Monthly Archives: October 2007

Geek cats; for the love of Dyson and OzPet

The Coonie Cats – or “the fluffies” as they are also known, among many other nicknames and epithets [or would that be epitaphs?  Comes close, sometimes, given their behaviour] are doing well.  Aoife has put all the weight back on since her long, scary illness, and then some.  She’s having another growth spurt at the moment, even though she just turned one, when most domestic cats have finished growing, and is looking pretty impressive.  Except for all the patches where she was shaved for tests etc; they are growing back slowly so she still looks like a sheep attacked by a particularly inept shearer.  Those patches will take a long time to catch up with the rest of her coat, which is excessively long and luxurious.

The fur is a bit of a problem at the moment, actually; both Coonies are shedding a tad more than usual in preparation for summer, and during their wrestling matches and re-enactments of the Battle Of Agincourt around the dog-kennel, the fur flies like snow.  Thank heavens for having bought a Dyson hoover though; that was the day I truly knew I had Grown Up, spending over $800 on a hoover?  We got one of the psychedelic purple and green turbo numbers and it is almost a pleasure to use and see clear paths through the snow fluff. 

The Dyson doesn’t really help when it comes to our clothes, which are covered in drifts of fluff as soon as we dress.  Since most of my clothes are of the black and jersey type, this is somewhat unsightly.  Lint rollers and clothes brushes stand zero chance against the Maine Coon silky fluff.  I find the masking/sticky tape trick the most effective; I wrap broad sticky tape the whole way up and around my hand, sticky side out,  and attack the garment in question, shifting the tape “mitten” around as sections become overloaded. It took me six hands of tape to de-fluff a black polar fleece jacket … which Aoife then decided to pull off it’s hanger and make into a bed.  Sigh.

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They are great companions. Both of them shadow me during the day and just hang out wherever I happen to be, which is very cute.  They’re particularly “in my face” when the laptop or iPod/music is involved, which just goes to show they take after their Mama and Daddy in being total geeks.  Right now, as I type this, both fluffies are sitting on my desk, curled up around me and the laptop in various attitudes of adoration .. that would be adoration of the Vaio, not me.  I am there simply as a cushion, Ruadhàn particularly likes to sit on my lap, resting up against my torso with his face smooshed into my [not insignificant] boobs, with his front paws wrapped around my bicep.  Sickeningly cute. 

My parents have labelled them “the Geek Cats” [yep, another nickname but probably preferable to the GrandCats] for their predilection for curling up on me and the laptop when I’m working … and in Ruadhàn’s case, deliberately [deliberately, I say!] whapping the F1 or power keys.  Little shite.  Aoife seems to prefer the qwwwssdddddddd approach which isn’t quite so disruptive.

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The er, excretions of cats and disposal thereof is a significant issue in every indoor-cat owner’s life.  I’ve tried several different types of litter and never been happy with any of them.  Tracking the stuff outside the litter box, “matter” getting stuck in paws and tails, the smell [and there is nothing quite so bad as cat pee, it makes your eyes water and throat burn], and especially the sheer un-environmentally friendliness of it.  I mean, bagging up huge amounts of litter and cat poo/pee in plastic bags and popping it into the garbage bin?  Eeeeeuuuuuuccchhhhh.  None of it works really well as compost, no matter how carefully you strain bits out, or what the bags say about “recyclable”.  Recyclable as what?  Bio-chemical warfare?

Then I discovered OzPet Litter.  It’s compressed pellets of wood shavings left over from wood-chipping, carpentry etc that would otherwise be discarded.  The pellets absorb all liquid and break down into fine stuff that looks – and acts – just like potting mix.  Loads of essential minerals and good stuff in there, hee, although you DO remove the solids every day, v. important [I flush the cats’, same as ours!].  The special litter tray comes with a sieve insert through which the wetter fine stuff drops – that you can either discard or mix with a couple bucketfuls of water to dilute the ammonia and put that on your garden too.  Not, repeat not, vegetable gardens though.  Apparently native shrubs and trees in particular love OzPet after the cats are done with it, and the bits of the garden I’ve experimented with, and even the patches underneath trees where grass refuses to grow, are responding well.

Recycling AND garden friendly, and no plastic baggies, yay.  Oh, and it absorbs all the gag-inducing odours.  Brilliant.  For more information, the OzPet site is here.

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Looking forward

I have a number of posts planned and half-written, but haven’t yet got around to completing/posting them, so in the interim I’ll pop up a couple of rambly posts.  I’ve figured out that the reason I don’t post so regularly – apart from being sick as a dog – is that I’m a perfectionist; yes, you may well laugh – I’m known for being a procrastinator but a perfectionist? Hmm.  What I mean is, I want each post to be perfectly coherent, well written, and important, meaningful, whatever.  Not just cheese-sandwich type posts.  But then that prevents me writing personal ramblings and thoughts which might make good posts – they’re just not ‘important’ on a global scale.  Given that blogging IS intensely personal, much of the time, I’m pretty much doing myself out of a lot of material.  I’ve been thinking for ages that I want to make my posts a little more personal, newsy, show-and-tell, but haven’t managed to do this.  If I can only not be held back by the fact that what I’m writing isn’t always totally profound, and that’s okay, I might be able to break through the impersonal barrier.  I know I occasionally do when I’m having a full on whinge about the health beastie thing, but there’s a lot more to my life than some dumb disease.

What do you think and how do you blog?  Is getting personal difficult for you and what’s the line you don’t cross?

[I just found this post on Dyers.org ; “9 Ways to Beat Writers’ Block On a Personal Blog” – via Katie at A Byootaful Life – thanks.]

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First; a belated happy Vet Nurse Day [Friday 05 October, Australia].  I don’t know what I’d do without the vet nurses at the practice we frequent [all too frequently, bah], they are so kind and compassionate, also lots of fun.  K., especially, has proved a tower of strength and support throughout our travails with the Coonies.  They wiped tears and hugged me after Abigail died, asked after us all, rung up out of the blue to check up on how the fluffies were doing, been personally concerned about our situation.

I really admire vet nurses; not only do they help out a lot in animal surgery, caring for sick and recovering patients, getting just as involved with the animals’ lives, they have to do all the admin and accounts stuff, and deal with the human owners, which isn’t always easy as some of them are argumentative and snooty.  I guess this attitude harks back 20 years or more, certainly back when I was thinking of careers and desperately wanted to be a vet but didn’t have the marks or the support from family; I had even less support with the idea of being a vet nurse instead because, apparently, all they did was wipe up pee.

According to K. et al, although they may just be shining us on, we are their favourite clients, because we treat them as colleagues of and not lackeys to the vet, we have a good chat and ask their advice.  To us, they are definitely not just wipers-up-of-pee.  So thank you and congratulations to the vet nurses in our life, and all the other vet nurses out there who help suffering animals and their owners who are anxious and despairing about their pets.

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As the weather improves and moves out of the usual September “change season twice a day” * to summer, so my health improves, wahey.  After the yukkiness of July – September I’m about ready to climb sheer rock faces, but just getting out of bed and dropping the dosage of painkillers et al will probably suffice for now. 

*  I can’t say that there’s “four seasons in one day” as Perth only has two seasons – winter and summer.  The change-over occurs over about a week or two in May and then in September and it’s always horrible, talk about changeable.  We got more rain in Sept than over the whole of winter, it’s been such a dry winter and the wheat harvest is going to be even worse than last year – maybe about 6.5 to 7 million tons – in 2005 we got 11.5 million tons which is the norm, though there’s always fluctuations.  And people [right wing arseholes in government type people, anyway] go on insisting that global warming and climate change is just a hoax and scare-mongering?  PFFFFT I say.

So just getting out of bed is good, I’m also able to do a bit more around the dog-kennel [sorry, the flat *cough bloody cough*], housework and such, as well as cooking proper meals regularly, walking up to the shops, getting back into the full core strength/general exercise programme and even getting onto the rowing machine for 5-10 minutes here and there!  When improvement comes, it comes quickly and doesn’t take me long to get back into the swing of things.  It’s keeping sane and emotionally balanced through all the ups and downs [and more downs] that’s the tough part!  So, yay me.

Last weekend we met up with friends we hadn’t seen for ages, for drinkies and then a quick dinner at Han’s Café in Hay Street, Perth, which was pretty awful.  It was great to see people and be out and about, although we still had a pretty early night; I would have been up for more drinkies except the other had to go home and Tux and I were actually very tired.  Still, it’s the thought that counts, right?

We also did a bit of shopping, of the fairly non-exciting work-trousers-for-Tuxedo and toiletries variety; mostly we’re planning out the Big Buys for our new place [of which more in a bit – I get so excited saying “OUR place”, wheeeee].  I did pick up a few bits of MAC here and there, following on from the birthday purchases back in August, which were gorgeous, plus finally got around to using my Gift Card at Mecca Cosmetica that my eldest brother gave me.  I picked up a couple lip glosses and balms, pretty pretty.

Ooh ooh, I also picked up the *NEW* Terry Pratchett, called Making Money and it’s hilarious, very very good.  It’s set in Ankh-Morpork, and centres around Moist Von Lipwig of Going Postal, now doing his thing with the City Mint and Banks.  All the usual City suspects are there – lots of Vetinari [wahey!] and of course the Watch makes an appearance or two.  I don’t know where Pratchett gets his ideas or how he goes on producing books that are consistently well written, fun, pertinent and applicable to our world, but he does.  The Discworld novels just get better, to my mind, and should be classed more as literature than science fiction and fantasy, which must put off many readers [although the earlier books in the series are very much fantasy, the more recent ones are much darker – even the YA/Children’s series].

Tuxedo is cycling pretty much every day, to and from work during the week and then a couple of rides over the weekend.  I’m not turning into a total bike widow though as Tux spends the rest of his time at home gaming and mucking about on the computer, so I’m a geek widow too!  Naaahhhh, that’s not true at all, as I spend just as much time on My Pretty Laptop.  

Anyway, Tux is looking very fit and fancy in his brightly coloured Lycra cycling kit, the muscles in his legs are like something out of an anatomy diagram, or one of those very loving sketches of athletic Greek boys by Leonardo da Vinci.  So I’m really not complaining at all … hee.  Since he had the Trek tribike, and especially since he had proper Aero-bars fitted, his upper back, shoulder and bicep muscles have really started to develop too. 

So there you go guys – and girls of course – environmentally and economically friendly transportation AND drool-worthy muscles, plus a great cardio workout, what more could you want?  You just have to put up with drivers trying to push you off the road and people yelling rude words at you [“faggot” seems to be the most popular I believe, so unimaginative and somehow reminds me of The Simpsons episode when Lisa goes out with Nelson, and one of his friends interrupts them snogging and sneers “kissing a girl?  That is so GAY”].  Ahh, I’m just jealous.  VERY jealous in fact, I’d love to be out cycling but bikes and issues with balance and floppy joints don’t mix very well at all.

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So, the house.  OUR house.  Settlement is at the end of October, when we sign our lives over, and really we couldn’t be happier.  We’re still not sure when we move, it’s a bit up in the air with the current tenants and also our current lease on the dog-kennel; plus we want to do the painting et al before we move all our stuff in.  At this point we’re looking at February/March but that can change and probably will.

Stuff we need for the house include; washing machine and tumble dryer [how nice will it be NOT to have a communal laundry and washing lines, and have people steal my knickers all the time], a three-seater sofa, sundry small electrical appliances, and DA DA DA DAAAAA a HD TV and a Playstation 3 – both Sony of course.  While the PS3 may just possibly be used for a game or two, it’s main role will be as movie and music player, via Blu-Ray.  At the moment, and in the past, “The CIC” as I call it is in the living room which means PCs, servers and cables all over the place; what we plan is for Tux to take over one of the smaller bedrooms and turn that into his office – the other small bedroom will be my office/library, naturally – and using all the groovy wireless and Blu-Ray technology have the movies and music patched downstairs to the HD TV and wireless surround sound speakers in the living area. 

I should explain the set-up of the house [OUR house] as it’s a bit different.  As the townhouse is built on a downhill slope, the front entrance is actually on the top floor – that’s where the two smaller bedrooms, second bathroom and laundry etc are.  Downstairs is the big living area, a lovely big recently renovated open kitchen [complete with dishwasher!!! as Tuxedo keeps gloating], the master bedroom and the master – and bigger – bathroom [complete with bath!!! as I keep on gloating].  It was one of my dreams, unlikely to be realised, to have our bedroom on the same level as the kitchen; it makes nursing and getting around a lot easier when I’m really ill and bed-bound, and there we are, so happy happy joy joy. The dining area is sort of tucked under the stairs, and there’s loads of extra storage space and built in robes, linen cupboards etc. 

The master bedroom and living area/kitchen look out onto the courtyard, which is currently very basic and boring although it is all reticulated but I have plans … Mwahahahahaha …. No nothing too awe-inspiring or high-maintenance, but I want to plant native shrubs all around the perimeter wall, and have a proper herb garden.  We also plan to build a net barrier around the top of the fence for the kitties so they can run around the garden, and put up a shade sail.  Oh and there’s a shed out the back!  What more could anyone ask?

I really can’t wait.