Have you lost a black cat recently?

Over the past several years, there has been a longish haired black cat roaming the Shadow Springs Ct/Jeffersonton Rd neighborhood. Nobody seems to know who owns it, but some of the neighbors have been feeding it, as it comes onto their porch and begs them for food. The cat is very friendly. There is a good chance that the owners of this lovely cat moved away – there has been a very high turnover of real estate in the area in the past few years.

Last night, after dark, I was returning home from visiting friends. I was entering the house through the garage door, and I saw the cat in the shadows nearby. At first I thought it was one of my cats (I own black cats) and I called out to it to come inside to eat dinner. The cat approached me, and as it got nearer, I realized that it was not my cat at all, and it was limping badly. Recognizing the cat as the friendly cat that my neighbors feed, I let it into the garage, and shut the door.

I called the neighbors that I knew fed the cat, and advised them that I had their cat, and it was injured. I told them that the cat needed to be taken to a vet for treatment. They said that they did not own the cat and that they would not take it to a vet. They said that they had not seen the cat for more than three days and they had assumed that I had taken it in. (Why, I don’t know….)

Not being able to afford to take every stray, injured animal that I see to the vet (the last one was last spring, and it cost thousands of dollars – and died anyway!) I told them that I couldn’t afford to take it to the vet myself. Again, they said that they would not take the cat to a vet and wished me luck.

I called the non-emergency number to the county Sheriff’s department and asked them to have animal control come get the cat and take it to a vet, and to the shelter. Animal control office had closed for the day, and they took down my name and number and said that someone would call me back.

Waiting for the return call, I went out to the garage and fed the cat. The cat was so hungry – it ate more food than I’ve ever seen a cat eat! The cat also drank all the water in the water bowl.

I fixed up a litter box and a bed for the cat, and filled the bowls with food and water again, and warned everyone in the house to stay out of the garage until animal control could come get the cat.

Animal control came out this morning to pick up the cat. The food and water bowls were completely empty again. The cat was so glad to see us! Came limping up to us as quick as it could get to us, and was rubbing up against our legs, wanting to be loved.

The lady from animal control told me that she was going to take the cat straight to the vet. She said that they would do everything they could to fix the cat up and then take the cat to the animal shelter. She agreed with me that this cat had, at one point, been somebody’s pet. When we picked the cat up, we realized that the cat was injured in more than one place, and the lady from animal control said that she thought that maybe the cat had been “hit.” The left front foot had an infected spot near a claw, and the cat was not using it’s rear left leg at all. She promised to keep me informed as to what they do for the cat. I hope they do, and I hope that the county decides to have the vet fix it instead of putting it down (due to expense.) I hope that someone adopts the cat and gives it a wonderful, loving home.

I am saddened that someone would have abandoned this cat, leaving it to fend for itself in the countryside.

Thankful For a Mild Snowstorm but Aggravated at Doctor Office

The weatherman was predicting a huge snowstorm to come bearing down on our house last night. The snow started in the afternoon, but it seemed to be a lighter storm than predicted. The weatherman was predicting 8 – 12 inches. After all was said and done, we only got three inches. I am grateful for the smaller amount. To be honest, I was worried that we would lose our electricity, and even though we can survive a few days without it, we have been spoiled by our easy access to electronic entertainment!

Thinking we would lose our electricity while sleeping, we cranked the heat up, so the house would stay warmer longer, and we put several large buckets in the bathtubs and filled them with water for flushing needs. Better to be prepared and not need it than the other way around!

This morning I was scheduled to have a medical appointment for injections to treat my migraines in DC at 11am. It takes about two hours to get there from where I live. Seeing that almost every business and government and school in DC (and surrounding areas) was cancelled, Metro being shut down, and a state of emergency declared, it would be reasonable to assume that the doctor’s office would not be open. In order to get to my appointment, I need to leave by 9am – if the roads are good. About 8:30 I started trying to contact the doctor’s office to find out if they are open and seeing patients. At first I got the automated message telling me to leave a message and they would call me back in 48 hours. That was not going to do the trick, so I called back and hit a different option. Same thing. Third call, I finally got a live person who assured me that they were, in fact, open. I indicated that I would like to reschedule my appointment for later in the day if that was possible, asking if they had any cancellations I could take. The lady got rather nasty with me and told me that if my appointment was for 11, then I had better by there by 11! She then told me to hold on while she checked for cancellations. After being on “hold” for about five minutes, I was disconnected. So I called back again, explained again what I needed, and put on hold again for about five minutes. Then someone else came on the line and told me that the doctor had called in and said that she was not coming in to work today because of the weather and bad roads, that they would call me in 48 hours to reschedule my appointment for another day.

On the one hand, I was grateful that I did not have to make the trip – the roads are probably slippery and with a ban on street parking in DC because of the snow, it would probably have been a real nightmare going in! However, I did not appreciate the less than stellar customer service I was given by the folks at the doctor’s office when I was trying to figure out if I had to hit the road to go in and brave the bad roads, only to find out after about thirty minutes of aggravation that the doctor had called in to say that all appointments needed to be rescheduled!

More scam phone calls

voice mail (free clip art)
voice mail (free clip art)

Today I was listening to voice mails left on our home phone number and heard a phone message from a man with a thick accent claiming to be “Officer Charlie” from the IRS telling me that he was issuing an arrest warrant on me for tax fraud. He left the phone number of 571-526-0007 for me to call back immediately if I want to avoid arrest.

I’m not sure how many days ago he called. I know this is another phone scam, not unlike the one I wrote about in an earlier post about a guy claiming to be from Microsoft, wanting access to my computers. (By the way

I have read lots of notices on news websites about this popular scam lately, a caller pretending to be from the IRS and demanding immediate payment of large sums of money or be arrested. I’m glad that I didn’t answer the telephone when he called – it might have gotten unpleasant with me telling him that I know he is a scammer, and then listen to him cussing me out!

In some ways I am amused that people think that we are innocent and gullible enough to fall for these scams. In other ways I am saddened by the knowledge that there probably ARE trusting souls out there that will, and do, fall for these evil tricks.

To The Neighbor Who Abandoned Your Pet Cat

This is an open letter to the person who apparently abandoned your pet cat near my road.

Dear neighbor,

Yesterday, my husband spotted your abandoned cat lying very still in the middle of the road while he was driving home from town. He thought the cat was dead, and was going to try to manuever the truck so that he would not strike the body with any of the tires. Just as he got to the “critical point” in the decision of which way to steer, he saw the cat move!. He stopped the truck as quickly as he could. The cat ran under the truck, so my husband got on his hands and knees (not an easy thing for him to do since his accident several years ago) and tried to coax the cat out from under the truck.

The cat quickly came to my husband. He decided to pick up the cat to check for any obvious sign of broken bones or bleeding. The cat did not object to being picked up, and started to purr and rub its head on my husband’s arms and hands while my husband checked the cat over. He saw no sign of injury, but immediately realized that the cat was near starvation. This cat is skin and bones. Being a soft-hearted guy, my husband decided to put the cat in his truck and bring it home to discuss with me what to do for this cat.

Well, when he came home and told me what happened, it only took a few moments before we had a crate set up in the dining room with a beach towel folded over for padding, a make-shift cardboard box lined with plastic bags and filled with kitty litter, and a bowl with a small amount of moist cat food and water ready to accommodate a temporary guest cat. My husband then brought the cat in, and declared that he was going to call this cat “Lucky” because he is certain that the cat would have died on that road within a few minutes of the moment of discovery and rescue.

We don’t know yet what gender this cat is, but I would guess by the length of the body and the shape of the head that this is an adult male. He probably only weighs about two pounds at the most, because the cat really is so emaciated that I am amazed that the cat is even alive.

Lucky cat
Lucky cat

We gently put this cat in the crate and showed him where the food was. That cat quickly ate the moist cat food, and drank some water. We then put in a bowl of dry cat food, and the cat ate a pretty good amount of that, too. He looked around after a few minutes and meowed a couple of times. When we opened the crate door to give him more food and water the cat quickly came to the door, purring, and rubbing its head on our hands and arms, showing us its appreciation. The cat has used the litter box, and has been friendly towards our cats and dogs. We gave the cat a small box, tipped on it’s side, lined at the bottom with a folded towel for a bed, for the cat to nest in and sleep. The cat really seems to like the box, and lies in it with its head positioned so it can see out, looking at the bowls of food and water.

I really expected the cat to die overnight, as it was so emaciated and weak when it arrived. But, much to my surprise, the cat survived the night! So we have given it a little bit more moist food, and left the bowl of dry food in the crate for the cat to nibble on as it feels the need.

We have let it out of the crate a couple of times to walk around the kitchen, and it appears as if both of its back legs have been broken at some point in time. The cat limps badly, but does not appear to be in pain when he handle the legs, so we don’t think that the breaks are fresh.

We plan to keep this cat away from our household pets until we can get him to the vet (hopefully tomorrow) for a check-up and shots. I am concerned that it might be sick. We will ask the vet to determine if the cat has been neutered, and if not, we will neuter it. If it needs to be wormed (probably does) we will take care of that, too.

Because of this cat’s demeanor, we have concluded that this is an abandoned pet. The cat appears to be a mostly black, with some dark brown markings on it. There seem to be several scars on its body.

We don’t know yet if this cat will end up being a house-pet, or if it will choose to live outside after it gets its strength back. I just know that we are deeply saddened that anyone in this town would abandon their pet and leave it to fend for itself. I know a lot of people think “cats are hunters, and they will catch mice and survive just fine.” I’m writing this today, to try to tell people that is not always true. Sometimes they starve to death, or are killed by predators, or run over vehicles. This cat is Lucky that my husband is the one that “almost ran over it” and this cat got rescued. We shudder to think what would have happened if someone else had come along and simply run over the pitiful thing.

The Lights Were On But Nobody Was There

WalMart checkout lanes
WalMart checkout lanes

One Saturday, sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I needed to go grocery shopping. I managed to get someone to drive me to the local Wal-Mart to pick up what I needed. When it was time to go through the check-out lines, I noticed that the lights were on at every register, which is supposed to mean that the customer can use any register to check-out. So I found a lane where there were no customers waiting in line, and unloaded my very full cart onto the conveyor belt. I noticed that there was no cashier standing at the register, but that has happened before, and within a few moments of my arriving at the counter someone has always magically appeared. My assumptions were that the cashier had simply been speaking with another employee nearby.

After unloading my cart, I saw the cashier had not yet arrived, so I started to look around to see where the cashier could be. At that time I noticed that there were a LOT of cash registers with their lights on, with no employee standing nearby! That started to make me wonder what was going on. After waiting about five minutes, I decided to turn on the switch that is on the post beside the cash register that makes the lights flash, to get the attention of management that someone at that register needs help.

After about another five minutes, the front-end supervisor responded to the flashing light, and demanded of me “where is the cashier?” I responded “That’s what I’d like to know – I have been waiting for ten minutes and no one has shown up. The light is on, showing the register is open, but there is nobody here at the register, and I would like to check-out!”

A nearby cashier heard me talking to the front-end supervisor, and she called out “I can take you here at my register!”

I replied “no thank you, I have already unloaded my cart and am not interested in loading it back up again and then unloading it at another register! This register is supposed to be open, and I came here in good faith to check-out. I want to be checked-out here!”

The front-end supervisor frowned for a moment, and then explained “we have all of the lights on to fool corporate headquarters into thinking all the registers are open, but we are short-handed so there are a lot of registers that are unmanned right now.”

I replied “that’s a shame, and I feel badly for you, but if that is the case you should have a sign here on the conveyor belt indicating that the register is closed and to please choose another lane. I want to be checked out here.”

The front-end supervisor nodded her head, and then said she would ring up my order. She did a fine job, up until it was time to give me my change. I had paid cash, and she gave me less change than what I was supposed to get. Fortunately for me I caught that error and called it to her attention before she closed her cash drawer, so she corrected it. Interestingly enough, that was the fourth time that week that I had gone into a local business and paid cash for my purchase and was short-changed by the cashier.

I found myself wondering if the cashiers were trying to take advantage of the customers that pay cash, and short-changing them on purpose, thinking that during this busy holiday season the customers would not bother to count their change. One of the instances was at a restaurant, where a tip was appropriate. The service was bad, but I normally tip anyway. I normally tip 20%, but because I was short-changed, (by several dollars, not just loose change) the waitress got a much smaller tip (15%) than I was planning to give her! I figured that the money she had short-changed me more than made up the difference.