Strays

I’ve been avoiding this post. It’s altogether sad. especially if you happen to be an animal lover. I’m also avoiding pictures of the real cat.

The outdoor cats in our neighborhood use the fences that surround the backyards of most of the houses as a transit system rather than walking around a long set of sidewalks as they meander from their own homes to wherever it is cats go.

This post is about one particular cat, an orange and white tabby(?) that looks something like this, with the addition of a few orange patches on its back.

I’ve seen this cat around our neighborhood for 2 years at least. It would always appear from a side-street, cross the road at our house, and then hop on fence transit to continue its journey. For the longest time, the cat seemed healthy and well fed. Even from a distance you could see that it was eating on a regular basis, but it wasn’t overweight.

Last spring, catching glimpses of this cat, it was becoming painfully clear that the cat was losing weight. It’s abdomen and sides were sunken and the ribs were pretty apparent. I admit that, in our need to feel we were doing something to prevent this creature from starving to death, we (the daughter or myself)  would put out some food when we saw it wandering around our backyard. As the days came and went we came to the conclusion that the cat had probably been abandoned. You tend to speculate on the type of owner who might do such a thing. It was clear that at some point the cat had been fed and cared for, so what makes someone decide that it just isn’t worth caring for their pet anymore.

Did the cat get dumped in our neighborhood? Did the owners move away and decide not to take the cat with them? Perhaps it wandered away on its own and somehow just ended up on our streets. We won’t ever have the answers as to how or why it came to be wandering here.

The cat, a male we discovered, would come and go, and seemed friendly enough. It was scruffy, and as spring progressed into summer, it ended up with a very apparent case of fleas. One day the cat came to visit and there were semi-healed scratch marks on its head, it’s ear was ragged and torn, and there was a gash or wound on its neck, under his chin.

This stalwart guy never seemed to complain, or be in pain and slowly but surely, when we would see him, we noticed that the wounds were healing.

I rationally knew that we weren’t doing it any favors by feeding him, and I also knew what trying to prevent his starvation would encourage, both in the cat and in my animal loving daughter. I did make it clear from the start that he wasn’t going to become another in the line of our adopted cats though.

So summer has turned to fall, the cat has continued to disappear and then show up after a few days, looking for food but even more, looking for attention and love. My daughter discovered that the fellows teeth are all but decayed away, at least the front teeth anyway, so he’s been on his own for a long time, probably longer than I even realized. When that realization sunk in I knew that the kindest thing would be to take him to the local shelter. Our local animal shelter is a no kill shelter-unless the animal is too sick to be cleared for adoption.

Almost 2 months ago I tried to round him up, get him into a box and take him in. He’s a fighter for sure, and I didn’t have any luck getting him into the box, much less closing it and containing him, but the dilemma has to be faced, knowing that the weather will be changing, that he’s not healthy and that he won’t survive the winter outside.

I made the decision to keep trying and just after that, about 2 weeks ago, he showed up again, this time with an open, festering sore under his chin again. It was draining green pus, and smelled god-awful. I know what a dental abscess looks like and this was a raging one. It has continued to fester and drain, yet this guy still seems unfazed by his condition. I have a box ready, just waiting for the time that I can get him contained and to the shelter. Karma seems to be working against me though. He seems to know that he should show up on the days that the animal shelter is closed. He also manages to come early enough in the morning or late enough in the afternoon, or on the days when I am at Miss G’s house, that I still can’t attempt another try to capture him.

I know that this needs to be done. I know that his health will fail soon and I don’t want him to suffer or simply be so weak that he starves and freezes to death. I know the shelter will determine that he isn’t a good candidate for adoption and while I hate the idea, euthanasia will be the kindest road for this guy.

Every time I see him I have such mixed emotions, from being angry at suspected abusive owners who left or got tired of him, to trying to be rational and remind myself that perhaps he ran from a good home of his own accord. Whatever the reason is that he has found his way here, the kindest thing I can do for him now is to see him, as gently as possible, into the care of someone who can allow him to leave this world without pain and fear.

It breaks my heart.

 

Writing challenges, and this bloggers dismal track record

It just so happens that one of the latest writing challenges from WordPress, Writing 101, coincided nicely with the inception of my other blog. I remember telling myself when I signed on for that challenge that I needed to take that opportunity to get some great writing practice since the other blog is all about writing-personal writing, anonymous writing, rambling writing, just writing.

I lasted for about two weeks on that one, then the whole process became tedious, and hard to sustain, and depressing since everything I seem to write about centers on depressing life issues both past and present.

A few days ago,  Just Gene’O, who graciously began following my Feminist Friday posts, mentioned a blogging challenge coming up in April 2015. Gene’O is a serious planner folks, already lining up blogs to highlight for this challenge while managing his own blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and I don’t know what else. He does have a group endeavor planned for this challenge, and the challenge itself sounds like fun, but I think if I can muster the stamina and interest I will go it alone.

The original idea comes from this site, and apparently has been a thing each April since 2010. It sounds like fun, but it means blogging everyday in April with the exception of Sundays. As the title of this post declares, sticking with writing challenges for any length of time is something that I struggle with.

So, I’ve tried to come up with some interesting ways to not only begin, but stick with this challenge. The concept is simple enough. Begin with April 1 and post once a day using a thematic A to Z progression. Skipping Sundays allows for the entire alphabet to be covered in 26 days.

I thought about doing a photo blog each day. What could be more simple than that. Snap a photo of an A word, post and check day 1 off the list. If I was really organized I could start taking photos now and simply post from my archives. Yet, that doesn’t feel correct. Although it would satisfy the concept of posting to your blog each day, I have this ideal in my head that blogging (at least my blog) is about writing. There are some great photographic blogs on WordPress, but that isn’t the genre I personally embrace so doing photos each day seems like cheating the entire challenge for me, and in that case, what’s the point.

I did think about expanding that original idea by adding a poem with each photo. If I do that then I would probably do the challenge on the other blog.

Another idea was to choose a word that begins with the letter of the day and try to do a piece on each of those words. This idea has posed the concern associated with finding a random word and discovering it to be something like lagniappe or spoonerism. I have no doubt that writing about a word that I am completely unfamiliar with could be both fun and funny. It may also cause such anxiety that the challenge would be doomed to failure from the start. At the very least, going with this idea I could say that at the end of 26 days I would have 26 new words in my vocabulary.

I intend to keep on musing over this whole idea and see if it grows on me. Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated as always.

To close, I leave you with Snowflake. This was one of her quiet moments, sitting contented on my lap where she tends to hang out when she’s not sleeping the other 23 1/2 hours of the day.

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Invalidity

I have no idea what laws or governance inform each state regarding driver licenses, vehicle registration renewals, and all such related matter. Living in Washington, we can do the majority of this stuff, except for that very first driver’s license issue, online.

I have for many years renewed my car license tabs online and they just mail them to me. Simple and quick, which is what I like.

Years ago, our systems began to allow for extended driver’s license renewals. That simply meant that if you are a relatively competent driver, you don’t move around a lot, change your appearance, or in some other way place yourself under the watchful eye of the law, then you had no need to renew your driver’s license for about five years. The great thing also was that you could renew online. It was as easy as checking a few boxes, being told that you were stuck with the same god-awful picture, (because who has ever seen a really GOOD driver’s license picture) and then waiting for the new license to arrive in the mail.

So, in 2009, when my license was due for renewal, that’s exactly what I did. The picture on that license wasn’t the worst one I’ve had taken, although my very pixie-short haircut has changed, and I fudged on the weight category a bit. So when the license came in the mail I put it away in my purse where it has remained, virtually untouched, and unread, for the last five years.

Today, while online renewing my car license tabs I came across a handy new service from our Department of Licensing that appears to be an improved version of the older online experience. Great, I thought, and proceeded to sign up, click a few boxes, enter my credit card information, and await my license tabs in the mail.

Another notice also popped up in my browser window. Something sorta like:

Deborah: (cause that’s my official name) [In bold RED letters]

License Expired: 09/16/2014

Yep, that’s right. I’ve been driving for over a month with an expired license, and the sad thing is that, had I not had to renew my car tabs, I would probably not have realized this little point of fact.

The lovely lady at the Department of Licensing was kind. She did not make me feel incapable of functioning in society. She did not make any mention that turning 55 suddenly makes you old and forgetful. She simply double checked my information, checked my eyesight, took my $54 and sent me over to have my new picture taken.

I now have my temporary and valid driver’s license in my purse. We won’t even begin to discuss the picture on this one except to say that I wanted to plead for a heavy bribe to use the old one, even though my appearance has changed dramatically, but thought they might not take too kindly to that idea. The positive side to a rotten picture, if anything like last time, is that the license never gets pulled out of my purse anyway. It’s not like I’m flashing it around, or getting carded when I buy a bottle of wine anymore.

Besides, the new license won’t expire for six years. I can’t even imagine how much different (notice I didn’t say older) I will look by then. If need be I can just go visit the office in person and get a new picture taken…unless I forget.

This new system assures me of an email reminder. I thought the old system did that as well. I even asked the kindly lady about this while apologizing profusely for my error. Her statement went something like, “Well…the state doesn’t always send those reminders…”

I’m thinking that a petition needs to be made requiring the state to send those reminders to anyone over 50. Let the younger driver’s take their chances–me…I’d rather have a gentle reminder.