Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Late, Late, Late...

Sheepie runs to the blog and comes to a screeching halt, panting and gasping and clutching the stitch in her side.  She was visiting with the family tonight and is a bit late getting home for the Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  She made it, though!  Never fear, for Sheepie is nothing if not dedicated to her readers and their need for random blurts of information.

*I may be dedicated to the blog, but I am not so consumed by it that I will pass up the chance for a free meal.

*Channeling my Inner Undergrad...

*It was hot today.  I did not appreciate that.  But I've seen worse this summer so I'm being gracious about it.

*I am barreling along on the scarf like winter is right around the corner.  There is hope for blocking by the weekend.

*Going to a parade on Saturday so there will be no blocking.  There will be much in the way of flag waving, baton twirling and candy tossing.

*Not so much with the blocking...

*The Very Complicated Kitty is learning some hard lessons around the morning schedule.

*He needs to take his medicine.  He takes it in his food because I suck at giving cats pills.

*Here is how I was directed to do it by The Cat Whisperer and the Nice Vet Down From Canada Who Was Sitting In On The Appointment Because She Is Covering During Vacation Time.  It's quite simple really.

*Step One:  Make a meatball with the cat food and squashed up pill.

Step Two:  Say, "Now, you cannot have the rest of your food until you eat your meatball."

*That is word for word what I was told to say.  By BOTH vets.

*Step Three:  Give the cat the rest of his food after he has eaten his meatball and coo appreciatively at his good behavior.

*This would be great save for one thing.  The VCK, for all his girth, is not the chow hound you'd think.

*He's a nibbler.

*A nosher.

*He likes to eat a bit, wander off, come's all quite leisurely.

*If he leaves the food, his brother will eat it.

*It is illegal to share prescription medications.

*For the past month, I've been able to accommodate this.  But it can't last.

*We need to get on schedule here.  When school starts, I can't call in sick because the VCK won't take his anti-anxiety meds.  There is nothing in my contract that allows for this.

*Then I will have to take his anti-anxiety meds and we'll be right back to the whole illegally sharing prescriptions situation.

*The new plan is this:  he must eat his meatball or the food goes away.  He gets it back for dinner.

*I feel like the meanest Mom EVER.

*If you tell my Mom that you really, really like the peanut butter chocolate sauce she served with the ice cream for dessert, she will let you take it home.

*Mommy Sheep is not the meanest Mom.  She is a nice Mom.

*I don't know where I got this...

*Oh, and I performed the Weekly Visit With The Vegetables today, too.

*I'll show you pictures later.

*Here's a cat picture:

Da Boyz sharing the ever-popular Dollar Store Cat Cave.

*That should tide you over until I can do something photogenic with the vegetables.

Phew!  I made it!  Wednesday can now officially come to a close because I have bullet posted for God and country.  Hope your day was a good one and that any and all meatballs were consumed in a timely fashion as prescribed.


Monday, July 26, 2010

August Looms

I know it sounds strange to say that this is kind of like the last "real" week of summer break, but it is for me.  Yes, I know. School doesn't officially start until the very end of August and that would indicate that I still have plenty of time.  However, August marks the season where I have to start thinking in terms of Going Back.  It's not like I just walk in on the first day of school and everything is ready.  I have to go make it be ready and that takes some time.  Granted, I do this on my own schedule and am generally home for lunch and a nap by midday, but's a very different mindset.

I think that is why I am suddenly feeling pressure to do as much as possible this week.  Suddenly, I have knit three feet of scarf.  I've washed the kitchen floor and started sorting through some of the grown up clothes required for keeping my career.  I also canned three more pints of pickles in order that I might be sustained pickle-wise in the coming work-a-day lifestyle.

I took a picture of the pickles, but then realized that I've already shown you a picture of pickles.  It is unreasonable to assume that people want to gaze upon pickles more than once.  Anything beyond that is just pickle overkill and looks braggy.  Like my pickle wealth somehow makes me better than everyone else...

I'm lining up the next knitting project and have actually gone so far as to wrap a Christmas present.  I'm making a list of the books I'd like to read before I have to go back to work so that I don't spend my days wondering what happened to all my favorite characters while I should be teaching Very Important Skills to Very Deserving Children.  I have taunted the mean Wii Fit Lady with my upcoming schedule so she knows she can't torture me in the mornings forever.  She doesn't seem all that fazed by this revelation.  She knows she'll just get me in the afternoon.  She's smart like that.

The only thing I'm not really worried about is getting myself up in the mornings.  Since The Cat Whisperer put the resident felines on a no-carb diet, there is no issue whatsoever with my lying abed.  The mighty beasts begin the hunt for sustenance at the crack of 5:00 a.m. since there is no kibble upon which to nosh while they await my achieving consciousness.  For the record, I don't get up when they tell me.  I hang in there and fake sleep for as long as I can stand it.  My iron will is the only thing that has kept me even remotely close to the top of the hierarchy here.  However, I do have to admit that the cats have really done a marvelous job of keeping me on the school schedule at a time when I might be tempted to slack off and act like a person on vacation.

So there you have it.  Sheepie is changing gears.  It's early, I know.  I don't have to go back to school just yet and I really do still have days of peaceful relaxation ahead of me.  But it's not forever and the last week of July is a gentle reminder of that.  I need to start thinking seriously about what I want to tell everyone I achieved this summer.

I wonder if there is still time to re-tile the bathroom and learn how to yodel?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chain Of Unrelated Events

I thought I had the day all locked up when I managed to sleep until after 6:00 this morning.  I know that doesn't seem like much and I wouldn't blame you one little bit for thinking, "Yeesh...she's on vacation for the whole summer and she thinks sleeping until 6:00 is a good thing?"

But I haven't been sleeping very well for a while now and just can't seem to break the Up At The Crack Of Still Dark habit that permeates my school year.  Granted I woke up to the sight of two furry feline faces inches from mine own and the distinct feeling that I should be feeding someone sometime soon, but was kind of nice to make it past the 5:00 mark.

Things sort of fell apart from there.  I got all dressed up in my workout gear, but never really worked up the will to face the mean Wii Fit lady.  I'm certain that the whole system is just lying in wait for me to come back.  Wii Fit is going to torture me for this.  I just couldn't do it today for some reason.

Even though I didn't work out, I still managed to stumble out the door much later than I'd planned and arrived at the grocery store just in time for shelf stocking and tourist shopping.  It was a madhouse in there. I didn't get much of anything I needed because I was so focused on escaping with my sanity and clean arrest record intact.  This will require my returning tomorrow and fighting my way through the weekend crowd.

Things took an upturn when I suddenly discovered the tank for the carpet cleaner.  It was right there with the machine.  I don't know how I missed it, but was pleased to know I could now shampoo the carpets like I said I was going to do last summer.

Then I realized that all this meant I had to shampoo the carpets and that sort of took the giddy out of me...

As I was doggedly pushing the contraption across the carpets and marveling at how black water can become when it has been forced through a dirty carpet, I suddenly realized that I was not alone.  Yes, the dudes on the ladders were back.  This time it was the siding dude and the window dude, both with power tools and no fears around using them.  I live on the second floor.  I do not plan for people being at eye level.  Until we live in that brave, bright future where we all have our own jet packs, I feel that I should be able to safely assume that there will be no one outside my windows.

I'd like to blame the ladder lads for The Great Scarf Screw Up, but I can't.  I dropped a stitch and failed to notice it.  That wasn't their fault.  It is also not their fault that I detected a vast amount of white fuzziness on my navy blue polo shirt.  The yarn was shedding wicked bad and this is not such a great thing for people who tend to wear dark winter jackets.  Most everyone I know wears a dark winter jacket, including myself.  It probably wasn't worth finding that missing stitch.  I ripped back, re-wound the yarn and looked for something more suitable.  I tried, but couldn't find the loophole that would make this the responsibility of the people lurking outside my windows.

It all came to a head when I heard a strange sound from the kitchen.  Since the window people were on the other side of the building, I knew they hadn't migrated.  I went to investigate.

I found the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty proudly sitting on the counter and pawing at the cutlery drawer he'd just opened.  (that would be the drawer with the very, very sharp knives in it that should never, ever be touched by cats and which I have declared off limits in no uncertain terms.  Several times.)  On the kitchen floor was the Very Complicated Kitty.  He was gazing up at his brother in wide-eyed wonder and clearly communicating something along the lines of, " that's how you do it.  And may I say that you are truly a gentleman and a scholar, my fine sir.  An educator worthy of the hallowed halls of Harvard!"

I cleared my throat and everyone scattered, but I don't believe for one minute that this is the end of it.  The AGK has taken it upon himself to teach his baby brother the ropes.  This does not bode well for me.

I can haz intern?  Yippee!!!

Doesn't bode well at all...


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WNBP: Stuff I Did

As I was sitting down to write tonight's Wednesday Night Bullet Post, it suddenly occurred to me that I felt rather...accomplished.  Probably once I get it all written down, it will seem like less but, for now, I'm going to ride the high.  Here's tonight's bullet points!

*Wednesday is the day of the weekly Visit With The Vegetables.

*You never know what you're gonna find.

*I found tomatoes.

*I found onions.

*I found mild jalapeno peppers

*I already had some garlic left over from last week.

*There was really only one thing I could do under those circumstances...

I made salsa!  What other choice did I have, really?

*I'll admit, I had my doubts on this one.  But, I forged ahead and processed it anyway.

*Even though it didn't look quite how I'd thought it might.

*While it was in the water bath, I tasted the little bit left over in the pot.

*Best salsa...EVER!!!

*Don't ask about the cost per jar.  I think we have established that this is not necessarily always a cost-effective way to stockpile spicy condiments.

*I'm glad I'm an early riser.

*Today was another day where I got to look at men on ladders outside my living room window.

*Could have been a disaster of epic proportions had they shown up while I was yelling at the mean Wii Fit lady.

*Scary middle aged woman screaming curse words at a cartoon lady in a leotard.

*Still working on the building.  Wish I'd known that in time to close the shades.

*Hate to do that right in their faces...

*Plus one of the shades is broken so I took it down on Monday and didn't get around to replacing it yet.

*They got to watch me make salsa.  I'm certain they were awestruck by the whole process.

*Or at least by the god awful mess I made in the kitchen...

*Hey!  Guess what else I did?  It's amazing!!!

I finally finished the socks!!!!

*Yes, it was quite a show for the dudes on the ladder.  

*Actually, I think having an audience kind of inspires me.

*Not really.  I just didn't dare to move around too much for fear of startling anyone on the ladder.  

*Knitting was one of the few options left to me once the salsa was done and I was settled on the sofa.

*I finally made a decision regarding my next reading adventure.

*I thought and thought.  But just couldn't seem to settle on anything for the longest time.

*Finally, I decided to return to my good buddy Simon R. Green.  I knew he had another series out there and figured it couldn't hurt to give it a try.

*But still pretty darned entertaining.

*It's a short series so I'll probably work my way through it fairly quickly but that is what summer is for, right?

*Once I finished the socks, I was so filled with the love of all things knitting that I started a scarf.

*It's an easy one, but I hate to let myself get lulled into a false sense of security.

*The socks were easy, too.

*I started them in December.

*That is just sad.

*Won't think about that.  Will focus on finished socks.

*And salsa.

*And reading material that meets my expectations.

I was right.  It doesn't look like that much in print.  But it felt like a lot of work when I was doing it so I'm still going to pat my own back vigorously.  I might even reward myself.  I could get the next book in the aforementioned series.

And some corn chips.  You I can test the salsa again.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Best Intentions

First of all, let me state clearly and for the record that  my intentions were very, very good.  Stellar, in fact.  I had an unfinished sock.  I was not going to allow myself to start anything else until I finished that dad-blasted thing.  So, I made a plan.  I was going to finish it by Saturday.  I even put it in that cool little app. I have on my Ipod that tells me everything I'm supposed to be doing and which makes me feel terribly guilty when I don't do lots of stuff.

For the record, I did not need that new Ipod.  But I ended up making more money off those four workshop days than I thought I was going to collect.  Not quite twice as much, but close.  Using part of it towards replacing the little shuffle model I dropped whilst attending those workshops seemed perfectly logical.  I also blame Kat.  She influences me.  Now I have an Ipod Touch and a waffle maker thanks to her randomly mentioning all the cool things she has in her life.  This is not my fault...

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  The sock.  I was going to finish it on Saturday.  I had quite a bit done already so this was not unreasonable.  However, as Saturday drew nigh, I sort of thought it might be a good idea to adjust the due date in my helpful app.  Sunday seemed like a good safety net.

I didn't plan on the heat.  No one told me that there would be heat.  I suppose any number of meteorologists might have mentioned it, but none of them bothered to call or email me personally.  Frankly, that seemed a bit negligent but I'm too hot to do much about it right now.

I tried, though.  I really did.  I knit in the cooler morning hours and hung in there until the sticky air made moving the needles impossible.  I did my best.

Close...but no cigar.

The heat beat me.  There was nothing whatsoever in that helpful little app. for this kind of situation.  Maybe when things cool down a bit tonight I'll be able to give it another go.  I might still make it, but I doubt it.  I think I might need to sneak in and change the due date again.  No one needs to know.  It'll just be between me and the Ipod.  I don't feel guilty, not one little bit.  It's not like I've had much in the way of support here.

My cheering section demonstrated a marked lack of enthusiasm which didn't help matters at all.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WNBP: Sleepwalking And Shuffling

Wednesday is once again upon us and it is time for Sheepie to toss out a Wednesday Night Bullet Post.  This is the best I could have done even if it wasn't Wednesday.  I'm barely awake, hardly functioning and giving new meaning to the word, "groggy."  Frankly, I think it best that I stick with the random format!

*Horrific insomnia last night.  Crazy bad.

*Not sure what the problem was.

*Could have been the impending storm.  The air felt all...tense.  

*And the low pressure did very weird things to certain felines who wander about the manse.

*There was much in the way of capering and gamboling well into the wee hours.

*Could also be the fact that I am steadfastly marching my way through The Dresden Files series and sort of got caught up in that.

*I finished Turn Coat: A Novel of the Dresden Files while the rains fell around 3:00 this morning.

*Started Changes (Dresden Files, Book 12) this afternoon.

*Now I need to come up with something else since the next one isn't due out until November.  Thoughts?

*I've really enjoyed reading the saga of Harry Dresden in spite of what I consider to be some questionable editing. (or lack thereof)  The story is strong enough to stand in spite of that, though.

*Deadliest Catch was a real gut wrencher last night.  Suppose that could have kept me awake.

*Capt. Phil's last show.  It was probably one of the best examples of the whole "reality" genre I've ever seen.

*Beautifully done and handled with amazing sensitivity.  

*Capt. Johnathan tweeted earlier in the day that he'd be watching last night.

*That made me sad since he was there when all that was going down.

*I knit a few rounds on the sock while I watched, but had to put it down so I wouldn't miss anything.

*Even if sleep eluded me, I still needed to hoist my sorry self out of bed this morning.

*Back is hurting these days so lying abed is no longer really an option.  

*And I had to visit with the mean Wii Fit lady who says things like, "Be honest.  You put your foot down, didn't you?"

*Heck, yeah I put my foot down!  I am a middle aged woman with a sore back and cats frolicking all around me like it's Mardi Gras!  I can't balance on one leg for days on end like you, Miss High And Mighty!!!!

*I am tired.  Perhaps I went a little too far.  Wii Fit Lady didn't seem to take it to heart so I think we're good.

*Went to the Farmer's Market for the weekly Visit With The Vegetables this morning once all that nonsense was done.

*Picked up some tomatoes, garlic, basil and onions.

*I had a plan.

*Unfortunately, I failed to do the usual weekly photograph to document my purchases because I was so focused on the plan.

*How about I show you what I did with them instead?

Tomato sauce with all sorts of the freshness contained within!

*I have made sauce from scratch, but never before scratched so far below the surface.

*This is "sauce" sauce.  No chunks.  Actual sauce.  There was a sieve involved and everything!

*If you factor in the cost of the veggies, my time and the Advil I took to deal with my aching back after standing over a pot for twelve hours, this is the most expensive sauce in the history of condiments.

*But it is a taste of summer that will last me into the winter.

*Yeah.  That's the spin we're putting on it.  

*Things continue to go well with the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty and his new brother, the Very Complicated Kitty.

*I woke this morning to find myself contorted around two flabby, furry bodies who were taking advantage of the "extra" bed space.  

*They were probably tired from all the high jinx of the previous evening.  

*The abuse of a felted mousie was involved and it was not pretty.

Wednesday is winding down and soon it will be time to roll off the couch, shuffle my old, haggard self to the kitchen and feed a couple of hungry cats.  It's been almost two hours since their last vet approved snack and I don't know how the poor boys will survive if I don't get on that.  Then, if I can stay awake and find a comfortable enough position, I might even get in a little more sock time.

Or I'll fall asleep in a sufficiently awkward position on the sofa and have to be rescued by paramedics tomorrow morning when I can no longer move independently.  Maybe I can give them some nice sauce as a thank you...


Monday, July 12, 2010

One Wonders...

Near as I can figure, I have managed to wade my way through the five billion appointments I set for myself over the past couple of weeks.  At last, I can slow down and have some "me" time.  I need that.  Every once in a while, I enter into a phase where the world outside my walls becomes oppressive and I need to hibernate for a period of time lest I become the sort of person who wears a tin foil hat as a fashion statement.

The down side of this behavior is that I'm pretty much on my own and have no one but my little ol' self to pass judgement upon my actions.  Given that I will have to go out periodically to dispose of the trash and forage for food, I really need to make sure that I haven't crossed that delicate line between A Person Taking Some Me Time and A Person Who Has Lost All Perspective Regarding Normal Behavior.  I have to ask myself a lot of questions if I'm going to successfully analyze myself.

For example, is it reasonable for me to think that I am going to finish that stupid sock this week?  A couple of years ago, it wouldn't even be a question.  I'd finish that and then some.  But production has slowed and I have to wonder if I'm really going to make the commitment.  I think I can do it.  I really do.  It is a sock, not a peace accord.  It is doable.  But still...past behavior makes me less than certain.

And what about the cucumbers?  When I swung by the farmer's market on Saturday, it was way too crowded for me to consider much in the way of shopping.  I just wanted to snag some basil and garlic and be done with it.  I didn't need cucumbers.  In fact, I had some at home.  But when the nice older gentleman gallantly handed me a bag with which to collect produce, I didn't have the heart to tell him that I wasn't in the market for baggable items.  I took it with heartfelt thanks and grabbed the first thing I saw in order that I might get the heck out of that packed stall.  More cucumbers.  Did that really have to happen?

For that matter, did I need to get so giddy over the subsequent making of the bread & butter pickles?  

I was rather perplexed by my having rolled out of bed at 5:00 this morning.  I don't understand.  What possessed me to crack open my eyeballs at such an ungodly hour when I am supposed to be all relaxed and whatnot?  Am I doomed to a life of early risings because I have lost the ability to sleep in like a normal person who doesn't have to do anything but engage in "me" time?  This concerns me.

Lots of questions, lots of pondering.  It's a burden and I hate to lay it at your feet.  Worse, I have one more upon which you might reflect.  Is it weird that looking up to see the Very Complicated Kitty giving his Absurdly Gi-normous brother a bath was enough to make me a little teary eyed?

Kind of choked up even...

I mean, c'mon!  They're cats being cats.  Granted, the VCK was targeting that one spot behind the ears that the AGK tries mightily to reach and never seems to quite get.  It was a very nice gesture.  But it's not like I was watching them coordinate a rescue operation to get Timmy out of that darned well or anything.  They were just doing what cats do.  Getting all smooshy-hearted over that sort of thing just isn't normal...



Saturday, July 10, 2010

Debits And Credits

When last we left our intrepid Sheepie, she was happily reporting on the acquisition of a free cat courtesy of the local shelter.  Since then, it has been difficult to not notice the way things sort of waver between the debit and credit columns on life's little tally sheet.

We made it to the vet on Thursday without incident.  The new carrier (forty dollars for the sturdiest one I could find, ten of those being for the bigger size) worked like a charm.  I was able to get the Very Complicated Kitty in and behind bars before he had a chance to realize what was happening.  We were off!

When adopting from the local shelters, the first visit to participating vets is at no cost to the adopter.  A free check up for the free kitty?  Yay!  (free plus forty bucks for the new carrier...)  However, I knew I was going to be dropping some dollars there so I brought my checkbook and kept it handy.  The Cat Whisperer gave the VCK a clean bill of health (known issues aside) and then we began shopping for foodstuffs.  They happened to have two cases of the edibles he can have (low cal and good for cats with struvite crystals) so I snagged both.  We also agreed that he would continue on the medication prescribed while he was at the shelter.

The VCK is on a tricyclic for anxiety.  I kind of hoped to start weaning him off that, but the doc suggested we keep him on it.  Since she is an Earth Mother of the first order, I kind of took that seriously.  If she wasn't asking that I get up at 4:00 each morning to wave aromatic oils around, burn sage and then lead the household felines in meditation exercises, then he probably really needs the meds.

The vet tech assisted me in getting everything out to the car.  Two cases of canned food and a bag of freeze dried treats designed to help the resident fat boys get over the loss of their beloved kibble made the ride home with me.  Total cost:  $83.00.

The Cat Whisperer called the prescription in to the local pharmacy for me, but managed to get the wrong one.  I spent some time tracking down a bottle of anti-anxiety medication, finally locating it today.  Now my cat and I are registered with completely different pharmacies and I don't think that bears discussing too much.  Fortunately, he only needs half a pill per day instead of the full pill I thought he was taking twice per day.  (glad I caught that little detail before I overdosed the poor guy with good feelings...)  A thirty day prescription will last him two months.  Total cost for today's excursion:  $12.00.  It would have been less, but I don't happen to have my own pill splitter on hand and the very nice pharmacist strongly suggested this investment based upon his own pet medicating experience.  (he has dogs, but I don't hold it against him...)

Yesterday, the online service that the vet uses for home delivery called to see if I was ready to set up auto-shipping for the food.  I was planning to call them myself, so this was a nice gesture on their part.  The pleasant lady couldn't pronounce her patient's name, but she had the good grace to be embarrassed by that.  I opted to not tell the whole Androcles And The Lion fable by way of explanation and just let her do her job.  A monthly delivery of prescription canned food will start arriving next month.  Cost:  Around forty bucks per month.  Half-price delivery if you do the whole auto-ship thingie.  Beats driving to the vet's office in a snowstorm, I suppose...

The cynics amongst you might be thinking, "Well Sheepie, I guess you got a little more than you bargained for there!"  Not so.  I actually went on the shelter's website before visiting in person and noted that many of the "interesting" kitties had some dietary restrictions.  I'd already planned ahead for that possibility.  I'll admit that the carrier and the meds were not quite what I expected, but I still think I was more prepared than not.

And where are we in the debit vs. credit standings?  Well...I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  I have taken a goodly chunk out of the money I earned for working that extra week at the start of the summer vacation, granted.  But that's just dollars and cents.  I still feel like I'm head and shoulders above the poverty line when it comes to feline bliss.  The VCK is a love bug who keeps me in snuggles and the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty in good company.  The big investment from a financial standpoint is done now.  It's all about reaping the rewards from here on out.

While not getting the newest resident settled, I've managed to get in a few other activities.  Yesterday, I made some relish using cukes and onions from the farmer's market.

Three jars ended up in the credit column.  The fourth didn't seal.  Which means I need to go buy some hamburg and buns fairly soon.  Not sure if that is a debit...

The poor, abandoned sock project finally saw some game time once the humidity settled down a bit.  It now has a heel and the beginnings of a gusset situation.  That is a credit no matter how you look at it.  Slow credits, but credits nonetheless.

And so it goes.  You win some, you lose some.  If you come out of it all with a little bit more than what you started with, then you can call it a good day.  The cats are all fed, medicated as needed and napping happily.  I've got more in the way of sockage than I did a week ago and the means for dressing a burger should the urge overtake me.  I'm feeling pretty good.

That's not to say I didn't consider dipping into the VCK's pill bottle once or twice, though.  I'm only human...


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

WNBP: Scamper, Scuttle 'n Scurry!!

For a person who is "on vacation," I certainly seem to have more to do than is reasonable.  For what it's worth, everything on my calendar is/was there because I either penciled it in myself and felt good about getting it done or because it was something I really wanted to do.  But it has certainly sped up the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days Of Summer.  I think that a Wednesday Night Bullet Post with all it's random haste is just about perfect for tonight!

*Temperatures topped out here at 100 degrees yesterday.  

*Unnecessary.  Very, very unnecessary.

*Also unacceptable and unappreciated.

*Today was significantly cooler, thank you very much.  Didn't even hit 90.

*Close.  But no cigar.  Much more comfortable.

*I was almost grateful to be getting a bone density scan and mammogram yesterday.

*Air conditioned.  

*This allowed me to overlook some of the less pleasant aspects of the morning.

*I turned the sock heel yesterday, too.  And picked up the stitches for ongoing sockage.

*Then the yarn just got too darned sticky and I had to put it away.

*Quick trip to the farmer's market for the weekly Visit With The Vegetables this morning.

*Not much there when you go late.  

*But I was meeting my parents and extended family for lunch and didn't want to kill too much time.

*Got some cukes 'n onions.

*Gonna make some relish if all goes according to plan.

*Salad if plans go horribly awry.

*No veggie pix this week because I forgot.

*Pet store is right next to the farmer's market.

*New cat carrier needed.  The Very Complicated Kitty has to go to the vet tomorrow.  

*There will be no repeats of our last car trip together.  Leather seats still crying in pain and fear.

*Forty bucks for the new carrier.

*Will be dropping another sixty or seventy tomorrow to cover medications and prescription edibles.

*Cat was "free," as is the post-adoption check-up.

*New definition of "free..."

*The Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty loves his new brother.

*He does not love the new feeding situation which requires that there be no kibble in sight.

*Not even a crumb.  I try to sneak him some, but the VCK can hear the sound of clattering kibbles from a mile away.

*Fat cats don't need kibble.  Fat cats with struvite crystals need it less. 

*Fat cats don't care.

*Fat cats want kibble.

*The VCK is a Certified 'Fraidy Cat.

*We are developing a list of Fearsome Objects.  

*Things like shoes, soda bottles and cat toys.

*He found one that he really loves, though.  No idea where it came from.

*Don't even remember buying it.  

*Not surprised that it's his Most Favoritest Thing, though.

Stuffed Turkey Leg.  Figures...

*He also played with the AGK's beloved dollar store cat cave this morning.

*Which is weird because he is scared of it since the AGK put it on his head and chased him around a few days ago.

*I stocked up on cat caves the last time the dollar store had them.  

*I have twelve.  

*Plenty to go around.

*So far this summer, I've made one vet trip, gone to the dentist, made another appointment with the vet, made another appointment with the dentist, gotten the squishy/scanner tests done, visited with the family twice and adopted a Very Complicated Kitty.

*There's other stuff, too.  I just can't remember it all...

*I need a vacation.

*But first, I need to get my mojo back up again because tomorrow's trip to the vet is not going to be pleasant.  

*It's not so much the appointment I'm dreading.

*It's getting the squalling, squirming cat into the carrier.

*Next week is Sit At Home And Do Nothing Week.

*Make a note of it.

And now I must bid you all a good evening.  It is almost time to feed the beasts.  This requires that I set up two separate feeding areas.  One consists of "normal" food that must be guarded and the other features "prescription food and smooshed up anti-anxiety medication" that must also be guarded because a certain portly siamese would be very happy to trade with his brother.



Monday, July 05, 2010

And Now...The Rest Of The Story!

I don't know why I chose Saturday to go visit with the kitties at the Animal Refuge League.  I mean, it's not like I don't have a plethora of other days from which to choose.  I am on summer vacation, for crying out loud!  There was no need for me to be heading out into the heat and holiday weekend traffic.  But that was the day it all just felt...right.  

Suddenly, it was like being in a time warp.  It wasn't exactly two years to the day, but it was darned close.  And there I was.  In the same overcrowded shelter.  Standing next to the same crate.  With the same adoption counselor.  And gazing into the eyes of a big ol' cat who maybe was or wasn't "the one."  

It all worked out the last time, though.  So I did it again.  I said, "Yes.  I want him."  And that was that.  Except not really.

The shelter is in dire straits right now.  They are out of room and literally giving cats away.  The staff can't keep up but are doing their level best to make sure that everyone finds their match.  My cat was a tough sell and I know they were thrilled to find a home for him.  But it wasn't easy.  He comes with...issues.  And this required some discussion.  This is his second try at finding his Forever Home.  His last family returned him to the shelter with little in the way of information, ten extra pounds and a severe case of struvite crystals requiring a prescription diet.  Under the hectic circumstances, this information was given to me pretty clearly, but rushed all the same.  Soon, it was time to take him home.

For the record, it is a very bad sign when the adoption counselor mutters, "I hope he goes into the carrier without any trouble and doesn't make me look stupid..."

It took two volunteers to wrangle him into the carrier.  He had to use the one I brought because he wouldn't fit in the cardboard version they hand out.  I stood in the background and flapped my hands because it was the most helpful thing I could think of in that moment.  I like to think of myself as a team player.  After an epic struggle, the carrier was zipped shut and the velcro flap secured.  I was now ready to lug my seventeen pound flame point Siamese to the car for his ride home.

I'll just let you sit with that for a minute.  Seventeen pound Siamese.  Ponder it.  Feel free to shake your head at my folly if it so pleases you.  You will be feeling quite justified in a moment.

Before I got to the door, the adoption counselor flagged me down and handed me a plastic packet.  This, she explained, was his medicine.  He needs it twice daily.  For anxiety.  I'd have stood there with my mouth agape for a while, but you can't hold a seventeen pound Siamese for any real length of time.  You have to adjust.

I struggled to the car and hoisted the carrier to the back seat.  The kitty was making his displeasure known in a variety of ways, but mostly through thrashing and yowling.  He'd be OK once I got him home, though.  I just had to make it a little bit further.  In addition to being a team player, I am also an optimist.

We pulled away from the shelter.  Before the building was even out of sight, I heard the sound of tearing velcro.  That was disturbing.  But it paled in comparison to the horror I felt when I heard the distinctive hiss of a zipper.    It was like something out of the TV version of The Incredible Hulk.  You don't want to make me angry.  You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

"Oh, gracious!" I cried as I realized what was happening.

That's not true.  What I really said was, "HOLY S**T!!!!!"  But I don't want anyone to think I am a bad kitty mother so I left that part out.

Before I knew it, my rear view mirror was filled with seventeen pounds of panicked Siamese.  Big blue eyes were blazing at me and a mouthful of fangs were bared in my direction.  He'd managed to get onto the the top of the back seat and balance himself with equal parts fat hanging from either side.  Between that and his claws digging into the upholstery, he was well seated for travel and tormenting.

I gave some thought to turning around and going back to the shelter for help, but it seemed safer to just proceed.  Maybe he'd calm down.  If nothing else, I'd eventually end up back home and closer to the front door.  I drove as carefully as I could, not so much for his sake as for mine.  He is very well padded.  In a collision, he'd do just fine.  I, on the other hand, would have seventeen pounds hitting me squarely in the back of my head and would probably not survive impact.

The ride felt like weeks.  If you've never heard the squalling cry of a Siamese, you will have to use your imagination as far as the soundtrack goes.  Suffice it to say, he was audible.  Obviously, I was in no position to record the moment for posterity, but I would imagine you could find an image or two.  Just do a search for "white knuckled woman in a station wagon with wild eyed, snarling, tongue-hanging-out feline."  I'm fairly certain I saw one or two cell phones whipped out in the cars I passed on the Maine Turnpike.  

At long last, we arrived home.  Now what?  Should I open the door?  Will he run?  There was nothing to do but give it a shot.  I carefully eased the door open.  He didn't move.  I tried to nudge him back towards the carrier.  No way.  Finally, I just picked him up.  And that was that.  He relaxed happily into my arms and let me lug him to the door.  Just like that.

But now I had another problem: how to get him inside and safely past the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty.  I doubted that the AGK was going to be happy about this interloper and I had a file folder full of information telling me how best to introduce these two to one another with a minimum of bloodshed.  How was I going to do that if the new kitty wasn't in his carrier?  He needed to be safely in his carrier!  It says so!  Right in the blue folder!!!

I was out of options.  I abandoned my purse and other traveling accessories in the driveway, tucked the enormous ball of fur under my arm like a football, assumed what I thought might be a reasonable quarterback stance and took a deep breath.  I opened the front door and made a run for the bathroom, gracefully dodging the AGK and depositing my burden behind a closed door.  Panting, I made my way back down to retrieve the rest of my belongings.

I returned to discover that I'd made a serious error in judgement.  There was a pair of sweatpants hanging from the bathroom door.  It was not closed.  It was open just enough to allow two pairs of noses to touch.  I brandished the blue folder in protest.

No!  I have a folder!  There are twenty five pages in here and they are stapled.  Stapled!  In a certain order!  That means we have a procedure to follow and you are already at step fourteen.  We can't BE at step fourteen yet.  It's only been two and a half minutes!!!

It was futile.  I had one gigantic cat on one side of the door who wanted out and one gigantic cat on the other who wanted in.  I am but one woman.  The battle was lost.  Besides, at this rate I was going to have to start drinking soon and that would mean I'd need to use the bathroom anyway.  I did what I could to hold back the AGK and carefully eased the door open.

There was one hiss and a couple of raised paws.  This was followed by more of the nose touching and a good deal of butt sniffing.  This, I can only assume is the male feline equivalent of the fist bump.  And that was that.  Kitties can't read folders, blue or otherwise.  They were now buddies.  

It was this brilliant taming of the mighty orange beast that made me think of kitty's new name.  He may be a Very Complicated Kitty, but he is Androcles in my eyes after that brilliant display of negotiation.

Within an hour, I had two pot-bellied cats yowling at me in the kitchen for dinner.  After two, the AGK was helping the poor chubby boy with his grooming.  That evening, they began engaging in some good natured wrestling that left me cringing and having to repeat over and over, "boys will be boys...boys will be boys..."

Mostly, though, they just hang out.

Sometimes, they compare belly size.

They've mastered the S Is For Super pose

And channeled their inner cheerleaders enough to do the T Is For Terrific one, too.

It all worked out.  On Thursday, we'll head back to the vet so she can take a look at the Very Complicated Kitty and make some recommendations for me.  I'd like to think I can get him off the anxiety meds now that he is settled in his new home, but time will tell if he's ready to start weaning off them.  I just need to take care of one thing before we go, though.

I need a new carrier.  Preferably something in iron or kryponite...


Sunday, July 04, 2010


Sometimes, the things we do just don't make any sense.  We may be fully aware that our logistical security blanket is full of holes,  but it doesn't always matter.  We do what we do and we believe what we believe even if it flies in the face of all available data.

A question has been asked of me with random frequency lately.  It is this crazy mind set that has partially influenced my answer.  

In my addled brain, cats are girls and dogs are boys.  This is a long-standing belief and one that I've held since time immemorial.  This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever given that the Absurdly Gi-normous Kitty who shares my space is most decidedly male.  Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that he is a dude who is very much in touch with his feminine side...that could confuse things for me.  Whatever the reason, I still tend to think of cats as being girls unless I am clearly told otherwise.  

The other influence is probably a bit more sobering.  The loss of my Big, Fluffy Kitty last May was devastating.  It was painful.  Gut-wrenchingly so.  It was the kind of pain that I couldn't even really talk about.  Heck, even if I was capable of discourse on the subject, I wouldn't have done so because it was the kind of pain that hurts more when you try to share it.  The BFK was special.  A gift.  The kind of cat that comes along once in a lifetime.  She was my baby.

So when people began gently asking if I might ever consider getting another cat, I thought about it for a while.  I really did.  But, in the end, the answer was no.  You don't just replace your baby.  You can't.  It is wrong to even think you can.  Worse, that very thought made me almost physically sick.  Another baby girl?  Not even an option.  There is no other baby girl...not for me.  I'm done.

Of course, The Cat Whisperer didn't know about this firm decision.  She was just making an observation during the AGK's yearly exam, nothing more.  "You know," she said, "if you ever decide to get a companion for him, I would strongly urge you to get another male.  They tend to bond better.  You might also want to consider one in the same color range."  Then she went about her business, poking and fiddling about with her patient.  I don't even think she noticed me and the reaction her words had wrought.

I was frozen in place.  A boy kitty?  But...cats are girls.  Right?  They are.  And I can't...

But, you know what?  Thinking of boy kitties didn't hurt nearly as much.  I guess, somewhere in the deep, dark recesses of my brain, I must have considered that at some point.  But the old belief system just overrode everything and the defenses against the pain didn't let me follow that train of thought any further.  Yet, when I let go of the baggage for a minute, I had an epiphany  A boy?  That might work.

So now I'm thinking that maybe...just maybe...I could have another cat someday.  A boy kitty.  A buddy for the AGK who is lonely.  I know he is.  He has been sleeping an awful lot lately and not playing as much as he used to.  He might like a brother someday.  It could be good for all of us.  I might even name him Androcles because that seems like a kind of cool name for a boy kitty.

Yeah...Androcles.  I kind of like the sound of that.

Of course, circumstances would need to be pretty much perfect for me to get beyond the Thinking Stage.  There would have to be a reason, perhaps a few indications that the time was right and I don't think the whole thing would work at all if there wasn't a really, really good story to go along with an adoption.  But if all that ever fell into place, I could see myself taking the plunge again someday.

You know...maybe.

Happy Independence Day, Fellow Citizens!