Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Part 3

Finally, the conclusion of Christmas for one more year!  And we sent this season out with a bang.

Once more, Mike and Mary Jane hosted us all for a Christmas feast.  People came from near and far to celebrate as a family.

Before dinner, everyone was just catching up, the kids were all playing and the adults were snitching pieces of ham as fast as it was cut.  That's family time.



Of course, no candid photos would be complete without a good photobomb.  This is me and Mary Jane, with my favorite niece and nephew providing the photobombing!


Lots of family, lots of noise, lots of food.  And not necessarily in that order.




We had most of the family together.  I'm proud that our family, while dysfunctional at times, can come together as a family.  So many families that I know that want nothing to do with each other.  I don't know what I'd do without the craziness and love of these people!


 


Yes, I know I'm in a lot of shots!  When you write the blog, you get to be in as many shots as you like.  So there!

So that was Christmas dinner # 3.  While we were able to come together as a family, we are now scattered to the winds.  Cathie is still in California.  JoBeth and her family are back in New York.  Jim is back in Pennsylvania (as is Phil right now) and tomorrow Michael heads back to China.  We are scattered, but we're still family, like it or not.

And we have an addition to our family!  Mike and Mary Jane have recently added a couple of finches to their home.  The finches have gotten busy and added three babies to the family!!  Here are mom and dad finch as well as two of the babies!  The third baby was staying in the nest, away from all of the noise and my picture taking.


Gotta love babies, even bird babies.

Another Christmas season is in the books.  Here's looking forward to a safe, happy, healthy and prosperous New Year for us all.

Keep watching!  Exciting new news is coming tomorrow!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Part 2

I know, it's been awhile.  I told you the cats made it better, but that doesn't mean that the holidays are still no longer unbearably bad.  But, it was better.

So let's get back to blogging!

The last you heard from me, we had Ron's family Christmas party.  Last night, it was the three of us, Ron, Phil and I, for dinner.   I figured since I'm so totally off of my diet this week, I'm trying to eat everything I usually try to watch.  While I knew I was making chicken for yesterday, I really wanted stuffing to go with it.

When we had Thanksgiving at Mike and Mary Jane's, I learned something new.  Mary Jane made the extra stuffing in muffin tins rather than in a regular 9x13 pan or whatever.  Individual stuffing muffins, or "stuffins" as I have been calling them.  They actually turned out great!  Some times, only the tops get nice and cooked while the insides stay kinda raw and mushy.  Putting them in the muffin tins makes more of the crunchy part and so much left of the soft part inside.

Here is what I'm talking about.

  

Stuffins!

This was a fabulous idea.  Not only did they taste better since they were all cooked all the way through, it would be much easier for portion control (for if I ever go back on my diet!) plus, the little muffins just went right into a container after dinner and I can reheat just one at a time.  Freakin' awesome!  Here is the bowl full of Stuffins.


This was just the perfect compliment to a great chicken dinner.   We had chicken done on my George Foreman grill (I LOVE that grill!), some Stuffins and some baked beans.  That's just the way we roll on Christmas at this house.



Keep watching!  I have Christmas part 3 coming up on Wednesday which should finally be the end of this year's Christmas season.  I also have some surprises coming up in January!  Exciting, huh?  In the mean time, from our house to yours . . . Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Merry Christmas Part 1

Yesterday, we celebrated Christmas with Ron's family at the Sand Run Metro Park.  The family rented this cabin for the party.



This was the third year in this cabin and it seems to really work well for everyone.  The cabin is beautiful with the wood burning stove it's also pretty warm.  The cabin also comes with bathrooms and a full kitchen plus all of the tables and chairs we need.  You can't ask for more than that!

Phil even puts on the suit and comes as Santa for the party.  Here is Santa showing up, brought of course, by his eight reindeer.  (see them on the dash??!)


The kids are always thrilled when Santa shows up!  He handed out the Christmas stockings which means that the party had begun.




This year, Bev and her daughter Amy and her daughter-in-law Amy cooked all of the food.  That was a crazy amount of work but the food was absolutely fantastic.  From the lasagna to the rigatoni and meatballs, I don't think there was much left.  We won't even talk about the dessert table!  That's what holidays are for - no diets and way too much great food.

The other thing holidays are good for is visiting with family. 




Then, there was Georgia, trying to convince Santa that she really WAS good all year!


And more family.




The day couldn't have gone better.  HUGE thanks go out to Bev, Amy and Amy for all the hard work they put in making this party such a success.  They showed up at the cabin early to get it decorated and get to work on the feast we enjoyed.

The weather was milder than it had been other years so that made the travel time a bit easier.  Everyone made it to the cabin and there was time for catching up and hugs and stories.  Like any good party, the place got pretty quiet once the food was set out!  Hey, we were too busy stuffing ourselves to make much noise!

A big hit of the party is always the white elephant gift.  This is where you regift something that you have that you don't want, or something that you have around the house, or something inexpensive.  We draw numbers and then in turn, you go to the table to choose a gift.  The next person in line then has the option to take a gift that has already been opened, or they go to the table to choose their own gift.  Some gifts show up year after year for the white elephant gift!

One yearly favorite is the butt/face towel.  One side is brown with "butt" written on it and the other side is white with "face" written on it.  For those people that get confused when they get out of the shower!  

You can receive a board like Tom did.  Here he is, taking it around to a few people trying to get ideas on what in the heck he's supposed to do with THIS!  I have a feeling it will be rewrapped and will show up at next year's white elephant gift exchange!



To Amy, who was lucky enough to get these crazy glasses!


It was a good day all around.  Too much fun and too much food.  No diets on Christmas, for sure!  We came home with a huge bounty of homemade goods and I plan on enjoying as much of it as I can. 

So, from our house to yours, Merry Christmas to all, and to all . . .  a good night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perks

When you look for a job, there are many parts of the job you need to consider before accepting a position. Is the job a good fit for your skills?  Is this something you can see yourself doing for 40+ hours a week? 

The paycheck isn't the only consideration when considering a position.  You need to look at the perks.  How about paid holidays?  Vacation days?  Sick days?  Since you are at work for more hours than you're at home, perks can be VERY important in a job.

Let's talk about the perks I got with this job.  By the way, have I mentioned that I work for my brother?  I'm not sure if that's a perk or not most days, but I digress!

I will start with my job interview.  I submitted a resume and I came in to discuss the position.  When the job duties seemed to be to my liking, except for the fine print of "or whatever else I deem necessary" we got down to brass tacks.

There wasn't much wiggle room in the actual salary.  So, I went for the perks.  Hours started at 8:00 am.  Yeah, right off, I had a problem with that one.  Mike asked what I'd like to work and I said 11:00 am to 1:00 pm of course with full time pay!  Hey, go big or go home!  Mike nixed that idea right away.  I hate it when he puts that boss hat on!  So, we negotiated to my current hours of a straight eight hour day of 8:30 to 4:30 with a paid 20 minute lunch.  I am SO jiggy with that!  Perk!

My days of pantyhose are over.  I want to work in jeans, or shorts when the weather permits.  He said as long as my ass isn't hanging out of my shorts, he was jiggy with it.  Perk!

When my car is in the shop, my boss drives all the way to Lorain to pick me up for work and then will bring me right back to my door after work.  Perk!

I got invited to the Corporate Manor for Thanksgiving dinner.  (There will be a blog about that coming soon.)  Perk!

Even with family in from near and far, there was a ton of left over food.  Mike asked me yesterday if I'd like for him to bring me a lunch.  Are you kidding me?  Of course I'd love that!  When you have a 20 minute lunch, it just makes sense to bring  your lunch in every day.  Here is one day I don't have to pack my own lunch. 

Mike made my lunch, put it in the microwave for me and even delivered it to my office.


Lunch consisted of some white meat and dark meat turkey, a little bit of mashed potatoes and some stuffing.  All with just a little bit of gravy to make sure everything stayed moist!  Did you notice that there is even dessert?  Bonus and Perk!

And, of course a few minutes later, this is what I was left with.


Would you like to know what the best part is?  I just got a text from Mike a little bit ago asking if I'd like lunch again tomorrow!  I'm no fool, of COURSE I said yes!!

Having your boss make your lunch for you, PERK!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Welcome Home Benny!

Happy welcome home Benny day!

Can you believe that one year ago today, Benny came into my life.  On one hand, I can't believe it's been a year!  On the other hand . . . I can't remember my life without Benny.  I don't remember the days before scooping poop, before sweeping up litter, before cleaning litter boxes, before kitty cuddles, before kitty kisses.  I know, I have it bad.

For someone that was never a pet lover, I've become one of those pet owners that people now run from so they don't have to listen to another cat story from me!  I told you, I have it bad!

It's been a hard year with Benny getting him through all of his health issues to where we are now.  He is mostly out of kittenhood so we are mostly through some behavior issues as well.  Let's look at Benny through the last year.






My Benny.  He came to me when I was in one of the darkest times of my life and let the light in for me.  I'm not saying this holiday season is perfect for me now, but we do seem to be keeping some of the darkness at bay this year. 

I wanted to celebrate this day with him for all he's done for me.  So happy welcome home Benny day!  You are definitely getting extra treats today.  And, I didn't even yell at you for waking me up this morning so we could play with your favorite toy, a shoe string!   May this be the first of many happy years together.

Mike and Mary Jane got me this magnet just after I got Benny.  I know the answer.  We saved each other.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Get Lost

Ron has a subscription to Netflix.  We used to get streaming and DVDs but with the repricing, he just kept the streaming and we find MORE than enough to watch through the Wii with that.

We have gone through a couple of older TV shows and were able to watch them from the pilot episode all the way through to the finale.  Tonight, we just finished Lost. 

O M G

The first season was absolutely phenomenal!  It so went down hill from there.  By the time we got to Season 6, I was ready to be done with it.  But by now, we had invested so much time into this train wreck that I couldn't force myself to look away.  Besides, the episodes where Sawyer took off his shirt made the show pretty bearable. But, I digress.  We had to follow it through to the end.  If you've never seen Lost and think you might want to pick it up, look away now.  If you've seen it before, I have a few questions.

W T F ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

When they were flying over the island after the thermonuclear device was set off, you saw the island was under water.  But in the end, did Jack prevent that or didn't he?

Ben Linus and Charles Widmore hated each other but suddenly, Charles Widmore knows all about the monster and how to stop him?

Speaking of the monster, did he EVER had a name?  Since his biological mother didn't have a name for him before she died, the mom that raised him didn't bother to give him one?  What did SHE call him?

And why, when he went into the light that is the life of the island, why did he turn into an evil killer?  Really?

HOW did polar bears get on to the island????

Why were Michael and Walt not involved in the finale?

Why did Ben Linus not go into the Church with the rest of them at the end?

Speaking of the rest of them, I so don't get it!  Are they dead?  Are they alive?  WHAT???

Lost.  All 120 episodes.  That is 120 blocks of 43 minute intervals that I will NEVER get back of my life.  I have at least 120 more questions but right now my head is killing me.  I think that finale is going to make my head explode!

Now I understand why it's an insult to tell someone to go get lost.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Taking After Grandpa

I told you last night how my father's father was with the barn cats every day. Penelope used to be an outside cat that went from running away from me to running to me every time she saw me.

Hemingway, one of my outside cats, for almost two years wouldn't let me get anywhere near him. That has changed drastically in the last few months.

This is what happens to me almost every night after work. When the weather is nice, I will sit on the front porch steps and Hemingway will sit next to me and just lean his whole body against mine. You can't buy that kind of love!

Once he works his way into the house, I will no longer be that one cat short of being the crazy cat lady!


video


Before you think I'm crazier than I am, I did NOT walk down the driveway with a scoop of cat food in my hand! Ron was off camera coming out the front door with the food that he handed off to me.

Just like Grandpa, minus the mush.

Cats. That Hemingway is SO working on me. He is definitely positioning himself to be the next inside cat.



Monday, November 14, 2011

I Saw Her Standing There

Family.  You can't choose them, you just have to live with them.

Looks aren't everything but I don't think I look like any of my siblings.  My three brothers all share a familial look to them.   I don't think the three sisters in my family look alike at ALL.  Nor do we resemble our brothers.  I think we have family traits in us, but as far as looks go, I think us girls were all very different.

Families.  I've been thinking a lot about mine lately.  Must be the upcoming holidays.  While I may not look much like my siblings or even my family, at least in my mind, I know I have taken some of the best traits from the family members that came before me.

My father's father.  He was a farmer who in his day had dairy cows and chickens and a garden.  Another thing he had was barn cats.  I remember when I was a little girl, Grandpa would take a sauce pan of "mush" up the hill to the barn for the cats.  I don't really know what was in the "mush" but I remember he'd carry it up in a sauce pan.

As Grandpa was heading up the hill, he'd start talking to the cats in Slovak.  The barn cats would all come running and just be all over Grandpa.  They'd rub against his legs, jump up on his shoulders, they looked so happy to see him!  Granted, he had food in his hand, but I digress.  As a little girl, I wanted nothing more than to be able to go and pet and play with any one of those cats.  However, if any of us kids got close, food in his hand or not, the cats would all go running away from Grandpa.  So, I watched from afar and wished that was me with those cats.

Now, Cathie tells me I'm just one cat away from being "that crazy cat lady".  Have faith in me, Cathie!  One day I don't be one cat short, I'm sure.

What else did I get from my family?  Let's talk about my mother's father.  He was the huge baseball fan in the family.  He would listen to as many games at a time as he could.  While I might not multi-task the ball games like he did, I do have the love of the game that he did.  He died before I was born, but I think he would be happy that I took up his passion for the sport.  He might not be happy that I picked the rivals of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals to root for, but I think I got the love of the game from this Grandpa.  Go CUBS!!

I wish I took more after my Mother.  I have NONE of her petite-ness. I also don't have her ability to always turn the other cheek.  I have too much of the temper from her side of the family.  Even when her own family would crap on her, she'd turn the other cheek.  Instead of confronting the person that caused her the most pain, she'd say to let it go.  She thought she'd never change some one's mind from what they thought was right, no matter how wrong they were.  Mom told me that since she knew the truth, that was all that mattered.  Ok, at least I got that from her.  I know the truth too, regardless of what is said, even to this day.

I got a lot from my sister Barb.  I learned my profession from Barb as she hired me at 15 years old for my first job.  I learned the general ledger, the difference between a debit and a credit, balancing a check book, most other accounting functions, including making collection calls.  Not bad for a kid!  She actually taught me a lot about a lot of things outside of work as well.  She was a very good sister.

I know I've heard Barb's voice in my head, finishing an argument we had a few weeks before she died.  Fine, you were right, Barb!  I concede that one!

So, in part, we are what we came from.  The good, the bad, the ugly.  Hopefully we take the best traits of those before us and leave the bad behind.

While I don't think I look anything like Barb, I have seen her a few times in the mirror.  I have chalked it up to just being tired, looking into the vanity mirror in the bathroom, I swore a couple of times it was Barb looking back at me.  First thing in the morning, last thing at night, I must have just been tired.

This morning, I got to work, grabbed my lunch and my coffee cup from the car and I went to unlock the door at work.  Our front door in a glass door and as I walked up to the door, I swear, it was Barb's reflection.  It was my coffee cup, my lunch bag, my jacket, my shirt.  But I swear it was Barb looking back at me, I saw her standing there.

It was good to see her, even if it was just in my imagination.  Now, if only she'd give me the winning lottery numbers, I'd forgive her for winning an argument with me five years after she passed away!  The least she could do, huh?

Didn't Waste This License

Two years in a row I've gotten a fishing license and on the day I get it, I get seasick going on the boat.  Two years in a row, wasted money on a license I didn't use.

Yesterday, Ron surprised me.  Even though the boat is out of the water for the season, we went to the bait store, got a scoop of minnows and headed out to fish while keeping me on dry land!  How freakin' cool is that?  I had high hopes of catching us dinner for the evening. 

With minnows in a bucket, we headed down to Hot Waters at the foot of Oberlin.  Thanks to Lisa for telling us how to GET there!  We tried all over down at Hot Waters but couldn't even get a nibble.  I caught a whole lot of fun, but alas, no fish.  I even was using my tried and true secret of talking to the fish while fishing!  My calling of  "here, fishy fishy fishy" usually works!  Damn, I was having an off day.

Hot waters didn't work so we packed up and went over to Riverside Park by the Coast Guard Station.  Uh, probably not the best idea we had.  There are a lot of rocks over there and after about a half hour of fishing, I got my line snagged on something.  Um, well the FIRST time I got it snagged, Ron was able to wiggle it loose and I got everything back.  For some reason, I thought casting into the same area was still a good idea.  However, when I got the line caught the SECOND time, I had to pay the price.

The price I had to pay was to snap my line and lose my hooks, minnows and sinker.  Dang. 

All in all, Ron and I fished for probably 2-1/2 to 3 hours without so much of a nibble from a fish.  In spite of that, it was a GREAT day!!  Yes, it was windy but the sun was shining and we had a ball.  And, we ended up at Mezcal Tequila for dinner since we didn't catch any fish but whatever.

I am kicking myself in the butt though over the fact that I walked out of the house with my fishing license in my back pocket but no camera in hand!  Of COURSE there were photo opportunities that I just wasn't able to capture for the blog.  I am mad at myself about that part.  Not that my pictures of the geese flying over head would have come out as good as it looked in person, but man, that was a missed opportunity.  With the clouds the way they were and all of a sudden, these low flying geese . . . yeah, missed that one.

The other one I missed was a picture of the Border Patrol van that came down to Hot Waters while we were there.  While on one hand, it seems ridiculous to have Border Patrol in Lorain Ohio, I do realize that crossing from Canada into Lorain would be just too easy.  Or Vermilion or any of our ports.  I guess it's just hard to take seriously a border problem in Lorain Ohio.  Just because I refuse to acknowledge it, doesn't make it less of a problem.  It's just that van hit me as funny.

Aside from that, a darn good day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cathie Fixed It!

As I've posted before, Cathie has my back in lieu of 1-800-Call-A-Mom.  One of the areas she wins hands down over our actual Mom is pet advice. 

One of the biggest problem I have with the cats is Penelope peeing outside of her litter box.  The vet tried telling me that she does it because of stress, but I never really bought that.  I may not know much about my cats, but I've been in the bathroom with her while she's in the litter box and I didn't believe she was doing it because she was stressed or mad. 

With all four paws inside of the box, she backs her little behind up to the back corner of the box and starts to pee.  Just because of the way her anatomy is, when she's backed up all the way and starts peeing, she ends up peeing up and over the wall of the litter box.  Hence, I've been cleaning up a LOT of pee off of the bathroom floor.  Thank heavens for a steam mop since I've been steaming the hell out of that floor while cleaning up the pee, but c'mon.  That got old fast.

Cathie took one look at my problem and said she knew exactly what I needed.  We headed to the nearest pet store and Cathie pointed out that there are different sizes of litter boxes.  Really?  Who knew??

I got the box with the highest walls and came home with it.  Me and Penelope are thrilled with it!  She gets in the box, backs her little butt all the way to the back corner and she can pee to her heart's content and it all stays IN the litter box!  I know to most of you, this is NOT an exciting story.  But, from me, who has been cleaning up pee and steaming the floor clean sometimes twice a day, this is HUGE.  Penelope has NOT peed on the floor at all since I bought the bigger litter box.  Who knew?

Cathie so hit the nail on the head with this one. 

Too bad all of our problems can't be solved by buying a bigger litter box, huh?

Being A Tourist At Home

Ok, I've been yelled at for not blogging!  Sorry!  No excuses, so I'm going to start catching up on all of my started blogs.  So, quit yelling at me!!

When Cathie was here visiting a bit ago, we went out and tried to do a couple of touristy things right here at home.  One of the things I've wanted to take a look at was a little cemetery in the middle of a quiet neighborhood.  I've driven by Charleston Cemetery a bunch of times always saying "one of these days, I'm going to walk through there".  Cathie being here ended up being the perfect time to do just that!


Like I said, it's in the middle of a quiet neighborhood and honestly, if you weren't looking, you could just drive right by and not know it.


I'm not from Lorain and I don't pretend to know all of the history of this city, but I have to tell you, I got goosebumps walking through this little place.  It's smaller than a city block and I'm not going to guess how many graves are in this little cemetery. 


Someone is taking loving care of this small cemetery.  The markers are mostly unreadable from years of being out in the weather plus what I'm guessing is some vandalism.  I could be wrong and maybe it's just age and weather.  But, someone has done some research and has erected newer markers on a lot of the graves with the pertinent information that is no longer legible on the original markers.

The inhabitants of this cemetery are all from the mid to late 1800s.  Back in that day, they found life a bit more precious because most of the graves are marked with people's ages in years, months and days.  Every day counted.  Unfortunately, the counts weren't too high.  It was not common for people back then to see their 50th birthdays and the number of babies and children buried there was surprising.

I guess my point is that this is a gem in the middle of this city, between 6th and 7th street and between Hamilton and Oberlin.  Some days exploring your own neighborhood can be more interesting than you'd think.

I heard there was a woman that used to give tours of this cemetery and told stories of some of the people that are buried here.  For her own reasons, she has stopped the tours.  I, for one, would be one of the first to sign up for one of her tours, should she ever decide to start them up again.

Go exploring in your own neighborhood.  You never know what you'll find.  If you're in our neighborhood, take a drive over to Charleston Cemetery.  It's worth a walk around. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

1-800-Call-A-Mom

This could be my get rich quick scheme.  Or if not get rich quick, a great retirement plan.  I really think this could be a money maker!

For those of us that no longer have our Moms, and weren't smart enough or lucky enough to learn everything we needed while we had them here, we need this kind of service.

Mom was always on call, 24/7.  After she passed away, my sister Barb took over her on call duties.  While Barb wasn't my Mom, she KNEW everything that Mom did about Mom kinda stuff.  Now with Barb gone as well, Cathie and I muddle through.  She knows a lot more than I do, and we help each other out where we can.

1-800-Call-A-Mom.  Think about it.  It's a great idea, isn't it?

How long do you cook a beef roast?  1-800-Call-A-Mom.

How do you get that spot out of the couch?  1-800-Call-A-Mom.

How do you sew a pillow case on to the window seat pad after you take it off to wash it?  Have Cathie come visit and ask HER to do it!!  Ok,  but I digress.  (And, thank you again, Cathie!)  But you get the idea.

I have a nice full nap kinda area rug in the bathroom to step on once you're out of the shower.   I want to say like a shag kind of nap.

I was cleaning the bathroom last weekend and I thought hey, that rug could use a washing.  I've washed it before, I knew it could be done.  So, I threw it in the washing machine by itself to get washed.

I have a front loader washing machine and when it spins the clothes, it SPINS the clothes.  Most times they're practically dry when they come out of the washer, they spin so hard!  However, after the wash cycle, this rug was soaking wet.  Soaking, dripping wet.  What to do?  I set the machine to do the spin cycle over again.

Same result.  The rug was no dryer than it was before the second spin cycle.  Mom?  I wish.  I put it through the spin cycle again.  And again.  Ok, probably a few more times for good measure.  No change.

I had Ron grab one end of the rug and I grabbed the other end and we twisted the hell out of it by hand trying to get enough water out of it to be able to put it in the dryer.  We wrung a bunch of water out of it, but it was STILL too wet to put in the dryer.

So, we hung it over the slop sink, hoping it would dry on its own with the help of the dehumidifier in the basement.  The dehumidifier filled up with water, but it didn't seem like any of it came out of that damn rug.  Mom would know exactly what to do, I was sure of it.

Tonight after work, I went to the basement to check out the rug.  As I said, I had to empty the dehumidifier but the rug was still soaked.  Ron and I were talking that just maybe if we hung it on the line in the basement, it might dry easier.  The dang thing was heavy, but I got it up and over the line.  And that's when I noticed the smell.

I guess after four days being sopping wet in the basement, the mold, mildew and whatever else decided to come for a visit.  I am so frustrated at this point that I want to throw the damn rug out and buy another one.  If I was made of money, I'd do just that.  However, I needed to be more practical.

Ron and I threw around a few ideas and then it hit me.  The problem had been that when this rug got wet, it got really heavy.  When the machine would go into the spin cycle, the rug would clump up against one side, making the machine unbalanced. That's why it would never go into the full spin cycle leaving the rug wet.

I knew that now I'd have to rewash the rug to get that smell out and that's when I figured it out.  Wash the kitchen rugs with it, which should even out the load!  Taa daa!  It worked like a charm and I now have all clean and DRY rugs!  Go me.

Ok, it took me four days to figure it out on my own and I was this close to chucking it out tomorrow on garbage night.  One fast call to 1-800-Call-A-Mom probably would have solved this back on Saturday.

I figured it out eventually, but it would have been nice to figure out the problem with one phone call.  I know this is a great money making idea.  No matter how old we get, sometimes a little mothering would go a long way.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wait For Me!

I know, I know, I have a lot to catch you up on.  It's been crazy around here and I have stories.  But, until I get some pictures downloaded and some blogs written, I have to tell you about what happened this morning.

I had a bunch of stuff to take with me to work today.  I wanted to hit the paper recyclers on the way home so I packed up my car with all of our old magazines that I had bagged up.  I also needed to go to UPS to ship a package.  Plus my lunch, my purse, my coffee, take the garbage out, blah blah blah.

I thought I'd make it easier on myself and bring the car out of the garage and park it by the side door.  I grabbed the garbage and took it out on my way to the garage.   I turned the car around so it was facing the street and pulled right by the side door.

I've told y'all before that I have some outside cats along with the two inside.  Two of them in particular, listen for me and run to me when I'm out there.  As soon as they realized I was in the driveway, they came running to me, meowing all the way.  That is a terrific thing, but when my arms are full of "stuff", I was having a hard time packing up my car while not stepping on or tripping on cats.

My car has a standard transmission.  I never park my car without setting the parking brake.  I would have put money on that fact.  Before today anyway.  I have the last load I'm bringing out to the car.  Part of this load is going in the back seat on the driver's side, and the rest of it will be in the back seat on the passenger's side.  I am on the driver's side and loaded up the car.  I know I slammed the door shut and walked behind my car to get to the passenger's side to put the rest of my stuff in there.

As I'm behind my car, I remember thinking to myself, "Self, you must be dizzy or something because it seems like your car is moving!"  Crazy, huh?  I got to the passenger's side, put my stuff in and that's when I realized, my car was going down the driveway without me!

My public service announcement for the day is:  No matter how hard you try, you can NOT stop a 2,000 pound car from rolling down your driveway by trying to grab the fender.  You can't do it.  Yes, I tried.

I ran to the driver's door and was able to jump in before the car got to the street.  Lucky me.  My heart got a workout this morning and I have a few more gray hairs, but all was well that ends well.

As Cathie says, "it's good to have adrenalin for breakfast!"  I think from now on, I'll stick with my yogurt instead.

Monday, October 03, 2011

What Came Out Of The Wash

Benny has a toy that is a round wire cage with a fake mouse in it.  You roll it across the floor, Benny chases it then bats it around. 

The ball had been "lost" for awhile, but I found it when I had to move the couch for the new windows.  Well, that toy and about 20 others!  Anyway, Benny was playing with it Thursday night and then Friday I freaked out when I saw the "mouse" in the middle of the living room floor.  The poor thing had his tail bit off but the rest of the mouse was in good shape.  I found the ball part of the toy and saw that a couple of the wires had been pried apart and the mouse got out. 

After stuffing my heart back in my chest, I stuffed the mouse back in the ball and tried to close the wires back up again.  Saturday I found the "mouse" in the middle of the floor again.  Ok, whatever.  I grabbed the "mouse" and I put it up and out of reach so that at least I wouldn't have a heart attack when I'd see the dang "mouse" and think it was real.  Again.  And, I threw out the wire ball part.

Sunday I was doing laundry.  I carry the clothes to the basement, separate them into loads and then pick up an armload off of the floor and shove it into the washer.  I was doing a load of sheets when I went to pull the sheets out of the dryer, something came flying out at me.  If you heard a scream Sunday around 6:00 pm, that was me!  Little shit found where I hid that mouse.



Good thing I love that cat.   Almost as much as I love the new gray hairs I got Sunday night!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

My Life In Chaos

I really don't like chaos!  I am also not a big fan of change.

My house was built in 1900.  Most of the upstairs windows were replaced just before I bought the house.   The living room and dining room still had the original leaded glass windows.  While they were gorgeous, they were not the most cost efficient.  I decided to upgrade and buy new windows for the living room, dining room and upstairs in the bathroom which still had an old window.  In all, 10 windows were getting replaced.

Wednesday night, Ron and I moved all of the furniture away from the windows.  Everything was to be two to three feet away from the windows, inside and outside.  I didn't need to do anything outside as we don't have much out there, but inside, we were a wreck getting ready for this.

Have I mentioned that I don't do well in chaos?  Here is what the living room looked like:




The dining room wasn't any better.




I was kind of freaking out as were the poor cats.  They didn't care for the chaos any better than I did!

Thursday and Friday, I took off from work.  First thing Thursday morning, I took all of the window coverings down, and locked up the cats.  Penelope and Ron were blocked upstairs with baby gates at the top of the stairs.  They both behaved very well!

Benny was locked in the basement for the day.  Before the installer got there, poor Benny was outside of the basement door meowing and not happy about being locked up.  That added to the chaos of my day!  However, once all of the work started with the banging noise, Benny was more than happy to be hiding downstairs.  I went down a few times during the day to play with him and check on him and I think he made it through the day easier than I did.

I was off again Friday and Friday was spent trying to put the house back together.  The installer was back to work on the outside of the house.  I washed all of the curtains and sheers which was the easy part.  Then, I had to iron them get them all hung.  As long as the furniture was all moved, I did a real Mom cleaning.  I have scrubbed the floors, taken apart light fixtures and cleaned all of them.  Most of the furniture has been moved back to where it belongs and I'll get the rest of it hopefully by the end of the weekend.

The dining room is all together at least.  The looks of this room almost makes it all worth it!  Most of the living room is done, I only have one corner of chaos left in there.


It's a good thing my back is cured because if it wasn't, I'd be one hurting pup last night and today. 

My reward today and my gratuitous cat shot for the day:  Since I am still technically on vacation, I thought I'd lay down and take a little nap today.  I walked into the bedroom and this is what I saw.  No fighting, no drama, just two cats that just woke up from their nap when I showed up with the camera.


This definitely helps to ease any stress from the last few days.  Maybe there is hope for all of us yet. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cat Updates!

After telling you what is wrong with my life right now, it's time to show you what is RIGHT in my life right now.  I've already shown you pictures of me with the Busters, so it's time for MY little loves, my cats!

There's been a lot to tell.  I've had issues with my poor Penelope.  She really hates Benny and I'm not so sure any more that Benny is thrilled with her either.  Penelope had gotten very sick one day about four or five months back.  Ron was actually worried enough about Penelope that he called me at work and I rushed home to get her to the vet.  She ended up spending a night in the animal hospital and that about killed me.  

The one vet thought her stomach distress (she had thrown up all over the house!) was due to her eating a bug, probably a spider.  Benny hunts spiders and bugs so I would believe HE'D get sick over a bug, but I've never seen Penelope go after any.  But, what do I know.

She was sent home from the hospital with a diet of special cat food that cost me $45 for a TEN pound bag!  With cats, they eat out of whichever bowl is closer.  So I made sure the new food was ok to feed Benny and I had to put both cats on it.  What one eats, the other eats.

A few days later, Penelope was not much better.  I took her back to the vet explaining she's still throwing up a lot.   This time I saw Dr. Wood.  By the way, I had fired my old vet quite awhile ago.  That's a whole other story.  So, I have had both cats at Dr. Wood's practice on Oberlin and Tower Boulevard.  I really love Dr. Wood.  Anyway, Dr. Wood went over all of the test results for Penelope and gave her a good look over and said he felt her problem was stress.  Especially after I told him that Benny gave her little to no peace.

Dr. Wood explained that cats need four things to be happy.  They are, in no particular order:

  1. Their own food bowls.  Yep, got that.
  2. Their own litter boxes.  Yep, got that too.
  3. Their own window to look out at the world through.  Yep, had that covered.
  4. The ability to sleep or rest without being accosted.  Um, is three out of four good??
Penelope liked and still likes to sleep on the recliner in the living room.  Whenever Benny would walk by her, he'd jump up on the chair and start to fight with her.  I would separate them when I could, but I couldn't be there all the time.

Dr. Wood suggested separating them at night to give her at least that much peace to have some NO BENNY time.  I tried to put her back in the basement for the night but she wasn't having any of it.  She started her life with us in the basement and I think she just didn't want to go back there.  So, I borrowed two baby gates from Linda and Larry and I put them at the top of the stairs.  We kept Benny upstairs over night and Penelope would have the run of the downstairs all night long.  I thought we could make this work.


Here were the baby gates.  Night one, all went well.  Benny slept in the office and had a food bowl and a litter box in the bathroom.  Penelope was downstairs with a litter box in the mud room and a food bowl in the dining room.  Good to go.

That lasted one night.  Night two?  At four in the morning, we had Penelope on her side of the baby gate meowing to beat the band.  She did NOT like being kept out of part of the house, even if that part of the house had Benny in it!


That's her on the top step.  Four in the morning, waking me up!  I tried to explain that I was doing this for HER not me!  She didn't care.  I took the gates down and they never went back up.

Dr. Wood did give her a shot that was supposed to help calm her down and would last for six weeks.  She was a little more mellow but I'm not thrilled with keeping her drugged.  So we let that run out of her system in the six weeks and I didn't take her back for another dose.  Dr. Wood felt they would be fine, once Benny got out of kitten hood.  Based on their best guess counting back the months, we figured Benny was born last August.  My goal is to hang in there until August until he got to be a year old.  Well, my baby is now one, but he's still got some kitten in him!

I think he's a bit calmer.  I think he and Penelope get along better than they did.  I just hope I see the day that Dr. Wood promised where the two of them would be laying together and grooming each other.  Yeah, I can only hope.

To show how far Benny has come, here is one of the first pictures I ever took of Benny.  We brought him in on a Friday night and this was Sunday afternoon.  All one pound, 11 ounces of him.


And then, a few months ago, we tried to recreate the same picture.  Unfortunately, Benny's only still when he's sleeping!  But you get the idea now that he's about 10 pounds.


He still likes to watch some TV with Ron though!   It's a guy thing!


The kitten in him is still alive and well.  He likes to get into everything!  He'd watch the fish for a long time, trying to catch them through the glass.  Then he learned that he could climb up on the fish tank and drink from the filter.  I started counting the fish when he'd get down because I wasn't sure if he was getting good at fishing!




We've taken the fish tank down now and he misses it.  He still gets up on that case he's on above and looks at the empty space like with the heck!

And then there is my five year old female, Penelope.  I absolutely love her!  She is a lover girl who loves kisses and to be petted and to be left alone by Benny.  One of her favorite spots to lay is on the boot rug in the kitchen.  I usually put the boots away after winter, but she loves to lay against them and she defends this spot from Benny, so I don't want to take away the boots.  Oh well, I guess we're just ready early for next winter!



This is one of my favorite pictures of my little girl.  Penelope is  not much of a climber, she prefers to stay closer to the ground.  Her place on the floor or on the recliner.  When she needs to get away from Benny, she does like to jump up on the counter in the mudroom.  Benny has jumped higher than that before but for some reason, he respects the counter.  He will lay under neath her on the floor, but he won't jump up there after her.  Anyway, I got one good picture of her up here.


She is beautiful!  She must have known I was talking about her because I just had to take a break from typing because she came for a little visit with me.  She was curled up in my lap enjoying a little ear scratching.  Yeah, that can make you forget a lot of problems.


Here, Penelope is taking a little nap on the window seat in the office.  You know, a cat may show you their belly, but they do NOT want you touching it.  Yeah, learned that the hard way.  This picture is my desk top at work.  Every day I look at her and just say "aww"!


Penelope does like to climb on me.  I do spend a lot of time on the couch and if I go down during the night, more times than not, she comes up to join me.  A couple of weekends ago I was just laying there watching TV and luckily Ron had the camera! Me and Penelope, enjoying some girl time!


So these are my inside cats.  They are both waiting at the door when I come home from work.  I love that part of my day!  Then, I have more cats outside that I feed.  I have different relationships with each of them and if I had the money, the five outside would be inside with me.  I'm getting worried about the winter already!

First, we have Hemingway.  Hemingway has been coming around for a couple of years now.  He comes running when I call him for breakfast and he is waiting on the porch for me when I come home from work.   He's definitely got my heart!





The pictures don't do him justice.  He is a beautiful little boy.  This summer, I think he fathered three female kittens.  I don't know where Mom is, but he has been bringing three kittens to the feeding bowls since early summer.  When one of the girls is there to eat, Hemingway will always back up until they've had their share.  The kittens are all gray but they have stripes like Hemingway does.  I am just guessing about the paternity thing, but I don't know why else he'd be taking such good care of these kittens.

I have one picture of one of the kittens.  This is Copa and she's still a little shy.


Her sisters, Lola and Cabana are also gorgeous!  Then, we have a new kitten that's just been coming by for a month or so.  She a tiny little thing so I'm guessing she was born about August like Benny was.  Her name is Tinker!  I'll try to get more pictures.

Some things don't change.  I'm still allergic to the damn cats, and some days, this happens to me.




But you know what?  I can live with this.

These cats have really changed my life.  I love them and like I said, if I had the money, ok and the patience, I'd bring them all in.  Integrating new cats is NOT an easy thing to do. 


No matter how bad my day is, these guys all make it better.  Pulling into the driveway after work, there will be Hemingway on the porch, meowing at me as soon as he sees me.   The three older kittens used to be here twice a day but I've only seen Copa lately.  She's usually waiting on the porch for me after work too.  My little Tinker kitty is a morning girl.  I hear her out on the porch yelling at me when she's ready for breakfast!  It's good to be needed!

There you go, the good in my life right now.  My babies!