Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So much for Spring

I think we had three actual spring-like days, followed by a cold snap and then straight into summer. My sinuses have just given up. My power bills will continue to be insane. I want to go home and go to bed...

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Cats Are Nuts, But So Am I

The spate of nice weather that we've had has given both of the purr-beasts a bad case of spring fever. They've both taken to trying to escape at every opportunity, so I've been letting them go outside for a little while at varying hours. The hope is that they'll not get set on a schedule and expect to do this every day.

They both went out one afternoon. Malkin was ready to come back in after about 10 minutes. Nightshade, not so much. Then I heard frantic crying at the door, about 30 minutes later. I opened it to find Shady cowering on the porch while my neighbor Fran's little dog Remy was bouncing around her wanting to play. Apparently Shady is scared of dogs. Who knew? She sat there glaring at me. "Would you stop laughing and OPEN THE DAMN DOOR?!?" Remy tried to follow her in, but I shooed her back and gave her a pat to assuage her hurt feelings.

The next time they were let out, I left them to their own devices for about an hour while I washed my hair. I opened the door to find Shady waiting patiently on the top step. Turned out she wanted to use the litter box or she'd have still been roaming the yard. I maintain that the fact that every one of my cats should be indoor beasts and know it, because the first thing they do when they come inside is run to the box. If you're too dumb to know that outside is one big litter box, you're too dumb to live out there. Anyway, She came in, did her thing, and then decided to take a nap. I called for Malkin, who usually comes running when he hears his name. No sign of him. I put my shoes on and went to check the backyard. Sometimes he finds a patch of sunlight by the fence and goes to sleep or waits for me to come find him. No sign of him again. Now I'm starting to worry a bit. Malk is the Jethro Bodine of cats- Big, dumb, and pretty. I know he hasn't been hit by a car or anything, at least on our block, but don't see him anywhere. Then it hits me. Where does he wind up on the rare occasions I don't find him out back? Sure enough, he'd gotten confused and was on the neighbor's porch. "We don't live there, silly" I said, reaching for him. "Meow" was his reply as he rolled over to show me his belly.

Last Tuesday night was the best- Shady tore out the door as soon as I got home from work. I had just put food down for the feral cats and was somewhat concerned that this might lead to a fight. I looked out and she was head to head with the cat I call Jazz, both calmly eating out of the bowl. Then I saw Inky & Blot (the 2 black strays) slinking across the yard toward them. Nightshade whipped around, jumped to the bottom of the steps and stood there with her back arched, keeping them at bay until Jazz had gotten her fill. So at least now I know that they've bonded in case I ever need to bring Jazz indoors. I went to put my purse down, came back, and Jazz Was still at the bowl, sharing with Inky, while Shady & Blot were side by side on the pavement, grooming each other. Well, alrighty then. Malkin was dancing around my feet, so I turned him loose and went to make myself a late dinner.

10 minutes into dinner prep. I'm slicing boneless pork for stir fry and hear what sounds like my screen door slam. The problem is that I live alone and NOBODY should be just walking into my house. I whirl around with the knife in my hand, ready to slice the hell out of the fool who has DARED come into my home uninvited. Nobody's there. Then I SEE the door open a few inches again and slam shut. I walk a little closer and see a grey/white paw hook around the base of the screen door and tug. Damned if Greymalkin hadn't figured out how to open the door on his own! He just couldn't get it open far enough to get his fat little butt in before it closed on him. So once I stopped laughing at him and myself, I let him in. The other cats wouldn't play with him, apparently, so he wanted to come back in & cuddle with me.

Oh god, I'm well on my way to being a crazy cat lady...

Friday, May 23, 2014

What doesn't kill me makes me stronger...

So right now I should be able to take on freaking Samson, or be Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Daddy & Uncle John are both now in the hospital.

I can't take much more of this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

We have another new grocery store!

Louisville got a Lucky's store, and it opened last weekend. Mom & Dad went the first day and raved about it. I agreed to check it out Sunday afternoon, misguidedly thinking some of the Grand Opening hoopla would have settled down. Nope. The place was packed. They're kind of along the same lines as Trader Joe's & Whole Foods, which meant that prices were a little higher on a lot of items and the store was full of self-righteous wanna-be eco-conscious people. They try to source as many of their products as locally as possible, which is nice.

They had a GREAT produce section. Also, the packaged meat case was awesome. Ground beef for $1.69 a pound! Really nice looking pork steaks- bought several of those, too. The fresh meat case wasn't as impressive to me, until I found the samples of bacon they'd put out. OMG, the pepper bacon was TO DIE FOR! Mom all but had to drag me away from the samples and I bought a pound of it for myself. I was also nice and got Daddy a 3 slice sample of the plain bacon. The meat counter guy was super nice and didn't charge me for those.

I was disappointed in the baked goods. They had a lot of gluten-free products which is good for those with genuine gluten issues. There were several packages of fresh-made danish, but most of them simply said "Danish" on the label and it was hard to identify the fruit fillings. I asked one clerk if the filling on a box was strawberry or raspberry and she didn't know either, so I skipped them. The breads were WAY overpriced, except for some fresh loaves at the deli that were on special 2/$4.

My favorite purchase so far (besides the bacon) was the Amy's Dark Chocolate Toffee Crunch bar. I WILL be going back for more of those. And the bacon.


No, I'm not obsessed.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Post-Vacation Odds & Ends

So, I'd planned to spend Wednesday after Chad & Mel left sleeping in. Then I remembered that I had an appointment with Dr B on Thursday and hadn't had my blood drawn for labs yet. I called his office to see if I could reschedule and then next appointment wasn't until July. I knew he'd kill me if I waited that long, so I told the girl to leave me where I was on the schedule and made myself get up and go to the lab. He prefers to have labs done a week ahead of my visits, but I prefer not getting stuck by needles and at least I went.

Then I wanted to go home and go to bed, but I hadn't eaten for 24 hours (always have to do fasting labs), so I stopped at Panera for a snack. Harriet had called me and let me know my monthly pattern was in at the Needle Nest, and since it had been a while since I'd been over there, I decided I might as well go then. Stopped at Starbucks for more me-fuel, and hit the road. Spent way too much money as usual, but had a good time doing it. I may go to the stitch retreat she's organized in September. I wasn't going to at first, since it's the weekend of Dad's birthday, but we're not traveling for it this year, so I may go ahead.

The reason we're not traveling for Dad's birthday this year is because we're going to the Spencer Family reunion/Uncle John's birthday in July instead. Uncle J will be 87 this year and he told Mom that he didn't care if any of the others made it down, he wanted ME there. I don't know if I'll be able to get the Friday off that I need since we're short-handed in the office again, but I'm going to do my best. Worst case- I work and then drive straight down afterward.

But I digress-

Kept my appointment with Dr B on Thursday. He was thrilled with me. I'm down 15 lbs again, my blood pressure was down, my blood sugar was down, I'd actually checked my blood pressure at least once since my last visit and could tell him what it had been (117 over 75), and I promised I was going to the eye doctor on Friday. I really was planning to- Mom had cleared her schedule to drive me if they needed to dilate my eyes. I can drive after dilation, but my vision gets blurry and I'd prefer not to. Anyway, I don't have to see him for 6 months now. We still haven't figured out what to do about the fatigue and he vetoed my request for an antihistamine pump.

After my visit with him, I dropped by the eye doctor clinic since it was right across the street, to see if they could schedule me for Friday. (They're normally a walk-in place) I explained that I needed the specialty diabetic eye exam and the receptionist said "Well, we can take you right now if you'd like. There's nobody waiting at the moment and 2 doctors are free." Might as well do it, right? So I did.

The good news is that the diabetic exam doesn't require dilation. The better news is that my eyes are very healthy, although I am totally blind without glasses. The doctor asked me if I was sure I was diabetic because the state of my optic nerves didn't indicate it at all. (Dr B is going to love that) Then we did the rest of the tests and I was handed the delightful news that I have graduated to bifocals. Yay. I kind of knew it was coming since I find myself looking over my glasses more often than not when I have to read small print.

Then we got to my favorite part of the eye doctor- picking out new glasses! Of course they didn't have the same frames I already had in stock, which is a shame because I love these. (yes, these- will explain in a minute) I finally found a pair of purple metal frames with sort of squoval (squared oval) lenses that I liked. Then I picked a pair of silvery framed sunglasses- real sunglasses this time, not just regular glasses with dark lenses like my last pair. The total, after my insurance discounts, was $750. GULP. Now I remember why I go so long between eye doctor visits. Luckily I had signed up for the flexible spending card when we did insurance last year, and Dr B had changed me to some less expensive meds, so I was able to pay for them.

However, I'm still in my old glasses at the time of this writing because my new Rx was so jacked up that they had to special order both pairs of lenses and it will take nearly 2 weeks for them to come in. Yeah, I'm special like that.

Friday rolls around and I get a call from my mom that Dad is going to the hospital AGAIN. It seems he'd been suffering tummy troubles all week and didn't mention it until late Thursday night. Dr B had worked him into the Friday schedule, freaked when Dad told him what he'd been experiencing (won't go into detail- you're welcome) and immediately ordered his admittance. Then he said, and I quote, "What it is with your family?!? I finally get one of you functioning correctly and another one breaks!" (No HIPAA violations here- he has permission to share our records with each other)

We spent most of the weekend dancing attendance on the old coot. Mom & I did go get Chinese for dinner on Saturday, and we had another batch of Pigs in the Blanket for Mother's Day dinner. I bought her a copy of Book Lover's Scrabble, so we're looking forward to playing that the next time I'm over.

Sadly, my vacation ended, so it was back to work. Blah. I really need to win the lottery so I can live the life I'd like to become accustomed to...

Friday, May 16, 2014

Random Thought for the Day

Ink pens & lighters are two of the commonly most stolen items in the world. Both are made by BIC. Coincidence?!?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Great Cousin Visit

So, my cousins Chad & Melissa were here for Derby weekend. We didn't go to the race- I'm not setting foot at the track unless I'm getting paid lots of money and don't have to fight the crowd. Here's a look at the 4-5 days they were here:

Thursday night: After numerous airline schedule changes, they finally arrived around 11 p.m. So of course I had an officer come in with a search warrant at 10:15 that held me up until 10:45. The parents & I all met them and it was decided we'd go to Steak & Shake for their first meal here. The service was half-assed and Mom took a wrong turn leaving the airport, so she & Dad didn't get there until 30 minutes after we did. Not that we'd gotten our food, anyway.
After eating, we got to my house to discover that A: The air mattress had deflated, and B: the new pump I'd had to rush out and buy wasn't working right. Back in the car to the all-night Walmart.

Friday: Oaks day, so I HAD to work. We took them to Empress of China for lunch and Mom took them sightseeing while I worked. Mom brought over a pot of Pigs In the Blanket (stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls to most of the world) for us to have for dinner when I got home.

Saturday: Chad & I convinced Mel that she REALLY didn't want to take the two of us into the kind of crowd you can expect at Derby. WE compromised on going out to the track on Sunday to take pictures in our Derby outfits. So what did we do instead? Krispy Kreme for breakfast (OMG, the sugar rush)and then we went to the zoo- where the half of Louisville with small children that didn't go to the track was. We spent forever hiking around (didn't think to buy tram tickets w/admittance and nobody had cash after the fact) in full sunlight. Did any of us think to put on sunscreen? Hell no. Half the animals were hiding, the other half just gazed at us like WE were the exhibits, and we paid way too much for snacks. Back to Walmart for sunburn remedies for them and a Derby hat for me. Arby's for lunch/dinner. Went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier which was amazingly good. (not my favorite Marvel Hero, but found myself being sucked in) Then we rented another movie (Now You See Me- awesome!) and called it a night.

Sunday: Got up and went to Churchill Downs for pictures. Mel & I dressed up, Chad was dressed down, but we made him coordinate with us. LOL. We tried on expensive hats in the Derby gift shop, bought some souvenirs from the clearance stalls, and headed home to change clothes. Helen next door was working in her yard, so we asked her to get a few pics of all 3 of us (one of the few times I have willingly posed for pics lately) and then hit Chili's for lunch. (yes, we eat a lot) We drove down to E-town & Ft. Knox, visited another Walmart, and had Waffle House for dinner- Mel was horrified and awed by the service and we had a good laugh at her expense. Rented another movie (Free Birds- amusing), again, called it a night.

Monday: Had BBQ for breakfast/lunch and then went looking for Gallopalooza horses. Wandered around downtown for a bit, hit Dairy Queen for a snack, and then drove to Bernheim Forest to see what we could. Found a great tree for climbing, if only I could. Chad succeeded. Then over to Mom's for Fleishkele, wrestling, and an epic battle of Hand & Foot. (our family favorite card game, but you need at least 4 people to play it well so we don't get to play it often)

Tuesday: The airline changed their departure schedule, so instead of noon, they left at 8 p.m. So Mom took us to brunch at Mimi's cafe, we stopped the bookstore for my British magazines and we went back downtown to tour the Evan Williams artisan bourbon distillery...where we learned that I still don't like bourbon, Mel REALLY doesn't like bourbon, and Chad will drink anything, but said bourbon was not his favorite form of alcohol. We did all agree that bourbon balls are the most acceptable form for us and bought some in the gift shop on our way out. Had our final meal together (sob) at Panera and then went home for them to finish packing and it was off to the airport.

It was a good time, and much more fun than my capsule description made it sound. I was amazed at how quickly my cats sold me out- Malkin loves everybody and thinks everybody should love him, so his friendliness did NOT surprise me. Nightshade, on the other hand...she spent the first 2 days hiding under my bed. Then she decided that they must be ok, and came out to be amazingly friendly. She was all over Chad (I'm attributing that to the fact that he's a male version of me) and allowed Mel to pet her, but not pick her up.

Chad & Mel texted me later that evening to let me know that they'd gotten safely back to Spokane. They're thinking about moving here if Chad can find a job, so hopefully I'll get to see more of them in the future!

Monday, May 12, 2014

What a Month!

Yes, I'm still alive. No, I didn't make most of the April goals. Here's a list of what has been going on:

1. Laundry Mountain is still alive & well and un-excavated. I put up a curtain rod and screened off the utility room when Chad & Mel came to visit.

2. The spare bedroom was MOSTLY cleaned out. I couldn't get some of the boxes & totes up to the attic alone and didn't have anyone to help me do it, so they got stacked in one corner of the room with a sheet thrown over them. There was plenty of room left for the airbed, the guests, and their luggage, so it all worked out.

3. Ditto for the living room. In fact, I had forgotten how big both rooms were without all the piles of crap I'd let accumulate.

4. LOTS of trash got taken out. In fact, my cans were full to overflowing for the last 4 pick-ups before the cousins arrived. The trash guys asked if I was moving and seemed heartened by my assuring them I was not.

5. People will take anything. I had put an old floor lamp that no longer worked out next to the trash cans. It was gone by morning.

6. Cleaning binges give my cats nervous breakdowns. They had no idea what was going on.

More later...