This has been a horrible month for my wallet. My internet bill went up $20 a month, despite pleading phone calls to Charter’s customer service (wow, is that phrase a joke with those people!) and to that department’s supervisors that were in vain.
Then somewhere shortly after the first of this month, I picked up a nail in one of my tires that went through the sidewall and that meant it could not be fixed. So Discount Tire graciously put my donut-spare tire on and soon that was also leaking air rapidly for some unknown reason.
So I’ve had to rely on my daughter, Tara, to take me grocery shopping and to my doctor’s appointments all this month. I had filled up my gas tank just prior to getting that nail in my tire so I’ve had to give extra gas money to Tara and that already paid for gas is just sitting in my car’s gas tank until I can get the tire fixed next week.
I have my doctors give me 90-day Rxs to cut down on my co-pays and of course, I had to get refills for almost all of them this month and so that was extra money out of my poor wallet as well.
And then somehow I grossly miscalculated the number of the cans of cat food that I buy all at once at the beginning of the month. I think what happened is that I usually buy the big box of Friskies Pate’ mixed seafood variety of cat food cans at Kroger and that box holds 33 cans, more than enough to get me through a whole month.
However, I had to go with Tara to Meijer’s grocery store where she usually shops and I just grabbed the biggest box of Friskies they had. I just assumed that it held the same 33 cans as the ones I get at Kroger. But as I belatedly recalled a few days ago, those boxes at Meijer’s only hold 25 cans instead of the normal 33. When I first bought those big boxes of canned cat food at Meijer’s, I did have to buy several single cans just to make it through the month. I had switched to buying canned cat food at Kroger’s many years ago because it was cheaper and it always got me through the month.
My cat, Willow, is worse than Morris the Cat in the finicky-eater department. Have you ever known a cat to turn down a delicious morsel of Kentrucky Fried Chicken? Have you ever known a cat to turn down a delectable bit from a juicy burger? Willow does…every time.
I have never fed my cats daily table scraps, never. I give them canned cat food and I buy them Chicken Soup For the Cat Lovers’ Soul dry cat food because it is great quality ingredients for a fraction of the cost of those more expensive dry cat foods.
I would love it if Willow would eat the canned cat food too from Chicken Soup, etc., because like their dry cat food, they contain top-quality ingredients. But for some reason she, as well as my other cats from long ago, turn their noses and tails up at the taste, even when I mix it with other canned cat food.
On the rare times that I will try to give her a bite of whatever I’m having, Willow will not touch it. She’s only 3 years old and I have had her since she was 10 weeks old so it’s not like she developed many weird eating habits before I got her. But the first time I gave her a sliver of Kentucky Fried Chicken, with no skin, she sniffed at it and then scratched all around it like it was poop in her litter box! Every time since that I have tried to give her a tiny treat of “people” food, she does the same thing. Hmmm, maybe she’s trying to tell me something 🙂
But she is just as finicky when it comes to her canned cat food. She will only eat the pate’ kind, no bits, no slices, no shreds, nothing but the pate’ will do for her. And even then, if it is made with anything chicken, she refuses to touch it. She is primarily a seafood-loving kitty, although she will sometimes eat something with beef or turkey but she changes her mind on those on a weekly basis. So that really narrows down the variety that I try to give Willow and that is why it’s so important that I have enough of the kinds of canned cat food she will eat for the entire month.
So for the past several days, I have been scrounging around my purse, my couch and my nightstand to come up with enough change to buy cans of cat food at the nearby convenience store. I try to bother Tara and other people as little as possible and since I do have my Amigo scooter, I can boogie on down to that store without having to ask anybody to take the time and trouble to drive me to the bigger (and cheaper) stores that are further away from me.
Unfortunately, that nearby convenience store has a limited variety of canned cat food. They do carry Friskies, but they are all of the shredded, slices and tidbits kind, and mostly of the chicken and chicken-combo flavors.
By the way, I believe it is a fallacy that cats will eventually eat their food if they get hungry enough. All of my cats, past and present, have been either extraordinarily stubborn or that statement is pure myth and hokum. Willow, for example, will let that food sit there and sit there and sit there, no matter how many times I try to freshen it up stirring in water or gravy, nope, if it is not what she likes, she will not eat it.
And howl? Oh my god, Willow will screech, wail, yell, meow plaintively and run around like a demented idiot voicing protests at full volume all the way through my tiny apartment all day long if she does not have the food that she likes to eat. Since she is normally a quiet, sweet-tempered kitty, this rare side of her is even more surprising!
So I have had to Amigo down to that store every day for the past 3 days with what spare change I have to try and buy her something, anything she likes to eat. Today, I put together a baggie full of pennies to take with me because that is the very last bit of money I have left. There was one last flavor I was going to try to see if she likes it. If she didn’t, I would have to yell uncle and call Tara up to borrow either cans of cat food from her (she has three cats) or the money itself and then have her take me to one of those bigger and better-stocked stores.
It had been drizzling rain all day which made me grumpier that I had to go out because of my finicky cat and I was really hoping that that little store would be empty when I had to embarrass myself by plunking down that pre-counted bag of pennies on the counter.
When I got inside, there was a long line of customers waiting at the counter. I got the can of cat food, scooted my Amigo to the end of the line and then even more people came inside the store, which puzzled me, because normally there isn’t that many people in that store at one time. But soon the reason why became clear.
Apparently the Powerball and the Mega Millions lottery jackpots were quite high and so that was why there were so many people there. I rarely buy lottery tickets, not even the instant win scratch-off kind, so I never pay attention to what is going on with those jackpots.
There were now only 2 guys ahead of me in the line with 3 or 4 guys behind me. The guy at the counter bought a bunch of lottery tickets and then he turned around and stared at all of us waiting patiently behind him. He counted us all up and then he bought a Mega Millions $1 ticket for each of us behind him.
As he handed me mine with a smile and said, “Good luck on the drawing!” I started to cry. Here I was, bringing a bag of pennies to try and feed my poor cat, I’m all rain-drizzled and grumpy and this man had just made my day…heck, my week, no, my whole month!
I gave him a huge teary-wet hug and I asked him what his name was. He said, “Joseph Grummer” and after he spelled his last name, I laughed through my tears as I told him, “Joseph Grummer, thank you so very, very much for making my crappy day so much better and if this ticket wins, I WILL look you up and split it with you!” He laughed and waved goodbye to us all as he left the store.
As the next man got lottery tickets as well, I sat in my Amigo, still crying, and laughing at myself for crying, just stunned that this man, who had no idea of how great that small gesture made me feel, that man had just turned my rainy day into a sunny one.
My ticket most likely will not win on Tuesday, and I don’t care if it does or not, because I’m going to keep it and put it with my Irish coin that another kind stranger had anonymously given to me when I was having a similar money-less, crappy day decades ago.
Now it was my turn to pay for my cat food at the counter. I tried to surreptitiously plunk down that bag of pennies as I whispered to the clerk that I had counted it twice and the correct amount was written on the bag and could she please take it, even though I knew what a pain in the ass I was for bringing in a bag of pennies? The owners and the clerks all know me at that store and this clerk whispered back to me, “It’s okay, sweetie, we all know you have had a very rough month.”
Then suddenly, an arm reached over from behind me and handed the clerk a five dollar bill. Bewildered, I whipped around in my scooter chair to watch this young man tell the clerk, “Here, pay for her can of cat food with this so that way you won’t have to deal with a bag of pennies.” And I started crying again!
I gave that young man a teary-wet hug as well while I told him, “Thank you, thank you, oh, thank you!” Then I made everybody laugh as I said, “There must be a conspiracy today to make me cry and get all red-eyed!” And I laughed along with them through my still-falling tears.
So thank you, Joseph Grummer, thank you! You started a chain-reaction of incredibly sweet, wonderful blessings that I received today when I needed them the most and I will pay it forward and pay it forward and pay it forward.
And Mr. Grummer, I WILL be looking you up if my ticket does win anything in next Tuesday’s Mega Millions lottery drawing! (By the way the ticket was a loser but I have saved it and I will keep it forever to remind me of the kindness of this stranger.)
The picky, finicky Willow when she was 10 weeks old