Perspective shift

I woke up this morning feeling different. I resolved yesterday to stop my schedule “slippage”, wherein I go to bed after 1am and get up towards 10am. Yes, it’s the scheduled I’m naturally inclined towards, but I don’t want it to be something I get used to and have to break out of when I go back to work (which, obviously, I’m hoping is asap). Plus, it feels… slacker-y, which bothers me. I have enough external reminders of my current status without providing myself with new internal ones.

That said, when Anatole climbed into bed and sprawled the length of my torso this morning, it seemed to be an important message that snuggle time was necessary, too. So we didn’t quite get up by 8am, but that was okay.

Anyway, from the time I got up, something felt off. My cadence of the last week, my ever-present and protean to-do list, felt stalled. I felt like I should be doing more, should have more to do. No one’s going to fix this pickle but you, m’dear…

Inevitable, really. I’ve been getting a lot done, all things considered. Searching for positions, working the network, asking questions, dealing with contacting issues, and trying to keep on top of housework and getting books read and back to the library and remembering to eat and all that. But busy as I’ve been, none of those things has resulted in a job yet, and while I know it hasn’t even been two weeks, any length of time is too long.

I’ve had a handful of setbacks, too, and it’s hard when your needed momentum takes a hit. Hard, too, when you don’t have a schedule — working within other people’s schedules is necessary, but frustrating.

Indecision set in, too. Would I do some ironing? Read some more of my book? Go for a run? The weather today is stunning, which made the decision even harder. Except towards noon, “feeling different” started to take a distinct down turn. Desperate times call for forcing one’s ass into gear, and, in this case, changing it up entirely.

So I showered, slathered on the sunscreen, and headed to the Humane Society. When you get thrown off track focusing on yourself… fuck it… go do something that isn’t about you.

And so I acquainted myself with Elvis, Oso, Jack, and Ralph. (The middle two of whom can be seen here, though that page needs updating. No Basset Hounds or St. Bernards to be had at the moment.) We walked, ran, sniffed and marked a good chunk of the Grand River Trail (I left the marking to the gents…) It helped. I got sweaty and slobbered on and forgot about marketable skills and bank balances for a while.

I’ll be helping my brother move this weekend, which should also provide good distraction and wear me out. Plus, being with him helps put things into perspective, too. He’s been in much worse job situations than I have. He knows there are jobs out there, and something will always come along, because it always has. Hell, he has so much energy and charisma that you can’t help but end up sucked into his sphere. And when you’ve spent too much time alone with the cat for a while, it’s probably just what the doctor ordered.

Reason #1,097,436 why I hate Jack Russell Terriers…

You know how they can jump, like, six feet, straight up, from a standstill? Yeah, and if you catch one in the forehead about three feet into one of those jumps, it hurts like a motherfucker.

Plus? Those wee bounding rodents lack all proper respect.

Update: There is definitely a bruised bump directly above my left eyebrow now. I don’t think it’s particularly visible, but I can certainly feel it. Hmph.

Mutant alien

Today I hated everyone and everything. Then I was exhausted. I worked with lots of words. Then it occurred to me that I’ve felt like this before. I had two husky puppies try to eat my face, and goofed around with a hound with perfect ears. I poked a wee kitty with a bobbed tail, too.

Then I cleaned up some stuff because I’ve gotten sick of looking at it. I drank some shiraz and breathed in the deliciousness of one of the candles Michelle sent me. I worked with some more words. I remembered to eat something.

And now, if he will deign to join me, I’m gonna go read in bed with my familiar.

How was your day?

winter sumac

rubber boots

Anatole snoozing on the desk

Michelle's teapot

Occupational hazards

No one who works at the Humane Society will ever be a hand/arm model. Scratching, mouthing, biting, cuts, bruises, ragged nails, chapped skin, dirt, slobber, blood…

When I’m on my volunteer shifts I wear a big men’s denim shirt over my volunteer t-shirt for three reasons: it keeps me warmer; it keeps things from getting obscene (I get wet a lot, and the t-shirt is white…); and it’s a layer of protection.

My two old, recently retired denim shirts are pretty shredded. Mostly the sleeves and the back. Dogs like playing tug-of-war. Some dogs have never had any obedience training and get pretty hyper. Having a dog play tug-of-war with your shirt sleeve or shirt tail? Kind of annoying. Having a dog play tug-of-war with your arm? Not recommended. And puppies in general are basically turbo-charged, fur-covered sets of hypodermic needles.

Even with dogs who are calmer than that, they get excited, some haven’t learned not to mouth, some haven’t had their nails cut yet, etc. And sometimes a nylon leash gets wrapped around your arm and then the dog takes off. Ow. Shredded denim: fine. Shredded skin: not fine.

However, the staff mostly wear scrubs, so their arms are exposed (and exposed all day, every day, not once a week like mine). And oftentimes, their hands and arms are a mess of scrapes, bruises, and such. Because of the source of a lot of the damage, cuts and scrapes are often in parallel lines (teeth, claws, chain link, etc.)

Hmm. Teenaged girls? With arms covered with rows of injuries?

At least two of the girls on staff have, in the past, been called down to the guidance office at school — multiple times — because of concerns over their self-mutilation. (At least one has now graduated, I believe, and I suspect they know better in veterinary school.)

Good of the school to be concerned… but the girls think it’s hilarious. Or at least they did until the earnest protectors of the innocent didn’t believe that they’re not cutters with serious psychological problems.

And, really, if they base their ideas of “working at the Humane Society” on the volunteer efforts of a lot of the kids we get in, i.e. it takes three girls to pet one hamster, then yes, it would seem rather curious as to where that damage came from.

Times change, I guess. When I was in high school I don’t think I ever saw a guidance counselor, and no one ever questioned whether there should be some concern over the effects on a 17-year-old of euthanizing animals on a daily basis, let alone where the cuts, scrapes, and bruises on my arms came from.


For a long time I had no idea if the staff at the HS had any idea who I was. Sure, I’d been there a while, but I’m only in once a week, not always on the same day, and there are hundreds of volunteers.

Then I’d start getting people seeking me out. New volunteers fresh off of orientation who now know where stuff is… more or less, but who don’t necessarily know all that much about their assigned areas yet. And so they get told to find Melanie to learn about “the dogs”.

So I teach them. From the ground up, literally, cuz generally we start with cleaning kennels. I show them everything I can think of that they might end up doing, where to find everything they might need, and some of the weirder, more amusing, or more annoying things they can expect. I don’t expect them to remember all of it, but it’s a start, and gives them a good foundation: work hard, check your ego at the door, tell all customers to inquire at the front desk or with staff.

When I’d finished my orientation tour this evening with the girl who’d been told to “find Melanie”, we were up at reception, and one of the staff up there started telling her how I’m the best and will tell her everything she needs to know. Aww, thanks. Then we started telling tales of “Janice’s Barney”, who is better known these day as “Barney the ridiculously fat beagle who lives at Andrew’s house”. 🙂

And the last of the cutiepants orange kittens went home. Good day.


Snagged from here. In the same vein as all those times I got arrested… 🙂

The instructions: Enter your name and then “last I heard [she/he] was” into Google and see what happens.

She is originally from Wynyard and last I heard she was moving to Yorkton. (And presumably will have a cuppa at some point.)

Wonderful girl called Melanie, who after a complete lack of interest from girls in the 15 years
previously, suddenly announced she had fallen head over heels in love with me… [snipped]…

I got the last laugh though, last I heard she was shagging her way through assorted late-40s blokes (she’s now… 18-ish) from the base of her grotty Kentish council flat, and I’m happy in a stable relationship and am heading off to uni next year.

Mel, you are thoroughly pwned. If I ever end up in eastern Kent again, I’ll make sure I run into you.. and then back up over your broken, still-twitching corpse. (Hehe, read the full, entertaining rant here.)

Looking for Kit Mccoy, last I heard she was with World Airways out of the Bay area. (Splendid name.)

Last I heard she was screaming to have her tubes tied. (Screaming?)

…but last I heard, she was still going strong in middle age. (Umm… thanks?)

Last I heard, she was working as a copyeditor in New York. (Glaaaaam!)

Last I heard she was living with a man/significant other. I am her 20 year old daughter…
(Well, that’s something of a revelation…)

Last I heard she was out in Dubai… (Yorkton, the Bay area, New York… Man, I get around.)

…I will only say this: the last I heard she was living in a trailer outside of Sarasota with a man who trains chimpanzees. (Best! Google! Result! Ever!)

Kids these days.

Yesterday I had rather higher than normal exposure to teenagers. (I don’t know what the government’s recommended exposure limits are, exactly.) The experience left me feeling old, well-dressed, and shaking my head. Clearly, my advancement towards cootdom is progressing nicely…

Continue reading “Kids these days.”

How may I help you?

A few minutes ago one of the HR girls came over to see me. I still don’t react all that well to HR approaching from behind me, but I caught a glimpse of someone approaching in my peripheral vision, and casually removed my headphones, clicked over to email (I was researching medications – not for me, but still…), and turned around to see what was up.

She mentioned she’d heard me talking to another of the attendees prior to the lunch ‘n’ learn session we’d had (I was enlightening a woman from my old team on how one goes about snagging a kitten at the HS), and asked if I worked at the HS. Why yes, I do. When I said that, she pulled up a chair and asked if she could ask me about something. Sure! Long as you’re not laying me off, you can ask me whatever you like, even better if it’s not about work!

Long story short, she has a bit of a situation with her neighbours that she doesn’t like. Not desperate, but not ideal, and sounds like the result of clueless pet owners, rather than intended cruelty. So I told her to call the HS and give them the details of what she’s seen and how things generally are around the neighbours’ place, and this is what they will probably do, and this is what they can’t do, and this is the likely result, etc… She lives in Guelph, and so has the advantage of the most crunchy granola HS I’ve ever been to.

But of a talker, that one, but eventually she wandered off, happy with having options on how to try to improve the situation (“I’m a bit of an animal activist…”) And hey, now I have an in in HR. Always handy…

Weird part was, I had the oddest sense of deja vu while talking to her, but I’d swear I’ve never actually talked to her before…

Hound Theory.

Postulation: the hound puppy, in its natural state, possesses a preternatural level of cuteness. A floppyness of ears, a beseechingness of eyes, and a near-incalculable snuggability factor. This surfeit of cuteness is diabolically designed to disguise the fact that the hound, when grown (especially the “beagle” strain), grows into an adulthood marked by a personality of the Purest Fucking Evil.

An example: Bart, Milhouse, and Nelson.

This has been a public service announcement.