Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Radio silence

I know it's NaBloPoMo and all, and it's officially been a, well, a while since the last post. I have my excuses, and it's a pretty good one. A kidney infection will sap any NaBloPoMo inspiration right out of you, I tell you. I'm on the mend, finally, though, so things are going to pick back up. I have posts from last week, but I can't decide if I'm going to try to backfill or just pick up from here forward. I think I'll backfill over at AwwwClutter. So stay tuned, we'll be back on the air with our regularly scheduled programming.....tomorrow.

(and, now, officially, my second NaBloMo post about posting. Pathetic.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The $10K cat

So, I was talking about Harrison, our cat, with one of my friends and I think shocked her by referring to him as our $10K rescue cat. That is a freaking large amount of money to spend on a cat, but yet, over ten years, that's my estimate of what he's cost us. I said that to Rich once and he scoffed there was no way, but once we totaled it up....well, maybe we haven't hit $10K, but we're closing in on it.

Harrison was adopted from the Siamese Cat Rescue Center. My beloved cat Andre died in December 2000, so once we moved into this house in 2001 it was time. He came to us at a year old, a little beat up from a rough life on the streets. In fact, one of his rear legs had been broken somehow, and obviously not set as he still walks with a bit of limp, though once he really settled in it became barely noticeable. One of his ears is a bit ragged, so he definitely got into it a time or two during his time in the wild.

In 2004, when my family as visiting for my sister's college graduation, Harrison developed a urinary blockage, something that is not unusual in male cats. There was a stay in the animal hospital, surgery, and follow up care, including a special diet ($$) to reduce the chance of recurrence. Harrison specializes in crises during busy times. I'm not going to get these dates right because it was all too crazy, but in the weeks after Elizabeth was born, he developed what we could only call severe lethargy, so another emergency room visit determined he had developed some sort of heart problem. We were supposed to take him to a cardiologist, but couldn't ever get there in those first few weeks and by the time we had the time, he seemed to have recovered from whatever it was (we did take him for followups at the regular vet), though he does have a heart mumur.

And I can't remember when this happened, or what event he disrupted, but the biggest ticket item was the intestinal blockage, which resulted in another long hospital stay, surgery, and extended follow up care. Oh, and a DIFFERENT special diet. Nothing has been related to anything else, it's just been a series of unrelated, unlucky events. And, each thing has been something that was easily, if expensively, fixable.

Harrison and Aggie had a complicated relationship - well, not that complicated if you simply consider that Harrison moved in and on day 1 decided it was his mission in life to terrorize our dog. But I think he had a certain fondness for Aggie. So with Aggie gone, Harrison has been lonely, and more importantly, bored. He's been an exclusive indoor cat since he came to live with us, but this summer, at the height of his boredom, I started allowing him to go outside in our fenced back area. He quickly discovered how to escape, though he mostly spent time sunning himself in our yard. I'd let him out for an hour or so in the afternoons. Given our financial investment in this cat, I should have put a stop to it, but he was so happy just hanging around outside (and that's all he mostly did) I let it continue, even when I knew he was in standoffs with a stray in the alley. It wasn't every day, and never for long, but still, he shouldn't have been going out unsupervised. It didn't help that he's learned how to open our back screen door. If it's not latched properly, he can push it open, but even when it is latched, somehow he works at the door until he jiggles it enough the latch slips.

So, two weeks ago - Harrison worked on the door while we were eating dinner and made it out. A huge no no, but he was gone before we could grab him. We expected him to just come back fairly quickly, as usual, but at 11 Rich was outside calling and calling for him. Finally, at 11:30, just as we were going to bed, I looked out the back door and there he was. But, when he came in, he was dripping blood from a wound on his neck - he had gotten into it with something. So, we got him cleaned up and put antiseptic on all his wounds. He slept most of the next day - after all he had just gotten beat up - but seemed to recover. He's been on lockdown since.

Friday night, we noticed a tuft of fur coming off his head, and realized he had a scratch there we hadn't treated, but the tuft of hair coming off generally means the scab is healing so I didn't think too much of it. Then, Saturday morning, he started cleaning, cleaning, cleaning his head. Which, again, I did'nt think too much of, until we took a good look at it and realized he had a giant oozing wound on the top of his head.

Great. Rich's parents were on their way down to celebrate Rich's 40th b-day, and the cat had a giant absess on his head. So, loaded him in the carrier and made my way to the vet for a couple of hours in the waiting room.

$225 later, it was cleaned out, he had a half-shaved head, and we had antibiotics. We'll just add it to the total. He was not happy about the vet, but they managed to clean him up even with the deep belly yowling that was going on. And now we have ten days of pills to get through.

Oh, and I'm forgetting to write about his hernia. When he had the intestinal blockage, at the follow up visit the vet who did the surgery (not at our usual vet) said, oh, I think I sewed all his fat into one area, he's got a little fat pouch. We thought that was odd, but everything seemed to heal ok, except for this bulge in his belly. It was another vet at our usual practice who said, um, he has a hernia. So I had to epxlain that to this vet, who really strongly suggested we spend another couple of grand to get that hernia fixed. Another $2-3K. For a hernia operation. Well, if we haven't hit $10K yet, we certainly will before too long.

Moral of the story - pet insurance for our next pet

Friday, November 5, 2010

Ball guy

One thing I hear from parents of older children is how you become an expert in a topic you never thought might be of interest to you. Parents of girls, for example, might get to know all the intimate details of every Disney princess tale, or the intricacies of the relationships between My Little Ponies, or not to be too horribly gender stereotyping, breeds of horses or I don't know, whatever interests them at the time.

Most mothers I know don't tend to complain about the typical "girl interests" possibly because they were once girls themselves. But I've heard more than one mother grimace when describing how she knows the name and function of every sort of motorized construction vehicle that exists, or arcane trivia about steam engine trains, or the entire taxonomic branch of every dinosaur species known to man. I cannot believe how much this post is embracing every gender stereotype. But the thing is, your kids are their own people no matter how you raise them. When Andrew was quite small, I looked for (because I thought it was interesting) any possible gender differences and noticed no obvious ones. No reaching for toys of one sort over the other, no preferences for dinosaurs over baby dolls.

And then he turned one. And it quickly became apparent what kind of boy we have, and it's very different that Elizabeth. Andrew is a ball guy. And they all pretty much interest him: football, soccer, baseball, basketball. Thus far, with the passing of each season, he's happily transitioned to the next sport and been just as interested. Rich and I are pleased. We can handle this interest while enjoying it ourselves. Whew.

Now, Elizabeth likes football, too, don't get me wrong. But she does not insist on carrying a ball with her at all times. Nor practicing pitching, catching, throwing, or kicking any of the various shaped sports balls that litter our house. Andrew really likes two things right now - kicking the football, and playing 'tackle.' Given the ongoing discussion of increasing violence in football, kicking is about the only position he'd ever be allowed to play, if this interest of his continues, and he's got a decent leg on him already, and loves both kicking it and being the holder.

The thing is, we don't have a no-throwing-the-ball in the house policy. Until recently, it's not like he could do much damage. But he acquired a real pro baseball this summer, and he's got some strength. And some of those footballs could do some damage, too, particularly to our thinly-paned original glass, historic windows, or yikes, our big screen TV, or our original built-in leaded glass-fronted cabinets. But, it is fun to play in the house, so we'll have to think through some house rules.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Four days, seven events. I think we're just now recovering. So let's see, I covered event 1, the school parade. Then there was trick or treating at Daddy's office. Then another party at a friends. Saturday we had a birthday party in the morning. Andrew woke up a little warm and grouchy, but seemed fine at the party. When we got home and I lifted him out of his carseat, I could feel the heat radiating from his body. A fever of 101, so he and I took a pass on event #5, a Halloween party at my brothers.
That's all we need to say about that. Andrew and Daddy took a break from #6, a princess birthday party. Somehow I neglected to take a picture of the adult princess, who seemed to be wearing my circa 1986 prom dress.
And that brings us to Halloween itself. Elizabeth loved trick or treating with her 3 best friends in the neighborhood. It was barely possible for Rich to keep up with her. Andrew was feeling better, but mostly wanted to stick close to home. He LOVED handing out candy to trick or treaters, which surprised me. I wish I had gotten a picture of him doling out the candy with a "here ya go" to each bag.
Seven events in four days was really too much. We had fun, but by the end we were all feeling pretty frayed around the edges.
Thankfully my friend Amy came over and helped us man the fort. Our street is insane on Halloween - I bought close to $40 worth of candy, and for once we didn't run out too early. Our last piece was handed out just after 8:30. The first bag had 83 pieces, the second bag 65, the third bag was cheaper laffy taffy and other smaller candies and while there was no label it had well over 120 pieces, bag four had another 65 pieces, and by bag five I had no idea, plus I had sorted the daddy's office candy and put stuff we don't like in the hand out bin. The past two years we've basically employed a neighborhood redistribution system - sending Elizabeth out to collect more so we could hand out more. This year Elizabeth was too savvy for that, though I was able to srot through it quickly and redistribute some undersirable candy (who hands kids chocolate santas? well, I guess we did), and we still ended up with a pretty healthy supply for the next few months.
Til next year!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

a preview

Still haven't taken pics off our camera, so just a preview of Halloween from my iphone. This was costume #1 for event #1. The younger grades suggested kids should dress as storybook characters and write a book report (yes, write a book report) from their character's story. So her planned Sleeping Beauty costume became Little Red Riding Hood, as we've never read the sleeping beauty story (and struck out at the library). But that's ok. She had 6 more events and I believe 2 additional costume changes to come.

And a photo sent by one of RIch's co-workers. Costume #2 from event #2 - Cinderella at Daddy's office trick or treating event. Andrew, as Elmo, had a pretty good time, though Rich reports Andrew would wander into offices and say, "I want candy." He's not subtle. And yet he's pretty darn cute, so this strategy worked well for him. The football helmet in his left hand is not an official part of his costume - Rich has a UVA helmet displayed in his office, and his office mate retaliated with a syracuse helmet. Andrew insisted on carrying it around the entire time.

They scored so much candy at daddy's office that I was able to sort through it and place any undersirable candies in our giveaway pile for the hundreds of kids we had for Halloween itself.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

still puzzled about this one

The weekend before last, Elizabeth and I were out and Rich put Andrew down for his nap. Andrew was having none of it though, and played and sang and talked in his crib. After about 45 minutes, he started calling Daddy daddy daddy. So Rich went in, only to find Andrew holding his diaper in his hand, with his pants pulled down to his ankles.

OK, so pants down, but still fully on both legs. Diaper off - but one side of the diaper was connected. It must have re-connected after he pulled it off, right? It's just not physically possible to take off a diaper with your pants still on without unhooking both sides, right?

Mercifully, the diaper was merely wet. And also mercifully, there have been no further repeats of any Harry Houdini-like moves. Fingers and toes crossed this was a one time occurrence.

(found the camera cord, but it's too late to upload a billion pictures and write the halloween post. That's tomorrow's goal!).

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo 2010

It's that time of year again. National Blog Posting Month. Once again, my friends and I have decided to accept the challenge and post (at least) once per day for the entire month of November. I chuckled when I read my friend Elaine's post this morning, when she said she was gonig for the low hanging fruit by posting bout Halloween.

Well, I never managed to find the camera cord today (not that I looked all that hard), so I'm gonig for even lower-hanging fruit - a post about how I'm going to be posting.

Pathetic, isn't it? (I can't even be bothered today o put up the badge or links!). It'll get better. Tomorrow. Promise.