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9/29/06

by @ Friday, September 29th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, New house, reader cats

Proud owners of a second home – at least for the next several months. I can’t wait to get started!!!

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Things that have made me laugh out loud lately: Fred did both of these, but the one that really made me laugh out loud was this one, which he posted over on his site: All of the three above are in the vein of this, in case you’re wondering. Sent to me by reader Penny. I opened the picture and looked at it, and literally laughed out loud.
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A few days ago Fred and I went to the water and sewer authority to have the water/ sewer service at the new house turned over to our names as of… why, today, as a matter of fact. Anyway, there was a form I had to fill out with our names and social security numbers, and all that good stuff. One of the questions was “List ALL individuals who will be residing at this address”, and I was equally torn between writing down “Fred And3rson, Robyn And3rson, Danielle HerLastName, Spot J. Buhhhdy, Spanky Q. Annoying, Miz Pootie McPooterson, Stanley J. Boogerstein, Sugar Buttocks, and Thomas Cullen the Third, along with temporary resident Miss Maddy Mack (Mack! Mack!)”, and just writing down “That is none of your goddamn business, you fuckers, as long as the water and sewer bill gets paid, you just don’t worry your PRETTY LITTLE HEAD about who-all is beneath MY ROOF. GODDAMN GOVERNMENT.” In the end, I just opted to put Fred’s, mine, and the spud’s names down. No need to send out the announcement that we’re freaks just yet, I suppose.
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I’m seriously considering changing my name. Not my first name (I am nothing if not a “Robyn”, after being “Robyn” for 38 years) or my last name (since I share it with Fred and about 16 million other And3rsons), but my middle name. I don’t like my middle name – Leslie – and have never really liked it. Which is not meant to insult any Leslies out there – it’s a perfectly nice name, but I just don’t like it as MY name, you know? What I’ve been thinking of changing my name to is Robyn [My Maiden Name] And3rson. Obviously I’m not going to tell y’all what my maiden name is, but I like the ring of having my maiden name as my middle name. So how does one go about changing their name, someone tell me. Do I need to go to court and swear to the judge that I’m not trying to dodge a crime or bill collectors, or is it just a matter of changing my name with social security? I know someone out there knows the answer to this. Tell me!
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Last week, I started having some slight abdominal pain, right around my belly button. I thought perhaps I’d overdone it in the previous few days, so I took it easy for a few days, and the abdominal pain never really got better, so I started to worry. It wasn’t hurting all the time, or all that badly, but of course my immediate thought was that I’d been lifting too much too soon, and popped a hernia. I waited for a few more days, hoping it would go the hell away (sometimes that works, you know. Just wait and it goes away. Like magic! Or like there was never anything wrong…), but Tuesday was the worst day yet and so I resolved to call and make an appointment with my primary care physician the next morning. I called promptly at 8:00 when the office opened, and got lucky because there was a 9:30 cancellation. I took that, and a few minutes after 9:00 I headed for the doctor’s office. After waiting for an hour (thank GOD I brought my book), I finally got to see the doctor, and she felt the area and found the part where it really hurt the most, directly above my belly button. “Please tell me it’s not a hernia,” I said. “I don’t think it’s a hernia,” she said. “But I need to get some x-rays and bloodwork.” She asked several times if I was having any urinary problems, I guess thinking that it might be a urinary tract infection, but I hadn’t had any problems, and I told her so. After bloodwork and an x-ray, I sat back in the exam room and waited for her to come in and tell me what was going on. She did, and guess what? I’m full of shit. Literally. “There’s stool backed way up,” she told me. “I’m pretty sure the problem is that you’re constipated. Get an enema and take a couple of Dulcolax and stay near the bathroom.” “Really?” I said. “But I’ve been going just fine, no problems.” She repeated the bit about the stool all along my intestines, then told me she was sending me for a CAT scan, just to be sure. “Also, there’s a bony abnormality on your right hip, and I’d like to have that scanned, too. It’s probably nothing, maybe arthritis that developed when you were so overweight. ” She showed me where the “bony abnormality” is, but I’ll be damned if I can find it again. My right and left hips feel exactly the same as far as I can tell. And I’ve never had any problems with my hips. I went by Wal-Mart for the enema and Dulcolax, and when I got home I used both the enema and the Dulcolax and sat back, waiting for the wave of poo to crash upon Casa And3rson, but I’ve gotta say (TMI! TMI!), the results were fairly underwhelming. So today, after getting up early and eating breakfast, I got to fast for six hours and go in for a CAT scan. And guess what I got to have? OH LUCKY ME. I got to spend almost an hour choking down two HUGE cups of barium. Even just typing the word “barium” gave me goosebumps and made me shudder. Because that stuff if FUCKING NASTY, I know y’all know that, but let me repeat: FUCKING NASTY. It’s like liquid plastic with a little soupcon of ass and maybe a sprinkle of dirty feet, all mixed together and treated with a fake berry taste to hide the nastiness. (It doesn’t work.) I choked down the first one, then had to chew gum for a few minutes to get the ass taste out of my mouth. I got into a rhythm of drinking as much as I could before I started gagging (at first, that was four or five sips. Toward the end, it was a single sip at a time.), then flipping through a Martha Stewart Living magazine (holy god, does that woman cook ANYTHING without oil? Because it would appear not.) to take my mind off the torture I was inflicting on my tastebuds. I called Fred and my sister to bitch about the nastiness of the crap I was drinking, but neither of them answered their phone so I left messages. Finally, the CAT scanologist came out to get me, had me take my shirt and bra off and put a classy, stylish, yet FUNCTIONAL hospital johnny on, and then she commenced the scanning. I didn’t see any cats, though. At one point, she injected me with contrast and told me that I’d feel warm all over “Especially your bottom.” INDEED. All in all, it took about 40 minutes to do the whole thing, and the only thing that sucked is that the barium had gone through my stomach so fast that I had to drink some more while I was laying on the table. And it was WARM, and it was citrus-flavored, and if the cold, berry-flavored barium tasted like it had a soupcon of ass added, the warm citrus-flavored barium tasted like they’d added the whole left cheek, and I thought for sure I was going to barf, but luckily I did not and only had to endure the whole thing for another few minutes before she let me go. I suspect my scan’s going to come back just fine. That, or they’ll need to do another one JUST TO TORTURE ME.
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Last weekend, Fred and I started talking about new cars. Specifically, a new car for me. The spud had saved up enough money for a down payment on a car, and we decided back at the beginning of the summer that she would buy my car from me, and I’d get a new one. I love E’gar, but as someone in my comments posted, the spud has put more miles and wear and tear on it than I have, so why not sell it to her (I owe less than $5,000 on it), since we know it’s in good shape and has low mileage (a year and a half old, and it has about 12,000 miles on it) and it would most likely (god willing and the creek don’t rise) get her through college quite nicely. What I really wanted was a Toyota Yaris. They’re adorable, not too expensive, and get good gas mileage. We stopped at the Toyota dealership in Huntsville while we were out having dinner Friday night, and they didn’t have any Yaris hatchbacks, so Saturday we stopped in Decatur and I drove a 4-door Yaris. I liked it, but I didn’t want to drive one car and decide that I liked it, so we exchanged names and numbers with the salesguy and went on our way to the fair. Saturday evening, Fred was looking around online and found that Hyundai has a small car, the Accent, and when he showed me the picture, I decided it was pretty cute and I wanted to drive it. We drove into Huntsville to the Hyundai dealership and I drove an Accent. I liked it, more than the Yaris, actually, but Fred was pushing for me to at least test-drive a Suzuki (they’re inexpensive and we get a “loyalty discount” from Suzuki for buying more than one car through the dealership). We stopped by the Suzuki dealership on the way home and got a couple of informational flyers about a couple of Suzukis – the SX4, and the Reno. Monday I picked Fred up at his office and we went over to the Suzuki dealership. I drove a Reno around, and really, really liked it. I decided I didn’t like the look of the SX4, but there was a red Aerio sedan I thought was cute, so I test drove that, and after driving the Reno I didn’t much care for the way the Aerio sedan handled. So we got me a Suzuki Reno. In red. Yes, I’m back to a non-yellow car, but I like it, I think it’s adorable (I was thinking of getting the blue, but when I saw the red, I thought it was so pretty that I decided I wanted that instead), and I can pay that baby off in just a few years, and start saving for my next, more expensive car. (Who wants to bet I’ll just end up with another Suzuki?) Anyway, that’s what I’ve been alluding to this week, when I said that I ran an errand I couldn’t tell you about. We were shopping for, and buying cars. And without further ado, meet… Dsc02040 Delmar. (Named after Tim Blake Nelson’s character in O Brother, Where Art Thou?) (“We THOUGHT you was a TOAD!”) Dsc02044 TWENTY miles on it. Time to sell!
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Miss Maddy continues to do well. Last night when we watched TV, she spent the entire evening curled up on me. If I moved a little too much for her liking, she’d lift up her head and meow at me, then go back to sleep. She also started yawning last night! I didn’t happen to have my camera handy when she was a yawning fool, but I think y’all can expect some yawny pics in the near future. She’s eating well, though for her last feeding in the evening, she hasn’t been much interested in anything to eat. She eats plenty in the morning and afternoon, though, and she’s continuing to gain weight every day, so I’m not going to worry about it. Someone asked yesterday what I meant when I said I put Maddy up on Saturday. When we’re not home, we don’t let Maddy roam the house, because I trust that most of the cats wouldn’t hurt her, but Mister Boogers makes me nervous with his angry growl if she annoys him and I’d hate it if she got hurt. So I put her in the kitten room (I leave the cage door open all the time now), so she’ll be safe. I’ve thought about putting Tommy in there with her, since he’s the gentlest, most good-natured, and is most interested in her, but then I’d have to put a litter box in there for him (his big butt wouldn’t fit in her little litter box), so no. It’s good for her to learn to play by herself every once in a while, I think. This can’t end well.   More pictures here.    
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Reader yawny pet pics! This is Amy’s bulldog, Rene. Amy says, Robyn – I finally captured my dog yawning! I couldn’t decide which pic to send so I’ll let you choose which is best. This is Rene, she is a French Bulldog. I don’t mean to sound cocky but she is THE best dog in the world. She is hilarious and has more personality in her right bat ear than a 1000 dogs put together. We joke that she is part dog, cat, pig, bat, rabbit and rhinocerous. She is a very special girl – and very spoiled. You can TELL she’s the best dog in the world. I love the way she looks like she’s laughing! This is Anita‘s baby, Frank. In the interest of full disclosure, Frankie and Miz Poo have had a torrid… er, lukewarm… er, okay, TEPID love affair going on. They’re both whiny babies whose owners LURVE them to death. Mo says, I can never capture the little bastard yawning, but I did manage to get him right BEFORE he yawned. Last night he was sitting on top of the tractor wheel, and I managed to get him in between a yawn and a whine. Ain’t he cuuuuuuute? I love me some Frankie, yes ma’am. This is Jeannine’s Sofie. Jeannine says, i don’t have a yawny pic but i do have an incredibly cute one of my Sofie. i was on the computer and i looked up and saw this…… This is one of the problems with a flat-screen monitor – the cats can’t quiiiiite fit on top of it. I kind of miss looking up and seeing Spanky’s goofy face. This is Suzy’s Leo. Suzy says, My daughter’s cat Leo is a character who thinks he is human and sits to watch TV – its not a yawn picture, but it sure does make him unique! That’s for sure – I expect to look over and see Tommy sitting just like this one of these days! This is Hulda’s cat Zoey, who reminds me SO much of Tom Cullen, especially the second one down. That is a TOTAL Tommy face. Hulda says, She is the princess around here and everytime she’s done a number two in her box she calls for me and I have to come wipe her ass with a moist baby wipe. She can’t clean herself because she is so big and she can’t quite reach her bits if you know what I mean, she’s almost 20 pounds and that’s on a controlled diet. Some cats are just meant to be big and that’s just fine as long as she’s healthy 🙂 You know, I was going to say “Now, that’s a dedicated cat lover!”, but really – I think that we all know that if it came down to it, I’d TOTALLY wipe any of our cats’ butts if they needed to be wiped. I’d probably bitch about it, but I’d do it! Thanks for sharing your pictures Amy, Anita, Jeannine, Suzy, and Hulda!
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Previously 2005: What a fucking day, I tells ya. 2004: Which makes me think he’s out there talking shit about me, of course. 2003: He’s an awfully cute little kitty. 2002: No entry. 2001: I swear, my work is NEVER done. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/28/06

by @ Thursday, September 28th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, New house, reader cats

DSC01639 There were several of these growing near the house, and neither of us had any clue what they were. Fred’s stepmother informed us that they’re spider lilies. Since they grow from bulbs, I may dig them up and transplant them. Then again I might not – I’m not sure where the bulb garden is ultimately going to be. Dsc01655 Pardon the blurriness, but these fuckers can MOVE. I saw one of these last month in the front yard of the house and tried to get a picture of it, but couldn’t. On our trip to the house Saturday, I saw several of them and finally managed to get a picture. I was going to put it up and ask y’all what it might be, but on a whim I Googled “Red velvet ant”, and found that – amazingly enough – it’s called a “Red velvet ant.” Or you can call it by its other name – “Cow Killer.” It’s not really an ant, it’s a wasp, and you can read more about it here. I thought they were kind of pretty, but if the fuckers have a painful bite, I’m just as happy to stomp on them. DSC01657 We walked out to the back forty. DSC01665 DSC01658 From the back corner of the back forty, looking toward the house. The owners’ son had started to bushhog the back field, but their tractor broke down before it could be finished. The tractor Fred almost bought, but decided not to. Dodged a bullet on that one! DSC01666 Leaves starting to change on the black gum tree. DSC01668 In the back forty. Dsc01669 Huge tree in the back forty. DSC01672 Pecan tree overlooking the “pond.” When we left the house, we headed toward Decatur to do something you don’t get to hear about yet (patience, grasshoppers. All will be revealed tomorrow. Or Monday. Nothing huge, I promise.), but on the way we passed a tractor place, and since it was apparently Fred’s intent to visit every single tractor place in the state of Alabama, we stopped. I sat in the car with my book while he went in and talked to someone. Half an hour later, he came back outside. “I’m going to drive a tractor,” he said. “And there’s a cat in the store!”

DSC01682 She was friendly, but started getting bite-y after a while, so I left her alone. DSC01688 Fred, driving his very first tractor.
When I was done petting and taking pictures of the cat, I went outside and watched Fred drive around on the tractor. The salesman turned to me and said “I hear you’re a fan of cats.” “I am,” I said. “We have six of our own.” He shuddered. “No offense, but I’m not a cat person.” I shrugged. “None taken. I’m not a dog person.” “I’m not really a dog person either,” he said. “I’m retired, and I might get home today and my wife might say “Let’s go to Tunica for a few days!”, and we won’t have to worry about the pets.” “That’s true,” I agreed. I watched Fred for a few more minutes, and when he headed inside with the salesman to talk numbers, I went back to the car and read some more. We went to Decatur, did the thing you’re not allowed to know about yet, and then headed for the Morgan County Fair. After all the talking-up Fred had done, I expected this fair to be HUGE and AMAZING. We went into the Expo Hall first, and I admired the quilts, while Fred talked to a couple of guys at a booth about – what else? – TRACTORS.
Dsc01693 This is my favorite. Dsc01694 My other favorite. Makes me want to take up quilting.
After the Expo Hall, we went and checked out the livestock, and fed some goats. Well, Fred fed some goats. I wandered around and took pictures.
Dsc01698 Dsc01720 Dsc01723 Dsc01709 I haven’t got a CLUE what this thing is. It kind of looks like an ostrich, but I think it was some kind of sheep.
After the livestock, we wandered around the fair grounds checking out rides and games. It was a pretty small fair and there were no rides we wanted to go on, and Fred played one game and won a cheap little prize for me, and then we walked around a little more, bitching about the heat, and finally left to find something to eat. We ate at a buffet – where I ate too much, damnit, but it was good – and then headed for home, after stopping off to do something else y’all don’t get to hear about yet. (This is not sex-related, in case you’re worried. Though telling you that we’ve decided to become swingers would probably be a tad more interesting than what it’s really about.) On the way home, Fred suddenly exclaimed Ere he drove out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!” “Hey, look! It’s Donald Sutherland!” And we spent about ten minutes trying to catch up to the SUV Donald was driving, so I could so-very-subtly snap his picture.
Dsc01730 Not really Donald Sutherland. Or IS IT?
I spent the afternoon bonding with Maddy and then taking a nap, and Fred and I spent the evening watching TV until the spud got home (Fred can’t sleep until he knows she’s home safe). All in all, a good Saturday!
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A couple of cat questions, answered: Ummmmm…… You *warmed* Maddy’s food? That must STINK to the high heavens!!!! Yeah, I warm her food because I’m a total sucker, and god forbid she have to eat COLD food. She might starve to death! And yeah, it does stink. By the end of the day, after smelling the soft food I give Maddy all day long, when Fred opens a can of soft food to feed the big cats for a snack (and we wonder why Tommy is such a porker), it makes me a little nauseous. Also, I worry that I walk around all day smelling like cat food and just don’t realize it! Maddy is SO cute. Question from a non-cat owning person…will her eyes always be blue or will they change color as she gets older? Still think you can give her up? Her eyes will probably change from blue; they’re already lighter than they were, and I think I see flecks of gold in them. I’d love it if she kept her big blue eyes, though. They’re gorgeous! And yes, I think I’ll be able to give her up. It won’t be easy, but y’all forget – I’ve actually given up more foster kitties than I’ve kept. Excluding Maddy, I’ve had 11 foster kittens and given up 9 of them. So, see? I can do it! (And I know that if I give her up, there’ll be more fosters in my future. If I keep her, the fostering will have to stop because there is NO WAY Fred would ever let me foster again.) I work with [deleted] and she has been showing me pictures of this perfect little angel kitten. I can’t believe that after you has nursed this little beauty that you can give her away….What kind of mother are you?? You are all she knows. You will damage her for life you know. I’m actually not the only mother she’s ever known – I’m the third mother she’s ever known, at least of the human persuasion. God knows what happened to her “birth” mother. And let’s get serious here – she’s a CAT. I’m not going to damage her for life, because her brain is the size of a pea. If I went away for two days and came back, she’d be like “And you are…?” I’m giving her away to a very good home, because the shelter I work for is extremely careful regarding who they allow to adopt their cats. And like I said above, if I keep Maddy, the fostering will have to stop. I talked Fred into letting me foster again even after we adopted Tommy and Sugarbutt, but I have no doubt he’d put his foot down if I tried to keep Maddy and then foster again.
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Maddy (or as I’ve taken to calling her lately, Miss Maddy Mack (Mack! Mack! With stripes of black! black! black! And fur that’s gray! gray! gray! All down her back! back! back!) continues to do well. She’s solidly over a pound, she’s using the litterbox exclusively (I do NOT miss stimulating her to pee and poop. No matter how fastidious you are about it, you end up with pee and poop on your hands at some point, and you don’t always necessarily realize it.), and she’s past the diarrhea stage. I got her to eat soft cat food twice yesterday, though at her evening feeding Fred tried to feed her, but she wasn’t that interested, only ate a little bit. I tried a while later to feed her, but she wasn’t at ALL interested in food or formula, just spent the evening exploring and sleeping on me. She is just so unbearably cute that I have to bite my tongue so I don’t squeeze her to death, and now my tongue is sore all the time. Everything I’ve read says that when you give a baby cat a bottle, you should have them on their stomachs at a 45-degree angle. But this is the ONLY position she’ll take her bottle in, standing on her back legs with her back against me. Also, very important to grab my hand so the bottle doesn’t go anywhere. More pictures hither.    
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Reader yawny pet pics!
This is Angie‘s Eden, relaxing in the leather recliner. Nice life indeed, Angie! Dana’s Gracie… And Dana’s Maxine. Who apparently live very exhausting lives. How hard ARE you working them, Dana? Danielle says, This is Gilbert, an italian greyhound. I think he was about 8/9 weeks here, and ok, technically he was after his tail, not yawning. But the effect is the same, and I thought it was pretty damn cute. And the second picture, Gilbert is, again, not yawning, but instead trying to eat Hamlet Truman, my adorable new kitten. They’re about the same age, and really best friends. Hamlet spends a lot of time trying to carve Gilbert up into little puppy pieces, so they’re even. Y’all know I’m not a dog person, but Gilbert really kinda makes me want to get a dog so he can harass the cats! This is Susan‘s Ruby. Susan says, Here’s another laughing kitten picture – a picture of one of our kittens, Ruby. I accidentally snapped it one day as she was crawling across my lap (that’s why it’s out of focus) but I absolutely love it. Is she laughing, or does she want to bite you like a vampire? Those are some seriously sharp-looking teeth! Y’all can see more of Susan’s kitten pics here. This is Kelly’s Stella, who is an absolute dead ringer for Sugarbutt! I don’t think Sugarbutt could fit his big butt in the sink anymore, though. And Kelly’s Jupiter. The look on Jupiter’s face just cracks me UP.
Thanks, Angie, Dana, Danielle, Susan, and Kelly, for sharing your pictures!
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Dsc01731 He straddled the bird bath like this for the longest time, staring off into space at something. It’s like he was posing for me!
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Previously 2005: Phear my l33t fotograffic skillz. 2004: Dear Stephen King: Stop defending what you did, and just write the goddamn story. 2003: Meet Gizmo. 2002: No entry. 2001: No entry. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/27/06

by @ Wednesday, September 27th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, Picture Entries, psc, reader cats

very annoying self-important neighbor)”,” I suggested. Fred laughed appreciatively. “That would be the ultimate in passive aggressive,” he said. Hey, we’ll only be living here for another six months or so. Let’s BURN THOSE BRIDGES!

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Several of you have asked whether the weight loss surgery could have caused the Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. I’m pretty sure Fred asked Dr. GI that very same question, and Dr. GI danced around the question a little, but in the end said he didn’t think so. They don’t know what causes PSC, but it’s widely believed that it’s an autoimmune thing. In fact, it’s possible that a few years ago, when I first saw Dr. GI, when he tentatively diagnosed (is it just me, or is it scary how the older you get, the more you realize just how uncertain doctors can be? I want a FIRM diagnosis, a “I have no doubt that you have this, and this is how we’ll cure you, and you WILL live forever!”, but that doesn’t seem to happen all that often, at least not with ME.) me with a fatty liver and told me to come back in six months so he could monitor my numbers and perhaps get a liver biopsy if things hadn’t improved AND I FORGOT AND NEVER WENT BACK, that could have been the beginning of my PSC symptoms, only the symptoms of the onset of PSC are so subtle that it never occurred to me that there was a problem ’til I turned all Marge Simpson.
So no, we can’t blame weight loss surgery for the PSC. We CAN blame it for the gallbladder, though. Stupid weight loss surgery! (Yeah. At this point, I’d still do it again without even hesitating.) And on a side note, both Fred and reader Cristin sent me the link to this article. It certainly gives me even more hope that I might not be facing a liver transplant one day!
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Saturday, I dropped off my prescription for Urs0 Forte, the medicine Dr. GI prescribed for me. The pharmacist told me they didn’t have that in stock, but she’d order it and it should be in on Monday. “Do you want me to see how much it’ll cost?” she asked. “Yeah,” I said, then remembered that Fred was waiting for me. “No, never mind. I need it no matter how much it costs, so just go ahead and fill it.” “Okay, see you Monday!” said the pharmacist. Saturday afternoon, as I was sitting in the kitten room feeding Maddy, Fred came to the door. “You need to call Pharmacist Chick,” he said. “She said the Urs0 Forte is very expensive, and with the generic version it could save you about a hundred bucks a month, so I can only imagine what the cost of it is!” I handed Maddy off to him and went to call the pharmacy. “Yeah, your prescription is going to run you about two hundred and thirty dollars a month,” she said. I made some sort of horrified sound that went a lot like “Yeek!” “But there’s a generic version,” she went on. “It only comes in 300 mg pills, though, so you’d have to take it three times a day instead of two, but it’ll save you about a hundred dollars. Would you like me to call your doctor and see if he’ll write a new prescription for the generic?” “Yes, please,” I squeaked, doing the math and figuring out that even the generic was going to cost $130ish a month. Good god. At least our insurance company covers 80% of generic drugs. Yesterday morning the pharmacist called to let me know that Dr. GI had okayed the generic, and I could pick up the prescription anytime after 2. With that $100 a month I’m SAVING by getting the generic (I call that Robynomics – Fredonomics would be where I’d point out that I could just not take the medication, put the money in a savings account every month, and my funeral would be paid for by the time my liver exploded) I think I should be allowed to go on a book-buying spree, don’t you?
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I went to physical therapy yesterday to report to my physical therapist that I was having no back pain at all, and she – well, she and I together – decided it was time to discharge me. We spent most of the hour filling out the discharge report, and at one point she said “How long can you sit without back pain?”, and I said “I sat at my computer for three hours the other day and had no back pain at all.” Then I couldn’t just leave it at that, noooooooo. I had to open up my big fat mouth. “Well, if I sit in the recliner with the laptop on my lap, my tailbone starts to hurt after about an hour and a half, but that’s just because of all the cushioning I’ve lost back there!” And I laughed gaily. The physical therapist, on the other hand, did not. “Your tailbone shouldn’t ever be hurting,” she said sternly. “But it’s just when I sit in the recliner in the same position for a long time,” I said weakly. “It still shouldn’t hurt, no matter how much cushioning you’ve lost.” I sighed. “If we have time, I’ll take a look at it before you go,” she said. “But… it’s really not normal?” I said sadly. “No, not at all.” I immediately remembered something she’d told me the first time she was working on my back. Apparently a lot of people come in with hip problems that end up being tailbone issues, and if the tailbone is flexed outward (you don’t really think of your tailbone as being a flexible thing, do you?) they have to fix it by coming in from behind it. It involves gloves and lube. I didn’t want to do anything that involved gloves and lube with my physical therapist, thank you. I berated myself for opening my BIG FAT MOUTH, and hoped she’d forget about it. But of COURSE she didn’t, and I had to climb up on the Table of Doom so she could see (feel) what was going on with my tailbone. To my IMMENSE relief, it wasn’t flexed outward, it was just rotated to the left, and she worked on it for a while and swore it was back where it was supposed to be. I thought I could feel the difference for a while, but last night it pretty much felt like it always did. As far as I knew, anyway. I got a free t-shirt and a hug from the physical therapist, and I was out of there lickety-split, before she could change her mind about the gloves and the lube. I’m going to miss the hell out of those back massages, though. I might even have to suck it up and start going to a masseuse. Probably not, though. I still don’t much like being touched by strangers.
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I am way way WAY too pleased to announce that last night a little after 9, while we were watching TV, Maddy (who had been alternately sleeping and playing all evening) started howling like she was starving to death. Never mind that I’d shoved three syringes of cat food down her throat not two hours earlier, AND about a tablespoon of formula to top it off, she was starving. STARVING. PEOPLE I AM STARVING, HOW CAN YOU STARVE SOMEONE THIS CUTE? HOW? So I got all determined that if she was hungry, by god, she was going to eat some soft food on her own, and I was NOT going to give her formula TOO. I went and put some cat food on a plate and warmed it up, then went into the living room and sat on the floor and called to her. And she climbed up on me, all whining and sad about how hungry she was – STARVING, I SAY! – and I pushed some food in her mouth, and she got even sadder like, “Why you hate me, lady? Why you not just give me food in my mouth that I only have to swallow? A LOT OF FOOD.” And Fred said “You’re not going to give her some through the syringe?”, like I was a BAD MOTHER, and I said “All right, go get me a syringe!” He did, and I filled it with food and put it in her mouth and squirted food into her mouth, and then she swallowed it, and I squirted more, and she swallowed it, and I was once again resolute. “If you’re hungry, Maddy, EAT!” I commanded. I held a finger with cat food on it up to her mouth, and she wailed and squirmed away. And so I grabbed a syringe and dabbed the end of it in the cat food and held it up to her mouth, and she licked the food off. “WHY won’t she eat off my finger, or off the plate if she’s so hungry?” I appealed to Fred. “I don’t know,” he said helpfully. Maddy squirmed and wailed some more, and so I held her in her favorite feeding position, where she stands with her back feet on the floor and her front paws wrapped around my hand, and put some cat food on the end of my fingers and held it up to her. She started eating it off my fingers, so I got more for her, and more, then showed her where the plate of food was. But she wailed and squirmed. “Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?” I wailed along with her. “Whyyyyyyyyy, Maddy?” “Wait,” Fred said. “Stand her back up and feed her like you were doing before.” I did, and Fred came over to us and crouched down. He grabbed the dish of cat food and held it up right under my fingers. “Now put your fingers on the dish,” he instructed. I did, and I’ll be darned if that cat didn’t start eating off the plate. Slowly, as she ate, we moved the plate to the floor, and I took my hands away from her, and she kept eating. She ate all the cat food on the plate, and then Fred went and got some more, and with a little help from me (I had to push the cat food up in little piles so it was easier for her to eat), she ate almost all the food he’d gotten for her. So Fred, he’s not only a handyman, he’s also a cat-feeding genius, that’s right. Now my next question, those of you who’ve dealt with kittens this small – when will she start drinking water? I keep a small bowl of water near her cage, but she shows no interest at all in it. Is there something I should be doing? I wouldn’t want her to get dehydrated. I adore this picture. She looks like a little cartoon! More pictures hither.    
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Reader yawny pet pics!
Mary says, I know you love cats, but here is a picture of Nieko and Gracie. They have the same parents but were born a few years apart. Nieko really preferred being an only child! Gracie worships the ground he walks on, follows him everywhere and basically annoys him to no end! I LOVE this picture. It’s like, “I’m bad! I’m bad! I’m the baddest badass ever!” “Yeah, darlin’, sure you are. Whatever.” Stephanie says Okay, so Ace isn’t yawning in these pics, but he would be if he didn’t have his face stuck in a glass and a canteloupe! I’m only amazed that I don’t have pictures of Sugarbutt with HIS face stuck in a glass. I better be careful – if he sees that picture of Ace, he might get ideas… This sweet little fluffy cat is Kizmet, and she belongs to Shelly. She’s got some attitude going on, doesn’t she? And Shelly says, here is Baxter, our dog. In one of the pics, he is actually singing (he howls along when you blow a harmonica). That reminds me of when I was a kid and my brother Randy would get our dog Taffy to “sing” with him. I love cats, but they’ll rarely sing with you. Well, Miz Poo will try, but she just ends up whining annoyingly instead. This is my sister’s feisty little monkey, Punki. I LOVE pictures of cats with their tongues sticking out. They crack me up.
Thanks for sharing your pictures, Mary, Stephanie, Shelly, and Debbie (though Debbie didn’t probably intend to share that picture of Punki with y’all – but I’m sure she doesn’t mind!)!
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Dsc01837 “That screamy little kitten scares me.”
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Previously 2005: Did I bring “a book” with me? HELL NO I didn’t bring “a book” with me – I brought FIVE books with me. 2004: No offense to you stoners out there, but the Warrens totally look stereotypical stoners. 2003: No entry. 2002: I think I’m going to start calling him The Todd. 2001: Does that kid’s face just scream “dilemmanated”, or what? 2000: No entry. ]]>

9/26/06

by @ Tuesday, September 26th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, New house

Warning: Liberal use of the “c” word in this entry. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. So, ever have one of those days that starts out just fine, and then something goes wrong and then something else goes wrong, and then you realize you’ve called every car in front of you on your trip from one city to another “A stupid goddamn asshole cunt fuckhead”, so you come to the decision you should never have gotten out of bed? No? Just me, then? Seriously, yesterday started out just fine. I got up when Fred left for work, I got dressed and puttered around the house a bit, I started last week’s CSI and Grey’s Anatomy burning to a DVD for my sister/ nephew (CSI) and mother (Grey’s Anatomy) (PS: Torrents are THE SHIT), then I looked at the clock and realized that it was five minutes ’til seven, and the spud wasn’t out of bed yet. I went and woke her up, and when I was sure she was in the shower, I left for the pet store. (I would have given her a ride to school, but her boyfriend – friend? guy she’s dating? I am unsure of the correct technology, here – was planning to give her a ride to school, so I knew she’d make it there okay.) I was at the pet store, cleaning out a litter box when my cell phone rang. It was the spud, telling me she’d left something on the printer, and could I drop it off at school for her before her class? I briefly considered giving her a hard time about it, but I think this is pretty much the only time she’s done this, so I refrained. I was almost finished cleaning cages at the pet store when one of the cats who’s been there for a little too long reached out and swiped her claws across the back of my hand, leaving long, painful scratches behind. I’m used to the occasional scratch (those kitties don’t always love to be held and snuggled and kissed on the top of their little heads, you know), but I’ve gotten pretty good at dodging the cats who intentionally try to scratch me, only this time I was distracted and she caught me by surprise. I washed out the scratches, gave the cat a dirty look, and finished up my chores. I left the pet store and went across the street to the gas station where I usually fill up on Monday mornings, because it’s the cheapest gas in Huntsville* and although I usually only go through about half a tank of gas in the course of a week, I prefer to have half a tank or more of gas at all times. Who knows when I’m going to need to make a run for the Mexico border? Best to not have to stop and fill up in that case, is how I see it. So I pulled in next to the pump, got out with my debit card to pay at the pump, and looked down to see that the display on the pump was saying “Please pay cashier inside.” Dudes, what the fuck? If I WANTED to go inside and stand in line to pay the cashier, would I be trying to pay at the pump? I said “FUCK THAT”, got into my car and left for home, deciding to stop on the way home to fill up the tank. Sure, I’d pay a little more, but I wouldn’t have to STAND IN LINE. I cannot abide standing in line when I don’t have to -thus the reason 90 percent of my shopping is done online. And even the slowness of THAT pisses me off sometimes. Heading towards Madison, I pulled out my cell phone and called Fred to bitch. He pointed out that we were going to be going to Athens in the next few days, and he’d filled up at a gas station there for $2.06 on Sunday, so we could just take my car instead of his and fill it up on our way into town. I agreed that that was a good idea, hung up the phone, and pulled into the grocery store parking lot. My trip to the grocery store was okay except… you know what I hate? Besides standing in line (which I didn’t have to do at the grocery store, because it was early and there weren’t many people there)? I hate it when the cashier looks at something I’m buying, and makes a comment about it. Like “Oh, that looks good!” or “Is that good?”, because although I am not as fat as I used to be, my brain still hasn’t caught onto that fact quite yet, and so I stand there feeling like the 300+ woman who’s buying a cake, knowing that they think I’m going home to shove it all in my face. (Which I usually was.) So I went home and put the groceries away and got Maddy’s food ready for her while Sugarbutt lolled seductively on the counter, giving me his best “Hey Momma, what you got there for the Sugarman?” eyes. I went upstairs and Maddy was sitting in her little car bed in her cage, and when she saw me she got all excited, and then when I opened the door to her cage, what did she do? She stepped OUT through the door and ran over to me. She’s so smart, my Maddy. I was loading the syringe of cat food to shove in her face, and she was apparently so hungry that the smell of the food was driving her crazy and she started sniffing around my hands, and she actually ate some cat food off my hands and off the dish! I got all excited and thought we might have made a breakthrough, but I saw the light go on over her head as she thought to herself “Wait a minute. I’m a pretty princess and shouldn’t have to feed mySELF!”, and she whined and cried until I shoved some cat food in her face through the syringe, and followed it up with a bottle of formula. I am surely pushing this cat into an eating disorder. She’s going to end up like a little Nicole Ritchie, with the huge sunglasses and the scary, bony legs. The absolute best moment of the day came when I was just hanging out with Maddy, and Sugarbutt and Tom Cullen came in to hang out, too. Sugarbutt got into one of the cubes that stays in the kitten room. His tail was hanging out one of the holes, and Maddy saw it and became curious (she’s turning into a real little CAT!) and ran over to sniff his tail. I snapped a picture of that moment. And one instant later, Sugarbutt realized that Maddy was sniffing his tail, and he simultaneously hissed and levitated out the hole in the top of the cube, and he hung there for several long seconds, then pulled this running-sideways Matrix move, where he ran along a part of the wall and out the door. This act scared Tommy, who was hanging out in Maddy’s cage, so badly that he hit his head on the side of Maddy’s cage with a resounding ::clang:: and then tore out of the room so fast that he was nothing but a big black portly blur. I called Fred to tell him about it, and ended up laughing so hard I was crying and he couldn’t understand what I was saying. GOD I wish I’d had the camcorder in there with me. That’s a moment that would surely have won us ten thousand dollars on America’s Funniest Home videos.** So I discussed with Fred what time I’d be at his office to pick him up for an errand y’all don’t get to hear about just yet, and we decided I’d be there at 10:30. At 10, I called to tell him I needed to run to the spud’s school and the post office and then I’d be there to pick him up. And just. like. that. I got into a bad mood. Because Fred bitched about the fact that if I was later picking him up to run the errand, the later I’d be dropping him back off at his office, and the later he’d be eating breakfast, and he was hunnnnngry. YEAH? HUNGRY? JOIN THE FUCKING CLUB, FUCKER. I HADN’T EATEN YET EITHER AND YET I WAS GOING TO BE SPENDING THE MORNING DOING ERRANDS I DIDN’T PARTICULARLY WANT TO BE DOING, I HAD SHIT TO DO, AND I HAD PLANNED TO WATCH DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES IN AND AMONGST DOING ALL THE SHIT I DIDN’T PARTICULARLY WANT TO DO. So I got dressed, drove like a speed demon to Fred’s office, and got there at 10:28. “Did you not go to the school?” he asked, surprised that I was there so early. “Well, NO,” I snarked. “I had forgotten that the world revolves around you and your carefully timed pot of coffee between 8 and 9:30, your breakfast at 10:30, and your 11:03 bowel movement.” “Oh, shut UP,” he said, rolling his eyes at me. My bad mood faded a little during our errand, and then I dropped him off at his office and headed toward the spud’s school. Well, no. Actually first I thought I’d go to McDonald’s and get a fruit bowl, since I was fucking STARVING TO DEATH, but how many cars do you suppose were sitting in the drive-up at 11:30? Why, ten million OF COURSE. And there were even more people in the fucking lobby, and I growled “OH, FUCK THIS,” and pulled back out onto the road. I saw a gas station up the road and decided I’d stop there for a bottle of water and find something to eat. I ended up buying a small pack of cashews, and a J@ck Links piece of beef (I don’t remember the official name of the stuff) along with my bottle of water. And then I got in my car and headed toward the spud’s school, trying to open the package holding the piece of jerky-like beef, and I could not get the fucking thing open. I finally had to CHEW my way into the package, and when I got into the package and bit into the jerky-like beef, it tasted EXACTLY like the cat food I accidentally ingested when Maddy shoved her cat-food-covered face into my mouth the other day. I was so pissed I thought about pulling over and throwing the beef barfy onto the ground and running over it several hundred times while swearing loudly, but I (a) didn’t want to pull over and (b) didn’t want to be arrested for introducing such a toxic piece of shit into the environment, so I settled for swearing loudly while I drove down the road. And then. AND THEN. The road I was on? The road from Huntsville into Madison? Old Madison Pike? Oh, there was CONSTRUCTION, of course. Construction. WHY WOULDN’T THERE BE CONSTRUCTION? But of COURSE. Construction. And the traffic was backed up so far that I couldn’t see the actual construction, and I was in such a place that there was no way to turn around. So I downed the pack of cashews and swigged some water and tried to calm down, but we were MILES past the “eat and calm down” stage. I was in full-bore pissed-off stage, and as I sat in place for ten minutes, I swore and swore and swore, and usually that calms me down in a “cursing zen” kind of way, but not this time. All I ended up doing was pissing myself off some more, and FINALLY the traffic started moving and I thought we were finally getting somewhere, but I moved about twenty feet and stopped, but luckily I was in such a place that I could bang a u-ey, so I did so in a squeal of Badass Tires, and I went back the way I’d come, got onto the highway, and approached Madison from another direction altogether. I stopped by the post office, mailed off the CSI/ Grey’s Anatomy disc, and headed for the spud’s school. I got there right at noon and went in to the front office and dropped off the spud’s paper at the front desk. I went back outside and got in my car. I noticed that a woman a few cars up was pulling out, so I sat and waited for her to get out of the way. And she stopped her goddamn car DIRECTLY behind mine. Why, you might wonder, WHY would she stop her car directly behind mine? Was there another car in the way? Had her car broken down? Was she having a stroke? Why, no. No other car. No broke-down car. No stroke. She apparently had the OVERWHELMING GODDAM NEED TO PUT LOTION ON HER GODDAMN HANDS. People. If I’d had a golf club, a bat, or some other implement that was good for breaking things, anything other than a soft-sided cat carrier in the back seat, I would have gotten OUT of my car, and I would have gone Nicholson on her ass, and I would have been screaming very loudly (you have NO idea how loud I can be if I want to, people. I could break eardrums with the volume of my voice, just ask Fred), “SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME, YOU SELF-INVOLVED, SELF-IMPORTANT CUNT? SERIOUSLY? YOU HAVE TO STOP RIGHT HERE AND PUT LOTION ON YOUR FUCKING HANDS? SERIOUSLY??” As it was, I swore loudly and inventively and when she didn’t move, I hit the gas and started backing out directly towards her (calm down, I was backing out slowly. Mostly.), and that got her attention, and she drove away. THEN I had to go to the bank, where I had to wait far too long to deposit one check, but that was to be expected and the only person I was pissed off at was me, for being dumb enough to forget to bring a book to read while I waited. From there, I went over to the grocery store to pick up something for lunch, because I was STARVING and unwilling to go home and cook something, I just wanted something easy that I could go straight home and eat. And I ended up going to the same cashier as I’d gone to a few hours earlier, and she smiled and greeted me with “Back again?!” And I threw my smoked salmon wrap on the floor and bellowed “ARE YOU CALLING ME FAT?” No I didn’t. But I wanted to. Then I went home and ate my salmon wrap, and then I ate some salad, and then I cleaned the kitchen and watched Desperate Housewives as I threw a Shepherd’s Pie, three-bean salad, and hamburger patties together (not together, together. I threw the Shepherd’s Pie together, then the three-bean salad together, etc.). I half-watched an episode of Dr. Phil while I cross-stitched, and then I talked to Fred on the phone for a few moments. He wanted to go to a tractor place and drive a tractor, and thought I should just throw the steak we’d been planning to have for dinner in the freezer, and we could go to the tractor place and then out to eat for dinner. So I agreed, and a little before 3:00, I went upstairs to feed Maddy so I’d be ready to leave when Fred got home. Maddy was her usual cute self, and I swear just rubbing her little bitty ears makes me happier than anyone has a right to be, so after that I was back in a somewhat good mood for the rest of the day. But for a while there, I’m telling you. I thought my liver was going to explode from the stress! (I kid. Livers don’t explode from stress (I hope).) Fred got home around 3:45, and we headed for the tractor place. Since I thought it was going to be a long drive (it was, but not as long as I expected), I remembered to do all the stuff my physical therapist had recommended, like put a rolled-up towel on the back of my seat for back support, and a Boppy on my lap for arm support, and I’ll be damned if my back didn’t hurt at all. At the tractor place, Fred was disappointed to find that I was completely uninterested in coming inside to hear him talk knowledgeably to the tractor guy about tractors and tractor parts and all that incredibly fascinating stuff. I love my husband, but I couldn’t possibly be any less interested in tractors. I do NOT give a shit what kind of tractor he buys, I honestly just don’t. If you’d spent the last month hearing every last detail about every last tractor god put on this earth, you too would be uninterested in anything tractor-related. Cats, I can talk about ’til the cows come home. The house? I’m ready to talk about it! Same goes for books, TV shows, clothes (for a limited amount of time) and whatever stupid thing the dumbasses in Hollywood are doing. (I AM SO DEEP.) But tractors? Snoresville. Totally. So I sat in the car with my book, and I happily read for over an hour, while Fred was apparently off a tractor, and when he was done, he made me accompany him to see the tractor he’d bought, and the various implements. He tried to get me to drive the tractor, even got on himself and drove it around, but I refused.

DSC01888 “Yeah, babe. Fascinating. Can we go eat now?”
I figure there’ll be plenty of time for driving the tractor when it’s actually AT the new house. I should totally get on the tractor and pretend I’ve lost control of it and head for the pond! Except that that would totally bite me on the ass, because I probably WOULD lose control of it and end up upside-down in the damn pond. We left the tractor place, Fred babbling about the tractor and me occasionally inserting a story about Maddy, and neither of us even pretending to pay attention to what the other was saying. We went into Decatur and had dinner at Big B0b Gibson’s, which has some damn fine meat, but I find the side items somewhat lacking. I could barely eat a quarter of what I’d ordered (a quarter dark chicken and pulled pork, with a side salad), but I did save room for lemon pie. If you ever get to Decatur, Alabama, you have GOT to eat at Big B0b Gibson’s. Seriously, folks, it’s damn good. Then we came home and played with Maddy and Fred sent out pictures of himself on the new tractor, and we watched that pretty, pretty Wentworth Miller on Prison Break, and pretty much, the day ended okay. Started okay, ended okay, but the middle part was a bitch. I’m sure I’m dealing with PMS, because it HAS been an entire week and a half since I last had my period, so it’s about time to start again! (I’m seeing my Gynecologist on Wednesday. CAN’T WAIT! FUN FUN!) *Except that apparently the cheapest gas in Huntsville ain’t the cheapest gas in the area. The gas station where I usually fill up had gas for $2.12 yesterday. When Fred and I went through Decatur last night, gas was five to six cents cheaper. **Except that only the not-particularly-funny videos tend to win on that show. The exception being the guy whose wife would lock him out of the house or car and make him dance and wouldn’t let him back in until he did. BEST VIDEO EVER.
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See more Maddy pics hither.    
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Reader yawny pet pics!
This is Rachael‘s Darby, who I LOVE. He’s just such a character, and I always love seeing pictures of Darby. He cracks me up! This is Cathy’s Princess Sophie. Cathy says, This is my little bundle of love. She is 10 years old and I adopted her from an animal shelter when she was just a kitten. She is with me in my store everyday and gets lots of love from my customers. This is her typical position – and her typical expression. Ah the life of a cat especially in a home where they are loved more than anything in this world… What a gorgeous kitty! Trisha sent this one in. She says, This is my boyfriend’s parents’ cat. Her official name is Stinky, but I affectionately call her Tub-Tub, in honor of you know who – also because she is quite tubalicious! I love her pretty colors. Hey, now. She’s not tubby, she’s just big-boned! (I love her colors, too!) This is Andrea’s late cat, Tiger. Andrea says, Tiger was a 23 year old cat who was my husband’s buddy and my boyfriend for ages and ages. He passed away last August, but when you asked for yawny cat photos, I immediately thought of this one. Enjoy. We do miss him, my sweet Tiger kitty. Awww, rest in peace, Tiger!
Thank you to Rachael, Cathy, Trisha, and Andrea, for sharing your awesome kitty pics!
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Dsc01866 Tommy practices his kitty yoga.
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Previously 2005: I’m sure I’ll get used to it, though, the way I got used to the neighborhood kids always running across our yard and always setting up shop in our driveway. 2004: No entry. 2003: Immediately, screaming like a little girl, Fred levitated across the room to the fireplace, where he began dancing a jig, slapping at his legs, and screaming intermittently. 2002: But it’s still tempting. 2001: J’accuse. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/25/06

by @ Monday, September 25th, 2006. Filed under Life, medical crap, psc

* That way, I can see what’s going on in your bile ducts, get a better look at what’s going on in there, and maybe take a biopsy.” An alarm went off in my head. “Uh…” “So I’d like to schedule that as soon as possible,” he said. “But I can’t have that done, can I?” I said. “Because of the weight loss surgery?” “Oh!” he said, and I could almost hear his palm hitting his forehead. “You’re right, I’d forgotten about the gastric bypass. You’re right, we can’t do an ERCP since you had the surgery.” A long silence as he thought about it. “What we’ll have to do is keep a close eye on your numbers. Like I mentioned when you were in the office, there’s a higher risk that you could develop bile duct cancer – 10 percent of PSC patients develop it – and I’d like to do a tumor marker test on you at least yearly.” I wrote frantic notes, wishing I had a recorder on the phone, because I was sure there was going to be something he said I wasn’t going to remember right. “Now there’s no way to cure PSC – it’s a disease of the biliary tree – but there’s a medication I’d like to start you on. You’d take it three times a day… no, wait. I think I’ll prescribe Urso. It comes in 500 milligrams, and you’d need to take it twice a day.” We had a brief discussion about where I wanted the prescription called in. “Now, the only other thing – PSC is often associated with Ulcerative Colitis. You don’t have Ulcerative Colitis, do you?” “No,” I said. “Your bowel movements are okay?” I blushed, even though he couldn’t see me, and no doubt as a GI he’s elbow-deep in shit the majority of the time. “Yeah, they’re fine.” “Okay, well I’ll call in the prescription, and you’ll start on it twice a day. Call the office and make an appointment to see me in three months for a routine followup, so we can see how you’re doing and check your numbers, okay?” “Okay,” I said. “Have any questions for me?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Okay, well, take care and I’ll see you in a few months!” “Okay. Thanks for calling,” I said. I hung up the phone and went upstairs to tell Fred that the doctor had called, and what he’d said. And Fred started asking me questions to which I had no idea of the answer so we both came back downstairs and spent a good part of the afternoon Googling and finding out more about PSC. For instance, Primary sclerosing cholangitis is most prevalent in males (3 to 1 ratio to females) under 50 years of age in association with ulcerative colitis (75%). Most often, the first manifestation is biochemical, with elevation of alkaline phosphatase. Further advanced disease may result in episodes of acute cholangitis, with fever and perhaps jaundice. The disease is still considered relatively slow progressing, with a period from asymptomatic to symptomatic disease of 10 to 15 years. Once symptoms develop, liver transplantation is not uncommon within 5 years. Not only did we spend a good part of the afternoon Googling; we really spent most of the weekend sporadically Googling around, and the more we Googled, the more we realized we didn’t know. By 4:30 Friday afternoon, I decided I was going to make an appointment with Dr. GI so that I could see and talk to him face-to-face, and I was going to make Fred go with me. I wasn’t able to get ahold of the office Friday afternoon, so first thing Monday I called and ended up with an appointment Wednesday at 3:15. After I called the office and made the appointment Monday, I did a stupid thing. I opened up Google, and I typed in “Life expectancy for Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis patients”. And what I found scared the SHIT out of me. Because I was seeing five years, I was seeing three years; the longest life expectancy I was seeing was 17 years. I’m 38. 38 + 17 = 55. 55 is TOO YOUNG. I didn’t want to die when I was 55! I immediately started having mini panic attacks, where I’d be doing something like folding clothes, and I’d tear up and couldn’t breathe, and had to go lay down until I could breathe normally again. I was able to hold it together when Fred was home – because he was distracting me from my worries – but during the day it was happening once or twice an hour. I think it’s safe to say I was freaking out. I told Fred on Tuesday that I planned to ask Dr. GI what the average life expectancy is for patients with PSC. “WHY would you want to ask such a morbid thing?” he objected. “Because I want to know!” I said. “Well, I don’t!” “Then I’ll ask you to step out of the room so I can ask him,” I said. “I don’t think you should ask,” he said. “Well, we’ll see,” I said, knowing that I was going to ask. Wednesday came, and all day long all I could do was worry about the office visit with Dr. GI. What if he told me I needed to get on the organ transplant list right away (my Googling indicated that sooner or later all PSC patients need a liver transplant)? What if he told me if I were lucky I’d get 5 good years? What if he wanted to do another liver biopsy? I took Fred to work Wednesday morning, then left the house at 2:45 to pick him up and head for Dr. GI’s office. We only waited for a few minutes in the waiting room, then went back so that the nurse could take my blood pressure, temperature and pulse (all of which were higher than they’ve been recently; more on that in the next section). We sat in the exam room waiting for Dr. GI to come in for a few minutes and made nervous conversation. Dr. GI came in and basically re-told Fred everything he’d told me on the phone. He went over exactly what PSC is again, we had a long conversation about the disease, and then I got out my list of questions. 1. How do you know this is Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis rather than Primary Biliary Cirrhosis? (Primary Biliary Cirrhosis is seen more often in women than men, and has a lot of the same symptoms) Because Primary Biliary Cirrhosis doesn’t involve abnormal ducts the way PSC does. 2. What percentage of PSC patients end up needing a liver transplant and in what time frame? (Because Google seemed to indicate that it was pretty much 100%) He couldn’t really answer this, because as he said, PSC patients don’t need a liver transplant until cirrhosis occurs. He personally only has two other patients with PSC, and it’s such a slow-moving disease that he hasn’t seen cirrhosis in either of them. 3. Since the ERCP is the definitive test and I can’t have it, are there other options? Surgical options? Fred asked if there wasn’t a way to get in there laparoscopically, go through the intestines, and get into the liver that way. Dr. GI said that it was possible, but the recovery time from something like that would be too long to make it worth it. There’s something called a Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiogram where they basically go into the liver from the top, inject dye into the liver and get better x-rays. If they’re concerned about cancer showing up, they might do that, but for now he’s confident enough in his diagnosis of PSC (which he got to by eliminating other possibilities as well as following the signs that pointed to PSC) that he doesn’t want to do the Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiogram. 4. There are Vitamin A, D, E & K deficiencies with PSC. Do I need to worry about that? Those deficiences only start showing up when there’s an issue with cirrhosis. Since I’m not cirrhotic at this point, it’s not a worry. 5. Do I need to get vaccinations for hepatitis a & b? Definitely (this is the first question where he appeared impressed by a question), because if I were to contract either of them, it could be a bad hit on my liver and could cause problems. Guess where I need to go for the hepatitis vaccinations? The Health Department. FUN. 6. Is my bilirubin continuing to go down? It is; it went from 4.1 to 3.7, and has gone down further than that. Dr. GI went on to say again that PSC is a very slow-moving disease, and that with the medication he was prescribing for me, it would probably slow down even more. In fact, he said “Once you start the medication, you may never show another symptom.” Fred smiled at me. “You might as well ask your morbid question, now.” Dr. GI looked questioningly at me and I blushed. “He doesn’t want me to ask what the life expectancy is for patients with PSC,” I said. Dr. GI said, basically, that since it’s such a slow-moving disease, he just didn’t know the answer to that. I might never develop cirrhosis of the liver, never need a liver transplant, and like he said – as long as I stay on the medication, I might never show another symptom. I’ve gotta say, he made me feel a lot better about the whole thing, like it wasn’t a death sentence. Might I develop cirrhosis and need a liver transplant at some point in the future? Sure, maybe. I also might be driving to Target tomorrow and get run over by a semi. We’re all going to die; I was just glad to hear I had a chance get old and crabby (instead of young and crabby. Ha!) As we were ready to leave the exam room, Dr. GI pointed out that some doctors might be annoyed by our liberal consulting of Dr. Google, but he thinks that it’s a good sign – someone who’s done a lot of research about their disease is concerned about their health and interested in being informed as much as possible. That’s how I feel about it, too. Then I suggested that Fred and I should have t-shirts made up that said “I got my medical degree from Google”, and he (Dr. GI) laughed. On the way out I stopped at the lab and had blood drawn so that we could get baseline numbers to go by in the future. I made an appointment for December, and then we were out of there. And that, my friends, is what’s going on with my liver. I have a disease that predominantly affects young white men, a disease that is very slow-moving and will necessitate taking Ursodiol for the rest of my life. Please note: I love you all and know how helpful you like to be, but please keep in mind that I am under the care of a very competent gastroenterologist, one I trust a great deal, and he and I will determine my course of treatment. I’m not going on any herbal diet, I’m not going to try this medication or that, I don’t want to hear about your uncle’s cousin’s mother’s brother who had PSC and died a horrible, painful death, okay? Please. Thank you. Mwah! Unsolicited advice makes my liver hurt. * This is not really what he said; I got the explanation via Google to explain it to y’all!

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Addendum: Dr. GI called this morning to let me know that he’d gotten my blood test results, and my liver panel is lower than it’s been in the last few months. The tumor markers came back completely normal (ie, there’s nothing indicating that I’m tumorous) and everything looks good. He also made sure to say that I should keep taking the new medication (which, yeah, I was planning on doing), and he’d see me in three months.
* * *
When the nurse at Dr. GI’s office was taking my blood pressure, temperature, and pulse, I noticed that they were all higher than they’ve been lately. I don’t remember what my blood pressure or pulse was (they were well within normal ranges, anyway), but my temperature was 98.4, as opposed to the 97.3 it’s been. “I think my blood pressure and pulse have gone up because I’m stressed!” I said to Fred when we were waiting for Dr. GI. “I don’t think so, Bessie,” Fred said. “I think it’s because you’ve gone off the Metoprolol*. Its job is to lower your heart rate, which it did, and I bet that’s why your temperature was low, too. Have you been less cold lately?” “I have!” I said. “Then there you go.” Indeed. *I took myself off the Metoprolol because I felt like between the supplements I have to take every day and the Metoprolol, Synthroid and Birth Control pill, I was always popping a pill. So I went off the Metoprolol and the birth control (since the only reason I was taking it was to regulate my period, and lately it wasn’t doing that worth a shit), conscious of the fact that if I started feeling heart palpitations I’d have to go back on it. It’s been a few weeks now, and I’ve really only had one episode of my heart palpitatin’, so I’m planning to stay off it. The irony here is that no sooner do I get rid of two medications than I get prescribed another one I have to take twice a day. Urgh.
* * *
By the way, what THE HELL did people do before Google? How did they ever find anything out? I know that there was a time when I could somehow figure out what a song was without being able to type in part of the lyrics in a Google search box, but I’ll be damned if I remember HOW I was able to figure that out. Google’s going to take over the world, isn’t it?
* * *
Miss Maddy continues to do well. She’s a little more interested in the soft food. Over the weekend I took to putting some soft food in an oral syringe and squirting a little into her mouth at a time. Yesterday was the first day she was actually interested in having more of it. Not interested enough to eat it off the plate, mind you, but we’re heading in the right direction, anyway. I know she can lick, because she licked my arm last night, and I know she can bite, because she’s a bitey little brat, now all I have to do is convince her that she wants to eat food off a plate rather than having it shoved in her little princess mouth at every feeding. She’s up to 15 1/2 ounces as of this morning. She’s been playing a lot more, and showing interest in the big cats (who lose their little minds and run away when she runs toward them). Fred scared her last night, and she hissed at him. My baby is growing up! I think she’s going to be a feisty little thing. Oh, and did I mention she’s using the litter box exclusively? Pooping AND peeing. No more cat pee on my hands – and I can’t say I miss it! She might have a ways to go in the brain department though – really, what can you expect from a one-month old? – because she’s not quite getting the whole “doorway” concept. When I go in to the kitten room and she sees me, she gets all excited and runs over to the door. I open the door, and then she does… this:   “Argh! I know there’s a way through here….” And yes, she’s a month old as of yesterday (that’s with a guesstimated date of birth, granted), and we’ve had her for two weeks now. It’s amazing, the amount of change she’s gone through in those two weeks. Here are a couple of pictures to compare her then, and her now:   Like Fred said, she looks more like a cat and less like an alien now. Look how much her ears have grown! All of today’s pictures can be seen hither.    
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Reader yawny pet pics!
This is Charlie, who belongs to Treena. Treena says, This is Charlie – she looks pretty ferocious, right? It’s all an act, she’s a total flirt – her nickname is Saucy Whore. My husband randomly snapped this pic like six months ago, and to this day is way more pleased with it than he should be. He uses it as his icon for EVERYTHING…and sends it to me at least once a week under some clever ruse. I am really going against my better judgement sending this to you, because if you post it, I’ll never hear the end of it I am somehow charmed by the idea that he sends the picture to you under some clever ruse, Treena. That completely sounds like something I would do – and I have to say, I’ve used this picture as about every user icon I have, so I can relate to being proud of a picture. This is Dusty, who belongs to Carol. Carol says, Dusty is my wonderful Lawrence, KS humane society kitty. He has lived with us since March. We also have a 19 year old from the Pensacola, FL humane society. This is Gimp, who belongs to Amanda. Amanda says, I think you have seen this picture before, but I think ol’ Gimp is ready for the big time now. Sweet Gimpy is the only creature in my house who will yawn for the camera… I also have two other cats, a husband and a 2-and-a-half-month-old baby!
You guys have got some seriously gorgeous (and funny!) cats. I’m loving the pictures I’m getting – thanks for sharing, Treena, Carol, and Amanda!
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Dsc01201 They sure hate when it rains (though Tommy has been known to go out and play in the rain. No one told him cats don’t like to be wet).
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Previously 2005: No entry. 2004: No entry. 2003: I’m sure my tendencies toward dumbassery has something to do with it. 2002: Sometimes when I’ve just finished doing my Firm tape, I feel like my brain is leaking out my ears. 2001: Maybe I should just shave my head. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/22/06

by @ Friday, September 22nd, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, Picture Entries, reader cats

* * * Fred sent me this link earlier this week and it made me laugh like a goon.

* * *
If I were manic-depressive (wait. Do they call it bipolar now? I haven’t kept up on my psychiatrically politically correct terms lately), I think I would have been considered to be in a manic state yesterday. I woke up a little after 5, got up to pee, and went back to bed. And I laid there, my mind racing, until I accepted that I wasn’t going to go back to sleep. So I got up, went into the bathroom, and started cleaning out drawers. We have three drawers in our bathroom, and they were crammed full of all kinds of shit, making it almost impossible to find anything in any of the drawers. Last week I went to Wal-Mart and bought a plastic single-drawer storage thingy (kind of like this, only blue; and it wasn’t a set of four, it was just the one) with the intention of putting it in the closet, putting the extra stuff in the drawer, and just keeping the stuff we use on a daily basis in the drawers by the sink. Only problem is that once I emptied out the bottom drawer (by the sink), the single-drawer storage thingy was packed with shampoo and hair stuff, and there was nowhere to put all the crap in the OTHER two drawers by the sink. So yesterday I went to Wal-Mart with the intention of buying another couple of drawers (they’re stackable), only when I got there, I found that there was a single piece with three drawers about the size of the one drawer I had at home (similar to this, only bigger), so I bought that and decided to use the single drawer I had at home to put in the kitten room because I had blankets and towels and shit strewn all over the kitten room floor and it was making me cranky to see how messy it was in there. Then I came home and manically wrote an entry, went through the house putting stuff away and thinking about how desperately I needed to vacuum (but not actually vacuuming), answered email, straightened up my desk, and then spent the afternoon running around unorganizedly in circles, trying to do a ton of stuff, but not really getting anything accomplished. I have a hard time focusing lately. Maybe I have ADD! This morning I got up right after Fred left for work, finished organizing the bathroom (the three-drawer unit works out quite nicely), did laundry, cleaned the kitchen, and now I’m sitting here thinking about how much I need to vacuum the house. But I so don’t wanna.
* * *
Maddy continues to do well. She was screaming to be let out of her cage last night, so I went up and got her around 7 and brought her downstairs to the living room with us while we were watching TV. She crawled around and explored, then I fed her (she continues to be mostly uninterested in the soft food – those of you who have dealt with this, is she going to just suddenly one day be very interested in the soft food and start eating it? Because she couldn’t be less interested right now.) and then handed her off to Fred. She climbed ended up curled up next to his leg, sound asleep. After I finished eating, I took her back upstairs and settled her in for the night – though I did have to give her her nightly dose of Albon, which kind of woke her back up again. This morning I let her wander around the room while I was organizing it (it looks so much better in there now that I have a place to pile the blankets and towels) and Tommy went in to check her out and hang out. She saw him and got ALL excited and ran over to him to sniff him. She’s starting to get a lot more curious, sniffing stuff, and actually starting to play with things. She continues to use the litter box to poop in, but I haven’t seen any pee yet, so I’ve still been stimulating her to pee at feeding time. Will she just start using the litter box to pee in, or what? Any advice those of you who’ve dealt with this have to offer, I’m all ears. She is just the SWEETEST THING ever, and I love how she’ll crawl up me and just lay on my chest with her front paws stretched out. She’s so cute it hurts, she really is.   Okay, how much do I love this kitten? I let her chew on my lower lip (didn’t hurt), even though she had cat food all over her face and mouth (bleh).   Sleepy kitten.   “I could eat you in one bite. Maybe two.”   “I needs me a snuggle.” All of today’s uploaded pictures are hither.    
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Reader yawny pet pics! This is Amy‘s Daisy. I just adore it when cats yawn so wide it looks like their teeth are sticking straight out! This is Amy’s Chloe. I just love how clear the picture is. Check out all those whiskers! Yawning Chloe with her sister, Zoe. They crack me up, these two. Zoe’s turn to yawn! I love how Zoe’s all off yawning, and Chloe’s looking up like “Hey. You got food, lady?” I’m not sure what cracks me up more, here. The yawn Zoe’s got going on, or the look on Chloe’s face, like she’s thinking “Dude. WHAT are you DOING?” Maisey is GOING to suck your BLOOD! Amy takes some awesome pictures and occasionally puts them up in her journal (though not often enough!). Also, Amy is like a crack dealer, ’cause she said: I discovered a new blog called Birdchick blog and she doesn’t have cats but has a rabbit. Her photos of her rabbits past and present are hilarious. Often times I see photos of Mister Boogers and think he is disapproving as much as Sharon’s rabbits are. Or maybe Miz Poo is the more disapproving of the two. Anyway, check her out. And then I spent forever on Birdchick blog. This disapproving bunny picture is SUCH a Mister Boogers look I can barely stand it. Thanks for sharing the cat pics (and the links), Amy!
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DSC01199 A great big grasshopper got into the house. What else would you expect a bunch of cats to do?
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Previously 2005: Never-ending. 2004: If you had any idea how much time I spent backspacing and retyping words when I write my entries, you’d burst into tears of sympathy. 2003: Who the fuck are Nikki and Paris Hilton, and why would I give a good goddamn what they’re wearing or doing or driving or fucking? 2002: No entry. 2001: You know you’re getting old when you have to ask a 12 year-old girl who’s on the TV. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/21/06

by @ Thursday, September 21st, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, reader cats

reading: Playing with Boys, by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. So far I’m liking it more than I liked The Dirty Girls Social Club, which I liked well enough, but did not love. Finished recently: A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon. It was okay, certainly worth a read, but I didn’t like it nearly as much as I liked The Curious Incident. Kind of dragged on a bit there at the end.

* * *
Now, I know that I’ve mentioned in the past that I’ve met readers of this web site in person. Back when I walked the 3-Day, I met a reader from… North Carolina, maybe? We had a brief conversation and then I promptly twisted my ankle and had to go home. And last year I met Whitters, who wanted to play with Peanut (I could have sworn that I wrote about that, but I can’t seem to find the entry, so perhaps not). And both times it was a little weird to meet someone I’d only ever communicated with online, but both Whitters and Susan (the other 3-Day-er) were perfectly nice and didn’t hit me or yell at me for swearing so much or even make me cry. So when Nance told me that Rick was coming to Alabama, my immediate response was “Well hell, tell him to come over and have dinner and hang out with us!” Then his trip was pushed back a bit, and I forgot all about it, and then Nance emailed me to let me know he was really coming, and so I said to Fred “Hey! Nance’s Rick is coming to Alabama on business, and I want to meet him!” We talked about various things to do, and I looked around at our nasty, cluttered house and said “We cannot allow the man to step foot into our house, because he’ll take one look at the mess and run away screaming!” Fred suggested that we pick him up at his hotel and take him out for some good southern cooking. Which necessitated looking online to see where we could take him for some good southern cooking. Heh! Anyway, to make a long story short, last night Fred and I had dinner with Rick! Nance‘s Rick! I was so very nervous on the drive to get him, because I am a dork, and I was worried that there would be long awkward silences and Rick would call Nance and say “Why did I want to meet these people? THEY ARE NO FUN!” There were no long, awkward silences! At all! There were long, un-awkward conversations, and we learned many things, though Rick didn’t let any family secrets drop, so I can’t be the one to break the news to y’all that Nance is completely bald and when she claims to have just had her hair done, all she really did was run out for another Dolly Parton wig. That is news I am not breaking. In case you were wondering. Fred and Rick bonded over handyman stories, and goats (Fred’s still trying to talk me into goats at the new house) and all manners of guy things. It was fun to sit there at the barbecue place (more about that in a minute) and just talk for a couple of hours, and when we drove Rick back to his hotel, I kinda wished he was staying another night so he could come over and hang out with us and watch TV and admire my Mad Kitten Parenting Skillz. I’m told that next time, Nance is coming with him, which would rock, because it would be about damn TIME for us to meet face to face! Oh, and the funny thing is that when we picked Rick up at the hotel, I immediately gave him a hug. This is funny because a few years ago when Nance, Jane and I were discussing having a Smart&SassyCon, we said we were going to wear t-shirts that said “No goddamn hugs” on them, because none of the three of us are huggy people. Warning, Nance: I might be turning into one of those huggy Southern types. Next thing you know, I’ll be getting a great big beehive Southern woman ‘do, topped with half a can of hair spray. Photographic proof that I met a (Not So)Scary Internet Person and lived to tell the tale!
Okay, Nance doesn’t put pictures of her family online (you damn stalkers!), so I had to blur Rick. And then once he heard that Rick was going to be blurred, Fred demanded to be blurred as well. So there you go – me and two blurs. That’s Fredblur on the left and Rickblur on the right. Dsc01498 Also, there was this cute (very friendly!) kitty who hangs around the hotel, and apparently the people at the hotel encourage him to hang around, ’cause Rick said they feed him and take care of him (he was wearing a flea collar) (the cat, that is, not Rick), which is very cool.
* * *
Miss Maddy is doing much better today, thanks for all your good thoughts! I must announce that not only is she much better today, she is a GENIUS. See, before I realized she’d lost weight and that I should spend the day worrying about her, I decided it was time to introduce her to the litter box. So I put (non-clumping) litter in the box and then put her in the box and showed her how to dig in the litter. She could NOT have been less interested, and immediately climbed out and crawled away. I put the litter box in her cage so that she could get used to the idea of it, even if she didn’t use it. And yesterday at noon I went into the kitten room to feed her, and DO YOU KNOW WHAT I FOUND? A little squirt of diarrhea in the litter box! Okay, so, maybe it was a fluke, right? Like she just HAPPENED to be in the litter box when she pooped. So I cleaned out the litter box and then? Yesterday evening? POOP IN THE LITTER BOX! She’s pooping in the litter box, and I didn’t hardly have to do a damn thing! Now if she’d only start peeing in there… This morning she’d gained back about half the weight she’d lost and she was so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or stubby-tailed, as Fred calls her) that she was clearly feeling okay. My email to the shelter manager yesterday brought a response suggesting that I start giving her soft cat food (mixed with formula) and weaning her from the bottle. Giving her the soft cat food was… not a rousing success or anything, but I think I got enough of it down her by shoving it in her mouth and putting it on her face (which she’d immediately lick off) that it filled her up. She did drink a little formula from the bottle, but mostly she was interested in exploring the room and checking out the big cats. Her poop is starting to solidify a little, and there’s been no blood in it today, which is a step in the right direction (bloody diarrhea being a sign of coccidia. You weren’t eating, were you?). I’ll be glad when she’s to the point where she’ll eat out of a dish and I can make sure she’s getting enough food in. I imagine that point in time isn’t too far off. Licking cat food off her face.   “What’s going on there, small fry?”   Maddy and me.     She fell asleep like this for a few minutes.   All of today’s uploaded pictures are here.    
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Reader yawny pet pics!
This is Fudge, who belongs to Martha. She’s like a little Miz Poo! And this is Vincent, aka Vinnie Mac. I love the swirls! You can see more of Martha’s cat pics here. By the way, Martha has TWELVE cats. Which I am pretty sure means that WE don’t have enough! This is Christine’s Lily. I think I’m going to have to report you, Christine – whatever you’re doing to this cat, it’s EXHAUSTING. Christine says of Lily, Her turn-ons include: playing chase/hide and go seek, attacking laser lights, kisses from the parrot. Her turn-offs are: too much cuddling, seeing that the toilet seat is down when she wants a drink, getting yelled at for chewing on plants. You can tell just by looking that she’s SUCH a character.
Thanks for sharing, Martha and Christine!
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Previously 2005: I mean, it’s not bad enough the man has road rage, he’s got to have fucking walking-through-the-house rage too? 2004: “No, this is real time!” Fred sighed. 2003: No entry. 2002: No entry. 2001: Written by hand. 2000: No entry.]]>

9/20/06

by @ Wednesday, September 20th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, Picture Entries, reader cats

Say!!!

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I got up early this morning to take Fred to work, because I have an appointment this afternoon on the other side of Huntsville that I want him to go to with me, and I would prefer to just drive home together after the appointment rather than have to drop him off at his office to get his car, or drive home alone. So I used his car to drop him off at work then come home, and this afternoon I’ll pick him up at work, we’ll go to the appointment and drive home together. Convoluted enough for ya? Anyway, I got up early to take Fred to work. We left a little earlier than he usually does because he wanted to stop at Lowe’s for steel wool (I swear, he’s gone to Lowe’s every single day this week. He’s turning into such a GUY.) and to stop at his favorite coffee place to (can ya guess?) get coffee. I dropped him off and headed for home. At one of the many red lights I had to stop at on the way home, I looked around me and realized I was surrounded on all four sides by plumbing trucks. Apparently 7 am is when the plumbing trucks head from Huntsville toward Madison, and they were all around me. I suddenly felt like I was in an episode of The Sopranos, and the doors of all the trucks were about to fly open and I’d see a bunch of angry plumbing southern goombahs pointing silencer-laden guns at my head. But the light turned green and I breathed a sigh of relief. You really don’t want to fuck with the Plumbing Mafia.
* * *
I was in the grocery store the other day, and saw that there are a couple of new – “bold”, according to the packages – flavors of Tic T@cs. Since I’m always concerned about breathing bad breath on other people, I bought a pack of the “bold” fruit flavored Tic T@cs to carry around in my purse. When I got home I put the groceries away, and grabbed up the container of Tic T@cs to give them a try. They were AWFUL. Now, I’ve never actually tasted boiled ass myself, but the “bold” fruit flavored Tic T@cs were pretty much what I’d expect boiled ass to taste like. I spit out the one in my mouth… and immediately tried a second one to be sure it was as assy-tasting as the one I’d previously had in my mouth. It was. “Bold” Fruit Flavored Tic T@cs – two thumbs down.
* * *
When we were in Mennonite country last weekend, Fred held up a jar of apple butter and asked if I wanted to get it. I’m always willing to try just about any fruit-based thing that they sell up there – I LOVE their strawberry jam; I don’t eat much jam these days, but every now and then I’ll eat some – so I said he should buy it. That evening when we got home, he tried a spoonful of it out of the jar, and gave me a small spoonful of it. It was very, very good, which didn’t surprise me, since the ingredients were apples, apple butter, sugar, and… something else I don’t recall and am too lazy to go look. Monday evening I was hungry and wanted something to tide me over ’til snack time at 7. I looked through the refrigerator and saw the apple butter, and decided I wanted some of that. I didn’t want a spoonful of it, though – I wanted to eat it on something. I looked around for something to eat it on. Toast? No. I didn’t want that much. Half a bagel? No. I definitely didn’t want that much. I opened the pantry and looked around, and then I saw the box. Melba toast. Apple butter on melba toast sounds kinda good, right? I pulled the box out and looked at it, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t just any melba toast – it was onion melba toast. I started to put the box back, then stopped and reconsidered. I’ve been known to eat (light) strawberry cream cheese on onion bagels, and it is DAMN FINE (light cream cheese, low-carb bagels, don’t need any “should you be eating that” comments, thanks). So maybe apple butter on onion melba toast would be equally as DAMN FINE. I’m here to tell you, folks. It’s not damn fine. It’s not fine. It’s on the other side of the room from “fine”, curled up in a corner and sobbing for its Momma. It tastes, in fact, what I imagine boiled ass would taste like. Apple butter on its own? YUMMY. Two thumbs up! Apple butter on onion melba toast? Two thumbs down!
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I am concerned about Maddy. She’s had several bouts of diarrhea, and she’s not been eating as much as she should. I consulted with the shelter manager, who suggested giving Maddy something called “Reb0und”, which has L-glutamine in it and helps to stop diarrhea. She also recommended starting Maddy on Alb0n, which treats diarrhea and coccidia. So I met up with her and got the Reb0und and the Alb0n. Last night, Maddy just flat-out didn’t want to drink that Reb0und. I tried and tried to get her to eat, but she wasn’t interested, and since she had just eaten a few hours earlier I gave up. Her urine was perfectly fine, and she had a little squirt of diarrhea, but she was bright-eyed and very interested in exploring, so I let her explore for a while, then put her up. I gave her her first dose of Alb0n. This morning I walked into the kitten room to find that she’d had a bout of diarrhea in the middle of the night, with a small amount of blood in it. That didn’t worry me so much, because bloody diarrhea can be a sign of coccidia, which I was already treating with the Alb0n. I pulled her out of the carrier and cleaned her up, then offered her the bottle of Reb0und. She flat-out refused to eat any of it, and after a while I came back downstairs and made her a bottle of formula, which I – after a LOT of coaxing – got her to eat 2/3 of a Tablespoon’s worth. She did a little bit of exploring and remained fairly bright-eyed and perky. My concern is that since Monday she’s lost almost half an ounce. I don’t know if that’s due to the diarrhea and once the Alb0n kicks in she’ll be okay, or what. Half an ounce is a lot for a little kitten to lose, and so I emailed the shelter manager about it and am waiting to hear back. It worries me that she ate less than a Tablespoon of food this morning, since her first morning feeding is when she usually eats the most, around 2 Tablespoons. So I keep peeking in at her (she’s laying in her cage snuggled with the stuffed monkey) and worrying about her, because that’s the way I am. I’m a worrywart. I’m sure she’ll be fine once the Alb0n kicks in, but if y’all want to send “Knock it off, Maddy, and stop worrying your Momma” thoughts in this general direction, maybe they’ll help. Maddy and Miz Poo come face-to-face over Tigger. And then Miz Poo ran away from the terrifying kitten.   “Are you my mother? You’re not my mother! You’re a Tigger!”   She’s more interested in biting than actually eating.   Maddy smiles. ‘Cause it’s warm under there, and there’s lots of bare skin to dig her claws into!   All of today’s uploaded pictures are here.
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Yawny reader pet pics!
This is reader Blair’s 5 month-old kitten, Gwen. Blair says, I DARE ANYONE TO BEAT THIS ONE IN CUTENESS! That’s quite a challenge – she’s awfully cute! She kind of looks like she’s yelling “Mom! I can’t believe you got me The Simpsons! It’s what I always wanted!” This is Anne’s Mini. Anne says, When she’s not unhinging her jaw or being a pain in the ass, she kind of looks like a girly Sugarbutt. I see the resemblance. And Sugarbutt, too, very much enjoys being a pain in the ass. They’re soulmates! This is Teresa’s Buddy. Teresa says, My almost 12 yr old cat Buddy yawns all the time, but I have never been able to catch him at it when holding my camera. And, His almost 1yr old sister Reverb would get jealous if I didn’t show off her as well. Here she is in HUNT mode.
Y’all have got some seriously cute cats. I love the pictures you guys share with me! Thanks for sharing, Blair, Anne, and Teresa! The rest of you – keep ’em coming.
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DSC01195 Sleepin’ Sugs. * * *
Previously 2005: “GodDAMN you, Mister Boogers!” I yelled. 2004: “This book makes me want to have a baby!” I said to Fred when I was about halfway through the book. “Let’s have a baby!” 2003: No entry. 2002: Gag city. 2001: I think you know what I’m thinkin’. 2000: I’d like to return to my regularly scheduled life, please.]]>

9/19/06

by @ Tuesday, September 19th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, reader cats

Milk face.   I adore this picture.   “Hewwo. I am Miss Maddy Mack. Welcome to my cat carrier. It’s small but cozy, and there’s a stuffed monkey for cuddling. I’m growing (I weigh 13 ounces now!), and it’s time to move on to a bigger house. I want to sell my carrier, but I need the help of professionals. Welcome to the newest episode of Sell This House!” All of today’s uploaded pictures are here.

* * *
Yawny reader pet pics!
This is Adah, who belongs to Lara. Lara says I think my favorite cat-yawn might be the post-yawn, demonstrated by Adah, here. I have to say, I love the post-yawn, too. I don’t think I can count the number of pictures I have of Mister Boogers with that exact look on his face. Hee! This is Ginger, who belongs to Joan, who says [Ginger has] lots of personality & ruler of the house (much to the dismay of our other cat!). I think I can see some personality, there!
Thanks for sharing, Lara and Joan! The rest of you – keep ’em coming!
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Dsc01193 Mister Boogers hates you.
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Previously 2005: We meet Sugarbutt, Tommy, and their siblings! 2004: No entry. 2003: Since he’s a year older than me, that’ll give me two years to theatrically take to my bed and waste away. Sounds about right. 2002: Obviously whoever lives at 308 belongs to the Bitchypoo “If I don’t know you, I ain’t answerin’ the door” school of thought. 2001: I hate you, Mr. Mailman. 2000: Only US Magazine would consider it newsworthy that Michael Douglas is changing diapers he hasn’t been wearing. ]]>

9/18/06

by @ Monday, September 18th, 2006. Filed under Fostering, Life, Picture Entries, TV

reading: A Spot of Bother, by Mark Haddon. So far, I’m liking it quite a bit, though perhaps not as much as I liked The Curious Incident, etc. Recently finished: my bathroom book (took me two months to read it – you’d think I would have finished it in a couple of weeks at the most, given how much time I spend in there!), Now or Never, by Elizabeth Adler. Not a bad book – easy enough to keep up with if you’re only reading it in short spurts (HA!), anyway. I totally guessed the killer wrong, which is always a plus in my book.

* * *
Two notable conversations took place while we were watching The Amazing Race last night. Conversation 1 On the TV: Father and daughter. Daughter says something. Father says something, then gets all choked up, tears in his eyes. We watch, baffled. And an instant later – before they say anything on TV – I know what the deal is. Me: Oh, she’s gay. Fred: That’s why he’s all choked up? Me: Yeah. On the TV: daughter says “I’m gay.” Me: (Trading a look of disbelief with Fred) Can you imagine EVER caring that much who your child is sleeping with?* Fred: I really can’t. *Of course I want my daughter to be in a relationship with someone who treats her well, isn’t a criminal, and is carrying no communicable diseases. But I flat-out do not care whether that person has a penis or a vagina. Conversation 2 Fred: Do you suppose Muslims have to ask people which way Mecca is? Robyn: I don’t know. Maybe they carry a little compass with them. Will Allah be mad if they intend to face the right way, but mess up? Fred: Maybe. Robyn: “Sa’eed, that’s ONE LESS VIRGIN for you!” “Aww, Allah! I’m already down to 53! I’m going to OWE you virgins if I don’t die soon!” Fred (a few minutes later): Oh Bessie, we’re so dumb! Robyn: Why’s that? Fred: The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. As long as you know that, you can figure out which way is North, South, whatever. Robyn: What about on cloudy days? Fred: You still can tell where the sun is coming from! Robyn: No you can’t, not if it’s behind the clouds. Besides, they’re visiting countries they’ve never been to, they don’t know which side of the hotel the sun usually comes up on in strange countries. And what about at night? Don’t they have to pray at night? Fred: Five times a day. Robyn: Well, there you go. How do they know the right direction if they’re running through the airport when it’s dark outside and it’s time to pray? Fred: I don’t know, Bessie. It’s a mystery. DO NOT READ THIS NEXT LINE IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE AMAZING RACE YET. I guess it’s also a moot point now, eh?
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Saturday morning we left the house early once again, after I’d fed the kitten, and headed up toward Tennessee. A couple of weeks ago Fred mentioned the idea of attending an auction or two, so I found a few upcoming auctions that looked like they might have things we’d be interested in. Specifically, we’re looking for something to put in the master bathroom downstairs (in the new house, I mean) for storage, and something to put in the kitchen, also for storage. We figured, if nothing else, we’d hang around for a while and watch the people. The auction started at 10, and we got there just a few minutes before it started. We’d intended to get there half an hour or more before it started, but left the house late (story of our lives!) and so all the good spots in the shade had been taken before we got there.
DSC01309 Dsc01315 We saw an orb weaver that I thought Fred was going to try to capture and bring home. He estimated it to be about four inches from end to end. It was HUGE.
There ended up not being much that we were interested in, though we hung around for about an hour watching the auction and the people. We sat on a towel in the shade of a beat-up old car for a few minutes, then Fred’s back started hurting, so we headed out. We didn’t want to go home – we’ve really liked going out and doing things on Saturdays these past several weekends – so we headed for Mennonite country, aka Lawrenceburg. The thing about the Mennonites is that they scare me a little. They’re very serious-looking, and they have sometimes difficult to understand accents. It’s funny that I’d be scared of them, since they’re known for being so peaceful, and I’m sure they have plenty of laughter and joy in their lives, but they always seem really grim when we’re dealing with them, like they’d just as happily smack us as look at us. Maybe they think we‘re scary. After driving around and making a couple of stops, we ended up finding a family that sold exactly what we were looking for – rocking chairs. Big sturdy rocking chairs to go on the front porch of the new house, and only $60 plus tax. Naturally we hadn’t brought enough cash with us, so we had to drive out of the Mennonite community and find an ATM, then get back to where the chairs were. We didn’t think both chairs would fit in the back of Fred’s car, and discussed coming back next weekend with his stepfathe’s truck, but I suggested we just give it a try, and after some moving stuff around, Fred managed to make them both fit.
DSC01329 The sheaves. Which I didn’t have to bring in. Dsc01325 Dsc01332 Dsc01338 Dsc01337
We made a few more stops so I could buy some baskets and we could pick up some apple pies and a few other things on the way home, and then stopped to have lunch. We stopped at a little Mexican restaurant, stupidly opted for the buffet (they close down the buffet at 2, and we got there right before 2, so everything was kind of old and dried-up. Like me!) and had some bad (tasting, that is) Mexican food. We finally made it home a little after 4:30, and I ran upstairs to feed the baby while Fred brought everything in. We had talked about going to an auction in Madison that started at 5, decided not to, and then decided we DID want to. So we left the house a little before 5 and got to the auction just a few minutes before it started. There was TONS of furniture there, and we eyeballed a dresser for the spud. This auction was WAY better than the one we’d attended in Tennessee. This auctioneer moved a lot faster than the one in Tennessee, and I quickly learned that if you hesitated just an instant too long, you’d lose out. We were sitting there watching a lamp being auctioned, and suddenly Fred raised his hand to bid on it. “What the hell are you doing?” I said to him, bug-eyed. “Bidding on the lamp,” he said. “That’s a good lamp for $7.50!” He wasn’t willing to pay $10, though, so was outbid. All in all, we got some excellent stuff. A gaming table came up for auction and we decided it would fit perfectly in a certain spot in the new house, so Fred bid on it, and we got it for $110. Then, of course, an even more perfect wall table came up, and we ended up getting that one for $100, too. We were willing to spend up to $250 on the dresser for the spud, a lovely old maple dresser. How much did we get it for? $110. We were absolutely floored at how low some of the furniture was going for. Like I said to Fred, “We are NEVER going into an antique store again!” Some of the stuff was going for less than $100, and there was no doubt in my mind it was going to show up in an antique store for $600 or more. On the other hand, we were amazed at how much some of the stuff was going for – there was a fast and furious bidding war on an old anvil, and we just looked at each other like “Why?” and shook our heads. Fred did get a jigsaw and a router for $10 each, though, which was cool. After we’d spent almost $350, Fred said “We’d better get out of here before we spend any more money!”, so we did. We packed the game table, the saw and router, and the wall table into the car, and decided we’d borrow Fred’s stepfather’s truck on Sunday and come back to get the dresser.
Dsc01334 Wall table. Dsc01335 Game table, closed… Dsc01355 …halfway open… DSC01354 … all the way open. Dsc01353 Spud’s new dresser.
We got going around 9 Sunday morning to go over to Fred’s mom’s to borrow his stepfather’s truck. We got to the auction house, loaded up the dresser, and were home well before 10. I puttered around the house for the better part of the day, while Fred went out and stained the rocking chairs a nice light pecan color.
Dsc01349 Fred’s mom and stepdad have an outside cat. He just showed up outside their back door one day and stayed around, so they make sure he gets fed and stays warm and gets his shots. He stays outside, though, because their house is really too small for another cat. Dsc01344 Bandit, the pampered indoor kitty. Dsc01411
All in all, it was a very, very good weekend. And what’s even better? We close on the new house in less than two weeks! Woohoo!
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Maddy continues to do well. Last Wednesday (the morning after I brought her home), she weighed in at 10 ounces. This morning, she weighed in at 13 ounces. I worry about her not getting enough to eat – for two feedings yesterday she barely drank half a tablespoon of formula at each – but she’s still gaining weight, so apparently she’s getting enough. I think she’s teething – she’s been chewing on stuff a lot lately, and I see tooth nubs in her mouth, but I don’t think any of them have popped through yet. She’s been doing a lot of “exploring” lately, venturing further and further from me, but then if she gets too far from me she gets nervous and runs back. It’s seriously cute. What I saw when I went upstairs to feed Maddy yesterday.         “Oh! Yes! RIGHT THERE!” Maddy loves the belly rubs.     You have no idea how very, very, very much these little claws hurt. I finally went out and bought some work gloves to wear while feeding Maddy, because she digs in so hard with them. Good for her she’s so cute! All of today’s uploaded pictures are here.  
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Yawny reader pet pics!
This is Lola, reader Melinda’s Beagle. Melinda says, This is Lola, my 4 yr old beagle. When I snapped this picture last spring I thought of your yawning kitties so it is only appropriate to share. What a cutie! Almost makes me want a dog. 🙂 Look! It’s a Sugarbutt lookalike! (A Sugalike!) This is reader Leanne’s cat Basil (and that looks like a disapproving Boogalike over there on the left!). I don’t think I’ve mentioned that I love orange kitties, have I? These two are Pita (on the left) and Pepper (the yawner). They belong to Donna, and if you want to see some cute cat pictures, you should check out Donna’s site, ’cause she puts up some really good ones.
Thanks, Melinda, Leanne, and Donna, for sharing. The rest of you, keep ’em coming ’til the end of the month!
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Dsc01438 The price of gas this morning. I wonder if it’s going to get below $2 a gallon before it starts bouncing back up?
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Previously 2005: No entry. 2004: No entry. 2003: Dirk is a happy, happy man. Dirk is very close to orange. 2002: Instead of finding it cute and amusing, I am, instead, bitter that I’ll never get that 94 minutes of my life back. 2001: (he’s a dumbass, she’s a dumbass, they’re dumbasses, wouldn’t you like to BE a dumbass too?!) 2000: No entry.]]>

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