Negotiating the Phone-Company Maze


Day’s Verse:

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Prov. 15:13


Cheerful countenance – well, that comes easier on Fridays than it does most other days of the week! However, my countenance is mixed, for these reasons:


– The cat has been interred in a kitty-hospital as I asked originally, and is no longer our responsibility. This makes for a very cheerful countenance indeed.

– One week remains of summer school: after that, no more dumb math questions (asked to me; I cannot vouch for my propensity to ask dumb math questions myself).

– We got paid and deposited money into our WaMu account for the first time all summer – a very good feeling.

– We will soon have the Verizon phone number 508-791-6878, although that will reach neither me nor Ian. Hopefully concurrently we will receive Verizon DSL as well; all the bills and packages will go to our apartment address, which is a major faux pas I cannot fix until their offices open tomorrow.

– We finally paid off Ian’s hospital bills! $20 for an ER visit…well, it could be worse. Continue Reading >>

Like a Freshly-Picked Batch of Roadside Blackberries Bundled in a Black Shirt; or, an Ironic Set of Coincidences that Prove God Has a Sense of Humor

Three conflicting parties, all today, after a long stretch of nothing interesting whatsoever.

Six more cat-stranglings.

Six more days of question-answering (“So if X + Y = 40, and X = 2Y…

how do I solve this again?”)

12 more days until Dad and my four-day trek.

18 more days of Washington gorgeousness.

Funny how, as the summer ends, everything’s drawing to a neat and

tidy close. If only! – I lost the spare key to the person’s condo

we’re housesitting in, and if we don’t find it before Saturday she

will absolutely flip out — get new locks on her doors and everything.

I want to tell her, “You’re not in New Jersey anymore. People don’t

lurk around waiting to steal your 9-year-old Mac. You can leave you

windows unlocked and open without worrying about it.” Continue Reading >>


Rather sick. Blah. Thankfully 5/6 of my students are taking a test, so
that’s a lot less work than teaching them all…

– KF –

In class. The kids are crazy. Am posting via email for not apparent
reason. I now go to settle people down and explain the difference
between multiplying and subtracting polynomials.

– KF –

Testing Blogging Via Email

Ian took one look at today’s “Sherman Lagoon” and mumbled that he totally understood what it was saying. In the strip, the wife says, “Sherman, I don’t feel like eating in tonight. Let’s go to a restaurant.”

Sherman: “Okay.”

Wife: “Let’s have sushi.”

Sherman: “Works for me.”

Wife: “Not just any sushi. Unagi, sake, and California roll.”

Sherman: “Sounds good.” Continue Reading >>

Tails of Woe

I would like to raise a question about the responsibilities of a house sitter. Along these lines, I have compiled a list of activities a person caring for somebody’s house might expect to shoulder, as well as my analysis of the request’s reasonableness.

  • Watering plants: naturally a reasonable request. Checking the mail and taking in the newspaper: come with the territory.
  • Feeding and walking a dog: acceptable with foreknowledge of these expectations.
  • Feeding a fish: is this even a chore? It takes no more than 30 seconds per visit.
  • Petting the boa constrictor to keep it from feeling lonely: dependent on pay scale.
  • Answering the phone when it rings: unlikely to be asked to do this, actually, because it’s so unreasonable. 
  • Watering and feeding a 3”-long Australian bug: reasonable if caretaker expects it.
  • Providing hospice care for a cat dying of kidney failure: above and beyond the call of duty?(As a side question, why has somebody made a special site devoted to feline renal failure?) This would entail thrice-weekly vet visits for “kitty dialysis” as well as an unspecified number of daily mouth drops.

Having committed to “house-sit,” does that also include caring for the family’s dying, 15-year-old cat? I concede her sweetness, the fact that I’ve known her for as long as I can remember, and that her mistress is an old family friend of ours. But honestly – honestly – would you commit to driving a cat who may or may not willingly get into its cat carrier to a vet not once but three times? Not quite plopping dog food into a bowl twice a day and dragging a hose out to water a few dying plants, is it? Continue Reading >>