Saturday, April 21, 2007


Where shall I start?

Oh hell. I'll just start at the top, where everything sorta slid directly to hell.

Thursday last (the 12th) I came home to find Obbie standing in the kitchen. "Hunny did you forget to do something?" I looked around, and dammit if the power wasn't off. I had the bill in my checkbook, to pay the next day. Since after all, it wasn't due til the 20th, and if I sent my check on the 13th, there would be no problem. Anyway, there hadn't been a door hang tag warning me to pay up or be cut off in 3 days. But we had no power. We had been shut off.
After about an hour of stalking around and swearing (and calling the power companies 800 number - they close at 5:00) we decided to get a hotel room for the night. After all, in the AM the bill would get paid over the phone, and they could flip the switch and turn us back on, and all would be right with the world.


The hotel was mediocre, not dirty or anything, just not hospitable. Plus I was highly pissed, and that dosen't make for good sleeping. I also worried that the power wasn't going to be restored the next day. So we tossed and turned, and after a nice hot shower and a change of clothes in the morning, we came back to the Ranch to feed the by now, very pissed off cats and to go off to work.

At 8:00 am, I called the power company and spoke with a very nice (English speaking, no less) lady who happily took my check over the phone and pronounced my bill "Paid in Full" Alas, she concluded the call with, "I'm sorry, but your power will not be restored until Monday." "WHAT?!!" I freaked the hell out on the nice lady raving about how there is a snowstorm coming (so said the doomsayers) and WTF were we going to do ALL WEEKEND without power?! I also thanked her profusely for the power company being such A FRIGGING CUSTOMER ORIENTED COMPANY, HAVE A NICE FRIGGING DAY! And hung up. (I did say frigging, because thats not exactly profanity) I got to work twitching, because there's nothing quite as invigorating as a hissy fit first thing in the morning to get your blood pumping.

I called Obbie at work and informed him of the great news. He then called one of his pals to see what they could do (high friends in places.....) but alas, our piggy legislators, with their pockets bulging with kickbacks, favors and the like, had enacted a law that our power company could turn off the power WITHOUT NOTICE from April until October, and BY LAW could take up to THREE WORKING DAYS to cut it back on.

Rage? Nah, I passed rage about an hour prior to all this. After working all day in a blind haze of fury, I went home and met Obbie, in the now 50 degree house (because, of course, the furnace is electric) We went to the tavern and discussed options. After two beers and some wings, we decided that we'd go to Wally, get some camping lanterns (the battery kind) and use those for light. He, having much disaster training with his Red Cross volunteering days, said that we could run the camp stove in the kitchen for short periods of time without worrying about carbon monoxide. (12 foot ceilings helped that, and since the house is insulated like a milk crate, it's not like there wasn't a cross breeze) So thats what we did.

Walmart on a Friday night is proof that God has a sense of humor. Whatta bunch of freaks, weirdos, and the bizarre. We headed straight to the camping section, got what we needed and got the flock outta there. Jeeeeeezus...brr.. gives me chills to think about it. I'll wear those scars on my retinas for years to come.We got home and set about making it 'cozy'. The outside temp hadn't dropped that much, so at least the house was as warm inside as it was outside. More or less. The lanterns cast a nice glow and we passed out on the couches, wrapped up like mummies.Saturday morning came and we were up early, for we had things to do. Procuring a kerosene heater in April isn't as easy as it sounds. I called all three Lowe's in the area, both Home Depots, Wally, and three rental places trying to find one. No dice. A lot of gas grills and several torpedo/salamander heaters, which weren't even an option.

In order to take our minds off the dilemma, we got haircuts at this new place that we'd read about in the paper the day before. Obbie got a real nice young lady who made intelligent conversation, and did a fine job of cutting his hair. I got some aging wanna-be hipster rockstar with chic tiny glasses, insanely high heels, and a wardrobe that belonged to a high school girl. At which point I should have demurred on the haircut, but I didn't. I'm now sporting a SHORT SHORT 'do, which involved SHAVING the back and sides of my neck, under my ears, and razoring the top part of the hair. She also dumped a crapload of 'product' on the hair, giving me the look of some poofy topped chicken. I could have cried. Obbie, bless his heart, says, "At least it'll grow out" ahh. No wonder I love him so.

After the haircuts, we drove around checking at various places for kerosene heaters. We might as well have been asking for gold bars. Finally after an hour of driving aimlessly, Obbie says, "OH! The General Store" D'OH! That place has every frickin' thing in the world! Mind you, it's 56 miles from the house, but dammit, it's got everything. So off we went.When we finally got there, we inquired about kero heaters. "Yup. We have two of them" HOT DAMN! So we bought the one on the floor and headed home, basking happily in the thought of being warm. It was a bonus that the box had been opened, and the price was marked down 20 bucks. Yeah baby, life is good.

We got kero, and Obbie set up the heater. First it smoked. He fiddled with it, and it smoked some more. "We'll let it set awhile, and let the wick absorb the kero" Alright, sounds reasonable. It soaked for an hour. He then started the process again. Nope. Smoked. Stunk up the house. Wouldn't stay lit properly. Fussed with it for another hour. Finally I went outside and called the General Store. The man was very helpful as I explained the problem. Apparently, since I'm a girl, I was speaking Dutch, for he had no clue where I was going with the heater. So I put Obbie on the phone. HE explained the problem, and the man knew exactly what he was saying. "Oh. That heater was returned because it didn't work properly, and we sent it out for repairs. Apparently they didn't repair it. If you return it, I'll refund your money and give you some extra for your traveling." So we drained the heater, and loaded it back into the car, and set out on another 56 mile trip.

We got there at 8:05, right as the place was closing. The owner was very apologetic, and offered us the other, better heater, as an even trade for the shitty one. We took him up on that offer, and after another half hour of chatting, we loaded the heater in the car and headed home. By now, it was raining, and the impending storm was upon us. The feet of snow that had been promised us was looming, and we were just a bit more nervous.By the time we got home, we were exhausted. Obbie couldn't even see straight, and gave up on trying to make the heater work for the night. We bundled ourselves in quilts and went to bed, with a cat under each arm.

The next morning, I got up, heated up the water for showers, and set about feeding the cats. I did a head count, and one was missing. Pete was not lined up for his breakfast, as he usually is, so I went looking for him. I found him. In a hunched over position, squatting and straining....the ominious sign of a kitty in urologic distress. Pete had this once before, and left untreated it would have killed him. Last time we caught it early, and he got a big dose of antibiotics, and he was fine. This time he was in a bad way. I called the emergency vet, whose earliest appointment was 10:30. I took that without question, and set about trying to get Pete warm and getting the house lighted up. Obbie came down minutes later, and I explained to him what was happening.

He got the heater set up (fueling it outside in the pouring rain) and got it up and running in a matter of minutes. He rocks. I took the now miserable looking Pete to the vet. They did the exam, and noted that he was 'full of urine' and was in obvious distress. We'll have to keep him overnight. We need to put a catheter in him and drain the urine, and put him on fluids. Leave a deposit with the receptionist, and call back this afternoon. Here's the estimate....The estimate was a paycheck. No lies, it was almost what I made on my last paycheck. The deposit was a quarter of that. I paid the nice lady and went home. Twitching. Obbie was waiting for me, and his face fell when he saw I didn't have the cat carrier. His face fell even further as I told him what was going on, and the financial outlay. "Come on, lets go to breakfast" (when all else fails, theres breakfast.

We went to our usual breakfast place, and ordered. No problem, cheese omelets with onions and mushrooms for both, not hard, no big deal. Breakfast came and both omelets were mushroom and onion. Even though she wrote down cheese...Sigh. After that, we just went home. It was 1:30 in the afternoon, and we were both mentally fried. We took to our couches to read by the light of the Coleman lanterns, basking in the warmth of the KeroSun, and fell asleep.

At 3:30 when I woke up, I called the vet. Pete had ripped out his catheter once, and they had to re-cath him, he was finally resting comfortably. Tomorrow morning you MUST pick him up between 6:00 and 6:30 AM and take him to your vet, because he's got a long way to go. We're only the emergency vet, and we're not open during the day.....


Another fitful night, I kept waking up to make sure I didn't sleep past the alotted time. I finally got up for good at 4:45, and got the water boiling for a shower (Birdbath...cold water from the tap, and hot water from the spaghetti pot, it worked rather well, really) and was off to get Pete.

After writing another check for a large amount of money, I loaded him in my car and headed to the regular vet's office. He was still IVed and cathetered, and was wearing a big plastic cone on his neck to keep him from pulling out the tubes again. In the rain, I'm merging on to the highway, in morning traffic, and he starts banging the plastic thing on the cage and yanking it off his head. Jesus. The regular vet is 30 minutes away, and I get him there (no cone, he got that off himself) only find that they don't open their doors until 8:30, and no doctors will be in until 9:00. It's raining/snowing, cold, wet, and 7:15 in the am....I drove around a little bit to kill time, all the while checking on poor Pete in the crate. He looked miserable and just a terrible mess. Luckily he was sedated still, so he was sleeping a lot. I got back to the vet's at 7:30, where I cornered one of the office ladies and begged her to let us in. I told her the long story, and she was kind enough to let us perch on the benches til the Doctor got in. That appointment took 10 minutes. Basically, Pete's very ill, and we're going to have to keep him for a couple days and keep an eye on him. Here's the estimate, leave a deposit with the receiptionist. That bill wasn't as bad, but by this time, Pete and I had racked up quite chunk of change between the two vet visits. So much for that paycheck...I wrote a check and left. Monday afternoon, the power was restored, and all was right with that. Pete got released from the vet on Wednesday with antibiotics and muscle relaxers, but still isn't 'quite right'. He'll be going back on Monday. He's using the litterbox, but just seems odd. However, if I had a catheter shoved up me twice, and carted all around, I'd probably not be right either.

Stay tuned for that. So now. Do you forgive me for not blogging this week?

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