That's right, kids...Today's my birthday. (Okay, okay! I know the Grim Reaper is moving a marker over! Stop linking that damn comic!) And for the second time in my life, I am turning 42.
Looking back, I think the entire thing started last year. I turned 41, all the while being under the impression I was turning 42. And so, in my mind, I was facing my 43rd birthday today, and it was depressing me. Then, *POOF*! I came to the realization of my actual age, and now I can be depressed that I'll be 43 next year.
Unlike last year, during both my birthday and the holidays, I didn't make a list of things I wants. In all honesty, what more can I ask for? I have had the most amazing set of friends from around the world look after me. Living beneath poverty level, each month devolves into a begging session, where I ask those who know me to help. Somehow, some way, friends have come through for me. And what's shocking is when the help comes from people who shouldn't be able to afford it.
Like last month, when I was robbed of my clothes. A package arrived filled with more shirts and pants from someone whom it has become clear is struggling on his own. You just can't ask for more than that.
Shock of shocks, and just in time for my birthday, that very same person has offered up what can be considered a most awesome present. As some of you may know, moving Nike to TN had become an impossibility. While many in the world don't understand that I love this cat more than many of the people I know, there are others who are also animal lovers, and would do almost anything to see my beloved cat goes with me to Tennessee.
The person who has shown a willingness to help is Arguskos, from GitP. (Follow along carefully, as I want you folks to remain aware of exactly how awesome this is.) He has volunteered to gather two friends, pile into a car, and drive all the way from Texas to Arizona, take Nike, as well as several boxes of my possessions, and drive her back to TX. He has no pets, which is a good thing, as she hates other animals. He will watch over her until I am settled in TN, and then...a repeat performance of pure awesome! He will drive her (and my boxes of stuff) from TX to TN, thereby completing her journey.
Now, this is only an offer. He has made no promises. Argus needs to talk to a few people and arrange for the journey. The major expense will be gas money, and right now, money is extra tight. He can't do it this month, which is actually a good thing. (I'll explain in a moment.) But that he volunteered to perform a service that would take up time, effort, and money is completely astonishing to me.
When I was on the phone with Stu at one point, I was mentioning the cost of possibly using a pet-moving service, and he said, "I wouldn't count on your friends to cough up $350 to move your cat. I know I wouldn't [give you that kind of money]." After speaking on the phone with Argus yesterday, I took great pleasure in rubbing in his face the fact that someone didn't throw money at me, but did offer the incredible to get Nike to TN for me. Really...people completely underestimate the power of being a nice guy. Maybe we do sleep alone, or finish last, or many other negatives...but to those who are actively nice to their friends, one tends to win.
While I, as usual, could use financial aid, I wouldn't dare start asking for more than I have already received. On that list is...well, the financial aid. One dear friend, who became more than shocked at my bad habit, would say, "Here...have some disposable military pay," and $75 would show up for me. Another friend, in Norway, has not only sent me hundreds of dollars over the last few years, but was also responsible for an actual birthday gift! (He sent me an OotS shirt with Roy saying, "I dream of the day when I will learn to stop asking questions to which I will regret the answers.") Argus not only sent clothes last month, but sent a care package the month before, the contents of which actually lasted on through June, and saved me at the end of the month. (Specifically, the powered drinks!) To attempt to name everyone who has helped me over the last year or two is honestly too much of a task unto itself. Suffice to say, I have the most awesome friends around the globe, and I LOVE ALL OF YOU!!!
Now, I mentioned the delay of Argoskos being a good thing. The reason for this is that I can now take the time to acclimate Nike to traveling. Most specifically, going into the cardboard box in which she will be transported in. I still have the box I was given at PetsMart when I brought her home. It's currently on the floor, wide open, and set up as a dark place in which she can pretend to have her little kitty lair. Every time I witness her enter it on her own, I give her praise for having done so, making her believe in her little kitty mind that going into the box is a good thing. And, of course, I turn into a bit of a lunatic with her. I mean, I'm alone with her more often than not, so I do a lot of talking to her...in some of the silliest voices I can muster. (My friend, Rush, has heard me on the phone, using the main "kitty voice," to which she would totally "fangirl" over.) "Quick, kitties! To the kitties-cave...to which there is, unfortunately, no kitties-mobile." Once she's in there, I play with her a bit, as she is fond of attacking any invading fingers. Her clawless paws try to capture my hands and bring them to her mouth, where she pretends to devour my fingers. As she gently gnaws at my fingers, be they love bits or feigned eating, I sit there and say, "Oh noes! Da kitties is eating papa! Help! Save me from da killer kitties!"
Y'know...I call her "kitties," (plural), so often that she probably thinks that's her name. That, or when she's doing something bad, I shout, "Hey!" The shout tends to get her to stop immediately. Still, in her head, she likely thinks her name is "Kitties" or "Hey."
As mentioned, I called Stu to let him know that arrangements for Nike's journey to TN were underway. I was loaded with good news, which was great, right up until he said something to the effect of, "Y'know...We've done a lot of talking about this, but we haven't actually figured out how you're getting here. It might be a good idea to call Dad and talk to him, because it would suck to finalize everything, then call him and say, 'Okay...Move me.'"
Stu, as much as I hate to admit it, was right. So I called Dad, and he said that he would obviously be taking care of a flight from AZ to TN for me, and that all I needed to do was say when I could travel. That depends on the management of my apartment complex, whom I'm trying to convince should let me go at the end of August instead of the end of September. It's just one month, but they may well force me to hold to my lease until the very end. The great part is that the only thing I now have to ship to TN is my computer, for which I still have the boxes it arrived in. The heaviest part is actually the computer. The rest is a flat screen, mouse, and keyboard(s). (Yes, I have multiple keyboards, replaced by Dell for the mere fact that the letters were fading. Go figure.) I'm actually selling one of the keyboards for a mere $5. Since I got it free, that $5 is a 100% profit. Not bad, eh? But Dad will be helping.
There's really only one worry left. Is anyone at Stu's place going to turn out to be allergic to Nike? That would make me nuts. All that work, only to find out my nephew is allergic. *sigh* Looks like I'd have to get rid of my nephew if that happens. =P
So there you have, friends and readers. I'm 42 again, and am officially a living incarnation of the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. Lots is happening, with various things falling into place, which, ultimately, is a relief to me. Yes, I'd love to get actual presents...but nothing would be nearly as valuable as the people in my life. I love ALL of you, and thank you for helping me reach the completion of another turn around Sol.