Monday, October 27, 2008

Living in a pet hospital

It was a rough weekend.  My beloved Lucy developed acute blindness.  The vet was a bit perplexed Friday.  He prescribed an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics with the hope that her condition is caused either by an infection or pressure on her optic nerve.  We have an appointment Thursday with the clinic's new resident cat specialist to follow up.  Poor baby.  I must say though, it's amazing how well she gets around.  She has long been an outdoor cat, very independent, so keeping her cooped up inside in near impossible.  She came with the house, after all and lived outside her entire life before we came along.  She doesn't stray too far away and knows the turf better than we do, at ground level, so after one excruciating night trying to keep her in, we let her go.  She was gone for a few hours, then came home.  Lucy can still jump up onto the countertop where she eats, though she does give it a little extra umph and flies a little higher than needed.  It seems to be her way of making sure she hits the mark. It's raining now, so she's perched on the back of the couch as I type this.  I can tell she's frustrated and a little extra cranky.  Of course, she's been known to be grumpy even when she's perfectly healthy.  That's what we love about her.  Spunk.  You never know if she'll purr when you pet her or smack you hard enough to draw blood.  She's a calico kitty, through and through.  I hear purring right now, so I guess this is a moment of contentment.

Crawford had a seizure Friday evening.  After discovering Lucy's diminished vision, was a bit distraught and forgot to give her a night-night treat.  We think her seizures are the result of Hypoglycemia, so it's important to keep her blood sugar levels from dipping too low.   She's fine now, but those are never fun and they take a toll.

Doc the doctor dog tweaked his leg the other day and was in some pain over the weekend.  Rest and his arthritis medication have got him feeling better.  We stuck to a short walk this morning.

The bright spot is the kittens.  Even with all this, it's hard to stay miserable watching baby fur-balls play.  They make me smile.

It's raining and my asthma has improved somewhat, so I'm on the mend.  Congestion is still a problem, although with all the animal issues lately, I'm finding it to be a perk.  I can't smell the kittens' litter box and the experience of cleaning up Crawford when she makes a doody has become scent-free.  

I whipped out a story this morning, inspired by a trip to the market yesterday.  Is it any good? Don't know.

We're off to the hardware store for a yellow jacket trap.  We are inundated with them. So annoying.

A hui hou.  Aloha.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Breathing easier with healthy kitties

I took the munchkins, aka kittens to their first veterinary appointment today.  There, I learned that we have two boys and a girl. My assumption that the little shy one was female turned out to be bunk.  She is a he.  So I can't call her Pippi as in Pippi Longstocking, so I'll call him Pip as in Pip Sqeak.  Pip Squeak Todd-Niederpruem.  What do you think of that?  

They are also younger than I guessed, six-eight weeks according to the vet.  They got poked, prodded and fondled today, most of which they tolerated well (though that fecal test makes me squirm just to watch).  Anyway, they are healthy, with the small one on the skinny side but otherwise OK.  To give you an idea of their sizes, the biggest weighed in at 1.6 lbs.  Next, #2, tipped the scales at 1.3 lbs.  The bitty Pipster barely registered at half a pound! None of them would have made it at the local humane society.  Any cats admitted there under two pounds are immediately axed.  Did I mention that before?  Now, how humane is that?  How could I rescue them, only to have them offed by the cat police?

The doctor gave me some serious meds yesterday to smash my asthma symptoms and get me functioning again.  They are so potent that I can only take them for three days without swelling up like a balloon, hallucinating and growing a pair, if you know what I mean.  They're working, but I can feel the hair sprouting from my chest as I type this.  I haven't coughed in over an hour,which has been oh, so nice.  Maybe becoming a baritone is a small price to pay for a little air.

Ron picked all the ripe coffee cherry he could find today.  That's what you see in his hands above.  The gooey fruit part surrounding the bean/seed is actually sweet.  The skin is bitter. We'll probably plant these. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Feline groovy

They are growing!  On Monday, it will be one week since I brought the little kitties home.  They have since taken over the lanai.  My neighbor was kind enough to loan me a giant pen/crate she wasn't using.  Since it is suitable for a Saint Bernard, it give the little guys room for a little resting spot, food and water, litter box and a few logs I've put in their for them to climb.  I take them out several times a day to romp all across the deck, wrestling and pretending that I'm their favorite tree.  I'm still looking for a good home or homes.  I won't give them away to just anyone.  It has to be someone I trust to care for them as well as I will, and if I don't say so myself, I set a pretty high standard.  Anyway, at night, they go back into Doc's crate, which has solid sides so is much warmer.  If it gets really cold out, I'll bring the crate inside.  But this is Hawaii, so I think their fine right where they are.  I place an item called a Snuggle Safe under a fleece, then drape the front of the crate with a thick towel. They are snug as bugs in a rug all night long.  The Suggle Safe looks like a fat, pink Frisbee.  You put it in the microwave for six minutes and it gets hot.  It stays warm for nine or ten hours.  Of course, it must be covered with something.  The cats loved it in Gunnison.  I don't know what possessed me to bring it here, but I did.  Kismet, I guess.  The litter box fits in their night crate, too.  They all use it now.  I am such a good teacher.  Nah.  They just figured it out on their own.  Kitties do that.  The big kitties still aren't too happy about the youngsters being here and now completely avoid the lanai except to come in the house.  Still, they do wander by the little guys and give wary glances as they pass.  Mr. Sox still comes in to wake me up every morning about two hours earlier than I want him too.  Lucy has taken to sleeping on Ron's chair in his office.  She did that last winter for several months.  Abby sneaks in and wiggles himself between us at around 10:30 or 11 most nights and stays for a couple of hours before Ron's own wiggling irritates him enough to leave. 

About two weeks ago I came down with a cold.  Ron caught it too and his was gone in three days.  Mine, as usual, lingered on and on, developing into an upper respiratory mess.  That's asthma for ya.  It's now aggravated worse than it's been in years.  Then I got the kitties, which doesn't help at all.  It's been raining and humid, so mold is probably growing in every nook and cranny of this place, inside and out, it's nasty spored floating through the air and into my lungs. Needless to say, I'm doing my part to keep several pharmaceutical companies in business these days.

I'm a little behind with my school work.  OK, I'm a lot behind.  Tomorrow, I've gotta buckle down and write, write, write.

A hui hou.  Aloha!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Feline fine

I saw them running around in the middle of the road and I was sure they'd get squished.  There were three of them on the street, with two hiding in the bamboo.  Only these three would approach to check me out.  The other two were skittish and ran deeper into the brush. I checked at Hirano Store to see if they belonged to an employee's family (their house is the closest to where I found them) and was told that they are not too happy with the cats they have, let alone a new batch.  One car stopped as I was gathering them up and the driver suggested they were probably dumped there.  A boy on a bike said he had seen them around the road the past few days.  Their mommy was nowhere to be seen.  Usually, if babies are meowing, she'll come out.  No mommy.  They look old enough to be weened.  So, I brought these three babies home.  I don't think I can handle all of them.  Three more kitties would be a challenge in our elderly critter household.  The big cats aren't too keen to have them here.  But here they are. I went back to look for the remaining two.  I spotted a can of food someone had left, which leads me to think that they were strays and someone has been feeding them.  I left them some food, too and will be back tomorrow to search.  I'm hoping to talk my neighbor into taking one, and maybe one or two can go to the winery.  We could use a couple of kitties up there.  They seem healthy and are playful and cuddly and adorable.  As you can probably tell, I'm already falling in love with them.
There was an accident on Highway 11 going south this afternoon, which had traffic backed up from Kea'au all the way to Hilo.  I  hung out at borders for an extra half hour after doing my shopping, then crept home.

The kitties are sleeping now.  

A hui hou.  Aloha!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Visitors foreign and domestic

Yesterday, I served four Texans and two Russians at my tasting bar.  Sounds like the beginning to a joke, doesn't it?  Well it kinda is.  The Russians were struggling to understand but they seemed to know English, at least a little, so I tried to make them feel more comfortable by asking about their trip to the islands.
"How long was your flight from Moscow to Hawaii?" I asked.
"October twenty-third," he said. 
Now, this, I thought, was so damn funny that it was all I could do not to burst with laughter.  But I didn't want the guy to feel any more uncomfortable than he already did, so I bit my tongue.  Literally.  Then the lady standing next to him, a Texan, turned to the man and said, "You should drink more.  It will make your English better."  She smiled and raised her glass toward him, as if to toast.  He raised his back and said, "No good English," and she looked back at me and said, "I'm lost on him.  Totally lost."  She smiled and made a swiping move with her hand over her head. 
Today, a whole family on vacation came in and when I asked them where they were visiting us from, I expected them to say Thailand.  Instead, they said, "Texas." They were a blast.  The eldest, the grandpa I think, insisted on showing me the photos in his camera of a winery he had visited near his home in Houston. When I asked his granddaughter (or maybe daughter) at the end of the bar if she would like to join in the tasting, she said, "I can't.  I have asthma."  Now, I have asthma too and I drink wine all the time.  So I thought it was comical when the young man who might have been her brother looked at me, leaned over the bar a little and whispered, "It has nothing to do with drinking wine you know. She just always says that."
"I use an inhaler," she added, as though it was a badge of honor.
I took their picture with three different cameras before they left.

I have this old box sitting on the lanai and have considered tossing it into the recycling several times, only to find Mr. Sox enjoying it's cozy environs.  What can I do?

The cold (as in virus, not temperature) is slowly making its way out of my system.  Now, it's just a rumbling, bronchial hack.

Tomorrow's another day.  A hui hou.  Aloha!  

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Down in the dumps

I'm sick.  My stories suck.  I am uninspired, sneezing, wheezing and coughing.  Ah but a nice Kendall Jackson Meritage '04 is making the world a better place right now.

This morning, I mustered the energy to take the poochies for a walk.  As it happened, my neighbor Kathy was out for a stroll too, so we walked together.  While en-route, a we caught sight of a neighbor pulling out of his driveway.  He had adopted a dog recently, so I waved and asked, "How's Buddy?"
He said Buddy had gone home to his original owners.  They had decided they could, in fact, care for him.  
"I'm all alone now," he said. Then he launched into his story: his wife left him with nothing more than a note, the gist o which was that the thrill was gone.  He went on and on about her, as though we were his two best friends in the world, even though we hardly know the guy.  I felt for him.  I really did.  No doubt there's another side to that story.  There always is. Anyway, when he finally finished venting and drove off, Kathy and I shared one of those comical moments when you look at each other and say without saying it, "Well alrighty then."

Yes, I had such a gooey, nasty cold yesterday that I called in sick.  I should be back to the wine shop grind tomorrow.  Ooh.  Can't wait.  Hope we have lots of tour vans pull in and flood us with swarms of cheapskates who take advantage of our free wine tasting, then leave without buying anything.  I especially hope they all neglect to leave a tip. That way, we can run around like idiots trying to help them all, working our asses off for squat.  Yeah, that's always fun. What a way to run a business.  The theory I hear is that some people is better than no people.  I disagree.  That's not true if the people are costing you money.  Ah but what do I know.  I'm just a mediocre writer with a business degree.

Is it just me or is Sarah Palin more than just a little scary?  Common, Sarah.  If you're in Kuwait, who's watching Russia?  Putin's a black belt, don'tcha know?  I wonder if he can swim?

Gotta go take a shower.  I feel way too much sarcasm oozing from my pores.

A hui hou. Aloha.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cat on my lap

Picture this: It's mid-afternoon.  The sun is shining brightly.  I'm sitting at a plastic table on the lanai, my laptop open, writing.  I hear Ron in the kitchen.  He then goes into the living room and turns on the TV.  It's on for a few seconds when he says, "Wow, did you see that?"  Now, I'll admit it is a very small house.  But the lanai is not the living room.  So I say, "No, I'm not in there with you."
"I know but, I guess what I mean is that was amazing."  Then he tells me about it. I stop writing and indulge him his story.

Later: It's early evening, the light is thinning and I am back at it, there on the lanai.  Ron sticks his head through the sliding door while simultaneously cracking a can of beer.
"What are you doing?"
"Writing."  It seems obvious to me, but I answer anyway.
He then starts a conversation.  I say, "I guess I'm finished now," and close my laptop.  I probably sounded a little irritated, though not nearly so much so as he does when I bug him while he's working.  I don't do that too often, 'cause no can take 'da kine stink eye.  So I come into the house.  He's putting away some dishes (always a good thing) and I lighten up, engage and begin to tell him about the old dog Doc and I encountered on our walk, when he interrupts and says, "You know, I'm pretty busy here."  Alrighty then...

The United States Senate was certainly all over itself today with pats on the back, members congratulating each other on a job well done.  Where were they when the shit began hitting the fan months or even years ago?  Aren't they a regulatory body?  Aren't they suppose to pass laws that protect the masses from greedy, unscrupulous business people and their practices?  What will they do if the house rejects the plan again?  How do you un-pat yourself on the back?

After a beautiful day, it's now pouring rain outside.  My darling Lucy just came in, soaked.  I dried her off and she is now curled up on my lap.  She is warm and soft (if a little damp) and has her head tucked under her paw.  So despite what we hear in the news, life is good.  

A hui hou.  Aloha!