I am a homebody through and through. I like my routine. I don’t do a lot because my back can’t handle a lot. So when I have to leave the house or have company, I honestly can’t stand it. In fact, we have our 20th wedding anniversary trip coming up that I’m dreading. I mean, I know it’ll be lovely (we are staying in an adorable treehouse with a hot tub), and I have someone I trust staying with the pets 24/7. Even with all that, I just don’t want to leave my babies or change things up.

So imagine my horror when Mark said his parents and eleven year-old niece were going to visit. With something like that, I am never able to wrap my head around it positively. Oh, and they also brought their dog which means my cats aren’t happy. So, yeah, I had to look presentable and be super pleasant, two things that aren’t commonplace. They were coming into the area (an hour away in Lancaster) for a vacation, so they didn’t stay here. His niece did sleep over one night because Mark was taking her into Philly to sightsee the next morning. She was a decent houseguest. I hadn’t seen her since she was basically a toddler, I think. I gave her a basically brand new pair of espadrilles (I wore once for three hours) and two of my older coach bags. Bad auntie guilt?

Here are some photos of Mark and her out and about:

Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia
Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia
Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia
Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia
Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia
Mark shows Erika, his pretty niece, around Philadelphia

His parents came to pick her up, and they all went out to dinner. Anyway, before they left, his mom put everything they had brought inside with them in a tiny pile, and I was beyond thankful for that. Normally, even in every day instances like just living with Mark, I need to take a step back and mentally prepare myself for the clutter so i don’t freak. And even before they left the driveway, I had already cleaned out and straightened up the guest bedroom his niece slept in. I’m a joy to be around, obviously. His parents now have two dogs, and next year they better not even think about bringing both of those stressed-out, hyper, co-dependent dogs into my house. At first Mark agreed with me, but now he’s saying it’s no big deal. Uh, bullshit.

truth

July 21, 2018 | View Comments

Mark is planning on taking a trip to Germany next year to ride some of their bike trails. He’s been studying German online with the help of some apps. Yesterday this popped up for him to translate:

From Mark’s online German lessons...

Pacey journeyed to Furbaby Heaven on September 7th, 2016, just about five months after Basia passed away. He was a little over sixteen years-old when he was diagnosed with lymphoma in the Mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen.

It began with him being lethargic and not eating much. This led to an ultrasound and the lymphoma diagnosis. The oncologist, the same one we used with Kip, said he should respond well to chemotherapy given the type and location of the cancer. He had one treatment, but he unfortunately got worse. He started eating less and less but would eat off of a spoon if I offered it to him that way. His next oncologist appointment was the day (maybe next day?) he started hiding and not eating at all. He then had another ultrasound which showed the cancer had spread. I felt it was time to send him to Furbaby Heaven then and there since he looked so miserable. Mark suggested bringing him home and having him put to sleep there. I didn’t want him to be hurting and uncomfortable any longer, so we did it at that office visit with him on my lap. It all happened so incredibly quickly – too quickly; it was about four to six weeks from the diagnosis to his passing.

I found Pacey on petfinder. He had these huge ears – and a sad story about how depressed he was because all his siblings (all sisters) had been adopted and he was the only one left. I was telling Mark about him, and he told me that I better not fill out the application. I replied with, “oops!” This was back when I was still teaching high school English. Mark had to pick him up from his foster mom. They were spending time together, and Mark got annoyed with me after I came home from work. See, he said Pacey forgot all about him and “fell in love” with me. And that’s the way it remained – he was a mama’s boy. He even slept on my neck as a kitten! Pacey was actually originally named Mark because his long, thin tail curled up at the top like a question mark. After Kip passed away, Pacey ruled the house. He had a sweet tooth. He’d become stiff as a board whenever I’d pick him up. He had such a distinct walk that I really miss; we could always tell when he was the one headed in our direction. He liked sleeping in any and all cat beds, especially his catball. He liked to burrow under covers and would drool in his sleep. Pacey was ridiculously photogenic; he never ever took a bad picture, and it was like he was always posing! I miss seeing his white leg whiskers and watching him stare at himself in the bathroom mirror. He’d always extend one paw out while lounging. His favorite toy in the whole wide world was this thick tan hair band of mine. After a zillion years, it ended up with holes in it and was unraveling. We’d freak out if we couldn’t find it easily, and we’d put it back on the living room area rug which was the home base for it. Pacey was always ridiculously smart; for example, he could open doors and would watch very closely how most things were done. But the thing I miss the absolute most is our bedtime routine. He’d stare at me when he wanted me to go to sleep. He hated when Mark & I would talk to each other from separate bedrooms, so much so that he even nipped at my face once so I’d shut up. He was an expert spooner and his little grey body would curl perfectly into mine. I have a nighttime ritual speech that I say (I now use most of it for Sam), and Pacey would listen to it and to me talking about the day or upcoming events. As soon as I’d say the words “goodnight,” he knew I was done, and he’d put his head down to go to sleep. I also never minded how he’d walk right on me to get back into his spooning position after drinking some water in the middle of the night. And there’s still a giant hole in my heart, of course. Loss never goes away. I can’t help but think how much he’d like the sunroom here in our new house. But he’s with his other passed siblings now, and there is comfort in knowing that he’s surrounded by all of those sweet babies. And now he can play with all the snakes and mice he wants to without wondering if his mean mama will stop his fun!

Pacey Man, we can’t wait to see you again!

Thundershirt product review

Mark came across this cute sign today while out biking, and he actually saw a black cat use it. Well, okay, the cat walked like two feet in front of it, but still!

Mark came across this cute sign today while out biking

high-five

July 9, 2018 | View Comments

Mark and I high-five after successfully (!!!) putting a collar on the neighbor’s cat:

We live verrrry close to Bill Cosby in Pennsylvania (a five minute walk or a forty-five second drive), though that’s not exactly a great claim to fame to have anymore. Sometimes I wonder if that house is really his. I mean it’s gorgeous, but it’s not in a gated community. I could literally hop his wooded fence, even with my back issues. Could that be electric or something? Like if I tried to throw a stick over the fence, would it get zapped backwards? Or is that only in the movies? I mean, there are never any reporters or paparazzi around either. But the day the verdict came down, I did have helicopters flying overhead. Should I try to electrocute myself in an attempt to know for sure? Scratch that. I’ll just ask Mark to check.

Since Mark’s parents are coming to visit this week (lord help me), I decided the weekend before would be a fine time to get my hair done (cut and colored) and to get a mini pedicure (just cut, filed, and painted). I arrived at the hair salon about fifteen minutes early at 11:45, and my stylist took me right away. I was sitting in my colorist’s chair at 12:01. She said she had a client at 12:15. As I was her 12:30, I had to wait. Well, her client didn’t show up until 12:23, so my hair didn’t even get started until about 12:54. I was super annoyed. I know there was no way of knowing that chick would be late, but sitting for an hour also really irritated my back, though I got up to walk and stretch a bit. In my selfish mind, she could have done me and had her 12:15 wait ten minutes. But, yeah, that didn’t happen. Afterwards, I went to the nail salon where a teen boy did my toes. I had never seen him there before, and I thought he was horrible and kinda rude. I mean, he was doing one of my big toes and asked if it was okay to which I said it was. Then I determined I wanted it shorter, and he said, “but you said it was okay” like I wasn’t allowed to change my goddamned mind.

After that, we went to the medical marijuana dispensary. The super chatty security guard said it was empty thirty-five minutes earlier, but it was packed when we arrived. Since it was my first visit, I had to meet with a counselor. Then I had to go back to the lobby to wait before I could go into the store area. I think we waited maybe thirty minutes total, so it wasn’t too bad. The counselor advised me on what I should start with and how much of it to take, and then he told us that there is no limit on how often you can stop by (just once a day, but you could go every single day of the week, if desired) or how much you can buy. In fact, when we were checking out, the guy next to me was placing a huuuuge order – five of this, four of that, three of that, etc. And this shit is expensive! At first I thought he must be selling it. It’s medical grade, so it’s stronger than what you can get on the street, but I can’t believe anyone would pay that much where this guy could make any kind of profit. But what the hell do I know? And, because I am a giant asshole, I was wondering how many people in there really needed it. I get the whole “invisible illness” thing as that is totally what I have, but I still couldn’t help but be my judge-y self. What’s also cool is that after Mark fills out some paperwork that he will be able to get stuff for me without me even having to be there. So here’s hoping it works. I’d like to be able to get rid of one of my daily oxycodone pills, if possible. I’d like to build up a little stash for a rainy day. We will see how it goes.

One of the last things we did was get a collar for our neighbor’s cat (a post about her is forthcoming). I know, I know. She’s had two pink collars since we’ve lived here. The last one didn’t fit her correctly, and it didn’t last. We are surprised that they didn’t replace it, and we want to make sure everyone knows she’s someone’s pet. So we got a reflective/breakaway pink collar for her. She’s tough as nails, so I don’t know how we are going to get this on her. I’m certainly not picking her up because I know she will gut me alive. I told Mark to let me know when he attempts it so that I can have an ambulance on standby.

So I have eleven posts mapped out, and then I’ll feel like I’m mostly caught up with the things that need to be here. These kinds of updates are separate from that. It just feels good to have them organized on paper, though.

more blather

July 3, 2018 | Comments Off

The other day I planned on taking a shower after I woke up from my afternoon nap. I knew Mark would take one before me after he came home from his baseball game, so I asked him the night before not to use my shower. Did he listen to me? Of course not. I heard him get in my bathroom, and I jumped out of bed to tell him to get the fuck out. Then, of course, I couldn’t go back to sleep. After I launched myself out of bed, my back pain got crazy intense and hasn’t gone away since. Yay me. But, anyway, he always chooses my bathroom over his. We designed one for each of us, but he loves my bench and sitting on it while the water falls over him. The point is that used shower water irks me. I don’t like to shower right after someone else does while their leftover water is on the floor, walls, and such. I think it’s gross.

Anyway, that same day I had on the sound machine that I always use when Mark is home to block out the noises he makes. It’s not always enough, so I’ve started to use my neck pillow to cover my ears as well. It’s so long that it covers my eyes too. The cats don’t like the neck pillow very much. This time Oliver (cautiously) and Lulu (not-so cautiously) ducked down to peer in at me. Once I opened my eyes and smiled, they were content once again. It was very cute. Speaking of cats and cuteness, there is nothing better than bedtime around here. I now have a king-sized bed, but all three cats cram onto the same half of the bed I’m using. It’s fantastic and makes me feel so loved!

So last year we got matching red pillows, lanterns, umbrella, and gazing ball for the outdoor furniture. The umbrella and lanterns have faded, so next year we will need to replace them. I’m over the color red because it’s too close to orange, and we have various shades of orange in the inside of our house. So, yeah, I am already obsessing over what color to do next. I want yellow, but matching the yellow of the lanterns to the rest of the stuff is proving impossible. Then I was thinking kiwi green might be fun, but I’m now thinking it might clash with nature’s greenery. I’d like to maybe do blue, but I can’t find blue lanterns. If I could remove the glass in the current ones I have, I could paint them myself, but the glass doesn’t come out. I’ve probably spent two hours so far looking this shit up and bookmarking possibilities that I won’t even need for almost a full year. Sigh.

missing our daddy’s girl

June 30, 2018 | Comments Off

We lost Basia to bladder cancer on April 10th, 2016, basically two years after we lost Spenser and Eva. We think she was about eight years-old when we adopted her (we were her fourth home), so we estimate she was right around the age of twenty when she joined her siblings already in Furbaby Heaven.

I noticed that she was peeing more frequently. I watched her in the litter box and saw that she was peeing very small amounts as well. After she peed the couch twice, we were really alarmed and knew it was time to bring in the vet. During that exam, even before the X-ray, he said he felt a mass. I immediately started crying because we had lost four furbabies previously, and I just assumed the worst. And I was right to, as she was soon diagnosed with bladder cancer – a type of cancer that is rare, according to my vet. She didn’t see the great oncologist we used for Kip because she was booked solid (she later told us she would have squeezed us in if she had been told we were trying to schedule with her), so we went with our second recommended oncologist. This sucked because their facility was quite a distance away, and who really wants to make a sick cat travel often to a place far away? It just wasn’t ideal. So the chemotherapy didn’t help her. She ended up tinkling in all the spots she napped in. We had her favorite blanket and favorite round bed cover in the wash constantly. We bathed her a lot too in an attempt to keep her clean and to combat the smell, and thankfully she didn’t seem to mind the baths at all. She was just peeing constantly since there was no more room in her bladder due to the mass increasing in size. Towards the end, her numbers were so bad, and they kept her overnight. That didn’t sit right with us because we didn’t want her away from us when we knew we didn’t have much time left with her. Mark didn’t think she’d come home; however, her numbers improved enough for her to come back home. She was with us for about ten more days until she passed away. On that day, she seemed to be doing fine until after her bath. That was when she started shaking, and we could see she was in pain. Mark did the same thing that he did with Spenser – he made me be the bad guy. He couldn’t accept that she needed to be euthanized at that moment; he wanted to wait until the next day when the vet could come to the house. He just didn’t want to let go, and I understand that. But I said we had to take her to our trusted 24/7 emergency vet, so we did. And, as with all situations like this, it was beyond heartbreaking and sad. Mark held her in his arms as we said goodbye.

Basia was definitely a quiet cat. She kept to herself and didn’t really want to associate with her other siblings. She also didn’t play very much. When she did, she was such a slow, uncoordinated player – and that was so very cute to watch! She did enjoy playing with her tail and chasing bugs, though. She also would stop doing that immediately as soon as one of us tried to get video of it. The fact that we succeeded in recording her chasing her tail once or twice was a total fluke! She didn’t like getting her bum rubbed, so much so that she’d smack, hiss, and throw a kitty hissy fit if we tried. She was very dramatic and would scream if her brothers just walked past her. Speaking of noises, she had the sweetest squeak that I miss hearing. I also miss her little pink nose (outlined in black) and her little pink bunny ears. She loved sleeping under the credenza, in the cat crib, and in her heated round bed! She also enjoyed drinking from the sink and from water fountains. Above all else, Basia loved her daddy and was the world’s best daddy’s girl. She was never happier and more content than when she was right next to him, whether it was sleeping on him, sleeping in his armpit, giving him headbutts, or rubbing her face onto his. She adored Mark. As for me? She didn’t care much about me. In fact, she slept with me maybe four times total. She did become more tolerant of me and became nicer to me in her last year or so which warmed my heart. In her last few months while ill, she started this thing where she’d come upstairs to sit on the green cat yoga mat and wait for me to see her so I’d give her treats. She started out by doing this once an afternoon, and sometimes it ended up happening three times an afternoon. Even though it was hard for me to get out of bed, I enjoyed sharing this little routine with her. It’s strange to not have her hanging out on the kitchen counters like she always would. It’s all so sad and strange when they’re not here anymore. But she’s with a bunch of her other siblings now, so I know she’s okay. She never had the chance to meet Becca, but I’m 100% positive that those two gentle, old ladies are hanging out together nonstop.

We will miss you always, girlie!

Her new nickname is Squeaks!

wild kingdom

June 28, 2018 | Comments Off

This is from our front door’s security camera, and it features a neighbor’s cat that looks just like our Sam (we call him “Sam’s twin” – original, huh?), a fox, and a raccoon:

wild kingdom (from one of our security cams)


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