Support Animal Shelters

Most people want to make a difference in the world and for their life to have meaning. This has become especially poignant in the pandemic with so many people dying. For me, the best thing I have done in my life is the cats. I like to think that I gave Kip and Kiity good lives with lots of love. I am trying to do the same for Jude, Simon and Jolene.

Since losing the majority of our humans in the pandemic, we have been fortunate to have many friends on Twitter. The COVID situation in American is bleak, dire, and the worst it has ever been at any time in the pandemic. It is a struggle to survive and be able to realize my goal of outliving the cats so I can keep them together. 

While the government may have my name on a euthanasia list and says my life is meaningless, my personal goal is to make the world around me a better place for pets. I do my best to be a good cat mom. I keep Jude, Simon and Jolene together and strive for them to be healthy, happy and loved.

Each month I also try to do a donation to an animal shelter. I am unable to adopt any more pets. I am not able to volunteer. I want to help as much as possible, so I try to make a donation to a shelter each month.

As the result of our Twitter presence, we were approached by pet luxury company Happy and Polly to take part in a promotion they have. We received a free item, a post box cat toy. We post photos on Twitter of the cats playing with the postbox tagging Happy and Polly for a month. We have a discount code, JSJR10 that people can use for 10% off their purchase from Happy and Polly.

There is more. For every purchase made using our discount code JSJR10, we receive 5% for helping to promote the company. We have entered into an agreement with local non-profit volunteer rescue CNY SNAP. Our 5% from the Happy and Polly promotion will be donated to CNY SNAP.

CNY SNAP is the shelter from which I adopted Simon. They are the cleanest, kindest shelter I have encountered. Simon was well cared for when I adopted him. CNY SNAP is also the shelter that helped me trap two of the outside cats this past winter. We were able to get two of the outside cats off the streets in the winter and away from the dog fighting ring. They have since been adopted into loving homes. 

There are still three outside cats that need to be trapped and taken into shelter to be adopted. I am waiting for CNY SNAP to have room to be able to take them in. CNY SNAP is run 100% by volunteers and is the largest cat rescue in my area.

Jolene’s birthday is coming up on August 24, and our Happy and Polly promotion runs through the month of August. In addition to using the promotion to raise money for CNY SNAP, I am hoping to use this opportunity to highlight Jolene during her birthday month. I want to bring awareness to mother cats.

Jolene had been dumped at the shelter in a box of her kittens. She was 5 years old. When I say dumped, she was literally dumped. Some of the kittens bounced out of the box when it was thrown out of the vehicle. The shelter volunteers found Jolene trying to get the kittens who had bounced out back into the box with her/the rest of the kittens.

Of course, Jolene loved and nursed her kittens. I have a photo of her nursing her kittens in the shelter. All of the kittens were adopted. Kittens are cute and fluffy. Everyone wants a kitten. 

The moms take longer to adopt. Jolene watched all of her kittens be adopted. She waited at the shelter an additional 6 months before she picked me out to adopt her. I was not planning on a third cat. I was at the shelter to adopt a dog. I was not finding a dog that would be a good fit for Jude, Simon and I, so I volunteered to socialize the cats. Jolene was in a cage at the far end of the room, at the bottom in a corner. She threw a fit when I walked into the room, making her presence known. 

Jolene picked me out from the moment I walked in the room. 

Jolene is the first girl I have adopted. She has my girl baby name. I am so blessed to have her. She may be spayed after having her kittens, but she still carries around her stuffie “babies.” She often brings them to me where ever I am in the house. 

Mother cats and older cats have so much love to give. Everyone is drawn to kittens. Please take time to look at the mother cats, the older cats, the shy cats. They all have so much love. They all deserve a loving home.

Since my life is going to be short in the pandemic, given the government’s desire to see me dead, my only goal now in life is to try to help pets as much as possible. I need to care for Jude, Simon and Jolene. I am trying to help animal shelters and homeless pets as much as I can.

Money is tight now for all of us. Even if you cannot donate right now, consider putting an extra can of cat food in your shopping cart, or even some extra paper towels. You can donate old towels and sheets to help animal shelters as well. 

If you are financially able, please consider our Happy and Polly promotion. Happy and Polly has items for both cats and dogs. They ship to difference countries. You get a fun item for your pet and save 10% using our code JSJR10. The 5% of your purchase that comes to us will be donated to CNY SNAP to help the homeless cats in rescue. Everyone wins! Our code is good through August 30. Go to http://www.happyandpolly.com

There is so much evil in the world right now. Please be the good human your pet thinks you are. Try to make the world a better place by helping the animals and animal shelters around you. 

The Tale of Tom

Tom, an older tabby, starting to go white with age.

My grandfather immigrated to USA from Austria. In America, he had a farm when I was little. All cats on the farm were outside cats and all cats, regardless of gender or markings, was called Tom. Of course, Tom was short for tomcat. I’m not sure if it was the language, the need to emotionally distance from the multitude of farm animals or what, but every cat was Tom.

When I bought my house a few years ago and moved into the village, it was the first time I remember actually encountering homeless cats first hand. Of course, one of the very first stray cats I encountered here at the house I have named Tom.

Tom is an older tabby. I am pretty sure from watching his habits that he is an unaltered male. Tom is starting to go white around his face, much in the way that Kitty did in his later years. Tom knows that my house and garage are a safe space. He can show up here for a meal and a nap. No one will bother him. 

Over the past few years, I have been trying to trap the stray cats and get them into shelter off the streets. I have a feeling that Tom may be either the last or one of the last ones that I am able to trap to get off the streets. 

You can tell that Tom is very street savvy. He has to be to be able to survive on the streets in this neighborhood as long as he has. I look for the three outside cats “in my care” every day and worry about them when I do not see them.

Tom will watch me if I am outside, but he always keeps a good distance. Any time a newcomer cat comes into the neighborhood, Tom is the one who fights the newcomer and basically tells them this is his territory. I saw Tom fight with a cat who wandered here from two blocks away once. That cat now stays in it’s own area.

Tom gets along well with the other two outside cats I help, Flower and Kenny. Tom seems to know that they need help too. It’s as if Tom knows who belongs here and who does not. That cat from two blocks over has a home. Tom, Flower and Kenny do not have a home. They come here as their place of refuge. I am waiting for the local shelter to have more space so that I can trap one of them and get them off the streets.

I worry about what will happen to Tom, Flower and Kenny if something happens to me. Of course, my priority is Jude, Simon and Jolene. I need to be sure someone takes care of them if something happens to me. But if I was away from home for a few days, there would be no one to feed the outside cats. I worry they would starve. I’m sure Tom would find a way to survive, the scrapper he is. I worry most about Kenny and Flower.

Kenny was thrown out of a pickup truck in our neighborhood in January. He has taken up residence in one of the cat shelters in my garage. He is shy, but friendly. He would definitely be a good adoption with a patient kind person. 

Flower was kicked out of a neighbor house when they had a new baby. Last fall Flower had a broken leg and walks with a limp ever since. Flower tends to stay in this neighborhood. I worry how Flower and Kenny would survive if I was not here to feed them.

I am pretty sure that Tom may wander outside of the neighborhood. There are times when I do go a day without seeing him. I think his range is larger than Flower or Kenny. I would really like to trap Tom, Flower and Kenny and get them into loving homes soon before something happens to me. I cannot imagine leaving this house without being able to find homes for them. 

Flower and Tom are two of the original strays I noticed here when I bought the house. I’m sure that when I am able to trap them and get them into shelter, it will be an emotional time. Every time I see Tom, I think of my grandfather, and how every cat is “Tom.” 

Being on my grandfather’s farm as a child, there were many cats who were “Tom.” However, now, when I think of Tom, I know I will always think of this aging tabby who has defied the odds and not only survived a very rough life on the streets but thrives as well. 

I am grateful for the opportunity I have to try to help Tom in what little ways I can. I provide fresh water and food daily. There are three insulated cat shelters for them to use to have safety from the elements and be warm in the winter. I hope that the local shelter has space soon so that I can get Kenny, Tom and Flower into good, loving homes. 

Every cat deserves a loving home. God bless Tom. 

Tom with Flower
Tom with Kenny

Happy 6th Birthday, Simon!

Simon wearing his rose scarf made for us by our friend Petunia.

Happy 6th Birthday, Simon! Simon is the baby of the family age-wise. He is the “middle child” when it comes to adoption order and length of time with our family.

Simon has the sweetest disposition. He bonded quickly with Jude after adoption. He keeps me entertained with his antics. Simon plays frequently with Jolene. Simon is known as our Chief Cuddler. Everyone loves Simon. He is the glue that holds our family together.

All three cats are very well bonded. However, Jolene and Jude are both extremely bonded with Simon. Jude and Jolene have a bond as well. However, I do not think the bond Jude and Jolene has is as strong as the bond that Jude has with Simon nor as strong as the bond Jolene has with Simon.

Simon is terrified of thunderstorms and vacuum cleaners. He is the only cat I have ever had that is completely scared of thunderstorms. He is a very brave hunter when it comes to bugs in the house. He is gentle, even pointing at and playing with ladybugs as opposed to squishing them.

A phrase frequently heard in our home is “Simon is a good baby.” Even when Simon is being “naughty,” he is adorable. Simon likes to steal marshmallows. He does not eat them. He carries them off and plays with them. Whenever I have marshmallows in the house, I have to be sure to hide them in the microwave so that Simon does not take off with them.

Of the three cats, Simon is the quietest. He does not often meow or make any noises. It is always a surprise when he does make noise. On the few times Simon has vomited (it happened with a change in food in the pandemic), he cries / yowls right before vomiting. Typically, a noise from Simon means something is wrong. Jude and Jolene meow and talk all the time when they want food or want to play. Simon only meows when there is something wrong.

Simon waits patiently for his breakfast and dinner, as opposed to Jude and Jolene who run around prancing and begging. Simon is truly very sweet. He is tolerant about being dressed in bandanas and scarves. 

Simon loves sleeping under the covers with me. I am so blessed that he sleeps with me every night. Simon is also typically the first to wake me up in the morning to feed them all breakfast. 

He enjoys his banana phone toys and the cat tents. Simon is truly an indoor cat. He loves watching outside. However, when offered the opportunity for outside time in the dog cage, he makes it clear he wants nothing to do with being outside. He loves being indoors where he is safe.

Jude, Jolene and I all love Simon and are so glad he is part of our family. He is such a precious soul. Simon was quick to welcome Jolene to the family when we adopted her, and was gentle in his interactions with her after her surgeries. 

As the baby of the family, Simon is rarely in the office as a coworker for the work from home. I’m sure as the youngest, he doesn’t think he needs to “work!” Simon is definitely a loveable homebody who enjoys peace and quiet and time on the human bed.

We are so blessed to have Simon as part of our family. He is definitely the baby, as he is the youngest and these three are the last cats I will have. Happy 6th Birthday, Simon. We love you. 

The 3 Deaths

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The theory of the 3 deaths has been attributed to multiple sources. Typically, if an idea can be traced back to three or more sources, it is considered to be common knowledge. The first death occurs when the body stops functioning. The second death occurs when your body enters the grave, by burial or cremation. The third death is the moment when your name is spoken for the last time.

If Kip was still alive, today would be his 23rd birthday. Kip and Kitty are still both alive today because I keep their memories alive. While they have both experienced deaths one and two, they have not yet experienced death three. I have a feeling that when I die is when they will experience the third death. There won’t be anyone left to remember them. There will be no one left who still loves them.

My goal right now is to outlive Jude, Simon and Jolene so that I can keep them together. I worry about what would happen to them if something happens to me. They know their names. They know who they are. I know all their likes, dislikes and quirks. 

In addition to taking care of Jude, Simon and Jolene, I keep the memories of Kip and Kitty alive by still loving them. When I die, they will die with me. My purpose in life is my cats. 

There have been cats and humans throughout time. Many have been lost to history. Millions have experienced all three deaths. Yet in this period of time, I have loved and saved five lives. I am caring for the three I have now. The two I have lost are still loved in memory.

I don’t worry about experiencing the 3 deaths myself. My life has not been memorable for anyone but me. I just worry about what happens to the cats without me. 

Maybe it’s presumptuous to think I am so important in their lives. If I am gone, they will be rehomed and their lives will go on, right? I love them so much I just want the best for them.

Today I am remembering Kip on what would have been his birthday. I am also remembering Kitty, who is in my heart also. They have not yet experienced the third death because my love keeps their memories alive. 

Wonderful Year 2021

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The past two years have been hard for everyone. I’ve lost so many people to COVID that I don’t bother to keep count anymore. It’s more than 10. Last year was especially difficult. Despite the challenges, I have to say that 2021 was a wonderful year.

One of my favorite holiday movies is It’s A Wonderful Life. It’s not all unicorns and rainbows. It’s about the lowest point in a person’s life and how a community came together to help them. It sounds cheerful, but the ending is only happy in contrast to the dark depths of despair that led to the conclusion.

This year was one of my most challenging. I lost my job for the first time ever. In over 25 years of working, I have never been unemployed before. On top of that, someone stole my identity and committed fraud on my social security number so I was not able to access unemployment. To add insult to injury, my former employer knew about the fraud – at least 5 months before they terminated me – and never told me about it or did anything to respond to the Department of Labor’s inquiry about suspicious activity, 

I was absolutely terrified last spring that I was going to end up homeless, separated from the cats, dead from COVID, or some combination of the three. I’ve lived through some pretty tough times, but last spring was the worst.

One friend from childhood stepped up and organized a GoFundMe for me. People I’ve never met donated. It took a community, but that community and those donations paid our monthly bills while I was unemployed and searching for work. It took me two months to find a new job.

Thankfully in the middle of this mess, internet service and improved cell phone service finally reached my rural little area. I was able to find a permanent remote job. I am able to pay the bills and keep us all together.

Much like Bedford Falls came together to help George, the pets and humans of Cats of Twitter (and also just kind humans), came together to help me. I cannot express how thankful I am and always will be for the kindness and generosity that helped us through that trying time. Unemployment is not something I ever want to experience again.

It truly has been a wonderful year.

I am thankful that I am able to work from home. I can be home with the cats. They are my favorite coworkers. I will always treasure this time I am getting to be at home with them. 

I am thankful that 2021 was the best year of my running career in nearly a decade. This was my highest mileage year since 2015. In 2016, I was in the hospital with a bad MS epsiode. It’s been a long, hard road to get back to this point. Not only was this my highest mileage year, but I successfully completed two half marathons within a week of each other. 

I typically have to space my races 5-6 months apart. I have never had races this close on the calendar before. I was able to achieve medals 19 and 20. It’s hard to believe that we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and I currently have 20 marathon medals. 

Sometimes I do get sad and lonely about all of the people I have lost in the pandemic. I can list on my fingers the number of people I know from before the pandemic who are still alive. The people I lost cannot be replaced. However, this past year, I have made new friends. I think I have more friends right now than I have ever had in my life. I am so grateful for each one. I treasure every one.

All of the friends I have made, I have not met in person. I have met them online through the amazing Cats of Twitter community. Yes, we are on Twitter. My cats are very popular on the internet and they don’t even know it.

I treasure the friends I have made. Some talk to me daily. It’s nice to have people to talk to again about my day and to hear about how their day went. I love learning about new people, new places, new cultures. In a world of pandemic cruelty, there are still good and kind people in this world.

We sent more Christmas photo cards this year than we have ever sent. (I do still have some left, so if we missed you, let me know,) I do Chrsitmas photo cards so people can see the cats. The past few years in the pandemic, they have become the only way people get to see me too.

I have a friend in England who sent me a package of the most beautiful Chrismtas presents I have ever received. We have never met in real life, but I feel like she knows me. Each gift was useful, meaningful, and precious. The artwork above was done by her daughter of the three cats for me.

Another package arrived the week before Christmas unlabeled. I had to figure out who sent it (I did). It was from another online friend I have never met and was filled with presents. It’s not the presents themselves that mattered. It’s the kindness and the thoughtfulness in them. Again, this person has never met me in person, and yet every item seemed like it was chosen just for me. Every present was perfect.

I was in foster care when younger. I remember getting Christmas presents and feeling like a third wheel. I was one of those kids you “adopt” for the holidays – the ones where you pick a tag off a charity tree to shop for a 15 year old girl. Yes, I received lovely, age appropriate gifts. Yes, I was thankful to receive the gifts and to be remembered on Christmas. Yet, the gifts were not personal. It was just a tag on a tree where some stranger bought presents for a child they never met.

Even though I have not met my online friends in-person, the gifts they sent me were all personal. I feel so special and so loved. For the first time in my life, I am not just a tag on a charity tree. People cared enough to do something nice for me.

Of course, the best gift this Christmas is the fact that the cats and I are still together. We are together thanks to the kindness and generosity of strangers who stepped up and helped us during our time of need last spring. I will be forever grateful to all the people who donated to keep us all together this year. I am in awe and amazement of your kindness. It is humbling.

As challenging as 2021 may have been, it really has been a wonderful year. 
Thank you to everyone for loving us and supporting us through these challenging times. I am amazed and delighted that there is still kindness in the world. I am so thankful for the time I get to spend with the cats helping them live their best lives. 

Happy Birthday, Jolene

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Today is Jolene’s 7th birthday. I never thought I would get a girl. Kip and Kitty (both OTRB) were both boys. Jude and Simon are both boys. In fact, I had been going to the shelter in search of a dog that I thought would get along with Jude and Simon. 

After Kip passed away, I did not think I would be able to handle another orange cat. In fact, when visiting the shelter, I kind of avoided orange cats just because my heart still ached for Kip. Jolene was in a cage at the far end of the room, at the bottom. No one would have noticed her if she had not started throwing an absolute fit in her cage when I walked in. She kept pawing and pawing and wanted to come out. 

Who can say no to that?

I took her out of the cage and was going to set her down to play with her. Except when I picked her up, she hugged me. She would not let go. Jolene picked me out.

Two years ago today, a 5-year old Jolene was dumped in a parking lot with a box of her kittens. Half of her teeth were missing due to a genetic disorder she has that causes them to go bad. She spent 5 months in the shelter watching all of her kittens be adopted before I walked into the room.

Jolene only has 4 teeth left now due to her genetic condition. However, she received the health care she needed to remove the dying and painful teeth and infected roots that had caused her great pain for who knows how long.

Jolene is definitely the Queen of our home. She is in charge. She brings so much life to our home. Both Jude and Simon have come out of their shells more and are more playful since Jolene entered our lives.

I adopted Jolene in January 2020, before the lockdowns, so she is not a “pandemic pet.” However, pretty much her entire time with us has been in this isolation situation. As we celebrate her birthday today, both of her birthdays have been in lockdown. 

For indoor cats, every day is lockdown. It’s just that now I join them as I am home all the time. I am so grateful that I get to spend every day with my three fur balls.

Jolene has my baby name for a girl since I cannot have human children. Jude has my boy name. I honestly never imagined I would have a girl and get to use the name. The name definitely fits Jolene. She knows her name and will respond to it. 

Jolene is my constant companion and follows me all over the house. She has to know where I am at all times. She constantly brings me gifts – her favorite mouse toy. I often find her favorite mouse toy near me as she brings it to where I am and leaves it. 

When I return to the house after being gone, her favorite mouse toy is near the door. She puts it there because she knows I am out. That way it is there for me when I return. 

Jolene loves both her brothers Simon and Jude. They both love her back. She plays with them and grooms them. Jolene is definitely in charge of the house.

Jolene sleeps with me every single night. In that way, she reminds me a little of Kitty. Kitty slept with me every single night for 19 years. Jude and Simon will sleep with me probably 90% of the time. Jolene sleeps with me all the time. 

I am so grateful that Jolene chose me to be her mom. I only hope that I can survive the pandemic and outlive the cats so that I can keep them all together and be their true forever home, just as I was for Kip and Kitty.

Happy 7th birthday to my daughter, Jolene. Thank you for bringing so much joy, love, and light into our lives.

My Quarantine Life: Week 75

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America is a sad place right now. People are dying and nobody cares. Apparently it is much too difficult for people to wear a mask on their face. Masks save lives, but the government refuses to mandate them to keep people safe. Instead, they are choosing to mandate a vaccine that not everyone can have and does not prevent the disease spreading from person to person.

I have come to realize that I am not going to survive the pandemic. Grim, yes, but reality. Last month, I had an in-person doctor appointment and was indoors with other people for the first time in a year. The medical person (I will not say professional because this was one of the most UNprofessional medical people I have encountered) not only demanded I remove my mask, but also exposed me to COVID.

It was the first time in over a year of isolation I had an actual COVID exposure. If doctors offices are not even safe places to go without being exposed to COVID, then what hope is there? We are not even safe in trying to obtain medical care. You better really be in a life or death situation to see a medical professional in this country right now. It is literally a risk to life to seek healthcare. Forget routine care or preventative medicine. At least in my area, the doctors’ offices are not even safe. In fact, our state has been saying for almost a year now that medical appointments are the second place people are most frequently catching COVID.

We are in the most dangerous part of the pandemic, as the vaccines are not working. With every other vaccine, you do not get the disease and you do not spread the disease. With the COVID vaccine, you can still get the disease and you can still spread the disease to others. Do not report me as fake news. That is scientific fact from multiple outlets in multiple countries. 

Yet, here in America, it is way too difficult for people to wear a mask. Americans are too selfish to wear a mask and would rather get a vaccine instead. Vaccines are good, but refusal to wear a mask is still killing people.

I am certain that my death will be the result of human stupidity. At this point, there is nothing else to blame.

I wear a mask if I go anywhere. The only places I come into contact with others is in seeking medical care and for car and house maintenance. 

As diligent as I am at wearing a mask, it is much more effective if everyone else wears a mask too. 

It appears that COVID is here to stay. At least, that is until all the people who refuse to wear a mask die. Even then, their negligence is also killing those of us who do wear a mask. 

In a country that experiences mass shootings almost every single day, I should not be surprised that no one cares about COVID deaths in this country. Yet, somehow, I still have faith in humanity and expect better of the world. Wear a mask.

Due to the COVID situation in this country, and in my area specifically, I do not expect to survive the pandemic. I am going to be killed by someone else’s stupidity.

I have started to do legal paperwork to try to have my cats looked after in the event of my death. It is not something anyone wants to think about, but arrangements need to be made before it is too late to do so. All I want is for my cats to be loved and to stay together.

It is extremely challenging finding people to designate to take care of my cats if I die. I have had so many of my friends and family die of COVID this past year, that I have barely 5 people still alive right now who I knew before the pandemic. It is kind of hard to meet new people when you are in isolation. 

I meet people online who I would trust to take the cats, but there is a geography barrier. 

My goal is to have all my “official death paperwork” completed this month so that I have peace of mind knowing I have a plan in place. I do not enjoy thinking about my death, but preparations must be made. I want to get my paperwork in order quickly so that I do not have to keep thinking about such a grim subject.

So that is my quarantine life this week. The medical person has extended my isolation for another year or until herd immunity has been reached. Such is the life of the immunocompromised.

The cats and I are doing well. We are all happy. I just need to get this paperwork out of the way so I can move onto happier things. 

I am happy and grateful to be safe at home with my cats. 

Bug Out Kit

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We are pros at sheltering in place. After years of snowstorms in an area that consistently lands in one of the top three snowiest places on the east coast of the USA and spending the past year and a half in a pandemic, we know how to stay home.

I have always had a bug out bag ready. The bug out bag has always been mostly for my cats and contained only a few items for 1-2 days. Now that we have sheltered in place for a year and a half and continue to do so, I am coming to realize how attached we are to this house. We would be in real trouble if we had to leave.

A few weeks ago, a tornado touched down about 9 miles from our house. While I typically ignore tornado warnings, I took this one seriously, as it was the first time I heard the tornado siren in the village actually go off. 

Jude and Jolene went down to the basement right away. They thought it was a game. Simon hid. I had to search for Simon and grab him to take him to the basement. We were down there for about an hour. At the time of the warning, they were unsure where the tornadoes were going to touch down. Luckily, the closest they came to us was 9 miles.

It was an eye opening experience as to how unprepared we are if we had to leave.

Of course, priority number one is the cats. It is aways the cats. I will just grab them and go. Everything else be damned.

I decided to redo our bug out kit. One thing I have learned in this pandemic is that for my cats, I am their world. If something happens to me, they have no one. 

I am taking the bug out kit seriously and ensuring that there are items in there for all of us.

Initially, I was just going to repack the backpack. If we have to leave, I can just throw the cats and the backpack in the car and go. If we had to leave on foot, I could wear the back pack, and would struggle with the cats. I would have two put two in one carrier and one in another, but it is doable.

My neighbors are Proud Boys. They are very violent and disruptive. They have threatened with guns. They retaliate if you complain about any of their activities. I do not feel safe living here, but unfortunately we are stuck here for financial reasons. 

With my horrible neighbors, I got to thinking – what if we had to leave and could not take the car? Could I do it? I could, but with great difficulty.

I decided to get a camping wagon. 

The camping wagon is our new bug out unit.

If something bad happens, I will grab the cats and throw them in the car. If there is time, I will pull the wagon out to the car also to load everything and we can go to safety.

Anytime we have a snowstorm or other emergency, I know to keep the gas tank in the car at least half full at all times. Since we have been living in an emergency for a year and a half, I keep the gas tank in the car at least half full all of the time now in case we need to leave.

I decided to use a wagon for our new bug out kit because if we have to leave and cannot take the car, it will be easier for me to just pull the wagon. I have all of our supplies in it. I can also out the cats in their car carriers in the wagon. It is going to be easier for me physically then trying to wear a backpack and deal with their carriers. I can just pull a wagon.

I also “upped” our provisions. Due to my multiple food allergies, I have 5 days worth of food for me. There is 3 weeks worth of food for the cats due to my experience in trying to get their food the past year and a half sheltering in place in the pandemic, 

With our bug out wagon, we should be able to go 5 days before needing help if we had to leave the house on foot. 

I’m not a prepper and I am not normally this paranoid about things. However, with my Proud Boy neighbors becoming increasingly violent and confrontational, I feel like we need to be ready to leave for our own safety in case things escalate. 

It looks like a lot, but I have medical supplies, two changes of clothes (in case I get wet), all cat supplies including a cat pan. Water is only two gallons, but I am looking into water purification options. The cat litter is in the trunk of the car. 

It’s not perfect. I’m hoping we never have to use it. I’m sure that if I DIDN’T create a bug out kit, we would be in need of one. So hopefully with our bug out wagon, nothing will happen, and we will be able to continue our shelter in place safely. 

Do you have an emergency go kit? Have you included your pet(s) in your go plans? Half of the stuff in our wagon are for the cats. 

Stay safe, everyone.

My Best Life Now

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There is a country song that talks about living like you are dying. Often, I think that only people with terminal illnesses fully appreciate this song. We do not tend to think about death in everyday life. We are too busy living to think about death.

This past year, I have not been able to avoid death. It has been front and center in my face for the past 15 months. I have lost so many people to COVID. If bad luck comes in 3’s, I have reached it. COVID deaths, job loss, and identity theft. The pandemic has been life changing.

A few months ago, I started a photo project to curate my photos into a collection of the greatest hits of my life. I now have one photo album of 200 photos of my happiest memories. Curating the collection was an amazing experience. I made the book in case I end up in a nursing home or for when I die, I can lay there and look at my happiest moments.

While that may sound sad, in reality, it is making me very happy. I am enjoying the book now. It beings me such joy to remember and relive happy times in my life. My photo album reminds me to be grateful of all the wonderful things that have happened to me in life. Even though this past year has been downright horrid, I have had a lot of positives in my life up until this point.

Looking back on my greatest hits photo collection, I also realize that I have a lot to look forward to. There have been a lot of huge changes in my life as the result of the pandemic. You don’t grow and change without a little pain.

As difficult as things may be right now, with no job and no unemployment due to identity theft, I realize that I am actually living my best life right now.

I am secure in who I am as a person. I have goals in life. My goals are simple – to keep my family together and to keep us all safe. When I do die, what I will remember and think about is my family. It won’t matter what jobs I had or what I did for a living.

Work is what you do to pay the bills so that you can live your best life.

My best life is being home with the cats and running. In order to meet both those goals, I have to keep us all housed and together. I have to keep us all COVID-free in a reckless world that mistakenly thinks the pandemic is over. (Far from it – in fact, this is the most dangerous phase of the pandemic yet.)

My future goals are to continue to work remote permanently. I want to be home with my cats so we are together and safe. As long as I am doing respectable work that pays the bills, it doesn’t really matter what I do. All that matters is that we are together.

I recently found two part-time jobs that both allow me to work remotely. I have started one job, and I love it! I have returned to teaching, which is truly my passion. The other part-time job is a remote office position that does not start until late June. I am confident that I can make it work, as it is a prestigious and professional company. They value my skills and my life by allowing me to work from home. In return, I will work very hard for them. I value the privilege that remote work bring in allowing me to realize my goals and dreams.

Losing my job was the biggest threat to my life, family, health and safety I have ever faced. However, it has resulted in great opportunity. I now have the opportunity to live my best life. 

Being able to keep the cats together and outlive them is my only goal. It’s pretty easy to be happy in life when you are happy about what you have and don’t want much. I just want to keep the cats and I together and take care of them.

I am doing my best to pick up the pieces of the worst situation and move on. 

No matter what the future may bring, I can confidently say that I am reaching for my dreams and achieving them. I am truly living my best life now.

Dare To Dream

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Last fall, as COVID number spiraled out of control, I realized that the pandemic is here to stay. Schools have been open for in-person instruction here since September 2020 with no mask requirements. The COVID positivity rate in my area right now is 19% and no one cares.

I do not have a death wish. I care.

Despite all the people claiming the pandemic is “over” as the death rate continues to climb, we are actually in this for the long haul. 

I started to evaluate my life with the pandemic in mind. This is no temporary thing. Masks, social distancing, and death will be with us for quite awhile. It is getting even worse now as everyone throws caution to the wind with the vaccines.

Given the deadly normal, I decided that working from home needs to stay. 

I am able to safely obtain groceries either by delivery or contact-free pickup. The only other reasons I have to put myself at risk of death are for medical purposes and for work. 

No job is worth your life. <tweet that>

There is this absolutely disgusting and cruel LIE going around that people do not want to work because they are making more money on unemployment. That is untrue. Many people are unemployed and not receiving any income because they cannot get through to unemployment to file a claim. 

The real reason – in fact, the ONLY reason – why employers cannot find people to work is because no job is worth your life. My life is worth more than $15, thank you very much. 

Unfortunately, in America, the economy is worth more than human life. The USA has to be first in everything, so they are doing the best they can to reach a million COVID deaths by opening everything up and telling people to stop wearing a mask.

I digress. However, this is the reality in which we live.

Last fall I decided I wanted to find a part-time work from home sidegig for extra income. Prices on everything have increased substantially, yet my income did not. Hey, I just paid $35 for a quart of milk a few weeks ago. That’s a huge increase from $4 for a quart of milk.

So, last fall I began investigating the possibility of making remote work permanent. 

It was a lengthy process of trial and error, learning new technologies and trying to trouble shoot. I figured if I could just find a part-time remote job it would give me extra income. The plan was to ask my full-time employer at the time to make remote work a permanent option. I knew this request would be a long shot. Indeed, I lost that job in April 2021.

With life in a global pandemic that is not getting any better, my dream has been to make remote work permanent. This way the cats and I can be safe. I have to figure out how to live another 15-20 years to be able to take care of them.

Losing my job in April 2021 was the worst thing to ever happen to me. It was my only source of income. It was a direct threat to my very life. If I am forced to go back to an in-person workplace, I will not survive the pandemic. Losing my job threatened my ability to keep the cats and I together and to take care of them. It was a greater threat to my family than when I needed to exit my apartment a few years ago.

Making my dream of permanent remote work a reality now became a need and not a want. It is the only way for me to save my life so I do not die. This is not an exaggeration.

This past month I have been unemployed, I have no income. I have not been able to get through to unemployment to file an initial claim. At this point in time, NYS has no clue I am unemployed. Their website crashes. Their phone system says high call volume and hangs up.

Finding a new job and finding one quickly needs to be done so that the cats and I do not end up separated and homeless. Yet I cannot just do any job. If I don’t want to die, I need to be able to work remotely.

My initial dream last fall was to be able to make remote work permanent so that I could focus on being home with the cats, running, and (someday maybe) travel. Travel will have to wait at least a decade for the pandemic to end.

With remote work, I will be able to be more in control of my life and human interactions. I do not, after all, have a death wish.

In between the over 100 phone calls a day I make to unemployment these past few weeks, I have been job searching for remote work.

Another goal I have is to go back to working 2-3 jobs instead of just one. 

I know, I know. In my bio for this blog, Rewind Live Slow, I state that I stopped working multiple jobs to try to slow down my life. 

The reality is that you should not put all your eggs in one basket. Only working one job and then losing that job means I now have no income. This is the worst situation ever. To prevent this situation from happening in the future, I need to be sure I have multiple income streams. So I need to either work one “main” full-time job and find something part-time to supplement or work multiple part-time jobs. 

I’ve done it before. I spent 20 years working multiple part-time jobs while putting myself through school. 

There is a difference this time.

Those 20 years I spent working multiple jobs putting myself through school, I was working 60-80 hours a week to make ends meet. This was before I started on my minimalist journey. This is when I was going 110% all the time.

This time, I am not going to work 60-80 hours a week. I can’t do it anymore physically. Not to mention, I want time to be with my cats. Life is short and precious. I want time to be with the ones I love.

So my goal is to work multiple jobs, but not to work more than 50 hours a week to make ends meet. By having multiple income streams, I will hopefully not ever be in this situation ever again of not having any income at all. I am making sacrifices in my life to reduce my expenses so that I can get by on less income.

I am proud to announce that it appears I have realized my dream.

I was recently offered and accepted two different part-time jobs that are both remote. With the two jobs together, I should be working about 35-40 hours per week. The income should hopefully be just enough to make ends meet (barely).

I’m realizing my dream.

One part-time job starts now, and the other starts next month. The jobs only pay once a month, so I won’t see any real income until July. That means I am going three months – April, May, June – with no income. It’s hard and it hurts. It would help if I could get unemployment, but they are too busy to answer their phone. I will not give up trying to contact unemployment. When I am finally able to file a claim, they owe me for these three months I am unemployed. 

The good news is that I have a month to get used to the one part-time job before I have to start the other one. The part-time job I am starting right now is only 3-5 hours per week so far, but at least it is something.

My new dream that I am daring to dream is to take control of my life, my interactions and my schedule by working remotely 100% of the time.

I am making that dream a reality.

Dare to dream. I am so blessed. As long as I can keep this house to keep the cats and I together, everything is fine. All I need to do is outlive the cats so I can give them the best life possible. If I can do that, then I will have lived a good life. 

That’s what rewind live slow is all about.