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A Couple More Things Done [Dec. 17th, 2018|10:28 pm]
Two events today: I signed the lease for the small apartment, and I bought a cell phone and signed up with T Mobile for service. T Mobile gives me a geezer discount, so even with the seven bucks a month insurance against phone breakage (I've recently learned the wisdom of having insurance, and of late I have grown ever more butterfingered) the total bill will be only a little over sixty dollars a month, and includes unlimited data (though throttled with a low speed following a certain amount) plus 20Gb of tethering, so I can use the phone as a router(if I can figure out how it works. It's a steep learning curve for a technodolt like me.). It's less than I've normally used, but I guess I can avoid stuff like YouTube videos and sites that stream video ads and such in order to skimp. Text-heavy LJ should not be a problem.

I'm thinking I probably won't be able to afford cable anymore, and maybe not any full-on Internet service such as Comcast or AT&T. It's probably going to be impossible for me to recreate any reasonable simulacrum of the life I had before that fire evicted me from it. Everything must change now. I'll even have to learn to deal with an electric range in my micro-kitchen. I've always used gas before, which is much more responsive.

As for moving into the new apartment, I have no idea how long it will take me to acquire all the stuff I'll need. Intense shopping is ahead, alas. The list of things keeps getting longer, and it is astonishing to me how much commonplace stuff there is that I always took for granted when I had it. Scissors, can opener, bottle opener, broom, dustpan, kitchen and bathroom trash cans, spare light bulbs, Britta water pitcher and filters, butter dish... I'm sure I'll be missing things even after I've bought a ton of them; all that stuff you never think about until you need it and realize it just isn't there.

The lost animal posts on social media are getting more and more depressing as more people are returning to inspect their property and finding the remains of their dead pets. Facebook is getting far too many sad-face icons posted. I think I said the pretty much same thing last night, but it's just overwhelming to see so many such posts and I can't stop thinking about them, or about my vanished cats.

Forgot to go see if I could see the comet tonight. It's probably still too cloudy, or the town too bright, or both. I think I'll go out an dlook anyway before I go to bed.
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Dark, Wet Sky [Dec. 16th, 2018|09:12 pm]
Comet 46P/Wirtanen is at its closest point to Earth tonight, but I won't be able to see it here as there is still rain falling from the heavy clouds. The rain was quite vigorous several times this afternoon, though for the last couple of hours it has been mostly just a sad drizzle. I don't know if the comet would be visible from Chico in any case, the town's lights being as bright as they are. Plus it's supposed to be at least partly cloudy here all week, so it's possible that I might not have been able to see the comet even from the ridge. I certainly wish I could have been there to try, though, in the company of a feral cat or two.

The various animal rescue pages on Facebook are still making new posts, though more and more of them are of two types: pictures of reunions as people return to their ruined property and find cats or, less often, dogs waiting for them, or posts about people who have returned and found the identifiable remains of their dead animals. Given the number of coyotes that patrolled my neighborhood, and the paucity of places for cats to take refuge amid the ruins, I suspect I am unlikely to be in either group.

Its unlikely I'll be able to get up there again anytime soon anyway. None of my numerous relatives in Chico are especially eager to cater to my whims, and I have no practical alternatives for transportation. I can't say their reluctance comes as a surprise. I've never wielded much power in this family, and I'm accustomed to relatives disappointing me. I just regret that my cats, if any survive, might be suffering as a result of my family's ever-weird dynamics.

It looks as though I'll be signing the lease for the apartment tomorrow. I don't look forward to it, though I do look forward to not being here (in the very center of the weird dynamics) anymore. I'm not especially cheered by my long-term prospects. It's unlikely I'll ever own a house again, or that once the insurance company's rent provision runs out I will ever have an income adequate to provide the few luxuries I could afford when I had no rent to pay. I might get cable for now, but I think I'll have to give it up fairly soon, and broadcast signals in Chico are few and weak. The future looks pretty dull and, without the cats, pretty lonely.

Sunday VerseCollapse )
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Fog [Dec. 15th, 2018|11:01 pm]
The apartment leasing event got delayed again (no surprise to me— my world abounds in flakiness anymore) and is unlikely to happen tomorrow due to the heavy rain that is expected, but it might come off on Monday. I've been thinking how that particular apartment would have seemed to me had I gotten it when I was maybe twenty or so, and as a result of my own choice. Way better than getting it at the age I am now, and as a result of a disaster. I've tried to capture the optimistic mindset of a twenty-year-old me, but I'm afraid that such sleight of mind is now beyond me.

Since I arrived here I don't recall having any dreams, until last night. I remembered only a few images when I woke, and those were quite disturbing, I suspect that the dreams will be coming more frequently now, and the images will grow even more disturbing. I pretty much crawled into a protective cocoon when I first got here, but now that I have to go out and deal with more and more reality there is bound to be more anxiety. I do hope the new neighbors won't be too put out by my PTSD nightmare screams in the middle of the night.

Outside a fog has formed. It isn't very thick, but thick enough to conceal a traffic signal a few blocks away that is usually visible from the fairly high back porch of this house. All that can be seen is the general glow of the streetlights at the intersection and an occasional shift of their tone as the signal changes colors. It's oddly hypnotic to watch.

The entire fire zone was opened to residents today for the first time since the disaster, and tomorrow it will be open to everyone. Getting around in the town will be restricted, though, due to much cleanup activity on the various cross streets. Authorities want all visitors to stay in the three silos formed by the three main roads leading into town. Though the place is likely to be chaotic, if I drove I'd be up there searching for any trace of any of my cats, but I don't drive and nobody here wants to go into the chaos. Well, this is what I get for being a troubled loner.
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Uncertainties [Dec. 14th, 2018|10:13 pm]
A number of false moves today, going hither and yon to do various things and not quite connecting or completing anything. It's frustrating. It's possible that tomorrow I'll be signing a lease on the small apartment. Then I'll have to start shopping for all the things I'll be needing to stock it with. More possessions, when I just got rid of so many.

Plus I dislike shopping at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. I know I sound ungrateful, given the fact that my insurance makes this possible, and there are so many of my fellow refugees who had no insurance and will not be doing any shopping for anything. But shopping remains an onerous task to me, my limited good fortune notwithstanding.

My un-American distaste for buying the usual things makes it necessary for my brother to co-sign the apartment lease for me. I have no credit history. I buy things other than basic necessities rarely, and those mostly small things, and I have never borrowed to buy them. If I don't have cash for something, I do without. The landlord was horrified. Apparently he thinks people who pile on debt are more likely to pay their rent that are people who have remained debt-free all their lives. Such is the weirdness of our consumption-oriented culture.

The rain today was moderate and intermittent, and is currently not falling at all, but it is expected to resume well before midnight. It could be rainy tomorrow morning, but the heaviest rain is expected Sunday, along with lots of wind. The remainder of the week will be cloudy and cool but probably dry. There is a channel not far from here that by this time of year usually has a good-sized stream in it, and sometimes had a raging torrent, but this year it is still nothing but sand and rocks. Sand and rocks with a threat of flooding is a good description of how my brain feels right now.

Still no news on any of the cats. They will soon be closing the emergency shelters, and by January 4 all the remaining unclaimed animals will be distributed to smaller shelters throughout the region. That's already happened, to some extent. I did see one photo of a cat who looks very much like Portia, though I've seen so many cat pictures lately that the details of my own cats' faces is starting to blur. That cat is at a shelter way the hell up in Anderson, a town some eighty miles north of here. Times like this I wish I had reliable transportation. I even come close to wishing I had my own car and a driving license. That's extreme.
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The Strain of Downward Mobility [Dec. 13th, 2018|09:46 pm]
This afternoon I went to see that apartment that is for rent. One bedroom, open plan living room-kitchen-dining area, a small enclosed patio at the back, walk-in closet of moderate size, compact bathroom with combination tub-shower. The only faucet that doesn't have a single-handle faucet is the tub-shower, which is where it would be most useful. The floors are laminate disguised as wood, which is probably better than wall-to-wall carpet, which can be a bit disgusting, but since I don't want to walk on cold floors I'll have to get some area rugs. Another expense. At least it includes a refrigerator. But the stove is electric, and I'm accustomed to gas.

I've been pricing things like dishes, glasses, cookware, utensils, etc., and some are pretty not too costly. Furniture will be considerably more expensive. I need virtually everything, since it all burned, and it's going to add up. I don't know how much will be left from the insurance once I get all the necessities, but I doubt I'll ever be able to replace all the books and music I lost, let alone the various collectible items. It would take a very long time to fill up that modest closet. The place is going to look rather austere, I'm afraid.

The location is not ideal. It's on a cul-de-sac fairly close to a shopping area with two drug stores, a K-mart, Grocery Outlet, Dollar Tree, Trader Joe's, and a variety of small shops and eating places, and has decent bus connections to some other parts of Chico, but it is not very pedestrian friendly, nor especially attractive. It is also fairly close to the one freeway that runs through town, and I suspect it will get pretty noisy there at night. During the day the freeway noise is drowned out by traffic on nearby streets.

But with all the former commuters from the ridge crowding in this town is bursting at the seams, and I'm probably lucky to get a place this decent (and at just under a thousand a month, which is actually moderate for this burgeoning mini-metropolis.) The parking lot at K-mart currently sports about a dozen RVs, with fire refugees living in them. Still, I'm not relishing the thought of being there. I'm going to miss the quiet, the dark skies, the space, and my settled routine that it will be impossible to replicate here.

Of course I'll miss the cats most. I'm still looking at the photos being posted every day, and still haven't seen any I can surely identify as mine, and only three possible, none of which I've been able to go see in person. A person who doesn't drive in California is pretty close to not being a person at all. The cats don't know that, of course, and surely wouldn't accept it as an excuse for my neglect of them. I have a hard time accepting it myself. I don't know how the new landlord will feel about tenants who beat themselves up in his apartments, though, so I should probably keep that news to myself.
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Wintering [Dec. 12th, 2018|09:24 pm]
Getting to the really cold part of the year. Rain is possible five days in a row starting Saturday. I'm not looking forward to it. I was spoiled by having so much covered outdoor space for so long, and now I have none. I might be getting a very small apartment which has a very small, walled back patio, and if so perhaps I can get an awning to cover part of it. It's unlikely I'll ever own a house again, unless there's another really serious market crash before my insurance money runs out or gets taxed down, so I suppose I'll have to get used to being a renter with very limited choices and lots of regulation.

Everyone else here seems to be getting busier and busier, and I feel like I'm left twisting in the wind. I'm getting almost nothing done, while the number of things needing doing seems to grow every day. Today I got a bill from AT&T, and it looks like they'll be charging me for a full month's service for the two weeks of Internet and six days of telephone they gave me before their infrastructure burned down.

One would think they could give Twentyfive thousand or so homeless people a break, but I guess it's unreasonable to expect corporate executives to give up part of their bonuses just because somebody else's town got burned down. But if I find out they are dunning the grieving survivors of the 85 people known to have died in that fire I'll be on that ratty company like stink on shit until everybody on the Internet knows what kind of thugs they are.

I'd like to recreate (as far as possible) my lost post about my trip into the burned town a few days ago, but I'm still not trusting this craptop computer. It screwed me over a couple of times earlier today, and I don't want to loose something I worked hard on yet again. Too soon. First thing I want to do if I get that apartment is gind a decent computer.

Utterly exhausted tonight. I don't know why, since I did almost nothing but look at pictures of rescued cats (still none mine) again all day today.
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Fogs [Dec. 11th, 2018|09:30 pm]
Another day spent in one place, with no chance to go anywhere or do anything. I used to stay in one place every day, but there I had a fairly reliable computer, cable television, and a house full of cats, and pretty much everything I needed in the house. Now I have no television to speak of, a slow and unstable computer, all sorts of things that need doing, and still only three changes of clothes. I ought to get out and buy some stuff I'll be needing, but haven't been able to arrange it. There is one cat who hangs around, but that one serves mostly as a sad reminder.

There was a thin fog here today, but it was probably bright and sunny up on the ridge. The crews taking out dead trees (there must be well over a hundred thousand of them that will need to be removed) probably enjoyed the weather there, if they had any time to pause to do so. Under different circumstances I might have enjoyed that thin fog we got, but I'm still in no mood for it.

I don't want to spend too much time on this entry since I no longer trust this computer not to make it vanish forever. I think I'll just go get into bed and worry for a while. By now worry ought to have become boring to me, so maybe it will make me go to sleep. I'd like to get up bright and early tomorrow and get started looking at pictures of found cats again. The air fog isn't expected to return tomorrow, but I'm sure the brain fog will.
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Again [Dec. 10th, 2018|09:37 pm]
Oh, crap! Two nights in a row this HP craptop eats my entry, and for some reason LJ's Restore feature isn't working. At least the entry wan't as long tonight, and the writing wasn't as good anyway, but still it's infuriating. Again, I don't have the energy to recreate, and don't even feel like summarizing.

I saw a sliver of moon this evening. The moon has it easy. It doesn't need any stinking computers.
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Substitution [Dec. 9th, 2018|09:41 pm]
I just spent about forty minutes writing several paragraphs about my trip to the ruins today, but must have done something to offend this worthless HP craptop I'm using and it ate the whole thing, and in a way that LJ's restore draft feature can't fix. I don't feel like doing it again, so I'll just say that it was depressing, and disturbing, and I'm not looking forward to going back but I'll have to, since I was not prepared with proper equipment to do any serious searching of the rubble.

There was no sign of any cats, living or dead. PG&E had trucks and crews on the block, installing new cables, and that probably kept any living cats away. We left some bowls of food and fresh water, putting them in what little shelter we could find, the largest part in my metal garden shed which had sagged badly but still had its roof. I suspect that raccoons will end up eating the food and muddying the water, even if there are still any of my cats around.

I don't think there's any point in my trying to make any long posts until I get a decent computer to work on, though I don't know how long that will be. This thing is just so touchy and unpredictable. I'll just cut and paste some poetry now.

sunday VerseCollapse )
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Delays [Dec. 8th, 2018|09:49 pm]
Various things intervened and we were unable to go see the rubble of my house today. The trip is tentatively rescheduled for tomorrow, so I get to spend another restless night worrying about what I will find there. Dead cats? Live cats I'll be unable to bring down here with me? No trace of cats? All the options seem bad.

All but me in this house have been asleep for an hour. It feels much later than it is. My brother keeps this house a good six degrees warmer than I kept mine, so when I go outside it feels much colder than it is, and it is pretty cold out there. Chico is noisy. There is traffic on the freeway a block away, and on nearby streets. Saturday night, and the college kids are probably out having fun. I can barely remember what that's like. It's as though fun was one of the things that got burned up in the fire.

I spent more time looking at pictures of cats on the Internet again today. All the animals from the Chico shelter have been moved to the shelter in Oroville, further reducing the odds that I'll get a chance to go see them. Today was one month since the fire. It seems both longer and shorter. Physically I feel like I've aged at least a year. Psychologically it feels like I fell asleep on the couch with three cats around me just last night.

It's noisy and cold in Chico, and it is also brightly lit. I think about standing in my back yard on the ridge looking up at the stars. I see no stars at all when I go out here. Perhaps nature is hiding its face from me in shame.
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