Friday, May 21, 2010

And then the second half of the week..

Well just when the kittens were starting to look a lot better, more drama struck. Wednesday was a particularly busy day and my mind was very preoccupied with all that's going on. We are packing up our offices for a big move to new offices, I had a half hour conversation with Robynne who is building up a resistance to her job due to the nasty bitchy people who work there. She had driven to work, driven past and gone home because she has been suffering from flu and just couldn't face her work environment that day. After that I was handling work issues when my computer started playing up and I had to call our technicians to come in and fix it. As they were busy with that, I picked up my phone and went to the ladies room. I placed my cellphone on the windowsill while I was busy and after washing my hands, discovered there was no paper handtowel and went to the other loo to use the towel dispenser there. Then I popped into the kitchen to make some tea and went back to my office. The IT guys left and after some time, when I looked for my phone, wondering why it was so quiet, I discovered I didn't have it. I realised that I hadn't really seen it since I picked it up to go to the ladies but when I searched for it, it was nowhere to be found. I tried ringing it and although it rang normally before going through to voicemail, it could not be heard ringing in our office. I was totally freaked out. Often when I have a lot on my mind, I become forgetful and don't focus on what I'm doing. When I have a lot on my mind, I have learnt not to use the ATM either because that's when I end up doing something stupid.
So after an afternoon of ranting and raving to no avail, I had to accept my phone was gone. I have a loan phone from my boss now which is quite basic but will have to do for now until I can sort out a new phone for myself.
On Wednesday afternoon, I started packing the contents of the stationery cupboard into what eventually became seven boxes. On Thursday, I packed up a lot of files from the cupboards of two PA's who have been retrenched. In the afternoon, as I walked back to my office across the carpark, I heard a distinctive chirp from the tree, like "Chee-cheep". It didn't sound like a wild bird and it drew my glance up. High in a tree above the rooftops sat a large white bird with a plume on its head. I squinted in the afternoon sun to try and identify what I was looking like. It looked like a parrot. I went inside to dump my paperwork and called one of my colleagues who came out with me and agreed that it definitely looked like a parrot. It was cleaning its legs like a parrot does and rubbing its head against the branch while pacing up and down. I raced upstairs again to find the SPCA's phone number, got through to them and asked them if there had been any reports of lost cockatoo's. She looked on her system and found a name and number. A lady called Nicky had reported her bird missing. I phoned her and she was so excited. She had lost her bird from one road up from our park but four days ago. She was amazed that he was still alive and hadn't been caught by a bird of prey. I told her where to come and went out to call to the bird. She had said he was very tame and that if I called "Diego Scratch Scratch" he might come to me. Sadly I didn't have the opportunity to embarrass myself by calling this out as...the bird had flown! He's in the area but there are a lot of trees. I really wanted to reunite him with his owner but it was not to be. I have her number though in case he returns.
On Monday, we will move. Fortunately my boss has decided that I will be based at a satellite office still in this area as he and I both live locally and I have to liaise and meet with agents and clients relating to our properties also up in this area. He is advised by management that this must be a temporary setup but it will give me a bit of extra time to find another position more local than where our new head office is - about 25kms from where I work now and about 20kms from where I live. I visited the new office this week amid all the workmen busy putting in drywalling, cabling, blinds and reinstalling cupboards and shelves that have been taken out of our existing offices. From a garden setting where we are now, the office is moving to an office in factory wasteland. One side has a view of the freeway, another side a view of the river and the huge courier firm beyond. The inner courtyard has a garden setting with a modern pool and waterfalls. This kind of setup may suit some but I just didn't feel comfortable there. I feel a lot better knowing I will be staying close to home and to Brad's school. I will still be able to fetch him and he can spend the afternoon with me.
And now back to the rest of my packing. I'm surrounded by cardboard boxes and there's still a lot to do. I fully intend to do a lot of relaxing this weekend after such an intense and tiring week. Hope you all can do the same.

The first half of this week.

After a low week last week what with losing Mischief, life hasn't really improved in respect of running smoothly. All three of my kittens who have intermittent sneezing and oozing eyes which I treat as it occurs started to get much worse with the onset of the colder weather. The two boys wouldn't eat and although I managed to feed the smaller boy, Toby, with a teaspoon or a syringe, he wasn't really getting a lot of fluid or nutrition in. The little girl although skinny was still eating well. The bigger boy wasn't eating either but I couldn't handfeed him as he is quite strong and wriggles. Anyway, I had a look at my battered credit card and discovered that I had some credit on my budget facility. I decided to take all three to the vet. Rushed home with Bradley on Monday afternoon, piled the kittens into a basket and made my way to the vet. Once there, a male vet whom I had never seen before came out to greet me. I had an impression that he seemed impatient and fussy. One look at my kittens had him exclaiming "These kittens have got something seriously wrong with them like leukemia or FIV and they need to have blood tests. In the conversation that followed he intimated that I was causing them unnecessary suffering and the kindest thing would be to have them put down. That's when I got stubborn. I told him I wasn't going to put my kittens down and asked him if he wanted me to take them away. "No, I'll treat them but if they don't improve in a week you'll have to bring them back for further treatment". I asked him if he would give them an injection or do anything to rehydrate them. No he would have to admit them to put them on a drip but I could inject them at home to rehydrate them. I have never done this before but his whole demeanour said that he didn't think it was worth treating the kittens. He slammed in and out of the consulting room several times. Two of the kittens, as listless as they were, put their little legs up on me wanting me to pick them up off the table. They could sense this guy's hostility. His eventual treatment: Synulox tablets which I used to be able to buy over the counter. I cannot get these tablets over the counter now and have to pay for a consultation to get them. The tablets were about R75 and the consultation R160. He didn't examine them at all or take their temperatures just weighed them. Now I know that chronic snuffles can also cause weight loss. Mothers know a lot of things and experience counts for a lot. I left there quite insulted and rather upset. I said a few rude things about him to the receptionist as I was paying and behind her hand she agreed with me. However I was absolutely livid that I had paid that money and he did nothing to stabilise my babies.
Anyway, I decided not to let it go. I phoned next day and spoke to the other receptionist who passed my message and opinion of this vet onto the owner who is one of the vet's that I usually see and who phoned me that same afternoon from her other practice. She was very apologetic and thanked me for letting her know what had happened. This guy is a locum and was chosen for his experience but not for his manners, obviously!
Anyway, they gave me a free do-over consultation where the kittens were seen by the other lady vet, a younger girl. She was also concerned about the kittens but gave them an injection and checked their temperatures. They also gave me two cans of nutritious vet. food which they use to encourage cats to eat. The two gingers with the benefit of a couple of doses of tablets ate ravenously but the beige boy only ate a little. I paid extra for the injections and also for a bag of kitten crumbles to help them pick up weight.
By the next afternoon, all three were eating the crumbles enthusiastically and are totally perked up, meowing for attention, with little Toby again climbing my leg at every opportunity to get onto the counter.
I know with kittens, they can come up as quick as they go down. Even if they have a virus, they will always have a home with me, as long as I judge they are not suffering. I am not one to put down a furry family member at a moment's notice. If a cat's spirit is strong, they can regain their health and I always give them that fighting chance.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I got such a fright....

This is a Vervet monkey. Our office park is in a green area and there is a troop of these monkeys which pass through from time to time. Generally they stay their distance at the unoccupied property next door but today was different.

I had just finished a walkaround of all the office blocks in our park, dropping off post which is addressed to the street address and is dumped by the security guards in our building reception.

As I climbed the stairs and crossed the verandah to return to my office, suddenly there was a loud sound like a screaming grunting noise and as I swung my head to the right, all I could see was two large male monkeys dashing towards me on four legs. At that split second, I couldn't figure out if they were trying to attack me and I made a leap for our office door, screaming in fright and grazing my elbow as I fell into the office. The door is quite heavy and I was holding a box of paperwork but I made it into the office just as these two scary creatures bounded past.

They were obviously fighting with each other over territory and females but all I could see were open mouths and fangs and even if they weren't aiming for me, I wouldn't want to get in the way of one of their fights.

Wow, my heart has only just stopped pounding. Some of my colleagues were also standing in reception quietly discussing some financial issue and as I burst through with a scream, they all nearly had heart attacks too.

Talk about working among nature.

Monday, May 10, 2010

It was a sad mothers' day

because I lost one of my furkids and in a very traumatic manner too.
Early morning on Sunday, I was having a bit of lie in because I had been woken early by the boys that are staying with us. As I woke up I heard whining from the dogs next door and my dogs were running in and out growling so I assumed that one or more of them had succeeded in pushing through the dividing fence between the properties again. It didn't worry me too much as they are harmless. I eventually got up at about 6.30am and was just busy putting on the kettle and relining the cat box when all hell broke loose outside.

I heard a cat screaming and screaming. I knew it was one of my cats in trouble and I frantically searched for the keys to get out. I couldn't find the right key for the padlock. Bradley woke up and ran up and down hysterically, eventually going to the window of my room and shouting out at the dog which was attacking one of my cats. Eventually I got out and Brad and I ran around the house to the passage between my house and my garage. Mischief was lying on a pile of clothes next to an upturned garden chair and as I reached him he was dead.

The harmless dogs which had come through the fence had preceded the dangerous Boerbul which these people have. My cat had spent the night on the pile of washing on the garden chair between my house and my garage and this intruding dog came round the corner and caught my cat sleeping in his own yard. I assume he tried to jump higher and this big dog just caught his body between his jaws and killed him. It took less than a minute. Bradley when he shouted out the window while I was searching for keys actually saw this dog with my cat in its mouth when he shouted and he said as he reached Mischief he was still moving. How very traumatic for my son.

Mischief is the grey tabby with the white nose and chest.
This pic was taken a few years ago.
The thing is he was a member of my family for eight years. He was a tall, healthy robust cat who loved to wander but when he was home he was as affectionate as can be. He wasn't a sickly old cat and it wasn't his time to go.
He came to me as a rescue in 2002 with his foster mom kitty and her two kittens. He wasn't her baby and he was much bigger than her two kittens but he was taking full advantage of that free mother's milk. He got his name from being Mr Hyperactive, climbing curtains and knocking items off the counters. The momcat and her two kittens were adopted by one family but grey tabbies that aren't tiny babies are not as popular and he stayed with us. As he grew older he became a wanderer and would protect the borders of our kitty domain. He was often to be seen on the road verge or in my catless neighbour's yard. He would hang about in the mornings after breakfast, lying on the bonnet of my car until I started my engine to leave for work and then would run down the driveway on route to his day's capers. In the evening when I arrived at my driveway he would materialise and run up the driveway in front of my car, so happy to see his people. For some time he hadn't been allowed in the house by my alpha females who are newbies in age but still very bossy females and this is probably because he wasn't around much and maybe smelt of his wandering lifestyle. He was persisting though and starting to get closer and closer to the family.
For a couple of days last week, maybe Thursday and Friday, I noticed that he didnt come for meals. I used to call him and he would normally run home for at least one meal a day. Then on Saturday morning he arrived home. I fed the cats in the dark as mom was picking me up for morning market. When I arrived home at about 11am, he was still there but while I was petting him, I noticed that he had a scab or scratch across his head that he didn't want me to touch and a large patch of fur scraped off his leg that he was licking. He hung around under my car for the whole day and obviously had decided to spend the night at home as he was under the weather with his injuries, lying on the washing on the chair at his house where he felt safe and where it turned out he was not, thanks to my neighbours dangerous killer dog.
I lost one of my kittens last year after it got a fright and ran out the house. The boys had heard a cat screaming in the night and we assume this nasty dog got hold of my little one too. This dog has bitten Piglet in my yard and caused me a vet bill to stitch Piglet's mouth. I bought my house for the safety and comfort of my children and my animals and now my privacy and comfort and safety have been violated and my beloved Mischief has paid the ultimate price.
I carried him in my arms and showed him to my neighbours who just said sorry but they were trying to keep the dog in. They have piled what looks like a whole tree cut into logs against where the dogs dig but I already saw one of the dogs in my other neighbours yard again this morning. They must have made a hole somewhere else. Some of my cats are smaller and even more defenceless than Mischief was and my dogs are even petrified of this dog as they run in the house and stand growling from safety.
This is definitely a case for the SPCA. If I leave it up to Dael, it will not be stones he is throwing at this dog but something more lethal.
Rest in peace my beautiful boy. I miss you, Mischief.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Soccer Fever

Bradley had been building up in excitement the whole week for today's activity at school. The item on the weekly school notice said that a seven a side fun soccer tournament would be held today to help promote enthusiasm for soccer as part of the countdown to the soccer world cup.

Well, judging from the array of colourful tshirts, caps and wigs adorning most of the students, as well as various blasts from vuvuzela's which some students had brought with them, the enthusiasm needs no extra promotion amongst the teenagers of our country. Bradley had prepared the yellow t-shirt he was going to wear as well as a 2 litre bottle of juice which he popped in the freezer last night to ice up in preparation for the this afternoon's soccer. He will be playing in a team which are calling themselves...'Brazil'. There was no dragging him out of bed this morning. He was up and dressed in a flash and soon nagging me to finish so we could get out the door and off to school.

He has asked me to try and come to the school this afternoon to see him play so I will try and do so. Its not often he has so much enthusiasm for anything happening at school so his love of soccer is to be encouraged.

He's not so much a fan of local soccer as of international and can name many of the players in the international teams. His latest nag/request is for a Manchester United beanie and a soccer shirt and soccer ball, none of which can be obtained at low cost. I have put those requests on hold for the moment but I have planned to buy him his own soccer boots for when the school starts soccer practice next term.

Now, just because I'm writing about soccer, I can hear a vuvuzela being blown somewhere in our office park. I pop onto the balcony and there it is. Someone's child in the building next door is blowing their vuvuzela. Everywhere you go, especially on a Friday which is more casual dressing day, people are wearing their Bafana Bafana shirts, in the bank, at the office, in the shops.

Soccer Fever is infectious!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Servant of the furry ones

A funny thing happened to me in the wee hours of the morning when it was still too dark to see. I had been awakened by one dog, Puppy (who is not a puppy anymore!), from a deep sleep by the scratching on the door. He just gives a scratch with one paw over and over again until I wake up and let him in. I went back to sleep and was eventually woken up again by a whining outside the door. This was Piglet, Puppy's father who just stands and whines until I get up. So I hauled myself out of bed again, opened the door for a second and closed it again. Get back in bed and settle down again.....and there's that whining again. The dog was still outside the room. Get up again and peer into the dark. Piglet is standing a little way away from my door outside the bathroom door and doesn't move until I say, "Come on Piglet!" Only then does he run in. He was waiting for an invitation.
And we finally got to rest again!