Happy Valentine’s Day!

We got Lulu, Sam, and Oliver each a catnip snake that is covered in a Valentine’s Day print – and they went crazy for them! They have played with them, licked them, and laid on them. While I’m writing this, Lulu is taking a nap right on top of hers! There’s nothing better in my whole world than seeing my babies happy. It is everything.

Here are a few pictures and videos:

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

Valentine’s Day 2019

sweet nothings

February 13, 2019 | View Comments

Here’s a snippet of our texting:
(I am blue & Mark is grey)

sweet nothings

(click image to enlarge)

the right idea

February 11, 2019 | View Comments

When there is snow on the ground, this is where Oliver and Samuel can be found:

When there is snow on the ground, this is where Oliver and Samuel can be found!

such a rough life

February 10, 2019 | View Comments

such a hard life...

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately. It’s nice to not be weighed down by appointment after appointment and worry for Mark or the babies. Now I’m just worrying about all the outside animals. The deer family has stopped coming, so I hope they’re okay. I haven’t seen the twin raccoons on the back security camera in four nights, and I hope they’re okay too. Sugar/Casper hasn’t been by in days either. It was about 11:30pm the last time I saw him on one of the security cameras, and this simultaneously worried and annoyed me. I thought his owner said he was let in at night, so I really hope he was able to go inside after swinging by here so late. The other day, Nabi, the neighbor kitty, basically hurled herself against the sunroom’s wall of windows after she saw Oliver and Sam; Ollie walked right up to the glass, and she flipped her shit! As for my babies, Sam was wearing the Assisi Loop twice a day, and I decided to see if he could use it simply once a day (some use it 4x and some 1x, depending on issue). I thought I saw a difference in him (not jumping as much) and decided to move it back up to twice a day. Mark tried dismissing me right away by saying he didn’t see any changes, but I pointed out what he was doing and he apologized. Progress! Lulu is doing okay, but I think she could be eating more. She did great (translation = basically licked her plates clean) right after she got on the new medications, but now she’s leaving a chunk of food behind. All her other behaviors (playing, chatting, running around the house) are still great, but I’m totally keeping an eye on this food thing for sure. Oliver’s test results came back, and they were the exact same as last time. The specialist said his high lymphocyte count could be an oddity or it could eventually be progressive and turn into lymphoma, but there’s nothing to treat until then. My vet put some calls in to a few holistic doctors to see if they know of issues like this. The specialist said to me that he should be retested once a year, but my vet said she told her that he should be retested every three months. That’s a $600 test, so I need to nail that definitively down for sure. I mean, come on. And Mark has been very stressed lately. He’s just doing too much work stuff and says that he’s not doing any additional projects past April 1, just in time for him to start umpiring once again. Ha. He never stops. I think we’re getting along better, so that’s good. I do have a complaint, though. Whenever we watch tv together, he never fast forwards when the commercials start. Why do I always have to remind him? It makes me both borderline angry and frustrated. Sigh. And I have a complaint about myself as well! I’ve mentioned that I painted the master bedroom a shade of purple to match the purple in a boho multi-stripe comforter I got. The comforter needed washed, and the colors faded. I bought another one and washed it with all the color safe shit I could find. It faded. Since then, I have proceeded to buy purple comforter after comforter (cold months) and blanket after blanket (warm months). Looking for a match, I have held up countless photos to my walls. I did have one that was a pretty perfect match, but my cleaner ruined it; sadly, this blanket is now out of stock. So last week I bought a Soft Plush Sherpa Comforter Set because it looked like it was the same exact shade. Was it? Uh, no. Plus it’s already snagged like crazy from cat claws. Fantastic.

the thief

February 4, 2019 | View Comments

So this happened a bit ago. Awhile ago. Okay, about fourteen years ago. So why am I writing about this right now? Well, I know that I wrote about this back then when it was fresh, but it was at a site of mine that’s no longer around. See, I got to thinking about the whole situation a couple of weeks ago and looked up my old “boss” – and I got annoyed by it all over again. And here we are. This woman owes me $3000 for the work I did for her. She owes at least two other people that I know of money from this “business” too. There were a couple of other people floating around as well, like a slimy-looking business partner (I don’t remember his name), but I don’t know what they were getting paid, if anything.

When I met her, she was going by Tammy Camper and was trying to get her TammySays! radio show off the ground. Now she’s married and goes by Tammy Williams or Tam Williams. Her self-named hashtag she uses all over online is #thatstam. She currently has a new venture called She’s It, some app she’s now trying to get off the ground that she says will be worth millions in a couple of years. Gee, that sure sounds familiar.

It all started when I replied to an add on Craigslist. I had various skills, so I’m not sure if I applied to be a web designer, writer, or editor. We all met in some hospital boardroom, and I think she invited everyone who applied so that she could meet them face-to-face first before whittling down to her favorites. Mark was so skeptical of this whole thing from the start. I wanted it to work out because I really liked the work I did, and I got along decently with the others she hired too. She got an office space in Moorestown, NJ, and I loved having my own office after years of sharing spaces. I don’t know if the actual recording studio was ever finished before the whole thing shuttered or not. Anyway, my first thought that something was off was when she gave me her credit card and told me to order computers from Dell, and they told me they couldn’t send any because she still owed them $2000. I think the customer service rep said it was from a bill for previous computers that weren’t returned. I, obviously, had to hand that call back to her. Before long, we had computers. The issue was resolved, but I had a funny feeling in my stomach after that.

So she had assembled a small team, and we worked loooong into the nights, trying to get her website, newsletter, and such just the way she wanted it to be. At one point, Mark was getting nervous that I wasn’t being paid what I was owed. Despite that, I kept working. She fed me some garbage about how I was going to be the Gayle to her Oprah after she made it big. I went into the office a few times a week and worked from home the rest. She had me set up the voicemail for the office because I had the most “Caucasian-sounding” voice out of the others.

There came a point when two other employees started asking each other – and me – if we had gotten paid. She owes one something like $1700, but I don’t know how much the other person wasn’t paid. And mine skyrocketed to that $3000 total I mentioned above. The three of us decided we were done doing work for nothing. She and the business partner asked us employees to attend a meeting where they promised investors were forthcoming and that we should sit tight – again. So we quit, but I know there was one other guy who did keep working for her for a bit. Anyway, I wanted it to work out, of course, which is why I held on for so long despite not getting paid. But I walked out of that meeting.

And, immediately after that, I was persona non grata. I had to set up a time to come clean out my office when one of her friends/employees could supervise me. Hahah. Like, really? The funny thing is that the guy she sent to chaperone me told me he was going to take the computers that were in the office (to keep or sell, I don’t know) until I told him they weren’t hers to just go crazy with. I explained the story about the $2000 Dell computers and said these were probably expected go back too. A few weeks later I listened to the office voicemail and heard two messages left by people who had appointments with her to come see the space (maybe even record with her?), but she left them hanging and never showed up or bothered to call them to cancel.

On Thursday, June 16, 2005, she wrote that “the company has folded, I am declaring bankruptcy” when the three of us jointly mailed her about the situation. When one guy mentioned getting a lawyer, she pointed out there’s nothing financially for them to get from her. “There is no obligation from anyone to me or to the now defunct company.” This guy replied that in “situations like that the employees are ALWAYS the first paid. That is fact. You didn’t just go bankrupt, it appears you never had a company at all! As far as I can tell you conned at least five people into doing work for you and have not paid a SINGLE CENT to any of them. At what point did you realize that you had bit off more than you could chew? And why didn’t you come clean then? You took a huge gamble lost, and we shared that loss, but were never made aware of the stakes.” He went on to mention filing a claim in small claims court and with the NJ Division of Wage and Hour, as well as filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. He was doing this “to see that you are held legally accountable for your refusal to satisfy your committment to me and that the appropriate documentation is made detailing your business practices so that future potential employees and contractors who might enter into deals with you are better informed of your payroll history.”

The other one that is owed the $1700 wrote to his lawyer/friend that “the woman who is stiffing me is still stiffing me. Last week I received an email saying that she would have a payment schedule ready by May 6. That day came and went, and no schedule. I wrote to her on the 12 to ask when it might be available — no reply.”

We were all, Tammy too, copied on most of what was above. She mentioned her lawyer’s name as he was copied on her stuff too. At that time, it seemed like he was a young guy with just a few years out of law school who specialized in entertainment law. Since then, he’s had his law license suspended twice. You know what they say: like attracts like.

So, anyway, I recently left comments on her public Facebook page that said she still owes me money, that if she were all about female empowerment like she now claims that she’d pay me back, that she said I’d be the Gayle to her Oprah, and such. All she had to do was block me, but she posted the below and acted like she didn’t even know who I was:

Tammy Camper, TammySays, Tammy Williams, Tam Williams, ThatsTam claims she’s all about women empowerment and speaks at small business conferences. What a joke. This bitch owes me $3000 from all the work I did when she had her radio show.

(click image to enlarge)

I’m sure she’s made a lot of promises to a lot of people in the past and that things could have all blurred together for her. But as soon as I said TammySays!, she should have instantly remembered who I was; however, she told me to “cease and desist” from commenting on her various social media accounts because she doesn’t know who I am or what I’m talking about. Uh, okay. Also, if you google “TammySays radio,” there are still a few sites out there that talk about her show.

Prior to founding this She’s It She app, apparently she had a management consulting firm called Strategic Transformation Partners. The website description says, “My management consulting firm helps business leaders make better decisions, deliver improved business performance and take advantage of windows of opportunity even when the course of action isn’t clear. Our clients value our ability to gather and analyze large volumes of information, identify critical insights and develop the optimal business strategy supported by clear, actionable recommendations. I particularly like working with other women business owners and minority business owners.” The link to this site is long dead, just like the one for her radio show. I wonder if people lost money on that too.

It just kills me that she’s a self-described champion of small business and talks about women empowerment and women doing right by women. How about you do this woman right and pay her what she is owed? I can’t believe she’s allowed to speak year after year at various small business conferences, like recently at the Richmond Women’s Health and Fitness Expo. What kind of wisdom does she think she can impart? I just don’t get it. Now with this new app of hers, she’s expecting big things, of course. I wonder who she got to invest in this thing and if she’s paying absolutely every single person who has done work for the app, its site, and so on. I hope they’re not doing it for future pay or are doing it for free for “exposure” or some such. The Facebook likes for her site and app don’t match the twitter and Instagram follows, so I’m guessing she bought the likes to pad its supposed success. A recent article written about her says the release of this newest endeavor took five years and $300,000. Where did that money come from? I guess she got luckier with the investors this time around.

Just be forewarned that working with her is a risk. And, if things fall apart, she will act like she doesn’t know you and just move on to the next thing.

#thatstam #shesit #shesummit #sheapp #shesitwomen #tammycamper #tammywilliams #tamwilliams

just another day at the office

February 1, 2019 | Comments Off

some internet stupidity

(click image to enlarge)

footloose and cancer-free

January 30, 2019 | Comments Off

I have a serious case of pms, and it’s running my life right now. My period is over a week late, and I’m in such a foul mood. Each month my mood improves right as I get it, so I am hoping it shows up soon. So my crankiness is part of the reason I haven’t felt like writing. That and the fact that I am both overwhelmed and underwhelmed by the internet. I’ve thought about deleting all my social media profiles and throwing in the towel. Now that social media is what it is, it’s ridiculous. I can’t stand going to instagram with everyone’s fake model poses, uses of filters, “picture perfect” photos, and sponsored posts. And now every single idiot can comment and think that their opinions actually mean something to someone else. There was a comment thread I read the other day about an mtv teen mom not wanting to vaccinate her kids. Someone posted several times about the horrible things that can be found in vaccines, like human fetal cells. In fact, she cut and pasted what are in a few of them. She put a circle around “fetal bovine serum,” pointed to it, and said there are the human fetal cells. And a wonderful hero replied, “bovine means cow, you idiot.” So yeah.

Mark’s cancer is gone! He had surgery the first week of December. The hardest part of this whole thing was waiting for the results of what they removed. It was a chromophobe carcinoma, and they got all of it. He needs rechecked in a year, and it really should be a non-issue, thankfully! The uncertainty of the whole ordeal was insane, and it’s fantastic to finally have it all be over with. I wasn’t happy with Mark’s nurse(s) during this hospital stay, basically for the same reason I didn’t like them when he had back surgery. I found that, at both times, they didn’t move very quickly or have follow-thru. With his back surgery, he was very nauseated. We were expecting nausea meds from the pharmacy, but nothing was happening. I had to go out there to prompt them to give the pharmacy another call. This time, something happened to one of his eyes during surgery. It was red, itchy, and burning (iirc), and he couldn’t blink or close his eyes without discomfort. He told his nurse before I got there, but all she did was just put a wet paper towel on his eye. I suggested she call a doctor to come look at this eye – which eveeeeeeeeeeentually happened. Also, she moved slow as molasses when she was hooking up his pain meds, which she only gave him after I asked why he wasn’t on any. I mean, it was noted in his chart that he was to have them! Anyway, his mom stayed with us for a few days to help us out. Mark actually enjoys his parents, and the two of them were constantly chatting away like old friends. At some point during his pre-surgical or surgical testing, it was discovered that he now has Centrilobular Emphysema. He emailed his pulmonary doctor, but he isn’t very concerned; he thinks Mark was just one of those born with some junk (bullae) in his lungs. I, of course, want him to get a new doctor/second opinion, but he doesn’t want to. He’s over doctor appointments in general. I don’t blame him in the least because it’s been basically nonstop appointments for either him or the babies these past few months. I’m hoping, though, he will change his mind in time.

Hmmm. Let’s see. What else? Mark is very upset that our co-op closed down, with less than a week’s notice. The train into the city lets off basically right next door to it, and he would pick up this or that on his way home from work. It was cute. What a bummer. He’s also still doing some freelance work in addition to his full-time job. I took this photo when he was on a conference call:

Mark on a conference call

What cracks me up is how when he’s in his office doing stuff that he’s still absorbing some of what is happening throughout the house. I know this because I’ll sing to our kitties their various songs, and, when he eventually comes out of the office, he will start humming or singing what I had been earlier.

Oh! So we are renting out our last house, and the tenant gave us some news on our old neighbors. Turns out that the people who live there have some rather disgusting hobbies. A swat team paid them a visit and arrested at least one person there for child porn. They left notices on doors afterwards that contained a number to call if any neighbors had any questions or concerns. I’m assuming the same people still live there because she said their garage door is always up, and it was the same way when we were there. Gee, I’m glad we never made friends with them. Just another perk to being antisocial.

At this house, the construction on that new house is still going strong – fifteen months strong. I don’t know if it’s ever even going to end. Things went quiet for about three weeks, the longest stretch of silence since it all began, when the jackhammering started back up. As you can see below, a trench was put in. It went from the front of the house across the street from us to the new house that’s directly behind us. And the trench digging went on forever. I warily wonder what is next.

next door house construction - 15 months and still going strong, photo 1
next door house construction - 15 months and still going strong, photo 2

And to add to the crazy wildlife that we see around here, we saw a possum on our security camera the other evening. I wish we’d see rabbits too, but I guess that’s not in the cards. Then again, this was the first possum sighting in two years, so maybe it’ll happen.

I got my eyebrows microbladed again when we went back to New Jersey for some things (get blood drawn, see pain doctor, go to pharmacy, go to Entenmann’s outlet for cheap raccoon food). I wanted my new local hair salon to do them, but they wouldn’t schedule a consult and the procedure on the same day. I was requesting that due to my chronic pain (I’d rather not have to leave the house twice), and then they said they don’t microblade chronic pain patients anyway. WTF. Anyway, my regular person made them thicker without asking me if I wanted them to be that way, and that threw me off a bit. I mean, I wanted them thicker anyway, but I would have liked to at least been asked about it, you know? Anyway, all is well, and I love them. They hurt like a mother fucker for two days, but it’s worth it.

So due to Oliver’s increased lymphocytes, both his vet and specialist wanted to repeat the flow cytometry test. His blood gets sent out west for exam, and the results should hopefully be back in a few more days. For Oliver’s test, I knew I needed to find out if he could eat or drink prior to the appointment. I called and was told that he couldn’t eat any food after midnight – for a 5:00pm appointment. That just didn’t sound right at all. I planned on calling back the next day to see if I would get a different answer, and I also tried emailing the specialist. Turns out, he emailed me back and said that Ollie was allowed to eat as normal. Talk about misinformation! Goddamn.

Mark and I have made a New Year’s resolution to speak more kindly to each other. It’s going decently well. He still dismisses me here and there, but I like to think he’s working on it. For instance, he argued with me when I noticed an error in the milligrams for the cats’ blood pressure pills; he said it was right when it wasn’t and eventually apologized later on. Another example was when our outside lights didn’t automatically turn off. I asked him why they were still on, insinuating that something probably needed fixed. He tried saying it was still sort of dark out. It wasn’t. Like not at all. Uhhh? Turns out the sensor needed replaced. He’s also recently said some of his favorite things – that I don’t try and that I make excuses – and that’s always fun. Hmmm. I don’t think he questions my anxiety all that much. When he would scream at me, I would attack my fingers; that’s pretty easy to verify. And when I have a lot to do or have to leave the house, I feel awful inside. The medical marijuana calms me down and helps me out. I know that his speaking to me differently is helping me in various ways, and I hope things stay better. I think now that he’s cancer-free and the issues with the pets are slowing down (*knocks on wood*) that we will both feel less and less stress as time goes by – and then hopefully it’ll just get easier to keep making the good choice of actually being kinder to one another.

indoor critters

January 22, 2019 | Comments Off

Mark insisted on taking pictures with each of the babies on Christmas morning since we were all dressed alike, so, because they crack me up, I’m going to include those here as I explain what’s been going on with each one of my indoor critters. We had a bunch of major issues occur with each of them seemingly all at once, and we were at various vets seemingly all the time. For example, they all had diarrhea at the same time that required a secondary medication to help rid their bodies of it (the typical first drug of choice just didn’t work). But that’s just how they were all the same. Here’s how they’re doing individually.

Let’s start with Samuel.

Christmas 2018

Sam was behaving weirdly. He was hissing, laying/sitting down in the litter, and trying to potty with nothing coming out. There wasn’t a blockage (thank fucking god), and that issue resolved itself. The hissing, though, didn’t. He saw specialists (in internal medicine and neurology), and it was determined that he was having problems with his back. They initially thought he’d be getting surgery. Turns out, again thankfully, that surgery wasn’t needed, but he unfortunately has degenerative disc disease like his mama. This is very upsetting news to me because I don’t want him to feel half an ounce of what I feel. Also, they did a spinal tap to check for viral meningitis, and that came back negative. So they put Sam on Prednisone and Gabapentin to help with pain and any inflammation. He tapered off of the pred pretty quickly, and that’s a good thing because it could cause his diabetes to return. Anyway, as we were lowering him off the pred, he started hissing again here and there. I was scared that he’d need that for the long haul. But the hissing has officially stopped. Also, the doctor said that there is the possibility of dynamic compression, and he recommended laser therapy of the area to help with possible inflammation. He had seven laser therapy sessions and acupuncture. I think we added something else, but I just can’t remember what it was. He hissed the same day he had laser done on two separate occasions, so I vetoed against continuing with that. We also bought an Assisi Loop that we use on him twice daily. If your dog or cat has an issue, this thing could possibly help with it. I’m convinced it’s helping our Sammy. Overall he’s looking better and walking better too. The other night, though, he was making noises while locked in the bedroom with Lulu and me. I had him shut in there because I wanted to collect a urine sample for the vet. I left the bedside table lamp on so that I wouldn’t have to fumble for a light if I heard him in the box. I thought he was hurting again because the sounds he was making were awful! Turns out he just wanted me to shut the light off. Haha. Right after I did that, he came to the top of the bed to cuddle with me. Speaking of cuddling, he loves to snuggle but needs some help getting into the right spot. He lays up against me and next to me, but not always in a comfortable way. I have to shift a bit so he slides into place. He’s definitely calmed down over the years and is far less vigilant than he used to be. He’s a good, sweet boy who loves frying himself in front of the fireplace.

Next up is Oliver.

Christmas 2018

Oliver, too, is in love with laying directly in front of the fireplace. That’s been one of his favorite spots since he has been recovering from two broken hips. He has gotten better and better as time has passed, and he’s still getting better with each passing day! I started bringing him into the master bedroom for a change of scenery (he was staying in the sunroom we emptied out, minus cat beds and a mattress for us). One time he jumped off the bed when he wasn’t really allowed to be making jumps that high. He was fine, but I ordered pet stairs pretty quickly after that. He went to all his physical therapy sessions and was cleared to jump four feet maximum. He did have a setback at one point. I picked him up under his arms to grab him because we were going to trim his nails. He bit me and flew out of my arms after I let go. I was terrified that he had re-injured himself from all that flailing. I had blood dripping out of my thumb for twenty minutes straight. It looked like a goddamned crime scene. He went straight to the emergency vet because he was walking funny, but they called it a setback and said he might have a couple more. They gave him more anti-inflammatories, and he was back to his old self pretty quickly after that. Whew. He’s started jumping on things again, like the coffee table in the sunroom, the couches, and the ottoman. The first time I saw him at the top of his cat tower, I texted Mark because I was freaking out. Of course, he needed help getting down, but I couldn’t believe he made that kind of climb all the way up there! It was truly a memorable moment. Another memorable moment was when he finally let me massage him! He hates those motor sounds, like the hair trimmer, the vacuum, and the massager. One day I was massaging Sam in front of the fire, and Oliver inched closer to us to see what the big deal was finally all about. Now he likes them! He also does this one funny thing when he chases Lulu – he narrows his eyes at her! I’ve never seen a cat do that before. It’s kinda crazy to see. Lastly, his lymphocytes are higher, and nobody seems to know why. They’re recommending that his blood have that special test again that’s like a bone marrow test. Between his anemia issues/blood transfusions, his herpes, and his newest lip issues (like a swollen bottom lip), something is off with his immune system. We are adding immune support and another drug that should help. But then what else is going to happen next? Mark is worried he’s going to be “sickly” forever. I guess he could be. I mean, he seems very unaffected by the lip stuff, but cats like to hide when they’re not feeling well. He’s eating great, playing, and ignoring us – the usual. We might be seeing a holistic doctor for his immune issues. Right now he’s walking, running, and lightly jumping again, and that’s a huge relief. And, as with all of them, we will deal with their issues as they come up.

And then we have Lulu.

Christmas 2018

Lulu started eating less again and lost some weight. Two years ago she had pancreatitis, so I force-fed her. It took a chunk of time, but she got better. Her regular exam and bloodwork didn’t turn up anything, so I force-fed her again until she could see the internal medicine specialist. She said Lulu had high glucose, was anemic, had a heart arrhythmia, and had fluid in her lungs. That doctor said to see a cardiologist, so we did the very next day. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. The anemia and glucose issues were related to the disease and resolved after the fluid was drained. There was a mixup on the day she saw the cardiologist, probably because the entire facility lost power during the appointment. They gave Lulu one month of the fluid draining drug and said to come back in a month. Then the cardiologist talks with my regular vet and said it was imperative that she come back in a week so they could check the drainage and put her on a heart medication. That’s a big fucking time difference, dudes. Not cool. So now, in addition to her other regular medications, she’s taking a potassium supplement, a med to prevent clots, and a med that drains fluid. Fluid buildup is basically guaranteed to happen again, and then her current dose will have to be increased. The cardiologist said she could live between six to twelve months, maybe longer. Her heart medication can affect her kidneys, and she already has kidney disease. That situation will need to be checked periodically. Her latest test showed that her kidneys had actually improved since the last draw! She sees the cardiologist again in a few months for a checkup. She definitely slowed down when she wasn’t feeling well. Her water fountain is in the kitchen, and she stopped going down the hall at all (there’s a water bowl in the master bedroom for them to use, too). She stopped grooming and playing. Lulu is once again so energetic, bossy, and playful. She’s also eating like a little pig! I hope she defies the odds and sticks around for more years and years to come.

So we are dealing with some serious issues with our babies. It’s hard. There were a million trips to expensive doctors back-to-back, sometimes with two visits in one week. And I find it all so incredibly nerve-wracking to wait for appointments and to wait again for results. I couldn’t catch my breath for a bit there. Right now they all seem to be doing so, so great. And I am so, so thankful for that. I just wish they could all be healthy forever.

outdoor critters

January 21, 2019 | Comments Off

Let’s discuss all the adorable stuff that’s been going on outside!

Well, I don’t like foxes very much, but I still thought something interesting happened with them. Last week, we had two in our yard at the same time (for the first time ever, iirc), and one hid from the other. I’m glad because then there wasn’t another brawl that we would have to listen to. Their shrieking and yelling can sound really creepy.

Our sweet raccoons have changed their schedules up once again as they are in torpor mode. They show up here and there. Sometimes their first visit can be at 6:30pm or it can be at 2:30am, and sometimes they don’t even come for three days in a row.

One early evening I saw a mommy deer groom both of her babies while all three were just outside my bedroom window. It was amazing. We seem to have some regular visitors in that department too. We have a mama with her two babies and then there’s a buck that is around not long after they are. The other day he was chasing them back and forth across the street. I yelled out that she wasn’t interested in him, but he just wasn’t taking the hint. Here are some photos of our visitors, with the last one being my favorite. That baby was so comfortable in our yard that he laid down while munching! Also, see the hood thingie on the bird feeder (second picture)? We got it to keep the little birdies dry.

deer visitor, photo 1
deer visitor, photo 2
deer visitor, photo 3
deer visitors - love the one sitting down and chewing!

Also, Mark was pulling into the driveway not too long ago when he called me to tell me that he needed my help and that I had to come outside. One baby deer was standing in front of Mark’s car and wouldn’t move. Mark was convinced it wanted to charge him. Haha. The mom and sibling were a few feet away in the grass. I tried to shoo them away, but they are so used to us that my presence didn’t really affect them very much. Thank goodness that Nabi, our tough as nails neighbor kitty, came onto the scene. As soon as they saw that little bowling ball with short legs, they trotted off. That bitch gets shit done. More on her in a bit.

Sam’s Twin has started hanging out in our yard a lot more than usual. He’s not friendly in the least. One time he accidentally walked like 30 feet in front of me. When he realized I was there, he ignored me and pretended that he didn’t even see me. So yeah. I don’t mind having him around, except for the fact that he pees on the cat toys I put out on the carport for all of the visiting kitties that stop by. He recently has started eating the kibble we put out, so I’m wondering what happened to his food source. Well, he has food, water, and an outdoor shelter here any time he needs it. Anyway, here are two cute videos involving him.

In this one, Sam sees his doppelgänger:

And in this video, Sam’s Twin jumps up on Mark’s car to chase some birds:

As for Nabi, she lost her collar again, and we replaced it again. Mark actually got a chance to talk to her parents when they came by with a giant crate of oranges (their yearly holiday gift), and they started talking about her. Apparently she showed up four years ago and adopted them. They thanked us for looking out for her. Mark forgot to mention that we’ve been replacing her collars which sucks because I want to know what they think of that. Here’s an adorable video of her running towards Mark and jumping over a pile of leaves:

And now there’s a new kitty that has started stopping by. He’s all white, pretty stocky, and has the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen! He hangs around anywhere from fifteen minutes to three hours. I first posted in some missing cat forums online, and someone thought it might be her cat that ran off four years ago. I sent her videos of him, and her children were pretty sure it wasn’t theirs. Their cat was a small girl. I didn’t know the sex of this cat at this time. So he eats our food, and he is super friendly and chatty. There’s something wrong with one of his ears, and it bothers him when it’s touched. I named him Casper to keep in line with all the other original nicknames I’ve given animals over the years. He’s briefly been in our house twice and has even done a lap around the kitchen island. My cats saw him and weren’t thrilled, of course. Casper wasn’t thrilled either and screeched the whole time I picked him up to put him back outside. So he was coming so often that Mark was worried I was going to bring him inside for good. Casper’s friendliness led me to think he was dumped. Mark ordered me a microchip scanner so we could see if he had a known home. The cheapo scanner worked, so I used the chip number to get the contact info for him. The first number didn’t work, but their secondary number did. The dude who answered the phone seemed put off by my call. Sorry for bothering you dude, but I wanted to tell you about your cat. Sheesh. Anyway, I found out he was a he, he’s seven years-old, and his name is Sugar. He lets him inside every evening, and he just put him out a little bit ago. I laughed and said he was just here! Sugar comes from a decent distance away (1/4 mile) and crosses a pretty busy road. I was trying to tell him that we put food out and how nice his cat was, but he couldn’t get off the phone fast enough.

In this video, Mark attempts to broker peace between Nabi and Casper, but Nabi leaves in a snit:

Okay. And here’s a final story about Sugar. So our fireplace isn’t working reliably, and I had been trying to contact the company that installed it. I left a voicemail and sent an email on a Friday, and I left another voicemail the following Wednesday. When it was Friday again, I finally got someone on the phone when I called once more. So we were discussing the issues the fireplace has when I see Casper sitting on one of the front porch’s windowsills and looking inside at me. This was the first time he’s ever done that, and I thought it was the sweetest thing – so I told them that I’d have to call them back. Haha. Even after all that time it took me to get in touch with them in the first place, I just wanted to say hello to the little guy more. I suppose my priority should have been to make sure our fireplace didn’t explode, but I really wanted to make sure he was okay and that there was food outside for him more.

So while things were hectic with Mark and the babies (posts forthcoming), our outdoor critters kept us on our toes. Of course I get too attached to them all. If I don’t see the twin raccoons, I worry. If the deer don’t show up for a couple of days, I worry. And don’t get me started on these outdoor cats that do their own thing at their own time too, especially that Sugar who crosses a busy road. OMG and then there are various random cats who have stopped showing up entirely, and that totally tears me apart. We almost didn’t go on our anniversary trip (one of the reasons) because we hadn’t seen Nabi in three days. Mark even went driving around to see if he could find her. I knocked on their door, but nobody answered. The morning of the trip, Mark went next door when he saw someone outside, and Nabi was right out there with our neighbor (well, off to the side, but outside all the same). The relief we felt was incredible. So yeah.

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