It is Christmas here in my little neck of the woods. And Winter has descended with a vengeance! Here's a little screenshot of the weather network's forecast for Christmas Day:
Check out the little type under the big temperature numbers. Where is says "Feels Like"...
That is the same in both Celsius and Fahrenheit!!!
Needless to say, I will be going out in that weather, because Christmas! And family! And turkey dinner!! Being a prairie dwelling Canadian, this kind of weather will not stop me. It only stops me if it is blizzarding out. And a few flurries is not a blizzard. So out I will go! With presents and tarts.
Yes... tarts! We do a potluck type of dinner whenever there is a family gathering. This year, I am doing dessert. So I made tarts. I made mincemeat (at first I typed 'micemeat' but that's the cats' treats) tarts, and also butter tarts. I don't know if butter tarts are a just Canadian thing, but here we sure do love them!
Frosti went back to the humane society a week and a half ago, after being on the surrender list for almost 3 months. I am sad that it had to be this way but he was such a bully with the girls, I had no choice. I miss him but it is very evident that they do not. And because he is no longer in the house, I put up the Christmas tree a few days ago. I didn't do it any earlier because I figured he would be dragging it all over the house! Pips and Lila each checked it out, and then have left it alone.
It's 2.5 ft tall
*bat bat bat*
"what's this thing?"
I worked seven (yes, you read that correctly) shifts this week. It was self inflicted so not a problem. I did a couple of shift trades for other people, and then picked up a shift today as we were going to be short staffed. I have Christmas Day off, and then work six in a row. Again, self inflicted. I know, I know... I must be nuts! But my bank account will love me! I just put new tires on my SUV, so I will be needed the extra bucks.
While at work today, the sun came out for a while and I noticed frost on one of the windows. So here is a pretty picture for your enjoyment.
It is a bit wintery here in Central Canada, with snow all over the place and chilly temperatures. It's not horrible, mind you. The daytime highs have been in the minus single digits (Celius, of course). But it gets blustery around here and that means it is time for soup.
Winter is soup weather, right? So I made some today, under the watchful gaze of Frosti. Actually frantic might better describe it. He likes to perch on top of the fridge when I cook and keep a close eye on things. And sometimes I offer him little tidbits of whatever I am making.
And usually he eats whatever I offer him. But not today!!
Frosti's toes are healing well. Having scorched feet really didn't slow him down much at all. Once in a while, he would sit down and hold this one up. All four of those little pads were burned. I am sure it hurt, but animals are so stoic, because showing weakness usually means death in the wild. Despite my house NOT being the Wild, cats usually deal with a lot more pain than we ever know. Same goes for dogs, and probably all animals. We humans are pretty wimpy when it comes to dealing with aches and pains, aren't we? So, as you can see, his little beans are peeling but they will soon be back to their pre-Incident condition. He has been running around, playing and chasing the girls as per usual. He has not jumped on the top of the back door yet. Nor on the stove. I made myself an omelet this morning, and because I did not want to sit in the kitchen to eat and supervise the hot element as it cooled, I did this:
It worked. He didn't (and hasn't yet) jumped on the stove since The Incident. Hopefully, he never does again!!
Frosti is a little maniac. A cute, often cuddly, rambunctious maniac. And he often goes where he shouldn't. Which is exactly what he did on Sunday. I made myself a grilled ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Frosti is very food obsessed, much like a lot of dogs. So after I had removed my sandwich from the pan, and moved said pan off the hot element so the butter would not burn, I turned my back on the stove. And Frosti jumped up on it, avoiding the hot pan. Landing on the hot element!!! He leaped off the stove with lightning reflexes and ran downstairs. Those reflexes were not quite fast enough to spare his toes a scorching, however. He ran back upstairs, and sat down, holding his right front foot up. I could see a shred of skin hanging, so I picked him up and took a look.
Sure enough, he had blistered all four small pads on his right foot and two of the small pads on his left. I made the call to the vet and took him in. He spent the night and I picked him up after work on Monday. Because his burns are 1st degree and were dry by Monday, his paws were not bandaged. I don't think he would have tolerated that anyway and more than likely would have tried to chew any bandages off. He is on pain meds and antibiotics now a few days and I have been feeding him treats before and after his medications. That makes it much easier to stuff a pill down his throat!! Like I said, he is food obsessed. So, you would think this would slow him down, having sore tootsies, right? Noooo. After I brought him home, as it was supper time, I got the wet cat food out of the fridge and started dishing it up. And Frosti jumped up on the counter beside me. *sigh* He runs around and plays, but does spend a bit more time lounging around. He sometimes sits, and will hold his right paw off the floor for a minute. But he hasn't stopped chasing the other cats around (much to their dismay), or jumping up on things (although he hasn't been on the top of the back door yet). His goofy self is still very much intact, as is evidenced by the photos I took of him in his carrier after picking him up from the vet's. He sat there, like that... what a clown! (No, he is not spaced out from the drugs.) You should have seen Lila when we came home. Both girls met us at the door, but when I put the carrier down and let Frosti out, Lila took off down the basement, where she stayed for about 3 hours. She wouldn't even come upstairs for food!!! I am completely certain she is totally pissed off that the little bastard came back!!! 😜
It's been a few months, hasn't it? I'd gotten a couple of nudges on my previous post so I had to take a few moments to check in. For whatever reason, I just haven't gotten back into the blogging vibe. Thanks for the Happy Sesquicentennial, LX, and the query about my wellbeing, Mago! Happy 4th of July a bit late to all my American friends! I hope you all had time with family and friends enjoying the holiday.
But all is well with me and the kitties. Frosti is six months old now and a real hellion! He torments the girls endlessly and I sometimes have to put him in a time out in the bedroom. He bites. A lot. Not with me, as he plays gently and doesn't even use his claws, but with them, it is tackle and bite constantly. I sure hope he outgrows this phase soon because I feel bad for them! Tanner was so much gentler when he played with the girls. *sigh*
I have renewed my mortgage for three years, after which time I am selling the house. Retirement will be 2 years after that and I want to be a debt free as possible when I stop working. So I have a finite amount of time to fix the house up for selling. Best get my ass moving!
At least I now have a mostly normal energy level. I've found my thyroid hasn't been working normally (probably slowly declining for years but really plummeted in the past year) so a few blood tests and I am now on thyroid medication plus a bunch of supplements to support thyroid function. It has required a few tweaks here and there but I feel so much better! I now have both the mental and physical wherewithal to tackle everything that needs doing. I am doing things in steps (and not really in this order... #7 is actually first.):
1. Scrape all that stipple crap off all the ceiling! Besides hating how it looks, there are cracks in both the living room and kitchen ceilings that need repair and you can't fix those and patch the stipple without it looking like a horrible botch job. I've seen a youtube video on taping a 6" putty knife to the floor attachment of a shopvac and using that to scrape it off. I'd done the bedroom ceiling a few years ago up on a ladder and what a mess! Looks great once done, but holy moly that stuff gets everywhere. I'm hoping this will be much neater (and hopefully faster!).
2. Repair all the cracks in walls and ceilings caused by the saggy main beam and subsequent relevelling of the house. That was a slow process and took about 1 1/2 years before the house finally adjusted to its final form. The teleposts I installed in the basement have not needed tightening for about a year now so I think it is finally done. No point patching cracks if the house is still shifting.
3. Once steps 1 and 2 are done, paint! Ceiling and walls in every room. Good thing this is a small house...
4. After completely all that messy stuff, time to install the laminate flooring that has been stored in the basement for the past 4 years. When I renovated my bedroom, I had purchased some laminate (the nice thick stuff [14mm] with the foam backing) on sale (I think it was 30% off). I liked it so much I went right back and bought enough to do the rest of the upstairs (minus kitchen and bathroom). I am sure it is well acclimated to my house's environment by now.
5. I need to have an exhaust fan installed in the bathroom. There are NO exhaust fans in this little old house anywhere so I tend to run the furnace fan whenever I shower. I also need to replace the bathroom window as it is rusty (it's right in the shower but given the tiny size of the bathroom, there really wasn't anywhere else to put it). The tub surround I put in a few years ago will be ripped out and either a new one, or tiles, will replace it. I'm happy with the sink and toilet that I've already put in. The floor with be changed too, as right now it is the same as the kitchen (there was a leftover bit of vinyl flooring from the kitchen that was done before I bought the house).
6. And the cherry on top will be a kitchen gut and redo. At first, I had grand ideas of ripping out the wall between the kitchen and living room to make it open but given the cost and time that takes, I have decided to update it without major structural rearrangements. (This is, after all, to improve it for selling it.) It is small (I do live in a little house) and at 8x10, I have limited space be creative. But the plan is to just move the fridge a bit to give me more room to expand the number of cabinets and counter space. By just doing that, I will be able to double what exists now. So this will be a yank out of all the old cabinets and flooring and replace the same. The local hardware store has lovely vinyl laminate flooring that I have had experience installing in a former boyfriend's house and it is 100% waterproof so even if there is a major water leak, the flooring will not be damaged. (I'm sure the rest of the floor would be, but this stuff could be pulled up, dried and reinstalled.) The new cabinets will be from Ikea and I can install those. I'll need help to hoist the upper ones but the rest won't be an issue. I like their rail system to secure the cabinets to the wall. I will put a microwave with exhaust fan above the stove. I've already bought a new sink. Do you know how hard it is to find a 1 1/2 bowl sink to fit a 24" cabinet?!?
7. This is really #1! The basement windows... what a headache those have been! The two on the east wall are at ground level. Right at ground level! And with old wooden frames, you know what that means. Water. In my basement. With the spring melt and heavy rain, the water flowed unimpeded through the rotten wood. Luckily, the basement floor is bare concrete but what a pain in the ass! I have fans and a dehumidifier running 24/7 because of damp concrete. The shopvac got many a good workout. Finally found a solution. Glass block windows with vent for air circulation. Set directly into the concrete, with the bottom row of bricks being concrete to prevent further water incursion. Watched a youtube video on how to do that. I also need to redo the window in the laundry room in the basement as the glass is cracked. At least that one is higher up as the ground slopes a bit east to west. I think I will do this one out of polycarbonate. The dryer vent and water line for the hose bib run outside through it. Much easier to drill holes in plastic! These take precedence over everything else right now.
So that's the blueprint for the next three years. I work at work and will then work at home. Don't get me wrong! There will be plenty of feet up on the recliner time too, as well as getting out and about. Will post pics when I have things on the go.
In the meantime, here are the cats.
A rare moment of quiet
The usual state of affairs
The tub makes a great background
Stalking me from on top of the fridge
Another quiet moment
Judging the distance to jump at the other cat in the mirror
It wasn't part of the short term plan. What I was planning to do was to save some money. Pad the kitty account. Recover from the financial cost of Tanner's illness.
I went to Petsmart to buy a new cat bed for the girls. One of those little cave style padded getups where they can nap in soft dim warmth. I bought the cat bed. And an occupant.
I adopted a 10 week old kitten.
The pet stores here are only allowed to have rescue pets for sale (cats and dogs). They have pretty much shut out the puppy and kitten mills in the province from using pet stores as sales venues. So when I went to Petsmart (and I had never been in this particular location), I was immediately drawn to the adoption kennels conveniently located right next to the cash registers. How can one not be?
There were two adult cats peering at me. And a little white ball, sound asleep and oblivious. One of the women working there asked if I wanted to see one of the cats. I asked about the sleeping kitten. She said he had been in the store for about an hour, having just been brought over from the Humane Society.
We go into the cage area, and she opens the kennel. Up pops his head and two ice blue eyes squinted at me, followed by big purrs and little chirrups. I picked him up and he climbed right into my arms and rubbed against my chin. The woman told he he was super friendly. Understatement there. He crawled all over me, onto her and then jumped onto a little table next to her. She told me what she knew of him (from his HS folder). I asked about adopting him. She told me a woman had called about him three times already but wasn't able to come see him until after work, but that adoptions are one a first come, first served basis, and cash only. The adoption fee does not go through the store till, as they turn the money over directly to the Humane Society.
So, long story short, I did a big cash advance at the till with the purchase of the cat bed, and brought home a kitten.
I love his gorgeous blue eyes, how much white he has, the 'eyeliner' by only one eye... and his brown tail! And being the Viking woman that I am, I wanted to find a name that would do his ice blue eyes justice while evoking a bit of that Scandinavian heritage. But it also had to be one or two syllables, roll of the tongue easily, and be different enough from the girls' names to avoid confusion. I used Google Translate for all kinds of words. Snowy, ice, icy, snowball, snowman, things like that. My brother even not so very helpfully suggested "snjotrodara" which, while not Icelandic (it is Latvian), does translate as "snowcat". However... not exactly trippin' off the tongue! So after much deliberation, I settled on "Frosti". Old Norse for frost. He doesn't answer to it yet, but he's only been here for a week, and he's got the attention span of a gnat at this point in his short little life.
The girls were at first rather taken aback, although Pips, while very growly, was also very curious. Lila did her growl-huff thing, where she starts a growl and then exhales sharply, so she sounds like a bloody dog. And while there are still occasional growls and hisses now, they are both playing with him a bit (to his great delight!) and there have been some baby baths happening as well. He did try to nuzzle Pips' belly while she was licking his head the other evening and that ended with him getting a sharp "not the mama!" hiss and a foot firmly planted on his side. He looked suitably chastised. I had a good laugh!
He is very entertaining, as kittens are wont to be, and spends nights and time when I am not home locked away in the spare bedroom. I don't need Lila getting even heftier chowing down on kitten food while he starves. He has food, water, a litter box, toys, and that new cat bed at his disposal. He has gained a quarter of a kilo in a week (he was a bit scrawny) and got lots of loving (and deworming) at the vet's today.
I think Frosti is a lovely addition to the family... and here he is!
It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I tell you my sweet little Tanner, the newest addition to my kitty cavalcade, was put to sleep today after a brief but very intense battle with cancer. He was a mere 11 months old.
Tanner came from a no kill shelter and I brought him home the end of May 2016. I had been sitting on the bench in their kitten room, being assaulted from all sides by tiny furry fiends flinging themselves joyfully willy nilly with nary a thought to safety. They climbed and jumped and I stroked and petted as they wandered past. After a few minutes, this little orange and white kitten climbed onto my lap and plopped himself down. I started petting him; he started purring. He did jump off to play, and eat a snack, but came back several times to again plop down and purr. I figured that must be a good sign, and decided since he had obviously chosen me, I must adopt him.
Tanner had been part of a litter of stray kittens. They has been found when quite new so they had a rough idea of how old they were. But the history of mum and dad was, of course, not know. Vaccination status of mum was probably nonexistent. This, unfortunately, is probably the reason for Tanner's untimely demise. All the kittens and cats that come into the shelter are tested for various viruses. Tanner was negative for everything and when old enough, started on his vaccination regimen.
My vet, after diagnosing Tanner with lymphoma, a type of cancer that causes rogue white blood cells (lymphocytes) to run amok through various parts of the body, told me that some cats can actually have a certain virus in their DNA, from infected cats breeding and giving birth before they themselves actually get sick. I guess Tanner came from that kind of a situation because although he again tested negative for the feline leukemia virus (which would be the cause of the lymphoma), if it was in his DNA, it would only show up in that test if he was actively shedding the virus. They could have done a more specialized (and expensive) test on his DNA but there was no point.
My poor wee kitty had lymphoma in his kidneys, liver and bone marrow. He became severely anemic and also jaundiced. I'd never seen a jaundiced cat before but he was glowing yellow. And it all happened very quickly.
On Dec. 22nd, he had some tummy issues and had diarrhea and was off his food a bit. So a trip to the vet for special food, medication and some probiotic powder and he seemed to get over that within a week. But his energy level never came back. He remained rather listless and was not playing much at all. But I figured it would just take a while for him to get back up to snuff as he'd been feeling pretty crappy.
Last week, he went off his food again, this time much more so than the first. And he was doing absolutely nothing. I could feel the weight dropping off and his shoulder blades felt sharper, his hips bonier. I tried various kinds of canned catfood and he half heartedly nibbled at them. By Saturday, it was bad. I called my vet when I got home from work and spoke with her. She advised me to pick up some Pepcid AC from the pharmacy and give him 1/2 a tablet twice a day to help settle his stomach. She said to even try meat baby food, as sometimes cats find that appealing, and to call her Monday with an update.
Monday came and I gave him his pill in the morning, tried to get him to eat, and went off to work. I spoke to the vet during the day and she recommended I try 1/4 of a Gravol tablet, for nausea. When I came home in the evening, picked him up to give him another pill and noticed the jaundice. It had not been there in the morning. Plus I could feel a lump in his side. So I called the vet and took him in Tuesday morning. They did blood work, an abdominal ultrasound, and a biopsy of his kidney. Everything pointed to large cell lymphoma (there is small cell also, which is more responsive to treatment). Needless to say, I was devastated, and the vet was quite surprised as this is usually an older cat's disease.
They kept him overnight and started him on steroids and chemo (which is a once a week IV injection), hoping this would shrink all those giant cells down. They gave me anti-nausea medication and several kinds of canned food. I struggled to entice him to eat anything so the following day (Thursday), the vet called in a script for an appetite stimulant to my pharmacy. It didn't help. Nothing helped.
Both Wednesday and Thursday nights I kept Tanner in my bedroom, with several kinds of food, water and a litter box so that the girls wouldn't be trying to eat all his canned food. Wednesday night he ate a tiny bit... a few licks here and there of the wet, didn't touch the dry. Lapped up a bit of the water from canned tuna. Throughout all this, he kept drinking water and so was not dehydrated. Thursday night was awful. He couldn't sleep, he wasn't able to find a comfortable position to lie in, he wanted out of the bedroom and then back in (how cat of him) and of course, I didn't sleep much either.
Because of the anemia, he got very short of breath with any exertion so any walking around he did, he'd be puffing away. He seemed to like lying on the bathroom mat. But I knew he was starving, and in pain and just never going to recover, so first thing this morning, I called the vet's office to make that final appointment. She was in surgery all morning so our time was 2:20 p.m. It was an interminable morning. I'd wakened at 6:30 a.m. and so had lots of time to spend with him, lying on the bed, or sitting on the toilet (lid down) keeping him company, stroking him and talking to him. Pips and Lila also spent some time with us in the bathroom, keeping vigil. He had a pitiful little raspy meow by this time but his purr worked just fine, and whenever I'd pet him, he would purr.
My vet is a wonderfully compassionate woman whom I have been seeing for almost 14 years. She is so kind and gentle and truly loves what she does, even this difficult task. She stroked his cheeks and gave him a sedative injection. There was a lovely thick soft blanket on the exam table and I lay him carefully on his side so he would be looking at me as I sat next to the table. He settled very quickly but she gave us about 10 minutes to make sure the sedative was effective. He was very comfortable and never felt the second injection. She and I talked about various pets we'd had in the past, as we let him slip away. I knew the names of some of hers and she had cared for various of mine. She cried along with me, as she listened to his chest and heard no further beating of his tiny heart. We spoke of how unfair it is that there are some awful people in this world who keep on going and yet this little cat, this young life, was taken so so soon. I spent some time alone with him afterwards, and said more tearful goodbyes. He is being cremated and his ashes will join those of my previous cats and dogs who have been precious parts of my life.
I so miss his cheery, chirpy, silly little cat face. He was such a lovely sweet soul.
I felt the need to include Tanner in my blog header, as he is well immersed in the family. Only fair that he get to pose at the top with the girls. This is one of the few photos I have of the three of them in the same place at the same time. They all have their favourite lounging spots, and rarely are they near each other. So I took advantage and grabbed my phone and voila!
And, because I can't leave well enough alone, I used the Prisma app and played with the texture and colours and again... voila!
Pips turned 10 on Jan. 1st. An arbitrary birthday, as I adopted her in June of 2008 and was told she was 1 1/2 years old. So New Years baby she is! She is healthy and active, and my number 1 snuggle bum.
I hope all of you are well and happy and healthy. Things are fine on my end, although the ongoing gazillion renovation related things I need to do have stalled. Now that the holiday season is ended perhaps I will get motivated to get things done. Lots of nit picky stuff before any other big projects can move forward.
Drop by when you have a chance! I will do the same.