Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meet the Freak



AKA, Freakenstein, Freak is a rescued critter. We did not want another cat; my budget sure did not need another cat. Aside from our expenditures for cat food and litter going up by a third, the veterinarian costs for the tests, shots, and neutering will have cost me a bit over $500 for this rescue.

Freak is recovering nicely; this photo is one taken after only a week and a half in our “cat recovery room” where we keep him isolated from our two other cats. During the eviction, Freak was found inside of a cage in the endless clutter of our eastside next-door neighbor’s house. The poor guy is an 8-year-old unneutered male who was suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, and social isolation. With his skin and bones frame covered with filth and the edges of his ears brittle as burnt potato chips, he appeared to be some sort of psychotic Zombie Cat, hence his new name. He was in such poor condition that my wife figured that most of the overcrowded local shelters would euthanize him at a glance. My guess is that Freak was given food and water whenever the owners thought to do so, which was probably not very often. His nose was raw from poking it into the cage door and from scrounging for that last hint of food and water; it is now healing nicely. Freak screams like a demon when we bring him food and he eats insatiably. Freak will eat himself to death if we let him; we feed him twice as much as we do a normal cat and he screams for more. A couple of times we overfed him and he puked it all back up. For now, he is on a fixed eating-schedule when he gets a good portion of food but never as much as he desires. After we cleaned him up and fed him for just over a couple of weeks, we took him to the veterinarian for an evaluation, likely the first in his lifetime. The vet says that the trauma of chronic starvation created an eating disorder from which Freak may never recover. Freak’s liver enzymes were a little unbalanced due to malnutrition but should be back to normal soon; his other organs checked out okay. The tests for contagious (and fatal) feline viruses all were negative and Freak had no fleas, which was strange considering his previous owner’s house was infested with mice. If his previous owner had just let Freak roam inside the house, the cat may have been nutritionally self-sufficient by keeping the rodents under control.

Since he has had proper nutrition for a while now, Freak has rediscovered that he is a male cat and wants to get laid so badly that he is getting a cranky. Last week we got his shots completed; on Thursday of this next week, Freak will go in for a surgical attitude adjustment that will put an end to his lust for sex. It will be a long road for physical and social recovery for this cat. His only interaction with other cats was when he was a kitten and his lifetime of dealings with humans have not been fulfilling. We will give Freak every chance that we can to adjust to life here. If he cannot adjust to us and the other cats, we will have no choice but to put him in local shelter. Wish us all luck.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Apocalyptic Adventures Part 1


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We had one hell of a storm a couple of weeks back. We were among the lucky folks who had only 26-hours without power; some folks did not get electricity restored for several days. My daughter, who lives in a nearby town, was without power for over 48-hours. She used blue-ice packs from our freezer to keep her food safe on the first day. At the end of the second day, she brought all of her perishables over to our fridge and freezer. As fate would have it, as soon as she packed everything into our house, she received a phone call from my ex that power was back on at their house.

My little generator got quite a workout. Our contingency plans worked very well; we had plenty of fuel, food, water (the public water supply went offline for a while), glow sticks, portable lights, and batteries. The generator powered our refrigerator, a few essential lights, a TV, the sump pump, the coffee pot, and our microwave oven AND had enough power to spare for use by my Westside next-door neighbor. I was prepared for other neighbors to tap into the generator but only the one asked; my policy is to grant all reasonable requests for assistance but neighbors do need to have enough extension cord to reach from their house to mine.

The storm damage was not isolated; the entire county was down and very few electrical grids survived the fury of the storm; officials declared a state of emergency which meant we were on our own. Downed trees and power lines closed many roads; traffic lights were out and slow moving cars jammed every open road. Very few stores or banks were open; the few gasoline stations with electricity had lines of cars waiting in the roadway. This was not a good day to be without supplies or contingency plans.

I told my brother-in-law that if he did not have back luck he would have no luck in his life at all. This good old boy needed some help to keep from losing his house, so the morning of the storm we were to take care of business. He had a simple agenda laid out; we would get together and I would get a certified check from my credit union and he would get a certified check from his bank and we then go to the post office and overnight-mail the funds to his debt collector, beating the drop-deadline. HEH! By midday, my brother-in-law was in a near panic. Ultimately, it took us six-hours and three quarters of a tank of gasoline before I found a branch of my credit union open and we found a branch of his bank open. To complicate matters further, all of the post offices were closed because of the power outage. We finally found a FedEx store on a grid and, thanks to $30 in my wallet, got the money shipped out just in time. I mentioned to my brother-in-law that waiting to the final possible moment to save his house was ill advised; obviously, what could go wrong did go wrong and we just barely pulled his ass out of the fire.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

2011 Zachary Family Reunion, Anderson, Indiana


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Every year on the third Saturday in July is our Zachary Family Reunion. I’d have to say that it was a good turnout this year and we all had a great time. We had not been to one for a couple of years or more; the last time we were there at best eighteen adults attended; this year there were no less than double that number. Next year I’ll post a notice here at least a month ahead of time or as soon as I receive confirmation of the location (it changes occasionally). If you are kin, please pass the word and try to attend.

From where we live, it is a four-hour drive barring rest stops and traffic delays; usually it takes us a bit over five-hours. Due to a long, busy week helping family, friends, and neighbors through storm damage, power outages, evictions, and sundry other catastrophes, we got a late start Friday evening and did not arrive in at our hotel in Anderson until 3:30 A.M. Saturday. We were back at home on Sunday about 1:30 P.M. I am at least a full week behind on reading my favorite blog sites and hope to find the time this week to catch up.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Final Notice of Eviction


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Friday morning I noticed the Lake County Sheriff squad parked in my eastside next-door neighbor’s driveway. Posted on the door was the notice of eviction; my neighbor has to be out by this Wednesday. To say that my neighbor is at the end of his rope is charitable; the man is devastated. The co-pay portion of the medical bills from his sick wife has left him hopelessly in debt and, now, homeless. He is looking for some place to go but with his credit in shambles, he is swimming against the tide. How does a 67-year-old man start his life over? His combined pension and social security income was no match for the surprises that dusted his retirement years. His wife is still sick, his daughter and granddaughter still need help, and his own health is deteriorating from the burdens he carries.

This will be a busy week for me. I need to help this neighbor move before Wednesday morning, but come morning light today I have to be at the bank in order to try to keep my brother in-law from also losing his house. (NOTE: the monetary loan is minimal and secured by me taking some of his guns and other items as collateral; I do not co-sign for anyone).

In any case, the cold cruel word still sucks. Of the three houses that border my property, two will be vacant from foreclosures (the house behind me has been vacant for a year now). Of the three financial tragedies that have been inside my personal space this past twelve months, one victim was white, one was black, and the other was Asian. Banks are NOT your friends; they are indiscriminate, unforgiving businesses that thrive on the penalties you pay for making mistakes and suffering misfortune. Anyone believing that a government programs exists to provide salvation is a delusional fool. Folks, when it comes to survival, whether it is physical or financial, you are on your own. Prepare for the worst because it can happen to you… and few souls, if any, will so much as care.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yard and garden journal update 7/7/2011

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I’m still here. About 12-hours of my day are now spent outside. Some days are 4-hours of work and 8-hours of leisure and others reverse to 8-hours of toil and 4-hours of laziness. All of my usual plantings are done for this year; the impatiens bed on the west side of the house was finished last week, which is about a month behind my usual schedule. July and August will be mostly mowing, watering, and weeding while September and October will include painting the trim and more brickwork. My goal is someday to have oversize brick-walkways alongside the flowerbeds that surround the house, all leading to the backyard patio. The 6’ x 22’ brick pad across the front of the house serves several purposes. Foremost, it corrects some uneven terrain across the front of the house that made ladder work very challenging. Esthetically it provides a place to store the garden hose and provides a decent base for arranging flowerpots. Since the raised brick-bed is on a base of grade-8 gravel, the original drainage profile is intact. It will take me another 2 – 3 years to finish the brickwork around the house. The front pad is good enough for now and my efforts will move to fabricating a step to a slightly lower level walkway for the east side of house along a garden that is mostly Shasta daisies and Rudbeckia.

The two photos below were taken a month apart, one on June 5 and the other on July 5, and show how the irises go from colorful blooms to weedy looking beds of stems and standards. If it were not for the annuals being in full bloom, the iris beds would probably earn me a complaint from the homeowners association.



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