the_siobhan: (ball python)
So a crowbar, a pry-bar and one honking big power saw later, we managed to tear out the bottom of cuboards under the kitchen sink. We did without taking out the cupboards entirely, which meant we had to doing everything while kneeling on the floor with our upper bodies wedged through the cupboard doors. My upper back is very insistant on reminding me that it worked very hard for me and I should appreciate it more, maybe buy it some flowers once in a while.

At one point I sent D to go dig up dust masks and gloves, because the amount of mouse shit I vaccuumed up went zooming way beyond gross and well into the territory marked "terrifying". I'm not particularly squeamish but I may very well have nightmares about the sheer number of bodies required to produce that much poop. Anyway, my house no longer smells like death (literally) so it was well worth it.

And then Monday I went into an eye clinic where they poked at my eyes with machines and drops and flashing lights. Next week some time I will get to meet the actual surgeon, who will presumably tell me what's wrong with me this time.

We also took delivery of a new cat, since it seems George isn't coming back. This one is Alex. He's a bit scared still but he seems like a nice boy. Very metrosexual.

Alex's adoption page.
the_siobhan: (punk rock)
Is it normal for a microwave to heat up on outside? The one I use at work is a cheap crap one that takes forever to do anything, so people tend to run it for 20 minutes at a time to try and get their lunch heated all the way through. When I touch the top surface it's hot, not just warm. I'm worried it's going to blow up in my face one of these days.


Poor Zachary tested negative for any kind of infections so for the moment we're instructed to treat him with special food, pro-biotics and some additional medication for the diarrhea. He hates being dosed and fights it as much as possible without actually using his claws. Axel thinks it's starting to work, I'm less sure. In the meantime, we clean up puddles of liquid poop every day. He's banned from the bedrooms until we get this cleared up.

I still can't figure out why his owners wouldn't want to keep him. He is a seriously lovely cat. We have a chair for him between our desks so we can both pet him while we're on the computer, and he just sits there and purrs the entire time we're home.


The biggest issue we are dealing with in the house right now is that our front steps - as I predicted last fall - didn't make it through the winter intact. They're kind of patched for the present but the bannister isn't really supported by anything and I expect another freeze-thaw cycle to take them right out. We've been trying to get a quote on fixing it since July with no luck.

Back when we bought this place - 11 years ago? Holy Shit - we could have bought a bachelor condo for the same price. I remember saying that the prices would have to drop soon with the sheer number of new buildings going up. Ha ha. Wrongo. People keep moving into the city and so new condos keep going up in old churches, demolished factory sites and scraps of vacant land. (Meanwhile we keep voting in people who won't spend money on public transit. So it's getting a little sweaty in here.)

It's a brilliant time to be in the trades. Anybody who can do anything related to building is off working in new construction. The down side to this is that it's next to impossible to get a contractor to take on a smaller job. Ergo, nobody answering our calls on how many kidneys they want to replace our front steps. It's not a catastrophe if they get to the point where we can't use them - we have an entrance into the basement. We'd just have to block them off so we don't inadvertently kill off our postman or something and just sit tight until the housing market slows down.

The part that concerns me is that we have gotten nasty-grams from the city about renovation materials sitting on our front lawn for longer than they were happy with, so it's not impossible that an inspector could drive by in the spring, see the damage and slap a work order on us. My experience with the city is that they tend to be pretty reasonable - when we first bought Roxton Manor in the late 90's we got a notice from the city that there were a bunch of outstanding work orders on the property. (The lawyer should have caught that, but that's another story.) One of the orders was, coincidentally, to get handrails put on the exterior steps. They were fine with extending the deadline when we called them and told them we were the new owners and we needed a bit more time to get to it. But what do they do in a situation where you genuinely can't find anybody who will do the work? I suppose I could show them dates when we first started requesting quotes.


In the meantime, I am still without a phone. It's now been a week and it hasn't turned up at the Lost & Found, so I guess it's time to just shell out for a new one.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
a grey tuxedo short-hair peers at the camera

As of yesterday we have a new cat in the house. His name is Zachary and his story is that he is being given up by his owners because they are divorcing and neither of them want him. I can't imagine why not; he is a lovely gentleman, very stately and dignified and a big fan of some courtly ear-scritching. Unfortunately he is also suffering from some kind of gastrointestinal issue which his owners knew about but did not take him to the vet for[1]. So he lives with us at least until he is diagnosed and treated.

I'm hoping his presence will be a deterrent to the mice living here, whether or not he takes a direct role in discouraging them. Unfortunately it will not result in a net decrease in daily poop surprise, because Zachary's medical issues have resulted in several bomb events already. He is entirely embarrassed about it.

Hopefully his system will calm down a bit as he settles in and de-stresses from his move. And then we will only have to worry about Carlin, and his perverse delight in pooping on Axel's keyboard.

[1] I don't know them, but that kinda shit makes me think they probably deserve each other.

Oh! Also!

Jan. 31st, 2014 11:41 am
the_siobhan: (shock and awe)
Tessie got adopted! She goes home with her new family tomorrow.

This makes me really happy.
the_siobhan: (flying monkeys)
I was called for jury selection this week. If you have never been through this process in Ontario, it means showing up at the provincial courthouse every morning for a week where they shuffle you through a metal detector and into a room with several hundred other people. There we wait for one of the upcoming trials currently in the system get to the point where they need to select a jury. The room has wifi and a cafe so people drink copious qantities of coffee while they plonk on their laptops or read. There has also been some kind of chess competition going on in one corner for the last two days.

I've been splitting my time between reading and doing German tutorials at It has been bone-gratingly cold and everybody is wearing sweaters because even though the building is well-heated the cold seems to seep through the wall-length windows and send threads of Celcius death vapour through the room.

I took Tessie to a pet store yesterday. TCR has a program with some of the local pet stores where they have cats in need of permanent homes on-site so people can meet them. They find it really ups the adoption rate. Of course that means they basically live in a cage for a week or two and I felt like the worst person in the world when I left her there. She's such a friendly cat I'm hoping she gets lots of attention while she's there. It did make me feel a little better that the staff member who set her up spent the whole time petting her and talking baby-talk at her.

Whoot! We just got the notification that we are done early. I'm outta here.
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
I was at work for about an hour today when I realized that this shirt is completely coated in cat hair.
the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
After some discussion with the foster home coordinater it was decided that we aren't a good fit for the hoarded cats after all. They are apparently quite skittish and traumatised, and since our place is completely open concept we wouldn't be able to keep them in a secure space. They'd end up hiding inside the furnace or something, and unlike Feargal a child gate isn't likely to slow them down any.

So instead we'll be taking in this little girl early next week.


She's getting some medical care right now for an upper respiratory tract infection so we'll be picking her up once she's well enough to travel. She'll also need surgery at a later date because somebody kicked her in the face. I can't even fucking fathom that.

So she'll be with us until she is completely healed up. No doubt there will be more pictures and FB links to her adoption page. Because I'm shameless like that.
the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
So the local Cat Rescue has posted an urgent request for adoptions, foster homes and donations. They have been called in to place cats that were found in a hoarder situation - 97 cats in a 700 square foot house.

So guess who emailed them to foster a couple of cats?

Here's the link if anybody wants to check them out.
the_siobhan: (blank)
We had to put Feargal down yesterday. When I got up in the morning he was limp and although he came around a bit when I stroked him he wasn't able to pull himself up to even a sitting position. He spent the day at the vet getting fluids in the hopes that he would rally but he just had too many things going on. I'm having him cremated and I'm going to take his ashes to Fiona's grave.

It was very quiet in the house this morning.

My mother asked me to help her get out the last of the thank you notes from the funeral, and I've finally gotten that finished. That was hard because it was hard for my mother. I also spent some of last weekend helping my dad paint Fiona's condo to get it ready for market. That actually ended up being less difficult than I thought it would be; since she never had people over I have no memories of her associated with that place.

So if anybody local is looking for a one-bedroom near the Village let me know.

I offered to help with more painting tomorrow but I'm kind of hoping my dad doesn't take me up on it. I could use a lie-in.

So you know, November can suck a dick too.
the_siobhan: (blank)
Occasionally people ask me how I'm doing and I don't know what to answer. I'm doing. That doesn't seem to be the desired response, but I don't really know what else to say.

I saw the new ENT last weekend and I like this guy much better. He listened to me for starters, and then he asked me questions and listened to my answers. So he can stay. He's sending me for more tests of course, I'm supposed to get a phone call when they have an appointment slot available for me.

Meanwhile after almost three weeks I'm finally back to a more normal background level of vertigo. I went back to yoga on Tuesday and discovered that I can't drop my head without tipping over, so no downward dog for me. But I can do pretty much everything else. It was another class where I was the only appointment for the time slot so we did balance exercises for most of the hour.

Scruffy Old Man Cat continues to be worrisome. He's on regular insulin shots now and we were supposed to do a blood sugar curve on him. Only we just could not get blood out of the poor little guy. We tried for so long he now has a vivid bruise on his ear, but we finally had to just gave up. So I guess we'll take him back to the vet and get them to do it. Last time they had to give him fluids first because he's so dehydrated. He's eating better though, so it seems to be helping even though he's still beyond scrawny. And I think he's looking somewhat less jaundiced. And he still follows us around the house and cuddles happily on the nearest lap given the first opportunity.

I'm back at work for the most part. I have a new coworker fresh out of the box so I'm showing him everything I do even though my process might all change tomorrow. I told him this, along with the fact that it's been in "about to all change tomorrow" status for about a year now. He seems nice and he's really bright, but he does that thing where he tries to repeat everything I say while I'm still saying it. I find that - disconcerting.

I get a long weekend because of Rememberance Day - not everybody does. My folks have both asked for help with some of my sister's stuff and at some point I might try fixing the corner that's fallen off the front step or do some other much-needed house repairs. I had set myself up with a gym area just before the last round of severe vertigo hit, I might see if I'm finally stable enough right now to make use of that without braining myself.

So that's kind of my life right now. I feel like I'm in a holding pattern but that usually means I expect something different to happen eventually and right now I genuinely have no idea what that's supposed to be.


Oct. 28th, 2013 03:40 pm
the_siobhan: (dinosaur)
So the doc gave me a script for something called serc. Apparently it is a histidine analogue. You know how when you have a cold you take anti-histamines? The opposite of that. So it makes me feel really crappy, but I can walk in a straight line now. For the moment I'm putting up with the side-effects because I am really really tired of being cooped up in the house. So today I travelled to work where I am feeling cooped up instead. I'm not entirely sure that's progress.

Feargal has been getting insulin shots since Friday and seems to be feeling a little better in that he's eating again. His liver is fucked though and there doesn't seem to be much they can do about that. Normal treatment is steroids and that is contraindicated for a diabetic - the vet ended up giving him a small dose anyway just because he's so bad. Darrell walked past his litter box the other day and said, "Uh, is his pee supposed to be green?" No sir, no it is not.

I have some feels about the notion that my sister's cat might also die from liver disease. I'm not sure exactly what feels for sure, because I have put them in a box and stashed them behind Axel's moldy records where I know I want have to look at them for at least a couple of months, but I still hear them growling occasionally.

Since I've been stuck working at home every day for over a week I've been dealing with contractors. (What do you mean, there are people who don't have to do chores when they're sick? You're so weird.) Squirrels have been getting into the front wall of our house and banging around like they're rehersing for a speed metal gig. So we called an exterminator for that. Plus I wanted to get a couple of quotes to see how much it will cost us to floor-proof our basement. Answer: More than we have. The contractors were all very polite and did not comment on the fact that I was clinging to the fridge for support the entire time I was talking to them. Maybe they thought I was just drunk.

So you know, not much going on over here. I have my ENT appointment on Saturday so I'm putting together a full history to give to him. It goes back a lot longer than I realized. On the plus side, that probably means that it's not being caused by something fatal, because I would have found out by now.

[ETA] OK, the serc side-effects have reached the head-clutching face-eater stage. I think I'm going to have to call this another failure.
the_siobhan: (limp)
So my kermit happy dance was obviously a bit pre-emptive. I have since been hit with the worst vertigo I've had in years, to the point of having to take dramamine to deal with the sea-sickness. I went and got an Eplay done and that helped, but holy shit. It took me 20 minutes to go down the stairs on my bum like a toddler. Axel mocking me the entire time, of course.

So I got off my ass and made an appointment to get another ENT referral. I plan on arriving with a full printed list of episode dates, symptoms and treatments so I don't have to go through the same dismissive bullshit as I got from the last guy. Well, they could do it anyway, but if that's how they want to fly I'm at least going to make them work for it.

I'm also going to start being more aggressive about controlling some of the things that I know are triggers - like not getting a good night's sleep. This means adjusting my sleeping arrangements for a while, (and adding a lot more travel time into my schedule) but hopefully it will be worth it. 'Cause this is getting really fucking old. I'm also going to talk to the physiotherapist about addition vestibular rehab exercises I can do at home on top of the yoga.

Meanwhile, the sweet old man cat - is not doing so well. His diabetes has recently progressed to the point where we have to start giving him regular insulin shots. And his liver is "distressed", which is making him jaundiced and miserable. He obviously feels like crap. Poor little guy. On the plus side, me being stuck at home and feeling mopey about it means he has been getting lots of sympathy cuddles. And we get out "how to inject a cat" training tomorrow so hopefully he start to feel more normal once we have his blood sugar under control.

So, no going out dancing for a little while yet.
the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
I had no idea that there was such a science to wearing a wig. Or maybe it's an art. Either way, my hair keeps going >poof< and exploding out from under it despite many precariously placed hairpins.

I have purchased a stocking cap and we'll see if that works better tomorrow.


In my search for said stocking cap I braved the mall next to my work. There is a Canadian Tire in that mall and lately I've been bitching about how useless it has become - every time I go in there searching for some kind of hardware related house thing, they just don't have what I'm looking for. When I wandered by today I realized why. They have redone the entire first floor and it now is full of gleaming cuppacino makers and hip-looking designer crockery. I guess they've decided to reinvent themselves as a department store and they they need to be prepared for the opening of the swank new condos going up on the corner.

So I wandered around looking at kitchen porn for 20 minutes. You'd think a person who can't cook wouldn't so be interested. Maybe it's because I can't cook, but I find all the gazingus fascinating.

The one thing they have that actually intrigued me is a Sodastream machine. I find almost all sodas to be way too sweet for me, so the idea of having a way of making my own is kind of appealing. (I wouldn't bother with their pre-made syrups.)

Also, there has to be some interesting potential there for weird and interesting cocktails.


Living with a cat continues to be... educational. He tends to come up behind me when I'm online and chirp for attention and I've gotten into the habit of putting my hand down and scritching his head when he leans into me. So the other day I did that and while I was petting him I suddenly realized that my hand was wet.

So I looked down and he had somehow managed to get a big splodge of shit right on the top of his head. Cue me running around after him with paper towels while he trotted back and forth happily convinced that we were playing some kind of wonderful new game.

He's seriously lucky that he's so adorable.

I wonder if we'll get our usual mouse invasion this fall.
the_siobhan: (Professor Fly)
I'm still reading here, but not updating so much lately. I don't really have much to say. There was a funeral. Tons of people showed up. I'm back to work now. Occasionally I go to the condo and help pick through things to move out. I keep seeing things that I think would make her laugh, and then I remember. Things are gradually getting back to normal, whatever that is.

I never did find Feargal's old vet, so we took him to a local clinic. His kidneys and thyroid are fine. He does test positive for mild diabetes - minor enough not to treat in their opinion, but it does probably account for the heavy water intake - and an elevated white cell count. They did some more tests that ruled out a viral infection and said, "Well, it's probably a tumor, but we would need to do x-rays to see what we're dealing with."

So Axe and I talked about it and agreed that if it's a tumor we're not going to treat it. The vet thinks he's about 15 years old, and I would rather make sure he's comfortable and happy for a short while than put him through a bunch of invasive and possibly painful procedures to extend his life. We did decide to go ahead with the x-rays though, because I figured with more information they'd be able to tell us how long he has and what to look out for when he starts to get too sick.

So the vet did the x-rays. And then came back and said, "Well, he has a mass against the inside of his chest wall, but we would have to do an ultrasound and a biopsy to see what we're dealing with". Which makes me wonder if we go for the ultrasound and the biopsy whether or not the response will be, "Well, he has X but we will have to do Y and Z tests to see what we're dealing with". Anyway, the pointlessness of the x-ray makes me kind of disinclined to put him through the stress of stuffing him into the cat carrier yet again and dragging him off for more tests that won't actually answer my questions.

The x-rays did tell us, however, that he has an enlarged liver and severe arthritis in his hips. So we're switching him to a special food and buying a heated cat bed. We found some fish oil in a bag of my sister's stuff so we've already been adding it to his food.

Right now our living room is full of boxes of stuff from the basement. Axel's records all got swamped and the covers water-damaged so I think he's decided to just rip the ones that we don't already have on mp3 and get rid of the whole collection. He's not happy about it - he's been collecting them for decades - but with the water damage their only value now is the music itself and we can have that without the physical albums. It's still pretty sad-making to go through them all and see how badly they fared.

While Axel is in charge of dealing with the music, I've been taking care of the photos. On top of the two milk crates full of photographs at our place, I also retrieved six boxes of photos from Fiona's condo and I've been gradually going through them. A lot of them are just scenery shots from her various travels but there are also a lot of family members. She has quite a few she must have gotten from our parents that are old shots of family in Ireland, so they are pretty cool to have. I'm planning to put together an online photo album so the whole family can access them.

And somewhere, in the middle of hospitals and funerals and floods and animals, our mortgage came up for renewal. So I guess we're going to keep on living here for a while.

Life is a very strange place.
the_siobhan: (Mistgeburt)
As of Monday Axel and I have adopted my sister's cat Ferghal. He is a lovely old man; sweet, affectionate and shy. Late last night he decided that we were safe enough to come out and ask for pets and he purred like a wee motor for us. He's still pretty skittish, but he's only been here a couple of days so I'm sure he'll get over that given time.

I don't know for sure how old he is, but I'm positive he's well into senior citizen territory. The one thing that worries me is that he is emptying his water dish on a daily basis and judging from the state of his litter box he's peeing a lot. Most cats I've known don't drink that much water, so I'm worried about diabetes or kidney issues.

He's also bony and eating like a horse, but that may be just because he wasn't getting enough food for the last few weeks. (He's a big husky dude with a pot belly and a fluffy coat, so he looks fat. But his spine and ribs are way too pronounced for my liking when you actually touch him.) His fecal output seems normal for the amount of food he's taking in, but boy howdy is he stinky. I bought the same brands that we found in her kitchen cupboard, but I may do some experimenting with his food to make him a little less fragrant.

So my mission today is to try and track down his previous vet. I'm going to take him to a local vet regardless, but if I can find somebody that has some history on him then the fewer blood tests etc that they'll have to do, and the better it will be for his stress levels.

So advice time please. Recommendations for taking care of an older cat. Things to ask the vet about. Warning signs to look out for. Hit me please.


the_siobhan: It means, "to rot" (Default)

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