Friday, December 30, 2011

Oliver's Story (....and a medical update)

  Its 1:17 pm

    Old man winter can't seem to make his mind up about winter....we get some snow and temps in the high teens three days ago but today,its 43 degrees with a light rain. Just goofy....
  Completed our 2nd week of radiation today which included a doctor's visit. Of course the one thing we both want to know, "Is this working?",can't be answered because its way too soon to tell yet. But Dr. Eisberg  seemed more upbeat and explained how precise the treatment is compared to even as little as 6 years ago.
Lori asked if she will get another CT scan afterwards and Dr. Eisberg said it would be another PET scan and it wouldn't be for about 8 weeks after the last radiation treatment. He also mentioned for the first time the possibilty of another surgery on the colon. This will be the down the road a bit and only if the radiation doesn't work. But he didn't too concerned as of yet and so we won't be either.
   Spirits are good as we get to enjoy another 3 day break before heading back to Ann Arbor.
 Did you read the story about the man in Phoenix,Arizona who brought in his 9 month cat in for treatment at the Humane Society? They wanted 400 bucks which he didn't have...he called his mom who tried to pay with a credit card only to be that the HS doesn't take credit cards over the phone.
 With no money,he signed over his kitty so that cat could get the treatment he which point the HS killed the cat. I provided a link to the story below.
  In reading this tragic story,it brought back memories of my first time in dealing with Humane Society when I moved to Michigan.
   Lori and I met online back in early 1998.  One of the first things I learned about her was she loved cats as much as I do. While I didn't have a cat in San Jose,Lori had two...Geri and OSK (Outside Kitty).
In the spring of '99 while we talking on the phone,she heard a scratching at her back door. Thinking it was OSK,she turned on the light and saw this big grey and white kitty looking at her and meowing in a raspy voice.  She was a little scared at first because she was afraid the cat was sick and didn't want to risk getting Geri and OSK ill. The cat was also very big and she didn't know if it was friendly or not.
  But Lori decided to put a bowl of catfood and water down out of compassion. The cat chowed down,meowed and went his way. She did this while she was talking to me. The cat came back twice more and then vanished.
   I moved to Michigan in the summer of 99. I quickly bonded with Geri and especially OSK. He loved to curl up on my chest and sleep. It never failed to amaze Lori or our friend/landlord,Carolyn  because OSK was always so shy of people. In fact,he was called the Ghost Cat because none of Lori's friend ever saw him because he would hide.
  While we had talked about "grey kitty" when he showed up,we soon forgot about him as I moved in.
On Christmas night as we were getting ready for bed,we heard a scratching at the door. Thinking it was OSK,I opened it up and saw this grey and white cat looking me....and when he meowed,I knew it was the cat from before.
 I asked Lori to come look and sure enough,it was the same cat. I bent down slowly so the cat could sniff my hand...instead of hissing or biting,he headbutted it and purred. I ducked back in and put on a jacket and got some food and water. I took it outside,placed it down and sat by it and didn't move.
 The cat ate and drank and jumped into my lap,he was a big cat and by the rock hard feel of him,he was a stray unneutered kitty. He purred and let me take a good look at him. While handsome,he had cuts on his face and some old scars. His fur was dirty but he was very friendly and soon fell asleep in my lap. I sat there for 45 minutes until I was called inside.
  The cat came back the next three nights in a row and we decided we needed to help him to a good home.
We made our plans,we would lock up our cats and let the grey and white kitty inside. Once there,we would put him in a carrier and take him to the Livonia Humane Society.
 So that was the plan.....and it worked,until we discovered a small problem....he sprayed our house! He was marking his territory! Well,we couldn't have that so back outside he went while we came up with Plan B.
   Plan B was this: I would pick him up and take him to the bathroom,he would stay there with a litterbox,food and water until morning when I would drive him to the shelter.
  It worked well....until he started to meow. Not to go outside but because he was scared. I ended up sleeping with him in the bathroom. He was very happy and slept like the dead until Lori came in with some tuna.
   Lori had to work and I had the day off so I brought in the carrier. Now if there ever was a time the cat would fight,this would be the moment. I had jeans on and had a towel ready. I couldn't scruff him because he had simply a heavily muscled neck and I had nothing to scruff! Instead I dismantled the carrier,put the cat,which by now had a name,I called him Oliver after the orphan in Dicken's classic story,"Oliver Twist".
  Oliver made no fuss as I loaded him up and headed to the Humane Society. I had called earlier and had told them his story,they assured me he would get the best care and be put up for adoption.
It was a Thursday morning in early 2000 as I took Oliver down to the HS.
  Once there,I was asked to fill out some forms that stated I was surrendering him and also if I wanted to make a small donation. Lori and I agreed that a 40.00 donation was fair as they were going to have to get him pretty enough to adopt. We switched carriers and I told the worker we were concerned about his raspy meow. She assured me the vet would handle that up just fine. I asked if I could call for a update and she said I could. I went home a bit sad but happy Oliver was getting his 2nd chance.
   So you can imagine the shock I got when I called back the next day and was told that Oliver was "too sick" to adopt and he was going to be put down on Monday after a 3 day waiting period. I said "That is NOT what was told to me when I entrusted him with you. You said he had a little infection that could be knocked out by your vet. You NEVER said there was any chance of him dying!.
  I asked them if I could come get him but since I had surrendered him,I couldn't. We were heartbroken to the say the least. I talked to the shelter's director and pleaded our case to no avail.
 I told Lori...."I'm going back there Monday,he trusted me to do the right thing and now he is going to die. I want him to see a friendly face before he goes."
  I drove back down to the shelter and walked in. I decided to try to talk to the director face to face and ask for Oliver's life.
  My mood was sad as I walked in but that changed to anger as I walked by cage after cage that were empty. Where was all this overcrowding that we always hear about animal shelters? It certainly wasn't the case here!
Oliver could easily be worked into a forever home! This wasn't fair at all....
  As I stood there a woman volunteer walked up and said good morning. She must have seen my sad look because she asked me what was wrong. I told her a Reader's Digest version and she whispered "If you want the cat money. If you offer money,you have a good chance otherwise you have none".
  So as I stood and waited for the director,I feel a nudge on my elbow. It was Carolyn,our friend and landlord who was a great animal lover herself.
  She heard some of the story from Lori and had rushed down to make sure I didn't get into trouble.I finished out the rest of it to her. She simply nodded.
  We were ushered into the office and before I could a word,the director explained that Oliver was too much work to save and that the shelter had no choice then to put him to sleep. And again,before I could say a word,Carolyn spoke.
   She said...."Here is what is going to happen if Michael doesn't get this cat back. First,I'm Carolyn ****,you can check your records and see that I have donated a lot of money here,as do a lot of my friends. That will end this very day. I'll then call the national office and explain why your shelter is going to lose this huge chunk of money.
Second,I'm going to call all the local media outlets and tell them this story,how you lied to this man to his face and killed this cat without even trying to save him.
And lastly,I'm going to sue you directly for the return of every single penny I have donated here. Plus for his (she pointed at me) pain and suffering.

The director turned white and picked up the phone and ordered that Oliver be brought to his office ASAP.
I was standing there in awe....holy shit,who KNEW that Carolyn had that kind of clout? They brought Oliver in but I was a little worried,you see,I hadn't brought my carrier with me....but once again,Carolyn came to the rescue,she had brought her cat carrier with her....she knew what she was doing. I signed off on getting Oliver back...and as I turned to go,Carolyn spoke up to the director,"Aren't you forgetting something? Like the 40 dollars they donated? You need to give it back." He agreed but I only took 20 back,after all they had fed him for 4 days.
 Oliver meowed at me and purred. I hugged Carolyn and she went home. I sat in my car looking at this beautiful cat and started crying. I was so thankful that his life was spared....
  I had been writing a weekly newsletter since I had moved to Michigan and had written about Oliver and his ordeal. We took him to a vet and it cost us 725.00 to get him fixed and cleaned up. My readers donated 400.00 plus food to this end.
   Once fixed up,a co-worker of Lori's drove us to Warren for an adoption day at a local pet store. Lori had written up his story and placed it on his cage. As he sat there,he looked at me,trusting me once again. I made sure he wasn't going to a bad home and said no twice to people who wanted to adopt him but had dogs.
I left him there for the weekend and was going back to get him on Monday when the phone rang. A woman was on the phone and said that she had adopted Oliver. Her name was Susan and she was a sportswriter who was well known as a cat lover by the pet store. They had called her and told her about Oliver. She went down,took one look at him and fell in love with this gentle giant.
Oliver lived with Susan for 9 years before crossing the Rainbow Bridge. He really was a special cat....

This is why this story is just so heartbreaking....

What are your thoughts on this story?

Thanks for reading....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

What a complete wanker....

Its 12:25 am

   This just has to be seen to be believed.....its why inbreeding is outlawed in most states....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Action and Adventure (and Gorms) at IKEA -and other stuff!

Its 3:01 pm

   Beautiful crisp winter day in SE Michigan....its a balmy 22 degrees outside. Which is quite warm compared to when Lori and I left for her radiation treatment in Ann Arbor. It was 21 degrees but with the windchill factored in,it felt 13. Yes sir,winter has finally come back to Michigan!
   Radiation went really again,we are already a quarter way through this and are feeling much better for it. The waiting room was a tad more busy then usual and the talk was all about that Christmas fire in Connecticut that killed 5 members of a family. It is a very sad story as the news reported the house was being renovated but had not yet gotten fire/smoke detectors installed. What really killed this family was a simple misstep that anyone who has ever camped/hiked outdoors knows when dealing with fire. When you have a campfire,you drown it afterwards with either water or dirt. This family emptied their fireplace without checking to see if any embers were still burning. They tossed the ashes outside where they re-ignited and started the fatal fire.

   The other big story here in nearby Murder City aka Detroit is the murders of 4 women whose bodies have been found in the back of cars. The cops are puzzled and are thinking they might have a serial killer in action. So far the only links are that 3 of the 4 victims were hookers who advertised on a website called Backpages. Never even heard of this site until the media reported the link.  So now the city is on edge as the cops are doing their best to find the killer. One other woman,who had danced with one of the victims at a strip club also is missing and has been missing even before the 4 victims were found.
  Not what this tettering city really needs at the moment,not with our Governor thinking about sending a Emergency Finanical Manager in to take over running Detroit. The city,bogged down by decades out outdated policies,corruption and antique infastructure is on track to run out of money by April. Mayor Bing and the City Council are seeking a 10 percent paycut by the worker's union,including the police and fire departments or they'll be forced to lay off 2,300 people.
  The fact is,they NEED to lay off these folks because the city is staffed for a population of almost 2 million people. But the D is down to slightly over 700,00 folks now. Cutting bloated staffs and combining departments will save millions in which the city can pour back into updating equipment that badly needs it.
Its a rare case where laying off a few will actually benefit the many. Of course those workers on the firing line might disagree with that opinion just a little bit.
   But watching people die because of the broken down ambulances,certain firehouses being closed when there is a need for a active station,the cops riding around is busted up old cruisers and outdated gear is not acceptable either......the city needs a extreme makeover,City Edition.
 So after we finished in Ann Arbor,Lori and I headed over to Target to check out the after Christmas sale. We were looking for the 75% off cards but only saw items that were still at 50% off. We found a couple rolls of wrapping paper,some name tags and a bottle of pine scented Christmas hand soap. Store wasn't busy so we were able to get in and out pretty fast. After all,we had to get to IKEA because they had a good deal on a shelving unit called a Gorm. (I know,it sounds like a Star Trek villain).
  We have 2 Gorms already that we use in our pantry. At first glance,they may seem a bit fragile but the Gorm is pretty sturdy. We decided at 10 bucks (normally they cost 40) we should get four units,the limit you could buy.
  We to the store at 9:40 and there was quite a decent sized line waiting to pounce on those Gorms. We waited patiently in line but I got a little antsy when I saw people start to surge forward a bit. It stayed calm until the doors opened. The crowd moved in quickly and as I was guiding Lori inside,I felt a sharp pain in my left ankle....before I could turn around,it happened again. A Indian man was trying to push a part past folks and I happened to be in his way. The first time I let go....but when he hit me the 2nd time,I got pissed off....I looked at him and said "What the fuck are you doing? Can't you see I'm walking here in front of you?" He goes "You hit my cart with your foot". I looked at him for second then another guy behind the man said "Dude,give this man and his wife (me and Lori) some walking room,don't be rude". I nodded my thanks and finished walking into the store. I just couldn't believe after watching Black Friday in November and Black Friday last week in getting Air Jordans,that people didn't get that rushing forward and hurting people isn't the way to go about things. If he had hit Lori,he would have had a much bigger problem then just hitting me.
 The item you are stampeding for,it isn't worth hurting anyone for. This is why I never like going to events like this,people's mentality of "gots to get mine" at the expense of other's who have played the rules and are waiting their turn,has to stop.
   Once inside,we went down to the section where the sale was,200 people making a beeline to a huge stack of Gorms. And was IKEA ready for this? Oh yeah,they had a staff of ONE to help the mob get those Gorms. We felt sorry for him quite honestly....he was very helpful as he asked us how many units we wanted,we said "four,please" and he and I loaded them into a cart and off we went.
   We came out just another huge group of people started pouring in.....we loaded up the car and went home...

Well,I'm off to mop the floor and do some laundry.  Thanks for reading!

Oh! The mighty Tiffany Hendra and the are having a NEW giveaway come New Year's Day. Once she posts the details,I will share them with whoever is reading me here...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Its 1:07 pm

   Just poking about the house today. About ready to head to the store to pick up some items for homemade pizza. What a perfect day for it as its been snowing and the temps are in the mid 30s.
 While I am supposed to be doing chores,I have been poking around on here instead trying to get the lay of the land. I managed to stay on FB long enough to post the link here but I don't know how many will follow me here.
  Radiation went really well for us today,no dizziness or uneasy stomach of note. Of course we know that will most likely change by the end of this week. The only problem of note was the Dave Matthews Band and Michael Buble CDs that I had uploaded on my iPod were scratched and caused the songs to skip. So after my run,I'll delete those two albums and upload the 4 new ones we got over Christmas. Lori doesn't venture out much in buying me new music (why not,I like just about everything!) so I was a little tickled to see she got me the Scotty McCreary CD for Christmas.
  While I dislike the idea behind shows like The Voice,X Factor and American Idol which basicly hands "stardom"to someone who mostly hasn't paid thier way in blood,sweat and 20 people in the club on a Monday in Topeka....I can admit I like some of the talent that makes it to end. American Idol was extremely strong last year talent-wise and I do think young Mr. McCreary has a very bright future ahead of him.
  Just read Amy's blog that she is headed to Beaumont to get the results of her PET scan. Her cancer has now spread to her bones and the mountain has become just that much more steeper. Her blog is listed on the right hand of my blog.
  If you have a blog that you are writing,please send me the link so I can add it here.

Okay,thats it for now.

feel free to drop me a comment or follow me here.

Open Range

Its 11:32 pm

  Well if you are reading this,you have followed the link over from my Notes to here. And I like to thank you for that. I am quite new to Google/Blogger and I don't know how this will look once I hit the publish button. I'm sure y'all will let me know and if Scorpion sees this,maybe he can walk me through on improving the layout.
   I have decided to come here because I think I can reach more folks with our journey...I'm taking a page from Amy and Alyce who have created blogs in this setting and are sharing thier journey's with far more people.
  I am a little nervous to be sure,I want my footprint to stay small online but I know there has to be a trade-off ....more exposure means perhaps a larger footprint in the mighty search engines that power sites like Yahoo and Google.

  That said....I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas,we had a great day....we went to Mass then came home and did our traditional Christmas Day...having sausage and orange soft rolls,orange juice and coffee.
While Lori cooked,I made the drinks and got two trash bags ready for the wrapping paper that was going to get ripped up. I set up the gifts and prepare the Christmas cards to be read.
  Since Christmas is just the four of us (yes,Derek and Ginger LOVE Christmas),we try to not open anything we get until Christmas Day,be it cards or small gifts from friends,co-workers and family. It makes the fun last that much longer for us.
Once we have eaten,we re-read the cards we got last year and see if what they wrote for us came to fruit.
Then we open the new cards and the gifts we may have recieved from anyone else before we open the gifts we got each other.
  I must have been a good boy this year because Santa was very nice to me! But of course the real joy was watching Lori open her presents. I didn't have much of a budget this year but I worked very hard to make the most for it. And based on her reaction,I did very well. And that is what Christmas is all about for me,the giving!
  We cleaned up the living room,watched Derek bat some paper around and chatted with various family members and friends who called. We were thinking about going to the movies but changed our mind and just chillaxed for a few hours.
  Then we started cooking dinner...we could see our neighbor,Al,deep frying a turkey. We didn't do either a ham nor a turkey but cooked a roast instead that we got from Detroit's Eastern Market last month.
Dinner was amazing and we ended up watching Iron Chef America before heading to bed.
 Today was nice in the fact we got a day off from radiation but come 6:00 am,we'll be up and headed to Ann Arbor for our 6th treatment,only 22 more to go. We're supposed to get 1-3 inches of snow tomorrow morning so our 36 mile round trip might be a little dicey (and icy!).
   I'll post a update a little later on.....

thanks for reading!

Sharon J. - congratulations on your engagement! Is he a Giant's fan as well?