When I got home, she was sick, and sicker, and sicker. A night at the emergency vet runs triple digits. A weekend? Rent money.
As you may or may not know, I work for the Pseudosecular Volunteer League. We are given just enough living stipend to not die. It is less than minimum wage. Hence: Volunteer. Or think: Internship. In August, I was trying to get a job as a Volunteer Mentor in the League. I'd be helping, mentoring, leading people that do the types of things I'm doing now. That job pays about minimum wage. It's awesome. I got to the interview stage on the position that I was the most passionate about. I came within inches of the position that was just as good. They didn't even tell me where to send my cover letter for the one that nobody wanted. I probably had waited too long and they had jumped on the first applicant they found, although the application due date was yet to pass.
Incidentally, it was around that last job search time that I met ammoniacal and calla. Solid folk!
Nevertheless, the crossroads has stalked its way back into my life. My current site's grant expires, which means they don't get me any more and I have to find a new site to remain with the Pseudosecular Volunteer League. Three opportunities have opened up. The site that didn't even take my cover letter has a regular volunteer position for me, doing something semi-interesting, but before I was trying to be a Mentor and it's not really a worthwhile commute for a non-Mentor job. Another site where I know two of the volunteers wants me to do some really challenging stuff, but it also pays the same as where I'm at, but I'd have more peers and be less lonely.
The Pseudosecular Volunteer League Director is encouraging me to go to this second site. It's the site's decision whether I'm accepted, however. While telling me about the second site, she, almost as an aside, mentioned a Mentor position that was opening up. She didn't think that it would be as good for me as the second site, though, because she knew I was looking to be a part of a community. She probably got this notion from my Psuedosecular Volunteer League personal statement and, although it's quite true that I seek to be a part of, and build-up, grassroots community projects, I also throw such high falutin' notions because what the heck else are you going to say in a personal statement? She told me to follow up with her assistant for more information.
Well, I did some research on the project and talked to the assistant, who happens to be the fellow who almost hired me for the last mentor job. He's a good ally, but he has no say in this next round.
I f-ing HEART this job. The greyscale dithered away. My heart pounded. Blood. Heat. I gave myself a tinge of an anxiety stomach ache. The exact description isn't posted yet. I know they need me. I know I can do it. I have the contact information in my hot, sweaty little hands. Everything before, as Preston Meyers might say, was a Hero's Trial. This is the real deal. How do I not mess this up? Help!
Hope is much better. Her chest X-rays aren't perfectly clear, but they're almost there. Her appetite was great, but is getting shaky just in time for us to go out of town to the beach this weekend. Our last cat, Sushi, died a week after our trip to Vancouver, BC. Scrubby died the Christmas that I went to Seattle with Seattle D. Hope ended up in an oxygen cage when I went to Seattle at the end of July. So yeah, I'm worried.
Hope's way past her record weight. She's happy and runs around and uses light claws when she doesn't want you to stop petting her. We used to think she had feline anorexia. No, really. It's a real deal. Cats, unlike any other animal, have a weird deal where they have to eat every day or they will get turned off by food. Instead, it turns out that Hope has something kind of like IBS for cats. Her tummy hurts and she doesn't want to eat. Special food has helped. We weened her off prednisone, but we could put her back on it and she'll eat like a kitty cat horse.
When she was the most sick, I was doing a lot of research to help her get better. I stumbled on that silly Rainbow Bridge poem. I bawled my goddamned eyes out.
So Hope is more than just a convenient metaphor for a diary entry. She's sweet, curious and fast. She's a pledge to my relationship with CMQ and she's the no-longer-existent half of my savings account.
She was adopted from Cat Adoption Team and then returned, presumably because of an allergic son. When we went to CAT to donate Sushi's uneaten food, CMQ stroked Hope through the bars and the Adoption Counselor remarked that Hope was shy around everyone else. The counselor opened the cage and Hope shrank. The second time we came back, I had doubts because of her poor eating history, but it was getting better. The third time we came back, she wasn't in her cage. But, I looked up... to the right. I saw her. I said, "HOPE!" and she came running to the plexiglass barrier between rooms. Her chart said that she was eating better, but she had just had an upper respiratory infection and was in the hospital. That's why she moved cages. We were still worried, but for all intents and purposes it was sealed the moment she recognised me from the other room. We looked around at some of our other favourite kitties. I overheard a browsing mother telling her children, "what about this kitty? She came from Hurricane Katrina."
NOT. OUR. HOPE.
We rushed over and signed the papers immediately. It was closing time, and we picked her up the next day.
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