Monday, November 30, 2009

Busy house and a Birthday Girl!

Its been raining again since Sunday. Its not much fun at the coast anymore. Whats the use of the beach if its always raining!
On Friday evening, Bradley discovered a patch of dampness on the bed and as it was the second time, with me having found a little damp patch before, I decided that the kittens had to move. I took their whole box and put it in a corner of the kitchen. They are like different kittens now, interacting with the other kitties, playing and jumping and stalking, using the litter box and sampling the other food. I can think of no better way to train the littlies than to let them watch the bigger cats and copy them. They are also getting socialised and used to all the strange cats! Amazingly, its their own older siblings who were the most averse to them, hissing when they came near but all seem to be getting used to each other.

A good thing about the wet weather is that is forces Sabrina to stay inside and there's no sun to burn her ears and nose. She is healing nicely now but it will be an ongoing effort to make sure she doesn't damage herself again.

Saturday was spent in cleaning house due to the imminent arrival of my son and his father from Jhb as well as helper, Ishmael. I did a bit of shopping in the irritatingly crowded shopping centre in town and then popped in to see my parents on my way home. I didn't think I would get a chance to pop in on Sunday as my visitors were arriving then and my parents are away for a short holiday this week.

After another morning of Springcleaning (really with this rainy weather, what else is there to do), my visitors from Jhb arrived. Dael was hyped to come back home to Durban but after three days of rain, he wants to go back to the sun in Jhb.

It is little Rachael's 3rd birthday today and her mom phoned through this morning so she could speak to her dad. After he had wished her and chatted about her toys, I got on the line and spoke to her. She loves cellphones. I sang Happy Birthday to her, my voice cracking with emotion as I tried not to cry. She was giggling, so happy to hear the birthday song sung for her and trying to sing along at the same time. Unfortunately it is her second birthday that he has been away from home for, due to working away from home at the time but her mom and her big sister and I always try and keep the magic alive so that it is a memorable occasion for all the kids.

Rachael, the Birthday Girl! Happy Birthday, cheeky monkey!

All going well with the job, the Jhb gang should be returning to Jhb on Thursday, dragging with them Bradley and Chris, who has asked to hitch a lift to his relatives in Jhb for Christmas. Bradley is all packed and raring to go. He thought that the return trip would be today so prematurely packed what seems to be every item in his cupboard in two overflowing bags.

I cooked a big meal for the hardworking crew last night. Pork sausages left whole in a stew of cubed potato, butternut and baked beans, all dished over mashed potatoes - wholesome and filling. Supper was ready as they walked in the door and was shovelled down fast. Thank goodness I am used to cooking for a multitude so am able to make a little go a long way. I'm buying macaroni and bacon bits tonight to make macaroni cheese with bacon, always a favourite with all and usually eaten with fresh buttered bread on the side. Yum! Don't know how much genuine cooking I'll be doing once the mob has gone. Its probably going to be easier to just join my mom's table a couple of times a week.

Robynne phoned me late yesterday afternoon to tell me that her car was leaking She is the one responsible for fetching Trish and the two little girls in the absence of her father and now her car was playing up again. She had left the office on her way to pick up the family, discovered the problem and managed to limp her car back to her office. She was almost crying in frustration at having another problem with her car but had secured a lift home with the office driver and had phoned Trish to let her know that she had to make alternative arrangements to pick up the kids and get home. I chatted with her for a while and then had to leave myself as I still had to get to the shops and pharmacy and get home. A while later, she phoned me at home to say that the clever company driver had crawled under her car and discovered a pipe that was half out and causing petrol to spill out. She had also spoken to her dad and he was of the opinion that someone had tried to steal her petrol. Now she had been doing stocktaking earlier that day at her company's warehouse and her car had been parked outside on the street during this time so it is a likely probability. She reckons she lost about R100 worth of petrol. She was extremely thrilled that it wasn't another serious problem but obviously she is now aware that you just cannot leave your car on any street in Jhb and expect it to remain unmolested! How sad and just plain wrong. We have an alternative career choice in good ol' RSA and that is Car Guard and sometimes they are the only deterrent that you have against car molesters!

More later...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Another side to Santa...

A Christmas Story for people having a bad day:
When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drank all the cider and hidden the liquor.

In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor.

He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nothing like a cold shower to wake me up!

I had fallen asleep on the couch last night while watching tv but was awakened by a shower of something wet all over my face. Sabrina had been sitting on my hip and she went leaping as I immediately sprang up and headed for the bathroom to wipe my face with a facecloth. I realised that she had a problem with her ears which are still healing from their operation but since it was the middle of the night and I was barely awake, I just switched off the lights and went to bed.
In the morning, I investigated and discovered her one ear is bleeding, probably from scratching so I hauled out the collar again and cleaned it off nicely, replacing the yucky bandage which secures it to Sabrina's neck with a fresh piece. I also padded the sharpish edges of the collar with some elasticised plaster which hopefully should prevent it from cutting into her neck. Last step was to slather her ear and her nose which she also keeps damaging, with ointment. She was non too happy I can tell you.
Early in the morning still but just before I got up, I again heard a sound which would have most people jumping up to investigate. Glass breaking! But I am so attuned to the movements of my cats that I just knew even in my half asleep state that it was 'only' a drinking glass left on the coffee table from the evening before that some cat had jumped against and broken. For some reason when they come through the 'cat/dog door' they can't just run past the table on their way to the kitchen. They have to jump onto the table and off the other side, wreaking havoc on their way across. I usually keep the table clear because of this. Cats - 1 - Crockery - 0!
The little kittens, at almost 5 weeks old, are running around on the bed in my room where they are based. Their mommy removed them from their box and made a nest on my bed on one of my pillows. The beige boy is the noisiest and whenever he hears one of us, starts meowing loudly and comes running for attention. The orange boy is quiet but can be playful and also gets around quite a lot. The little orange girl is much shorter legged than her brothers and although she does get around when she wants to, is generally very quiet and placid, just cuddling up in a corner behind the pillows and always seems to be lying on her back. Funny little kid.
Bradley has finished exams now and as his father is coming down to KZN next week to do a job, has decided to return to Jhb with him to be with his extended family. He will miss the last two weeks of school but there doesn't seem to be much happening there anyway. So I will be on my lonesome ownsome for a few weeks. It doesn't phase me too much as at least he will be entertained and I can just completely relax for a couple of weeks. I will only finish work on about the 22nd December and Bradley will probably return to KZN with his sister, who intends driving down on the 23rd, just in time to spend Christmas with the family.
I must say with all the hype building up for the Christmas Season, I am leaning toward low-key and relaxed after a rather hectic and changeable year. My mother has always made a big deal out of Christmas and they start buying Christmas meat as it comes on special from about August. She makes huge quantities of shortbread and mince pies and her Christmas fruit cake which my dad ends up eating until April of the next year. She changed the Christmas dinner to Christmas Eve a few years ago so that on Christmas Day she is not so overloaded that she ends up not enjoying the day but she still ends up laying out a generous spread on Christmas Day itself. She always has a real tree to the ceiling, perfectly laid table in the Christmas theme with candles and flowers. Its a big production as she has 'catering bones' which unfortunately I haven't really inherited. When it comes to catering I would always rather just be the helper. In fact although my younger sister considers herself a cordon bleu cook and spends a lot of time watching the cooking channel, a lot of her dishes turn out to be too rich or unusual. I don't think any of my mother's daughters have the catering desire or stamina so it may be the end of an era when my mom decides that she's had enough.
In the meantime, we gather as many family members as we can and spend the festivities together with an awareness now being realised that in the future, family members may not be around, or may have other commitments on that day and we probably won't always have the privilege of being together as a family.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I like being Gorgeous!

Busy mom of 3 and all round friendly and interesting lady who goes by one of my favourite names, Cat at Juggling Act Of Life has bestowed upon me an unexpected gift....The Gorgeous Blogger Award.

The 'rules' of this award are:
By accepting this award I am to tell you six things about myself that you don't know and then award it to six other gorgeous bloggers.

I am the eldest of four children, all born within 5 years of each other.

I was painfully shy as a child and only had about 2 actual friends in high school, both of whom were better friends with each other than with me!

I used to hate condiments and salads such as tomato, gherkins and onions and burgers were picked bare before I ate them. I outgrew that.

I do not like peas and only buy them because Bradley likes them.

I used to love drinking chocolate in cold milk with lumpy Milo floating on top. I wouldn't drink it but gradually consume it with a teaspoon.

I needed about 10 hours of sleep a night in perfect darkness and quiet as a teenager. I got over that too!

I am passing this award to the following blogging friends because they are all truly Gorgeous:

Elizabeth from Elizabeth Bradley Bits & Bytes
Tammy from Forever Feline

Lulu from Small Town Lulu
Louisa from 123 Blog Myself
Roby from I'm Just A Girl
Kaleena from Living Life With Laney
Tamara from Doodles Of A Journo
Susan from Mother Jungle
Renee from Circling My Head
Barefootheart from Willow House Chronicles

I couldn't just stick to six nominees and this is by no means an complete list. I have just met so many Gorgeous Bloggers since I have been blogging.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support and friendship.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Next step accomplished.

Thursday dawned another overcast day. By the time I got to work, it was pouring with rain again and within the hour it was blowing a gale. One of the trees in our office park suffered damage from a falling tree branch and up the road a tree had also fallen across the road, fortunately not on any passing vehicle.
If I hadn't already had a lift arranged to get down to the hospital, I may have called off the entire visit due to the horrible weather conditions. Good excuse! Anyway by 9.30am I was headed off down to the hospital with my driver.
He drove me into the hospital grounds, and even tried to enter the hospital with me, to show me where to go but a very determined security guard shooed him out, telling him to move his vehicle. The first thing I saw at the reception was a huge board with a lot of prices on it. Oh no, don't tell me they were expecting me to pay. I ran out of the hospital to try and catch the driver. He was driving off already and as I held up my hand for him to stop, he thought I was waving him goodbye and off he went. Oh well! I decided to book in and I would soon find out if I could proceed. The gentleman filled out a chart and asked me for....R20. I managed to scratch that amount together and then continued to the next area. The procedure was to book in at casualty, be first examined by a casualty doctor and then be redirected to the relevant department's doctor. After a short wait I was called and examined. The lady doctor phoned the Surgical Outpatients department who confirmed they could see me that day. Down the corridor to that department, book in with the sister and then sit on the bench to wait. Hardly sat down and I was called. After taking down my medical history, I went through to be examined again. Seriously I have taken off my shirt for four different people in the last few days. No such thing as false modesty anymore! After the examination he said that I would have an ultrasound and a biopsy and then added, as I was replacing my clothes.'Why don't we just do the biopsy now to save you coming back.' 'Oh okay, is it sore?' 'No, its just like an injection.'
I didn't look but I think obviously it was a big needle. And a rather loooong injection! I just squeezed my clothing between two fingers of each hand while trying to keep my left arm and body as relaxed as possible. And it was over. He prepared his slides, which will be sent to the teaching and referral hospital, Albert Luthuli.
Then it was over to X-Ray to find out if I could have an ultrasound. I needed directions from the reception - go down the corridor, left, at the Coca-cola machine turn right, proceed, at the white booth, turn left and you will see the xray department. The hospital is a huge maze of a building.
I could only get an appointment for an ultrasound on the 18th December so then through to the Appointments office where I made a followup appointment for the 10th December where I will receive the result of my biopsy. And I was finished.
My driver wasn't expecting me to finish so quickly and had gone back to work (in Botha's Hill) which is a considerable distance away. I had to wait outside the front of the hospital. My breast had an ache and a sting from the needle now but I passed the time quite pleasantly chatting with another patient who was also waiting for a lift. He is a young man, a quadriplegic who used to be extremely active, surfing, diving. He was diving at Port Alfred into a river mouth which was in flood, so the water was brown with silt and lots of floating debris. As he dived in or surfaced, a huge plank of wood hit him in the spine and broke it, rendering him paralysed. He was of the opinion that it was 'meant to be'. We watched another young man being delivered to hospital by private car. They took a long time to figure out how to remove him from the back seat as his helpers had decided that he had to stay immobile. He had bunked school and gone on an adventure and suffered a bad fall (?). The helpers eventually got a back board to place him on so they could lift him without damaging him further. He seemed to have suffered a bad break to his leg as it was in a splint.
As the guy in the wheelchair left with his transport, I became aware of a private car that had stopped just in front of me. The driver had jumped out and run into the hospital looking for help. A lady holding a small child was in the front passenger seat. In the back was a hysterically crying lady holding a prone patient on the back seat. She was sobbing and repeating 'I'm losing my cousin'. The patient was also a young woman in her late teens or early twenties, who seemed to have just passed away in the car. They brought the trolley and loaded her onto it. She was completely lifeless, her limbs tumbling around. Her cousin blurted out 'She hanged herself!' before the whole family disappeared into the hospital.
I was extremely traumatised by this occurrence. The family was on an island of grief and tragedy in a sea of life carrying on. I wondered what would go through the mind of a young person (or any person) to prompt the extreme decision that now was the time that their life would end. I really battled to wrap my mind around the sight of that young person and her extended family.
A constant stream of ambulances and private cars continued to bring in new patients and take away other patients. A lady was with her elderly mother. Her and her husband were collecting the old lady. She had tried to comfort the other lady who had been crying bitterly for her cousin but a moment later was verbally abusing the old lady, her own family member as they both climbed into their own car. The old lady could hardly walk and was trying to get into the back seat. "Hurry up, I can't always be looking after you. You're always talking to people!' I was aghast!
My own lift arrived but the scenes of the past hour whilst I had been waiting at the entrance stayed on my mind. How poignant it all is. Life and death and grief and impatience and care - a whole melting pot of human emotions stirred together. People watching at its most extreme!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Round and round the waiting room.

It was such a beautiful if windy morning this morning as I drove through to the hospital for yet another marathon waiting room session. It is quite confusing finding out the procedure for a new patient but I'm becoming quite the expert with all my experience lately. I'll be able to give guided tours of all the local medical institutions soon!
After waiting in a queue to get a file made up in an outside office, I entered the hospital and asked a handy security guard where I had to go next. The cashier! Oh dear! I hadn't been told by the clinic that I needed to bring money. After a bit of persuasion to the unhappy cashier that I would pay the money into the hospital bank account, I joined a long queue to get my blood pressure checked and my weight recorded. Everything fine with the blood pressure (?). No matter how stressed I get and even with my overactive thyroid, my blood pressure is always fine. As a first time patient I joined a third queue adjacent to the blood pressure checking nurses. The two ladies in this cubicle were filling in forms and asking for a lot of information from the various patients they were interviewing. Eventually it was my turn. These ladies were giving patients the opportunity to have a free HIV test. They have little disposable testers which deliver a small prick to the finger. A drop or so of blood is squeezed into the little holes and a few minutes later you have your result. Hey, a freebie is a freebie! I wasn't going to say no.
Then the queue for the doctor. This moved along a lot faster. It was about 11.10am by this stage. The Indian doctor lady checked me over and confirmed that the lump needed further investigation (which they couldn't do at St Marys). I would have to be referred to R.K. Khan Hospital in Chatsworth. Now that is an area I don't really go to at all and it is a distance away. Anyway I took my referral letter and proceeded to the pharmacy for painkillers one of which helps with swelling. A short time later I was on my way. Another 4 hour wait. So 8 hours in 2 days of waiting for medical attention.
At work, several of my co-workers have come to know about my situation and the one lady has organised with our messenger to drop me off at the hospital tomorrow and pick me up when I am ready. If he can't make it back, my boss has offered to collect me. Everyone is being so supportive. So tomorrow I go straight to the relevant department for a mammogram and probably a needle biopsy.
When I was speaking about my situation to a young woman in our accounts dept., she told me that she had also had a lump in her breast and had had a mammogram and needle biopsy done. They ended up surgically removing the lump even though it was benign. It is good to hear of other people who have been in the same situation and have come through it and carried on with their lives. I wasn't going to do it this week but I decided that if I leave it until next week, I may just not get it done, so gritting my teeth and gathering my courage, here I go!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Cold Wait

I decided to take off Sabrina's collar as she has been frantically shaking her head and scratching during the night. I had a feeling that her neck was worrying her. So first thing this morning I removed the collar and rubbed her neck and she was in heaven!
I was only planning on going to the clinic on Wednesday but decided to get it done this morning. I just had a strong feeling that I must start this investigation today. So after dropping Bradley I proceeded through to the clinic and got there just after 8am. Upon arriving and finding the correct department, the whole queue of people (I was the last number - no. 35) were shepherded to the outside benches. Now it was a cold day today and eventually I put on my jacket and was so glad I thought to bring it. It took from 8am to 12 midday for the sister to eventually see me. I was almost frozen to an iceblock by the time I was called inside to the benches in that department where unusually, there were only 3 patients per bench at a time, one on each end and one in the middle. Obviously they don't want their department looking untidy with too many patients or otherwise they don't want the patients catching anything from each other - a bit ridiculous since we had been bunched together outside in the freezing weather for hours already. I commented to the man next to me that if we hadn't been very sick before we arrived, then we most certainly would be by the time we left!
After a quick examination and a few exclamations as to why it took so long for me to come in, she decided that I should be referred to one of the local hospitals to see a doctor. So I now have a letter of referral to St. Mary's hospital in Mariannhill to see a doctor and from there on who knows. She said the lump is a bit big and hard and if I had come in when it was smaller she could have just given me an antibiotic to see if that worked. Who knew? I don't have a lot of fatty tissue in my breasts (small size) and they often feel lumpy but only in the past two weeks or so has the lump increased in size and started causing an ache and some discomfort. I know its there all the time. I came in to work straight after I left the clinic but I have told my boss that I have to go to the hospital tomorrow and wherever else I am sent whenever I am sent there, until this issue is resolved.
I will update tomorrow as and when I make it to the office.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm still standing...

Bebe was fine after her procedure on Friday and soon headed back into her favourite bushy area when we arrived home. She really is an outdoorsy girl. She has had no ill affects from her spaying. Sabrina has learned to live with her collar but I won't be able to keep it on for much longer as I noticed that it is wearing a sore spot on her neck. She keeps shaking it and it really gets in the way of her grooming. She is able to lick her paw and clean her nose however. I have been grateful for the collar though as her scratching would be a direct hit on her stitched ears if she wasn't wearing it. She still looks a bit like a wreck but is much more her old self. I think when she is all healed up with fur grown back she will look a bit like a bear cub.
Bradley had headed off down to Chris' house by the time I got home on Friday evening so I was able to take it easy (and not cook). I just made cheese snackwiches for supper. Chris has a playstation and there is another boy at the house of Bradley's age which makes for better entertainment than being at home with boring mom.
On Saturday, I just cleaned up and pottered about. The weather wasn't great so the most I did was keep running out and turning the washing over to the wet side to try and encourage it to dry faster. I had arranged to be at my mom's at about lunchtime as my aunt, my cousin and her two boys were coming to visit and mom needed reinforcements. I collected Bradley and took him along but by the time we arrived, at almost 2pm, the cousins weren't there yet. They eventually arrived with a cake and we had a jolly time catching up and having tea. I hadn't seen my cousin or my aunt for more than ten years and it was our first time of meeting Shelly's two little boys. They had a great time with Bradley who was acting the role of the cool dude older cousin.
Bradley decided to go down to Chris' house to play again on Sunday and this really suited me because after my stressful week of not feeling well last week, I just wanted to do nothing on Sunday. I watched tv and read my novel and didn't go anywhere the whole day until I collected Bradley and Chris for church at 6pm. I really felt relaxed and didn't even do any housework, just sat on my behind the whole day.
On the health front, I haven't got those symptoms that I was suffering from last week, the lump in the throat, funny breathing, etc. Those have subsided somewhat. I have got another health issue that is worrying me at the moment. I have discovered a rather large lump in my left breast which doesn't seem to be going away and I also have some 'funny' pains in my chest and emanating to my armpit which are worrying me. I immediately think cancer but it might not be that. I won't know until I go and find out. Finding out is not so simple as I don't have medical aid and usually no money to throw at something like this. I phoned around today and CANSA Durban have a clinic that they run on Wednesdays between 8 and 10am which I could attend. I asked the lady if I could start with my government clinic (that I go to with Bradley) and she said that I could start there as they have qualified nursing sisters. I know the staff is fully qualified but I don't know what kind of ailments they deal with there. So I will start there and if need be they will refer me to a district hospital. I can see a lot of sitting in waiting rooms in my immediate future. Maybe a good time to catch up on my reading. I wasn't going to mention all this here but you guys have been excellent with your moral support on all fronts and I know that I am among friends here. Whatever the diagnosis, I am determined to be positive and just do what needs to be done. Worrying about this has been eating away at me a bit but I do find if I do something proactively to solve a problem (including this) it empowers me a lot. I don't want to be a person who minimises their choices in life by being too scared to find out what is going on with me.
I will appreciate being remembered in the prayers and thoughts of all my friends as I find out what is causing this problem.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Curiosity got the cat caught!

After work yesterday, I decided to go straight home before going to the vet. I arrived home just before 5pm and immediately started calling kitties and talking to those surrounding me. I told Bradley to get ready because I was going to the vet to find out about pain medication for Sabrina and to the shop for bread. Sabrina was still in the tv cabinet at that stage so I called her out and gave her some milk to drink. Just then I realised that - who had arrived but Miss Bebe herself, so I prepared the basket, found the ties and popped her into the basket. She wasn't impressed and yowled all the way to the vet.
The vet receptionist told me the vet was very booked up for Friday but I said that I was prepared to leave Bebe and see if they could fit her in because she is very hard to pin down and she is one step off of getting preggers herself. Shame poor girl. She loves being outside and I left her for the night in a strange place. But it is the best thing for her.
Sabrina ate a little last night and spent the night on the arm of the couch. I wiped her collar clean and her little chin because she wasn't able to look after herself yet. This morning she is cleaning herself off again and seems to be able to clean her face even with the collar on. Luckily the collar is doing its job and preventing her hind leg from scratching her sore ears to pieces. I keep talking to her and telling her I love her and this morning she was purring and talking to me again. Getting back to her old self. I gave her the tablet (crushed between two spoons) in a small amount of meat and just left her and the bowl in a bedroom together. By the time I came back she had cleaned the bowl.
I was running late this morning and decided to take Bradley to school first and then come back home to bath. While I was waiting for him to come to the car, I decided to top up the water as that is having to be topped up every day now (next thing to get fixed). I filled my 2lt colddrink bottle that I keep in the car at all times with more water and slammed the bonnet. On arriving back home after dropping Bradley, I noticed A LOT of steam coming from the area of the water bottle. 'Oh no!' I thought. 'Don't tell me it broken totally now.' I went into the house already planning my next move and after thinking about it, I wondered to myself, 'Did I replace the cap of the water holder when I filled it'. I couldn't remember so I went to check. And no I didn't! Luckily the cap hadn't fallen out onto the road, but was still there on the ledge behind the engine. All the water had bubbled out and it took about 4 and a half litres to fill up again. Which didn't help with my lateness but at least I could still drive my car.
Anyway off to fetch Bebe now who will probably not be too happy after her treatment but hopefully I get her staying at home with the rest of the family more now.
Have a wonderful weekend and thanks everyone for your support and encouragement.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sick Kitty - Sick Mommy!

Little Sabrina was delivered to the vet yesterday morning and I went off to work. Bebe didn't go with as she decided not to appear in the morning! (Who told her about the vet?)
I wasn't feeling too well as all the stress of recent events has triggered off my overactive thyroid problem which is now causing me stress related health issues. This manifests itself as a feeling like I have a big lump in my throat, racing heart, fixation on breathing which means I don't breathe normally. These symptoms disappear again after a period of rest but at the moment all this makes me feel totally exhausted. I will need to schedule a trip to the doctor in the near future. In the meantime the family have been alerted to the fact that I am not well and are handling all their own issues at the moment.
After a fairly uneventful day at work, I left early to fetch Sabrina from the vet. The veterinarian lady actually thought she was a feral that I had trapped because she was acting so wild. She had both ears removed and a bit off the top of her nose due to cancer. When she woke from anaesthetic she had managed to remove the nose stitches from trying to get out the recovery cage and now had an open sore on her nose. The vet and her assistant tried to pad the door of my basket which has a crisscross mesh, with the towel I had in the basket, because she was frantically trying to get out of the basket too. This lasted until I got in the car. The poor little girl was damaging herself even more pushing her nose against the door of the basket so I let her out and she was off round and round the car while I was driving across town in traffic. She eventually calmed down a bit with me talking to her and stroking her when she came near me. The car and my clothes were absolutely covered in white fur which she was obviously shedding from the stress.
At home she lapped a bit of milk but didn't eat. She sat on my lap for a while but soon went to hide in the tv cabinet on a pile of magazines. This morning I pulled her out of the cabinet to give her some more milk. I applied ointment to her nose and tried to get her to eat a bit of plain canned meat (with the antiobiotic tablet in it). She ate a bit of meat but not the tablet which I let Bitsy eat eventually. Bitsy is also booked for spaying but Bradley noticed a weird rash on the whole of her stomach which she has been licking. I am hoping that the antibiotic will help with this. It is a general antiobiotic (Synulox) which the vets prescribe for a lot of ailments. I generally try to keep some in the house but the vets don't really like to dispense it without seeing the cat. Its going to be difficult forcing a tablet into Sabrina's mouth with her nose being an open sore and with a plastic cone around her neck to prevent her scratching anywhere near her head. How do I even get a grip on her head to open her mouth?
My poor little girl. She has hardly been to the vet in her seven years and nine months of life, the only previous time to get spayed. She is extremely traumatised and I am a bit too. She looks really beaten up and I was actually relieved that I didn't have two sick kitties to cope with yesterday. Maybe I'll continue to just do them one cat at a time.
Bebe came around last night and was also around this morning again. I really think she can read my mind!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Hello Kitty!

After work yesterday, went through to the vet to book in the first of the kitties for vet treatment. Sabrina, my 7-year old white kittygirl has injured her ears badly due to too much sunbathing and needs vet treatment for this now. Bebe, my 11-month old kittygirl is doing too much running around as she is on heat and this is extremely dangerous for her as quite apart from getting pregnant, she could also get herself into danger with all this running around. So these two will go to the vet first. I don't have any decent carriers anymore but I do have two cat traps which are quite large. Greg will come round to help me get one of them down from the garage roof and I will prepare it to carry my 2 girls to the vet on Wednesday morning.
I collected Bradley from my mom and made it home by about 7pm. I was a bit tired by then but luckily Brad just wanted egg on toast for supper. After watching some tv (Amazing Race and Lipstick Jungle), I turned off the tv and the lights and we went to bed. Now Bradley has been moving the box with the kittens around quite a bit. On Monday night, they spent the night with their mom in the box in the lounge on the couch, then we moved the box to my bed in the morning because the house gets hot during the day when it is closed up. In the evening Bradley again moved the box to the lounge while he was studying so that he could be close to the kittens. We left the box in the lounge when we went to bed.
I was snuggled up in bed. I had read a few pages of my book but it was making me tired so I was just nodding off to sleep with the light on when the distinctive meowing of a kitten woke me up. I turned over and there on my bed behind me, Kittykie, the mommy had carried the little cream coloured kitty to my bed. I called for Bradley to see what she had done and I told him to fetch the box with the other 2 kittens from the lounge and put it back in the cupboard where it had previously been. Kittykie was rather distracted, the baby was meowing and she was even trying to bite it. Bradley put the kitten in the box with the other two and put out the light. Kittykie jumped up into the box and was reaching into the box. Eventually she got into the box but soon jumped out again down onto the bed with the same poor dazed kitten in her mouth. We snapped on the light again. I told Bradley to bring the box down to the bed. I was worried now but I decided that she was trying to tell me something. I asked Bradley to fetch a new can of pet food, a can opener, plate and a spoon. He even brought back a sheet of newspaper to put the plate on. As I was opening the can of food she was fighting to get into the food. I kept spooning and she kept eating until a third of an 840g can of food had been gobbled up by her. In the meantime I put the little one back in the box with his siblings and all three went to sleep. After the eating marathon, Bradley on one side of my bed, the box of kittens with mommy too and me on the other side of the bed all went to sleep, satisfied at last. With all the time the kittens take, Kittykie sometimes cuts short her mealtimes or the other cats interrupt her while shes eating. Whatever the reason, she had decided that she was just too hungry to carry on feeding her babies and she was using all her communications skills to impart this information to me. She and the babies had a comfortable night. She was still in the box this morning, feeding all three and didn't even come for morning meal. I'm just grateful that she's feeding all three babies still. They are 17 days old and although their eyes are open and they are wobbling around and trying to clumsily play with each other, they are still a long way from solid food. Phew - crisis averted!
News from Gauteng - Dad went to the mechanic this morning to find out what the problem is with the car. Can you believe that a 2005 model Chevy Spark that has a problem with its Ignition Coil, a part which I believe can be purchased for about R500.00 is likely to be out of action for about 5 weeks as the dealers and the factory DO NOT HAVE this part in the whole entire country. WTH!! My 19-voetsek model VW Fox doesn't even have to be out of action that long. A very helpful parts clerk liaised with the factory and found out that there is a problem with the ETA Control Log which has something to do with bringing this part (and goodness knows what other parts) into the country from Korea. Remind me not to buy a foreign made car. I told him that I wanted to lay a complaint as I found this unacceptable that a car owner could be inconvenienced in this manner for 5 weeks or more. He referred me to the GM Customer Complaints dept. where I spoke to a helpful gent named Monty who was logging the complaint and would get back to me with information as to how GM could possible help us with our problem. I await feedback from either source...with anticipation! Customer Service is a HUGE bugbear of mine. Don't feed me some drivel about having to shut up and wait. I am not very good at doing that I must admit!
In the meantime, I am assisting the Gauteng crew with finding alternative accommodation which they will need to locate by the end of November latest. They don't want much: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, double garage, private garden (for pets), secure complex, reasonably priced, patient neighbours - its not asking too much is it?
More later...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The weekend that was.

I didn't rush off home last Friday evening. A rather large thunderstorm was crashing and I decided to have a couple of drinks at work after my stressful week. I surfed the net and enjoyed my drinks and was pretty relaxed by the time I got home.
Bradley wasn't concerned about my lateness as Dael's friend, Chris was at the house together with his new girlfriend and they were continuing with the painting of the outside room, previously Dael's room. I changed and settled down in the lounge and then both Robynne and Dael came on mxit at the same time. Robynne was en route to her weekend destination but was upset about not having been able to take Dael with her due to her finances having taken a beating with her car breaking down and also about not having her car back yet. Dael was upset about not being paid by his father but instead just having to work hard for no reward. I was talking to both of them and trying to give my best advice and eventually Robynne went offline and Dael went to sleep. It is difficult when your children are battling. They are making decisions about their lives which sometimes work out and sometimes cause problems in their lives but that is how life is lived. We sometimes (often) go against our parents advice and then we have to make the best of whichever way our lives go from then on.
On Saturday, the weather was fine and I decided that it was a good day to wash my windows. It is quite a time-consuming process as my windows are mostly the cottage pane variety with individual squares of glass in a divided frame rather than one large sheet. After half the house was done, so was Bradley! He wanted to do something other than watch tv. Eventually, I bathed and we went down to my mom as it was a bit late to do anything else by then. We ended up staying for a braai of cocktail sausages and boerewors with salad, which was rather enjoyable and unexpected.
On Sunday, due to not having done much on Saturday, Bradley and I went to the public swimming pool in Westville, along with Chris. Bradley had wanted to go on Chris' motorbike but mommy decided no! The weather was hot but the swimming pool enclosure has a lot of shady spots. Bradley is too cool for sunscreen but I took it over to him and waited while he applied it to his neck and shoulders. I sat in the shade other than when I had a quick swim and still got a bit burned. The water was 23 deg. C and that's still too cold for me. I'm happiest when the water temperature gets closer to 30 deg. C! Chris' other friend Mark had also arrived in his little car and after a bit of horseplay, they decided to leave. Bradley went with Mark with strict instructions to wear his seatbelt! I left about half an hour later stopping at the shop for some necessities. After I had left the shop, I received a message from Bradley that he still needed stationery for his exams which started today. So I had to stop again at the local shopping centre and traipse around looking from shop to shop looking for what he needed for the best price. I eventually got home an hour later.
Bradley writes exams this week and next week and this is make or break for him! He will go on an extra Ritalin tablet per day so that he can concentrate to study in the afternoon and he will be taking the Ritalin this weekend coming as well also so that he can study as well as for continuity.
So much for the weekend - now for the week!

Friday, November 6, 2009

The saga continues..

Monty is still around and Bebe is still running around. Hopefully the latter will be sorted out shortly with a visit to the vet. I had dished up for the other cats this morning and put down a small bowl for Monty, which I left him eating. About 10 minutes later, from the kitchen, I could hear a cat fight break out. "Quick Brad, Go see! Cats fighting!" He ran out to see and when he came back, said it must have been Monty fighting with someone because he was walking down the driveway shaking his head. As I was warming up the car later to leave for work, Bradley rapped on my window and pointed to Mischief, the alpha male who was limping (hopping) on one front paw and holding the other one up in the air dramatically. I checked it out and it looked like a claw may have broken off but no blood. Or else he's twisted it somehow during the fight. I'll check it out later.
I wasn't at work for very long when Bradley came on line on mxit (illegally as he was in class), spitting mad. His little English teacher had apparently told the class after a spelling test that for every wrong answer, the correction for that wrong answer would have to be written out 1000 times. He had 8 wrong. So needless to say Bradley hadn't done his 8000 corrections. The little teacher handed out break detention until the end of the year. "Mom, I'm bigger than her. She must watch out! I'll hit her" Another child with anger management problems! But the teachers do seem to be extremely aggravating at the moment. The kids start exams next week. Really don't know why there is this strange battle of wills taking place at the moment between the teachers and the kids just before the year end tests?
Robynne's car has experienced some problems after the long trip from Cape Town to Gauteng. She drove it around fine for a week but on Wednesday evening, it started cutting out. Then on Thursday morning it wouldn't start at all. Her dad had a look but doesn't really know the Chevy engine that well and they towed it to a local garage in the area - people that have just opened their business. They apparently had diagnostic equipment and came back with a diagnosis. The fuel pump packed up. She was really hoping that she would have it back today but they have phoned her. No, its not the fuel pump, its now some other pipe which they have to get from the agent and its going to cost R2,000. She is very upset as she doesn't have that money now and doesn't even understand what the mechanic was saying to her. On a positive note, she is going away for the weekend with her friend, Terri and some other 20 somethings to a self catering unit at a resort in Warmbaths. She needs a relaxing weekend away to restore her equilibrium and to have a bit of fun.
Everything will turn out all right but sometimes when things go wrong, it seems like the end of the world and we think we can't carry on. If we really think about it, the things that go wrong are maybe a dent to our self-esteem, or a temporary halt to our independence but that which money can fix is not something that is truly important at the end of the day. Its our relationships with people, our family and people we come into contact with that truly enrich us and empower us to carry on. I have met some truly wonderful and caring people on the internet and in real life. I appreciate my family and I try to be a person who can be relied on by friends and family alike. All these little things like broken cars, neverending bills, stolen handbags, head colds, rude people, burnt suppers are just so unimportant when measured against the yardstick of human relationships.
And now to practice what I preach!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A cry in the night!

One of my 11 month old kittens, Bebe, the grey calico, was missing yesterday. She is on heat and is doing a bit of unauthorised wandering. She usually just pops over the wall into my neighbour's yard which is fairly safe as they have no animals of their own and sits calling for any willing male. As soon as I call for her, she jumps back over and comes home.
I called her yesterday morning and there was no sign of her. It's not like her to miss meals and I was stressing by the time I left the house for work. When her brother disappeared, he never returned and I thought that I had lost another baby!
I tried calling her last night when I got home and still no sign of her. As darkness fell, I went outside with the pot of food to dish up a portion for Pup who eats outside on his own due to antisocial doggy behaviour and the evening was quiet. I banged the pot and called loudly for Bebe, alternating her name with my distinctive 'cat-cat-cat' call! After a while of doing this calling which was echoing around the neighbourhood (poor neighbours!) and stirring up the dogs, I heard a tiny meow in the distance. Oh no! Don't tell me Bebe is caught up a tree in someone's yard. I called to Bradley to walk down the road and see if he could tell where the sound was coming from. I carried on calling and eventually the sound came closer. I was really excited and went to the wall. Bradley had returned and was helping me look for Bebe in the bushes. Suddenly he exclaimed, "Mom, its Monty!" Now Monty is one of our foster cats who became our cat when he was returned by his adoptive parents for not being friendly enough. He lived with us for many years and has always been very loving but has also always been a wanderer. He would disappear for days at a time and we came to realise that he must have another 'home' in the area. He hasn't (to the best of my knowledge) been back to my place in more than a year but because he heard my extended calling, he came to visit! He was born in February 2002 and is a black tabby with grey markings. On his sides his markings form a circle like a bullseye! It was a bittersweet moment because now I knew that he was still fine but he wasn't Bebe! The other cats were a bit wary of him but he ended up spending the night on a folding chair just outside my front door. He was still in the garden this morning when I went to call for Bebe again. After a couple of calls, I gave up and went in to carry on with my chores.
Imagine my surprise when I turned around from washing dishes to spot Bebe sitting on the kitchen counter, casually grooming herself. She had arrived from her razzlings without announcement. She accepted my cuddlings reluctantly. She absolutely has a bee in her bonnet at the moment and kept running in and out of the house while waiting for food. I'm just so relieved that she hasn't met with any harm.
I stood over Monty while he ate because Mischief, our one alpha male didn't want to let him have his bowl of food. We left Monty on the driveway as we went off for the day. Not sure how long he'll stay but it was great to see him again, looking healthy and well-fed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Seen on the streets - Taxi!

On Tuesday, I had just collected my new drivers licence card from the vehicle testing grounds in Mariannhill and was driving along behind a slow delivery van on my way back to town. As the truck and I were preparing to proceed through a set of traffic lights, a pedestrian who had been standing on the side of the road suddenly lunged forward with his arm and his finger stuck straight up in the air, as if he was hailing a taxi! He was almost insisting that I stopped. It gave me a bit of a start, him appearing so suddenly as he had been obscured from view by the delivery van right in front of me. I veered toward the centre line of the road and avoided him. But I thought - how strange! Talk about proactive liftseeking. Usually people just stick up their thumb to indicate that they want a lift.
Driving down my own road this morning, one of the crowd that searches for valuables in the rubbish bags on collection day, waved wildly in greeting at me, with a big grin on his face, as I passed on my way to drop Bradley at school. Bradley and I looked at each other in surprise. Do we know him? Don't think so. Maybe he was just thanking me for putting out my rubbish. Good luck buddy. Nothing of value in there! We joked with each other. Maybe he's just thanking us for leaving the house so he can go break in! Joke - no joke. I do feel somewhat uneasy leaving my house in full view of people who don't really belong in our area. Its a good excuse for anyone up to no good. And that's the time we have had at least two attempted break-ins. In the early morning when we have just left for the day. The criminals know that if you've just left you are not likely to return immediately. Anyway I had to return to fetch my petrol tank key so I could fill up and the house was fine just filled with sleepy cats who had already settled down for their morning nap!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Stress Level Overload!

I last posted about the long trip up to Gauteng from Cape Town and since then it feels like I've been climbing Mt. Everest, stress level wise.
Robynne worked hard last week, the whole day and into the night, coming home late every night from Tuesday until Friday, from the exhibition where her company had a stall. She lifted, carried and slogged and enjoyed the experience thoroughly but still the week took its toll and her resistance took a pounding. By Thursday afternoon, she had picked up the same bug that Dael had been suffering from for the whole week. The kids still had to work and me trying to direct medical care from hundreds of kilometres away was no joke! They felt better by Saturday evening and went out to a friends Halloween party. They had a grand time and even getting lost on the way home because the GPS battery went flat was handled with good humour. On Sunday, the whole family went through to a weekly market in Pretoria but by the evening Robynne was down again with the stomach flu. She is still ill and Dael seems to be relapsing with it. Dael and his dad also have issues to resolve with regard to working together, expectations, understanding and payment for work done but I cannot get involved in this as any direct intervention by myself seems to make matters worse. Obviously this is also stressful to me as a parent because I cannot just switch off my protective mother instincts because my kids are out of sight. I still know they're suffering. I have to back off though and let matters resolve themselves without my input here.
On the local front, the following is happening:
My poor unfortunate cat had kittens again - 3 this time. I would have had her fixed earlier in the year but my neighbours dog very kindly wandered into my yard and bit my dog on the mouth which required a procedure under anaesthesia and she fixed him at the same time. Vet budget for the year gone in one fell swoop!
Bradley seems to be getting higher marks for work completed and getting work finished without too much prompting. The Ritalin seems to have kicked in. Thank goodness but I hope not too late to turn his year's marks around.
My mom had a birthday last weekend and Brad and I went with Mom, Dad and my brother, Greg out to a local coffee shop for tea. Everybody ordered waffles but Brad wanted a full breakfast as he had slept late and hadn't eaten breakfast. I said no and Brad had a little tantrum. I was irritated because although he is officially a teen he likes to resort to toddler behaviour every now and then. Mom turned 67 and today was the parents 46th wedding anniversary. Mom's parents wouldn't let her get married before she turned 21 so she did and then waited a week before tying the knot! And the rest as they say is history!
Oh and my car broke down last week again. The oil clogging its system story again and I had to ask dad for a loan of R1700 to get it out of the garage. I'm still not too happy with it. Just observing it at the moment!
Now if I can just get my stress levels down to a manageable level! When I've been too stressed, I get weird pains in my chest, my breathing rhythm gets messed up and I feel breathless and I feel like my overactive thyroid problem is playing up. Its all a mind game - mind over matter. Think I just need to stare at some scenery or stroke some cats or something!