As you may have noticed, I skipped the Monday Mystery this week. The good news is, I was a bit busy with this:

Getting rodents to sit still for a portrait is a losing battle, so just imagine another three of those, and you have the general idea. I may end up with a fifth; another potential adoptive rat-mommy was still pondering whether she wanted one or two of the last three. Rats really ought to go with a buddy, if there isn't any pre-existing rattage for them to come home to, so I told the lady that if she were left with a singleton, I could come back for him, too. I managed not to take all seven mainly because I hadn't brought a big enough transport box.

The first pair of rats I had came down with rat-sniffles, and making the vet appointment took about five times as long as it ought to have done, because I could not get the receptionist to understand that they were not rexes or sphinxes or albinos or any other kind of fancy breeder rat. We went round and round for a while before I finally got exasperated and told her that there was absolutely nothing special about these rats, except they were ours and they were all gewerfelt when they breathed. When their discharge paperwork came back, the top two lines on it were "Species: RAT; Breed: RAT". This was hilarious the same way it's hilarious when you walk into the supermarket and discover a beer so generic it literally just says BEER in big letters on the front of the can.

These new guys are definitely more RAT-breed RATs. The lady who owns the parents was trying to cross for a specific coat type, only to find that the only color that breeds true is agouti; i.e, the dithered brown you see on standard-issue feral rats. There's clearly a dumbo in their family tree somewhere, since one of them has absolutely colossal ears stuck smack on either side of his skull. (The page says the dumbo body type 'may be stocky'. This is the author being tactful. All of my rats end up big -- they are very well fed, and then some -- but every dumbo I've ever had ended up huge even by my standards.) The other three look exactly like the archetype you would draw if you were asked to illustrate the entry for 'rat' in the dictionary. This makes them common riff-raff in the world of fanciers. Since she could neither breed them nor show them, she just advertised around for a good forever-home.

On the first night home, one of them claimed the upstairs hammock and squabbled with anyone who tried to get in there with him. One of them fell off the second level, missed the net, and landed on their downstairs nest box. Someone has already figured out how to throw food out of the cage and onto the floor. In other words, they are settling in well. I had them for about two hours before I started feeding them french fries and pizza crust. And it only took that long because I had to get them home from Revere -- about 90 minutes by public transit -- then had to go back out again to get dinner.

I have no idea what to name them yet, so at the moment, they are Things 1-4. Numbers interchangeable; aside from the dumbo rat, I can't tell them apart. They're still in the stage where they beg frantically for attention, but don't actually want me to touch them. It'll only be a couple of weeks before they get indignant if I walk past the cage and don't stick my hand in to squash them affectionately.

The bad news is that I am still very very poor and rent is coming due soon. The job search has been split between people who never call me back, people who advertise for a job in 'Boston' but actually mean something like Waltham or Wellesley, and people who want me to work early in the morning. My medical file now officially has a note to the effect of 'mornings are no bueno, twenty years of trying to change her sleep schedule has not worked before and will not work in the future,' Transit options dwindle rapidly the farther away you get from Boston/Cambridge proper, and while my director is very patient with me when the bus to Brandeis is fifteen minutes late, corporate drones would not be so nice.

I have been trying not to go retail, on account of the last time I had a sales floor position I lasted about six weeks before having an extremely messy breakdown. I can interact with other humans just fine for a couple hours at a time, and I've been told I'm actually quite good at these days, but 6-8 hours a day for 5-6 days a week is far too much, and I am unable to cope. It culminated with me hiking down to the local ER to beg for sedatives, so that I could stop crying and perhaps peel myself off the ceiling long enough to sleep.

The actual fact of being un/underemployed is starting to overtake the resultant lack of money as the thing that is stressing me out. While the combination of phenibut and L-DOPA at least leaves me in a state where I can do things like go grocery shopping without having a meltdown over whether I'm making the absolute best possible use of what little money I have, I am getting a little tired of eating pills and toast for breakfast.

I feel I should point out that 'pills and toast' is a considerable improvement over what's happened in the past. Usually there isn't any toast. And sometimes the (actual, official, doctor-backed) pills make things worse.

If anyone has any leads for an afternoons-only part-time gig in Boston -- like IN BOSTON, in Boston, where the T runs -- or work-at-home jobs, please let me know. I've tried Turking, and not only does it pay very little, but Amazon has this charming new policy that if less than $10 would be deposited in your Amazon Payments account when the billing period ends, they will just take it away for mysterious 'fees'. My phone is not smart enough to run the job apps for things like TaskRabbit, and not reliable enough for a gig like phone psychic. I take in tailoring, make things like fascinators and hats, do fancy makeup for events, give style advice, act, model, write, proofread, fact check, translate, tend pets while you're out of town, and a lot of other things I've forgotten to mention.

If all else fails, I'm still running a Patreon page and a GoFundMe campaign, and have a PayPal account for direct donations. I would much prefer to work for my income, but I've given up dignity for Lent. At this point I just want to pay some bills.


  1. For taking care of pets while owners are out of town, you could try My friend has had some good success with it.

    1. Thank you! I shall go poke around and see if they operate in my area and if I qualify.

  2. I can't always tell when you're slanting your writing for dramatic effect, but just in case ... You're looking at job openings in the outer suburbs on a case-by-case basis, right?
    Lots of people do commute by T, even to Waltham and Wellesley and so forth. That's why we have a T. Waltham Square is even a bus nexus. So I hope you're checking how close the business address is to the nearest transit stop, and comparing stated hours to timing of bus runs, and so forth. A bus with ETA 20 minutes before your shift starts gives plenty of cushion against most delays.
    A lot of employers do understand about the T, and will be okay with occasional lateness as long as you call to say "I'm on my way, but the bus is late / broke down / missed a connection, so I will be half an hour late".
    I know you're generally on the ball, but you moved here from a place with no transit, and maybe you haven't grasped the full awesomeness of here? I would hate to see you miss out on a good opportunity.

    1. I am aware that it is physically possible to get out there. The bus/local transit method takes 1-2 hours each way, depending on which connections I attempt to make and where. A CR pass is pricey and if I took a half-time minimum wage job, I would be working for a week every month just to pay for the transit. Buses out to Waltham stop pretty much only on Main Street, and the CR platforms are Waltham Common and Brandeis, meaning that anything that wasn't right there would entail additional walk time. Your 20min buffer means that my commute alone would eat about four hours of my day. The sleep thing means I need to work swing or graveyard shift, and there is really no way for me to get home on transit between the hours of 11pm and 6am.

      I know all this because at one point I was going out there 3-4 days a week to rehearse for a show. It was such obvious misery that the director has moved as many future rehearsals as possible to Lesley, in Porter Square, so that I can stay in the cast.

      I am stubborn and clever about getting myself places, and I have a reasonable amount of patience with the MBTA while I'm doing it. But no job will do me any good if it lands me in the ER again, and trying to deal with all of that absolutely would. It would have to be an absolutely phenomenal opportunity, which fit me perfectly and paid exceedingly well, for me to even attempt it, and frankly I would still probably end up quitting.


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