Tag Archives: pets

My TNR Series Got Interrupted… Because I Adopted a Kitten!

30 Sep

I took a pause on writing my series (don’t worry, more is on the way!) to spend time with my cats. 

We have Goose, a 15 year old Maine coon.  He is on a lot of medications, and likes to snooze and drink water and go outside in the fenced yard for brief spans of time.  His arthritis bothers him, but he still jumps from the toilet, to the tank, to the bathroom counter about a 100 times a day. He is the sweetest man, his Jelicle name is Gustopher P. Soft (the P is for purrrr).  He is ALWAYS up for snuggles and kisses, and has the best purr.  I like to call him Magnetic Goose of a Man sometimes, because it’s better than the actual lyric, and also we always kinda had the nickname, Goose-man, for him.  He is my best friend on the entire planet!

Then, there is Choco-Luv (alternately called C.L., Stein, or ISB for ick-scum-buddy).  She is 14 years old, but you’d think she’s 3 or 4 based on her activity and health status.  Her favorite thing is “ups” where she just stands on her hind legs and rubs her face on your elevated hand.  She also adores herp-fish.  Sidenote:  As I’m typing this I see our family has a language all our own.  Herp fish are just the fish-shaped lysine treats that may help resolve herpes flair-ups.  And C.L. is a high-strung thing, so the flair ups happen a lot.  Anyway, to earn herp-fish, Stein has to do 10 ups in a row.  And she begs to do that all morning until we tell her to stop asking. 

My mate and I always talked about getting a kitten some day.  And at the beginning of the pandemic, we thought it would be the perfect time to get a kitten accustomed to everything since we were working from home, so we got Bison.  He is also black (I forgot to say C.L. is a black domestic short hair) but he’s a medium hair.  Bison is the best guy when it comes to grooming!  He’s excellent for his lion cut, and we have even had to give him 2 full baths, and he was great.  Bison used to play fetch, and it was adorable!  He would do it a lot when we first got him, but then we started having to retrieve the ball ourselves, though he would run after it.  And soon, he barely even wanted to chase, and we would try to get him to play, but he just wasn’t into it.  We have tunnel-toys, wands, stuffed-toys, catnip stuff, self-playing toys, lasers, the one where the ball spins on 3 levels, on and on.  Bison likes to play with a toy once or twice, but he quickly gets bored of it.  And we do already rotate the toys, putting some away for awhile and getting out packed ones to seem new again.  Bison just gets bored quickly.  But he’s hyper!  And because he won’t play with us that much, he can act out.  He thinks it’s funny to bully Stein, or jump on the kitchen counter, which we are NOT impressed with.  We didn’t want Bison to be sad a lonely, living with 2 senior cats, so we got him his own kitten.  Which 4 is too many, but it’s important the Bison can have a friend and playmate too.

We got Angus last month, as a 4 month old tiny-kitten.  He’s an orange short hair, which I’ve never owned before.  His temperament is amazing!  I picked up out because in his picture, he was actually smiling!  Which he does all the time, even now.  Angus gets along with everyone in the family, and fit right into our household.  He and Bison will chase, and even wrestle sometimes.  He snuggles with Goose where he likes to nap, in the shower-and has never jumped on Goose, thank goodness.  And he co-exists with Choco-Luv.  She came into the vet hospital is a teeny baby, because someone found her in a Missoura barn all alone.  So she wasn’t really socialized to any cat (other than Goose).  She doesn’t really know how to interact, and gets easily stressed and perturbed with any cat besides Goose, so it’s not really Angus’ fault.  But he doesn’t make her upset, so that’s actually great.

So for the last month, we just had to get everyone adjusted, test boundaries, establish hierarchy, snuggle, play, form routines–all the new cat things.  I will be back on the TNR series pretty soon.  In the mean time, here’s a pic of each that really showcases their personality.

Vocabulary & Sources [TNR-Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon]

27 Jul

There is quite a bit of lingo to cover before we talk about how TNR started, what it’s mission is, if it’s implemented correctly, if it is working, and if it’s ethical. Many of these words are subjective, and carry a lot of emotion, so I tried to find legitimate sources for each word/concept I try to define here. Still, there will be disagreement that all of these are accurate to every group. I’ll do some discussion about that in the next post. Also, this page contains ALL sources for my entire research paper.

Definitions:

Abandonment-

Animal Abandonment Law and Legal Definition

Animal abandonment means leaving behind an animal alone or permitting the animal to be abandoned in circumstances which might cause harm to the animal. 

6) https://definitions.uslegal.com/a/animal-neglect/

Compassion-

a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

8) https://www.dictionary.com/browse/compassion

Dumping-

Synonyms for dumping

12) https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/dumping

Ethical-

Ethics is a system of moral principles. They affect how people make decisions and lead their lives.  Ethics is concerned with what is good for individuals and society and is also described as moral philosophy.

Many people want there to be a single right answer to ethical questions. They find moral ambiguity hard to live with because they genuinely want to do the ‘right’ thing, and even if they can’t work out what that right thing is, they like the idea that ‘somewhere’ there is one right answer.  But often there isn’t one right answer – there may be several right answers, or just some least worst answers – and the individual must choose between them.  For others moral ambiguity is difficult because it forces them to take responsibility for their own choices and actions, rather than falling back on convenient rules and customs.

9) https://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/intro_1.shtml

Feral- 

 A] feral cats have had very limited (or no) interactions with humans and have reverted to a wild state.

3) http://www.fureverhomeadoptioncenter.com/furever-home-

blog/stray-vs-feral-cats-what-you-need-to-know

B] A feral cat is proposed by this study to be a cat that is unapproachable in its free-roaming environment and is capable of surviving with or without direct human intervention, and may additionally show fearful or defensive behaviour on human contact.

4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23966002/#:~:text=

PROPOSED%20DEFINITION%3A%20A%20feral%20cat,defensive%20

behaviour%20on%20human%20contact.

Habituation- 

As cats develop, there are numerous stimuli (sounds, smells, sights, and events) that, when they are unfamiliar, can lead to fear and anxiety. Habituation is the process of getting used to and not reacting to those stimuli by continuous exposure under circumstances that have no untoward consequences.

5) https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-

pet/socialization-and-fear-prevention-in-kittens

Humane-

Synonyms for humane

Words Related to humane

12) https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/humane

Localization-

Localization is the process during which the kitten develops attachment to particular places.

5) https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-

pet/socialization-and-fear-prevention-in-kittens

Natural attrition- 

A] a gradual reduction in the number of people who work for an organization that is achieved by not replacing those who leave

14) https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/attrition

B] A euphemism for natural death or death caused by old age.

Neglect-

Animal Neglect Law and Legal Definition

Animal neglect or abandonment is a common type of animal cruelty where people do not provide adequate care for animals in their charge. The neglected animal may be their own pet, a farm animal, or wildlife. A neglected animal is not provided with proper food, water, veterinary care, shelter and socialization. . .  Neglect may be deliberate abuse or simply a failure to take care of an animal. 

All U.S. states have animal cruelty laws, and 46 states and District of Columbia treat some forms of abuse as felonies. Most states’ animal cruelty statutes contain provisions that address the minimum standards of care for an animal. Definitions of terms such as adequate food, water, shelter and veterinary care are also included in these provisions. 

6) https://definitions.uslegal.com/a/animal-neglect/

Roaming-

A free-roaming cat is defined as a cat living outdoors at least part of the time. This may be a pet cat that is allowed to spend time outdoors, a lost or abandoned owned cat, a tame un-owned cat, or a feral cat.

7) https://vet.osu.edu/attitudes-and-perceptions-towards-free-roaming-cats

Socialization-

Socialization is the process during which the kitten develops relationships with other living beings in its environment.

5) https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-

pet/socialization-and-fear-prevention-in-kittens

The earliest stages of feline development are as follows: 

prenatal; n

neonatal, from birth to 2 weeks; 

transitional, from 2-3 weeks; 

socialization, from 3-7 weeks. 

Human contact and handling are important at 3-9 weeks. 

Social play peaks at 9-14 weeks.

The juvenile period lasts from 7 weeks to sexual maturity at 4-10 months,

Cats reach social maturity at 36-48 months. 

the adult period lasts from sexual maturity to death. 

Cognitive decline occurs during the senior period.

2) https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2017-12-15/feline-

development-kitten-kindergarten-onward

Stray- 

Stray cats are socialized to humans – in most cases they were once pets who have either become lost or were, unfortunately, abandoned,

3) http://www.fureverhomeadoptioncenter.com/furever-home-

blog/stray-vs-feral-cats-what-you-need-to-know

Sustainable-

Sustainability is a holistic approach that considers ecological, social and economic dimensions, recognizing that all must be considered together to find lasting prosperity.

10) https://www.mcgill.ca/sustainability/files/sustainability/what-is-sustainability.pdf

Welfare- 

An animal is in a good state of welfare if (as indicated by scientific evidence) it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, and distress. Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling, and humane slaughter. Animal welfare refers to the state of the animal; the treatment that an animal receives is covered by other terms such as animal care, animal husbandry, and humane treatment.1 Protecting an animal’s welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.

  1. https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

Wild-

Scientists learn about the genetics of domestication by assessing what parts of the genome are altered as a result of animals living with humans. The research team lead by Washington University compared the genomes of domestic cats to wild cats to look for specific areas of the domestic cat genome that experienced rapid changes.

They discovered that compared to wildcats, housecats have more mutations on genes involved in mediating aggressive behavior, forming memories, and controlling the ability to learn from either fear or reward-based stimuli. The cats with domestication-friendly gene mutations mated and passed those traits down from parent to kitten until there was a good-sized population of less aggressive cats.

11) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-difference-between-ho_b_13436022

Zoonotic-

Zoonotic diseases are defined as being common to, shared by, or naturally transmitted between humans and other vertebrate animals. Humans are infected with zoonotic agents from direct contact with the infected animals, contact via contaminated food or water, from shared vectors, and from the shared environment. Direct contact with cat feces (enteric zoonoses), respiratory secretions, urogenital secretions, or infected skin and exudates, as well as bites and scratches can result in human infections.  

18). https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/ defaultadv1.aspx?pId=11181&catId=30088&id=3852234

Sources:

1) https://www.avma.org/resources/animal-health-welfare/animal-welfare-what-it

2) https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2017-12-15/feline-

Development-kitten-kindergarten-onward

3) http://www.fureverhomeadoptioncenter.com/furever-home-

blog/stray-vs-feral-cats-what-you-need-to-know

4) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23966002/#:~:text=

PROPOSED%20DEFINITION%3A%20A%20feral%20cat,defensive%20behaviour%20on%20human%20contact.

5) https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-

pet/socialization-and-fear-prevention-in-kittens

6) https://definitions.uslegal.com/a/animal-neglect/

7) https://vet.osu.edu/attitudes-and-perceptions-towards-free-roaming-cats

8) https://www.dictionary.com/browse/compassion

9) https://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/introduction/intro_1.shtml

10) https://www.mcgill.ca/sustainability/files/sustainability/what-is-sustainability.pdf

11) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-difference-between-ho_b_13436022

12) https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus

13) https://books.google.com/books?id=wWkpDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT132&lpg=

PT132&dq=number+of+cats+and+Adams+Morgan+neighborhood+of+Washington,+DC.

&source=bl&ots=ClvkeuF05J&sig=ACfU3U3IKMWdLMnYE83kcfWShAuj4Zo5rw&hl=en

&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi166m1467xAhWQwJ4KHWS4AKYQ6AEwG3oECBMQAw#v=on

epage&q=number%20of%20cats%20and%20Adams%20Morgan%20neighborhood%20

of%20Washington%2C%20DC.&f=false

14). https://www.charitywatch.org/charity-donating-articles/

cat-charity-criticized-for-straying-from-good-governance-practices

15).  https://www.alleycat.org/about/history/#:~:text=

Our%20roots%20go%20back%20to,them%20to%20their%20outdoor%20homes.

16). https://www.phillyvoice.com/meet-the-people-who-care-for-

100-boardwalk-cats-at-jersey-shore/

17). https://www.lifewithcats.tv/2012/10/31/

returning-to-the-boardwalk-atlantic-city-cats-post-sandy/

18). https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/ defaultadv1.aspx?pId=11181&catId=30088&id=3852234

19). https://www.vin.com/apputil/content/defaultadv1.aspx?pId=11181&

catId=30088&id=3852234

20). https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/18/12/12-0664-t1

Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is actually Trap, Neuter, Re-Abandon an Intro

26 Jul

I feel very passionate that Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is inhumane/cruel and ineffective. It is very popular where I live in (hot) Arizona, and I just hate it for many reasons. Which I will specify in detail in these posts. I spent a disproportionate time arguing against it with neighbors on the Nextdoor app, but have decided a better use of my time would be to write a research paper on the matter. Using facts and legitimate sources, not just feelings and experiences. In this blog series, I’ll be posting some of my (yet to be edited) findings. I hope you will read with an open mind and really think about this information rationally, as I am attempting to do.

Why is there an Outside Cat Problem:

Cats are either born outside, or they had been owned and that (irresponsible, heartless) person left them outside to fend for themselves.

The cats are living in substandard conditions on the street.

In the elements, all weather (sometimes 120F here in AZ, 140 triple digit days last May-Oct), and natural phenomenon such as hurricanes or drought.

Breeding, fighting, spraying, scratching, digging in plants,

Being preyed upon, getting hit by cars, 

Eating wildlife, exchanging diseases with each other, 

Using the urban setting as a litterbox, which spreads disease and parasites.

A rescuer begins feeding.  This habituates these outdoor cats to people, gathers them in one place at a certain time, and nourishes the cats.

A live trap is set and (hopefully) all the breeding cats are collected and taken to the shelter.  Whether females are included, depends on funding. Being inside a trap is stressful to the cats, as is going in a car, being taken to an unfamilar place, being around loud, unfamilar animals and people, and getting a shot in order to be able to castrate.  It’s all very traumatic and stressful to these outdoor cats, just as it is to ANY cat.  

The toms are neutered, and it takes only minutes of a veterinarian’s time.  They do not even need to be fully anesthetized and put on gas to sustain the unconsciousness.  The sedation is much lighter, and the vet dexterously neuters each cat relatively quickly.

Spaying is a bigger job.  The queen has to go under full anesthesia, sustain unconsciousness with gas inhalant, have supplemental oxygen, and more monitoring equipment for vitals, and usually always (I sincerely hope!) a 2nd person in the room to monitor, help, and in case of emergencies.  Going fully under is a higher risk, longer procedure, and more costly as a result.  TNR programs may have the funds (and motivation) to spay, or they may not.

Honestly, all cats should have an FIV/FeLV test, a rabies, FVRCP, and the optional FIV vaccines since they are outside, and get dewormed.  At least.  These items are highly dependent on funds, and as such are usually neglected for the TNR cats.

After the castration, sometimes cats are allowed to recover in the shelter, sometimes there’s no space or time.  So the cats are dumped back outside, sometimes while still a bit groggy and disoriented.

Then the cats are outside fending for themselves in the elements.

(this repetition is not a mistake, or copy & paste error. As you can see, the cat lives are much the same post-neuter)

Fighting, spraying, scratching, digging in plants,

Being preyed upon, getting hit by cars, 

Eating wildlife, exchanging diseases with each other, 

Using the urban setting as a litterbox, which spreads disease and parasites.

Neutering will not change ingrained behavior patterns.

Cats can still spray, fight each other, and be a nuisance in neighborhoods.

Neutering cats does not change their health outcome living in a high-risk urban outdoor environment.  They can still get preyed upon, hit by cars, and the other bad ends.

Neutering does not change a cat’s diet.  They may still eat birds and wildlife depending on availability of food, food-competition, and hunting drive/instinct.  

Zoonotic disease can be passed on in this way:  A cat hunts a vole or bat.  That vole/bat was carrying rabies.  Or a raccoon is attracted to the cat food, and the territorial cats get in a scuffle with it. The cat shows signs of rabies, but it lives outside so either nobody notices or the cost is prohibitive to seek medical treatment for a cat that isn’t owned.  A dog comes by and the furiously rabid cat aggresses, or a child tries to pet the cat, or a well-meaning person tries to trap the cat to take it to the vet.  The cat bites in any of these scenarios.  You have a dog with rabies, that can spread it to other dogs, cats, and people.  You have a child bitten by a rabid cat.  You get an adult bitten and scratched and having to do lengthy and costly rabies prevention measures.  That’s just three examples.  There are countless diseases and parasites that can travel from cats to other species.

Neutering is not whole-animal health.  The cats will no longer breed, but neutering does not protect from disease or parasites. Or other health concerns.

So what has been accomplished?

An outdoor cat with a high-risk life was neutered, and now is an outdoor cat…With a high-risk life. It doesn’t breed. But people don’t stop dumping pets outside either.  The root cause of the problem has not been resolved.  So even though the TNR cats aren’t reproducing, they can still add more and more to the colony.  Without adoption and death, the colony size either remains the same, or actually grows in size.

This is just a raw outline of the procedure and problem. Stay tuned for more specific details.

2021 Goals

1 Jan

See maintain for all the stuff we have been doing and need to just keep up or amp up now that the holidays are over.

  1. I need to quickly acknowledge and say just enough to move along at work. Not saying anything, and trying to ignore things made me have pent up frustration. Then I exploded inappropriately. But also, what is the point of getting upset every time? it’s only making me look worse and worse. I already know my manager is dumb and belligerent. And I already know my supervisor is arrogant, condescending, misogynistic, and sometimes dinky. I don’t need to be enraged anew each time I deal with them. And it’s not changing anything.

strategies for this:

rather than jumping right in, I need to take 5-10 min before I respond at all. Give my rational brain the chance to do the talking.

I need to process it with Cool prior to engaging with them

forget trying to make them see my point (neither listen anyway) I need to just keep it light and say OK! just to end it.

2. Play with the kitten more/better.

Time. Make it a priority. Put it in our routine. Make it an in-a-row. Do it early before it’s dark and before we’re tired.

Sometimes he won’t engage. try different color ball, or 2 at once. Try wand. Try the tunnels. Use catnip. Leash-train him so if nothing else we can walk him.

I can always add more later, but aside from keeping up all the stuff we’re already doing, these are the main 2.

Reflection: Best Moments of 2020 (good to very, very best)

31 Dec

*Covid-19 note: We haven’t been into public since March 14, when we were sent home to work. Other than contact-free vet appointments, walks around the neighborhood (crossing the street if there were other people), and one curb-side pick up of Bountiful Baskets in March. Other than that, we have not had contact with people or gone anywhere. So a few of these items (marked with *) happened before America took Covid-19 seriously, so don’t worry about us being covidiots. Pics on items w/o * are from prior years. About when the sports-world went dark, I realized it was an emergency. Then, after we no longer had to go to the work building we didn’t go anywhere.

-Instead of being in an old stadium very far from where it’s feasible to see games, Covid-19 allowed us to see way more televised WNBA games then ever before. And our favorite team, Seattle Storm, won! And our favorite player, Sue Bird did AWESOME!!!

-My awful/lazy/inept supervisor got transferred to a different department. What a relief.

-Labor Dave Weekend (drive in YouTube streaming). This sounds kinda sad, but it was actually better than having to miss it year after year when we moved away from WAshington. We always went when we lived in Seattle and Spokane, but it was too difficult and expensive from Utah and Arizona. But it would happen without us, and people would talk and post pics, so it was a hurt for missing out year after year. But not this year! We saw exactly what everyone else saw. For free! From the cleanliness and comfort of our own home. No expense. No long drive. No parking craziness. No $13 shitty nachos. No terrible and overpriced shasta beer. No wind or dust. It was an introvert’s dream!

-Christmas was spread out: online shopping before Halloween, decorating in November, cooking in December. I’m usually disgruntled about the holiday season b/c I’m completely overwhelmed and there are all these expectations and societal pressures. But spread over 3 months is more festive, and less stressful! I’m doing it this way from now on.

This isn’t it, but similar

*Mardi Gras: went out to eat, had the cake, watched YouTube videos, listened to podcasts, had a gold/green/purple outfit. Just got really into it!

-My former Supervisor only did one 1:1 with me in the year (the company mandates a monthly one on one for each employee) and that one didn’t include my numbers, so I always thought I was doing shitty.  Because I only ever heard when I was fucking up.  BUT my new Supervisor had a 1:1 with me and shared my production info (1st time I’d ever seen it).  

Feb 212.45% of goal

Mar 173.86% of goal

April 149.10% of goal

May 158.03% of goal

June-July I was in training

Aug 143.61% of goal

Sept 144.99% of goal

Oct 148.42% of goal

Nov 156.53% of goal

Dec 159.88% of goal

Avg 156.39% of goal

So I had been so nervous all of the times, having the perception I wasn’t doing well. And people kept telling me all these things I wasn’t doing right, but nobody ever told me what I had been doing right. So it was nice to see I was kicking ass on my production!

*Phoenix Lights of the World. We were smart and went in January. So we totally missed the crowds–which made it so much more fun! There were all kinds of giant animals and stuff related to each of the continents. So it was good pictures, and a non-crowded, non-stressful time. After we’re vaccinated and things are happening again, we’ll make sure to hit this in January after the holiday crowds have dispersed.

-lots of time saved with delivery groceries. This is a luxury that we usually don’t never have indulged.

-Good music. 2020 had a lot of albums that I liked, and special mention for Taylor Swift putting out not one but two surprise albums. And both inspired me to analyze, which I like, and stretches my brain.

-sitting outside in the yard w/the kitties. Because we were home all the time, we had a lot more time with each other and the kitties–which I loved. And because it’s AZ, the weather allowed us to work outside, and sit outside, and play games like ladders and jumbo jenga outside. And without all the showering, commuting/traffic, errands, and all that we gained lots of hours in our week. It was beautiful, and I want to keep it this way forever!

*Innings Festival. The last event in Feb before we knew Covid-19 was upon us. We love music. We love food. We love drinking in a park. And this year the headliner was Dave Matthews Band! Also, the venue is in very close proximity to our house, so it’s very convenient. It was a good, good time, as Dave would say.

-less guilt about ordering delivery restaurant food. We love restaurant food, but know it’s full of fat and salt, and really hurts the wallet. But with grocery stores getting striped, and delivery difficult sometimes, this became nearer to a necessity item. Which has been such a treat! I’ll be sad when we’re able to go back inside a grocery store and this is over. We’ve eaten really well this quarantine 🙂

*got a treadmill! My used Craigslist treadmill finally died before we moved to AZ. And we lived in a teeny, tiny 3rd floor apartment for nearly 2 years, so we didn’t replace it. But this year in Feb, I used my bonus money to get a really nice (new to us) used one. It is SO much easier to run my daily mile. And I don’t know what I would have done without it during this pandemic. We use it every. single. day. And I love it.

-(contact-free) getting a kitten–Bison. We had been discussing a kitten for some time now, and had even named a future kitten. When we found out we got to work from home, we thought it would be the perfect time to situate a new kitten. So we got Bison. He is very ginormous framed, so he doesn’t look like a kitten, but he’s only one, so he’s a true baby. And he is hyper. But also he’s a really good kitten.

-working from home. My favorite movie for the longest time was Copycat. I thought the premise was clever, and it was suspenseful and historical. And I thought the actors did a good job. But I was truly enamored with the agorophbic lifestyle. She had 3 computers, a mansion-apartment, an online chess game, delivery food–everything you’d want. Like, I’m not afraid to leave my house, but that movie made being a shut-in look really classy and cozy. And I’m not kidding when I say it’s been my dream to live that way ever since I saw it. What a relief it would be! But I thought I’d either have to win the lottery or retire in order to achieve it. But 2020 has been a lot like that.

Our CEO is old-school and said nobody, never, ever would work from home for any length of time ever. And when the pandemic began, all 200 of us worked at low cubes in that same room, sharing 2 bathrooms. Then, when the hospitals were getting overwhelmed, work said we would be split into an A group and a B group and every other week one or the other would work from home so the people remaining in the office could socially distance. They still didn’t really want to let us work from home. But pretty soon, Covid-19 was real bad, and we were all allowed to work from home all the time.

Other than Covid-19, it really has been a dream come true for me. I never realized how tired just going to the office had been making me. I felt rested during the day for the first time in like a decade! And my stress and anxiety went waaaaay down. And we never skipped another workout. Everything good is happening since we’ve been able to work from home. I love it so much, and hope we get to keep doing it forever.

Reflection: Worst Moments of 2020 (11th to 1st worst)

31 Dec

honorable mention-updated driver’s license.  In AZ, you don’t have to renew for like 25 years.  But my parents said soon, everybody had to transition to a special kind of license.  And if you didn’t you couldn’t fly.  So we went to do it one weekend, and online it made it sound so fast.  And all the info seemed like you just walk up and get it and leave.  But when we got there it was a DMV situation with lots of people and hours and hours of boring waiting.  And the germs!  I was freaking out (this was even before Covid-19 was known at all) b/c I HATE getting sick.  We got the license, and we managed not to get sick.  But what a let down.

10-Sneakers were banned from work except on Friday.  I wrote a well-thought, sincere letter trying to persuade leadership to reconsider and allow fashion sneaks.  This was the first time I had EVER spoken out at this job.  I barely talked for the first year I worked there, due to McKesson PTSD.  And I finally found an issue important to me, and carefully, and thoughtfully tried to address it.  They just reiterated policy and acted very corporate, not human, about it.  What a waste.  The whole thing just made me feel like a number or something.  Then, I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get an ADA pass to wear sneakers to work.  It is very heavy-handed.

9-Pride month got hijacked by BLM.  And I had been really looking forward to it, but there was no to-do at all for it.  Obviously, nothing physical was going on, but I didn’t even get to post, like 1 rainbow anywhere.  And “hijacking #BLM” was pretty much shamed and stigmatized on social media.  I wasn’t allowed to even talk about it. P.S. Pride is necessary. Trans people suicide and violence by others is sky-high. Bisexuals are erased. Gender nonconforming need logistical concerns met by society. Conversion therapy is still practiced. Closeted teens still self-harm, and out-teens go homeless. It isn’t frivolous to celebrate Pride!

8-Arguing with Covidiots on Twitter.  At first, I assumed people didn’t know.  And I watch news twice a day and listen to podcasts daily, so I was getting information quickly.  I tried to educate, and that was a losing battle.  I would refute their nonsense and write facts, but people would argue, tweet by tweet for like, days, at a time.  I soon realized it wasn’t legitimate lack of knowledge on their part but selfishness, political-brainwashing, and willful ignorance.  Now, I do not engage with any individual, b/c it would make me rageful and insane.  I’ll just put a fact-based tweet in general, or navigate away entirely.

7-I had the high of knowing my dink-Supervisor transferred departments.  I had been keeping a log of all his infractions, and had been talking to his boss about it, who (mostly seemed annoyed I was saying anything, and making her work) assured me he was on a mediation plan.  So it was really a happy moment to find he wasn’t going to be in my life any more.  And I wondered what new blood would be in charge of my team.  I hoped I could start out on the right foot with them.  And I hoped they would care a lot more, and be a go-getter, and really make a positive change!  Oh the possibilities!  But my supervisor was replaced with this other guy I had previously worked with, who can be arrogant/condescending/sexist/dinky.  I had been hoping for just someone new and better–so it was a big disappointment that one dink, was replaced with the ONLY other person at the job I didn’t like.

6-My (now) former supervisor wanted me to go to advanced training.  When I asked if it was in the work building and was concerned about going back physically because of Covid-19, he yanked me out of training.  I had to go to H.R. about it because the training was never even planned to be in the building, it was over Zoom, and you can’t yank someone’s promotional opportunity because you’re a Covidiot that doesn’t believe in science.  But it felt bad to have to fight for public health, fight to keep my promotional opportunity. So after a year, I had finally spoken. I asked about the shoes. But then, my supervisor kept doing shitty things, and after I had documented like 30 terrible things, I felt like I had to say something. But now this very important thing came up– and now I’m considered a squeaky wheel. Which is not accurate.

5-Difficulty, time, and struggle to get things delivered from about March to late August?  Toilet paper, Clorox-Wipes, Lysol, and a lot of the food we usually keep on hand were out.  And I was having to repeatedly check Costco, Walmart, Amazon, the Dollar Store, etc… just to get basics.  When the pandemic first started, NONE of those companies were prepared, and everything was a hassle to impossible.  I had a toilet paper A (ration), B(napkins), (Magazine pages), D (leaves) emergency plan.  It’s funny, byt also not an exaggeration, and that made me anxious!

4-Password issue the first couple days of work from home.  I was locked out of my work account for 2 full work days.  And had to call IT and hold with them forever, be on the line with them for long times, and be so frustrated when their interventions were unsuccessful.  I felt stressed and guilty b/c it was literally the first week we were allowed to work from home, and I didn’t want my job to think I was taking advantage and fucking around.  But I also didn’t want to go into the building and get Covid-19, or get fired about it.  

3-My Prop 208 homework. Arizona has been gyped of education by many crooked CEOs, lobbyists, Koch Brothers, corrupts politicians, and as a result the schools are abysmal. I am big on education, because that really is a thing that pulls people up, and helps poverty, and helps people vote better. These things matter by the time a pandemic strikes. Also, my mom is a teacher, and I just think AZ can do better. So this proposition was supposed to tax wealthy individuals to help schools. But of course all the greedy grifters had a big disinformation campaign to trick Arizonans into voting against their best interests. So for 6 weeks leading up to the election, I took it upon myself to refute the scores of people bending facts, lying, and tricking voters about what the prop is, and who it impacts. And people here hate teachers. They have zero respect for the teaching profession and think the educators are over paid. And they regard school as free daycare, really. And a lot of Arizonans hate paying any taxes at all–even to educate kids. It was exhausting! I probably did 2 hours per day every single day of those 2 weeks, with a surge that last week. It was tiring arguing with liars, and trying to convince argumentative ignorants. The prop did pass-yay! But by the slimmest of margins (sad and maddening). And now those dirty money-hungry people are trying to overturn it in courts. gerr.

2-My mid-level manager routinely doesn’t read or pay attention.  And it’s totally annoying, b/c she’ll ask questions she should know, or could easily look up.  Or she’ll get after me, b/c she didn’t read properly.  We follow workflows, and my end point directed me to send the claim to her.  I sent a bunch of info including many numbers and 2 screenshots to this manager.  She didn’t understand it somehow–which is really stupid.  My (new) supervisor wrote to me telling me to make sure to include more info with my “questions” (but this was not a question, it was an endpoint on my workflow).  I asked what else I needed to send (b/c it was more than enough!) and he replied, “more.”  We went back and forth b/c there WAS NOTHING ELSE TO INCLUDE, it was ridiculous.  Honestly, I suspected he hadn’t read my initial e-mail either, he had glanced, seen the manager’s question, and lectured me without looking.  And I felt like instead of admitting I HAD sent more than enough–everything he listed, he doubled-down and gave a generic “more.”  I kept asking, “what else do you need?” Same answers.  Then he said to call him and he would explain it.  But I was like, “I keep a record, can’t you just type out a list of items I need to include in all emails?”  But he was still all, “I can only explain it on the phone.”  Which I also thought was a croc, but I didn’t want to get in trouble for insubordination, so I reluctantly called.  And he literally said exactly what he said before!  He had my email up on a shared screen, and I heatedly asked what other info they needed.  I even told him I suspected the manager wasn’t opening claims, reading notes/remarks, or paying attention to workflows. And he defended that! He said management is very busy, couldn’t I just send more? He said, “more” again when I asked what, specifically–and I LOST MY TEMPER.  The whole exchange was a fucking ridiculous charade.  I sent enough info, but the manager either didn’t look at stuff or was being dumb, and this Supervisor didn’t read the fucking initial e-mail and just assumed I hadn’t sent everything.  And his tone on this unnecessary phone call was jovial, and he was like, “Is that cool?”  And I said something to the effect of, “No it is NOT cool, but you are my supervisor, so yes, sir, whatever you want.”  It was a completely inappropriate way to speak to an authority.  Not what I’m going for at work.  But he was being such a (misogynistic) douche!  An attitude of like, ‘this dumb bitch is so stupid, I’m going to put her in her place because she’s just a silly woman who doesn’t understand things.’ After the call, I sent him 3 egregious examples of the manager not reading or looking or paying attention. I had saved them, b/c this was becoming a chronic issue. And he defended her! Which is crazy. So whatever the fuck…

1-Goose got very sick with the herp.  He’s already under-weight, and we’re always trying to get him to eat more.  We give him appetite stimulant, but he still doesn’t get enough.  When he got herpes in that already weakened state, it hit him so hard.  And he was completely stuffed up to the point he had to open mouth gasp like a blowfish.  So it was extremely concerning.  He didn’t move, didn’t eat, and felt terrible.  Even though we’re home for work, ordering all groceries delivery, and not going anywhere–I took Goose to the vet.  They didn’t offer that much.  Their big plan was to send a can of food.  But I remembered how the feline exclusive treated cats and requested those items.  He did recover, but I was terrified this was the end.