March 23, 2007

Friday, March 23, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Yes, I’m back. I don’t know where to start, but starting somewhere seemed better than just paddling along like a dog in floodwaters.

The past few weeks have been hectic, stressful, and all the rest of it. The flood, losing the car, the aftermath, dealing with insurance, getting the new car, working full time on the show, the trip over my birthday weekend, the trip yesterday, and so on and so forth. I’m kind of tired.

I’m behind on many writing things, although I managed to keep up the paying, contracted deadlines. I have to finish up my column (that I was working on when the flood hit) and get it off to SDR and get back to Circadian and a few other things, but, for the most part, I kept up so there wasn’t a huge gap in money coming in (plus, working on the show helped fill the gap that opened).

Chasing the Changeling has been put aside while I get everything else sorted out. I haven’t completely given up the creative writing in the interim – I had a few ideas which I sketched out, but we’ll see what comes to fruition and when.

I was also hired for a freelance gig by a company that’s a big power in the industry – but I had to sign a confidentiality agreement, so in here, it will only be referred to as the Confidential Job, or CJ. I’m thrilled that they thought I was the right person for the job, and, so far, I’m loving it. The very first materials arrived on the day of the flood – the DHL guy waded through thigh-high sludge in order to get it to me. Too funny! I turned around that material, and, on Wednesday, I got my next assignment, which is due April 3.

Every time it so much as drizzles, I’m going to move the new car, because I don’t trust that the city will get the warnings out in time. I understand that the manpower had to immediately go out into the street to keep people from drowning in their cars, but the Reverse 911 failed (as in, it never happened because there was no one to do it ), and the sirens used in the past never failed. So re-instate the sirens as back-up already, right? That’s the LOGICAL thing to do. Which is why it probably won’t happen.

I already told the mayor that if I move the car and get a ticket, I’m not paying it.

The car drives like a dream. It drives like a terrific sports car and picks up on the entrance ramp of the highway as well as the stick shift did. I got automatic transmission because of all the traffic here – if I lived in a rural district, I would have gone back to standard. But this one drives just as much in partnership with me as the standard. Usually, I’m always fighting with automatic cars – they tend to wander off. This car feels like we’re working together. Love it.

The rental from the insurance company, a Chevy Cobalt, had two big disadvantages. The first was that it drank up gas like I’ve never seen (and it’s a small car)! I had to stop on the way to Vermont FOUR TIMES to refill the tank. Meanwhile, with the Rabbit, I can drive over 400 miles on one tank. The second big drawback to the Cobalt was that the entire driver’s side is a blind spot. You can’t tell a car is on your left side unless you’re eyeballing the driver. It was terrifying. The mirrors didn’t help, the frame of the door and the back window were such so that if you looked over your shoulder, the entire driver’s side was a blank. It was awful. In the Rabbit, I can see everything. Plus, the seats warm up, it has anti-skid and anti-roll features, it has so many airbags I’m basically driving a padded cell (appropriate, don’t you think?), and a good sound system. It’ll take me months to learn how to do everything it does.

I never thought I’d have a good thing to say about an insurance company, but AllState did right by us. They were not only efficient, but they made the entire process as smooth and stress-free as possible in a situation like this. I was surprised, pleased, and impressed by them. They’re not kidding – comprehensive coverage actually means “comprehensive” in their terms.

I have a stack of notes that need to be turned into article proposals, and I’m in my Spring Cleaning frenzy – especially since, even though no water got into my actual apartment, there’s still that sludgy, mildewy smell everywhere. Since chemical cleaners only stink up the place temporarily, hurt the environment, and then the stench comes back worse than ever, I’m using baking soda, vinegar, and lemon. The place smells fresh and clean, and it STAYS that way. There’s a reason our great-grandmothers used certain natural products (besides the fact they are all that were available). They WORK.

When the tenants were running power lines to the generators and trying to pump the water out (the usual five of us who end up always doing everything, with the self-appointed head of the group nowhere to be found when there’s any actual work to be done, as usual), the owner’s only contribution was to show up with a 9 foot length of garden hose. And that would do what, exactly, when there was 5 feet of water in the basement? Fortunately, the people negotiating to buy the building forced him to hire a clean-up crew – not only did they clean the basement, but they stripped all the walls down there to dry up – something that’s never been done in all the floods through which I’ve lived through in this building since 1972. It’s about damn time.

Now – the black cat. His name is Spooky and he was abandoned in the building several years ago when his people moved and left him. He’s mostly an outdoor cat – he can hunt and fend for himself. He’s gorgeous – big eyes, beautiful, shiny coat, very fastidious. He can be outside for hours and there’s never a speck of dirt on him. He’s hardly feral – he asks me to pick him up and then starts purring. He has the building at his beck and call – there are at least six people who feed him regularly and open doors for him when he so demands, etc., etc. The super is pleased to have him around, because it means no rodents, and almost every one is fond of him. There are several people who are convinced they’re his favorite, and he knows how to play it to the max.

However, he got trapped in one of the basement apartments during the flood. We saw him floating on a mattress, looking very freaked out, as the water rose, but we couldn’t get into the apartment to get to him. Finally, as the waters were pumped down, the super broke in and got him. When I finally got him in my arms, I couldn’t believe him. He’s sitting there, purring – not a drop of water or a speck of mud on him, after twelve hours in a flooded apartment! And here I was, waist high in sludge, hair plastered to my skull from the rain, and I was only out for a half hour!

I have food and water for him outside my door, and we have play time every day. Several others in my section are also leaving him food – basically, my section is now the cat’s smorgasbord – he goes from door to door and feasts.

I’m trying to integrate him into the household slowly – I’ll take him to the vet and make sure his shots are updated, etc. I don’t want to rush him – or my girls. He comes in and out of the apartment, occasionally, and the girls have drawn boundaries. There’s no fighting – but a bit of hissing on the twins’ parts, and many flicking tails. Whenever they take a stand, he backs right out (I leave the door open so no one feels trapped). I find it highly amusing that this is a cat who can stand down any wild animal in our region – but my spoiled, tiny housecats intimidate him! He’s very much a gentleman with them (he’s been neutered and mine are all spayed, so no worries there).

So we’ll see.

There’s much more, but that’s the short version. I’ll try to keep up the daily details, soon, and, hopefully, I’ll have more writing stuff to talk about shortly. Basically, this month’s GDRs are shot, so most of them are just going to roll over into April. I’m not going to stress about it. I’m going to do what needs to be done and re-assess. The GDRs are supposed to be guidelines, not prisons.

Back to work.


  1. Welcome back. Congratulations on the new work. And don’t forget my other blog – I’m getting into the Tarot a lot more and my findings are on there.

  2. Welcome back! Man, I wish I had half your energy! Your new car is a Rabbit? Wow. I sure didn’t recognize it as such when I saw on one the road the other day. They’ve really done a nifty redesign on it.

  3. Welcome back! No wonder you’re tired, but I’m glad it’s all working out. That sounds like a great insurance company you have. The padded cell sounds brilliant, too. :o)

    Spooky sounds adorable. Look forward to hearing more about him soon.

  4. Welcome back!! Spooky sounds so sweet and so cute. Give him a pet for me. 🙂

    It’s nice when insurance companies are actually good, isn’t it? Mine was SUPER during my wreck.

  5. We have Allstate too. LOVE them. (Hey, I’ve only had ONE accident, and it was FOUR years ago!) 😉

    I’m glad things are getting back to normal for you, and you’ve been able to get things done.

    Spooky sounds like the Ultimate Cat! What a fun story!

  6. Welcome back Devon. You’ve certainly been through the mill. I love your story about Spooky and the new car looks super. When are you moving to your new house?

  7. Welcome back!!! So good to read your postings again. I’ve been missing them here, as well as you at the theatre, but I know it’s better that way!! hehehe

    Give spooky a petting from me and the girls…

  8. Hey there!
    Welcome back.

    I am glad to hear things are going good.
    I’ve missed reading ya!


    Sylvia C.

  9. Padded cell? Appropriate? HA! Glad to “see” you in a better mood. I’m glad your insurance company was able to help with no problem, that’s not always the case. Your new car sounds fantastic! I’m glad you’re so happy with it. Spooky seems to have the building wrapped around his….tail. Glad to know so many care about him. I’m sure the whole situation ill work out. Congratualtions on so many levels. I’m glad things are working out for you.

  10. A new cat, and a black one to boot! Sounds like the purrrfect addition to your household.

  11. Welcome back! I’m loving the Spooky story and how everyone is caring for him. Glad things worked out with the insurance company…they can be a pain sometimes.

  12. Chorus: Welcome BACK!
    So you’re in a spot that floods regularly? Brave woman! Good for you and the kitty. He sounds beautiful. And 400 miles on a tank?! I’m impressed. Congrats on things starting to get back into “normal.”

  13. Welcome back,
    you seems to have a good car, if you want to save on insurance – contact me

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