juthwara: (Default)
Good:

[livejournal.com profile] longstrider and I saw Star Trek on Tuesday. It was freakin' awesome. I think I would have been deeply conflicted about what it did to Trek canon when I was 16, but that was before my affection for Star Trek was stomped on, ground into tiny pieces and fed to crocodiles by the never-ending parade of mediocre series that followed over the next decade. I think any loyalty I had to Star Trek canon ended at about the third episode of Voyager, because if canon is going to include that? By all means, feel free to change it.*

What I cared about was that it was very well-cast with actors who did a great job recreating the classic characters, it was exciting and it was interesting. Some of the action scenes towards the end were a bit overbright and choppy for my taste (although I'm a bit oversensitive to that sort of thing) and the implausibility of the science was migraine-inducing, even by Star Trek standards, but I went in with my brain mostly turned off anyway and I didn't care. It was fun to watch and I would gladly see what J.J. Abrams would do with a sequel.

*I remember the precise moment I was really, truly Over Star Trek. It was when I was in grad school watching tv in the middle of the day and over the credits, I heard an announcer say, "Tonight on Star Trek Voyager : a transporter accident turns Neelix and Tuvok into one creature - Tuvix!" It took me several minutes to decide I hadn't hallucinated hearing that.

Bad:

Lily is currently at the vet, recovering from surgery to remove a string she swallowed that got hooked around her tongue but managed to make its way down to her colon, cutting up her small intestines in the process. Ack. Poor little kitty. They sewed her up as best they could and she seems to be doing fairly well. We got a call this morning saying that she had a bit of a fever, but cats usually get fevers after this sort of abdominal surgery and they haven't called since, so she presumably hasn't taken any major turns for the worse.

I'm trying not to obsess too much about how hideously expensive this is going to be. Because of course this is exactly what we needed only a month before we have a baby and I stop working for two months, cutting our income by a third: emptying our savings account! For the cat! I mean, I really believe that getting a pet involves being willing to pay for reasonable health care (I wouldn't pay for cancer treatments, but I do feel things that are quite treatable and within our means should be done and this qualifies), but I have to admit, when [livejournal.com profile] longstrider took the call from the vet this morning, while most of me was concerned about Lily's health, there was a little part of me that kept thinking, "She had better make it, because if there's anything worse than paying all that money, it's paying all that money for a dead cat."

Sigh. This is going to make life difficult. There are only three things we still need for the baby: diapers, car seat and bouncy seat, and we should be able to still afford them if we're frugal in other areas. But I had been trying to figure out what to do with K over the summer, since we were concerned about the effects of giving her a baby brother and yanking her out of her routine and away from her friends all at the same time. But I don't see how we can afford to continue to send her to her current preschool if I'm not working without dipping into savings, savings we no longer have. Argh.
juthwara: (Default)
K and I took two blessedly uneventful flights home yesterday and have gratefully settled back in at home. Our week in Michigan was really great, much to my surprise. Based on my previous experience of travelling alone with K, I thought adding having to work on top of that would smash me flat.

But as it turns out, K has turned a major developmental corner recently and was happy to spend huge amounts of time playing on her own with my old Playmobil and Fisher Price figures, and spending time hanging out with my mother or her aides (her aides are almost universally middle aged women who have children of their own, so they were pretty good with her). She also took a good nap every day, so I was able to get enough work done during the day that I didn't have to stay up too late at night, before then having to get up with K in the morning. Between getting something resembling enough sleep and not having a preschooler velcroed to me (and being so freakin' cute and pleasant that it was a joy to be around her most of the time), it was a remarkably relaxing visit.

It's been a long time since I've felt like that visiting my parents. Before my mother's accident, going home was very relaxing - being the child of two introverts means that the atmosphere of their house tended to be very quiet and uncluttered. But then Dad got sick and Mom had her accident, and there were always strangers in the house and my mother always needed me to do things for her. Add a baby on top of that and visits home turned into a gigantic vortex of need, pulling me in twelve directions. But unlike Christmas, we weren't trying to shove six people into a two bedroom condo, my mother didn't seem to need anything from me and life was pretty calm.

That doesn't mean that I'm not really looking forward to tomorrow when I can ship K off to daycare and [livejournal.com profile] longstrider to work and have the whole house to myself for a few blissful hours though.

*****

I went to work today and spent most of the day taming our new museum and library software, Past Perfect. So far, I've managed to figure out how to add books and perform searches, format everything so that our catalog cards and spine labels would print correctly and set up a file that can be imported into Past Perfect so we can catalog books the computer without the new software, put it on a disk and then import it into PP. If we're going to put the entire catalog on computer, we're going to have to clock a few million monkeys' worth of typing time, but my boss is being all picky and insisting that other people be able to use PP occasionally, so we have to figure out how to do some of the typing on our other computer. Stupid selfish museum workers grumble grumble.

Importing data into PP naturally is far more complicated than it needs to be. Part of it is PP's fault, since it's only willing to import either very specifically formatted text files or obscure or out of date programs like Excel 5 (for reference sake, Excel 5 is the one that came out with Windows 95, which of course we don't have. I mean, we're a Victorian museum and all, but that doesn't mean we keep around antiques that old). But mostly it's because Microsoft Excel was being a complete butthead, refusing to either maintain accurate formatting in an older version of itself or dancing around being willing to save the data in a format that PP would accept. "Well, I can do comma-delimited, but I'm not going to save it in a text file. I can do a text file, but it'll be tab delimited and I won't use the quotes around the data that PP wants. And if you want me to do any of this, you'll have to balance three teacups on your head while wearing roller skates and doing the hora. Now dance for me, monkey. Dance!"

As it turns out, the secret of getting the data in the right format is actually to use Access, a fact that is so secret that they were completely unwilling to include it in any of the PP documentation or training materials. It may be that it's available in a secret file that only becomes visible on the third Thursday of every month with a gibbous moon after the computer has been spun widdershins five times. However, I had to just apply my poor overheated brain to the problem to figure it out instead. On the plus side, I felt like a Sooper Computer Genius once I managed to successfully set up the Access database, add a couple books and then import the file successfully into PP. And even more on the plus side, an Access database means that I'll be able to set up a more user-friendly interface for inputting books for any suckersvolunteers willing to help with the project.

***

In a strange twist of events, we've seen Olwen twice in the past few days. I had truly thought that she had either been rescued or was dead. Finding her alive as a stray over a year after losing her was about the last thing we expected. She wouldn't let us get near her, but we put food out and found her eating it tonight. We're planning to buy a live trap tomorrow to see if we can catch her that way.

And then... we're not sure. This would have been a lot simpler before we added two more cats to the house. IF she is healthy or can be made healthy with vet care and TLC and IF she can be resocialized to us and the other cats, we have to then decide if we really want four cats. We like the kittens, but I haven't really fallen in love with them yet. I definitely don't love them the way I loved Olwen. Four cats starts to get into the realm of not being affordable.

But we can worry about that later. Right now, I'm just praying we can catch our poor wayward kitty.

Kittens

Jan. 13th, 2009 01:03 am
juthwara: (Default)
Three months on, the two new additions to our household are fitting in quite nicely. They're still a tad jumpy - you can't approach them directly without them springing away like spring-loaded gazelles on pogo sticks. But if they are allowed to come to me, they are now happy to be petted and will even lie down on my lap. The cold weather has definitely helped with the new cuddliness, but I like to think that it's a desire for affection as well.

They are about 8 months old now and roughly adult-cat sized. There may be a little growth left in them, but they're both 95% of the way there. Now that they're larger, the downside of having three grey cats is becoming more clear, as it's next to impossible to tell any of them apart when seeing them in low light or out of the corner of your eye. If they were smarter, they would no doubt use this to play identical triplet pranks on us. Fortunately, not a single one of them has more than two lonely brain cells to rub together, so we're safe from reenacting any French farces or 50s sitcom style japeries.

One thing we had forgotten about young cats is how they go after food a lot more enthusiastically than staid middle-aged cats. We've had to learn to never leave a morsel of food out, and to weight down the top of the box if we order pizza, because they've been known to open the box and drag a piece out for themselves. Really, nothing is safe. I found a green bean on the floor tonight, dragged down there by a cat whose ambition outmatched her tooth structure when it comes to chewing up that sort of thing. I'm not sure if they're teenage boys or goats.

Their personalities have remained much the same. Lily is more playful, and it does my heart good to see her devotedly bat around a pathetically bent and half defuzzed pipe cleaner the way Olwen used to. Luna is more cuddly, and loves nothing more than to cuddle up to Sonya. Of course, I think Sonya would welcome her affections a lot more if her current approach weren't to go up to where Sonya is lying and simply fall over sideways directly onto her. Not surprisingly, poor Sonya doesn't enjoy being used as a pillow much and bitches Luna out in no uncertain terms before struggling out from underneath her and resettling.

Despite the new competition for food and being crushed by affection, I think Sonya is happy to have more cats in the house again. I definitely am. There's no better way to spend a cold evening than by being cozily weighted down by a carpet of cats.

Lost cat

Feb. 2nd, 2008 09:04 pm
juthwara: (Gigi)
This afternoon, after putting K down for her nap, I went into my bedroom and noticed there was a cat hiding under the covers. "Oh, that must be where Sonya's been hiding," I thought, not realizing until that moment I hadn't seen her all morning. And then Olwen appeared from under the covers and I realized that I hadn't seen Sonya at all yesterday. Fridays are busy days for us, since we usually both work, and cats being cats, it's entirely possible to go an entire evening without seeing one because they've decided to find some nice corner to take a snooze. But a quick search revealed that we couldn't find her anywhere in the house.

On Thursday, the handyman was here, replacing the screen door out back. K and I were leaving to meet [livejournal.com profile] longstrider for lunch and went out back to get in the car. The handyman asked if he should move his van and if I could unlock the back door. I did so and went to put K in her carseat while the handyman moved his van. Walking back around the car to get in, I caught Olwen trying to slip out of the open door and closed it after shoving her back in. I should have looked around to see if Sonya was out. I should have gone over to the handyman to ask him to make sure the cats didn't get out. But we were running horribly late, so I left. And when I got back, K was late for her nap, so I forgot to do a cat check like I had meant to. And as a result, I think she's been gone since Thursday and we didn't notice until this morning.

We looked around the neighborhood and checked a local shelter with no luck. I made a flyer up, which we'll post after replacing our printer ink cartridge so the picture doesn't come out only in yellow. On the plus side, we didn't see any dead cats at the side of the road. And the weather hasn't been warm, but it's been above freezing. But I can't stop thinking about the horrible driving rain we got all day Friday.

In case it's not clear, we feel absolutely horrible about this and sick at the thought of losing her. Sonya is a very sweet, very gentle, incredibly dumb cat. I love both of our cats and couldn't imagine losing either of them, but I feel so much worse about the thought of Sonya out on her own in the wild, because Olwen at least is an alpha cat who doesn't take any guff from other animals. Sonya is a gigantic floppy love-cat who loves nothing better than to loll around on our laps and get her tummy scritched. I have no confidence in her ability to defend herself or be smart enough to protect herself from cars. And she's the one out there, alone in the cold.

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