Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Thoughts Today

No matter how much you “prepare,” no matter how much you’ve “been there, done that,” it’s still hard to lose someone.

I’m no stranger to death. First death was when I was too young to remember it, buried my mom’s biological father. Since then, I’ve buried 3 grandparents (yes 3, and 2 more to go), numerous great aunts and uncles, some family friends, and some friends. I’ve had 2 people in my life commit suicide. I was able to attend one of those funerals.

I’ve been to viewings, rosaries, and funerals for people I barely knew, for people I looked up to, and for people I loved dearly.

All of that doesn’t make it any easier to lose someone.

When I met J’s Grandpa Weigel, I immediately fell in love with him. He was all smiles and jokes until it was time for business. You could still hear the slight accent in his voice from growing up in a community of German immigrants. And he gave great hugs.

Then you learn that he only had an eighth grade education and taught himself to read and write. I got pretty good at translating his handwriting and misspellings.  It wasn’t hard.

He didn’t remember my name at first. After my first visit, he called me Melissa. We still joke about that. Not entirely sure it was an accident. The man had a keen mind and great sense of humor.

It was obvious to me that Grandpa loved his family. He kept pictures of all of them above his desk. He made sure no one felt left out. Even us in-laws.  I called him Grandpa, and he reminded me of my Grandpa Pete, Mom’s step-dad. Both ranchers, but tough outside with soft insides.

I treasured our visits with Grandpa Weigel. I would even stop and visit on my own if I was traveling through. I would plan my trip to stay at least one night with him. He came down to El Paso to visit us twice. He met Rembrandt at 5 months old. He left me bring my pets when traveling through. His cuckoo clock scared the hell out of Duke. He always had a new name for Remy – Fido, Spot, Blacky, Shadow, any random dog name.

He’s an Army veteran. He served in the Korean War. He was injured over there. He came through Fort Bliss on his way out of the Army.  He worked as a meat cutter while running his ranch in Colorado and raising 5 kids. He nursed his wife through breast cancer. He lost her to breast cancer. I never got to meet her, but from what I’ve heard of her, she sounds quite a bit like my Grandma Gus (Mom’s mom).

When Grandpa got sick, it was lung problems. A tiny little part at the back of my mind said I was losing Grandpa Pete all over again (emphysema). They are not the same man, but he reminds me of him.

Grandpa Weigel died today. He was weak, using all his energy just to breathe. He had lost more weight than a person should lose. He could barely walk across his room.

I love this man deeply, more than I can express. I’ve always been a “grandpa’s girl.” I adore my grandpas. I adored this one just as much. He accepted me as I was, as part of his family. I will never forget that.
I wrote his obituary. First time doing that. My sister was nice enough to edit it for me, since she has newspaper experience. I will do as much as I can to make sure everything goes well at his funeral. Not for him, but for my husband, my mother-in-law, her sisters. This is where all that death comes in handy.

I know that the funeral isn’t for him. Grandpa is gone, he is with Grandma somewhere. Funerals are for us, so we can have closure and say goodbye. Grandpa was a good man and I have no doubts about his soul. This is for us now, so we can remember him and celebrate his life.

Plans are being made for the critters. I’m grateful for my milspouse family here as they are helping me out with that. My mom let me talk and vent this afternoon to keep my sanity. My sister is editing the obit for me. My friends and family are amazing.

And for a close, here is a pic of Remy and I with Grandpa, taken on our trip last June, 2011. Please ignore how horrible I look in this photo. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Duke the Angsty Cat

Duke has done very well this weekend. Well, he's peeing on his own. And in his box, which is a good sign.

We take him in to the vet this afternoon to have the IV port and the catheter needle removed. I think he'll be even better after that. They put a wrap around his IV port so he wouldn't mess with it too much. It's hot pink with purple hearts. I think he hates it. He won't stop licking at it, like he's trying to wash it off, so I keep having to put the cone of shame on him. He hasn't gotten anywhere near the port itself, but he started to irritate the skin at the top of the wrap. Might need to keep the cone for a while to make sure he doesn't lick that spot raw. He hates the cone, and gets mad at me for putting it on him, but it's the only way to stop him from licking.

I can't leave the cone on all the time, because he has a hard time eating and drinking with it on. I hope that after today he'll be able to relax more and just let it heal. He also can't eat with the cone on and hasn't been gobbling his food like he usually does. I want to get the prescription soft food and start giving him that in the evening. The cans I have now are larger and I think he's still somewhat full come breakfast time.

He is kinda cute with the cone on. He'll just lay wherever he was when I put it on him. He seems to prefer laying at the edge of the chair or bed so he can hang his head in shame. Seriously. He's also been getting snotty and sneezing a lot, but only with the cone on. I think he's just being upset. He's fine if we take the cone off.

Right now he's snuggling on J. I think it's partially because J hasn't been mean to him. He didn't give him medicine or put the cone on him. I've done all that. It's also, in big part, because the sun in shining just right on J's lap.

The water filter actually got here a day earlier than expected. I've been using filtered water in both water bowls, since Duke drinks from both.

Hopefully we have this under control. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Friday, February 17, 2012

What a Week

Y'all know about Duke already. Well he's home now. The Vet's office kept him there from Wednesday morning to this afternoon. They had to put in a catheter and IV, flush him with fluids and antibiotics. They did clear the blockages (there were 2 different ones) and sent some of the crystals away for testing.

It seems to be a build up of minerals or something in his food. So he's on prescription food now. I still have him on hard food, but I'm thinking of getting the prescription soft food and doing soft for dinners. Poor guy has a pink (yes, pink) wrap around the IV port, and the catheter stays in for the weekend. If he does OK this weekend, they get taken out on Monday. I also have a cone of shame, because he's not happy about that wrap on his leg. He's also on antibiotics for quite a while. The same stuff he was on last time. I'm getting good at giving it to him. And he's getting used to taking it.

I also bought a water filter that hooks to our kitchen faucet. A couple of my local friends brought up how hard the water is here, and apparently it's high in saline as well. Tonight I cleaned out the humidifier, and it was nasty. Kinda changes my mind about my previous thoughts on "water is water is water." I ordered it on Amazon. It should get here tomorrow.

With all of that, I really hope we can avoid another blockage in Duke. It was expensive. Very expensive. And they can only do the catheter thing one more time. After that the option is surgery. Basically, they turn my boy cat into a girl cat. Yeah. I don't know if I can do that to my kitty. Not only would it mean making him a eunuch,  but I don't know that he would handle the recovery well.

So, on to other news. There's this crazy chick that lives in the same town as my sister. She for some reason decided my sister is her arch nemesis. No clue why. Well she started posting crazy harassing stuff on my sister's facebook page for her photography. Since I'm an admin on her page, I get emails whenever anyone posts or comments. That started Wednesday night. So I left Duke at the Vet's office and then had to deal with crazy chick.

On the plus side, belly dancing is going great. I'm going to do a solo at our first hafla, and maybe a duet if my friend wants to do one with me (that would be you, Amber!). I get my new skirt on Wednesday, I have the material to make my own choli (wish me luck), and I found a great deal on a belt in my colors on ebay. Yay!

Finally, my dear friend told me about her friend selling some furniture. So today J and I bought a dresser AND chest of drawers for the price I originally wanted to keep it in. They are older, which means well built. There is some wear, but nothing that was a deal breaker (especially after I got Duke's bill). I might someday look into refinishing or painting them and replacing the drawer pulls. But that's for another time. I still have 2 quilts to finish, and my choli to make! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Oh, Duke

Kitty is sick again. He is trying to pee anywhere comfortable - the bathmats, my PJs, even towels still wet from drying off Remy. He only does this when he's having trouble going. And the only sign is when I see him doing it.

Let me translate: NO PEE IS COMING OUT. Nothing, not even a drop. I even patted one of the spots he tried on with some TP and got nothing. That means blockage, which is bad for a cat. And male cats get blockages more easily than female cats.

I broke down a bit this morning. I'm just scared. He's my baby kitty, even though he's 8ish years old. He's been with me for 6 1/2 years.

I talked to mom and Misty, and it helped some. I'm drinking a big huge mug of kava tea to help me relax, and I'm taking Duke in at 10. I called the vet's, of course, and told them what is going on. They called back and said one of the vet's that helps his usual vet can see him at 10. Mornings are usually reserved for surgeries and other heavy duty stuff. But with Duke's recent history, and FeLV+ status, they decided to get us in, I guess.

Duke's been drinking water. He gets his usual twice (or more) a day from the bathtub, and I've seen him drinking from both his bowl and the dog's bowl.

I'm also watching some Buffy on Netflix. It helps. Thanks Misty for recommending some fluff TV. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Of all the things I inherited from my mom, why couldn't I get her strong, lovely nails?

I'm talking about fingernails. Mine suck. Always have. They are weak, thin, brittle, and have vertical ridges (the kind you don't need to see a doctor about). My index finger nails are even curved funny, just like the fingers themselves.

I have tried all kinds of "strengthening" nail polishes. The best one so far was from OPI (they of the greatest color names in the world), but it only worked when I kept it on my nails. If I slacked off, they went back to craptastic status. I've even tried vitamins that are supposed to be just for hair and nail growth, with no luck.

I've been changing my eating habits anyway, to eat healthier, but still no change in the nails. They drive me crazy!

I was just reading the latest post on my friends' mom's blog, The Best Moments. She recommends Mane 'N Tail Hoofmaker to strengthen nails. Apparently, this stuff was originally used to help horse hooves grow stronger, but the people using it saw their own nails improve. She says it helps her nails when they dry out and become brittle in the winter.

So, me being me, I found a bottle on Amazon that was Prime eligible (yay free 2 day shipping!) and bought it. I could have looked in a store, but I have so much trouble finding specific things like that lately. I'll go to a store that carries it everywhere else, but it won't have it in my city. That's a rant for another day.

Now, here is where you come in! Give me any advice or tips you have for making your nails healthier. I don't just want strong nails, I want healthy nails, with no ridges. Of course, I guess if they were thicker and stronger, I could file the ridges out easier. And I don't want fake nails. I'm not good with upkeep. Anywho, HELP! 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

LPO (picture heavy)

(This is my first post using Windows Live Writer. Let’s see how it goes.)

I picked up my first harvest box yesterday. It really was a box, not a cooler as I had thought. That means no cooler deposit, so I’m OK with that. It’s a nice sturdy cardboard box with handles.
It included a packing slip and, of course, loverly produce.
I was feeling a little camera happy, so proceeded to photograph the contents individually:
El Spinach
El Chard
El Broccoli
Los Potatoes
Los Mini Roma Tomatoes (notice the little green one?)
Los Fruits – Pears, Avocados, and Oranges.

Don’t ask about the sudden spanglish, because I don’t know either.
I used the chard and tomatoes last night in a tasty gnocchi dish. Tomorrow I will use the potatoes to make a nice shepherd’s pie. Oh, and I need to whip up some guacamole with my 2 avocados. I think that can wait till Friday. It would go well with our brats and spinach salad. Or on the leftover burgers from this weekend.
I think one small box may only last us 1 week. (Wow, one and 1 in a single sentence.) (Completely unintentional.) The Medium box had a few things the small box didn’t get.  I will talk to J about trying the medium box, which might last 2 weeks. I also need to play with the site more and try the customizing options.
All in all, I’d call it a success. I’m looking forward to my next order already. That sentence almost had an exclamation point, but today is not an exclamation point kind of day. Today is a one and 1, sudden spanglish kind of day. If anyone wants to place an order, I’m more than happy to take you with me for your first pick-up. It’s in the back of the building, and you could easily get lost. I’m all sorts of “been there, done that” now. Go me.

I should stop now, before this post gets any crazier.

Duke the Toofless

Duke had the broken root removed, and his other upper canine. The vet was worried that he would start a pattern of breaking teeth, and the upper canines are the most likely to break. Poor guy doesn't have many teeth left!

He also had a low red blood cell count which is an indicator of anemia. Now, this could be from all the vet visits he's had since the year started a month ago. So we're doing to try some liquid vitamins for a month, then get his blood checked again. If it hasn't gone up in a month, we can try another medicine that's often used in cats (and people) with immune system issues. Now I just have to remember to give Duke his vitamins twice a day. 

He came home and wanted to eat right away, which is how this usually works. But today the food didn't stay down. I'm going to make him wait till his dinner time before trying to eat more and give the anesthesia more time to wear off. We'll see how he does at dinner time. At least he's still eating his dry food! 

They also said I can keep feeding him dry food as long as he will eat it. Of course watch for signs of dehydration, but with his love of drinking from the bath tub, I think we'll be ok. 

And yes, the LPO post is coming next. Just wanted to get my Duke update out there.