Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The Cat that flew into the sky


No one was more surprised than me when Stanley jumped off the porch onto the red haired cat.

OK, maybe the red haired cat was the most surprised. If a cat were to leap from the ceiling right now and land on top of my head my reaction might involve personal urination. Certainly that's how Red responded.

See, the whole premise here at 16 Poucher Street was that Stanley could go out on the second floor deck because there was no way down to the concrete pad surrounding it. Plus I knew Stanley's little secret. He's a scaredy-cat. To preserve his dignity I don't spread that info around, but it explains why I never worried about him flying into space and onto terra firma.

Besides, he had no role models. True the racoons would waddle up the coping and facia past the soffit and over the eves until they were up on my deck, rummaging through the garden. But I thought for sure their complete lack of grace would provoke revulsion in a dignified and graceful animal such as Stanley.

Then one day this past summer a cat showed up on the deck. I knew that meant trouble. I could literally see the light bulb appear above Stanley's head as he realized “cats could climb UP, and DOWN, from the deck to the laneway.

The laneway of hidden secret delights. The laneway of irresistible odors. The laneway where Stanley now hides.

And there it was before us. Given sufficient motivation, ANY cat could gracefully plop from the lane below into the centre of our deck. That started a clock ticking. Stanley's countdown to laneway clock. And it is typical of his cat-nature that he chose to go mad not on a fine spring night when all the girl cats would be mewling pornographically “kiss me”, using less delicate language. No, that would make too much sense for an unneutred 3 year old male.

No Stanley had to wait until the heart of a dark winter and minus degrees to leap into space into a setting sun and onto a startled red haired cat.

No thoughts of his owner, who's recovering from two months of treatments and whose time should be spent eating, sleeping, or at the doctor. And lucky for me, I had to be at the doctor at 9am the next day.

Top tips about catching your escaped cat.
  • If your cat runs away it will hide. It is not afraid of you. It is afraid of all the wild animals.
  • The ideal time to start a search is midnight. All the people are in bed. The traffic is quiet. Yes the nocturnal animals are up and about but the cat is a nocturnal animal.
  • The technique is simple. Start where you last saw the cat and call the cat's name. Call “Stan-leeeeeee” in you cutest squeak. Cats love high pitched sounds. Call it 3 or 4 times.
  • LISTEN
  • Move a metre or two along, and call the cat's name again. Call “Stan-leeeeeee” in you cutest squeak, 3 or 4 times.
  • LISTEN
  • Move a metre or two... Yes, you are going to do the entire laneway this way. And the sidewalk in front of your house. And the sidewalk across the street.

Doing this technique I found Stanley many, many times last night. And each time he would not come to me. He would sashay tantalizing close, then run away.

As the thermometer plunged below zero, and with Stanley outside, I snapped into action, clicking online and determining what temperatures a cat could survive in. Lucky for Stanley, he'll survive those -3 nights that are coming up no problem. Armed with that information, I went to bed.

Up again at dawn, squeaking “Stan-leeee”, hearing Stanley mewl, and then him running away before I could grab him.

Then I had doctor's appointments, and health care worker appointments, and mani-pedi appointments, all of which meant I was unable to look for the cat.

It was still light. I made supper. Then the “Eureka” moment. I was opening the can of tuna I was going to add to the penne alfredo I was making, and I remembered that Stanley's favorite scent in the whole wide world is that liquid in the tuna can.  I swung into action, decanting the tuna juice into a water bottle and getting supper together.

I had my supper, then noticed the sun was setting. I went out on the deck and squeaked “Stan-leeee”.

My heart stopped. Stanley was right across the lane. He saw me. I saw him. We meowed at each other. I threw on my coat and grabbed the tuna juice and went on the chase. Each time I located Stanley hiding under a car he would crawl to the next car. I finally manged to get the nose of the bottle where he could smell it. He crept out under the car just far enough to expose his neck.

Gotcha! 

 And now Stanley is safe at home.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Paging Dr Zoidberg



On Friday January 13th (?!) I had my last in a series of 35 radiation treatments. Hopefully my golf-ball sized growth has been sent to h-e-double-hockeysticks. That we won't know for three months.

The thing about those 35 treatments is that essentially some very nice people in lab jackets have been microwaving my tongue for 15 minutes every day for the last 7 weeks. And up til the end of the treatment, it wasn't that bad. Now once the treatments ended, in the perverse logic that guides the Universe of Man, all hell has broken lose, tongue-wise. And it has been getting worse each day for a week now.

Of course there are ulcers. The feeling that a barbecue skewer was piercing my tongue was not a surprise, really. But nothing really prepared me for the ropey saliva. It's referenced in all the little booklets they give you, and on all the medical websites, so you know you'll have ropey saliva.

But nothing spells it out in practical terms – you'll be excreting an industrial-grade drool without stop. Way beyond Homer Simpson. Your pie-hole becomes a constant rainforest-like cascade. Somewhat like the Alien movies, without the acid-eating-through-the-floor part (thank goodness). To me I feel like a sea creature. A slime-emitting sea creature. For some whimsical reason I have settled on Futurama's Dr Zoidberg. Even though I've never seen him drool, it's just something about all those facial tubes.

Hopefully that will go away soon. Until then, I'm mopping up at the rate of one roll of paper towel a day.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Staples! That was ez???


As the digital media specialist who keeps our company’s ez business web site aloft each day, I know ez from "ez". Does this sound "ez" to you?

Task: Order ONE page be printed from health coverage provider so I can manually submit claim for ambulance ride on Oct 13 2011 (The fact that it has taken two months just to get to the point where I can submit claim is itself, NOT ez)

Step One:
Find someone at the company on a Saturday morning to send health care provider webpage link. (Because my computer died the first day of my sick leave I have ZERO of my old data available and ZERO of my old software available). NOT ez
My boss sends the link via BB! What a power executive! Thanks Boss!

Step Two:
Go to health care provider website and A) Bookmark the link

Step Three:
Enter the one billionty digit number that is my ID code. Fortunately that is in the hidden zipper compartment of my tote bag)

Step Four:
Enter the password. Oh dear. I've been on short term leave for two months. Every one of my passwords has expired. Try the last password I was using before I went on leave.
Password a no go. Decision - Try the next possible password and get locked out of health care website on Saturday morning and will need President of Company to travel to the Himalayas and reset password. (Hey, Sandy was in the Himalayas this summer. She could have reset my password.)
Alternative: Name of first childhood pet.
Decision: Woof Woof!

Step Five: I'm IN!! Woo Hoo. Locate paper form and download PDF. PDF must be filled in before printing and mailing.

Step 6: Go to Staples website. Had just bought external hard drive by mailorder so I am in their system. That was ez!

Step 7: Password rejected. Decision - use their password recovery, which actually works. I'm IN! That was ez

Step 8: Navigate to Copy & Print Centre. Hey, my session login didn't carry over from the store. Extra step. Not ez!

Step 9: Login to Staples Copy & Print Centre using my recovered Staples store user credentials. Credentials NOT ACCEPTED! NOT ez!

Step 10: Create a new user account. Trying to print ONE one page form and am on THIRD new user account. Not ez! Password schema requires I include a word that is English but includes a letter that is an Ümlaut. NØt ÊZ!

Step 11: Sign in page now rejecting me because I do not have a "Business Discount Program" ID number. NØt ÊZ!!

Step 12: Resolve that issue (It was due to the Chrome browser.) Why is it I use a browser that only me and Netscape inventor Marc Andreesen use? Because Andreeson's gf Gina Bianchini is a nerd's dream. Ergo I, as the World's other Chrome user, am overdue to get a gf within an order of hotness of Gina Bianchini. Tho' possibly not while I am on a drip tube and doing daily radiation.

Step 13 Time for the checklist:
  • Have the health care provider website access and needed form customized!- check
  • Have the Staples account I don't need - check
  • Have the Staples Copy & Print Centre account I DO need - check
  • Downloading the plugin that makes Staples Copy & Print Centre act like the printer on my desktop. Check! And Mega EZ!!
Step 14: FAIL! Whilst downloading print software module (whilst in Chrome) Internet Explorer Nine installs itself and goes to the Internet Explorer NINE launch screen taking control of my desktop!
  • FAIL! Customized health care provider form disappears from screen
  • FAIL! Staples Copy & Print Centre account disappears from screen mid upload
  • FAIL! Cannot relogin to any website.
  • FAIL! Cannot create a new Ümlaut

STEP 15: Since I am a CHROME Ninja I recover
- Health care provider website access and customized form
- Staples Copy & Print Centre account WITH upload intact!

STEP 16: Place order for a one page copy! Success!

That was ez!