Saturday, August 12, 2006

Biting my nails

Quick check-in. My universe has been a little wonky this week.

I had to cancel my appearance at Coupeville this weekend, at the very last minute Friday night. My sweetie pie kitty -- I've mentioned her before -- has been a bit under the weather for the last couple of weeks. Up and down, but this week she got suddenly worse. In a panic, I took her into the emergency vet Friday night. I think it was the nick of time. They thought it was kidney failure and curtains. But were taking tests and wouldn't know if she would make it through the night. I couldn't just leave, I had to be here for her, and to know what the outcome was on Saturday.

Turns out to be some kind of infection, nobody knows exactly what. But she's in the hospital getting IV's of fluids and antibiotics. I've been to visit her twice today, and she's a teeny bit better, but not much. We thought she might come home tonight, but no. She needs another night of care, at least. I'm hoping I can get her home tomorrow, but it's scary, though they keep repeating that it's all treatable and she should be ok within 48-72 hours. She's older though, and completely terrified, and this is really a rough patch.

I've never quit a show at the last minute like this. Not in the entire 10 years of business. So that is weighing on me heavily too. I feel so badly about letting down the folks who were counting on seeing me there. It's a big loss of revenue too, plus the lost booth fee. But there was no choice.

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Next topic: the credit card fraud that I hinted at earlier. I've been targeted. Someone has hacked into somewhere and gotten my business credit card number. And through the wonders of the internet, tracked down all my other particulars. It's not so secret . . . my name, phone number, address. All are publically available, through the web site, a google search, the local phone book. And ahem, maybe this blog thingie wasn't such a great idea. It lures you inter over-sharing personal details that could come back to haunt you. (Don't ever post your birthday, or family names, or pet's names, or anything else that can be used.) In case you are still under the impression that we are anonymous individuals in a free society? A couple of clicks can get let anyone know (hello, Classmates.com) when you graduated, where you went to school, what year you graduated etc. A few more clicks can get you almost any other record - DMV, property, marriage licenses. If they spend a few more minutes (and it's all charged to your account anyway) they may find your date of birth, your mother's maiden name, your pet's name. You are toast.

These folks were focused. They tried the usual routes. The account is closed of course, but not before endless hours of frustration. Endless phone calls. Major fraud investigations going on with a big list of companies. My credit history flagged. Why? Because they set up an online account to do web calling. Overseas. And then tried to wire money to that little country, whatever they call themselves, in the Gaza strip area where the Palestinian rebels are fighting. Erm. Uuuh. !!!!!!!!!

They have now labeled me as a terrorist probably. Because in this age of fear, war, and security at all costs, people lose. All innocence is lost. Everyone is a walking target. Nobody is safe.

I used to think that the wire tapping and plugging into people's personal bank records was over the line. But if they weren't doing that? We would not have had the raid in England that shut down the latest bombing plan. And I might be an even bigger victim in the whole game. I am now fighting for my own identity and safety. As are we all.

* * * * * * *

My sister is flying to London for business. The amount of aggravation, frustration, inconvenience . . . I guess it's worthwhile if we are actually safer? I don't know. Because there is truly no way to protect yourself from it. Bombs can be made in pill casings, quarters, a set of keys the detonator. Don't they watch "Alias?" Bombs have been made in fabric and eyeglass frames. We can't all fly naked. And if it ever does get that ridiculous? "They" will always be one step ahead.

I can't even tell you how much stress, how much time was expended, how much worry, how much pure trouble the whole thing has become. And it's clearly affecting everyone. On the planet. The world has truly changed.

* * * * * * * *

So, I've been taking a little "time-out" while I deal with my personal crises. And to be honest, sharing my personal day-to-day in the blog has lost a little bit of its luster. I know, intellectually, how dangerous the internet can be. I've tried to be smart and safe in all my dealings, feeling a little bit savvy and smug about how things work in cyberspace. And still, in retrospect, anything at all can be used against you.

The alternative -- hiding under the covers and living in total fear -- is worse. I refuse to operate that way, because that's not really living.

In the 13 years I've had my cat, I've never spent a single night without her. This is night number two. Alone. The house sort of echoes with emptiness. Maybe I can take her home tomorrow. And maybe there will be another day, in the not so distant future, where I will find her dancing along the fence top again, thinking she's a squirrel, and watching the goings on. It's her favorite thing. We call it "riding the rails." And she used to leap herself up there every night right after dinner, roam the entire back fence, and sit under the tree branches, using her ears as satellite antennae to hear the birds, the squirrels, the pelting apples next door, and neighbor car doors slamming. Wah.