Friday, October 07, 2016

The Furry Character

Trixie has exhibited two diametrically different sides of her personality this week. I had promised a month or so ago to take in a small four-legged boarder who had been born in the guestroom of a friend's house. Three of his four siblings had already been homed when I finally had enough time to pick Bob up last weekend. He's a  nice baby tomcat, striped like Trixie, and with a robust purr and a sense of adventure. Trixie loathed him. This in and of itself was not surprising, because cats do not frequently welcome interlopers, at least not immediately. I shut him in the upstairs bathroom with his own litter box, water bowl and food so the two felines could get used to the other without directly coming in contact. And poor little Bob was so freaked out by Trixie's unrelenting howling and hissing on the other side of the door that he spent five days curled in a tiny, tiny ball shivering next to the tub wall, hiding underneath the shower curtain. And Trixie herself was furious at me. The first night, I was lying down on my bed, with her curled near the foot when she made direct angry eye contact, reached over and hit me with her paw--claws out--as hard as she could, then bolted. I chased her down in the living room, flicked her ear, and told her that she was a bad kitty. She sulked out in the dining room until I went out again and told her she could come back to her ottoman to sleep. She had never scratched me before. She didn't purr or consent to be petted or held the whole time he was here. I finally gave up, packed him back into his little crate, and took him back to his first home. He was a different kitty the minute he was back with his remaining sister--purring loudly, bouncing around, acting like a normal little fuzzball. Clearly neither he nor Trixie were meant to be together. I think she is truly happy being an only cat. My friend is going to try to find Bob and his sister a home together.

My Savannah friend Audrey and her two children had to evacuate due to hurricane Matthew, and they arrived at my house Thursday night. Audrey's little daughter was instantly smitten with Trixie, who was not quite sure about this golden haired little human at first, especially given her association with a larger, louder, rowdier small human (Rita's seven-year-old brother). But today Trixie consented to be petted, and hasn't made any moves of aggression, which absolutely delighted Rita. I was impressed both by Rita's willingness to woo my cat patiently and by Trixie's willingness to be won over.

I've been offered a job teaching English in South Korea. One fleece I have laid out is the challenge of taking Trixie with me – I wrote the school director this evening and asked him if the school, which would be paying for my plane ticket, would also pay for her to fly with me.  There are a bunch of prayers that need to be answered if I am to take this job. I need a reliable and suitable renter to agree to lease my house fully furnished. I need my current boss to let me telecommute long distance, part time. I need my medical issues not to prevent me from getting a Korean work visa. And so on and so forth. Most of these issues are  beyond my control to address or solve, like finding helpers for my uncle, who would like to perhaps go into the estate sale business full-time, and who was lamenting my potential departure just when we are beginning to settle into a working rhythm.

I never thought I would be debilitated by an office job, but one of the major allures of the overseas teaching gig is that it may be much easier on my body than sitting eight hours a day in front of a computer like I do now. Over the last six weeks (it was growing acute before I left town, then subsided during my vacation, and has returned with a vengeance since) I have developed severe aching  discomfort from the right side of my neck down my right arm. It's not the same sort of pain that accompanied my agony of several years ago, and none of my fingers have gone numb, but it's clearly a cervical disc-related problem. I don't want to have surgery again, if I can avoid it,  but my right arm is getting weaker and weaker because it aches too much to use. Thank God, my insurance says they'll pay for multiple sessions of physical therapy--these are supposed to begin next week--because right now I cannot sleep without taking painkiller.  But I also am worried that continuing the editing job is going to ruin my health. They did get standing desks for us–these arrived just this afternoon--so that may alleviate some of the symptoms, but clutching a computer mouse and hunching toward the screens probably don't do my spine any good whether I stand or sit.


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