August 2006 Archives

Water

A downside of trying to drink at least a gallon of water per day is having to lug 2.5 gallon containers of spring water home from the grocery store every other week or so, so I finally signed up for water delivery service.

I bought a cooler at Lowe’s, and my first delivery came yesterday.

$30 a month for 15 gallons. I may add another 5-gallon jug eventually. Price per gallon goes down the more you order, but I doubt I could drink more than that, especially since my office also has a cooler.

That works out to a few dimes more per gallon than the grocery store plus the cost of the cooler, but NJ tap water tastes terrible and having someone else bring the spring water to my doorstep is a big bonus.

Friday cat blogging

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Let me preface this atypical feline-related blog entry by saying that the poor guy in the photo below has made an amazing recovery and is already scurrying about my parents’ yard, albeit with one less leg.

July was not a good month for my parents’ cat. The little white bundle of limitless energy had always been an explorer and was fiercely independent, even for a cat, so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when he did not return home that Sunday night.

My mom started to get worried by the next evening, when he still did not return. By Wednesday, my parents feared the worst. It had been raining all day, and late in the afternoon, my mom heard a faint cry near the top of their yard. He was wet and shivering, his fur caked with blood and pus, and he could barely move; yet somehow he made his way home.

They called the vet at his house, and he met them at his office. The cat had been struck by a vehicle days ago. His leg was crushed and infected, he was starving and dehydrated, and fever had set in. It was uncertain whether he had internal injuries.

They washed him up best they could, and the vet administered some antibiotics. All that was left to do then was wait. If the cat could survive the night and if he could stand on his own three legs, the vet would amputate the cat’s hind leg.

Being able to support his own weight and balance on three legs was crucial; otherwise, the doctor would not operate. If he could not stand on his own before the amputation, he probably never would, and he would have to be put to sleep.

After a night of rest that was probably quite painful, the little guy had a bit more energy. He could lift his head and could, in fact, stand.

The amputation was a success, and he did not seem to have any serious internal injuries. It took him a few days to get used to walking. Using the litter box was the toughest for him. Two weeks later, he got his stitches out.

A month later, he is getting back to normal. However, at least for now, he is no longer allowed outside without a leash and harness. The leash can be attached to the clothesline, so he can run around most of the yard. Months ago he got used to wearing a bell if he wanted to go outside (their bird feeder had become a cat feeder), now he will have to get used to the leash.

One thing that made me wonder about the whole thing was whether a cat’s mind could fully comprehend such a severe trauma. Did he understand the cause and effect, the chain of events that led to those days of severe pain, the loss of his leg, and the subsequent loss of his freedom?

  • “Hi, I would like to cancel my account please.”
  • “We’re sorry to hear that. One moment. I’ll transfer you to an account manager.”

…uh, oh…

  • “How can I help you today.”
  • “Yes, I just want to cancel my account please.”
  • “Did we do something wrong?”
  • “No, I just have way too many credit cards. I am trying to consolidate my finances.”
  • “Is there any reason why you chose this card to cancel?”
  • “Not really. I just have too many cards, and I never use this one. The balance is fully paid off, and I just want to cancel it.”
  • “If you transfer the balance from your other high interest credit cards onto this card we can give you zero percent interest for one year. What balance transfer rates are you getting on your other cards?”
  • “I’m already getting zero percent interest on a couple of my cards. Please, I just want to cancel this one.”
  • “We can give you zero percent interest on the balance transfer until the transfer is paid off with no balance transfer fees.”
  • “Please, I just want to cancel my account.”
  • “Are you getting cash back on any of your other cards. We can…”

At this point I set the phone down while he yammered on for awhile. When I heard silence, I picked up the receiver and asked again. After a few more times, back and forth, he relented.

Those of us who have done the dance know the moves all too well. I got to do it three times today. I do have to admit, they try to promise you the world, and it is tempting.

At some points, it was almost humorous. Especially, the Discover card guy; I suppose his effeminate voice was supposed to be soothing and reassuring. If he wasn’t such a cartoonish stereotype, his voice would have seriously creeped me out.

I actually got the CitiCards woman to chuckle as she was working through her script.

  • “I already have three different credit card accounts with CitiBank. I just want to cancel this one.”
  • “If you’d like, we could transfer the credit limit from this card and add it to the limit of one of your other cards.”
  • “No, thank you. I just want to cancel the card.”
  • “But don’t you want to increase your spending power?”
  • “I have a half-inch stack of spending power, wrapped in a rubber band. I have all the spending power I need.”

I took the day off from work today. It was too hot to go outside, so I finally had a chance to do a little personal admin. I haven’t completely lost track of my finances yet, but that little bundle of plastic sometimes seems like an elaborately stacked house of cards.

It was certainly worth a half-hour of my life to get those accounts cancelled and pass the cards through the little slot on top of my shredder. But, sheesh, these clowns sure do test one’s patience and resolve.

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