Sunday, May 20, 2018

When the old reliables make me sad ...

Two of the things that I can depend on to cheer me up are failing me, and consequently my mood is dark.

1) Books. I began reading Robert Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, the biography by Chris Matthews. I was appreciating, if not enjoying, it. Bobby was just 42 when he was murdered, and so there's a pervasive sadness to this book. When he marries and begins his family, you realize his life is already half over, and that his brood will grow up fatherless. That's just what made me sad on a personal level. What the country lost when we lost him 50 years ago -- a leader who had the capacity to evolve and reach out to those in pain, regardless of their socioeconomic status -- makes me sad for all of us.

Then I lost the book. It's gone. Just gone. I think I left it on the train, or maybe in the cab, when I was ferrying a ton of personal stuff home from the office and the cord on my cart broke. I'm so angry at myself for this.

So I picked up a book I'd long been meaning to read: The Things They Carried. About the boys who fought the war in Vietnam. I found it moving to the point of painful. My favorite uncle a private in Vietnam. I hate thinking of him experiencing what I'm reading. He was just 20 when he was over there.

What's even more resonant: I found out after he died that he kept the letters I wrote to him. My chatty, scrawled letters about what mattered in my 9-year-old life -- Batman, school and the new swingset in the back yard -- so amused him, and maybe comforted him, that he carried them with him in Vietnam and even retained him with his personal papers. My mom found these letters (from me, not my grandmother or my sister or any of his girlfriends, just me) and returned them to me after he died. My careless and carefree self helped him cope when he was in hell. Just writing this makes me tear up.

So I think I'll put The Things They Carried away for a while. I can't deal with it right now.

2) Cats. See post below.

I've got to shake these blues!

I can't save them all

My relentless knee ache is now just a twinge. I'm so grateful, I've been babying it a bit. Instead of taking the backstairs up from the laundry room, I used the elevator. To get there, I had to go and cut through the parking area. It was there that I saw the cat.

The actual cat was a grey long hair
She raced under a car when she heard my footsteps. I called to her, trying to see if she had tags. She wasn't having it.

I talked to her for a moment. I asked her if she was lost, if she was someone's little girl, but she just stared out at me.

I tried to think of what I could do to help her. Reynaldo is now a senior citizen (14 years old) and Connie's health is already compromised, so I have to be careful adding another cat to their sphere. They are, after all, my first responsibility.

I thought of catching her and keeping her secluded in the den, but I have plants in there now. I could keep her in a carrier. She'd be safe and dry. But it was Saturday night. The vet wouldn't be open until Monday. I couldn't do that to her for more than 24 hours. She's an adult cat, not a kitten. She needs to be able to move comfortably over that period.

Also, I'd have to contact my vet. Will they check for a microchip and then hold her until her owner arrives? Or would I have to take her to the animal shelter? Since it was Saturday evening, not Friday evening, I know I would have to wait until Monday to get answers. Can I afford to take Monday off?

By the time I dropped one load of laundry off and returned with another, she was gone.

I hurt for her. Hiding under cars is no way for the descendant of Egyptian gods to live! She shouldn't be scared and chilly and possibly hungry and thirsty.

I wish I could have helped. But here's the sobering reminder: according to the ASPCA, 1.4 million cats are euthanized each year. That doesn't count runaways and strays who die outside and alone as a result of cars, abuse, starvation or illness. The cat under the car was just one of millions who need our help.

It's supposed to rain off and on today, tomorrow, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Poor Kitty.

I just have to take solace in the fact that I keep Reynaldo (once a stray kitten) and Connie (rescued from a hoarder) safe and happy and dry. They know they are loved. I send money every month to Tree House Animal Society and Harmony House for Cats. I should do more, I know, but it's not like I don't do anything.

That didn't go as I expected

The last few mornings, I've actually awakened without crushing worry. My knee suddenly no longer aches, and I had decided to do a cash-out refinance on my mortgage. Yes, my mortgage payment would go up a couple hundred dollars each month, but I could use the money to pay off a credit card, saving me $200 every month, and then use the rest to finally (FINALLY!) finish my tragic bathroom.

Turns out that refi is only a little more accessible than winning the lottery.

I could have done this six months ago. I could have gotten cash out of my home and even enjoyed a bigger tax refund. But I fucked up. This isn't six months ago. This is May 2018. Laws have changed. Interest rates are higher. It's more complicated now and nowhere near as lucrative.

I missed it. I missed relief to my financial woes and I'm trying not to hate myself.

I applied for a home equity line of credit. Nowhere near as attractive or as effective. I will use it sparingly, monitor interest rates and hope that they don't climb. (I'm not optimistic, though.)

I am my own worst enemy.