December is almost over and what a busy month it's been. I've enjoyed reading the SA blogs I follow and posting to my travel blog, but I don't have much "financial" news to write about. We did come in under budget on our recent trip, so that's good news. In the near future, I will be reviewing my 2009 goals and developing new ones for 2010.
After our trip through the Panama Canal, we returned to CA for only one day. Then we hit the road for the 12-hour drive to ID with TC. I did not want to leave her alone for another 2-3 weeks after she'd been cared for by our cat sitter for almost two weeks. She did remarkably well in the car and has adjusted beautifully to our ID home.
We are currently in ID... we enjoyed a quiet Christmas dinner with our DDs and SILs. There was some snow on the ground when we arrived, but we have had fairly good weather. Last night a storm came in and left ~3 inches of snow. This morning, dh went out to shovel the walkway (and also the neighbor's), more for the exercise than because it needed to be done.
I am still trying to get over a cold that started on my last day in Acapulco, so I am taking it easy and just enjoying some quiet time reading and relaxing.
Viewing the 'Pets' Category
Today I went to the local hardware store to buy a replacement plant for a large rubber plant that suddenly lost all its leaves. I'd had it for almost two years and it was lovely. But I also learned it was TOXIC to cats, so I was not heartbroken when it died. Fortunately, TC did not bother this one so all is well.
The replacement plant is a Sansevieria that cost $19.99 plus tax. It is commonly known as "Mother-in-Law's Tongue" and it has large, striking leaves. I hope it will last for years, much like one I used to keep in my office when I worked. They are easy to care for and best of all, safe for pets.
I love to decorate with flowers and plants but now that I have TC, I have to be selective. Unlike my dearly departed MC, TC has been known to chew on some of my plants and get into mischief. Orchids are one of my favorite cat-safe plants... the blooms last for months and I can usually purchase a nice large one for ~$20. On the other hand, when I buy fresh flowers, they only last about 5-7 days and a nice bouquet is ~$15. So plants are an economical alternative.
TC on top of the kitchen cabinets.
Ever since I was a small child, I have had a cat or two in my life. My cats have always been big mellow, gentle males with friendly personalities. Then TC wandered into my school about a year and a half ago and adopted me. And, most of the time I like her, although she has a bad "catitude" every so often. Today was one of those days.
My sweet little TC went to the vet this morning for her annual exam and vaccinations. Normally, she is calm and quiet riding in the car in her carrier, but today was the exception. How do cats know when they're going to the vet? She fussed in the car but became very quiet and still once we were in the waiting room.
When the technician weighed her, TC growled and hissed. Then when the doctor came in to begin the exam, she ran back in her carrier. When he took her out she became the cat from h*ll. She bit and scratched the doctor when he tried to listen to her heart and lungs. The doctor and I both looked as if we were wearing angora sweaters... the fur was flying everywhere.
The good news is TC is a very healthy 10.4 pounds, but she cannot gain more weight. The bad news is the exam cost $96 and the doctor has an ugly bite on his hand. The vet said TC will not need shots for three years. Hmmm... maybe he just doesn't want to see us again.
And TC? Well, she has been giving me the cold shoulder all day, acting as if I am not in the room and ignoring me completely.
For some reason, my cat TC has nails that grow quickly and she needs them trimmed about once a month. She is very playful and has been known to damage the carpet or furniture if her nails get too long. In the past, I've always taken her to the vet to have her nails trimmed because she wiggles too much and I was afraid I'd hurt her. But I invested in a pair of guillotine trimmers that make the job easier. Practice makes perfect, and I am getting better at the process. The best part is that it avoids a stressful trip to the vet for TC, and the $18 it saves me is also a nice bonus. Here's what works for me:
1. Get the guillotine cutters and hide them near the recliner;
2. Sit in the recliner but ignore the cat;
3. Soon the cat will jump in the recliner with you;
4. Gently push the cat off the recliner;
5. The cat will now really want to get in the recliner;
6. Allow cat to jump up and get comfortable next to you;
7. Read a book or work on your laptop while ignoring the cat;
8. The cat will soon fall asleep;
9. When the cat is very sound asleep, grab the trimmers, then gently squeeze a paw to extend nails and quickly trim, being careful to stay ~ 2 mm. from the quick;
10. After trimming 3-4 nails, the cat will wake up and jump off the recliner;
11. Repeat steps 2-10 until you have cut all nails;
12. Give cat a catnip treat and pour yourself a glass of wine. ;-)
My cat is a casualty of my frugality, my dh teases. Why? I am unplugging the electric water bowl that filters and circulates her drinking water. The vet recommended this special bowl for my old cat, MC, before he passed away from kidney failure at age 18. I loved MC so much that I would have done almost anything to extend his life... and this bowl was one of the things I tried. According to my vet, cats prefer running water (an instinct from the wild). So, many cats will drink more if the water is "moving."
Well, the fancy bowl wasn't intended for TC, but she inherited it when she adopted us last December. The bowl is a royal pain in the patootie to clean, but I do it religiously and meticulously, otherwise it gets very yucky. Since we will be gone for a few weeks I do not want the pet sitter to deal with the chore of the weekly water bowl cleaning.
So, it's getting unplugged... and TC will have to get her fresh water daily from a large porcelain crock. No doubt, we might save a few pennies on the electricity, but that is not my motivation for unplugging it. TC will probably miss the running water because she likes to play with it, but at least she stays out of the toilet unlike MC... that used to be his favorite place for a drink if we forgot to put down the lid. And, I can always give TC back the special bowl when we return.
Or then again, maybe I will donate it to Town Cats for their elderly guests.
I have a friend, not a close friend, but someone I've known for a while and a nice person. Sometimes she grates on my nerves a little, so I do limit my contact. Well, I found out something today that's really been bugging me... and I'm beginning to think I might be overreacting. My friend has no children so her little cockapoo is like her "child." Being a pet lover, I understand this and it is not the problem.
When I ran into my friend while on a walk today, I noticed her pooch had on a cute little jacket. I commented that I had bought my cat TC, a cheap little "tu-tu" for her to wear in the Halloween photos I sent to some friends at my former workplace. These friends were instrumental in me adopting TC last December. The outfit cost $3.99 at Ross.... my friends loved the pix and strangely enough, TC loved wearing the tu-tu. It was all in fun.
Well, my friend proceeded to tell me in no uncertain terms that she would NEVER buy cheap clothes for her little "Fifi" (not the pooch's real name). In fact, all of Fifi's clothes are Louis Dog Products from Fur My Pet. Puh-lease! I checked them out online and these dog clothes cost more than I spend on my own clothes. Would you buy your pooch a cashmere outfit that cost $105 and has to be dry-cleaned? Well, Fifi has several, plus a bed that cost over $100 that she "never uses."
My cat sleeps wherever she pleases, as cats are known to do, although she has a little carpet-covered drum I spent $49 on. It saves the furniture because she scratches her nails on it and I also stow all her toys in it. And I thought I had splurged on that. While I will not hesitate to spend on quality food and vet care, I draw the line on designer clothes.
So why is this bugging me? It's not that my friend can't afford it. She is wealthy, although she does not support any charitable causes by her own admission. Once when I was trying to get her to support Kiva, she told me she "doesn't trust" that her donations would actually be used as intended. I just feel that with so many people who are struggling, here is Fifi in her designer duds, living larger than the common man. I could buy 4 or 5 jackets for needy kids with the money spent on one of Fifi's sweaters. IMHO, there is something wrong with this picture. Or am I overreacting?
Are you ready for Halloween? We are...
Since I am now retired, I will miss the costume parade at school, but we are still getting into the spirit of the day (pun intended).
I am trying to focus on healthier treats, so I bought fruit rolls and popcorn balls for all the little hooligans that will come by tomorrow. The two neighbor children are also getting a $10 gift certificate to a book store. Once a teacher, always a teacher I guess.
Even TC is ready to "Trick or Treat." She loves to wear her ballerina costume I bought for $4.
Hope your Halloween is a safe and fun-filled day.
My cat, TC, is an indoor cat but she loves to go out to our small patio when I water. She is quick to catch bugs, lizards, and other moving critters so I watch her like a hawk. Yesterday she found a very, very large feather, one that made me wonder what type of bird was flying about. TC rejects expensive toys in favor of bottle caps, crumpled paper, or a found feather, so she was definitely pleased with her find. She brought her feather in the house and proceeded to entertain me at length.
Later, I heard TC "chirping" in the office while looking out the window. The mystery was solved... we are being invaded by wild turkeys!
Boy, are those wild turkeys homely!
Our complex is close to a park, and our common areas are a pathway for deer, turkeys, and even wild pigs as they travel from the foothills to the park. The complex residents gladly share the habitat with them, especially since it was theirs first. The exception is the wild pigs. Last year, they destroyed so much landscaping with their rooting that we had to spend thousands of dollars to "relocate" them and also to repair the damage.
Not sure where the pigs were relocated to, but it was done through the Department of Fish and Game. Hopefully, not to someone's freezer. Well, the point of this post that seemingly has nothing to do with finance, is that one does not have to spend large sums to be entertained... just look around you and enjoy the simple things.
LN has been my pet-sitter for about 8 years and without her help, traveling would be more complicated. Itís important to me that my pets are able to remain in their familiar environment and do not have to suffer the stress of being placed in a kennel cage. The first time any of my pets have met LN, they've warmed right up to her, showing me she is a genuine "animal person." LN really seems to enjoy her job and has always been trustworthy and reliable.
Currently, LN charges $22 to come to our home once a day to take care of our two cats (now itís just TC since MC passed away). She feeds, provides clean water, cleans the kitty commode, takes in the mail, waters the plants/patio, and plays with the cats. Her fee is just $4 more than the boarding facility (vet clinic). Actually, to board would cost $18 per cat, so we saved money when we had two cats. LN leaves detailed notes that I enjoy reading and sends regular email updates on the pets. Iíve referred LN to several other people and they agree she is the best.
Yesterday was a very, very sad day for meÖ I had to have my beloved 18-year-old kitty, MC, put to sleep. MC was like a member of the family. He was a dear little companion and friend who has been through many ups and downs with me for almost two decades, and in my life longer than my DH. I will forever miss his gentle spirit and sweet disposition.
MC Ė February 1, 1990 - June 24, 2008
you could have gotten a discount if only the business had informed you of it? Yesterday I learned from a friend that the vet we both use gives a 10% discount for clients over 55. I called, and sure enough, they said they would apply it for all ďfutureĒ services/meds. I did not feel like arguing with the young lady who works in the front office on Saturdays but I will definitely speak to MCís vet next week to see if they can go back to April to apply the discount. Poor old MC has kidney failure and I have spent over $2,000 on him since April.
I think they should post information about a senior discount in a visible place in the office.. and trust me, it is NOT that I donít look 55.
Balance forward: $41.65
Did not drive: $3
New total: $47.65
and is a creature of simple tastes and classic beauty. This seemingly ordinary 8-month-old brown tabby wandered into my school last December and adopted me. None of our students had seen her before; she was emaciated and starving and probably abandoned by someone who moved. The office staff named her and TC, a polite and well-socialized little lady, gratefully ate and drank for a week until I could stand it no longer.
I took her to the vet down the street for a physical, had her checked for FIV (negative), had her vaccinated, then took her to my house until I could find her a permanent home. A few days later, I had her spayed at the low-cost clinic thinking it would help her adoptability. All in all, this stray kitty set me back $289, but it was necessary in order to bring her home to MC, my 18-year-old cat (yes, 18- this is not a typo).
TC has turned out to be a playful companion to MC who is home alone for hours on end. To TC, a bottle cap or wadded paper make great toys, but she adores MC's long-abandoned toys, too. You have probably figured out that TC's temporary stay is now permanent. As I said earlier, she adopted me.
So, we are back to being a two-cat household. Between poor old MC, whose kidneys are failing, and now TC, we have spent more on vet bills so far this year than on our own medical expenses. Thankfully, our budget has a flex item for this type of thing (I call it the "Fudge-Factor").
My new little cutie-pie.