Monday, October 27, 2008

Life - Kittens, Bikes, and Books

The missus and I have been pretty overwhelmed recently with a bunch of going-ons. A lot of things seem to have piled up, and with my "full time cyclist" time over, my time seems awfully limited.

I did manage to finish painting the mantle we'd had put up. I'd taped it off pretty thoroughly and felt proud when the fancy scrollwork actually looked a different color than the wall behind it. The black steel fireplace stuff got white on it but since we want to get a stove of some sort, that seemed less important. Plus, Sharpies are good for such "spills". The fancy-to-me woodwork looked nice after a lot of layers of paint. The missus was surprised at my efforts to make it look nice - I insisted on a couple extra layers of paint because, well, I wanted it to look professional.

Taped mantle.

The kittens are a biggie in the scheme of things. First off, they have fleas. We thought we'd give them a bath and remove the two or three fleas they had, maybe be done in half an hour, go get dinner or something.


They had so many it made my skin crawl. They were like ants running all over their bodies and especially their faces (since we couldn't dunk their faces in water).

About three hours later the kittens had about 200 less fleas. We painstakingly picked them off of the two white ones. The tabbies are more difficult and we only got a few off of them. We're at a loss for now, and since the bath was so traumatic (albeit effective at herding fleas) that we're waiting for the kittens to get older so we can give them a flea bath.

One of three bowls of rubbing alcohol with fleas. Makes my skin crawl. The first bowl had a bazillion fleas.

They're also afflicted with some runny poop (possibly related to stressing over their changing environment) and that makes for a lot of clean up every morning, lunch, and evening. Lots of sterilization of various towels, bedspreads, and such.

As expected the missus grew unbearably attached to the little tabby. "Bella" will stay here.

Bella looking adorable on the missus's leg.

The missus is holding one of the white kittens who is totally soaked after a miserable bath. The kitten was mewing frantically and Bella wanted to see what was wrong.

This is the miserable kitten above Bella. She gave up after a while.

Bella regretted being so curious a few minutes later.

We lost heart and let her off easy. After a couple hours of picking off fleas and making the kittens miserable, we were exhausted. Another evening gone, but with four much fluffier kittens we went to sleep feeling better about our day.

Just to make things clear, the twin white ones (boy and girl) and the larger tabby are looking for homes. We promise we'll have the runny poop bit handled before we let them go. Of course, as I pointed out to the missus, a little suffering along with the young'un goes a long way towards bonding with them. So if you want to bond with them through thick and thin, now's the time to do it. Based on that premise we're bonding like mad with the kittens, and although we dearly love them, we can't keep all of them.

The brother being protective of his sisters (the soaked ones in the prior pictures), right after the bath. He was first of these three so he is the driest.

We'll be talking to the vet about the poop, especially since we'll be picking up their newly spayed mom to release her back out in the wild. I think, and this seems reasonable, that such a feral cat won't be tamable (you should have seen her in the cage), but if you think otherwise, let me know. We won't leave her out in the cold (so to speak). We plan on setting off an anti-flea bomb or three in the crawl space a day or so before letting her go. We want to give her a flea and tick collar, and set up a suite of sorts under the store in the massive crawl space. I think too that some food out there regularly won't be out of the question either.

However, a regular home would probably be better, if such a thing would work for her.

Cats aren't totally dominating our lives, just the mornings, afternoons, and evenings. We did find time to do other things.

A couple Sundays ago we met up with four friends and went to a knitting type of festival the week before. The missus and another missus, Mrs SOC, have gotten heavily into knitting. We (the missus and I) exchanged roles from Interbike, with me snapping pics of the missus with her favorite author, the Yarn Harlot.

A bit more on topic with my blog, we went for a ride afterwards, the six of us, and it went well until my SRM head went blank. I panicked a bit inside because the prior ride was my long ride to get my red car, and I hadn't downloaded it. Not only that, I'd made a bunch of efforts and I really wanted to see how my legs stood up to a few hours of riding.

The missus pulling away. Mrs SOC is leading the chase, with me on her wheel. SOC is behind me, with an obscured OBAB. Hob is taking the picture.

Back at home, after a couple days of charging up the SRM head, I spent way too much time trying to download the data. The SRM head sometimes gets confused and spews jibberish at the computer. After trying to get a good download for a long time, I finally gave up. I let the current attempt finish and cleared the SRM's memory. Then I looked at the resulting chart, expecting to see another 10 minute ride where I averaged 2340 watts and maxed at 3892 watts. But, unexpectedly, the two resulting rides looked normal.

Lo and behold, I had both rides!

(Max wattage 1263 watts, at 3:13 into the 4:50 ride, and I was cooked after that. I did manage a bunch of sprints around that time though.)

This last weekend we spent our Sunday doing two things. First, the missus did a 5k, her first. Now I know what it's like to be the non-competitor and I was thinking of all the ways I could better support her - water, Gatorade, different layers of clothing right up until the start, better spectator navigation (maybe ride a bike to different points of the course), things like that. I think being a supporter is busier than being the competitor - it's just that you don't have to make those somewhat painful efforts during the event. When we got to bike races I have to remember this.

Second, we met up with our four friends again, making a trip to see Edith Wharton's house. Since I don't know too much about her, and I made this big assumption that she wrote classic romance novels, I figured she lived in a modest house, like a cape. So I figured that the whole trip would be a two hour drive into MA, stop at a little house, "Here's the living room, here's the bedroom, and here's the backyard. Bye!"

Little did I know.

She actually lived in this palatial mansion, she designed it herself (!), and it had a lot of cool little tricks incorporated into it to make it seem, well, more pleasant to the eye. Unfortunately the foundation that owns it is heavily in debt and it appears that the place is going to be foreclosed.

How about the "Edith Wharton 'Cross Race" or "Mount N'Cross" fund raiser races?

I was thinking that if that were my house when I was a kid I'd have been mountain biking around the yard. Maybe even doing 'cross. And probably dreaming of kart tracks or even a rally route through the woods.

I took lots of pictures of the trim and such, after my mantle experience. It looked like it would be really rewarding to add such fancy framework to our house. Okay, not quite as fancy as hers (our mantle is less fancy than her doorways), but, still, fancy.

Not a mantle, but bigger than our mantle.

And, yes, I'd paint it carefully.


knitseashore said...

Thanks for being such a good sport to go along, when you thought you were only going to see a Cape! Some of Edith's books were made into films, so if you don't mind difficult endings, you might like them. The Age of Innocence is the easiest one -- Winona Ryder is in the lead.

So glad Bella has already found a home! Could you do one of those Revolution things for the mom for fleas? I only ask because my sister's cat got a really nasty skin reaction to a flea collar.

Aki said...

I'll have to check out some movies - although I'd guess they wouldn't be very good "trainer" material.

I didn't think of that re: flea collar. I'm debating if we should give the cat to a local no-kill shelter, but a feral cat may not be easy to adopt. She made it for at least a year+ where she was and I'd be able to check on her somewhat regularly.

I'm debating what to do re: fleas. Powder a bed for her? I'll have to look up the Revolution thing.

Aki said...

We ended up getting Frontline from our kind vet, and I found a dead flea the next day. So far so good.