Counting The Minutes.

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This last couple of weeks may well have been the slowest weeks of my life. I can guarantee as soon as Sephyroth arrives, time will speed up enormously and those 3 weeks will vanish before we know it.

The to-do list has been long. As mentioned here, I took this as an opportunity to do some serious spring cleaning. Every surface in this house has been cleaned in some way. We did a clean out of some old furniture which meant a dump run. I also did a clean through of my wardrobe – I have tried on every single piece of clothing and been quite ruthless in donating things that do not fit or suit me.

The chook pen was cleaned late on an afternoon last week. This is a job we usually do early afternoon but this time our weekends have been too busy with other jobs, so we had to do it after The Other Half finished work.

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Our Grande Dame Rosie the Rosecomb was deeply unimpressed with us. She felt it was bedtime, and what were these idiots humans doing to her house? How was she meant to go to sleep? All that fresh new sand to explore, but Rosie did not even stop a moment, she went straight up on the bed perch.

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We ordered a chicken feeder and waterer just to make life a little easier for my parents who will be visiting daily, feeding the cats and chooks. I’d been asking The Other Half to make me one of those PVC feed/water systems for a few years now, but there have been so many jobs on his to do list and this never happened. When it arrives and we have used it for a while I will write a post about it. :)

Those chooks want out of their pen to free range anytime they see humans and they are super sneaky, so I didn’t want to tempt fate by needing someone to go in there. They do have backup water and food within the coop that they will eat if all other options are gone.

In the chook pen we have 3 large water containers. Two are old icecream containers, and one is an old salad bowl of mine which is still functional but we lost the lid, so that made it a perfect chook container.

Water in a chook pen is tricky – you will get algae growing in the container, the chooks dust bathe so dust gets in the water, leaves and bugs get in the water, and the water itself evaporates so you need to refill them regularly and scrub out the containers. I usually do this job twice a week – the old water goes on the plants so it does not go to waste. Fingers crossed the new item will work as intended, but I will leave the other containers in there as a backup.

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The lawn has now been mowed. The chooks have been having a great time with this longer grass and clover flowers because it is hayfever season and The Other Half gets sneezy when he has to mow the lawn this time of year. Hopefully this weekend we will be able to weed and feed it.

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We bought a new container for the kitty litter tray. This is mostly to make it easier for my parents to scoop while we are away. However it has turned out to be one of the best ideas we ever had, because we got a 34 litre under bed storage container, so it gives them plenty of room. We were finding the other container often would have large clumps at the edges, because of where the cats would position themselves when they got in it.

Here on the blog, all the posts have been scheduled and are ready to go. I went through all the books on my tablet, removing the books I have no intention of reading and sorting them into alphabetical directories by author.

On the trip front, all the documents are together and ready. The itinerary has been finalised – with the flexibility of swapping days if the weather is Not Great. I put together a text file with all the addresses we will be going to ready for easy loading into the GPS.

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I asked The Other Half which ride he would like to go on first at Dreamworld. He said he would like to wing it. I said no, that is not how going to a theme park works. You need to have a plan! And not just any plan but a plan specially designed to ensure you are doing the things people tend to do at the exact times other people tend NOT to do them. If you can plan it well enough you can shorten your queueing times considerably without the need to pay extra for “fast track”.

I watched Bathurst in preparation for our visit there. We’re planning to walk the entire track, plus drive it (slowly) a few times. We might also walk much of the track for the Gold Coast 600. Sephyroth is quite the car racing fan.

I took a final shopping trip last Friday. I knew it was a mistake to go when I did, because it was 10am on a Friday. We needed a few things and I thought I would pick up the last of the trip items while I was out, like travel sugar sachets, those small UHT milk things, just bits and pieces.

It was like shopping with zombies. We are so spoiled always shopping after 6pm on a weekend when virtually nobody else is around. I think I am becoming less tolerant of other people who are in my way than I have ever been before. By the time I got to the end of the shop I felt infected with the zombie virus myself, distracted, zoning out, and I actually forgot to put a bag of shopping in the trolley. Lucky they called me back, because that bag had all the cat food for the kitties while we are gone.

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We packed everything a week ago. We had not intended to pack. We were doing a mock pack, to make sure all our stuff would fit in the car once we add the suitcase of Sephyroth. Fortunately I had a suitcase almost the exact same size here. I started out just making sure our toiletries would all fit in the toiletry bag and got sucked into the temporal packing vortex. One hour later and we were packed.

When it came to packing I was ruthless. I packed for 5 days of clothes, we are on the Gold Coast for 6 nights. I will do a wash before we leave and we’ll be set for our further 3 nights. I find if I pack well before we leave, I will remember everything I have forgotten to pack and be able to put it in before we leave. The day after our pack, I realised I had forgotten socks and camisoles. I have a last minute packing list, to grab all those items we will be using up until go time.

Chickens, kitties, Snoskred On Holidays

Cat Tales

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The Kitties have been fighting over the best spots in the house, as usual.

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Grumpy often wins. If she does not win, she might arrive to sit on my lap.

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I love watching the Tinykittens feeds. Usually I have one running in the background so anytime I feel the need, I can flick over for a kitten fix.

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If I am going to be there for a while, I usually hit the full screen button – highlighted above in the image – as I find the chat and chatters can be somewhat annoying at times, especially when they start talking politics. Hey, these are kitties, look at them, forget Combover Man! There is an option to hide the chat but it pops up little boxes with new messages which is even more annoying.

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My favourite cat in recent times has been Skye, she is just such a character. She loved the sink in her room and spent a lot of time sleeping in there. Once Skye was spayed and had raised her kittens, she went off to a lovely new home. They have a Facebook page!

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Right now they have a cat who they believe is a sister of Skye called Starling. She has the most gorgeous blue eyes and is coloured like our Grumpy. I saw her kittens born live on camera. I saw their eyes open. Two of the kittens are grey, orange and white like our Grumpy and every day they get more and more beautiful.

Bear in mind, I am not the only one watching Starling and her kittens when they are on my screen. Grumpy can see them and will quite often park herself on my lap – I tilt the screen to the right place for her position, and she watches kitten teevee. Sometimes my lap is not close enough to the screen for her, and she tries to sit right in front of my laptop, planting her paws on the mouse pad or keyboard, pressing random keys as a surprise to my computer.

You – and your cats, dogs, chickens, or other pets – can watch the Starling live stream here. You can visit the TinyKittens Facebook page here, and also you can read more at the TinyKittens website.

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Is it moving?

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Happy is the kitty who notices things. From time to time, the things she notices are only there in her mind.

When she stops and stares at the floor or the wall or the ceiling, I always make sure to look, as she is the number one spotter of creatures in this house.

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This time, she was staring at a new light fitting only just installed yesterday. She kept staring for ten minutes or so, just to make sure it did not move.

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The Collar Is Back

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In October last year, Grumpy had eye surgery to try and fix an eye ulcer which had developed.

Since then it has been one step forward, two steps back, probably quite boring to tell the story to you but here goes anyway.. Grumpy initially had some entropion, a condition where the eyelid rolls inwards, so that the fur is sitting against the eyeball. The vet was convinced that this was caused by squinting due to pain from the ulcer, and once we fixed the ulcer the entropion would clear up..

We non-vets had some suspicion that the entropion might have appeared before the ulcer, that it might have caused the ulcer, and that this might have been caused by her previous problem with Horners Syndrome. The problem happened to be the eye on the same side where she’d had Horners Syndrome.

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Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

Either way it seemed a bit like the chicken or the egg, which came first? We would never know, and discussion on the topic seemed a bit pointless, the vet very forceful in their opinion it must be caused by the ulcer and not willing to entertain other possibilities.. which was a bit frustrating. We figured it was best to focus on getting the ulcer problem solved.

Over the next several months, there was surgery, then eyedrops, tablets, capsules, creams, a dye put in the eye and checked with a blacklight to assess the extent of the ulcer, plus a seemingly never ending round of vet consultations which were very stressful for Grumpy. The minute we would put Grumpy in the carrier she would shake like she was terrified. Any progress we made seemed undone at the next visit. We left longer and longer between the visits, and noticed an improvement on one visit, then a decline on the next visit.

When our vet was not there one day, we saw another vet who prescribed a new MAGIC cream which we found to be work a treat. The entropion was solved almost instantly. We talked with that vet about possible surgery to fix the entropion. He felt that was some distance in the future, and hoped the cream would do the trick. However, on our next visit we discovered MAGIC cream had made the ulcer worse and we had to stop using it.

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Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

After a while, the major thing we all agreed on was that we needed to stop taking Grumpy to the vet to check on the ulcer because each time we did, the ulcer would flare up. The vet felt this was stress related, and given how much Grumpy would stress over those vet visits, we agreed to try this, plus some new medication. We have a blacklight at home, the vet supplied us with the dye, and though it took a lot of time, we did manage to eventually heal the ulcer completely at home.

This did not heal the entropion, though. That actually seemed to become worse. We still had the MAGIC cream which seemed to fix the entropion earlier on in this process, and we were using that every few days and checking to make sure the ulcer did not return. The ulcer did not return, but the entropion was not fixed by it, either.

Feeling discouraged, I arranged for our vet to do a home visit where we intended to seriously discuss the surgery option. We felt that we could not allow this eyelid to keep folding in forever. On arrival, our vet again seemed convinced there would be an ulcer causing the entropion. The dye test proved this theory wrong, and the vet then had to open their mind to other possibilities that might be causing the problem.

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Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

FINALLY we could consider other possibilities! The vet wanted to consult an cat ophthalmologist and get back to us. A week later we got the call, asking us to bring Grumpy in for blood tests in an attempt to eliminate every possible possibility before going down the surgery road. We talked about giving her anesthesia right away to make things less stressful.

The plan was, no food from midnight the night before, take away water at 6am, we would call when on our way, on arrival I would go in to let them know we had arrived, Grumpy would go straight in for the gas, they would take the bloods, we would take her home right away, and she would recover there. Great plan, I felt.

When we got there, the vet wanted to try taking the blood without the gas. I should have said no, we made a plan to try and reduce stress, lets stick to the plan. Big mistake Snoskred! The only person that can hold her is The Other Half, so he agreed to try this new plan. After 10 minutes of clipping fur, then failing to draw the bloods plus much stress, the vet finally decided to give Grumpy the gas. I was kicking myself for not saying no to this last minute change of plan.

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Grumpy as a kitten, July 2005

The bloods went off to be tested, 10 days later everything came back negative, and the surgery was planned. We had to take her in the night before so she could be put on a drip and fully hydrated due to her previous kidney issues. Again we planned no food from X time, no water from X time, put her under to put the drip in, and this time I planned to say NO if anyone tried to change the plan. Luckily that did not happen, the drip was successfully put in and she was settled in for her overnight stay with plenty of items from home.

Surgery went well, just before she was sent home they gave her a painkiller which was safe to use with her kidney issues. I wish I had asked more questions about what the painkiller was and possible side effects, but at this point we were just glad to be taking her home.

On arrival home, this was not the cat we knew at all. She placed herself on guard at the door, and pretty much stayed there for the next 30!! hours, only leaving to eat, drink and bathroom. She was on high alert. Any little movement, she was tracking it. She seemed to be in no pain whatsoever, in fact she never showed any signs that she knew she’d had surgery, there was no attempt on her part to access that eye area.

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Grumpy as a teenage cat, September 2005

When I did some research on the drug they had given her, mania was a side effect. When the vet called to check in, I described what was happening and it was quite common and normal in cats who were given this medication.

On the one hand, this side effect was way better than her usual post surgery behaviour, which was being totally obsessed with getting the soft collar off. On the other hand, we were worried that she was not getting any rest at all. Finally after 2 days of crazy, she got some sleep and returned to her normal self.

She goes back to the vet later this week for a quick check up. We are hoping the soft collar can be removed after that. The amount of times we have been woken by Grumpy scratching at it cannot be counted with our human numbers. ;)

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FriYAY Kitty Day

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Supervisor kitty discovered our retro Caroma bathroom stool that almost every Australian household seemed to have, back in the 70’s and 80’s.

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I have no idea where this thing came from or how it found its way into our household. I secretly suspect these things travel in packs at night, populating themselves into houses where there is not a Caroma bathroom stool presently living.

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Ours gets used for so many things. Changing light bulbs, haircuts and hairdye-ing, and now it seems to have become a kitty perch. Really what Happy wants is a series of plastic stools at varying heights, so she can pick and choose where to sit and supervise our kitchen work.

I turned around and saw her sitting here, and doubled over laughing, because she was giving me her unique improbable kitty face.

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Recent PINCHme Samples

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In December of 2014 I wrote about PINCHme samples – I also wrote this post about how *not* to sample – AKA don’t be stingy. Today I am giving you an update on recent samples I have received.

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Over winter 2015 things went very quiet at PINCHme with not many samples released at all. They picked back up again in late September. The first sample they sent me was by far the least stingy and most awesome sample ever – a full sized Mitchum Clinical Deodorant.. when I next visited the shops I made sure to look for it on the shelf and was quite taken aback when I saw this –

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I’ve been using it every second day since I got it and I have to say, it is pretty amazing. It smells wonderful, too. How does one use a 48 hour antiperspirant when one showers every day, one thought? I tested it out, still having my daily shower as usual on the second day and then *not* putting anything on and fate made sure I tried this on the hottest day we’ve had thus far – 35 degrees, no sweat, no smells.

It feels weird, not putting anything on after a shower, but I have got used to it. You only need to use the tiniest amount of this stuff – one click of the dial at the bottom per armpit. I’ve been using it every second day for over a month now and I still have over half a container left. Normally I would go through one roll on per month.

I knew I’d heard things about aluminium in antiperspirants so when I checked the ingredients I was a little unsure, but I did some research into that and it is all urban myths as far as I can see. I will definitely be buying this one.

Good job on not being stingy, Mitchum! In fact you did such a good job of not being stingy you have won two customers, I bought a similar product for The Other Half when I saw them on special recently.

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So here we have some Dynamo clothes washing liquid – I gave this a legit trial with some clothes which were stained that have been awaiting stain removal. It removed almost all the stains. I’m keeping the second packet for more stains, and will consider purchasing a small amount of this to keep on hand. One small negative – our front load washer does not have anything to stop the liquid running right into the machine, so the detergent went right in.

There is also a Schick Quattro razor. I’m not a user of razors very often – I prefer waxing – plus I am unlikely to use anything with 4 blades as a regular thing, but I’ll give it a try. Anything more than two blades reminds me of this little ad from The D Generation

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There is a Chux magic eraser – now I just have to find something to use that on! – and some Fancy Feast which the cats were big fans of. They would be even greater fans if only I would follow these feeding instructions –

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Grumpy is 5kg, so that would be 7.5 pouches a day. This would be an increase of 7 pouches a day as the kitties get half a pouch/tin of wet food each morning. At 1.42 per pouch, this would cost me $10.65 a day in cat food! Unless I could find it on special somewhere..

If I followed these instructions, Grumpy would soon be 10kg, in which case I would have to feed her 15 pouches. Exponential growth! If I showed these feeding instructions to my vet, who recently told us our kitties need to watch their weight, she would probably fall on the floor laughing. It makes me wonder – is anyone out there actually reading and following those instructions? That would be very bad. :/

I find PINCHme free samples to be interesting, I always love receiving mail and sometimes the samples are a source of great products we end up loving and buying. We are still using Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets and we love them, I am a big fan of the Mitchum deodorant..

Samples are usually released @PINCHme on Tuesdays at mid-day. They sell out very quickly, so you want to be logged in at 11:58am and ready to go. Sometimes they have surprise samples on other days, as well.

You can sign up for PINCHme here and I do not receive anything for sending you there, sadly. They ought to have a decent referral program. They do have one but it is linked to the samples which usually sell out within minutes, plus there is some blather about having to be logged in when you refer someone.

FYI the usual statements apply – nobody paid me to write this post, I do receive free samples from PINCHme but they are samples anyone can receive if they are a member and they sign in at the right time to claim a sample.

customer feedback, exercise, kitties, PINCHme

Kitty VS Chooky

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Little Kitty is still a chaser of chooks if she gets the opportunity. When the chooks are free ranging she will watch them intently and hope someone opens the door.

You can see Red Comb is giving her the evil eye. And her proximity to the cat grass pot with the freshly raised sunflower seeds is why that particular plant pot now resides on the table out of reach of the chookys.

Chickens, country life, kitties