March 16, 2005

*kschenkler Interview

It's the kschenkler interview!

In the extended...

Can you give us an update on the little kitten you took care of after
it was found with cuts?

Wayne is doing great. He has a great, loving personality, and has grown from 1.7 pounds to over 11 pounds. My daughter Jessica is the biggest reason that he has rebounded emotionally; he thinks she is mommy. He really loves her, and she really loves him. The only lingering problems he has are chinks in his color pattern (when Dr. Crumm had to remove necrotic skin, he couldn't match the color pattern edges--and really, as long is Wayne is healthy, who cares?) and he has a weird bulge on his belly. The bulge appears to be the fat pad normally over his belly. I think it became detached when the monster who worked him over tried to gut him. Now it has bunched up to one side. He may require additional surgery to fix this, but we are waiting until he is a little older and get it and his neutering done at the same time.
Wayne has the softest hair of any cat I have ever known. I call him the "bunny fur kitty".

You obviously have a great love for animals...where did it originate?

I have always loved animals. I think all kids are born loving animals, and sometimes it gets worn out of them by the circumstances of their lives.

My love of animals does not stop me from raising meat animals; in fact, I think it makes me a better rancher. For the time I have them, I treat all my animals with love and respect. When it comes down to the end, either I or my daughters process them, so they aren't in the hands of strangers. Since I couldn't control how sold animals were processed, I quit selling animals to strangers. Now I only raise what we will eat, or only use our animals for their byproducts (my chickens for eggs, as an example).

How many animals do you own?

I don't think companion animals are owned. I think they own us. Livestock is "owned", but only in the sense that when it is time, I end their lives. Right now, we have around 8 chickens, 2 miniature horses, one Percheron mare co-owned with Pam Sanidakos, six dogs, and two cats. I have no meat animals at this time, and haven't in several years. It became too hard to process animals that I had become attached to.

Have you ever had an animal you couldn't take care of yourself?

Yes, I have had several animals that I couldn't take care of--because I became very ill with heart problems. My daughters have filled in the best they could. We recently gave a donkey away, and gave away a co-ownership to Darla, our Percheron, because we ran out of grass, and I had no vehicle to buy roll bales with. So Pam Sanidakos helped me out and took her, at least for awhile, because she has 120 acres covered in grass to help out.

Why is your husband's name on the wish list? Don't you have a wish list?

It is a joke between my husband and myself about the wish list. He always wants books, but never has time to buy them. I do have a wish list, and it is filled every day that I wake up and my husband is with me and my daughters are healthy. What else could I ask for? I love books, but I have 10k plus; my family is much more important to me.

Besides animals, what would you say your blog is "about"?

My blog is a family blog. Yes, I sometimes post about politics or animals, but I really started it so I could keep my sisters, my parents, and my in-laws up to date. I am not the best letter writer, and I really don't expect them to write me back since they aren't great letter writers either. Since my sisters and I are all spread out across the US, it has really been helpful.

Why did you start your blog?

I started my blog because I wanted to keep in contact with my family (see response to 6).

What has blogging done for you?

Blogging has given me a voice to talk about things that interest me. I am basically a very shy person, who doesn't get out much. Blogging has given me a chance to talk about things with other people, especially when I comment on other people's blogs. It is fun, finding friends in the strangest of places, but also knowing them from the inside out--I might never meet them, but I know what they believe, and they know what I believe, and that is much more important than knowing what they look like.

Do y'all feel like a native Texan?

I am not a native Texan. However, my mother and generations of her family were born in Texas. (My dad was born in Mississippi.) My youngest was born in Texas. I have lived in Texas almost twenty years, and from the day I was born until I was 18, spent a month every year in Texas. Many of my relatives have always lived in Texas (the ranch where my parents live has been in the family for 180 years or so).

Why do all y'all try to spell y'all as "ya'll"? That ain't right.

I am not sure why people spell y'all as y'all. I do know my mom (and all of her family) have always pronounced it that way. (I don't have a Texas accent. My youngest does though, a little bit.)

How plentiful are them armadillos, anyway?

Armadillos are not as plentiful around our home as they once were. (Armadillos jump straight up when their guard hairs are hit, which means that they die because when a car passes over them, they jump up into it. And we have a very, very busy highway in front of us.) Mostly we have possums. But dillos still dig up our garden, and if we have an animal die (like on that blasted highway), the dillos dig it up. The possums, on the other hand, kill our chickens, raid the sweet feed, and piss off our dogs something fierce.

What was it like working for the IRS?

In all honestly, my job with the IRS was the best job I ever held. I was with the Problems Resolution Group; I helped people with their accounts, and helped people work out their problems with the IRS. I have many thank you cards from taxpayers who were grateful for the help I gave them. I don't think I ever had a complaint against me. I was very unhappy when I found out that my group was being closed out and the job relocated to Austin, since I couldn't move.

Any tips on how to deal with them taxmen knocking on my door?

As far as the IRS is concerned, if it is a very big bill you owe, talk to a tax lawyer. My parents were audited FOUR times. Hiring their tax lawyer was the best investment they ever made. Plus, it always helps if you don't cheat. Most cheaters are caught eventually. ALWAYS file the return, even if you can't pay it. Why? Because not filing is a criminal offense, filing but not being able to pay is a civil offense. Owing money is much better than spending time in jail.

Out of all your jobs, which was your favorite?

Please see the answer to #12.

Same question as above, except least favorite?

The second time I worked as a court clerk, the head clerk was an utter evil b*tch. She made my life hell. In fact, the stress from that job brought on my first heart attack. (The first court clerk I worked for, Diana Smith, was wonderful. I won't mention the name of the second court clerk...) The second court clerk was a very, very controlling person and relished the fact that she was head clerk--one of those bosses no one wants. The judge was great, everyone else in the office was great, but she was a nightmare.

What do you do now?

I do not work now. I am disabled due to complications of heart disease, diabetes, and migraines. I am not a surgical patient, not even for a heart transplant. The medicines I take to keep my heart working cause migraines; without the medicines, I have angina. Often, I can barely walk a hundred feet. It is very hard to get Social Security to deem someone disabled, but I am on Social Security. The case file was over five inches thick from all the doctor's reports. My daughters help me a lot with my illnesses; Jessica drives me to doctor's appointments, and all of them watch me like hawks. I have only made it this far because they help me so much.

Where would you like to live when/if you retire?

I am disabled, and no longer working--so I guess that makes me already retired. I want to be as rural as I can be, as soon as my husband retires. I am a very rural type of person.

Will you be able to retire and play canasta, or will you have to keep
busy with "real" work to keep from going insane?

Even once I became disabled, I had to keep doing things. I can't just do one thing at a time, like right now I am listening to a cd, watching a movie, and doing this. I read a great deal, I watch movies, I try to keep up to date with the world. Many days, my head hurts so I don't necessarily remember what I saw or read, but that just gives me something to do the next day...but everything I do must be very un-stressful, or I have angina.

What have you done in your life that makes you most proud?

I am most proud of my daughters. It took me eight pregnancies to have three girls. And they are wonderful girls.

Posted by Jennifer at March 16, 2005 10:30 PM