We’ve been hard at work this weekend and I have more detailed posts to come, but I am officially out of commission today. My dad and I custom routed door and window casings and I was stupid and didn’t put a mask on until I realized how much sawdust was ending up in my nose (we were about 1/2 way done). Consequently, I woke up on Saturday with an obnoxious asthma flair up which decided to linger.
Sunday wasn’t any better.
4am: Cats keep fighting with each other and Matt decides to separate them. He grabs Schmutz and closes her in the bedroom with us.
5 am: Mort has been crying outside the door incessantly because he wants snuggles.
7 am: I give up trying to sleep (partly because I can’t really breathe) and get up. Notice Schmutz has crapped over Matt’s side of the bed. She would have crapped directly on Matt, but the blanket was in the way. Thank god for duvet covers.
10 am: We start mudding the ceiling. Due to limited ladders and my on-going asthma attack I’m mostly acting as a gopher and watching my dad’s mudding technique.
11 am: Despite doing next to nothing, I’m exhausted and go and lie down… except I can’t exactly lie down because of my chest congestion so I go an prop myself up on pillows and wallow in guilt for not being more useful. I am amazing at wallowing in guilt, even if things weren’t really under my control.
12 pm: I officially sound like a Muppet.
1 pm: Pass out on the couch, because I’m still exhausted.
4 pm: Trip to Urgent Care for a nebulizer treatment. Officially my first DIY-Induced trip to urgent care. The doctor treating me tells me that because I’m pregnant I should go to the ER to check for a pulmonary embolism because pregnancy=higher risk factor.
6:30 pm: Grab some take-out and double check with the emergency midwife line. Midwife agrees that even though it seems unnecessary, I should go to the ER just to rule it out. Ok, fine.
7:30 pm: Get to the ER where the doctors look mildly perplexed and inform me that the only way they can test for for a pulmonary embolism is to do a CT scan, ie expose the baby to radiation. Awesome. They also tell me I have no actually symptoms of a pulmonary embolism except for trouble breathing.. which was clearly brought on by a specific event and responded to asthma treatment. I opt out of the CT scan and am given another nebulizer treatment and a dose of prednisone. They also gave me a prescription for a few more days of predisone and a new inhaler since mine was nearly out.
9:00 pm: Drop off prescriptions and am told it will be a 15-20 minute wait.
9:45 pm: Prescriptions finally ready.
10:00 pm: Swing by grocery store to pick up breakfast for tomorrow.
10:30 pm: Make it home.
Hopefully nothing else goes wrong in the next hour….
About 8 and a half years ago I went out shopping for work pants. In one shopping area I passed a PetSmart that was advertising Cat Adoptions that day. I had moved to MN only a few months prior, was still bummed that I had had to give up my dog who didn’t handle apartment life well, and was still really missing being around cats (I had grown up around cats and am definitely a cat person). I figured I’d wander in, get some kitty snuggles, and be on my way.
Only I ended up leaving with a cat.
He was so chill despite being in a strange place surrounded by strange people. The lady from the rescue group saw me petting him through the cage and told me to go ahead and open the door. As soon as I did, he stretched up and gave me a hug. I melted.
I brought him home and named him Spencer. He immediately waltzed out of his carrier and investigated the apartment then picked a chair and took a nap. He was friendly right off the bat but it wasn’t until a few weeks later that he started snuggling. One night I woke up to find that my arm was completely asleep–he was curled up next to me with his front paws wrapped around my arm and completely blissed out.
Spencer was the most mellow cat I’ve met. He liked strangers. He liked dogs. He did well with small children. He even tolerated the vacuum cleaner (he’d put his ears back because of noise, but rarely moved). Every night he’d cuddle up to me in bed to sleep. He loved bread and he loved curry (I once tried sprinkling cayenne pepper on my plants to stop him chewing on them…. he thought they were even tastier). He loved having his belly rubbed… and wouldn’t spontaneously change his mind in the middle.
About 5 years ago I met Matt, we started dating, and eventually moved in together. Matt already had a cat when we met and we had to blend households. Schmutz was super social with people, but Matt was told when he adopted her that she didn’t really like other cats. Spencer won her heart anyway. The two of them would snuggle and play together, and Schmutz would groom the heck out of Spencer whenever she had the chance (and put him in a headlock if he tried to move away). Anyone who’s had cats know that blending cat families is hard and pretty much a crap shoot. Most people hope for an ignore-and-tolerate situation, but these two were buddies.
Then a couple weeks before Christmas our super-sweet, snuggly, floofy boy-cat started just picking at his food. We brought him in to the vet, they ran some labs and started him on an anti-nausea medication because their best guess was Inflammatory Bowel. A few days of the meds didn’t change anything but the lab work didn’t show anything abnormal so they had us start him on Prednisolone. We were hoping to see an improvement before we left for Christmas to visit family, but nothing really changed. He’s a super difficult cat to pill so our cat-sitter couldn’t really continue his meds while we were gone but we made sure he would always have plenty of food available to him.
When we got back home he was super skinny and really wasn’t eating so we hauled him back to the vet. They gave him another shot of anti-nausea drugs and some IV fluids plus an appetite stimulant and he seemed to be doing a little better that day…but then immediately went back to not eating. We started syringe feeding him a prescription, high-calorie diet but still couldn’t get a lot into him.
We took him back to the vet Saturday since he still wasn’t showing improvement. They re-checked his red blood cell count and it had tanked, so he was clearly severely anemic, but the blood work didn’t show any clear causes of the anemia, which the vet thought meant there was a strong chance he had cancer which was attacking his bone marrow and bringing his RBC count down. We had the option to do more tests and a blood transfusion…but the likelihood that anything would change the outcome was very slim and we just didn’t want to put him through additional stress.
We brought him back home. Snuggled. Cried. Matt cooked him some super-buttery tialapia which he even picked at a little bit. We later made an appointment with MN Pets who will come to your home. We didn’t want to stress him out anymore by bringing him back to the clinic.
Dr Heather came out today and was very supportive and patient. We went over everything we had done so far and what his labs showed and she agreed that it also sounded like cancer, but even it wasn’t he was too severely anemic for there to be a good prognosis (especially since he was already on steroids and they weren’t helping). There’s no way to feel good about this decision, but I’m pretty confident it wasn’t a bad decision…. even if it was an incredibly painful one to make.
I got to hold in my arms in the end and I hope he was aware of how much he was loved. I already miss him like crazy but I couldn’t bear to drag this out and watch him get even weaker. He was one of the best companions anyone could have ever hoped for and it breaks my heart that I had to lose him so early. I feel so lucky that he was able to be a part of my life.
I know this is a design blog, but it’s also a personal outlet for me. If politics aren’t your jam, go ahead skip over it. If you read it and don’t agree with me, fine, these are my opinions, not law. Right now I just have a lot of complicated thoughts and I think (or at least hope) I’m not alone. Also, I consider myself a liberal-moderate and this post is very reflective of that. You have been warned.
11/11/16 ETA: tl;dr Yeah it sucks, but don’t be a Trump about it
First I want to say that I am disappointed in a America. I did not want this at all. It also literally frightens me that so many people could support a xenophobic, misogynist, bully with no experience to be a world leader. That doesn’t mean that his supporters are all racists or women-haters themselves, it just means they were ok with it. They didn’t care.
I get that career politicians seem to suck but to go from that to someone with zero legal experience and a history of shady businesses tied to him? That makes no sense to me.
There was a lot of hate happening in this campaign on BOTH sides during the campaign. Trump was spewing hate, and the Dems were inciting violence at his rallies. Neither side was perfect, in fact they were both far from it. I’ve seen a number of Facebooks posts since the election that were essentially “If you voted for Trump I’m unfriending you because you are a worthless piece of scum.” While I am pissed as hell right now, I can’t support this attitude. I cannot encourage further division. I cannot tell people their political attitudes matter more to me than family or years of friendship.* Also, if someone really offends you, have a private conversation that’s not plastered all over the internet. Then if you still really feel like everything’s been ruined, unfriend them without making a giant stink about it. I.e, act like a goddamn adult.**
Right now I’m mostly pissed with the Electoral College. Hillary had over 300,000 more votes (and counting!) than Trump and still lost. This is why people feel their votes don’t matter because for three hundred thousand people, they didn’t.
11/11/16 ETA: I’m pissed with the DNC for giving us a lackluster candidate. Would I have preferred her to Trump? Definitely. Did I vote for her? No. Do I want to see a woman as president? Yes, but if anyone assumes that I will vote for someone just because she’s a woman, well I find that a little sexist. I actually vote with my brain and conscience instead of with my vagina. My personal complaint with Hillary was that she only seemed issues that were “safe.” That will never bring change. She also still supports issues that I am personally against. She just strikes me as pandering… and one of those groups she pandered to is women which irks me. While I care very much about woman’s rights (and minority rights, and LGBTQ rights) they are not the only issues out there and should not be focused on to the exclusion of everything else.
I’m also pissed with the media. We’ve been steadily building a culture of non-news news. It’s why I watch the Daily Show–because I know it’s actually supposed to be comedy. If I want to read a news site, I go to the BBC. That’s right, for me to read reasonably un-biased news I have to go to a different country.
But here’s the deal people. We actually having no effing clue what Trump’s going to do. This is actually a potentially good thing (I know, I know, bear with me). With politicians they have a clear voting record behind them. Would Hillary have kept on bombing countries we don’t really have any business in? Probably. Would Trump? No idea! Plus, remember that this guy was a registered Democrat at one point in his life. It’s entirely possibly that he talked big as essentially a marketing ploy (because day-um did it get him air time). I’m not saying that doesn’t still make him a giant asshole, but in terms of actual policy, that word is not law and would not be able to be made law at the snap of ones fingers. It’s sort of like parenting a teenager: you may not trust them and want to strangle them, but they’re probably not actually going to burn your house down.
It’s still hard for me to accept. I still have fear (lots and lots of fear). But if I don’t cling to some sort of optimism it’s going to be worse. I can’t believe the US is going to implode until I actually see policies that would lead to that legitimately trying to get put into play.
So this is what I propose. Let’s all try to calm the hell down about things that are now out of our control. Let’s try not to continue encouraging hate. Let’s also try to not go overboard with the bitching and moaning over the next 4 years. I’m not saying you can’t complain. Complaining is the true American past time (screw baseball). I’m just saying, remember the last 4 years of the opposing view point howling that Obama wasn’t a citizen and that the country was imploding when there was no actual evidence of it? It seemed insane! And obnoxious! Let’s not do that. Support change where you can like reaching out to your local or state governments regarding their future decisions. Remember to vote in your local elections (I admit, I kind of suck at that). You have a voice, use it well. Screaming insults at someone rarely makes people care about your views.
I’m not saying he’s going to be a good president and I’m not saying you ever have to like him (in all honesty I doubt I ever will). All I’m asking is to not be a dick about it. Also, don’t let jerks run you out of your own damn country.*** Canada’s cold and Mexico has Zika mosquitoes.
And remember, when they go low, we go high…. or at least make an effort. I mean, c’mon people.
11/11/16 ETA: Made a few edits because I realized I missed things. I fit them in where they should logically go (and marked them as edits). There’s also a new footnote. I have lots of Thoughts.
* Also, I’m reasonably sure that I wouldn’t have seen any of these statuses if Hillary had won. But guess what? The people these statuses are so pissed off at, their attitudes would still be exactly the same and the friendships would continue. Are people’s opposing views only ok when you can feel superior too them? Also, if you’re that for an issue, like say LGBTQ rights, than there’s a good chance most of your friends already either agree with you or are actually good people regardless. And family members… well we can’t change them, but you’ve accepted them for this long. So who exactly are these statuses speaking to?
**I pondered long and hard about whether I was being hypocritical by posting my complaints instead taking someone aside and talking with them…. but here’s the thing, I’m not personally offended by these posts. I get that people are pissed and want to vent… I just think this is a silly way to do it but it speaks more to the general temperature of attitudes at the moment than any one individual.
***Not gonna lie, a few drinks (maybe a bottle) in on election night and Matt and I were discussing his options for transferring to his company’s Canadian office.
Me: rattling off a grocery list… and we still have tonic so we’re set for election night
Matt: You should probably pick up more
Me: We have 4 cans, that’s 8 [gin+tonics]… how tanked do you plan on getting?
Matt: You better pick up more
As you can probably tell, we’re not too excited about the election here. I think a lot of other people feel the same way. This is the first election for me where I’m seriously considering voting for a 3rd party candidate. Not because I think they have any chance of winning the presidency (heck, I’m 99% certain Hillary will win MN), but because I think that if the alternate parties get unusually high support this year (especially if they succeed in taking even a single state) that there will be significant changes coming in the future (because honestly I feel that both parties really need to have a Come-to-Jesus moment).
That’s my logic at least. I can’t tell you how to vote, but I do encourage all Americans to vote. Do your research (if you don’t know where to start you can check out I Side With*), don’t buy into every media shit-storm, and as long as you have a rational reason for your choice you can’t really go wrong.
Oh, and if you’re going to comment with political opinions, just play nice, k? Respectful discussion is great, but referring the candidates as “Killary” and “America’s Angriest Clementine” is probably best left to rants among like-minded friends.
Dang…. I’m going to have to pick up more limes too….
*I think I failed their quiz. I got Jill Stein as #1 and Gary Johnson as #2… I’m either an anarchist hippie or I need to make my own party…. or I have no idea what’s going on in the world. Who knows?
I haven’t given up on our house, far from it in fact! October’s been a rough month for the women in the FPV household. Schmutz (aka Moody Girl Cat) started loosing fur on her back paws and belly and then my energy level completely tanked, and I mean completely. Like I could barely make it up the stairs and my legs were super shaky every time I stood up. It was bad enough that I went in to get tested for Mono, but that was negative.
The one good thing about my inability to get off the couch was that I got to spend a few days cuddling with the fur balls… although they spent more time cuddling with each other.
“Fatigue” is like the worst symptom ever to bring to a doctor, it’s just so vague and symptomatic of about a billion different things. After testing negative for strep and mono my doctor did a more extensive blood panel and tested me for possibly everything under the sun. Then called me back in for MORE blood work. Have I ever mentioned I hate needles? Like I get an honest-to-god panic attack when faced with needles. Last week was not fun.
In turns out my thyroid is an epic over-achiever. First I though it had gone on strike (hypothyroidism) which seems to be slightly more common, but then I double checked my test results (and went in for doctor visit #2) and it turns out it’s running in overdrive (hyperthyroidism). I think Thyroid Storm may be my new band name… if I had any musical abilities whatsoever.
My doctor gave me drugs to slow my heart (seriously) to make me more comfortable because I was practically bedridden over the weekend.* It also turns out that one of the treatments for Hyperthyroidism is radioactive iodine, but I’ll probably have to meet an Endocrinologist first to see if I get put on the path to developing super powers.** Medicine is weird ya’ll.
And for anyone completely unfamiliar with thyroid issues, they’re not terribly uncommon and quite treatable… everything just seems to suck until you get properly medicated. I’m already doing quite a bit better, but still easily tired which makes house projects difficult (we have 3 out of 6 hallway doors done now though! It sounds good, but I thought I would have been done with all of them at least a week ago).
As far as Schmutz (now aka Miss Baldy Paws) is concerned, Matt brought her into the vet yesterday and the vet ruled it over-grooming. Whether it’s due to an allergy or stress we’re not sure, we’re just supposed to monitor her to see if she ultimately needs meds too. And anyone who’s ever owned a cat knows just how fun it is to try and get them to take pills….
Meanwhile Matt and Spencer are doing just peachy so apparently the Y chromosome makes you immune to October cruddy-ness in this family.
*Really. My achievement for the weekend was re-potting a houseplant and Matt supervised me the entire time to make sure I didn’t fall over.
**Lacking in any musical ability, maybe I can use Thyroid Storm as my super hero name. It sounds like a rejected X-Man, but I’m ok with that.
It’s been a little quiet around here lately. My actual, money-making job has been insanely busy–we’re operating at about 1/2 staff between vacations/medical leave/maternity leave so stress levels have been through the roof and my energy level once I get home hits the floor (or rather, the couch). We’re still working away, just slowly, so I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak at my current project.
A while back I mentioned that I was sort of swooning over the white trim + black door combo. Matt, however, was Not a Fan…. but he didn’t want me to paint the upstairs doors white either and I certainly wasn’t leaving them honey oak.
Ok, I can stain them super dark, it will be almost like my beloved black doors, right? Only re-staining is rather a giant pain in the ass. But wait, there’s this magical gel stain that is all over the Pinterest! I bet it’s a miracle worker. I bet its secret ingredient is unicorn snot.* I bet it…. doesn’t do a damn thing to these doors.
Yup. I tried the General Finishes Gel Stain with minimal prep (mineral spirits and an abrasive scrubbie) and it did absolutely jack. Sure, some of the inside corners got a little darker but otherwise it was very underwhelming. Sorry, no pictures, I was too distraught. Just imagine a door that toddler wiped a brown ink pad over.
And Matt still didn’t want me to paint the doors. Matt, I’m continuing to try because I love you.
Now it was time to try what I had wanted to avoid in the first place–stripping and refinishing. Ugh. It’s not that it’s a difficult process, it’s just time consuming–strip, sand, wash, stain, poly, with waiting or dry time between nearly every step.
I had already taken 2 of the hallway doors down while I was painting the trim, so I used one of them as my guinea pig.
I’m on the fence if I think it’s really worth the effort (that’s about a week’s worth of work right there!) but Matt really likes it and marriage is about compromise or some such crap.
Actual conversation we had as I was pondering the door (which by the way, is currently just leaning in place and missing all hardware, just FYI):
Matt: We should really try to get together with some people this weekend.
Me: Sounds good, go ahead and email people.
Matt: Why me?
Me: Because I’m busy stripping and refinishing your damn doors!
I’m going to try and start door #2 tonight and try a slightly different technique once I get to the stain. I like the final color on the one I have done, but the finish is a little splotchy. It’s also worth noting that the staircase railing is going to get darkened up (and de-oranged) too, and we have dreams of refinishing the floors to be much darker (although the latter may not happen for quite a while…).
*Because unicorn tears would make it too runny to be a gel stain. Duh.
So we accomplished sod all on the house this weekend, instead we skipped town for Las Vegas. Neither Matt or I are big gamblers but we had friends who were going and it was 75 degrees there and 20 or lower here. Plus Matt had never been to Vegas and it’s definitely worth seeing.
We got in Thursday evening and headed back early Sunday morning. We came, we ate, we drank*, we gambled (a little and came out very slightly ahead), and we saw some drag queens (Frank Marino’s Divas at the Linq). The weather was beautiful which was good because we walked a lot. If you’ve never been to Vegas, everything looks deceptively close. Also, because of the wonky sidewalks, wait time for the monorail, and insane traffic on the strip, walking, monorail, or cab takes roughly the same amount of time…. although if you don’t walk you can avoid the random street mime. I don’t do mimes. I also don’t particularly care for clowns.
We stayed at the Flamingo which was A) centrally located B) A decent price and C) I kinda dug the fact that it was a little more old school Vegas. Most of our time was spent on the south end of the strip (Mandalay Bay, The Luxor, New York New York). On our last night there I hauled Matt through The Venetian which is GORGEOUS!
By staying at the Flamingo we got free tickets to the High Roller ferris wheel, which was actually pretty cool despite my serious discomfort with heights. Once you were in the bubble-room-thing it was silent and the ride was totally smooth so I was actually calm the entire time.
One of my friends hauled the girls off to The Luxor to visit the Pearl Factory where you can crack open an oyster and get a pearl for $15… and then of course they try and sell you on the setting. Do you have that one friend who’s just an instigator? Yeah, she was my Maid of Honor and one of our travel buddies. She had stopped here on a Vegas trip a few years ago brought the rest of us over to the place, must to the chagrin of our husbands.
I am probably a jewelry sales person’s worst nightmare–I don’t do sparkles (no diamonds for me) and I make most of my own jewelry. I thought it would be fun to try and do my own setting for a pearl… which didn’t go over too well with the sales lady, but what evs. I got a lovely silver pearl which was probably my best luck in Vegas since I thought those were the prettiest and I didn’t own any dark pearls. Then I had an idea for a double pearl setting… so I cracked open another one (this one was pink)! I’ll keep you posted on how my DIY pearl setting goes…. I think it will be amazing!
We also avoided all the time share pitches… one of the other couples wasn’t as lucky and suckered into it. They didn’t end up with a time share, but came back way later then planned and “felt incredibly violated.” Everyone kind of wanted to see how Matt would handle the sales pitch since he’s got the lawyer arguing skills down. Neither of really wanted to lose 4+ hours of our life during a 2 day vacation though.
It was a fun few days and I even stayed up way past my usual old lady bedtime… and then got home and passed out. Now it’s time to get back to work on the house!
We bought a house, started a blog, and went to Europe…. and that was just the summer!
We’ve made some awesome progress on the too–updating light fixtures, updating the kitchen and bathroom. Matt worked on some more behind-the-scenes projects like putting up a knee wall in the attic, ripping out yard after yard of useless cables from our basement, and hauling a bunch of random crap out of attic.* We also hired out some important work like replacing our boiler and basement windows.
So what’s in store for 2016? I’m hoping to tackle the dining room, living room/family room, and bedroom. Matt’s goals are slightly more practical; he wants to get our garage functioning and we already have a mason lined up to fill in the cellar entrance in the spring. Hopefully we’ll also be able to make a dent on the landscaping a bit this year once everything thaws…. in like 5 months.
To kick off the new year with a bang I signed up for Apartment Therapy’s January Cure… although I already sort of failed today since I still haven’t changed out of my PJs… oops.**
So bring it on 2016! I’m ready for you… me and my PJs…
*Included: a slightly decaying roll of carpet, a piece of bamboo, and an emergency window ladder.
**I did totally take a shower though so it’s not like I didn’t do anything.
I have the day off today (yay bank holidays!) and was catching up on laundry. Spencer followed me into the basement since the cats aren’t really let down there too often. I shooed him back out with me when I went upstairs and closed the door. A little while later I heard a small crash and wondered what the hell the little furballs had gotten into now. I made a cursory inspection but didn’t see anything amiss except that Schmutz was no longer sleeping on the bed. Whatever, she probably just got freaked by the noise, right?
I go back to the kitchen to make tea and hear a weird scratching noise. Ugh. Stupid cat apparently snuck into the basement and I closed her in. I open the door to find both Schmutz and a dead mouse on the top step. I don’t handle surprises well and screamed like a sissy (despite the fact that I actually don’t really mind mice, I just don’t really want wild ones living in my house) and slammed the door as soon as Schmutz was out.
Poor baby, she was really proud of herself since she’s never caught anything other than bugs before and I reacted rather badly. She’s now pitching a fit since the door is still closed with her trophy on the other side since I need to find something to dispose of it with.
Updated: I went to go dispose of the mouse and discovered that it had very clearly been dead long before Schmutz got to it. Oh well, she’ll still probably prove herself as a mouser sometime in the future.