Monday, December 19, 2011

It'll be a sad, strange Christmas

This Holiday season, despite Shasta's miraculous return, is full of question marks and worry:

Last week, DH got a phone call, that his mom (my mother in law) had fallen down the steps and broken her pelvis, hip and arm.  She had surgery this week, which was as successful as could be, but is still in the hospital and will be there for Christmas.

The day after that happened, DH got a phone call from his stepmother (whom I love), letting him know that his dad had had a massive stroke and was actually in the same hospital as DH's mom for some time (they divorced about 35 years ago).....DH has been having some bad mental health issues himself these last few weeks, so he didn't think to ask a lot of questions about the prognosis (I'll give a call tonite if I can), but from what I can gather about the timeframe, it sounds like a major hemorrhagic stroke and that he has survived that (the stroke had happened about three days before DH was notified), but will need to relearn how to walk, talk, eat, etc.....DH's dad was not in good shape prior to this, as he had suffered a life-threatening infection after a "routine" surgery, so I'm not sure what this bodes....I think DH is a little confused, too, as he really doesn't have a high opinion of his dad, but is concerned nevertheless.

And then my Aunt Judy, who, when I was a child, was my favorite aunt ever--she had no qualms about coloring with me, or talking about teen idols, or playing with my dolls--it wasn't until I became an adult that I realized that she was somewhat childlike and dependent herself.....anyhow, she just turned 65 this past Fall.  She and my uncle Neil, who is/was my dad's brother, quit smoking 24 years ago, when my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (which he died from in January 1988).  Anyhow, at Thanksgiving dinner, Judy was talking about how she had no appetite any more, which was somewhat unusual, considering that at some times in my life I am sure she weighed upwards of 300 lbs (but had slimmed down recently due to being more aware of how her diet affects her health).  I made a little mental note to myself, just a "that's a little odd..." when all she ate for Thanksgiving was a couple of barbecue sauce weenies and two Dorito chips....anyhow, about two weeks ago, it was learned that she has Stage IV lung cancer and it has already spread to her brain and internal organs.

We won't be having our usual Christmas get-together this year at my brother's, we are going to bring Christmas to my uncle Neil's, because Judy is too weak to go anywhere.  She is getting radiation and chemo, and the doctors say it is "treatable, but not curable".  Whatever that means, I think this will be her last Christmas with us. 

We won't be having our traditional Christmas Eve games (that I am in charge of), either, since DH's mom and brothers won't be coming.  It doesn't really break my heart, I get stressed out, especially trying to come up with prizes that I can afford, and new and "improved" games every year....but it's going to be strange, for sure.  I am scheduled to work the overnight shift at the group home on Dec., 23, 24 & 25 anyhow.  I get double time for working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so that will help.  My tentative plan is to make a special Christmas Eve dinner and just enjoy spending time with DH and DD.  I'll pop in to see my mom, too, of course.....

But the clincher is the mental health issues DH has been having.  He was able to get FMLA for his physical health problems, so he won't (or shouldn't) be punished for missing work....but the thing is, in the last three weeks, he has only worked two days.  And that doesn't help us much.  A lot of days he doesn't get out of bed.  So the double time that I'll get for working the holidays will help out.  But he's not doing anything to help us or to help himself.  Again.  And this had started before we got all the bad news about family.  I have reminded him til I'm blue in the face, that he needs to go see his PDOC, and he was supposed to have his Lithium and Depakote levels checked nearly two months ago, but when I remind him, he "forgets".  And he hasn't checked his blood sugar, let alone watched what he's eating, for at least 3 weeks.  One day he told me "I think I might be Schizophrenic" because he kept hearing his own voice in his head talking to him...."but the voice doesn't usually tell me to do something bad, it just talks to me...." but he hasn't been to the PDOC to ask about that.  I suggested that DH check himself into the hospital, and he was concerned about how much I work and I could I "take care of things" without him.....I just looked at him, and he said "Oh.  I guess things wouldn't really be that different, huh?"

The one good thing?  I realized that this would be yet another "special occasion" where I didn't get much of a present.  So I took some of my Christmas bonus and ordered myself a Kindle Touch ereader.  I've wanted one for ages, and I know nobody will be asking me what I want for Christmas, so that's my present from me to me.  I probably shouldn't have wasted that money on myself, I know I'll regret it when I have to scrimp for gas money to get to work, but I probably won't have any "extra" "not earmarked for a bill" money again until maybe next year if I'm lucky.......I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shasta got her Christmas present early

I'm fed up with coming home every day to DH telling me that another animal escaped.  I'm not exactly sure why they escape on him but not on me, maybe his size has something to do with it....anyhow, I invested part of my Christmas bonus to buy a baby gate for the entry way.  Some of the pets are rather bummed.

But it's proving to be worth its weight in gold :-)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Finally!!!! Success!!!!!

I am happy to announce that Shasta meow was finally caught this morning, and is happy to be back inside!

She was apparently hiding under a part of our deck that is accessible to cats but not humans.  She did not come out when we called.  We never saw her the whole time.  The dogs did not bark as if they saw her.  We looked all over, notified neighbors, put an ad on the radio (they're free for lost & found), and it appears that she was only about 10 feet from the door.

I had put a live trap out for several nights, baited with tuna, nothing.

Then, two nights ago, I thought "maybe she is so used to her in-the-house routine that she doesn't know what to do!"  So I put her purrsonal food and water bowls outside, and made sure there was some crunchy Iams in her bowl (just like in the house).  I made a big deal of filling the food bowl...talking to her (even though I didn't know if she could hear me) and rattling the cat food bag.  That night, something ate all the cat food and left the tuna in the live trap.  I put the crunchies out the next night, and it snowed just the tiniest bit.  And what did I see?  Kitty paw prints in the snow!  I followed them to try to see where she was hiding, and that's why I think she was hiding under that part of the deck (there were tracks coming to and from that area, but no tracks leading to a different part of the yard.

So last night, I put just a few crunchies in the food bowl and put it just inside the trap (where she wouldn't spring it).  When I realized that food was gone, I put the refilled bowl in the trap as "bait".  Viola!!  Mad/scared kitty!

I guess she maybe doesn't like tuna, even though she begs for it when she's in the house?  << shrug >>

I am so relieved.  She was sleeping on the bed when I left for work.  She's still fat, but maybe a little less so.....and I regret thinking that DH may not have been truthful about what happened.  When he first told me that Shasta had escaped, he wasn't worried at all, I guess he thought she would just come home by herself.  The not worried thing made me suspicious.  But as the days went by, he got more and more worried, too.  I have no doubt now that things happened exactly like he said.

This has gone from a really bad week to a pretty good one.   In addition to getting Shasta back, my job at the group home gave me a $300 bonus!!!  We usually get a bonus from there (although I never count on it) but some years it's $25, some years it's $50, and in the six years I've worked there, the biggest bonus ever was $75 a couple of years ago....so I was shocked and amazed when I checked my bank account today.  Yippee!!!!  Now Lester, who has moved into our porch voluntarily, can go and get some shots and have a little operation.  Woohoo!!!!