Monday, November 21, 2016

Humility Day and My Car Comes Through

Today wasn't easy.

Trips to the coast clinic with cats never are but today was a little beyond.

You see, the cats did not cooperate in the catching, the ones I wanted that is, so once I finally had Button and Forest (I really wanted to take Button and her sis, Tweetie), I was running late to get going.  I have to leave by 4:30 a.m. since it's a 3 hour drive and sometimes there are hold ups, with traffic.

I usually catch them the night before, but I got distracted doing other things and ended up in bed by 7:00 p.m. for the early rise.  I set the traps, hoping to get lucky and catch the right cats, but Sam went into traps 3 times.  So I figured I would have to catch them before I left.

But things got a little wild, a little wooly and took a bit longer than I thought.

I was in a rush as I left.  I never saw that purse of mine, as I pulled out, sitting all lonely and left behind, in the garage.  I would find out soon enough I'd left it.

I found out when I finally got to where I was going, hungry too, since I'd had no breakfast, and tried to get a burrito at McDonalds before dropping the cats at the clinic.  No purse.  No purse=no money.  Nor phone.  Nor credit or debit card to pay the vet.  No money meant no food or drink all day.  And there was no way to get home on the gas left in the tank either.

The realization took my breath away.   Yikes!

I contemplated what to do in such a predicament.   There are no more pay phones.   I tried half the day to get someone to let me use their phone but had no luck.  Even if I had the phone or could borrow one, who would I call who might even answer?  Nobody.   So I ditched the thought salvation could be had if someone would loan me a phone.

In the meantime, I went to the clinic and told them what had happened and asked if the cats could receive care anyway, and that I could call in my credit card number tomorrow.  They finally agreed to that.

I knew I would have to beg people for gas money to get home.   It was humiliating.   One person did help me with $10.   She was the only one and the only reason I'm not still out there somewhere.   I tried to get her name and address so I could repay her kind act, but she refused.

But I knew $10 would not be enough.  I sat in my car and reviewed options.   I didn't move the car from the clinic parking lot all day, so no gas would be used.  I decided to hunt for cans.  If I found 40 cans, I'd have $2 more, to put on gas.  I walked about 2 1/2 miles, til my knee gave out, but did not find a single can.

I had no emergency food with me either.   I usually have something, but had cleaned out my car and the bag with the icky awful power bars sat in my garage, ready to load, right by my purse.

Then I remembered I sometimes hide a small amount of money in the car.   But I'd raided it before, and had not reimbursed it up to the usual $5.  There was $3 however.  I began to calculate how much gas I had left, how much I might need to get home and how much $13 would buy.

I slept off and on but mostly sat in the car the rest of the day.  I'd given up begging or even trying to get someone to let me use their phone.  Outside of the one woman, I found no mercy.  Rain woke me from strange dreams at least once.  I was crumpled down against the passenger seat in a rather painful position.  I guess I toppled over when I fell asleep.

I picked up Button and Forest.  The price was over $300 even though less was done on Button and Forest than on the last pair I drove over, and the price was less last time.   It is often that way there.   I better remember to call in first thing in the morning to pay up.

I then drove off, giving my little car encouragements.  I'd dumped every ounce of weight from it I could, including cans of cat food.  I fed them to the river cats.  I spent my $13 cash for gas at the 76 station, the cheapest in that town.   I had over a quarter tank left before putting in the $13 worth.  I knew my little car would not let me down.   Off we went, headed home.

No fast acceleration, no driving over 55, max 50 going up the coast range, coasting down hills where I could, no faster than 60 once on the freeway headed south.

My car was good to me.  I made it home.

Forest went today, got teeth cleaned, shot updates, wormed and ears cleaned.  Forest was one of over two dozen cats and kittens I trapped and removed from the Bone Pile Colony above Lebanon a few years ago.

Button went along too and had several teeth pulled, shots updated, wormed and ears cleaned.  Button was one of 11 cats and kittens I got fixed for an old woman who lived in Columbus Greens trailer park.  Then she died.  The family wanted them gone.  Button and Tweetie, sisters, did not get homes of those poor kitties.  But they are happy here.
I'm grateful the clinic trusted me enough to do the cats when they knew I couldn't pay today.

The lady with the English Bulldog saved me today.  She's the one who gave me $10.  She said she once cared for 37 cats too.   All I know is, all I want to say, is, lady---Thank You!

The cats were done and I made it home.  It was a disaster of my own creation.  I usually do a check list before I leave.  None the worse for wear I suppose.

Maybe this new product, in kickstarter phase, would have helped:



  1. What a stressful day. It was a long time ago, but I once filled my car with petrol and then realised I did not have my wallet. I left my watch as security and went back and paid. What would happen if you did the same? I am surprised people weren't prepared to help.

    1. That's why I usually have at least $5 in my car. It happened to me, at a gas station I visited routinely in town, paying cash. They'd only put about $2 in when I realized I didn't have my purse. They would not let me leave to go get the money. I had nothing of value to leave with them. I dug into cracks in the car looking for change and in the end was short just over a dollar. Yet they still would not let me leave. I asked them to call the police then but they wouldn't. All for about !.80, the misery and humiliation they put me through. The male gas station attendant was loving his power. I have not been back to that station since then.

  2. Wow, what a day! I'm glad you made it home safe and sound.

  3. You won't forget this day soon!

    When I'm approached by someone who says they need money for gas I decline, figuring the money would get used for alcohol or drugs. It's reassuring to know that some times the person is truthful.

    1. No, I won't and I won't forget to do my checklist before leaving either. I didn't make a sign or anything, not knowing pan handling ordinances there. Yes, some are definitely being truthful. I sure was!

  4. What a terrible thing to happen... I am glad you did make it home okay, but you sure went through hell getting there. Makes me think again about some of the folks we see who ask for money....

    1. I know, does me also, that many may really NOT be spending it on drugs and alcohol.

  5. Wow, what a story. I see roadside panhandlers all over the place here, so I wonder if things are harder for them on the coast. I like to think that people would have helped had they understood your situation, but that they assumed, as I might have, that you were looking for money for drugs.

    1. I was inexperienced. Need practice!

  6. Oh, wow. You have an indomitable spirit, my dear. I'm so relieved you made it home and can only imagine how you feel.

    1. I'm happy to be home too!

  7. I've been thinking about what you might consider if you should ever be stranded again. One option would be to drive to a gas station and ask if they would take payment via a credit card over the phone and then call me. Hopefully, they would allow me to pay extra so that you could get cash back. Likewise, I could pay the vet bill over the phone, again with enough additional payment that they could give you cash back. If no one would accept a credit card over the phone, I could wire you money assuming there was someplace you could receive it. The problem would come if I wasn't home (I only use a landline), although I usually am. Maybe other people have additional ideas.

    I also wonder if there's not some area animal rescue group that might not have been willing to help, or even some church or other charitable organization. I've never been in such a situation as you were in, but I have been similarly inconvenienced around town and found it striking how different the world seemed when I had money and transportation versus when I did not. So much of what I rely upon for security can be so easily and quickly lost.