Sunday, February 02, 2014

Sunday Cats

Gidget, from the Premier apartments in Albany, same place Slinko and Molly came from.  I took it through two windows, so it is grainy.
I think about my brother this morning.  I can't help but worry about his family.  One doctor told them he should think about applying for social security disability.  He already lost his job.  He's 60 years old.  Finding another would not be easy at his age, and especially not after suffering a stroke.   He came out of this stroke fairly well, but they warned him with his atrial fib and now having had one stroke, he has a really high chance of having another and to avoid stress.  Another doctor told him to go ahead and try to get back to work in a couple of months.

He can't drive however right now, which would limit not only his ability to apply for jobs but to get to work.  He'll have all those medical bills.  Sure, he has insurance through his wife's job, but it doesn't pay it all.  He'll have probably thousands in bills, I would guess.  I love my brother and his family.  There's nothing I can do about any of this.

Electra likes to sit atop the heat vents.  Electra is 15 now.  A year ago I predicted she would not live through another year.  But she's still here!
Electra had an awful start to life, fed with about 30 others, in Silverton, and finally trapped by Saint Vince, a three star army colonel who took to helping cats after he left his military career.  She was brought to a Salem FCCO clinic by Vince in a trap with a sibling.  She was a teenager.  I was tasked with seperating the two before surgery in a bathroom of a former bank building where the clinic was being held.  I didn't notice the open circuit box and wiring in the bathroom.  She got away from me, and darted up and into that open circuit box and the tangle of wires.  I plunged the entire building into darkness when I turned off the main circuit, so this frenzied terrified little girl, would not bite through a wire and start a fire and electrocute herself.  I then reached into that mess of wiring in the dark while standing on a chair, groping for fur.  I got teeth.  She bit me clear through my thumb joint, but I held on.  Due to FCCO policies, Electra would need quarantined for ten days.  So she came home with me, and joined Hopi, my only other cat, in my Corvallis rental.

We've moved together many times now.  She's tough and still with me.  Saint Vince is no longer with us.  He died after years spent helping thousands of cats and their people.

I used to get broken bag cat food and I'd share it with Vince who shared it with people in need in his area.  We'd meet for the transfer up at the rest area north of Albany, him always with his beloved dog sharing the bench seat beside him in his old pickup.  After quite a few such meet ups, a state cop seemed to be parked nearby almost every time, so we joked maybe he thought we were smuggling drugs in broken bag cat food.

Sleepy Teddy!
Teddy's from the homeless camp in Corvallis.  I still have three cats from the homeless camp--Starr, Teddy's sister, Teddy and Honey.   Now that area where they live is being developed and the homeless got run out.   There's no place left for strays, human or animal in many places.

The expansion and drastic increase in university enrollment has doomed the poor in Corvallis.  It's the market at work, opportunity for developers, with a captive tenant base of students.  Low income complexes are razed, and high end structures built.  The town has changed.  

 I lived in Corvallis all my life, but when evicted from the slum shack there was nowhere to go, nowhere affordable for someone like me.  It was really sad.  I still miss it, as Corvallis was home to me for decades and I loved the parks, the public transportation and having access to Winco foods, which was affordable.

But now the situation in Corvallis, as to low cost housing options available, for the poor and working poor, is even worse.  Right now, low income tenants are being no cause evicted from yet another low cost complex, because it's been bought by a Texas group to renovate into higher end apartments targeting, who else, the student population.  Many former residents of that complex are at the homeless shelter in Corvallis because there is just no place for them to go.  I have no doubt most will end up over here, in Linn County, already overwhelmed in poor.   Albany is without the niceties of Corvallis, the parks the vibrant downtown, but there are plenty of slums here occupied by the poor.

There is a bitterness felt by many, towards Corvallis and the gentrification going on there.  It has resulted in emigration, of the poor out, not by choice either and affects life here, where we've mostly ended up.  But it has everything to do with the university's enrollment expansion and developers lusting after that student rental market.  So there's nothing that can be done about it.

Starr, Teddy's sister.
Alexi, related to Cougie and Rogue, the business cats.
I guess I've half adjusted to life here, been here seven years now.   Life is different over here.  It's more like a place to live.  There's no sense of community or central point to the town.  I rarely leave the house.  There's nowhere to go.  Nowhere to recreate near.  You do need a car to live here because it is so spread out, you will be hard pressed to get to a grocery store.  We're down to four now, after two have closed in the last months.  I don't know why they closed, no business I guess.  Ray's closed and now Albertsons.  That leaves Walmart, Safeway Fred Meyer and Mega Foods.

I get vegetables at Mega Foods, but nothing else, as it is very expensive. I get cat food at Walmart and sometimes  outdated meat to make into cat food, but that's it.  For other food, I make the drive to Winco in South Salem.  I like Winco Foods.  They are affordable.  I enjoy shopping there.



Last but not least, the wonderful sweet Huckleberry!
Well anyhow. Life can be hard. And unpredictable.

 I hope my brother's life smooths out that's for sure.  I'm just glad to have a roof over my head. I know I'm super lucky to live in this house and that my car still runs.  I know I could have been one of those people in Corvallis evicted with no place to go, nowhere for their pets to go.  I know I can be one of those people again, at any moment.  I live only in today.  No worries.

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