Some things that are Unfair

**The exact activity (walking) best suited to make me healthier (weigh less) directly results in illness (skin rashes and infections) which are compounded by my weighing more (skin folds, chub rub, etc).

**I have given up on the idea that I can get 8 hours of sleep.  Per my FitBit, I average around 5 1/2 to 6.  And that’s fine, as long as I am not exhausted at 5:19pm.  Dear Body, if you won’t sleep more, please require less sleep.

**Getting pissy attitude from someone because you are better at something than they are.  (Than they?  You can be assured no one is pissy over my grammar.)  I did not actively attempt to make you suck more/pay less attention/ignore a step in the process.  Basically, don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

**Not having a live-in maid or chef.  Named Hernando.

It wouldn’t be Prudent

I’m not doing NaBloPoMo, in case you were wondering.

It is sad I have neglected this space so long that two posts in a row might make someone wonder what sort of streak I am on.

So, yeah. But no. Not gonna do it.

Currently my shoulders are permanently glued to my ears and my right jaw has been clicking for two weeks. That’s stress, folks. Capital S. And the last thing I need is to pile another commitment on top.

But…writing helps me with stress. Even though it’s unlikely I’m going to unload here about the specifics that have me shrugging and clicking, (Hello! You may be my mother or a shop customer! Man I miss when no one but strangers read me and I shared every embarrassing and rude detail of a date. The sharing part, I miss. Not the dating. So much) writing in general makes me feel good. It’s also an invisible to-do I can check off and feel like I accomplished something for the day even if all my other tasks went down the toilet or are on hold or require me to get back to someone in X days.**

I plan to try write something every day. Some days I may not. Some days I may write something and it goes elsewhere. But I want to get back to writing more in general and here is a good, no pressure place to start.

**It was actually an email back and forth with a sales rep that made me realize how much I need to communicate with the outside world more (and yes, I include writing here as “communication”). I’ve never been the best at business relationships. Introverts are not good at small talk or on-demand answers. I have always hated cold-calling people and have an amazing super power to leave the most incomprehensible voice mail messages. EVEN IF I WRITE DOWN A SCRIPT BEFOREHAND.

But when the sales rep didn’t respond to my initial email, I was physically depressed at the idea of figuring out the appropriate professional delay before I re-iterated my request. I put off the second email and had day-mares (like day dreams, but negative) about how this would play out where we could not order from the company he represented anymore and our business was doomed.

When I finally pushed “send” the second time and he got back to me within 5 minutes, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then immediately recognized no one should get that het up over a damn email and maybe I needed to take it down a few and put more words out there for other people so I don’t end up a complete hermit.

So hi. I’m here. Hopefully with some regularity. Maybe some hilarity. Just don’t ask me to phone you.

UnHandy

Once upon a time, I was a fairly functional adult. I had good credit (still do, actually), showed up for work mostly on time (ditto), and could handle basic home & car maintenance (um….).

I installed a programmable thermostat by myself once! And a chandelier! AND figured out how to operate the chandelier and the microwave at the same time for seven whole minutes!

Then I met Tom.

Before he ever saw me undressed, he completely dismantled my old dryer and put it back together. More to the point, it did not work when he started that endeavor and it did when he was finished.

Ladies and gentleman, if you do not enjoy being Miss/Mr Fix-it, find yourself a farm hand. (Notice the feeble attempt to not assign stereotypes here.)

Years of working on his father’s and grandfather’s land has left Tom with a vast knowledge of the mechanical and a patience to work through even the most complicated repair. And so we somewhat settled into roles of What We Do Best with my handling 99% of the cooking and him handling 99% of the wrenches.

There was that stretch of time where he traveled for work and I only worked part-time. I think I kept up vague notions of handiness and oh yes, I have a physics degree – two actually – so let me check the breaker box.

But since we’ve been living at the cabin and he installed an entire hydronic radiant floor heating system by himself? Forget it. Maybe, MAYBE I will wield a hammer to hang a picture. Because where Tom excels at mechanical know-how and patience, he sort of trails off in the urgency department and I only have to ask 73 times before I realize I too have opposable thumbs.

(What I am sometimes lacking is an actual hammer. Tom likes to squirrel tools away and/or leave them exactly where he used them last. That heating system means there are roughly 13 screwdrivers, 2 headlamps, and 1 PEX tubing stapler hidden somewhere in our crawlspace.)

So yes, I have come to rely on Tom for much of our general repair and maintenance. Not only do I pile his honey-do list with things like “Make the plumbing stop vibrating”, but I also request his opinion before asking a 3rd party to get involved.  I will not request anything more than the most basic oil change from our mechanic without Tom’s say-so. And forget suggesting we “call a plumber”. He looks at me like I have suggested the wrong kind of threesome. Which, I guess in a way, I have.

All of this to tell you that I was overdo for an oil change when one evening my dashboard would not light up and I had to drive home not knowing if I was going 5 or 35mph.

I dutifully told Tom about the situation, which caused some confusion because my “Check Engine” dashboard light HAS been coming on and he has been diagnosing that himself. When I said my dashboard didn’t light up he kept saying, “Well, that’s good!” thinking he’d gotten to the bottom of my error codes.

“I’m going to get an oil change this week. Should I ask Mike to fix my light?”

“Fix your…? No. That’s silly. I’ll do it.”

“OK, but if that’s the case I need you to do it tonight or tomorrow. It’s unnerving to drive home in the dark with no dashboard light.”

“OH! Your LIGHT! Yes, have Mike fix that.”

Mike did indeed fix it. He moved the nifty little dial for brightness from “in the dark” to “let it shine, dumbass” and didn’t even charge me.

We figure that Tom’s shoulder knocked the dial when he was using his code reader thingy. But why, WHY did it not even occur to me that the dial existed? A dial I’ve used before in a past life of competent human? Because I have grown soft and unaccustomed to fending for myself in the land of fix-it. Tom’s plans to trap me in this marriage via home repair and car maintenance have succeeded.

November the First

Yesterday I drove the new kittens to the shelter, so now they are also the old kittens.  Just the newer old kittens.

Baby, the last holdout from our older old litter of kittens, had been adopted.  Tom figured this out by the fact that when he came home Baby was not running around our house.  She had been at the shelter a week or so ago when I dropped in for some vitamin supplement for the newer kittens.  All by her lonesome.  It took a lot for me to not snatch her up then.  If the newer (now also old) kittens were not so ill, I might have done so.

But the plan is to have Spike, Celeste, and Pixie be our last permanent felines for quite a while.

This last kitten litter (the newer old ones) were cute and fun and needy, but none of them tugged at my heart quite the way Baby did.  So it was easy to load them up and send them on their way.

I then came home and did a lot of random puttering about the house.  At one point I was on the computer.  Spike jumped in my lap and drooled on me for a good 10 minutes.  I believe that was my reward for chasing the annoying little shits out of the house.  Then in the evening, both Celeste and Pixie insisted on sleeping in the bed.

Right after Celeste puked on the sofa.

(We are too rural for trick-or-treaters, and it rained all day so the downtown Halloween event  was a bust.  There is a ton of candy left at the shop and I’m seriously considering just throwing it out in the most wasteful spectacle of the year.  So.  Much.  Sugar.  Luckily I also brought chips and guacamole for lunch so I’ve got a balanced meal today.)

October

It seems if I don’t write something soon, I will have gone a whole month with a depressing and unsatisfying un-ended story staring front and center here.

News!  I’ve moved!  Did you notice that 5-minute period where this site came up “Database Connection Error” on Sunday when I bit the bullet and canceled my previous hosting?  I needed to edit the wp-config file to point to local_host.

It’s ridiculous how scary it was to see that, even though I knew I’d copied over the database.  And I still had a copy on my hard drive.  And for three whole seconds I also thought it might be freeing.  Start completely from scratch!

When the issue was resolved I even did a madcap “Update all” in the themes.  I’d been putting that off because I could not remember how much “design” I’d properly captured in my child theme.  But hey, I almost completely deleted the blog!  What’s a little wonky background rendering of an already meh background?

I moved because I could piggy-back hosting onto another site for almost free.  And because that host provider (GoDaddy) has excellent technical support.

Now it has been 3 days without email at the shop because of a cPanel problem.  Way to instill confidence, GoDaddy.

Other news!  There are new kittens!  No photos because while they are cute, they are also shitheads.  Literally.  They have pooped with a frequency that is mind boggling.  Originally we were all like, “Oh hey, we are experts at this, let’s give them de-wormer!”  And everyone agreed and rejoiced.  But the pooping.  Did.  Not.  Stop.  They pooped in the litter box.  Outside the litter box.  On a bed.  On the other bed.  On the kitchen floor because they couldn’t make it to a litter box or bed in time.

Through out all of this, they remained by every other quality of life indicator “healthy”.  Eating.  Playing.  Bright eyed.  Bushy, if poopy, tailed.  So it was thought perhaps the de-wormer just needed more time.

They went to the vet an hour ago.  Turns out, they have a parasite that our particular de-wormer of choice doesn’t kill.  And a bacteria infection.

A side effect of the new medicine is that they probably will stop pooping altogether for 24 hours before resuming a normal bathroom schedule.  I have never been so excited for 24 hours of not pooping in my life.  “Don’t be alarmed!” warned the vet tech.  Little did she realize how close I was to drinking 6 bottles of wine for the corks.

The Dog Gone Story

Markey is alive.

IMG_5333Let’s take a walk back in time roughly one year ago. Our foster dog, Markey the Sheltie who had just had a pin removed from his hip, ran away from his new home.

It was horrible. We were very active in the search and trap efforts, but he alluded everyone. I was so sure he would smell us and as it got colder, as it started to snow, he would want the safety he remembered from our home.

That didn’t happen.

Even after over a foot of snow was on the ground, I went out to the forest where he was last seen. I post-holed through miles of crisscross trail mostly used by hunters. I got excited at random tracks. And went home let down every time, with no sighting.

I have never felt such a depressing, drag you down, hope since I was in high school. That horribly wrong and desperate hope I’d get after a semi-descent conversation with my crush at some party but then he’d ignore me for weeks in school afterwards. I just knew we were meant to be and had a shared something special and it just HAD to mean something to him as well.

(Side note: As somewhat of a tee-totaler until my mid-20’s, I can now answer my teenage self that my crushes were likely stoned or drunk and didn’t remember our amazingly, special conversation the next day. Also, thank god I didn’t blog then.)

I finally could not take the weight of the search. It became too cold. It snowed more. The outcome was pretty evident.

I’m the one that requested we foster Brandi. I needed to move on and have another animal to help and focus on.

Spring came. Brandi Left. And word got to the Humane Society of a limping, skittish, Sheltie being fed by an old lady roughly 12 miles north of where Markey made his escape.

We went. We talked to the lady. We sat in our car. We watched.

It was him. It IS him.

I started this story several times back then. Again, I was so sure we would catch him. He would sense our presence and good intentions.

After a few weeks, I gave up on that. Then I was so sure we would catch him because he is very food motivated.

Tom has gone through three trap designs.

It has been over a month since we last watched Markey come down the old lady’s drive. That day, the old lady came and told us she does not want him caught. She thinks he is very happy (true) and that if he dies in the woods it was meant to be (not true). Her son-in-law called the next day to express his sympathy and opinion that we were trying to do the right thing, but that we were not welcome on any of their property. Including the drive we had been previously baiting to lure Markey over the road to the trapping location (where we have permission from the owner).

The kittens have kept me busy and not too sad by not thinking about it. And being banned from her property does not mean we will give up or that we’ve run out of options. We need to re-group, re-assess. We want a solid plan when we do go back as we know we’re not wanted in the area.

This story still does not have an end. Writing it has made me feel a little sick. I’ve sank into a depression twice over Markey and I’m not sure my health or my work can absorb another low point of constant drinking, sleeping, eating, and TV binging.

I snapped out of the last one just weeks before we were banned from the property. I became proactive with the longer summer nights. I had re-committed to going out to the property and started leaving my shoes outside the car. I am sure, just as teenage me was sure of the turning-point-conversations, that Markey smelled me and had started coming closer and closer.

I also took the opportunity to take photos of him. Even a little video. It may be all I ever get. I am trying to decide if that will be enough.

For now, Markey is alive. We don’t get everything we want in our lives. Hopefully we get everything we need. Markey feels like a need right now.

Markey  (click for the video I took the last day I saw him)

A lot of question marks just to eat some Brie

Did you watch Hannah Hart’s latest My Drunk Kitchen?  Baked Brie?  In her series of Over Achieving Under A Budget for college kids?

And did you then say to yourself, “Self, you are 40 years-old and stopped eating wop-wop* biscuits/rolls over two decades ago?  And you have been trying to create a shape for your body that looks less, not more, like a wheel of Brie?”

Or did you run to the grocery store and pre-heat the oven?

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I don’t even LIKE BRIE.  That much.

**Seriously, I have not opened a “can” of pre-made crescent rolls in forever and figuring out how to get that wonderful artificially flavored dough out of its packaging was the hardest part of this calorie-laden recipe.

There is No Good Side. Only Zoul.

I AM HAVING AN ALL CAPS KIND OF DAY.

Man, people are annoying.  And how is it that I moved to a town with a population the size of my last neighborhood and I somehow interact with MORE PEOPLE on a daily basis than before?

Please don’t point out I run a store open the public.  Smartass.  I am talking about interactions that I do not invite with my warm customer service and sunny personality.

I had a lady annoyed with me that I returned her phone call.  Here’s a tip for not getting return calls:  DON’T LEAVE A MESSAGE REQUESTING A PHONE CALL BACK.

I had someone leave a message that he had moved out of a storage unit (late) (did you know I manage self-storage as part of my PT job?  Did you know it is equally parts depressing and frustrating?  GUESS WHICH PART HAPPENED TODAY.) and to email him the extra cost incurred.  I emailed saying there was none, no big deal.

He emailed back to say they had not actually moved out and could he have another day.

(!!!1!)

Oh!  I also had the depressing part happen today too!  Someone who is not in control of her situation called.  She is elderly and sounds exactly like my Gma did at the end.  Luckily she wasn’t with it enough to leave her phone number!

(Shut it call log)

In other news…a kitten has the runs, my to-do list is producing anxiety because Tom also has a lot on his to-do list but he forgets half the things so I in turn have to remember THOSE THINGS AS WELL, and I’m pretty sure someone else is breathing my oxygen.

Great month to give up drinking!

Kitten Palooza. I’m sure that title’s not overdone in the least.

We haven’t had a foster dog since Brandi, the cart German Shepard, left in early spring. The reasons are various including trips, our crazy schedule, and spending a lot of time and resources on another secret dog project.

I do not mean to be secretive about the project any longer, but the point of this post is foster kittens. Even my best attempt at briefly describing the dog project was multiple paragraphs. So for now, I shall leave you wanting more.

A few weeks ago we decided to resume contact with the shelter and ask about fostering. For once, there wasn’t an overload. And being in a such a rural area, they prefer to have as many adoptable dogs at the shelter itself for potential new families.

But after a week went by, we got a call. The shelter was still OK, but a shelter in an adjacent county was full up with kitten season. Could we foster cats?

Mamma Jane and her six kittens came to us that same day.

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The kittens were four weeks old then, and two of them very sick. Mamma Jane herself went through some illness with us too where we were syringe feeding her, cleaning up vomit, and checking the litter box with growing concern. Luckily, we have experience in the cat-won’t-poop department. A little medication, a little time and trust, and she pulled through.

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The two sick kittens are doing much better as well. The smallest, Baby, had an abscess on her leg that had been drained and she wasn’t walking when she arrived. She is still the smallest and slowest. I weigh her every night and if she hasn’t gained I will syringe feed her some formula. But her appetite, energy, and playfulness have all increased dramatically. She is the one we were worried wouldn’t make it. We’re less worried now.

 

The other sick kitten, Stumpy (I am trying to get in the habit of calling him Cole Jr because no one wants to adopt a cat named Stumpy), had a hind foot removed. Both Stumpy’s and Baby’s injuries were a result of all the kittens (seven at birth) being on the same umbilical cord. I’m not familiar with cat births (or human births for that matter – thank goodness!) but I guess this is rare and complicates the birth. Stumpy not only had to have his stump heal but he had contracted pneumonia. That has completely cleared up now. While all the kittens needed formula-feedings via syringe when they arrived, now only Baby and Stumpy receive them to make sure they stay on track.

Grey is the last of the “runts”. Nothing is wrong with him, he’s just smaller. Well, smaller and maybe dumber. He always has a dumb look on his face at least. He’s definitely beefing up though. Grey is a big fan of the Louis C.K. “Bang-Bang”. Grey will come out to one restaurant (a plate of formula), eat, then walk around the corner (to the bedroom) to another restaurant (wet food plate), and eat an entire second meal.

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We’ve named the last three kittens WRK (for World’s Roughest Kitten), Boots (very imaginative), and Gandalf (for a grey beard on her chin that Boots is missing). All of them are fat, fast, rough and girls. Our biggest challenge with them is socializing them with humans – allowing for pets and lap sitting.

As you might imagine, our permanent feline crew is not happy about this. That is acerbated by the fact that Mamma Jane wants to kill them. The fosters are in a spare bedroom where we’ve installed a hook catch on the outside to make sure the door can’t be opened if not shut well (this is an old door on the original cabin).

But we can’t chance just trying to open the door quickly and slip in. If Jane gets a shot, there will be fur and claws and blood flying before we can blink. So in order to handle the fosters, we have to lock our crew up in the 3rd bedroom/study area (the “new” 1979 addition to the cabin with thankfully a better door handle). While they prefer this to getting the shit beat out of them, they resent giving up their house and toys. Celeste, Pixie, and Spike have all taken to slinking away from us if we make motions towards the study.

But overall they haven’t acted out. No bathroom activities outside the litter box (that we’ve found yet). No hunger strikes. No silent treatment. They still treat us like the food-doling-chin-scratching humans they always have, with a tolerant annoyance to the fact we feel other animals besides them deserve to be rescued too.

In a few days, we will start bringing a few kittens to the shop. I was initially wary of this; worried their immune systems weren’t up to such a public and social setting. But the shelter is full and think it would be wonderful if we can pimp them for adoption.

And no. We’re not keeping them. Any of them.

Celeste thinks it would be awesome if Pixie and Spike were adopted too.

Apologies for the photo-placement weirdness.  Between new computer, new browser, new App, and not-Interneting in forever, this is the best I could do.image

Enter title here

I have ten minutes before I must leave for work.

The summer has been fun but also stressful.  For the entire month of July we were checking the store’s bank balance daily.  We were watching to see if the sales were going to catch up with the due dates of bills or if we needed to put more capital in from our own dwindling account.

The good news is that we didn’t need to.  The “life goes on” news is that we still have to watch it, albeit not so vigilantly, and I estimate that the stress from this alone makes up for 1/3 of the fatigue I feel even after two cups of coffee.

I have four minutes now.  I’ve spent three writing and deleting several sentences.  The horrible dilemma of trying to get caught up on writing while also providing quality writing to prove I should continue writing.

Especially when I have no time and spend three of those minutes trying to spell dilemma. Auto-correct thinks I want to say “mademoiselle”.

We have no foster dog right now, but somehow ended up with a Mamma cat and six kittens in our spare bedroom.  Photos coming soon.

When crippled by angst over writing, always go for the cat photos.  It’s the Internet after all.