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At last [04 Oct 2008|01:40pm]
So D., the new guy, is having his turn to be on call at last. Fortunately for him, he's getting his first taste of it as we head into the slow(er) season. It worked out that way for me too, my first on call shift was right about this time of year. It's good. This way you get to sort of ease into it a little.
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Lookit that. It's September already. [03 Sep 2008|06:55am]
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How'd it get to be July so fast? [26 Jul 2008|03:28pm]
Wowee zowie, here it is four months and fifteen million or so calls later, no wonder I've had no time to write.

K. moved on to the police dept. in February, and so for the past six months the two of us who were left have had to handle what is, in the summer, really a four- or five-person job. Our usual on-call rotation is two weeks on, four weeks off. We've been doing three weeks on, three weeks off all this time instead, from spring into summer, just when (of course) we're busiest. That's how long it takes them to hire somebody new.

Actually, it only took them a little over three months to hire the new guy. He started in May. Then he had two months of on the job training, riding along with our senior officer while she tried to cram her twenty years' worth of experience into his head in just sixty days. In the meantime we still had to split up all the calls between just two of us, so it's not like his presence was any help as far as spreading the load out a little.

Now I guess it's been two or three weeks that he's been out on his own, handling his own calls, but still with constant supervision and consultations because it's probably going to be at least a year before he really knows what he's doing. And in the meantime none of the three of us have had any time at the police range. He has to qualify with the rifle before he can start doing the on-call. That could take another few months. So it's still three weeks on, three weeks off into the foreseeable future for M. and me.

Oh well. Lots of overtime. It's aggravating when you're doing it, but a month or two later it's nice to get that extra fat paycheck.

Our new guy D. is the first new hire since I started five years ago. Just five years? It seems like it's been much longer. Watching D. going through the learning process is an unexpected reminder to me of how hard it was for me when I first started. I seriously did not think I was going to make it through my first summer. Guess I was tougher than I thought. Or something.
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still here [22 Mar 2008|11:35pm]
I am still alive, I am still here, just too darned busy to write. But I finally have a computer at home. And it's finally all hooked up. And I finally have broadband. It's been the most ridiculous saga. But it's finally done. Now maybe I'll write more.
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I am a completely besotted fan [09 May 2007|11:14pm]

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paperwork [09 Jan 2007|08:21pm]
I hate paperwork.
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Off call [05 Jan 2007|08:53pm]
It's so lovely handing the pager over to one of my partners. It's like going on vacation.
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Laurel and Hardy [13 Oct 2006|01:03pm]
I don't know why it is, but your average bystander seems to find something irresistibly comical in the spectacle of a dog being chased by a person in uniform. The dog may think it's a game, too, which may be what makes the whole thing look so funny to so many folks, but the dog doesn't understand that if it disappears it may never get back home, and if it runs in the street it will most likely get hit by a car. Your evil neighborhood dogcatcher understands the stakes though. And so does the dog's frantic owner, desperate to get his beloved dog back safe and sound. So why do passersby stand there and laugh? What's so doggone funny? Maybe it's just a conspiracy by all our good angels to keep us humble, to remind us that we're just dogcatchers, and even when after an hour and a half chase through traffic by two evil dogcatchers and a frantic owner, informing each other of the dog's successive disappearances and miraculous reappearances by radio and cell phone, the dog is at last safely caught and returned to the sobbing, grateful owner, the good folks in police communications later inform the comical dogcatcher that she and her partner had them all in stitches over there in the communications room, listening to the amusing chase as it came over the radio for such a ridiculously extended length of time. "We were laughing our butts off at you guys" the clown-like dogcatcher is told humorously. "You two sounded like Laurel and Hardy."

I tell ya, we don't get no respect.
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sad about Steve [09 Sep 2006|02:41pm]
Rest in peace, Steve Irwin.

On the one hand, I did think he handled the animals too much. They don't like it, and I always thought it sort of set a bad example, no matter how many times he said that it was dangerous and "kids, don't try this at home".

On the other hand, his incredible energy and his limitless love and passion for wildlife had absolutely no match. I think he did a tremendous amount of good in getting people to really appreciate and learn to care about every kind of living thing there is, especially the "creepy-crawlies" like reptiles and insects. He touched so many people, especially young people, and did so much to educate the public about wildlife and to promote conservation. He was like a force of nature himself. There was only one Steve Irwin, and now he's gone, too soon, too soon.

I'm very sad about it.
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On call [21 Aug 2006|03:35pm]
From 8pm Saturday to 1am Monday I got paged 12 times. That's some kind of demented record.
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Cats and kittens [12 Aug 2006|04:19pm]
We are knee deep in kittens, cute as buttons every dang one of them, and God help us find placement for them all. And yet one of the neighbors asked me "Well, what's wrong with them just continuing to run around out here?" as I removed another four-week-old kitten from above the wheel well of a parked car. Holy crap, where would you like me to start?!?!?!!!

I decided at the last minute not to subject Clyde to chemo. He acts like he's feeling well. I couldn't see taking a happy cat and making him sick. My vet was completely supportive. She said whatever I felt in my gut was the way to go, would be the right decision. As soon as I decided not to do the chemo, my stomach unknotted and I felt like a huge dark cloud had been lifted from me. She said that if I felt that way about it, it was definitely the right decision. So the plan now is just to keep a very close eye on him and his little tumors. If they start to grow, we'll rethink the chemo. But for now he's chemo free, sweet, happy, loving and goofy as always. One day at a time, that's all we can do.
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It's all about my cats [17 Jun 2006|11:56am]
Sorry for the long time no post, it's been busy busy busy as usual.

Brief update:

All the cats got sick bing-bing-bing, one day after another, right around May 1, all with different ailments. It has not been fun.

Rosalita's still here. She had a bladder infection. The good news is that she's finally getting along with the boys, even playing with them a bit. But I still think she needs to be an only cat. She can be sound asleep in the next room, but if I start to pet one of the guys, she'll come running to try and wedge herself in under my hand to get petted instead. I call her Little Miss Me-Too. It's cute but annoying, especially to the cat that thought he had been getting my exclusive attention. The guys are tolerating her, but they really loved it when she was gone for two nights when she had to stay at the animal hospital for her bladder infection. They were noticeably more relaxed and happy. They both hissed at her when she came back. It will be good for everybody when she gets adopted.

Alfie apparently has calicivirus. He had a bloody ulceration on his nose that was biopsied and found to be not cancer and not anything else they could pin down, so it's probably calicivirus. It's all healed up now and he's fine except that he really needs to lose weight. He's up to 20 lbs!! Fat boy!

Clyde has cancer, multiple malignant mast cell tumors, mostly inoperable because of the locations (inside his mouth and around his eyes). He's been biopsied, x-rayed, had an ultrasound and full blood work done, and been to a veterinary oncologist. All the vets keep saying they've never seen anything like this on a cat this young (he's only 2!). They can't do radiation, again because of the locations of the tumors. My regular vet has been contacting specialists and universities in hopes of finding someone who's had some positive experience with this kind of cancer, but it's so damn rare that they just keep telling her to write it up for the journals. At this point she thinks we should probably go with chemotherapy. I have no idea what that means, how much it will cost, or if I can afford it. They've been really great to me at this animal hospital. They've been giving me a whopping professional courtesy discount, without which I wouldn't have been able to afford everything that's been done so far. I had been trying to put a little money away, but oh well.

At this point Clyde seems comfortable, and is just being his usual sweet goofy self. I am treasuring every day that he isn't sick.
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Aargh [15 Mar 2006|12:22pm]
Rosalita (the new foster) really needs to be an only cat. She has slowly, slowly been learning slightly better manners towards poor Alfie and Clyde (i.e., not hissing the minute they come near), but she still doesn't speak their language. When she gets feeling frisky and playful, she is as manic as a kitten, and rather than do the kitty equivalent of a play bow, she just charges her nearest foster brother full throttle, which scares them both to death, and then we have a full blown two-cat hissy fit on our hands. So far I haven't felt safe letting her out of the bedroom when I'm not home (or awake) to supervise, so she stays cooped up in there overnight or whenever I'm out. She doesn't like it, but sorry, kitty, you be nice to my boys or you stay in your room by yourself.

She has been getting better though. I've been able to let her out for longer and longer periods of time without any major incidents. In fact, last night all three were doing so well with tolerating each other that I thought maybe I could finally trust her enough to leave her out overnight, and then I could move back into my bedroom. (Alfie, Clyde and I have been sleeping on the futon in the living room for the past month and a half while she's been shut in the bedroom at night.) But just as I was getting ready for bed, she suddenly erupted in an absolute fury for no discernable reason and charged both cats one after the other, hissing and whacking at them with both paws. I ran into the fray, shouting and clapping my hands to get her to stop. Alfie and Clyde wisely ran away into the living room while Rosalita ran into the bedroom, which she considers hers. I closed the door after her, and there she stayed for the night.

Shoot. I had really hoped I could move back into my bedroom. The futon is very comfy, but I hate having my living room be the place where I sleep. It's like my old crappy little apartment that I was so happy to leave, where the living room and the bedroom were the same.

I can't wait till this cat gets adopted. She really is a very sweet girl, as long as you're not another cat. Know anybody in the Chicago area who is looking for a nice female long haired tuxedo only cat? Here's her picture (fifth from the bottom):


She really needs a nice home all to herself.
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Curling [25 Feb 2006|11:16am]
Am I the only one who thinks Pete Fenson is as cute as a bunny button?
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NACA level 1 [09 Feb 2006|07:33pm]
This has been a grueling week, not because the course is so tough (it isn't!), but because of my logistics. Between taking care of the new foster cat (still isolated in the bedroom and needing assorted time-consuming care), taking care of my guys roaming around the rest of the place, spending over an hour each way driving 21 miles in hellish rush hour traffic to be on time at a class that starts at 7:30 a.m., and my general sluggishness and slownness to gear up to complete wakefulness while it's still dark out, I've been getting up at 4:30 in the morning all this week. By the time I do the whole thing in reverse and get home at night I'm ready to fall down - and this is before I take car of the foster, take care of my guys, and spend a decent amount of time petting and playing with each. (A decent amount as defined by the cats, of course. Otherwise they all just meow piteously in three-part dissonance until they get what they want.)

Whine, whine, whine. Ain't my life hard? I'm so spoiled from having gotten used to living six minutes away from the office! This commute is just insane. I don't know how folks stand it.

But tomorrow it the last day. Yay!!!!

I've enjoyed the course. I've especially enjoyed meeting so many other ACO's from all over. But I am really looking forward to not having to do this commute anymore, and not having to get up so annoyingly early.
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briefly [02 Feb 2006|07:46pm]
I'm fostering another kitty. Sooner than I'd really wanted to, but they told me that she really needed to get out of the cage at the animal hospital, and so oh well.....

I'm attending NACA level 1 next week. It's in this area, but it's at least an hour's drive away. Maybe more, depending on traffic. Classes start at 7:30 A.M.! I'm gonna have to get up at 4:00 to get there on time!!

I have gotten so spoiled since I moved. I live only six minutes away from the office. Now I'm going to have to experience the horrors of the two hour daily commute that is so insanely common these days. Half of the people in my office live at least an hour's drive away. I don't know how they stand it.
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In a nostalgic mood [16 Jan 2006|07:45pm]
Okay, I'll go with the flow. Saw this stupid meme somewhere and gosh darn it, I had to give it a whirl. I made a couple of little changes though - I deleted the songs I didn't care about / didn't remember. If I don't care about them, why should I inflict them on you? And yeah, I underlined more than one, because I couldn't decide among them. I like those particular ones a lot a lot a lot. If I really had to pick a favorite, it might be the ELO song, just because that album (believe it or not) is one of my top favorite albums of all time, for obscure personal reasons. But it's not my favorite song from the album, so I didn't.

The game is this:

A. Go to http://www.musicoutfitters.com
B. Enter the year you graduated from high school in the search function.
C. Bold for the songs you like, strike through the ones you hate and underline your favorite. Do nothing to the ones you don't remember (or don't care about).

Herewith my list:

Top 100 Songs of 1975

1. Love Will Keep Us Together, The Captain and Tennille
2. Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell
3. Philadelphia Freedom, Elton John
5. My Eyes Adored You, Frankie Valli
7. Fame, David Bowie
8. Laughter In The Rain, Neil Sedaka
10. Thank God I'm A Country Boy, John Denver
11. Jive Talkin', Bee Gees
13. Lovin' You, Minnie Riperton
14. Kung Fu Fighting, Carl Douglas
15. Black Water, Doobie Brothers
17. (Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song, B.J. Thomas
18. He Don't Love You (Like I Love You), Tony Orlando and Dawn
19. At Seventeen, Janis Ian
22. Lady Marmalade, Labelle
23. Why Can't We Be Friends?, War
28. Angie Baby, Helen Reddy
33. Sister Golden Hair, America
34. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Elton John
35. Mandy, Barry Manilow
36. Have You Never Been Mellow, Olivia Newton-John
37. Could It Be Magic, Barry Manilow
39. Wildfire Michael Murphy
41. Listen To What The Man Said, Paul Mccartney and Wings
42. I'm Not In Love, 10cc
45. Feelings, Morris Albert
47. When Will I Be Loved, Linda Ronstadt
49. Please Mr Please, Olivia Newton-John
50. You're No Good, Linda Ronstadt
60. Lady, Styx
64. Get Down Tonight, K.C. and The Sunshine Band
67. Feel Like Makin' Love, Bad Company
68. How Sweet It Is, James Taylor
74. Some Kind Of Wonderful, Grand Funk
78. Killer Queen, Queen
81. Can't Get It Out Of My Head, Electric Light Orchestra
87. No No Song / Snookeroo, Ringo Starr
91. Someone Saved My Life Tonight, Elton John
98. You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet / Free Wheelin', Bachman-Turner Overdrive
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Boggle your mind [16 Jan 2006|05:36pm]
I'm the 190,434,783 richest person on earth!

Discover how rich you are! >>
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On call again [09 Jan 2006|06:28pm]
M. broke a small bone in her wrist breaking up a fight between one of her dogs and a foster dog (she slipped on the ice in the back yard, went down between them, and got bitten as well as breaking the bone), so K. and I get to split up her on-call while she recuperates on desk duty. That means three weeks on of on-call, starting tomorrow. Oh well, at least it's the slow season. Hopefully it won't be too bad. And then when that's done, I get to attend NACA Level 1! At last! I'm so excited about that, I can hardly wait!
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Long time no write [02 Jan 2006|10:47am]
Annabelle left last night.

I got home this past Thursday to find a message on my voicemail from the rescue group. "We just got a really good application for Annabelle, they loved her picture and description on the web site, their references all check out, they've passed the adoption counselor's screening, here are their phone numbers, please give them a call."

And so then I had to make my decision. Call these potential adopters up, or call the rescue group back and tell them I'd decided to keep her myself?

It's been six months now since she came to live with me and the boys. She's such a sweetie (of course). I have gotten extremely fond of her (of course). But as well as she gets along with my guys, she's never really bonded with them. She would play with Alfie and especially Clyde, but if either of them tried to groom her, she'd get up and walk away. I never saw her groom them, not even one little lick. She never cuddled or slept with them. If it had looked like she was bonding with them the way they've bonded with each other, of course I would just have adopted her myself. I wouldn't have wanted to split the three of them up.

But she remained very much her own cat, and never really joined their brotherly circle. And while I thought Clyde would probably miss her playful energy, I was pretty sure that Alfie would be very happy to go back to a two-cat household. And Annabelle herself has always very much deferred to my guys - letting them go in front of her at dinnertime, letting Clyde get to the feather toy first, letting Alfie butt his head in when I'm about to pet her. I always thought she'd probably be happier in a two-cat household where she would get more people attention, which she really enjoys.

She has gotten very affectionate with me, though, and I did worry about that. Has she bonded too much with me? Is it going to upset her to leave me and go off with strangers? But she's been a friendly, affectionate cat to all the people she's met, from the minute I pulled her out from underneath that parked car, so I hoped that she would like her new people as much as she's seemed to like everyone else so far - including me.

And then of course there's the never ending need for foster homes, which is how I got into this in the first place. Three cats is my absolute limit. If I adopted Annabelle, I wouldn't be able to foster the next nice cat who comes along in the middle of kitten season when every last shelter, rescue group, and foster home is overfull and bursting at the seams, as they were last June when Annabelle got dumped in that hot parking lot.

I think I thought about all this for just two or three minutes. Well, maybe four. But it surprised me how quickly I knew that letting her go was the right thing to do.

Two nice young ladies came over last night to meet her. I liked them right off the bat, and they adored Annabelle. She showed them most of her pricklier points, and not all of her endearing ones, and they still adored her.

She's not a cuddler. She won't sit in your lap. She'll allow herself to be picked up, but after a minute she squirms to be put down. I warned them that clipping her nails is absolutely a two-person job. She doesn't fight, but she squirms fiercely. (I had M. come over and help me clip her nails Saturday, so she is freshly trimmed for her new home.) If she has something better to do elsewhere, she'll go off and do it, and totally ignore you. "She's her own cat" one of the ladies observed. "I really like that."

But they were struck by her beauty, her fearlessness, her complete lack of shyness, her open and friendly inquisitiveness regarding all things new. I gave them a wand feather toy, and she rolled around on her back and batted at it excitedly. The ladies and I had a lot of questions for each other, and while we sat chatting, Annabelle wandered off and then incited Alfie to a friendly wrestling match. This impressed the ladies very much, as Alfie is twice her size. They have no other cats at home, so Annabelle will be an only cat for now. But there are two of them to shower her with attention, and they do intend to get a second cat after she settles in. Everything seems very good. I told them I'll give them a call in about a week, to see how she's settling in. But I think I won't wait a week. I think I'll call them tonight.

Of course I was sad to say goodbye, terribly sad. And I was worried that she wouldn't understand, that she'd be confused and distressed to leave her home of the last six months.

I tried to explain it to her. I've been trying since Thursday, when I got the call and made my decision. "You'll be going to your forever home, Annabelle", I told her, and tried to picture the idea in my mind so that she could see it. It's hard to picture "forever home" though. How would you do it?

I tried to explain it to my boys as well. "Annabelle will be leaving us, guys. She'll be going to her own home now." But I don't know if any of them understand. I doubt it.

Alfie and Clyde are acting a little freaked out now. It's not like they're going around looking for her, but they've both been really clingy, especially Clyde. I don't know if they miss her, or if they're just confused. My friend D. came over last night after Annabelle and her new people had left, and she kept telling them "Nobody else is going to be leaving now, guys. Nobody is going to be taking anybody else away." And I keep telling them that this is their forever home, that I am their forever person, and that they don't have to worry about things changing. But I don't know if they understand. I doubt it.

The rescue group has three or four other cats, currently being boarded at animal hospitals or in pet stores, who need foster homes right now. But I don't think taking in another foster cat immediately would be fair to Alfie and Clyde. I think they need a little time to adjust.

I think maybe I do, too.
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