Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tales from My Trip

Since I got back from Minnesota on Monday morning, I had to jump right in to the work week.  I think things are back to normal now.  Two of the dogs refused to eat while I was gone.  They sure are eating a lot now!  It was a good trip but, of course, I am sorry for the reason my sister and I went in the first place which was for a funeral.  I got in late on Thursday and my sister picked me up since she got in much earlier.  We stayed near the airport and Mall of America which was convenient.  My sister's husband got us "elite" status at the Marriott which meant free wifi and breakfast.  Breakfast was good on Friday morning but on the weekend they made us go to the restaurant instead and they wanted us to pay an extra $4 for eggs and breakfast meats.  We said no and tried to be happy with toast, cereal and fruit.

It was really good to see my nephews and meet all of their relatives.  The nephew that I have guardianship for came over and said "Take me with you!" but he was just joking.  He is what I call a 'highest bidder' kid.  If I had said he could came back to Arizona and play video games and watch TV all the time he would jump at that in a second.  I think he is in a much better place in Minnesota surrounded by family and friends of family.  It will be harder now that his grandma is not around.  Someone needs to learn to cook and they will need to help out around the house more.  Hopefully their aunt and uncle will have an opportunity to be more involved in their lives.

We saw a little bit of St. Paul, mostly when we were lost.  the Mississippi is impressive and there are colleges and churches on every corner is seems.  St. Mary's cathedral looked just like the cathedrals in Rome.

So fancy!  I wonder how long it took to build.

The boys grandmother was the one who arranged for the Pieta statue to come back to the cathedral permanently after it toured the country.  It is an exact replica of the one in Rome.  The one in Rome has a plexi-glass barrier because someone attacked it with a hammer.  I could get much closer to the one at St. Mary's.

One evening we went to my nephew's football game (the older of the two brothers).  They lost but it was fun anyway.  I rarely go to football games.  Some of the visiting relatives were there too.  He had 11 family members cheering for him.  I wonder if he appreciated it.

Another evening my sister and I had a chance to roam around the Mall of America.  I can't believe there are that many stores.  We never made it to the fourth floor.  We did get quite lost but managed to find our shuttle back to the hotel.  I bet we would have lost our rental car in the parking lot if we had driven ourselves.

It was a good trip and I got to hang out with my sister which is a rare occurrence.  This trip cost me just under $1,000 for everything.  That is less than I expected so I might add $500 on to next month's extra mortgage payment.  I'm not sure though because I have more news that affects my finances coming soon and I haven't decided to just use money from savings or to put off my mortgage repayment for another month.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Back in My Own Bed

I'm back from my trip to Minnesota and sooo tired but I just wanted to tell you that I am home.  The dogs were thrilled that I came back.  The cats were both aloof and curious.  The quail didn't care either way.  The pet-sitter did a good job of not only keeping my pets alive, but all of my plants made it too.  She definitely earned her $40 a day.  That's a lot of money in Tucson and hardly any money at all in Southern California.  My sister was telling me that she paid someone $20 a day just to be a back-up pet-sitter for her one dog.  The person didn't even have to do anything, just be on-call in case the other pet-sitter had a change of plans.

Anyway, I am thrilled to have a reliable pet-sitter again.  Maybe this means I can travel more.  I don't really like to travel though.  The plane trips are stressful but I can't beat the speed.  How else can I wake up in Minneapolis and be working in Tucson in the afternoon.  It is almost 9pm, that's 11pm in Minnesota.  No wonder I am so tired.  4 more days until the weekend!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Million and One Things

This week has been so crazy and it is only Wednesday.  On Monday, I still wasn't feeling 100% but I had to go to work so I did.  I took some cold medicine and must have spend a good 20 minutes staring at my computer for no reason and then laughing to myself because I was staring for no reason.  On the way home my truck started idling funny at stop lights.  It was shaking and sputtered when I accelerated.  I had to stop at the feed store to buy more turkey food for my quail and then to another store to buy cat litter.  The truck was still shaking and sputtering.  As I turned on to my street, the 'check engine' light went on so I knew I was going to have to take my truck to a mechanic.  When I got to the front door of the house, I noticed a trail of ants going inside.  Ick.  I followed them and one group branched off to the kitchen while the other group went down the hall.  I turned on the hall light and it was burned out.  Ahhhh...too many things going wrong at once!  I changed the light bulb, sprayed some bug killer at the door, mopped up the ants, and then proceeded to do all of my regular chores.

I tried to think of a nearby mechanic but I only knew of ones that had over-charged me.  The only one that I heard good things about was 40 minutes away near my mother's house.  I called my mother and she said I could borrow her car so the next morning I got up early and drove all the way there.  Luckily, the truck was acting normal again, although, that turned out to be a bad thing when the mechanic couldn't figure out what was wrong with it.  The check engine code said that it was mis-firing but they checked the spark plugs, wires, and fuel injectors and couldn't find the problem.  I also asked them to fix the automatic door lock because it wasn't locking.  At least that is fixed now  So, after work I took my mother's car back and picked up my truck  It was a long day.

Today I had my dentist appointment for my permanent crown.  It went well, I think, but I still have a problem with one of the teeth on that side and I will have to wait until January to fix it because I am all out of insurance money for this year.  I shall chew carefully.  After the dentist, my truck started acting up again, shaking and idling rough.  I ignored it.  At least the 'check engine' light didn't come one.  I stopped at Walmart to buy the only sinus medicine that works for me.  It is the Walmart brand of sinus decongestant and I have relied on it for years.  They didn't have it.  I was shocked  I'm going to have to check another Walmart or (heaven forbid) actually find another brand that works.  I hope I can find enough of the pills in my purse, truck, and cabinet to get me through this weekend.  My sinuses have been giving me a lot of trouble lately with all the weather changes and then I was sick so my ears are plugged and I am going to fly tomorrow and that always messes me up.  Maybe I can buy some at a Walmart in Minnesota.

So, I leave tomorrow but before I go I have to write out instructions for the house/pet sitter.  She will be staying here and taking care of the dogs, kitties, quail and garden.  I attempted to hook up a simple drip watering system tonight but it got too dark so I will have to finish it tomorrow.  I should have done it long ago.  It would have saved me a lot of time.  I dusted off my suitcase and washed some clothes for the funeral which I haven't worn in a very long time.  The last time I traveled I went to Washington state to help my parents pack for their move to my house.  That was 2 1/2 years ago, I think.  That pet sitter made such a mess in my house, I never wanted to leave my dogs alone with anyone again.  Luckily, I trust my new pet sitter.  She works at an animal shelter so I am sure she can handle what ever happens even if my dogs aren't very well behaved for other people.

I have a ton of little things to do so I will try to get some sleep and not think about all of the things that I might forget.  Flying really stresses me.  I'm always afraid I am going to miss my flight or forget something important.  It is only 4 days.  I'll be back in no time at all.  I can do this.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Unexpected Trip

I'm feeling 75% better today.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is Monday and I have to go back to work.  Well, no one will notice if I sleep at my desk for a while, I hope.  I must be better by Thursday because I am flying to Minnesota for the funeral of my nephew's grandmother.  I hate leaving my dogs but, hopefully, the pet-sitter is available or else my mother is going to have fun taking care of my dogs, cats, quail and garden.

Friday was a sick day although I logged in from home to answer a few emails.  I hate missing a day and coming in with tons of emails to answer.  I spent most of Saturday and Sunday taking it easy.  At least my throat doesn't hurt anymore.  Now it has moved in to my sinuses and I have the most annoying headache (like headaches aren't always annoying?).  I'll feel better tomorrow right?  I have a lot to do before I leave.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Stormageddon Moves On

That was anti-climatic.  Stormageddon moved on to New Mexico without dropping any more rain here in Tucson.  It should be a nice weekend here.  Too bad I have a cold.  My coworkers refuse to stay home when they are sick so they spread the germs around.  I think I will stay home tomorrow.  Maybe I will get better in one day if I stay in bed.

My foster kitties are getting better and bigger.  I am supposed to keep them until they are 2 pounds.  I haven't weighed them lately but I think it will take another 3 weeks for them to reach that weight.

Momma cat still hides all the time.  I don't know how I will get her adopted.  Cats that aren't outwardly affectionate get on the kill list quite quickly.  Maybe someone needs a barn cat.

I'm wishing I had some cold medicine right now.  Everything in the cabinet is for allergies or sinus headache and they aren't working.  I don't think I'm going to sleep very well tonight.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Where is the Rain?

So far, there has been a lot of warnings and not a lot of actual rain. The people from the Weather Channel who came to report on the big storm must be very disappointed.  It sprinkled off and on all day while the news predicted that the big storm would hit at 2pm, then 5pm, and now maybe it will happen tomorrow.  I'm getting a little skeptical.  My rain buckets were half full and I used it to water the plants because they looked kind of dry.  Some businesses were closed and some sent their employees home early so that they wouldn't get caught in the flooding.  I had to work all day.  Maybe I will wake up tomorrow surrounded by water.  There's still a chance that I can work from home.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Storm Preparations

It looks like Tucson might float away tomorrow.  The weather reports predict 1-12 inches of rain.  12 inches?  We might get 12 inches in a whole year when we aren't in a drought.  I also read predictions for 6-8 inches and 3-5 inches.  Even if we get only 3 inches, that will be a lot for us.  Last week we got almost 2 inches and there were lots of flooded streets and swift water rescues.  One person drown in Tucson and another in Phoenix.

Hopefully, no one will die tomorrow or Thursday when Hurricane Odile hits.  I don't think it is still a hurricane but I don't know what else to call it, Storm Odile?  And hopefully, I won't get stuck at work in the evening.  I'll give the animals extra food just in case.  I am down to only my 3 dogs, a bathroom full of cats, and my 3 quail.  My foster dog went back to the pound and will get adopted tomorrow.

I left the shelter without a new foster because if I am going out of town in the near future, I don't want to have another animal for the pet sitter to watch.  On the other hand, would she even notice one more?

In preparation for the storm, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home.  Did I buy bottled water, batteries, and bread?  Nope.  I bought watermelon, cheese, donuts, root beer (it was on sale) and cookies to share with the people at work tomorrow.  If the power goes out the dogs and I will eat watermelon and donuts.  Heck, if the power doesn't go out we'll eat watermelon and donuts anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mortgage Payment Plan Pause

I've had this sinus headache-earache since Thursday.  The weather keeps changing as each new storm rolls in and out again.  I had a doctor tell me once that sinus headaches aren't affected by weather but experience tells me otherwise.  It was too still too hot to do much outside anyway so I had another relaxing weekend of laundry, pulling weeds, cleaning floors, napping with the dogs, and watching my latest Netflix show, Longmire.  Kinda makes me want to move to Wyoming but I looked up home prices and they are the same as Tucson so I will stay here and avoid the snow.

Tomorrow is Sept. 15th already but I can't think about making an extra payment on my mortgage yet because I am expecting to go to an out of state funeral soon and that will cost around $1,000 for airfare, hotel, rental car, food, and pet sitting.  I am glad that I have the money available when I need it though.  My mortgage payment plan will just get pushed back a month.

In gardening news, my tomatoes haven't been producing because of the heat so I decided to cut them back.  I found 2 green cherry tomatoes under the vines but unfortunately, I cut the vines so I will wait to see if I get more tomatoes when it gets cooler.  The yellow squash gave me 3 female blossoms today, but no male blossoms and blossoms only last one day.  My birdhouse gourds were looking good until I saw some chew marks on the gourds themselves.

Looks like cabbage loopers.  I had no idea anything would actually chew on green gourds.  I picked them off.  I have one new gourd and I should probably put it in an old nylon stocking so that it doesn't get chewed.

My pole beans are as tall as the house with lots of blossoms and no beans but I saw a tiny 1/2 inch bean today so there is hope.  People tell me that winter gardening is easier in Tucson.  I hope they are right because right now I feel like I am just wasting water.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Rare Work From Home Day

Monday morning I woke up and did not want to go to work.  That is pretty normal but, besides the usual reasons for not wanting to go to work, I was trying to figure out how to get one dog and a bunch of cats to a vet appointment at 5pm without having to keep them in my office all day.  I was considering driving home at lunch time and picking them up, that way they would only be at work for 3 hours but its a good thing I didn't try that because it was raining cats and dogs (haha) at lunch time.  Finally, I sent a text to my boss and asked if I could work from home.  I think I have only worked from home 1 1/2 days this year.  He replied "yes" and I was thrilled and then I went back to bed.  Since I didn't have to drive to work I had an extra 30 minutes to sleep in.

After my nap, I tried to log in to the remote desktop on my computer but was blocked because I hadn't done a full computer security scan within the last month.  So, I started that and made breakfast, then checked email, then facebook, then a little Netflix... and finally, the computer scan was complete.  I expected a bunch of urgent work emails but there were only half a dozen.  Maybe next time I work from home I can bring some work home with me so that I have more to do.

I'm really glad that I thought to ask to work from home and that I was able to get my computer connected.  I also had fun watching the backyard fill up with water and running out in the rain to put more plastic storage containers under the eaves to collect rainwater.  I really wish I had my gutters up.  The rain was over by 4pm and I loaded up my truck with cats and one dog and drove across town for their vet appointment.  The kittens got 4 more medicines to help them get better.  Their eyes just refuse to clear up.  These kittens are going to hate me because all I do is torture them with bad tasting medicine and eye and nose drops.

Anyway, I wouldn't be able to work from home everyday because I need to be able to talk to the other people in the office and to look up old paper files and drawings but I am glad that it is an option once in a while.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Call Me Klutz

On Wednesday, after my dentist appointment, I stopped at the grocery store.  While unloading my groceries from the truck I heard a not-so-nice thump.  I looked down and there was my glass jar of alfredo sauce splattered on the driveway.  The glass jar of spaghetti sauce, also in the same bag, was hanging precariously. Who trained these baggers to put 2 glass jars and a can of soup in one flimsy plastic bag?  I guess this is a perfect example of why I should use reusable bags but I always forget to bring them.  I actually bought 7 reusable bags from the library because I saw an idea on the internet where they use them as fabric pots.  I am still planning to try that idea once I buy a plastic swimming pool (the bags go in the swimming pool so that they can be watered all at once).  Maybe I'll do it for my Fall garden if all of the swimming pools haven't disappeared already.  But anyway, that blob of greasy, glass filled alfredo was really difficult to clean up.

Later in the week, I was putting my lunch in to the microwave at work when I hit the edge of the plate on the shelf that is holding up the microwave.  Guess what happened?  The plate went flying, slid down the crack between the counter and the fridge, and shattered on the floor.  Noodles and ceramic shards everywhere.  So much for lunch.

I decided to lay low this weekend.  I have made it in to bed and nothing else was broken.  Hooray.  The spell is broken.  The beadboard wallpaper that I bought arrived on Friday and I cut some pieces and taped them to the wall in the kitchen and to the front of one of the cupboard doors.  I like it.  I think I've finally made a decision for my kitchen decor.  Now I just have to find the right trim.  That's pretty much all I did this weekend besides the usual cleaning, cooking and pulling weeds.  It rained so I pulled a lot of weeds.

  Tomorrow I have to take my foster dog AND my foster cats to the vet.  I can't figure out how to keep cats at work all day long so I am going to go back home at lunch and pick them up.  Yes, it will cost me for gas but I think that is better than setting up a litter box in my office.  The kittens' eyes still are not better and I don't know if I am doing something wrong or the medicine is not working.  I'll find out soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Crown Me

I finally got a temporary crown today after my root canal 2 weeks ago.  I don't remember root canals being painful for a whole week after but, wow, I almost regret doing it.  I still have some strange cold sensitivity so it didn't even fix the problem.  I have to wait 3 more weeks until the final crown arrives but at least I can chew normally again.  Now I can eat all those chips and crusty bread that I couldn't chew before.  There goes the diet.

I was only charged $450, assuming I have enough insurance for the year to cover the other half.  my yearly benefits for dental are $1500 or something tiny and unreasonable like that.  When my work switched to a health savings account, I was skeptical but so far it has worked out well.  Work puts in a quarterly amount in my account and I have money deducted every paycheck so I don't even notice the money going over to the HSA.  It sure is nice to have money in that account when I need it.  I can use it for medical, dental, and prescriptions.  I don't know how many times I have panicked a little when I got a bill and then I remember that I have money in the account just for this reason.  So, today, when I got the $450 bill for my crown, I just handed them my HSA credit card.  Finally, one part of this whole ordeal that was relatively painless.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit

I'm female.  I'm single.  I'm in my forties.  I think I have fulfilled the prerequisites for cat collecting.  Last week I decided that it was about time I started making everyone's fear a reality.  I ordered the Crazy Cat Lady 6-pack starter kit.

The kit came complete with a momma cat, five tiny kittens, kitten formula, canned and dry food, baby bottle, cat bed, and kitten medicine.

Ok, ok, so they are just foster cats.  The pound put out a plea to cat rescues and cat fosters because they were overloaded.  Actually, they are always overloaded but I have an extra bathroom and I have been curious how my dogs would react to cats in the bathroom so I decided to give it a try.  The pound gave me a bunch of free cat stuff which was awesome because I don't really have much cat stuff left.  I only had to buy a litter pan and litter.  I still need a scooper because I thought I still had one but it disappeared.  

The dogs are behaving marvelously.  It is going better than I expected.  The cats are very quiet.  You wouldn't even know they were in there unless you looked.  Maybe they will get louder as they get older.  Twice a day  I change their linens, clean the litter box, feed them, and give medicine.  The kittens HATE the medicine.  The pound cannot afford the special tuna or chicken flavored suspension liquid so I have cherry flavored antibiotics and, I must say, giving cherry liquid to tiny kitten is much harder than giving it to puppies.  Those tiny claws are sharp and those kittens keep their jaws clamped shut.  

I will have the cats for approximately 6 weeks when they should be old enough to get fixed and adopted.  Poor momma cat doesn't have much chance to get adopted.  She is not the kind of cat that seeks attention.  Today I saw another plea from the pound for more cat rescues.  Next week there are 40 more cats coming in from a confiscation case.  That is in addition to the normal amount of cats that are dropped off daily.  I don't think the pound will be very excited when I bring my cats back but, for now, I am a temporary cat home only.