Sunday, September 29, 2019

Help Around the House

Relentless doorbell ringing and knocking yesterday afternoon forced me to open the door. To my surprise, the young gal (J) from across the street stood there with four of her local friends. They wished to perform some sort of yard work for cash.

I liked the idea of supporting their industriousness but found myself at a loss, my experience with kids limited. What did they expect to do and for how much? I asked what they planned to charge.

J admitted they were undecided. She suggested five dollars for a small yard, ten for a large. The others agreed. Unsure how to translate that, I consented when their persistent young spokesman mentioned raking around our tree.

It needed done and seemed simple enough. The children were elated. Despite confusing chatter from five excited kids, I determined that we were their first active clients.

Complications soon arose. They carried no tools of any kind. Could they borrow ours? Sure. I handed out our sole lawn rake and shop broom the littlest girl requested.

Where should they dump the leaves? I thought about having them scattered over the garden. They would likely blow away. So we went with garbage bags.

Next, a child appeared at the door asking for water. I gladly carried out five bottles and came back inside, sitting down to continue watching the video my husband paused.

Another knock. Now what? Once more hitting pause, my comfortable couch-bound guy snickered. Ha ha…

The kids needed more bags. Okay. Do you have a leaf blower? No. Sorry.

As his colleagues scurried about, the lead entrepreneur kept me captive, chattering about future plans for their company. How could I complain? He hoped to invest in a leaf blower at some point.

A good while later I answered the door one final time. Stammering with indecision, the young fellow estimated their available service hours and told me they would return the next afternoon. I deferred, suggesting we send a text message to J’s parents.

Of course that didn’t stop them banging on the door today. ~sigh~ Sad to say, I lacked the energy to face another eager inquisition and so my husband passed along the fact we had no current work needing done.

I have to say they worked hard, hand stuffing debris into the bags, even asking what we wanted done with the remaining leaf shreds. The yard looked fine as is, much better than before. Twice I praised their endeavors, once to the young man before he left. He took it in stride, saying a successful business required effort.

This little group did more than enough for what money we had on hand. That young fellow also apologized for all the interruptions toward the end, which was nice.

They were so cute I took a picture. Now I just need to figure out more work for them and make sure to have cash on hand.

Don’t you just love conscientious youths?


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Goodbye, Sweet Tilly

Sleepy Girl February 2018 - Better Days
I am sad to report that Tilly the cat passed away in her sleep overnight. Losing her thus proved a bittersweet ending because, for the first time, my husband experienced a pet whose end didn’t involve euthanasia. His family’s animals always suffered hard and our original sweet kitty was euthanized in August of 2014 after battling cancer.

July 7, 2019 Catnip Jamboree
In fact, I made an appointment yesterday to, in all likelihood, have a veterinarian ease Tilly from misery this very afternoon. Letting her go seemed the kindest thing as her breathing had taken a serious turn for the worst over the last day and a half.

God and perhaps Tilly herself, in a way, took that painful decision out of our hands. For that, and our near twenty years of memories, we are grateful.

Jezebel getting in on the action that midsummer day.
Peace and blessings to all.


Friday, September 20, 2019

The Lap of Luxury – a Tale of Two Kitties

Our nineteen-year-old cat Tilly continues to defy the odds, acting healthy and happy despite breathing issues. We expect her little heart is a ticking bomb with the mysterious mass shown on an X-ray. Obviously, we are glad she received another (rather) successful thoracic tap since her ongoing quality of life seems so good.

Here she is collapsed in blissful sleep upon my husband’s heating pad (more like a cozy blanket). He is so loving that he relinquished that low-set warmth to her overnight instead of sleeping on it himself as usual.
That squarish pale center was shaved for fluid removal, the poor thing.
Of course the camera woke her by the third click. She didn’t get up until later, though, when wanting ‘daddy’ on the couch providing his lap. In fact, as I type she has been bothering him to get off the computer despite the fact the hour is a mere half past noon. And she just ate some kibble before returning to his office.
Now you can better see which end is which...
Meanwhile, Jezebel gets her point across, too. That old gal pranced into the living room this morning. I followed, presuming her doing the hungry dance so I’d fill the dry food bowl. Instead she wanted to show off her claw sharpening skills on the kitty ‘condo’ before jumping atop that furniture so we could look out the window together.

The other day she supplanted my laptop, very deliberate in tapping the keyboard for removal. Gotta love cats that know how to get whatever luxuries they want.

Do you sleep with an electric warming blanket or heating pad?


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

What Fish?

Because he likes to hear my reaction sight unseen from another room, my husband emails me the occasional shocking website link. Today’s article features a surreal looking deep sea fish. In the subject line he typed “Sweet Dreams!”

Upon seeing the handsome young angler, Oscar Lundahl, I knew how to respond. I waited until my husband approached to question me so he couldn’t misunderstand the sassy comment.

“What did you think of that fish?” he asked, grinning.

“Actually, it took me a while to see the fish.”

Confused, he looked over my shoulder at the image. Realization dawned and he burst out laughing. “Well, I’m definitely not gay.”
(He's nineteen?! Don't judge; I'm harmless)
If you are not too squeamish to view this doomed creature, an unaltered photograph is located at the bottom of this post. I also recommend this short article on The Sun website.

Have you ever gone deep sea fishing?


By the way, I am happy to report that Tilly the cat is breathing easy right now, happy sleeping on my husbands lap.


Keep scrolling for the freaky faced fish...




Chimaeras Monstrosa Linnaeus AKA Ratfish


Monday, September 16, 2019

Rallying Point, Food for Thought, & (Over-) Editing Validation

It’s with a light heart I report that, for now, Tilly the cat is breathing easier most of the time and still acting healthy in all other respects. She appears so comfortable I’ve left her sleeping alone on the low-set heating pad to spend time around Jezebel. You see, yesterday afternoon that elderly grey kitty acted a fool for attention despite her age, racing around for me to chase. Of course the napping brat acts all casual about my presence now (~grin~) but I’ve no doubt she appreciates it.
Jezebel in Full-on "Monkey Mode"
In other news, exchanging emails with a very talented and oft published writer, I confessed my ongoing obsession with re-re-re-editing older stories. This kind mentor’s reply validated my quirk with uplifting, if disheartening wisdom:

“Never feel guilty about fiddling with old stories. Taking your own work to pieces is one of the best ways to sharpen your skills -- it also gives you fresh perspective on the work of other writers. (One of the pitfalls is that one can become quite critical of books in print, particularly the best sellers, where the actual value of the book can be secondary to the marketing hype, spectacular cover, and writer's reputation, all of which go together to make a best seller out of a work that ... shouldn’t have been. They do say -- and I believe it -- that the best books are lying in desk drawers, unpublished. These days, they're probably languishing on the Amazon servers, having sold 35 copies and then been forgotten for want of an advertising budget!)”

Thanks, my friend.

More on that note, I’d like to share a snippet and would appreciate knowing what you think if you care to comment. This scene from “Man’s Best Friend (BloodMoon #8)” follows a violent home invasion and the protagonist’s efforts to move past it, surprising her reunited lover with the renovations.


Nickolas ripped off the scarf blindfolding him. He took a step back, jaw dropping, and shook his head.

“Wow. You do like yellow.”

“And I remembered you like blue. Is it too much like a circus tent?”

“Not at all. It’s psychedelic.” Looking to me, he fanned out the fingers of his right hand like a conjurer. “Where on earth did you find this cool carpet?”

“There’s a hotel supplier in town that sells remnants.” I uncrossed my fingers, no longer worrying that blue and yellow paisley pile might be too much. “I figured it would hide dirt and hold up well.”

“I am kind of a slob.”

“You and me both,” I said, snickering. “What do you think of the furniture?”

“What happened with the old stuff?”

“We donated it to charity. It… I…”

“Wanted a fresh start?”


I gave him a look I hoped showed my gratitude over his understanding. Neither of us speaking, he looked around the room. I could sense him wanting to touch me and took hold his hand, swinging our arms child-like between us before continuing my narrative.

“Anyway, everything matches now. I figured solid yellow upholstery and curtains toned down the carpet,” I prattled, “as well as the blue sheets.”

“I can hardly wait to see you in them.”

Letting go his hand, I feigned a need to show him which drawers contained his socks and underwear. Nickolas smiled walking to the replaced window. I appreciated him ignoring my discomfort, whether out of civility or male oblivion.

Final paragraph revised:

Longing rumbled in silent echoes. I let go his hand, darting forth to show which drawers contained his socks and underwear. Nickolas smiled walking to the replaced window and I appreciated the disregard, whether out of civility or male oblivion.


Now I need to stop editing this. Heh… It’s time I go to the gym and lift weights.

What are you up to today?


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tilly on Tap – a Bittersweet Update

Her breathing once more labored, our loveable silly cat returned to the veterinary clinic yesterday. Before our appointment I lay across the mattress by her and Tilly gave up the heating pad to crawl onto my arms. She didn’t seem to mind the tears dripped onto her fur as a result.

When the appointment time neared my considerate husband offered to drive. But I preferred my usual role behind the wheel; that sort of focus helps keep my emotions under better control. Meanwhile, not expecting to bring her home, we agreed to hear out the doctor’s opinion and try another thoracic tap if the attempt seemed worthwhile.

Well, as you’ve no doubt guessed, she survived the procedure. Despite successful removal of a lot more fluid, however, today each inhalation appears a strain. There is no way to guess if she will last a day or a week. We do not want her to suffocate to death and hope her arrhythmic little heart will give out in her sleep as opposed to euthanasia.

It is rewarding to see her go into a deep dreaming state, muscles twitching nose to toes. Sometimes she appears to be playing pinball. Watching her reminds me of this short video clip of an adorable kitten.

Don’t you wish you could sleep that well?


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Health, Humor, & Hoaxes

Laughter, so the old saying goes, is the best medicine. In this current first world climate of trigger warnings and safe spaces, I cling to my juvenile sense of humor like a life raft. During Tuesday’s brief hospital stay I made a point of engaging with anyone around me in (usually) the most irreverent manner possible.

Warning: My mind tends to work like that of a seventeen year old boy. Heh…

Take the ER nurse and her efforts to enter an expiration date off a plasma unit into the computer. Nobody knew how to help her, she just fiddled with the touch screen until something worked, and said, “You just have to massage it until something happens.”

“I’ve heard that before,” I said to her bark of amusement and my husband’s feigned disgust.


So-called gallows humor can also help keep one sane in grim situations. I’ve heard that over and over again including from the EMT who attended my 4am ambulance ride. He offered to share what he considers his funniest job related incident with the advisory warning it was “inappropriate”.

“I’m all ears,” I replied.

Warning: the following anecdote is both bawdy and a bit gory (NSFW)

Called to the aid of a middle aged woman who fell and cut the back of her head on a concrete step, EMT Matthew found her blood covered and inebriated to the point she felt no pain. Of course, she also refused to cooperate.

“Please don’t take me to the hospital,” she implored several times. “I don’t want to go with you.”

“Fine with me,” he replied, “but you’re going one way or the other. If not with me, then the men with the steel bracelets.”

“But I’ll give you a [use your imagination] if you let me go.”

“Nah… I’m good,” he answered, eyebrows no doubt shooting toward his hairline.


Considering our senses of humor imperative to a strong bond, my husband and I appreciate whatever amuses us be it a spontaneous quip, unique circumstance, or a contrived marketing campaign. A recent late night prank involved a bit of all three.

With apologies, I need to share some back story. The long past incident inspiring my latest hoax involved a short trip and an archaic GPS device. We expected directions to our hotel. Instead the Magellan model announced, “You have reached your destination” – outside an open cemetery gate.

In an instant my witty husband observed, “Yeah. Our final destination.”

And we crack up over the Allstate Insurance ‘mayhem’ commercials, especially when the actor portrays a global positioning device that causes an accident and announces, “Recalculating” with a mischievous grin. You can see I incorporated these elements in setting up this campy, Halloween themed scene.
That's 'Mayhem' Escaping
~shakes head~
I'm Silly
Can You See the Zombie Rising from my Miniature Cemetery?
And here is that inspirational, hilarious commercial:

Do you enjoy the occasional prank?


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Another First, Room Service, & a Room With a View

I experienced quite an adventure half of Tuesday. It began around 2am yesterday, a rude wakeup in the form of peculiar oral swelling. At first I thought to go back to sleep and call my dentist come daylight. Perhaps an irregular canker sore formed on the right underside of my tongue, so I took my daily supplement that suppresses and helps heal them.

The lump didn’t hurt, though, and seemed to be expanding.

Soon awakened, my groggy husband made the wise suggestion I take a Benadryl allergy pill and proceeded to research possible causes on the Internet. None fit my situation, which worsened to the point I developed a colossal stifled lisp. Since my coping mechanism of choice is to joke, I made light of the fact my voice sounded like that of facially deformed character Eugene cast in the black comedy series “Preacher”. I will spare you the image of his disturbing visage.


Within minutes we decided to visit the nearby Emergency Hospital. In a shocking development, the receptionist guessed my diagnosis with two simple questions.

Did I take blood pressure medication? “Yeth...” (muffled) Was it Lisinopril? “Yeth...”

A rare 0.01% to 0.1% of prescribed patients develop angioneurotic edema in one body part or another.

Where My Adventure Began
I expected a steroid shot and to be back home in a few hours. Staff soon made clear the unlikelihood. As it happens, regardless of their charge’s irreverent banter, medical professionals take throat blockage very serious.

Who knew?

Blood tested and steroids injected on the spot, my doctor ordered intravenous blood plasma. The nurse, registered for ten years now, never before saw this condition yet warned these treatments might not work.

Fortunate for me, I soon felt quite normal. Could I be released?

No. I could neither stay there nor go home. Hospital admittance was non-negotiable.

Only two facilities, one located in an unfamiliar city (?!), could spare a bed (!) despite there being no major public health concerns. Once my ambulance arrived I sent my sleepy husband home.

My slumber did not resume. Night nurses stationed across the hall laughed and chatted their shift away. My music left at home, television didn’t interest me in the slightest. At least I had my Kindle Fire, those ER stepdown room accommodations were comfortable, and a nice ceiling fan kept me cool.

Come sunrise I enjoyed a partially blocked but colorful spectacle. Full daylight revealed verdant woods hiding the nearby Little Miami River. Flocking birds exposed the waterway’s course.

Around 7:30 I set aside my now abandoned first draft of this sketched on the back of a redundant medical form, ordered breakfast, and called my husband.

That facility’s food, by the way, is quite good. I knew this from my husband’s 2011 heart surgery. A fruity yogurt parfait with granola and two strips of turkey bacon satisfied my hunger until lunchtime.

Apprised of my uncertain status, he agreed to stay home. Within hours I would either need a ride or more personal items for comfort and mental distraction.

Near noon Nurse Reba gave her disappointing opinion my incarceration stay would continue. In an ironic twist, my blood pressure concerned them. A later evaluation by the floor’s head daytime physician made my day. He agreed lack of rest compounded by emotional distress heightened my hypertension. He prescribed a different pill and registered me for discharge.


Delighted professionals of every ilk expressed their fondness wishing me well. Apparently my irreverent sense of humor amused them. I’ll share more on that later (including anecdotes from my attending EMT in the ambulance) as this is getting wordy.

~shakes head~

Meanwhile, you might find funny the fact I spotted our Blue Meanie pulling into the parking lot from the building’s fifth floor about a city block away. The 2017 Volt’s distinctive laser blue color, shape, and of course my colorful “Yellow Submarine” stickers depicted my husband’s arrival, confirmed by his departure from the vehicle.

Is there any place you would rather be than (healthy) at home?


Friday, September 6, 2019

Checked Out, Not Checking Out

One Cozy Cat

I meant for days to give an update on geriatric Tilly the cat. So here it is – good news (!) – she acts comfortable and happy. We have a checklist to monitor her quality of life.

Items include:
bright eyes
perky ears
consistent and healthy looking litter box use
interest in food
drinking plenty of water
moving well
actively engaged in her surroundings
smooth, even breathing

That last pleases us no end considering the veterinarian’s assessment that she retains some fluid beneath her lungs. We declined more X-rays for now. There seemed little point stressing her.

She’s quite the sweetheart about taking her thyroid pill, vitamin C supplement (both twice daily), and noontime diuretic. I know Tilly would be happy to know tonight is her final round of chilly medicated ear drops to clear up a simple yeast infection. It’s too bad the liquid needs refrigeration.

Yesterday my wise husband surmised why she demands desires near constant physical contact – extra warmth. Nearing twenty (we’re guessing close to nineteen now if not already), the old gal is almost certain to suffer arthritis.

However precious, hours lying prostrate on the bed with Tilly tucked on, against, or under my arm(s) began taking a toll on my neck, shoulders, and especially lumbar region. My husband’s clever follow-on suggestion to turn on his heating pad didn’t work. She sat up and pawed my face when unsuccessful in getting me prone. This afternoon she cried for me from the bedroom and I found her seated on the heating pad as if within a box.


Turning on the heater’s lowest setting, I let it heat a few moments before sitting beside her. Sure enough, she settled down and slept for over an hour. Now she is begging for food.

Would you buy a heated bed for an aging pet?

I should join lovely Sandee and friends for the Feline Friday blog hop, but alas lack time to reciprocate visiting other participants
blogs. Have a great weekend, my dears!