My cat died this week and I’m fairly certain there is a hole in my heart that will never be healed. I think I had forgotten how much you could love an animal until he came into my life. Maybe it’s because I had been wanting a kitten for five years before my husband finally agreed to let another animal in the house after the last psycho kitty we had. Or maybe it’s because all of the girls at our vet’s office got all googly-eyed when he came in because he was just so handsome and lovable. Whatever it was about that cat, he was one in a million and it’s hard to sit on the couch writing this without him in between my knees.
From the minute Brody came into our house, he ruled it. He jumped up to drink water out of my fountain, so I filled it with purified water and disinfected it every week knowing that would be where he chose to hydrate. I even bought him a fancy pet fountain to put by his food dish, which he half-heartedly drank from when he was too lazy to walk in the other room. He wanted to go outside, so we bought him a harness and tent. He was able to explore most of our backyard, dragging me behind him through pine trees and rose bushes tethered by a little green leash. The kids in the neighborhood came over to watch him roll around on a blanket in his tent and soak in the sunshine while he watched his favorite human play lacrosse with her dad. If we didn’t take him outside often enough, he let us know he was displeased by running into the garage and hiding under one of our cars for an hour while we tried to coax him out with treats. He knew what he wanted and did not like to be told no.
Brody was such a spoiled boy that he had his own pet and carried it around like a baby. I had been gifted a stuffed cat that made an angry face when you squeezed it’s head by my husband. I had been asking for a pet for so long that it was actually a joke and he bought me this stuffed animal as a birthday gift a year before Brody came to us. Sometime when he was still a kitten, he decided Fido was his pet and took him away from me. He carried that thing around the house late at night after everyone went to sleep roaring like a lion with an antelope. Sometimes we would catch him rolling around with it on the floor, alternating between fighting it and licking it’s face. After a year of this, I convinced my husband that he was asking for a brother and we got him a real live cat of his own, but he never really let go of his pet Fido. His little brother even found the behavior strange and ran away when Brody brought Fido out to play at night.
Five days after we took Brody into our home I brought him to the vet for the first time and learned he had a heart defect that would probably be the thing that would kill him at some point. He was the most expensive free cat ever, getting his own kitty cardiologist. Our vet was almost unable to neuter him due to the risk of sedation, but they were able to perform the surgery in a matter of minutes and bring him back when his heart started failing mid-snip. He was given a beta blocker for his heart twice a day mixed in with gravy like a little old man in a nursing home. Up until the the day he died, I could tell time by when he started to get needy and demanding, meowing for his medicine at 8pm every night.
The two times we went on vacation my parents had to pet-sit, giving him his meds twice a day and keeping his fountain full of filtered water. It was like handing over Little Lord Fauntleroy each time we left. I may as well have taken him over to their house in a carriage. They loved him like we did though and he even snuggled with my Dad a few times while we were gone. He sat next to Grandma on the couch and cuddled up in her chair at the lake like they belonged to him just as much as we did.
A few months before Brody died he had gone to the vet for a check up and it was discovered that he had a growth under his jaw. It felt like bone, but they could not tell without an x-ray which they couldn’t get without sedating him. They also had a hard time drawing blood from him and we had to wait a week and try again due to his increased heart rate. He had his nails trimmed a few weeks before he died, so at least the girls at the vet got to see him before he left us all. From the time the lump under his chin appeared he started to look like an old cat. His eyes were getting more soulful and his energy was not the same as it had been. He had moments where it looked like he saw something in the room that nobody else could see and I kept wondering if he was seeing little angel kittens coming for him. He just started up and down a wall or pounced on nothing in a corner. At one point my husband thought he was injured because he limped around like his back leg wasn’t working, but then shook it off and pranced away when I examined it. I had begin to wonder if he had some kind of brain cancer or neurological problem. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get any answers without tests that he couldn’t have without sedation.
The night before Brody died he stretched himself out on top of me from right under my chin to below my knees. He never lounged on me this way, only my daughter, and he did this at 3 am. He woke me up out of a dead sleep as he stretched out and snuggled into me and I pet him until I fell back asleep. I don’t know if this was him saying goodbye or if it was just one of the many little strange things he did that made him so mythical, but I’m holding onto that feeling for as long as I can.
Brody Logan – 8/1/2020 – 6/4/2023
*Brody was named after Brody Dalle from the Distillers, and this song will always remind me of my favorite little boy.
My last computer was a Dell and it lasted me almost 10 years. Recently, my husband decided he was sick of hearing me whine about how bulky it was and how my camera was fuzzy, so he bought me a brand spanking new HP. It lasted not quite five months. Last month, the machine revolted and started operating on it’s own. The mouse took over and started randomly opening windows and menus. I couldn’t even check my e-mail without the window resizing and task bars popping open all over the screen. The thing was possessed.
My husband repeatedly made adjustments, installed updates and did whatever other techy things he does to my devices when I complain. But a few weeks later, the computer was still acting like a rebellious teenager. He finally contacted HP support for assistance and this is where the wheels completely fell off the bus.
The “support specialist” informed him that he would need to jump through approximately 843 hoops before they would take over and fix their defective computer. He proceeded to jump through every hoop, including a factory reset of the computer, at which point the computer was worse than it was prior to him contacting support. He couldn’t even get to a start screen after the “support specialist’s” expert assistance. When my husband asked if he could drop it off at one of their many authorized repair centers near us he was informed that he would need to ship the computer to Texas for repair (because that makes sense). He was told that a box would be shipped to us and it would take about 3 weeks to complete the repair. A day later I received an e-mail that a box was being shipped via FedEx to:
11500-11598 JENNY DR
FARMBROOK DR. TROY,
WARREN MI 48093
That is not even an address. The middle line is part of my address, but two cities are listed and apparently HP expected FedEx to knock on a lot of doors on Jenny Dr. to find the right house. They may as well have listed my address as the blue house on the corner in a suburb north of Detroit. I received a call from FedEx 4 days later (HP guaranteed overnight delivery) stating that the package could not be delivered as addressed. No shit. When I spoke with someone at FedEx he actually said “that’s not an address, there are two cities listed”. I think the range of street numbers looked more like a sign in a hotel than a home address.
After finding out that they tried to ship an empty box to the wrong address even though I corrected them in two separate e-mails, I was finally fed up enough to call HP myself. And when I did, I understood why this was such a nightmare. Their customer service department is run by idiots. Not just run of the mill idiots, but full-fledged morons. It’s almost impossible to get an answer and when you do, it completely contradicts what the last person said. I talked to three people and each one had a different answer for why the unit had to be shipped to Texas. I was finally instructed to take it to a local repair center by Idiot #3 and given a repair ticket number. When I talked to Idiot #3’s supervisor, I was informed that I should wait for the box to ship it to Texas and that I should call FedEx to find the missing box myself. He said there were no authorized repair centers in my area.
The best conversation I had was with “John” from the Complaint Escalation Department, apparently located somewhere close to New Dehli. His title was pretty appropriate since he certainly escalated my complaints. He told me that the guy who gave me the local repair shop information told me where to bring it but that didn’t mean HP would be paying for it. He sounded like a con man trying to find the loophole to get out of taking responsibility as he told me I didn’t ask if I would have to pay for the repair myself if I used one of the authorized repair centers listed on their own website. He said for them to cover the cost I would have to get a quote and call him back to request a payment from HP that only he could approve. That is the worst pick up line I have ever had used on me. He actually said “we can’t just give you an unlimited budget!” as if he was doing me a favor. I could hear his smile through the phone when he said that of course his colleague could give me the name of a repair shop but that didn’t mean it would be covered under the warranty and that only repairs made in Texas were covered. I’ll bet he was wearing a cowboy hat when he said it too. When I finally asked for his supervisor I was put on hold while he ate lunch and went to the bathroom before being told that his supervisor would call me back. When I asked for the supervisor’s contact number he said he would love to give it to me but he didn’t have it. I’m not sure if this was another pick up line or not…
Since the time I got off the phone with “John” I have talked to two FedEx employees and the repair shop and all of these people have been helpful and friendly. The repair company seemed to have a lot of experience with HP and knew they were dealing with morons. They even said that the parts would take a little longer to arrive since they were dealing with HP. At first I thought maybe I was just being a Karen about the situation asking to talk to the manager repeatedly, until I talked to actual customer service representatives who understood that the title of their job meant to assist customers. I’m fairly certain every person we talked to at HP was under the impression they had no obligation or inclination to help us resolve an issue that was due to them selling us a defective computer. It was like dealing with the government.
When “John’s” supervisor finally called me back she immediately tried to place the blame for the delivery on FedEx. I explained that I had an e-mail from HP which listed the wonky address. She tried making excuses for why I got different information from different customer service representatives. I asked if their policies changed hourly or why their employees did not know their own policies. She tried to disregard “John’s” rudeness as a communication problem. I told her that it was clear that he did not like my tone and was attempting to put me in my place. She made excuses for all of their mistakes and justified their abysmal customer service while telling me it was “my right” to have repairs performed on their defective merchandise at my own cost. At the end of the call she thanked me for my loyalty and I asked what the hell script she was reading from because I was not a loyal customer in any way. I also told her that I really didn’t need to hear her say she was sorry that I was experiencing this issue repeatedly. I needed her to do her job and resolve my problem. At the end of the call she said as a one time courtesy she would do me a favor and extend my warranty for one year. At that I laughed and said it was not a courtesy or a favor and that I would be selling the computer as soon as it was repaired.
I also informed her that my husband ran right out and bought me a brand new Dell the minute he heard this repair would take a lifetime to complete. You may fool us once, but never again. While waiting on hold multiple times to speak with several “supervisors” I came up with the real meaning of HP…. Highly Problematic. I have to say, I love my new computer and it is everything my HP was not. Most importantly, it works!
*I wrote this piece while listening to the angriest man in punk rock – Mr. Henry Rollins. Thanks for keeping me focused Hank. It’s been a week!
I have a serious sweet tooth. Anyone who knows me, knows I cannot pass up anything sprinkled, drizzled or dipped. I also am known for doing everything a little bigger than necessary. I earned the nickname “double scoop” when my entire family went out for ice cream and instead of getting one scoop the size of my head, like everyone else, I opted for two scoops and proceeded to consume both quicker than anyone else finished their single serving. I should probably be ashamed, but it takes more than one of the seven deadly sins to instill that feeling in me.
One of the areas where I have always been a little extra is gifting sweets to others. For several years I gave boxes of Godiva chocolate to everyone for Christmas from our cleaning lady to my family. I bought so many little gold boxes that Godiva started sending me a corporate catalog. When I finally moved on to another obsession for gifting, Godiva customer service began calling me about my “corporate” account. It took several phone calls for them to understand that I was not in fact a business purchasing for multiple locations, but a married mom from the Midwest with a serious sweet tooth. I told them I had developed diabetes and requested they close my account. I still buy quite a bit of chocolate, but now mostly from local shops.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail yesterday to find a check from Godiva. Apparently there was a class action lawsuit at some point and I was in said class. I have received a few checks over the years like this, normally in the range of a few bucks. Imagine my surprise to find a check for close to $50. My first thought was now I had a reason to buy the sixth pair of Vans that arrived along with the check in today’s mail. My second thought was how much chocolate had I had to have bought over the years to earn such a substantial piece of the class action suit. I wish I could say that this thought brought about a little embarrassment, but alas, it did not. Sometimes Double Scoop just has to have a few thousand boxes of truffles apparently.
*Some good Halloween music to eat all my kid’s candy before she gets home from school today…
About a month ago my dad soaked the inside of his car when he left the windows open in the rain. My parents had left the house and when they returned, my dad saw his car window open and immediately thought someone had broken his window. I love that his first reaction was that someone else must have damaged his car, not that he left his own windows down. What is most comical about this is that my dad never has the windows up while driving, so him leaving the windows down while parked is not all that unusual. It can be sweater weather and he has at least the moonroof open. Once he saw the open window, he walked out to his car to find all of his windows down and the moonroof wide open. It had been pouring rain for an hour, so needless to say, his seats were a little waterlogged. I’m not going to lie, that car needed a good detailing anyway.
Since my mom told us this story, my child has double checked the Old Man’s windows every time a cloud passes over. She has asked about the status of his windows at least a dozen times and takes every available opportunity to give him a hard time about it. I understand this though, because the man does not learn. A few weeks after he drenched his car, he left me sitting in the same car while he returned to the house to get something. The windows were all open, including the moonroof and within 10 seconds of him walking away, the rain started to pour in on me. He turned around and laughed instead of throwing the keys back to me. Typical. I am now thoroughly convinced that an actual dark cloud is following him.
One would think that maybe the third time is a charm, but one would be mistaken. Yesterday he picked me up to go retrieve one of the wave runners that was being serviced. Rain was expected, but we went anyway. As we were driving to the dealership I mentioned that I did not have a life jacket and we would need to stop at the lake house to grab one. He proceeded to drive right by our turn off and when I told him he responded “you can swim, right?” I agreed that a life jacket was not really necessary and we continued along, with the clouds following. When we got to the dealership, he immediately got out of the car and took the keys, leaving me sitting with the windows down and no radio. When he returned a few minutes later it had already started to sprinkle. He sat in the car talking to me for a full minute before I could prompt him to close the moonroof. He was just carrying on about the Olympics, while we got a shower until I finally said “you might want to close this….” while sticking my hand through the open roof.
As we headed back to the boat launch, the rain started to come down a little harder, and by the time we got to the dock it was the kind of rain that required an umbrella. I would like to say we turned around and headed to a garage until the rain subsided, but we are no quitters. And we are not all that bright either. I got on the wave runner and started it up right about the time a full on monsoon started. But by that time, there was no turning back. I took off and was halfway around the bend before my dad even left the boat launch, where he probably immediately opened the moon roof. I wanted to make sure everything was in working order but I couldn’t bring myself to drive more than 33 mph since the rain felt like pins going into my face. Although I usually like being the only vehicle on the lake, it was not an ideal time since I was not wearing a life jacket, it felt like pebbles were being thrown at me from the sky and a few neighbors were actually pointing and laughing. I managed to make it back to the dock in about 10 minutes. After getting the wave runner up on the lift, covering it and returning the key to the house, I finally grabbed a towel and headed to the garage as the rain completely stopped. I found my dad holding a leaf blower, cleaning the garage floor before backing in the trailer. Although he didn’t mention I looked like a drowned rat my mom later told me she saw me on the doorbell cam and that was exactly what I looked like. We moved the trailer into the garage and when I jumped back into the car I was shocked to see that all of the windows were actually closed for once, and the only sopping wet thing in the car was me.
**I just noticed I haven’t posted anything in over a month. It’s because I have been listening to new music (new to me at least) like this little gem.
Our indoor cat has decided he would like to transform into an outdoor cat. Unfortunately for him, I disagree. So the battle has begun and I am apparently not as smart as a cat (go figure). He has been outside at least a dozen times in the past week. Every time I open a door, he tries to bolt outside. This is especially tricky when my kid is walking in from school with a backpack, lacrosse stick, water bottle and multiple layers of clothing shed throughout the day. We had developed a strategy where I walked in first to block and then she followed. This worked exactly twice and since then the little furball has taken to darting right between our legs when the door opens. My husband has resorted to weapons and placed a mop next to the door which he uses to corral the beast back indoors. The cat’s counterattack has been to wedge himself under the door so it only opens an inch where he can claw at our feet. We have tried to walk in other doors, but he always manages to beat us to the front door too.
This obsession with freedom seemed to develop after he almost fell out of a second story window. Literally, the cat was hanging by his claws out of our bedroom window. A few weeks ago we opened the window next to his cat tree and he climbed up and lounged in the breeze watching the kids play outside. 10 minutes later my daughter was screaming and my husband was running up the stairs. I looked up to see the cat on the outside of the window hanging by his front legs as if making an attempt to do chin ups on the window ledge. He had managed to completely push the screen out of the frame and was hanging on the top portion of the open window. I am not even sure how he did it, I was just happy that I was able to grab him before he lost his grip. His feet had hardly touched the ground before he turned around and leapt at the open window again. I had to bear hug him until my husband could get the window closed. I then watched my husband hanging from the side of the house while he tried to reinsert the screen. We have kept that window cracked only an inch since then and the little man still hangs his front paws outside.
We occasionally leave other windows in our house open and within minutes the little guy seems to find his way to them where he either climbs up the screen to the top, or pushes at the frame on the bottom in an attempt to escape. He somehow managed to pop the screen out of the track in one of the doorwalls and get his claws stuck in a screen after climbing to the top of an almost closed window. He is like a little mouse squeezing his body through openings the size of a lemon. All of our screens also now look like someone took a razor blade to them. Pretty soon they will resemble swiss cheese and will be completely useless in keeping one critter in and countless insects out.
I think the worst part of this imprisonment is hearing the poor little furball cry every time anyone leaves the house. He stands at the garage door and meows at the top of his lungs each and every time a human leaves the house. Whoever is left in the house with him spends the next 10 minutes trying to get him to relax and stop yelling. When the whole family leaves him, he reacts by pulling all of the rubber seal from the bottom of the door bit by bit. We come home to find mounds of soggy rubber bits all over the rug.
I was about to give up and just let the little man run free until I remembered the late nights waiting up for our previous kitty to return. Somehow I think this little guy would be even later to come home based on the fact that he is a stubborn little shit. Instead, I made a compromise. I bought him a kitten leash. If he wants to act like a dog and beg at the door, I am going to treat him as such and bind him to me with a rope. My husband is laughing at me, but he’ll be grateful when he doesn’t have to replace the screens. Although, somehow I see me getting dragged through the grass on my knees by a 10 pound cat the first time he tries to chase a squirrel. As with most things, this will probably not end well for me.
**I wrote this while listening to Fugazi because we discovered Brody (the punk rock cat) only likes Ian MacKaye’s first band so I’m trying to change his mind. Go figure!**
I’m beginning to think my phone number has made the rounds at an online pirating convention because I have been getting scam calls up the yin yang. I get a call a day from Amazon making sure I meant to make a purchase on my account (which I do not have). I do have to say, when having a stressful day, messing with some asshole trying to steal people’s credit card information is a perfect remedy. My conversation today went a little like this:
“This is Amazon verifying your purchase of $399.89. If you did not make this purchase, you can speak to an Amazon customer service manager by pressing 1.” And you better believe I pressed 1. So forcefully, in fact that I almost threw my phone across the room in the process.
Asshole: Thank you for choosing to speak to customer service today. This is Jerry. How may I help you?
Me: I’m not sure. You called me about a purchase.
Asshole: Yes ma’am. A purchase was made today using your Amazon account. Did you purchase an iPhone 11 for $399.89?
Me: Oh no. I didn’t. What do I do?
Asshole: Well ma’am, unfortunately the parcel has already been sent out so you will need to fill out a form to cancel the charge on your account. You can fill out the form online. Are you near a computer?
Asshole: Okay, now you are on Google Chrome correct?
Me: How did you know that? Are you in my computer?
Asshole: No ma’am. No. Most computers have Google Chrome. So you can go to the search bar at the top, the white bar and type in U as in unicorn, L as in lima….. (and several more letters that I didn’t listen to, but I did hear ice cream at one point). Now, can you repeat what you typed in?
Me: Oh, I wasn’t typing. I thought you wanted me to write it down. Can you repeat that?
Asshole: Yes ma’am. U as in unicorn, L as in lima…
Me: Wait, did you say lima? Do you mean lemur? You didn’t send me lemurs instead of puppies did you? I ordered a box of puppies. That’s what I ordered from Amazon, not an iPhone.
Asshole: What are you talking about puppies? No ma’am. There are no puppies. Can you tell me the address you typed?
Me: I didn’t type anything. I was writing. Where am I supposed to be typing?
Asshole: On your keyboard ma’am.
Me: Oh, my keyboard… you want to hear me play on the keyboard. Hold on.
I then proceeded to bash on the piano for a full minute at which point my daughter started yelling from the other room wondering what the noise was.
Me: What do you think?
Asshole: Ma’am, what are you doing? Are you at your keyboard. I need you to type the address.
Me: I was at my keyboard. Did you like my playing? So, you said the parcel went out. Where are my puppies? Do you have my puppies? You better not have my puppies.
Asshole: Ma’am (now with a raised voice), I don’t know anything about any puppies. But I am going to need you to type the address on your computer to fill out the form. Are you at your computer?
I was not at my computer. I was actually trying to free my leg from my cat’s jaw as he chomped on my achilles tendon. I think he heard me talking about receiving a box of puppies and was feeling insecure and angry. Or my piano playing really set him off. It’s hard to tell.
Me: No. I’m at my keyboard. But I’m going to need that address again. I couldn’t understand you.
Asshole: Ma’am, you need to be at your computer. Do you have a keyboard?
Me: Do they send you to special scammer training to learn how to deal with difficult calls? I mean in Bangladesh or wherever you are, do they teach you special skills to rip off little old ladies and get them to give you their credit card information?
Asshole: (finally catching on that I was being a dick) No, in Pakistan. We go to the Technological Institute.
Me: You must be really pathetic to do this for money. I bet your mom is super proud of you.
Apparently I hit a nerve because he got agitated at this point. He said something about hiding it from his mom and hung up on me shortly thereafter.
So, you’re welcome to whoever was next on the call list. I spent 15 minutes of this scumbag’s time and reduced my stress by at least 50%.
I should have just played this over the phone…