Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How do you solve a problem like Smokey Cat?

Anybody that knows me, knows how much I love animals. Dogs and cats are highest on the list, but I'll take just about anything that is not reptilian (turtles and tortoises excluded) or that has four or fewer legs.

Smokey Cat didn't start out as our cat - okay my cat.

He started out as one of three cats the little old lady across the street from our house had.

She had a caregiver that let her expectant daughter and soon to be daddy son-in-law come stay in the little old lady's house, without asking if it was okay.

Fast forward to a year later, when we were convinced that the son-in-law was selling drugs out of the backyard and the little old lady was scared to be in her own house. We called the lady's son and said do something now, else we involve the police.

Caregiver and extended family were given a leave by date and the little old lady went on vacation to her son's house.

The Leave By date came and I talked the caregiver's daughter into giving me her dog (they didn't take good care of her - left her tied up out front all the time - rain or shine - and I couldn't stomach her leaving with them) who is now enjoying the country life out in Occidental with a doting new 'Mom'.

The little old lady came home and the cats were happy and she was happy, then she had a stroke. :-( She didn't get to come home again, since a facility was the best place for her. However, there were still the three cats, one of whom, Sugar, had been an indoor cat.

Enter the daughter-in-law who refused to take care of the cats and locked them out of the house. She wouldn't let us go in to take care of them and let Sugar be inside where she wanted to be. I fed them all on the front porch until the night hubby and I left to go a movie; it was pouring rain and Sugar was huddled in a ball under the front door overhang looking absolutely miserable.

Hubby called the son the next day and asked permission to find the cats homes then we hit up all of our friends. Sugar got a new home right away. Sixers and Smokey Cat were more difficult because they weren't socialized.

Turns out Sixers was ruled by his stomach and after a month or two started to hang out at our house. Then he started beating up the boys, Rasta and Nemo, so an ad was placed. Sixers is now the sole cat of a lovely home out in Penngrove where he gets to chase mice all day.

That left Smokey Cat. The least social of them all. The one that waited till you were back on your side of the street before he'd approach the food bowl, after coming out of his hiding place under the neighbor's house. The one I was going to win over at all costs.

Now Smokey Cat came under my protection in April of 2003. He became my responsibility that same May. It took me six months to get him to let me touch him before putting the food down.

It took another two months to get him to let me pick him up before getting fed and to not run as soon as I stepped on his sidewalk. Slowly he would follow me over to my house and play with the cat toys on the porch. Very slowly. Did you know that if you crab walk backwards at a snail's pace you won't set off light motion detectors? Neither did I. ::very big grin ::

Now we are closing in on April of 2004 and hubby and I are getting ready to move across town. What to do with Smokey Cat, who now comes over when called (but still won't eat at my house), can tolerate being pet and picked up, is starting to recognize our friends and neighbors?

One neighbor is about to have a baby and won't have time, the rest either don't have time or don't care.

So it was decided that Smokey Cat would come with us. This required stuffing him into a crate on moving day. Gee, think that will completely destroy the trust it took me a year to build? You got that right. But stuffed he was for 8 hours.

Smokey Cat was given his own room in the new house for 2 weeks. And all the other cats (we have four you know) learned that they would not get eaten if they ate their food inside (took Rasta three days to get hungry enough to get over that).

Then came the big day. Almost a year to the day that the little old lady got her house back, Smokey Cat was allowed outside of my new house. Can you guess what happened?

Yep - disappeared for 3 days.

But he came back, and he's been back ever since.

He goes to the vet.

Meows at the back door for dinner.

Comes and says hi in the morning when I'm out with the dogs (and he's the ONLY cat Scrat leaves alone because he nipped that in the bud right away).

And when it goes cold enough, he starts asking to come in for a snuggle visit.

Smokey Cat will never be an inside cat, but he has managed to become a pet and one that we love dearly.

Thanks for trusting me Smokey Cat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

They Fit!

for now anyway.

In spite of all the baby presents I've made this year - 3 pairs of booties and one quilt, this is the first picture I've gotten of the baby actually wearing/using the item given.

Since I am not at all in the habit of exposing other people's children to the weirdos of the internet, no names will be mentioned. If you happen to know who the little mite is, be considerate and don't leave that information in the comments. I promised her mom and dad.

Just know that she's 3 months old, too cute for words and if she lived closer I'd be begging to babysit.

I am working on a present for another baby that isn't due till March. I am currently trying to choose which stitch I want to use, because the first choice is boring me to tears.

Thank goodness my Barbara Walker Treasury Books showed up.

How do you pick just one? Stitch that is, I got the First and Second book in the series.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Big Rocks

and no I'm not talking about the ones that keep appearing by magic in my side yard.

Rosemary has started Monday Musings and her musing for today fits in perfectly with what I intended to post today.

One thing DH and I are going to realize from all the Foster Parent prep (Okay he knew this already - it is I who has trouble with it) is taking care of what matters.

The garage can be a mess, the living room carpet can be desparately in need of a vacuuming, the laundry can be taking over the bedroom, but none of that matters if the big rocks are taken care of. Taking care of yourself, taking care of your loved ones, taking care of your pets (they fall into the previous statement but they like to be acknowledged separately).

That being said, yesterday was a really nice day. DH let me sleep late. Thank you kindly friend Nathan for leaving the DS with Puzzlequest at my house for him to play. I woke up when he was attempting to capture a monster and I LOVE the capture screens. It's Bejewled with a purpose. You have to clear the board of all gems and skulls for a Capture. I don't even want to tell you how long that one took us, but I got it.

At one point we figured I better at least throw some clothes on and let the dogs out. So out I went and watched them run around the yard, and I played catch with Scrat (he gets to play every morning with me). Nemo and Rasta (cats) got to spend the day out of doors. The only thing I had on my plate for the day was grocery shopping (little did I know).

After the dogs went out I curled back up with him to watch him play some more and our little girl kitty, Kaji, came in and curled up with us. Hubby and I finally started to make ourselves ready to start the day around 2 pm. And it wasn't being lazy, it was just taking time to relax for a change.

So I hit the grocery store, then I decided I better purge the storage locker, also known as my car. That leads me past the hall bathroom where I see that darling dearest has left the empty toilet paper roll on the seat to let me know we have none in the house. So out the garage where DH is attempting to find the floor again, to scrounge for the Costco TP pack and the new pack of paper towels.

At this point he asks me to find a place to store that stuff in the house. Easier said than done let me tell you. Then I remember the red headed step child corner of the laundry that just gets mindless 'this needs to be out of my way for now' stuff crammed into it. Would be perfect for this bulk stuff, and it's way EASIER than cleaning out the pantry (there's a scary project waiting to happen).

I now have a storage locker full of stuff for Goodwill from that corner and a place for bulk dry goods storage and my vacuum cleaner. Granted I still have to clean out the pantry, but it's not a big rock. I also have a back seat in my car again. lol

The best kicker of the day is getting to end and being able to curl up with the dogs in the Papasan and just veg. I made a fire last night and curled up with the dogs and my DS and Puzzlequest (I'm not nearly as good as he is) and just hung out. Got a bit late, so doggies out for last call then put them to bed.

By this time DH had come in to take a shower and told me Smokey Cat was hanging out by the front door and wanted some attention. So after I put the dogs away I went out and cuddled with him for a bit and decided to bring him for a little while.

He spent a good hour curled up on my lap, even after I fell asleep and couldn't make sure he'd stay in my lap.

Smokey Cat isn't much of a snuggler (see tomorrow's post and you'll understand), and he's definitely not an indoor cat. He has a dog house on the back porch filled with polar fleece and a heating disc I warm up for him when it's really cold, but occasionally he wants more.

The animals are one of my biggest rocks. I love all of them in spite of their complete irreverence for my floors, the fur bunnies in the hallway, the burrs I step on the in middle of the night, or the crabs that keep trying to escape from the fish tank. Even though I know that my house will never be spotless until the day there are no more pets (I sincerely hope that day isn't anytime soon) and no outfit is complete without contrasting fur, I don't know what I'd do without them.

Sunday was a day for big rocks.

PS And with that I got a handle on the laundry the living room got vacuumed, and I might get a chance to start a new quilt tonight.

PPS I have ALMOST finished my first sock for me. 14 more rows and grafting. It's a little big, but I'm okay with that. It looks cool. More pics once I find my camera charger. Gr.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

First Remember to Breathe

The decision to become a Foster Parent is not an easy one. But it is something that I have been considering for years, just never got up the nerve to talk to Hubby about it.

Obviously current circumstances changed that, but boy is this scary.

I went to the Orientation last night. There is a lot to do. A lot to ask our friends to do. We need references.

I have to figure out how to lock up all the chemicals in our house (is being able to lock them in the laundry room with a keyed lock enough?). We have to find a way to prevent children from being able to fall into our pond without have to put up a fence around such a small area.

There doesn't seem to be a problem with the number of animals in my house, though some of other people at the meeting may think I'm a little whacked for having so many.

We found out that in order to adopt in the state of California you HAVE to be a licensed Foster Parent first. So don't start the adoption process first then jump on the FP bandwagon. Do both at the same time or the Foster License first. So I did something right by calling the FYCS first.

It seems like there are a billion things to do.

Just remember to breathe.

No pics till I find my stupid battery charger. But knitting (Poncho and Tuscany) has been happening.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The timing must be right

I did it.

I bit the bullet so to speak.

I called Family, Youth and Children's Services today and spoke with a lovely woman about their foster program and what we have to do to get started.

1. You have to go to the orientation. There happens to be one this upcoming Wednesday evening. The next one's not for 5 more weeks.

2. You have to go to the Partnerships in Parenting classes which are 9 weeks of classes one night a week. It started yesterday, BUT, if we make the next 8 classes we are good. So hubby is moving his guitar class to a different night and we are going to PIP classes on Thursdays for the next 8 weeks. This is totally worth missing Grey's Anatomy - the only show I actually try to watch these days ;-)

3. We have to be certified in First Aid and CPR, so I am probably using some of our weekends in November getting those certifications.

Not mention the background check, well water test (I wonder how recent they have to be, because we've had a couple done since we moved in), TB test for us and our friends (maybe, at least the ones that are at the house most often) and the health form.

If nothing gets in the way, we could be licensed by Christmas. After that, I have no idea when we would get a placement. We will also be trying to do whatever we have to do to get setup with the State Adoptions program at or around the same time.

And I don't even want to know if the number of animals we have is going to get in the way of anything. They are my babies too, and they aren't going anywhere.

Also does anyone know of any good meal planning, menu planning, eating smart classes that are available to the general public? I'm going to need it.

Life just got busier, but it's going to be worth it.

PS - We are not giving up on having one of our own, but I am done with procedures. It either happens naturally or not at all. At least that is my current stance on that. My emotions in this area are pretty fluid.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Doors come in many shapes and sizes

and leave it to my husband to pick the heaviest.

Doors can be light. Doors can be made out of glass. Doors can be hollow. Doors can be custom ordered from the factory (I understand the price tags now trust me). Door fittings can be made from scratch.

Let me tell you, I am wholeheartedly sick of doors.

But on the flip side, look at what we did? Ignoring the plethora of paint you can see through that door (need any? - I probably have the color you want), look at that door, and the jamb, and the threshold. All made from scratch (solid birch) or modified by hubby honey and yours truly. Aren't they gorgeous? This from two entirely clueless people that know how to read.

Now these doors are fire doors. What's so special about fire doors? Well to be fire rated it has to take at least one hour to burn through them. Anyone know how they do that?

They fill the suckers with gypsum (yep sheetrock) which in turn makes them weigh a frakking ton. Okay, that is an exaggeration. Half a ton. 1/4 tops. Really really heavy.

The one on the left had to
be cut down since they were 36" doors that had to fit double wide in a 5' space. The means a huge amount of gypsum dust all over everything. Then to keep the door from absorbing water (after you cut it down to the length you need) you have to rout out about 3/4 to an inch of that gypsum to glue a custom cut piece of hardwood in that space.

You make the frame to fit your opening (ideally with some wiggle room for leveling), mortis the hinges, transfer those measurements to the doors themselves (which side is in and which side is out again honey), mortis again.

Then com
es the scary part, putting everything in place. We didn't leave much wiggle room side to side for the frame. Based on the door measurements, we had a magic number that everything had to fit within and still be workable without a huge gap between the doors themselves and the doors and the side frames.

We started hanging the doors (small one first) and it hung straight and level (meaning when you open the door and let go it doesn't keep swinging in either direction). Woot! Half way there. Then comes the big 3' mon
ster. Still weighs a ton. Are four hinges enough (better be since that's what we cut for)?

The one thing we forgot to worry about was whether or not they would line up at the top and bottom edge with each other - not just where they meet in the middle with the hardware. Boy did we get lucky.

Again, aren't they gorgeous? Go back up
to the top pic and drool over the threshold. That's four coats of poly to make it look that gorgeous. Hubby beveled so the office chairs roll over it like a dream. However, if he takes that dirty hand cart over it again I'm going to scrap it - the cart not the threshold - it's kind of glued permanently to the floor.

Now that took the better part of the weekend, in which the dogs usually get stuck in their room. I just couldn't do it again. Now Oscar the Dog LOVES to be outside - if only to attempt to get every burr on the property stuck to him. Scrat just wants to not be locked in the room and he's not allowed out in the house by himself.

So the boys got to hang with us. Scrat decided to play Jungle Dog (those poor tulips). Oscar attempted to play dead. Or hang with the table saw (until we were crazy enough to actually want to use it).

In case you're looking for Cliff. He LOVES having the inside of the house to himself, and he's allowed out of the room so he was happy as a clam as well. Hmm , how exactly does one know if a clam is happy? But I digress.

All in all, a productive weekend (and my house is still clean!).

On a knitting front. I went to knit group Saturday morning and trudged along on Tuscany. Remember my cute little marker idea. Purple is for a purl row. Seems simple enough, eh? Imagine my surprise when I get to a green marker KNOWING I just knit an entire row. So I tinked back that row one at a time. Then I looked down...

Imagine my horror at :

1. Not having a lifeline
2. Seeing that I have KNIT 3 of the purl rows
3. Knowing there is NO way I can tink back that far.

Susan heard my sigh. Yep. I pulled the needles and ripped the whole thing back.

If nothing else, I have the first 7 rows of the pattern memorized. I have gotten back to the end of the first chart repeat. I am NOT giving up on this. No way, no how.

On the bright side hubby honey actually asked for a pair of dress socks. Regardless of the fact that he doesn't wear dress socks. But make them I shall.

What do you guys and gals think of the Regia Silk in black? Crazy soft and I happen to have some. Now I just need a pattern. Currently thinking about going with Earl Grey. If you have an idea, drop it in the comments. Nothing fancy. My brain is full up on fancy with Tuscany and Palindrome.

Now to talk him into a sweater. Go check out Interweave Fall 2007 page 55. It would look great on him in a nice teal blue or deep burgundy.