12 Noon - I had my annual salary review, which resulted in a raise of half a dollar an hour. The owners of my company were equal parts supportive and reproachful of my efforts over the last year, but the main thing I walked away with was the raise. I went home after my review, had a Boca Bagel (my own creation; a light bagel, with two Boca burgers, habanero sauce, jalapeno peppers and Tabasco; it never gets old) and reveled in my raise.
2:16 PM - I have been fighting with MBNA, one of my credit card companies who was stupid enough to extend enormous amounts of credit to me at the same cosmic moment that I decided that my CD collection needed expanding, for a lower interest rate. Get this; I entered a debt management plan with them six years ago. I dropped out of the debt management plan three years ago because I could finally afford to take over the payments by myself. In addition, I have been paying them a few extra dollars a month above and beyond what they have been asking for. I decided when I got my bill from them in the mail last week that enough time had passed and that I could finally tell them that I am out of the debt management plan. All of a sudden, the flunky CSR on the other end of the phone (the only redeeming quality being possessed by this operator being that she wasn't in India, unlike Capital One, whom I have dumped as a creditor because I am firmly against outsourcing American jobs) tells me that due to the fact that I am no longer in the debt management plan, my interest rate is going up 3 percentage points. After a week of pleading my case to numerous happy-sounding surrogates on the phone, they have finally reneged on that threat and my interest rate will stay the same. They informed me of this by leaving me a voicemail on my cell phone. A footnote: MBNA said I skipped payments to them way back in 1998 for six consecutive months. This is not my fault, but the fault of MBNA, who took four months to respond to the pleas from my debt management company to accept a fixed monthly payment. In summation, MBNA sucks harder than a toothless prostitute and NO ONE should accept their credit cards under any circumstances. The worst part? They are incorporated in Delaware, which is roughly the same from a tax-paying standpoint as the Cayman Islands. Delaware can offer the consumer tax-free shopping because virtually every American corporation has a dummy office in Wilmington and the suburbs of Wilmington.
4:15 PM - I met Leslie at the vet. Our cat Sadie has been deteriorating lately, so much so that she became extremely dehydrated and wasn't eating. The vet gave us an outline of a very expensive convalescense involving fluid pushes and thyroid medications for the rest of our lives, but she was 14 and that it was probably time. Leslie and I were by her side as she was put to sleep. Leslie had her longer than I had her, but from the moment that Leslie and I moved in together, Sadie became my cat. Our dog is Leslie's dog, as he prefers the company of women. Sadie could be a pest and as stubborn as any human, but she was mine. About an hour ago I could have sworn that I saw her turning the corner from the kitchen to come into the office. It turned out to be a tissue, still in the box, moving from the breeze coming in my window. I was going to start a diet today, but I talked Leslie into a pizza to salve my depression. It helped a little. What probably didn't help was watching an episode of "Dead Like Me" on videotape which involved taking a cat to the vet. We should have stuck to the World Cup Of Hockey, but Leslie prefers virtually anything but sports.
We came home from the veterinarian's office to a letter from my professional organization telling me that they had turned down my proposal to speak at their next conference this coming Spring. There goes money and accolades out the window. It would have been a nice feather in my cap, but it will have to wait another day.
We're often told that there will be good days and bad days. This day started out great and slowly deteriorated into a not-so-great day. For the first time in almost three years, I shall go to bed tonight without Sadie putting me to sleep by laying on my chest. I never believed the religious claptrap about animals not having souls. The animals are here, and they keep us company in the best and worst of times. Perhaps their souls are not as tortured as our own, but they're in there somewhere. I found one of Sadie's whiskers in the hallway after we got home tonight. I think I'll hang on to that for awhile.
No songs tonight. Just give the pets an extra rub for me. Rest in peace, Sadie.