Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me...

(...get crazy with the Cheez Whiz)

I'm sure I will look back upon these past few months as The Winter of my Discontent. Or The Winter That Saw Fit to Kick me in the Nuts Repeatedly for No Particular Reason. Let's take inventory, shall we...?

In early December, my very beloved feline companion, Tim, passed away. I'm still heartbroken over losing him and having not done more to prevent his passing. But then I've always been a champion at the art of self-flagellation.

Within days of Tim's passing, I also found myself having lost a very close human friend as well. I'll refrain from getting into the details behind that because I still can't do so without sounding bitter...though, I am working toward coming to terms with the latter "loss."

At any rate, it was a big punch in the gut to lose the presence of those two souls in my life so suddenly. Either one by itself would have been bad enough, but for both experiences to occur seemingly in tandem was particularly upsetting. For a few weeks - and Wendy and Cindy can attest to this - I barely knew the difference between up versus down, black versus white, etc. I felt like somebody'd shoved me into some room where this really ugly alternate universe existed. Bless them both for enduring my whiny second-guessing during that period...

Next up was that most unpleasant of milestone-birthdays (at least for the next decade): the Big Four Oh. There isn't anything I can say about this occasion that somebody else hasn't already said so I'm not gonna bother. I just handled the birthday itself the same way I usually observe ignoring it. Helped tremendously that the Super Bowl was going down on the same day (and even more that it turned out to be a damn good game).

But then came the big shocker: after more than fifteen years at the same job (pretty impressive - or depressive - when you consider both my age and the times), I became introduced to the exciting world of unemployment. On the one hand, it was pretty great because I've been trying to get away from those motherfuckers for years, and the atmosphere at that place had become increasingly grim, oppressive and insulting. But on the other hand, it would have been a hell of a lot more enjoyable if I'd have beaten them to the "fuck off" punch. I had a damn good collection of words compiled for my resignation letter that I was really looking forward to using...but, shit happens. And so now I spend a great deal of my time poking around for new jobs online. (If anyone has any leads or ideas, please don't hesitate to pass them my way!)

As it happens, the aforementioned shocker happened the day before I was scheduled to trek down to New Orleans to spend some time with Animal Rescue New Orleans before returning to Dallas with my new feline friends (see image at left) - themselves rescued strays born since Katrina in one of the many neighborhoods, Lakeview, still in recovery from the storm. (One of the more affluent neighborhoods, as it turns out...the cats were found living underneath the slab of a house next door to one of the New Orleans Saints players. So they totally scoreboard me in terms of lifestyle history. Well, except for the whole "homeless and living under the slab of a destroyed house" thing.)

Anyway, I proceeded with the plan as scheduled and returned on Monday with my new roommates and with five other piggybackers going to some Dallas-area foster groups. I had visions of spending ten hours driving with my soundtrack being a constant cacophony of disgruntled or anxious meowing, but almost everyone slept the entire time. Other than exchanging text messages with Wendy, it was actually one of the more peaceful road trips I've ever experienced.

So far, it's been a much easier transition for them than I had any reason to expect it to be. Two of them (Frank, at top; Mary, below) could very easily be described as being "semi-feral" (and were described thusly by the ARNO folks and the cats' fosters in the French Quarter). And the third, now christened Mack (at bottom) is pretty much just a spazz who's almost instantly social in any situation and requires no socialization effort whatsoever. But Frank and Mary and I have made tons of progress (another benefit to unemployment - lots of extra time spent on socializing my new friends) and I think, other than being a bit shy when new folks come around, they'll be living like "normal" cats in a "normal" household in no time. It's been educational, entertaining, and just a blast in general.

And so I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my new pals. If you're not a fan of cats, just fight through it, please. But if you are, prepare for copious amounts of cuteness and "aww" moments to ensue...

See Frank sitting next to my printer on the nightstand in the bedroom watching the birds outside. He loves watching birds. Actually, he loves pretty much any activity that doesn't require...well, activity. (He's a bit on the pudgy side, so there will be some diet and exercise in his future. Not that I have room to make negative statements in that regard...)

See Mack joining Frank for more birdwatching...this time in the living room.

The fact that all three are siblings was obviously quite helpful in getting them acclimated to their new home. If anyone's experiencing any anxiety (usually Mary who, in addition to having far and away the most complex personality, will take the longest to overcome any skittishness and fearful behavior), they all have one another to turn to and/or lean on. Which, as you can see, they do pretty frequently.

There are also plenty of Kodak moments like this last one. Frank usually takes on a "protective" posture or appearance in scenes like these, but that's really only by default. Being the resident large, chunky dude - at least in comparison to the other two - he's really not so much protecting as he is just being lazy. Either way, it's nice to see around the house.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to lately...minding new feline friends when not trolling for jobs online. Oh, and by the way...if there's anyone out there who doesn't understand the pain of losing an animal companion or the joy of gaining new animal companions, I have two words for you: fuck you. (Yes, I have someone specific in mind, but, no, I'm not identifying that person.) People who don't like animals or who don't react with empathy toward either humans or non-humans in the aforementioned scenarios are not to be trusted. Period. You can know everything you need to know about a person based on his or her attitude toward animals. That's one of the simpler rules of life that I've never seen disproved. But I digress.

(Oh, and also...if anyone happens to find themselves sitting on an extra ticket for the Ace Frehley show at HOB tomorrow night, please feel free to hook an unemployed brotha up...!)

Have a nice day...from the new and improved acs household.

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