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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

RIP Blue Kitty


Blogging has gone by the wayside, thanks to the immediacy of Facebook, so this post is a week old, but still as painful to write.

My beloved alleged Russian Blue kitty (Samsara's Indigo aka Sam aka Blue) passed away in my arms here at home a week ago tonight. He was not even 10 years old yet.

In November, he'd started acting "off". He was mincing his food, and had lost a little weight. I thought it was a tooth abscess like Zander had (Zander is fine, BTW, and turned 16 today). It was an abscess, but it took a second vet to find that 10 days later. The first vet missed it, did bloodwork, and discovered Blue had signs of kidney failure and was severely dehydrated. Whether it was acute (curable) or chronic was yet unknown.

We were sent home from Vet #1 with subQ treatments, special food, and a phosphate binder (Epakitin). He wasn't eating. I tried a bazillion ways to get food into him, glued myself to the internet, and finally resorted to bottle-feeding puree of Purina NF from a feeding syringe. At the beginning, he was so out of it and reluctant to eat that I was lucky if I got 5ml into him every 48 hours.

My gut said "second opinion". Vet #2 confirmed the CRF, found the abscess, gave him a powerful antibiotic shot, and then he had dental extractions December 4th.


He came home ravenous, ate more than I'd seen him eat in weeks (and more than I ever would again), and slowly but surely began to bounce back. I added two more kidney support supplements (RenAvast, Azodyl). His appetite improved. He still wasn't keen on regular wet food, so we had a round the clock bottle-feeding regimen when I wasn't at work. He began to gain a little weight, his personality came back, and he was about 97% "back".

Then at the beginning of February, the initial symptoms returned. The constant lip licking. The refusing of food. The mee-yawning (where he yawns and meows at the top of the yawn). The hunched pose. The hiding. The really nasty breath. The withered dried up puckered look. The jaw grinding. I couldn't see an abscess, but gave him some antibiotics and a teeny dose of pain meds just in case. It didn't seem to do much.

I had just paid property tax and had about $60 to my name until the next paycheck in two weeks, so I just prayed this was just a setback, and that we could see the vet soon.

And then came the trouble breathing.

Thursday Feb 20th, I rushed him to the ER vet because he was breathing funny. The vaporizer didn't help. Thank God a friend had loaned me $200 in cash because I had nothing to give them otherwise and they expect payment before services are rendered. (No Good Samaritan fund there.)

Chest x-ray clear. Blood work awful. Oxygen tank helped some, but in their opinion, he was shutting down and might not make it through the night.

Their offerings: either hospitalize him in oxygen ($400) until we could see our vet in the morning if we wanted another opinion, or put him down.

I chose door #3. Take him home and see what happens.

He made it through the night. My vet (#2) echoed the idea that he was shutting down and waited for me to give the go-ahead for the goodbye shot.

Again, I opted for door #2, asked for a strong antibiotic shot instead (in the event it was an infection, which both had said it COULD be but probably wasn't). I wasn't going to put down my beloved soul mate knowing there might be a 0.00000001% chance it was curable, so we got the shot and went home.

He didn't change all weekend. Didn't get better, didn't get worse. My last ditch effort was to try steroids in case it was asthma (which, given how filthy I discovered our main living area was when I cleaned it that weekend, was likely, along with other symptoms he'd shown over the years that I'd blown off as nothing). Monday, he got steroids.

Tuesday morning, he was still the same. I figured that by Wednesday, he'd either be responding to the steroids, and we'd all be breathing better... or he'd be dead (if he really was shutting down).

When I got back from work Tuesday, he was in worse shape. That's when I knew. So I just gathered him in my arms, sang to him, held him, told him what a wonderful cat he'd been, and loved him until he departed. There was no time to get to the vet. Which was good because he didn't have to die in a cold sterile room, but bad because I couldn't get him relief from the respiratory distress.

I'm still in shock, and I can't understand why the remaining four aren't the least bit bothered by it. I still have Ophelia (19), Zander (16 today!), Jake (14 on 3/23) and Blue's litter brother Tyler (9), but they're unaffected.

I'm both upset with them about that, and envious that they can go on without the devastation I'm enduring. The house feels incredibly empty without him; I'd never realized what an enormous presence he had. He filled the whole room with his charisma and personality. He loved me like no cat has ever loved me, and I returned that love with an obsessive passion myself.

He was my most beloved cat, my heart cat, my bottle-fed baby orphan, my Little Blue Kitten.

Once upon a time, I had what looked to be a bonafide Russian Blue.

I will never be the same. Rest, my beloved, and return to me when you are ready.

Monday, February 10, 2014

In a Bind

Yes, I still exist. Pardon my abruptness, but let's just get right to the point.

I'm still only working part-time. Granted, it's permanent, and it pays REALLY well, but while it covers the basics, there isn't enough of a cushion for Unexpected Expenses.

I've had a few lately.

First, I had to go on a payback plan for the property tax that had a small delinquency left over from when I wasn't working. Out of the five installments that are spread out over the next four half-year due dates (the first paid when I signed the agreement), Installment #2 is the trickiest. Three months in which to save up the installment PLUS the half-year amount--equal to two month's wages. (I can swing the July payment in five months and next February's in seven, but three months, after paying last July's taxes plus an installment in October? Seriously?)

I was close (no Christmas for me this year), but then the cat got sick, and what was supposed to be a minor financial ding turned into ever-mounting costs as surgery, supplements, special food, etc was added in.

Bye-bye, property tax money.

To avoid saying "hello foreclosure on the house in which I grew up over the mere sum of $2,000", I need to generate some cash fast. I've managed to save up a good chunk of it again, but I am still going to be short on Friday without a miracle.

I know my fundraiser (link below) is asking for the full amount, but as I've gathered some, I'd be happy if the $462 I've collected could increase to $1,000.

So I'm putting it out to the blogosphere to ask for help. Please share, contribute what you can, and if you prefer to send directly to paypal, my email addy is in the fundraiser story. The details of Blue's illness are in there, too. He's holding his own, but we have to fix this problem.

I'm not asking for much, just a few hundred total to bridge that gap. Every five, ten, and twenty dollar contribution helps.

Thanks in advance!

http://www.gofundme.com/SavetheMewCrewsHome

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Moved Feed From Google to Bloglovin.

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/9005511/?claim=ujgrdeukbpq">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

If you're using Google Reader, it's going bye-bye in a few days. If you're looking for a great new feed reader to use, that will import your Google feeds nicely (even for people like me with dinosaur computers), try Bloglovin.com.

The only reason this post exists is to allow me to claim my blog there. Laterz...

Friday, May 17, 2013

New Obsession

Hey, yeah, I'm still alive. Facebook has swallowed me whole.

No, that's not the new obsession. 

It's Zentangle®.

Visit the link to learn more about it. Let's just say that for the moment, I am so consumed by it that I haven't touched needles in awhile. Well, that and I was working two part-time jobs there for awhile, nothing like 10a-10p to keep you from doing much else other than sleep/work/sleep/work.

Now, I'm back down to one part-time job.No, I didn't get the other less-appealing part-time second job I was agonizing over in the last post. All that agonizing, and they pretty much suddenly ended my contract with the temp agency without so much as a warning. (That the supervisor purposely avoided me every time I tried to sit down and have a chat with her should have told me something. Face it--they were just using me, they weren't interested in hiring me on, they just smooged me to keep me doing their dog work until they got their quotas met.)

But it's all good. I'm focusing on being the best department secretary I can be, at the university. And I LOVE IT. I mean, for a job. It's not my life's passion, but it's a great job. It pays very well, there are perks, and the only downside is that it's not full-time so I don't get health benefits.

But it's a start. Foot firmly wedged in ye olde door. It's all--why do we say it's all uphill from here? Wouldn't it be easier if the trip was downhill? Uphill requires slogging along with effort.

Whatever. It's all UP and GOOD from here.

Anyway, I may blog more, but I'll likely be over at the new blog, The Wranglin' Tangler. My two main obsessions are horses (wranglin') and art (tanglin'/Zentangle). So I combined them. We'll see how long this lasts. I might just merge everything into one blog, because separate blogs for each interest gets unwieldy.

Yes, I still freak over fibers. What I foresee is that once I have tangling firmly under my belt, it will spread into my other artistic forays. I have hazy visions forming in my mind about that.

So ends the long drawn out saga of Estate, poverty, and job seeking. There is just one small thing. Hold me in good thoughts next Wednesday. They're auctioning off the Albatross, and I really hope they get a good enough price that I'm forever released from my dealings with Filthy Turd Bank.

See you in Zentangle-land. Or here. Depending on what I need to post.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

In Most Ways, Life is Better Now

My, how things change.

I have two jobs. Both part-time. I finally got IN at the University—yay me!—and I LOVE it there. Started after Thanksgiving. I'm a secretary in one of the departments and my bosses are professors. I'm immersed in academia and I could not be happier.

Except if it was full-time with benefits, but other than that, I LOVE it.

The other job is a temp job I took at the end of September out of sheer desperation. I was down to $15. I mean TOTAL. Then the temp agency called with a short-term project. Catch: it's a 20-minute drive away. I wasn't sure I'd have the gas to make it up and back for a week. Thanks to the kindness of near-strangers, I was able to make it there and back and survive until the first paycheck. Short-term turned into longer-term, and if I can just make it to mid-February, I'll have fulfilled the 500-hour quota and I'll be able to be hired away permanently.

And therein lies the rub.

My current schedule is, I work at the University 10-3 M-F. I leave the University, swallow a sandwich on the drive to Job #2, and work there from 4-ish to 10ish M-Th. (I was going M-F, but I couldn't hack it. I made the decision to forego the extra net $30 and just have Friday evenings free.) Then I drive home, bleary-eyed and tired, after 10.5 hours of work with no real break, at 10:30 at night. I snuggle with the cats for an hour or so, then sleep, then get up and do it again.

Even with two full weekend days to "rest", I am, in a word, exhausted.

I think about knitting, weaving, painting, dyeing yarn, creating art. But I'm too tired to lift a brush, a heddle or a knitting needle. Even on weekends. If it weren't for needing clean underwear, I wouldn't even bother with laundry. No, don't ask what the house looks like.

My Facebook time has decreased considerably. I skim. Heck, I even quit playing FarmVille. Not for good—I don't think—but I simply do not have time to manage seven or eight or however many farms they're up to now AND work two jobs. And sleep.

The rub is, do I WANT to be hired in permanently at Job #2?

Job #2 is, well, it pays a bit above minimum. Job #1 at the University pays twice that. I really don't NEED Job #2 to be able to live, but my thinking has been, keeping Job #2 speeds up how fast I can get out of debt and regrow my savings and maybe improve my life.

Except, as tired as I am, is that really an improvement?

Job #2 is also hard on me physically. Vocally. I've been assigned to a multitude of projects, but the majority of them have involved my calling people for seven hours straight (when I worked almost full-time there), giving the same repetitive spiel or survey, and we all know what that does to my voice. I am having issues now. I see a doctor Thursday. I've spoken with the higher-ups. Hopefully, I'll move into projects this week that are email-based, not phone-based.

The only reason I'm staying on at Job #2 is because they have a position called proofreading. Which I apparently can't do as a temp. But I've passed the test, so if/when an opening arises, I could be hired. And they get to work from home. Which I could do. Because then I wouldn't have to drive back and forth. It would also save gas money.

I just don't know if I can keep this up until mid-February and 500 hours without negatively affecting Job #1. When I get too tired, I become less effective and my intuition falters. I am not as alert or quick. And as a secretary, with a new semester approaching, I need to be ON TOP of things. And there is no guarantee there will even BE an opening for a proofer at that time. I don't know how long I might have to drive back and forth and do God knows what before the position I seek becomes available.

Never mind trying to play with a horse. Or do art. Or deal with the bank. We won't talk about how the bank changed the locks on my house without informing me of it, and blew the ONE potential sale I finally got. I had an interested buyer, but the lock change made them wonder if I was in foreclosure, and they lost interest. Let it be known: Fifth Third Bank plays nasty games, keeps you dangling, lies about not getting paperwork then backpedals when you point out which page said "missing" paperwork is on, finds endless loopholes to use against you so they don't have to take a deed in lieu, allow you to short sale, give you modification, or work with you in any way. They are cheating me out of MY equity, and they deserve to go down. Let it be known, Fifth Third Bank is a bunch of cheating, lying SCUMBAGS, and they should be boycotted.

Oh, well. Karma's a bitch, and I'm looking forward to hearing about their karma. One day.

But as far as everything else goes, I'm happy. I have one job I love. I have another job that helps. I have healthy cats, one who turned 18 this fall, and a healthy horse, and I'm alive.

I'm not knitting a whole lot, but I'm alive.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Redundantly Alive

I go for months, don't I? Then I post something like "I'm still alive".

Well, I am. 

Not a whole lot happening.

House #2 STILL on the market. It's a race to the finish line—will I sell it, or will the bank get it? Stay tuned...

Horseplay continues. I'm hanging in there with the horse. He had a leaser; she fell off a different horse, broke ribs, laid up, had to unlease; got another leaser, who after a month wanted to move him to some strange barn closer to home and "retrain" him (excuse me? Whose horse is this?) to do what she wanted (barrel racing), but then might be going to some foreign country to stay with her beau for a month, so that fell through (thankfully).

After a stellar session with my horse last week, another fascinating session with a mare in training, and my first unplanned experience giving a riding lesson, I've decided this IS where I want to be. So no more leasers unless they behave; all I need is one winning lottery ticket or a good job and I'll be set.

Sold some yarn to Australia and Japan—the nice thing about yarn? It's light. Shipping costs are very low. Makes me glad I didn't pick ceramics or jewelry as a paid hobby.

Cats are fine. Zander has some weight loss issues, but the vet's tests showed a NORMAL thyroid (explains why the old vet's thyroid meds failed) and diagnosed a food allergy. He was down to 7.2 lbs (on a long cat). Steroids and food change boosted him to 9.4. He's off the 'roids and holding steady at 9.2 which is skinny but less dead-cat-warmed-over than he was. (I'm glad he's off the 'roids. They made him a bit too... uh... affectionate, if you know what I mean.)

Still seeking employment. What's that myth about going out and getting any old job, even a low-wage at McD's? Have you tried applying at McD's lately? It's not what it used to be. No longer does one walk in, fill out the app, speak with the manager, and get the uniform and a schedule. Nope. Nowadays, you apply online, you wait for them to call you, and if it's a big box store, you do an hour-long computerized personality assessment that isn't as easy to pass as you'd think. Then, rumor has it from people employed by Big Box Store, you go through three rounds of interviews before they hire you. For a low-wage job running a cash register or restocking laundry detergent.

I only had to go through one round at the University for high-paying jobs (that I didn't get).

And that's how the skein unfurls. Oh. There's still a bit of knitting. I've taught a few classes locally but haven't knit much this summer. Too sticky and hot.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Blogging Ain't What it Used to Be

Honestly, since Facebook now allows really long status updates, I tend to post my deep thoughts over there rather than here. And since it allows users to set up Pages, I have Yarndeavors as well as my music stuff being promoted via the Face.

But I still have yarndeavors.com, and a Yarndeavors blog (sorely in need of updating). The shopping cart lives on Etsy now thanks to the h@ckers who h@acked my Zen Cart last year. I was not feeling very Zen about that at all.

So the update. It's Spring. The cats and horse are shedding. The trees are blooming. I have one more day left on my repeat of the temp assignment I had last year for tax season, then it's all up in the air from there.

My other house is on the market (again); so far no bites and the realtor keeps trying to get me to put money into it so it'll sell better. Honey, if I had any to spare, I surely would; besides, I already put all the money into it that I'ma gonna, and if it didn't sell when it had pipes and had already had money put into it, what makes you think putting more money into it to replace the pipes is gonna make it sell any faster? No logic there. It'd be nice to have a realtor who can actually SELL a house. Seems these days they all want houses that are easy sellers so they don't have to do the actual selling. (Let me tell you the woman who sold me that house SOLD it to me.)

But it's all good. The Universe provides. And it's Spring. That's a start. Now go buy some yarn or scarves at http://yarndeavors.etsy.com/. :-)