When you pet doesn’t feel well…

It’s awful when your pets aren’t feeling well, even if it is self-inflicted on their part!

Sylvester, our 13-year-old Tuxedo cat, has a penchant for mischief. Even at this stage of his life he likes to surprise us. Several days ago, I’d forgotten to take something out of the freezer for dinner, so at the 11th hour, I grabbed a small pork loin roast and threw it in some cold water in the kitchen sink to defrost. I do it fairly often (brain fogged menopause brain syndrome) and thought nothing of it and ran down to the basement to finish cleaning. When I came upstairs, I found Sylvester hunched over the pork roast, with remnants all over the floor and 2 big holes bitten in the plastic. Pork blood and tiny pieces of meat hung around his whiskers! I didn’t think too much about it because, well, this is not his first rodeo, and he had stolen frozen pork chops once before as a kitten! I cleaned it up and he still ate a nice hearty dinner later.

The next day I knew something was up with him. He only had a few licks of breakfast and was starting to vomit, mostly just liquid and phlegm. He has asthma and we’ve been monitoring his inflammation, which includes how often he throws up phlegm and I have a pretty detailed log that I keep. When he started to vomit bile, I knew it was time to contact the vet.

I emailed back and forth with his doctor who recommended a couple of medications. By this time, he’d also stopped drinking water and was looking a little shaky and miserable. I was told to withhold food from him for 24 hours and if he was still like that, take him to the emergency clinic the next day.

The next day was no better. He threw up on our bed during the night, so I got up and took him downstairs to the basement and we chilled on the couch for the rest of the night so that we could give Greg some peace. He just lay on top of me all that time and was very miserable. I tried to coax him with all his favourite foods and treats and even tried to get some water into him by using a syringe, but he was having none of it. Later, that morning he came upstairs and tried drinking some water but brought that up almost immediately. I called the vet and collected the meds, but they advised that I take him to the emergency clinic and don’t start the meds so that they can get a full picture of what’s going on.

The emergency clinic doctors only arrived at noon (yes, I know!) and we were there a little before. There are renovations going on there and no one is allowed in with their pets, so we consulted over the phone, and they came and took him from me so that he could see a doctor. The doctor examined him, and I’d given them a copy of the log I’d kept, as well as the meds I got from his vet, and she called me back and said she suspects it’s gastritis from eating the pork which was exasperated by his feline asthma symptoms. To be on the safe side she recommended taking an x-ray of his abdomen to ensure that he didn’t eat any of the plastic around the pork and that it wasn’t stuck somewhere in his tummy. Once the x-rays were completed she called me back to say there was no foreign body inside and there’s just an inflamed fold in his tummy that she says it’s fairly typical when a cat has been vomiting so much. She didn’t see any growth or obstruction, but she was going to send the x-ray to a Board-Certified Radiologist to confirm her findings. If I don’t hear from her, all is fine. I haven’t heard from her!!

She didn’t think Sylvester would be able to tolerate the oral meds at this stage, so recommended giving him an injection to stop the nausea and vomiting and an injection to stimulate his appetite and I totally agreed (one less pill to give him!). He could start the oral meds the next day. Within 15 minutes he was back in the car while I tried to be a brave girly and not cry!

I got him home and he was very happy to be back. In fact, he must have been feeling a lot better already because he went straight to the water bowl and sucked down a bunch of water. I followed him around like a hawk, making sure he didn’t throw that up, and he didn’t! Bit by bit, he returned to the feeding area and ate a little and drank more water. At dinner time he inhaled everything. I didn’t want to give him extra food, even though he hadn’t eaten for nearly 48 hours, because I didn’t want to upset his tummy, so I gave him a random treat here and there. He managed to keep it all down and there was no vomiting involved. He was perkier and getting stronger, but still not quite himself.

That night, after a bit of wailing and pacing, he finally jumped into bed with us and fell asleep. We were all exhausted and slept well. No vomiting through the night either. At breakfast time, his food bowls were empty so that was a good sign and he ate well again and was still drinking a nice amount of water. He started his meds and seeing as he loves pill pockets, it wasn’t very difficult to persuade him to take them.

Today, 4 days later, he is still a little sleepy and not quite 100%, but he is eating and drinking and doing all the cat related things. I’m just giving him some space and letting his body recover and giving his vet regular updates.

I’m incredibly grateful and thankful for everyone’s help, from the staff at his regular clinic, to the emergency clinic (who didn’t treat me like a crazy overprotective cat mom) and took everything I said very seriously. Now we will work on getting his asthma totally under control, but first he has to finish the gastritis meds and bounce back a little more.

Feel better Vestie-pestie. Your fan club is banking on it!

Sylvester making himself a comfy nest.

First Snow of 2022

I’m never so happy as I am when it snows. I love the snow! I love the quietness as it insulates the ground. There is nothing like that untouched blanket of snow on the ground and then the random tracks of rabbits and squirrels as they head out to play and forage for food.

We are fairly lucky in St. Louis to experience all 4 seasons (sometimes in 1 day – or even in one hour!). All 4 seasons have their pros and cons but for me, winter is the one I love the most. Having grown up in Johannesburg, South Africa I pretty much had near perfect weather all the time. It is located in high altitude, so we didn’t have the high humidity that we have in St. Louis, winters are short, and sunlight abounds.

January and February are favoured to be our best winter months. We will typically get an acceptable amount of snowfalls – although it’s never enough for me! This past Wednesday and Thursday we got our first decent snowfall of the season. It started with ice, then freezing rain, then sleet and then finally in the early hours of Thursday morning, it started to snow. It wasn’t the big flake, soft, fluffy snow that I was hoping for, but rather a small, gritty, dry, powdery snow – but we got a lot of it! 8” to be precise! I went out in the morning to do a preliminary shovel of the sidewalks and paths, but it was mostly ice and hard to remove, so I figured I’d wait until the snow logged a few inches and try again. It was freezing cold too!

Later in the afternoon I heard someone shoveling outside and opened from front door and my neighbour was starting to clear my front path, so I went outside to help and started to clean off my car too. There was about 3 or 4” at the time. Cleaning my car was hard work because the locks were frozen solid and I couldn’t open a door to start the car and get the defrosting in motion, so I just squirted some oil in the locks and set about de-snowing it instead. My ice scraper snapped in half from the cold so I couldn’t scrape my windows, but I got the car dug out for the most part. Again, it was freezing cold, so I went inside to take a break and prepare for round 2. Later in the afternoon the snow had mostly stopped falling and we’d got about another 4-5”. Another neighbour with a snow blower was walking up and down our sidewalks clearing the snow for us, which was a HUGE help (thank you Joe!). I worked on clearing my car again and digging it out of the driveway and shoveling a path by the side of the house from the back door to the trash bins. We have our new front porch too, which added to my shoveling, but that was fairly easy to clear.

I attempted to make a snowman but it’s the wrong type of snow. Hopefully we’ll get another decent snowfall that will be wetter, and I’ll be able to build something. I’m hoping for a snow cat!

We are 4 days post snowstorm and there’s still plenty of snow outside. We had some sun yesterday and the melting has commenced, bringing with it the slushy, dirty mess that just refreezes at night turning it to ice again in the mornings. The side roads are still a mess, and we’ve barely reached a temperature above freezing yet. The city is badly understaffed, but the Streets Dept. did their best to plow. The interstates and highways take priority, then the main arterial roads and then secondary roads. Back streets and residential roads barely get touched and they are never pretreated. Getting out of your street to a main road is terrible, but once you reach a main road, you’re usually ok. We are lucky that we have a neighbour with a plow, and he clears our block for us. In fact, he did a fantastic job late in the evening on Thursday (thank you Keith!). Very few people shovel their sidewalks so it can be treacherous for any walkers and our mail carriers. Greg walks to work, and he had a very hard time on Friday morning trying to follow the sidewalk and ended up walking in the road to get home later that day.

I have barely left the house since 2 weekends ago, and I have no need to go anywhere. I get my snow driving experience when we visit Greg’s mom at Thanksgiving in northern Wisconsin. It seems like every time I do any significant driving in snow I spin out or have an accident so I’m rather leery of driving any distance in snow or ice. We have a lot of ice packed underneath the snow. If I don’t HAVE to go anywhere, I’m not going to! I will stay home and marvel at the brilliance of the whiteness and how beautiful it is. I can walk to anywhere I need to go or get stuff delivered if necessary.

In the meantime, back to watching the squirrels and bunnies play in the snow!

Bulk Up Little Girl

Our teeny, tiny grey-haired domestic short hair cat, Aggie, who is 14 years old went to the vet on Monday for a scheduled dental cleaning. The process has been interesting!

The night before the procedure we had to remove all food access – that meant removing the other 2 cat’s food bowls too, much to their disgust. She was allowed water. In the morning I still had to feed the boys, so I sent Aggie down to the basement with Greg while I quickly took care of them. Aggie ran back up to the top step and screamed and yelled and cried to come out. When I opened the door to let her back up, Greg was sitting on the top step with her trying to calm her down and equally distraught.

We caught her quite easily and got her in the carrier and I took her to the clinic. The staff at the St. Louis Cat Clinic are so kind and compassionate and took her from me and told me the vet would call to explain the procedure. I hate leaving the vet clinic with no cat and those pesky tears pricked at the back of my eyes as I drove home.

About an hour later, Dr. Howard called me to explain what would happen. She would be under anesthetic for anywhere between 1-3 hours, and as she’s an older cat, they take great care to monitor her and if she goes into any kind of distress they will stop the procedure. Dr. Howard told me she’d call me as soon as she was finished with Aggie and let me know how things went and that she would be 2nd in line for the procedure.

I kept myself busy all day to try and keep my mind off of it. The boys barely realized she wasn’t home! At around 1pm I got a call from Dr. Howard saying that Aggie did great and that they didn’t have to do any extractions, but they did have to do a gingivectomy on one tooth where they cut back the gums that made a pocket over some nasty tarter. They also did an EKG to monitor her, which was all within normal limits, and they drew 3 lots of blood to test her calcium levels which were slightly elevated at her last visit in October. She told me that Aggie was awake and alert and I could collect her between 4-4.30pm.

The clinic is doing curbside drop off and pick up right now while trying to keep the inside as people free as possible to reduce the risk of Covid infection, so by the time I got there to collect her, there was already several cars in the lot waiting to be helped and I had to wait a while. The procedure is that when you arrive, you call the office and tell them you’re there to pick up your cat. They will go through all the at-home and post-surgery care with you and again discuss her health and then take your payment over the phone and then they will bring her outside to a collection point and give you any meds needed and then you can take her home. When I finally did get through to them the process went smoothly.

Finally I got my little Aggie back and she was very anxious to get home. She was still a little loopy from the anesthesia but had recovered enough not to hurt herself. She was starving! Ravenous in fact! She is typically not a very good eater, which is why she only weighs around 6 ½ lbs (less than 3kg), but that night she wanted all the food – like all the food in the house!! The vet said to feed her about a quarter of what she usually eats to make sure she didn’t vomit from the effects of the anesthesia, but Aggie was having none of that. I emptied half a can of food in her bowl and left the can out so that I could refill it when she was done. She bounced from her bowl to the can and back to her bowl again several times so I just emptied the rest of the food in there. She wolfed it down so I opened another can and she ate more than half of that too. We gave her some pain meds at bedtime and she slept on the bed with me all night and slept hard, but at least her tummy was full and she was home.

The day after surgery she was hurting and stayed under the bed all morning and came out about mid afternoon to eat. She didn’t sleep with us that night, which was strange and 2 days post surgery she was still under the bed all morning, but seems to be in less pain. The trauma of catching her to give her meds is worse than her pain, so I’m just giving her treats and catnip (which she inhales) and letting her come to me when she is ready. This is typical Aggie behaviour so I’m not worried. Hopefully she will perk up soon else I’ll have to send Sylvester under the bed to flush her out.

Feel better soon, my little Aggie-poo! There are leaves to watch, squirrels to glare at, brothers to hiss at and laps to sit on!

A Look Back at 2021

It’s New Year’s Eve, 2021, and I remember feeling rather uneasy about 2021 when we welcomed it in last year. I didn’t feel like 2020 was quite done with us yet. I was right. I should have warned everyone, but little good it would do us because, well, people…

It’s been a weird year. We gained and lost friends, held lots of Zoom meetings (which I actually love!), planted a garden, reaped from the garden and dug it all up again. I applied for job after job after job to no avail. I found that I was 1 in 300+ people who’d apply for the same job and it’s disheartening, so I quit doing it. I’ll get back into it again. I have other things in the pipeline too that have kept me occupied. After the Zoom era of meetings, we started to tiptoe back into the great unknown and attend a few meetings in person (I’m still not a fan). We haven’t yet been to any movies, theatres, concerts, malls, or anything like that. We have ventured to a few local restaurants, but mostly restaurants with patios. We have only been to 1 brewery in 2 years! Now you KNOW we are serious about this!

Greg’s business did very well, and he closed the year off with a record year. I’m so proud of him. He’s worked very hard and is finally reaping the benefits. He’s got all the clients he can handle right now and he’s in a good place. It took over a decade. Hopefully 2022 will continue to keep him afloat and be good to him.

The cats had a good year too. They got to have their mom at home all day, every day. They approve!! Each of them had their turn at the vet for their annual shots and checkups and bloodwork. All did very well except for weight issues. Aggie needs to gain weight (at least a pound or 2), Bear needs to lose 2-3 pounds and Sylvester needs to lose about a pound. We are working on it and have changed diets drastically, spent a fortune on a new microchip feeder for Aggie to protect her food and stop the boys from inhaling it. So far, we are having mostly success. Bear goes for his 3-month weight check up in the first week of 2022 so we will see what his vet has to say about that. We took Sylvester off his asthma meds to see how he was progressing, and he did well for about a month and then the coughing started again. So, we have him back on a tapering course of steroids and will transfer over to an inhaler as I work with getting him comfortable with it. I never tire of talking about our cats as they are great entertainers.

There has been a lot of sadness this year, more so than joy. We’ve lost friends and family (not only to Covid). I almost don’t know what to say anymore. We remained proactive and made sure that we got all the vaccinations that were available to us and I’m proud to say that we are both fully vaccinated. In addition to the Covid shots, I also had the flu shot and my 2nd pneumonia shot. My arms are full of potentially virus busting muti! I’m so tired of debating the vaccination issue, the masking issue, the inside/outside issue, and just the entire Covid issue. I just put it down to “I don’t want to get sick” so don’t judge me. This is what works for me. I don’t like having allergies/hayfever, so I certainly don’t want Covid.

I rediscovered the joy of knitting and have started to make mini penguins. I think they are cute, and they may turn into something at some stage. Knitting them is no problem. Sewing them together requires a talent I don’t possess! I truly am my mother’s daughter!

What I wish for you in 2022 is that it’s not “20-20-2”. I wish for peace, love, tolerance, patience, joy and most of all, health. It’s been a rough one for a lot of people. Please be kind to one another. There are so many who are seeing this New Year in without their loved ones or friends. It takes nothing to zip your lips and just listen instead of trying to spout off your beliefs and righteous indignation.

“May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
–John Rutter, Celtic Blessing

Many blessings to you all!
Happy New Year!

Contemplating my 54th Birthday

Today is the day before my 54th birthday. I’m sitting outside contemplating the odd patterns that my birthday has to offer. People who’ve known me for a long time will chuckle any time my birthday approaches. September 13th is known for weird happenings in my realm. Is it me? Maybe! Some friends update me with a countdown a week or so before or send me updates of upcoming weather forecasts or scan the newspapers for weird events about to happen and wait anxiously to see what will happen.

On my birthday I’ve experienced freaky weather, both in South Africa and in whichever state in the US I’m in, I’ve driven through hurricanes, tropical storms, had weddings and funerals to attend, and been really sick. So, when it comes to my birthday, it’s just another day and I’m thankful when I don’t have to deal with any big issue.

Having passed the half century mark, although I have no idea how that happened – surely it can’t be true – I feel like I should know more, do more, have done more, be a wise old sage to the whipper snappers around me and maybe learn how to chill out a bit more. We are the masters of our own environment, caretakers, and students of the universe. Life is weird. Life is hard. Life is life (na na, na na na…. sing it with me!).

What have I learned in nearly 54 years? Well, I’ve learned to be afraid, but also to be brave. I’ve learned not to take things so seriously, but also to take things seriously. I’ve learned that sad and terrible things happen to people close to me, but I’ve also learned that we are able to rise up and face crises and defeat them (yet sometimes we fail at that, and it’s ok to fail). I’ve learned that great and happy things happen to people close to me, but I’ve also learned that instead of feeling jealous or snubbed, I can rejoice with them and help them celebrate their glory. I’ve learned that God is on my side and that He has a plan for me, even though I fall off the track all the time yet somehow, I always get back on it. I’ve learned everything, yet I’ve learned nothing.

I have several friends who celebrate their birthdays with me on September 13th and I’m curious if they also have experienced the weirdness that I think follows me. Is it a mysterious “13th” syndrome?

I’m sitting outside on the front patio listening to the trains and the nearby highway, watching the hummingbirds feed from the feeder, watching and greeting my neighbour’s as they come and go, seeing squirrels scamper around the garden and up the trees. The weather is perfect this morning, just how I like it. It will probably change tomorrow – true to form!

I remember when I was very young asking my mum in all honesty if she used to write with a feather and ink when she was in school. Let’s not dwell on her answer! Now I’m that person who can’t figure out why kids can’t tell the time on an analog clock – and when did we start referring to it as an analog clock? It was always just a clock! And yes, we had a rotary phone and we had to remember phone numbers (again, it was just a “phone”)! Nowadays I only know 2 phone numbers – mine and Greg’s! The music we used to listen to is now referred to as the “golden oldies”. So, what do we call the music my parents used to listen to? The “rusted oldies”?

It’s amazing to me that being in my 50’s seems to be sort of youngish, whereas 30 years ago 50 sounded very close to retirement! People tell me that it’s just a number. True, but it’s a big number and I’m not sure how I should feel or act as a 54-year-old. I’ve never been 54 before.

Maybe today I should cheat the universe and pretend that today is my birthday, just to see if the dynamics shift! Here’s to another 54 years of experience and learning!

Cat Sitting

In the last month I’ve had the privilege of looking after a couple of friends’ cats. One cat I know pretty well, and he is familiar and comfortable with me. The other cat I just met for the first time, and she is very timid and skittish and not happy that I’m there instead of her family.

I’m no expert, but I do love cats. We have 3 cats of our own – each very different to the other. Aggie (13) is our diva, the tiny princess with the loudest voice and opinions to match. She hates her brothers! Sylvester (11) is the social charmer, the “southern gentleman”. Everyone loves Sylvester and he loves everyone. Bear (12) is scared of every noise and every sudden movement. He’s the most lovable of the 3 and a big snuggler and by far the loudest purrer!

Dealing with cats is exactly like dealing with children. You love them, entertain them, feed them and give them a loving and warm environment to live in. They will reward you with the occasional lap-sitting experience, fling litter all over the place, shed all over your furniture, throw up immediately after you’ve fed them (but making sure it’s in a camouflaged area so that you step in it first) and destroying your furniture with their claws. Despite all that, they give you just enough love, purrs and entertainment that make it all worthwhile.

We have provided our cats with giant cat trees, houses, windowsill shelves, a bajillion toys, catnip everything, regular vet visits to maintain their health and wellbeing, lots of love and attention, and an array of cozy blankets and throws in every room in the house. They are spoiled rotten! I can’t resist items with cat pictures on them. I believe I would turn into a cat if I wished really hard.

So back to the guest cats: The first one, who I will call “Dollar” is a feisty, all boy cat. He loves to play and hunt and chat. He loves to be brushed, loves his perches and watching birds and squirrels in the trees. I show up to feed him and he greets me with a small “mew” and then weaves himself in and around my legs while I get his bowls ready for food. He likes treats. A lot! He also likes catnip, but it doesn’t rule his day. I have a lot of fun with Dollar, and I know he likes my company because he will jump up on my lap and “make biscuits” on me while purring and we’ll have a little chat about life in general.

The second cat, who I will call “Flower” is very timid and skittish and she made me work hard for her approval. Flower comes from a cat-happy family who dote on her. She likes to hide in quiet, cool and dark spaces. I developed a ton of patience trying to coax her out from under a bed or out of a closet. She is food-motivated and treats and catnip won. She likes to do things in her own time and makes me hunt for her when I arrive at her house. I’m pretty sure she watches where I go and then hides exactly where I’ve already checked. She won’t come out to eat breakfast or dinner while I’m there, but the food is always gone when I go back. I started “marinating” a couple of toys in a catnip bag and used them to buy her affection. It worked! We slowly progressed to her playing with the catnip toy under a bed while I watch, to me laying out a path of treats out from under the bed and finishing with a treat on my knee. She works her way through the treat path and ends with the one on my knee. I get a quick head butt from her, and I’m allowed a quick stroke before a quick hiss and a scramble back under the bed.

Just like us humans, Flower is a morning cat. She doesn’t have a lot of time for me in the evening’s but is ready for me to give her some attention in the morning. I always let her know when I’m leaving and sometimes try to hide for a few minutes to see if she will come out and see if I’ve really left. By the end of the time I was looking after her, she would meet me at the front door when I arrived and flop over onto her back for me to stroke her. I didn’t get a purr out of her, but I got lots of friendly meows. She finally let me brush her and give her full body strokes. She was very happy to have me hang out with her and keep her company. I actually missed spending time with her once her mom and dad returned. I may have to go back for a play date!

My last day with Flower was spent with me oozing myself into a tiny closet where she’d hidden herself because there was a storm brewing, and she was scared of thunder. I feel like I didn’t quite finish off our time together.

If you’re a cat person, you will totally relate to this blog. If not, just insert “dog” where you see “cat” and maybe it will make more sense to you. Either way, we love our pets dearly and they truly are part of our family.

Job Searches

What do you do when you feel like your employment talents are all washed out?  I’ve worked upward of 35 years in various admin jobs.  In my own mind I like to think that I was fairly good at what I did.  I didn’t always like what I did and the older I get, the less I like working with people.  Having worked most of my career in South Africa where jobs are detailed, and you know what is expected of you.  You have protection as an employee and, for the most part, I’ve worked for companies that took care of me and rewarded me appropriately and recognized the extra miles I went for them.

In the USA things are different.  I’ve lived here for 17 years and I still don’t really understand the work ethic.  I find workers to be lazy and skive off and blame colleagues.  Remuneration, benefits and general treatment is poor, and competition is high. 

My previous job was odd, to say the least.  I was working for a non-profit organization that was run by people who’ve barely had any experience in the workplace and have zero management skills.  I was laid off due to the pandemic, and the handling of that was dealt with very badly.  There was no warning, and I received the phone call when I was in my car running errands for said company.  Missouri is an “at will” state meaning an employer can terminate an employee “at will” for no reason and with no remuneration package, so of course, they did.  It took me 2 weeks to allow the fury to die down, but now I’m just thankful that I don’t have to deal with the colossal idiocy of those running the “business”.  I do miss my clients and am still in contact with some of them, but for the most part, I’d like to forget about those 11 years of my life and move forward with something positive.

So, how do I do that?  Having been on unemployment for nearly a year and applying for jobs at all opportunities, I’m not sure where I fit in.  If you are a nurse or have a medical background, there are literally hundreds of positions available.  I have no medical background and am not a nurturing soul.  Most admin positions require a good chunk of accounting or bookkeeping.  To say I’m hopeless with numbers is the understatement of the century.  If it involves counting more than the amount of fingers I have, I’m lost.  Restaurant/food service positions: well, I have a story about my attempt to “serve”.  I lasted a week, dropped and broke more stuff than I delivered and at the end of the week I owed more than I made.  So, that’s not a good option.

What CAN I do?  Good question! I’m not sure what I’d call myself.  I know I do NOT want to work with people and would love to work from home where everyone can just leave me alone and let me do my thing.  I love to write, and I think I’m fairly mediocre at it.  Data capturing is boring, but I can do it. Call center work – no!  It means dealing with people.  I used to be a people person, but people ruined it for me.  I’m not lazy and I work hard and deliver results.  I’m in my 50’s and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  I get seriously anxious about interviewing and having to “sell myself” and have no self-esteem to promote.

I am so envious of people who find their niche and love what they do.  Greg was lucky enough to revamp his career in his 40’s and did a 180-degree turnaround from what he was doing.  He loves it and is great at what he does and very happy running his own business.  I want that too, but as what?  If people ask me what I’m good at, I have nothing to answer them with.

It takes its toll on you when you’ve applied for hundreds of positions and get nothing.  I get an update every week confirming the jobs I’ve applied for and also how many other people applied for the same job.  It’s in the 100’s!  There are very few positions I’ve applied for where less than 50 people applied for the same one.  How do I compete with that?

I’m not at the bottom of the barrel yet, but I’m seriously despondent about jobs.

Vaccines

On March 26th, Greg and I got our first Covid/Anti-Covid vaccination. Both of us fared very well, with Greg having a sore arm for a couple of days and me being hit by fatigue 24 hours after the vaccination. We both bounced back well, and, on April 23rd we received the 2nd dose. We were both excited to get it and we feel a sense of relief about it. In 2 more days we will be considered “full vaccinated” after allowing the vaccination to vamp up our immunity. We both had a few side effects from the 2nd shot. Both had a sore arm, intense fatigue, aches, elevated temperature, but nothing serious, and they disappeared after a couple of days.

The brain is a funny thing. I’m constantly arguing with myself about a lot of topics. Greg is away most of the days at work and I’m alone in the house, surrounded by 3 sleepy cats who get annoyed when I prod them awake for a conversation. To avoid this annoyance, I talk to myself.

One question I go back and forth with is “is it a Covid vaccination or an Anti-Covid vaccination?” Surely it’s an Anti-Covid vaccination? The word “anti” refers to against, so if I don’t want a disease, surely I want an ANTI something? Then again, the word vaccination refers to protection and I want to be protected AGAINST something. This makes my head hurt, but these are the things I ponder! Here is a good source that can help to explain it better than I can – although the brain arguing continues!

There seems to be so many pros and cons to getting the Covid (anti-Covid) vaccination. Some seem realistic to me and others are just plain ridiculous and full of human fear. NO, you will not turn into a robot, Bill Gates isn’t going to control you, you are not being microchipped, your DNA is not being altered, you will not be infertile and so many other weird hypotheses. Where do these ideas come from? I’m sorry to say but some of them come from people who are uneducated about vaccines and science, and misunderstand information given and put their own fears and ideas into their explanations to others. Some even come from ministers who turn it into an incorrect religious theory with the aim to control their flock. I suspect they are uncomfortable with the idea, so they project their fears onto a greater spectrum of folk who trust them. How sad!

Humankind have been through this many times over the decades. How do you think the flu vaccination (or is it the anti-flu vaccination) was invented? Or how was smallpox eradicated? Or cholera, or polio, or tetanus, or diphtheria, or measles, or mumps, or German measles and so many more. We all line up to get those vaccinations without any quibbling and they all follow the same testing procedures before being made available to the public. In fact, a couple of years ago, I was bitten by a dog and went to the Urgent Care for treatment. The paramedic said to me “we’re just going to give you a tetanus shot, ok?” I said “sure” and whammo, I had it. I didn’t question it, I didn’t ask what was in it, I was just thankful for the protection.

Yes, we are right to question what ingredients are in a vaccine, but when it comes to a pandemic where millions (MILLIONS) of people have died from it, then I feel that you just need to suck it up and take one for the greater good of mankind. How dare you refuse to take something proven to protect you and stop you from passing it on to someone else. Who do you think you are? I believe your arrogance and selfishness is totally motivated by fear and the mistaken ability to listen to others before doing your own research from reputable sources. Don’t get me started on people who refuse to wear masks! It’s over a year later and we are still in the pandemic. Wear the mask, wash your hands, socially distance from each other and please, get the vaccine!

What a year can do to you

Well, we are now a year into what we could call “lockdown” since the Coronavirus Covid-19 shone its ugly face in St. Louis. I still remember the story about the woman who’d returned from Europe and taken a train from her point of entry back in the USA and chugged on back down to St. Louis. How many people did she unknowingly give it to, and how many people did they unknowingly give it to? We will never know.

To date, St. Louis has had 22,015 positive cases with 440 deaths. Missouri has had 575,000 positive cases with 8,771 deaths. The USA has had 29.5 MILLION positive cases and 535,000 deaths. I just can’t comprehend those numbers. Everyone has been affected by Covid-19, whether you contracted the virus or not.

Our “lockdown” was not well enforced at all. There were no consequences for defying orders or suggestions. There are still people who have never worn a mask, still think it’s a fake virus, think it will go away on its own, think it’s just the flu, refuse to have the vaccine for some ridiculous reasons, and can’t understand the reason for mask wearing and social distancing. I’m beyond shaking my head at them. I’m angry at them for not doing what is asked of them and I blame them for having super spreader parties and being selfishly negligent and inconsiderate of others. How can they profess to love and care for people out of one side of their mouth, and yet act like a recalcitrant toddler and spew ignorance and hatred out of the other side of their mouth? I don’t get it. After a year of it, I think I’m able to let it go and just accept that there will be those among us who are just plain awful. We all know it would be different if they were directly affected or someone they loved was affected. In the meantime, they get away with it and there’s nothing we can do to change their minds.

This last year has been interesting. There was fear, trepidation, frustration, anger, relief, financial catastrophe, illness, unbelievable heartache and grief, acceptance, forgiveness, celebration etc. Our emotions were on an all-encompassing, colossal, giant wave-machine-making rollercoaster ride!

We personally have had family members who endured the virus. Some mildly, but some very seriously. Thankfully, they have all recovered and either have had the vaccine or are currently awaiting it. We personally were affected financially too. I lost my job in June and Greg shut down his business for several months. I’d always heard how America was the “land of opportunity”, but that has not been my experience at all. Finding a job during a pandemic is tricky, to say the least!

In the meantime, I have written a children’s book and am in the process of trying to figure out how to publish it. I love my little story and thoroughly enjoyed writing it. I look forward to writing many sequels to it. I’m looking forward to starting my garden again. I have some plans for it and will enjoy digging my fingers into the dirt and watching as a simple seed grows into something I can eat! How amazing is that??? We have plans for our house too, and when our ship comes to shore, we will embark on that stage too.

Life with heartache and troubles is not without accomplishment, growth and joy! A full circle of experience produces strength and endurance.

Snow!

We had our first snow of the season this week! It was terribly exciting (for me). I love snow. I love everything about it: the fact that no two snowflakes are the same, how slowly the flakes waft to the ground, watching how it slowly covers the ground – first, wetting the grass, then a soft, icy layer and then how it slowly builds in thickness. Very few people go out in it while it is falling, and that first crunch under your feet just enthralls me.

We only got 2 ½”, but it still felt like our first real snowfall. We usually have had a lot more snow by this time of year, but I think winter only really started a week ago! Then, there’s the rush of kids to the slopes! Any slope will do! Our local park has a great small slope for kids to slide their plastic sleds down and there are snow angels dotted around the area too.

It was the first time I had to sweep and scrape ice and snow off my car. It took quite a while, but I layered up and wore gloves. My car started first time (YES!) and I put all the heaters on to help defrost it while I scraped. Once the car was cleared, Greg brought the snow shovel and salt upstairs for me and I tackled the driveway, sidewalk, and path. Luckily, it was fluffy snow so not heavy.

Greg had to go to the office and even though I asked him many times if I could take him, he declined, saying that he had his YakTrax and would be fine. I’ve learnt to stop feeling guilty when he walks to work in snow, ice, rain because he tells me that he needs the exercise and enjoys his walk. I’m certain that all the neighbour’s think I’m THE most awful wife “making my poor blind husband walk to his office”. I’m not, it’s at his request. He’s quite a sight to behold, layered up like the marshmallow character with a huge laundry backpack strapped to his back.

I love the immediate quiet after the snow has fallen. The trees are beautifully covered with icicles and the mix of white on green and brown is startling. The slight breeze causing the fluffiness to blow off, usually onto my nicely cleaned off sidewalk, and instantly freezing to ice. I must keep reminding myself that even though the paths look clear, there’s usually a great deal of undetected ice making it look like glass and as slippery as, well, ice! Seldom a winter season passes without me skating on the path by mistake.

Today we are getting a lot of rain which will wash all the snow away. Hopefully, we are not finished with the snow for the season and we’ll get a good dumping before spring. For now, today I will watch the last dredges of snow melt while sipping my hot chocolate and playing with my cats.