Thursday, June 27, 2019

'Bout time.

We moved into this home two years ago, on Memorial Day weekend.  I've spent two years trying to get a handle on the house.  It's not been helped by six months working while doing everything else (I worked fall semester 2017), and it took another six months to recover. 

And this while trying to figure out how to work within the constraints of an actual disability--not a handicap, a disability.* 

That has been helped, as much as it may be, by getting on the right thyroid medication (a much older one) and the right dosage.  Yes, I still wind up doing too much and having really, really bad days, but I'm also having good days.  And days where I can do a little more than I used to be able to. 

Like recently.  I started in on the garage.  I'm finally unpacking the last of our stuff from the old house.  I'm sorting stuff to be thrown away, given away, or put away.  More of the first two categories than the last, honestly. 

We've already done one trip to the recycling center with broken down boxes.  We've run four 13 gallon bags of give-away clothes to the DAV, and there's more.  More boxes (a pile knee-high of flattened ones, and a dozen more to be flattened), some electronics, and a busted cookstove for the recycling; more clothes (two more bags so far of give-away clothes, with more waiting to be put through the wash, and more to be found), an old but still functional TV, and a portable dishwasher to go to the DAV; and something like eight big black trash bags of broken, worn out, mouse-chewed, or otherwise trashed papers, wires, or things I honestly can't recognize. 

We really need to make a trip to the dump.

This has taken a week to do.  There's at least another week (maybe more) of work.   And then...then, we'll be completely unpacked.  All the boxes emptied and dealt with.  All of the paperwork found and dealt with.  All of the knick-knacks found (and a lot of them donated, because I've never been one for most pointless clutter), the books brought in and shelved (finally, even though a lot of the shelves are double stacked or more). 

And the garage...the garage will be mostly empty.  Unusable as a garage,** but empty.

And I have plans.  That garage will be half (or probably less, considering) workshop for Odysseus, half play/art room for the kids.  I've been promising this for the two years we've been here.  The imp wants to move his Hot Wheels tracks, launchers, and wooden blocks out there to build cities, because a carpeted bedroom isn't the best for the cars to keep going.  Both the imp and the pixie want to move all of their art stuff out there, and would like to be permitted to paint.  Which has also been promised. 

It's been more than two years since I first made that promise.  I'm finally keeping it.  I'm finally able to keep it.

Best part?  I can throw a lot of the worst of the mess in the house out into the garage, which will make it easier for me to keep the house presentable.

*A handicap means you have a harder time doing things, but that you can do the same things that others can.  A full on disability means that you're limited in what you're capable of.  Having a bum knee is a handicap, because I'm still functional, but slowed.  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome removes function.  And lays you out with a fever and severe joint pain if you do one thing too much...even something as little as showering at the end of the day, some days.

**One of the overhead doors is altogether broken.  As in, we likely could get it up, but the brackets holding the rails are breaking and/or broken on one side, and the whole mess would probably come down on our heads.  The other problem is that the truck is too long to fit in the garage, and we likely couldn't open the doors if we put both the truck and the Subaru in the garage. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019


I've been trying to catch up this week.  And having a very difficult time, because I don't think I let myself fully recover from last week.  Thank goodness zone 4 only needs little bits.  I've got the decluttering done on my side of the master bedroom; and the other side only needs a little bit more done.  But I've now got extra room in my dresser drawers, and the top of my dresser holds only my (broken and in need of replacement) jewelry box. 

And it's been a very busy week all week.  

This week, the kids have been spending an hour and a half a day in a summer enrichment class held at their school (school calls it "camp," but camp should be more than an hour and a half a day for four days for one week, doncha think?).  Lego/technology/math enrichment.  They put together Lego sets that go with the Lego filmmaker program thing, and make short movies, with platforms for Apple, and for Android/Windows.  The imp is working with one platform, and the pixie with the other. 

Tuesday, I had an endocrinologist's appointment while they had camp.  And Odysseus took the day off because the endo appointments take forever.  I wasn't sure I'd be out in time to pick them up.  I was, but it very easily could have gone the other way. 

Funny thing: I'd seen the nurse practitioner in the endocrinologist's office for the past two visits (December and March).  I'd asked for a change to Armour thyroid (natural replacement--dessicated porcine thyroid gland), and the NP obliged, starting with a low dose twice a day (30 mg).  Then added a 15 mg dose in the morning six weeks later, then upped it by 15 mg in the evening in March.  When I went in at the end of April for the blood work, she said that my numbers looked better than my records had showed for years. 

Tuesday's appointment was with the actual doctor that I'd been seeing previously.  She'd figured out that one of the binders in the generic levothyroxine was making me react like it was wheat.  It was blocking the hormone from being useful to me.  She switched me over to Tirosint, which was much better.  But she kept having to tinker with the dose, hadn't gotten the dose right up to that point, and I still had a lot of hypothyroid symptoms, more and worse than my blood levels said I should have, even when the dose was "too high."  But on the natural thyroid replacement, I've felt better, and my blood levels seem to be just about right.  Which surprised the doc, because most people do NOT do that much better on the natural stuff--most people do equally well on the synthetic T4 supplement. 

I wonder, now, if I'd just needed the T3 supplemented all along. 

Wednesday, the kids had their well-child visit.  Today, I've taken them up to Mom's.  Because I needed a way to distract them from the end of their "camp."  And we hadn't seen my mom and sister for a couple of weeks.  I'm just having to be careful how I move because I torqued my back early this morning a couple hours before time to get up. 

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.