Saturday, November 29, 2008


Scooter is now home from the vet and has had his first chemo treatment. He’s much MUCH better, and has perked up quite a bit! Maybe this series of treatments will be as helpful as we hope. He’s so happy to be home, but the doctors there told me he’s their little baby and such a sweet boy. Petie is happy to see Scooter and has been trying to play with him. Scoo isn’t quite perky enough to play, but we can tell he appreciates all the attention from Petie! Scoo and Petie both got some turkey for a belated Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving was fun - - Lola and I went to Kimmi’s house. Kimmi invited her mom and grandmother and it was a wonderful dinner. There were tons of leftovers so we each took a plate of food home. Kimmi had to help her mom navigate to the right road to get home, so while she was gone I did all the dishes and put the leftover food away and when she got back the kitchen was pretty much CLEAN!!! I told her it was the least I could do since she had been up until 1am the night before and again up at 5am the next day to make sure all was prepared and turkey in the oven and pies made, etc. All Kimmi wanted us to bring was mashed potatoes and cranberries, so I felt like perhaps cleaning up would make me feel not so much like a slacker!

We decided to have photo Christmas cards this year and getting Lola to dress up for a photo, much less stand still for one, is a painful endeavor. But after much persuasion on my part she donned a red sweater she brought from Russia and her khaki pants and reluctantly posed with me while Chris took the photos. First we stood in the front yard. Those photos didn’t look quite right, so we went back in the house and sat in the chair. Those photos were not good, either. Then I thought about us sitting in front of the fireplace and lo and behold, the cats thought that was a famous idea and they sat through a couple photographs with us. Then Lola started feeling a little more comfy with posing, and Chris managed to get a couple good ones of us that would work wonderfully on a Christmas card.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Scoo's Diagnosis

The vet called to say that Scooter definitely has lymphoma. He recommended treatment by chemotherapy, which is much easier tolerated by cats than humans. In fact, 80% of cats respond quite favorably to the treatment and their remission can last up to 2 or more years. I didn’t want to make a decision one way or the other until Lola and I had a discussion about it and all the factors were weighed. So, after a consultation with Lola and Scooter, of course, it was decided to go forward with the treatment. The first session (of MANY) is to be this upcoming Friday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Latest Update

Well, Petie has escaped again. It rained all day today so the workmen couldn’t come and finish the window/siding job. They left their ladders propped up against the roof of the garage and sure enough, Petie went exploring last night and the little fuzz-ball must have climbed up the ladders…again…

Well, the good news is we know where he is. Out back in the woods hanging out with the squirrels and Janine’s (our neighbor) cats.

No, I am not going to give him back to his former owner. Lola was very worried about that. I assured her that in spite of his imagination-defying escapes and life of international intrigue outside the house, Petie is now officially our cat and we love him. He’ll come home when he’s hungry….which we hope may be tonight…

Poor Scooter slept in the sunroom by the back door all night in case Petie came home. What a good buddy he is!

My arm is still bruised from the blood-taking last week, but the bruise has now diminished to the size of a quarter.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lola had a new friend spend the night with us last night. Almost from the time this girl walked into the house until she went to bed she was playing on our computer. I tried to encourage her to do things with Lola, and it worked for awhile. They went outside to play, but that didn’t work for long. Once they were back in the house she was planted in the chair playing computer games. Lola was getting frustrated, so I suggested that they go to bed. They decided they wanted to sleep on the futon sofa in the living room so I put some sheets, blankets and pillows on the mattress and they were set for the night.

The next morning I fixed them breakfast and we took her friend home, and once back home I began to strip the bed and found a giant wet spot on the friend’s side of the bed…

Now I don’t ever mean to cause trouble, but with a mixture of worry for the friend’s bladder as well as for my newly ruined futon mattress I called her mother to inform her that we had encountered an issue with bedwetting. Since the mother and I are both raising children on our own, I suggested that we split the cost of a new mattress, since the one that was wet could not, in any way, be salvaged.

All day Sunday was spent taking the old mattress to the trash, going to get a new one, and doing laundry. All day. Not really what I had planned …

Friday, November 21, 2008

Well, Scooter had yet another vet appointment - - this time at a specialist. We had to leave the poor little guy there for two days of testing to see why he is not doing well. It has been determined so far that he has FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). It is much like HIV in humans where the immune system is compromised due to blood or saliva contact with an infected cat. Apparently Scooter had a run-in with an infected cat back in the first three or so years of his life before I adopted him at age 4. According to the vet, the virus could be dormant for many years and later become apparent, as has happened here. He’s now 14 and has been relatively healthy with the exception of a detached retina in his right eye a few years ago. At this point the doctor thinks Scoo has lymphoma and they have shaved all the fur off his tummy and his right front leg to do tests to confirm or deny their suspicion. When we went to pick him up he was so happy to see us and he had become the little sweetheart of the clinic. All the techs love him and they spoiled him as much as they could during his stay there. Lola was a bit disconcerted by his tummy being shaved, but when I told her to touch him she found it to be quite fuzzy like velvet and now she loves to gently rub his tummy. We should hear about the diagnosis sometime next Tuesday or so. In the meantime they told me to keep doing what we’re doing - - same food, same routine, with the addition of fluids to give him subcutaneously if needed. I told Lola that it is possible that Scooter has a problem the doctors cannot fix and we may need to decide what kind of treatment (or not) he may benefit from the most. She loves Scooter so much! It’s kind of heartbreaking to tell your child her favorite pet is gravely ill, especially when your own heart is breaking…

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Another Car Expense (Sigh...)

I have an appointment for Monday to get the top repaired on my car. My insurance company called a couple days ago to say that they cannot approve the claim since their ‘expert’ says that the issue with my convertible top happens quite frequently with VW Cabrios. Supposedly it’s due to normal wear and tear, plus the fact that VW made sub-standard tops for these cars….how lovely…so the car is going in for a repair job to start with. They gave me a quote of $350.00. If that doesn’t work I’ll have to oil the hinges on my pocketbook and squeak out about $1300.00 to get the top replaced.

I got a rental car after I rode the bus home (it rained all day so I couldn’t drive the VW, plus it’s supposed to rain most of the weekend and we need transportation) and then went to pick Lola up from her Extended Learning program at school. The auto renters didn’t have the ‘economy’ car I requested. They decided to upgrade me to a Dodge Caliber (I may be one of the only people on earth that hates to get an upgrade at the auto rental place) and Lola thinks it’s the coolest car on the planet. She now wants me to buy one just like it. As if I can just pluck $20,000.00 out of the air and take one home that day! I wish!! Strange how her loyalty to the VW she loved with all her heart has waned. Maybe when it’s finally got a top that is durable she’ll love it again. Oh, trust me, I’m doing extensive research on new cars. I’m just not ready yet to fork over the dough to actually buy one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I was sitting in an office meeting this morning in our building cafeteria and gazing out the window while listening to our guest speaker (of course I was paying attention!). The leaves are now finally falling from the trees at an amazing rate, and strangely enough, my poetic side popped out after many years of suppression (not by choice, but only by lack of quiet time to actually ponder life and all that is around me) and out of my dormant little brain came a haiku. Here it is:

Leaves float to the ground
Like snowflakes in the winter
Slowly, gently down.

Ok, it’s not Robert Frost or anything, but hey, there it is. At least it proves I still have a thought process outside of accounting and child-rearing!

The window guys came on Monday to install the windows on the back of our townhome, and I must say, they did a GREAT job! Lola is so excited that we have new windows. She loves to open one of the five installed in the living room on the main floor and she and Petie exit through the window out into the courtyard, then back into the house, then back into the courtyard… watching her reminded me of the irony of people who buy their kids all kinds of toys to keep them entertained vs. the people who just hand the child a life-sized cardboard box and allow their imaginations to soar. What was a necessary home improvement for me became the giant cardboard box for Lola. It was fun to watch her, although I had to insist on her wearing shoes so she wouldn’t step on a nail or shard of metal or glass, since the crew was not yet finished with the job. Petie was on his own with the footwear issue. I can’t imagine a cat in shoes or socks, but it’s an amusing thought.

Petie the cat has proven to be a truly wonderful addition to our family. I’m glad I relented on returning him to his former owners because of his James Bond-like escapes into the woods. It was getting tiresome (not to mention worrisome) going out every evening at 10pm to entice the little fuzz-ball to come back in the house to eat and return to captivity. We had to do some creative solutions at times since Fuzzy, the cat from down the street, had taken up homestead in the bushes behind our driveway and followed us everywhere. We knew Petie well enough to know that if he saw us with another cat he wouldn’t come down out of the woods. Once we showed Fuzzy the cat carrier, she took off for the hills, so to speak. It was an effective way to eliminate any interference in getting Petie back home.

He seems to have settled in quite well now and really has quite a bit of fun exploring every corner of the house. He is shy no more! We bought some spongy balls from the pet store and he and Lola can play “ball-wall bouncy” for hours. Hey, it’s what I used to do with Fritz, one of my former kitties from long ago. Fritz even had the talent of batting the ball back to me after it hit the wall, quite like the game of racquetball, and quite often would carry the ball back and drop it so we could play again. And they say a cat can’t be taught tricks!! Lola is hoping that Petie will learn to do this as well.

Scooter’s left eye is now looking very weird (his right eye is blind due to a detached retina from long ago but now his one good eye is not so good any more) and I took him to the vet again to have it checked. They said it was pus, maybe due to an infection since he also had a fever. They prescribed some drops for his eye and also some fluids to administer since he was still a bit dehydrated. I’m hoping this will help him feel better.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hiss No More

Last night Lola and I witnessed the most touching thing! Petie, who has been intermittently ignoring and hissing at Scooter for the past however many weeks we have had him, almost to the point where I was about to again re-name him Kiss & Hiss, suddenly went up to Scoo and rubbed the top of his head on Scooter’s shoulder, then proceeded to lay down in front of Scoo with his tummy up!! WOW!! That is the most declarative way I’ve ever seen a cat to show submission to another cat.
Scooter was so polite. He sat there for a few seconds as if to acknowledge Petie’s gesture, then got up and went to the food bowl. Typical!

Well, Lola and I put the finishing touches on her Science project poster. I hope she has fun presenting her report. She seemed happy to write notes on her index cards to assist through the presentation. It’s so amazing how she did this - - I had translated her report into Russian so she could more easily write the main points on her note cards. She read a paragraph in Russian, then translated it to English and wrote her ‘phonetic’ version in English to present to the class. She did have a little difficulty with some bigger words and concepts, but with a little help, she did just fine. Then we rehearsed the speech and demo, and she seemed confident she would do just fine.

There are moments where I’m so proud of her for her hard work (of which this is a perfect example) as well as moments where my frustration of her flippancy towards homework is at the max (which is, sadly to say, the majority of the time).

Patience, Jill, patience….

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Day of Spills

This morning I was walking to the cafeteria at my office and upon entering the stairwell I found a large puddle of coffee and some other type of drink all over the floor on the landing, along with two empty cups. It happens every so often, since the doors to the main stairs are so heavy as to require quite a bit of force to open, along with the fact that the door does not have a window to alert anyone entering the main stairs to approaching (and totally unsuspecting) people bearing food and beverage…

Once in the cafeteria, I was greeted by a large pile of bacon in the middle of the floor that someone had dropped. Okay….

Then when I went to get my cup of decaf for the day, I found that someone had spilled their coffee in that area as well…

Is today National Klutz Day and no one told me? I thought I was the poster child for that organization!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Blood Bank

Giving blood is one of the things I have done over the years as a voluntary habit to help the community. However, after my experience today at the mobile blood bank bus I may have to ponder an alternate way to help my community in the future. Without going into too much detail for those readers who are somewhat queasy just hearing that I actually LIKE to give blood, I’ll just say they did quite a number on my poor arm yesterday due to a number of reasons, none of which I believe were within my own control. I am sporting a lovely bruise on the inside crook of my left arm that is approximately two inches wide by three inches long and has every color of the rainbow present. Not only that, I’m dealing with quite a bit of pain in the arm and I’m not sure if it’s because I slept in a weird position last night or because the blood bus people mangled my arm. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be frequenting the Red Cross or any other affiliate of Dracula’s crew in the future. Lola says “YAAAY,” because she thinks it’s gross to give blood.