Monday, February 23, 2009

Good news, bad news, good news...

GOOD NEWS: Nicky now has Dolly back.

After church yesterday my mom and I went out to do a little shopping. I had a 15% off coupon at a store, and the coupon was expiring yesterday, and I knew I could get dimmable fluorescent light bulbs there - it's the only place I know of where you can get these things. So after Mass ended at about 12:45 we headed up to the store. By the time we got done there it was just after 2:00.

My mom then asked if we could stop at a bank that stays open until 3:00 on Sundays so she could deposit a refund check she received for overpayment to a doctor. (It's unusual for there to be any banks open on a Sunday.) We went there, and then I decided to stop at a pet supplies store to get a toy for Nicky that would keep him amused until we located Dolly. On the way there, my mom asked if we could stop at a local chocolate shop and see if they had any discounted Valentine's candy - specifically chocolate-covered soft caramels. (They didn't have any Valentine's candy, so I got her Easter candy instead. Paid through the eye for it, but, hey, it's what she wanted.)

The upshot of this is, after we ran all these errands and got home, it was already after 4:00.

We got home and I presented Nicky with the interim Dolly - a small blue furry puppy with floppy ears. He wasn't very interested. I ate quickly, went online, read my mail, checked my junk mail on a whim, and wound up banging out yesterday's post. I then meandered around the Internet a while, checking Facebook and my friends' sites.

After a while I started to feel guilty. I had promised Nicky I would look for Dolly, and I had a pretty good idea where to look, and here I was screwing around on the Internet. I didn't want to log off, but I didn't want my monitor to burst into flames while I was away. So I switched off the monitor and went off to search for Dolly.

I looked in the most likely spot - some boxes near the bottom of the steps to our basement. Nicky often plays with Dolly on these steps, and I toss my coat on top of the boxes when I come home. Maybe Dolly had fallen between or behind the boxes? I moved them around and searched a bit and came up empty.

I then moved to other spots I hadn't had time to search earlier in the week while I was at work. I looked around my bed, and behind it, and under it. Nothing. Then I began to pull the blankets off, layer after layer. And there, tangled in the blankets, was Dolly! I had found her!

Nicky was happy. He had been showing an increasingly disturbing lassitude the past few days, which I attributed to pining for the loss of his favorite toy, and his sudden improvement in spirits seemed to confirm what I had believed. He carried Dolly around, and yelled at her, and yelled at me when I tried to move her into a better position for photos. But something still seemed wrong.

Whatever. I had been away from the computer too long. I switched on the monitor, got ready to report the good news, and...


BAD NEWS: My monitor finally died.

Well, it was hardly a surprise, but it was upsetting. No image, no nothing - I did manage to get a white spot in the middle of the screen at one point, but that didn't last. My monitor was dead, and there was nothing to do but replace it.

GOOD NEWS: I got an new monitor, and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

More like just an arm. Still, it's bigger than my old CRT that I bought back in 1999, which was a 19" diagonal as compared to this 21.5" wide widescreen monitor, and it cost less than half as much as that one did, and weighs about twenty-five pounds less. It took me a while to set up, and I didn't much like the "force-fitting" of the screen to the base - it took three calls to the Samsung help line before I got someone who told me just to push down as hard as I could. Note to the folks who design those helpful pictograms to show non-literate users how to assemble things without the use of, say, detailed directions using words: These things suck. Please use words.

BAD NEWS: Nicky still was not himself.

He's been displaying increasingly odd behavior. Saturday morning he wasn't himself. He usually nudges his face into mine when my alarm goes off, and then paws at me to pet him as I am getting ready for work in the morning. Saturday he did these things, but without much enthusiasm. Saturday evening my mom found him lurking under her bed, resting against the baseboard of radiation, trying to get warm. He usually doesn't do this. As I headed to bed that night he did the same thing against the kitchen baseboard.

Sunday morning he mostly ignored me.

Sunday evening he was already in my bed when I got there, and hissed at me and ran away as I went to bed.

This morning he was not in my bed. I found him crouched on a mat in front of the downstairs bathroom.

He's also not eating right. He normally is a little piggy, eating all of his food and then raiding the other cats' bowls and eating whatever they haven't. These past few days he has taken a few bites, swallowed with an exaggerated gulp, and then wandered off. Sometime he would retch afterwards, sometimes throw up a little mucus.

Today we decided to take him to the vet. My mom called first thing this morning and was able to get an afternoon appointment, which gave me a chance to go out, do some monitor shopping, try to set up the new monitor, and spend some time on the phone with customer service before it was time to pack Nicky into his crate and take him to the vet's.

GOOD NEWS: It's probably just a food allergy.

Nicky cried the whole way up, a pathetic, eerie yowl that I have only heard when we are taking him to the vet's - and once, in the middle of the night, when he had a nightmare. The vet was able to see him fairly quickly and ran a battery of tests and checks, none of which revealed anything suspicious. He then asked about changes to his diet, and we noted that, yes, we had just started him on some new cat food that we bought last Tuesday. He suggested that we eliminate this from his diet and switch him back to what he had been eating - perhaps he is allergic to some specific protein used in this new cat food. We had been thinking along these lines already, but we wanted to eliminate the possibility that it could be something else.

BAD NEWS: This visit DID cost an arm and a leg.

So that's a total of two arms and one leg for today - or, in other terms, nearly everything I earned in these past few days of work. But these were necessary expenses. Without a monitor I would be - was - blind online. And I would never skimp on something like today's trip to the vet.

That's OK. These expenses have been deferred through the magic of credit cards. I'm starting to look upon debt as a measurement of optimism, of hope for the future. I have faith that someday I will be able to pay back all these debts.

Here's hoping that the future holds more good news, and less bad.


Missy said...

Why don't computers last forever? Seriously. My sympathies on all the arms and legs.

hedera said...

I thought they got all that Chinese pet food off the market.

You'll like the new monitor, too, they run a lot cooler than the old CRTs.