December 30, 2010

Hope You All Had a Merry Christmas

And I guess I'd better say Happy New Year too since I don't seem to be posting often these days.

Both my girls, Lil's boyfriend, and my mom came down for Christmas.  It was fun, but my oh my, what a lot of work.  Next year we're having spaghetti.  Out of a can.  Brownie left Sunday, Mom left Tuesday, and Lil and her boyfriend just left this morning.  It's a relief having time to myself again but also a downer watching them drive away - knowing it could be six months or more before I see them again.

I feel terrible about this next part.  After helping them load the car, and believe me, it was loaded to the max, I noticed feathers on the deck, or what I thought was feathers.  Then I noticed spots of blood, and big smears where it looked like the cat had chased the bird around the deck.  Hubby thought the cat brought me a gift, and it got away.  But when I went out to clean the deck, I looked closely at the pile of "feathers" and saw that they were really long strands of cat fur, and the smears were claw marks, probably from fighting.  The cat hadn't come for his breakfast milk and he didn't come when I called after cleaning the deck.  Finally, I checked the dog house and he poked his head out, and then came out limping.  He had been in another brawl and had scratches and a couple of big holes in his shoulder.  One front paw was swollen and his dew claw (I guess you call it that on cats too?) may be gone.  I slathered him with dog antibiotic ointment and he made his way to his hiding spot in the flower bed.

I know there is nothing I can do to keep him from going off and getting into fights, but this happened in our backyard, and in fact there were spots of blood on the back door threshold.  It must have happened when we were out the evening before, and I wonder now if a cat or other animal came up on him while he was eating there.  We had an electric fence across the part of our backyard that doesn't have a chain link fence, and last night Hubby put it back up so at least the cat can be safe from dogs in our backyard.  We also put a board over the dog house door to make it small enough that dogs can't get in, and I put the cat in it last night while the neighbor kids were shooting off fireworks, and he seemed to relax and stayed the night.

Now I'm waiting until the thrift store opens to take a load of junk great stuff that I had been saving for the girls and they declined to take to their homes.

Until next time, may you have blessings and precious time with family,

December 14, 2010

Sneak Peak

Our laundry room is undergoing yet another transformation.  Eventually, we'll get it right I guess.

I never got around to taking a picture of our last change. Changing the doors back works well, but there is just no storage in there, and anyone walking in the front door has a view of the washer and dryer.  So, I devised a plan, and Hubby began building.

Today, I need to prime them. Oh, I also wanted to show you this neat trick Hubby thought of so the two of us could lift that center cabinet (can you say HEAVY!) to the ceiling and hold it in place while attaching it. He put these angled cleats on the side cabinets so we could lift and slide.

Since these are going to be painted, those holes can be filled and never be seen again.

And last, a cat update. I think he was in another fight last night because he has a new wound on his ear. And he's very clingy again today like he was the last time he came back after a brawl. I guess he loves me - in a Stockholm Syndrome kind of way.

He's literally my shadow today.

Until next time, may you have blessings and real love,

December 12, 2010

Jealousy, Thy Name Is Cat

Sorry it's been so long. Doing nothing has been very time consuming lately.

I've been meaning to update about the cat though. For the most part, he stays around here. He may not be king of the neighborhood anymore either. He disappeared for a few days and came back covered with scratches and he is now missing a claw on a front foot. Since then, he's been as clingy as a baby, following us around when we are outside.

Last week when I was outside putting up Christmas lights, he was sunning himself on the deck. Snoopy, a dog who lives at the end of the street, came by, and since we don't have a fence, he joined the cat on the deck. The cat didn't seem to mind as long as Snoopy didn't get too close to his food bowl.

Then Snoopy came out to the front yard to see what I was doing. This is Snoopy.

He looks more like a Benji than a Snoopy, and he has roamed our neighborhood for the last fifteen years. I don't know how he has escaped the coyotes and bobcats that have taken most of the small dogs in our neighborhood. He must lead a charmed life.

So anyway, Snoopy was walking toward me, and suddenly the cat ran toward me making a strange squawking meow, and he planted himself between Snoopy and me. This is a cat who knows how to guard the food supply.

I've also decided that the life of a cat is a lot like a teenager on eternal summer vacation. Stay up all night getting into trouble, sleep all day, eat when the urge hits, and ignore everyone who calls his name.

I'll try to update tomorrow with our latest project.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a fur baby to entertain you,

November 29, 2010

Gross Out Story of the Day

I had gone to a nearby town for an appointment and to run a few errands. It was lunchtime when I got out of the appointment. I was starving and still had a few errands before heading home, so I stopped at a Subway restaurant across the street and got a sandwich to go.

After eating 3/4 of the sandwich, I looked down at the napkin on my lap, and there was a used band aid. It was stuck together on the ends, like it had been circled around someone's finger. I thought back and no, the woman making my sandwich did not have on gloves.

Blech! So much for a healthy lunch. I hope the Pepsi I drank with it kills germs.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a surprise-free lunch,

November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful day.  Mine was good.  Very non-traditional, in fact, very non-Thanksgiving.  Hubby and I were supposed to meet Brownie at my mother's house last weekend, and Mom cancelled it.  My in-laws are having Thanksgiving at Brother Bear's house on Saturday.  So Hubby and I had the day off today.  I was really looking forward to it.  Didn't have to cook, didn't have to clean up, didn't have to make plans around anyone's schedule; a mini vacation where we could do anything we wanted to do, whenever we wanted to do it.  We planned to go geocaching.  We'd never done it before, but it sounded like fun.

Then the day began cold, windy, and rainy.  Hubby talked to his parents and they wanted to go out to eat lunch with us.  I hate to say it, but that just about killed the day for me.  Making plans wasn't on my plan of the day, and making plans to eat out on Thanksgiving Day really wasn't on my plan.  I suggested that if we were finished with our geocaching by dinner time (that's supper time to most Southerners), that we would call and see if they wanted to meet somewhere.  I knew from experience that the lines would be long for lunch.  As it turned out, we decided not to meet for lunch and Hubby and I took off.

What I found out about geocaching is that we really stink at it.  There was one that said it was off the road on a little used country road.  There WAS no other country road at the location.  There were tire tracks through someone's field, but I didn't think that could be it.  Hubby thought it was.  He tromped through the mud and poison ivy and never did find anything.  Then we drove on to the next one that promised to be easy.  The rain began pouring as we got to it, and even when it let up a bit, we couldn't find anything.

Then we went to one where the location was listed.  Surely that one would be easy.  Nope.  Couldn't find it.  So we went home.  While there, I looked through the list again to see if there were any clues we missed.  I also saw another one at the cemetery near me.  I walk there quite often and thought I recognized the name on the title of the cache.  So I cheated and looked up the name on findagrave, and saw that the cache name was the picture engraved on the headstone.  So we hopped in the car and went to the cemetery, found the headstone, and then began looking for nearby hiding places.  Hubby found it fairly quickly.  I guess that wasn't totally cheating since Hubby did use the GPS to hone in on the exact location.  But at least we finally found one. Victory!

And an update on the home front.  I put the sixth and final coat of varnish on the kitchen sink cabinet yesterday.  Don't be too impressed, they were thin coats because I put them on with a cloth.  Probably equivalent to two or three brushed coats, and much smoother.  While I had the varnish out, I thought I might as well put a few coats on the bathroom cabinet that only had gel finish.  Hubby was none too pleased about having the kitchen and the master bathroom out of commission at the same time.  And the bathroom cabinet took forever to dry.  Our humidity level hovered between 70 and 80 percent during that time, and it took two days for one coat to dry even with a fan and the dehumidifier running.  The kitchen cabinets dried much faster.  Have no idea why.

So now we are ready to put the new dishwasher in.  The cabinets are darker, and with more red than the bathroom cabinets, even though it is the same stain.  I'm not sure I like it, but Hubby does.  Oh well.  I know how to redo it if I can't live with it.  I still want to keep the tile, and put colorant on the grout.  But I am going to hold off until the dining addition is done, if it ever gets done.

The cat is friendly one day, and standoffish the next.  He wants in, but then he won't come in.  He is also scratching the deck.  Not a good thing, and I'm going to see if I can make an easy scratching post.  He also won't sleep in the dog house, even with his blanket in there.  I don't know where he goes when it's raining.  I checked under his favorite bush last night and he wasn't there, and he didn't come when I called.  I guess he is roaming after all.

Until next time, may you have blessings and victories,

November 20, 2010

What a Day.

This is just a mishmash of things that happened today.

I want to start with a product review.  Ok, maybe not a product review, because I don't know the name of this thing.  So it's a thing review.

Brownie gave me this thing for my birthday.  It's like a flyswatter on steroids.

She got it for me because I love tennis, and I thought it was one of those novelty items that would never work.  But it does.  It works like a bugzapper when you press two little buttons on the handle.  The "strings" just have to touch the bug and it's a goner.

Just two words of warning.  No, more than two words - two warnings.

First, once you zap the bug, release the buttons.  If the bug remains on the wires while the buttons are held down, it will continue to fry, and trust me, that smell is bad.

Second, don't use this in front of other people unless you want to be the star of a comedy on youtube.  Bugs that bob along the ceiling are hard to hit and this isn't as limber as a flyswatter, so there is a lot of swatting at nothing.  However, if you buy this for someone else, be sure you bring your video camera the first time they use it.


Update on the cat.

He is doing fine.  I don't think he's left the yard since Thursday.  Today he even let me pick him up, carry him around, and put him in my lap.  If he is trying to get me to let down my guard, it's working.  He is still trying to spray though.  We put some blankets on the deck and he slept there a couple of nights, and tonight I moved them to the "dog room" inside the shed.  I don't know if he will sleep there though.  (Hubby assured me the dogs have been gone long enough that there is no dog smell there to bother the cat.)

Hubby, who has never been a cat lover, has been seen feeding choice pieces of chicken to the cat AFTER he told me the chicken was for us, not the cat.  


What we did today.

Is there something in Murphy's law that when something bad happens, it should be at an inconvenient time and place?

We were supposed to have a day out today, but that didn't happen.  While Hubby mumbled and grumbled doing plumbing, I escaped to the garage to work on picture frames for Brownie.    We made two trips to Big Orange and then Hubby needed another plumbing something-or-other, and we thought we'd throw some business Big Blue's way too.

A couple of months ago, our dishwasher became just an expensive dish drainer.  It had been leaking around the door quite a while before I noticed.  Yeah, I'm that observant.  I didn't really want to replace it until the kitchen makeover was done so I've just been doing dishes by hand.  I really hate doing dishes by hand.  My hands hate doing dishes by hand.  Even with hand lotion by the sink and by the bed, my hands are always dry and cracked.  So this week, we gave up waiting and bought a new one.

Last night, Hubby pulled the old one out.   Then there was a mini flood when it leaked all over the floor, but after we got that cleaned up, we saw that the old one had leaked so long that it had taken the finish off the cabinet beside it, stain and all.  Years of abuse had done a number on the sink cabinet finish also, so I decided to refinish the cabinets around the dishwasher now and do the rest later.  Not the best plan, but then Murphy never gives much notice.

Oh and if you noticed that there is no tile in the dishwasher opening, I've got the tile to do that too.

I didn't remember to take a picture before I started sanding, but it was only a little less bad than this:

This is the pantry to the left of the dishwasher. The bottom corner is where the water dripped out of the dishwasher.

With so much of the bare wood showing, I wasn't sure the gel stain would cover evenly, so I did a trial run on the inside of the dishwasher hole where it won't show later.  It was a little darker in those areas, but the color was the same.  That's a good thing when trying to cover 1980's orange-y oak.
After one coat of gel stain:

And this is the sink cabinet to the right of the dishwasher.  It has also been sanded.

I was going to paint inside the sink cabinet before I stained the outside, but it is still too wet and I don't want to seal moisture inside. The bowl is there just in case the new line drips. So far, so good.

With one coat of gel stain:

Just last week I was thinking of getting rid of the dehumidifier because we hadn't used it in such a long time.  I sure am glad I didn't!  It's getting quite a workout drying this cabinet, and I hope it will make the stain dry faster too.


And last, our find of the day.  We started the day giving away our old dishwasher on craig's list.  It was claimed by an appliance repairman who thought he could fix it easily.  We ended the day with a free desk.

As we were driving home from our third trip for plumbing parts, we saw the desk in someone's yard with a FREE sign on it.  Didn't look bad, so when we got home, we jumped into the beastmobile, and headed back to get it - if it was still there.  It was, and here it is:

It's not perfect of course, or it wouldn't have been free.  Probably the reason they were getting rid of it was from water damage, of all things!  It's a Bassett desk, but don't be too impressed, it's made of MDF with a thin veneer, not even hardwood on the stiles.  So no surprise that a little water did this to it:

I think we can replace that board and then paint or refinish the desk.

Until next time, may you have blessings and projects to keep you busy,

November 18, 2010

Cat Update

Hubby and I were both in shock this morning. Hubby opened the garage door and then got out of the way before opening the pet carrier door. But the cat didn't make his bolt for freedom. He sat in the crate for a minute, then walked out, stretched, and sauntered out the garage door like he does this every day. Then he began meowing for breakfast. His morning meow is loud and sounds just like he is saying "Now!" He seemed really glad to see both of us, and was really hungry. He has come every time I've walked out the door; he's so sweet, rubbing my legs and wanting to be petted. I think he really likes us...whaaa... How did you get in here? What are you doing, cat?  Why are you crouching and snarling! Helpppppppp........

Gimmee dat kumputer! Yew r telling dis all wrong yew brainless 2 leg. Now git dis strate. I am not sweet! An my name is NOT da cat. It is da King. Seems ta me at 1 time my name mite huv ben Pierre, and fer awhile it wuz Scat, but fer da last few years I huv been da King, an don't nobody fergit it. Dere ain't no Alpha Dogs on dis block, only an Alpha cat, an I'm it. I'm da King here an all whut live here r my subjects.

Now dat we got dat settled, lemme tell whut really happened yisturday. I think I'm gettin da hang of dis here kumputer now.

I got up at dawn as usual an headed over to da young 2 legs house. Dey leave early an fill up da breakfust bowl round daybreak. It wuz empty, dadblast those 2 legs. Den I went down to da barn house cuz dey always fill da bowls at night. Dey wuz empty too. Now I wuz a gittin ticked. Next I went over to that yappy leetle pomeranian's house. Those 2 legs don't get up early anymore an that bowl wuz empty too. I's so hungry I didn't think I culd make it to da shepherd's house, but I did. Empty bowl dere too.

By den it wuz bout time fer da tall 2 leg to finish hiz breakfust an gimmee da milk. Sometimes I have to call fer it, an yes I AM sayin "NOW", ya numskull. Can't ya understand simple English? He came to da door an yew know whut he done? He put down an empty bowl!!!

Wull, that wuz jist da last straw an I left. I went to da house of one of my girlfriends' way down da road hoping that crowd she runs with might have dropped some crumbs on da porch. Nuttin. I looked in her window an could see her bowl filled with da dry stuff. I hate da dry stuff but I woulda eaten it then. I called an called fer her but one a those 2 legs opened da door an threw water at me! I left, an could see her watchin me from da window. This is my only picture of her. Aint she purty?

When I wuz a-leavin her place, I got a whiff of fish, tuna I believe. Finally, someone with a little sense was going to feed their king. It was da house of da tall and short 2 legs, Mutt and Jeff I call em. Jeff must be awake now. She has a speech impediment that pert near drives me crazy.  It sounds a lot like da sound the-monster-that-makes-da-grass-short makes when it goes over a rock.  It seems to stop when she sees me, so I went to help her.  I smelled tuna but it was on a shelf I couldn't reach. Why in tarnation would she do that? I called an she came to da door carryin my bowl. Weren't much in there, but I wuz hungry, so I took a bite. Yuck! I've tasted bad tuna in my time, but this was the wurst! Still, it was food, so I took another bite. Blech! It was awful, bitter stuff. I decided I'd eat grass rather than eat that stuff, but Jeff was petting me, and it felt good so I stayed for a minute. I dont' think she has ever petted me that long before, and it brought back a happy memory from my kittenhood, so I stayed, even though I was starving.

Then Jeff went into da house and left da door open. I poked my head in just to see iffin she was getting something better to eat. She was. She got some turkey. I luv turkey. Luv, luv, luv. Then she went an wiped some of that rotten tuna on it. Still, it was better than nuttin, so I ate it. Wasn't bad except the part that had da tuna stuff on it. Then she sat on the floor and started petting me again. I was feeling really funny, like I was drifting in the wind. Then it was hard to keep walking, but I didn't want her to stop petting me. I wasn't feeling right and knew I had to get outta there. But she followed me out da door and then picked me up. I wanted to reach around and bite her but I just didn't have the energy.

Then Mutt came over and they took me into the garage. I don't like the garage. There's a cage in there. I have bad memories of cages. Mutt and Jeff were talking, looking at their watches, putting on gloves, and petting me. I rubbed against the cage. It felt good and I hadn't seen it before, so I looked in. Before I knew it, they were pushing me into the cage and even though I used my finely honed claws on them, it didn't faze them at all. I was trapped. I looked around and there was a little opening in the side. I lunged for it. My head went through but I couldn't get my shoulders through. I backed out to get a running jump on it, and Mutt slammed the gate on the little opening. Then, he picked up the cage and put me in the big white box on wheels.

These 2 legs are so weak they can't go anywhere without their boxes on wheels. That's why I am the King and they are mere subjects. I despise 2 legs; they don't have the strength and endurance to survive on their own, but as their king, it is my duty to train them.

The white box was surprisingly comfortable, and I was beginning to nod off when we finally came to a stop. Jeff picked up the cage and carried it into another building.  I knew from the smell that it wasn't a good place and I mustered all my energy to give them a roar that told them that I was their king. They ignored me. Then Jeff left me there surrounded by the enemy.

A 2 leg in a white coat came over and made the cage smaller and smaller until I was squeezed between the walls and couldn't move. A sharp pain in my neck and the next thing I knew, I was back in Mutt and Jeff's garage. I was in a different cage, and it was warm and dark. I heard Jeff's voice and the darkness lifted while she opened the gate. This was my chance to escape but I couldn't move my legs. I saw her hand coming in and tried to catch it with my teeth, but I missed. She straightened out my neck and I drifted off in the darkness again.

The next time I awoke, I was alone in the dark and I had a pain in my bum. Must have been when they pushed me into that cage. I heard Jeff come into the garage and I started crying. I hated myself for this weakness but I couldn't stop. What was wrong with me! She spoke to me in a soothing voice and she poked a straw through the cage and then let some water run out. Then she dropped an ice cube into my cage. What?!!! Was she trying to drown me, a teaspoon at a time? I vowed to myself that I would get even, no matter how long it took. I knew I should go to work on the cage, but I couldn't see where the openings were in the dark. Instead, I plotted my revenge on the 2 legs. Even prisoners get a potty break eventually.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed. My bum is still a little sore, but it was probably the best night's sleep I've had in years. No matter, I will not be weak. I will get my revenge. I've got it all figured out. I'll hang around all day watching them, pretend to be nice to them until they let down their defenses, and then I'll attack. They'll never know what hit them. But I just don't feel like it right now. I don't know why, but I don't even feel like seeing any of my girlfriends. I need to beat up that great dane again, but not today.  Right now I just want to eat, sleep, and sing a little soprano.

Until next time when I will own this computer, may you be obedient,
The King

November 17, 2010

When Plan B Fails

I thought the only problem with Plan B is that the cat might not show up this morning. He did show up but when he didn't get fed right away, he left to visit the next home on his route. What he didn't know is that I called all my neighbors and asked them not to leave food out yesterday or this morning. Still, I had to call and call until I'm sure the neighbors thought there was a hyena caught in a bear trap over here, and I opened a can of tuna and walked up and down the driveway letting its fragrance waft in the breeze. Then, he came back.

But the reason Plan B failed is because I didn't consider the possibility that the cat might not like the taste of pill-flavored tuna. He took a bite or two and refused to eat any more. I continued to pet him and noticed that he was losing his balance as he rubbed against the edge of the door. His eyes were glazing over but he wouldn't lay down. He walked through the bowl of tuna and then wobbled and I picked him up. He tensed a bit, but I sat on the floor and held him in my lap, petting him and telling him he was getting sleepy. Hypnotism isn't as easy as it looks on tv because he didn't fall for it. But now that I had tuna smeared all over me, he liked me a lot better.

He wanted to leave. Cat instinct is to find a hiding place when they don't feel right, I guess. Time was running out and Hubby came up with Plan C. We both put on leather gloves (mine were embroidered red suede with fleece lining) and took him into the garage and shut the door. He was not happy about that, but I kept petting him. Hubby opened the squeeze cage the vet loaned us. Cat rubbed against the cage, and stuck his head in.

"It's now or never," Hubby said, and we both shoved him in and shut the cage door. The cat immediately started looking for a way out and found an opening. It was a little window type thing and the wire door was open. He got his head through it and tried to push through. Luckily, he has been eating really well lately, and couldn't get the rest of his fat self through. When he pulled his head back in to regroup, Hubby shut the window.

He clawed and bit the cage all the way to the vet's office. I was prepared to stop and jump out of the car if the cat got out. When I walked in the vet's office door with him, he began a blood-curdling growling meow. The vet looked at him and told me that instead of picking him up this afternoon, I should come back in an hour while he was still sedated. I wished them luck and God rest their souls if the cat escaped that cage.

An hour later, I brought back a bigger pet carrier and the vet carried him out of the recovery room to put him in the cage. The cat was completely stiff, tail straight out, legs pointing straight up. Stiff! I stared in horror and thought the vet had given him the big send off instead of the little snip snip. But apparently stiff cat syndrome is not uncommon after surgery.

Now the cat is coming out of the anesthesia and I am supposed to check on him to make sure he doesn't fall on his face and suffocate. I just looked in on him, and he had moved. I opened the cage to readjust him, and he tried to bite me. This is one unhappy cat. If I have to move him again, I may just have to tilt the cage.

Sorry about the poor quality picture. My camera doesn't do well in low light and I didn't want to further traumatize the cat with the flash.

Update: It is now late afternoon and the cat seems to be completely alert. And unhappy. Long, mournful meows when I check on him. We're keeping the cage covered so he won't hurt himself trying to get out through the wire openings. Hey, it works for birds. This cat has deep-seated confinement issues.

Until next time, may you have blessings and strong cages,

(Part three of this story here.)

November 16, 2010

Countdown to Operation: Cat

Or cat operation, whichever you prefer.

This is the cat. He has been hanging around our neighborhood for a couple of years, dumped most likely by someone who got tired of him hanging around their neighborhood. Until the last few months, we've never had more than a glance at him. He hides in the bushes and only comes out to go from one hiding place to another. Many times he is missing patches of hair and covered in big, scabby wounds. Once he was hit by a car and limped for a month or more, but then recovered on his own. That was at a time when he wouldn't let anyone near him.

But then Maggie moved in with her female cat, and this cat began to change. He started sleeping on Maggie's porch, eating her cat's food, and even let Maggie pet his head. Maggie didn't want him hanging around her house and shooed him away every day, so he still roamed the neighborhood, getting in fights with both dogs and cats. But we started leaving out food also, and eventually, he let us pet his head too. I didn't want him either, but there didn't seem to be any way to get him to go away, so we just decided to let him be.

Doesn't he look nice? He's not. He can be, but he can also go from purring to slashing in a second. Whoever feeds or pets him has to have really fast reflexes to avoid the claws. He also sprays - the house, the shrubs, the patio furniture. Everything. That was the last straw for me. I decided that if he was going to stick around, he had to be fixed.

He is not an adoptable cat because of this aggressive behavior, so we wouldn't take him to the SPCA even if we could catch him, which we can't. We've tried. He is very wary of cages; in fact, he is wary of everything. Any sudden move or noise and he takes off like a shot. He did come in the house one time (there was food involved), and he was fine until I closed the door.

The neighbors across the street call him Tom, not because he is a tom cat, but from the cartoon Tom.
Hubby wanted to name him Socks and still calls him Socks sometimes. I call him the cat when I'm talking to other people, but I call him Kitty to his face. Tomorrow, the cat will probably call himself the victim.

Not that he cares what anyone calls him; he doesn't come to any of those names. He comes to KittyKittyKittyKittyKitty using a hyena-like voice. That means food. He comes to food and nothing else.

He's really a pretty worthless cat. Won't catch rats, mice, or birds. I saw him watch a rabbit hop by him and while he looked with interest, he didn't move. He doesn't play with leaves, or strings, or crickets, or any of the things other cats normally chase. He's just lazy. I don't know how he survived so long on his own until we started feeding him. He was much thinner then too.

So, that brings me to Operation: Cat

I called the vet last week, told him of our failure to catch said cat, and asked for Plan B. This vet always has a Plan B. This is the plan.

Today, at 1700, I pick up a cat tranquilizer from the vet.
Tomorrow, at 0700, I start the kitty call.
At 0800, I crush the pill and mix it with a teaspoon of tuna.
At 0805, I pet the cat (so he won't leave) until he falls asleep.
At 0900, I slip the unconscious cat into a pet carrier and take him to the vet.
At 1100, the vet gives him a rabies shot, and a quick snip, snip.
At 1400, I pick up the cat and take him home and get him out of the carrier before he awakes.
At 1500, the cat stops spraying and starts singing soprano.

The success of Plan B hinges on the reliability of a stray cat to show up in the morning.

Wish us luck.

Until next time, may you have blessings and sweet kitties,

(Part Two of this story here.)

November 15, 2010

Embarrassment Proof

Having kids is a lot of work, a lot of frustration, and a lot of expense. One odd benefit though is that they make parents embarrassment proof. Our first little precious began insulating me against embarrassment the first time she threw up on me in public. I'm sure my face was beet red as I hurried us to the car to go home. The second time, it was probably also a shade of red as I went to the restroom to try to clean up. The third time, I just sat where I was and wiped it up with another diaper. Our second little precious didn't throw up on me in public; her diaper leaked, and it wasn't pee. I was mortified, as we were at a party and people were eating. And it reeked. After that, I could stand in line at a store with a kid in a smelly diaper, wear projectile vomit like an embroidered design, and clean up assorted bodily fluids without gagging. Much. But now the kids are grown and gone and I haven't had my embarrassment shield tested in awhile.

Until this weekend. Hubby's brother stopped by to help us move the washer and dryer (again), but he wanted to stop off at the bathroom first. As he left, I mentally went over the laundry I'd hung to dry in that bathroom. Just jeans and bath mats, I'm good. After he left, I continued doing laundry, walked into that bathroom, and THEN I remembered I had been sorting laundry on the floor - jeans and underwear. Oh well, nothing he hasn't seen before.

But there's more.

The last time Lil was home, she went shopping and found the perfect bra to make her very slim figure more rounded (if you get my drift), but they only had one. She gave me the tag and asked me to get another sometime. I lost the tag, but I did find one I thought was it. I called her to compare numbers and took it into the room with the brightest light, the guest bathroom. And there it lay on the counter, in all it's rounded glory. *sigh* Oh well, once again, nothing he hasn't seen before. Except he probably thought it was mine.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a bulletproof embarrassment shield,

November 12, 2010

Cheap Pictures

Hi all, I know it's been awhile since I've updated the ol' blog. I wish I could say it's because I've been so busy getting things done, but the truth is that I've been down in the dumps. Hubby has been away on his annual hunting trip and I just don't do well when he is gone. I did get some stuff done though. I was determined to get something finished while he was gone and that one thing was the bathroom. The construction has been finished for awhile, but a room just isn't finished until it has some art on the walls. I spent so much money on getting another piece framed that I needed something cheap for this room.

Remember this picture I found at a thrift store?

Changed to this:

Total cost $8.00

I don't have a before of the next two pictures. They were frames my neighbor gave me. I just painted them, added mats and printed photos of my dogs.

Total cost $3.50.

Until next time, may you have blessings and simple projects,

October 20, 2010

When Life Gives You Watermelons....

Make watermelonade?

We had a bumper crop from a volunteer vine in the compost. After eating all we wanted and giving away to anyone who would take them, we still had watermelon. So I juiced one, or what was left after we cut a few slices off. Doesn't it look yummy?

It wasn't. There is a reason you don't see watermelon juice in stores.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a bumper crop of any other fruit,

Possums. Not Cute, and Not Smart

This little guy (or gal) got stuck between the chainlink fence and a cattle panel and couldn't figure out how to back up. Even after I pulled the cattle panel out, he just sat there. When I came back out later with the camera, he was still there, glaring.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a glimpse at the wildlife around you,

October 01, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

I’ve talked before about my group of longtime friends, most I’ve known since junior high, and some since first grade. Several of us were planning a weekend trip to First Monday Trade Days in Canton this weekend. That all changed with a phone call last Tuesday. Hubby and I had traded phones and he had a meeting that day, but he called after lunch to say he had gotten a garbled message from one of the girls in our group. She said someone died and he wasn’t sure but he thought it might have been the husband of another friend, and she wanted me to call the rest of our group and let them know.

Of course that couldn’t be right. None of our group was in ill health, all were active and working. It had to be a misunderstanding due to a bad phone connection. So my first call was to make sure it wasn’t K’s husband. But it was. M and K had been out of town and were driving home when he suddenly hit the brake and asked her to take the wheel. By the time she got the car to the side of the road, he was gone. In the blink of an eye, she went from planning a fun weekend with us to a grieving widow.

The rest of my day was spent trying to get in touch with my friends and numbly staring off into space as I mourned for my friend and the pain she was feeling. I mourned for M too. He was so much fun, always joking but with a big smile and hug for friends. His voice sounded like melting chocolate and we always teased that he should be doing commercials. He and K had the same relationship they did when they met thirty-six years ago, one minute bantering back and forth and the next minute sweet-talking each other and giggling like kids. I know; I was there the day they met.

The next morning I picked up another friend and we drove to our hometown to be there for K. It helped to talk on the long ride up, and I thought I had a handle on my emotions until I saw K. I cry over Hallmark commercials and I couldn’t hold it together once I saw her. The next day, the church was packed and we were lucky to find seats during the funeral. K wisely picked uplifting songs that she and M both liked, and she elected not to have anyone speak except the priest. She said she didn’t want to start crying because once she started, the kids would lose it, and she didn’t want anyone talking about her falling apart. Like I said, she is very wise.

It was really hard to leave town. We both wanted to stay in case she needed to talk, or gripe, or scream, or cry. But her family was there and she had things she had to take care of, so we left – with plans to go back in a few weeks when life has gone on for the rest of the world.

M and K got married about a month before we did. Thinking about them made me look back over our lives too. When we were young, newly married, and had our whole lives ahead of us, we didn’t give a lot of thought to the future. When we did think of it, it was in fairly vague terms of growing old together. Sure, we had a will and knew it was possible that something could happen to us, but that was in the hazy, distant future. It’s not hazy anymore.

Until next time, may you have blessings and friends of a lifetime,

September 27, 2010


Whatever this is, it doesn't look like either of the seed packages.  We bought yellow squash and zuchinni, and we have two plants that look like they should, and this one.  What is it?

Until next time, may you have blessings and a bountiful harvest,

September 17, 2010

Gecko Invasion

This one is on the living room wall - I don't think it is here to sell insurance.

The pros are that they eat spiders and crickets. Cons are that they dart in when the door is opened at night. I wonder if they are chasing the crickets around the house while we sleep? I wonder if they crawl up the walls and watch us while we sleep? I wonder if I should quit sleeping at night?

Until next time, may you have blessings and peaceful sleep,

September 14, 2010

I Need Jewelry Repair Help

I do a lot of crafting, but have never made jewelry, so while these repairs should be fairly easy I think, I don't even know where to get parts.

First are a couple of my daughter's belts, the loose fitting, chain type.  Both had a lobster clasp and both clasps are broken.  One belt looks like stainless steel (it looks tarnished in this photo but it's not at all) and the other is an antiqued metal. Any ideas where to get replacement clasps?

Next is a necklace that was given to my daughter and now it is missing rhinestones. Blue rhinestones. There are four missing stones and I have three. Should I a) just tell her to throw it away, b) superglue the three stones back in and put a clear stone in the other, c) another suggestion?

Last, hardest, and most important to fix, is another necklace given to my daughter. It is one of a set that was custom made for a group my daughter was in. The hook fell off and was lost.

Below is a scan of the hook part of another member's necklace.

Do you know where I can find a hook like that? Or

Should I a) replace it with any hook, or b) replace the whole rope/chain?

Anyone notice that all this stuff is my daughter's????? I would give it to her but she's totally un-crafty and it would never get fixed at her house.

Thanks all!

Until next time, may you have blessings and things that don't break,

Update:  I took K's advice and went to Michael's and Hobby Lobby even though I had already checked their website.  Michael's had nothing but Hobby Lobby had a silver metal color, a brassy gold metal color, and a couple of painted  ones.  I think this one might work even though it doesn't match whatever color this might be - tarnish color?  Thanks K!

September 08, 2010

A Video is Worth a Thousand Words

Lately, I've been watching the tv show Hoarders. Disgust is strong motivation for me to declutter. The last one I watched was Jennifer and Ron, and Jill. I did have a youtube video linked here, but found the link broken so someone must have removed it.

Jill's philosophy seems to be that most food is edible, even if it is past it's expiration date. In her words, "what are you going to do with sour cream, what's going to to wrong with it, is it going to go sour?"

Remember that the next time you are tempted to buy food at a bake sale.

I found a new quote today too (not from Hoarders).

"Clutter is just delayed decision-making." - Amanda Wiss

Love it!

Until next time, may you have blessings and safe food,

September 07, 2010

The Brain Fog Has Descended

This is an update for anyone who cares; if not, this is a record for myself.

I got the results of my MRI last Tuesday. I have a torn ligament in my right elbow. The doctor basically said my two options are surgery or cortisone shots. Even though I had a bad reaction to the cortisone shot last year, he thought that was a fluke and wouldn't happen again. He also said part of the problem was that they didn't know what they were dealing with last year since they didn't do an MRI or x-ray, and they gave me the shot in my muscle instead of the joint. So I gave in, and agreed to get the shot. I really don't want surgery.

The shot wasn't nearly as bad as last year, and then the elbow pain began getting better so I was very hopeful. Then I began getting tired. Really tired. Hubby left Friday to go hunting for the weekend, and I don't sleep well while he is gone, so I thought my weekend without good sleep was the problem. Then, yesterday I noticed that my legs had a tingly feeling like they had been asleep. I thought it was because I was kneeling down doing some painting and had put pressure on a nerve. I got a good night's sleep last night and still woke up dead tired this morning. As the morning went on, I noticed that both legs and arms had that tired, trembly feeling, like aching to lie down and rest.

If I don't post much in the coming weeks or months, this is why.

Until next time, may you have blessings and energy,

August 30, 2010

Top Ten Quotes of the Day

10. 43% of all statistics are worthless.
9. A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn’t.
8. Carpenter’s rule: cut to fit; beat into place.
7. Your true value depends entirely on what you are compared with.
6. When I am sad, I sing, and then the world is sad with me.
5. They call it "pms" because "mad cow disease" was already taken.
4. Humor is... despair refusing to take itself seriously. - Arland Ussher
3. Do what you like. Like what you do. Optimism can take you anywhere.
2. Patience is a virtue - but I've never claimed to be virtuous.
1. A good part of life is figuring out whose expectations I should live up to and who I should blow off.

And a bonus. Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. - Will Rogers

Until next time, may you have blessings and a happy day,

August 28, 2010

How to Get Rid of Ants with Cat Food

Most of the time when people want to ask a question anonymously, they just email me. But this morning there was a comment from another blogger awaiting moderation that started out “Please don’t post this comment….”

I don’t know if she didn’t want anyone to know she reads my blog *gasp* or if she didn’t want anyone to know she asked the question. But anyhoodle, someone wants to know if cat food really keeps fire ants from biting. She was commenting on this post.

Well, yes and no. It only stops ants if they are dead. There is no taming of a fire ant. Also, cat food alone won’t kill fire ants, otherwise we’d have very few cats.

Let me explain why ant baits alone don’t really work.

First of all, you have to understand ants, specifically fire ants. Their colonies are like little medieval kingdoms, well, more like queendoms. The queen does two things, eat and reproduce. The rest of the ants are workers, and most of them are sterile. After they are born, they become little Stepford workers doing their assigned jobs with abject devotion. The worker ants have a caste system, which is also much like a medieval queendom.

Trivia note: The suffix "dom" means domain and comes from the Old English "doom"

At the bottom of the caste are the construction ants. They are all sterile so it really doesn’t matter if they are male or female. Their job is to make new tunnels and rooms for the ever expanding queendom, since the queen lays a couple of thousand eggs every day.

Over them is the highly trained army of biters. At the first sign of trouble for the queendom, they swarm out of the mound, climbing and biting the enemy in order to protect the queen and her realm. They have bionic jaws which will not open once they have latched onto the enemy.

Over the biters are the scouts. They scour the countryside looking for food, both for the nourishment of the entire realm, but also to find delicacies for the queen. Finding such a delicacy permits them to have a coveted audience with the queen where they present their prize.

Over the biters are the nannies. They are assigned to an egg from the moment it is laid. They nurse it through the larval stage, feeding it, cleaning up after it, carrying it out of harms way if the mound is threatened, until it becomes a fully formed ant who goes off and leaves the nanny sitting all alone in her rocking chair for the rest of her life.

Over the nannies is the job supervisor who walks around with a clipboard looking important. Once an ant becomes an adult, it is inspected by the job supervisor who assigns it a place in the caste and determines whether it will be sterilized or retain its gender. The most attractive and virile males are allowed to retain their gender and they are assigned to the queen’s harem where they remain until she needs them. The other males and females are run through the radiation chamber where they are instantly sterilized.

The virile males live in luxury while they wait to meet their queen. They always meet the queen in a totally dark room because once they see her, they are so repulsed by her corpulent stretch-mark scarred body that they instantly become sterile, making radiation unnecessary, and then they join the rest of the construction ants digging tunnels the rest of their miserable lives.

Over the supervisor are the queen’s attendants. These lords and ladies-in-waiting stay in the queen’s chamber and take care of her. The queen is a lot like Henry VIII or Marlon Brando in that she eats so much that she can barely move from bed to throne. Her attendants help her move from place to place, they are her midwives, they are her birth coaches, and most importantly, they are her food testers.

Now that you understand how the caste works, let me explain why ant baits don’t work. You see, the instructions on most baits say to sprinkle it around the mound and when the ants find it, they will take it to the queen who will eat it, die, and without her the colony will die. But it doesn’t work that way.

Haven’t you ever noticed that you sprinkle the bait around the mound, and the next day, it’s still there? Or that some of it is gone and the mound has moved a few feet?

That’s because real ants aren’t like the ants you see on animated movies and cartoons. They don’t walk on their back legs and carry the bait in their arms. No, they carry the bait in their jaws, and sometimes one gets greedy and eats some of the bait before he picks it up to carry back to the queen, or sometimes he just bites the bait too hard as he carries it back. Either way, he dies before making it back to the queen. Then the other ants gather around and try to figure out what happened.

“Hey Joe,” they say, prodding him with their toe, “Git on up Joe, you oughten be sleepin’ now.” (Ants aren’t big on using correct grammar.)

“I jes’ saw ‘im a minute ago, an he ‘as doin’ jes’ fine,” says one.

“He jus' up an’ died,” says another.

Then along comes old Pete. “He wuz pizoned! Pizoned I tell ya. I seed it afore and I knowd it the minute I seed him.”

“Whadda we do now?” the others ask old Pete.

“Drop everythin', and don’t go near ‘im. This here’s dead man’s hill. God save the queen!”

So they all drop the bait they are carrying and make a mad dash to the queen to report what happened.

“Close tunnel number one!” she declares, “and move operations to the furthermost ramparts of the queendom!”

With the biters leading the way, they make their way to the queen’s country estate at the far end of the dom, and it becomes the new queendom. The attendants pick up the queen and begin the arduous process of carrying her rotund body through the tunnels and the nannies follow carrying the eggs and larvae. The workers create a new tunnel to the surface with a magnificent new mound, and life continues within the queendom.

However, I discovered the cat food treatment quite by accident. The cat, whose name is Buddy The Cat, will not finish eating all the cat food in his bowl, no matter how much or how little I put in it. And within minutes of him sauntering away from the bowl, ants have found the cat food and have swarmed all over it so I can’t even pick up the bowl.

What happens is that a scout found the cat eating the food, grabbed a piece of it, and ran to the queendom, leaving a scent trail behind him so he could find his way back. He begs an audience with the queen in order to present the delicious treat. But first, the queen picks an attendant to taste it. Eyes averted, the attendants squirm nervously while she scans the room, mentally calculating who is the most expendable. No one wants to be the queen’s food tester as there is a 50/50 chance the food is poison, but whoever is picked puts on a brave front and takes a big bite.

If the attendant dies, the queen screams “Off with his head!” pointing at the scout who brought the offending morsel.

And another attendant rushes over to the scout and bites off his head. Ants are cannibals you know.

Then the queen says “Bring a bite to me too, I’m eating for 2-thousand you know.”

Cannibals I tell ya!

When they have finished feasting on the scout, some workers are called down to haul the poisoned attendant down to the basement where he is laid to rest with the rest of his kinsmen.

But, if the seconds tick by and the food tester attendant is unaffected, the queen demands that the new found food be brought to her. She takes a small bite, smiles, and gobbles it all down, belches loudly, and then says:

“That was lip smackin’ good! How much is there?”

“There’s a plumb mountain of it milady!” says the scout.

“Enough for the entire kingdom?” asks the queen.

“Yes, milady,” says the scout.

“Get all the workers and gather the bounty,” says the queen, “we’ll have a feast tonight!”

And within minutes, the entire bowl of cat food is covered with ants.

After this happened a few times, I surrounded the cat food with a circle of ant bait, thinking the ants wouldn’t cross the bait line and I could come back and get the bowl. My bait of choice is Amdro, but that’s only because that is all I could find at the store.

But the next morning, ALL of the bait was gone, as well as all of the cat food.

There was no moving to the country estate and forming a new queendom, no dead ant bodies with pieces of bait next to them, just an empty mound.

The ants, gathered in their feasting room, raised a toast to the queen and had no sooner finished saying “God save the Queen” when she fell forward into her pile of cat food and ant bait and then they too keeled over where they were sitting or standing, some struggling to get nearer their queen before they gasped their last breath.

There will probably be more ants, as there are eggs and larvae deep within the many nurseries of the doomed dom, and some will survive even without the care of a nanny. The newborn queens will battle within the nurseries and the survivor will lead her fledgling minions, stepping over the decaying bodies of the old queen and her realm of ants still gathered around the feast table, traveling to new lands where the scouts will once again forage for delicacies to feed the queen. And I’ll be ready.

Until next time, may you have blessings and doomed antdoms in your realm,

Redneck Security System

From tip to toe, she's easily as big as my hand. Anyone who walks through that gate without ducking will have her on his head and will be screaming like a little girl. Who needs a dog when we have her?

Until next time, may you have blessings and vigilant security,

August 27, 2010

I Think I'm Getting a New Right Arm Tomorrow

Today I overused my left arm trying to clean out a front flower weed bed.  I worked on it most of the afternoon until I ran into a vicious fire ant bed.  I was going to try to gentle them with some cat food, but we went out to dinner with the in-laws (it's their 65th annivesary) and now it's dark.  I'll feed them tomorrow and then avoid the mound until it's safe.

My feet are better today, thank heavens.  I can walk with tennis shoes and socks, but not flip flops.  The sandals I walked in yesterday were my church sandals and they are just about toast now.   Those shoes just weren't meant for walking.  I may have to go shopping tomorrow so I have shoes to wear Sunday.

Neighborhood news.  A pug belonging to a neighbor across the street was killed last night in it's own fenced backyard, probably by a bobcat.  Most of the neighbors heard all the neighborhood dogs start barking about 3:30, but no one saw anything.  We have neighbors whose dogs bark all night many nights so we didn't even suspect anything unusual.  Now the neighbors have been alerted to watch out for their pets.  Like one neighbor told me, it's so shocking because we felt that our backyards were safe.  But there are large, wooded areas with creeks on both ends of our street, so there is probably more wildlife than we realize.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a good weekend,

August 26, 2010

The Beastmobile Finally Let Me Down

My new car got a nail in a tire yesterday so I drove the Beastmobile to get my MRI this afternoon.  On the way home, I stopped at a garden center near my house and when I pulled out of their parking lot, the steering wheel suddenly stiffened.  The truck was still running but the temperature gauge was going up and I smelled rubber burning.  I managed to womanhandle the truck to the side of the highway, turned it off and ran back across the highway to the garden center to use their phone.  (When I got to the MRI place, my phone wasn't in it's holder so I guessed I must have left it at home.)

I called Hubby.  No answer.  I thought he might be at home where his phone doesn't get good service, so I called my phone hoping he would hear it and answer it.  Nothing.  I couldn't remember my neighbor's number, and I knew Hubby would call right back so I told the guy who let me use their phone to tell him I was going to start walking home and please come pick me up.  Hubby told me later that he did call back and the guy hung up on him.

I had only walked about  a tenth of a mile when I thought I probably should have asked to use their bathroom before I started walking.  I also wished I was wearing my usual tennis shoes and jeans instead of sandals and polyester slacks.  You know that sound that bare feet make as they stick to and release from the plastic sole of a sandal?  That's the sound of a blister forming.  Two and a half miles from the garden center to my house and not one person stopped to see if I wanted a ride, not even the lady across the street.  She just waved and drove on.  Like Hubby says, she's not very observant and probably didn't really even notice me.  I notice things and would have stopped if I had seen anyone walking in sandals.  But maybe most people don't notice stuff like that.  I have two giant blisters on each foot.   The only good thing is that it was only 94 degrees today and the wind was blowing, so it could have been worse.

Now if anyone knows how to get these blisters to go away quickly, let me know.  I don't think I'll be walking much in the next few days.

Oh, and my phone?  In the Beastmobile the whole time.  It had fallen out of the holder and under the driver's seat.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a dependable car,

If I Were Going to Gripe, It Would be Today

I went clothing shopping today. I hate shopping. Actually, I hate being fat and the two go hand in hand. If you are a member of the hippy club (one whose hips exceed the circumference of any clothing that fits the rest of your body), you know what I mean.

This is a photo from Woman Within. It's a Plus Size dress.


If I were going to gripe, it would be about clothes like this that are supposedly designed for plus size women. If a plus size model were wearing this dress, it wouldn't look anything like this. It would be bulged out instead of in at the waist, lumpy bulges above and below the waist because that's what knit does. And really, without the hourglass waist, this dress is a red, clingy, potato sack.

So instead of griping, I think I'll start my own line of clothing for short, pudgy women. Real women. It will look like camouflage to hide all the flaws.

Oh wait, Michael Kors already thought of it.

Rats! Back to the drawing board.

Until next time, may you have blessings and clothes that fit,

August 24, 2010

Let it Rain!

It's overcast and thundering. Please let it rain here! I heard on morning tv that today is going to be our last day of temperature in the 100's, and it's already dropped down to 98 here. I'm so happy. I have garden plans ready to put into action as soon as the temperatures drop low enough to transplant a few things.

Update on my arm: I went to an orthopedic surgeon Monday and had an x-ray. There are no fractures but there is a small bone spur. He gave me a tube of Voltaren Gel to try out and I go in for an MRI on Thursday. He says most people can be helped without surgery, but most people also have a series of cortisone shots and that is out for me.

Update! It's raining! I went outside to take this picture, and not two minutes later the rain was falling.

Update again.  It cooled off quickly to 85 but as soon as the sun came out again, the temperature started rising and it was so humid it was hard to breathe outside.  By 5:00, it was back up to 98.  Oh well, it was nice for a few minutes and tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 90.  That's going to be nice!

Until next time, may you have blessings and blessed rain,

August 18, 2010

Changing Eating Habits

Lately, Hubby and I have been having a smoothie for dinner (or supper as most Southerners call it).  I eat something simple like oatmeal for breakfast and a filling meal for lunch.  When Hubby first started making smoothies, I didn't care for them.  I don't really like crushed ice in a drink.  (Hurts my teeth.)  But then I started making my own and really like them.  My recipe, if you can call it that, is below.

Strawberry Smoothie

About 15 frozen strawberries, plain strawberries, no sugar (less if they are all big)
1 banana
1/2 cup Bulgarian yogurt

Mix in blender until smooth.
That's about it.  Substitute any fruit and I'm sure it will be as good.  It's the frozen strawberries and the bananas that make it fluffy and full.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I hadn't noticed any benefits from having an evening smoothie, at least no weight loss that I could tell.  The only advantage was having more time in the evening. lol

But yesterday Hubby called on his way home from work and asked if I wanted to go out to eat.  So we went to a little Tex-Mex restaurant in town and I got my favorite dinner, and didn't even eat all of it, even though it seemed smaller than usual.  Afterward, I felt stuffed and miserable.  I knew we still had to come home and pick the garden, but I really didn't want to.

That's when it hit me.  I felt good after eating a smoothie.  Really good.  Energetic, ready to do things when it finally cooled down in the evening.  Not that it ever gets cool anymore, but 90 degrees is more tolerable when the sun has finally dropped below the horizon and the shadows haven't deepened into night.

I picked the garden, but I told Hubby the next time he wants to eat out for dinner that he should not call and ask me if I want to go, and then just go without me.

Until next time, may you have blessings and pleasant evenings,

Diet, My ordinary life

August 16, 2010

How to Research Ownership of Your Property, Part 4

After writing parts 1-3, I thought I was ready to move on to researching the people, but then I thought about the problems that often arise in a search. So this takes up where I left off in Part 3. I thought I’d just cover a few problems and how to overcome them.

Problem 1
I can’t find the previous owner in the grantee index.

This usually happens when you are really on a roll, everything is falling into place nicely, and you think to yourself “I’m going to have this done in just a few minutes.” That was your first mistake. Never ever say to yourself that you are going to have something done quickly; you just don’t want to tempt fate.

Let’s look at another example where such a problem has come up. This is my worksheet for property currently owned by Josh McDonald.

We can find that Josh McDonald bought from Eleanor Ivey in 2005 and Eleanor Ivey bought from James Johnson in 1999. But we can’t find who James Johnson bought from. On the computer we have looked back to 1992 and only found the deed from him to Eleanor Ivey. Since it’s on computer, we can also view the document, but it doesn’t reveal any references to past instruments. We have searched by Johnson James, Johnson Jim, and Johnson J.

Nada. Zippo. Big, fat, nothing. No warranty deed. And we would also expect a release of lien to be filed soon after he sold to Eleanor Ivey when his loan (if he had one) was paid, and we didn’t find that either. We have looked in the Grantee index books back to 1939 and didn’t find him.

Remember that we record the “Instrument Date” and the “Recording Date”. Most of the time, they are within a week of each other. But sometimes a person buys property, and the deed isn’t filed with the county clerk’s office for quite a while. Sometimes, in cash transactions, it could be years between signing the deed and filing the deed, and the oversight isn’t caught until the property is sold again and a title search reveals a break in the chain. Then, you’ll find the missing deed filed with the current warranty deed for the property. But that wasn’t the case this time.

Next, we go to the Grantor index to see if he signed a Deed of Trust for a mortgage on the property. We’ll start at June 9, 1999 on the computer and work backward just as we did with the grantee index, and that is how we found him. James Johnson et ux (remember that means and wife) Victoria signed a Deed of Trust on October 31, 1991 and it is located in Vol. 600, page 352. We’ll look up that instrument and see if it references the warranty deed. Unfortunately, all it says is that there is a warranty deed of even date, meaning of the same date. See what we get for tempting fate?

Just to make sure we didn’t miss it, we go back to the Grantee book for October 31, 1991. The book only goes to October 6, 1991, and there is no note at the bottom of the page saying it is continued on page xxx (which often happens when they run out of room on the last page of the section). We know the computer starts with January 1992, so where is the index for October 7, 1991 through December 31, 1991? Lost? Misplaced?

We go ask a clerk who has another resource that can be checked. It is the daily log, which records every document in chronological order as it is received by the clerk’s office, regardless of type. So if a warranty deed and a deed of trust are received at the same time, they are going to be listed one after the other in this log. The clerk finds not only the missing warranty deed, but also the deed of trust and the release of lien, all in that three month period!

So now we have the warranty deed and find that James Johnson and wife Victoria bought the property from Holly Oak Development Corp. on Oct. 31, 1991, and they paid off the loan on Nov. 10, 1991. The release was filed Dec. 11, 1991. (Various reasons for taking out a loan and then paying it off immediately:  private loan that wasn’t complete at the time of sale, cashing out stocks that didn’t happen in time, inheritance, etc.)

Problem 2
The previous grantee is a big corporation, yet I can’t find them in the index.

Let’s take Holly Oak Development Corp. as an example. Remember that at the front of the index books is a guide page to tell us on what page the name will be located. See if the guide is just for names of people....

If so, see if there is another page behind that one that is for names of corporations - which has a different set of pages:

Problem 3
The corporation bought and sold so many properties that I don’t know which ones to look at.

Right now our worksheet looks like this:

Whether on the computer or in the books, look on the right side of the page for the description of the property.  That will help us narrow our search even if it just lists the subdivision or survey, and will pinpoint the deed if our exact description is there.

(See the computer screen above, and  the index book below)

We are looking for Hamilton Heights, lot 12 in block 59. But if this is a developer, it may not be listed as each lot or even each block, and it’s possible (and most likely) the developer bought the land before it was named the Hamilton Heights subdivision. Let’s add the name of the survey to our worksheet. Since our deeds have only had the name of the lot, block and subdivision, we need to go to the plat records to find out what survey it is in.

Ask the clerk where the plat records are, and how to search them for your subdivision. They will either be in a hanging file (they are quite large, at least 36 inches by 36 inches), or in a file cabinet with lots of shallow drawers. Most of the time, they are in alphabetical order, so you merely look for the letter “H” and then find Hamilton Heights. When we find it, at the top of the plat map, it will tell us the name of the survey, along with the legal description for the entire subdivision, which says it has a total of 112 acres. Now we find that our subdivision is out of parts of the the Isaac Kingsley Survey, Abstract 172, and the William Culbertson Survey, Abstract 293.

Now we continue with the grantee index. At the bottom of our worksheet, we can write down every document that pertains to either the “Hamilton Heights subdivision” or the “Kingsley and Culbertson Surveys”, and if we don’t find the exact acreage, we’ll have to look up every document until we find a legal description that matches the one on the plat. Skip any that specify a lot and block of the Hamilton Heights subdivision that isn’t ours. As we work backward, we find that Holly Oak Development Corp. bought two pieces of land in the Kingsley and Culbertson Surveys. One is for 247 acres and the other is for 112 acres. Bingo, we found it.

*note* If we hadn’t found the exact acreage, it would most likely be because pieces were cut off for roads, etc. In the legal description, it should have wording ending with "and containing 120 acres, save and except the 8 acres within the county road” and you will have to subtract to make sure it is our 112 acres. Or it might end with “less 8 acres, and containing 112 acres”.

Now our worksheet looks like this:

Problem 4
The previous grantee bought several tracts out of the same survey, and none of the acreages match the one I am looking for.

It could be the same as my example in Part 3, and the grantee divided the land and sold pieces to different people.

Or it could be that the grantee bought small pieces and combined them into a larger tract. In that case, you have to find all the pieces he bought and find the ones that fit within the 120 acres he later sold. With any luck, the grantee combined everything he bought and into our 120 acres.

If the pieces are not an obvious fit, each piece will need to be plotted onto a graph to make certain they belong in the larger tract, and I’m not prepared to explain that at this time. If you ever come across this problem, feel free to contact me for help.

I can’t find the address on the deed.

Property isn’t described by address, because addresses can change. Property is described by legal description, often called metes and bounds which is the surveyor’s description of a measured piece of land. The measurement is in feet and the corners or turns are described by degrees. In Texas, older deeds will give the lengths in varas which was a form of measurement in Mexico, and thus in the early Texas. One vara is a few inches short of a yard.

Here is an easy one, a simple square:

Beginning at an iron rod being the SE corner of the Jacob Davis Survey, Abstract #543,
Thence south, 30° 220’ 11”
Thence east, 60° 220’ 11”
Thence north, 30° 220’ 11”
Thence west, 60° 220’ 11” to the place of Beginning and containing 1.121 acres, more or less.

Here’s a quiz for you. Is this land in the Jacob Davis Survey? (Scroll to bottom for map answer)

Here is a harder one, but very typical for older descriptions:  (drawing below with red outline around described tract)

Situated on the waters of Red Dog Creek about 4 miles NW from Casonville.
Beginning at the NE corner of the 116 acres Tucker tract,
Thence South with the East line of said tract 475 varas to a corner in the North line of 160 acres in the name of J.C. Wilson.
West 475 varas to Red Dog Creek.
Northeasterly along Red Dog Creek to a large live oak tree.
Thence North 45 feet to the south line of 200 acres in the name of W. Martin,
Thence east 400 varas to the place of beginning and containing 100 acres more or less.

Did you get the right answer to the first one?

I hope all this isn’t too hard to understand and that it answers the questions that will come up when you do research. If you have any questions or need a better explanation, please ask.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a simple search,

p.s.  Professional title researchers and landmen usually have an account with a title company.  That gives them access to the company records and makes searching much easier, because most title companies sort their records by the Survey.


Genealogy, Title research

August 14, 2010

I Am a Blogaholic

I love seeing what other people create, what they think, and how they organize their lives. I like to read a variety of blogs but there are some that give me that “oh boy!” feeling when I see a new post.

One of my favorite blogs is Our House, written by a forum friend of mine, Pakalana. Her writing style is warm and easy, giving a peek into her life as a homesteading farmwife and mother of five. She milks cows and goats, feeds chickens, rabbits, pigs, and of course cats and dogs, gardens and cans her produce, bakes, and still has time for her family. It’s like a modern Little House on the Prairie, and every entry ends with me wanting to read more. I think her life intrigues me because it’s something I always wanted to do, but I know now that I never will. It’s such a far cry from my usual life of gardening, remodeling, and life near the city. She doesn’t post often during the busy seasons of her life (and they’re all busy) but I hope she posts more soon.

I have found that I really can’t live without Better After. I don’t know how she does it, but Lindsey finds the most amazing transformations and I could look at them all day. (And sometimes I do.) This is one of those blogs where every entry is good and you want to go back and read from the beginning. (And I have.) I was going to link to one of my favorite transformations, but really, there are so many that I can’t decide between them.

Another blog that is a daily addiction is Someday Crafts. Every craft Michelle has found has been one I would like to make. Someday. She finds something for everyone and I love the variety. I used to bookmark each post but found that I was doing that every day! She has a list in her right column with the crafts labeled, so now I use that to find something I want to make.

I’ve mentioned before that Larainy Days is one of my favorites. Her posts crack me up; I just love the way she looks at life. I love her latest, Dressing for Failure. I think every woman, well, every woman over 35, can relate.

I have learned so much from Blogger Tricks. I found this blog when I had accidently changed my blog template and couldn’t figure out how to get it back. Then I started looking at all the tips and had several of those “Aha!” moments when I finally understood some things I had read about. I even learned how to make these links open in a new window there. Kranthi also has some really neat templates. When I find the right two column template, I want to switch to something more contemporary.

Katy Wolk-Stanley at The Non-Consumer Advocate writes a smart blog about frugality, living simply, decluttering, living wisely, green living, and all the things that are near and dear to my heart. I love that she lives what she writes.

If I had little ones at home, I would have to make everything Amy does at The Idea Room. I don’t know if she sits around thinking up all this cute stuff all day, or if she gets an idea somewhere else and tweaks it so it is just right. A lot of her ideas are perfect for adults gifts as well. I’ve made several things and will be gearing up for Christmas crafts soon. Last year I bought all the stuff to make personalized hand sanitizer, and then I never got around to making it. This year I am starting early.

I found Back Porch Musings when I was looking for something to do around St. Louis one year. But I’ve kept reading Pat’s blog to read more of her adventures. She also gives some great tips that I have used in my blog. Seeing her lovely home gives me hope that the chaos of my house may someday be tamed. It does fill me with longing to see a house where every room is not only finished, but perfectly decorated with nary a ladder or paintbrush in sight. Someday. Someday.

There are so many more, I could really go on and on adnauseum. Some blogs appeal to one person and not another, so the ones I like may hold no interest at all for someone else. Some blogs that draw me are because I see myself in the posts. I connect with some blogs in one post and then never really get the same feel again. But there are other blogs, like Grandma's Attic that I swear I see more similarities all the time. It’s like she is reading my mind at times, and that is freaky but oddly reassuring too.

The funny thing is, on most of the blogs I read, I look on their blog rolls and see other blogs I read. What are your favorite blogs?

Until next time, may you have blessings and inspiration in blogland,