Cats Never ‘Get Old’

It’s Easter and I find what shouldn’t be happening on a day like today actually happening.  Easter is a fun day for some and a spiritually refreshing day for others, but regardless of either I find myself absolutely winded.  I don’t mean physically. I tend to be like my cats in this area and stick to a fairly sedentary lifestyle. I’m just bushed and drained in a way I can’t define.  Maybe Toby or Timba squished the oomph out of me too much while I was sleeping last night and it’s trickling down to deeper levels. Maybe forces unknown are interfering with me experiencing this fun and joyful holiday.

Either way I find myself tired and not ready to tackle the week, a sort of pre-Monday blues chords lazily making their way down the halls of my soul. It feels like another round of ‘things are getting old’ is about to hit.  Unemployment and fruitless efforts to find a job have lasted so much longer than I ever would have thought. I don’t want to look tomorrow. I don’t want to graze through endless results on websites and throw my energy and hope into filling out applications that will be tossed aside according to the norm so far. But I’m sick of the alternative.

So maybe I’m getting depressed … the sense of blah that overwhelms me and the tiresomeness of life’s daily grind and pleasures alike has cast their nets and snagged me good. I was even unable to fully engage with others tonight, and driving home I hit the fast forward button on my music a record number of times. Been there done that.  Same old song literally and figuratively. It’s a total sickness and I wish I could declare war on it, but the nature of this beast is to sap so thoroughly that the sense of defeat is good and ingrained.

I made it home but to flop almost immediately on my bed. With my cats.

Cats seem to never tire of the routine of daily life do they? Sleeping up to 18 hours a day never gets old.  Window watching, chasing toys and each other, jumping in and out of their one laundry basket, even being in the same room they need to be in for this life season of mine – none of it seems to get old to them. Greeting me every day never ages, never becomes boring and bereft of enthusiasm. Toby climbs up me every day, several times a day, and sighs that beautiful sigh of contentment as if it were new, as if it weren’t a drudgery he’s resigned himself to. And Timba gets on the bed and lumbers towards me, gently and slowly laying down near me, and sticks his paw out to touch me.

Things like these would get so old with people. That’s why marriages and relationships stagnate. What was once exciting and romantic loses it’s luster in the repetition. And yet, here is a repetition I surprisingly find not monotonous. This routine of my cats and with my cats is refreshing and sustaining. On good days it’s delightful and on bad days it’s comforting. I don’t know how I’d do life without them now. Hard seasons have had my number for years, and my two cats have been there with me in ways that people haven’t.  In softness and quietness, in playfulness and quirkiness, in waking or sleeping they are here with me.

Call me corny or a crazy cat lady, but they really are like best friends, like children.  They dwell in the part of my heart and soul where tiredness and drudgery cannot touch, where moods and circumstances and unknown forces cannot come in to steal the joy, peace, and comfort these simple little creatures impart.

I wonder if other people experience this with their pets? I hope so. Life can be a real boogar sometimes, and the best of inner and outer resources can fall short of provision in times of need.

So to Monday and another week of looking for a job I say “Bring it on. I may not have a set of boxing gloves to get back in the fight, but I do have two sets of paws.”


The Difference Between Cats and Humans is … Sleep

It’s 4:00 a.m. and I am awake, and after various attempts to cope with insomnia and tire myself (internet browsing, Facebook, etc) I have come to the conclusion that I envy my cats.  Toby and Timba are the only things still and asleep on my bed.  Meanwhile my eyes have tiny invisible toothpicks propping them open and I can’t decide whether my mind is racing faster or my restless legs.  I am out of my medication and dealing with all the fickle roadblocks of Obama(doesn’t)care in addition to the side effects of missing even one night’s dose.  Now I have to find a new doctor, but I’m taking that relatively in stride.  Such are the things we humans must deal with.

But not cats.  What blissful lives they live, that is, if they are in a loving home.  Free from worry and stress, regular meals, toys and perches and permanent retirement looking out sunny windows all day, plus love and affection.  And sleep.  Oh the sleep! They typically sleep 15 hours a day and some can sleep up to 20 hours in a 24 hour period.  Therefore, the fact that my cats will be waking up at kitty peak time around dawn bears no significance for them in terms of insomnia.  Whereas I will be dreadfully miserable when dawn hits in a few hours, knowing that the alarm is set for 8:00 a.m.

Perhaps around 7:00 a.m., when my body succumbs to a mere hour of teasing rest, I will wake suddenly to a game of chase, or Toby launching from my body, or Toby nudging my hands for a petting, or Timba walking on my body with the weight of three Tobys, his paws drilling into my pliable “I’m not fat, I’m fluffy” flesh.  Timba is my drill sergeant who faithfully yet indiscriminately employs his duties on a daily basis.  In the daytime, if I am lying on my bed, I can anticipate and thwart a painful crossing over my body (because of course cats are geometrically in tune – “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line”).

But when I am asleep, when I am asleep, I usually do not know I’m being abused.  Instead I wake up the next day wondering why I’m sore in certain places, or where those small circular bruises came from.  And when I fail to clip their claws in a timely fashion, I have the added bonus of prick wounds here and there and in the oddest of places.  Unfortunately my new bed has somehow caused me to start lying on my back some nights, and these are the worst for kitty paw injuries.  My sides could handle it, from head to toe.  Tougher skin there?

At any rate, there’s nothing like an abdominal thrust in the morning to jump-start my day.  Maybe Toby’s launch or both of them walking on me is really an attempt to ensure proper diaphragm functioning.  Honestly though, the “oomph” of a whoosh of air that comes out of me as I wake to unmindful kitties isn’t what I’d call a befitting breathing boost. (Sigh) But I love them.  Despite my jealous streak regarding their luxurious lives and in spite of their interference with my beauty sleep, I pardon them and cuddle them and continue to write affectionately about them.  Dream on little kitties, the sweetest of sleeps I bid you.  But do you mind, maybe just once, to not flaunt your well-rested, energetic, rearing-to-go bodies and forego the pouncing on the padding of mommy’s tummy? Thanks 🙂


I’m Appawlled

Corporate greed has reared its ugly head again.  I would say greed in general, save for the fact that it is a business to which I am referring.

I went to a job fair a couple days ago and spent 2 hours filling out an application and interviewing for a AAA customer call care center.  I had a nice rundown of the history and services provided.  It was impressive to find out that of all membership organizations that exist, AAA has the most members second to the Catholic church!  Nationwide, and including Canada, AAA has 52 million members.  There are 6 locations in the United States, and each of these have a call center to answer incoming consumer questions and provide support.  I don’t know how many people are in each call center, but I think 100 sounds like a decent estimate.

At the end of the interview, ended by me of course, I found out that the position was only offering $8.50 an hour.  Seriously?  So I decided to venture down the road of a little math, taking some liberties by providing my own estimates, and here is what I’ve discovered.

Let’s say each call center has 100 people.  Six centers would then be 600 call center representatives.  At $8.50 an hour, that is an annual salary of $9,792,000. There are 3 plans of membership, costing $85, $123, or $158 depending upon customer preference.  If all 52 million members had the lowest plan that’s an annual $4,420,000,000; if all members had the middle plan that’s an annual $6,396,000,000; and if all members had the highest plan that’s an annual $8,216,000,000.

So a company/organization/membership/whatever brings in between 4 and 8 billion dollars a year, yet only spends 9 million on its employees who are central to the daily operation and success of the business.  How many 9 millions are in 4 billion? 444 9 millions are in 4 billion.  That’s 444 times the annual expenditure in employee wages.  What a profit, huh? Of course there are other business expenses and other salaries such as travel agents, supervisors, various levels of management and CEO’s.  But still, it gives an idea of how unfair the wages are, not to mention $8.50 an hour is not a living wage.  It is poverty level.

I know this is ‘nothing new under the sun’ as they say.  I do know that even the bible says to give a worker his fair due wages.  I’m glad I’m not one of the people who may someday be accountable for this horrible discrepancy, which exists in spite of my estimates and liberties of calculation.

So yes, I was definitely appalled once I got to thinking about things and doing the math.  There’s probably nothing I nor anyone else can do about it, but I do know one thing.  When I do get a job that pays at least a living wage if not more, and I’ve got the flex room to afford a membership card so that I can have savings benefits for travel or shopping or whatever, I will definitely not be applying for AAA membership.  Out of respect for the grunt workers whose backs are aching and wallets are breaking, I will not get my piddly discounts for a piddly annual fee.  It’s simply unjust, and I can’t  justify partaking in it now that I know that AAA’s wealth is so unevenly distributed among its employees.

This is Your Life: WordPress Daily Prompt

This Is your Life: WordPress Daily Prompt

“If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.”

This is interesting. It reminds me of those Choose Your Own Adventure books back in the 1980′s. I have yet to find anyone else who remembers these as a kid, so please, if you do, leave a comment and let me know!

So the premise of Choose Your Own Adventure books was that at the end of a chapter or a few chapters you were given two or three scenario choices of what you would do. Then you turn to the page designated for whichever choice you make and read on until the next set of choices. The story has different endings depending on what you choose. The problem with those books was that I always skipped ahead to find the best ending.

I’d love to be able to skip ahead in life so I could choose the best ending. However, in the book that the Daily Prompt talks about above, my life is already written, so choice is not a factor. That takes the luster out of a question like that, so I’m going with a definite “no” on reading my life cover to cover, and here’s why:

1. If a book were published on all that has already happened, that would be creating a Great Disaster. Nothing entirely tragic has happened to me, but you remember my post Use It Or Lose It? The one about “catastrophic embarrassing” moments? Yeah, I don’t want things like that published. Especially if the author is detail oriented.

2. If the same book that gets published also contains all that ever will happen to me, that would be killing the Great Adventure. I definitely want to know how some things will turn out, but when it comes down to it, the mystery of life and the not knowing is part of life’s beauty and adventure.

I’d hate to know what happens tomorrow because then the elements of discovery and surprise are gone. I don’t want my moments in life to be ruined by a “been there done that” perspective. I want my delights and joys to be real and full. On the other side of the coin, I don’t want my present moments to be ruined with worry about what will happen tomorrow.

Today is a perfect example. I found myself thinking of something I’d read in the bible that Jesus said: “Do not worry about tomorrow, for today has enough problems of its own.” I wonder if it would it be rude to tell Jesus that he had spoken a huge understatement?

Nah …

Either way, I’ve had my share of “enough problems” today – “smack me in the face with a brick”, fear-inducing money problems, ones that I can’t imagine being compounded by the added burden of tomorrow’s problems. Then I’d have a smack on all four cheeks to deal with, and frankly, I don’t dig that whole sadism or masochism thing.

This is my life, after all, and I’d like it to have as much quality as possible, along with a decent amount of quantity. I am hoping and praying for a season of peace and prosperity following a good four years of financial hardship. I’m not sure how honored a prayer it will be, given that there’s “enough trouble for today” each day.

But since I don’t have to read a book of my life cover to cover, I have the hope of a Great Surprise. And if that wonderful gift or series of gifts falls into my lap, I’m going to buy my kitties the coolest cat condo on the market, buy a nice steel tongue drum, and sooth a few years worth of trouble away with melody, harmony, and my two frisky cats.