Monthly Archives: August 2010

Llama drama

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The good news: I finally figured out what I want to do with my life.

The bad news: There’s no way I can do it.

My epiphany came last week, when Spirit made her annual visit to the library. I had to wait patiently for hordes of little kids to get their picture taken with her, but finally it was my turn, and during my few minutes trading kisses and hugs with her, I had my Eureka moment:

I want to be a llama farmer.

Or, okay, let’s expand that a little bit: I want to be farmer of organic vegetables who keeps llamas and other animals, including goats, chickens, and pigs.

As I was falling asleep that night after meeting Spirit, I started crafting an elaborate fantasy. I would somehow convince the bank to loan me lots of money, and then I would buy the land and the animals and the equipment, and I would grow my own food. I would raise enough extra to be able to have a little bit of cash, but I wouldn’t need that much, since I don’t have children and I rarely buy clothes and probably I could go without health insurance for a few years.

And then my fantasy came to a huge grinding halt when I realized I’d have a mortgage to pay. The rest of the bills can be whittled down, but there’s just no getting around housing. You’ve got two choices: you can pay rent, you can make house payments.

I guess there are a few other options—you can live in a prison if you’ve been convicted of a serious crime, or you can live in a convent if you’re a nun, or you can be homeless when it comes right down to it—but for various reasons, none of those options appeal to me.

But a life without llamas no longer appeals to me. They’re actually reasonably inexpensive, $2k for the pricier models, so I could conceivably save up and buy one. Or I could save up money to buy two, and conceivably I would have many llamas. (“Conceivably,” get it?)

Meanwhile, if some sweet old farmer on his deathbed is looking for someone to whom to bequeath his acres of land, I’ve got a candidate in mind.


Five desperate hours without cat fud

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When you get right down to it, I’m not a true beach lover. I have no use for taffy and less use for seafood. I don’t like tourist traps. I don’t like wearing swimsuits, and I don’t like other people wearing swimsuits: either they choose a skimpy two-piece that accentuates their curves in an unfortunate manner, or else they choose a skimpy two-piece that accentuates their curves in a dazzling, gorgeous manner, which in turn causes me to hate them.

But I just spent a week in Ocean Isle, and I loved it. I spent my time sleeping, walking along the beach, reading, solving logic problems, swimming, and not eating taffy or seafood. It was grand. The weather was hot, but that’s okay when there’s an ocean right over there. The waves were relaxing on some days, challenging on others. I saw crabs and fishes and gulls, all living, and a stingray and a jellyfish, deceased. The rental house shared by me and Mom and Dad was perfect, and I do mean perfect: I want the blueprints so that I can recreate it, should I ever be in a position to build a house.

The only problem with a vacation is that you have to leave when it’s over. To add insult to psychic injury, upon returning to an apartment complex I don’t like in a city that doesn’t suit me, my internet connection was down.

Actually, this was kind of a guilty relief. Being away from email for a week was a vacation unto itself. But without internet I was unable to hunt for jobs. My week at the beach had strengthened my resolve to look for a new position, not that my resolve had needed strengthening in the first place. My resolve eats its Wheaties.

See, although I was sublimely satisfied with my week at the ocean,  I couldn’t shake my homesickness for the mountains. Unless there’s a hurricane around, the southern coast of North Carolina is perfect during the first week of August—but it is probably not so perfect in winter, or on Halloween, or on my birthday in early April. The ocean comes to its full glory during summer, but it suffers during the other seasons, which are better experienced with changing leaves and snowfall and small woodland animals.

Even while lying in my cozy beach bed with a soft ocean breeze coming through the window, I couldn’t help but think that rain looks best in the mountains. I don’t mean to get all Tennyson about it, but there is a specific type of natural beauty that you can only get in the southern Appalachians. Well—I guess you can get it from the Blue Ridge Mountains or the Smokey Mountains, and for all I know there’s an identical type of natural beauty in Australia or China or someplace, but Tennyson never littered his idylls with disclaimers so I’m not going to either. Give me my annual week at the beach—or two weeks or a month, I’m flexible—but let me come back to mountains. And definitely don’t let me come back to an apartment where I don’t have an internet connection to let me search for jobs in the mountains.

I gave the internet a few days to fix itself, but I finally broke down and called the cable customer reps, who promised to send someone out between 1:00 and 3:00 on Thursday. The technician showed up at 3:30 and determined that the connection had been broken my vandals.

Have I mentioned that I don’t like living here?

By the time the tech left, I was running quiet late. Not only did I have to make up all that time at work, but I had to scurry to get to my evening desk shift on time. So it was not a very fortuitous time for Gremlin to stare at the food dish.

She wasn’t staring at the feeder because it was empty. It had quite a lot of kitty chow in it. It had quite a lot of bugs in it, was the problem, little winged flying things.

So I apologized to the cats, put the dish in to soak, and tossed most of a twenty-dollar bag of Purina in the dumpster as I scrambled to get to work. Because I am a lazy cat owner I do not bother with mealtimes—the buffet is always open at the kitty feeder—but I figured the three cats could survive the lack of food while I was gone for an abbreviated work day. Besides, on the way home from work I splurged on the very tasty, very expensive cat food at the grocery store. Iams cat fud is a rare treat around here.

When I returned home that night, I found a box of dry pasta in the kitchen floor. Someone, probably Goblin, had pushed it out of the cabinet, clawed the cardboard to shreds, and commenced gnawing on uncooked noodles.

What a bunch of weinies. That was five hours they were without food.

But at last the cat fud dish was filled with cat fud and not bugs, and my internet was working, so I settled in to explore job opportunities in the general vicinity of western North Carolina. Because I have a master’s degree in Library Science and not in anything else, and five years’ professional experience in librarianship and not in anything else, you might expect me to limit my job search to, say, librarianship, but I am not in a position to be picky. I looked at everything I could find in the region.

Should you be interested to know, there are three places with job openings in the area: Blockbuster; the Fresh Market; and hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, etc.

The first two places of employment offer opportunities that do not provide what you’d call a living wage. The third cluster of opportunities, in the area of caregiving, would require education, experience, and common sense that I do not have.

I do not have what it takes to be a nurse. My idea of health advice is to suggest a nice refreshing nap. Nice refreshing naps are good for conditions such as sleepiness, drowsiness, and fatigue, and occasionally other conditions such as fever, aches, ennui, and inebriation, but they have little to no positive effect on other conditions such as broken legs or appendicitis or drowning.

And now I am going to see if a nice refreshing nap has any positive effect on causing jobs to become available in western NC.