Friday, May 30, 2008

Skeeters 2

I put the cats' food shelter covers back on the same day I took them off because rain was rolling in. The next day, I bought an electric mosquito killer. Hung it inside the garage at first, for lack of anywhere better, then had a handyman put up a hook on the outside of the garage so the skeeter killer could hang out there and probably do more good. Naturally, we had an absolute deluge of a rainstorm that day which started 20 minutes before I got off work and damaged the skeeter killer. I had it up & running for all of two days--grrr! Fortunately (miraculously, really), the manufacturer said I can mail it to them and they'll ship a replacement, so that's underway. In the meantime, of course, we still have skeeters. I haven't noticed them in the food shelters again, just munching on me when I go outside. Will keep an eye on things.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Skeeters

Well, this is an awkward development: When I was taking out food for the feral kitties last night, a squadron of mosquitos came out of nowhere and started chowing down on me. This morning, in the light, I found out where they came from: inside the food shelters! They were all bunched up in a corner in one of them. In all the years I've been feeding cats from those shelters, I've never had that happen. I took the shelters off this morning and killed a bunch of skeeters, but now the cats' food is open to wind & rain & (once the salt blows away) slugs. I need to find out if there's a way to keep mosquitos away that doesn't involve leaving a special candle burning (not a good idea around kitties if I'm not there to mind it).

Also, I'd better get the holes in my screen door patched quick if I ever want to leave the glass door open again. Skeeters are very small and cat claws leave nice big "doors" for them.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Healthy kitty

Minnie was back to her old self by the time I got home from work yesterday. I figured she just needed that extra rest to shake off the effects of her many vaccinations. It's too bad ya gotta make 'em feel bad for a little while to ensure that they're protected against distemper, rabies, FIP, etc., but that price is pretty low, all things considered.  :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stuff I learned about eBay selling over the years

I ran across this in an old email I wrote to a coworker and thought it would be useful to post here.
  • Look up items like the one you want to sell on eBay in the completed listings and see what they've sold for recently, then pick a reasonable starting price. eBay charges two fees--one for the listing itself and one based on final sale price--so remember to keep that in mind when picking a start price; you don't want to wind up eating any cost by starting too low. Don't start too high, either--it discourages bids. Shoot for a happy medium!  :)

  • Pack up your items (separately, if you'll be selling them separately) and weigh them so you can calculate the cost of shipping by various methods. There may be a scale at your local post office that you can use if you don't have one at home. Priority Mail is more expensive than Parcel Post, but it's also more dependable. If your items are very breakable, require insurance. State the weight of the item and cost of required insurance in your eBay copy.

  • Get all the info you possibly can about your items and put it in your auction copy--remember, bidders can't pick up the items and check 'em out in person. Mention any problems, cosmetic or otherwise.

  • Write your auction copy ahead of time so you don't have to spend so long putting up your auctions. That also ensures that you've collected all the necessary information before you get on eBay.

  • Re: Priority Mail--they have a flat-rate box, which is supposed to be convenient, but it's also a helluva lot more expensive for the buyer (who has to pay for shipping). Personally, I prefer to use regular Priority Mail boxes and get my bidders the lowest possible shipping cost.

  • The best times to start auctions are, in order, Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Sunday afternoons. Don't ask me why. Also, sales slack off during the summer months, so take that into account if you're going to be selling a lot.

  • After the sale, ship promptly, send emails when you receive payment and again when you ship, leave positive feedback if it's deserved, and play nice!  :)  It's good for your rep.

  • eBay sellers are required to enter a credit card in order to register, I think--a checking account number might also do; it's been a long time since I registered--from which eBay listing and final value fees can be deducted. eBay will send you a notice when fees are due for payment, or you can set up for automatic draft.

  • Shipping internationally costs a lot more than shipping domestically. PayPal also charges more to process international payments. In my experience, those two facts wind up eating my lunch and I might as well have given away the item. I won't sell internationally again.

Post-poke trauma and horrible gas

Poor Minnie, she was not happy yesterday after her vet visit--I don't think she even slept with me all night, just hopped up for lovin' shortly before the alarm went off this morning. The rest of the time, she hid in the bedroom closet (and sometimes under the furnace, in a space accessible from the closet). She went back to the closet again this morning. I don't know if she's still not feeling well or what. She ate normally this morning and went out to play, but came back in early. She should be OK after a day's rest, though. She did get three vaccinations, after all--that'd put me off my feed, too.

I'm a little concerned about Leo. He seems fine, but he's looking rather skinny these days.

I noticed gas went up a few cents again yesterday and decided to top off my tank before the price really gets nasty on Memorial Day. Apparently, everybody else had a same idea. I had a heckuva time convincing the rather harried attendant that I wasn't the person who had just pumped $9 from the pump I went to. Guess the woman before me stiffed 'em. For what, two and a half gallons?? Some people have no manners.

I got seven gallons and it cost me $26-something. Unbelievable. I remember 28-cent/gal. gas a loooooooooong time ago. And 8-cent stamps. And an issue of Mad magazine for 75 cents or thereabouts.

Good gravy, I'm old....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Vet visit

Minnie got a trip to the "stabby place" today, which she did not enjoy at all. She was pretty good, though--meowed her head off all the way there and all the way back, but she was still and fairly cooperative at the vet's, even though she got stuck four times. She got three vaccinations and a blood test for FIP, FIV, and FeLk. All tests were negative, which is a relief (she's an indoor/outdoor cat, so the risk is real, but she'd absolutely hate being kept indoors all the time, and I'd rather she be live happy than simply exist in sterile isolation). Mom gave her fishy treats after we got home, then she slunk off to hide under the furnace. Mom went back to work to collapse with a real live high-octane Dr. Pepper.  :P  Ah, the dark goddess, come back to me....

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Stimulation time

Got my stimulus payment yesterday, so Minnie gets a trip to the vet next week for her every-two-year shots & tests. She'll be thrilled. And sometime today, I need to dose her and her outside brother, Leo, with flea stuff. I'll have to sneak up on both of them somehow; Leo is especially wary about it.

What else are we spending our guv'mint bucks on? A long overdue car wash, maybe some cool cotton shirts from Goodwill for the summer, and the rest goes to pay down my debt.

I'd love to pay someone else to mow the lawn, but that really is frivilous. Besides, I need the exercise.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Warm stinky meat

Minnie loves her stinky meat in the morning--especially anything fishy, especially salmon. For two or three mornings in a row, though, she was just nibbling at it, then covering it up. I don't blame her--the stuff seems gross to me, too. Willy, my first cat, preferred his stinky meat nuked briefly to take the chill off straight out of the fridge, so I did that for Minnie, too, for the first time yesterday...and she snarfed it all like it was the greatest thing since sliced bread (or sliced fish, as the case may be). It's just a little bitty bother for me & she loves it, so she can have it.  :)

Cover the plate with cling wrap (or one of those microwave plate covers) and nuke the little blob of stinky meat for a mere 6 seconds--that's plenty. Your cat will be yelling his or her head off in anticipation.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Copycat

This morning, Minnie followed Leo's lead and caught her very own bird. She proudly brought it to the glass back door and looked at me to be let in, but ungrateful Mom was not appreciative of her gift and refused to let her in with that bird in her mouth (she once brought a not-quite-dead bird into the house before I spotted it and her prey got loose and flapped all around the room before I could catch it!). Minnie walked around with this bird in her mouth awhile, then settled down where Leo had eaten his bird, and, whaddayaknow, here comes Leo. Minnie never ate her prize, oddly, and eventually Leo stole it away from her. I thought he was going to eat it right away, like he did the other bird, but he batted it around for a while as if it were a fuzzy mouse. Yuckola!

I hope these birds learn soon that they risk their lives getting too close to the ground in my yard.