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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Slow and Steady

I feel like I'm finally making progress, finally getting stuff done.  One by one I'm ticking items off my to-do list.  I haven't had to add much new.  It feels like I can finally see a little pinprick of light at the end of the tunnel.  I just hope it ain't a train!

I used to think that once I get all these projects done I'll be able to relax, but in all honesty, I think that's a myth.  The house will always need attention, as will the yard.  Hopefully not as much at one time, but there is no "all done" in real life.  I think realizing that has helped me relax and just focus on the task at hand.  There is no finish line to race to.

I fell off the diet wagon last week and I haven't been able to hop back on.  It makes me angry with myself ~ this Medifast food is so dang expensive.  I do well with it all day long, then I come home and munch on cereal, string cheese, crackers, and once, ice cream.  Totally undo the good I did all day.  I picked up some Dessert Gum from the grocery store.  I'm going to try that instead of real food when I get home from work.  At least I haven't gained back the almost six pounds I lost the first two weeks.

It was supposed to rain today, but now the skies are sunny and clear. The rain was moved to Thursday.  So I'm off to spray the yard with weed killer.  Our neighbors have quite a crop of dandelions, and they're starting to crop up in our lawn.  Everywhere.  Gotta try to nip that.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I have the house to myself.  I hardly know what to do first.  Walker went to the hardware store, and when he gets back he's going to help some neighbors.  One older man had his mailbox run over last night, and another neighbor has a sink hole opening in their yard.  I'm not sure which bothers me more.  Anyone who runs over a mailbox in the middle of the block is either drunk or extremely careless.  But the sink hole is right next door.  It keeps opening and they keep filling it.  Walker put an entire trash can full of dirt in it just a week ago.  Today, it can take almost another one.  I have a feeling one of these days my living room will end up swallowed by that hole.

The kids went swimming at a neighbors.  Last week we had frost warnings, today is supposed to be 94*.  Drives me absolutely batty.  I have no idea from one day to the next what to wear, what to work on, or how to handle my garden.  I think I can put the frost covers away, but not too far.  =)

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! First, a heartfelt "Thank you!" to our veterans and active duty service persons, as well as their family members.  Your sacrifices are remembered and appreciated.

It's hard for me to believe we have reached Memorial Day already.  The kids finish school this week.  Maybe it's the unseasonably cool weather, but it just does not "feel" like summer to me. 

On Saturday, Diva decided to donate her ponytail to Locks of Love.  My mom took her to the salon, and an hour later my little girl came home looking all grown up with her new hair cut. I'm proud of that kid, and the way she always thinks of others.  She is a very generous child.  Earlier that morning, she came in the house and asked if I had any chores for her.  She had found an angel figurine at a neighborhood rummage sale, and really wanted to get it for her other Grandma.  She needed to make two dollars.  I'm pretty sure she knew that if she had just asked me for the money I would have given it to her.  But she wanted to earn it, so she did.  Grandma got an angel, I got a dust free living room, and Diva got her wish.

The swelling in Ernie's foot was indeed caused by the fluid we are injecting under her skin.  The vet said that can happen sometimes, if the needle isn't centered in her neck.  We're supposed to give her half a dose at a time now, twice a day.  She barely tolerates the procedure.  I have to wonder: if she had all that swelling eleven hours after we injected her, does that mean her body wasn't using that fluid?  Do we still need to be giving it to her?  She goes back to the doctor on Thursday for another check.

I spent a couple hours working in the yard this weekend.  I discovered that my hanging flower basket is all dented and misshapen.  It looks like it was banging against the house during the tornado.  We have a couple aluminum window frames that are all bent up, too.  We got so lucky.  It could have been so, so much worse.  The weather folks did a map showing the route of the tornado through town.  When it was FOUR BLOCKS from my house, headed our way, it stopped dead.  Lucky, lucky, lucky.  We have a lot to be grateful for this Memorial Day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Storm Stories

Everywhere I go, I hear storm stories.  "Where were you when the tornado hit?" is the question of the week.  Friends share photos and video.  And the destruction!  It amazes me how random it is.  On one block, every house but one is fine, but the one that got hit is minus a roof, or siding, or knocked off the foundation.  Trees are torn up, and streets and sidewalks are buckled up from the tree roots that got yanked out of the ground.  Several major employers have had to close, at least for now, due to storm damage.  So many people, out of work, just like that.  The tornado missed us by just four city blocks.  Pretty sobering thought.

One hour after the tornado, we had gorgeous skies again....

I came home from work this morning and found Ernie, playful as a kitten, but with a very swollen front paw.  It did not seem to bother her, as she leaped around the living room like she hasn't done in years, hopping from one piece of furniture to the next.  I have a call in to the vet, and I'm trying to stay awake until he calls back.  They told me that it most likely is caused by the fluid we're giving her under the skin, but they want the doctor to talk to me just to be sure we don't need to do anything differently.

Check out that ginormous paw.  I know the photo is a wonky angle, but trust me ~ it was huge.
 We are supposed to have temps in the thirties tonight.  Yep, the thirties.  Did anyone remember to tell the weather gods that it is supposed to be almost summer?  I'm going to have to put my capri pants back into storage at this rate.  The last of my tulips have come into bloom.  I wish they lasted longer, but I guess that's one of things that makes them so special.  They are here for just a short time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bits and More Bits

Looks like Blogger is wonked up again.  I was trying to comment on a few blogs but kept getting kicked out.  Don't ya just love technology?  Not sure I should be taking time to write a post right now, as who knows if it will even show up, but what the heck - I got home from work on time, got my chores done, and have to wait for one last load of laundry to finish in the dryer so I can fold it before I go to bed.  So, I got time. 

Ernie seems much better these days.  She  looks so much better.  I feel terrible knowing she must have been having problems for a while before we took her into the vet.  How did I not see it?  I just thought she was moving slower and acting more quiet because she was getting older.  Now that she's perked back up, I realized her age had nothing to do with it. If she hadn't lost weight so suddenly - dehydration - I might have missed it all together.  I always thought I was a good kitty mom but I blew it this time.

Ernie's continued care will be a budget buster.  She needs a special diet, plus meds, plus daily fluid injections under her skin. She's limping a bit, and I'm going to ask the vet about glucosamine for her.  Not sure if that will help - it should if the limping is from arthritis.  Anyway - what she needs right now will be about $130 a month. Plus more frequent vet visits.  Plus, maybe, the glucosamine.  Guess it was a blessing in disguise that the used car I had my eye on was sold before I got to the dealership.  We can make due with what we have for a while longer.

Of course, all the stressing about the budget caused me to take a flying leap off the diet wagon.  I did pretty well until late Saturday night.  The kids were all in bed, Walker and Bro were watching TV, and me?  Oh, I sat in front of the computer working on the budget and bonding with a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos one of the kids left on a tray table next to my desk. I forgot how salty those things are.  The next morning my hands were all swollen from the salt.  I didn't bother to do a weigh in.  I could not even get my rings on. Ah well.  That's what tomorrow is for - I can always try again.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Day the Legend Died

Growing up, everybody knew the Indian legend about our town: tornadoes do not touch down where three rivers meet.  Some people went on with scientific "facts" to back the legend, some just embellished the story.  The important thing was, everyone knew it to be true.  Or so we thought. 

I don't know who turned the TV on today but as I was passing through the living room, Walker told me there was a bad storm heading our way.  "Are we concerned?" I asked the boys.  Nobody answered me.  I watched the breaking news for a minute, then I asked the kids to put on their shoes.  We got each of them a cold weather outfit and their prized possessions (Cubby's book and Squeak's stuffed dog) and loaded everything into a Rubbermaid tote.  We got out the flashlights, extra batteries, and some food.  Into the tote it went.  Finally, we put a protesting Ernie into her crate and hauled everything down to the basement.  I left the kids downstairs and went back up to get myself ready: shoes and socks, my cell phone, a sweatshirt.  I was putting my meds into my pocket when Bro asked what I was doing.  "The storm won't last more than an hour or so.  You don't need those."  I told him that if a tornado hit the house my meds would end up three towns away.  I think that was the first time he really took it seriously.  When the tornado sirens went off we went downstairs ourselves.  I had to wonder, as I shut the basement door, if my home would be standing when I came back upstairs.

The kids did great during the storm.  We made seats out of patio chair cushions, put blankets over ourselves, and waited.  Walker brought down a radio, and at first all we got was a prerecorded loop telling us to take cover.  Then they started updating.  I was scared, but when we heard that there was a tornado in our town - and heading our way - well, that kind of fear is new to me.  Everyone stayed calm.  Well, except Ernie, who really wanted out of that crate.  Then they announced homes were down.  In our neighborhood.  And we just waited.

Clearly, we are all fine.  If I had been out of town for the day, and just got home, I would have no idea from my block that anything at all happened other than a little rain.  We don't even have tree branches down.  Four blocks from our house, though, a different story.  Homes and businesses damaged.  For the rest of the afternoon, the sound of sirens passing.  We haven't left the house.  Police are asking folks to stay put, so nobody gets in the way of emergency personnel.  No reports of anyone hurt, thank God. 

So much for the legend.....

Just Another Saturday.....

I'm not sure if Ernie is okay or not.  She's having trouble with her back legs, and she's still wobbly on her feet.  At first, the vet said it was the sedation but that was on Thursday.  Surely she should be over that by now.  Then we thought she was sore from her procedure.  I'm not sure but every time she struggles to walk my heart skips a beat. She's eating well, but has yet to poo.  We're giving her fluids under her skin, and while she's still thin, she looks so much better.  She feels heftier, too.  The kids are very careful with her.  It's quite precious to watch.

We tried a yard sale again this morning and again got rained out.  Since it's all set up I think we'll keep trying until we get a good day.  As much as I hate getting up early after a late night at work, I'm motivated by the idea that whatever money we make goes into the vacation fund.  We're hoping to meet family at the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival next spring.  We have some saving to do if we want to meet that goal.

In the process of getting ready for the yard sale, I went through a couple closets and of course, the basement.  I learned something valuable: women hold onto things for a length of time directly proportional to the amount of money they spent on said item, even if they know they will never use it again. Case in point: I had a shelf in the linen closet full of cosmetics, mostly hair stuff, that I spent too much money on because someone (usually me)  convinced me that using this exotic, overpriced stuff would make my wimpy hair thick and curly and gorgeous.  Um, yeah.  I know.  But somehow I was always a bit surprised when it didn't work.  Maybe I did something wrong.  Cause, you know, it's hard to use shampoo and conditioner and spray gel.  Surely with practice I'll be able to make it work.  Until I gave up and shoved the half used bottle of whatever into the linen closet.  Where it stayed.  Cause, you know, I spent too much money on it so I can't throw it out.  Except I did.  Throw it out.  All of it, except the shampoo, which Walker will use.  The stinky lotion, the body wash that gave me a rash, the leave in conditioner that won't weigh fine hair down (but did), the dry shampoo that makes your hair look just washed (but didn't), the deep conditioner that dried my hair out so bad I could not get a comb through it and ended up pulling it into a pony tail all knotted so I could get to work on time.  The mineral makeup, the lipsticks that make my teeth look orange, the "smokey eye" shadow that made me look like I lost a fight......all tossed. After convincing myself that the money I spent on this stuff was gone, no matter how long I kept it, I tossed the first jar of stuff.  Then another, and another.....It felt surprisingly good.  The guilt I felt for spending too much on stuff that I never used went into the garbage, too.  Lesson learned.

I mentioned this to a group of friends and every single one of them copped to the same thing.  For some it was clothes, for some it was kitchen stuff, for some it was craft supplies, and for some it was cosmetics, like me.  But every one of them had a "stash" of stuff they knew they would never use, but could not give up because they spent good money on it.  Too bad we can't all have a giant swap meet.  Bring all the stuff we can't use and trade it.  You know, that's not a bad idea.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So Far, So Good.....

Ernie made it through her procedure just fine.  At first the vet thought she would need to have it done twice, as she was pretty well clogged up.  But things went really well so now he's going to let her come home, and we have to monitor her ourselves.  The vet is keeping her at the clinic for the whole day, so they can give her more IV fluids.  Walker will pick her up this evening.  I wish I did not have to be at work.

Ernie's not out of the woods yet.  She needs a special diet to keep this from happening again.  Hopefully she likes it, as there will be no more treats.  She'll be dehydrated for a while, so we have to give her fluid injections under her skin.  She's probably going to be uncomfortable from the procedure.  We need to keep her quiet.

I know that some people think I should have let her go, had her euthanized.  That's fine. They are entitled to their opinion.  But Ernie is my baby, her problem was fixable, and, had she died during the procedure, at least she would have been asleep and not in pain. I had to give her a shot at getting better and no matter what happens tomorrow,  I'm  glad I did.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ernie Update

Ernie went to the doctor today.  Walker said she was pretty well behaved, which surprised me.  She let them take a blood test, which came back fairly good.  She does have some indicators that her kidneys arent functioning as well as they should, but thats normal for a kitty her age.  The real problem is that she is constipated.  Badly.  I wasnt expecting that, as she pooed just this morning but the vet says that what is coming out is not all that should be coming out, and that without intervention she would live maybe a week or two before the toxins built up in her blood and killed her. 
Clearly, were not going to let that happen.

In the morning, Ernie will go back to the vet.  Shell be sedated, and she will get IV fluids and an enema.  There is a fair possibility that she will not survive the sedation; shes weak and dehydrated.  The vet gave her fluids to help with the dehydration, but they can only give so much at one time.  So, tomorrow morning Ill take my baby to the clinic to give her the best possible shot at getting better I hope I get to bring her home.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I Hope Walker Really Loves Me.....

My Ernie cat is going to the doctor tomorrow.  I called a vet we haven't seen in a while, and explained how she she hasn't been eating much, and I explained how she gets aggressive an agitated when we bring her to the doctor.  This vet agreed to see her without sedation to try to get a blood test and maybe a urine sample.  The urine probably won't be a problem.  She uses her pee as a weapon at the vet.  I know y'all probably think I am exaggerating, but I can assure you: she is five and a half pounds of fluffy fury when she goes to the doctor.  She hisses, spits, bites, scratches, and, if she's really mad, flips onto her back and shoots balls of poo at the doctor with amazing aim.  She has torn apart exam rooms, broken stuff, peed everywhere, and generally wreaked havoc.  Yep.  It's an adventure.  Between the yowling and the crashing of equipment to the floor, the people in the waiting room are more than a little nervous when our door opens.  So I know y'all will find this hard to believe, but I did not purposely schedule the appointment during my work hours.  That was totally up to the vet clinic, as they had no morning or early afternoon openings for a week.  I did not stick Walker with this duty on purpose.  Really.


It sounds like Ernie may have a hyperactive thyroid. There are a couple things the vet wants to check for, but based on the symptoms that's where I'll lay my odds.  I can feel a knot in her neck, but I don't know if that's her thyroid gland.  It's in about the right spot.  Anyway: I feel better now, knowing that we can at least try to help her without the risk of sedation.  If they can't pin her down long enough to get blood, we'll have to move on to Plan B.  Right now, I don't actually have a Plan B.  So please, cross your fingers for us.  We'll need all the help we can get.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look Out, World!

I started the Medifast plan a week ago today, and so far, I'm down 4.6 pounds.  That's better than I hoped for.  I seem to remember that last year, the first two weeks brought the biggest loss.  I've decided to make the goal a round thirty pounds, so I have a good start.  Diva has been wanting to go back to the Mall of America.  I was thinking that when I make my goal, I'll need new jeans, so why not road trip to the Mall to get them?  The last time we took Diva to the Mall of America we went after school on a Friday, and we had to have her home on Saturday by suppertime, so there were a lot of things we didn't get to do.  The promise of a trip back will be another great motivation.

Walker is painting the front entry of the house.  He's been at it for hours.  Today is the perfect day to paint - sunny, warm, nice breeze, low humidity.  Walker is very precise when he works a project like this, much more so than I would be.  The paint started peeling last fall and I wasn't able to do anything about it.  I'll be very glad when it's done.  Walker will make it look fabulous.

This morning, just after 2am, the neighbor across the street got a visitor.  There are a lot of people living in that house and someone is always coming or going.  I don't sit and watch my neighbors, LOL, so I don't know what was going on but I could hear music when the car pulled up.  Several minutes later, the music was still going and someone started blowing on the car horn.  Repeatedly.  

The horn blowing went on for several minutes and I decided enough was enough.  I went across the street and approached the car.  Inside was a young woman dressed for a night out.  Two men were talking on the lawn.  Apparently the woman wanted to get going and didn't care if she woke the whole neighborhood to make her wishes known.  I don't know what the men were talking about - they were loud but didn't sound angry, though they were not speaking English so who knows - but they were about eight feet from the car.  Miss Lazy could have hoisted her fanny out of the car and joined them, or even rolled the window down and said something.  She didn't need to lay on the horn a dozen times.

So I approached the car and asked her to please stop blowing the horn.  She gave me this totally blank look and said, "Okay."  I asked her if she knew that it was 2:30 in the morning.  Same blank look, and, "Yes".  Then she got out of the car, walked over to the men and yelled at them for several minutes until one of the men went into the house and the other went back to the car. 

I started laughing on the way back across the street.  I had charged out of the house in my fuzzy pink robe and bare feet.  I must have looked pretty odd coming up to the car in the dark.  I don't much care.  I do have to wonder, just what happens inside someone's head that basic respect for others goes out the window like that.  Not only the woman in the car, but also the two men on the lawn who ignored all that rude horn blowing.  When did we stop caring about our neighbors?

Weekend's Over......

The crab apple tree has burst into bloom but I haven't had any patio time.  It's gone cold outside, with a frost warning tonight. What is UP with this crazy weather?  Diva and I put in a couple of veggie plants last weekend, so before too long here I'll have to go cover them.  I also have to bring the hanging baskets and pots from the window boxes into the garage.  What happened to spring??

We were planning a yard sale for this weekend, too, but called it off due to cold and rain.  We're going to try again next week.  We hadn't advertised, so calling it off was not a big deal.  I hope we can get something done with it soon though.  We have a lot of treasures to find new homes for, and not much of a garage in which to house them.  We're going to have to do another sale in a couple weeks. 

Walker went on his summer schedule this weekend.  That means he works shorter shifts, but five to six days a week instead of four.  He hates the schedule, but it leaves more time for him to do things around the house.   That makes life easier on me.  On the regular schedule, he gets three days off a week, but he usually is so whipped he spends the first day resting, the second day socializing, and the third day he tries to fit in everything he's put off for the week.  It doesn't often work.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Google, What the Heck?

I don't know what's going on but the last post I wrote keeps disappearing.  I put it up twice yesterday, both times it was there for a while, but then it disappeared.  There's nothing questionable in the content.  I love technology.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Is it Friday Yet?

Three days on the diet and so far, so good.  Yesterday was the first day I was really hungry, and I have those days even when I'm not on a diet.  I chewed a lot of gum, stayed busy, and got through it.  Medifast food tastes okay, but the portion sizes are pretty darn small.  More like a snack than a meal.  Walker & Bro went marketing and came home with all kinds of healthy stuff.   They cooked it for me, too.  With support like that, I got this.

My kitty is still doing okay.  She isn't eating much, but she is eating.  The weather suddenly got hot - 92* and humid, after weeks of unseasonable cold.  Ernie never eats much when it's really hot.  But I worry.  I check on her constantly.  I'm probably driving her nuts with my hyper vigilance. Poor old girl.  If she gets fed up with me she hangs out with Bro.  He brushes her and talks to her and sneaks her treats.  She never would let anyone else come near her with a brush.

Walker took my car into the shop for whatever the automobile equivalent of a check up is.  They looked it over, gave him a pretty short list of recommended maintenance, and, after some discussing between us, fixed everything on the list. We spent almost $600 but for car repairs, that didn't seem too terrible.  Well, the next day the service engine light came on, then the day after that it started making some terrible squeaking noise.  Back to the shop it goes. At some point, we need to decide to stop with all the repair bills and trade the damn thing in.  But every time we take it in, they tell us, this is it now, you should be good for several months.  Ahem.  Right. I do trust our mechanic - he's a family friend and well regarded in his field - but I think you can only predict so much.  We need to win the lottery.  I guess that means we need to play the lottery.

Right now, I'm counting down the hours till the weekend.  I don't know why this week feels like it's dragged on forever, but it does.  We've been so busy.  We're getting a lot done and I feel great about what we've accomplished but I'm looking forward to some time on the patio, under my about-to-bloom crab apple tree with a good book. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Medifast & Me

It started with a pair of blue jeans.  Last summer, I lost about 30 pounds. So last fall, when the weather got too cool for capri pants, I needed to buy new jeans.   Smaller jeans.  That part was cool.  But I still had somewhere between 15 and 20 more pounds to lose, so I only bought two pair of jeans.  I figured I would shrink out of them before they wore out, so I didnt want to get more than two.  Guess what?  I noticed a small, frayed hole in one of those jeans yesterday.  Theyre wearing out.  I havent dropped any more sizes, either.  In fact, I gained about 6 pounds during radiation and another couple over the few weeks before my last mammo when I was stress eating all the time.   Ive got at least 25 pounds to go now.  Maybe more.

With that in mind, I went back to what worked for me last summer: Medifast.  On paper, I dont like the idea of Medifast.  Its a program of prepackaged meal replacements, and it is darn expensive.  My ideal plan would be to incorporatereal food in healthy recipes, add in regular exercise, and turn it into a lifestyle.  Um, yeah.  Great on paper but in real life?  Forget it.  I have no time to shop, no time to cook, and no time to look up interesting, healthy recipes that I actually have the tools and skill to cook properly.  If left to my own devices I would eat Cheerios four times a day, take a multi vitamin, and call that good enough.  And, at times, I have done exactly that.  The plus side of Medifast is, its easy, and of course, it works.  For me, it was much easier than I expected, and though I didnt follow the plan 100%, I lost weight.  Thirty pounds in four months.
It occurs to me that one reason it worked so well for me could be because I had cancer.  I guess well find out, as Ive ordered another few weeks worth of food.  Im going to give it another go.  Due to the cost, I wont be following the plan 100% this time, either.  Instead of eating Medifast food for the prescribed five times a day, Ill go for three times.  The other two mini meals will be a low carb snack.  Greek yogurt is a favorite.   A hard boiled egg.  Reduced fat string cheese.  Something like that.
Anyway – I hope plan to be in smaller jeans by the time I pack my capris away again this fall.  With overweight being a risk factor for breast cancer, I have extra incentive to get to my goal.  I do not want to go through that again.  It’s time to get serious about getting healthy.  Wish me luck!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Royalty, Rock, & Roll

Walker and I, with our concert tickets.  We were among the lucky few who got these on the first try.  I wanted to add a photo from 1993, when I saw the same performer with two friends.  We were all dressed up and holding our tickets at our hotel before the show.  When I hunted for the photo, though, I sadly discovered it was in the box of photos that was destroyed in the flood.  There's no insurance that can fix that.

Before the show we went to a fabulous, and I mean FAB-U-LOUS restaurant for dinner.  This is the view from our table.  Pretty, right?  Considering that less than three weeks ago, we ate here and saw this......

things are definitely looking up!  Notice the blossoming tree on the right edge of the photo above?  I consider it a miracle that those blossoms weren't lost to the snowstorm.

While we were eating, we saw these tour buses pass by.  Five of them.  Followed by Ryder trucks.  Three of them.  We knew we were in for a great show.

We were among the first into the venue, but the seats filled in record time.

And then it was time.....Ladies and Gentlemen, fresh from the Royal Wedding, Sir Elton John!

And what a fabulous show it was!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Random Bits

Ernie seems to be her old self.  No more incidents.  She's eating well and has spent the last couple days curled up on one of the kids or sleeping on the bathroom mat.  Just like before.  I have my fingers crossed that whatever happened was just some flukey thing. 

The kids are cooking Mother's Day brunch for Grandma and the god mothers.  Bro invited his soon-to-be ex wife, so she could enjoy scrambled eggs and waffles cooked by her boys.  I'm proud of Bro.  My parents' divorce was not, ever, amicable.  We were well past the age of majority before they would be in any room other than a courtroom at the same time.  I'm glad my nephews don't have to go through that.  I'm proud of my sister in law, too.  She didn't have to accept the invitation.  The kids knew nothing about it.  She could have said no.  She's picking the boys up at noon, anyway, so it's not like she wouldn't get to see them.

My mom had a rummage sale today.  I got up early to help her.  It was not a great day to sit in the driveway.  Cold, windy....the sun didn't come out until the last hour.  My mom mentioned that she went to the end-of-year program at the boys' school last week.  That startled me: I'm still scraping frost off my windshield after work.  How can it be the end of the school year already?  But, yeah, they have about three more weeks.  Yikes!

Happy Mother's Day to my blogger pals with kids.  I don't have kids, but I feel like I do.  I'm content to be the world's coolest auntie, not that I have a choice.  I feel very lucky to have such great kids in my life, even if they are on loan.  =)  I'll enjoy every bite of my brunch tomorrow, even if I do end up cleaning up the mess.  Maybe I'll have to take pictures of the kitchen when the kids are done. 

And finally, if you can stand another photo of my tulips....I just love how, when the sun goes down, they all close and "nod" off in the same direction.  I always think they're sleeping.  Til next time!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Baby, Ernie

Once upon a time, a guy I thought was prince charming brought me a very special gift, hidden away in the pocket of his coat:  a tiny gray kitten with big blue eyes and a little patch of white on her neck.  My roommates and I were not exactly allowed to have pets, but the apartment had mice, so Roomie #1 had adopted a gray cat named Sophie.  Roomie #2 was a raging Bette Midler fan, and Bette had two characters named Soph and Ernie in her act.  Roomie #2 agreed to let me keep the kitten only if I named her Ernie.  So I did.

That was 22 years ago.  Ernie and I have been through a lot together, including a succession of kitty brothers and kitty sisters.  She has outlived them all.  Though Walker likes animals, he's not into being a pet owner.  He's not keen on adopting any more furry kids.  Ernie was my first baby, and will likely be my last.

It's not easy watching her get older, seeing her slow down.  She's lost a lot of weight, even though she eats well.  She's been wobbly on her feet.  She doesn't appear to hear or see well.  She startles when I reach to pet her, as if she didn't know I was there. Sometimes she tries to jump onto the sofa and doesn't make it.  All of this scares the heck out of me and reminds me that her days with us are limited.

But today, she broke my heart.  She was walking through the kitchen when her back legs went out from under her and she toppled over.  I went to pick her up but she scooted away from me, on her front legs.  She kept trying to stand but her back legs did not want to hold her up. She would not let me pick her up. My sister's dogs are over and the younger one, a puppy Ernie barely tolerates, kept trying to get closer.  Ernie got more and more agitated, moving in circles on three legs while one back leg appeared to be having some sort of muscle spasm.  Ten minutes of this, and all of the sudden she seemed fine again.  She went into the living room and hopped onto the sofa like it was nothing.

So now, Walker and I have to decided what to do.  Every instinct tells me I need to take her to the vet but I know, at 22 years old, what they can do for her.  Pretty much nothing.  The vet already told me he has never had a female cat live to 23. The thing is, Ernie does not enjoy the vet, she does not enjoy the car, and she does not enjoy going outdoors.  She gets so agitated that the vet has told me I need to sedate her before I bring her in. She may not survive the sedation.  I had another cat that was sedated for a vet visit and she died in the car on the way home. So there it is.  The plan for right now is to keep a close eye on her.  Walker has the next couple days off, so that's his job when I'm at work.  If she has another episode, I guess we'll have to risk the sedation to get her checked out.  I so do not want her to have one minute of unnecessary pain.