Archive for September, 2007

Haircut – or not

I had a hair appointment this morning. I was running late, and I landed up going in the gray knit drawstring pants and old t-shirt I’d slept in. Yes, I realize that’s pathetic.

As I was getting my shampoo, I noticed a picture of a woman with a darling haircut on the wall. (Yes, there’s lots of those.) So, by the time I was in the chair for my cut, I’d decided I wanted that hair (actually, that entire head, if that’s possible). The stylist said I could certainly have that hair style, but it’d mean I was not getting my hair cut as that style was longer than my current one (which I picked out some months ago from a picture on the opposite wall).

So, once again, I’m in one of my transitional styles. I’ll apparently never learn. I acknowledged to the stylist that in a few months, I’d probably be pointing to the extremely short haircut on the opposite wall again, and getting all my hair cut off again. I’ll realize that having hair that’s not short means using complicated and time-consuming implements like a hairdryer.

But, for now, I have a short haircut growing out into a longer haircut.

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Ghosts and the Gate to Hell

If any of you weren’t already convinced I’m crazy… besides the MANY cats in the house, there are also ghosts/spirits/whatever you want to call them.

I bought my house in 2004. It’s an old house, best guess built in 1898. When the flooring was torn up, we found newspapers dated in 1917. The first odd thing I noticed was what my friends deemed the “Gate to Hell”. A mysterious medicine cabinet in a wall in the basement for apparently no reason. The wall suddenly juts inward at that point, and the basement suddenly narrows. No idea what was behind those walls. You can see pipes, etc. disappearing behind the walls. My friends were convinced opening the medicine cabinet would result in bees flying out, just like in the movie Candyman. We wondered what could be behind the walls (besides bees) – dead bodies? bags of money? (I hoped for bags of money.)

Gate to Hell

Mysterious walls in the basement

From the time I moved in, there were odd occurrences. Nothing horrific. No unexplained blood dripping from walls, no green ooze… just odd little things. Items would be moved. For example, a card I had placed on the counter would be upside down.

I’m not the only person who’s seen or heard things. Once, a woman was here when my battery-operated Kung Fu hamster suddenly came to life and started singing. She looked at me, hoping for an explanation – but I had none. Another time, a friend was over when my alarm system suddenly said “System hello”. Again, she waited for an explanation – and I had none. The alarm had never done that before. It said “System hello” one more time, then “System goodbye”. It’s never done it since.

I’ve heard and seen other things. My cats have sat staring at closet doors and growling – but when I open the door, there’s nothing there. I’ve seen one of the cats playing, as though with an invisible toy. As I watched, I distinctly heard a little girl’s voice say “Hello?” I’ve felt a man’s presence and heard his low voice.

The ghosts also get upset sometimes when I oversleep. I’ve had alarms go off in other rooms, rooms I never use from alarm clocks I never set. Once I was in bed when I saw the sliding closet doors move back and forth. I figured one of the cats had gotten shut inside (again), so I got up to let them out. When I opened the closet door, nothing was inside. I went back to bed and an alarm clock in a spare room went off.

I’ve gotten used to the ghosts. They don’t bother me. Unfortunately, I’ve gotten SO used to them, I’m prone to say things to coworkers like: “Oh, the ghosts got me up early today”.

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I was at a friend’s Sunday, and she happened to have some gymnastics on the television. I’ve always found gymnastics fascinating. How can they do those things? I can barely do a push up, on my knees… yet these people are capable of lifting their entire bodies on to their hands, do flips, pull themselves up on rings or bars… it amazes me.

I dreamed of being able to do the most simple gymnastics when I was young – spent hours in the yard attempting cartwheels or flips. My cartwheels were pathetic. (Definitely not as impressive if your legs are not straight.) My flips always ended the same way – with me flat on my back, all the wind knocked out of me.

We did have a gymnastics component of our physical education (PE) class. I grew up in a very small town, and went to a very small school. There were a total of eight girls in my PE class. We didn’t have real gymnastics equipment. We used portable scaffolding for pull ups. One day, our coach knelt on all fours to act as a pummel horse. (I’m sure this would be fodder for a lawsuit if it happened today.) He wanted us to run toward him, and planting our hands in his lower back, do a flip over him. He assured us it’d be easy with the additional height of his back. None of us volunteered to go first.

He lured us with the enticement of extra credit. I bit. I was always eager for extra credit in PE. I hated to blow my “A” average because of lousy PE grades. I ran toward him, planted my hands in his lower back – and flipped over, landing on my back, all the wind knocked out of me. None of the other girls would try it.

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Tigger II: Eye of the Tigger

Tigger came for his second stay at “Camp Lintee Bean”. Tigger’s a VERY large (18 pound), VERY brave, and VERY smart cat. His first visit is summarized here.

Once again, Tigger was NOT happy to be here. Tigger loves “his” people, but basically hates everyone else. He was on Xanex for his stay. The sedative didn’t make him a lot easier to handle, and I was still unsuccessful attempting to test his blood sugar – but his appetite stayed good and there wasn’t the vomiting of last time, so it helped.

I went up before bed the first night and just used the shield (plastic safety gate) to open the door and turn the light out… he screamed at me and tried to jump over the shield to eat me.

The next morning I “geared up” (jeans, sweatshirt, shield… I had forgotten the gauntlet gloves in his room). I entered… he screamed and tried to jump over the shield… he couldn’t get over the shield after several attempts, and I was trying to “herd” him to the squeeze cage (covered with pillowcases so it would hopefully look reassuring). He decided since he couldn’t get over the shield, he would just collapse on the floor showing his belly.

So, I kind of “nudged” his collapsed body with the shield toward the squeeze cage and after much protesting and yelling, he went in and I could shut the door.

He managed to turn himself around facing the other direction, and yelled at me.

I gave him a few treats (reward for going in his squeeze cage), then scooped his litter box, etc. then “squeezed” the one cage wall closer to him to give him his insulin shot.

It was a battle of wills at first. He’d refuse to go in the cage, I’d herd him into a corner and nudge the cage closer until he had no choice, or use the cage to “catch” his head in his descent from a jump and nudge him in. One morning, he did manage to jump over the cage and bite my wrist but my BiteBuster extreme gauntlet gloves weren’t punctured. Worth every penny.

However, after a few days, it became routine. He’d make a few attempts to bite me, then go in the cage voluntarily. I regret being unable to test his blood sugar, but I managed best I could.

I have made Tigger a star of YouTube:

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Yes, it happened again. It’d been raining the entire week, off and on. Thursday morning, I noted the back yard was saturated and had misgivings, but went off to work anyway. It began storming heavily while I was at work.

I had to wade through some streets flooded up to my knees to get home. As I stood on one corner waiting for the light to change, lightening struck the stoplight pole and nearly scared me to death.

I was hopeful as I walked toward the house, and saw the street wasn’t as flooded as many had been. But, I opened the gate into standing water. My entire back yard was flooded, water about a foot deep on the patio… probably two feet of water in the basement. After calling 911, then 911 again, then the electric company and none able to help, nearing hysteria, I chanced electrocution and waded down there to get Kimmi (a friend’s cat staying with me) and Fleur (a foster cat).

Kimmi had climbed up in window ledge and (smart girl) quickly went into the carrier I offered her. I moved her to the guest bedroom. Poor Fleur had gone into her cage, and I hadn’t left the top (ceiling) door open, so only so high she could go… but thankfully she was a bit damp but unharmed. She quickly climbed out the top door when I opened it and was reluctant to get into the carrier, but I got her in and put her in the guest bathroom.

To top it off, Tigger (friend’s cat) was scheduled to come the next night. I had to evict my two princesses from the den and clear it out for him. (Tigger HATES me. There’s a post regarding his first stay here.)

I took the next day off work (another great vacation day) and built barricades of cat litter and styrofoam coolers in case it rained again. I don’t know that they’d do any good, as most likely water comes up through the drains, but I felt I needed to do something… of course the minute I finished my little project, the sun came out.

I wish I’d procrastinated a while more on replacing the furnace, having the washing machine repaired, etc. Now I have repairs to do again, some for a second time and some for a first time. One of the freezers isn’t working, and I’ve tried to salvage as much of the raw pet food as I could, but some was lost.

My friend Heather graciously gave up a Sunday to help me clean. It went better this time, as so much was lost and not replaced in the first flood, and we’ve got a better system. It’s still dirty, but it’s better. The rooms aren’t yet usable until I can get someone in to repair doors, etc.

My friend Barb put it well. I called her almost immediately to let her know Kimmi was okay. As she said, “The cats are okay, the rest is details.” She’s right.

Water was starting to recede when I took this picture:

flooded basement

Water had already receded when I took these:

flooded basementflooded basement

My temporary barricade (you can kind of see the water line on the door, just under the doorknob):

basement barricade

basement barricade

basement barricade

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