Saturday, May 24, 2008

Have Sharpie, will correct
I am totally with these guys who are making it their mission to fix misused apostrophes and typos.

I completely understand their pain. Sure, we all make mistakes, and I've been guilty of typing too fast or not thinking fast enough while driving through Apostropheland. But I have to admire their dedication to duty.

Typos I find to be especially annoying and, quite often, hilarious. I will always remember the poster I saw for a local production of "The Dairy of Anne Frank." (So hard to hide from the Nazis when you keep cows in your attic.) I once bought Husband a souvenir magnet from Philadelphia because it said that the City of Brotherly Love is in "Pennsylvannia." A few months ago on one of those annoying news crawls I saw a mention of Barack O'Bama. Ah yes, of the Dublin O'Bamas, a good Irish family. Last holiday season one local store had "Merry X'mas" written on their window. OK, Xmas is already a hideous abbreviation...the unnecessary apostrophe is just mystery-making.

And speaking of holidays, February 14th seems to stump everyone. Is it Valentine's Day or Valentines Day? I say it's the former, because it is the feast day of St. Valentine. Therefore, his day. But Valentine has become an entity of its own, (As in "will you be my Valentine?"), so it could be Valentines Day as in the day of many Valentines. (But I think it's kind of a stupid holiday anyway, so who cares?)

In other news, we have given up on our quest to train Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) from clawing our new chair. We tried, we really did. But the more we tried to discourage her from sharpening her claws on the Ikea throne, the more she became fascinated in pulling all the Fi-Hi (FItzgerald to Hillerman) fiction off our bookshelves. She seems to be especially fond of Forrester's Hornblower books...having pulled most of them onto the floor at one time or another. In fact, I'm rather surprised that she prefers Husband's taste in books to mine. I somehow had her pegged as a fan of mysteries, yet Tony Hillerman received only a cursory tug or two and Martha Grimes, not even a pull. But Hornblower has her fascinated, even if she is pulling them out of order.

Friday, May 23, 2008

There now, comfy?
They manage to be both green and morbid. And yet, oddly, I kinda like it.
Vote for the guy my brother likes
Husband and I received several pieces of mail today urging us to vote for one candidate or another in the upcoming Assembly race. One guy had on his mailing an endorsement from a firefighter and carrying a dramatic photo of firefighters silhouetted against a raging orange wildfire.

Is this guy running for fireman?

I fail to see how the endorsement of firemen should interest me. Now don't get me wrong, I have the highest respect for firefighters. In fact my brother happens to be a fire chief. But voting for someone my brother likes seems like a silly reason to vote for anyone.

I just find it interesting how different positions, such as school teachers, nurses, and police and firemen become wildly important at election time. Many of those people are sadly underpaid for doing such vital work and yet when the polls open they become the endorsers that every candidate wants. It's so odd, because for the other 364 days a year, the "important" occupations are professional athletes, supermodels, movie and TV stars, musicians, and whatever bozo won American Idle. Oh, excuse me, it's American Idol.

So why aren't they on campaign literature. "Bob Snarkly is the only candidate endorsed by Brett Farve." "Hortense Pupnhound has been endorsed by the guy who won the last round of Survivor. "Vote for Hugo Stuffright, the official candidate of the NBA."

But no. Instead we're supposed to respect the opinion of the people we see as everyday heroes but don't, of course, pay like heroes.

"Vote for the guy who has the backing of some really important and wickedly underpaid people doing thankless jobs because we value their opinion, but not their work." Yeah, probably too long to put on a bumper sticker.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The consequences of cheating
I did two sessions at the kitten nursery yesterday. And last night, Husband joined me. I think he enjoyed his first (and, no doubt last) session working with the kitties. They were a total tornado, as usual, and the back-to-back sessions were quite exhausting.

So we got home about 8 last night, quickly changed out of our kitten-food-scented clothes, and hoped Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) would forgive us.

She didn't.

She didn't really act as if she noticed the feline equivalent of lipstick on the collar, but once bedtime set in, so did her revenge.

Not since the night we brought her home has she been so blastedly awake all night. Meowing. Walking on both of us. Muffled thumps from the living room as she pulled books off of shelves, chased balls into furniture, and generally wreaked havoc on the house. I had indulged in a sleeping pill last night and so was extra asleep -- and extra sleepy -- so poor Husband was the one who got up in the middle of the night. (Usually it's my job because usually I'm awake at that time.) I got up at 5 after she successfully pulled everything off of my nightstand (clock, books, water bottle); what a delightfully un-jarring way to wake up.

She is a nocturnal creature, and is often playful at 3 am. But not usually this unstopably destructive. We can only surmise that she was punishing us for cheating on her. Well, we've certainly paid for our sins now. We're sorry, Cipher, please forgive us. Flowers and chocolate will be forthcoming. Please don't make us go on Dr. Phil. We'll be good.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home from the nursery
Well, today was kitten day. And I gotta confess, I'm pooped. Who knew taking care of little kittens would be so tiring? But there are 17 now and that's quite a few kittens to feed and love. (Yes, socializing with the kittens is part of the job.)

Someone asked me what's involved in kitten duty, so here's the scoop.

First you mix up some food. A blend of canned kitten food and KMR (kitten milk replacement) which you stir up into a stinky brownish goo. Then you lay down lots of towels, for kitten feeding is a messy job. Then you grab some syringes and go to the first nursery. Each kitten is weighed before feeding, and the weight noted on its personal sheet. You also note how much he/she eats in a feeding, if they resisted feeding or ate eagerly, if they're eating on their own, if they go to the bathroom on their own or if you have to stimulate them into pooping.

The feeding is basically grabbing the little one by the scruff of the neck, putting the syringe in their mouths and letting them have it. Some kittens are easier to feed than others and you will always get food on you, the towels, the table, the kitten, your hair, the floor, and anything else within reach. After the feeding (or sometimes in between bouts of feeding) comes the cuddling. That's the best part. These little guys (average weight about 11 ounces) love to be loved. They'll curl up in your lap or on your shoulder and purr, try to eat your hair, nibble on your finger, and generally get used to having people around them. Even at a few weeks old they definitely have personalities. Some are more shy, others more curious. Each is a total delight in their own way.

Once each kitten in the litter is fed and loved, they go back into their nursery and then we clean up. We change towels, syringes, disinfect the scale, the table and ourselves. (You can either wear gloves or wash hands in between litters. I prefer to wash hands so I can pet them without latex.) This is to protect the litters from getting each other's germs. The poor things have been trading a cold around so we're being extra careful with them now. Oh yeah, you also have to clean their litter box, make sure they have water and clean bedding, and are generally comfy until the next crew comes in.

And then you repeat the process with each litter. There are currently 5 litters in the nursery: one with 5 kittens, one with 4, two with 3, and one with 2. My favorite kitten, the one I christened "Tioga" still is a sweetie -- but I have to confess that the two newest litters (the really tiny ones) are almost unbelievably cute.

It's a surprisingly amount of work really and today took about 3 1/2 hours, and three people, to get through the whole nursery. We usually only had 2 people on shift but today we got a new Monday afternoon volunteer. Which, considering the population boom, is a good thing....if it had just been the two of us I'd probably still be there.

I'm doing a fill-in shift on Wednesday, so I'll get to see them all again. Now I really must go and wash my one and only volunteer t-shirt -- it looks like I've rolled in kitten chow.