Monday, August 24, 2015

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

Every blog post I've tried writing the past month or so is shite or depressing, so I haven't posted any of them. I do think there's enough dreariness in the world without banging on about it. And sometimes, through no fault of our own, the black cloud hangs over us and seemingly stalls. Then, equally as random, it moves along.

Summer is galloping along at an alarming rate here. It's been quite dry, which should mean that I've had lots of time for sailing. But, no. Work stuff has been galloping along, too, and my idea of going for a quick sail after work has been dashed because i'm so mentally tired by the end of the work day, that I don't feel all that safe going boating.

My neighbour up the street, M, who's been a marine electrician for years and who rewired Retrouv√© for me finally had some time to go sailing. He had started a seasonal business about three years ago, but it didn't take off as he had hoped, so he's called that a day and found a part-time job doing something else. He's a new grandpa, and his granddaughter thinks he's the most wonderful thing ever, so he has been babysitting and visiting a goodly bit. Finally, we had a Saturday where we could go sailing, and the weather co-operated. We got down to the shipyard, and only when he asked me which dinghy was mine did I realise that the last time he went sailing with me was quite a while ago indeed, since this is my third summer with my dinghy Twig. I know, not nautical sounding in the least, but that's the name that came to me when I got her and asked what her name should be. Some things you just don't question.

I walked over to the edge and looked down at the floats. Twig was missing. I blinked and looked again. She was still gone.

I went over to the shipyard's office to notify them, but the door was locked. Next, I went into the dock house where my friend has her schooner. SFB was there with the office manager for the schooner, and I blurted out that Twig was stolen. I felt sick to my stomach. The first mate offered me use of one of the schooner's skiffs, and I took it. He also said I should talk to Tug, the guy whose business shares the other half of the dock house. SFB said I should notify the Harbor Master. He was right, of course, and once M and I were out on the water, I decided to radio the Harbor Master. Only my radio didn't seem to be sending out a signal. When it rains, it pours.

I had my cell phone and got a signal so called him on his phone and let him know. He said no one had reported finding a missing dinghy, and I gave him the particulars. He said I ought to call the police and file a report.

M and I turned around a bit early when we heard thunder. Well, actually, we heard thunder, M's wife called M and said that it was thundering at the house, were we still on the water? M would have stayed out longer, but about five minutes after the phone call, I thought it best if we turned around.

About two minutes from the house, six raindrops splashed on the windshield, so we beat the rain.

I talked to the police. Sadly, they've had a number of reports like mine and in most cases, by the time the owner sees the item's been stolen, it's already been resold. Twig is a really nice dinghy and could be resold in about five minutes.

When I was able to talk to one of the owners of the shipyard the next day (the office manager would be in the day after), he told me I should talk to Tug and see if he has anything on his security camera. Tug works pretty much Monday through Friday.

I was busy all day at work on Monday, but found some time Tuesday to talk to Tug. He kindly agreed to look at the tapes to see if he could see anything, and would put the word out about my missing dinghy. He related that a number of times, items that suddenly sprouted legs and walked away, suddenly walked back. He also mentioned that the last time he caught a thief red-handed, the thief was taken off the premises via ambulance. Tug is not someone i'd want to have as an enemy.

In the meantime, I wanted a dinghy on hand. If I singlehand, I can take my kayak, if there's one other person, then that person can use Himself's kayak if Himself is not going, or we could have the other person wait on the dock and I can sail over from the mooring and pick that person up. But there are a few people who like to help at the beginning and end of the sail who would not be able to pull themselves out of the kayak easily and onto Retrouvé. Some balance and upper body strength is required, and two sailing chums, who are more portly wouldn't be able to do it at all.

I decided to search Craig's List and I found a used dinghy, same brand as Twig. The poster had a picture and said that boat was that model. Same model as Twig. Naturally, I was suspicious and hated that I was. But, I had to know. So I emailed, asking if he could send a picture of the actual boat. He did, and it wasn't Twig, so I was quite relieved. The asking price was less than the deductible on my boat insurance and I figured it was probably in my best interest to get this one. Should Twig magically reappear, having two dinghies wouldn't be so bad. I could sell one, of course, or keep two in case four of us go sailing on Retrouvé as both dinghies carry two adults.

I picked up the new-to-me dinghy on Saturday. She's been well maintained, but she is used and looks it. She has seen a lot of water. She's well balanced, easy to row, and is less tippy than Twig. She is at the float in the same spot Twig had been, and she's got a sturdy lock and chain.

I've mostly moved past it, and there's a part of me that never wants to find out who did this. If I see that person or group of people in public someplace, i'm not so sure that i'll behave with decorum. I may have a bad day and decide to slap the shit out of them; yet I know they're not worth the jail time.

In other news, Phoebe decided to pee outside the litter box. Repeatedly. Even when I made sure I scooped regularly, and even when she was quite near the box, so I called the vet. I don't want this to be a battle of wills, and I don't want to be held hostage by cat urine. But, just in case there was something physically wrong, and besides it was time for her yearly rabies shot.

So, I took her. She was very good at the vet's. He listened as I told him about her new behaviour, but otherwise everything else was pretty much the same, except she was sleeping more. But, I figured, she's 15 and I have to remind myself that's middle geriatric age for a cat. She provided urine and blood samples. Urinalysis looked good, except it was a bit watery. The blood test results would come in a few days.

The data show that she has kidney disease. The vet was surprised at how high her numbers were given what I told him about her activity level. He said there was a slight chance that she had an infection and suggested an antibiotic as a prophylactic, and then talked about kidney meds. A pill given twice a day. Special food that was low protein and rather bland. I wrote down what he was saying but went numb.

Pills twice a day? He's got to be joking, and I've told him before how when I tried feeding the cats "better" food (READ: healthier), they looked at me as if to say, "What IS this swill?"

Of course, once I made the vet appointment, Phoebe stopped peeing outside the box. That suited me just fine because i'm okay with not having to clean it up off floors and carpet.

I went to the office to pick up the antibiotic--one full syringe once a day for a week, the pills, which need to be split into two and one-half given twice a day, three cans of the special food available only at the vet's--two of these are the "less boring" kind and one of the "boring" ones, and I also picked up "pill pockets" which are treats with holes in them where you can put the meds in and give it to the kitty.

They told me that if Phoebe did not eat the food to bring back the unopened cans, and they'd refund my money. The vet said that if she absolutely refuses it, then to give her the food I have been all along. After all, he said, it's quality of life. He didn't add, "Giving her the food she likes will give her less quantity," but I'm certain he was thinking that.

I got home and cried. Cried because of stupid people who take things that don't belong to them. Cried because i'm sure Phoebe tried telling me again and again she wasn't well, but I'm apparently as thick as mince.

I have tried giving her the antibiotic. I have been unsuccessful. She runs away at a pace that qualifies for the Olympics. Even my one-dimensional nose can smell the antibiotic, so it's little wonder she's off to the races when i'm within ten paces. For a bit, she was running away from me any time I approached. This was not how I wanted our last months to be, so I gave her a day where I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. No weird food, no syringes, no pills (hadn't tried those at all). And once she settled down, I tried giving her the pocket pill treat. She was having none of it. I decided to put it in her dish. Still nothing. After a bit, I took four of the crunchy treats she likes and studded this pocket pill treat, put it back in her dish and walked away. Success.

Subsequent pocket pill treats have been gobbled eagerly. I could kiss the person who made those. Yes, they're spendy, but they make giving pills unbelievably easier.

The vet said that Phoebe should also have fish oil. They had some at the surgery that was likely eye-wateringly expensive. He said if I liked, I could get the gel capsules and break one open as that's the perfect dose. JoJo could have one, too, and I was glad he understood the "I want what she's having," thing that goes on in multiple pet households.

On the day I got my new-to-me dinghy, I knew I might get back later than their usual lunchtime, so I tried one of the little cans of the special food for Phoebe and a can of regular stuff for Jo. Phoebe has taken to eating either upstairs or in the kitchen, and Jo likes eating outside when the weather's nice. So each had enough food and happily ate it. Phoebe looked a bit at the new food after a bite or two, sniffing around it, i'm sure to see if I had hidden anything in it. 

I returned a bit after their usual lunch time, and both were eating up the last bits of their larger than usual breakfast. So, all was well.

I've decided to work the special food in on rotation. As time goes on, I may have to give Phoebe only that and nothing else.

The vet wants to take another blood sample in a month's time to see if the meds appear to be doing any good. They won't reverse the kidney damage she has sustained but ideally, the medication will retard its advance.

I hate to take any sort of pills, even vitamins, and I figured i'd need to give myself this month to get used to the new routine for I need time to adjust as much as Phoebe does. If all goes well, then we'll see if we can keep to this. If she doesn't show improvement, then we need to have a different conversation. I did tell the vet that first and foremost, I want Phoebe to have good quality of life. Although she's sleeping more than before, she doesn't appear to be in pain, she's still interested in what's going on and doesn't seem ready to go. Winters are long here even for a mostly indoor cat who loves basking by the coal stove.

For the moment, although she still stares at my hands to see if i'm hiding anything (I show her they're both empty to put her mind at ease), she has forgiven me for taking her to the vet and for being thick as mince. She approves of the treats and thinks the fish oil a treat. And i'm holding on to every one of these days, knowing that they may be the last of the good days and end all too quickly.


  1. 'Stealing' drives me mad... I can imagine your true feelings on finding your dinghy gone. Thieves make a small amount of money, but have no idea what frustration they leave behind.

    1. What I find more galling, Cro, is they don't care what frustration they leave behind. It's best for them if I don't know who they are because truly, thieving enrages me. I'm doing what I can to put that energy to good use.

  2. A sad summer. I know nothing of boats, but it seems dinghys are too small to carry permanent registration numbers and require titles. What a rotten person, to steal it. I've been robbed on occasion in my seventy odd years. I used to say someday the person would step off the curb and be hit by a truck. That doesn't work for me as karma any more--consider the feelings of the truck driver. However, stealing is a poor occupation and the scales must eventually come even.

    1. Dinghies here only need registration if they have an outboard, and then there'll be numbers by the bow (front); otherwise, no registration required. Twig is small enough to fit in the back of a pickup, and two people can easily lift and carry her.

      I have had things stolen from me several times before, and each time, I get that sick feeling in my stomach. I used to envision horrific things happening to the thieves, too, but realized it only made me feel worse. Still, I had a fantasy or two of justice in this case as well. As i'm a praying sort, I've given it over to God and agreed to get out of the way. I'm doing all I can not to take it back; haven't been entirely successful, but like you, feel that the scales will balance out eventually--just not as quickly as i'd like.

  3. I'm sorry. You're having quite a rough time. Please don't stop yourself from publishing posts because you're worried that they're depressing. We care. We want to sympathize and tell you how much we love you.


    1. Thank you, Janie. I figured if I found their whingeing tone annoying, others would, too.

  4. Chin up dear heart .............x

    1. Reading about Trelawnwyd does my heart good, John.

  5. I remember before we had our dog, Socks, we used to laugh at Bing's Sister who had a dog with diabetes who had to get shots every day. We would joke that when a pet had to be tended to like this, it was time to let nature take her course. And then there was Socks. I swear to god if he needed a kidney and I could give it to him, I would. Funny how once you love a pet, they are your family. I think the skinhorse was right.

    1. I know the skinhorse was right.

      Our first cat came to us old (she was 12 when she ran away to our house, which I know she considered her retirement home), and when she needed meds for her hyperactive thyroid when she was 14, we were too in love with her not to try something. I decided then that if I could do something that would still preserve a good quality of life, i'd be glad to try. But, "do no harm" means to me that just because something is medically possible, it isn't always medically prudent. In my book, keeping a being alive when it's ready to go violates the do no harm principle.

  6. I just came over from John's blog...
    My Goodness when it rains it pours.
    But most of all I understand your sadness over Phoebe. I have two Scotties 17 and 12 and understand what you are going through. The hide the pill is always very frustrating.
    Hope the test come back better.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Thanks, parsnip. We've had a long run of good health, and even though I could see a time where I may need to provide more care, I find my heart isn't ready to be there yet. Yet, here we are.

  7. I'm sorry about the boat (and Twig is a fine name!) but I'm really sorry about Phoebe. I know how heart wrenching it is when a pet begins to age. I had an old cocker spaniel once that I loved dearly, and the last year or two was rough.

    I hope everything gets better for you and Phoebe both very soon!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. I want to do right by my old torti gal.