Chancellor Edward Pantsington “Chance” ?/??/2007-2/20/2015

Those of you that follow me on Facebook, already saw this.

It is so very hard to lose a furry family member. It’s funny, we took him on intending to be his caregivers. We were doing a favor for Pat’s mom. It was EvylRobot‘s idea, as I reminded him on multiple occasions. We never really expected him to become such an important family member.

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Pat worked for me from 2006 until she passed away in 2011 from breast cancer. It was ugly. Folks, seriously, don’t buy into the snake oil some people try and sell you over the internet. If you do, you may find yourself in a situation where your nurses break a crap ton of HIPAA  regulations and give your much younger boss detailed medical information so she can convince your mother not to put you on a ventilator once you’ve died but before your body has figured it out. Not a thing I should have ever had to do, but I did it. I’d do it again.

But this isn’t about Pat. This is about Chance. Even though we already had a house full of critters, Evyl thought we should adopt Chance. And so we found ourselves at Pat’s mom’s house. I had crammed myself into the space at the end of the entertainment center where I spoke gently to this absolutely terrified ball of white fluff. He’d had so much upheaval in his world, all he wanted to do was hide under the bed. He certainly did not want to chat with this strange lady that kept insisting that everything was going to be alright. He eventually relented and came home with us where he promptly found a place to hide. It was the worst thing ever. If we so much as looked at him wrong, he’d growl this amazing wall shaking growl, hiss, and lose bowel control.

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We thought we’d made a terrible mistake. But then he came out of hiding. At first just a little.

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He was still scared. It was around this time that Ferrule found it entertaining to mess with the newcomer. Cats can be jerks sometimes, but even though Chance had been declawed on all four corners, he found a way to overcome.

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Soon, Ferrule stopped being a jerk. They still fought, but they fought like any siblings fight, but they loved each other like brothers.

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Chance freaking loved all the critters in his new family.

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But he loved the dog most of all. Sometimes he slept in her crate.

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He was exuberant in all the many ways he loved his life. If he spoke, this is a cat that would have said ‘dude’. As in, “Dude! I just got this great idea. I’m going to get in your lap now.” Or, “Dude! Cat Tree!”

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In the end, he was with the people he loved. Evyl wanted to bring him into our lives and lovingly shepherded him out. Chance put his head in his hand and left in peace.

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For those interested in the technicals, it was an aortic thromboembolism. A blood clot blocked the blood flow from his waist down. There really was nothing that could be done, mercifully sparing us from watching him slowly dwindle away and needing to make some decision about when was the right time and how much suffering was enough.

 

To You, My Love

Everyone is going to post their sappiness tomorrow. But for us, tomorrow is just candy and empty platitudes. Today? Ah! Today is Friday the 13th! Today is ours.

Friday the 13th has grim connotations and dark implications for most, but we aren’t most people. You, most certainly are not most people. And much like 17 years ago, this is the first of two consecutive Friday the 13ths. A month from today will be the 17th anniversary of the day we became a thing. I tell you, the whole world shifted.

Individually, we are fire and ice. Chaos unchecked. Together, we are force unlike any other. We are more than the sum of our parts. Dangerously, we even reproduced.

You, my love, my partner in all of our adventures, not only caught my eye, but here we are 16 years and 11 months later, and I am still enthralled. I am still captivated by you. Still, we stay up too late just talking because we are still fascinated by one another.

You are, have been, and will always be, my love. You are the partner in all of my schemes, and I in yours. I am the me I am today because of you. My flame would have burnt out without you. Sometimes, you are my counter-balance keeping me from falling off the edge; other times, you are the spark that lights the fuse so I can rocket across the chasm. But generally, we strap in together and we’ll figure out the landing when we get there.

I love you, Michael. You are so very special to me, today and every day. Here’s hoping you didn’t expect a tribute on this day 16 years and 1 month prior to us becoming an us. and to all of you with your sappy tributes for the Hallmark holiday? *insert raspberry*

Recognizing a Stroke FAST

I was a latch-key kid back in the seventh and eighth grade, my parents each working long hours to support our lifestyle. I’d catch the bus after school and come home to an empty house, which I had to myself for the next two to four hours. This was before the days of the internet and even though we had cable with every channel, that got pretty old pretty quickly.

So I did what any enterprising adolescent with entirely too much time on her hands does, I started getting off at the wrong bus stop. Specifically, the stop that was four stops after my own that just so happened to be a close friend’s stop. Her mom was a stay-at-home mom that always had something delicious to share although her dad worked, he worked odd hours and always enjoyed entertaining us when he was around. And he was a riot. You never knew what might happen next. I remember mentioning that the sugar cookies were rather mundane and so he laid them out directly on the kitchen counter and covered them in chocolate syrup. It was a mess! I couldn’t believe it.

One Sunday morning as the family was getting ready for church, he wasn’t feeling well and sent them on without him. Those were the last words he ever spoke to his family. They returned from the morning services to find him collapsed in the bathroom. They called the ambulance, and I got a frantic call from my friend.

We spent hours in that hospital waiting room. Doctor after somber faced doctor passing through with updates. He’d had a stroke. A big one. And he was gone. Just like that.

I stayed with my friend. Ate the seemingly never-ending casseroles that arrived that she couldn’t work up the appetite to eat. We were in the eighth grade. No one should lose their dad in the eighth grade.

Could that story have ended differently? Maybe, maybe not. Medical technology and knowledge has come a long way since then. Early intervention makes the biggest difference in the outcome for a stroke victim. But you can’t call in the pros unless you know what to look for. That’s where FAST comes in.

Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center

Graphic Provided by the American Recall Center

F-Face Drooping
A-Arm Weakness
S-Speech Difficulty
T-Time to Call 911

The American Recall Center reached out to me* to share this information as we are getting into the holidays. Hopefully, we will all be getting together with our families and friends that we may not see the rest of the year. This can be a wonderful time, but it can also be a stressful time. Stokes spike around this time of year and knowing the signs could make all the difference.

*The American Recall Center asked. They did not compensate me for this post in any way. I agreed that the information was important. Please visit the Xarelto page for information regarding some negative side effects.

Thoughts on 36

Thirty six. Doesn’t really seem like any sort of landmark. Just one more trip around the sun. It’s a mathematically interesting number. Second number being double the first and the whole thing is divisible by 9. At 9 years old, I was in the third grade. My little finger was already crooked due to a playground fight where it was broken. I would go on to break my arm that summer; just in time to start the fourth grade in a cast.

9 years later, the world considered me an adult. This is the year I had all 4 wisdom teeth removed and totaled my first car. In fact, I think my face may have still been swollen from the oral surgery when I went careening into the median on I-40. No, I was not on any kind of pain meds at the time.

9 years after that, I would find myself working for my current employer. First job I felt like I really got on my own. Prior ones obtained through some connection.

Today I have officially been an adult for as long as I was a child, at least in the eyes of the law. It marks the point where my adult days outnumber those of my childhood. What a thing that is? This is also the year my son will be able to get his driver’s license. I think that means I can officially shew the kids off of my lawn now.

We shall see if this is finally the year that Weird Al recognizes our shared date of birth.

Teasing Death

Met this guy the other day.

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Evyl stood his ground

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The TeenBot sized him up. Besides, there was a bear in a sombrero there for back-up.

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Me? I did the only logical thing.

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What? How would you react to meeting death in a gift shop? I knew he wasn’t there for me. When death comes for me, it’ll be random, hilarious, and earn me the lifetime achievement spot on the rubber knife award.

A Study in Hats

So what happens when the EvylEmpyre goes on a field trip?

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Contemplation

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Hmm

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Needs a hotdog

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Surely the silliness couldn’t be generational

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My goodness!

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TGIF Because I Couldn’t Do This Again Tomorrow

I’m trying. Really. A friend of mine says that the world tears you down when you’ve got a blessing coming. The more tribulations, the bigger the blessing. If she’s right, something pretty good must be coming after today.

The alarm went off this morning. I was confused as to why until I realized that it is in fact Friday, not Saturday. Not that I could have stayed in bed much longer anyway because it had sprung a leak. Yes, the EvylRobot household contains a waterbed. Well, currently it’s a vinyl bag of foam in a frame, but there is generally water inside of it. So here we are at 6 in the morning attempting to start a siphon so we can throw the garden hose out the bedroom window. Yes, we’ve got a couple of those drain fill thingies and an adapter that goes from the garden hose fitting to male pipe threads to connect to bathroom sinks. Guess what our sinks have? The male end. And unfortunately, despite the end of the Defense of Marriage act, you cannot marry the male threads of the adapter to male threads in the sink. I know, the household plumbing is not very progressive.

Not to worry, the master bedroom window is just above the hose faucet in the back yard. Heh. Remember what happened last time we turned that one on? (checking archives) Oh! Maybe I didn’t tell you! Yeah, it started spraying water in the master bathroom. Good times.

So we ran a hose out the front door to the front faucet to start the siphon. But, of course, we can’t very well just leave the front door open, so we kinked the hose and I threw it out the window to drain in the back yard. And with that, I left for work.

You know how this system is supposed to do this thing? Yeah, it doesn’t. Oh and this fix that you swore to me in yesterday’s meeting that kept me at the office late. It didn’t really fix the problem and in fact broke something else. Of course I can go ahead and work a miracle on a system I don’t manage since the customer is on the phone right now.

So I got parts of that delegated out and hey! I’m only 7 minutes late to the daily mile walk. Surely I can catch my co-workers. The brisk cool air will clear my head, right? Hack. Cough. Spit. Ah well, one sub 14 minute mile for the kids.

Pour out cold coffee, pour fresh cup, and straight into a conference call. Guess whose phone decided to cut out? You’re an excellent guesser. Not to worry, the guy in the next office is on same call, I’ll just slide over and sit in with him.

Did I mention that my office is adjacent to my director’s office? He’s cool and didn’t mind at all, but then I had to rehash all the morning’s issues to him. Hopefully I didn’t smell too bad after the speed walking.

Pour out more cold coffee. Pour fresh cup.

Now to go educate another department about the broken system that they just assured me was fixed yesterday. Then assure someone else that the problem does actually exist. Then show them. Again. Then show the boss of that group an hour later.

Oh look! Instant message! ‘Hey Jennifer, I know this isn’t really your job/responsibility/skill set, but would you mind pulling this rabbit out of your hat?” Oh sure, why not. It’s not like I have any deadlines looming.

And now it’s 3:30 and I haven’t had lunch. There’s some beef jerky in my desk drawer. I suppose that will have to do. Customers are happy, so there is that.

I have not yet gone to hide in the basement, but I’m tempted. It is happy hour yet?

 

I’m the Hammer

You people think I’m sugar and spice and everything nice.

Hey, I see you snickering over there in the corner! Can it.

Conversation from the office:

Un-named coworker [3:59 PM]:

hey lady :)  i have mostly good news

Jennifer  [3:59 PM]:

^o)

<redacted boring work stuff>

Jennifer  [4:01 PM]:

Hmm. So what do we do with these?

Un-named coworker [4:02 PM]:

i bumped <redacted>, she said that <redacted> was gone for the day but to email her

i figured before i went down that path, i would let you know… basically to gauge if i should send her a nice, calm email, or if you’d prefer to send something more strongly worded yourself

<more boring work stuff>

Jennifer  [4:03 PM]:

Oh, so I’m the hammer now:P

Un-named coworker [4:03 PM]:

that’s why they pay you the big bucks :D

lol

Jennifer  [4:04 PM]:

Go ahead. If we don’t hear anything, I’ll follow up

Un-named coworker[4:04 PM]:

well, poo!  i’ll hit her up since it sticks around on our todo list until it’s done

and i’ll cc you

Jennifer  [4:04 PM]:

Thanks

And there you have it folks. A day in the life of Jennifer.