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To Eppy

30 Jul

Dear Eppy,

I often wondered what your last day with me would be like.  Would I know that it was almost over?  Would we spend the day snuggling and playing? Or would it come unexpected, on a normal day, or even a day when I was annoyed with you for chewing something of mine up yet again?  Would I have time to say goodbye?  Or would I have to make the most difficult decision of my life?  Most importantly, would you know and would you be in pain?

As it turned out, it was so much more unexpected and yet so much better.  I did get to say goodbye, and we did have two wonderful last days together.  We spent time snuggling and playing, you got extra treats and attention, and none of it had the cloud of death hanging over us.  Then again, maybe you knew it was coming.  You were always so much smarter than me.

But now I’m left here alone, and while I know each day will get easier, I can’t stop the tears that come with every small reminder.  Your cage has been cleaned, your favorite toys packed away, and your treats and hay sent to the guinea pig next door. (I’m sorry about that last part- I know you didn’t care much for Maisy, but I couldn’t bear to throw away the yogurt chips and baked pretzels that you loved so much.)

Now it’s the little things that get me.  When my mom asked me to come to the house tonight so that I wouldn’t be alone, my first thought was, “I can’t- someone has to feed Eppy.”  Then I sat on the edge of the couch and cried.  When I left the apartment tonight, I did so with my usual refrain of “bye Eppy, be a good girl.” It stopped me cold in the doorway when I realized that you weren’t there to hear it anymore.  I cried the whole way down the stairs.  The dog rustled her wicker toy basket tonight and it sounded like you chewing on your hay basket.  I looked over automatically, but you weren’t there. (And neither was the hay basket.  That also went to Maisy.  I’m not apologizing for this one though- you know how she felt about it.)  No one now will come bounding around the corner of the couch to frolic with a toy.  No one now will wait until I fall asleep on the couch to leap onto my chest.  No one now will be there for a snuggle when the day has been hard and people have been too much, and that is the part that hurts the most.

But maybe I’m not completely alone.  You did tolerate the hundreds of photos that I took of you over the years, especially the ones when I made you wear a scarf.  (Don’t think I missed the thinly-veiled hatred in your eyes at those times.)  Those photos tell your life story better than I ever could, and they remind of who exactly you were.

You always knew how to pose for a camera, even at 9 months old.

You were the one who knew how to pose for a photo, even at 9 months old.

IMG_20130903_093331_742-1 Eppy hide and seek

10 months, 4 years, or 7 years old- it didn't matter. You always won at hide-and-seek. If there was a box or a blanket, you would be inside it.

You were the world champion at hide-and-seek.

You really were smaller than your food bag when you came home with me.

You were smaller than your food bag when you first came home with me.

begging for food

And thus began a life-long obsession with treats, from 2 years old to 8 years old. Not even a table could keep you from your treats.

But you were also the one who always knew where to find a treat.

Once I made you wear a scarf and pose for a holiday photo.

You were the one who once had to wear a scarf and pose for a holiday photo.

Ok, maybe I did that twice. But even though I waited 6 years in between the two, you didn't forget.

Ok, maybe you had to do that twice. But you never forgot the injustice of it, even though the two events took place 6 years apart.

You loved to be outside

You loved to be outside.

But inside was OK too if there was a sunbeam to sleep in.

But inside was OK too if there was a sunbeam to sleep in.

Eppy thieving

Sometimes you stole things that didn’t belong to you.

And you apologized when you stole things.

But you always apologized afterwards.

You could snuggle with the best of them.

You could snuggle with the best of them.

You were my constant companion, always welcome even when it made working difficult.

And you were my constant companion, always welcome by my side even when it made working difficult.

Now as you move onto the rabbit heaven perfectly made for you- a place of endless grass and puzzle balls to break into- know that a very large piece of my heart goes with you.  Rest well, my bunny girl.  There will never be another like you.

Eppy last day

Epinephrine “Eppy” Anderson 2005-2014

 

364 Days

24 Apr

Exactly one year ago, I somehow convinced a good friend to help me turn a blank wall into something better.

Last night, we finished it.  And it is glorious.  11 feet tall, 13 feet wide, and guaranteed to make the leasing office feel really guilty for having to paint over it if I ever move out.  What more could you ask for in a wall mural?

A photographic progression of the wall over the last 12 months, you say?  Well, you are in luck!  I happen to have just that ready for you today. Continue reading

Handling Instructions

2 Mar

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As I sit in my apartment on the eve of yet another out-of-state trip, doing what seems like endless loads of laundry but is really only three, I find myself contemplating a world where people come with the same sort of handling instructions as clothes.

Think about it. How much easier would social relationships be if you could just flip over someone’s tag and see how best to keep them from unraveling? A peek at the back of their shirt, and you’d know if this person is your new BFF or your mortal enemy.

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See “machine wash cold” on a tag, and you know that you have a sturdy person. They’re made from a durable fabric in a bold color and can handle life’s spins and bounces with ease.

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The ones who require warmer waters are those whose colors may run easily or who absorb stains a bit deeper. They need a bit more attention to come out clean, but they’re often the ones that we hold the closest to ourselves.

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You see “dry clean only,” and you know you’re dealing with high quality and probably high maintenance. But you also know that if properly cared for, the fabulousness will last forever.

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If you’re anything like me, the hand wash only crowd makes you nervous. These are the most fragile of the bunch- the most prone to falling apart, and the ones we want to protect the most. We wear them like the others, but then we fret over their storage. We spray them with Febreze to avoid having to decide how to wash them, for fear of doing the wrong thing and ruining them.

But these aren’t just soft- they’re the gentlest among us. The handmade-with-love ones, the treasured ones, the ones that are worth the effort it takes to care for, and the ones that can shine the brightest.

Just like with any good wardrobe, I have a mix of all these people in my life. But as I thought about what their tags would say, I started wondering what my own would read. Could I handle a tumble dryer, or would I need to be hung up? Would I need to be separated, or could I hold onto my colors in any temperature water? I’m not fancy enough to be dry clean only, but I’m not a lost sock either.

Ultimately, I think I’m a machine wash warm & tumble dry. I’m pretty secure in who I am, and I can handle the spins of life (vertigo pun intended), but sometimes I need a little extra care. And if today’s laundry adventure was any indication, there should probably be a notation to check my pockets for forgotten items, too.

While I go Google how to remove melted chapstick from jeans, I leave you with this: what would your tag read? How are you best handled by other people?

Train Or Tornado

20 Feb

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Have I told you all about the game I invented last year called “Train or Tornado?”

It’s a great game. Anyone with any sense of awareness can play, even pets. Here’s how it works:
Continue reading

No One Tell The Student Loan Company

1 Feb

I logged into to my student loan account page this morning, prepared to do battle. I had my paychecks from January, my carefully planned out February budget, and I was ready to present my meager $200 offering to the interest gods.

Then I noticed something strange. My loan balance wasn’t what I expected it to be. On January 6th, it had been $73,333.05. I had paid $200, which I expected to just about cover the monthly interest.

Today, my balance is $69,140.73. I have no idea where the extra $4k credit came from, but for the love of interest forgiveness, no one tell the student loan company about this.

In other financial news, I’m almost done paying off a credit card bill. I’ve been working on this balance for about a year now, ever since the Great Tax Miscalculation of 2013 (still bitter about this one.) I expect to pay the last bit off next month. It’ll never have a $0 balance, as I use the card for business travel as well as personal use, but at least it won’t be my own spending driving up the balance.

After that’s done, I get to move on to paying off a medical bill. This one stemmed from my vertigo testing in the second half of 2013, and it has been a pain in the you-know-where to deal with. My insurance company and the billing department can’t agree on who owes what, and I’ve had very tense calls with both. If they can’t sort themselves out by March (& find the $167 in payments they lost track of), they’re going to hate me even more than they do now, because I’ll have that much more time to sit on the phone with them, reading them back the terms of their contracts.

If there’s one piece of advice I can offer, it’s always read the entire contract. You never know when you’ll need to close a loophole into a noose to get someone to honor the terms.

Once these two bills are gone, I’ll be back on track with paying off my student loans. However, if this $4k mystery credit stands, I’ll only be $1100 off my goal for all of 2014.

Seriously, no one tell the student loan company.

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Bring On The Snow

27 Jan

I live in Georgia.

There is a 100% chance of snow tomorrow.

Naturally, it’s like the apocalypse is coming.

(Actually, that’s not accurate. The apocalypse would be more orderly.)

In any case, I already had milk and I can’t eat bread, so I didn’t join in the mass social experiment that is the grocery store before a snowstorm.

Instead, I ran for the library.

A girl’s gotta be prepared, after all.

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See you all after the thaw. If the ramen holds out, that is.

The New Couch

2 Jan

The new couch is here. It was delivered today within the appointment window, in perfect condition, by a very professional team, and without any incident to the walls, doors, or other features of the apartment complex.

Hey, they can’t all be blog-worthy stories.

To make up for this, here’s a picture of the new couch. It’s a very grown-up looking sort of couch, which is unfortunate as it’s destined for a life of being sprawled upon and subjected to bad television, video games, and the rabbit.

I guess even couches can’t win ‘em all.

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Update On “7 Books Til Christmas”

29 Dec

A couple of weeks ago, I said that I was going to read 7 books before Christmas (click that link to read the post.)

I got through 5. Or, 5 1/2 if you count my current effort to slough my way through a science-fiction anthology. Don’t get me wrong- there are some decent stories in there, but most seem to be written in the I-write-novels-so-I’m-gonna-drop-you-right-in-the-middle-of-the-action-and-offer-no-real-ending style that drives me crazy. I mean, it’s a short story, not a novel excerpt. For the love of scribbling, give me a cohesive plot & a definitive ending! (Ok, end rant. Except to say my short story totally has both. You’re welcome.)

So instead of getting my To Be Read bookcase down to 18 books, I was only about to get it down to 19 (& 1/2). That wasn’t too bad for a week’s effort, and it did result in the bookcase being the barest it’s been in almost a year. I was feeling OK about it. Hopeful even, that one day I would get it down to single digits.

Then Christmas came.

It started with one innocent book- a collection of Doctor Who stories that is only available in the UK. My brother ordered it off Amazon UK for me. (Fun fact- Amazon Prime works for shipments from other countries. Once American Doctor Who fans find this out, Amazon is going to be hemorrhaging on international shipping costs.)

One book was fine. I could put it on the shelf and still be at 20 books to be read. A nice round number, and still below where I had started the previous week.

Then came the gift cards. To Books-A-Million AND Barnes & Noble.

At that point, it was all over but the buying. Two nights of frenzied shelf perusal ensued, including an awesomely awkward stand-off that I won against a couple of teens who seemed to think the manga section was a good place to make out because, “only nerds go here,” but that’s a different blog post. The point is that I bought 11 new books over the last two days, bringing my To Be Read bookcase back up to 30 (& 1/2) books.

I suppose this means you can expect my New Year’s Resolution to be to drop 25 pounds.

Of books.

At least I won’t need a gym membership.

On Buying The Couch

27 Dec

I bought a couch today. This is blog-worthy as it’s the first piece of furniture I’ve purchased on my own, and also because couch-buying turned out to be more of an adventure than I expected.

I’ve been in the market for a new couch for about six months now. The old one is still functional (doubly so in fact, as it’s a sleeper sofa), but it’s second hand and has seen more than it’s fair share of bodies, both human and animal. It’s also small, and the only couch I own. It was time to go for something newer, bigger, and just generally more conducive to having more than one friend over at a time.

Cue the planning stage. There was the financial planning, which was easy enough. I added a line item on my budget to save a little bit each month. A bonus from work helped greatly in this area. I was aiming for the $500 range, which my research said would allow me to get a nice non-leather (because of rabbits. Or actually, because of just one rabbit who loves to chew leather) sofa that could accommodate 2-3 of my friends, depending on how much we liked each other at the time.

There was also the spacial planning. Anyone who has heard me tell the story of the time I slammed my thumb in a drawer in front of the district manager knows that I have issues in this area. (Read The Bureaucracy Strikes Back if you want to hear that story, and also find out why I’m not allowed to fill out accident reports anymore.) I can visualize what I want a room to look like, but furniture always seems to grow or shrink in size in my imagination, resulting in rooms that don’t work nearly as well in reality.

My plan was to move the old couch into the office to turn it into a guest room/library. In my head, the furniture already in there could easily move to allow for the 73-inch wide couch.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

Not only would the couch not fit, I had forgotten that the chosen wall for said couch turns about 20 degrees halfway along it. The couch also wouldn’t fit along the opposite wall, which is split by a 4-inch recess. This left me with one wall, which would have been fine, except for the sleeper sofa part. The couch couldn’t sit in the corner and still be extended into a bed, due to the aforementioned wall angle, but offsetting the couch meant the desk would not longer fit in the opposite corner. On top of all of this, three side tables and a bookcase needed to be removed from the office altogether.

Like I said, I have definite spacial processing issues.

After several hours of organizing and staring blankly at walls which refused to move to suit my whims, I managed to clear off the one bookcase and all three side tables. Even more amazing, all that stuff fit nicely onto the other two bookcases left in the room.

Once I got the couch into place, I realized that I could reduce the amount of space in the room blocked off from the rabbit (who likes chewing cables almost as much as leather) and allow her access to the rest of the room.

Cue one very confused rabbit, who nonetheless has already claimed the spot under the table as her own.

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With the rearranging done, it was time to literally fill the space with something new. I called my mom and invited her on a shopping trip. She agreed, probably because she didn’t really know what she was getting into with me, and off we went.

The first store was a bust. None of the couches had the proper squishy-cushion-to-price ratio, and there was another couch-tester in the store. It’s hard to properly determine a sofa’s cushiness when there’s someone over your shoulder waiting their turn to have a seat.

The second and third stores were also busts, and I mean that somewhat literally, as both were closing. One store was moving to another location and had 4 ovens and 3 increasingly sad looking mismatched recliners left. The other looked to have a promising couch, but had closed forever a few days before. That took care of the discount stores in town. It was off to the retail chains for us.

After lunch, of course. That wasn’t part of the original plan, but to grossly paraphrase Ghostbusters: when your mother asks you if you’d like to go to lunch, you say yes.

We next found ourselves at a big-name furniture store, mainly because it was across the street from the cafe. And there, tucked into the back left corner of the showroom, I found it. The couch with the perfect squishy-cushion-to-price ratio, in the right color, and in the right size. It was comfy, it was large, it matched my existing decor, and it was under my $500 budget. By $1, but hey, under is under.

Cue the salesman working on commission. After informing me that there was no flex room in the price, he gave me a delivery charge estimate. I’d forgotten to factor delivery into my budget, so there was a bit of an awkward pause while I mentally recalculated my available funds. Seeing my hesitation, the salesman launched into his “interest-free financing until 2015″ spiel. This led to my spiel about why I don’t finance anything (short version- so I can’t lose anything if the bottom falls out of my employment), and a slightly more awkward walk to the register for all of us.

Over the course of checking out, the salesman and I repeated ourselves a few more times, as he tried to sell me on various extras and I insisted that a stain treatment, no matter how cool, would not make an extra $70 appear in my bank account. Throughout it all, my mom sat on an oddly-stitched leather sofa and watched. I arranged for delivery, completed the transaction, and got a high-five from mom for being only $4.53 over budget.

As we left the store, I thanked my mom for coming with me. She responded with, “I feel like I didn’t really do anything. You were making all really good choices.”

You guys, receiving that validation was better than finding the perfect couch within my budget.

Also, the couch will be here on Thursday.

‘Twas The Retail Night Before Christmas

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(With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the store,
All the creatures were stirring, searching for one present more.
The staff stockings were hung in the breakroom with care,
Stuffed with candy & such sugar-rush-inducing fare;
The staff were nestled in their nice collared shirts,
Dreaming of being home with family, eating desserts;
And the manager in his name tag, and I in my shoes,
Were bemoaning our luck & singing the “working Christmas Eve” blues.

When up at the front there arose such a clatter,
We all sprang from the cashwrap to see what was the matter.
Away to the display case we flew like a flash,
Armed with the alarm code: alphanumeric, with a dash.
The florescent on the breast of the new-broken glass,
Gave a lustre of lawsuits to all who would pass,
And what to our wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature boy, his face frozen in fear.

With the locking mechanism still clutched in his hand,
We knew in a moment that this boy had been left unmanned.
More rapid than eagles we shifted the blame,
And demanded and pleaded to find out his name:
“Are you Henry or Alex or Joseph or Chris?
Maxwell or Allen or Ezra or Fritz?”
Try as we might, the boy gave us no reply,
He just held his breath, still ready to cry;
So out to the main mall a junior staff member flew,
To find the boy’s parents before he turned blue.
And then, in a twinkling, we heard our coworker shout,
“Hey you in the suit, can you come help us out?”

My manager’s face showed relief, the boy’s father had been found,
When in between the anti-theft barriers, St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his feet,
And he looked bone tired, from hours on the hot seat.
A new video game system was clutched in his hand and he thus
Looked a bit shamed he hadn’t bought it from us.
His eyes caught sight of the still petrified kid,
And he signaled to us with a wink of his eyelid.

He knelt on the floor, right amidst all the rubble,
And he said in a kind voice, “what seems to be the trouble?”
The boy started to sob, it was really quite sad,
And he cried aloud, “Santa, I’ve really been bad.”
St. Nick’s face softened, his eyes held a bright spark,
And he said to the boy, “that’s true, my dear Mark.
You’ve been naughty indeed, and for most of the year,
But I’ll tell you this now, you have nothing to fear.’
With a wink of his eye and an offer of his hand,
Santa made it clear to the boy that he had this all planned;
He spoke no more words, but they went straight to their work,
And tidied the display better than any sales clerk.

And then laying his finger aside of his face,
Santa smiled at us all and departed the place.
It was only afterwards that a customer inquired,
“Didn’t the mall say no Santa had been hired?”
They were right- the mall employed neither Santa nor elf,
Was is possible we’d just encountered the real legend himself?
As we looked at each other with mixed wonder and appall,
We heard a jolly, “Happy Christmas to all, especially those at the mall!””

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