Monday, May 23, 2011

Water Fight!

I was sitting on the couch relaxing after eating a stack of sourdough pancakes (with cranberries!) for breakfast, when he came up to me with the watering can in hand. He was doing the weekly plant-watering chore, and since there was a plant right beside the couch I thought nothing of it.

He watered me!

He SAYS he just intended to “pretend” to water me, but I have my doubts. He actually poured water all over my lap, and then said “Oops!”

I of course had to retaliate.

I tried to take the watering can from him, but he wouldn’t let go of it. We were in the kitchen by then, so I simply took his hand and made the water slosh out.

Of course, it got all over me and barely a drop got on to him. So I did it again, this time getting more of it on him. The watering can holds quite a bit of water, by the way.

In the end we both got soaked, and the kitchen floor got a good washing, too.

First “Hike” of the Season

The first hike of the season snuck up on me this year. I usually send out an announcement a week prior so that people can get their schedules arranged around the hike, then send out a reminder on Friday to ensure they all remember. This time, however, it was Friday night – almost Saturday morning, truth be told – when I looked at my schedule and realized what day it was. We had a poor turnout as a result: just me, Rob and Mother.

The 2011 Family Hiking Series began at the Bird Creek trail. I told people to meet up at the parking lot at mile 102.1 but that turned out to be closed for the season – so we had to park across the street instead. It was okay, just a bit scary crossing the highway right there.

It was such a beautiful day, even though it was a bit windy. We walked for a good 2 hours, down to the waterfall and back. I realized once again that I really do need to break down and actually buy myself a windbreaker. It also started to sprinkle a little bit while we walked, but that was okay. We need the rain, and it felt so good to be out and about that we didn’t mind getting wet.

That just gave us an excuse to stop at the Indian House for their scrumptious Fish & Chips afterwards!

IV for Djuna

Djuna had to go to the vet’s once again this weekend, this time to teach me how to give her subcutaneous fluids. I had been thinking this would mean simply giving her a shot once a week, but is actually a bit more involved than that. It’s an actual IV bag with a drip line and everything. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about hitting a vein or anything like that. I just poke it in her skin and that’s pretty much it.

The vet tech showing me how to do it all was very nice and understanding, particularly when I (rather surprisingly) almost passed out after seeing the size of the needle involved. That sucker is HUGE! My poor little girl…

Thankfully, since the needle is huge, the whole procedure only takes a few minutes. I’m to take a good-sized pinch of skin from Djuna’s shoulders, poke the needle in just under the skin, get it to sit comfortably on her back, then open the drip and let 100-150 cc’s of fluid flow into her. She gets quite a bubble of fluids on her back, which falls down either side of her shoulders (it looks like she has shoulder-pads) – but that gets absorbed into her body soon enough.

I am to do this once or twice a week for the next two to three months. Then she goes back in to get another blood/urine test done to see how the kidneys are doing. If all is well, we’ll continue with the IV, testing every once in a while to make sure it’s all good.

Another way to get fluids into her is to provide her with numerous water bowls all over the house. I even got my niece Lauren to track down a good deal on one of those perpetual water fountains for her (Thank You, Lauren!) so she can have fresh running water any time she wants.

I think she’ll enjoy that.

Birthday Camping Trip

Happy Birthday to Me! It’s a bit late: my actual birthday was on the 15th but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to update my blog since then. Anyway, I am proud to announce that I am 46 years old this year. I worked very hard to get here, so I am not about to short-change myself by claiming that I’m younger than I am. Most people are a bit surprised by that, but that’s how I feel.

This year, Rob took me camping up north. We spent the weekend up in Talkeetna, officially to look at some property he’s interested in but really just to get out, pitch a tent, and ride our bikes a bit.

Our campsite was at a campground right near the Susitna River. The season is a bit early, so there weren’t very many other campers nearby. We did manage to gather a few of them at our fire though: one girl camping by herself – a guide employed by Parks & Rec – and another couple of girls up from Wasilla “just getting away”. We all stood around the bon fire (Rob can’t have just a little fire, it has to be a huge, impressive one) roasting marshmallows and telling each other our stories.

The weather was great: slightly overcast, but still nice and warm during the day with just the right amount of chill during the night to make you really appreciate your sleeping bag. I had been told that break-up was still going on up there so had come prepared for muck – but honestly it wasn’t bad at all. I barely got my shoes dirty!

Camping in town meant that we didn’t need to bring a lot of food with us: we ate at the brewery for dinner and walked down to one of the lodges nearby for lunch the next day. We did bring our breakfast with us, though: hot oatmeal cooked in our cups with water boiled in Rob’s new flash-boiler thingy that he got himself from REI. I don’t remember the actual brand name of the thing – but man, its way cool. It only took a minute or two and we were both not only enjoying our oatmeal but also drinking our morning cup of tea & coffee.

Talkeetna is a very bike-friendly place with a trail leading all the way thru town and on up along the Spur road all the way back to the Parks Highway. We didn’t go all the way out to the Parks, however. I have to admit I was very intimidated by the huge hill just out of town so turned around right there and headed back the way we came. I’m just not that good on my bike yet. I’m sure Rob would have had no problems at all, but he was a gentleman and let me dictate the course. We did explore a bit off the main road, in and around some of the subdivisions back behind the airport, though. That was fun, especially when we found ourselves at the corner of F Street and Beaver.

“Ha! Look at that!” I said, “We’re at the corner of F and Beaver!”

Okay… so my sense of humor tends towards the gutter sometimes. What can I say? We had a fund weekend, regardless.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Yard Work

I found the best way to get the yard work done: have a garage sale! Oh, and invite your Mother, sister-in-law, and boyfriend, too. My sister-in-law raked the yard while Mother stuffed all the leaves into sacks, then Mother weeded the garden. Meanwhile, Rob was out back raking up all those weeds!

I tell you: my yard looks totally awesome now, and all I had to do was man the garage sale. I think that’s a pretty good trade.

After the garage sale closed down on Sunday I did go out back and help out; honestly I did. All those weeds Rob raked had to be carried over to the mulch pile – which is more work than it seems at first, mainly because there were sticker bushes hidden in the pile and I have no work gloves.

Once all that was taken care of we set to work on the fence between my “share-a-wall” neighbor’s yard and mine. Many, many years ago it had fallen down. I had it propped up with a 2x4 which worked quite well, but was not exactly a “professional job”. Rob fixed it up in no time, and even worked on removing some dead branches from the spruce tree in the corner. My mock orange now has lots of room to expand, and the birds have more room to get to the birdfeeders as well.

The fence between me and my “share-a-yard” neighbor was our next focus – and it turned out to be a lot more work than we planned for. The soil right there is completely saturated so all the posts are severally rotten. In fact we just barely touched them and they all fell over leaving the fence propped up by only a nail on either end. Rob tried to dig some post holes but the mud was so bad he couldn’t get the posts set. We’ll have to pick up some cement and hope that fixes the problem.

Happy Mother's Day

I hope you all had a good Mother’s Day this year.

I’m almost embarrassed to say that my mother worked at my garage sale for her special day. I swear she said she didn’t mind, but I still feel bad about that.

I did take her out to dinner, at least.

Rob and I took her to probably THE BEST Italian restaurant in town: Pizza Olympia. They are 3 generations of extremely good cooks offering up home-made pastas, pizzas, and desserts.

We treated ourselves to a glass of wine (a Burgundy for Rob, a Blush for Mother, and Chablis for me) before our main course of Leg of Lamb, Seafood Linguini, and Spaghetti with Mushrooms, followed by yet another glass of wine and an order of baklava to be shared.

Oh my gosh, it was all so good!

Garage Sale

My garage sale went rather well this weekend. I want to send out a HUGE thank you to my mother and sister-in-law for helping out. I doubt I could have done it at all without them.

We set up around 9:00 Saturday morning so that by 10:00 we were ready for our first customer. Heather brought 3 tables to add to the 3 I had, and Mother brought change to seed the money box with as well as tons of food to keep us all well-fed.

The stream of garage-sailors was fairly steady all day long on Saturday, but slowed down considerably on Sunday. While sales were good overall, the total amount made seemed a bit low to my mind. Not that I’m complaining at all – I’m happy to be rid of the stuff, and any price at all was more than I had to begin with. Still, two days of extremely stressful work for only $150 hardly seems worth it.

My next door neighbor set her stuff out for sale on Saturday, so our customers had two sales to browse thru, right side by side. My neighbor across the street joined in, too, but she brought her items over to my garage instead of opening up her own.

Rob was with us all weekend, too – but spent his time up in the spare room. He prepped the walls all day Saturday, and painted all day Sunday. He didn’t get as much done as he’d hoped to – but what he did get done looks just wonderful. I’m very excited about finally getting my Craft Room, and can’t wait to set it up.

First Bite

I got my first mosquito bite of the year!

Not many places would see that as being at all noteworthy, but I actually saw an article in the Fairbanks newspaper talking about just such a thing! I guess they were hard up for news that day.

Regardless, I always make note of it, simply because it means that summer is actually here – FINALLY!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Hypothetical Question

Let’s say you work for Company X.

During the course of an average day at work you run thru 30 to 40 pieces of paper, well over half of which get thrown away after a few marks are made on them. 

Company X has a recycling program so you don’t feel quite so bad about wasting so much paper, but you just recently started to save it all to take home and use in your home printer. After all, work related business only used one side = there’s still another side completely blank that can be used.

Could that be considered stealing? 

Company X was just going to throw it out anyway, and you have every intention of recycling the paper when you’re done with it. It just will get more thoroughly used than if it had been left at work.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Renovations Update

I thought I’d take the time to update you all on the renovations taking place in my house, even though I really don’t have much to report. Motivation seems to have stalled out, on both Rob’s and my part.

We did go shopping again a while ago, so now I have on hand pretty much everything I need to be working on it. The only thing we haven’t bought yet is the molding & ceiling materials; Rob thinks he’ll wait till last to deal with those. We did come up with a plan for the ceiling, however, and worked out some of the details on how exactly it’s going to be done.

My plan for this week is to set up the sawhorses out on the driveway and get to work on sanding trim. I have “goop” that I’m to fill all the old nail holes with – that’s my first task.

My second task will be to take the sander that Rob loaned me and get to work. He brought both an electric one and a hand-held spongy one: I’m thinking the spongy one will work best, since I don’t have to be perfect. The goal is to just scuff it up a bit so the paint will hold.

That is my third task: painting. Once I get all the holes filled and the sanding done, I can just line everything up on the sawhorses and paint it all in one fell swoop. Theoretically, at least. I really should find some newspaper to put down, or I’ll be cleaning paint off the driveway along with all the oil my lovely ex-roommate left behind.

Back up in the room itself, I borrowed Mother’s carpet shampooer and cleaned real well. Then I took some carpet freshener and sprinkled pretty much the entire container on the floor (how was I supposed to know you didn’t need that much?) to help counter the smell of cat urine. That took several more passes with the vacuum to clean up, but now it smells nice and fresh!

Washing the walls with a mixture of 25 bleach/75 water took care of most of the dirt, dust, and grime – at least up to the 7-foot level. That’s as high as I could reach without going to get a chair to stand on. I was feeling a bit lazy that night, so just called it good. Rob can touch up the tops when he comes over next.

I had a lot of help that day: Thing was being so cute. She does love a clean carpet and was rolling around that whole evening. I had to take several breaks to roll around with her, of course.

That’s pretty much where things set now. Hopefully this weekend will see some real progress – but honestly I’m not holding my breath. Whatever happens, happens – and whatever doesn’t happen, doesn’t happen.

It would be nice to have my craft room set up, though.

First Official Bike Ride

My first official bike ride of the season was supposed to have taken place this past weekend. Rob came and picked me up Friday after work and we headed off down the road.

He had to stop and get gas, however, so we pulled in to the Huffman gas station - which just so happens to be conveniently located right next to a bike shop that he’s been wanting to check out, so of course we had to go in.
Rob is probably one of the most suggestion-prone people I have ever met. He went in there “just to look” and walked out convinced that he needed a new bike. All that salesperson had to do was tell him that it would be better if he had a taller bike, and he was hooked.
I was rather impressed that he didn’t buy a new bike right then and there, truth to tell. He managed to wait almost a whole 24 hours!
Getting back to our bike ride, by the time the salesperson finished with him it was well past 7:00. Both of us were quite hungry by then so we stopped in at the Indian House for a burger and a drink. I do like that place, but honestly neither the burger nor the drink were all that good. The bar tender watered down my Whiskey Sour (because, of course, I’m a girl and couldn’t possibly want a grown-up male drink like that) and the cook put bacon on my veggie burger.
Some people just don’t seem to be able to grasp the whole concept of “vegetarian”.
 Once we finished our meal and chatted with the bikers who’d joined us, we decided it was way too late to go bike riding after all. We opted instead to go window-shopping at The Castle, although I don’t know exactly how we went from “let’s go on a bike ride” to “let’s go to The Castle”.

Djuna’s Kidney

Djuna had another doctor’s appointment early Monday morning, this time for a sonogram to determine what’s going on with her kidneys. The results were both good and bad, as is usually the case.

There were several people in the room: Dr. Trout the specialist, Dr. VerSteeg her regular doctor, a vet tech whose name I didn’t catch, and myself. Of course, Djuna was the star of the show: there were several comments on how sweet & tiny she is, and how they didn’t have to shave her belly much at all since she’s pretty much bald down there to begin with.

The procedure lasted roughly 45 minutes, with me & the vet tech holding Djuna on her back giving Dr. Trout access to her belly, and with Dr. VerSteeg standing by observing.

Djuna was good for the first 10 minutes or so, but then decided that she was done and we could all go now. She wiggled and squirmed a bit, getting that gooey gel all over. When that didn’t work, she wriggled and squirmed some more and even vocalized a little bit, which is rather unusual for her since she doesn’t normally say very much. By the end of the procedure, she was getting a little bit annoyed with us all to the point where the vet tech was slightly worried that she might actually start growling. Honestly, I don’t think Djuna would ever growl at me, regardless of what torture I was subjecting her to. But you never know…
First the good news: they found the other kidney! It was hard to find, and is a bit smaller than the other one, but its there. More good news is that Dr. Trout thought that the left kidney (the one we saw in the x-rays) is healthy and should function properly now that the infection is cleared up.
The bad news is that right kidney actually has stones in it. Apparently this is quite rare in cats, so I’m glad we had the sonogram to find them. Dr. VerSteeg says she will do some research on kidney stones in cats to try to determine our plan of attack. I’m guessing that surgery is not really an option, but perhaps a change of diet will help.
Djuna got her third and last mega-shot of antibiotics, then jumped back into her travel case and waited for me to take her home. She’ll have to go back one more time in a week or so to get a urine sample taken, but other than that I’m thinking she’s done with the doctor for a while.
Assuming of course that we can get those stones taken care of…