January 10th, 2009 § 0

I don’t know if I’m slaphappy today, but this site cracks me up way more than it should.

Especially this:

[youtube y18EcgSVYNw nolink]

And this, despite that I feel for this poor creature:

[youtube JB4Z0LNGBPY nolink]

And the winner of the “I can’t believe someone spends their time doing this” and the “Where do I sign up” prize goes to the rating system:

Rated for cuteness on a scale of 1-5. (5 being the cutest)
Rated for sleepiness on a scale of 1-5. (5 being the sleepiest)

P.S. Baby humans included.

It’s raining again…

May 30th, 2008 § 0

Literally and figuratively.

So it seems that Ziggy’s regimen of high-nutrient prescription cat food and daily dose of subcutaneous fluids have slowed his kidney and organ failure and extended his time with us a bit more than we’d expected.  He’s still hanging in there.  Just when we’ve gotten used to that whole routine, it seems that Maxwell, kitty #2, has begun to show signs of age, and we’re looking at treatment for hyperthyroidism and possible diabetes that will likely result in a daily medication ritual for the rest of his life and potential surgery.  I have only gently shared with Alli that he’s a little bit sick and we will probably have to give him some medicine, and she was nearly devastated.  Maxwell is her beloved, her touchstone, and the thought of any danger to him or the facing of his aging process is more than she can bear.  Add her pain to the mix, and the whole thing is a bit more than I feel like bearing too.

And, not that we could bear to elect anything other than to care for them, the costs of pet ownership continue to rack up to astronomical levels.   The concept of pet health insurance is starting to look a lot less radical.


May 5th, 2008 § 0

So the short version to accompany the previous post is that Alli broke her wrist falling from the rings on the playground at school. There’s a slightly longer version that involves Mommy deciding whether or not to become “one of those parents” who makes a fuss about having more adult oversight and enforcement of safer playground rules as well as a harder stance on “bullying” (or maybe “pre-bullying” as it applies to first-graders), but I’m going to save that until after I’ve processed it a bit more and gotten past the protective “my kid got hurt” phase.

Alli is handling this whole thing so much better than either Andrew or I would have ever predicted. I feel in many ways so warmed by her sense of confidence in herself and her resilience, and it makes many years of trying to shepherd her through and out of a very alternate universe (one in which she would break down at the prospect of being touched by a fly, literally) feel so worthwhile. In many ways, I think Andrew and I are now having to find our resilience as parents, and expand our vision and expectations of our own child to meet hers. I also think that maybe having an actual reasonably serious injury has made her realize that it wasn’t nearly as bad as she had envisioned, and she’s now running around a bit like a superhero, flaunting her sling as a sort of badge of honor. I swear, something about her even LOOKS tougher.

Today was the 2nd annual “Blessing of the Animals” at the Unitarian church. Last year having been Roo’s turn, this year Alli carted both Max and Ziggy (the latter of which is most clearly in need of blessing at this stage of the game) with great enthusiasm and pride.


Nothing beats watching a girl in a sling push a cat stroller that has serious steering limitations with her one good arm, crashing into things left and right because it’s more important that she not accept anyone’s offers of help.


Inside the sanctuary, this scene by the chalice cracked me up:


Although not as much as this picture from a neighbor. After catching up with them on the lawn with the cats and Alli’s slinged self, we heard about their gerbil who had broken its front leg and actually gotten a cast. The best pic ever award goes to:



April 17th, 2008 § 0

Alli and Zig

We picked Ziggy up from the vet Monday morning. After a weekend of IV hydration, he was a teensy bit stronger. After a few more days at home where we (translated: me, the only Bernstein who can cope with needles) give him daily subcutaneous fluids, he seems to be at least reasonably comfortable, able to eat, purring in spades and moving around without falling down so much. It’s clear that he is suffering kidney failure and that this isn’t going to be getting better. We simply have to monitor him day by day and assess what we think his quality of life is. It could be days, weeks, even months.

As often happens in this world, I think the child here is leading the way: in processing all of this, Alli has expressed a desire to celebrate Ziggy’s life. She’s working on plans for a “100th birthday party” (or whatever his 18 human years translate to). During our first burst of actual spring weather this week, we took him outside for a bit to let his fur feel the wind and to accommodate Alli’s request to get a picture of her and Ziggy together. It was a wonderful moment, and we got to see sparks of the “old Ziggy” peeking through.


April 13th, 2008 § 0

It’s been a hard weekend.

My beloved iPhone and wallet were stolen today. With a little help from my own carelessness at forgetting my purse for a few minutes in the Kohl’s girls’ changing room during an unsuccessful quest for a new pair of Jeans for the ever-growing Alli.

We spent the better part of the afternoon trying to do damage control (getting little to no assistance from Kohl’s, who has effectively no security camera system that I can tell, filing a police report, canceling credit cards, changing passwords, disabling the phone service, etc.). I will spend another few hours this week probably tracking down things that are scheduled to automatically bill to my debit card, which had to be canceled. I am without any access to funds for probably 7-10 days until my new debit card arrives. The financial impact tally to date is about $700. Of course, our insurance deductible is $1000.

And the person who helped him or herself also was so kind as to rip open the packaging of a $50 box of printer ink that I had intended to return to Target. Make that tally $750.

About 2 months ago Andrew’s debit card number was stolen (not the card, but the number, likely off a purchase record from somewhere), and our checking account was depleted after several thousand dollars of fraudulent airline ticket purchases. We were fortunate to have that cleared up and the funds back within about 2 weeks, but the scab from that wound feels a bit raw right now.

2 weeks ago, during our spring break travels, we received an as-yet-unknown fine for a “ticket” from the Indiana State Police as part of their “Move Over Law” crackdown. A piggybacking group of police vehicles were pulled over on the right side of the road for the sole purpose of catching folks who didn’t move over to pass them. We were on the verge of getting off at a right-hand exit, only probably a few hundred yards away — making a full move to the left lane not the world’s most appealing choice. Admittedly neither of us know about the law requiring a complete lane change “if traffic permits”, but Andrew is one of the most safety-conscious highway drivers I know. He saw the police vehicle on the right side of the road, moved about halfway out of the lane to give space, assuming this was more than safe given that there were no people outside of any vehicle at the time. He figured, as I would have, that he’d probably be a greater traffic risk if he had to quickly get back in the right lane to get off of the exit. According to the officer who pulled us over, she saw him move but because he didn’t officially cross the lane line fully, it wasn’t “enough”. She fully acknowledged her mission, to ticket as many drivers as possible. The “ticket”, by the way, is just a printout saying that the real ticket and fine will be arriving within 4-6 weeks. Because they were just far too busy catching criminals like us every 3 minutes to have their time wasted issuing REAL tickets. I contacted the county who issued the ticket, and they were unwilling to provide any information about the ticket or the fine, other than to say that there would definitely be an over $100 fee for “court costs” (regardless of whether we go to court or not) on TOP of the actual fine. We have no idea what the damage is going to be, although we both sense big $$, or whether we have a leg to stand on in court protest.

In the scheme of life, all of this is a drop in the bucket. I know that many people are so much less fortunate than we are, and that many people suffer far more extensive violence and violation than this. And as I told Alli, who was pretty affected by the stolen phone and wallet debacle, “things” are just that, and the fact that we are all safe and together is what is important. But the anger and sadness over both is proving difficult for me to shed. I’m angry about the ticket situation, not because I don’t fully support the law and its intent, but because I feel unfairly targeted, and I believe in my heart that we (Andrew in particular) are always respectful of others’ safety on the road and in particular that Andrew did not violate the intent of the law here. I’m also angry because this, along with several significant financial hits that we’ve taken recently, is likely to completely topple an already-way-over-budget life situation. I’m angry in general, at this and at the theft, and just really, really sad. Sad that so many people in this world just seem to be lacking fundamental human compassion for others. And of course I’m furious with myself for not learning my lesson the many, MANY other times I’ve forgotten something of value somewhere out of distraction or carelessness. Still, I remind myself, drop in the bucket. Far worse things happen every day to so many others. Do I even have a right to complain?

What doesn’t so much feel like a drop in the bucket is that Ziggy (our eldest cat, the cat Andrew and I adopted together as our wedding gift to each other 18 years ago) is dying. Neither one of us really wants to say it that way, but it’s the reality. After several days of noticing significant decline, a vet visit yielded the diagnosis of severe dehydration and likely kidney failure. Neither of us (nor our vet) were ready to throw in the towel just yet, not yet convinced that he couldn’t be made more comfortable and be given a bit more time without suffering, so he has spent the weekend at the vet on IV fluids. We are to pick him up tomorrow and learn how to give him fluids at home, await a second round of blood test results, and take it day by day from there. Probably going to be another major financial hit in the long run (we’re already probably $800 in on this round thus far), although the money seems impossible to factor into decisions involving life and quality of life for a soul that is small and furry, but a real and very dear part of our family. We’re all sad. I’ve had several gentle but honest conversations with Alli about Ziggy’s age and health, and prepared her for an understanding of euthanasia, something which may be in the cards at some point. They are difficult conversations to have, not just for Andrew and I but for Alli, who is so bonded with her pets and who has seen more than her fair share of loss in the last year or two.

It’s been a hard weekend.

Cat: 50, Julie and Printer: 0

March 10th, 2008 § 0

Can somebody please tell this psychotic kitten creature of ours that the printer is not a terrorist intruder?

Roo vs. Printer

Working from home presents a rather large challenge when every time the fax/printer makes a teeny tiny noise or dares to feed a sheet of paper through, Roo mounts a full-on offensive.  I have actual scars from intervening in the battle, as does the printer.

P.S. Alli, one more reason why, upon bringing your donations to the shelter this weekend, we rejected your “puppy dog face” pleas to bring your newfound friend “Abe” home.  I’m up to my ears in feline management.

Alli and Abe

PetSmart Santa

December 16th, 2007 § 0

PetSmart Santa

Dirty jobs

September 2nd, 2007 § 0

We’ve been testing a chore and allowance plan with Alli. Mind you, this is a child that is a walking tornado and needs a LOT of not so gentle encouragement to simply clear a walking path through her stuff.

And yet, while “getting” to scoop the cat litter today, pretty much one of the ickiest jobs in a house with 3 male cats, Alli professes:

“You know, I think this job is so fun that I shouldn’t even get a quarter for doing it.”

The holy grail

July 24th, 2007 § 1

Alli recently earned money assisting me with a big project. It allowed her to have enough funds to purchase an item she has coveted for months, since spotting it at Target and being told “no” about 6,000 times.

When it arrived in the mail, I thought she was going to pee in her pants before I had a chance to open it.

I introduce you to the elusive “Rescue Pet Wake Me Up Spaniel”:

Rescue Pet

This adorable puppy is so thankful that you’ve adopted him; he wants to do something for you in return. Just set the clock in his collar and when the time comes, he’ll bark until you wake up. Need just a few more minutes of sleep? Pat your puppy’s little head to activate the snooze feature.

* Includes one Rescue Pet Spaniel with a built-in alarm clock
* Puppy comes with one adoption certificate
* Program him to wake you up with lifelike puppy sounds
* When you set the alarm, he lays down to sleep until it’s time to wake you
* When it’s time to wake you, he sits up and barks
* Pat his head to activate the snooze features
* Alarm has three modes: soft bark, excited bark and loud bark

Lovely, eh?

Phrase of the day

July 15th, 2007 § 6

“Alli, you just can’t tape things onto the cats.”

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