Archive for October, 2005

happy Samhain!

happy Halloween, and blessed Samhain to those who observe!

i’m off to Round #1 of trick or treating with Little Man in a few minutes, then it’s dinner, Round #2 with his friend who lives up the street, and homework, if i can peel him off the ceiling. 🙂


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i was pleased to hear from him, as always, but a bit surprised by the palpable relief in his voice when i said i was fine. and several things struck me. writing that you need to clear your head, then being silent for a week? could be a bit ominous. and bs’s observation that it’s altogether too easy to lose contact with people is true. my thanks to him for calling, catching up, and reminding me of the importance of friendships.

it also hit me after that that it’s been far too long since i’ve talked to my best friend. she and i have swapped voice mails, but that’s hardly the same as a good sit down, is it? got me to pondering how our lives change, and for what reasons, and promising myself to drive down there this week. (Chica Beanie, if you’re reading this – i *will* be in touch, and i owe you at least a lunch and some banana bread, not to mention some Serious Hanging Out Time.)

the silence, by the way, was nothing ominous at all. more, i’ve been feeling craptacular this past week, with all sorts of sinus problems. hopefully, i haven’t picked up anything from hubby, but who knows. anyway, i’ve spent a lot of time shoving my head under a pillow, trying to ignore the problem, standing in a shower inhaling eucalyptus vapors, or downing sinus pills.

and then, there’s been the switch from cable to DSL. you’d think, since DSL is no longer a new technology, that installing it would be routine. and you’d be wrong, at least for this household. *sigh* after hubby jumped thru umpteen hoops to prove it wasn’t our problem, V3r!z@n did get their collective asses in gear and send out a tech, who spent the better (worse?) part of a day troubleshooting, splicing, rewiring, and probably swearing under his breath. fortunately for us, the upshot is a reliable (knock on wood) and perky DSL connection.

so the silence came largely from motivation and opportunity not coinciding.

mmm. so. other developments. i was starting to feel a bit guilty about taking over Little Man’s pet, snoozey. he’s only here half the week, and has the attention span of the average 7 year old; i don’t mind that most of her care was my responsibility. but i did feel badly that she was more responsive to me than LM, and that i was spending most of my free time hanging out with her. so i decided to do the reasonable thing: get my own hamster. 🙂 because that makes sense, right? also, i’d been keeping my eye on this little fellow for a month or so. he’d arrived at the pet store the same time as snoozey, but nobody had adopted him. and it just felt wrong to leave him there. introducing alphonse pigwidgeon – pig, for short. he’s a Campbell’s dwarf, and immensely cute.

sadly, there’s a second chapter to snoozey’s story. i’d set up a litter ‘pod’ for her, which she used religiously. LM went to clean it before heading off to school; that was fine. i didn’t double check to make sure it was latched shut when he was done. that wasn’t fine.

snoozey decided to go exploring, and found her way out thru the pod. the spray of litter along the table and across the floor pointed to a successful landing… and that’s the last we’ve seen of her, altho not for lack of trying. after an unsuccessful search, hubby and i hid the problem from LM the first night, and set out all sorts of hamster traps.

a hamster trap involves food, a bucket, and stairs – as in, take a bucket (or other similarly sized object, like a wastebasket), put some tasty, good smelling hamster treats in the bottom, and build a hamster-sized staircase up the side, generally out of books. we were hopeful that she might come back, and that we wouldn’t have to break the news to LM. sadly, it didn’t work the first night. he caught on the next morning; i was brushing my teeth when i snapped to attention, because something about hubby’s tone told me he was having The Talk with LM.

fortunately, LM seems to have taken it fairly well. he was sad, for sure. but he was able to verbalize why he was sad, and talk about how he was feeling. as for snoozey, we’ve moved the bait around, varied the treats, built new staircases… and keep hoping. mostly, i hope she’s found a safe place. and i’m surprised by how heartbroken i am over this charming, sweet little rodent.

one good thing is that, while strat is pleased that he’s now top of the chain when it comes to handing out food, i know for a fact that he had nothing to do with snoozey’s disappearance. (well… i have my suspicions as to who left the pod open…) seriously, strat is devotedly uninterested in the hamsters. he watches, he sniffs, but at the very geriatric age of 16, he could care less about the hamsters. that is, he could care less unless they’re opening a can of food for him.

back to the hamsters… LM did take it well. and of his own volition, he asked me when i picked him up this past Friday if we could go to the pet store. i asked him if he was ready for a new hammie, or if he’d like to wait a few days. ‘nah. i miss snoozey. can i get a new hamster? and we’ll make sure she can’t escape this time.’ so off we went. i’d spec’d out the local stores just in case LM asked. we stopped at one that had a few dwarf hammies who looked a little like snoozey – no go. on the the next store, where we held every damn hamster until we found the right one. she’s been incredibly docile from the outset, which is great, and LM is better at handling her than i am. i’m pleased to introduce Hammie Hammie James Pointy Ears – James, for short, and yes, she’s a girl.

*sigh* so much going on… eh. hey, remember me mentioning new sneakers? well, i also decided it was high time to spend some money on clothes for me, without feeling guilty. i hit a good sale, and got several shirts, sneakers, and these very lovely sparkly shoes. i swear, it’s been ages since i got anything for me that indulged the Inner Girlie Girl. and it’s not even like i’m all that girlie, it’s just that… with a mortgage, and insurance, and sports/school/aftercare for LM, and groceries, and hubby’s business, and looking for jobs… well, i tend to forget that the occasional indulgence is healthy. if i don’t look out for myself first, i’m not of much use to others.

frighteningly, for me, strat is one of the ones who needs me in a big way these days. (he, by the way, doesn’t care for the shoes. mostly, i think he doesn’t care.) i noticed recently that he’s been ignoring his dry food, and yowling constantly when i walk into the kitchen, as if i’d feed him wet food at the drop of a hat. when i took him in for a nail trim the other day, i asked the tech to take a quick peek at his teeth.

lord almighty. i could see the hole in his tooth – the one that he would let her look at.

not only does he need that tooth taken out, he needs oral surgery, and may need other teeth taken out, and i’m crossing my fingers that the infection hasn’t gotten to the bone, because as strong at a cat’s jaw seems when they’re fighting you about taking a pill, the bone is actually very fragile, and could end up fracturing if he lands wrong jumping off the couch.

as scary as all of this is, there are two things for which i’m grateful. one – he seems immensely healthy outside of dental issues. two – i managed to qualify for a payment plan that will cover up to $2K of expenses. i’m a bit whingey about not doing this for stanzi, but in her case, the vet couldn’t guarantee that she’d survive kidney/liver treatment, or that she wouldn’t be in pain. for strat, it’s a bit more straightforward, and i’m hopeful.

feh. oh! other big news: we’re landlords! it’s a huge relief to have that done and over with, at least for now, and more details later. plus tons of other news, but for now, i’ll leave you with this: does anyone else think that it’s just wrong to have found these underpants in the boys’ department of a local store? and yes, that does say Hummer.

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i’ve been thinking about katherine today, and sending her virtual ‘break a leg’ wishes, and ‘huzzah!’s, as she’s worried about her performance. she’s gonna knock ’em dead, for sure. 🙂

spent a lot of time tonight driving around in the rain. i’m trying to deal with a myriad of stresses, reset my sleep schedule because of insomnia, and look out for my hubby, who is really sick. it should come as no surprise to him that i would say he is an excellent caregiver, and an immensely fussy patient. it rips me apart to hear him moaning and twitching, and know that there is nothing i can do, or that he will let me do. so. i left tonight, to drive around, browse in Newbury Comics (and realize that i’ve been living in Immensely White Bred (Bread?) Suburbia for way too long), hit a few pet stores, and then go to the pharmacy, to get some prescriptions and pills. after a few hours in the car, in the rain, driving slowly and listening to jazz… i felt a little more relaxed.

speaking of pets, i think i may have a bit of a hamster obsession. 😉 truth be told, it’s a bit of a pet obsession; i want to bring home all sorts of animals and give them good homes. in particular, tho, i’m all about hammie hammies. hell, i spent 45 minutes in the bulk food section of a local organic store, picking out the ingredients for snoozy’s custom built trail mix. !! the woman at the register looked askance at my 15 or 20 bags, with maybe an ounce each in them… but when i told her i was trying to make a trail mix for my hamster? she melted, and said i had one very lucky hamster.

this makes me feel vaguely guilty, on some level, because Little Man wanted to get hammie hammie to have a pet of his own, and i feel like i’ve sort of hijacked her. granted, he’s only here half the week, and his focus is on a lot of things in addition to her. however, i want to make sure, when he’s here next, that i make a point of working with Little Man to help him bond with hammie hammie, and reinforce that she’s his pet.

as i’ve been thinking more about animals lately, i worry about pets in stores. to wit: there’s a store i’ve been driving by for years, that i thought might be a great locally owned place. i finally stopped in last week…and ohmigod, i wanted to take every damn animal home with me. the fish, the reptiles, the hamsters, the birds – the canary that pleaded with me for liberation – the bunny in the carry case half again too small for him… i would like to think that the people running the place are doing the best that they can. but when your impulse is to take everyone home with you? there is something wrong with the picture. in some ways, i wish i’d never stopped in there. (and yes, i will be calling the appropriate people.)

anyway, back to hamsters… there’s one Campbells dwarf who has been languishing in the local store (not the scary one) for at least a month. and i’m worried that s/he is too old to be adopted. so, i think i may go and get him next week. that way, i’ve ‘rescued’ an animal, i have my own hammie, and LM will have his own pet.

on another note, i’m feeling optimistic about The Future. near future, at least; i can only figure out what will happen in the next few weeks. but the big things … well, there’s movement on the rental and employment fronts.

also, Projects. as in: i have two Project To Be Done, that i feel pretty good about taking on.

Project One: repairing the faucets in both tubs in our place. both bathrooms, the tub faucets are dripping, and i cringe at the sound, because i picture our water bill. after doing a bit of research, it seems that finding the water shutoff in the basement, determining the type of faucet, and rebuilding/repacking the faucet handles (likely a washer issue, or maybe a rusting stem) will resolve the issue.

Project Two: making good use of my new sneakers. i got some new sneaks the other day, after deciding that it would not be such a Bad Thing to spend a little moolah on clothes for me. and then i thought about my town. every time i drive around a new place, i nearly drive off the road, checking out houses, yards, gardens… and so, 2+2=5. i’ve decided that over the next year, i will walk every street in town. i’m working on finding/printing a good map that i can mark up, to chart my progress, and am immensely excited about learning more about my home town.

bleargh. did i mention the insomnia?

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so, i recently set up a bin cage for hamula. (remind me to post photos of the latest rev of her modular cage, by the way… it’s, shall we say, overengineered, courtesy of my addictive nature. 😉 )

it’s a $5 bin from Targè, with wood shavings as carpet, a climby toy thing, a Ferris wheel, and various treats. i also made sure that there was a water bottle, hung over the edge of the bin.

ohmilord… she spent the first 15 or 20 minutes in the bin trying to escape. climbing up and over the climby thing, launching herself at the side of the bin – and then, best of all, trying to swing, Tarzan-like, from the water bottle spout up and over the wall.

if i only had shots of her gripping onto the spout for dear life, belly showing, paws all akimbo… and then dropping into the bedding, and scrambling for more.

have i mentioned i love my hammie hammie? she is the cutest thing going (short of my latest niece, of course).

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spent some good cuddle time with Little Man today. also got to take him to his first Little League tryout… and with the sun and weather today, it was hard to believe, looking around the bleachers and the field, that the kids out there wouldn’t be playing next week. leaves a nice shivery anticipation for the spring (and took some of the sting out of The Other Game today).

made a nice dinner for my family tonight, as well as last night. in fact, LM deemed that my meatloaf was better than dad’s (but shhhhhhh… it’s a secret.)

found a few new things that hamula likes to snack on, and spent some fun time observing her habits. (LM asked why hamula, when he’s named her snoozey. ‘well, she’s awake at night, like Dracula. so… hamula.’ made him laugh.)

being able to help others.

have a few more days to get bulbs in the ground, in preparation for next spring. also: have found out why the rose plants are dead. Trouble Cat from across the street has commandeered the bird bath as her water dish… and then pees under the bird feeder, on the roses. as least it isn’t anything i did. 😉

spent some good time on the phone with my sister the other night, hashing out a few things (as in, i hashed, she listened), and generally catching up.

have gotten several promising inquiries about my availability for work.

am developing a new fund raiser for the school, and feeling pretty good about it.

woke up on the right side of the grass every damn day this week, as did all those i love and care about.

relished the recent crispness to the air that comes with fall in New England.

had a ball watching LM hack/carve away at some of the apples he picked the past Wednesday on a field trip. he wanted to peel something, so i gave him a peeler and aimed him towards the bag of apples… then had a flash of dried apple heads, and handed him all sorts of Implements Of Destruction. well worth the cleaning up, says i. 🙂

laughed right out loud the other day, several times, over comments from LM. the one that sticks is about costumes. (side note, which i may already have covered: Halloween this year looks to be very promising, and has been a much lovelier negotiation with TEW than in the past. LM should have a bonzer year.)

me: so, you still thinking about Zorro?

he: nah. i’m gonna be Sponge Bob.

me: (choking, as his trick or treat buddy loves all things Sponge Bob with a passion) … okay. how come?

he: well, he’s a sponge, right? with holes all over. so when my bag is full, i can just stuff the hard candies in the holes. (this came complete with visual demonstrations)

me: *snort*choke* good thinking, LM. but i think we could just give you a bigger bag.

he: oh. okay!

crossing my fingers, and having a good sense that Things Are Moving Forward, on several fronts.

finally getting the land line repaired, and killing the static! this, despite the ‘assurances’ from V*r!z@n that they had tested everything, and it was all good. when the tech who took hubby’s followup call couldn’t hear him *over the static*… we got a tech out here the next day. and life is good. (perhaps this week, i’ll get DSL in, and can kill the cable account.)

getting as far as most of the way thru the fourth book in rereading the Harry Potter series… which means that i’m all the much closer to reading the latest book. (seems prudent to refresh a few details before diving in again.)

becoming an aunt again… and finding out that i’ll be one, all over again, soon!

having the great good fortune to be married to the greatest guy, ever, which is a gift every morning.

it’s good, i find, to review the things that are good in life, when you most often feel faced with anything but. there is much good, and many possibilities. and just in case i’ve sounded whingey lately, i figured it was good to share some of the rest of the picture.

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