Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Bash Rehash

Blogger Bash was a hoot; half the universe was there, and we had a rollicking good time. We did have an ongoing battle with the other half of the bar: We kept asking them to turn the music down; the other side kept demanding it be turned back up. My throat's sore from shouting.

Billy says he'll link to photos so I'll be lazy and just link to Billy.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blogger Bash

Been busy with finals, in-law visit, etc., but tonight I'll be at the Recovery Room on Pioneer Parkway, round about 6 p.m., for Blogger Bash! Come on out!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Everyone Is Willing to Believe Your Life Is a Sitcom

... Or, A Break From the Cat Posts

I have this strategy I use when confronted with aggressive salesmen who appear to think that my lack of Y chromosome makes me an incompetent purchaser, typically in electronics and appliances, but it also works when car shopping.

"Where are your UberTech IIs?" I ask.

"No, no," says aggressive salesman, "you want the UberTech IV! It has a million more features that you'll never use and only costs three times as much!"

"No, I want the UberTech II."

"Oh, but the UberTech IV comes with a high speed diagnostic Turing engine!"

(Here comes the technique:) "Oh, but my husband told me to buy the UberTech II, he knows just what he wants, and I think he'd be mad if I got something else."

"But the UberTech IV is better, I'm sure he'd like it much better. You could surprise him!"

"No," I say, sounding very concerned and now opening my eyes wide and dumb, "he doesn't like it when I don't buy the right computery thing. He gave me the exact name and specs, and I have to get that."

(Which is all particularly amusing because I do more of the tech management stuff in this household.)

Typically at this point the salesman gives in in frustration and sells me what I've been trying to buy for the last fifteen minutes. But a few times the salesman, sensing that I'm too damned dumb to know he's ripping me off, but frustrated by his inability to sell to me without passing the absent gatekeeper of "the husband," will suggest we CALL my husband to get "permission." At this point I cease to feel bad about messing with them, put on my emptiest possible expression and say, "Oh ... no, I don't think he'd like it if I disturbed him at work."

What kills me every single time is that these jerks are perfectly willing to believe that a) I know nothing about technology and b) I live in a TV marriage from 1950 where I can't buy anything without my husband's permission (and I specify TV marriage because, hello, I know most of your grandmothers kicked ass and took names in the 1950s like mine did; those were never real marriages). I mean, seriously, it's 2008 and the world is still stocked with pre-feminist electronics salesmen who fail to recognize 50% of their market!

(And I hasten to specify, I never do this until the salesman starts his, "well, little lady, this computer comes with a lipstick mirror for you to look your prettiest!" schtick. If he talks to me like a person, we don't need to go to sitcom world.)

My husband was so amused by this technique that he's tried it himself once or twice, only he goes for "henpecked husband sitcom." If he's buying a shirt, say, and gets an aggressive salesperson insisting, "Oh, you really should get that in green, it would look so nice with your eyes" or whatever, he'll say, somewhat conspiratorially, "My wife said I needed a blue shirt, and she gets really picky about the whole thing," in a sort of, "you know how women are!" tone.

Last week I accidentally stumbled on the king of the sitcom scenarios, the one that makes service people come to your house in a timely fashion. I was talking to the window guy, still trying to get this broken window fixed, and I said, somewhat exasperated, "Look, my mother-in-law is coming to visit next Thursday, and I'd really prefer for my window not to be broken when she gets here."

"Mother-in-law?" Window guy says in a suddenly chummy fashion. "I know how that is. I'll squeeze you in special Thursday morning."

Yes, I start thinking to myself, the picky mother-in-law sitcom ... I wonder how many contractors I can call between now and Thursday ...

Because my window having been broken for four months is not remotely an issue worth hurrying for, but, because everyone is totally willing to believe your life is a sitcom, my mother-in-law coming to visit is worth a special trip and they feel like they're doing me a favor!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to the Vet: Good News

Just to keep everyone updated, Orange Cat was back to the vet this morning, and his kidney function, while still not within the healthy range, is MUCH improved by the fluids. And, as I said, his energy levels and alertness and purringness are up on the fluids. The goal now is to get him to eat something -- anything. He's got three weeks before he goes back to the vet, and the vet was very encouraged by his results.

Now, we're still probably looking at basically palliative care that's keeping him comfortable and as healthy/happy as possible while his kidneys continue to decline, but we've probably got at least a little longer with him than we'd first hoped, and he's a much happier kitty.

So assume no news is good news, bloggerinos, and I'll definitely post when something changes. It's been absolutely wonderful to have so many people out there rooting for Orange Cat and being so kind to me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Orange Update

Super-quick Orange Cat update -- I want to post the pictures of my new stream but I've misplaced my camera cable --

He's doing really, really well on the fluid treatment. He still won't eat a darn thing, but there's a marked improvement in his energy levels and alertness with the fluids. (Also in his purring levels.) We'll find out later this week if there's been any improvement in his kidneys -- I'm not hopeful -- but at least his quality of life is much better.

I am coping okay with the fluid treatments. I can do it alone if I have to, but Mr. McGee's been doing the part with the needles and I've just been holding the bag. Orange Cat struggled the first couple nights but now that he's used to it, he hangs out pretty calmly for 100 to 125 mL, and we only need to get 150 into him. (The fluid is a little cold and, if you've ever had fluids, feels a little weird, so around 100 he starts to feel a little weird and get fussy.)

I'm off for some cheering up with Trailerhood, so catch you later!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That Wasn't On the Menu

Orange Cat came trotting into the living room this morning with a toy in his mouth, and I thought this was a little odd, since Orange Cat's usual method of playing with toys is to sit on them.

What was even odder was that Grey Cat came racing over and wanted to get the toy away from Orange Cat, and Orange Cat was determined not to let him have it. They NEVER fight over toys. So I stand up and start going over to separate them and Orange Cat starts eating the toy. And that's when I realized it was DEAD BIRD.

I started making a "NNNNNNNNNNUH!" sound of disgust, terror, and upset, and got Orange Cat to drop it, whereupon Grey Cat came racing over to get it. So I shoo Grey Cat away and Orange Cat races back to reclaim it. So I shoo Orange Cat away (still going "NNNNNNNNNNUH!") and Grey Cat leaps up on the kitchen counter and starts eat Orange Cat's special food (that Grey Cat is not allowed to have because Grey Cat is on a reducing diet because he looks like a football coach: no neck) while I collect the bird carcass with the litter scoop and throw it outside.

So:

a) I have no idea how the bird got in the house in the first place (and the cats don't go outside), and inspection revealed no possibilities. It must have gotten trapped between the doors or flown in or something; and

b) When I said Orange Cat could eat anything he wanted, I DID NOT MEAN DEAD BIRD, unless it has been properly processed and packaged at a USDA-inspected facility!!!!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Orange Cat Is Not Well

So back at the vet today with Orange Cat, and his kidneys are failing. There's a slim possibility it's reversible, but he's getting pretty old, and he's diabetic, so I'm not getting my hopes up.

I kind-of want to blog about this and I kind-of don't, in the same way I kind-of want to talk about it and kind-of want to go hide under my covers, and I kind-of want to laugh about it and kind-of want to cry.

On the laughing side, I now have to give him fluids at home, subcutaneously, to keep him hydrated. Because we all know I cope so well with needles. I swear, I might as well just get EMT certified after all this. Anyway, I managed not to have hysterics, though I almost threw up when the tech demonstrated MOVING IT AROUND UNDER THE SKIN, and it was good they left me alone after because I had to shake for 10 minutes. The vet has absolutely zero confidence I'm going to manage to actually do this at home without fainting (I don't faint, I just have hysterics, I keep telling him), but since it has to be done, I'll manage to do it.

I have what in my family we call loose tear ducts, which means that I cry at just about anything. (Come visit me during the Olympics -- triumphs of human spirit and displays of good sportsmanship always do me in. I cry for two straight weeks.) I got pretty teary discussing Orange Cat's condition, and I felt really bad because I could tell that the fact that I was getting teary was upsetting the vet, who felt bad for making me cry. I wanted to explain to him that it hardly even qualified as crying, since -- this is absolutely true -- I cried so hard coming down the aisle at my wedding that the priest asked me if we needed to stop the wedding, since he'd never seen a bride cry that hard.* But I was afraid if I said more words than necessary I really WOULD start to cry.

Anyway, Orange Cat now has insulin, potassium supplements, sub-Q fluids, antibiotics, special food ... it's a little out of control. But he is happy and not in any pain, and he now gets to eat whatever he wants, so I think that's about as much as I can ask for. And I really do appreciate everyone who's been asking after him. Makes me feel loved.

---

*This always raises a question for me, since my mom doesn't remember this, and didn't remember me crying at the wedding until she saw the video (and was appalled that I was crying), and that question is: "WHAT WEDDING WAS SHE AT?" I cried so hard nobody could hear my vows!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Thunder and Lightning, Very Very Frightning

Woke up at 2:51 a.m. for the start of an hour-long electrical storm, a true one with no rain, just thunder and lightning, non-stop, for over an hour. Well, I think for over an hour, because the power went out around 3:40, which ensured we overslept this a.m.

The rain actually didn't arrive until around 8:20, with a bang and a crash and a deluge, which was what woke me up instead of the alarm clock.

All different kinds of thunder: rolling, hiccupy, crackling, gun crack, booming. It was actually pretty fascinating to listen to. And once again I marveled at my husband's ability to sleep through Armageddon (and earthquakes) as a gun-crack thunderclap banged right overhead, scaring me into sitting up with an adrenaline rush and both the cats into racing for the basement ... and Mr. McGee didn't even roll over.

Mr. McGee spent the weekend building me a stream in the backyard (it's not quite done, but I'll post pictures), the purpose of which is to carry water away from the house and into a low spot planted with plants that like wet feet, as part of my whole "no more water in the basement" thing. It got its first test this morning, unexpectedly soon, and I was SOOOO glad we'd re-attached the outputs for the gutter and the sump-pump and directed them into the stream, because yesterday they were just naked against the house with NO outlet pipes to carry water away from the foundation! (Works like a charm so far!)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Best Compliment Ever

(Also the reason I don't get in trouble for not erasing my board.)

I'm teaching a night class in comparative religions, and the woman who cleans my part of the building in the evening always hangs out outside my class, and tonight she told me that she cleans outside my classroom when class is in session so she can listen to me, and that she's always eager to read what's on the board when I leave.

This seriously may be the best compliment I receive in my entire life.

This Church Is Full of LIES!



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