Friday, September 07, 2012

Stress Relief--Rowing

I've been down in the dumps of late and stressed.  Adoptions are non existent, as much so as money.  I've seriously slumped in adoption capability.  That's one reason I don't like doing it.  I like to hand unwanted adoptable cats and kittens off to actual adoption groups and rescues, with venues, where the cats and kittens get seen and have a chance.

I had a rough life in Corvallis.  But I was never surrounded by unfixed cats, everywhere I go, as I am here, across the river, in Corvallis' poverty stricken twin city. You can't get away from it here. If you care about anything and live over here, you might end up depressed.  I have.

I don't know how to look the other way.  I don't know how to not help people when they ask.  I get gut punched almost daily.  The latest gut punch was delivered by the wide eyed "honest we're honest" disabled couple.  Combined or even not, they get a lot more income than I do.  If I helped them get their four cats fixed, they claimed, they'd contribute $30 to my gas for the trip down to the S/nipped clinic.  The trip costs about $55 in gas. I have to come up with the gas myself somehow, from donations from the people whose cats are making the trip is the most obvious source for gas money.   I counted on that $30, even though they said I'd have to wait til the 3rd to get it.  I said "I believe you" but I really wasn't sure.  And I shouldn't have been.

No call as promised on the third for me to pick up that gas money. I'd shelled out myself to make that trip, with their four cats along.  So I call them up.  "So you promised that gas donation," I start out.  "I have not received a call from you about paying it."

"Oh, we spent all our money already and now have only $18 for groceries."  I know this is baloney and the grocery comment is thrown in to make me feel sorry for them.  But I don't.  They get food stamps too.  The third came only a few days after I got their cats fixed along with their claim of the donation.  They had lied to me.

I said, "You realize that then the money for that trip came out of my pocket and I have less money than you do."  "Oh, don't worry," she claims, "we'll pay it October 3rd."

I know that's a lie too, but it won't stop me from knocking on their door on October 3 and calling them end of September.

But it depressed me, that so many people behave in this way, and that I am caught between a rock and a hard place.  I want to get the cats fixed, solve the problem, but people won't pay even a fair share.  I sacrifice to help every time I go out to gather up cats to be fixed.  People get their needs met and congratulate themselves on effectively lying to someone, cheating them and getting away with it.  They don't care how their lie hurts me because their cats are fixed and all they want is to be left alone now and not reminded they promised to pay a tiny part of the effort made to help them.

Pisses me off.  Pisses me off too that I don't have guts to just quit.  Say "To hell with it".

Stressed out over that and my failure to find the five kittens homes, the return of Juno and no options for her, I had to do something or I felt like I would explode.

I loaded my raft in the back of my car, along with the home made cart and off I went to the lake.

It's not a natural lake.  It's a reservoir.  But it's water!

I can row that raft like a rowboat.  The oars have screw attachments.  I have to row backwards, but that thing rows like a bullet.  Fast!

I found access to the lake and a parking lot that cost nothing to use.  I roll the raft bag down to the water on the cart.  The cart has three wheels, not four, because I had just three.  I screwed them to the bottom of a piece of badly painted leftover OSB.  I attached a handle from an old fertilizer spreader I found and cannibalized.

I lay out the raft near the water and blow it up with a foot pump which, if I work hard at it, takes about ten minutes, including the floor piece, that blows up flat and hardens the floor of the raft.

I throw in my life jacket and the boogie board I just got at Goodwill for $4 after leaving my other one somewhere.

Finally, I step in and shove out. I wear my ancient awful green shorts that don't fit, a t-shirt, and the flip flop sandals I have worn every single day for months.

That thing rows like a dream.  Off I go, under the sun, wind in my face, spray from wakes I hit, or wind whipped lake water, dances over me.  I'm in heaven.

I get into a rhythm rowing.  Doesn't take long for me to cross the lake, around one point, skirt another, cross to the far side, head east near the shore.  I was going to low rocks, the rock formation I like jumping from into the lake, but there's a group of people illegally camped there now, have been for two weeks, like a standing camp, different people coming in and leaving.  Made me mad, knowing they were trashing that area, making it so nobody else can be over there.

 Pissed me off.

So I go back farther up that side and pull in at a beach, also strewn in disgusting litter--broken 40's, dirty diapers, a blanket left behind, a half water filled torn air mattress, other junk.  Bums me that people act so thoughtlessly, behaving like little screaming selfish toddlers.

They leave their garbage behind.  For someone else who gives a shit to pick up.  The same types who don't fix their cats then howl up a storm, like they are victims, "help me" when they've created a mess, for someone else to clean up, at no expense to them, the same types who promise a $30 gas donation just to get their needs met with no intention of paying it.  The scene created more stress.  I don't need that.

I move on, away from this sight too. And drift, sleepy now after the long row.  I jam the boogie board vertical between the sides of the raft and lean back against it and hoist my legs up over the seat.  I doze off, water rocking me gently.

When I wake up, I jump in and go swimming.  I pull the raft behind me clear across one inlet, maybe a quarter mile, not far.  Someone yells, "Hey, aren't you supposed to be paddling that thing."  He's in a boat and in a good mood.  I wave.

Later two guys go by in a pontoon boat.  One yells, "You are some rower. That was impressive."

I am startled that anyone would have even seen me or noticed.  I grin back, say thanks.  It feels good someone actually said something to me, something nice.

I row back across the lake ,around the point, back to the parking lot.  I go get the cart out of my car and take it down to the water's edge and drag out the raft and let the air out, then dry it off and roll it up and put it back in the bag and put it on the cart and wheel it all back to my car.

Where there's a message on my cell phone.  The Lebanon women, one of whom lives near the Bad Eye Kitten colony, says they caught the cats.  I say "What?"

"Yeah, for the clinic tomorrow."  Again I say, "What are you talking about.  There's no clinic tomorrow.  There's one a week from tomorrow."  They got the days mixed.

Now I've got to hold those three, I think.  The caregiver is an ass.  Can't release them, that's for sure.  Guess he made comments, about me "killing all those cats" when the ladies were over there pep talking Mr. Ass, trying to motivate him to catch the last three, be the least he could do, after all the time and money spent there, the kittens taken out on death's door, all while he does nothing, but throw out insults and demands but not even a dime does he contribute.  Two males were very sick and euthanized, as per FCCO policy, which he was given. They tested positive for Leukemia.  "All those cats I killed."  Two very sick males who would never have caught Leukemia if he'd gotten them all fixed first time around.

The guys is an ingrate, has never donated a dime, has impeded the efforts to get them fixed every single time.  He also likes to insult me, when he can.  Think I am happy they caught the last three and I'll never ever have to interact with that man again?  Yes!!!

Do I want to hold three ferals in my garage for an entire week?  Hell no.  Sure wish there were local spay neuter options.  But there are not.  Stupid to waste time wishing for what isn't and probably never will be.

However....just talking to her, I felt my body go tense again.  So I went back down to the water, in my already wet sagging old shorts, T-shirt and sandals, and went straight in and swam for about twenty minutes. Finally I had to go, was almost dark.  Had to pick up those cats, come home and deal with all the work I'd left behind, that is everyday, taking care of all these cats here, constantly trying to find decent homes for any of them.

But that water, the lapping gurgling rocking water, the spray, the sun, the water calls to me, even now, sitting here, dreaming I'm not here, but out there, on the water or in it.  How I wish I could live that way, so cradled, so comforted, so supported.

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