I exist.

There is a moment when the caffeine hits. One perfect, glorious moment. I haven’t had coffee in several days, less by choice than circumstance. This morning I sit in a local DD, sipping a large mocha macchiato and just being. The magical moment is no substitute for true mindful meditation, something I have taken up sporadically over the past few years and feel shame for not pursuing more aggressively. At the same time, this feeling of absolute pleasure in just existing is what I think I’m seeking with meditation.

A quibbling matter, and I don’t feel like quibbling at the moment. I just want to sit here, being a little piece of a large, ever assembling puzzle. I’m no corner piece. I’m not even an edge piece. I define nothing about this puzzle universe I’ve spontaneously erupted into. I’m just part of it. My life is one of the little pieces in the middle, one of those odd, triangular-ish pieces that don’t quite interlock with the adjacent pieces but still fit in quite nicely, thank you very much. Caffeine is a wonderful thing. Most days I feel like a piece from another jigsaw puzzle that got put away in the wrong box. A piece from the “Night Sky”, thrown into an “Animals of the Amazon” scene. Caffeine glues me into place for a few moments.

It would seem that, when caffeinated, I like to write in sentence fragments. I just went back and fixed a few. In my mind, fixing them disturbs the flow of this piece though, so I’m refraining from attempting to achieve grammatical perfection. It’s counterproductive. You may quote that, if you wish.

So where have I been. What am I doing now? Why don’t I write anymore? Can I stop with the question marks already and make with the flow of information?

Yes, Virginia, I was a part of the Great Governmental Muffin Throwing Contest over the Great Wall of Mexico. We received no pay for five weeks. I was OK. Some of the kids that work under me were not. All has finally been made whole, but for my department being made whole did not occur until a full week after the Commander-In-Cheeto announced that we’d all been paid. Even now Payroll is making corrections to tax withholdings, retirement contributions and affiliated sundry line items that were incorrectly calculated because of the “throw money at them and work out the details later” approach they took to making us whole again.

Except for the two weeks I spent in New Zealand, I’m still putting in near-sixty-hour weeks. I’ve only hit the sixty hour mark once, but it truly makes little difference if you put in 12 hours per day or 11.5 hours per day. My life consists of getting up at 3:45 am, leaving by 4:45 am, getting home at 6pm or later, going to bed at 8pm and then rinsing and repeating. The Professor has made it known that he is tired of this shit and that I need to get a job with reasonable hours. I’m nearly 63, love my work (though I’d really like it if there were less of it) and do not foresee anyone wanting to hire a non-clinically experienced veterinarian for a six-figure salary and forty-hour work weeks. Full retirement is November, 2022. If I want to get my full ten years in with the government, then retirement is June, 2024. That almost seems doable. Then I add on the threat that my assignment is in talks about a six-full-day workweek. Quick: what is six times 11.5?

Well, that answers the “What have I been doing” and “Why don’t I write anymore” portion of our program. It even briefly answers the “Where have I been” question. There were plans of a New Zealand post, with pictures and anecdotes and shout-outs to a couple of great people, but I barely even remember being there any more.

Onto Cat News
Still have four. Morgen has just turned two, Evening (Evi)(Evil) is four now, LBrS aka Lyta is now an amazing fifteen, and Daisy, the last of my three diabetics, is approximately fourteen years old. The first three are doing well, but Daisy has developed some issues that led to me taking her to a real veterinarian a month ago. After conservative treatment and careful watching, I ended up taking her to a specialist last week, which ended up with another ultrasound and then exploratory surgery. The poor little jellicle had a couple of inches of small bowel removed, as well as a mass at the ileocecal junction. Both were sent out for histopathology. The diagnosis probably won’t be good, but there are varying shades of bad. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a good shade of bad, but I still have days before I’ll need to worry about decisions and finances.

Timing for this sort of thing is never good, but is particularly bad right now. Taxes this year have been nasty – due to circumstances only peripherally related to the tax cuts we owe in the five–figure range. Just before I found this out I signed a contract to have the interior of our house painted for a similar amount of money. I had budgeted for one of these items, but it will be challenging to pay both. Nowhere in the budget is there hedge room for what the veterinary costs may turn into. Thanks to one of my credit cards introducing “plans” that allow you to break large charges into smaller monthly payments interest free (introductory plans have no charge; future plans with a fixed charge per payment), I have a way to spread this over half-a-year without paying any interest/charges. I suppose I should be grateful for the sixty-hour weeks….

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