Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Knee deep in poop...

Sassy has started a full on campaign to cover every square inch of our house with poop.  We've found a pile every day for the last week and last night was the breaking point.  So, we locked her back up in the laundry room.  We made the mistake of leaving the mat under the litter box and the rug in front of the sink and she pooped on both of those, but not in the box.  Thinking perhaps Sadie using the box is the problem, we cleaned a box and put new litter in it.  After talking about it, Carl and I decided that we would let her out and watch her - if we found a mess, we would show it to her, scold her (not yell) and put her in the cat box.  Carl seems to think if you do this often enough, that circuit in her brain that isn't working correctly, will finally snap on - I'm not so sure but willing to try it.  So, he let her out and twenty minutes later we found a fresh pile in the living room, we showed it to her, scolded her and put her in the litter box.  The next time we scold her, put her in the litter box in the laundry room and lock her in again.  We are completely out of options.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thoughts on scratchy towels....

During a recent trip to Florida I was re-introduced to no-see-ums.  We'd been relatively bug free on our Christmas trips to Florida in past years except for the occasional mosquito, this year was different.  On Sanibel Island by Fort Myers, the no-see-um population was out in full force.  Even the newborns must have been breeding.  The second the car stopped, the look-out would whistle and no-see-ums would come from all over the refuge to wait until the door opened.  I was bitten a gazillion times.  Of course, I'm one of those people that hates the smell and feel of bug spray, especially at 8:00 in the morning, knowing I'll have to smell/feel like that all day, so I'm always the last to spray and the first to be cannibalized.  I don't think I had an inch of exposed skin that didn't have a bite, which brings me to my topic.  Normally, I would give a hotel a full grade off for scratchy towels, but when you have as many bug bites as I did, this time they were a blessing. 

Best hotel this trip:  Paducah, Kentucky's brand new Holiday Inn.  Ya Boy!  Great beds and pillows, great towels, fresh baked cookies at 8:00 pm, big screen TV, no dirt in the corners in the bathroom, fabulous water pressure, plenty of hot water, the sink was in the bathroom and the shower head was wonderful and the internet was zippy.   Look for it right next door to Raffertys with wonderful ribs.  What's not to like? 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Home again, home again, hippity hop....

After two lovely weeks in the tropics sans cats, we returned to a world of ice and snow yesterday.  Sassy was confined to my craft room during our vacation and was on again, off again bad.  Our sitter finally put two litter boxes in the room and for the last few days she was good.  We're on Day 1 of her being good since we've been home.  Sadie was so glad to see us that she actually purred when I picked her up, that's four times since we've had her, I was thrilled.

We let Sassy out of the craft room when we got home and now we've got the aggression from Sadie again.  Hissing and chasing.  Sassy has been glued to my side all day today in the craft room as I fill orders for my Washington Strong donation.  I takes breaks and belly rub.  I've also been running downstairs to rub on Sadie every once in a while. 

We're calling the vet on Monday to get instructions on how to wean Sadie off of the drugs.  We'd like to see if it makes any difference in her attitude.  I've read that kitty Prozac causes aggression in some cats, so I'd like to see if that's her problem.

Friday, December 13, 2013

feathered and not so feathered friends....

We left our Christmas list with Santa:
checked out his sleigh:
spotted some shore birds:
and his friends:
made a wet friend:
and a scaly one:
and a feathered one:
 ate a great lunch:
and landed in Florida City.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

as well as great seafood....

had a wonderful breakfast:
went back across the causeway:
did a little shopping here:
and here:
and headed back to the island:

Monday, December 9, 2013

and balmy breezes off of the gulf....

The weather is definitely getting better:
and the water is getting bluer:
and the guardian to the gates of Sanibel smiled at us:
and snow was not allowed:
 and the mangroves were just as we left them last year:
and the ibis stopped to say hi:
and the Great Egret invited us to lunch (the hapless creature in his mouth is a Brown Anole.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Searching for the great warm....

We left home in Central Illinois at 17 degrees F heading south through Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama.  Five hours into our journey it looked like this:
and just kept getting worse:
and worse:
and worse:
and then a little worse:

and then a little freezing rain:
and finally some dry:
We spent night one in Athens, Alabama and had to pry Carl's hands from the steering wheel.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Down to the wire...

We've completely stopped feeding at night.  Sadie is getting 1/2 can in the morning and Sassy just gets her regular.  I need to clean up and set up the craft room today.  We also have lots of running around to do before Friday.  No messes since the last post and Sassy is asleep in the window right next to me.  Sadie spent part of last night in the basement playing with Carl's camera equipment.  We went to see Mama Mia at the Peoria Civic Center last night and a good time was had by all.  Great musical, I highly recommend it.  So, I'm off to do laundry.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vacation is looming...

We've gone back and forth about where to lock Sassy up for vacation.  Either my craft room with the desk, window seat and chair she loves or the laundry room where we can put her cat tower and it's all linoleum.  Ultimately, I think the craft room.  It's much bigger, has a window and places she already loves to be - not so much a prison like the laundry room.  Yesterday morning one of the cats got my footstool and it's one of Sassy's favorite places to sleep (will a cat soil their bed?), so we're back with the pet carrier on the footstool, as well as my chair, the spare bed is completely covered, there's carpet runner in the living room as well as boxes on the carpet where we've cleaned up messes.  The only good thing about locking Sassy up is that we can clean up all the clutter.  And, maybe it will even straighten her out.  If not, she might end up living a long and happy life in my craft room.  We also didn't feed them dinner last night.  We want to get them used to canned food just once a day for the sitter - she will come over twice a day but her hours are eratic.  Better to lose a feeding than them not knowing what time dinner is.  Breakfast will be much more consistent and they have plenty of dry food.  Sadie hasn't been eating much dinner anyway, she ignores it for quite some time after we put it down.  Sassy, the little piglet, is almost always available for meals even though she only licks the gravy and Sadie usually cleans up the rest.  Sadie didn't even miss not getting dinner last night although Sassy was by her food dish at 5:00pm.  I gave her some treats, less treats tomorrow, and probably no treats on Tuesday.  We leave on Friday and I swear, I'm going to give a thought to these cats until we come home.

Friday, November 29, 2013

at the end of our rope....

We discovered poop in the living room yesterday, hidden behind a chair - no telling how long it had been there and found pee on the carpet runner this morning.  Without a doubt, Sassy will have to be locked up while we are gone.  Then, if the sitter finds other messes, we will know it's Sadie.  I don't think this is the case, however.  Sassy was naughty before Sadie showed up although she had controlled it for quite some time and she started again after Sadie came to live with us (stress perhaps - angry at us - who knows?).  The only thing we haven't tried is a behaviorist and I'm not even sure we could find one around here.  Something has to change and soon.  We will put Sassy in the bathroom and make her comfortable, maybe move in her climbing tower or arrange a ramp to the washer and dryer so she can sleep there.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A house divided - again

I made some changes to the pooping area in the spare bedroom.  I moved the smaller litter box to the laundry room where it's hardly ever used and moved the XL box into the bedroom.  I then located the box on the west wall instead of the south wall, providing a better line of sight to the door.  I'm grasping at straws here.  I moved another pet carrier to the original litter box location and various other boxes and stuff on the spots she's used before.  That was yesterday morning after I cleaned up the mess we found in the spare room.  Sassy has been having more 'accidents' than on purposes.  But she used the litter box last night.  That's the thing we can't wrap our brain around - she uses the litter box just fine some days and then other days she won't.  If we could find the trigger for either event, we would be happy to do that, say that, buy that, whatever it would take.  Sassy has taken up residence in my craft room again or on the couch in the family room.  Sadie is living almost exclusively in the basement, coming up for meals but not interacting in the family room like she used to.  Carl put a blanket down on top of a large bin he uses for storing photography props and she seems content to sleep there.  Carl spends a lot of time at his computer I think she likes Carl best, but that's ok, cuz Sassy loves me best.  So, from the freezing mid-west, I hope you all have a very warm and happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Remember the pet carrier, remember the pet carrier

Yesterday while we were in the happiness bubble, thinking all was well, my husband happened to notice that somecat hit my chair AGAIN.  We have been religious about putting the "going to the vet" pet carrier on my chair when I'm not in it.  Some days (or nights) I can walk right by the carrier and not remember to put the carrier on it.  So, we cleaned up the mess, scrubbed, sprayed with Fabreze, and replaced the pet carrier on top of a clean towel.  The footstool has three layers including a waterproof pad on it so we can just whip off a layer and wash it.  I even put the carrier in the way so I have to trip over it and this morning I walked right past it, as hubs was quick to note.

Sadie spent part of the morning with me:

The good news is there were no messes last night and two of the litter boxes had been used.  We're on the countdown to vacation - 10 days to get these girls in shape before we have to lock one up.  Sassy is in the window seat, Sadie is in the basement and all is quiet where we live.

Edited to add:  9:33 - just spent a half an hour cleaning their water fountain.  I couldn't figure out why is had slowed to a dribble - duh, dirty pump.  So, it's all sparkling, filled with clean water, and running a good stream.  Of course, both cats were curious, watched the process, followed me from dining room to kitchen to dining room and when I was finished, Sadie walked past so I picked her up.  Of course, she tensed up, growled and strugged so I let her down and she immediately went after Sassy.  Total and instant aggression.   I've read about displaced aggression - Sadie was mad at me so she wanted to beat up Sassy.  Carl hit Sadie with a few squirts of water, but Sadie doesn't mind water.  I guess a can full of pennies is next.  And Sadie won't be picked up again any time soon.  Sassy is locked up in my room and Sadie is downstairs for a time out.  I'll let Sassy out in a few minutes.  We thought the aggressive phase was over, we're not ready to deal with that plus the litter box problems.  When do adoptive parents of dysfunctional cats say enough is enough?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Drama unfolding....

I am in the craft room checking e-mail and starting to work on a fundraising project.  It's 6:38am and I've just started Netflix.  Sassy has been sleeping on the window seat and I had been wondering where Sadie was.  Five minutes ago Sadie jumped up on the window seat.  No ear position change from Sassy, just a watchfulness.  After a minute or two, Sassy got up, stretched, moved closer to me and farther from Sadie on the seat and laid back down.  Ears are forward on both cats, Sadie has laid down on the right side of the window seat and appears to be fixated on the bird feeder inside the window.  Sassy appears to be sleeping.  This is almost 24 hours to the minute that they had a screaming match yesterday.

Carl asked last night if we were going to lock Sassy up on what would be her third night out of lock up, I said no because of one change between .  Remember, the first night was fine, the spare bedroom door was open, she used the spare bedroom litter box, no messes.  The second night Carl closed the spare bedroom door and there was a mess on the footstool.  Last night the spare bedroom door was open and she used the spare bedroom litter box, Sadie used the living room box, took her pill, and all is well in my world.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Night 5...

Interesting developments.  We did not lock Sassy up last night and she pooped on the footstool which is very well protected.  We also had the spare bedroom closed off but when I went in to grab a VHS tape that was recorded in the spare bedroom, Sassy ran straight into the litter box in there and peed.  Was she angry that the door was closed and she needed to use THAT box?  Sadie uses the box in the laundry room once in a great while (and I decorated it so beautifully, too) but for the most part, neither cat uses that box.  The one in the spare bedroom, the basement box and the one in my craft room are used frequently.  The one in the living room is a once in a while box.  Who can understand the minds of cats?

Sadie didn't take her pill yesterday and so far hasn't eaten it today.  She's gone from gulping her food to eating a little around the pill and leaving most of it.  She really seems to like the Aims Dry Hairball Control food that we purchased last.  I keep a bowl of it in the craft room along with a bowl of water, there's an automatic feeder in the dining room filled with the same food on Sassy's side.  Sadie has some Meow Mix or Little Friskies in a small bowl on her side.  When we first got her, she was so crazy over the canned food that we couldn't get her to eat dry food.  It might be that she eats so much dry food that she isn't interested in the canned food any longer.  We're not contemplating hand feeding her the pill.  I will call the vet this morning and see if her not taking the pill is going to have consequences we don't know about.  We were going to wean her from it when we got back anyway, so it's just earlier than we expected.  Of course, we don't know what she's going to be like without meds.  This morning I tried to pet her and her pupils got really big and black and she reached up to hit me - luckily, I moved but had I been a tad slower, she might have gotten me.  Sometimes she hits with claws in and other times with claws out, I don't like to chance it.

She's in the craft room window this morning, still not very friendly.  If left alone, she's a perfectly acceptable cat.  It's just sad we don't have the comfort of petting her.

EDITED TO ADD:  Just after I finished this entry Sassy came into the craft room.  Sadie got out of the window and laid down on the carpet about a foot from Sassy.  I turned back to the TV and the next second the mother of all cat fights broke out.  It's been months since we've had one of those.  I tried to break it up in the craft room but they ran down the hall and into the kitchen screeching and hissing.  I found the squirt bottle but it didn't make any difference, they screeched in the dining room, the family room and back to the dining room.  Sassy finally hid under a chair and I grabbed her and took her upstairs and locked her in my craft room.  Then I got the gate and put it up in the hallway.  Back in my craft room Sassy played with her Yeowww Banana and finally plopped down to sleep in the window.  Like. Nothing. Happened.  And, my heart rate is still up.

I also managed to get Sadie to eat her pill.  She loves the chicken flavor hairball medicine that we give her once in a while, I just put a bit of it in a bowl and pressed her pill into it.  She thinks that's a treat.  Perhaps we need to find something else she's crazy about and put the pill in it.  Then she headed upstairs to Sassy again.  They are still separated by the gate and may be until that pill takes effect.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Storm Trooper

DCWV Glitter Cardstock
Recollections Black Cardstock
Beckett Radiance Cardstock
Cameo Silhouette / Make the Cut Software

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I didn't do it

Bazzill Salmon Cardstock, Beckett Radiance CardStock
Peachy Keen Cat Background, Faceless Puppy & Faceless Kitten
Distress Ink Black Soot, Picket Fence Ink & Marker
Wink of Stella Clear & White
Action Wobble
PTI Half & Half Die
Copics:  .3 Black Multiliner, R22, C00, N8, N4, B0000
Memento Gray Flannel, Tuxedo Black

Night 4...

We closed off the spare bedroom last night and did not lock Sassy up.  Call us silly!  I did cover my chair with the pet carrier, the living room has the upside down carpet runners, and the rest we left to chance.  No messes that we could find this morning.  Both girls were in my craft room and an inspection of the boxes showed just pee in the box in my room.  Both girls got treats and lots of 'good girls'.  About 10:00, UPS showed up with two brand new Yeowww Bananas for my good girls.  Sadie played with hers for a while, it had spit all over it but Sassy went a little nuts.


Night 3...

One mess in the litter box, one on the carpet.  What was different from Night 2?  First, we didn't play for a half an hour before I locked her in.  Second, Carl did the honors since I went to bed earlier than I thought Sassy should be locked up.  Did that make a difference?  Was she angry with me?  Not a clue.  I thoroughly cleaned the spot where she pooped, sprayed it with a cat-away product and placed a box on top of it.  We'll try another night tonight and if the same thing happens, it's down to the linoleum floor in the laundry room.  It's about 1/5th the size of my craft room - just room enough for her box, a small blanket and food and water and no window.  In the meantime, she's helping me craft.

I'm trying to take a picture of the card I just made and here she plops so work has been suspended and laundry is about to start.

Sadie is back under the shower curtain where she was hiding yesterday when I had to take a shower.  I turned on my MP3 player, the ceiling fan, the shower chandelier, the water, and tried to creep over her to get into the tub.  I think she got disgusted with all the noise and disturbance so she was gone by the time I got out of the shower.  So far as we know, Sadie has been really good since Sassy was locked up except for once again peeing in a box top my husband left on the floor of his workroom.  She's done this once before so we need to be diligent with picking them up so she doesn't get the idea it's a litter box.  Carl said, "but it doesn't have litter in it".  Excuse me?  She's a cat, it's a box....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Can't work....

Sassy has taken over my desk so there will be no work for me today....

Night 2...

We slept in this morning until a little after six.  When I left the bedroom I saw Sadie laying in the hallway on my side of the gate while Sassy was in the craft room on the opposite side of the gate, practically nose to nose and Sassy was vocal.  I imagine she was telling me to hurry up and move the gate but we have to do a house inspection first.  All floors were clean and all boxes in the upper three floors were clean.  Carl does the basement box since that's his area (the man cave).  When I let Sassy out, I checked the box in the craft room and there were TWO piles in it.  Yeah, Sassy.  I went back down to go out and get the paper and the girls were chasing each other in the family room.  First Sadie chased Sassy (tails were swishing but ears were erect), then Sassy chased Sadie, then Sadie chased Sassy around the clothes basket and then Carl dropped Sadie's meds, said a bad word and every one calmed down.  We drank coffee, read the paper and then got ready to start the day.  I checked the boxes again and Sadie had used the one in the spare room.  I would feel totally bad about locking Sassy up every night for the rest of her life but if that's what it takes to keep our house clean and smelling good, I'm up for it.  I don't know where Sassy is now but Sadie is on the window seat in my craft room and all is calm, all is bright.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Night 1...

Sassy spent her first night last night in lock up.  We put the gate up in the door of my craft room where she had food, water, and her window seat.  She also likes to sleep on my crafting desk so I needed to clean it off last night.  Luckily, since we've rearranged my craft room and I've adopted the "everything in its place" idea, that wasn't a problem.  She wasn't happy and was waiting at the gate this morning when I got up at 5:00 a.m.  But....and this is a huge but....(no joke)....there was a good sized pile in the cat box this morning, both solid and liquid.  No messes anywhere in the house.  Of course, this is only one night and not definitive proof that Sassy has been our problem child but I didn't feel at all bad about locking her up.  It's a large room and she likes being here - in fact, as I type, she's on the window seat asleep.  I moved some of her toys in the my room and she carried one downstairs to me while I read the paper.  I promptly moved it back to the craft room so she'll have it tonight.  We've only got 17 more days until we leave for Florida so we'll keep her locked up at night until then.  We may even talk to the sitter about feeding twice a day, locking her up at night and letting her out in the morning.

Happy Birthday

Saturated Canary Party Hardy
PTI Boutique Borders:  Birthday
Flesh: E000, E00, BV20, E93, B0000, G05
Hair:  E33, E35, E37
Clothes:  BG11, BG13, BG15, G82, YG61, G94
Cupcake:  Y32, R11, R27
Pennants:  Y19, R85, V04, R05
Spica Pen:  Clear

Monday, November 18, 2013

A new blog is born - kardmkr.blogspot.com...

I've gotten pretty off track with this blog.  It started out just to be cards but has moved to family matters, cats, vacations and lots of unrelated to crafting stuff.  So, I have started a new blog entirely devoted to crafting - cards, glass blocks, tumblers & vinyl, cutting machines, and hints and tricks I've picked up over the years.  It you'd like to check it out:  http://kardmkr.blogspot.com/.  I will keep this blog for all the other drama.

Holiday Cheer

Peachy Keen Putsen & Jud Snow Couple
DTWV Linen Closet
Memory Box Findlay Frame
Just Rite Noel Christmas Ornaments
Copics-B0000, Y35, R37
Pebbles Inc., Pearlescent Chalk

Comparing cutting machines

I have to admit I haven't tried all the cutting machines on the market, who can afford that?  But I have tried many of them.  Of them all, the ones I've kept are the Sizzix Big Shot Pro, the Cuttlebug and the Sidekick and I'll tell you why:

Cuttlebug - I've had my Cuttlebug for so long I can't even remember when I bought it and it's still a workhorse - always ready to cut, the cutting pads are still available and it only takes a second to pull it out, make a cut and put it back.  Most of the steel rule dies that I purchased to use with it are up for sale due to the arrival of my Silhouette Cameo but you can cut any die on the market that is less than 6" wide if you have the proper cutting pads.  Length doesn't matter because 12" long cutting pads can be purchased.  So, if you don't plan to cut a die that is 6" or wider, this could be the machine for you.

The Sidekick is a tiny machine that works really well for the thin dies.  It will take dies that are less than 2.75" inches and again, length doesn't matter because 12" cutting pads are available.  I use this for my Cuttlebug alphabet dies.

These dies are Sizzlets on the left (black or red plastic) and Cuttlebug (metal back with a foam front).  They will fit in all the die cut machines on the market.  I use my Cuttlebug and Sidekick for these two types of dies.

This is a thin profile die.  You can also use this die in any die cut machine with the appropriate sandwich.  A sandwich is the way you place the die in the machine along with the cutting pads and shims.  Sandwiches for all machines and all dies that fit them can be found on the web with a bit of effort.

Steel rule dies:  These are some of the original dies on the market.  They are extremely sturdy and can cut many layers of paper at one time making them wonderful for schools.  These dies won't fit in the Grand Calibur but will fit in most of the other die cut machines.  Tim Holtz still makes steel rule dies as does Sizzix.  The bottom picture is an XL die, they make 3D paper containers and cards, and can only be used in the Big Shot Pro.  These dies cut and make crease marks so all you have to do is fold and glue.

I purchased the Big Shot Pro because with the proper cutting pads, it cuts every die I own and it has the Grand Calibur's capability of cutting many large dies at once.  I realize the Big Shot Pro is expensive but when you add the price of all the smaller die cut machines you could buy for each type of die you cut, it kind of evens out and I like knowing that any die that comes on the market, I can cut.  Every once in a while I see a good deal on it and it's so well made I don't think it will ever break.  The downside:  it's huge and heavy so it needs a permanent place, it's hard to move.  I do love my Big Shot Pro.

There are other die cut machines on the market, I think Accucut has one and I know Tim Holtz has the Vagabond.  I haven't tested either of them, I'm really happy with the three I have.


Our prayers today are with our friends on the east side of the Illinois River.  Yesterday was a frightening day in Central Illinois.  We had black clouds, high winds, tornado warnings and really heavy rain, but other than a few tree branches down, suffered no real damage.  Thirty minutes away to the east, however, the destruction was widespread.  We have friends in Washington, IL that we managed to contact - they are ok, no power but their house is still standing while around them people have lost their homes.  Pictures on the news are heart wrenching.  Coming into the holiday season, please remember those that won't have a dining room table to gather around for Thanksgiving.  We are thankful that so few lives were lost.  I am trying to locate an address for $$ donations and will share that with you as soon as I have one.  I understand that volunteers are swarming to the affected areas but money and gift cards can be placed in the hands of people that have immediate needs.

On lock down...

Sassy starts lock down tonight in my craft room.  There was another mess in the spare bedroom just a foot from the last one and a foot from the litter box.  She's comfortable in my room and has a litter box up here so I'll just put in a dish of dry food and when I go to bed, she goes to the craft room.  I really hate to do it, but we're tired of cleaning up the mess.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Craft room 95% done...

I'm amazed that craft stores still have paper left.  By now I'm thinking I own all the paper in Marshall County, Illinois.  I've been working three days on consolidating the paper into the new storage system my husband built me.


I had paper all over my craft room and some stored in the linen closet in the guest bathroom. 

I have 12x12, 6x6, 6x4, 6x8, 8x8, and 8.5 x 11 paper, perhaps 20 years accumulation.  It doesn't help that I have a daughter who works at Michaels.  By the end of today, all paper will be organized, labeled and in it's proper place.  Only one area left to finish.  One side of my closet is deeper than the rest and filled in with shelves.  This is my last storage area to organized and will also be done today.  To my wonderful husband: thank you so much; you are now officially fired and can return to your regular life.

Lots of junk in here and a tight space, I'm not looking forward to cleaning it out.  And one more big surprise.  My husband came home from an estate sale yesterday with something I've wanted for forever:  a small typing stand on wheels for my sewing machine.  How cool is this:

And it fits beautifully under the bottom shelf of my baker's rack.  My room is now officially perfect.  And....I have room for more paper....