Friday, February 24, 2012

That's What I'm Made Of

Before you think that I drink, eat, sleep, and sweat cats and knitting, I have to clarify that I heavily edit everything I publish on this blog.  Very personal information is verboten; you never know who your audience is when your blog is public domain.  That's the reason why it seems like my mind has two channels:  (1) Kitties and (2) Knitting.

With that out of the way, I can happily tell you that I have started another knitting project.  A co-worker is having a baby and the baby shower is scheduled for March 9, which doesn't really give me much time to finish a project.  I found a cute and easy pattern called Gradient Garter Baby Blanket and ran over to Michaels on President's Day to get the yarn on sale.  Unfortunately, the store's selection was not very good, so I had to compromise on the colors.  I ended up with white, yellow, pink, lilac, and mint, which will be the order of the colors on the blanket.  The pattern is knitted holding two strands of yarn together.  You knit a sold block of color and then phase into the next solid color by using one strand of each color yarn.  I should make a real dent in the project this weekend because the whole blanket is knit using only the knit stitch.

Tigger continues to make me laugh.  Tonight, I am watching him stalk Delilah, who is still skittish  when he gets too close, but I feel Tigger making some headway in their relationship.  Delilah would love to have a friend to play with, if she would just let go of her bitchy exterior.  Tigger got distracted from his pursuit of Delilah by something under our love seat.  I watched him circle the love seat several times, stopping only to stick his paw underneath it to grab at something..

I thought there was a toy under the couch, and, trying to be helpful, I moved the love seat back.  What a surprise to see that toy under the couch was a lizard!  And Tigger pounced on it as soon as I cleared the path for him.  He chased the lizard across the floor, under the pool table and then I watched the lizard disappear into a pile of brown butcher paper we have on the floor (the short story behind this - Delilah loves to play with the paper, she loves the crinkly sounds it makes).  I'm scanning the area for the lizard, hoping I can help him escape, when I see that Tigger got a hold of the lizard's tail.  The tail is separated from the lizard's body but still wiggling around!  I cannot lie; that was a bit disturbing.  I grabbed my cell phone and shot this grainy video (sorry for the yelling).

I found the lizard hidden in the folds of the butcher paper, so I carried it to the patio and set the tailless lizard free.  I hope Tigger forgives me for ruining his fun (and his snack).  You see, I managed to get the lizard's tail from Tigger because he was going to eat it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Morning Comedy

I don't know when it happened, but my cats' schedule is all messed up. 

Typically, mornings start at 6:00 a.m., and I immediately get food for the kitties.  They are non-stop meowing and chirping and whining already.  After they finish their food, there is a mad dash for either the back door or the sliding glass door in the bedroom so they can go outside.  They are in and out all morning until I leave for work.

However, in the last 10 ten days, the schedule has been bumped up an hour.  Now, at 5:00 a.m., when Mr. Grumpbump wakes up to go to work, the cats are in a frenzy to be fed.  Being their well-trained guardian, I wake up around 5:15 a.m., and immediately prepare their food.  After gorging on their breakfast, every single cat goes back to sleep (Macy's in her new condo, Tigger on the couch, and Delilah is either on the guest bed or our bed).  I get ready for work, and as I am making my final rounds to leave, that's when the cats suddenly arise from their naps and start to congregate at the doors. 

Typically, this is met with a "No, I'm leaving.  You can't go out." speech.  However, I still had a few minutes this morning so I relented and let Miss Macy out.  In the words of Pretty Woman, "Big Mistake.  Huge."

After five minutes, I need to leave, so I go out the sliding glass door to hustle Macy inside.  Of course, while I'm doing that, Tigger makes a break for it.  I come around to the back door, bringing Macy with me.  In the meantime, Delilah has heard the commotion and wants to join in.  As I'm running Tigger into the house, there goes Delilah.  Delilah is small enough for me to grab, but as I bring her in through the back door, Macy runs by me.

ARGH.  Macy will not let me pick her up so I have to corner her and direct her to the back door.  Of course, when I open the door to herd Macy in, Tigger is sitting there.  Luckily, I yell at him to get back, and he backs aways as Macy slips by me and into the house.

Finally, I have success and all the cats are back inside.  I tell each of them to go back to sleep, which is met with blank stares and no action.

And then, of course, I'm late to work because I left the house 20 minutes later than normal.   No matter, it was the best part of my day so far. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five is Good Number

One of our neighbors cooks every Saturday and it always smells so good.  Almost motivates me to cook.  I think this week they are grilling.

Once the warmer weather starts, I'm going to miss having the fresh air in the house.  Since we moved into the house at the end of August, we didn't have that long before the weather started cooling off. And, because the winter has been so mild, our windows and patio doors have been open as long as we are home. I love this house because, on top of the fact that it belongs to us, it feels so open and airy.  What a difference from our former one-bedroom apartment that made me feel so confined.

We are switching from Brighthouse cable to AT&T U-verse today.  Just waiting on the technician to get here.  We currently have AT&T for our cell phone provider.   The change was motivated due to our cable and internet going out on Superbowl Sunday, beginning with the half-time show and ending at the fourth quarter.  Mr. Grumpbump had to listen to the game via his cell phone by using the I Heart Radio app.  When I asked Brighthouse for a $25 credit for this disruption of service, they countered with a credit of $2.63.  I'm still "negotiating" with them for my $25 credit.  U-verse is promising us a lower monthly bill, free DVR, HD channels, and some premium channels (for one year).  I read the reviews on U-verse and they were complimentary and positive, so we decided to make the switch.

I'm still working on my latest ripple stitch afghan.  I think I will try to make it a bit longer than the previous two, if I have enough yarn.  I'll have a lot of the red, beige and cream yarn left over (since those color blocks are smaller than the chocolate brown) so I'm trying to find some patterns for that purpose.  I could knit this pattern with my eyes closed; I've almost forgotten what it is like to have to read a pattern.

A constant fixture on the couch
In October, a co-worker told me about a cat looking for a new home.  She called him a "kitty" so I assumed this was a young cat.  The lady who owned the cat had a small child who was highly allergic to the cat and she needed to re-home him.  I listened to the story but didn't volunteer to take him (surprise, surprise).  I got the impression that he had found a new place to live.

In December, this co-worker emailed me and told me that this "kitty" was still looking for a home (the cat was forced to live outside due to child's allergies).  I feel a pang of sadness but I knew I could not convince Mr. Grumpbump to let me have a third cat.  I did not respond but, in January, this persistent co-worker asked me if I would be willing to contact the cat's owner.  She then sent me pictures of the cat.  Wow.  He was a cutie.  And all of sudden, my mind started playing over all the scenarios in which I could adopt this cat.

After wearing down Mr.Grumpbump (who was behind the literal eight ball in that I let him move his pool table into our dining room and therefore take over the whole living space), I called the cat's owner and on Saturday, January 28, 2011, I went to her house and brought back Tigger:

Tigger, a/k/a El Tigre, a/k/a Mr. Man Cat
Turns out that Tigger is not a kitty, he's eight years old.  And his owner was giving him up after raising him from a kitten!  Tigger was very unhappy for the first two days, which is completely reasonable, seeing as I removed him from the only home he had known for eight years (albeit the last four months he spent in isolation outside and away from his family).  His owner told me that he was a very friendly lap cat and a real lover, so I had hope for him.

After the first few days, Tigger started to show signs of loosening up and relaxing.  He is a purr machine; he purrs while he sleeps, purrs while he eats, purrs when you pet him.  We kept him separated from the girls for the first 10 ten days, and he was living in our bedroom and bathroom.  I started letting him roam around the house while Delilah and Macy were out on the patio.  Now, three weeks later, all cats are leaving out in the open.

Delilah and Macy have not warmed to him (if they ever will), but Tigger is a trooper and he tries really hard to play with them and to be around them.  He's without his front claws, so he is at a disadvantage should there be a brawl, but the girls don't seem to realize that.  When he gets near to them, they hiss or growl, but Tigger stands his ground.  He doesn't move away, and it is Macy or Delilah who turn and retreat.   

When I first brought Tigger home, I had an arrangement worked out with his owner that in the event things did not work out with us, that I would bring Tigger back to her.  We decided to check back with each other in two weeks.  Of course, I've already told her that we are happy to have Tigger stay with us and that, while things aren't perfect, they are perfect.  

Now, I need to work on getting him a new name.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Planet of the Cats

Warning.  This will be a cat-intensive blog post.

Miss Macy had her dental cleaning on Friday.  I had an estimate from a vet for this procedure and it was upwards of $600.00.  This is very budget-unfriendly; I just put this on the back burner.  Macy seemed to have no problems with eating, so I felt comfortable with this decision.

Then we moved to our new house, far away from Macy's vet, and time for her annual wellness exam came and went.  I couldn't find anyone I knew to recommend a vet so I called the local SPCA, which is associated with the County's Animal Services Department.  Turns out they have a vet clinic and very reasonable rates.  Macy had her annual wellness exam, and the only issues were her weight (she needs to lose a pound) and her teeth.  The vet told me that she would need a cleaning and some of the teeth would need to be extracted.  The estimate was less than half of my original quote of $600 plus.  So we scheduled the cleaning.

The morning of the surgery, I bought Macy to the clinic and saw at least 30 other owners and their animals waiting in line (although most of them were probably there for spay/neuter - the clinic will not treat any animal that isn't fixed).  Macy was so miserable, meowing and carrying on.   Macy was one of the first animals called in and it was in the moment I handed her to the vet tech, that I started crying.  Poor Miss Mace is something I say a lot (in relation to Delilah's grumpiness towards her).  But I was saying it that morning.  Poor Miss Mace doesn't know what is going on and she's scared.  Of course, Macy pooped in her cat carrier, but I was prepared and scooped it out before I handed her over.

I was told that the clinic would call me if there were any complications or questions during the process.  I called the clinic but left a message with the vet tech.  I never heard from anyone and tried to reassure myself that no news meant good news.  I left work at 4:00 p.m. to go pick up Macy.

I arrived at the clinic at 4:30 p.m. and told the nurse at the desk that I was there to pick up Macy.  She told me that Macy would not be ready until 5:00 or 5:30 p.m.  Another couple was there at the same time as me to pick up their dog, who had also had a teeth cleaning and they were told the same thing.  While they patiently waited, I stomped out of the clinic and went to my car to call my husband.

When Mr. Grumpbump answered, I was already in tears and the first thing I said to him was "I should have paid the extra money."  And burst out into dramatic wailing.  Mr. Grumpbump is telling me to take deep breaths and calm down.  I told him that Macy would not be ready to go home until 5:30, but this was unacceptable to me and I was going to march back into the clinic and demand that my cat be released from this prison!

Honestly, the clinic people were not very friendly to me (I was pouting and visibly upset) and about 5:15 p.m. they processed Macy to go home.  Macy had four teeth removed and they prescribed pain medicine (to be rubbed on her gums) and an antibiotic (with a syringe so we could get it down her throat).  With the amount of animals they must see on a regular basis, their procedures are in place for reason.  I couldn't help but feel like I was in the animal welfare clinic because there was almost no personal service for me, the human, guardian, and the person footing the bill.  I believe that they took good care of Macy and she seems no worse for the trauma of it all.

Macy came home with a shaved front leg and now she looks like she's wearing a boot on her front leg.  I haven't been able to get a good look at her mouth.  We can't get anywhere near her with the pain medicine but she doesn't appear to be in any discomfort.  The required antibiotics are a bitch to get in her mouth.  Last night she spit up most of it (I think the taste is off-putting).  I posted a note in a cat forum and found out that I was administering the medicine wrong.  We were putting the syringe in the front and putting the medicine down her throat (and then she spit it back).  However, when we put the syringe in the corner of her mouth and shot the medicine across her throat, her reflexes kicked in and she swallowed it.  Success!

Macy and her fur boot
I have two water bowls inside (one is a fountain that has continuously running water) and there is a water bowl outside by the pool.  Delilah still insists on drinking from the pool.  I caught her this morning.  She spreads her back legs out and firmly plants them on the concrete as her anchor and then she lowers the front half of her body into the pool.

Delilah is very thirsty

Finding My Treasure

Now that my shawl is complete (yarn purchased during the Orange Blossom Yarn Crawl in March), it is just hanging out in my foyer until I de...