Our Poltergeist Strikes Again… and Again

April 4, 2022

By Karen

Last year, I told you how Roc and I witnessed a book being pushed or pulled out of the bookcase in my bedroom when nobody had touched it.

[OMG… in pulling up the link to that previous post, I just realized the new development I’m about to tell you started within a week or so of the book, in July 2021. It never occurred to me the two incidents might be related.]

It was a Thursday morning that July when the wall switch that powers the garbage disposal went suddenly dead. The disposal itself was fine and relatively new; I just couldn’t turn it on. I wondered if the tiny ants who sometimes invade the kitchen in warm weather might have caused the problem.

I quickly learned how you don’t appreciate your disposal until it’s gone. For the four days I waited for a repairman, I had to scrape uneaten cat food and other yucky bits into the “stinky bag” I always keep in the freezer for onions, banana peels, chicken bones, et cetera, until trash day because rancid garbage makes me gag.

The repairman removed the switch plate and didn’t see any ants. When he touched two wires together, the garbage disposal roared to life. So, it appeared to be a simple loose connection. Who knows how that happened after 39 years?

As a precaution, I had him replace the whole switch, and he showed me how he twined the wires together to be extra-secure.

All was well until last Monday morning. I’d just scraped a pile of Roc and Tony’s rejected cat mush down the disposal when I flipped the switch and it was dead again.

The repair company couldn’t send someone until Friday, so I had to scoop the now-soaking-wet cat mush out of the disposal with my hand and into the stinky bag.

As the week dragged by, I kept flipping the switch to make sure it wasn’t a bad dream, but it was futile.

When the second repairman finally arrived, I flipped the switch for him once and it was dead. Then I flipped it again.

IT WORKED!! WTF??

And it worked every time after that. He checked out the new switch and everything looked fine. And no ants.

I felt like a complete fool, now out $99 for the unnecessary call. The repairman probably thought I’m a pathetic cat lady with more money than brains who calls in bogus issues for somebody to talk to.

Now, I throw anything down the garbage disposal with trepidation. Fool me twice… Or is “something” trying to get my attention using the electricity? This incident brought to mind what happened one night in October 2021.

I told you how the living room lamp mysteriously blew a bulb at a crucial moment while I was watching the Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner. The timing of that gave me chills.

What’s next?

UPDATE – IT JUST HAPPENED AGAIN: I first drafted this post two days ago, so the Phantom of the Garbage Disposal knew I was writing about it.

Yesterday morning, I was tidying up the Man Cave Café (a.k.a. upstairs bathroom). Max was sitting in the Man Cave (bedroom/junkroom) on the end table beside the couch, and Roc was standing at the opposite end of the couch. My back was turned when I heard a thump.

It was this small Amazon box holding my collection of plastic store “poop bags” nicely folded for future use…

As you can see, the box was securely tucked between other boxes. I haven’t touched it since I put it there weeks ago, and the cats were nowhere within striking distance. Now, that box was on the floor. Max and Roc were looking at the spot where it came from, but not spooked at all.

I recreated the moment to show you where/how the box landed, and Tony insisted on assisting me…

I have logistical questions about how the box landed with its top facing up without actually being lifted (or was it?). I put it back in position and pulled it out every which way. It always landed where Tony is standing. So, whatever’s doing this stuff is flexing its muscles. I swear I’m not making any of this up.


Just Got to Vent About Our Vet(rinarian)

January 14, 2022

By Karen

I won’t name them, but CW cats and this veterinary practice go back to the 1990s (with one prolonged breakup midway until our defection practice began going downhill). We have seen at least two generations of these vets.

They made life hell during the late Cole’s kidney failure, needlessly costing me hundreds of dollars on prescriptions by limiting the sources to their extortionately priced selves (like $5 a pill vs. 30 pills for $10 online) or one pricey online pharmacy they “partner” with (i.e., probably skim a cut from).

I fought the drug price battle until Cole’s last breath, and recall one day driving to their office THREE times because their dumb-as-doorknobs staff was incapable of producing a correct written prescription and refused to fax it anywhere. I had to snail-mail it to my supplier while the clock ticked down on Cole’s waning life. Their blithe obstruction would have made Mitch McConnell proud.

After Cole died, I went full Karen on the practice administrator over their failure to cooperate. But nothing has changed. The pandemic made it worse. Much worse.

Cole’s prescription issues resurfaced with Adele’s subsequent kidney failure battle, although they did allow me to use Sam’s Club, right down the street. Since they knew I could — and would — drive over and raise hell within minutes of any prescription screwup, that went smoother, although it still cost me much more than it should have.

What I’ll never forget about their treatment of Adele was that they were in a new building (the same move that doomed the alternate practice I mentioned in the opening), and it had a special area for euthanasia. On Adele’s last day alive, they told me to call from the parking lot so we could arrive through a private entrance.

I called, and got a recording that they’d gone to lunch and to call back in a few hours.

THEY had set the appointment to kill one of their patients and just FORGOT it?

So, Adele’s last trip was right past the dogs in their damn lobby.

Max, Roc and Tony haven’t had major issues, so our contacts have been mercifully infrequent.

However, the practice does periodically annoy me with their comical mass emails. They call us “Family” and share new policies to inconvenience us from the tone-deaf perspective that our primary concern is the happiness, safety and well-being of their staff. (Examples on request.)

So, yesterday I took Roc in for his annual checkup, this year a mere courtesy call because he’s fine and doesn’t need any shots.

They let me choose sitting out in the parking lot or accompanying him. I chose the latter. I was double-masked; the vet wore only a blue paper mask, like the one I had on under my triple-ply cloth mask.

As their policy dictates, I sat across the exam room while Roc rested calmly, facing away from me, in his carrier on the exam table, which was inexplicably retracted so it only fit the carrier and the scale.

Full length requires too much extra wiping down between patients perhaps?

Turns out their new “procedure” is to dismantle the carrier, which looks like this, with seven fasteners…

Roc is a most congenial cat and has ridden drama-free in this carrier since he was a kitten. I told the vet to tip it slightly and he’d walk right out. She ignored me, mumbling about “an article saying this is better” — because she knows Roc SO well.

Roc, for the first time ever, felt his safe place taken apart by strangers. Think it bothered him?

Well, when I took out the carrier today for the photo, I set it down beside Roc and he bolted. So, thanks a lot, Vet, for Roc’s new carrier phobia.

During his exam, Roc stood like a thoroughbred while the vet and her assistant pawed him from head to toe. The vet said a cat earlier had put up a fuss.

MY cat didn’t. He was a pro. But you treated him like he was a problem.

Bottom line: These few stories I’ve shared just scratch the surface. We need a new vet.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. Ready for some Cats Working Christmas videos? Their big surprises this year (which Tony almost sniffed out prematurely as I was charging them in the bathroom) were Floppy Fish!

Tony and Roc were immediately intrigued (you’ll see Roc’s tail go by when he loses interest)…

Then Tony decided to show Floppy who’s boss while Max looked on…

Roc’s attack strategy is total domination…

Max didn’t quite know what to make of them and seemed more interested in the rest of Christmas (you get to see everyone in their celebratory mess)…

Tony and Roc enjoyed their annual viewing of Video Catnip, and here’s just a snippet. It’s 25 minutes long and they watched it TWICE…

Here’s the gang relaxing after toys, treats, and ‘nip…

BONUS: Tony watched the snow fall in the backyard last week from the Man Cave window…


Having Ourselves a Teeny-Tiny Christmas

December 20, 2021

By Karen

Remember last year, when I put up the big tree and decorated it with my whole cat ornament collection?

Well, fuggedaboutit in 2021. I think being incessantly nagged about “getting started on Christmas early” since before Halloween caused attitude backlash, and this is me today…

I’m not feeling the spirit at all, not even a little. This year’s tree is cat-size — with no ornaments, no lights, no garland — and the four presents under it are IT, and none are for me…

It annoyed me no end that I actually had to wrap one, but I was able to get the other three into bags and throw some tissue paper on top. Done.

I dipped into my boxes of house decorations just enough to fish out bows for the banister…

And stockings on the fireplace, which Max is inspecting…

Santa Kitty, being a highly efficient feline, has already stopped by to avoid being rushed on Christmas Eve. When I peeked in my stocking, this is what I found…

Who on Earth wants fucking soybeans for Christmas? But I gave up years ago on wishing for magical gifts and someone special to celebrate with, so why not soybeans? It could have been kitty litter.

I haven’t listened to Christmas carols because the ones that aren’t monotonous are mostly sad. I haven’t watched any Christmas TV specials or Hallmark Christmas rom-coms. I don’t need my nose rubbed in the fact that Christmas is for couples, especially couples with kids.

(Maybe the cats and I will watch Love, Actually on Christmas Eve, since it will be just us. The family, who traditionally came over for Christmas Eve dinner, is doing lunch instead, so no driving after dark.)

Even though I cut my Christmas card list to the bone last year, I’ve sent none.

On the other hand, I’ve only received three. Apparently Trump’s incompetent postmaster general puppet who still festers in the USPS has succeeded in killing “DeJoy” in the card tradition by making postage pricey and delivery iffy.

When I venture out to buy groceries and cat supplies, the parking lots are packed and stores infested with maskless disease-spreaders rummaging among whatever shelves aren’t bare for whatever marked-up, unwanted, unneeded crap they can buy for “loved ones” they otherwise don’t mind killing with COVID denial.

I’ll confess there was a nanosecond I wanted to resuscitate my spirit by switching things up with a white Christmas tree. So, I went to At Home, which is normally Christmas Mecca with trees and trimmings in every color you can imagine.

I found what looked like last-year’s unsold leftovers laid out in heaps, and whole aisles in the Christmas section empty. It was so depressing, I walked out empty-handed and that was that.

The cats are rolling with our minimalist approach and have knocked the tree over only twice. Even though I’m not feeling it, on Christmas morning, don’t worry, they’ll have plenty of toys, catnip, treats and, of course, our annual showing of Video Catnip

Hope your holidays are going better.


Democrats Plunge Virginia Backward

November 4, 2021

By Karen

Just like their dithering role models in Congress, Virginia Democrats failed to vote in this week’s statewide elections by just enough (~2 points) to make us lose EVERYTHING. In one day, they turned our totally blue state to flaming red by letting Republicans become governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, and regain a majority in the House of Delegates.

Trump is gloating because — despite losing Virginia TWICE — he’s now got the state in his greasy pocket.

Our next governor, Glenn Youngkin, whom Stephen Colbert aptly described as “the love child of Mr. Rogers and Ted Cruz,” vows to “change the direction of Virginia.”

The vacant eyes, the vapid smile of Virginia’s next Republican governor

Youngkin will come to power inheriting a multi-billion-dollar budget surplus, COVID on the wane, again, the Civil War and its iconography no longer a “thing,” and women able to get abortions without undergoing the invasive, unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds pervy Republicans mandated when they last ran the show. This is the direction he wants to change.

Youngkin, a millionaire and former CEO of a hedge fund, has never held an elected office in his life. While pretending he had nothing to do with Trump, he blew Trump’s ignorance and divisiveness through a foghorn that echoed in every dark corner of the state where knuckle-draggers get along jes’ fine with no book larnin’.

He encouraged parents who never read the book to demand banning Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved — because it makes slavery look bad and it’s written by a black woman.

He’s also got parents’ panties in a bunch over critical race theory. They have no idea what it is, it’s NOT taught in Virginia, but they’re slavering to abolish it — because they innately know more than teachers.

I won’t be surprised when they make Gone with the Wind a textbook and mandate it in all high schools as the definitive word on the Civil War.

And Monument Avenue could very well get all its statues of loser Civil War generals back. The pedestals are still there, just waiting.

For Virginia now to “change direction,” Youngkin means to turn it into East Coast Texas. He must be itching to ban as many abortions as possible, allow even more extreme gerrymandering, and procedurally disenfranchise Democratic (ahem, minority) voters under the guise of “election integrity.”

(NOTE: Even though the top three Republican ass clowns won by just a point or two, no Democrats are screaming this election was stolen. We’re not that abysmally stupid.)

And let’s not forget the death penalty, which Virginia abolished earlier this year. Youngkin must certainly want to revive that while he’s rolling back all gun control so Virginia can proudly resume giving every homicidal nut job on the Eastern Seaboard a hassle-free experience expanding their arsenals with unlimited numbers of guns and assault weapons.

Once murders pick up again, Youngkin will want to keep Virginia’s prisons from overcrowding by having the option of speedy executions. Of course, he’ll consider pardoning any felon who declares their victim “needed killing” (i.e., the shooter is white, the victim wasn’t).

That’s justice, Republican-style.

Ever heard our famous slogan, “Virginia is for lovers”? Forget that if you’re LGBTQ. Our leaders don’t want your kind around here. And don’t expect any legal accommodations that might spare you from being personally persecuted and discriminated against in housing, jobs and services.

It’s only a matter of time before Youngkin makes his obligatory trek to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the ring of his lord and master, whose repeated endorsements (which Youngkin pretended to ignore) undoubtedly delivered the voters that no candidate appealing to reason or decency could ever hope to reach.

And now Virginia’s going to pay. Thanks a lot, Democrats. You blew it bigly.


I’m Being Trashed By a Rash

September 24, 2021

By Karen

Apologies for being scarce, but weird things are happening — with me, the cats are fine — causing anxiety, doctor visits and so many trips to Target pharmacy that I’ve lost count.

I became an itchy snow globe in July, without the globe. My scalp started falling apart. This photo isn’t my head, but it looks like this…

Judging from scarier images online, my problem seems relatively mild, but I immediately cut my hair short. (I also went lighter, got highlights, and restored my bangs. It’s cute.)

Next I had a peely red patch above one eyebrow. It spread. Today, my entire neck and shoulders look sunburned, and leathery red patches keep popping up everywhere else.

My regular doctor thinks it’s psoriasis and/or eczema. Since it usually takes months to book a dermatologist, he prescribed some oily overnight shit for my scalp and said, “Sleep on a towel.”

Well, I lucked out (maybe) and got a dermatology appointment within a week. Since the scalp oil was pricey and I wasn’t keen on ruining the pillowcases, I decided to wait it out.

Now I think I know why I got the quick derm visit. That doctor, who I won’t name because there’s follow-up involved, is no star on HealthGrades or any other review site. Patients describe him like Jekyll and Hyde — mostly Hyde.

I met Hyde. He barely spoke to me. He told me to stand in front of him in my underwear and an open-backed waist-length gown and, without a word, roughly yanked down the back of my panties to check my ass like he was unwrapping a package of meat.

He also thinks it’s maybe psoriasis and eczema (no straight answers from anybody with these skin conditions) and he prescribed two remedies to use twice a day for two weeks. Clobetasol solution for scalp ($49) and Triamcinolone ointment for face and body ($8, a bargain!). Note: Tony couldn’t resist photobombing them…

To the extent I can get Clobetasol on my scalp, it seems to help. I’m less itchy and a bit less sheddy.

Triamcinolone is a devil’s concoction of mineral oil and Vaseline. I can’t sleep or wear clothes in it and it leaves grease marks on everything it touches.

The dermatologist muttered something about doing bloodwork for strep (??), so I had to go get that done another day at a lab.

No strep. No kidding.

When the triage nurse called me with those results, I went full Karen on her about Triamcinolone, which felt like the doctor’s idea of a sick joke. She said she’d speak to him.

Target’s now holding a tub of cream Triamcinolone for me for the same low price. So, the doctor had the equivalently priced choice of absorbable cream or nonabsorbable greasy goop, and he went with goop. Yeah, he’s probably sadistic.

After three days on the grease, nothing’s really improving. The nurse said it takes a week, but I don’t believe her. Skin can heal fast with the right treatment.

I’m suspicious because I just realized an expired tube of cream I have from a 2014 lichen sclerosis incident (another lousy dermatologist at the same practice —another story) is the SAME stuff.

Two years ago, my gynecologist diagnosed a small spot of lichen on my nether parts and said I could use that old cream on it. After one application, the spot disappeared.

So, when my current blotches started, I tried that cream on a few and NOTHING HAPPENED, which is why I started seeing doctors.

I told Mr. Hyde all this, and he still prescribed it again. I hope he proves me wrong and my does skin clear up, but I’m not hopeful.

So, please excuse me, I’ve been preoccupied.


Delta Surges, Masks Disappear. WTF?

August 13, 2021

By Karen

During the one brief, shining moment COVID was on the decline, I still never went out frivolously or stopped wearing a mask — not even after July 1, when it once again became a Class 6 felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, to conceal your face in public. (Luckily, I haven’t heard of anybody going down on a mask rap.)

Virginia’s mask prohibition went back into effect when Governor Ralph Northam allowed the pandemic state of emergency to expire on June 30. Now, the Delta variant is rampaging through our red regions. But instead of again requiring masks in indoor settings, Northam’s wussing out and says just to follow CDC guidelines, which seem to change every five fucking minutes.

(I don’t blame the CDC, but keeping up with this shit is exhausting.)

Northam, a pediatric neurosurgeon in real life, just mandated masks for everyone in K-12 when schools open in the fall. Some parents are outraged, because they must want their kids sick or dead.

But many adults are NOT following CDC guidelines. As of this moment, the CDC says EVERYONE, vaccinated or not, should mask up indoors in “high” or “substantial” transmission areas. According to this map, that’s most of Virginia.

Many vaccinated people are apparently unaware they can inhale snootfuls of Delta from unvaxxed maskholes who walk among us. Even if the vaxxed themselves don’t get sick, they become walking COVID carriers.

This past week at Food Lion and Sam’s Club, I was gobsmacked to see predominantly barefaced customers, and some employees. The ones in masks mostly seemed to be older ladies like me who don’t want even a dab of COVID.

I blame this on the myriad stupid sources people consider “news.” I’m not just talking about Trumpy media outlets and Facebook.

With the proliferation of cable channels, streaming, social media, and even CNN’s sketchy coverage of most things, there’s no longer any main trusted source where everyone gets the same story. We used to get our news from competently staffed newspapers and career journalists like Walter Cronkite, Edward R. Murrow, Huntley and Brinkley, and other professionals committed to reporting the facts without putting their own editorial spin on them.

Speaking of news, spare me any more tales of how COVID is ravaging states in the South and Midwest — a.k.a. Trump Country.

Last year, they were all oblivious while hundreds of thousands of their fellow Americans suffered and died. Today, they still refuse the vaccinations that could save their lives because their ignorance has become impenetrable after soaking in so many lies and conspiracy theories from God-knows-where.

So, now it’s their turn to get deathly ill and die, and in the immortal words of Melania’s jacket, “I really don’t care, do you?”

My sympathy goes to the selfless medical providers tasked with trying to save these morons from horrible, 100% preventable, self-inflicted deaths after they thoughtlessly sucked in a deadly virus through their maskless pieholes, mistaking it for “freedom.”

Now that it’s no longer blue states bearing the brunt of fatalities, some Republican leaders are admitting masks and vaccines aren’t so bad after all. It’s finally dawning on them that they’re screwed when they succeed in killing off much of their base in those sparsely populated, vast swaths of nowhere. They forgot to ram through any laws in those states giving livestock the right to vote.


Cats Working May be Haunted

July 30, 2021

By Karen

Yesterday was a big day here, but as in any suspense tale, I’m going to work backward to describe it.

Last night, after an afternoon under the bed (why in a minute), Tony must have been feeling his 31 days of fame waning as Mr. July on the Richmond Animal League’s calendar.

After dinner, he threw himself down on the living room floor to contemplate his next career move and wonder if he had peaked too soon…

“Could I really be a has-been at 2 years old?”

But with Tony’s looks, brains and charisma, he has nothing to worry about. I’m sure we’ll figure something out.

In the afternoon, a crew I’ve been waiting nearly two months for finally showed up to take down the dead tree in the front yard.

In the spring, I worried when that tree was a few weeks late putting out leaves, and its trunk looked paler than the others. Then when all the new leaves immediately began to die, I had to pull the plug on it or risk it taking out my office and the kitchen in a storm.

I never watch when I lose a tree, but I think it came down in sections because there was never a big crash. A lot of moss in the yard was torn up where I guess the pieces fell.

Nevertheless, it was a noisy business. Roc sat calmly in the living room with me through it all. Max stayed in the Man Cave and Tony went under the bed.

Grinding the stump turned out to be the worst of it. This is now our view from the big kitchen window. The red circle is where the tree was…

Now all is sawdust where once there was moss.

My yard guy isn’t returning my calls about cleaning up. Here’s the mess from the walk, facing the house. This isn’t a situation that’s just going to heal itself over time…

The rocks strewn about were the border of a patch of daffodils and azaleas, now a wasteland.

But the day began in my bedroom with something I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen it myself. This bookcase is one of six around the house and stands opposite my bed. It holds mostly New Age books from my 30s, as well as other prized volumes, like the copy of Little Women I got at Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s home in Concord, Massachusetts, where she wrote it…

The corner shelf holds some of my vast cats collection.

Notice the arrow pointing to a book I pulled out on the bottom shelf, just to show you where it came from. It was actually on the shelf in line with the rest. Since Roc refused to participate in a reenactment, the black stuffy cat on the floor is his stand-in, and a waterbowl is to its left.

Anyway, I was making the bed and Roc was getting a drink. He turned to walk past the bookcase when that book suddenly flew out and fell on the floor in front of him. Roc jumped back, but then calmly went around it and hunkered down in the opposite corner to watch ME.

Did he know or see who did that?

It was just like the poltergeist activity you see on Paranormal: Caught on Camera.

The cats never bother that bookcase, and I haven’t touched it myself in months. This is the book that flew out…

Why this book? Does the title have any significance?

It happens to be the last book I shelved there, unfinished because I didn’t like it. I felt a little tingly as I put it back.

There’s no way that book moved on its own. No book has EVER fallen off that shelf before. So, what was it? It couldn’t have been the spirit of the tree, because this happened hours before either of us knew it was going down that day.

BONUS: Cats Working reader Glamour Milk uncovered this (possibly) maiden interview with Anthony Bourdain in 1995. He was just 39, pre-thumb ring, pre-Les Halles, beginning his writing career as a novelist with Bone in the Throat)…

On “Connie Martinson Talks Books,” August 1995

He wrote a second novel, Gone Bamboo, before he hit it big with Kitchen Confidential. You have to download the interview here…

https://ccdl.claremont.edu/digital/collection/cmt/search/searchterm/Bourdain%2C%20Anthony/field/creato/mode/exact/conn/and

But it’s well worth it, especially in hindsight, for what he says about loyalty and betrayal.

Many thanks to Glamour Milk for her online sleuthing. Morgan Neville might have been interested in this for Roadrunner, had he uncovered it.

The same link includes another 2002 interview about A Cook’s Tour. Notice Tony’s marked increase in confidence, sophistication and gray hair. Also, the thumb ring.


CDC Gives Coronavirus Great News

May 14, 2021

By Karen

Was I the only one who reacted with dismay yesterday when the CDC suddenly proclaimed, “Go forth bare-faced and cuddle up! If you’re fully vaccinated, no more masks or distancing. Coronavirus can’t touch you”? (Fine print: Unless you’re on public transport or in a hospital.)

WTF? This is bullshit. This freedom came the same day fully-vaccinated 65-year-old Bill Maher had to cancel taping of his HBO show, Real Time (which he’s been doing live for months before a reduced and distanced audience), because he asymptomatically tested POSITIVE for COVID.

The CDC says, however, that people who haven’t been vaccinated still need to mask up. Yeah, right. Like they’re going to start now. They must be thrilled to be able to mingle freely again because most businesses aren’t asking for proof of vaccination.

In fact, Governor Ron DeSantis in Florida is prohibiting businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, screwing the Florida-based cruise ships that want to sail again and stay disease-free.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, says, “Vaccinated people need some sort of reward.”

I’m sorry, that’s ridiculous. What are we, two-year-olds?

The ones really getting rewarded are the holdouts who now don’t have to do a fucking thing while the vaccine they should get goes to waste.

The Washington Post reports as of today that only 46.8% of the total population has received at least one dose, and only about a third is fully vaccinated. That’s far below what they’ve been calling herd immunity.

Meanwhile, the anti-vaxxers become variant incubators. Nobody knows if current vaccines protect against variants, because they don’t all exist yet. But they WILL if we drop our guard with people thinking the pandemic’s over and they don’t need the shots.

Another thing we don’t know is how long vaccination protection lasts. And is the time different for two-dose Pfizer and Moderns versus one-dose Johnson & Johnson?

What most infuriates me is how we NEVER learn. The goddamn minute we see fewer cases and deaths (we’re averaging only 622 corpses a day, according to The New York Times, Yippee!), we throw caution out the window. Like we haven’t seen what happens after EVERY large event or holiday where people get sloppy.

I hope I’m wrong, but I expect the numbers to climb again over the summer as people who think they’re safe mingle freely with the diseased and vaccination protection wanes.

Not to mention the country’s not in a sterile bubble. People carrying variants can travel here from anywhere. Now they can walk the streets bare-faced and spike our numbers.

I don’t intend to give up my mask in public until I see vaccination stats much higher, infections much lower, and a CDC estimate of vaccine longevity.

COVID is nothing to play with and I’ll forego my “reward,” thank you, to stay alive and breathing without a ventilator.

PS: I’m glad I just bought a huge package of toilet paper.

NOTE: The cats threw in the towel on the Triple Crown. To quote them, it’s “FUBAR.” Even if Medina Spirit wins the Preakness tomorrow, he’ll most likely forfeit his Kentucky Derby win, thanks to the crooked humans around him. Medina’s record will always bear that stain as they go merrily on their way, doping and disgracing other horses.


Since When Did Colonoscopies Take a Week?

April 19, 2021

By Karen

After skipping it last year, receiving the doctor’s reminder recently guilted me into scheduling a colonoscopy for April 27.

Ever since, when I wake up mornings and colonoscopy pops into my head, my stomach lurches and I dash to the toilet to dry-heave until I calm down.

This is my fourth time at this rodeo. I go every five years because I have a polyp-y family. The doctor even found two on me last time. So, I’m familiar with the nasty, nasty prep.

But this time they blindsided me with some new wrinkles:

  • 7 days of no vitamins (buh-bye, calcium)
  • 5 days fiber-free, with minimal basic nutrition

Asking around, nobody I know has ever had to do this diet, nor even heard of doing it.

They mailed me these half-ass dietary instructions that raised many more questions than they answered. Checking their website for “more information,” all they had was THIS SAME F**KING PAGE. They must think it’s a masterpiece.

So, I kept looking. Yup, this is definitely a thing.

But the Mayo Clinic recommends only two days of low fiber in a pretty casual manner.

Kaiser Permanente recommends three days, and their comprehensive list calmed me down considerably. OK are butter, cooking oil, cheese, white grape juice (instead of YUCK apple) turkey, cantaloupe, peeled potatoes and even creamy peanut butter.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance prep diet (four days) even had baked potato chips and bananas!

For the record, I try to be good about eating fiber, fruit and veggies, so I’m woefully ill-stocked for this. I’ll go shopping and start this new regimen on Thursday because I count Butt-Probe Eve with no solid food as a fiber-free day.

For nasty prep, it’s two seemingly gratuitous Dulcolax tablets followed by 14 doses of Miralax, the last supposedly at about 11 p.m.

WTF?

I’m backing up that timetable two hours because I’d like to sleep before the big day.

For the first time, I’m having the procedure at a hospital instead of the doctor’s office. They said it’s because I’ve hit 65.

Sounds like they want us Medicare folks — after the malnutrition and probable constipation, then starvation, epic diarrhea and sleep deprivation — in a facility with convenient morgue access.

And did I mention I’m supposed to get a COVID-19 test? I was told nothing about where or when, and I’m not asking. I’ve been vaccinated, and I’m more worried about the hospital crawling with COVID than I am.

So, it’s finally the week this nightmare begins to end. Wish me luck. (If you’ve done all this and have any reassurances for me, comments are open.)


My Lost Weekend

March 15, 2021

By Karen

Here’s a quick and simple recipe for destroying a perfectly good Sunday:

1. Move all your clocks forward and lose an hour of it until November — or forever (keep reading).

2. Do your income taxes.

My taxes always hang over my head like impending doom until March because I spend much of February sorting out the 1099-miscellaneous income forms trickling in from my clients — with a few invariably wrong and needing a redo.

This year, my ever-present dread of doing taxes seemed worse because it felt as if I’d just done the freaking things.

Actually, I did them in March 2020 on what turned out to be my last weekend of freedom before the lockdown. Had I known that, I certainly would have gone to a movie, shopping or taken myself out to lunch somewhere.

I’ve been using TurboTax for DECADES and I still loathe it. Back in the ‘90s, I remember spending entire days struggling through it. Now I’ve got it down to about three hours total, but it never feels any easier. I always hit some snag, somewhere, that has me frantically clicking in circles, searching for nonexistent “help.”

I use the Home and Business version, which makes me vulnerable to entering expenses on the wrong side because Turbo leaves it a vast gray area. For example, after all my health insurance numbers entered under the business seem to take, Turbo again asks for them as personal expenses. So WHERE DO THEY GO? Does it matter?

Entering Schedule C business expenses is most time-consuming, and why I don’t hire an accountant. By the time I’ve assembled all the figures myself (from QuickBooks, another nightmare — let’s face it, I hate numbers), I might as well just do the taxes myself.

What never fails is that after hours of meticulously entering expenses and home office deductions, Turbo says, “Never mind all that! You’re better off taking the standard deduction!”

Last year, I inexplicably ended up owing the IRS $86 and blamed it entirely on Trump. This year I’m getting a modest three-figure refund.

So, after losing an hour of sleep, and then the entire afternoon to taxes, I finally got April 15 off my back. The taxes were filed, accepted almost instantly, and now I’m just waiting for my sweet little refunds to roll in. Whew, it feels good!

Speaking of losing an hour, have you heard that the Senate is scheming to make Daylight Savings Time permanent with the bipartisan Sunshine Protection Act of 2021? (Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are sponsors, so it already smells bad.)

I would love to stop turning the clocks back and forth. But first, GIVE US BACK OUR HOUR! I want to stay on Standard Time because nobody needs it sunny half the goddamn night.

And finally, the cat beat…

In his ongoing campaign to “be one of the guys,” Tony began checking out a new frontier he’s never ventured onto before (probably because it’s usually crowded) — the couch…

“Hmm… Not too bad, but why do I feel like I’m being watched?”

We call that team behind him “Mickey and the Teds.” (Mickey’s hunched in the middle.) Mickey once belonged to the late Rex back in the ‘80s. The blonde Ted is Roc’s and did always accompany Roc on his pre-COVID weekly visits to Granny and Grumpy.

The auburn Ted was the late Cole’s. Tony took a liking to that one when he arrived, so Cole’s Teddy is pleased to be relevant again.

(Max isn’t into teddies. His go-to stuffy is a caterpillar.)

As I was ending my lost weekend marching around doing my 7,500 steps for the day, Tony had the audacity to take MY spot on the couch…

“You got a problem? I’m just keeping your spot warm for you.”

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