Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Can See the Light!

... at the end of the tunnel. This semester has been brutal on me, but I'm over my biggest hump of grading until finals, and I can finally see finals up ahead, so I just have to sprint to the finish.

I'm not sure I've ever been so eager for Thanksgiving in my life! Teaching six days a week, with other obligations as well, I haven't had a day off since October. I've also had nothing interesting to blog about, since I go to school, teach, come home, sleep. Eat absolute crap. Lose weight from stress anyway. Gaze at kitchen counters in despair but decide if I ignore them, they'll go away. Discover to my disappointment that's not true. Continue ignoring them anyway. Find self standing in shower motionless suddenly wondering how long I've been in there, and am I already late for class? (With this low-flow showerhead, we never run out of hot water, so I really could be in there for eternity and not get an icy wake-up-and-get-out!) And so forth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oscar Arrives from Atlanta

We think we're going to name him "Oscar" and call him "Ozzy" for short. He sheds white, which is irritating because now all my black clothes look awful. It's not a great picture, but he's basically a Siamese with a tabby overlay -- it looks like someone Photoshopped him together. He's beige on the body with cream tabby stripes; and then black on his Siamese color points (tail, legs, head) with grey/silver stripes. He is a weird-looking cat. (Perhaps I shall call him Weird Cat. Or Photoshopped Cat, but that takes a long time to type.)

He's getting along well so far -- he and Grey Cat are alternately tolerating and ignoring one another, and alternately playing and fighting (but nothing too serious). He has good cat manners -- uses his litterbox, doesn't use his claws -- and he sometimes likes to snuggle, but he's still very skittish around people and he's only a year old, so he's got a lot of youthful energy. (A LOT of youthful energy. It's exhausting watching him!)

Oscar has a strange backstory. My aunt in Atlanta is a cat vet, and a client came in with a one-eyed cat she'd found stray, and was saying, "Boy, it's too bad he just has one eye; he's sweet-tempered, but nobody's going to adopt a one-eyed cat." (Client already having more than enough cats herself.)

My aunt said, "You know, I have a niece who adopts nothing BUT one-eyed cats; it's too bad she's in Illinois."

And the client said, "I'm a flight attendant and I'm flying to Chicago next week! I can drop him off!"

Even crazier, she had a doctor's appointment in the suburb next to my parents', so she flew with Oscar to Chicago, dropped him with my mom, and mom drove him downstate, whereupon Oscar, who had had no idea there were so many methods of conveyance with which to torture a cat, decided hiding behind the toilet for 16 hours was probably his best strategy.

(He even arrived with his own little pair of wings, like they give little kids on airplanes.)

So despite all the mocking about "What, did they run out of strays in Peoria?" Oscar was clearly sent by God or something. It was foreordained. One of my students said, in awe at the story of how he ended up here, "Wow, that cat's going to save your life or something!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Cat!

So, a bright spot in an otherwise difficult week, our new cat has arrived. He is as yet nameless, but one-eyed and sweet tempered. He came all the way from Atlanta and is curled up on Mr. McGee's lap sleeping. He and Grey Cat are interested in each other but no hostility so far. Full story to follow, perhaps after we come up with a name!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Whoever Has My Voodoo Doll, Stop Sticking Pins in It

All right, so this hasn't been my easiest semester ever, and I've been pretty swamped with work, extra work, some family stuff, dying cats, the basement renovations, and a couple other things. In short, my life's been out of control, and minor catastrophes keep happening.

Well on Saturday I stepped up to larger catastrophe: My wallet got stolen. Fortunately I carry basically my drivers' license and a couple credit cards, so it only took an hour to get everything canceled (except the Blockbuster card, which you apparently do have to cancel if it gets stolen, but can only cancel on weekdays). This also rendered it the least successful wallet-stealing EVER, as I carry no money in my wallet and all the cards were canceled before the idiot managed to charge anything, and he got no juicy personal data.

As everyone who's ever had their wallet stolen knows, this is ENORMOUSLY upsetting. (I had it happen to me once before, in high school.) Even though being slightly organized (being able to immediately put your hands on the credit card details to start canceling) makes it not actually that big a deal, it's just horrible. There's the first heart-stopping moment when you realize it's gone, followed by the panicked rummaging, the dumping out of the purse on a table, and then the frantic searching of everywhere it might have fallen out/gotten left. And then, really, the sense of violation that someone has your wallet. The bits of your life. Ick.

(And then there's the special extra trip to the DMV, which is just salt in the wound.)

One thing the experience reaffirmed for me is how much better AmEx is than other credit cards. There's a minimum of phone-tree hassle, someone picks up in seconds, and they canceled quickly and efficiently. They express the new card at no extra cost, and when you have two people on the account, THEY HAVE DIFFERENT NUMBERS, so Mr. McGee can still use his AmEx because his number wasn't compromised.

My Bank of America MasterCard, on the other hand, took FOREVER to get to a live person. They canceled it okay, but told me it would take 7-10 days to get the new card and there was no possible way to speed that up. (What am I supposed to do for money????? This is the 21st century! Who carries cash???) But then, this is the kicker, THE FRAUD PREVENTION GUY STARTS TRYING TO UPSELL ME ON MORE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FROM BofA. I am almost never rude to phone people, but I said in total disbelief (and in a pretty pissed-off tone of voice), "Are you serious? I have to call and cancel all my other cards! I don't want your crap!"

I realize he was on a script, but OH MY LORD, how inappropriate. Proving for the five billionth time that AmEx is a vastly superior company to do business with in ALL POSSIBLE WAYS. Every time we deal with either card we're reminded of this.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Some of Us Don't Understand How Stupid Jokes Work

"How many vampires does it take to change a light bulb?



"Fine, how many?"

"None, vampires like the dark."

"I was going to SAY none, but then I wasn't sure ...."


I got weepy. But so did Oprah, so I feel okay about it.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Don't forget to vote!

Mr. McGee went right at 6 a.m. when the polls opened. I went a little later. Make sure you go get your sticker too!