Tag Archives: cats

Happy 2012!!

Happy New Year!

I’m back!

It’s been a few months since my last post. I got busy with school and work, and didn’t feel like I had anything to say. Then, the longer I waited, the more it felt like I needed to have something important to say. It’s the same idea behind Open That Bottle Night. (More on OTBN later.)

Buttons on his first day here

Since I’m going to try to post more frequently, even if they are brief posts, some quick updates:

  • I got a new cat: Buttons. He’s about 3 and one of the sweetest, 15-pound cats I know. Alex isn’t happy with him, even though she was very lonely since Katie died.
  • I finished my first semester of law school. Not all of our grades are in, even though the exam was Dec 7th, and we start the next semester in a week, but so far, I did pretty well. And there was only one point where I really questioned the decision.
  • I’m still working out with the trainer twice a week. I guess it’s showing. For New Year’s Eve, I went to a coworker’s party. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, and he was impressed that my arms and shoulder have gotten bigger. I guess it doesn’t show under my dress shirts.
  • 2012 is going to be a great year! I’ve made a few New Year’s resolutions, more on these with time.
  • I’m starting to use Twitter, more. Thanks to the app Flipboard, I’m finding it possible to keep up.

What are your resolutions for 2012?

Leave them in the comments below.

I Need Professional Help!

I realized tonight that I need professional help. I know what some of you are thinking! That’s not what I meant, but may be material for another post.

As I was driving through the 7th torrential downpour of the day to go to the all-night animal hospital to pick up Katie’s medication (which I probably could have made at home if I called in a few prednisone tablets to the local CVS — and wouldn’t have cost me $60), I realized that I while I think I can manage work and school, I think I need help with the rest of life.

Anyone interested in the job? Your duties include such mundane tasks as:

  • Picking up cat medication. Giving said medication to the cat once a day.
  • Getting my watch battery changed. Yesterday, I realized it was two hours behind, which got worse though out the day. You’d think I could survive without a watch, but it’s a problem at work. Every clock is different: my Blackberry, iPhone, computer, office clock, clock in the hallway, etc. And they vary by as much as 10 minutes, which means I’m usually either early to meetings, or late, depending on the clock in the room where they’re holding the meeting.
  • Going through my mail and tossing out the junk mail. If you want to open it and pay the bills for me, you might get a little extra in your holiday card.
  • Laundry!!
  • Watching the weather in the morning so I know how to dress.
  • Picking up the wine and Peanut Butter Cup Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, so I can have Second Dinner (Watch this episode of The Office to see where that comes from).
  • Reminding me what day of the week it is, and possibly where I’m at.
  • Petting the cats. They’re feeling neglected.
  • Fighting with my Co-op Board when I’m busy at work. (More on this one later.)
  • Unpacking and repacking my work/school bag. (As an aside, I’ve been having a lot of neck and shoulder tension. I realized today that it’s because the bag is so damn heavy. Tonight, was Contracts and Legal Rhetoric. My bag weighed 15 pounds.)
  • Get my Jeep’s oil changed.
  • Go through my DVR and delete duplicates. (Who the hell scheduled law school to overlap with the start of the new TV season?)
  • Other To Do List items as assigned (Can you tell I’ve worked with government HR?)

These are simple tasks, I know. I just don’t have time to do it. I’m not sure I am going to have time to get my watch battery changed this weekend. And there’s a fair chance my car may go 35,000 miles without an oil change.

I can’t pay you for your time, but I will cover the expenses. I’m not asking you to buy the watch battery. And, in exchange, you have access to anything you find in my refrigerator. That includes the over-ripe apples, the possibly expired Chobani yogurt, that weird wheat side-dish I made that was tasty but still got pushed to the back, the pizza from the other weekend, and both bottles of ketchup. It’s all yours!

Just send your cover letter and résumé to me through this blog, if you’re interested in helping me out.

Update on Day 2 and Update on Katie


Let’s start with Katie. I took her to a new vet, today: Friendship Hospital for Animals. Riding in her carrier is always traumatic for Katie. She cried constantly, while I steer, shift gears, and stick my fingers in the carrier to comfort her, all at the same time. Today, it was also traumatic for me. I was worried the vet would tell me she was in pain and it was time to put her to sleep. I tried to make Alex say goodbye to her, but she saw Katie in the carrier and ran into the living room.

But, the vet was great. I got fabulous service from two vet techs, and a vet who spent quite a bit of time examining Katie, including doing an indirect ophthalmic exam. (That’s where you look at the retina in the back of the eye by using a flashlight and a lens you hold in your hand. It’s similar to using that little light the doctor uses to look in your eye, but a little harder.) They even took her blood pressure. The good news is that she doesn’t think Katie’s in pain. She was active, friendly, and purring the whole visit.

The bad news is that Katie probably has a brain tumor, given that she walks in circles, only turning left, doesn’t seem to see as well on her right side, and she’s getting clumsy. We are increasing her prednisone, which may help with symptoms. We’re also doing some bloodwork and trying antibiotics for some infections, which are unlikely, but would be treatable.

And, as if Katie didn’t have a traumatic enough day, we had a 5.8 magnitude earthquake this afternoon! I was at work and it took a while to realize what was happening, as I’d never felt one before. After work, I had to go to class, but luckily my friend, Noel, lives nearby and was able to come and confirm that nothing had fallen and crushed them. I just hope we don’t have another one on the day I have to take Katie back to the vet.


Day one was pretty good. No one cried. No one was embarrassed by the professor. I felt like I was following the conversation, contributing, and learning. It was a long day, as I had class until 10 pm.

Day two wasn’t quite as great. I followed most of the conversation in Torts, but am not sure I understood the last 5 minutes. If a jury finds substantial certainty of an injury, what roles does the defendant’s limited capacity to see the substantial certainty play? Huh? Maybe I just couldn’t follow it after 2 hours sitting in an overheated room. Hopefully, it’ll make sense Thursday.

Then, I came home and did almost 3 hours of reading for tomorrow’s Contracts class. I’ll finish that reading, and try to start and finish Thursday’s torts reading, tomorrow morning. I won’t get much done tomorrow evening as I have the trainer after class.

It’s day 2, and I am almost behind with my reading! This weekend, I am really going to have to try to read ahead for the next week. That way, I can come home afterwards and review, rather than having to read ahead each night.

Oh well. At least I am finding the material in both classes interesting and am still excited to be there.

Two days down…

Day One: I Survived

I survived the first day of law school!

I survived! Yeah! Only a little over a thousand more days to go!

Actually, it wasn’t as bad as the rumors made it seem. I’m sure they are taking it easy on us, but most people seemed to be following the discussion and contributing. More importantly: I followed the discussion, contributed, and felt like I learned something (e.g. the difference between expectancy damages and restitution damages). No one was embarrassed in front of the class. No one left the room crying. Not even as tough as Legally Blonde; but, maybe that’s because I’m smarter than Elle Woods.

In our first official class, people’s personalities became evident very quickly. Some students ran for the seats at the front of the room. Some of us (yes, includes me), sat towards the back. Some of us took notes on paper. Some used their computers and spent more time on Gmail than taking notes. On Wednesday, we’ll do a seating chart, so where we are sitting is where we will be for the rest of the semester. Finding a good neighbor is a lot of pressure.

We also had Legal Rhetoric last night. The professor is an adjunct professor, and seems like he’ll be pretty good. He seems nice, has years of experience in legal writing and doesn’t seem too be overly strict. The problem with that class is the fact that we have assignments due almost every week. And the grading is tough. If they find four proofreading errors, they stop grading and return the assignment via email. You have 24 hours to correct and resubmit and it’s a 15% grade deduction automatically. That’s even for “drafts.”

I got home about 10:15 last night and didn’t feel like doing any reading, so I need to read 30 pages or so tonight in order to not be falling behind already. That’s going to be the challenge.

Katie Update

Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. Katie has an appointment with a new vet at 10:30 this morning. And thanks to Michael for the vet recommendation.

My Sick Kitty

Katie, the older of my two cats, is sick and I think she’s dying. I had sort of noticed that she was losing weight for some time. Back at the end of June, I went to Costa Rica for nine days. When I got back, its as obvious she had lost a fair amount of weight. Even though my friend Justin was stopping in to feed them and play with them, I figured she didn’t eat much while I was away. (I’ve noticed in the past that if I go away for a day or two, they don’t really eat until I get back.)

Katie’s sick

Katie on top of my old computer

I took her to the vet to see about her weight loss and for a regular visit. She had gone from 9+ pounds to 6+ pounds in 2 years. She still had a great appetite, was playful when I got the laser pointer out, purred the second I touched her, and seemed generally happy. The vet couldn’t find anything wrong with her, but did some bloodwork. While the results of the bloodwork were back in a few days, it took another week for the vet at CityPaws (14th and Swann Streets) to return any of the three voicemails, or two messages I left with staff. I was pissed and about 1 call away from filing a complaint with the veterinarian licensing board. The bloodwork was fine.

She said that it could still be cancer, but might be an inflammatory bowel disease. She recommended two pills and a special, non-allergenic, diet. Neither was a big hit with Katie. She may look weak, but when you hold her down and try to pry her mouth open to shove a pill in it, she can put up quite a fight. When I tried hiding it in her wet food, she’d either eat around the pill, or ignore the whole thing if I had crushed it. Neither cat would eat the special food. Since it cost $55 a case for the wet version, I’m glad they had a money-back guarantee.

So, I figured that wasn’t going to work. If she’s dying, I don’t want her last days/weeks/months to involve me holding her down every day and shoving pills down her throat. It was traumatic for both of us. I decided I’d get a lot more liberal with the wet food (which used to be only a special treat) and just try to fatten her up and keep her happy. I did figure out that I can dissolve one of the two pills in the wet food juice and she’ll eat that, although they often switch bowls, so Alex is probably eating as much of the medicine as Katie is.

Katie seemed to be doing well for a while. She was a little weak; I’d see her hesitate before jumping onto the couch. But, she seemed to be doing ok, holding steady.

Katie surfing the web

Katie surfing the web

But this last week, she’s been getting visibly more frail. She won’t jump up on the couch or the bed, at all. If I lift her up, she is still affectionate and happy, but if she walks near the edge, she’s likely to fall off. Two nights ago, I heard her fall off the bed, so I haven’t put her up there at all. At times, she stumbles when she’s walking. Her legs seem to get tangled up and trip her. She can only turn to the left and at times appears to not be able to see well. This morning, she stepped in her wet food, but then couldn’t seem to find the bowl, until I rattled it against the floor.

Katie’s history

Katie with one of her toys

I’ve had her for about 10 years, and she was 1-2 years old when I got her. She’s always been a sweetheart of a cat. I got her at a pet adoption day that was held at Petco in Pittsburgh. She was the third cat I played with. When they brought her into the little room, she immediately jumped up on the bench, laid down beside me, and started purring. I knew instantly I was going to take her home.

Most young cats like to tear around the house and destroy things. (Alex! Stop that!) Not Katie. She would go to bed with me, and sleep the entire night, only getting up to move if turned over. Even when I got Alex a few years later, who bullies her, Katie remained a sweetheart. She would walk up to Alex and try to rub noses. It usually ended in hissing and a fight.

What next?

Despite the fact that I made Katie and Alex both promise that they’d never die, I think Katie’s dying. It’s very sad. If I think about it too directly, I can feel myself tearing up.

She still seems happy. When I pick her up, she purrs almost instantly. She spends the night sleeping next to the bed and follows me around the apartment constantly. She’s moving more slowly, and at times stumbles and falls. I got the laser pointer out yesterday, and she tried to chase it, but seemed to have trouble seeing it. She’s grown old gracefully and stoically. She doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that she can’t do many of the things she used to.

I’m hoping that when it’s her time, she goes to sleep and just doesn’t wake up. I don’t want to have to take her to the vet to have her put to sleep. She’s terrified of the pet carrier, and

Alex humoring me by wearing a hat

Alex humoring me by wearing a hat

the vet’s office. I don’t want her last memories to be of fear. And on a more selfish note, I don’t think I can sit there and hold her and tell her how much I love her, while they put her to sleep. I can barely even write about it. It’s hard to see the screen with tears rolling down my face.

I guess that I’ll have to do it, if she gets to the point where she looks like she’s in pain. Until then, I guess I’ll just pick her up and pet her as much as I can. I’m also trying to get Alex to be nicer to her. For a few weeks, she was nicer, even going up and licking Katie’s face while she slept. But lately, Alex has been back to her bullying, hitting or bitting Katie when she walks by.

Sometimes I wonder why we even bother to have pets if they’re going to get old and die. And apparently, cats lie, so don’t believe them when they make a promise to you.