Friday, May 29, 2009

Slight change of plans, Part 2

My house is 69 years old--it was built in 1940--so when things break down, it's no surprise. Inconvenient, maybe, but not surprising. I've known there are leaks in the walls around the bathroom for some months, because I hear drips after turning off the tap. They slow down and stop after a while, then it happens again the next time I run water. I've been hoping the pipes would last until my intended bathroom-remodel date (Spring 2011), but, alas, they won't. Last night, when Minnie jumped into bed with me, I noticed she had wet feet. She'd just come from under the furnace (her favorite hidey-hole), so I got up and looked under there...and, sure enough, there was a thin glaze of water and a lot of old water stains. I looked in the back of the furnace closet (directly over said hidey-hole) and found more water stains. Nuts. Time to call a plumber.

But, thinking about it after lights-out, I knew the plumber would have to tear open the walls to fix those leaky pipes--something that was already planned for bathroom-remodel time. "Why do it twice when I can kill two birds with one stone?" asked one half of my brain. "Why not go ahead with the remodel now and fix the pipes at the same time?"

"Oh, yeah?" the other half piped up, "How you gonna pay for it?"

Good question, Brain Half #2.

Well, I work for a university, and where there is a university, there is a university credit union. Sister A. had already suggested I try them, but I'd been putting it off, thinking they surely wouldn't hand me a pile of cash just because I started a wee little savings account with them. And even if they OK'd my loan, how long would it take between starting the account (or membership, as they call it) and getting the loan? And how strict were they--as strict as commercial outfits, who have said, on more than one occasion, that my debt-to-income ratio is too high? I have a very good credit score, but it always comes down to that ratio.

But the worsening leaks made further procrastination impossible, so I gathered up my courage, went to the credit union, started a wee little savings account...and walked out with a pile of cash (or, rather, a loan check).

In, like, half an hour.

[insert sound of jaw hitting floor]

So, contrary to previous plans, the remodeling ball is about to get rolling. I emailed my contractor, told him about the leaks, and set up another meeting next week. This weekend, I'll update and finish my remodeling plans, then start accumulating materials in a hurry. Maybe we can start the work in a couple of weeks, and I'll have a nice, functional bathroom by July 1st.  :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Had a rare visit from Ginger this morning. She's Leo's mother and has been living across the street (at the other crazy cat lady's house) for the past few years. This morning, I looked up from my book at breakfast, and there she was on the back porch, just sitting on her haunches looking at me, with the little pink tip of her tongue sticking out. The whole time she was out there, her tongue was sticking out. Very odd. I wonder if she lost some teeth? I tried to slink close to the glass door reeeeeeeeally slowly so as not to alarm her into running off, but I made one unintentional sharp movement and she was outta there in a flash.

The pic is one of only two I ever got of Ginger. Here, she's lounging in my yard with Mr. Black, who went to the Bridge some years ago.

It was nice to see Ginger up close again. And other than the funny tongue thing, she seems to be healthy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Feathered Friday

Minnie: Mom, lemme in!
Mom: No dice.
Minnie: But lookee!
Mom: Exactly why you're not coming in.

My sweet little kitty zoomed up to the sliding glass door this morning with a bird clamped in her mouth, wings outspread, looking like an oversized Groucho moustache. Ick.... And here I thought she was growing up, becoming more civilized maybe. Nope--still a highly accomplished carnivore.

After failing to get into the house, Minnie took her prize elsewhere to enjoy (out of sight, thank goodness). Not long after, here comes Leo sniffing around. He's got an excellent nose for Minnie's kills and invariably turns up for a drumstick or any other part he can get his teeth on. I never have to worry about either of my kitties getting enough protein!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Monday no-fun-day

Meniere's disease is such a treat--you get to have hours-long dizzy spells, then throw up everywhere, and if you're really lucky, the fun will start while you're trapped at work. Woo-hoo! Fortunately, my work-buds drove me home yesterday (in my car, with another coworker following in his car to bring the first one back) when they discovered me sitting stock still in my dark office, trying to fix my eyes on one unmoving point. It's a good thing, too, because we moved on to the second phase of Meniere's fun shortly after I got home. Bleah.... I'm better today, but was still a bit wobbly this morning. The good news is that my breakfast stayed down and I think I'm gonna live.

Want some info about Meniere's disease? Here's a doctor's explanation and a site about vestibular disorders.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Reefer madness

I have a very healthy pot tree right outside my office window. See the leaf? OK, it's not really a pot tree--it's something called a vitex. Interestingly, one of its common names is hemp tree, but I am assured that its leaves have no hallucinogenic properties. Darn.  :)  Well, at least it's pretty. The smaller pic below the big leaf shows a full grown tree (ours are still quite young) and the "cone" of purple flowers it sprouts all over.

In the same courtyard with the pot tree, there are cat mint plants like the one below, which also has purple flower "cones". Oddly enough, I've yet to see a single cat hanging around them. Plenty of jackrabbits, but no cats. Such a waste!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm a loser!

Not a really big loser yet, but getting there--I'm down 12 pounds! It's a slow business, but that's the only way weight loss will stick.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Busy and restful--sounds like a contradiction in terms, but that's exactly what my weekend has been, busy with chores and blessed with extra sleep due to a very cooperative Minnie-cat (who got extra tuna flakes in her bowl as a reward). Both Saturday and Sunday mornings, Minnie agreeably went outside before her stinky-meat breakfast and let Mom get another three hours of sleep. Wow...bliss.... So I had all the "oomph" I needed to catch up on the yard & house chores that have been piling up for weeks. I feel tremendously virtuous now.

Leo doesn't think so much of me, though--he got to experience my Patented Semi-Feral Cat Pin, which involves one hand and two knees, when I spotted a tick in his ear. I wrestled him into position and plucked the offender out of his ear. He's been avoiding me ever since, but he'll get over it. Yay for short kitty memories. :)

And now, to put a nice cap on the weekend, I have a potential buyer for my old bedroom furniture; she wants to look at it first (naturally). Here's me rubbin' my lucky kitty feet (Minnie's, of course) that she'll buy it, because I could sure use a couple of C-notes to make my budget work this month. [rub, rub, rub...]

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Whaddayou lookin' at?"

Leo gives me the hairy eyeball as I get up close & personal with the flashy box. You can see his profusion of black whiskers on the left (also present on the right, but kinda blurry here), and his cute little black-freckled nose. (Click pic to biggify.)

Freckles and whiskers

I noticed yesterday that my orange boy, Leo, has a lot more black whiskers than he used to. More black freckles on his nose, too. Maybe the new black whiskers are growing out of black freckles in his muzzle (or whatever you call the whiskery part of a cat's face). It's strange to see so many black whiskers on an orange-&-white face. I'll try to get a photo of Leo's face...if he'll sit still long enough!

I read a brief reference to black "age" spots this morning (in Dewey), but surely that's not what those freckles are. Leo's only about 4.5 years old.