More Than You Bargain For

Forgive me Internet, for I have sinned.  It has been eleven days since my last post.  In the last eleven days, I’ve been so busy, doing nothing, I can’t even tell you… Except, that’s kind of what I’m here for.  To tell you.  What I’ve been so busy.  Not doing.  It’s all very confusing.

In the last few days it’s come to my attention, on two separate occasions that I’m a liar.  Well, not a liar, exactly, just not entirely truthful.  One person, who barely knows me, but with whom I’m developing a new friendship, and another person who does know me but who I haven’t seen in a long time have each asked me how I’m doing, what’s new, what’s going on in my life.  On both occasions, I started to answer them with my standard answer:  “Oh, you know, nothing much.  Same ole same ole.  Just working.”

Before I let the words escape my lips, or my finger tips in one case, though, I stopped myself and thought for a moment about the true answer to those questions.  And I thought about something Deb said to me once about how I don’t allow intimacy to happen.  I tend to not let people in.  So I did.  I answered them both honestly… and they both ran away screaming as if their hair was on fire.  OK, fine.  That isn’t true.  But I always fear that is what will happen and I often think that when I do tell the truth they’re secretly thinking, “Oh God, oh God, oh God!  Why did I ask???”

Anyway, the truth is there’s so much stuff going on in my life and in my head right now that I’m finding it very difficult to actually accomplish anything.  Why is it that when we’ve got things pressing on us, we’d rather just shut down and put it all off until it becomes even more stressful than it already was?  Anyone else do that?  No?  Just me?  OK, then!  Moving on.

A lot of what’s going on with me just goes back to the age old question of balance, trying to fit it all in and garner some sense of satisfaction and fulfillment out of life.

A few of the staff in my office and I are taking a High Rise Fire Safety Director Certification class.  There are enough of us doing it that they send the instructor to us and the class is Tuesday mornings here at my office building.  But it is a full fledged Continuing Education course with homework assignments each week.  Next Tuesday we have a Mid-Term test.  At the end of the class which will be June 29, we have a Final Exam.  On June 15 I have a three page term paper due and on June 22 I have to give an oral presentation about it to the class.  The instructor keeps telling us that you have to work pretty hard to fail this class, but it’s bringing up a lot of old anxieties about my ability to perform properly in an educational setting.  (I’m one of them new fangled, non-traditional learners, who doesn’t always do so well with classroom teaching.)  This anxiety is also feeding into my next topic for discussion.

I took the plunge and am officially enrolled in an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course at the local Community College.  It begins on August 23 and goes through late December.  This class will be Monday and Wednesday evenings after work, three hours each night, one and half hours of Lecture and one and a half hours of Lab.  Michelle’s older sister is going to take the class with me and she’s actually taken it before (she let her certification lapse so she has to take it again) so it’ll be nice to a) have someone in the class that I know and 2) have someone that can help me if I get lost.  (Also, she’s eight years older than I am so I know I won’t be the oldest person in the class.)

Before the class starts though, I have to have two separate Tuberculosis (TB) skin tests and the first two of three Hepatitis B vaccination injections.  I also have to have taken Standard First Aid (I’m currently certified in Basic First Aid) and CPR for Medical Professionals (currently certified in Basic Adult CPR).  I’ve gotten the first TB test and the first Hep B shot (something I never wanted to do) and have to go back on June 18th, for the next round.  Fortunately, my health insurance covers the shots and tests and my employer is going to pay for the First Aid/CPR training and my textbooks.  For some reason I’m not being charged tuition for the class.

I have a number of relatively small deadlines looming over me with regard to my normally uninteresting, uneventful job.  I’m working on a Newsletter for the Emergency Response Program I run and I have a self-imposed deadline of June 10th for it to be done.  I have yet to create my contribution to the newsletter because I don’t know how much room there will be for it (It’s a game section).  I have begun the layout process and have yet to receive two articles that are supposed to go into it.  While June 10th is my deadline, there’s an absolute, drop-dead date of June 15th, because I want to distribute it at a Floor Warden Meeting the morning of the 16th.

I need to make some acquisitions for the Emergency Response Program.  They’re not even large acquisitions or tremendously difficult to accomplish, they just take a little effort and I haven’t found the time and the gumption at the same time to make those happen.  The High Rise Fire Safety Director class we’re taking is pointing out a number of procedural changes that need to be made in our program and while my manager is in agreement with the need for changes, getting him pinned down to discuss and agree upon the changes and then implement them is another matter.

My Google Reader has been filling up.  It’s probably more information than you want to know that I only seem to find time, lately, to read that while I’m on the toilet, but I want to try and keep up with all the blogs I read and finding the time for it has been a bit tough of late.  The “good” news is that I’ve been spending more time in said reading position lately, because my knee got infected from my recent trip and I was taking an anti-biotic for it which came with a not so lovely side effect, which the doctor told me would probably happen and just to “muscle through it.”  Fortunately, I took the last of that course of anti-biotics today so now I will hopefully start feeling better in that regard.

I allowed the discomfort of my knee to stop me exercising for the last three weeks now.  It finally feels better (still a bit of a sore but it doesn’t hurt any longer) and I’m recommitting myself to getting fit starting tomorrow.  I’m going to do the Couch to 5K program that I think I’ve mentioned before.  I have an iPhone app that makes it really simple and I had already completed the first week of the program when I had my fall.  So starting Monday I’m going to start that program from the beginning.  The program is nine weeks long so by the first week of August I should be able to run 30 minutes uninterrupted. The rest of the time, I’ve got the pre-prescribed weight lifting program from the Abs Diet program I’m still using.  (By the way, if anyone is keeping track, I’m down to 259 pounds – 50 pounds from a year-ish ago.)

Things are a bit chaotic at home too.  Because of my intent to be healthy, I am making a point of making food and bringing it with me to work.  So everyday, when I leave work, which tends not to be as early as I want it to be, I have a regimine I have to follow when I get home:

  • Change my clothes
  • Feed the cat
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Prepare food for the following day
  • Prepare dinner for that night (by now it’s after 8:00 and I shouldn’t be eating so late)
  • Eat dinner
  • Iron clothes for the next day

I’m still trying to maintain my determination to put less priority on television, but I have programs piling up in my DVR.  Plus there are some shows that need to be watched before Twitter or some other internet outlet spoils them for me.  Dancing with the Stars and The Biggest Loser are two such shows and wouldn’t you know, they’re two hour shows that end late (And the DWTS Results Show interferes with The Biggest Loser)  Fortunately, they’re both over for the season but they’re going to be back in September and that’s going to be tough, with my class being on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My house is a mess and in desperate need of cleaning.  Fortunately, this is a long week-end and, at least in this regard, it’s fortunate that I don’t have plans with Lil’B this week-end so I can get caught up on some of these things.  Tomorrow night I’m going with some friends/acquaintances/complete strangers to see Sex And The City 2, and I’ll have to do some grocery shopping this week-end but other than that I have no specific plans.

I’ve been absolutely exhausted lately.  Trying to get to bed at a reasonable time, but somehow, it usually ends up being between 11:00 and midnight and then I have to get up “early” for work.  That hasn’t been working out terribly well and on Wednesday this week, I was actually later than can be considered acceptable.  We have our staff meeting on Wednesdays at 9:30 and I didn’t get to work until about 9:35.  Fortunately, K was going to be in late from a dental appointment and the meeting was canceled, but I didn’t know that and there’s no excuse for being that late when I know there’s something happening I need to be around for.

With all the deadlines and pressures I’m feeling I’m finding it difficult to focus on anything and buckle down to get the work done.  I have looked at the dashboard for my blog everyday, and everyday, I think, “I need to write something.”  But I don’t even try, because I know it will take a while to do and I should be spending that time on some of these other things I’ve outlined, only I manage to pitter the time away doing nothing at all instead and it’s really rather frustrating.  I haven’t had time to even look at my book for weeks.  I managed to push through the road block I had been stuck with and I’m ready to move forward with the story, but I’m having a hard time finding the time to focus on the task and get the work done without interruptions or distractions.  My creativity is being thoroughly stifled and I’m finding that difficult to accept.

And as if that weren’t enough stress in my life, things are getting tough with Mischa.  He is hovering right around his 18th birthday.  Since I found him abandoned the summer before my senior year in high school, I can’t know exactly how old he was, or when he was born, but the vet then told us he was about 10 weeks old.

Mischa has always been a little bit of a disciplinary/behavioral problem.  I frequently had problems with him urinating on carpeting.  It was fairly typical territorial marking behavior, I think, but it still happened.  I did the best I could to control his opportunities (I learned early on, not to leave blankets, rugs or other fabric items out for him to soil.  I did my best to limit his temptation) but it happened.  Everywhere I’ve ever lived he has peed on the carpet and all I could do was discipline him and do my best to clean it up.  When I was looking for my current apartment, I specifically wanted an un-carpeted apartment.  I looked at a place that had ceramic tile floors through-out.  I liked the place but it didn’t work out.  And then I found my current apartment and it has hard wood floors and I thought it was perfect…

For a long time it was perfect.  But, as they say, all good things must end.  I had purchased a carpet covered cat tree for him so he’d a have a kitty suitable place to lie.  One day he peed on the bottom layer of the cat tree and some of it ran over onto the floor.  I did my best to clean it up, but he did it a few more times so I got rid of the cat tree.  He kept peeing on the floor, so I disciplined him, scrubbed the floor, used an order neutralizing product on it and pushed a cedar chest into that corner of the room.  He peed on the cedar chest and on the floor in front of it.  (All of this happens when I’m not around, by the way.)

Finally, I had no choice but to restrict his access.  I have a pocket door that separates the kitchen/dinette from the rest of the apartment and his litter pan and bowls were in the dinette already, so when I left the house and when I went to bed at night, I would put him in there and close the door, hoping for the best.  Every morning when I got up and every evening when I came home, I opened the door, from which he would shoot like a bolt of lightening and I would grab the broom to sweep all the litter he had scattered around into a pile to clean up… twice a day, every day.

About two and a half weeks ago, he peed in front of the back door, less than two feet from his litter pan.  I disciplined him.  I cleaned it up.  I put down the odor neutralizer.  I hoped for the best.  And the next time I sprung him, I found the puddle right back where it had been.  Every time I released him from the kitchen for ten days I found his puddle of pee at my back door.  For the first time in his life, I started to hate him.  I couldn’t over-look his poor behavior.  I couldn’t make any kind of excuses.  I was getting angry at him.  I didn’t know what to do and for the first time in my life, I contemplated whether euthanasia was an acceptable solution to this problem.  I nipped that thought in the bud right away because as much as I hate what he’s done to my environment and my landlords property, I can not accept that killing him for misbehavior is a solution.  But I was stuck.

Finally the last realistic solution came to me and last Friday after work, I bought a cage for him to live in when I’m not home.  It’s big enough to hold his litter pan and his bowls with some space between them, though he tends to move the bowls close to the litter pan and then scatter litter over them.  Now every day, I come home and have to sweep the litter he still manages to scatter out of the cage into a pile, let him out of the cage and then clean up the cage and bowls before I can feed him dinner.  It’s still taking a lot of work for me, and he hates being in the cage, but at least he’s not peeing on the floor anymore.

I’ve been watching him closely to see if he shows signs of being sick.  He still get’s around fine.  He still can jump up on my lap, when I finally am able to sit down in my chair, without difficulty.  He doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with him.  And yet, I have an uneasy feeling.  I sense that we’re running out of time.  I have thought that before and it turned out to be wrong and maybe this time will be wrong too.

But I feel badly, because in a way…  I’m ready for him to go.

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2 thoughts on “More Than You Bargain For

  1. I’m sorry about the problems you’re having with Mischa. I’m sure a lot of this can be attributed to age. And believe me, I understand how frustrating it is to have to constantly clean up after him. As much as I loved Holly, it was beginning to feel like a burden when she was sick to have to constantly be on the look-out for her accidents and having to clean them up. Tigger is younger and still healthy, but he displays some of the behaviors you described (peeing in a basket of clean laundry if left unattended too long, etc…) so I think that may just be a “boy cat” thing. But 18 years… that’s a long time even for a cat. Just keep an eye on him. You’ll know when there’s something to know.

    • I’m sure you’re right about some of this being a “boy cat” thing. We never wanted boy cats for that reason. My mother’s older cat, Muppet, was a boy, but he never behaved this way. He was the first cat in the house and maybe that has something to do with it, but I would have thought that when my mother’s second cat came along he would’ve become territorial and peed (he did become grumpy.)

      Mischa has ALWAYS peed in the wrong places from time to time, but I always thought if I removed the temptation/target areas maybe he’d stop. Mostly, I think I just don’t want to face the idea that this is specifically age related. 😦

      Last year when we were at the vet and I looked at the chart on their wall, he was 17 and the chart said that equates to about 86 years old for humans. I know he’s “old” and I am definitely watching him for signs. My biggest worry at this point is being blind to the signs out of denial. But I know the time is coming and that’s really going to suck (even if I am relieved not to have to clean up after him anymore.)

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