incredibly hard for us, particularly since I rarely get to see Three. For a while there, he was working six twelve-hour shifts a week, and then Sunday, his only day off, he slept the whole day, just to prepare for the following week. Thankfully, his bosses decided that they were being assholes and shortened his work week (and his fellow press operators) to five twelve-hour shifts with weekends off to recharge and, well, be with his wife. But because you chose to steal over $100 from us, we couldn't do that. Plus, add the stress of realizing, "Oh, shit, we have a lot less money than we thought," and then having to cancel our accounts and try to figure out who withdraws directly from us ... well, we didn't really get to spend much time together.

So, thanks for that.

Then there's the fact that you spent it on fucking alcohol. I mean, really? Really?? Do you realize that we use that money to pay for bills and try to save what we can (which right now isn't much)? Right now, Three is wearing shitty work boots that are about to fall apart and hurt his feet (he is on his feet for his entire 12-hour shift, in case you were wondering) because we can't afford to go buy him new ones. We don't go out ever because we want to preserve what little money we have so, later on, we won't have to live paycheck to paycheck. I could have handled it better if you'd bought, oh, food or paid an outstanding utility bill. But instead, you shit on my good will and buy a vice.

And also, really? Have fun with those two bottles (or maybe three, if you got the cheap shit) of liquor you got. Totally worth it?

I guess what really gets me, though, is that what you did was a violation. I mean, sure, it's only money, and yes, once our bank can prove that we did, in fact, not purchase alcohol from Canada and that this is, in fact, fraudulent spending, we will be reimbursed, but what actually makes you think that this is okay? Was it for the thrill of being a thief? Was it to prove your coolness to your friends? Was it just because you are a shitty person? I just don't understand it. I don't want to understand someone who is so callous as to take from someone who has essentially nothing.

Oh, and also, USAA's fraud department is awesome. So get ready to feel paranoid.

Sincerely,

Juju

* Did you know that you can buy alcohol online if you're in Canada? Methinks this may need to change.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In an effort to expand my literary horizons, I decided to start reading romances. I can't really explain why I chose this particular genre, since they generally are not my cup of tea - I prefer explosions and well-crafted fight scenes - but it's been ... entertaining? Smart Bitches, Trashy Books has actually kind of been my savior here, and not just for the hilarious book rants that actually make me want to go read the horrible novels that send these women into seething rages*.

Well, actually, I take it back. I do kind of know one of the reasons I've chosen romances over the plethora of other genres that I might enjoy more: the pricing on Kindle. We're not necessarily broke, but the funds aren't exactly rolling in, leaving us wondering what to do with them, and playing videos games or watching TV when I'm not working can only pass the time for so long before I start going crazy. It's also been nice enough the past week that I can actually go sit out on our front porch, and well, the Xbox isn't coming out there with me. I looked through my bookshelf and was kind of upset that I couldn't find anything I wanted to read, despite the fact that I have about a bazillion books, many of which I have always intended to read but just didn't because ... I have no real answer there. I grabbed my Kindle to see what books I'd purchased when I first got it - my habit of buying books and not reading them does not limit itself to only hard copy books, I'm afraid - and found a romance novella a friend of mine wrote that I had intended to review for her. Only I didn't because 1) I am a bad friend and 2) I'd forgotten about it. Which I guess kind of goes with No. 1.

Anyway.

It was a quick read and, for the most part, quite enjoyable. I liked the main character, even with her Mary Sue-style characteristics, and even the love interest dude didn't completely make my eyeballs turn over in my head. For a romance novel, that's actually pretty good, at least for me. I'm the annoying person watching a rom-com (or ahem "Titanic") who's like, "Wait, what? They just met. How can they be madly in love??" (even though I met and married my husband over the course of three months), but I didn't really do that with this book. Well, I did initially but then told myself what I tell my husband when he gets annoyed with sci-fi movies that take liberties with science: "It's fantasy."

Surprisingly, it worked.

Once I finished the book, I was kind of intrigued because I wasn't annoyed like I usually am when I'm done with a romance novel - which to be fair I haven't done in years. I ended up on amazon.com, looking at more romance novels, just to see what my options were, and I found that, well, there are a looooooooot of free ones that vary between supposedly five star and one star. I think I downloaded about twenty, and yeah, I'm planning on reading them all. Well, after I finish The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I bought and started to read, oh, a year ago.

Like I said, I'm horrible about this sort of thing.

And if I run across anything so ridiculous that it makes me nearly throw my Kindle across the room, believe you me, I'll be writing about it here. Wish me luck, guys, because I'm kinda scared.

* And seriously, go read those reviews. I've nearly peed my pants with laughter each time I've done so.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I have missed having a kitten.

Esther a.k.a. Little Shit
So we were adopted this weekend by a scared little four-month-old kitten that was being attacked by two tomcats (you can see the scratches on her nose). It was actually a little strange, seeing as I had just started using my office that morning (it's had boxes and all sorts of shit stored in it), and only fifteen minutes after I sat down in front of my computer, I saw this little white blur out of the corner of my eye. When I focused, this little thing was staring at me and mewing, so of course, I turned into putty. Because ... kitten, duh. Before I could get to the door, I heard this horrible yowl, and I saw two tomcats approaching her. One lunged at her, and she went into this flail-y attack mode out of desperation. There was no way she could have defended herself against them. So I start yelling and scare them away, thinking that the kitten would bolt, too, but nope. She gets all wide-eyed and trots over to me, her little nose bleeding from where one of the tomcats scratched her. I pick her up and carry her inside, much to the consternation of Kitkat and Bina. Well, mostly Kitkat, who kind of tolerates everyone who isn't Three*. After cleaning up her nose, I bring her into my office, where I set up a little box of litter and a bowl of food, which she gobbles up. And honestly, it looks like she hadn't eaten anything in about a week.

And then she started playing with me and I was like OK YOU ARE MINE.

Now, it was not my intention to keep her. Two cats and a dog is ... well, stinky is one word. It's manageable now that we're in a house instead of our rat ass apartment, but I already hate cleaning out the shit and piss of two cats. But I connected with this little thing. When I called Three to warn him that he now had another child, he was actually really sweet about it. And then he suggested that we call her Esther (because calling her Easter, in honor of the weekend we found her, just seemed a little too hipster), although I'd already taken to calling her Little Shit. I figured I would probably get lots of judgment at the vet's office for naming her Little Shit, so I was like, "Alrighty then. Esther it is."

As we speak, the super-excitable ball of energy is sleeping on my lap because of all the OMGILOVEEVERYTHING jumping around that she's done all day, and even though I kinda have to pee, I don't want to get up. I'm liking this reprieve from all the activity.

Well, shit, she's awake again. I best go try and hide the rest of my hair ties.

* Their relationship is actually really cute. She follows him around everywhere and gets mad when he doesn't pay attention to her. She even tries to sit on him when he's in the bath.
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