And! On a lighter note! Today is the one year anniversary of the day I closed on the house. Happy anniversary to me! and the house! I should give myself a trophy or something. Oh wait ....
Friday, July 30, 2010
And! On a lighter note! Today is the one year anniversary of the day I closed on the house. Happy anniversary to me! and the house! I should give myself a trophy or something. Oh wait ....
Thursday, July 29, 2010
I walked in the door and the phone rang.
"Rockycat? It's T! Do you like pizza?"
T is the neighbor across the street, an absolutely sweet old lady who lives all alone. I usually really enjoy chatting with her about her garden, and her kids, and all manner of things. But when she asked if I liked pizza, I thought I knew what was coming. I thought she was going to invite me over for dinner, and I was just so damn tired, and The Runt hadn't had his pill yet, and all I wanted to do was just throw some shorts and a t-shirt on and sit down and relax, and now I'd have to go sit with T and oh dear God and
"Actually", I said, "I'm allergic. To pizza."
Whaaaaaaaa? Back the f*ck up. Did I just say that? Where the hell did THAT come from?! Realizing how STUPID it sounded (is it even possible to be allergic to pizza?), I dug myself in a little deeper.
"Well, not pizza, actually. It's oregano I'm allergic to".
What IS this, an episode of The Brady Bunch? The one where Jan lied to a nice little old lady and then couldn't go to the school dance because they were serving pizza there?
T was very sweet about the whole thing, if a little perplexed. She explained that her daughter had brought her a half-sheet for dinner and she had a bunch left over and wanted to know if I'd like some, and now I felt like the biggest jerk in the history of the world.
Why did I lie? Even if she DID invite me over, all I had to do was explain that I was tired and would have to take a raincheck. I just SO did not want to hurt her feelings, and I blurted out the first excuse I could think of, and this is why I'd be going to hell if I believed in that sort of thing.
I lied to a little old lady. I told her I was allergic to pizza*. I feel horrible.
Every time I start to think I'm a halfway decent human being, I go and pull something like this. Damn.
*which is INSANE. Jeezus Christ I can't even LIE right. NOBODY'S allergic to pizza. F*ck.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
So! The more I noodled around on teh internetz, the more it looked like feeding The Runt a limited-ingredient diet might help, if the steroids didn't relieve his symptoms. I found a brand called Natural Balance that offered "limited ingredient" cat food. I went to the pet store last week and picked up a couple of cans, thinking I'd give it a whirl.
Here is Natual Balance's idea of "limited ingredient" cat food (Venison and Green Pea formula, $1.49 per 6-oz. can):
Venison, Venison Broth, Venison Liver, Pea Flour, Venison Meal, Salmon Oil, Dicalcium Phosphate, Kelp, Flaxseed, Guar Gum, Potassium Chloride, Methionine, Taurine, Parsley, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Sodium Chloride, Dried Cranberries, Carrageenan, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin Supplement, Sodium Selenite, Thiamine Mononitrate, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Iodate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement.
Crude Protein 9.0% minimum
Crude Fat 5.0% minimum
Crude Fiber 1.0% maximum
Moisture 78% maximum
Taurine 0.05% minimum
Let's compare and contrast, shall we? Here is the ingredient list for Friskies Meaty Bits with Beef in Gravy cat food ($.40 per 6-oz can):
Water sufficient for processing, meat by-products, beef, wheat gluten, chicken, turkey, fish, soy flour, corn starch-modified, artificial and natural flavors, added color, potassium chloride, taurine, calcium phosphate, salt, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium pantothenate, Vitamin A supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, biotin, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, potassium iodide, A-6102.
Crude Protein (Min)11.0 %
Crude Fat (Min)2.5 %
Crude Fiber (Max)1.0 %
Moisture (Max)78.0 %
Ash (Max)2.5 %
Taurine (Min)0.05 %
By my count, Natural Balance "limited ingredient" cat food has 35 ingredients, compared with 33 in Friskies.
Now, I understand that the big selling point for Natural Balance is that it's grain-free, grain evidently being the main culprit for food allergies in cats. And Friskies does have "wheat gluten", but it's not even one of the top three ingredients - it's number 5. And the guaranteed analysis appears to be about the same, except that Friskies has ash in it, which - I don't even know what "ash" means when it comes to cat food. Cremains? Soylent Green? I do not know. And both brands contain 78% moisture, which means it's basically food-flavored water.
Bottom line: I cracked open a can of Natural Balance, spooned it into dishes, set it on the floor, and both cats sniffed it and walked away.
Back to the drawing board!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Honestly, I think possibly the best part of my time off was re-watching the MST3K episode skewering "The Painted Hills", featuring Lassie as Shep. Pile On Pete?! Whaaat......
Sorry, you kind of had to be there.
Oh yeah, and I ate the first ripe tomato off the first tomato plant I have ever grown, ever. And there is a squash-like protuberance coming from the squash plant, which I am pretty sure is a .... squash.
I did get a couple of the window frames scraped and painted, although not as many as I wanted to, thanks to the goddam motherf*cking BEES which kept dive bombing and, in one instance, STINGING me every time I climbed up the ladder.
Bees, I am the one who delayed mowing the freaking lawn so you could get more quality time with the clover. You may want to re-think your hostility.
Oh, and I found a great big clump of daylilies in the park which I helped to relocate to my garden. Note to police: These were not daylilies which had been planted by park staff. These were daylilies carried in by the flood and deposited in an area scheduled for clearing. Ahem.
There was a lot of stuff I WAS doing to get done that I just ... didn't .... quite.... get around to. In my defense, it was in the upper eighties and humid all week, and two of the five days I got called in to the office, and ....
Nah. No excuses. I mostly did a whole lot of nothing that week.
Which was kind of the point. And a little prescient, given the craziness that followed. Guys, you will not even believe this: The car broke down AGAIN last night. This time it's something with the brakes. AND when I got home, my refrigerator was busily endeavoring to freeze everything solid. Aces!
I need some more time off.
Monday, July 26, 2010
aaaaaaand here we go with Blacktop Watch.
On Saturday, my neighbor L was out in the yard, and I asked her, nicely, what was going on with her driveway.
"What do you mean?", she said.
"You're still not parking on it!", I said, laughing. "Is there a problem? Did the blacktop not set right?"
"Oh no, no, everything's fine", she said. "We're just not supposed to park on it for two weeks."
"Two weeks?!", I said. "I've never heard of that! It just takes a couple of days!"
"Nope", L said. "B (her husband) said two weeks."
Well, I thought, just a few more days.
And then, and then, B, the husband, was out in the yard.
"A month", he said. "You've gotta let it set for at least a month. I think I'll give it five weeks, just to be sure."
"A MONTH?!", I said. "Who told you that?!!!!! It only takes a couple of days!Didn't it set up right?"
"Oh, it set up just fine", he said. "But if you want the blacktop to last, the longer you stay off it, the better."
and then my head exploded.
Peeps, once blacktop has set, it has set. AND THIS SHIT HAS SET. We are living in upstate New York, not freakin' Borneo. The temps have gone down to the fifties and stayed there overnight several times since that driveway was paved. If it ain't set up by now, it ain't never gonna be, is what I'm sayin'. NEXT, these kind folks are pushing eighty. They shouldn't be buying green bananas, if you know what I mean. They do not need a driveway for the ages. And ANYWAY, the shit has SET. It is DONE.
At the very least, you'd think this would get them to start parking back in their own damn driveway:
That's my driveway. That's their brandey-new car, there on the left. And those two orange blobs on top of the car? That's my cats, climbing and leaving pawprints and scratch marks all over their brandey-new car.
I did not tell them to do that. They just figure, hey, if it's over here, it's ours to climb on!
A MONTH. Or, you know, FIVE WEEKS.
there went my head.
That's The Runt on the left, and Little Girl on the right, and yeah, that's usually about as far as I get with making the bed before I lose interest. (click on the pic to embiggen, if you need even more proof of my lack of housekeeping skills.)
After several days on steroids, The Runt is showing marked improvement. He now goes to every-other-day with the pills, and we take it from there. It is just so nice to see him laying there all peaceful and sleepy, instead of scratching/licking/digdigdigging.
As usual, I've got a ton to talk about, first of which is an update on this situation.
My friend called me last night, explaining that she'd been noodling around on line yesterday, decided to check in to my blog to see how The Runt was doing, and, KAPOW!
She said that she had no idea how much I actually made, but had just assumed that because I'd been with the same company for so long, I was making much more than I actually was. She said she would never have said what she did if she knew the actual numbers.
It meant a lot that she would call to explain once she found out how upset I was about the whole thing. Apology accepted!
Coming soon: Blacktop Watch! and, Cat Food Smackdown! oh, and ohmygod, DO NOT let me forget to tell you the pizza allergy story, in which I make an absolute ass out of myself!
Friday, July 23, 2010
There is just TOO MUCH to share with you guys today! Scroll down for a tale of the homeless, another thrilling edition of Blacktop Watch, and the story of how a good friend accused me of being overpaid! ME!
Oh, and The Runt is doing much better. After three days on steroids, he's still licking/scratching/digdigdigging, but with much less enthusiasm and with far less frequency. I did some research into hypo-allergenic foods, and I'll have THAT smackdown here on Monday.
Here we go with Freaky Friday!
I thought I'd show you some more of the
I remember having some souvenir pennants as a kid, so when I saw these, I neeeeeded them:
I've never actually been to the alligator farm, but it sounds like a rockin' place, no? I wonder if it's still there.
Here's a (Hindu?) (Buddhist?) lunchbox:
I like the back better:
Because every kid needs to go to school with a lunchbox featuring an elephant riding a giant rat. Screw Hannah Montana.
I was running errands last night and had to stop at one of the longest red lights in town. (Four Corners, I'm lookin' at you!) I had all my windows rolled down because the AC in the Saturn conked out two years ago, and I was just sitting there, waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the light to change.
There was an old man standing on the corner with a box of clothes in his arms and some type of medical braces on both feet. He started to slowly shuffle across the intersection, and I got a little worried, because it was obvious he wasn't going to make it across before the light changed, but I wasn't really paying all that much attention, to be honest.
"Oh, miss! Miss?"
He was standing right next to my car.
"Ma'am, I missed my bus. Are you heading across the bridge? Could you give me a ride?"
"Hop in", I said, hoping I wasn't about to get ax-murdered. But, I mean, it was broad daylight, the dude was old, and he could barely walk, for Pete's sake.
So, I gave him his ride, let him out, and went on my way.
And I just hope to Christ that it's not me some day, thirty years from now, standing on a corner with a box of clothes in my arms and braces on my feet, asking for rides from strangers.
I don't know what is going on with the world today, but that shit's just not right.
but FIRST -
Okay, back story, I got a raise yesterday. Yippee!, right? And I was talking to a dear friend on the phone last night, and we were just chatting away, and I mentioned that I! got! a! raise!, and do you know she said?
DO YOU KNOW WHAT SHE SAID?
Here's what she said upon learning that I got a raise:
"Really?", she sniffed. "You know, you're ALREADY overpaid, RockyCat."
What. the. f*ck.
Do you know what I make? DO YOU KNOW WHAT I MAKE?
I WILL TELL YOU. (CAPS LOCK ALERT! DANGER! DANGER!)
After thirty years in the workforce, twenty-three of them in a professional area, last year I took home a whopping
(ARE YOU READY? HERE IT COMES!)
And this woman, this dear friend, who I know for a fact made AT LEAST three times that before she retired, had the f*cking NERVE to tell me I'm overpaid.
Oh, my cheese is grated. I'm not even sure I can be friends anymore. Ooooooh, I'm a steamin'. Who SAYS shit like that?!
So! I will try to cram some more stuff up here later today, because, BOY, do I have a lot to talk about! Don't let me forget to tell you the story about the homeless guy!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I'm beginning to wonder if they're waiting for the blacktop guy to come back and take down the rope and the little advertising sign that he strung across their driveway.
I feel like going over there and staging an intervention: "It's okay! You can take down the rope yourselves! He's not coming back for it!"
The other possibility is that something went horribly wrong at the batch plant that morning and my neighbors are now stuck with a driveway full of never-setting blacktop.
Time to set up those parking meters. I wonder where you buy them?
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
I got the name of a cat specialist, and last night we went to see her. She seems to think that in addition to the flea allergy thing, he also has an inhaled allergy, i.e., he's allergic to something in the air, like pollen or ragweed.
The thing that was throwing me off was that he keeps acting like something's biting him. He'll be just walking across a room and he'll flinch, like something just chomped on him, and then he'll throw himself to the floor and digdigdig at himself.
The specialist vet explained that in cats, inhaled allergies can "settle" in the skin. In humans, if we're allergic to pollen or whatever, it affects our mucous membranes, so we get all congested and wheezy and teary-eyed. But in cats, it tends to make their skin itchy. And it kind of acts like hives, so that while they're itchy in general, a certain patch of skin can suddenly act up, causing them to dig madly at one spot.
I don't know. Does this sound reasonable to you? Because we started him on the steroids last night, and this morning he's still digdigdigging.
Poor guy. Send kind thoughts his way, please.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
I got a letter from my mortgage company the other day with my annual escrow account statement, now that I've been paying on the house for a full year. (One down, twenty-nine to go! Woot!)
And evidently I'd been paying a TAD too much in escrow, because my mortgage payment is going to be dropping by a hundred bucks a month.
And! I went to file the statement in my house file today, and reading all the way down to the bottom, the mortgage-holder is ALSO sending me a check for $2,300.00. A refund, if you will, of the extra money I'd been paying into escrow.
Okay, my question to all you long-term homeowners out there:
Is this normal?
When I filed my taxes this year, my accountant told me that my escrow payments looked awfully high, so I thought there might be an adjustment coming, but this much?
I mean, this is a really good thing, because The Runt has to go see a specialist today, and God only knows how much it'll cost, but it kind of disturbs me that they could be off by that much.
Oh! Oh! And I was just telling a co-worker about it, and he showed me the escrow statement HE had just gotten from the mortgage holder (same one as mine), and his monthly payments are dropping by three hundred bucks a month, plus he's getting fourteen hundred bucks back!
WTF? I do not understand.
And in totally unrelated news, my neighbors (love them!) had their driveway re-blacktopped last week. I told them to go ahead and park in my driveway while theirs was being redone.
The workers finished up last Wednesday, and the neighbors are still parking in my driveway.
Blacktop Watch: Day Six.
No shit, you guys, I think they've decided that their new driveway is too damn pretty to park on, and they're just gonna park at my place from now on.
Maybe I should install a couple of parking meters.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
On one of the days I did actually manage to have off, I poked through some local antique stores and came up with this picture:
Yeah. Looks like Mom and Dad are dead and propped up in their chairs, and poor little Junior is all, "WTF"?
There's no way I can leave that little nightmare up here all weekend, so here's a happier picture, found on the same shopping expedition:
Boy? Girl? You be the judge.
I'll see everybody Monday when I'm back from my little break.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
My time off has been going great, except for this morning, when I got called in to work to deal with some admin bullshit. *sigh*
I'll see you soon - hope everybody's having a good week.
Friday, July 09, 2010
This gargoyle and his friend the bird sit on the steps leading up to the porch:
They like to watch the little league games in the park.
I'm going to be taking a few days off to figure out how to relax a little, instead of constantly running from one project to another. Stuff will still get done; I'm just going to try to learn that it doesn't all have to get done RIGHT NOW. Life in panic mode is starting to tire me out.
Enjoy the nice weather - I'll see you soon!
Thursday, July 08, 2010
I found a great big one about a hundred yards down the creek. It's big and deep and murky and mysterious and I know damn well that if I went for a dip there I'd spend the whole time wondering when something was gonna grab my ankles and drag me under, so I took a pass on that one.
Then I found another one, even closer to my house, that's about five feet deep and nice and clear, with the creek running right through it to keep the water moving and cool. There's a spot where the creek funnels through some boulders, and you can sit on a rock and put your feet down in there and get a foot massage. Or you can stand in the water and watch the shiners nibble at your ankles. You can bet I spent some quality time there this last weekend. Swimmin' holes have swimming pools beat, any day. And you don't have to worry about the chlorine turning your hair green.
Oh! And in other news, I saw a painted turtle, and some people up on the hill blew off a shit ton of fireworks Sunday night that I could watch right from my front yard, and my neighbor L and her son had me over for a clambake Monday night. I tried everything but the crawfishes, which I just could not bring myself to eat. Too many legs. Too monster-looking.
My neighbor T has a granddaughter visiting from Oregon, and evidently they don't have fireflies out there, because this young woman was just fascinated with them. She's pretty enamored of my cats, too, but unfortunately, they're not returning the favor. I'm hoping they warm up to her, because she's homesick for her Maine Coon.
And I found a peppermint twist phlox at CrapMart the other day which I just had to buy, even though I didn't really have room for it, but I MADE room, and it looks specTACular!
So! Just wanted to throw some good news out there, to get some balance back in my little world. There's always some good news, if you look for it.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Then the lawn mower quit. A hundred bucks. Then the cat got sick. Three hundred bucks. Then the toilet exploded. Four hundred bucks. Oh, and over the past weekend, a light fixture stopped working and a puddle formed on the garage floor when I did the laundry.
So I wasn't exactly surprised when, at lunchtime yesterday, a coworker came into the office and asked if I knew there was a gigantic puddle of antifreeze underneath my car.
Shit. SHITSHITSHITSHITSHIT I cannot AFFORD any more of this.
Oh, and my boss, from whom I usually get rides when my car's in the shop? His car's in the shop, too.
Which meant that I needed to RENT A F*CKING CAR while my car's in the garage. Oh, and Enterprise? You need to hire somebody to answer your phone. For reals. I cannot rent a car from you if you don't answer the phone. And Hertz? You need to stop advertising free pickup and delivery if you won't, actually, pick up and deliver for free. "Take a cab!", you told me. No. No thanks.
So when I finally found a car rental place that would rent me a car and come pick me up, they informed me that I would need proof of insurance. Which was in my car, which is at the garage, up on the lift.
So I call my insurance agent, who assures me that he will fax me over proof of insurance right away. In his case, "right away" meant "not today". Thanks, Allstate! You SUCK. So I walk BACK to the garage (thankfully, it's just a couple blocks from the office), grab the insurance cards, get driven over to the rental place, and ......
...... it's the second day at her new job for the gal behind the counter. It took me FORTY-FIVE F*CKING MINUTES to rent a f*cking Hyundai.
And WHO KNOWS how much it's going to cost to fix the radiator leak? Any guesses? On second thought, I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.
Because apparently, breaking things is my goddam SPECIALTY.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Well, today the local newspaper printed an interview with her. Here's some of what she had to say:
"I think when you put them in the ground, that's goodbye, goodbye. In this way I could touch her and look at her and talk to her."
The article goes on to say:
"She kept her sister, who was dressed in her "best housecoat", on an old couch in a spare room off the bedroom. Jean sprayed her with expensive perfume that was June's favorite.
"I'd go in, and I'd talk, and I'd forget," Stevens said.
"I put glasses on her. When I put the glasses on, it made all the difference in the world. I would fix her up. I'd fix her face up all the time."
She offered a similar rationale for keeping her husband on a couch in the detached garage. James, who had been laid to rest in a nearby cemetery, wore a dark suit, white shirt and blue knitted tie.
"I could see him, I could look at him. I could touch him. Now, some people have a terrible feeling, they say, "Why do you want to look at a dead person? Oh my gracious," she said.
"Well, I felt differently about death."
Okay, first off, define "best housecoat". Aren't they all basically the same? Oh, and "expensive perfume". I'm thinking that was mostly a defensive measure on Jean's part. Because even if those bodies were embalmed, well .....
I mean, especially James! He died in 1999, for Pete's sake. Then again, by the time they found his body, eleven years later, there probably wasn't much smell left. But June just died last October ....
Oh, and she's not tellin' who helped her dig up the graves.
Here's a link to the whole thing:
Woman who stored corpses in her house just couldn't deal with death.
Not sure how long they'll keep that link up, but it's there for now. And I see there's some pretty lively conversation going on in the comment section over there.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
Thursday, July 01, 2010
And we chatted for a little bit, and I went back to my mowing, and AN HOUR LATER, when I was FINALLY done with the lawn, I had just gone inside to clean up, and there was a knock on the side door.
It was my neighbor L, back again, bearing a plate of dinner for me! And a cold beer!
"I thought you could use it after mowing that lawn!", she said.
I love my neighbors.
Oh! Oh! And how did she react to the House of Strange, you ask? (We've chatted plenty in the yard, but last night was the first time she'd spent any time IN the house.) Well, the display of deer bones took her a little aback, but other than that, she didn't seem too discomfited by my decorating scheme, and stayed to have a beer with me.
Hmmmm. Maybe I'm not a weird as I think.
Oh! And in other news, the lilies are blooming:
(Full disclosure: That's a pic from last year, at the old place. But the lilies made the move with me, and they are thriving in the new garden.)
These lilies smell just like bubblegum. I cut a bloom off last night and floated it in a dish in the kitchen, and now my whole house smells like Bubblelicious. Yum!
*not my real name. obv.