Tuesday, February 23, 2010

High Tech Kitties

Since we have just gone through a urinary infection with Boo cat (he's feeling very much better, thank you), I got the idea of checking out Pet Smart for the current options in cat fountains. Cats prefer fresh, moving water over the boring bowl of water on the floor and will sometimes drink more water if they have a fountain. The vet had warned me that Boo needed to drink more water if I could figure out a way to get him to do so. It would keep things moving, so to speak, and help reduce the build up of crystals in his urinary tract.

I had tried a cheap cat fountain some years back and, while the cats did like it very much, it did not hold up well to the attentions of my heathens of that period. I decided to take my one remaining gift card from Christmas and apply it toward the best cat fountain I could find. That turned out to be the Drinkwell Platinum. I hauled it out of the box this morning and, with intense scrutiny and supervision by the 3 fur balls, got it up and running.

It was met with curious suspicion...

"Me try it? Why don't you try it?"

"Well, it smells like water..."

"And it feels like water...."


In about 15 minutes, all three were drinking from the spout and enjoying their private water source. We'll see how long it takes them to destroy it.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Piece by Piece

My mother started it. She took a liking to Royal Doulton's Old Country Roses china pattern many years ago and would pick up a piece here and a piece there as we would ramble through antique and junk stores. It was a luxury then - pricey and hard to find.

Then the pattern became more readily available in the United States. David and Karen located a 4-place setting set one year at a garage sale and gave it to Mother for Christmas. Then a Royal Doulton outlet opened up at the outlet mall in San Marcos. I began adding to the set every year at Christmas. It became our set of china. I built up another 2 place settings, added serving pieces and some decorative pieces.

A couple of years ago I caved in and bought a set of the complementary flatware. Then I got the idea of completing a set of glasses from the depression glass period, the first of which we acquired from my grandmother Hodge. I scoured antique stores until I had 8 of the deep red, swirled glasses that look so nice with the china.

Ever since, I have been trying to find the matching pitcher. The odd one would come up on EBAY every so often, but I hesitated to risk having one shipped across the country. I decided I would just keep an eye out in the local area antique malls and hope that one would someday surface.

Today when I met Lana in Elgin for an afternoon of browsing the antique mall there, I told her about the red pitcher I was seeking. I had just visited the Elgin mall the week before, so I knew there was not one to be found there. I had just commented that I would find a picture and forward it to her so she could be on the lookout, too, when I rounded the corner and found myself face to face with the pitcher I had been hunting for so long. And there was a mall-wide sale in progress, so I even got a break on the price. I just knew there had to be something wrong with it, but a careful examination found no chips. It came home to join the collection in the dining room cupboard.

It is always satisfying to fill a vacant place in the puzzle. A small bonus find today can be seen in the upper shelf between the tureen and the bowl. A set of clear glass coasters with a gold edge that I didn't even know I wanted whistled at me as I passed them. They will look just great holding those red, antique glasses.

Lana, too, had some luck today and we left feeling the warm glow of successful antiquing and agreeing that we need more days like today.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Her's Not Fat

Remember back last June when Dixie came to live with us? Poor little, half-starved baby.


Yesterday all three of the heathen cats spent the day at the vet's, getting their annual checkups and vaccinations and generally racking up a humongous bill for me to settle before they came home.

About 3 o'clock in the afternoon, my favorite of the lady doctors called me to report on the health of the kids and she started with Dixie. The little girl who had such a rough start got a glowing report with one small issue to work on. She's a little too heavy, weighing in at 9 pounds and still 2 months to go before she has her first birthday.


No more the tragic waif is she. There is still a minor balance issue (she tends to fall over if she tries to multi-task - like looking up at me while she is walking - kerplop!), but overall she got a clean bill of health and doctor's orders to cut down the food supply. Hmmm. The doctor has never had to deal with a hungry Dixie while trying to get dressed for work in the morning. I am more inclined to adhere to the old adage "her's not fat, her's fluffy". But...

It turns out that all three of the little heathens are a tad overweight. Not obese, just slightly plump for their frames. Scout was 8 pounds and Boo was 13 pounds. The doctor recommends that they also reduce their calorie intake. Pray for me. It is going to be a rough ride.

Surprisingly, Dixie was a little lamb for the doctor, but the other two - Lord, have mercy. My first call from the doctor was for permission to sedate them for their exams. They were having royal hissy fits right and left whenever the techs or doctor tried to work with them. Ka-ching, ka-ching, Mommy gets to pay for happy gas. During that conversation, I mentioned a slight concern I had about Boo and his *ahem* bathroom activities. Ka-ching, ka-ching, M0mmy gets to pay for a urinalysis. It turns out Boo has a urinary infection. Ka-ching, ka-ching, Mommy gets to pay for antibiotics. The girls got a glowing dental report, but Boo needs a good teeth cleaning. That one I postponed temporarily, at least until my income tax return gets back. Maybe it will be enough to cover the next round.

With my history of the horrible, finger-crippling cat bite of a few years ago, when the doctor mentioned giving Boo antibiotics, I pleaded for a liquid version. No way am I going to poke a pill down an irritable cat's throat. She proceeded to tell me to be sure and hold him by the scruff of the neck to render him passive while I give him the drops. {Here, insert maniacal laughter.} Boo's 13 pounds are difficult to render passive, even with that technique. I was ultimately successful giving him last night's dose and the next round is coming up shortly. I hope that he and I can come to a detente on this issue, because the alternative is to take him in for a long-lasting shot at the cost of another $40.

And, if this UTI issue continues, I may have to put him on a special diet which I'm sure means more ka-ching, ka-ching, and it also basically means that all three of them will be on the special diet since feeding them separately doesn't work too well.

Ok, I don't have to put them through college or bail them out of jail when they go joy-riding across someone's lawn, but don't let anybody tell you that being a good and conscientious cat mommy is the economical way to go. Vet bills aside, the first aisle I hit at the grocery store is the pet aisle and by the time I load the cart with cat litter, cat food dry and wet, dog food dry and wet, dog treats and maybe a bag of sunflower seeds for the birds/squirrels, I've already racked up about $50 worth of supplies and so far I have nothing to feed myself.

I am really going to have to start reading the fine print in the mommy contract before I take on another orphan.


Saturday, February 06, 2010

Hoping It's Over

I am sporting a black eye today and I'm telling everybody that mean old Dixie kicked me.

I wish that were what happened.

I am one of the lucky folks who suffer from chalazions, which are like styes but instead of coming to a head on the eyelid, the infection goes deep into the eyelid. You end up with a painful lump that looks horrible and can distort your vision. Sometimes they go away on their own, sometimes they go away with a round of antibiotics and sometimes they have to be surgically excised.

These things have been tormenting me off and on for years. A couple of years ago was the first time I had to go to the eye surgeon to have one removed. It was not a fun experience, so earlier this year when I realized that another one was developing, I was not a happy camper. When I finally couldn't deny it was there, I revisited the eye surgeon and learned that I had not one but two of them in the same eyelid. We tried antibiotics and they didn't work, so somewhere between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I found myself lying back on a gurney while the surgeon went to work.

Let me tell you, when you see someone heading for your eye with a needle, it is really, really hard to lie still. The deadening shot is the worse part, but it's also not so pleasant when they fasten a clamp to your eyelid to hold it open. The actual removal of the infection isn't so bad, because by that time you have your jaws clenched so hard you are finding yourself distracted by the prospect of having to go to the dentist to have your cracked teeth repaired.

So I had congratulated myself on getting past the ordeal and felt absolutely confident that in a couple of weeks it would be a bad memory.

Thanksgiving came and went and Christmas was approaching and one of the lumps was still with me. It took every ounce of fortitude I had to call and make another appointment. She could see me two days before Christmas. Merry Christmas to me.

Surprisingly, she decided it was not at a stage where surgical intervention would do any good, so she decided we would try antibiotics again. I breathed a sigh of relief. But my relief was short-lived.

A month later it became obvious that I still had a problem, so once again I braced myself and headed back Friday for another evaluation and this time the dreaded sentence was handed down. We had to do another excision.

Once again I found myself on the gurney with the needle heading toward my eye. It hurt. She had to not only remove the infection but also remove scar tissue that had built up from the first time under the knife. The process was longer as a result and she warned me that this time there would be bruising and I would look pretty beat up for a few days. I left sporting a huge eye patch.

I decided to swing by Central Market on the way home and reward myself for having endured my ordeal with some of their wonderful tortilla soup for supper. I waltzed into Central Market, walked the entire store picking up various and sundry items and no one so much as batted an eye at my odd appearance. Austin is either full of very courteous folks or Austin is so full of weirdos that no one noticed one more.

I left the patch on until I got home because I remembered from the first time that exposing the wound to air resulted in unbearable stinging. Driving one-eyed is a challenge, but I made it home and finally removed the bandage and realized that I would indeed have a black eye for a day or two. That's when I decided I needed a good story and Dixie volunteered to be the scapegoat.

Today it looks like things are slowly improving and I'm hoping my eye looks more or less normal by Monday. I'm also hoping I don't have to do this again for awhile. I'm due to have some dental work done in a couple of months and the prospect doesn't even bother me. After two rounds of eyelid surgery, getting a cavity filled doesn't sound bad at all.