A Sad Time in the Household

I suppose all of you can very well figure out what this blog will be referencing. If not, please let me know which rock you're under so I can climb underneath it with you and forget this for a while.

Sunday afternoon at about 2 or 3:00, I got up and took some trash outside and left the back door open for a minute like I usually do. I got finished, came back inside, and didn't see Jack for the rest of the night. I figured he was upstairs or under the futon sleeping.

Monday morning I got up and went for work. Jack always meets me at the top of the stairs when I come out of the bedroom from getting ready for work. He talks to me, follows me downstairs, gets a bit of attention, wants food, and I go off to work - usually. I went downstairs and checked his foodbowl. It was full, so I figured he was fine. Later that morning, Josh called me and said, "Jack's not here. I've taken the bag of treats all over the house, shook it, called his name - he's not anywhere in this house." He called me back later to tell me Jose and Aaron didn't recall seeing him that evening when they stopped by for a bit, either. By the time I got home Monday afternoon, he'd already been gone over 24 hours. I drove around the neighborhood stopping every 100 feet or so and calling his name. I'm sure my neighbors thought I was crazy - that's ok. I never saw him.

Yesterday at work I made the fliers you see on my profile. I made copies. By the time I got back to town, he'd been gone 48 hours. On my way home, I stopped at every business within a mile radius of the house and posted the fliers, talked to some helpful people, and made my way to the house where I changed shoes and started hoofing through the neighborhood knocking door-to-door with my fliers and taping them to the doors of those who didn't answer. Last night I got a call at 9 p.m. "I'm over here in the Food Lion parking lot and I see a cat - I can't get close to it, so I can't tell if it's yours or not . . ." I high-tailed it there just to find out it was a little black and white cat, not Jack. But these folks had stayed, waited for me to get there, to keep the cat in sight until I made it. Bless them.

This morning at 4 a.m. I got a phone call. "I just got your flier - he's out here every day playing when it's not cold outside." I thanked him for the call. I knew that wasn't Jack. The guy that called lives one building down from me. I'd been calling all over the neighborhood two nights in a row. Jack responds to his name - and he didn't come. I appreciate his helpfulness, though. On my way into work at 7 a.m., I stopped by the Humane Society and filled out a form for my missing cat. I also found out about a website, petharbor.com, that lists all the animal shelters and what-not in the area and you can search for your pet. Jack hadn't been picked up, but now they know to look for him, too.

I haven't gotten any more calls. I was expecting to as people went through the day today and came home from work. I suppose that's the way it goes sometimes, but I'm heartbroken. I think that most of you understand that my cats are my children; I've never been one to think I'd be good with human children, and I've always half-way expected my cats to be my only children . . . Now one of my kids is missing.

As the weather changes again, I'm getting more concerned. It's rained all day, and if he's outside, I know he's miserable. Tonight thunderstorms are coming through with tornado warnings. It's going to get crazy and windy out there, and he's going to be scared - unless someone picked him up, and I don't know what to do other than what I'm already doing. I'm planning on calling vets on Friday to see if someone's brought in a stray cat to be vaccinated/checked out.

BabyGirl is showing more and more signs of separation anxiety with each passing day. She doesn't know where her brother is. These two haven't spent more than an hour without one another since Jose and I rescued them from Happy Tales Humane six years ago. Normally an extremely quiet, reserved cat, she is following us around the house on our heels, talking (squeaking) almost constantly, being glommy and attaching herself to our laps as much as possible. And her eating habits have changed; she's still eating, thank goodness, but not nearly like she normally does. I'm concerned for her, too, because as it's been discussed before - BabyGirl isn't BabyGirl without Jack, and Jack isn't Jack without BabyGirl.

Everyone - thank you for your well-wishes, your thoughts, your prayers, and your help if you're assisting. I really do appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

I'll be over here, trying to push away those feelings of impending doom.


Tagged! 2

Alright, Amy, you got your wish. You tagged me to list five strengths I have. I've listed five strengths here, and by damn – it's not a sign of arrogance, it's a sign of confidence!

1. I'm a great listener. Since I was a teen, my friends have come to me with all sorts of problems and issues because they knew I'd listen, offer advice if they asked, and could generally rationalize things pretty well. Most importantly, they knew I wouldn't jackknife the conversation or tell anyone else. Over the last couple weeks, I've actually been told much more often that I'm a good listener. More and more often I hear, "I normally don't tell people this, but for some reason I just want to talk to you." Well folks, as Fraiser Crane would say, "I'm listening."

2. I'm a better friend. Because of some of the things listed above, but not all, I am a great friend. I will never betray you. I will keep my promises to you. I can be a social jackass by not calling as much as I should, but my caring comes through when you need it most. Call me at 3 a.m. if you don't have anyone to talk to. Know that I'm non-judgmental and I'll hear your heart. I am someone to confide in when you have no one else.

3. My titties are better than yours. I feel vaguely bad about posting this here, but you have to understand that it took many, many years for me to be happy about me. For the longest I felt outcast whether that was the case or not, and the fact that I've matured into a lady whose physique is not necessarily sought after, but whose physique can be less than abominable, is one that makes me proud. And just because I say, "My tits are better than yours," I'm not saying mine are really better – I'm saying I'm proud of the rack I've got. Even more so, I'm trying to let all my lovely ladies know that you are BEAUTIFUL. You are stunning. You are gorgeous women. I am blessed to know some truly immaculate ladies – and you are the ones. I will do my best to convince you all of that one day.

4. I can usually be calm in crazy situations. Seriously, I can keep my cool. If something's going on and you need help, let me know. I'm not promising I can do anything but lend an ear, but either way, I'm there for you.

5. I work my ass off. In other words, I'm devoted – not just to my job and my responsibilities, but I'm devoted to those I love, also. I concentrate, I do my best, and I do my best to prove myself to (most importantly) myself and those I never want to disappoint.

Alright, you'uns. Those are the five reasons I kick ass. How do you guys kick ass?


Just for Giggles

Bumper sticker:
I'm hung like Einstein
And smart as a horse.


She’s baaaaaaaaaaaaack . . .

I'm sitting here at my cozy desk once again. It's good to be home, especially when you think that PERHAPS you've finally caught back up on your sleep.

Yaaaaay sleep.

Anyhoo, I had a great conference in Baltimore. I don't think that I actually brought back any strong prospects BUT I had an amazing time. The topics they covered were interesting, the speakers were great, and the booze was even better. (These professional conferences - always trying to get you drunk and take advantage of you.)

I had a BEAUTIFUL view of the harbor from my 31st floor hotel room (which I learned later that, because of my boss' platinum status, I could have gone and hung out in the Platinum Lounge to get free stuff at the hotel, but . . . eh). It was a lovely hotel room - even bigger than the one I stayed with in New Orleans, and with more pillows, too. You can't go wrong with more pillows.

The only complaint I had was that the bed was TOOO soft. I sank into it and my back and hips were hurting within a mere half-hour. One night I got to hear Stevie Wonder playing at the amphitheater next door to the hotel from the balcony where the pool is - how awesome is THAT?! But that fun resulted in me forgetting I had a bed by the time I got back to the room much less feeling the softness of the surface on which I was sleeping.

By the time I got home I had a couple of numb toes from standing on my feet for three days straight (and I think honestly that I've bruised a nerve or two because I still can't feel anything in the general toe-ish area there) and I was EXHAUSTED. That's what those damn conferences do to you - they feed you, get you drunk, and then wear you down with all their little educational seminars and networking. Evil bastards.

I'm just glad to be back home in my own bed. Maybe this weekend I'll be recuperated enough to do . . . something, but I think right now my preferred method of being is to kick back and watch some movies.

Speaking of movies? Watch Fracture. It's the schiznit - I swear it.

OK, Loves - I'm off to work some more. I have piles and piles and piles of work in front of me, and today I'm ever-so-thankful that I can type faster than hell or I never would have gotten all this out.


Goodbye, Sprint!

After six years of service, I'm throwing in the towel. I've been a long-term, committed, and loyal customer of Sprint. They haven't been loyal to me.

The other night my phone decided to let some parts of the keypad work and not let others. I called Sprint to see what could be done - if I could take it to a store, have them look at it, and see if they'd charge me to JUST look at it.

The representative FIRST tried to sell me on a new phone (which would, of course, extend my contract another two years) instead of answering my question.

I then asked if I was yet able to qualify for a second line of service with no deposit. He again didn't hear me and responded with, "Ma'am, SURE you can get a second line! For only $149 deposit."

Do you think I'm going to pay a $150 deposit after SIX loyal years of service with them? HELL naw.

I asked the CSR about taking my phone in and asked him what would be charged. Instead of saying, "I'm not sure; let me check," he said, "I have no idea and I don't want to give you incorrect information so you need to go by and ask them." Now get this: "Just go in and tell them you're a VALUED Sprint PCS customer and that you need it looked at."

Needless to say, I'm not feeling very valued.

I told Josh to take the phone in the next day to the store and simply ask if they'd charge anything, but I was pissed off and jumped the gun the next morning and called to see. YES, they'll charge something because they'd have to take it apart. Needless to say? Nuh-uh. After six years, April ain't playing that game.

I looked online at Verizon, called in with my questions, and within 30 minutes had ordered two new FREE phones (Sprint would have given me a rebate, but only through the mail which would have taken 6-8 weeks and I can't afford that). They were delivered last night. They're awesome -

And may I add that every CSR or salesperson I've spoken with at Verizon has answered my questions (and not something I didn't ask), has been polite, pleasant, and professional, and has been extremely helpful.

Let's hear it for Verizon!

And screw Sprint!!


I am in love . . .

You may have seen the bulletins I've posted about having a couple of his songs on my profile. The singles I'm familiar with are bluesy, bassy, and have a rhythm that just make you leave the speakers giddy.

If you haven't heard/purchased "Until the Sun Turns Black," I highly suggest you do.

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I got the CD, put it in my player, and listened to the hauntingly beautiful, simple, yet eloquent sounds of the first track. It's reminiscent of Cat Stevens and Loggins and Messina. It's what Damien Rice WISHES he was.

The entire album shows the range of poetically melodic and hypnotically lyrical visions of soul that Ray Lamontagne can produce, above and beyond the singles I'm used to hearing. On top of that, I want to kiss the producer for blending such a wonderful lot of songs in a nice, clean way without under- or over-producing the album.

I'm happier with this CD than I've been with any CD in a long time.

If you still haven't heard Ray Lamontagne, I urge you to visit his MySpace page and get a taste - but I promise you, it's nothing like what you'll experience on "Until the Sun Turns Black."

Big kudos to Ray and many thanks to him for sharing his soul with me.


Absolutely and Unquestionably

Do you have a period in your life that was absolutely and unquestionably you?

Don't get me wrong, I've always been me and I've never strayed from that. I don't think it fair to others to be one April one minute and a different April the next – I've always been me, sometimes so much without limits or boundaries that it's shocked those around me. But I tend to not apologize for my behavior, especially when it's all in fun . . .

But do you remember a time in your life where everything was so real, so touchable, and yet so surreal at the same time? Think with me here. I'm talking about a time, phase, period when you knew exactly what your future would hold, how to grasp it, and you wondered why the hell others were so lost when living this . . . amazing life came so easy to you.

Do you see what I'm saying yet?

I, absolutely and unquestionably, felt the most myself between 17 and 18. I worked my ass off; between work and school and the community newspaper, I hardly had any time to myself – and I didn't want it any other way.

During high school, I quickly became a success at my jobs. I knew how to deal with bosses and other employees. The bosses knew I worked hard, and they loved me for it. My co-workers knew they could depend on me to be there, do my job, and not cause any friction. It didn't matter if I was working in a restaurant or cold-calling people to conduct phone surveys – I excelled. Quickly. I was excelling in school, also. After being rather slack-jawed during freshman year, I picked up the pace and started kicking some ass in classes, drama, and journalism. My teachers loved me. If I wasn't working after school I'd likely be found working on the paper or rehearsing for the weekend drama competition. Spare time was taken by my closest friends or whoever I was seeing at the time. I had a crazy-ass schedule, still saw people, partied like crazy, smoked the hell out of pot, when the time was right I drank like mad.

I did what the fuck I wanted to do, I made me happy. I didn't worry about anyone else, what they needed. I was all for helping someone out and was still the best friend then that you could ever have – but I never sacrificed myself and my basic needs for others – I never HAD to because the others that I was with could help themselves as much as I could help myself.

When there wasn't a door that would open for me, I would MAKE a door. I was April. You heard me roar. (Okay, that was cheesy. You must forgive me.)

My point is that I was at peace with myself and loved the things I did. I loved the people I hung out and did things with. I didn't feel the need to prove myself – at all – because I knew that the people I was with loved me, absolutely unconditionally. I involved myself with the activities that pleased me. I pulled myself away from television, away from movies, and focused on the music I loved while driving down the road to do something else I enjoyed or see someone else I loved.

I haven't felt that clarity very often for a long time now – I felt it when Alison came in from Massachusetts and I went out with my gals, and I felt it Thursday night.

Thursday night I was sitting around with a few great friends and some great friends of theirs drinking some punch, laughing at us trying out the Slip-n-Slide, munching on some burgers and hot dogs, and doing what the hell I wanted to do. I had to wait a while to sober up before I could drive home. I didn't get home until midnight and I had to work the next day, but fuck, it was worth it. There for a minute I felt that 17-18 year old April back in her body. After a while it actually made me sad that I'd have to leave that and go back to my reality.

The question I submit to you . . .

Is this bad? Is this wrong? Is it something you've ever experienced? Am I living in a "fantasy world" thinking that I could ever actually go back to doing what the hell I wanted to do, getting myself away from the tv, painting, drawing, singing, acting, seeing people and drinking with them? Or is this my right as an adult – to do what I want, all others be damned?

Am I throwing a temper tantrum? A midlife crisis? Or am I so unhappy that any time I enjoy myself, I'm reverting to a life that doesn't exist anymore?



Someone Told Me . . .

That I should blog more. (Thanks, Regan.) Truth of the matter is that (most) everything just seems so damn negative and unsettled lately that I've not been writing much in fear of alienating my readers . . . but here goes with some randomness.

It's hotter than ten sommmmmmmabitches outside today. Most of the world is complaining about that - but me? I'm happy about it. I love the warmth, love the heat. While it may be uncomfortable for a minute when I get in my car, burn the crap out of my hand on the steering wheel and seat belt, and then try to cool it off a tad, it's worth it overall. I just miss the swimming and wish I could do more of that . . . maybe one day, if I ever move to another apartment complex that has a pool.

Speaking of moving, I've had quite the onslaught of white-trash neighbors lately. That may be due to the fact that the townhouse we live in is weekly-rented, but still - it's pretty crazy. We've been there for 2.5 years and I've already had roughly 8 different households move in and out from around our quad. I'm always especially happy to see one of the redneck families move out of there and take their four snot-nosed, screaming brats with them. . . but I'm always disappointed again when I find myself fighting for a parking place (which is entirely unreasonable considering the size of our parking lot, but not entirely unsurprising considering the negative parking ability these people have). It makes me yearn for assigned parking again, which is so wrong on so many levels.

Speaking of so wrong on so many levels, Josh did get another job about 6 weeks ago and we've climbed ourselves relatively far out of the hole that was dug in his absence of employment, but now they're closing the restaurant and there are no positions available for him to transfer close within the same chain. Off to the job hunt it is for him again . . .

But in the meantime, we've moved Jose in with us, and that's working out relatively good. We're still working out the details and getting used to someone else living in the house, but all it all it's going well. Now if Jose could get the rest of his stuff from his old apartment, I know that he could save a bit of money and get back on his feet, too, but as long as he's paying them pro-rated rent and paying us a weekly rent, it's not going to be very kosher. I think plan is that he's going to get a place with someone else in October, and Josh and I are hoping that this will help him out and us, too.

That's enough blah-blah-blah for the day. Holla atcha, boi.