Socks Update

. . .this is not the Socks update I thought I’d be making this morning.  Then, I thought that I would be saying that Socks has been going on pretty well; a little grumpy, maybe, since his last emergency trip to the vet, on March 7.  His sneezing had increased and we had reported that to his vet, who thought that maybe the Baytril he’d been on had stopped working and had put him on Clindamycin, to see if that made a difference.

That was what I would have typed, if I had written the report this morning.

Now. . .

I’m sorry to report that Socks started to throw up and showed some other distress. We called the vet (there is a snowstorm going on, though at the time of the call, and the subsequent travel, the snow had slowed considerably), and debated whether or not to take him in; since we weren’t sure there was a problem, but with his known problems did we want to take a risk. . .and, long story short, we wound up inching our way down to Waterville in the snow.  Steve drove, and it was a good thing that he did; I would have been a weeping wreck by the time we reached the vet.

Anyhow, there was a room ready when we arrived and Socks saw the lead vet in the practice, who said that, since this was a new manifestation, the best thing to do was to have Socks under observation, so. . .Socks is overnighting at the hospital, and we’ll have a report tomorrow.

We then inched back to our house in the country, the snow having picked up, and roads virtually empty, saving us, and the occasional plow truck.

. . .and that’s the Socks Update.


An overfed, long-haired, leaping gnome

Last evening, Steve and I went comet hunting — and we bagged one!  Speaking for myself, I’m always pleased when I can see anything through binoculars (Steve had brought the Big Telescope, but we decided not to get it out since the astronomical binoculars were sufficient unto the task).  The crescent moon was just brilliant — and I saw Jupiter, too, sitting right next to it.  Steve also saw three Jovian moons, but I’m not that good.

We finally left our vantage point on the ridge clearcut because we were freezing, and because the comet had traveled out of our line of sight, and came home to celebratory grilled cheese sammiches.

This morning was the morning that I was going to take my car to the Subaru Dealer in Augusta and spend (so said my pessimism, which is rarely wrong) thousands of dollars getting the ABS brakes fixed-or-replaced.

This mission was made somewhat more complex by the fact that the (brand! new! in August)  battery was stone cold dead and not even a click could be gotten out of it when I turned the key in the ignition.

I went back into the house, and called AAA, which promised a truck within the next 45 minutes, and then I called the garage, explained the whole business and asked if I was taking the car to Augusta or bringing it down to him.  He said to bring it to him and he’d figure out what was going on.

Which he did.

The (brand! new! in August) alternator was stone cold dead — and, no, we don’t know why.  However, the mechanic declared it defective and put another in, free of charge.  So, yay! I saved thousands of dollars, but still got to worry.

In other news, my credit card was (according to BOA) “compromised” via a “third party vendor,” and they sent me a new one (credit card, not third-party vendor, though come to think of it, I might need one of those, too…)  Which has the damn chip embedded. They didn’t even ask this time.

Carousel Seas, meanwhile, informs me that it must be a bifurcated narrative, instead of All Kate All the Time.  This troubles me, but the reasons given are compelling, and the book itself is adamant, so there we have it.

Now that I’ve accepted the inevitable, I need to rewrite a piece-already-written, and work out how the two threads will shadow each other.  Mozart will be pleased — this will require some serious couch time with pen and paper.

For those playing along at home — you thought we’d had the last snow of the year, didn’t you?  Yeah, so did I.  Fooled us both, they did.

We currently reside beneath a Winter Storm Warning, with 10-14 inches of heavy, wet snow expected to fall between early Tuesday morning and midnight.  Yes, Wednesday is the first day of Spring; what’s your point?

. . .I do believe that catches us up.

If you need more, I’ll be on the couch with Mozart.


Mozart, After; plus bonus pics!

Mozart is home from his ordeal and is of course exhausted.  Here, he observes the gooshy food that ought to be his, except that his sub-intelligent and unfeeling minion has instead given to Socks.

Mozart's new look
Mozart’s new look

Here’s Socks, trying not to look too smug:

Socks, being not very smug
Socks, being not very smug

Scrabble stole a march on everyone by sneaking into my Mozart’s her rocking chair while the Silly Fluffs argued over food.

Scrabble in the comfy chair
Scrabble in the comfy chair

…this has been your Thursday afternoon cat report from the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.

You’re welcome.

Today’s theme is! Errands, with a side of chores

Today, Mozart goes to the hairdresser for his summer do. It’s a little early, but Mozart had obviously planned for a Cold Maine Winter, Just Like Grandpa Used to Have. I think he fails to understand that Grandpa tended to exaggerate when he was into the nip.

Anyhow, here’s Mozart being prepared for winter:
Mozart is 15 March 1 2013

I’m sure he’ll be just as annoyed in the After shot.

So, first thing is hairdresser.  Then back to the house to cook and eat supper; the chicken already marinating because I am mighty!;  then out in the opposite direction to ransom the income taxes from the accountant.  Then back home, to check over the paperwork and doubtless to write checks to the IRS and the Treasurer of the State of Maine.  Possibly I’ll get some writing done, if no more chores or errands mount up while I’m slaying the ones already in-queue.

Speaking of checks — several kind people sent money via the Splinter Universe PayPal button, to help with the repair of my car.  Thank you so very much; I’m surprised, but grateful.

I did yesterday get to the library for a writing shift, after picking said car up from the garage, which was good.  I’m liking this  getting out to a new room; varying from the Same Old seems to be sharpening up the writer brain.  The writing goal is 2,000 words a day on Carousel Seas.  The plan is to get to the point where I can juggle one ball, and then add in another for later in the day.  This may or may not work, but if you don’t try, you never learn.

Or something.

And I see by the clock on the wall that it’s time to find a cat and insert him into a cat carrier.

See y’all later.

Progress on Carousel Seas:

6,004/100,000 words OR 6% completed

“Kate,” I said, bending over to pick up the Journal-Trib, “you lack vision.”

Monday Socks Update

We took Socks in to see his primary vet this morning for a follow-up visit to last week’s amazing adventures.  He’s in good shape (at the moment — this is, as we discussed, the issue — we always need to qualify “good” with “for now”), if kind of sniffly and grumpy.  In the vet’s opinion, Socks is a good candidate for megacolon surgery.  The next step rests with her — she needs to contact the Experts in Portland, partly to insure that she’s done everything they feel is  necessary in terms of diagnosis and medical treatment, and also to find out costs for surgery, convalescence care, and all those things none of us thought about.  We expect to have that information in hand this week

In the meantime, we have some new, high-energy, low fiber wet food to try , since the vet’s still interested in getting another two (or three) pounds on him, especially in light of possible upcoming surgery.

So, we’re in Wait Mode.

More news as it arrives.

Solving Socks: Update

Since yesterday, several people have reached out — publicly and in private mail — to say that, were there a fundraiser set up to cover Socks’ medical bills, they would contribute; that, if there was any way that they could help keep Socks with Steve and me, they’d be willing to make that effort.

Truly, Socks has the best fans in the world.  Steve and I are humbled and grateful.  Socks would be. . .well, not humbled, exactly, but pleased that so many people want to skritch his ears — but at the moment he’s napping on his special quilted piece, in Steve’s office.  Must keep to the schedule, you know.

So, here’s the thing:  Socks’ vet did offer us the option of megacolon surgery.  This is a procedure that shortens overlarge colons (apparently not an uncommon problem in cats), and which is the solution for the constant bouts of constipation/need to rush to the vets/emergency vets at all hours for emergency enemas.

Our vet made no secret of the fact that this is an expensive surgery, involving, as it does, Specialists in Portland.  We are simply not up for an “expensive” surgery.  I’ll be frank — the money tree doesn’t have that many leaves on it.

However, we’ve started to think that we can do this thing, thanks to the people who have offered to help.

So!  We’ve begun research into this procedure, and talking to people whose cats have undergone the operation.  Socks has a follow-up appointment first thing Monday morning with his primary vet and we will delve into such things as costs, success rates, and convalescence care.

After we have all of these ducks in a row, I will lay it all out here, and we’ll see if this is possible/desirable.

I want to thank everyone for their caring, and their sharing, and their willingness to help.  You guys are awesome!


In which Socks needs solving

As you know, Bob, last April we drove to Connecticut to pick up a new member of the family, a recently retired Maine Coon stud, Upper Valley Bahzell P of Blueblaze, call-name Socks.

This is Socks:

Socks at home, November 12, 2012
Socks at home, November 12, 2012

Socks is polydactyl (that means he has extra toes; this is pretty common with Maine Coon cats, who trace their Lines all the way back to the barns of Maine, where they sometimes need to open doors and operate equipment.  I know some people think that extra-toed cats are “deformed;” this is not the case.).  He has papers to go with his fancy name, from TICA and from the Cat Fanciers’ Association; and his official color designation is Silver Mackerel Tabby.  Socks will be seven years old on April 12.

So, that’s the technical stuff.  What you really want to know is that he’s a sweet and attentive individual.  He likes to watch movies with his people; he likes to read, and he likes Classic Rock. He likes to help, and can pretty much be counted on to be in the middle of whatever it is that’s going down.  Despite being a rather large cat (Maine Coons are called The Gentle Giants of catdom), he’s often a lapsitter and a sleeper-with-people.  He takes his flying mouse play Very Seriously.  He has a charming, growly little voice, rather than the classic Maine Coon squeak.  Think Humphrey Bogart.  With extra toes.

Maine Coons are known for their good nature, but Socks goes above and beyond.  I have never, ever heard him growl or hiss; he has never, to my knowledge, lifted a paw in anger.  In fact, if fault could be found with such a sunny little person, it would be that he’s a little too unassuming; he tends to disappear into the crowd.

Socks came to us as a semi-rescue — he was recently neutered and out of a job; he had a sniffle, several bad teeth, and he was seriously skinny.  We figured to get the dental situation fixed, feed him up, get the sniffle under control, do a little immune system boosting.  We have managed the teeth (he lost seven); we’ve fed him up; and he’s markedly less. . .depressed than he was when he arrived.

The chronic sneezing, despite daily doses of antibiotic (which he takes with minimal protest), continues.  Lately, he’s developed a constipation problem — apparently, in order to accommodate his long trips from harem to harem, he developed a larger than normal colon.  When he was a young guy, in top athletic shape, he could bring the necessary muscle to bear to operate this organ, but as he’s aged, he’s let his stomach muscles go (don’t laugh; many of us here today have let our stomach muscles go).

All of this is to say that, though Steve and I love Socks, we’re looking for another situation for him.  Ideally, this situation would be with a person who was home more than away, and in which he would be the Sole Companion and Supervisor, or one of two.  He does like the company of other cats.  We do not believe that he is a dog lover, nor have we seen him with small children.

We have spoken to the cattery with which he was last affiliated, and the owners have said that he can go to them.  We’re reluctant to do this because of Socks’ extreme good-nature and his ability to fade into the crowd.  I think the reason that he got into the shape he was in when he came to us was that he traveled from place to place and was so compliant that no one really paid attention to Socks, as Socks.  So, we’d rather try to find him a better condition.

Please pass this note around to people who may be interested in acquiring a really special friend.  And if you can help, please let me know.

Thank you for listening.

Five things and a photo make a post

Oh, let’s see…

1.  Steve got jealous of all of Socks’ Lightning Visits to the vet, so there was nothing for it but that he should have a Lightning Visit to the doctor today.  Where it was discovered that he has arrived home from Boskone with acute bronchitis.  Medications have been prescribed.  Rest has been prescribed.  Below, a picture of Steve resting, at Socks’ insistence.

Resting. Steve and Socks. Photo by Sharon Lee
Resting. Steve and Socks.
Photo by Sharon Lee

2.  I have an appointment with the vampires tomorrow morning.  After which I suspect I will be stopping at the grocery store because…

3.  Winter storm warning for Waterville and environs, starting Wednesday.  Weatherbeans at the moment calling for another 8-12 inches.  Man, I’m going to have upper arms to die for.

4.  I am not yet half-way through the galleys of Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume One.

5.  I provide a link to an article interesting not so much for the description of a kerfuffle in an online forum, but for the discussion of “nice,” and how the concept of same is used as a bullying tactic, a topic of some interest to me.  Since, as advertised elsewhere and often, I am so not nice…