End times

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My friend John and I have a new tag line that we now use to end pretty much any conversation where we find ourselves complaining or making note of some dire situation.  The tag line: “end times”.  I’m not sure how it started.  Perhaps it was a discussion about the economy, oil prices, world food crises, Iraq, or any number of depressing topics, which he probably ended with the cynical speculation that we were indeed approaching the end of days.  But now, we use “end times”  at the end of conversations ranging from the oppressive layer of smoke that has been covering California for the past week to the price of avocados at the grocery store to Alaska’s diarrhea.  “End times” pretty much explains everything that is wrong in the world and in our lives.

Behind our cynical laughter is some real fear.  These are scary times.  The economy scares the shit out of me.  I’m a single middle-aged woman with no safety net.  If I lose my job, I’m pretty well screwed. When I was young and unfettered couch surfing while between jobs or places to live was an option.  But at my age with three cats and a rabbit? And the potential impact of the oil crisis also frightens  me.  With the exception of my hellish 20’s, I have done alright for myself financially, or at least well enough to take care of my attachment to comfort and privacy.  I drive alone close to 80 miles each day round trip.  That cannot be sustained.  I’ll have to be making more effort to get work via public transit, or gasp! share a ride with someone.  And while I am nowhere as gloom and doom as the boyfriend (don’t get him started – if I have to listen to another lecture about peak oil  . . . ), I am truly worried.

So, how am I spending my end times?  By obsessively chronicling my cat’s food intake and poo output, of course.  As I explained in the last post, Alaska was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  Medication alone has not seemed to help him, so we’re going the diet route.  It’s been almost a week since he’s been doing the duck diet, with mixed results.  He was doing OK, except we had a minor set back when I decided to supplement his wet and dry “prescription” food with some raw duck gizzards.  I figured, hey, it’s duck.  It’s on his diet, right?  Well, he loved them.  Scarfed them right now.  Oh what a happy boy he was.  But, the next day?  Ah geez, not pretty, not pretty at all.  But, every last gory detail his going into his spreadsheet – what he ate, what he pooed, his mood, his appetite, and whether or not he got his subQ fluids.  No more hemming and hawing when the vet asks me how many days out of the week did he have runny stools.  Oh no.  I’ve got a spreadsheet. And a damn fine one it is. 

The other thing I’ve been doing is spending a lot of time in Asian grocery stores.  This week alone, I’ve been to 99 Ranch  twice, plus a  Japanese grocery story with a Japanese dollar store next store.  I can’t explain the draw for me.  I’m not a cook, so I don’t go to look for Asian cooking ingredients (though it was the first place I thought of when I wanted to find duck parts to supplement Alaska’s diet).  I have no idea what is in 3/4s of those packages, and while I am intrigued, I don’t want to buy something if I have no idea what it is.  So, mostly I look.  I mean, they have a whole aisle for nothing but fish balls!  Fish balls!  Little fish balls, big fish balls, green fish balls.  And then there are the tanks of fish.  Those make me sad, actually.  Such big fish in such small tanks.  But, if you wish, not only can you buy fresh fish there, they will fry it up for you for no additional cost. 

Who knows, maybe going to Asian grocery stores is my cheapo way to travel these days.  Why go to Asia when you can just travel a few miles and you can get a good glimpse of how another culture lives by going to their grocery stores.  Or maybe there is a fear of losing everything I ever knew of  my own culture, so I’m trying to distance myself from it. Or maybe I’m just bored. 

I’m taking the week after the Fourth of July off from work.  No plans, really.  Do some rabbit repairs and then rabbit proofing around the house.  Maybe take in the US Junior Women’s Sailing Championship to watch my nieces compete. Perhaps have the brother and his family over for dinner.  My brother actually visiting me?  Oh my, that truly is a sign of the end times!

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15 responses »

  1. I have to say, after weeks of hand feeding and sub-q fluids, if the cat had added in liquified poo I think it would have been the end times for him.

    I do admire the spread sheet, though. I have made a few spread sheets in my time to track ceratin things. Sadly though, in the end, I tend to fall off the wagon and quit tracking anything (followthrough is not my strong point).

    And as for the smoke? We up on the north coast are getting our fair share as well. Our saving grace here is the coastal winds.

    And finally (damn I’m a little wordy today), we too are taking the week off after the 4th. A group trip to southern california and the happiest place on earth. I always say time away from work is well spent no matter what you actually do with it.

    Thanks for having me over.

  2. Maybe that is what I was trying to describe in my post tonight, the unsettled feeling I’ve started having, not knowing but feeling the pending of something just out of sight.

    I worry about my critters, too. How do we make everything come out right?

    😦 Shu

  3. I lost a friend of 40 years coming up on two years ago now–this reminded me of her because “end times” was something she used to say. Her solution? Living FLAT OUT. She made the trips she could manage and some she couldn’t, she lived in a mindset of prosperity and generosity. When the cancer hit, it didn’t change a lot–she couldn’t do everything she wanted to do, but she continued doing everything she could.

    I guess what I think about, when I think “end times,” is that we are all of us, always, in the end times. What does any of the rest of this really change?

  4. I walk when I can now. No more taking the car for short trips. And I’ve turned down a couple of things that would have taken up too much gas before the end of the week. I really cannot afford to fill up more than 7-10days at a time. But, I am blessed with a 10 mile round trip commute to work so it’s just the extras that I need to watch.

    End times indeed. I’m an optimist by nature, but it really is a challenge right now and hard to see where the silver lining will come from.

  5. I worry all the time about where the world is going, and what will happen to us all when it goes. It terrifies me to see my friends bringing children into the world, as though nothing is happening.

  6. End times, indeed. Like LFC said, though, you must live like every day is your last and not get caught up in the crap (no pun intended… well, maybe just a little ;)). Spend time with those important in your life and be sure to tell them how much you love them.

    In the midst of all this mess, I try to find the gold nuggets wherever I can. I can walk to work, which is a blessing. The crappy economy has forced me to re-evaluate my purchases and only spend money on things that I really need… and save for the treats. That kind of sucks in some ways, but not really… it’s just put things in the right perspective, I think.

    That being said, I still want to kick Bush and Cheney in the tuckus. Hard.

  7. I’m not sure I can add much here LB. I agree with everyone (well except for the amusing comment about no fear with jesus) and am myself about to start riding my motorcycle again. Scary indeed, when I think about how nutty Houston drivers are on the road.

  8. Adam – I admit I am pretty close myself to giving up Alaska’s spreadsheet. He’s been pretty darn stable the last week, so nothing to report. But, I…must…keep…going.

    Enjoy SoCal. Tell Burbank “hi” as you drive by. And you’re welcome around these parts any ol’ time. 🙂

    Ron – yeah, that’s the estimate I’m working off of too. Good ol’ Mayans.

    Andrealudwig – yeah, whatever.

    Shu – it’s hard to feel settled when it feels like the world is sitting in a handbasket with a destination of hell. But, we do what we can for those we love, including our critters, and hope for the best.

    Mr. Mellow – uh, either that or a big stinky liquidy mess. It’s a toss-up.

    LFC – your friend sounds like a mighty wise woman. I totally agree that we can’t let fear get in our way. We’re all going to get sick, get old (if we’re lucky) and die, and worrying ain’t gonna change that a lick.

    tpgoddess – I tend to be an somewhat optimistic (or at least more optimistic than the boyfriend), but I too am finding it harder to find that positive twist in some situations. I guess the challenge is to be realistic without becoming pessimistic.

    Kangaroos – While in theory popcorn balls sound kinda tasty, however, if they are connected to your body, well, I think that is something you need to talk to your doctor about.

    David – I hear ya. I especially cringe when I see people bring whole litters of children into this world – it just doesn’t seem fair to the kids and to the rest of the world.

    NM – Maybe that is the lesson to be learned in all this. If people start to recognize what they have in terms of people and other creatures in their lives, maybe they’ll take the time to really cherish them rather than running after things, or seeking the excitement of new places.

    Oh, and if you Bush and Cheney ever wind up within kicking distance of your foot, could you please give them one for me too.

    Jules – Just this morning on my way into work I saw someone on a very stable, adult looking motorcycle and thought “hmmmmmmm”. Before my motorcycle fantasies would always be about escaping my work-a-day world. Now, they the object of my commute fantasies.

    Be careful out there. 🙂

  9. Cheney/Rove 2008 keep the magic alive!

    also btw eye just had popcorn ball reduction surgury ~ actually the just dippem real quick in sum warm water – and they came out GREAT!

  10. Maybe you could become a writer. It isn’t everyone who can make their pet’s bowel fluctuations entertaining.

    I had a beautifully juvenile giggle over the fish balls passage.

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