Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cats, gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs and rats

We took Buster (aka Boo-boo) to the Family Pet Clinic on March 20 to be neutered. We picked him up the next day, a changed kitty. He's been a bit tentative lately, not quite himself.

He also has been compulsively licking the affected area. So Kent took him back Friday afternoon and they gave him a surgical cone. Poor Boo-boo. He can't lick himself, even regular cleaning, unless we take it off. He runs into the side of things with the cone. If you offer him a treat, sometimes it lands on the inside of the cone and he has to try to lick it off. It's really quite comical at times.

Also, Cayla finally decided that she had had enough of guinea pig ownership and I placed an ad for the cavies. We sold the last two today. While discussing the ins and outs of guinea pigs, I mentioned to the buyers that Cayla had wanted a rat for some time and I told her "You aren't getting a rat."

We gave the last buyers the cages, water bottles and food that we had left. Cayla and I helped carry stuff across the street and load the van. As we walked back to the house, Cayla turned to me and said, "Now I can get a rat!"

"No, I said you aren't getting a rat."

"But rats are smarter than guinea pigs."

"Didn't you hear me before? No rats."

See, we started with gerbils. There were supposedly four males - gerbils like to be with other gerbils. But one wasn't a male - "he" was a she, and gave birth before we got her. And got pregnant right away. As one point, we had 11 gerbils. We placed an ad and gave them all away by ones and twos.

Then we got a hamster. Hamsters like to be alone, so we got just one. We especially didn't want to repeat the multiple fiasco the gerbils had been. But the hamster died in August, and Cayla was devasted.

Kent went to visit some friends in October, and brought their guinea pigs back with him. A male and female, and guess what? She was pregnant. Yippee. She gave birth on Nov. 10 - two pups - and got pregnant pretty quick. Through an ad, we had found homes for the dad and two pups before the second litter - three pups - arrived on Jan. 18.

We are done with extra pets for awhile.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Your geek rating ...

62% Geek

Only 62 percent? *hangs head in shame*

I just took another test: 30.76923 percent - Total Geek

i am a total geek

I'm going to have to study harder.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

It's a new holiday in our house!

It's "Snip Snip Eunuchy Day" for Buster. This refers to the second "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie where Jack Sparrow tells the cannibals that Will Turner is a eunuch. In the middle of his speech, he says "snip snip eunuchy."

Buster wasn't happy when I took him to the vet, but not because he was afraid of the vet - yet. He doesn't like going in the car, and I had bought a cat carrier just for this occasion. I assembled it in the car and brought it in and set it on the floor. He sniffed it and went inside and I shut the door. Then I took him out to the car and drove him to the vet. That was just part of the chain of disasters as far as he was concerned. He was quiet, but scared on the way there.

Poor baby.

You missed quite a sight!

I had to go to Ames yesterday to pick something up. When I got there, it wasn't there. Some miscommunication had caused the order not to arrive, and there's no way for me to find out until I get there.

So, I got back in the Blazer - which I had driven because my car sucks down more gas and the Blazer had a bit more gas - and tried to shut the door. Which wouldn't latch. I tried a few more times, then asked someone for help. He tried a few times with no luck. So I drove around the side of the building where the parking lot slopes, hoping gravity would help. No luck.

So, I drove out of Ames with my window down a couple of inches and holding the door shut with my left hand. I shut the window and held the door by the door handle until we got to Little Wall Lake.

My plan was to shut the door from the outside, which usually works. In the past, I've done this, then got into the Blazer from the passenger's side and scooted across. In a manner of speaking - you don't exactly "scoot" across the center part of a Blazer.

I tried a few times, finally thought I had it after a fashion. I crawled in the back window, rolled across the back seat (it was already down) and maneuvered myself into the front seat. Cayla was laughing at me the whole time. She was the reason I didn't go in the passenger side - I wanted her door to stay where it was. The passenger door has latching issues, too, and I didn't want to deal with both of them.

Anyway, I finally got into the driver's seat and barely touched the door and it popped open. I tried a few more times to close it and finally gave up. I ended up driving the whole way back to Fort Dodge holding on to the door handle, even at 65 mph on Highway 20.

I can't begin to tell you how much fun that was. ;-)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Minor rant - work-related

It's really nice to work at a place where you can be sure that when there's a shortage of available people to work on a certain type of project, someone will volunteer/step up. It's reassuring to know that if anybody calls in, or quits, or is unable to get to work for whatever reason, there is someone who can get things done.

Until you realize that you are someone, and it kind of sucks to be the person who is always filling in/volunteering/stepping up. And it's not all volunteer, either. This past week is was a note on a Post-It saying this particular project needs to be done ASAP. I started working on it Monday or Tuesday already, but just to get the pieces together in order to do the main part, which is uploading the information to the Web site. Our esteemed webmaster assured the news editor that it would only take 20 minutes per section.

After about an hour and a half of prep on Monday or Tuesday (can't remember - it's all a blur), I came in Wednesday (MY DAY OFF!!!!) to make sure it all got done. More prep time: The folders had been moved, so I:
Copied each folder to my desktop
Deleted the ads and pasteboard stuff from each page
Updated the links to photos on each page
As each section was updated, I then did "collect for output" for each page
When all sections were collected for output, I dragged the section folders onto a shared server, then went to a computer with Photoshop and saved each photo for the Web (changed image size first, to make uploading faster)

Then, finally, I was ready to upload everything to the Web. (Oh, and the webmaster assures me that he'll make a droplet or something that will process the photos for me for next time. Thanks.) Also, one section is supposed to be uploaded for a sister publication. I emailed the webmaster, asking if he can maybe copy that section online for the other publication. Apparently not - he didn't address that part of my email. Besides doing tedious work, there's nothing I like more than duplicating the tedious work. "Can I do this over and over and over again? Huh, can I?"

I also discovered that for some reason, the paragraph breaks didn't translate when the articles were uploaded. So, after that, I put two < BR > tags at the beginning of each paragraph in the articles in Quark Xpress - it's easier to put them in before pasting the text into the Web program.

I was at work on Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Those hours had be cut from the rest of my week. So, now I have about 5.75 hours left for today, and I'm doing obits, paginating and uploading three sections of Sunday's paper to the Web.

I'm thinking of taking my laptop to work so I can take a long lunch hour and play games or something.

An observation

I've had Bell's palsy manifest at two different times in my life. The first time (1988), I had been mugged and either hit or kicked in the face, and the Bell's palsy came on suddenly a week or so later and lasted a couple of weeks.

The second time was during my second pregnancy (1995). I think that was more gradual. At that time, one eye didn't want to stay closed when I was sleeping, so I ended up using first aid tape to tape it closed at night. It gradually went away, and I think there are no aftereffects, except a very slight difference between the right and left sides of my face.

Even a mild thing like Bell's palsy can freak you out and mess with your life. I bring this up because of a thread on a forum I frequent. One person was asking for advice on symptoms, and Bell's palsy was one of the suggestions for a possible diagnosis. The main advice was, of course, see a doctor. But reading the responses brought back memories of the times I had Bell's palsy.