Sunday, June 16, 2019


We've made some significant progress with the flea problem.  Very significant.  It started with the living room and master bedroom--they've been sprayed and vacuumed on alternating days.  Now, we can do the same with the kids' bedrooms, because I spent last week getting them cleared out.

It was really cute--I was working in FlyLady's zone 3 (main bathroom plus one room), and had finished up the laundry room early, since it wasn't too bad.  And then, the pixie comes fluttering up to me and says, "Mommy, can you help me FlyLady my room?" 

So I spent the rest of Wednesday and part of Thursday on her room, then the rest of Thursday and Friday on the imp's room.  I dropped the dishes, cleaning the cat litter box, and the daily laundry load until this morning.  And still wound up sick. 

I'm a lot better, today.  Not all the way, but still better.  And I've gotten caught back up on laundry, after Odysseus finished his, and on the cat box, and most of the way with dishes and putting things away that I brought in and dropped after getting groceries on Friday.   

I'm about done, but I'm definitely done for the day. 

Tomorrow, I'll finish.  I'll finish the dishes, and getting the floor(s) picked back up for vacuuming tomorrow night, and the kids have a school fun class summer camp for Monday through Thursday of next week. 

I think that, with a little bit more flea spraying and vacuuming on the carpets, we'll have that flea problem licked.  We've gone from white socks picking up a dozen or more fleas per foot to getting one or two fleas on both socks.  The dog's flea meds have her flea-free, and I think that, if we can get the house infestation licked, the cats' preventatives will actually work. 

Wish me luck with that...

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


I've had more cats than I can count in my life.  All through childhood, all pets were outdoor pets.  Every one of them, dogs, cats, name it, if we had it, it was an outdoor pet.

Except the parakeet I had when I was 8-10 years old.  He was an inside pet, and a real pet--he loved sitting on my finger, head, or shoulder and being lavished with affection.  My sister had a parakeet, too, but it was an evil little shit that liked to bite. 

Oh, Mom's cockatiels were indoor pets.  She had to sell one to raise money for a lawyer to regain custody when I was very young, and the other (given to her while I was in college) she had to give away because it turned out my younger sister was allergic to the feather dust. 

But until I hit high school, all dogs and cats were outdoor pets only.  And then, we got some indoor/outdoor dogs.  But never cats.

My first indoor cat was Binx.  We got her in 2003, right before I started in on my Master's degree classes.  She was an incredibly sweet and well-behaved gray tiger tabby.  Who'd been left at the humane society because her previous family thought she was pregnant. 

She wasn't.  We found out when we took her to get her fixed that she'd already been fixed.

She was about a year and a half or two years old when we got her.  She got sick and passed in 2012, after teaching my children to be incredibly calm and careful around kitties, and to be very, very gentle.  Since she tolerated them and didn't like them (she also didn't actively dislike them), they had to be superbly behaved around the cat to get a chance to touch the kitty at all. 

She was an excellent cat.  And I loved her very much, and still miss her.  She passed in May.  The imp, who was 3 1/2, barely remembers a really pretty tiger kitty that wouldn't let him pet her much; the pixie, who was 15 months, doesn't remember her at all. 

We adopted the two crazies we have now in July of that year. 

Right from the first, it became obvious that the two kittens (milk sisters--Shadow's mom gave birth in the humane society, then adopted Cricket's litter, which had been brought in after their mother was hit by a car) had an average two cat brains between them, but that the split wasn't even.  At all.  Shadow was much smarter than the average cat, while Cricket...well, to put it kindly, Cricket wasn't all there.  The two kittens would get to playing chase, and Shadow would jink left, and Cricket would miss where she went and spend half an hour looking for her. 

Cricket still isn't all there.  She misses about half her jumps, falls off of things, drools when she's happiest, loves sitting on laps, being petted and scritched, but hates being picked up or held close.   

She also has some really weird habits: she doesn't pee in the middle of the litter box.  She backs up to the wall and goes on the wall of the litterbox.  And sometimes, she backs up too far and pees over the edge of the box. 

Like this morning.  I went back to clean their box out, and found a puddle on the plastic bag I'd put on the floor under the litter box day before yesterday, when I cleaned up that part of the utility room. 

Shadow, on the other hand, is nearly the perfect cat's cat: she's very loving, adores the kids, snuggles, and goes with the imp to go sleep in his bed every night.  She loves playing mind games, usually with Cricket as her chosen victim, and loves exploring out in the garage. 

Yes, we also have a dog, and yes I do love her very much, but I greatly prefer the cats.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Musings on a theme

I've noted something.  As I get the library into better shape, it's become a bit of a haven for me.  It and the master bedroom.  I love both rooms.  The kitchen's a much nicer place to work, but the library is a wonderful place to work or relax. 

Something the kids have noticed. 

It's odd, really--the thing that's attracting them in here is the lack of clutter. 

Their rooms?  Cluttered beyond belief.  Toys everywhere, paper bits and pieces on the floor, clothes hanging out of drawers (or spread all over the floor, or fallen off of hangers to the floor in the closet...), you name it, it's a problem.  Oh, and despite having bookshelves, their books aren't shelved.  They, too, are all over.

The family room?  Covered with a layer of crayon pieces, colored pencils, paper, paper shreds, you name it.  The couch is crammed with trash, pencils, crayons and bits, bits of balloon...they can't ever find the remotes because they're never where they're supposed to be. 

I've got them working on thinning out their belongings in their rooms, at the moment.  I'm trying to reduce their belongings to the things they still actually play with.  I'm trying to get them to gather things that are in good shape for give away, and toss the broken things (but Mom, I love them!...right).  It's an uphill battle that I'm really not interested in fighting, honestly. 

But you know what?  It's something that's necessary.  They need to learn this now, so that it's a skill they have as adults.  It's part of taking care of themselves.  It's something that I have had to teach myself for reasons that weren't entirely Mom's fault.*  It's like cooking, like knowing how to do your own laundry: cleaning and clearing out things is a necessary adult skill for health, even if it's mental and emotional rather than physical. 

*Mom didn't get to make decisions about raising us.  She was an unpaid foster parent at best, and was told what she was and was not allowed to expect from us.  And the people in charge of the household told her to not teach us how to adult (i.e., clean up after ourselves) if we weren't interested in learning, and not teach us some things even if we were interested. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Oof. Fleas. I hate fleas.

We didn't used to have fleas.  Never did before we got the Scotty dog.  I am of the mind that, when she passes, I likely won't get another dog.  I love the dog, but I hate the fleas.

Last year was bad.  We started flea treating...but nothing was working.  We'd used Advantix 2 for dogs and Advantage 2 for cats.  It did nothing.*  We sprayed the carpet with Peremethin.  No joy.  Tried Hartz flea spray.  It had worked, and worked well, in the past, but...not this time.  Tried Adams flea spray.  All of the carpet sprays are supposed to be insect growth inhibitors.  None of it is inhibiting the flea eggs/larvae/nymphs from developing into the next stage.

Winter killed a lot of them off.  It helped.  And then...then, spring came back, with warmer temperatures...and all of the fleas.  We're trying different flea meds, but so far, the cats still have the issues (Feline Revolution 2).  The dog seems to be much better.  But not the poor cats.  They've got fewer fleas, but still have them.

I am about ready to call in an exterminator.  Especially since I've actually been able to get--and keep--most of the house clean.

*I can't say NOTHING, nothing.  It did keep the mosquitos off of the dog--and prevented worms and heartworms.  But it did nothing against the fleas. 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Necessary Things

I'm trying--trying really hard--to keep the kids reading.  Part of this is getting them books that they've chosen.  One new book a month.  We'll also be trying to get to the used bookstore a few times.  They've gotten some real gems, there.

The pixie has discovered our set of Roald Dahl novels.  She has, so far, devoured one in its entirety in one day (it was a short one), giggling the whole time.  The imp, despite being two years older, doesn't read as well--I'm pretty sure that's his ADHD spiking the guns, though.  It's not that he doesn't have interest in reading, just that he can't sit still to read unless it's utterly absorbing. 

Oddly enough, he doesn't have the same problem with his Kindle games...I may end up confiscating his Kindle for a while.  Because of that, and because it does utterly terrible things to his attitude. 

His major interest, right now, is Pokemon.  I used to not care one way or the other about it, but after he discovered it, I've begun hating it.  Because he will. Not. SHUT UP. About it. 

But he reads the books about the characters.  And I have found that there are chapter novels for it.  I'll be buying these one by one for him.   

Pixie has gotten into the DogMan graphic novels.  I've been getting those at Walmart--they're a lot cheaper there than they are through Amazon.  She's got her eye on three that I saw there.  And she's got the other three that are out.  So those are getting snagged on Monday.  When I also snag some regular strength Tylenol for the kids. 

I've ordered a Pokemon book listing characters from Amazon for the imp--the pixie's book is going to have to wait a bit.  I do have something on the way for her, though: a pop-up document holder in purple.  She'd been using my blue one, but didn't think it was fair for her to keep it, since the imp didn't have one.  So.  He gets my blue one (for now), and she gets a new, purple one.  That isn't going to be used until next fall, when she's copying her spelling homework down. 

And, given Odysseus's job, he has ties coming out his ears.  His tie rack is loaded down to double what its capacity is supposed to be, he can't really see all the ties on it well, and it still doesn't hold all of his ties.  So, there's two more tie racks on the way so that he has an easier time choosing ties.  Because all of them will be hung up, where he can actually see them.  They'll hang on hooks on the wall, just behind the bedroom door.

Necessary things.  Things to keep the kids reading, keep the kids from fighting, and things to try to keep up with the house cleaning/decluttering/organization. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

It's working!

My house is, while not clean, clean, it's at least decluttered (mostly) and presentable.  And I'll be continuing working on that until I'm not spending all my time decluttering and can start cleaning. 

It's gonna be a while.  But I think I can do it. 

What makes it easier is that I think the stupid CFS is starting to ease up its stranglehold.  Some.  I can do a little bit more than I could when it was at its best last year.  I'm keeping up with being able to declutter, and I'm able to regain some of the lost/used energy when I sit down and rest. 

I haven't been able to do that reliably for four years.

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is letting go, or if the Armor, in the correct dose (which they couldn't seem to get on the T4 alone) is just working that much better than the synthetic thyroid replacement hormone.  Either way, this is making me happier about my health than I've been in a while. 

Friday night, after the kids had finished their pizza and their movie, and were getting ready for bed, we got a phone call from one of our oldest friends.  I've been friends with this guy for 21 years, now, and Odysseus has been friends with him for a little bit longer.  He's currently selling tools out of a truck--has a route and steady customers and a franchise and everything.  He's staying with one of his other long-term friends while said friend is training and about to deploy with the Guard, and will stay with his wife and family while he's gone as a layer of protection. 

Our friend needed a place to leave his tools van over the weekend while he went to a hobby convention.  And that the guy he's staying with would be coming with him to take him back. 

And neither Odysseus nor I sprang into crisis-cleaning* mode.  We straightened a few things, moved a couple of books out of chairs in the library, but that was basically all. 

And we were relaxed enough to enjoy a short visit instead of wishing it hadn't happened in the first place.

And it's because of five, ten, or fifteen minutes at a time.  And improving energy levels where I can do one or two more sessions of five, ten, or fifteen minutes, and recover energy after I've sat down.  

*Crisis-cleaning: where you take giant arms-full of mess and cram it in closets, cabinets, bedrooms, or wherever you can hide it in the few minutes' warning you have.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wild night

Last night was deeply unpleasant in this area.  We had several tornadoes spawn southwest of us and pass through.  Lots of Joplin's bedroom communities got hit, and one stayed on the ground, traveling northeast for a good long while after it left city limits.  Several areas to our northeast got plastered, too.  Reports are still coming in.  It wasn't as bad as the tornado that hit Joplin exactly eight years earlier (the monster F5 tornado that left a swath of destruction a mile wide and six miles long hit on May 22, 2011), but it was still nasty, scary, and probably re-traumatized a whole lot of people. 

And that wasn't all of it.  We had several inches of rain dumped on us, too.  It overwhelmed the, admittedly minimal outside city limits, storm drainage around our house.  I woke up at six this morning to our entire front yard flooded up to the oaks about fifteen feet from the front of the house (our front yard is HUGE), and both sides of the driveway covered in a river of fast-running water.  Looked about three inches deep or so. 

It has since receded a good bit.  I mean, it's still flowing pretty quick, but the river itself is narrower, and a little shallower.  I wasn't sure we'd be able to get out for the kids' last day of school, but it looks like it's going to happen. 

I mean, I'm not getting out, but Odysseus is taking the kids in.  It should recede the rest of the way before their release time at 11:00 a.m.  It's close, even now.

I'm really hoping this is all for a while.  We've had over eight inches of rain in the past three days, and had tornadoes on Monday and then again last night.  I'm really, really tired of this shit.