Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hello Kitty

When I said I wanted peace and quiet...well, I spoke to soon.

Atticus. Oy. What a week! Not only for the poor guy, but for me too. That nasty abcess I told you about last week? Came back. With a vengeance. Actually, it never really went away. It just got worse and worse.

After fretting about his condition for most of the week, I decided it would be best to take him in to the vet's office. Although the spot I had cleaned out had dried up, there was another lump next to it. He was also a bit on the lethargic side, and not eating as much (hello? if that isn't an indicator something is wrong with him...).

So, when I stuffed him into his carrier, and he went in without a fight, I knew it was not a minute too soon.

OK, so he saved his anger for the vet's table. But after looking at him, they decided to put him under in order to clean it up. Good thing they did, because the abcess was actually quite large and spread out! And underneath? Dead tissue (necrotized). Ew. That's all I can say. Ew. Ew. Ew. Poor guy! I can't believe it got to that extent. As the vet said - animals often do not let on that they are feeling sick. No kidding.

The bonus? They cleaned his teeth while he was under.
I was never happier than when I heard he'd made it through just fine!

But boy. Was he MAD. Mad like I have NEVER seen him before. Trying to get him out of the kennel he was in at the vet's office and into his carrier took strategic planning. MAD. Even to the point of lashing out at me! As the wonderful vet technician put it - "people think working in a vet's office is all kittens and puppies! But, this is the reality!".

Finally got him home (I think the cab driver thought I had a wild animal in there, and got us home in *record* time, heh.), and he came roaring and charging out of that carrier like the Hulk. On steroids.

"At.ti.cus. MAD!!!!!!!!"

(shamelessly borrowed from The Simpsons episode where Homer turns into the Hulk!)

You can see his right front paw looks a bit funny (heh, putting it into perspective!). That's where his IV line went in. It was covered up with a hot pink bandage, but he was having none of that. He has a shaved spot about 6x6 (no kidding), and a 2.5" scar with stitches. And he's been given a 14-day antibiotic shot (meaning it will work through his system for 14 days).

Oh, and really clean teeth.

Meanwhile. I now FULLY understand how this could have happened in the first place. I spoke to the vet, and my friend Raven, about it. Animals recognize each other by sense of smell, and Gandalf truly believed this was a different male cat. It was not pleasant splitting them up, but after Gandalf LUNGED at Atticus, I hustled him into my room. And Gandalf? I have never seen him like that, he was crazy. It took him awhile to calm down, but the funny engine sounds where still going on, even though Atticus was safely in my room.

Mae? What can I say. For a girl who can be so shy around other people, she certainly took it all in stride. Didn't faze her at all.

"At.ti.cus. still. MAD!!"

And for a cat who has just gone through probably the most stressful day of his life, he was all smiles that night. I was *exhausted*, and was in bed by 8:30pm. Atticus settled in next to me, but every two hours?

"Hi! You up?!", and -

"Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Brigitte. Mom. Brigitte. Mom. Mom. Mom. Momma. Momma. Momma. Mom. Brigitte. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Momma. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Momma. Momma. Momma. Brigitte. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom."

(shamelessly borrowed from Family Guy!)

Good thing his teeth were clean because, despite laying out his blanket on the bed, he chose to rest on my pillow. Above my head. On my hair.

*Finally*, after keeping them apart for a day, and after thoroughly sponge cleaning Atticus' back, I decided to let Gandalf in, and see how he would react this time around.

He sniffed around. No hissing or growling.

Meanwhile, Mae poked her head around the door, lasers set to "stun".

She sniffed and marvelled at the new Cadillac of litter boxes, all the while letting the boys re-introduce themselves.

After a few tentative sniffs, and the odd hiss, they kissed and made up.

"Hi Atticus! Where've you been? Hey, what's the funny thing on your back?"

"I'm not sure... I think it had something to do with me going to the vet's office."

"Dude. You look like...Frankenstein. It's got all these funny threads sticking out of it. Cool! You're gonna have a wicked scar!"

"Do you think the chicks will like that?"

"Totally! They'll think you're all bad-boy tough guy! Like Christian Bale or ooo, James Bond! When he goes all Quantum of Solace revenge-like! Awesome!"

Although Gandalf did cause the injury, not for a second do I blame him. And neither does Atticus. He was just reacting to his instincts. He is as sweet as ever, and by tonight, the last of the tentative hissing will be done, and they will be back to being the best of friends.

As for me...I am just happy Atticus is healthy and happy, and the harmony has been restored.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Sometimes I think if it weren't for the guys, I'd have nothing much to report on. Well, almost nothing.

I know this much, if it weren't for them, I would probably not be able to say - I now can do this. Or that. Or the other thing.

The other thing being - what's that smell? Atticus, did you step in poop? Roll in it?

Not quite. If you've a weak stomach, by all means hit the next link on your page, or in your favourites. That's OK. I won't hold it against you.

Now, I know they say that animals, especially cats, won't really let on that they're in any discomfort until it becomes intolerable to them. So, when I noticed an icky smell coming from Atticus, I thought at first he something. If that were the case, he wasn't trying to clean himself like cats do when they're dirty. At least my guys. I zoomed in for a closer look, and noticed a matted section on his back. And STINKY. I took out one of their brushes to get a closer look, and managed with ease to pull away the matted section. Only to reveal a puncture mark on his back, and some pretty vile stuff crusted around the top. And I noticed he had a raised bump around the area. I blotted it a bit, and ooooo the crap coming out of it.

I called my friend Raven, cat-lady and foster mom extraordinaire.


And through all of this, he didn't seem overly bothered. I got a clean towel, some paper towels, antibacterial soap, some antiseptic wipes, and Because I didn't have any iodine or rubbing alcohol. Not for me. Really.

I picked him up, stuffed him in the sink, and washed the area. It was mind-boggling the...stuff...coming out of the area. Like pouring out of it is more like it. Oy. Poor guy. You know, for a cat who normally does not like to be man-handled, he was pretty calm. Mind you, I did have him in a head-lock of sorts. Apart from his heart pounding, he didn't protest too much. So, I kept washing with soap, and draining it until it cleared up. I used a bit of the vodka to clean the area, and dried him off with the towel. Blotted with the antiseptic wipes, put him down, and off he went to finish eating. That's how much this whole thing bothered him. And I was very relieved to see that.

Nothing says lovin' like cleaning an abcess from a 20lbs cat on Valentine's Day. And nothing says lovin' like a 20lbs cat actually letting you do so.

"See? I told you I hadn't rolled around in poop."

Judging by the round hole of the wound, and the location, I know there is only one possible explanation as to how it got there.

"Dude, I am so sorry! I didn't realize I'd punctured your skin!"

"They thought I'd rolled around in my own crap."

"I'm sorry!! It's just Auntie Raven came back from "that place" smelling like you'd been clubbing all night, and some girl dropped her drink all over you! I thought you were somecat else! So...well..."

"Crap, Gandalf. My own crap. And when have you known me to go clubbing??? Seriously."

"I'm sorry..."

I know this much. When Atticus comes back from the vet after getting his teeth cleaned, I'm splitting those two up. I'm not going to risk it happening again.

The boys always "fight", but I've never known Gandalf to draw blood or be anything other than an annoyance. So, I hope this was more "accidental" then intentional.

It seems fine this morning. Nothing is running out of it, and the swelling has all but disappeared. And, he let me kneed the area a bit to make sure it wasn't bothering him, without trying to bite or whack me. I'll wash the area again, and comb it out a bit. I wonder if the hair will grow back?

I'll save you the graphic picture, but it's the area around the tuft of grayish hair towards the back.

"If I go bald...Gandalf, you'd better run."

Man...peace. And quiet. That's all I want today. No surprises. No noise. No smells.

I figured I would take out something I had started working on, and am almost finished, and tell you all about it, but. I decided not to! :D

I'll let it stay a mystery!

Somewhere in this picture is a WIP that I'm working on, much to the distress of the other WIP's. I started it because at the time, I just couldn't concentrate on the more complex things. And, it's going so quickly, I've decided to keep going until it's done. (Heh, how novel an idea is that!)

You'll see what it is soon enough.

Until then, fingers crossed that there are no more incidents, funny business, smelly cats, or bald spots that crop up. No more mysteries.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Life Experiences

Sometimes, all you need is a kick in the pants. And sometimes, that kick in the pants has to come from yourself. And it can remind you that for reasons you may not understand, you need to focus on other things.

Of course, had I listened to myself, and realized that I was only stressing myself, I could have avoided the last few stressful weeks!

After finding a great apartment, filing out the forms, getting the certified cheque done, I decided I'm going to stay put. Did I make the right choice?
Less than one hour after dropping off my papers at the (potentially) new place, I received a phone call from my current landlady telling me that her mother, who had originally rented this apartment to me, had died. I can't tell you how sad that made me. As much as my current landlady may frustrate me, her mother and father were exceptional. They treated me as one of their own.

After I got off the phone, a whole bunch of memories came flooding back. Sophie was in her mid-80's, and was very matter-of-fact about life. She was born in the Ukraine, and would tell us stories of growing up there. How she lived through Stalin's collective farms in the 30's. Living through the Battle of Stalingrad during WWII. Escaping to England after the war, and coming to Canada. Her husband George was no slouch either. As a young boy barely in his teens, he was in the Resistance, fighting against the Nazis in Romania. He too escaped after the war, and made it to Canada via Scotland. And they met and married here in Toronto - working several jobs to eventually put both their kids through medical school, and buy 2 houses that they rented out. They really were the salt of the earth. Often I'd come home from work to find a container of perogies or cabbage rolls left inside my door. And every year, Sophie would plant a vegetable garden in the back yard for her tenants from seeds she saved from the previous year. And in the fall, she'd plant her garlic. She'd cover the back yard with leaves, explaining that it was the best way for the garlic bulbs to "mature". Then she'd trudge back to their house, not too far away, and nag George into something or other. I remember my surprise, and everyone else's, when she came around one day to tell me to take $20 off my rent because I was the only apartment with an electric stove - all of the other apartments had gas stoves. When George died a few years ago, she'd continue to come around, but eventually she passed everything on to her daughter to take care of. She still lived on her own; we used to say "as long as Sophie still went to church, everything was OK with her". She was still going as of last fall.

What can I say? Slave to the memories? If so, it's not so bad. I just don't have it in me to call up Lena and say - sorry about your Mom, oh, and I'm taking off now. Let her get Sophie's stuff in order, and I'll revisit moving later in the year. It's the least I can do to honour this wonderful lady who did so much to make this apartment a home for me.

And it's OK. I'm actually a bit relieved. And you know what? Ever since Psycho Sister moved out downstairs - things have been much better. It's up to me now to get that lovin' feeling back. And it's started, little by little. I'm going to take some of my bonus money (whatever's left after Atticus and Mae get their teeth cleaned, that is!), and maybe buy a few new things I've been meaning to get for this place.

So, did I make the right choice? Yes.

Maybe now I can put more focus on KNITTING. Because you know. This is a KNITTING BLOG. Sheesh.

And because of all this, I neglected to show you this beautiful acquisition!

Some Hebridean 2-ply in the "Strabhann" colourway, from Virtual Yarns!

Lordy. It's a beautiful colour. I was going to make the Driftnet Wrap, but, I'm thinking I may end up making something else with it, because the colour is so amazing.

What do you think?

The Little Dudes Have A Pissing Match, or, Neener Neener Jerk-Face!

"...mmrrrrrrrrrrr...*growl* stink Atticus! *hiss*... You're not my brother! ...mmrrrrrrrrr..."

"...*hiss* to you too! I went to the vet! So what! Geez... Stop making those engine noises Gandalf, you sound like a old fridge."

"You smell like some other cat's pee, Atticus. And I don't like it! At. All."

"Gandalf! Stop being a jerk! Don't hiss at your brother!"

"Hey, did that sound tough, Mom?! Did I sound all Tony Soprano-like?! Oh wait, he's coming over...mmmrrrrrrrrr...*growl*...mrrrrrrrr...*hiss*"


"He's really trying my patience. Why do I have to be the "bigger" cat? I don't want to walk away. He's annoying. And lame."

"You guys are dweebs. I'm going to eat your food. 'Cause you're obviously too busy seeing who's the tougher one."

Gandalf spent most of the day yesterday growling and hissing at poor Atticus - who had to endure a trip to the vet, a rectal exam, a needle, and a blood test. I was standing in the waiting area with the Captain, cringing at the noise coming out of the exam area! Poor guy. It took 3 people, 3 towels, and a Hannibal Lector-type mask on his face to finally get some blood drawn from his back leg. Well, at least they know what to expect when they put him out for his dental work.

And, he was NOT happy with me for a few hours after we got home. By the afternoon, he had settled down, and was basically ignoring Gandalf's tough-guy growls. But still, it was...annoying. If seems better this morning, although there were a few times when Atticus would whack Gandalf on the head out of annoyance.

Mae? Loving all the food. While these guys are busy trying to out-do the other, she's scarfing back all the food.

Smart girl.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Continuing Saga

Some things never change. And that can be good thing.

Atticus does his Atticus-thing on one of his Atticus spots.

Mae won't hold still for the camera.

And Gandalf relaxes. He does do that from time to time.

And the stuff that changes? Well, it's all good. Folks, it looks like we have found a new home. Fingers crossed! I had the choice between the one I told you about last week, and another one I came across by chance earlier last week, which I like even more than the first one! In a building! With laundry! And 2 bedrooms! With big windows! And lots of closet space! And heat I control! Me! But of course, until it's signed on the dotted line... but I'm confident. And I remain positive.

Thanks again for all your support! Of course, in the past week I haven't had any door incidents. Then again, I ended up working from home most of the week due to an eye infection that was, well, gross. Thanks to the power of antibiotics and warm compresses, I'm on the mend. But I have to say - I am becoming completely paranoid at every small sound.

I did hear from my neighbour downstairs, she had some *interesting* news to tell me - her mail-thieving, door slamming, screaming shrew of a sister has moved out. Moved back in with her mother. Aw. Shucks. And to think I could be out of this place by mid-March. Apparently, she'd had enough of the streetcars, her sister and the new stud-muffin, and of course, me. My heart. She breaks.

Regardless. The sooner I'm out of here, the better. As a few of you commented - if it no longer feels like home - it isn't.

Moving to a new apartment should send the Little Dudes into therapy. Except for Atticus, he adjusts pretty easily to things. But Mae and Gandalf? Oy. They get freaked if I move a chair, or vaccum their sleeping spot. So, if anyone can offer tips on easing cats into a new home, let me know!

In the meantime...

I made a hat! Cute, huh? Carolyn made one as well, which I thought was too cute to resist. It's "Ardvey" from... AS' "In the Hebrides". I never noticed it until I saw one done up on Carolyn's blog. It does look kind of funny now, but it fits beautifully! And I still do need to block it though. I used some "Black Water Abbey" yarn I had left over from something or other (shhhh...I know, I didn't use Starmore yarns! But what Alice doesn't know, won't hurt her...).

And to go with it?

A pair of moss stitch mittens, also in red. I'm using some Mission Falls 1824 wool. The pattern is from the Mission Falls "Smitten" booklet, and they will grow into the "Blossom" design.

Why the new projects? Stress. I simply could not concentrate on anything bigger or more complicated. I was all thumbs trying to work on Isobel of Mar (and I'm *this* close to finishing the bodice). And Windsor Waistcoat? After having to rip out 3 rounds, I decided I should stick to something easy. Knitting definitely calms my nerves, but this time around, I just couldn't concentrate properly. I tend to internalise stress, to the point I don't even realize what I'm doing to myself. Then I realize I am "out of sorts". Regardless, it's not healthy, I know.

The prospect of moving isn't the stress factor - it's the current living arrangements. Well, I'm dealing with the problem, and I hope that it will soon be resolved.

Fingers crossed!