agoodwinsmith: (Little Seagull)
2013-08-31 05:17 pm
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Medical Blues

So. Since last I posted, SOGP has been diagnosed with inguinal hernias. He started with one, and by the time he saw the surgeon he had two. He is on the waiting list for surgery and it may be a while. This means that he is off work. After paying for years into their unbelievably expensive extended medical, they conned him into going on medical-leave EI – which means that he is no longer an employee, so he is not entitled to make use of any of the extended medical benefits.


I am really annoyed at Quest, the company he works for, but I totally understand his reluctance to engage in a losing battle. He is due to retire in mid-October, anyway, and at the rate things are going he probably won’t see the surgery until after that date. Fortunately, I am still covered by my work, so any pain killers and so on should be covered. I just think it is really crappy of his employer to serve him such a turn. Those are the kind of actions that make me a strong union supporter.


And, our adorable orange kitty, Chuckie, has been diagnosed with diabetes, and we are giving him insulin twice a day. I am very proud of myself because today I managed to give him the shot myself. Argh. I am very grateful that Chuck is such a patient cat. He seems perfectly willing to wait until a person gets up their nerve, even while the person is mauling various folds of skin about, looking for the right spot. He is less resigned to the loss of his crunchies. We’re working on various replacements, but so far our success rate is no better than chance.


My arthritis has good and bad days, but the real killer is the heels spurs in my left heel. That trumps any pain in my knees, hands down, and no one has any suggestions for alleviation of the pain. Unless that is sorted out, there is no point in talking to me about knee replacement, because when the heel is acting up, I hardly notice the knee situation.


So, we are considering calling off our vacation this September. The issue is finding a cat sitting place that offers injection service. The place we like does not. The places that do are way the hell and gone off in the boonies, adding hours of travel time. And we’re just in the process of getting the cat accustomed to insulin, and we’re to be increasing his insulin over the foreseeable future until we stabilize his situation, so asking strangers to monitor all that is a bit much I think. People with experience in cat diabetes are talking six months, and we were leaving in about 3 weeks.


Considering that I don’t like the actual traveling part of the vacation anyway, I’m not sure the therapeutic value of Penticton will be worth the hassle of making it happen.


And, September in Vancouver can be very nice. And sleeping in is better in one’s own bed, anyway. J

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2011-04-12 06:51 pm
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Sammie 1993 to 2011

Sammie was born in the Spring of 1993.  He came as an adorable little black kitten to our neighbour next door.  Sometime during his first year, one of his hind legs was broken, and so for a while, at night, all you could see was this little white cast hopping and bopping around on the ground.  In 1995 the neighbour moved and said to me - "D'ya wan' 'im?  If not, he's for the SPCA."  So, I got his food dish, and his box of cut-rate crunchies.  I showed him where they were, and that he could come and go as he pleased (Summer in the Okanagan - definitely open door open window policy) - and I gave him some cooked smokie.

His people had moved right out of their mobile home, and no one moved in, so, because it was an old one with loovered windows, he was able to get in as he pleased.  He spent the summer sleeping there, and coming over to our house to eat.  He was a loving but skittish fellow - afraid of feet, brooms, newspapers, sudden movement, sudden noises.  But, we offered a better brand of food -and it was the only game left, so he spent more and more time with us - even sleeping in our lean-to shed.

His old home was sold, and dragged away, so he was left with just our shed to sleep in - I mean: it had an old ratty couch that someone had left when they moved out, and it was badly made enough that there were two ways in and out (crucial for a full-Tom - gotta have a gettaway in every sleeping place), so it wasn't too bad.  Then we had one of the coldest winters Westbank had seen for  years and years - and Sammie condescended to spend some time in the house for a snooze.

And so we went until he was about five.  He became king cat of the neighbourhood, and incautious cats who got into our yard by mistake almost widdled themselves in their yessirnosir, pleasejustletmelivesir grovelling to be allowed to just run away.  The girl cats thought he was simply the best because he would bring them home and show them his dish (See?  I'm a great provider.).  We had little girl cats come up to the door and basically, through various curling pantomimes, ask if Sammie could come out to play.  Then we finally had the money to get him neutered.

It didn't slow him down, or stop the girls from coming 'round.

Then, when he was nine, we moved to Vermilion.  Frozen wasteland of prairie with not enough wooded hiding out places.  He did well there, but he didn't have a territory any more, and if he was caught out at sunup, he wouldn't come home all day.  You knew he was just somewhere nearby under somebody's stoop, but he wouldn't come until after dark.  He did pretty well, there, though, and seemed to be quite happy over all.  His one objection was that there was no good hunting available in the Winter, so, the second Fall we were there, he started stocking the house with mice.  The photo above is taken in the backyard there.

Then, when he was thirteen, we moved to Vancouver, and he became an apartment cat.  We were worried because he had always been able to come and go as he pleased, and now he was cooped up in a two-bedroom apartment.  He made the transition very well.

The above photo was taken in the Spring of 2005, and pretty much represents his attitude to the new situation.

As you know, since last year we have been concerned about how thin he was, and various other issues.  This morning we had him put to sleep because everything had just failed him all at once.  The worst thing was that he couldn't walk any more.  Well, he could stagger about ten feet and then would have to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before staggering anywhere else.  He had refused to eat or drink since this past Friday, and while no doubt we could have put him through heroic efforts to squeeze one or two more months of living out of him, we didn't feel that was the right thing to do.  Don't let anybody ever fool you - euthanasia is a violent process, and it doesn't look pain-free to me, but, well, he'd reached the point where there was no pain-free place to reach.

Please help me celebrate a totally fabulous cat.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2011-04-06 12:59 pm
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In which our heroine fails to buy a $700.00 Dior wallet, but does qualify for the Seniors Discount.

So, after the bedlam of pre-admissions, I took two days off to do stuff.

First, our Sammie is on the decline for kidney function.  He's still happier and livelier than he was before the tooth work, but we are now going to be supplying subcutaneous fluids to help flush his kidneys of toxins.  Once you are here, there is no going back, and what you have to be careful of is that you do not fail to recognize when enough is enough.  Right now he is still mobile (if wobbly), and he still really loves to eat, and he really loves (luuuuuurves) to have his ears rubbie-dubbied.  So, we shall see.  Hopefully he shall get some summer sunshine before things get bad for him.

Then, I was in the market for a new coat - preferrably something in the rain-proof category, and I was not hopeful, since my last excursions for coats were dismal ranting failures.  Ha.  I found two - one casual and one dressy enough for work - Aaaand - I got the most amazing sale: things were on sale, and then some things were further reduced, and I had a $40.00 coupon, and then on top of all that I qualified for a 25% seniors discount.  Wooo.  I got two coats and three blouses for the original cost of the dress coat.  I actually saved more than I spent.  (Saved $174 ish, and spend $142 ish).  Woo.

I am also looking for a new wallet.  Mine is aged and ratty, and I saw someone with exactly what I want: a big fold open deal with a zipper aaaalllll around the outside, so nothing can escape.  It has taken me a while to find out that what I am looking for is a Travel Wallet.  I was in the neighbourhood, and I steeled myself (in my ratty old totally faded and ragged jean jacket) to go into Holt Renfrew (if this store was a girl, the guys would be going phoar!) to look at wallets.  I looked at one, but it was badly designed so I didn't ask the price.  I asked the saleswoman if they had others like it, and she apologetically, in that well-you-know way, said that they didn't carry everything by Prada.  Ah.  So I wandered on and saw one that I lusted after slightly - although it wasn't quite big enough.  Beautiful corally-pink, with the inside a luscious lavendar, all in gorgeous lambskin, and that was without me even touching it.  Beautiful.  $700.00.  No.

And so on and so forth.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2011-01-29 12:38 pm
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Sammie Update: Mr. Wobbles Conquors the World!

I recently realized that you heard the "Yay! Sammie is eating!" post after his teeth surgery, and then nothing since.

He is doing *fantastic*!

He is fatter, and happier, and more active, and his wonderful cute old dude self again.  He is still wobbly, his bad leg has been bad since before he was one year old, but he certainly doesn't let it slow him down.  One new cute thing: now that he is missing his upper fangs (still has his lower ones), his upper lip gets stick in his mouth, and he has to use his tongue to shove his lip back out of his mouth.

Yay Sammie!
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-09-18 01:15 pm
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Yay Sam!

Sammie continues good.  :)  If anyone one has a cat whose arthritis gives them grief, let me know and I will share what the vet has give us.  I know some of Sam's improvement is because he no longer has a painful mouth, but it isn't the only factor.

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-09-14 10:00 pm
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Yay Sam.

Sam continues to eat enthusiastically and frequently, with periodic stops to ask for better stuff.  :)

He was so much improved in the evening yesterday that I thought he wasn't wobbling at all.  Well he's still wobbling, but only occasionally and while at high speed enroute to another nom.  Yesterday morning he was wobbling constantly because every step was obviously riddled with pain.  Now the occasional wobble is because his bad leg is still bad and has no strength and he overshoots his corrections for it.

I know he's not going to become a ten-year old cat again, but it sure is nice to see his happy yes-personality back up to near top form.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-09-13 08:55 pm
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Sammie has six fewer teeth.

He's been to the vet, and had the root of the broken tooth and five more rotten teeth taken out.  It is so obvious that he already feels a lot better.  Yay!

We're also trialling an anti-inflamatory for his arthritis, and I think it is good also.

More yay!
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-09-11 11:26 am
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FB & Family Reunions & stuff.

So.  Week nine was good, but only two days long, and then I went to Tappen to prepare for the family reunion - and never got a chance to log into *anything*  *anywhere* - so it doesn't really count.  Then week ten was consolidating the additon of a few new family members on FB, so I did sign in to FB at work.  But no FV, so maybe we're good.

The family reunion was for the Sorgens.  My dad's mother was a Sorgen.  And, like the earlier clans of Goodwins, the Sorgens never stopped having babies until the gumball machine shut down - so there are bazillions of them and they have a family reunion every year.  This year my mother offered to host it.  Normally it is in Alberta somewhere, and people bring their fifth wheels to the farm of whoever is hosting, but my folks don't have a farm, so it was the new Elks Hall & campground in Salmon Arm.

The Elks Hall was great, and I strongly recommend it, if you need a venue in that part of the country.

The biggest thing is that the host site was on the other side of the Rockies from where most of the Sorgens and affiliates live, and the Roger's Pass has always been a white knuckle experience, even in a dinkie little car - never mind a monster pick-up towing a fifth wheel.  So, the turn out was a little low.

And the caterer bailed two weeks before the event, because we were so few, so we bought and cooked.  I only showed up for the last two days of preparation: my parents and aunt & uncle living in town spent a lot of time buying and cooking and freezing.  Getting everything from their deep freezes to the hall was an all day event in itself.

We all had a great time though, and I may attend next year's back in Alberta.  :)

In other news: Sam is having trouble with his teeth.  When I got home on Sunday, one of his big upper vampire fangs was out on the bed.  Most of Thursday and all day yesterday he could hardly bear to open his mouth to drink.  I have an appointment for him on Monday, but if he had continued today the way he was yesterday, I might have shown up at the vets anyway.  The problem is that the vets is closed Saturday afternoon and Sunday, with no one there, so I don't see how having him in a cage there would actually be of benefit.  Anyway.  He is sleeping better today, and actually eating a few things, so I think we will do until Monday.

And I need new glasses and shoes, and I don't want to shop for either.  Bah.  We're going to go out for soup, instead.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-08-14 06:42 pm
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Rat Boy - unsung cat hero

Well, he's not, really, but he is a very jealous little soul who wants to be first cat, only cat.  And he picks on Sam, which makes him a very naughty boy, indeed.

But, really, he's a sweetie-pie.  He cuddles, he chats, he comes running to the door when you come home.  His idea of the best time ever is when the human plays with him - string, ping-pong ball, ornamental chopstick, tin-foil ball - absolutely anything as long as there is a human playing.

So: here's some pictures of a very cute cat who is living in the shadow of an elderly cat who seems to get aaaaalllllll the attention:

Here's Chuckie! )
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-08-07 12:59 pm
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Sammer update - all good.

So, we are still pilling the Sam twice a day.  Sometimes it's smooth and sometimes it is very unfortunate, but generally we are getting enough meds in him to satisfy the vet.  We're good to go for the foreseeable future.

Also, still giving him low-protein, and the vet is also satisfied with how this has changed his urine profile, so good to go there, too.  We don't have a scale, but he had gained four ounces when we visited the vet two weeks ago, and he feels heavier and more solid since then too.

And, his front claws have grown out to the point where he very nearly can sharpen them (much soft dragging of the paws down a surface, with the occasional snagging noise), and with this and the increased weight, some of which appears to be muscle mass in the thighs, he is able to hop up on the couch.  Not the bed, yet, but the couch is a victory.

So: yay.  :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-07-17 06:49 pm
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Update on the Glorious Sam.

So, I have mentioned that we have had the Sam to the vet various times.

The transdermal gel in the ears was not getting enough thyroid meds into him, so we've moved on to itty bitty pills twice a day.  We tried hiding the pills in his food.  Hahahahahaha - Sammie can careful eat all the good bits and leave the yucky bits without blinking an eyelash.  Now we are pilling him twice a day by hand.  First it went like this:pop in the pill, watch him gack and spit it out, pop in, spit out, pop in and hold mouth closed because now it is getting saturated with moisture and starting to crumble, and if you wait long enough (15 seconds) it lacks enough cohesion for a complete spit.  There's a lot of gack gack gack after that.  Then he got clever, and would let us pop in the pill, hold his mouth closed himself, and then spit it out when we weren't looking.  Found at least one worse-for-wear pill on the floor.  Now, we have a version that is a combination of the two: popping and gacking and spitting it out and getting popped back in again - and then being given a particularly tasty treat to eat immediatey, because he can't quite keep the pill hidden in a cheek while eating the treat - we can see when it falls out and we pop it in again.

We started out trying to pill him on a full tummy - but that just gives him enough time to wake up, eat and hide.  Now we just ruthlessly pill him before he's even awake.  Sometimes he swallows before gacking - not often, mind, but every now & then.

This has all been complicated by the fact that his kidneys are also not doing their job properly anymore, and so we have to give him reduced-protein food.  Which meant that, at the same time we were adapting to pop spit gack lather rinse repeat, we were also introducing him to new food.  No more crappy crunchies - no more expensive crunchies that he really liked, either - and a change in tinned food.  When we were trying to hide the pill in the tinned food, we were having two worries - one is that Mr. Orange, also known as Ratboy or Chuckie, likes to shoulder Sam out of the way (as stronger cats do to older weaker cats) and at least taste it - so that means that Mr. Fatty-Cat would get a dose of thyroid slowing meds and not need them.  And it also meant that we risked putting Sam off the only food we can feed him now, and then where would we be?  Skinny cat getting skinnier and fatty cat getting fatter.  Huh.

So.  We stopped trying to hide the meds - we weren't fooling Sam for two seconds, anyway.  Now Chuckie does get a bite or two of the low-protein, but after he does it just to prove that he is the biggest poo-head in the apartment, he leaves the rest, and then Sammie comes back to it and eats at his leisure without everybody hovering over him to see if he ate the ruddy pill.

We are still feeding him his steamed chicken occasionally because he really likes it, and some days he just won't eat anything but that.  I have tried to make a concoction of chicken and rice slurry (sort of a chicken congee) - which I really liked, but which Sam said yuck pooey.  Which is crazy-making because in the winter, when I make myself a chicken stew, which is nearly the same, he is all over me wanting some.  Maybe it's a winter thing.  I've tried a similar thing with burger and coucous - and again: I really liked it and Sam could barely be polite about how yucky he thought it was.

Anyways - he did put on some weight, and stop drinking quite so much water  but he has now lost a little bit of that, and he's quite wobbly.

So, you know: the old dude is an old dude.  I don't think we're going to lose him this summer, but I don't know how many summers he has left.

On the plus side - he *is* strong enough to put up a reasonable resistance to being pilled.  :)

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-01-21 09:02 pm
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Cat at Ocean Concrete

Here are some pictures of the cat at Ocean Concrete.  They were taken this morning.

Aside from overall cuteness - in the one picture where she is sitting on her haunches with her paws in the air doesn't really show what she was doing very well.  I *think* she was doing an unusual verson of washing her face with both paws at once.  But what it looked like she was doing was praying.  I've seen some Chinese women make this motion.  They will light an incense stick outside their door, press both hands together in the prayer formation at about breast height, then move them from high to low in a sweeping, curving, up and down motion.  That's what it looked like Miss Cat was doing.  She did it several times, and for fifteen to thirty seconds at a stretch.

Anyways - she seems to be in good health, and happy, and well-fed, so yay.  :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2010-01-20 08:45 pm
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Cat at Ocean Concrete is back. :)

Remember I posted about the cat at Ocean Concrete here: ?

Well, she's back.  :)  Yay!
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-12-30 03:23 pm
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Sammie update.

Previously too busy to share: we took Sammie to the vet on Saturday 19 Dec 09, and he had gained 10.5 ounces - which on a 10 pound cat is pretty good.  So, now he is a 10 pound 10.5 ounce cat (at the height of his powers he was an 18 pound cat).  He had another blood test, and we got the results Tuesday 22 Dec 09, and all is copacetic - the thyroid levels are where they should be, and we can just carry on as we are for the time being.

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-12-02 09:26 pm
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Pumpkin - hah.

So, our Sammie experienced some pretty traumatic constipation, so I've been checking for rememdies online. Several websites confirm that one can use a produce like metamucil - just sparingly, of course. One site suggested pureed pumpkin from a tin (plain, unspiced unsweetened pumpkin, which is what I use for my pumpkin pies), and that not only would the cat be thrilled to pieces to eat it mixed in with their regular wet food, but that some cats will even lick it off a spoon.


I'm sure the look I was given by Sam, if translated into human, would not be allowed to be said on television.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-11-30 01:28 pm
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Sammie's blood work good!

Yay! The vet says that Sammie's thyroid reading is exactly where it should be, and we just keep on with the same meds dosage. We're to bring him in in 2 or 3 weeks to make sure that he is gaining weight properly. Yay!
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-11-28 03:07 pm
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Update on Sammie.

Well, he's had ten days of meds in the ears, and we took him to the vet today for a check up. We were surprised that he hadn't gained any weight, because it feels to us like he has, but that's okay. He is not drinking so much, so we'll count that as a gain. The vet took another blood sample, and we are to call on Monday to see if perhaps what we'll do is increase the meds.

In other news, we listened to the results of the urinalysis taken ten days ago, and most readings are good, but there is a small concern about protein in the urine, which is a kidney issue. The vet feels that the elevated reading is low enough that we can first concentrate on sorting out the thyroid, and then worry about the kidney if other indications show that it requires attention.

So. He's not worse, and we think he's better, so we'll count that as a win. :)
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-11-21 09:51 pm
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Sammie and the trip to the vet.

I was a little preoccupied up to the big birthday bash, and then hairiness at work, but afterwards in retrospect, I could see that recently Sammie has been drinking a lot. A LOT. He is also very thin. Strangely, you can't feel his ribs, but you can feel the whole hip joint assembly and shoulder blade system. He's very light. We had noticed him getting thin since we moved here, five years ago, but it was a slow progression and just seemed to be oldcatitis (he was born in Spring 1993). He's become more friendly towards strangers, and he is always purring - and not the help-I-have-a-problem purr, but that totally happy dribbling purr. The excess thirst, though, raised warning bells in my head.

So, Monday I called the vet for an appointment Tuesday, and Tuesday I took the morning off work to take him to the vet. Sam knew that badness was afoot as soon as the box came down in morning and he went to ground under the bed. I dawdled about waiting for the appointment, so he had time to decide a quick run to the pan for a wee was safe, and then he went under the bed again. Once I was ready, I cheated: I whistled for him. This is cheating because I have only ever used this whistle to call him in the morning when it is getting too light (when he used to go out, he would go hide if he couldn't get in before light, and he wouldn't come home all day), or when there is good tastey nummy treat things. He always comes.

So he came out from under the bed, and I stuffed him backwards into the box. Argh. No claw marks on me, but the I-hate-you-and-your-terrible-taste-in-clothes howling began. It is a very penetrating heart-stopping noise. He made it all the way out of the building, down the alley, across the street, while waiting for the bus, while riding the bus, while waiting in the foyer of the vet's office. He stopped when I let him out once we were in the examining room.

The vet's examination was very quick and he was leaning towards thyroid, but mentioned kidney and cancer. He didn't mention diabetes at all, which is often mentioned with skinny thirsty cat symptom lists. He sent Sam for blood tests, and to be put in a special cage where they could wait for a urine sample - but he said that Sammie's bladder was pretty empty. He said I could call in the afternoon to see if he had peed, but that he might have to stay overnight. And away I went to work.

No joy in the afternoon, so SOGP couldn't pick up Sammie after work, so I made arrangements to take Wednesday morning off. When I called at 8:30 (they open at 8:00 - I wanted them to have a chance to take off their coats), Sammie still hadn't peed. They said to call back after 9:30 when the vet had had a chance to look at him. I suspect the vet ruthlessly rubbed his tummy because they had a urine sample by the time I called.

I went back to the vets, and the diagnosis, from the preliminary bloodwork, was overactive thyroid. There are some minor indications of other slightly elevated readings, but nothing to worry about until we get the thyroid situation under control. The vet gave me transdermal gel to smear in his ears morning and night (morning one ear, night the other, to reduce skin irritation risk). And I carried the vocal Sammie home in the box, on the bus.

When I let him loose in the apartment, he ran a circuit from water bowl to bed to food bowl to other water bowl to first water bowl, and so on, round and round, with one stop at the pan. He was very thirsty and hungry - but really thirsty.

I was fortunate both days - we have been having insane amounts of driving rain (it is doing it again right now) that actually manages to get up your nose, and so I had covered the box with a clear garbage bag, like a big pillow slip. I think it would have worked, but there was no rain both times.

So I have been gooing the Sam's ears. It comes in thin syringes, so you can see how much you are pushing out. Of course, the first one I used was stuck and I pushed hard, and got a big unmeasured glob. So, I put most of it is a plastic tub, and smeared a guestimate in his ear. Now that I've seen how much I should be giving at a time, I really overdosed him the first time, and he was looking a little peaky when I got home. And, in my confusion, I managed to dose the same ear in the evening. But now I know how much, and we are back on track, alternating ears, and Sam has no problem letting me smear goo in his ears. I think he is looking pretty good, but we go back to see the vet in 14 days to see if Sammie is gaining weight, and to decide whether the dosage is correct.

So, I stayed late both days at work, and I am feeling quite bagged. But I think we are on the right track for Sam, so it was worth it.

Chuckster (also known as Rat Boy, remember) had one glorious 24 hours of being an only kitty, and he loved it. When Sam came home, he lived up to his other name. Rotten little dude.

I keep you posted in smaller posts about Sam's progress.

agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2009-11-02 07:49 pm
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In all the kaffufle.

So, there was much organizing, and making of lists, and losing the lists, and finding the lists again shouting hurrah, and so on and so forth.  Off we sailed at 11:15 am, and arrived just after the caterer (we had stopped to pick up hand sanitizer, and I couldn't find the bloody stuff in the mega-superduper box store), and then we were off: setting out the extra food, finding the garbage bags, consolidating trays as they get skimpy, and so on.  And we clean up after the first party and prepare for the second party.  And we do the same again.  And we're cleaning up until 9:30 pm, and we stay and chatty chat chat for a bit, and we finally come home around 10:45 pm.

And this pathetic little orange face peers in at us from the deck.  I had managed to leave Chuckster out on the deck the whole time.  No pan, no water, no food.  And no place to hide once the fireworks started.  Poor little rat boy.
agoodwinsmith: (Default)
2008-12-07 09:49 am
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It are a law of nature ...

... that when two cats want to be petted, and there is only one person to do the petting, they will park themselves in spots where the person can just touch both of them, but not be able to pet either of them without leaning.