Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Tiny tragedy

I've seen various bloggers over the years either castigate those who write about their cats; or apologise for, themselves, writing about their cats. To which I say bullshit! For those who castigate there is a simple solution; the next link in the web. Those who apologise? Why? Because you love a cat? Why not apologise for breathing?

On March 8th last year (quite by coincidence my mothers birthday, which possibly explains why I remember the date) Sonya brought home a very very small kitten. With the usual lack of imagination he was christened 'Tiny'. I'd have probably saddled him with a moniker such as Kerensky but I wasn't quick enough and Tiny he became. I wrote a bit about him here[^].

A most remarkably pretty Himalayan. An almost as remarkably timid cat, easily spooked by the thoughtlessly noisy. But he managed well enough despite the timidity, being careful to suss things out before sticking his nose into the new. I well recall thinking he'd probably outlive me.

When Krylenko[^] joined us I was initially dismayed (six cats is pushing it wouldn't you agree?) but the two of them got along like a house on fire and it was hard to object to the newcomer when watching the two of them chasing each other around the house and so obviously enjoying life.

As you'll have guessed, Tiny is no more. He died on February 10th, of kidney failure. It seems that Himalayans are genetically susceptible to such problems. Knowing that hasn't helped me feel any better about losing him.

It was all so fast; a mere 5 days from first realising there was a problem to his death. Three or four trips to a vet who said there wasn't a problem and a sadly painful trip from there to the emergency vet. He was conscious then, cuddled in my arms as Sonya drove.

Offers of kidney transplants, apparently not available in Arizona, but available in California. Now there's an ethical dilemma! Though there might be organ donor programs for humans based on organ harvesting after death through other causes, I have no such touching faith in the ethics of animal organ transplants. I have uncomfortable visions of cats raised for the benefit of stockholders, their organs awaiting those willing to pay, the rest of the cat, no longer viable, left to die.

Yes, I did enjoy the roast lamb I had for dinner tonight. Ethics isn't easy.

I don't think I've ever felt the loss of a cat more than I've felt the loss of Tiny. In the 11 months and 2 days he was part of our lives he established himself as a unique personality. Not a day passes that I don't think of something he'd do that I took for granted as part of lifes rich pageant. Things that I miss immensely.

Krylenko gets rather more cuddles right now than he'd otherwise expect.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Don't be late!

My route to work each morning takes me Southward on Central Avenue. This time of year, that early in the day, it's still dark, so I don't see as much as perhaps I should. That'll change as we leave winter behind and soon enough I'll find myself driving in daylight.

Driving home it's still light and my route takes me North on 7th Avenue. Much the better run than Central and I'd use it on my way to work were it not that I seem to be the only Phoenix resident who actually observes the signs prohibiting left turns at that time of day. Of course it could also be that I have an aversion to using the 'suicide' lane, especially for a turn.

If you don't know what the suicide lane is, it's that lane out in the middle of the road that's for traffic in one direction in the morning and the other direction in the afternoon. We had (have) em in Melbourne too, notably Queens Road St.Kilda and I didn't like them there any more than I do here. But that's just me.

Anyway, that part of Phoenix seems to have a church on every block. Pretty up market most of em by the looks but then again the entire area is way out of my price range. There's one church though, just north of Indian School Road, that really catches my eye every evening as I drive home. I have no idea which denomination they are and don't much care but I can't help noticing the prominent sign announcing services at 10:18 on Sundays.

I'm almost curious enough to go over some Sunday and see if they really are that precise!

Snappy Dresser

We're still looking at houses with an eye to buying. There aren't quite as many for sale as there were half a year ago, at least if you go by a drive around the area of a Saturday afternoon. Indeed, this very afternoon we found only one open house, a bank foreclosure complete with damage.

I have to admit I don't quite understand the logic that would lead one to vandalise a house as ones parting gesture to the bank. Even if one wanted to stick it to the man surely records exist? Or does the fact of having been repossessed outweigh the pettiness of taking a hammer to the toilet bowls? Don't these people have hopes of starting over again?

Thus the house we saw today. The pool had been let go to such an extent that I reckon careful treading might have seen one able to walk across it! Holes in the dry wall (plasterboard) where the water heater had been wrenched out. Two of three toilet bowls entirely gone and the third hammered into many pieces. Oh, and every light fitting gone.

The agent was apologetic and trying to minimise the extent of the damage. I'm pretty sure he didn't believe me when I said it was perfect for our purposes, it already looks like it's occupied by teenagers. It would save the lazy bastards the trouble of making a mess!

I honestly didn't think it was all that bad; I've lived in worse. The only urgent repair would be the porcelain appliances; everything else can happen as finances permit. So we asked the agent for his card and departed.

Back in the car I glanced at the card and had the best laugh of the day. A photo of the agent, a bunch of phone numbers and his email address, and a slogan. The slogan went...

'Joe Blow, Nice Guy, Snappy Dresser'

Isn't that exactly what you look for in an estate agent?