Sunday, August 09, 2009

playing possum

So it only counts as a sabbatical if I begin posting regularly again, right? Good thing my life is full of inspiring twists and turns. For example, it seems I have a new mammal in my life. It all started Friday night as I heard a noise beside my chair. I looked down expecting Ratty Catty and found this baby opossum instead. Cute, right? Always lacking a decent flashlight, I used the camera's flash to keep track of his movements.

Monkey was my assistant in the slow motion hunt. I am so grateful that he didn't start a fight with this thing under my bed.

As it turns out, I think the opossum would've left sooner if I weren't taking his photo. Despite the paparazzi, he seemed to have found his way to the open door. It wasn't until this evening, when I saw my laundry basket had sprouted a tail, that I realized I never actually saw him leave the premises. I'm still pretty sure he did leave, actually, or the cats would've been home a lot more today. (I always know there is a visitor in the house when the boys take shifts watching a certain room or corner...) So if he did leave, it's even cuter / more disturbing that he was back again tonight.

Chasing him with the camera once again, I insisted that he did not want to be an "indooropossuminChicagowithMama" and this time I made sure he left.

Just like all the rat tailed creatures who come my way, he left me a present on the carpet. Broken as I am, I felt worse about scaring the pee out of him than I did about having to clean it up. I wasn't sure if Nature's Miracle would work on opossum odors, so I didn't bother using any. Let's face it, it's not like it really works on cat smells anyway. Given the other atrocities I've removed from the carpet recently, this little spot was a breeze. Still, I am so looking forward to not having carpets.

About that. Friday, being eventful as it was, I found out that not only do I not have carpets in my new apartment, I don't actually have an apartment - at least not right away. I knew it wasn't good when my landlord started out our phone conversation by asking me if I had a place to stay when I came to Chicago... The renovation of my unit was delayed, it seems, by a decree from the gas company, which demanded improvements to the gaslines for the entire building. It should be ready by the second week of September, he says, but I get there on the 3rd. So now I'm supposed to move in to another unit in a different building and my landlord will pay to move my stuff into my real place later. I'm far from thrilled about moving twice in two weeks, but I still think my apartment will be worth the wait. And though I know it will freak them out, I almost think the double move could work to my advantage with the kitties. I wasn't really looking forward to having the christen my new place with their bladders. It might be too much to ask, but I'm hoping they get all the pee out of their system at the temporary place. More likely, they'll pee on both places with equal enthusiasm. Joy.

In other Friday news, my brother gave notice at his job - finally. He's been fantasizing about it for a while and I think he will be the happier for it. My mom would've preferred that he found a job before he quit his job, but that's not exactly how we roll in this family. So instead she is getting a puppy. Cuz that totally makes sense. Actually, it does make sense, because she'd like to have a dog but she's not home enough to take care of one. This is no longer a problem, now that she has an unemployed housemate, or a "remonster" as Erik and I called the unemployed Kevin when he lived under our roof, in homage, of course, to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force - season 2, episode 11. And, because I worked so hard to find it, here's a clip from his television debut:

Anyway, I had other sibling news on Friday but I am strictly forbidden from blogging about it. I'm not forbidden, however, from blogging about not blogging about it, or at least I'm not explicitly forbidden. How's that for some convoluted future-lawyer logic? It will make a great story someday (cuz lord knows said sibling can't keep his / her own secrets...), but until then, suffice it to say I was grateful for being trusted with the knowledge and the laughter it inspired.

Oh, and because I totally saw it coming and because I'm so happy with my school choice (and my yummy scholarship), I was not at all crushed to be officially rejected from Harvard on Thursday. In fact, with all the Friday excitement, I nearly forgot it happened.

Friday was also the day a dear friend of mine went under the knife for some exploratory boob biopsying. We'll know on Tuesday if the coast is clear, but in the meanwhile she reports that she is fine and dandy, though her chest hurts like hell. An interesting side effect of the probing, however, is that her offended boob is suddenly perky as all get out, so she's trying to figure out how to market the procedure (like booby botox), though she doesn't recommend it.

I wish that was my only friend / cancer update, but another dear friend is going under the knife next week. He's got skin cancer and so far it's not melanoma, but they've got to check each site individually. So next week it's all about his ear, and, apparently, regardless of which sort of cancer it is, he's most likely going to lose his ear - entirely. He seems in pretty good spirits about it, considering. For one thing, he's much taller than the rest of the world, so no one can really see his ears anyway. Besides, he's a collector of fractional creatures. He's got, I think, three three-legged cats, one of which has poop problems not quite like OC's but arguably equally disgusting... (Like my sister, he works in a vet clinic - so the cats are an occupational hazard.) Still, I was probly pushing it when I decided to get him a Vincent Van Gogh action figure to celebrate. (And though I found it a wee bit cheaper than at Archie McPhee's, I linked to their site cuz I love love love them...)

Which reminds me, oh my god have I been revenge spending. I think it is finally out of my system, and, really, it could've been worse, but still. Did I really need a Darth Vader flash drive instead of a regular flash drive at half the price? For that matter, did I need a flash drive at all? And the couch, for the cats, the same cats who have made sure I can't have a couch at all, really, I needed that? Actually, it is quite cute. And I slept on it, for days. But still, they're just going to pee on it, I know, but I can pretend they won't. And I sure as hell won't be unpacking it until the pee-fest seems to have ended... Anyway, I also bought some clothes, which is silly since I am moving to one of the best shopping cities in our country, but whatever, and a few assorted other goodies (covers for my phone and my ipod, for example). At least I didn't buy the Darth Vader breathing device, which would go nicely with the light saber I picked up at Comic-Con. And I haven't (yet) bought an expensive hand crafted ergonomic desk, though I haven't committed to the $50 crappy desk at Staples, either. If I had any actual cash, I'd just pick up a desk from Craigslist, but I have so much more available credit than I have cash... which is a bad thing, I know.

Anyway, that's enough news for one week. Time to get back to packing (I'm on a roll at last...) or back to bed, whichever.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

starting over

So can we call that a sabbatical? I've always wanted to take a sabbatical. It sounds much more important than a vacation. And as an unemployed parasite princess, I can't really take a vacation anyway, can I? And in my absence I have made some important decisions, so that's important, right? Now I find I am just a wee bit terrified because everything in my life is changing.

First off, I decided where I am going to school in the fall. Chicago. Um, yeah, where it is very cold and maybe dangerous. I'm as surprised as you are. But I fell in love when I visited - though, to be honest, there was a fair amount of cheap wine involved in the recruitment events. Still, I went there with a chip on my shoulder, at the end of a very long whirlwind tour of fancy pants law schools, and I left with a big fat nerdy grin of excitement. So this, I think, is good. What makes it even better is that they apparently loved me too, as they threw a nice chunk of money my way (presumably to keep me from loving Columbia which also gave me nerdgasms...). A great degree at a considerable discount - it doesn't get better than this.

Harvard, on the other hand, Harvard doesn't love me. They pity waitlisted me, which is fine and all, except for the fact that they got me all hot and bothered with that phone interview back in December. Looking back, I see where I likely failed the phone interview. And ultimately, the waitlisting was in my own best interest as this Chicago deal is nothing short of awesome. Besides, I was so borderline in the first place, I truly have to say it was an honor just to be nominated. But it has taken me some time to get there.

Yale's waitlist offer, in contrast, delighted me. I am much more likely to win the lottery than I am to get in off the Yale waitlist (and I don't even play the lottery), but this pity waitlist was like receiving an honorable mention. You don't win, but you get to know you didn't totally suck.

Anyway, I should fill you in on the rest of my school visits (and my many travels since), but it's all irrelevant now. Mostly I'm glad I got to visit my grandmother as she's not doing her best these days. Her 93 years finally caught up with her, it seems, and now even eating is exhausting. I'm mostly worried about my dad. Though he's very casual about death, I can't imagine he's ready for all this. I can't decide if it was good or bad that he was there when the decline started, but I'm thinking it was good.

Meanwhile, I have caved a bit to the black hole which is Facebook. I've even updated my status once or twice and if you follow me there you may already know that another terrifying development in my life is that my husband is buying a house. In California. A month before I leave for Chicago. I'm finally at a place of surrender with the process (which is good, I suppose, since the deal is set to close next Wednesday or Thursday), and I've been able to maintain a comfortable distance from the actual transaction (as in I got to keep my own savings and investments intact and my name isn't on the loan or deed), so I'm almost genuinely excited for him. This means, of course, that he'll be staying in California while I'm in school (though he's optimistic about catching up with me sooner rather than later), but given that he was flat out planning to be depressed by the snow and he just barely promised not to kill me with an ax (ala The Shining) - mostly because we do not own an ax - it could be for the better that he's not moving to the midwest right away.

The kitties, on the other hand, have no choice. As they have been hearing often, they are going to be "indoorkittiesinChicagowithMama." They are not certain what this means just yet, but they will surely make me suffer accordingly when they discover the truth. The great thing is, my new apartment has no carpet whatsoever. It is sad to know I am actually looking forward to living in the snow if only it means I will not have to attempt to remove bodily fluids from carpets anymore. And the couches? We haven't even considered replacing them. One less bulky item to move, right? That Ratty Catty, he's so thoughtful.

Actually, Ratty isn't even the gross one these days. He's settling into relative normality. I get to pet him on the regular and yesterday he even let me touch him outside. He wants me to pet his belly, I know he does, but he's just not ready to admit it. Of course it's been months since I've written and in the meanwhile he has been expensive as we had his teeth cleaned and his tongue biopsied. While the surgery was pricey enough, we also had to pay to have the carpets cleaned as he had to be indoors to get his antibiotics. It was worth every penny, though I found out I paid $20 too much after initiating service on line. (Good to know for future cleaning, but difficult to hear while paying it...)

Sadly, though, we've had more recent veterinary expenses. I came home Monday after spending most of a week away (going to Comic-Con with my little bro - payback for dragging him to the east coast...) to find poor OC all plugged up again. Apparently Papa did not respect the power of the Miralax and he failed to medicate OC properly at all. Just like that his 22 month health streak ended. It was sad. And disgusting. And to add insult to injury, I responded by overmedicating him in the aftermath. So what was normally a two day process of following around my feline fountain of feces became a three and a half day process, punctuated by four cat showers. Miraculously, only one of these showers resulted in bloodshed - a claw stuck in my boob (my right boob, come to think of it, the same one that inspires doctors to order extra mammograms - damned boob). The saddest part, however, had to be the very end, when an exiled OC spent the night outside on a dirty quilt that was waiting its turn in the laundry. He so very much wanted to snuggle me in bed, but there was this one spot on the underside of his tail that I couldn't get clean in the shower and the bed, the bed has seen enough cat shit for a lifetime. The look on OC's face the next morning, as his body was covered in dew, it said it all. He knew this was all Papa's fault and he was tired of eating his own shit. If he could get his hands on an ax, we know exactly who he would kill.

Anyway, I ought to finish blogging and start, oh, maybe packing. I've got exactly one month before my stuff leaves in a truck. The cats and I leave the next day, headed for LA where the kitties will be pawsengers on Pet Airways. I'm a little nervous for them (as it seems to be more a dog airline than a cat one, and for whatever reason they have to spend the night before I can pick them up...), but it is so much better than the road trip we had planned as the alternative.

Packing still feels overwhelming though, so maybe first I'll have a nap.