lighterthanair: Rupert Giles in a magic hat (mine is a magic hat)
Since my roommate went camping yesterday and won't be back until Thursday, I've designated these days full of alone time to be my own personal readathon. So far I'm almost finished with Mike Carey's The Steel Seraglio (highly underappreciated piece of speculative historical fiction, I might add), and will probably be able to finish the last half of Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death (which I've been on-and-off reading for months now and really ought to finish up) before the end of the day.

Tomorrow, I'm probably going to end up tackling the second half of Michael Sullivan's Theft of Swords. I read the first half last year, and while it didn't wow me as much as some people had led me to believe it would, I hear the series gets so much better as it goes on and I'd like to give it a chance to improve.

The city's been stuck in the middle of a heat wave for the past few days now, and it's oppressively hot and all I want to do is lie still all day. Which works out well for reading, at least. But even though it cools down a bit at night, the breeze goes away too, so nighttime isn't much more bearable than daytime. I'm hoping for a bit of rain soon that might break the heat. I've never tolerated heat like this very well.

The cats seem to be doing well through it, due in part to hyper-vigilence after one of them got sick last year around this time. In addition to making sure they get plenty of fresh cool water to drink and wet food to keep their hydration decent, they also get a plates filled with ice cubes made from frozen low-sodium chicken broth. Most of them like it, and it serves the double use of cooling them down and getting more liquid into them. And for the ones who don't like that so much, well, I'm being creative with getting water into them, so it all works out in the end.

It's harder to remember to drink enough for myself, though, since I get so easily distracted by what I'm doing and don't remember to drink anything for hours. I'm trying to take a brief break every hour or so just to make sure I drink even half a glass of something, and maybe it's just my imagination, but I think doing that is helping me deal with the heat far better than I normally would.

You'd think I'd have learned tricks like this long before the age of 29, but, well, there you have it.
Tomorrow's Friday, and 5:30 tomorrow afternoon can't seem to come fast enough. This week has been a slow one. Not a bad one, but just one that feels like it's been dragging its heels. I'll be happy when the weekend comes and I don't have to worry about work for a few days, and so can relax a little.

Tomorrow isn't going to be any easier. It's the class's graduation, so everyone's ordering Chinese food to celebrate, only I can't because I haven't even been back long enough to have gotten a paycheque yet. Also, half the class gets time off tomorrow to donate blood, which I would do if not for the fact that my blood isn't good enough.

I write that with no small amount of bitterness. Because I've been in the UK for more than 6 months since 1980 (I was born there in 1984 and moved to Canada in 1990), I can't donate blood. The whole Mad Cow scare, you see. And I understand, to a degree, why they do that. They can't guarantee that my blood wouldn't transmit the problem to somebody else. But my biggest problem with it is that somebody could have eaten a contaminated burger during a stopover in Heathrow airport and been exposed to it and they're still allowed to donate blood. The chances are slim, yes, but they're still there. Either way, I can't donate, as much as I want to and have wanted to for years.

I have many issues with the regulations imposed by Canadian Blood Services, in truth, and that's only one of them. But I don't feel like going into extreme detail right now. Maybe some other day.

I have enough paper strips cut, I think, to make about 10 bracelets this weekend, and that's assuming that I don't spend some time tomorrow evening cutting more. Is it sad that I find cutting paper to be really relaxing? I suppose I could have worse relaxing hobbies. At least this one lets me do something productive, and might help make me a few extra bucks.

Halfway done Jo Anderton's Suited. It seems all the positives and negatives from the first book are still here in the second. The imagery is very clear, the characters are fairly compelling, but the foreshadowing is very heavy-handed, and some things become obvious long before they really ought to. Still, I'm enjoying the story, and I'm getting through it at a decent pace, considering that I've really only been reading at work on my breaks and lunch. Well, also on the bus there and back, too.

Nick's still doing well, and I hope he continues that way. His antibiotics finished a day ago, and so far he's only been listless again when it's a hot day, like it was today. Opening a few windows and turning a fan on seemed to help with this a lot. He's still eating, drinking, and using the litter box. I'm really hoping that he's fully recovered from whatever was wrong with him. But I'll still be watching him closely for the next while, to be sure.

I have so much work to do on my blog this weekend. My book blog still has a ton of dead links, I need to redo the reviews list, create a new one so that they're organized by title instead of just by author, update the list of books I've received for review, and type up 5 reviews and schedule them for the coming week. Week and a half, really, is probably what I can get away with. I'm definitely going to make some time for this on Saturday or Sunday. I've let that stuff lie for too long, and I need to give that blog the attention it deserves. It may not be making me any money, but I still want to put forward a somewhat professional appearance so that I can make a good impression on any authors or publishers that drop by. It could make the difference between getting a review copy of a book I've been drooling over, and not.

And now I think it's a good time to sign off, feed the cats, and climb into a comfortable bed. Only one more day of work to go before the weekend!

Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!
It smells like someone is cooking something delicious in another apartment. The smell makes me hungry, but I'm too nervous about tomorrow to really want to eat anything right now.

Tomorrow, I go back to work. I've gotten the last form signed that they need signing, a note from my psychiatrist saying that yes, I really do have appointments on Monday mornings, and there's nothing that can keep me away from work anymore.

I'm nervous about going back because now I've been gone longer than I was there to start with. And where initial training was 14 weeks, they expect me to cram that into 4 weeks of refresher training, 2 of those weeks being ones in which I take calls. So roughly 8 weeks of classroom material must be relearned in 2 weeks. So far management is the only one who's confident that I can do that. I have real doubts about it.

Also, I have to go in there tomorrow and stand up for myself. Their return-to-work action plan essentially has things worded so that if people around me notice that I'm nervous, and it makes them nervous, I can be sent home without pay. It's unlikely, but it's possible. Among other things. I showed their list of rules and requirements to my psychiatrist today and even he thought that what they were demanding was ridiculous. And he's right; I have to go in there and tell them so (in stronger words than I did last time) and negotiate a fair deal. What they're doing to me now amounts to discrimination based on an assumed disability, and that goes against the guidelines in the Human Rights Act for this province.

Convincing them of that is going to be the challenge.

So I'm trying to spend the rest of the evening thinking about things that have nothing to do with work.

I finished The Kingdom of Gods earlier this afternoon, and was blown away by the ending. I'm going to have to really work at a review of it. Some things just transcend words, or at least my ability to use them.

Strange, though, that I can find precious little slash fiction for that fandom. Honestly, there are plenty of opportunities for it. Most of them canon! Of course, if many fanfic writers are anything like me, trying to write anything for such a well-done universe would be a daunting task.

I decided to follow that book up with something lighter, and started on Insurgent, even though I really ought to be reading one of my review copies. I just really wanted to read this one. Hopefully I can get through it quickly. It starts in pretty much immediately after the last book ended, and in such a way that it feels like just a new chapter in the same book. Good if you've just finished reading Divergent, less good if you haven't. But hopefully the rest of the story will pull me in enough to make me forget the awkward opening.

Nick seems to be feeling better today, which is nice. I had the awkward task of giving him his evening antibiotic pill, which he wasn't happy about, but it could have been worse. Later he'll get his tolfedine to help with the fever and inflammation. He seems to be enjoying the strained squash mixed with his wet food more and more each time he eats it, so hopefully that will help with his bowel problem, too. I've got my fingers crossed for him making a proper recovery this time.

My arthritic finger is throbbing right now, so this might be a good time to stop typing and go give it some rest before the dark clouds break open and the rain starts to fall. There's still time to read some more before bed, too.
Nick's fever is back. I'm going to have to get him back to the animal hospital soon, and just hope that I've got enough money for the blood tests, and then hopefully enough money on top of that for whatever the treatment will be.

Edit - I called the emergency line for the animal hospital. They deem his fever to be an emergency situation. I can bring him in to the on-call clinic, but the consultation fee alone will be $150. That's twice the price of a normal vet appointment. I guess the concept of affordable pet health care comes second to being able to gouge the bank accounts of those who love their furry companions enough to want them to stay alive.

I can't afford that. I can't afford double the regular fee. I can't even afford the regular fee right now!

If work had allowed me back two and a half months ago, when I brought them the first note from my doctor clearing me to work again, I might be able to afford it. But because they dicked around, I'm beyond broke, and can't afford to make sure my cat gets treatment in an emergency situation.

The moral of the story is that nobody should ever have pets unless they're rich, I guess. And you should never have bad luck in your life that could cause you to go from being rich to not being rich. And you should only own pets that will be 100 healthy until the day they die.

Fuck, I am so fucking angry right now!
I normally would scoff at the saying, "It never rains but pours," since much like Richard Adams said in Watership Down, it often rains without pouring. But these past few days have made me reconsider a little bit.

It's no secret that I'm broke, because my workplace has delayed my return for about two and a half months now. So this is one of the worst possible times to have a sick pet.

So naturally, that was what happened. Nick got quite ill the other night, after I realized that he hadn't had anything to eat or drink that day, and when he went to the litter box, he was showing signs of a partial intestinal blockage. Thinking that it might be heat stroke that was complicating his digestion, I turned the fan on to cool him down, and tried to give him water via one of those little needleless syringes, but he threw it back up within five minutes.

I slept fitfully that night.

In the morning he was no better, his eyes seemed sunken, and his nose was dry, chapped, and also sunken in. I rushed him to the vet, who told me that he had a high fever and that his belly felt tender, but she couldn't be sure because Nick's a large cat to start with, and obese, so that didn't make feeling his abdomen easy. She gave him something to bring down the fever, gave him fluids subcutaneously, and recommended blood tests to try to get to the underlying cause.

I couldn't afford the blood tests. I had to borrow money to afford the vet's appointment, since I found out too late that they no longer do billing and require payment in full. The receptionist there empathized with me, saying that they wouldn't even extend credit or billing to her, and she'd worked there for years.

Nick's doing better now. He's eating and drinking more (though still not eating much), his temperature's back to normal, and I think he might have made a trip to the litter box last night while I slept. He's got more energy, at any rate, and is back to being bright-eyed and mischievious, though still less energetic than he was before. Not too surprised, since even if the worst of it's passed, sometimes it can take even humans a while to feel fully better after illness.

I'm keeping a close eye on him. I'm tempting him with the best food I can buy, making sure he drinks a decent amount, and checking his temperature to make sure his fever stays down.

I still want to get him blood tests, because if this wasn't just a nasty case of heat stroke, then there's an underlying cause and I need to get to the bottom of it. I designed a lace scarf pattern to try to raise funds for Nick's vet bills, and so far people have been amazingly generous with helping out, but I've still got a little way to go before I have enough money.

Nick's resting right now, and things seem to have returned to a more normal state. I'm still concerned, but not as terribly worried as I was a few days ago, so now I feel that I can take a bit of rest myself. I'm going to relax for a little while with some reruns of House, and maybe a little bit of sewing.
I feel like a bitch right now.

I fostered a pregnant cat a few months ago. The kittens, all four of them, are happy and healthy and old enough to be adopted out to their (hopefully) forever-homes. There's only one problem with this.

My mother wants one.

My mother is, shall we say, not the most responsible person I have come across. She has, while trying to leave my father, come back to this city, gotten a job, made plans, and then run away with my father without telling anybody, deliberately hiding from those who try to contact her so that she doesn't have to face her responsibilities. I am one of the people she hid from. Multiple times. I considered myself lucky when she sent me an email full of lies about why she was leaving again, because at least then she acknowledged that she was leaving.

I once got cats, when she was living with me. She and I agreed to care for them together. She insisted, because she didn't want them in her room at night and because she refused to sleep with her bedroom door closed, that they be locked in the bathroom each night when she went to bed. She eventually got tired of having to care for them and told me to find them a new home.

I have them back now, of course. She no longer lives with me, and no longer has any say in what happens to them.

But now she wants one of the kittens. While it isn't solely my decision, I told her that I didn't recommend it. She's on unemployment right now and doesn't have a job. She lives in a shared apartment that she wants to leave soon in favour of getting her own apartment, and people rent that other room quite often, and the cat she wants is more shy than the others and isn't as cuddly. Her landlord doesn't allow cats, either, but she planned to beg him for one and say that she would stay there on a long-term basis so he would have guaranteed income from her if he'd only let her adopt.

I told her my reasons for discouraging this desire of hers. I phrased it as politely and diplomatically as I could, and she said that she'd abandon the idea for now, but I feel awful about what I did and said. I feel like I crushed her dream, like I might have made her cry. I know it was the right thing to do, not just for her sake but for the sake of the kitten she wanted to adopt, but knowing that I very likely hurt her makes me want to curl up and cry, until all my frustration and guilt is gone. But it doesn't go away so easily. From experience, that guilt will stay with me for months, maybe longer, far beyond what's necessary or even logical for me to feel it.

In many ways, I wish that she wasn't such a foolish and irresponsible woman. Then I might have been glad to help her adopt a kitten of her own, and I would be able to stay in contact with something I have helped raise since birth. But that dream can't be realized here, and in order to protect everybody involved, I had to be hurtful and say that which I didn't want to have to say.

I know that doing the right thing can be hard sometimes. I only wish it didn't have to hurt so very much.

Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!Adopt one today!

September 2015

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