Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Can Haz Shower!

Hey, my internet is back up! Although I'm still sort of down a service, because I just realized my garbage wasn't picked up today. Probably because the plumbers' truck was parked in front of it.

So, my exciting plumbing adventures... Apparently the hard part with this kind of leak is finding the damn thing. They initially thought it was in the house somewhere, so first they drained and took out my water heater so they could get at the spot where the water lines come into the house. (This also involved cutting a hole in the wall behind the heater. Which, if you have to have a hole cut in your wall somewhere, is probably the very best spot for it. Hey, it's behind the water heater! Who cares?) So, they got in there, cut into those pipes, and installed some valves or something so they could shut off water to the part of the system where they suspected the problem was. But it turned out it wasn't there at all, as evidenced by the fact that the water meter kept running. Apparently that narrowed it down to the pipes coming into the house, though, so they then proceeded to dig a big hole in my front yard. And lo and behold, there it was! Not actually under the house at all -- which is a good thing -- but just outside. I think they spent about three hours troubleshooting and maybe fifteen minutes actually fixing the pipe.

Here's the hole, with the culprit pipe. (I believe this is after they cut the bad section out and before they installed the new bit.) The edge of the concrete slab my house sits on is visible at the top.

And here's a close-up:

That's a lot of mud! At least, as far as I can tell, it hasn't made my house list over any more than usual. So far.

So, anyway, there we go. Kind of a huge-ass mess, but it could have been a lot worse. And my carpets are already starting to dry out.

If It's Not One Thing...

I have water again! But now my internet is out. Because apparently it is wrong for all services to my house to work at the same time now for more than a few hours. But at any rate, the leak is fixed! I will blog about my exciting adventures in plumbing when I can post from a real computer. There may be a picture of the hole they dug in my front yard.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Damn It, I Want A Shower.

So, Sunday night I was without electricity. And today, I get to be without water! The fun just keeps on coming!

Yeah. I seem to have a leaking pipe somewhere. Presumably in the front wall of the house, or maybe under the floor, I don't know. All I know is that I suddenly realized that there's a spot on my bedroom carpet that is absolutely soaked, and we haven't had any rain. Closer inspection revealed more spots of wet carpet along that same wall, and wetness around the front of the house. Joy. And, of course, I discovered this right before bed last night.

Fortunately, thanks to an annoying-but-helpful video on YouTube, I was able to figure out how to shut off the water, so it won't get any worse. Which is good, because I'm stuck at work all day today and probably won't be able to get a plumber in before tomorrow. It was fun trying to do that in the dark, though, especially because my water shutoff mechanism appears to be situated smack in the biggest patch of goatheads in New Mexico. Ow, ow, ow.

Sigh. It's not like I didn't already have a huge list of annoying, time-consuming, and expensive things that needed to be done in the next few weeks, or anything. Or like I was hoping to get up to Albuquerque tomorrow to do some badly needed shopping and maybe treat myself to a movie. Or like I actually need water in the house, right? Naaaah.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Got home from work tonight and the power was out. Man, I hadn't realized how very dark it is in this house without all those zillion LED displays...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Possibly I Should Make This A Tradition.

Aliens turns out to be amazingly good Thanksgiving viewing. If nothing else, it makes me feel profoundly thankful that there are no alien lifeforms bursting out of my chest. And space marines vs. bugs is a way, way more interesting competition than football players vs. some other football players.

Also, man, that's just one of those rare movies that's the perfect combination of highly memorable and infinitely re-watchable. It'd probably been fifteen years since I last saw it, and I can still quote big old chunks of dialog. And yet, it also still feels suspenseful. You have to admire that. Plus, Newt really is the awesomeest kid ever, and deserves to have entire colonies of cats named after her.

There is just one question that bugs me a little. (Well, two, if you count "Why isn't James Horner capable of writing a soundtrack that doesn't rip off any of his other soundtracks?") And that is: if you were going to create an android -- excuse me, artificial person -- why in the world would you make him look like Lance Henriksen? I mean, that dude is creepy looking. Do android designers just have a warped sense of humor? Is there a Christopher Walken model out there somewhere, too?

Mmm, Pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow USAians! No big plans for me today, no trips out to visit family or anything. Which, you know, is actually kind of a good thing. I'm still recovering from a stressful week and am fighting off a bit of a cold -- although fortunately I seem to be winning -- and a nice, low-key holiday seems like exactly what I need.

My goals for the day, some of which I have already accomplished, include the following:

Cooking enough turkey to feed a small army and then eating it all myself. (OK, admittedly, that last part is likely to take a while. But that's what freezers are for!)

Pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Feeding shredded turkey Fancy Feast to a kitten.

Eating Thanksgiving dinner while watching Aliens. (In honor of said kitten.)

And not changing out of my pajamas until after noon, if at all.

I think these are laudable and realistic goals, and I am optimistic about my ability to achieve them all. In the meantime, I shall also contemplate how appreciative I am for various things, like having enough money to buy ridiculous amounts of turkey and being able to rent Aliens via Netflix any time I want it.

All the best to the rest of you, and may you also have many good things to appreciate! And also pumpkin pie for breakfast. Everybody should have pumpkin pie for breakfast.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Useful Random Encounter

So, remember how I said the vet told me he knew a woman who takes rescue cats to Texas and helps get them adopted? I just ran into her in the grocery store! She was standing in my way in the pet food aisle and apologized for taking so much time grabbing cat food because she had all these rescue cats, and we got to talking about that subject, and after a minute or two I suddenly realized who she was. So she gave me her number and told me to call her when the kitten is ready to go, because she knows someone who will probably want to take her (or, as the case may be, him). She also says the next time she's doing the run to Texas will probably be early December, which should be just about perfect, giving Newt enough time to get over the remnants of her illness and get vaccinated and everything. Hooray! Sometimes living in a small town can be handy!

(Also, after we got done talking about cats, she proceeded to geek out about the Doctor Who t-shirt I was wearing. I know that should not automatically make me feel that someone is a good and trustworthy person, but somehow I cannot help myself.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Newt The Cute

Here you go. Obligatory kitten picture! Not only that, an obligatory kitten-with-book picture! You can see that her eyes maybe still look a little weepy, but they're way, way better than they were.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Arguably, I Do Kind Of Need A New Coat

Someone please talk me out of buying myself this for Christmas.

Monday, November 14, 2011

State Of The Kitten Report

Just got back from Newt's vet appointment. The doctor said pretty much exactly what I figured: that she's got a virus and it's just going to take her a little while to get over it completely. Her eyes are definitely looking better than they were, her ears aren't too bad, and her chest is clear, but she's still a bit congested. This stuff can take two or three weeks to get over, so I'm just to finish giving her the antibiotics and the eye ointment and see how she does. If she doesn't get all better, I'll make her another appointment. And if she does get all better, I'll also make her another appointment, to get her vaccinations. Also, the vet said that if I'm going to take her to the shelter, I should call him first, because he knows a woman who regularly picks up kittens here and places them in homes in Texas, and she might be able to get Newt adopted. Here's hoping!

Also, it was generally agreed that the kitty is very cute, and the vets' assistant got the reference and liked her name.

I know I still need to post some pictures of her. I did try to take some, but they came out terrible. I think the flash bothered her eyes. I'll try again in a few days.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Very Belated Currentlies

Current clothes: Dark blue sweatpants. A light tan t-shirt that says, "Will Work For Books." White socks. White sneakers.

Current mood: Lately I've been feeling, well... slightly weary, I guess. I've had a lot of stressors in the last week, and while I like to think I've dealt with most of them well, they do add up. And it seems like every time I start to relax, something new comes along to bug me. I desperately need some quiet time, I think, and I don't know how much of it I'm likely to get. At least today hasn't been bad so far. In fact, I'm really starting to relax again. Here's hoping this time I've broken the pattern.

Current music: Not much lately. Random stuff on the radio.

Current annoyance: Right this moment? Well, I must say, while kittens are adorable and often fun to have around, keeping one quarantined in your bathroom is a bit of a pain in the ass. Simple things like going in to take a shower become rather more complicated. And sitting on the bathroom floor for half an hour or so several times a day to cuddle and play with the kitty has begun to take its toll on my back and my knees, which is not only uncomfortable in itself, but also serves as a sad reminder of the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be. And, because I don't want to transfer any germs from her to my other cats, every time I handle the kitten I have to scrub my hands afterward, which has left them dry, scaly, and red. Sigh.

Current thing: Operating Betty's Home for Wayward Felines. Again.

Current desktop picture: Still the same Hawaiian palm trees from last month.

Current book: Riddle-Master by Patricia McKillip. Which I fear I have not been doing any favors by reading in my current distracted state.

Current song in head: Right now it's "Dancing in the Moonlight" by Van Morrison, because it was just playing in the supermarket when I was there buying milk and cat food.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 3 of The Big Bang Theory.

Current refreshment: Nothing at the moment, but I'm thinking a nice mug of some sort of herbal tea is in order.

Current worry: Traditionally, this would be the place for me to be all worried about the kitten, but, oddly enough, I'm kind of not. Partly that's because I really do think she'll be fine, and partly it's because I've pretty much resigned myself to the idea that I'm not keeping her, but I think possibly I just used up most of my supply of kitten-worry on the last one.

Current thought: After another look under her tail, I'm beginning to wonder if Newt is in fact a boy kitten and not a girl kitten. In which case, she's he's not keeping the name, because "Newt" for a male kitten really does suggest Aliens less and Gingrich more. Not that it matters, probably, on account of that thing about how I'm almost certainly not keeping her. Speaking of which... Anybody want a kitten? Free delivery in the state of New Mexico!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cats And Hackers

So, momma cat has successfully been spayed! She's also been vaccinated, de-wormed, and tested for feline leukemia (negative), since I know for sure I'm never, ever going to manage to catch her again, and I wanted to do as much as I could for her while we had her. I released her back into the wild this morning, where she consumed the food and water I left out for her like a very hungry and thirsty kitty indeed, then took off for parts unknown. Hopefully somewhere warm; it's a bit chilly out there this morning. I wish her well. And, no more kittens! Yay!

In less awesome news, my gmail account was hacked last night, apparently by someone in Russia. It looks like they only had access for a few minutes, and managed to send out all of six spams before gmail noticed and locked the account down for suspicious activity. Thank you, gmail! After careful inspection, they don't seem to have changed any of my settings or done anything else nasty to the account, so it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Of course, this has now made me paranoid in ways that the mandatory computer security briefing they made me attend at work this week never managed. So I've now turned on gmail's two-step verification process, where you have to get a verification code sent to your phone (or employ one of a couple of other backup methods) to get into your account when logging in from a new computer. Or even an old one, every 30 days. Which seems like a massive pain, but I guess it's better than being hijacked by Russian spammers. Damn it. Why can't people just be nice? Anyway, if someone spammed you from my account last night, I apologize. Obviously, it wasn't me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Animal shelter guy brought the cat trap around this afternoon, and after maybe 45 minutes of nosing around it, trying to get at the food in it through the mesh of the cage, giving up, then going back and trying again, Momma cat finally got herself caught! Hooray! She is at the vet's office right now. They will either be doing her spaying tomorrow or Thursday, depending on their schedule. (They leave early on Wednesdays, so this was not the ideal time for this, but now is when I got her, so now is when they get her!)

Will post more when I hear back from them. Right now, I have to go get ready for work. And come down off this adrenaline spike. Biting your nails waiting for a cat to walk into a trap, and then dealing with the poor thing flailing around in the cage can do that to you, apparently, especially when you've got somewhere you've got to be. But I'm really glad I got her before I had to leave, so she didn't have to sit out there caged up in the cold. Animal shelter guy said that if I threw a blanket around the cage she'd be fine, but I was worried, anyway.

[ETA: By the way, in keeping with the Aliens theme we've got going on here... Do you know what a reproductively intact adult female cat is called? That's right. A queen. I took out the queen. I am so Ripley.]

Monday, November 07, 2011

In Space, No One Can Hear You Meow

Also, I believe the kitten now has a name: Newt. No, not after Newt Gingrich, thank you very much. After the kid from Aliens. Why? Because she's clearly been through a rough time, poor little thing, but I think she's a survivor, and I'm planning to do my best to make sure of it. Yes, that kind of makes me Ripley, which is awesome. And, no, I do not acknowledge the existence of the third movie, which is not awesome.

I think it's even extra appropriate, given the fact that a creature who will not stop having babies is currently causing me difficulties, and that I fully intend to put a stop to that. (Nuke her ovaries from orbit! It's the only way to be sure!) Now all I need are some space marines...

Kitty Update

OK. Kitten has been to the vet now, with the following results:

First off, it probably is a girl kitty. It's hard to tell at this age, but the vet thinks so, anyway.

Secondly, speaking of "this age," the vet also cleared up something that was puzzling me: namely that I thought this kitty had to be at least four months old, but she sure doesn't look that old. Was she stunted by poor nutrition?, I wondered. Is she just a very tiny cat? Was I somehow mistaken? But it's right there in my blog, on July 7th: "Mickey's mother appears to have another kitten." So what's the solution to this mystery? Well, given how quickly cats can reproduce, she's probably had two batches of kittens in the last few months. I have no idea what happened to the one I saw in July, but this is definitely not the same kitten. The mistaken identity is perhaps understandable, though, since they're both gray cats who look exactly like their mother.

Fortunately, according to the vet, humane cat traps are available from the local animal shelter, and I can bring Momma cat in for spaying immediately whenever I catch her. This is excellent to know, because, honestly, this has just got to stop. I'm going to call the shelter tomorrow and see about picking up a trap. (I'd do it this afternoon, but they're closed on Mondays.)

Anyway, as for this kitten, she's got a very bad respiratory infection, poor thing. Also worms. So the vet gave her a de-wormer, and she now has antibiotics and eye ointment and another appointment for next week. Here's hoping she gets well soon, because I don't mind nursing her back to health for a week or three, but she is not staying in my house for six months like the last one.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Two Temporal Complaints

1. I do not want this "extra" hour. All it means is that we're calling the time I got up this morning "8 AM" instead of "9 AM." This will not be helpful tomorrow when I have to work until midnight (or, the hour formerly known as 1 AM). *insert usual anti-Daylight Savings rant here*

2. I liked Christmas a lot better when it didn't last for two fucking months. Gaah!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Kittens, Kittens Here

Well, I found the kitten when I went out to get my laundry in. So she -- on closer inspection, I think it's a girl kitty -- is now holed up in my bathroom. Poor thing, her eyes really did look terrible, all full of crusted goo, and there were actually big old chunks of gunk falling out of her ears. Aww. She smells kind of bad, too. But I cleaned her up a little bit. Not great, but a little. I also gave her more food and water. She seemed very thirsty, poor kitten. And I petted her a lot, which she seemed to like. Aww. I spent about 45 minutes with her, all told, then figured I should maybe leave her alone for a little to settle in and rest, since she didn't seem too freaked out by her new surroundings. Really wish now that I could get her into the vet sooner, but for another day and a half, she should be OK. Better than she would be outside, anyway. It's supposed to get down to freezing tonight. I'll go and check in on her again in a little bit. The precautionary change-of-clothes and scrub-down to (hopefully) avoid giving my cats whatever she has is going to get old very fast, though.

[ETA: I looked in on her briefly a little while ago, and she was resting quietly in the cubical cat bed thingy I bought for Mickey that he never really used. I think I'm going to try not disturb her too much.]

Kittens, Kittens, Everywhere

So, Kittenworld (aka my bathroom) will have a new inhabitant again soon, probably. You may or may not remember that I mentioned a while back that Mickey's mother had had another kitten, and the the two of them are frequently to be found hanging around in my driveway, where I've been feeding them a bit. Being completely unable to accommodate another kitten, I've spent the last four months or so telling myself that this one would be fine, that she's taking much better care of him (or possibly her, I don't know) than she did the last one. But the poor thing always has runny eyes, and that seems to be getting worse. Plus, it's starting to get really cold out there... So I finally heaved a heavy sigh, admitted to myself that the poor thing would probably need some warmth and veterinary care if it were going have a good chance of surviving the winter, and called the vet to make an appointment. That was on Thursday, and the earliest they could get me in without difficulties was Monday morning. Which I figured was fine, because the kitty'd been more or less OK this long, so how likely was it to get into major difficulty in the next few days? Since I see them pretty much every day, and since the kitten's now gotten to the point where it's comfortable enough with me to let me pick it up, I figured I'd bring it in sometime on Sunday and keep it in the bathroom overnight. Except that I've since realized that the poor critter is in worse shape than I thought. Not only are his eyes runny, but he's got a bit of the inner eyelid showing, too, and his nose is all snotty. The vet being closed now, he's still going to have to wait until Mon. for his appointment, but I figured it'd be better to bring him inside and keep him well-fed and warm.

So, I went out and got some extra cat dishes and cat food, and set up a makeshift litterbox, and made all the other kitten-quarantining preparations I've become so very familiar with. Then I put on some old clothes, figuring I'd change out of them after handling him so as to reduce the danger of infecting the other cats. And then I went outside, to where I'd seen him just a few minutes before... and he'd disappeared. Sigh. Well, I'm sure he'll show up again, tomorrow, if not later today. He always does. I am a little worried, though, because he and his mom didn't finish the food I left out for them. I'm hoping it's because they found something else to eat this morning, and not because they're both deathly ill. We'll see how it goes.

And before you ask, no, I am not keeping this one. I think Mickey proved pretty definitively that I have all the cats I can handle. Not to mention all the cats my cats can handle. No, as soon as this one's healthy, he's going to the shelter. Unless anybody out there wants a kitten now? He (or she) is a cute little gray thing, maybe about five months old, and I'm sure he'd appreciate a good home.