Where the Sane Should Fear to Tread

Therapy Sessions on File


Monday, March 27, 2006
Mr. Squirmy got the thrill of his little life on Saturday - a ride in a real, working diesel engine.

We were watching the trains in the works-yard, having a grand time waving at the engines and counting trucks. An engine goes by, sans trucks, Squirmy waves and the Engineer waves back (first one to do so). Squirmy gets so excited, he runs down the platform (the WCE station shares space at the works-yard) waving and yelling "Hi!". Engine goes down the track, we go back to watching the other engines and trucks.

A short time later, the engine with the friendly Engineer comes back and stops. The Engineer gets out, walks over to us and hands Squirmy a bottle of water. "You look thirsty," he says. "This is special train water, would you like some?" After a sip, the Engineer asks Squirmy if he wants to go for a ride in the engine.

So Squirmy got to sit in the Engineers seat for the first bit, then the Driver's seat for the last bit. He blew the horn, clanged the bell, drove the train forward then applied the brakes after we picked up a long line of trucks. It was a toss-up as to who was more thrilled/excited - Squirmy or his mommy. To hell with my dream of driving big rigs, I wanna drive trains!

When calling a business, does anyone listen to the greeting? I always answer the phone "Good Morning/Afternoon [name of business]" in a clear, unhurried voice. Sometimes I'll stumble over, or confuse, morning or afternoon, but the company name is always said, always clear. Had a guy today calling to confirm his appointment; no one by the given name was in our schedule book at all. Turns out he wanted our competition - whose name sounds nothing like ours!

The best ones, years ago, were the callers looking for an auto body shop. One caller actually argued with me, insisting he DID call [name] Auto Body. Tired of arguing, I eventually told him his estimate was six thousand dollars. When he started swearing, I hung up.

Hauled out the ever-beeping computer and attempted to figure out what was wrong. Looking like the CPU slot on the mobo may be toasted, or the CPU has serious issues. Debating the latter since I did get it to work for a bit in the second system... which just so happened to be hubby's old 'cursed board'. I swear to every deity I can remember, that board is cursed and/or hates me. Nothing, right from day one, has ever worked right with that board.

Managed to get the 500 installed, jumpers reconfigured and Linux to start installing. Not to far into the install, Linux sent an error message and when I tried to restart, I didn't know there was a foreign language module installed. Shut down, let it sit for a couple hours (dinner guests) then swapped out everything, reseated the CPU and memory. Do ya think it would start? *snort* Fuck that, the damn thing flipped me the bird.

Now I'm looking for a used system or parts. I want to try Linux, dammit, but I don't have a spare mobo or CPU hanging around. Daughter cards I have, geez louise do I have those. But the really important bits... *grrr*

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Monday, March 27, 2006 at 841pm
It has been a week now, my dearest Minx-kitty, and I still miss you just as much. At night, I can still hear you digging in your box and I still automatically make a spot for you beside me in bed.

I am grateful you got sick while we were home; the thought that we might have been out and you would have been distressed and in pain for hours damn near does me in. You didn't suffer long, and I'm very glad for that. I never wanted you to know a moments discomfort and though you did, it was as short as I could make it.

I don't feel it was fair for you to be taken from us, and I'm angry, but I'm learning to accept it. You brought such joy to my life and I'm grateful for the short time you were with us.

Tonight, I light a candle for you, showing others the light you brought to my life. Rest in peace, Minx-muffin, you were loved immensely and missed even more.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006 at 1008pm       Miss Minx - 1997 to March 20, 2006
On March 20, 2006, my beloved girl-cat left her home and family. Rest in peace, my baby. I love you, always and forever.

Minx first waltzed into our lives, just after tax-time, through the ground floor sliding door at the Wilson apartment. At the time, we didn't realize she had an infection raging through her small body. As sick as she was, Minx was sweet and loving, bold and flirtatious, right from the start. I vowed to keep her despite the 'no pet' policy and hubby's dismay.

May 5, 1998, I stuffed Minx in a box and walked her a mile to the closet Vet. Even though I didn't officially own her, and the keeping her part was still being debated, I knew she was sick and there was no way I could deny a cat needed medical care. She had an infected uterus but the overall prognoses was she'd be fine if she got the surgery. Nearly $600 later, she was back in our apartment.

I placed a 'found' ad in the paper, praying no one would call. One person did, but I got bad vibes and besides which it sounded like the person didn't to reimburse me for the Vet bill. I declared Minx mine.

Minx had the run of the apartment. Hubby declared "no cat on the bed" and that lasted all of two days. We played 'cat fishing' - an old fly swatter with a piece of string tied on the end - for hours. Minx would go on these wild tears, leaping from the floor to the chair-back to the scratching post and then careening off the side of the china cabinet. One time, she got such a head of steam going, she crashed right into front of the cabinet and broke the glass.

We started house hunting in mid-May, and a number of listings were discarded simply because they were too close to a busy street or for some other non-pet-friendly reason. Primarily, it was hubby who made those decisions so I knew he had accepted our adoption by the grey cat-girl.

The move into the new house was not traumatic for Minx; she loved having more room and stairs to race up and down. The linoleum gave her some grief since she couldn't dig in her claws and stop like she could on carpet. More than once, for the first few months in the house, we'd hear a crash and know exactly what happened.

Minx was never a roamer; at the apartment she stuck pretty close to the complex. But at the house, and with a quiet lane in the back, she took to exploring her new territory. It wasn't unusual for her to disappear for an hour or two and be seen trotting up and down the lane.

One day, she was out a very long time. I called and called, until well into the evening but no Minx. When hubby got home, he scoured the neighbourhood; I'm sure our new neighbours thought he was a peeping-tom. Eventually, he found her - across the lane and twenty feet up a tree. Long story short, hubby balanced on his tip-toes at the top of our six-foot ladder placed inside a kid's play fort, jumped to the nearest branch and shimmied his way along until he could grab Minx. He stuffed her in his coat, shimmied along the branch until he reached a tire swing and eased himself and Minx to the ground. After that experience, Minx rarely left our yard.

Minx had a good life, filled with chasing flies, rolling on warm cement, chasing string through the house and grass outside and playing with her much loved toy mice. I would spend hours shooting the mice down the hallway and she would happily pounce on them. Other times, she'd grab a mouse and flip it into the air, batting it across a room. On occasion, the mice would 'disappear'. Months later, I'd find a mouse in a box, in a drawer or in a shoe in the closet.

She couldn't, like a number of cats, stand a closed door, especially if I was on the other side.

When people would come over, primarily people she didn't know, Minx would disappear. She wasn't big on crowds, preferring a quiet, out-of-the way spot. For my father's sixty-fifth birthday, I threw a huge party. Predictably, Minx disappeared when the first guests arrived. However, the smell of a shrimp ring brought her out of hiding. She wound her way to the coffee table, put her front paws on top and delicately used one paw to scoop a shrimp from the plate. It was one of the most adorable things.

A paw was how Minx got your attention. If we were still in bed, and she wanted one of up, Minx would jump on the bed, meow and stick a paw in your face. This was actually quite scary as Minx had a lot of fur between her pads. If you were only half-awake, it looked like a giant hairy monster was going after your nose! And you could forget ignoring 'the paw'; Minx would keep sticking her paw in your face until you were up.

Nearly every night, I had my own personal purring heater. The only times she didn't sleep snuggled up to me was on hot summer nights and in the latter stage of my pregnancy.

When our son came along, Minx didn't quite know what to make of him. She wasn't getting the same level of attention, but she never acted out. She never attacked the baby but neither did she snuggle with him the way she did me.

Minx had a life filled with love and treats. She was a treat-junkie, shamelessly scamming whoever was near the treat jar for another handful. She especially enjoyed it when my son was doling out the treats; the hand of a two-year old holds an amazing amount of treats!

On March 20, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Just an hour before, Minx had been standing on the hearth licking my fingers and receiving pats. My son went bed and I retired to my computer room. A short time later - maybe fifteen or twenty minutes - I heard a sharp almost-scream. Assuming it was my son, I checked the living room then discovered Minx in the dining room. She wasn't acting quite right and when I touched her side she meowed sharply and squirmed oddly. Hubby was summoned and we discovered her back leg was limp, she could barely stand and was obviously in pain and distressed. Minx had to be seen by a Vet right away.

Our Vet, of course closed for the evening, suggested the Emergency Clinic in Vancouver - a thirty to forty-five minute drive away. I hugged my kitten, told her how much I loved her and helped hubby put her in a box for the ride to the clinic. That's the last time I saw my darling girl-cat.

The scream-like cry I heard was a blot clot cutting off the circulation in Minx's back end. By the time she got to the Emergency clinic, her back paws and tail had no circulation. The Vet told hubby there was a treatment, but it was long, painful and there was no guarantee she wouldn't lose at least one paw. And, even if she survived, she would probably only gain another year - if another clot didn't occur. The quality of Minx's life would be next to nothing and she would be suffering the whole time.

Just after 9pm, Minx was sedated. Hubby held her, gave her a kiss, and wished her happy life chasing bugs and eating treats in kitty-heaven.

Our world, our life, has an empty spot in it now. Minx was our baby as much as my son is. She brought untold and unrivaled joy to our lives and she is missed very much.

Rest in Peace now, my kitten. I tried to give you the best life I could and I loved you right from the start.

Random memories of Minx

Jumping on to the kitchen table and stealing meat with gravy from our dinner plates. Minx would sit behind the plate, head cocked to one side while she watched you eat. A moment of inattentiveness on our part and a paw would sneak forward and snag a piece of meat. She'd chow-down then sit and wait for her next opportunity.

When it was toilet time, Minx was a digger. A litterbox only has so much digging room, so when summer came along Minx was in digging heaven. I watched one performance that lasted twenty minutes; it was a simple pee! A hole was dug, checked, duty done... and then the performance hit. The orginal dirt was used to cover things up and then dirt/leaves/random bits of anything, were dragged over. Of course, the wetter the dirt was, the sooner she'd insist upon going inside.

In nice weather, when I my father was looking after my son, Minx would be on the deck. When I came in the back way (where the porch was), Minx would see me, jump up and follow me around until I got to the stairs.

For some reason I never figured out, Minx would not come in my 'puter room. This was, I believe, the only room in the house she would not enter.

Make no mistake, Minx had the run of house, had anything she wanted. There was only one piece of furniture she was not allowed on - the dining room table. It would become a game for her to see how long she could get away with being on it before I caught her. When I did, it was rare Minx didn't immediately get down.

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Monday, March 20, 2006 at 812pm
No matter what people say, pets are also your children. And one of my children is on her way to emergency. Minx, my dearest girl-kitty, I hope with everything in me you're okay. From the day you waltzed into our apartment you had to know you'd found a home and someone to love and care for you. I want to take care of you for another eight or more years. Please be okay...

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Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 930pm
Just get back from shopping and DemonChild calls, looking for her parents SiL is now called MOM, and mom is... not a nice word). She sounds okay, but it's odd she can't reach her folks.

A couple hours later I get another call, this one asking if I can come get DemonChild. She sounds not so fine. Don't care if it's birth-mother's weekend or not, no child who sounds that upset should stay where she is.

DemonChild is okay, just yet another blow up with the woman she wishes dead and does not want a part of her life under any circumstances. There's a lot of back-history, enough to fill a journal by itself - birth-mother is a loon with mental issues up the whazoo. I'm just glad DC is okay and felt comfortable and trusting enough to have called when she needed someone.

Had to laugh - like pee your pants laugh - at DC. She nuked her birth-mother's hard drive. She "erased it." Um... oh... what do you mean, DC? Turns out, she nuked it. Got herself into a DOS prompt and typed in format c:. I know her 'puter knowledge/exposure, there's no way she knew how to do that, and I told her so. What does she do? Slips out a little piece of paper with step-by-step instructions - from her father!! It was a really good thing the light was red or we would have had an accident.

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Saturday, March 17, 2006 at 812pm
The plan tonight was to strip the beeper-puter and Linux it, but I have no energy, piss-poor concentration and no place to accommodate another 'puter in this room.

Who the hell designed this house? Did electricity not play a major roll in the lives of the people who lived here? Two plugs in this room - TWO. The spare room downstairs, the one I was going to use as Squirmy's bedroom? One plug - ONE! Geez louise!

So I'll save myself the aggravation of rearranging this room (yet again!) and try again tomorrow, during the day, before energy/concentration drop off the scales. The hardest task I intend to do in the next hour is upload Squirmy's new pix to the site.

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Thursday, March 15, 2006 at 1008pm
Found a sweet little piece of code that may make life easier, however, it can't be tested locally. Files have to be uploaded to the host and tested off that. Why? No Apache on the home system(s). I think I just found the incentive to get off my ass and pull out the chronic beeping 'puter and get it working.

I want a new mouse, one with a track ball and scroll wheel. Lose some fine control with it, but for general web shit it rocks. I'd also like a graphics tablet (to reclaim the fine control) but the cost just cannot be justified. I could justify the cost for an external DVD burner. If only the tree in back would grow money instead of apples...

Note to self, call hosting company soon! I've deleted an e-mail account no less than six times now and, despite the system telling me it's deleted, the damn thing reappears. Past time to switch over to the new servers.

I'm tired, and well on my way to pissed, of people telling me Squirmy needs a sibling. "Oh, he's so happy and pleasent and such a wonderful child. You should have another one." First off, given my age, I'm damn lucky Squirmy turned out healthy and whole and without defects. Secondly, just because the first child is so great is no guarentee the second will be; there's a little thing called 'different personalities'. And thirdly, if I wanted another I'd have had another. So shut the fuck already. I don't know how much plainer I can make it, how many different ways I can say "I don't want another child", until it gets through to you. For the record, the offender isn't family or a close friend.

I keep forgetting to check Smartania, sometimes for months at a time. They've been running a bunch of Photoshop contests and the entries are nothing short of 'spew liquid on the monitor' and 'fall out of chair laughing'. While all are soooo worth checking out, Public Service Announcements and Warning Labels for Morons is a must see.

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Monday, March 13, 2006 at 921pm
Found a 'picture-blog' PHP script! This thing does everything except stand on its head. Set up, though not for a complete newbie, is pretty straight forward and painless. There's even a little auxiliary script that 'tests' the hosting site to ensure the script will run (with or without some minor tweaking).

One thing I love is the ability to either lock down the entire section or leave it wide open (or anything in between). Took a bit of fiddling and trying to remember the chmod codes but it's really slick. Updating is pretty damn easy too - find picture on drive, upload. The script takes care of thumbnail making and resizing (if desired). No more having to spend hours prepping Squirmy's pictures, making thumbs and FTPing the whole shebang onto the site.

So the next step is to find a PHP web design script. Found a few promising ones, though two of them are in .tar.gz format. Fark. XP tells me "I no like that" and I have to find a program to handle those files. *sigh*

Finally off my ass and working on the CSO shit. So far behind with those files it's not remotely funny. Some days, I truly think I am the Queen of Procrastination.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2006 at 953pm
I think the little 'ding' sound I heard was brain telling me "All full now, time to go." Or it was my eyes registering their third complaint.

PHP is indeed on my server at the host site. Found a loverly photo blog-type script but once I started playing with it, discovered it's not what I'm looking for. Also, Boss-Man is interested in a script of this type and the first one I found does not offer the flexibility he's looking for.

The second script... wowser! It appears it might be everything (and more) that I want and Boss-Man needs. The problem - I get Fatal Error messages and I've no way to decipher what the heck they mean. Hell, I'm still so new to PHP I barely understand small pieces of the coding. Posted a help request on the BB and I've crossed my fingers.

Now, after playing with both scripts for the last two hours, my eyes are scratchy and my poor brain confused and producing mental images of code. I think a visit to WTF_inc is in order; nothing brain taxing on that site, EVER.

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Monday, March 6, 2006 at 915pm
First poop in the potty at home finally occurred! His Squirmyness has been doing great using the 'big boy toilet' at school but when he gets home, forget it. Hopefully this is a breakthrough for home use.

Hubby is home for dinner on weekday evenings - something that hasn't occurred in at least seven or eight years. No more yogurt, muffins, cracker/cheese and fruit type dinners, which is what Squirmy and me have been doing for a very long time. Nope, has to be a proper hot meal, which means the crock-pot has been receiving quite the workout as of late. And I really need some new recipes for it. One book, the 'starter' booklet offers limited choices and the older paperback size book is old, almost as old as the casserole book I found hiding... and both have some rather 'unique' recipes. Sorry, but there are some meats and some cuts I just cannot imagine eating.

No more is grocery shopping done with a ride-a-long passenger. A certain small boy now has his own cart (gods, those small kiddie carts are sooooo adorable) and he's in charge of the fruits/vegetables. Well, small boy AND a stuffed pig. The gal I'm getting to know quite well thinks the two of them (boy and pig) look so cute pushing their cart through the store.

First trip in this new manner (two weeks ago) everyone learned valuable lessons: small boy will listen when mommy says "don't touch the jars, please; they're too heavy for you" and mommy will permit small boy to retrieve the light items from the lower shelves. One jar of jam met the floor (short drop, but glass and hard floors do not play nicely together), which mommy cleaned up and offered to pay for (thank you, Mr. Manager, I appreciated the "don't worry"). And Squirmy loves being helpful so much, it was worth the extra time to watch him help pick out the yogurt, cheese and spices.

Second trip was much better. No touching jars or smashing into mommy or going so fast the cart tips over. And Pig did a fabulous job of guarding the marshmallows.

Since Safeway doesn't carry the good Oriental veggies, the Squirmy one came shopping at T&T with me... on the weekend... after noon. Crazy and crowded doesn't begin to describe the store. A certain small boy did very well staying close to mommy and not playing with things on the shelves. Small things, to be expected, included getting a little rough with a package of 'squishy cheese' (tofu) and climbing on a stack of large bags of rice before I could grab him. Pretty damn good, in my opinion.

A house down the street has a lovely No Occupancy permit on it due to 'controlled substance contamination'. Seems the Police responded to an attempted break-in and discovered a grow-op in the basement. The house hadn't been occupied long (sold/rented in December 2005, people didn't move in until just before Xmas) and there were no obvious signs (darkened windows, smell, etc) that would have twigged neighbours as to what was going on. If the op had been in operation longer, something probably would have given it away eventually.

Big-D was in today and cruised through the manual. I think it passed muster, I pray it passed muster. There are a few small things, of course, but nothing that'll be hard to change. One thing that mystifies me - does anyone use the word(s) in place of the numbers on a phone. Like PLASTIC would be 752-7842. If someone tells me the phone number to such-and-such is 1-800-GETAGUN, it'll take me ten minutes to dial the farking number. Big-D has given me a number before, using the letter thing and then been amazed anyone couldn't work with it. I n ever learned how? Never had any reason to learn it? "But it's easier to learn a word than a number sequence." For Big-D, not for me. Further proof of how differently our minds work.

According to a conversation I had many months ago, there should be PHP capabilities on PE.com. Going to locate a couple PHP scripts that look interesting and test that out. And, when my yearly renewal comes up (hrm... which should be really soon I think) I'm going to see about having the site moved to one of the new interface servers. The one for the work account is so easy to use and understand but the one for my personal account is older than dirt and a bitch to use.

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Thursday, March 2, 2006
Oh my god, I don't believe I just got this call...

Idiot Extraordinaire (IE): Ya... I was talking to a guy.

Me: A guy? There's lots of 'guys' here, Sir. Do you have a name?

IE: I was talking to him about lenses...

Me: Lenses? You mean contact lenses?

IE: Yeah [mumblemumble]

Me: Sir, we don't do contact lenses here. You've reached [name of eye-related company]

IE: No contact lenses? Oh... is this [building number]?

Me: Yes, that is the street address but there are a couple hundred offices in the building.

IE: Oh...

Me: What is the name of company you're trying to reach?

IE: I dunno... they're in the building.

Me: Sir, this is a big building. I'd need the name of the company or a person to help you.

IE: Can you give me the number?

Me: For what, Sir? There isn't a main number for the building. Each office has it's own phone number. **there is a main office, but the number I have is for tenants only.**

IE: Oh... no number? Is there an [ethnic] restaurant there?

Me: Yes. In the lobby.

IE: It's right beside it, Broadway something.

Me: Do you know the name of the store?

IE: No, it's in the lobby **and I'm up a fair number of floors, you idiot**

** Puts IE on hold, answers other phone lines, tries to figure out what the name of the store downstairs is***

Me: Sorry, Sir, I don't know what the store is called. You'll have to figure that out first.

IE: But it's in the lobby, it's right there

Me: Yes, and I'm not

IE: So go look! I don't have 411 or a phone book **right, I'm going to ignore my work and phones and go downstairs because you're a lazy-assed mental midget? Welcome to the real world!**

Me: I'm sorry, Sir, but I cannot help you. Until you remember the name of the business or the person you dealt with, no one can help you. Have a good day, Sir.

[/end call]
Wednesday, March 1, 2006 at 1000pm
Random letters so my brain will shut up awhile.

Dear Sis,

I wish you hadn't mentioned my family in that e-mail. Can't explain why, but it rather picks me.

Dear Bob & Nancy,

Like my sis, I don't expect (and I really don't care) you to so much as acknowledge the e-mail. You've obviously made the decision to say "to hell" with your extended family and that's fine. It would have been nice to know why, but I'm not losing sleep over the matter. I do love the way you handled the boxes though; I guess picking up a phone book, dialing a phone and saying 'pick up your damn boxes' (hey, even snarling, barking, whining would have worked) was too much effort. Yeah, that pretty much got me to say 'Fuck you, too'.

Dear City of Vancouver,

I think it's great so many movies are filmed in this great city. However, someone in at City Hall needs a sharp kick in the head with my steel-toed boots!

The downtown core can be a challenge for the buses - people, cars, general idiocy. So why would you allow filming that blocks a bus route? One street over, there is no buses that uses the street. I think it's pretty damn obvious the moron in charge does not rely on transit and never bothered to consult a fucking transit map! I sincerely wish to run into the person in charge one day so I may shove a shard-covered transit pass up his/her ass.

Dear Teachers,

Fuck off and die.

Dear Manual,

I hate you. I know you're necessary, but I still hate you. General is up to twenty-four sections. The Finax section is thirty-two pages and not complete. There's yet another Agency missing from that section and I've no idea how to write it up. Tomorrow I must work on the Rbase section and I've no idea where to begin or how much detail to go into. That section alone could be upwards of eighty pages. And I haven't started the Quick Ref section. I wish you would write yourself.

Dear Boss,

Enough with the damn panicking! Holy shit, man, take a few pills, will ya? Ya, approvals have been or are expiring unused. This is totally normal, you just haven't seen it before. People have been called, made aware, and the ball is in their court. I despise harassing patients to come in, especially when they're from out of town. Thing happen, plans change, and they're not obligated to keep us advised. So calm down - your numbers for the year are still good, the bank account is still healthy. You're not feeling busy because Lab-Boy is doing more of your work.

Dear Television Executives,

Reality shows suck. You wonder why viewers abandon network TV for the cable channels? Take a look at your programming. How about a new thing next season - absolutely no singing, dancing, skating, dating, choosing, losing, or surviving anything shows? Just a thought from someone who has all but abandoned network TV because your programming sucks.

Ah... that feels much better.

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