Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Teased and Tickled

I still miss that lost kitten Dillon, who I planned on naming Styx because he went through starvation hell before stumbling through our yard last spring. A part of me hopes the universe will put two ginger boys like him in our home. Chance is, after all, how we ended up with our three past and present kitties.

Instead, I keep getting taunted. Yesterday, our page-a-day cat calendar teased me with the following image of two kittens…
Too Cute
Meanwhile, we’re not active in any search because we are a bit worried over how our geriatric girls will react. Both of us would be happy to adopt any needy feline who crosses our path. My husband would love a black cat, which he likes to call a ‘hole in space with eyes’. ~grin~ I wouldn’t complain. We shall see.

As for our elderly Jezebel, she surprised me this morning. I heard a sound like she’d settled onto something soft. I looked toward the dog bed bequeathed by my parents after they lost their pet.

Empty. So was the couch, fitted with a big fluffy blanket Jezzy often enjoys.

Where was she? I scanned the room and discovered her right near where my feet had been.

A vertical bed, Jezebel? Really?
I’d noticed the missing cushion from the chair to my left, but chalked off the disappearance to my possible senility and have no idea how it landed on the floor. In all probability, Jezebel pulled it down, though she doesn’t normally behave that way.

And I have good news on my eyeglass frames. The tightening loosened just enough so that my vision is now perfect through the super fancy, months old lenses. Yay!

As a final note, let me leave you with something I hope will tickle your funny bone. My dear friend and talented writer A. Catherine Noon shared an image on Facebook today.

I would have adored this art teacher!
Aren’t optical illusions amazing?


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Some Good News and Much Gratitude

First, let me say thanks to all who have offered support and suggestions during this relatively minor tribulation. As lucky as I am overall, kind words during this upsetting period mean a lot.

In good news, my four Dalmatian mollies are still alive, a miracle. Let’s hope the water treatment I’m planning to administer doesn’t kill them. Chemicals automatically lethal to the now extinct loaches should be delivered today.

(and the product arrived, the first of five daily doses given)

A Desolate Sight (5 Tetra Lifeguard Tabs at L and R)
I am happy that my smaller tank remains clear, despite the fact my guppies (all deceased, I am sad to report) from that same ill-fated pet store visit spent time there before being moved. You see, I thought the high speed water flow in the smaller tank overcame one of those three tiny fish right away, the reason I relocated them that very first night.

It’s a mystery if ich or something else killed off the one who survived the longest. That guppy was so small and fast I couldn’t get a good look at its scales. And I didn’t have the heart for a postmortem examination.

Their size alone should have kept me from letting the sales gal talk me into them. ~sigh~ That albino coloration was such a pretty shade of orange. And guppies always seemed so hardy in past.

Live and learn.

On the topic of ‘looking’, my eyeglasses have indeed been fixed. As last fall, the man crafted what he needed from spare parts using a tiny dental drill bit. I spent a total of two hours’ time, an entire Chevy Volt battery charge, three tenths of a gallon of gasoline (the cold weather lowered the battery’s range), and $45.15 (US) paid to Specialeyes, Inc.

It’s not like the lenses can be popped into different frames, so I consider all that well worthwhile considering the hundreds spent on filling this prescription last autumn.

On that note, both failures occurred after the lenses were inserted. So I have a new theory as to why. Those young gals working at the Sam’s Club optical department may well have never handled vintage frames. Their complex inner workings might have received undue stress.

For all I know, old aluminum could weaken over the decades, too. All I can say for sure is that long ago I took my recent eBay purchase to an optician who collected antique eyeglasses. In fact, the enthusiast refitted a newer set of very old nose pads for me back then.

Unfortunately for me, Woody retired from the business.

The only problem remaining is that while this craftsman worked great magic yesterday, he tightened the frames to the point they don’t fit my slightly asymmetric face quite right. I didn’t realize this until almost home because it was disorienting switching from a really outdated optical prescription back to new. Last night I found myself fiddling with their fit to optimize clarity.

The Specialeyes, Inc. artist doesn’t impress me as someone who knows or cares how to make an organic fit. During both visits he acted almost like I didn’t exist until showing mild enthusiasm after his success, and sharing some obscure facts in that regard and the optical business in general.

Question of the day is, do I take them to Sam’s Club Optical or somewhere else?


Monday, January 14, 2019

Insult to Injury – A First World Rant

Weeping over the increasing number of my dead tropical fish throughout Sunday, I tried keeping things in perspective. One fantastic thing, I recalled, was the fact my vintage eyeglass frames with their expensive new high tech lenses were repaired right before our vacation last autumn.

And yeah, they are great.

The long distance vision is fantastic. Coming in from shoveling snow Saturday under cloudy skies showcased how well the polarization works, too. So I sent up thanks to heaven while nudging the left side with a delicate touch.

You see, the left lens seemed to have drifted out of whack again, causing my consideration to get the frames adjusted. Surely that’s all they need, I figured. I’ve been treating these frames with great delicacy since their repair and planned on asking any technician to treat them with the greatest care.

Well, torque wasn’t the issue. The right side hinge snapped when I attempted to put them back on!

The Screw is Still in There...
Guess it’s time to call Special Eyes tomorrow. I hope he can again do his magic.

At what point should I give up and purchase new eyeglass frames, do you think?


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Aquarium Update – Spoiler Alert: Epic Fail

I rose early this morning and found a horrific little domestic scene. First I discovered a dead kuhli loach. I haven’t seen them eating or swimming about and honestly think all those tiny guys are long gone from the ich infestation, as susceptible as their equally scale-less larger cousins. They tend to cannibalize their dead overnight, before I can find their bodies, so that may well have been the last one.

The three clown loaches were inside their favorite decorative hideout. That could have been a good sign, which I told myself before spying the silhouette of a dwarf clown plecostomus within. This is not normal behavior.

Holding my breath, I reached into the tank and lifted the decoration dubbed ‘skull mountain’. It lived up to that nickname, for out tumbled the bodies of Frick and Frack, my two smaller clowns. I burst into instant tears. Then things got worse.

The impressive Ms. Pacman, also deceased, remained wedged inside. I called for help and, sobbing, at last managed to dislodge the weighty corpse into a bucket.

After many years with me, these fish should have lived another decade or so. Even worse is my culpability over the loss. I just had to bring home some new pretty top dwellers.

Well, these newbies alone appear asymptomatic. How weird is that? They must have been the unwitting hosts (!), yet seem fine. So now I’ve broken down and will use a chemical supposed to eradicate the parasites.

Perhaps I can still save my two plecos. My sole, meager comfort is the fact a quarantine tank may have proven useless if these Dalmatian mollies and guppy are healthy as they appear. What do I know? I never had this happen before.

I know this is small in the scheme of things, but right now my eyeballs feel like they served as fill-ins at a golf driving range. Once the snow stops, I guess I’ll bury my fish in the garden and put skull mountain atop as a memorial. No way can I look at that item in the tank anymore.

At least these victims are no longer suffering.

Guess whose done trying to raise long-lived fish?


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Please Pass the Garlic

Last night my clown loaches acted restless. Splashing at 3am actually woke me. So the first thing I did during their morning feed was take an extra close look.

What did I see? Spots. Ich. Or Ichthyopthirius multifilis.

My fish don't look this bad, but won't stay still for a photograph.
I found this image and useful information here...

Scale-less loaches are particularly vulnerable. And my desire to add a few Dalmatian mollies and albino guppies probably transported the parasite.


As the sun came up I changed out the usual monthly amount of water and replaced an appropriate measure of aquarium salt, actions supported by the various and often contrary online opinions. A bio boost additive went in, as well, again at the typical rate.

Then I nudged the heater up a little. Warmer temperatures are said to speed up the parasitic cycle. Now I’m watching and waiting, checking the thermometer. It was already around eighty degrees Fahrenheit and we don’t want it above 82.

Another common suggestion my husband and I both found was to add garlic to their diet. Garlic contains allicin, an organosulfur compound known to be antibacterial and anti-parisitic. There are commercial foods available, but I didn’t want to waste time. Raiding the kitchen pantry, I crushed several cloves for their juice and soaked fish food flakes in the stuff.

Two out of three clown loaches partook, as did much of the asymptomatic population. Tomorrow morning I will repeat the process.

As a last resort I’ll look into the chemical route. Those can be more dangerous than the parasite, especially for loaches.

Are you a garlic fan?


Tuesday, January 8, 2019


We cannot say just how old our cat Jezebel is. Friends a few blocks away found her in their yard back in 2003. Nearing full grown, she may have been less than twelve months of age when they literally dumped the sweet girl in my lap. She fell asleep while we four played cards and went home with me and my husband that very night.

Plushie on Plushie
That timeline would put her somewhere between fifteen and sixteen. Yet one would never guess to look at her lush coat and bright eyes. Even her teeth are in good shape despite the fact she’s never allowed me to brush them. I think her high quality diet plays a factor in her dentition.

A shed whisker impaled (?) in the comforter on our guest bed (now hers!)
As dear Strayer has pointed out, too, a happy cat makes for a healthier cat. And both Tilly and Jezzy live a life of quiet, luxurious doting. Now Jezebel has discovered an old toy bought for sweet little Luna, her now deceased housemate. The feather boa on a stick sat untouched in a closet for quite a few years.

Look at her now!

This came as an utter surprise. I have since gotten Jezebel to run around in circles and race to the top of a six and a half foot tall cat tree during evening play. Fun times.

Have you played today?