Friday, October 28, 2016

Well, I'm Not Thankful For Fleas

This week went by like a freight train. Or make that a coal train. The coal train goes through here loaded when it's heading south, empty for the return trip up north somewhere. Without fail, when the coal train passes, I sing this line from the John Prine song Paradise:

Daddy, won't you take me back
To Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River
Where paradise lay?
Well, I'm sorry, my son
But you're too late in askin'
Mr. Peabody's coal train
Has hauled it away

Every time. Never gets old. Well, not to me. It does to anyone in the car with me, especially since the railroad track goes diagonally across the entire town, and you stand a pretty good chance of running into that train four or five times if you're headed across town as it goes through. 

Sooo, Ten Things of Thankful? Coming right up!

1. The week went by fast.

2. Pumpkin Parties were this week at preschool, which is why #1 is #1.

3. The preschool staff Halloween costume theme this year was Nursery Rhymes, so we were Three Blind Mice in my room. Best. Costume. Ever. Assistant teacher Janet's husband made us canes out of dollar store mop handles, we wore gray shirts and leggings, mouse ears, a tail and sunglasses. I had a terrific time being a blind mouse. Ask anyone.

4. Little Debbie Devil Creme cakes. I used to think Swiss Rolls were my favorite, but I'm pretty sure they just fell to second place after experiencing a Devil Creme cake (and a half) at Thursday's Pumpkin Party.

5. I wrote a post this week! And it felt good. It's been a long time. Too long. 

6. My sweet high school friend Ruth even commented on Facebook when I posted the link to my blog post that she had missed my writing. Ruth always knows the right thing to say. Always.

7. I'd make this thankful that I haven't seen a live flea in 24 hours, but I don't want to jinx it. Pretend I didn't say it.

8. This is pretty big, I think. Emma was officially accepted at the University of Arkansas. We have a Razorback in the house!

9. DAMMIT. Just found a live flea on Nora. This is NOT a thankful. I REPEAT. THIS IS NOT THANKFUL. 

10. I bought Halloween candy that I don't like, so no worries that I'll eat half of it before Monday night.

Find your thankfuls and link up with us! May yours be flea-less.

Ten Things of Thankful

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Life With Nora

People get a second kitten for the same reason people have a second child; you forget how DIFFICULT it can be when they're little, because they're so darn cute.

We have had Nora for just over a month. That sweet little puff ball who was rescued from a ditch where she had been left for dead shows no sign of her ordeal. None. Left hind leg working fine. Missing fur on tail grown back in. Abrasions healed. 

Now she is a holy terror.

The big boys hate her, naturally. 

She left her mama too young, so she didn't learn some basic kitten manners, like DO NOT BITE PEOPLE ON THE NOSE. Or anywhere else. Those teeth are like razors.

But she sleeps with me every night, starting out the night on top of my head, purring and snuggling in my hair (weirdly pathetic, as she still has miss-my-mama issues). At  some point in the night, she crawls under the covers and sleeps at the foot of the bed. For hours. The other night, my husband thought she had to be dead, because how could she stay down there for so long without any fresh air? He nudged her and got no response. Nudged harder. Nothing. Reached under the covers and hauled her out, and sleepy and bleary-eyed, she flopped back down and continued her snooze. She's down to probably 7 lives at this point.

The latest Fun with Nora Pearl event happened Friday evening. I was sitting in my big chair while Fletcher laid on the arm next to me. I pulled out the kitty brush and began brushing him (which he loves). As I pulled fur out of the teeth of the brush (it's a de-thatching brush and is AMAZING at getting all that loose hair out of an indoor cat), something moved. Yes, MOVED. 


Bear in mind that my cats DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. And we don't have a dog or goat or any other animal that might be the reason fleas got in the house, and that means...


I brushed and brushed poor Fletcher until he was nearly bald (and this is entirely possible, as I de-thatched Pete so enthusiastically when I first got that nifty comb that I did, indeed, make a bald patch on his back). Then I brushed Nora. Between the two of them, I got maybe a dozen fleas total. That's two dozen too many. I located Pete and brushed him (which he hates). I didn't find any live fleas, but I brushed out a LOT of flea dirt (for the uninformed, "flea dirt" is a nice way of saying flea poop, and flea poop is made out of your pet's blood, and yes, it's gross to think about). It seems the fleas were feasting on Pete, but hanging out on Nora and Fletcher, as neither of them had any flea dirt on them.

Now, my husband is sitting across the room the three hours or so that I brushed cats. Knowing the thought of fleas would alarm him, to put it mildly, I just kept my pie hole shut. Eventually, however, he noticed the brushing marathon and started asking questions. I dodged and deferred (no pun intended), but when I went to bed and Nora wrapped herself around my head, I had to keep telling myself that if there were fleas jumping from Nora onto me, they'd been doing it for quite awhile and I might as well just not worry about it.

Didn't sleep so well.

Saturday morning, under the umbrella of "running errands," I went by the vet's office, walked in the door, and said, "We have FLEAS!" Nora, otherwise known as Patient Zero, and who has had two doses of Revolution (for ear mites, although it also treats fleas and other parasites (ick), did not need anything further. The vet tech then asked for the boys' weights so she could get them the proper dosage of flea medication. Fletcher got the regular adult cat formula for his 12 lbs. (and he's down about three pounds since early summer, something that will need to be addressed at some point and that is hopefully just attributed to the fact that he's over 13 years old now). 

The problem was that the dosage only went to 19 pounds, which is a VERY BIG cat; just not as big as MY cat.

The tech texted the vet for guidance. I was there when the vet called back and could hear her through the phone.


Long story short, lard ass Pete had to get a dog dose of flea medicine.

When I got home, I dosed the boys, then washed all the blankets they like to sleep on, just in case, and it was then that I broke the news to my husband that the cats all had fleas.

"I KNEW you were up to something when you spent three hours brushing cats last night!" he said, followed by, "I itch! I itch!" to which I responded, "No, you don't" although as I write this, I'm scratching my head where a certain kitten likes to lie and telling myself that people aren't natural hosts for fleas.

One of the items I washed was a fleecy cat bed that my mom bought for one of my cats many, many years ago. Pete used to love it, but he quit using it, and we assumed it was because he outgrew it. Ruby slept in it occasionally, but it pretty much languished in a corner of my bedroom until Nora came along, and she slept in it those first couple of weeks when we had to keep her segregated from the boys. What I didn't know was that the cover came off, so I threw it in the washer and put it back on the foam form and next thing I knew, Pete had wedged himself in it and has pretty much stayed there ever since, leaving only to eat or pee in something he shouldn't (another story). 

So back to Nora. I have broken up no less than 16 brawls between her and Fletcher today, removed her from the kitchen counter about five times, stopped her from climbing my leg like a tree three times, dodged a nose bite probably ten times, took her out of the refrigerator four times, and tripped over her maybe half a dozen times. I keep an empty Diet Coke can with 11 pennies in it (because that's how many were lying on the kitchen counter) that I keep between the screen door and my front door and shake at her when I come in, because she has taken to trying to make a break for it when the door is open, and I know the mailman must think we're crazy for keeping a Diet Coke can there, and I probably should tell him why, but maybe it's best just to keep him guessing.  

Fletcher, annoyed.

She clears off tables either by taking a flying leap onto them and sliding across the top or by sitting there and purposefully knocking each and every movable item off with her paw. She plays with cords. She ambushes all of us, human and feline. She gets in the dishwasher. She gets in the clothes dryer. She unfurls the toilet paper. She has about thirty toys scattered all over my bedroom and then lies in her empty toy basket. She sticks her head in my glass and tries to lick my ice, dumps over my towel basket so she can sit in it, chews on boxes, tips over wastebaskets, and yesterday, Emma was in the kitchen with her, heard her meowing, and found her INSIDE the kitchen wastebasket. 

Note turned-over trash can behind her.

I just picked a live flea off of her and it got away.

And I love her.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Yes, I Said BABOON

I'm having some sort of debacle with my computer, and I can't figure out what's wrong. When I go to any Blogger post, mine or anyone else's, and some Wordpress posts, and a few other sites, instead of a padlock icon (by the way, I always kind of thought that was a little pocketbook instead of a padlock) followed by "https" in the url, I get a little grey exclamation point inside a little circle, and I don't know why and I WANT IT TO STOP. 

Someone help.

That is definitely not on my list of Ten Things of Thankful for this week, but it will be NEXT week if someone will tell me how fix it. Here's my list for THIS week:

1. I've got my tiny writing buddy helping me (i.e., lying so I have to hold my arms at a funny angle as I type and I'm getting a cramp in my right shoulder because of it but I'm willing to put up with it because my tiny writing buddy just fell asleep so deeply that her head clunked onto her arms and it didn't even wake her up. 

Nora Pearl in supervisory mode.

2. A sleeping kitten means a quiet kitten, and all bodies living in this house, be they two- or four-legged, are grateful for a little peace and quiet when Nora is sleeping. 

3. I thought the back of my hand was bleeding just a minute ago, but upon closer examination, I found that it was just the remnants of a mark from a Sharpie, so that was nice.

4. I went to a Goodwill thrift store today when I had half an hour to kill and found two pairs of jeans, a long sleeved shirt, and a sweater for me, plus a Hawaiian shirt for the College Boy and spent less than $20. You know what the key to finding stuff in a thrift store is? Low to no expectations, which is precisely what I had when I walked in the place and look how well I did!

5. I seem to have been a little overzealous last spring when I purged what appears to be most of my winter wardrobe (hence another reason #4 is on the list), because this morning, I was searching under my bed for warm clothes and only found winter pajamas stored there, but that's okay, because the real thankful here is that we have cool enough weather that I NEEDED something warm today! Yay for October weather!

6. My husband decided to take today off, so I did the same, and he and I had a play day. 

7. After a brief stop at his office in Springfield (and the reason I had a half hour to kill in #4), we went to Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park a little less than 2 hours away from us, with no whiny kids.

Suspension bridge

8. I visited for a few minutes with one of my mom's old friends from when she taught school before she got married. This woman and her family come to Silver Dollar City every fall during the Craft Festival and demonstrate sorghum making at the park. When I saw her last year, I told her my mom was not in good health, so she was not too surprised when I told her my sweet mama passed away this summer. Doris gave me a big compliment when she told her family how much I reminded her of my mom.

9. My husband wanted to see the Wild West Show that was featured at this year's Craft Festival, so I humored him and agreed, and boy, am I glad, because one of the segments was SO WORTH IT. It was a trained dog act, and that part was rather ho hum, but they brought out a miniature stage coach with the little dogs in it pulled by a ginormous dog and DRIVEN BY A BABOON WEARING WESTERN CLOTHES. At one point, and I kid you not, the baboon pulled two six-shooters out of holsters and waved them around. Made. My. Day.'

Stagecoach + dogs + baboon = HILARIOUS

10. A baboon. In western clothes. With six-shooters.

The College Boy is home this weekend, and we're all going up to visit my dad while my husband volunteers at an Oktoberfest (for work, not because he wants to). We're going to take Nora Pearl with us, and tomorrow evening we (not Nora) are going out to dinner at one of my dad's favorite places, a restaurant in a little town of a few hundred people about 40 miles from where he lives. The food is homemade and delicious, and when they needed to add more seating, they turned an old grain bin into a dining room. Top that, city slickers!

Link up your thankfuls at the best blog hop ever.

A baboon, people. 

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Star: A Six Sentence Story

"See that star up there? That really bright one?"

"I see it!"

"That's your Grandma, smiling down on you."

"I miss her."

"I miss her, too."

Linking up with Ivy at Uncharted for Six Sentence Stories with the prompt "star."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Homecoming And Gang Stuff And A Couple Other Things

It's not that I haven't been thankful lately, because I surely have. And it's not that I haven't had any stories to tell, because I've had some of those, too. But I've been so tired that I can hardly keep my eyes open when I finally get home at night, and I haven't even turned ON my laptop, let alone read or wrote anything. My brain is simply exhausted, that overwhelming tiredness that puts you on the verge of bringing out your inner two year old and lying down on the floor and crying into the carpet, arms and legs pounding the floor as you do. Ordinarily, I don't consider my day to be complete until I have watched Seth Meyers deliver his monologue, but since preschool started, I consider it a victory when I make it until the 9:00 news.

1. You may already know that I help a local photographer part time with shoots. but right after school started, I began working in the studio office a few afternoons a week. I haven't worked in an office situation since the College Boy turned two, and let me just tell you, my office skills are rusty at best. It makes me feel feel really stupid most of the time, but I am hopeful that I'm not too old of a dog to learn a few new tricks.

2. We are nearing the end of Emma's very last volleyball season. While I do enjoy watching her play, I won't miss sitting on bleachers for hours and hours and HOURS. Yesterday, we spent about 11 hours on wooden bleachers. Eleven. Hours.

3. Backtracking two weeks (I KNOW! I KNOW! I HAVE TOTALLY DROPPED THE BALL ON THIS 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL LATELY!), one of my mom's dear friends from my childhood decided while at my mom's memorial service to host a get together for the old "113th Street Gang." We spent a delightful afternoon at Betty's house, three of my "other mothers" and their daughters, all more like family than friends, and I never wanted the day to end. My mom would have loved being there, and she would have loved knowing we were all together, remembering her, reliving old days, and talking about the future. In fact, I believe my mom was watching us from Heaven, smiling and happy while she drank a cup of coffee and ate a couple ginger snaps.

The 113th Street Gang

4. Emma was nominated for Homecoming queen a few weeks ago. She has been nominated to be an attendant every year of high school but never got it, but she was cool with that, because all she wanted was to be nominated for queen her senior year, so she could wear a pretty dress out onto the football field. She got her wish!

5. We finally, FINALLY found a dress for Homecoming. We only had two weeks' notice that she was a candidate, and I told her flat out that I wasn't spending $500 for a dress she was going to wear for only an hour or two. She had a pretty specific vision of a sparkly dress that would look good under the lights, but it was impossible to find one. We looked at stores, she haunted a local Facebook page where girls buy and sell their prom dresses and other formals, and she also spent hours going through every Instagram account of every girl she even REMOTELY knew who might have a dress she could buy or borrow. Her perseverance finally paid off, and she purchased a dress from a girl who wore it two years ago to prom. 

6. Small problem with the dress Emma bought; it was a wee little bit too big and there was no time for alterations. It was kind of stretchy, so it wasn't as noticeable that it was loose in the fanny department, but the cups stood out away from her chest about 2 inches and you could look straight down and see her, well, boobs. We got very, very creative, and with suggestions from my sewing friend Janet, we stuffed, sewed, taped, pinned, elasticized, spackled, hot glue gunned, and stapled that dress onto her. I gave her escort instructions to take hold of the back of it and yank it up if he saw it sliding down in the back, and I was delighted and touched to see that he did, indeed, keep it in place for her. Thanks, Noah. You literally had her back on this one! (And by default, her front!)

Emma and her escort

7. No, she didn't win, but there was no sadness over that. Every girl on the court was a friend of hers, and she didn't care if she won or not. She had a wonderful time in her sparkly dress and that's all that mattered to her. 

Emma - Homecoming 2016

8. I'm also thankful for Kaitlyn, one of my preschool moms who is also a hair stylist and who made time in her very busy Friday to put Emma's hair up for the event. Emma had never had an up-do before, and she looked so much like a princess that it almost made me cry.

Isn't her hair PRETTY?

9. My in-laws live here in town, and they are very good about coming to Emma's volleyball games and concerts, and they came to the homecoming game as well (and our stadium is old, old, old, NOT handicapped accessible, and miserable for people to climb into whether you are up in years or not). To make the night even better, my dad came down and attended as well, and also stayed the night and went to the first part of the volleyball tournament Saturday morning. I know my mom was smiling about that one!

10. I've been holding out on this one, but I finally got myself that birthday present:

Meet Nora Pearl

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