For the first few weeks, what I really missed more than anything, was Starbucks. When I was freaking out about the shutdown, and the kittens, and so forth, one morning we went over to Starbucks and I had my once-common morning selection of grande skim no-whip white mocha and ham & egg sandwich, and I was like a junkie getting his fix. Stress melted away, I was suffused with a quiet calm, and I was ready to face the world.
Why this reaction? I don't know. It wasn't caffeine withdrawal, I've got plenty of the stuff at home. It was something about the ritual, the going-and-getting-it, the "I want this and can have some" aspect, maybe. A previous counselor I had once told me, "When you repress, you depress," and I wonder if maybe the fact that we were trying to not spend any money at all (because none was coming in), while "Starbucks breakfast" used to be something I could readily choose to have, may have created a repression effect.
In the time since then, I've struck a better balance. We've spent less than half of what we used to on food this month and for the most part we've not lost out on enjoyment and we're probably getting better nutrition. And I've made a point of letting myself have Starbucks trips once or twice a week, which seems to help my mental health.
The kittens are all thriving; they're now roughly double the size they were when we rescued them. They're losing that ungainly fling-your-paws-in-the-air bounce-run-sideways awkwardness and looking more like miniature cats. A co-worker of Laurie's has expressed the desire to adopt Sweetums, and is pondering taking Inkyboy along (since we mentioned that the two of them are quite attached to each other). We have decided to keep Inkygirl ourselves, as she is less dependent on the others and seems to like riding my shoulder so much. We love them all and it will be rough to let them go, but as long as they are getting a good home with people who will love them, it'll be okay.
People have been amazingly generous to us regarding the kittens. The veterinary office gave us special pricing on their initial health check and flea removal, and in the time since then have also given us a $100 credit towards future treatments. Other folks have given us food or cash to defray some of our costs, and Fancy Cats loaned us a large cage which we have put to good use at feeding time. Laurie and I were prepared to pay whatever was necessary, but thanks to everyone's generosity our own outlay has been very manageable.
We're working on getting my mom into assisted living by the end of this week or shortly thereafter; she's eager and excited to be somewhere she'll be able to meet a lot of people and not be moping around the house by herself all day, and we're eager to have her somewhere that will take care of so much of the stuff she can't handle herself any more. Once she's moved, the new big family project will be getting all the stuff in her house sorted, stored, distributed, or disposed of, so we can sell her house. That will pay for several years of assisted living, and get rid of a lot of expenses.
Our own house, sadly, is not moving at all. Once the shutdown hit, even the people who would call for an appointment and then not show up stopped appearing. I expect we're going to have to just pull it off the market and eat a lot of macaroni until spring. We'll be all right, it'll just chew up our savings more than we'd like. On the other hand, we'd be a lot more comfortable for six months with our stuff back in our house and not having to worry about keeping it "show-ready." We'll probably figure out what to do about that this week.
Anyway, that's enough nattering for now. Time to get to work!