A cat by any other name

How to remain focused


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Meow at me

I was on my way out the door to head into work for a 7am conference call this morning, when I was paged with a call number and passcode. The call was starting an hour earlier than anticipated. So I took it at home instead of at work, since it takes me nearly an hour to drive there.

This was both good and bad. Good because I didn't have to drive while half asleep and in the dark. Bad because when I'm at home, there's way too many distractions. Since I'm not involved in all the conversations that occur on these conference calls, my mind starts to wander, and things come up. There was mail that needed to be sorted. I could actually get breakfast, if I ate it really quietly (since I had intended to grab something on the way). And then, of course, there are the cats.

Sebastian is about 17 pounds of pure muscle covered in short white fur that sheds like you wouldn't believe, with about 3 working brain cells. He's always seemed to be in his own little world, which is never exactly in sync with the rest of us. And he has this odd thing about me being on the phone. When I am on the phone, I am suddenly the most wonderful creature in existence. He must be near me. If he can at all manage it, he must actually be *on* me. This was one of those really good examples of why it is that teaching your kitten bad habits is just not a good idea. See, when he was tiny, we (my college roommates and I) would bend over and he'd hop onto our backs and cuddle in, purring happily. It was cute. It was adorable. We (idiots that we were) encouraged this. Fully grown now, he doesn't wait for anyone to bend over, he just jumps. When seventeen pounds of purring cat hits your back with all claws digging in for better grip, you bend over really fast. Add to this the whole phone attraction. My friends know that when I suddenly make a strangled yell while on the phone with them, all they have to ask is "Sebastian?" and when I whimper, they know. They accept this. They understand. And I usually try to remember to keep an eye on him when on the phone now, or at least talk with my back to something so he just can't get to me.

However, try explaining this to a group of people with whom one is having a conference call. I was sitting at the dining room table. I leaned forward to write something down. He saw his chance. By some great miracle of effort I managed to *not* scream out loud and got him off and onto my lap. I've learned after years of experience that he won't quit until he gets what he wants, which is attention. And besides, I was wearing black jeans. This in itself was enough to make him happy to curl onto my lap and shed, purring away.

Conference call finally over (three hours later), I drove in to the customer site. And found out that today was "new hard drive day" and true to form, my computer decided that cooperating was just no fun. Let me back up a moment here. Last week, I started my computer and came upon what is currently my favorite error message: "Warning: Failure Imminent." It went on to state that basically my hard drive was hosed, and I had better back everything up and soon. I found this all very amusing, simply because of the fact that this computer has already established that it is stubborn. I think the poor computer support guy probably cringes when he sees my name on a work ticket because no matter how easy it *should* be, on this computer, it never is. Whenever someone has to come in and work on it, I usually end up going over to work with someone else on something, and occasionally popping back to my desk to see how things are going. Invariably, the poor person who's been sent to fix it is mumbling to himself and shaking his head. About two weeks ago someone came into the little room they've stuffed this development team into and went from computer to computer to partition drives. He had no problems til he got to mine. Of course. Ah well. When I left this evening the computer was up and running again, with no error messages. So far. Of course my browser seems to be malfunctioning, and there may be some issues with drivers or something, but hey, at least failure isn't imminent anymore. That's definitely an improvement. We'll see how long this lasts.