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Why you don't have pets

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Last year, I noticed that Fuzzy was exploring in the drop ceiling above below the kitchen above the basement bathroom. I placed tons of moth balls in the ceiling to discourage her. I believe she explored it to check on the groundhog and possum that had been living in it last Fall.
That got old.
So did the moth balls.
I found that I had to keep repleniishing them to keep her out of the area.

A month ago, the kitchen light blew as I flicked the on switch.
A week later the laundry light bulb blew and each new light bulb placed into the fixture would pop and never light again.
I went into the basement bathroom and found that the light fixture in there no longer worked. 
I was troubled by this. 
I checked the fuse box or switch box or whatever it is called. Nothing there.
It slipped my mind for a bit as many things do.
Until I spotted a pair of cat ears  from the laudry area in the drop ceiling above the basement shower.
It all made sense to me now.
Using a flashlight, I found many junction boxes hidden by the drop ceiling. No doubt one of those boxes powered the three lights.
I decided to take a more direct approach to keep the cat out of the drop ceilign and out of danger
What was that?
You want to know how the cat gets into the drop celing?
She jumps on top of the washer.
From there she jumps onto the laundry shelving.
Then she jumps into the opening left there by the contractors who did not extend the laundry room wall all the way up to the ceiling to permit air flow or some nonsense. If you read my blog back in 2005, you would remember that I hired a company against whom I later filed a BBB complaint.
I am forced to remember it all the time, especially during times like these.
I padded to the garage and pulled out some of the bird netting that I used to keep the birds out of the strawberries. Cut it down square patches and stapled it to openings to keep the cat out of the area until my Step-Dad the electrician would arrive this week for the holiday.
It worked for a few days until she found a weakness.  You can see how she pulled the netting away from the wood on the right side.
What did you say?
Oh, you want to know why the cat is so keen to visit the rafters?
it is Raja.
The kitten is tormenting her. Seriously.
The kitten will not giver her a moment's peace. I bought one of the towers thinking that Fuzzy could jump up there and escape the kitten. I didn't consider that the same tower encouraged Raja to claw her way to the top landing so she could visit with Fuzzy. 
Raja can not jump on top of the washer, the laundry shelf or into the rafter. Meaning Fuzzy can escape her constant need for attention. It is the highest, safest spot for her.
Yes, I suppose it is all very funny to you.
I ran  back into the garage and pulled out the chicken wire. I stapled it over the bird netting. 
That proved effective for about two days.
I found this scene last night. 

I called Dad,the all around handyman, who suggested that I find perforated sheet metal, cut it to size, and screw it into the wood. It would look better and keep the cat out. He and my Step-Dad are coming on Saturday to work on sealing off the access for the cat and fix the wiring that the cat damaged. Perhaps, 2 heads are better than one.
Meanwhile, I have stuffed all the opening with excess insulation from the attic, secured with bird netting and chicken wire while still wearing my professional uniform. (skirt, tights, dress, hair in a ball)
This morning I said to the cat "Challenge accepted."

Painting Misadventures

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I hired a guy to plaster my walls. I expected him to smooth them out for me. I expected them to be perfect.
They were.
For about two weeks.
As I attempted to apply the primer
I learned something valuable
I learned that when new plaster meets a thick coat of primer, pieces of the new plaster will remain on the roller.
I no longer had smooth walls
Some panels look as if it had acne.
I continued to paint.
I should admit...
I have been painting the kitchen since August.
Since August
It has not been going well.
It began with the plaster peeling off onto the roller.
I worked through that
Because I refused to be defeated
Every weekend I promised myself that I would complete a layer, finish the trim, or otherwise do something.
Some weekends, I did something.
Most weekends, I did not.
Painting trim is evil.
The store did not properly mix the blue. What I thought would be a pale slate blue is actually a light periwinkle. 
Blue painter's tape - LIES. It pulls paint up every time. And forget about edging and trimming with it. 
I had to purchase green tape. 
Because screaming at the blue paint was not helpful.

Do you know how many corners are in your kitchen?
How many surfaces?
How many edges?
I bet you do not...

At the start of October, I thought I was done.
Until I moved the fridge to paint behind it - only to find that it had not been plastered.
I was furious.
It was a wall after all and I had contracted the man to plaster all the kitchen walls.
I called him. He didn't seem very apologetic. 
So, I decided to take ownership of this particular section of the kitchen and plaster it myself.
I used some drywall plaster that I found in the basement left over from last year and a smoothing tool.
I applied the plaster thickly. For some reason, I grooved it. I really cannot remember why I thought that was a genius idea.
I had to sand it down to make it even.
I let it dry for two days. Then I pulled out my sander and went to work smoothing the wall myself.
I felt so empowered.
So confident.
I wanted to be able to say that I did the wall behind the fridge all by myself.
I was so clever about the dust.
I pulled the dry vac, that I had purchased when I flooded my basement earlier this Fall, upstairs.
I placed the nozzle under my sander so that it would pickup all the dust.
I had sealed off the area with a drop cloth and taped it to the cabinetry. I wore an apron, headscarf and goggles.
I felt like a professional.
Until I heard the fire alarm.
I turned off the sander. Lifted back the drop cloth and peeked out from behind the fridge. I could not see anything because my goggles were covered in dust.
I removed the goggles but the dust in my vision remained.
It took me ten minutes to understand that dry-vacs will pick up dust and then blow it right out as a fine mist.I learned much later that I needed a separate filter if I want to vacuum dust.
I walked around.
Everything was covered in white dust from the stairs leading to the basement, the dining room pictures and all the wood furniture in the living room.
The kitchen floor had so much dust I could made sand castles out of it.
I spent the rest of the day vacuuming- with the HOOVER. Being so discouraged, it took me another two weeks to complete the area behind the fridge.
There is still dust everywhere; I have been too bummed out to clean it.
It got worse after I saw all the spiderwebs. Which when covered in plaster dust resemble cobwebs. And they were everywhere.
I had no idea that so much webbing had gone unnoticed as I devoted all my sparse free time to paint the kitchen. They were everywhere. Everywhere. Like out of a old fashion horror movie. 
And for some reason, those spider webs made me laugh until I hiccuped.
Then nothing was funny anymore.

Retrospect for September

Friday, September 28, 2012


The last four weeks of my life are full of retrospect

I thought to myself on early Wednesday morning a few weeks back..
As I stood in two inches of water in my basement. Fuzzy had tried to warn me Tuesday night as I readied myself for bed. She led me to the basement door and mewed. I thought that she wanted more food. I looked at her body and decided that she has become posterkitty for the fat house cat and said, "I will check your dish in the morning."
I had forgotten to turn off the hose when I answered the door to welcome my guests. I had a business meeting lasting well past midnight with awful pizza and I wanted to sleep. I missed a half day of work buying a wet/dry vac and mopping the floor.

Not long after the hose incident, I stood in my kitchen around the stroke of Midnight and thought

After $300, 4 weeks and two paint splattered outfits, I realized that I was in over my head. The plaster guy gave me bad information on just how long it would take the plaster to dry. As I painted my smooth walls with primer, I left pockmarks with every stroke. I almost cried. I still have to do the touch-up, paint the kitchen door and (heaven help me) paint behind the fridge. I declined 3 THREE Labor Day pool parties and a family picnic in order to finish painting my kitchen. IT IS STILL NOT DONE. I should have purchased a swim suit and jumped into the pool despite the rain. The meetings still convened at my house while I painted painstakingly slow.

I will never do this again.
The kitchen used to be a blush
color that I hated. Also, the plaster
walls were in need of repair.
It is now my blue rooster kitchen.

Last week, I considered to myself after viewing a program on my DVR..
Around the proverbial water cooler the topic a few weeks ago was "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo Child." I had to know what was the joke. I recorded the show and watched it the next morning as I readied for work. That is what I told my co-worker when I arrived late that morning. I should admit that I tried to talk all my business partners into watching the show in order to share the experience during the meeting in my home a day later. I even queued up the DVR for my guests.

And just today, I banged my head against my desk as I considered...
I am, of course, not referring to the effort it takes to acclimate a kitten into a home with a middle aged house cat. I am referring to the kitten-wreck. Kitten wreck refers to those things that, well, have been destroyed by the kitten in a home with a well trained house cat. Like shoe strings, walls, my clothing, my skin, my sleep, my quiet, my sense of safety, and finally my nerves.
I decided to foster the kitten Lydia and I found hiding in her garage last month until I could find him a home.The kitten has been literally underfoot ever since. I can never be assured that I am stepping on hard surfaces anymore.

I spent two weeks hiding the kitten from the cat to socialize him. In addition to keeping the kitten hidden from the cat, I had to spread their scents around each other. Google instructed me to rub the kitten's scent on Fuzzy's bedding.

That is me rubbing the kitten on Fuzzy's bed, which consists of a towel and an old pillow.
It made perfect sense at the time at the time.

This is Fuzzy approaching her bed. She sleeps on it every night at the foot of my bed. She still hadn't seen the kitten but she had heard the kitten through a bedroom door. I spent days hiding them from each other. All that ended when Roger figure out how to jump over the barrier that I had erected to keep them separated.
Fuzzy knows something is wrong in this picture. She smells something foul.
Here she is wondering, "What is that smell?" This was actually quite funny. But I did fear that she would retaliate by marking my sofa.
Here she has made her assessment of the situation. And rendered her final decision.

I named the kitten Roger because he was found in a garage. I had meetings at my house every other day for two weeks and my friends began to like him. They called him Roger the Beast of a Kitten. Roger likes to attack Fuzzy. I have actually seen Roger leap into the air as if to pounce on the older cat. Roger does not have the sense to fear a ten pound cat.
A week ago, I learned that my first guess was correct and Roger is actually Raja. Yep, he is a she. I still call her Roger - every day. In retrospect, I should have given her a more cat-like name and not the pink skull and crossbones collar with that blasted bell.

So, in retrospect before I host a month-long series of business meetings in my house, I will not attempt to drown garden pests, adopt a new pet, take on a DIY project or watch inane reality shows.


Monday, August 27, 2012

This is a snapshot of my Aunt Nanette, Aunt Gloria and my Grandmother Dorothy. It was taking before Dorothy's death. Aunt Gloria remarked once that Dorothy may have already been ill in this picture. I believe that it would have been taken in the 40s.
I asked Aunt Gloria when she removed the picture from her album and gave it to me, "Why were all of you dressed up?"
She said, "we weren't dressed up. That was just an ordinary day and how we dressed every day."

When I started looking

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This week's GBE2 prompt is Hidden

I enjoy blogging but my summer time activities and shenanigans occur so quickly that most of my wacky experiences overlap.

Sometimes, I find that situations develop hidden from my daily observations only to slap me in my face when I least expect it.

Hidden Victories

I have been working with the trainer since May. I completed a second fit test to gauge my progress. I have only lost 9 pounds. I figure that is about one pound a week. Since focusing on weight loss did not help my ego, I looked at my body fat percentage.

In May, my body fat was so high that it didn't warrant a category on the chart. Now, at 35% body fat, I am consider Well Below Average for my age group. I will take that D-.

That is progress, right????

Well Below Average

This means that while I went from 41.5% body fat to 35% body fat, I lost more than just 9 pounds I lost a few inches. When asked I will say, "I have lost about 16 pounds of fat." And offer no additional explanation. I like algebra.

Hidden Dinner

Last week, I weeded the garden and found the lettuce I had planted from seed. I thought the bunny had gotten to it all earlier this Summer. I picked the lettuce. It seemed pretty hardy and long. Brought it into the house and couldn't figure out why it was so long. So, I tasted it. They were turnip greens. I picked the roots and made dinner with garden okra, jalapeño peppers, chives and onions. I didn't grow the turkey leg which added flavor to my pot of greens but I could have.



Hidden Creatures

I learned something using my GoogleFu the other day.

Did you know that groundhogs have a Summer burrow and a winter hibernation nest? Yep. True facts. Now think back to the possum which had taken up residence under my den last winter.

You got it. The possum was a squatter. The borrow that had an opening into my basement belonged to Sir Groundhog and he returned this summer. Story starts on Tuesday the 31st. I had been weeding the garden for two days and I finally had made my way back to the house. I saw it then. I filled in a small hole a back corner. Google suggested that I place epson salt around the hole and around the garden to discourage the groundhog from returning.


As you well know, if that had worked, I would not be writing this blog entry. It failed spectacularly. On Friday, I was sitting in my den, reading a book looking out over the garden and I spot movement. I ran out and found that all of the blue collard greens had been eaten down to their stalks. I was pissed. I had just eaten half of my turnip greens the week before. This was the second season in a row that the groundhog ate my Georgia collard greens.

My chat rooms suggested that I place pinwheels around the garden. I sprayed the remaining collards and cabbages with my pepper mixture (local garden store). I jumped into the car and ran to a few stores. Picked up some pinwheels.

By the time I returned, I caught the groundhog in the act of eating my zucchini vines.

NO, I didn't spray the zucchini vines. Sir Groundhog was sitting on the fence and only had to slightly lower his head in order to eat my zucchini vines. I screamed at him and watched him slink away into his newly expanded burrow under my den.

bombs away

 I have been bombing his burrow every day for the past four days. He just returns and reopens it. I am out of bombs. All the area stores are out of fox urine (the natural enemy of the groundhog). I may be beaten.
This morning, I bought granules that allegedly discourage groundhogs from crossing over and into the garden. Likely story.

Spreading repellent

As I got out of my car, I heard desperate mewing. The most adorable kitten was in my backyard. As I approached it with some soft cat food, it ran into a hole in my neighbor's garage. I dragged her outside to help me save the kitten in her garage. She has just returned from a long trip, only to learn that this kitten had been hiding and living in her garage for days. We tired to coax it out to make it safe but the groundhog ran past... scaring the little kitten into another neighbor's yard.

I hope it comes back. I could use a good outdoor cat to handle my garden pests.

A few days ago

Thursday, June 21, 2012

This week's prompt for the Group Blogging Experience is "Two Days Ago"

I am changing my theme to a few days ago because it took me some time to consider this post.

Permit me to take you back to Sunday, June 15, 2012

Happy Fathers Day, Dad!!!

I visited my currently favorite metro park to complete a 3 mile walk/jog.

At regular intervals of about 1/5 a mile I stopped and completed an exercise I learned with my Personal Trainer.
Mountain climbers - on benches
Assisted push ups - on benches
Prison squats
Walking Lunges
Knee lift with chops down (sounds weird right)
I really wanted to do some squat thrusts but too many dog-walkers do not feel the need to clean up their doggie poo.
Yes. My plan was pretty ambitious. My Trainer did not give me homework, I just really want to get into shape. And I voted for the last levy and dammit, I am going to get my money's worth.
I started the running application on my smartphone and set off in my expensive running shoes and wicking running clothes.*
I observed some things during this adventure. I spot an older gentleman with his little dog during my first 1/2 mile. He informs me that this dog found a baby toad. He picks up the thing to show it to me. I am relieved that the creature is still alive after being sniffed by the dog. I leave the man to seek out other small creatures in the grass.
I see nothing more exciting than walkers, joggers and runners out for a nice stroll before the thunderstorms began by the end of mile number one.
I round the corner back toward the entrance to begin my second mile and I see that more people have arrived.
First, three boys have found something interesting by the shelter-house.
I noticed them yards before they saw me.
I knew it had to be something gross. They had too much excitement for it to be something as simple as a monarch butterfly.
I had to ask.

What did you find? Look, it's a snake skin

Yep. They were proudly presenting a discarded snake skin to me.
I told them that the were lucky to have found it.
They excitedly pointed to its original location.
I suggested that the snake used the rough surface of the shelter-house to make a break in its skin in order to sloth off its old scales.
I am at heart an educator, after all.
One young man interrupts my lesson to say.

I found it!
The boys then run off to discuss the identity of the lucky bastard who found the nasty thing.
I continue my work-out.
I stop near a tree to complete some high knee lifts.

I see this

I want you to know that the top most gum looked gooey.
As if it had been affixed to the trunk just a few hours before I saw it.
I gotta wonder.
Look at it again.
It is a picture of a series of dried pieces of gum stuck to an innocent tree. What did the tree do to deserve such treatment?
And in answer to your question, YES. I will be tracking the progress of the gum line as I visit the park in the future. NOT because I am curious but because I appalled.
Completely grossed out.
Around the 2.5 mile mark I finally see a orange butterfly but I am too focused to stop and take a picture. So here is a cheat I found on the official metropark website.
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta by Mark,Plessner

I got pretty tired after that second mile and my walk/jogs became more walk/walk intervals between the breaks where I completed some silly exercise to impress my Trainer who will never really be impressed with my progress. He irks me yet I cannot quit him....
Back to my story....
I was so pleased when the running app RunDouble chimed "slow down for your cool-down."

As I completed my casual stroll to my car equipped with a long-range car starter (think air conditioning) I spot this pretty thing

I hope it lives long enough to become a butterfly and no little boys, gum chewing runners or dog-walkers destroy it.

The thunderstorms began about 5 minutes after I exited the park.

My final stats  from  C25K Couch to 5K by RunDouble for Android on AppBrain
Stage Distance Time Pace
WarmUp 8 yards
1 3.00 miles
CoolDown 233 yards
Total 3.00 miles 65:47 21:53
inc WU/CD 3.14 miles 70:53 22:33

 *I  think a future post will focus on my search for the perfect sports bra. Perhaps the theme could be "Trial and Error"

If I had my life to live over

Thursday, June 14, 2012

If I Had My Life to Live Over…

I would have gone to the University of Cincinnati for Graduate School.

I would live work in Puerto Rico.
And see things like this all the time.
Scene of Puerto Rico Turkey
San Jaun convention center Wildlife in San Juan
Frizzy in San Jaun PeacocksSwan

I would not have to visit PR in between meetings while attending a conference.

I would spend my leisure time being leisure and not accumulate hours and hours of vacation time. I am up to 340hours.....

I would know how to work my personal technology.
For example, this was my response when I realized my camera was not actually taking a picture.

I would not have hips that create the perfect mound upon which the cat likes to lay herself.
Yup. She is on my hip. I am on my side. I was reading a book until I decided to snap this picture.

I would avoid the SMALL number of instances where I clearly had to much to drink in public around large groups of people who ALREADY know me.
I will never forget when Jamissey suggested that I drink a glass of homemade wine given to her by one of her college students earlier this year.

I made a sangria out of it (with vodka) and descended into a sloppy drunk within the hour.
The next day, I woke up on her couch with a hamburger bun stuck to my shirt.
The mustard stains are the only evidence from that day which remain.
She dumped the wine after my drunken adventure and keeps saying "I told you not to drink it"
I don't remember that.
That leads me to another thing I would do differently if I had my live to life over....
I would remember and take heed to more warnings given to me.

Meaning, I would have paid more attention to my cat when she attempted to tell me about the possum living under the dining room in the basement drop ceiling before it had wandered into the living room and wiped out my 'new roof' savings.

GBE Group Blogging Experience

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