Monday, October 28, 2013

Hairballs the size of Texas....

After not seeing a hairball from Sassy since adopting her a year ago, suddenly she is full of them.  I attribute this to the excessive grooming she's been doing and I guess that's due to stress.  It does seem to be slowing down.  She's been spending more and more time with me in my craft room, on my footstool, in the bathroom while I take a bath (I'm not allowed to shut the bathroom door anymore).  She's here with me now - in the window watching the deer run by (wonder what she thinks of them?).  We always know a hairball is on the way - first the diarrhea and low appetite for a couple of days - and then suddenly a huge increase in appetite and we find a ball somewhere.  We know they're Sassy's because of the hair color (if you have two cats, I recommend two different colors - you can sort out problems with hair color).  Carl is going to be giving her some hairball medicine, putting dabs on the tip of her nose several times a week because she won't take it off your finger.  She shakes it off her paw and rubs it off her hip.

We just ordered another prescription for Sadie since we're going to be leaving for Florida next month.  We don't want the sitter to have to deal with withdrawal so we're going to try that when we return.  We've had no messes since last Thursday and I think that was a case of "I can't get to the litter box in time".  If they were mad about the mess, they haven't expressed it lately.  And the mess is slowly going away.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The craft room is coming along....

I don't recommend stripping a craft room and rebuilding it.  It will take two weeks longer than you thought and be five times harder than you imagined.  I haven't reached the end yet.  Most of the furniture is in place, I'm just waiting on a large shelf in the closet for paper and for my husband to hang the towel racks for my punches.  At this moment, it's bright and airy and I can actually walk normally in it instead of passing by stuff sideways.  When I'm in the room, I'm encouraged with the way things look - the organization, the way I can see so many of my supplies (as opposed to having them tucked away in a drawer somewhere).  When I leave my room and go downstairs, I see the piles of stuff in the living room, dining room and spare bedroom.  And going through each shoebox, photobox and drawer is a slow process.  So much I want to hang on to but have absolutely no use for.  Hi, my name is Cindy and I'm a hoarder.  I have thrown away three large garbage cans full of junk and I've just gotten started.

I have machines I can't use:  Electric Big Shot, Dreamkutz, Grand Calibur.  I'm keeping my Big Shot Pro and my Cuttlebug.  I have markers up the wazoo - a whole set of Noir Spectrum markers that I don't even like.  So many materials I purchased with the hope that they would make spectacular cards and by the time I actually got around to using them (sometimes years later), I had forgotten just what I was going to do with them.  No more...  I'm on a buying diet, so vendors beware.  When I get excited about a new product, I'm going to wait a whole week before I think about buying and if I still want it then, maybe.... or maybe not.

Here's the progress:

Only some of the drawers and pull out trays are filled.  And I have several plastic storage containers that haven't come up yet, so it will take another week or so.  My husband thought I wouldn't have enough supplies to fill three medicine cabinets - boy was he wrong.  I still have Flower Soft and glitter that I couldn't fit up there.  AND, my embossing powder is in two drawers.

I have actually had bluebirds in the crab apple tree for the last two days.  They don't seem to be eating so I'm not sure what they're doing there; however, I am thrilled that they are.  I hope where ever you are, there are bluebirds for you.

The craft room is coming along....

This morning when a notice popped up on my computer that a cousin's birthday was coming up, I walked to one of the medicine cabinets, pulled down my PTI stamp pads, two sets of PTI stamps and created this card in about ten minutes.  I used my compressor and Copics to spray some blasts of YR04 and YR16 and the PTI Watercolor Wonder stamps to create a kind of graffiti style card with the PTI Stylish Sentiments: Birthday stamps for the sentiment.  The card was created and all the supplies cleaned up and put back in just a few minutes.  I'm so proud of myself.

I have actually had bluebirds in the crab apple tree for the last two days.  They don't seem to be eating so I'm not sure what they're doing there; however, I am thrilled that they are.  I hope where ever you are, there are bluebirds for you.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Saturday my craft room looked like this:

Today it looks like this:

All of the supplies pulled out of my craft room are scattered all over the house - the living room, dining room and the spare bedroom.  We did this yesterday morning in order to bring in the furniture that's currently in the garage and arrange my supplies in an orderly fashion.  This process will take a week or two because hubs is adding sliding trays to all the bases.  As each is finished, it will come up to my room and eventually we can measure for counter tops.  This is great fun for me as well as work, it will be super to have a nice looking, cohesive place to work.

The problem is neither of the cats liked it.  One pooped in my craft room a mere six inches from the litter box last night and the other peed in a box top in the basement this morning.  We know that Sadie did the pee, she pees twice a day, a gallon each time.  Sassy pees ten times a day, a teaspoon at a time (even the vet said she had a tiny bladder).  Needless to say, my husband was not a happy camper.  We can clean poop which lays on top of the carpet, we can even remove the smell, pee not so much.  His carpet is indoor/outdoor so it's very thin on top of cement.  I don't know how porous cement is, but this behavior is unacceptable.  Soon all doors in the house will be closed off and all they will have is the family room and dining room and no furniture because we keep that covered so they can't potty on it.  If this is just a reaction to change, fine, soon it will all be back to normal with the exception of my craft room.  If this is a new direction in behavior, we're doomed.

Here we go again....

We started work on the craft room yesterday.  Carl has been working on the furniture in the garage and is nearly finished with the first vanity which will have seven pull out trays.  As each piece is finished, we'll move it to the room so we can find the optimum layout and measure for counter tops.  We removed everything from the room except the absolute necessary supplies so I can keep working.


The downside of a new craft room is:
Our bedroom
Our living room
Our dining room
Our spare bedroom

and two really confused cats....  Stay tuned.....

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sadie is stimulated...

Carl and I brought in the house plants last night due to predicted cold weather.  I have two large plants and four smaller ones that winter over in the living room.  This morning I noticed dirt on the floor next to one of the larger ones - Sadie had been digging in it.  We're thinking maybe we might have to lock up the plants in the living room.   I've not had a chance to clean the plants of seeds that germinated and falling leaves, I'll do that tomorrow.  Sadie will probably help.  We've also discovered you don't want to be between Sadie and any bug she finds - she's deadly and goes claws first after them.  There was a fly in the living room lamp on the table that sits between our chairs.  Sadie climbed up on the table and went for the lamp but we distracted her.  I told Carl that I feel sorry for the lamp shade if we aren't around to run interference.  Everything is new to her and it's fun to see her interact with a new environment.  Sadie still isn't very affectionate, she prefers to be left alone but loves to play and we're still after her not to use her claws on the furniture, she's doing less of that but still not using the scratching post or letting me trim her claws.  I moved the cat tree into the family room and Sassy has taken up residence on the shelf.  Neither cat likes the box at the top or the cubby at the bottom.  The shelf is now attainable by climbing through the railing from the dining room and just stepping on the shelf.  Sadie has discovered the chair in the family room that Sassy used to use and there's a chair in the living room that she likes.  It's still funny to me how they change loyalties about where they relax.  Sassy used to be glued to the sewing machine top in the spare bedroom, now she's using the shelf in my craft room or the cat tree.  Sadie had the family room window, now she's in one of two chairs.  I wonder what goes through their minds, they must be wondrous things.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Waiting for the other shoe to drop...

After the mess in the living room on the 14th, we started closing it off when we went to bed.  As a result, the litter box in that room isn't used very often but no messes in three days, no fights, all is quiet.  Which is why we're waiting for something to happen.  We don't have many uneventful days around here and as soon as we become complacent, something upsets the apple cart.

Sassy has been sneezing a lot the last few days and her right eye has started to leak.  But she is eating, drinking and playing like normal.  The only weird thing was for two days, she stayed very close to me.  She slept on this platform, in my craft room closet or under the shelf in my craft room.  She didn't come down at dinner and sleep on the hearth as usual.  But yesterday afternoon and today she seems her usual self.  In fact, she was only up here once today and that was to use the litter box.  Her right eye is still leaking though which worries me.  Her left has always been leaky but never the right.  Since she seems OK right now, I'm just going to keep an eye on her.

This platform is a favorite for both cats.  You can clearly see the tiny feeder I keep filled with peanuts.  The birds visit this feeder frequently and both cats would dearly love to catch them.  If you look closely, you can see the tears in the screen that Sadie has made by snagging her claws.  The screen in the family room actually has holes you can pass an egg through.  We're still having the declawing debate but leaning toward replacing screens as needed rather than having surgery.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Progress on the craft room front...

These are the vanities that were removed from our three bathrooms.  One vanity came out in three pieces, all have drawers and big open spaces where the plumbing was.  They also have several drawer spaces that looked like they had a drawer but it was really a false front - again due to the plumbing.  The plumbing has been removed, shelves are going in the open spaces in the cabinets, the spaces with the false fronts will be replaced with roller drawers and everything is being painted a glossy white.  After everything is painted we will arrange them in the garage and measure for counter tops which may end up being MDF white shelves.  All the stock counter tops we saw yesterday have a back splash attached which we don't want.  The 5th picture shows one of the three medicine cabinets without the doors that I'm going to use for stamp pads, glue, tape, reinkers, etc.  Carl is adding wood to the bottom so they sit flatly side by side on top of one of the counters.  They have adjustable 5" deep shelves in three rows that will hold a ton of little stuff.  I do believe all my stamp pads will fit in just one which will reduce five drawers.  I have PTI ink, Memento ink, Versafine ink, Distress ink, and a full drawer of Stayzon, Encore, Stampin' Up, Colorbox, Ranger, and I'm sure some I haven't thought of.  I also have reinkers for almost every pad I've purchased.  And....before you ask, I do use them all.

Carl took out the magnets that held the doors closed on the medicine cabinets and is going to fill the holes with wooden dowels and then sand them down.  I plan to cover the inside with designer paper and the frames will be painted with the white glossy paint.  We're into the middle of October with a goal date of November 1st to have the garage cleaned out for the cars.  Which means this furniture will have to go into the living room if we are not finished.

This is the current 'look'.  Three bakers racks full to bursting, shelves under both counters, my desk and computer desk, a corner TV shelf and a walk in closet filled with paper and storage shelves.  Not all of this is going to remain.  I plan one of the vanities for an embossing and Big Shot Pro station.  I will retire my Cuttlebug and Grand Caliber and just use the Big Shot Pro.  I plan to weed out all my 'how to' books, stamps I don't use and punches - especially punches.  I have tons of them and only use a select few.  My room will be more organized and leaner.  Each drawer will be labeled in vinyl so I know where everything is and I plan to put black vinyl flourishes on the doors.  Lots to destash but I'll do it as I put the room back together - if I rarely use it and it doesn't have a home in the new layout - it's outta here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Looky, looky...

This is a first...  Sadie was already on the footstool while we were watching the news and Sassy climbed up on the other side.  You will notice that Sadie is sacked out while Sassy's ears are back.  And Sassy only stayed about twenty minutes.  Carl got out of his chair to do something and Sassy claimed it.

I've moved Sadie's food from the far side of the living room into the dining room about ten feet from Sassy's food.  They will now share water, no more double water.  Perhaps someday they can even eat from the same area.  We did find a mess in the living room about two feet from the litter box yesterday morning.  Carl suggested a DNA test to find out which one did it.  We always blame Sassy as a matter of course, she did it before Sadie and we've never known Sadie to not use the litter box.  But, there is still that small nagging doubt that perhaps Sadie, perhaps both.  Solid poop is easy to clean up although we hate it -- we can also disinfect the area and remove the odor.  If they take to spreading pee around, we will need to re-evaluate.  Baby steps....

Friday, October 11, 2013

Getting ready for a craft sale

I ordered the 3D Pocket Tag Album from the Lori Whitlock store and I've been playing with it for the last two days.  I created a small album for kids costumes as well as space for journalling.  This would be a great gift for relatives.  The pockets hold tags but could also hold extra photos.  This is easy to make and delightful when you're finished.

The book is held together with 1" book rings purchased at an office supply store.  The stamps inside are all Tim Holtz, the title and frame are PTI.  The pages took three sheets of 12x12 black paper, the tags took one sheet of 12x12 paper.  The design paper used on the photo pages was left over from another project and I used two wobbly eyes on one of the pumpkins.

Lori Whitlock has some of the cutest boxes and albums, check out her store:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lies from the cable company - part II...

When the installer came to hook up the digital adapters on the analog TVs and the HD box on the big screen, he told us the new flat screens in the living room and kitchen were all ready to go.  Nothing was needed for them.  We don't use either of those TVs often so it was several days after the change over that I discovered neither TV would go past channel 11.  When I called MediaCom, I believe my call was answered in India.  A very, very polite young man kept apologizing and telling me each TV needed a digital receiver at a cost to me of $7.95 each/month.  So, another $16.00 on our cable bill.  Ask me if I was livid?

Back to the internet.  I decided between an extra $16.00/month or just watching channels 2-11 (which includes ABC, CBS, NBC and Judge Judy), we would put up with the limited number of channels.  And then I discovered that if you hooked up a digital adapter (like for the analog TVs) to a VCR and hooked up the VCR to the TV, you could use the VCR to tune the TV.  We happen to have a spare VCR for the kitchen and the living room TV has its own VCR.  We just went down to Media Com and picked up two more digital adapters for a whopping $.99/month each.  When we got home, I was just playing around and attached the digital adapter to the TV without the VCR.  Guess what?  It works just fine and we get channels 2 - 127 on the TV.  I suspect the same will be true of the living room TV.

So:  I would suggest that Media Com train their employees about their equipment - what it will and won't do.   We actually had two employees who lied to us.  The installer who said the TVs would be fine, no additional equipment needed and the customer service rep who said the two TVs needed a digital receiver, otherwise they would not work.

All of our TVs now work correctly except the analog TV with the VCR inside it.  We've left it as is.  I can record quite a few of the shows that I normally record with it, the rest I will watch on my computer.  I love progress.....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Yesterday someone left a deposit on an afghan that Sadie used to sleep on.  It's funny how they change 'favorite' places.  Sassy has been sleeping in the spare bedroom window for weeks now and has suddenly changed to the window in my craft room.  This is her second day here, all curled up between the window and the cubby that Carl built me.  She's also slept on the floor under the shelving system and she's been using the litter box up here for two or three days.  Sadie sleeps on the couch and in the family room window which is a place that Sassy never liked much.  My chair and footstool are still covered unless I'm sitting there.  And if we get through the day today with no messes, it will be Day 1--- again.

Yesterday I was checking my e-mail when this happened:
And they stayed that way for a half an hour.  Of course, it was one of two windows open because it was so chilly.  My room could be a deep freeze and I wouldn't mind but Carl would be wearing many layers and wool socks.
In the morning, we prowl the house looking for dirty litter boxes and feeling relief when we see both cats have used them.  This is getting to be a way of life.  Carl made the rounds yesterday changing three of the boxes completely.  As of this morning, one cat (I believe Sassy) is finished and I'm still waiting for  Sadie.  I usually clean all the boxes after both cats have finished.

Well, it's  movie day and I've got to pick up the house, when I turn on the vacuum, all cats disappear.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

6 days and counting....

The girls have been pilled, fed, have groomed, and are now roaming the house quietly.  Both of them were in the bathroom with me a while ago - Sadie in the closet and Sassy behind the shower curtain.  I haven't heard any noise so all must be OK.  We are still keeping the pet carriers on the furniture, no use tempting fate.  There have been no messes outside the litter box.  And Sadie isn't sharpening her claws much on the furniture that we've caught her at.  She still likes the family room window, Sassy still likes the spare bedroom window and they both use the window in my craft room.

We are decorating the bay window for Halloween and have an animated witch and skeleton set up.  This morning I went downstairs and saw Sadie sitting between them and wish I could have gotten a picture from outside.  Sadie LOVES the front door, if I had opened it she would have jumped out of the window and come to the front door, so I took this one instead.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lies from the cable company...

We have Media Com cable.  Those of you who have it also, especially in our area, know that yesterday, October 2, Media Com went digital.  If you have an analog TV that means without additional equipment, you will not be able to see any channel above 23.  Actually, it was channel 17 on my TV because channels above that are reserved for premium channels which we don't have.  My understanding of the change over was:  if you have a TV purchased in the last four years you would be good to go, no additional equipment necessary.  We have two analog TVs so I had to order two digital adapters to make sure those two TVs would get cable channels above channel 17 and while I was talking to the service rep at Media Com, I also ordered an HD cable box.  The regular cable box would be free, the HD cable box which comes with a year of all the Starz and Encore channels would be $7.95/month for a year.  I can only guess that it will go up a bunch when the year is up, our Media Com bill goes up several times a year.  But, we've grown to like the box and all the movie channels in Starz and Encore as well as TV on demand.  Unfortunately, I spend more time in my craft room on the top floor than I do in the family room with the big TV, so I really don't get as much use out of the new set up as my husband does.  He does the majority of his TV watching in the family room and has full control of the TV when I head for bed around eight pm.

My only beef with this whole process is I have a unique set up in my craft room.  I have a nice Samsung TV, a Panasonic DVD recorder, a Sony Blu Ray player, and a VHS player all hooked to my TV.  The reason I have all this equipment is:  1.  I spend a LOT of time in this room and like to 'listen' to TV - I don't watch it, I'm usually working, but it's like white noise, I miss it when it isn't there.  2.  I have been recording a lot of video tapes onto DVDs.  Which is why, sometimes, I don't watch, I just listen.  My TV has an incredible picture so when I do watch a movie, it's usually Blu Ray and I needed a player for that.  My DVR will play movies but the picture quality is not Blu Ray.  Yesterday, when the change happened, all of a sudden my DVR doesn't work anymore.  It's got an analog tuner.  Drats.

I spent the whole day yesterday researching articles on the web about DVRs and the digital switch that cable companies are doing.  Eventually, I found an article that said you need to hook your digital adapter to your DVR.  So, I stole one from one of our analog TVs and after doing that - and tuning the DVR to channel 3 - and tuning the TV to channel 3, the DVR both played and recorded, although the timer recordings will work differently.  The DVR must be tuned to 3, the TV tuned to 3 and the digital adapter set to the station you want to record.  The DVR will record channel 3 at the time you designate if you leave the digital adapter on and remember to leave it on the station you want to record.  But no matter how much I cursed, I could not get the VCR to work using a tape I recorded yesterday.  All I got was snow and the message that the AV signal could not be found.  I found a splitter and ran the cable signal through the splitter and to the VCR and the DVR - same result.  Back to the internet (wonderful thing, the internet) and research on the VCR player, downloaded the user manual, banged my head against my desk.  Then, I had an ephiphany ---- the tape I recorded yesterday was recorded during or after the change over to digital - the tape was actually snow and error messages.  I popped in a purchased VHS tape and it worked, all is well in my digital video world...

In all the literature and e-mails we received from Media Com, nowhere did they mention your VHS or DVR recorder wouldn't work - the young man who came and hooked up our cable box and digital adapters told us that they wouldn't work - he offered no fixes, didn't suggest we put an adapter on the VCR or DVR.  I expect that's because they want to rent you their DVR and our obsolete equipment is not their problem.  The VHS player we have in the analog TV - forget it - it will only work if you don't use the digital adapter and only up to channel 17 - so you can either record very few channels or watch a lot of channels and not record at all.  Now that I type this, I'm wondering if I put a digital adapter on the TV with the VCR inside, turn to channel 3, leave the adapter on tuned to the station I want to record, and then record channel 3 - that might actually work.  I imagine a whole lot of people standing in front of their newly digitalized TV and wondering how to record CSI.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Three days and counting.  We had poop in two different boxes.  Sadie in the laundry room and Sassy in the spare bedroom.  We've kept the pet carriers on both my chair seat and footstool.  The spare bed is still covered with:  waterproof pads, plastic, metal shelves, boxes and a large package of toilet paper.  It would be easier to keep the door shut, but Sassy loves the window and sleeps almost exclusively on top of my sewing machine cabinet under it.  Her second and third favorite place to sleep is my chair and then Carl's chair.  My chair is now covered and Sadie uses Carl's chair to get to her place in the family room window, so Sassy is left with just her window.

We've had no fighting for some time.  They co-exist.  They can be right next to each other with no problems but they are not friends.  They often walk wide around each other, won't be in the same room at the same time and are often on separate floors of the house.  Sadie, in addition to her seat in the family room, also sleeps in the hall on the top floor, outside our bedroom.  Sassy, sleeps on the floor in the family room if she isn't in her window in the spare bedroom and we are in the family room.

Sadie was waiting for me this morning right outside the door to our bedroom.  She came into the bathroom with me and wound around my legs purring.  That's right....purring.  I can still count all the times she's purred on ten fingers (less than ten, actually).  When I did litter duty, starting in my craft room, down to the living room, down to the laundry room, over to the spare bedroom and down to Carl's man cave, I stopped at each cat and spent some time telling them what good girls they were and how much we loved them, I rubbed ears and bellies, but no purring from Sadie.  Such a precious gift given so rarely.  From Sassy, however, we get non-stop purring.  She can't turn hers off.

Yesterday morning we had a bit of drama.  I got up, got my coffee, (since we retired, Carl has started getting up before me and making coffee, a real treat for someone who made coffee every night for so many years) and headed for the paper in the family room.  Carl had that tight jaw that I've come to know means he's not happy.  So, I said, "what"?  He said there was poop in the living room.  So, feet dragging, I head up there to see what he was talking about and there was a HUGE hairball again from Sassy (white fur).  We had no hairball trouble from her from her adoption in August until a few weeks ago.  We've tried all the hairball medicines, she won't touch them, adding oil to her food - she won't eat it.  Putting the medicine on her fur - she will roll, run, drag, and rub but will not lick it.  We have hairball control dry cat food which doesn't seem to be working, although she likes it.  I brush her twice a day but that's not helping, either.  She seems ok - running, playing, eating just fine.  We don't see her obsessively grooming anymore, but still the hairballs.  But today, I'm a happy camper.  Happy happy happy.