Friday, March 30, 2012

Raining, cats, and dogs

I returned from visiting my mother in Florida eight days ago to discover our deaf white cat, Sheba, had gone mad.

This state was quite difference from her usual yowling on the kitchen counter and throwing food bowls on the floor.

She wanted either to go out in the cold and sit in the enclosed carpeted cat tree on the front porch or to hide in the basement laundry room. (To her view, it wasn't hiding, but from my viewpoint, it's hard to spot a white cat asleep in a white chenille bedspread.)

"She missed you," Tom said.

But I think it was more than that. Because Sheba refused to stay upstairs with me, either clawing at the back door to be let out or running down to the basement to sit in her chenille spread. Finally I gave up and let her move into the laundry room, spreading a towel on the ironing board and putting her food and water there.

It was so pathetic, because the laundry room is chilly.

I brought down a heated cat bed and put that on the dryer. But Kaylee, the small tabby, went down and took over the heated cat bed, so it didn't help Sheba much. Though it did provide her some company.

I went down to visit Sheba several times a day, bringing meals and treats (which she gobbled voraciously), and shivering. Sheba seemed perfectly fine and very energetic. I tried bringing her upstairs, but as soon as I did she got this wild, haunted look in her eyes.

She was also over-grooming, so the house was carpeted in white cat fur. This encouraged me to encourage her to stay in the laundry room.

Two days into this routine, I took Sheba to the vet, where they ran tests for diabetes, hyperthyroidism, bladder infections, and a few other things. Her weight was fine, and on Monday evening the vet called to say everything else was fine, too.

"She's just upset," he said.

We suspect that at some point during my absence Sheba had a run-in with Mabel, our Bombay. Mabel is a small, domineering cat with sharp claws and no sense of humor. She and Sheba usually ignore each other, but...who knows? And Zoe, the overbearing large tabby, tends to stalk other animals and annoy them.

I began doing lots of laundry and ironing, to keep Sheba company. It's not easy to do laundry with cat beds, cat bowls, and cats everywhere, and it didn't help when Sheba slept in a basket of clean clothes and threw up on three pairs of clean pants.

Today, after Sheba came upstairs and peed on the kitchen counter, I called the vet again.

"Can we do something to cheer up this cat?" I asked.

He recommended Prozac in fish oil — which I had on hand because we'd very briefly tried it on Mabel (who had been snapping at people). Mabel had reacted to her first dose of Prozac by refusing to eat anything for a week and glaring at food suspiciously for some time thereafter. The prescription was still valid, so tonight I gave Sheba a dose of it on her dinner. She gobbled it down and purred madly. There is hope.

So much for cats. Now, for the dog.

It's back.

From the evidence, it is apparently the same mid-size dog that had been crapping on our tiny front lawn last summer. So I brought out my waterproof sign ("Anything your dog leaves on this lawn will be returned to your front steps") and put it back on the lawn, right on the spot where the dog craps in the wee hours of the morning.

Either the dog or the owner can read, because the crapping immediately stopped — until Wednesday, when I was having people over for lunch, and there was the pile of poop.

Tom removed the sign, and the crap, and as soon as the rain (!) lets up I'm installing the motion-detector and alarm system I'd purchased last summer. The plan is to catch the owner and dog in the act, rush downstairs in my robe, shovel up the dog poop, and follow them home with it.

This plan would have been more fun in the summer, but they haven't given me much choice.

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 05, 2012

What on earth is wrong with Google?

I've squawked about Google+ at length on the WriterWay blog, but now I'm realizing they've done things to Blogger that have made a once user-friendly piece of blogging software into a  mysterious morass of strange icons. It looks like an Excel spreadsheet with one big cell.

I used to love blogging with Blogger and now I can hardly wait to get back to WordPress (where my public blogs are).

Perhaps I'm just grouchy because I woke up this morning with a migraine, took a lot of caffeine, bundled up and headed out in the rain, caught the overheated bus to an unparkable section of downtown (thank you, Mayor McGinn), discovered my interviewee had cancelled, stood in the rain for a bus back to Ballard, got home, got in the tub, got back in bed, and slept for the rest of the day. I now have something that's a cross between a mild flu, a mild cold, and a mild headache, and would be happy to spend the next 24 hours in bed.

Meanwhile, my email inbox has filled up with a wide range of messages, most of them having to do with all the travel I have planned for the next several months.

Thanks to Google linking the identity I use for this blog to one of my Google+ accounts, I'm now not quite sure who reads this blog. I'm reluctant to reveal when and where I travel — not for security reasons but because people seem to want to argue me out of traveling to places that I want to go on the grounds that I should be either visiting them or traveling somewhere with them instead. Thus, I'll be vague...

• Florida to visit my mom next week
• a night at Norwescon (yes, probably more like a Marx Brothers films than you'd suspect) in early April
• a book-browsing jaunt to one of the world's most amazing bookstores in mid-April (with two friends)
• teaching a website-planning seminar at a convention in the D.C. area in mid-May (maybe see some high school friends?)
• Fourth Street convention in Minneapolis in late June
• Breitenbush in Oregon mid-July...maybe...
• Foolscap in Redmond in late September

Tom discovered last week that it's almost as cheap to fly to Venice to deliver a batch of prints than it is to ship them (given Italian customs and courier prices for large artwork). However, by the time you figure in airfare for both of us, and a hotel...well, we're still thinking about it!