Category Archives: Diary

My Dire-y 06/16/2015, For Cat People

As I approach the contraband laying on the floor in front of my favorite couch, I glance over at my kitties.  The guilty one is slowly slinking away with tail towards the floor.  Without a single word, I have found the guilty party.  I, of course, already knew this.  As cat owners, we all know who is guilty of what.  We know their personalities, their habits, their likes, and dislikes.  I know which cat (Gypsy) gets in the trash at night, and which one puts her toys in the water bowl (Gypsy), and who sneaks into the window curtains at night while I am asleep (both, but more Holly, and I can tell by which vertical blinds are pushed aside – they each have a particular spot), and which lady shits outside the box in protest (Holly; Gypsy actually goes behind Holly, and finishes the job of excrement coverage that Holly only gave paw-service to).  Yes, as cat people, we know who does what.

My downstairs trash can has (“Incorrect verb form after modal”, Fuck You, Grammar Nazi!) a rectangular piece of heavy cardboard, molded into a kind of garden planter shape.  It was part of the packing material from some computer equipment package or another……..probably.  It is exactly the proper size, when fitted upside-down inside the trash can, to snuggly fit inside, and bar access to the mostly paper and plastic trash hiding underneath.  Cats, being the resourceful and sneaky little bastards they are,  and Gypsy, an excellent example of the type, find such things to be a challenge to be overcome, rather than a “KEEP PAWS OUT!” sign.  Today it was a piece of cellophane, you know, the kind you pull off the outside of a new CD or DVD to get to the goods inside.  Cats just love this stuff.  The noise it makes while they pounce and chew only adds to their kitty-pleasure as they attack and destroy their hated foe.  To get at this little “toy”, I found that Gypsy had totally turned the blocking-block of cardboard upside-down, still resting inside the trash can.  I suppose she thought to hide the deed by not overturning the can, and by not digging the block completely out of the can.  But she failed to hide the plastic itself which was the real giveaway.

Yes, cats are much smarter and more resourceful than given credit for in the public eye.  I had taken to hiding the paper bag of cat food in the closet so that the little critters would not tear into the bag and spill cat food all over creation (my closet floor).  Now this closet, has the type of doors which fold onto themselves accordion style, and to the side when pulled from the center.  You know the type.  Thankfully one day, I spied Gypsy (yes, the naughtiest of the two) carefully reach her little white paw easily beneath the center of said door, and proceed to pull outward, opening the door.  Arrrgh, next I had to add a heavy weight in front of the center of the door, to keep them (you know who “them” are) from opening the door to the fascinating closet in which resides the desirable bag of cat food.

I have one of those plastic tubs, the kind you can get a gallon of ice cream in, from the grocery.  They are perfect for keeping dry cat food fresh, with a tight-fitting lid…air tight.  One morning I arose to an aborted attempt to get at the cat food.  somehow they had managed to get the lid off, and push the container off the counter and onto the floor.  Now, it wasn’t quite the mess you would expect.  Somehow, God only knows, the tub ended up upside-down on the kitchen floor, on an area rug in front of the sink.  All of the dry cat food was still inside the container, and resting on the rug, with not a single crumb outside the tub (or maybe they ate all the ones that were).  BUT…………………………………..this was not their last attempt.

I keep the tub towards the back of the counter, kinda in a corner.  One day, they managed to pull the tub out from the counter.  Then, they very carefully extracted the lid, and very neatly laid it upside-down on the counter behind the tub.

I am sure they had a feast that night!

Damn nosy-naughty-obstinate-stubborn-smartass-resourceful-stomach-driven-cute-little-furballs, full of headaches, fun, surprises, and even grudging shows of affection.  They manage to show just the right amount of love and innocence needed, to keep you from being mad at them for more than a millisecond.  Don’t try to tell me cats are not smart!  They know exactly how to emotionally manipulate their “human’s” to get exactly what they want (which, not surprisingly, is mostly always FOOD).

I growl and complain,

but love them just the same.

They know exactly when to crawl onto your lap, purr, and knead your leg (painfully), while manipulating and seducing you into scratching behind their ears, and with half-closed eyes, give a purrrrfect impression of a little companion who loves, adores, and desperately needs your love, affection, and attention – mostly in the kitchen.

No, don’t tell me cats are not freakin’ smart!

My Dire-y 06/15/2015, What Do I Do Now?

What on earth do I write about next, or now? I am at a minor impasse. It’s not writer’s block, I have ideas, but that’s not the problem. The things I want to write about are very serious, and will require a lot of focus and attention to produce. I grudgingly admit I don’t have any silly, humorous crap running around in my head right now….sorry everyone, I guess I haven’t been in a crazy mood lately. My mind has been on more serious stuff, like getting fit.

Here’s the deal – I have been laying around on my ass/couch doing nothing since June 2012 or before.  That is at the time I officially quit my last job and was in the process of waiting to be approved for Social Security Disability income.  Any muscle tone I had back then has surely now completely vanished.  But a friend and I have started to go swimming 2-3 times a week, so I am hoping to get back as much strength and muscle tone as I can through swimming.  If any of you be scoffers (imagine pirate accent here), as to the effectiveness of swimming as an exercise…bite me!  The last time (Friday) I came home from the pool, I was sore for two days, from just a few laps comprised of various strokes, walking (in, not “on water” 8*)-), and treading water (a little diving and swimming underwater too!).  I can definitely feel the difference.  So that’s what I’ve been up to lately, instead of writing more neat stuff which I know all of you are just on pins and needles, waiting for with bated breath….well, OK, you probably could care less, but you do seem to enjoy reading it when I manage to “pop it out”.

So, the ideas I have are all extremely controversial, and I am working up the courage to publish, as well as figure out how to present potentially inflammatory material to an unforgiving Internet public (in other words “troll bait”).  No matter what I say, many are going to disagree, and maybe even take offense.  One idea is for me to present my views on gun ownership and control in the good ole USA.  Ya, that should get some blood pumpin’ around here.  I am still holding on to a post about my spiritual beliefs, and reworking the format and presentation.  I probably need to make several posts out of it ’cause I don’t want to lose y’all who have short attention spans.  If that isn’t interesting enough for you, how about my views on abortion and pro-life/pro-choice?  Can you see now why I have not been cranking out the posts lately?  Half of the problem has been due to distraction and focussing on other things, and the other half is fear about how to present touchy subject matter in a way that won’t get me killed.  OK, maybe not killed, but without totally pissing everyone off, or starting a flame war.  (the good old days of the “alt” newsgroups, which some of you may be too young to know about.  God, now I really feel old).  So I hope this short, pathetic post will tide you over (ya, lots of clichés, gotta love ’em) till I post something really juicy!

You know, another thought just crossed my mind (WARNING: thoughts crossing my mind are definitely mostly sometimes maybe dangerous, or funny, or really stupid).  I can say with complete assurance, that the world would not be in the mess it’s in today, if all the governments would just ask me about things before making any decisions.  I’m really freakin’ smart about things like that.  In fact, why don’t we just get rid of all the stinkin’ governments, and money too while we’re at it, and just let me tell everyone the right way to do everything.  Ya, I’m really likin’ this idea, isn’t it great!  Nobody would go hungry, there would be food and drink in plenty for all, continuous celebration of life, recreational drugs for all, no more crime, everyone would be happy, Free Love would abound, and I might even get laid once in awhile!  Yes, the world might be in a DIFFERENT, worse mess, but it certainly would NOT be the SAME mess it is in today, Guaranteed!  Don’t you all agree with me on that? …hehe

In memory of beautiful, furry Kisa, may she rest in peace…

My Dire-y 06/03/2015, Pooped

Now that Holly the cat has your attention (cheap trick, I know.  She has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post).

I had a very good, and very tiring day today. I have a good friend that I have seen very seldom, for far too long. We definitely love each other, and each other’s company. Through a set of very unfortunate circumstances, she had to have her left leg amputated. I am sure it has been a terribly rough time for her, readjusting to life in a wheelchair, and learning to use a prosthesis. Right now she can only walk a short distance on it, but is diligently practicing to improve. We are somewhat similar in personality, at least in the fact that we are both intellectual, and snarky….very snarky. In fact, the word snarktankerous very perfectly describes my own personality.

One of the things she does for the pure pleasure of it is gardening, so off to Lowes we went for herbs, pots, and dirt….not just any dirt, but “special” dirt, specifically formulated with the greatest of care to maximize the quality of life for a few lucky plants. These plants should be exceedingly grateful that they are being tended by my long-time friend.

Now, in case you don’t know me from reading my past blog posts, I will tell you that I have a rare disorder which eats up my motor nerves, so I am now much weaker than I should be, and have muscle atrophy as a result. Most of the trouble is in my left hand/arm and right leg. If I fall, I cannot get up unless there is a chair, wall, or other object to grab and push on with my hands/arms because of the weakness of my legs. Also, my left hand is so weak that I have lost probably 85% of its normal function. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, I am extremely fatigued ALL the time. On bad days, I simply don’t have the energy to leave the house, and spend the day sitting on the couch, or sleeping.

Now why have I reminded you of all this? Well, it is relevant to my story, so relax, you will understand in a moment, I promise. Even when I go grocery shopping, by the time I get back home and have put everything in its proper place, it is all I can do to get my clothes changed, and make it to the couch. I am pooped for the rest of the day. So later, when we got back to her place and I had unloaded 4 bags of dirt, carrying them to where they needed to be, I was out of breath and my heart was beating strong and fast, from just that little bit of effort. I get worn out very quickly and easily.

But the story of my day is nowhere near over yet.  Backing up a tad bit…  She also wanted to check out a community center where they have fitness equipment and a huge pool. She has been wanting to swim in the strongest of ways for quite some time. So we got there and checked out the pool which was enormous! There was a water slide along with several sections of poolage which all kinda ran together as one. It was gorgeous! Now, since I am on disability, and have a Humana Medicare plan which will pay for a membership at a fitness place that supports the Silver Sneakers program, AND I had been thinking for a long time about how much I love to be in water….long story short – I now have a completely paid-for (not directly by me) membership. It was her intention from the start to get a membership for herself, so…well…she did. Now this pretty much obligates me to take her there several times a week to swim. Seein’ as how I had been loathe to leave my house ’cause frankly, it just seemed like too damned much effort, I really could use the exercise and the time away from my man-cave. Also considering her need for a driver, it seems like a match made in heaven.  Who knows, maybe I can find a girlfriend there….hey, it could happen.

So, by the time I got back home, I was thoroughly pooped! It was a good day though, with some stimulating discussions. At some point, our snarkiness comes into full play as we lament the sorry state of our beloved government, and its fucking total mismanagement of the country, and total corruption, caused by selfishness, complete disregard for the divinity and sanctity of anyone not in their “club”, and their lust for money. Mostly the latter. Then we move on to snarkin’ about how, after all these millennia, and the social awareness that is present in the minds and hearts of so many people today, could there possibly still exist so many miscreants who are chomping at the bit to kill, torture, rape, enslave, control, and commit violence just for fun (more likely for cash)? We moan about our inability to stop wars, racism, and classism, and promote goodwill and brotherly/sisterly love. We agonize in vain for a way to convince people to simply value ALL human life equally and put an end to heinous animal cruelty, and to the masses of starving human beings (most especially the children), while the selfish “Scrouges” sit pretty in their castles counting out their incredible stash of the world’s money. This most terrible human injustice remains uncorrected while the “Beast” continues to have a field day, actively enslaving all humanity.

Yes, it was a VERY good day!

My Dire-y 05/23/2015, Saturn Day

Yes, here we are again.  It’s Saturn Day (Saturday), the last day of the week, the Sabbath, the day God rested from the work of creation.  Saturn is the planet of Inertia, where things just passively continue along the last path they were travelling, through the power of built-up energy.  Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, the day they are to do no work, the Holy day.

Christians worship the first day of the week, Sun Day (Sunday, bet you didn’t guess that one, haha) because they are Sun/Son worshippers.  On the “Tree Of Life” of Jewish mysticism, the Sephira Tiphareth (the central one of the 10 circles on the “Tree”) represents the both Sun, and the Christ, it’s color is yellow.  It is the sphere of the Messiah, Son of God, the central Ego, the Sun, Jesus, the Christ Consciousness within us all, that spirit which encourages us ever upward to higher spiritual attainment.  But we were talking about Saturday weren’t we.

Yes, I like Saturday.  Most of us do.  Cats were especially created for Saturdays.  Everything just drifts along on the power of the week.  A day of rest and relaxation is a fitting end to each week of work and business, biz-ness, monkey business.  Since my cats tend to sleep most of the day anyway, they feel right at home on Saturday.  This is the day where people start thinking about all the “stuff” they could/should be doing, and say, “to hell with it, I’m going to relax, drink a beer, and watch TV”.  This is the day on which it is proper to take exactly that attitude.  I think I will just join right in…. 8^)

Happy old-school Sabbath, everyone!

 

My Dire-y 05/21/2015, All B 4 Lunch

Great day today!  Not.  My plumber who was supposed to show up between 8am and 10am, didn’t.  My Internet went down, or out, or down AND out around 11am and is still out.  So I am using my smartphone for this post (well, not much else to do).  And my cat, Holly, decided to deposit her lunch all over my couch.  All this before noon.

Wonder what the rest of the day has in store?  Has the bad energy blown itself out, or will inertia carry it through the rest of the day?  Let’s see,  Thursday is Thor’s day, so that means Jupiter, the “Great Beatific” is in charge.  That is generally a good thing…then again, maybe a little trouble is exactly what I need most today (who can follow the purposes of the Universe).  Saturn, the planet of inertia, is in charge of Saturday (Saturn day, get it?) so maybe I will be OK.  Maybe I should consult an astrologer, or psychic?  Na, I’m good.

So I hope all of you (all 29 of you) are having a great day.  Without my Internet, I am reduced to posting, checking email, and watching really old shows on standard, over-the-air TV.  I got rid of cable TV about a year ago, ’cause I didn’t watch it that much, and I needed to save money (especially so I can blow it on new tech “toys”).  Hey, we only live once, and I really don’t need natural gas service during the summer, do I?  They won’t mind if I have it turned off till late fall, will they?   $+)

I am liking my new smartphone.  I can pretty much do everything I can do with my other computers (just not as easily, especially with my poor eyesight).  When the wi-fi goes out, 3G-4G will do the job.  The only thing, see, is that web surfing can eat up my monthly quota of 1GB of data per month really fast like.  Once you go past that, we’re talkin’ big money for any extra data above that.  So…that’s why I said that I am limited in what I can do without my wi-fi Internet service.

Well, at 12:30pm, just now, the wi-fi came back on.  Things are looking up!  Maybe Jupiter was just lazy this morning, or in the john (“loo” for you Brits) with the sh*ts.  Whatever, I’m getting interested in this show on TV and typing on this teensy weensy keyboard is getting old, so……later…..

My Dire-y Blog 05/17/2015, Oops, Fell Again

I had been doing pretty well. I had not fallen in a couple years, but my luck did not hold out. I sort of tripped on one leg of a camera tripod, stumbled a few steps towards my entertainment center, and boom! I landed sort of on my left side and knee with my right arm hitting the entertainment center. It hurt pretty bad for about 10 minutes while I just sat/lay there on the floor. When I felt up to trying to get up off of the floor, I used a Lazy-Boy recliner for leverage and slowly made it to my feet. I have some scrapes on my left elbow and right knee, and my right arm feels like I might have pulled a muscle, but I guess I will be OK. I expect I will hurt more than normal for a few days.

My rare neural disorder, Multifocal Motor Neuropathy (MMN) has killed off many of the nerves in my arms and legs, leaving them all weaker than they should be. My left arm/hand and right leg are especially weak. Without something to lean my arms against, I can no longer stand up from the floor without help. Also, for whatever reason, this disorder has played havoc with my sense of balance so that any slight bump or unexpected dip or rise in the yard, sidewalk, street, etc. is sometimes enough to knock me off my feet. I guess I have gotten used to being so careful walking that I have stayed on my feet for a couple of years. There was a time in the past where I was falling several times a year. Once I even fell down the stairs. Anyway, this is just another aspect of MMN I deal with on a daily basis.

One reason for writing this post is simply to document the occurrence for myself, because otherwise I would forget what happened when. I have started to be more careful about documenting because I know my mind is for sh*t these days. Probably goes along with the severe fatigue and other symptoms I have. Also, there are thousands, maybe millions, of people out there who deal with similar, and worse symptoms of diseases and disorders out there day after day. We never hear about them because they keep to themselves, for the most part, suffering in silence. Normal, healthy people have no clue how many of us have these challenges to cope with every day because they never hear about us. So, that is another reason for writing, so that others can become a little more aware of their fellow human beings on a little more personal level. I hope that greater awareness will lead to greater tolerance, understanding, and compassion. Remember, just because a person does not LOOK sick, does not mean they feel OK.  They could be hurting terribly without showing it, and maybe are not able to do everything a healthy person can.

Choose to be a caring, loving human being instead of yet another selfish asshole. There are way too many assholes, and not enough kind people in the world!

My Dire-y 05/09/2015, Update – TaxACT is TaxJAC’T

I am unhappily writing an update to my dire-y entry from 04/15/2015. I just received a letter from the Ohio Department of Taxation informing me of an error in my tax return. Evidently TaxACT reported $0 for line 9 – exemption credit, which should have been $20. So, the result is that I paid the State $15, when I really owed nothing in taxes. So much for their “lowest tax payment” and “correctness” guarantees.

Now, in Ohio, EVERYONE gets at least one exemption for themselves, and the Ohio tax instructions for line 9 – exemption credit state:

” If Ohio taxable income is less than $30,000, multiply your total number of personal and dependent exemptions by $20 and enter on line 9.”

OK, simple and straightforward enough.  Well, my Ohio taxable income was next to nothing since I am on Social Security disability, and my disability income is not taxable income for me, in Ohio. Therefore, my Ohio taxable income was most definitely less than $30,000!  Since EVERYONE gets at least ONE exemption, I therefore obviously qualify for the $20 exemption amount, TaxACT should have included $20 on line 9 of my return….but they didn’t.

Now, if they had made an error on a line in which there were a murky or debatable definition of the correct amount, it would be somewhat understandable. However, this was a cut-and-dry definition, not subject to interpretation, so the error made is such a blatant one. This is such a simple thing, which has been exactly the same for many years, so I am really dumbfounded.

Since I know my tax situation is rather simple (in fact, I usually enter the data manually myself on Ohio eFile), I trusted that a major tax preparation software company would most definitely do it right. I am frankly quite shocked to discover that they allowed such an obvious error slip past. Ya, ya, I know I am supposed to check their work, I don’t want to hear a lecture about it. But really, if I wanted to go to that effort, I would have done it myself. Since I did not care to put that much effort into it, because I don’t HAVE the energy to put into worrying about doing all those calculations manually, I decided to pay someone else to worry about it for me. I put in the correct numbers (which I did) – and it spits out the “guaranteed” lowest amount of taxes possible.  That’s the way it is supposed to work….Ya, right!

Obviously, I will not be using TaxACT any more to do my taxes, and unfortunately, I can no longer recommend TaxACT to anyone else either.

<dripping sarcasm alert>

I just felt such a tremendous burning desire and keen sense of duty and social responsibility to let everyone know exactly what happened.  So, I just HAD to produce this update!

(You know how much I just LOVE to b*tch….well at least you do now!).

Mark