Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yet another bite...

OK, so my last post left off talking about the seagull incident. I didn't mention that there was another bite that same day. Not another seagull. Not another mouse. This time was a feral cat.

Remember this post about the feral cat colony in Fortescue? My sister and I were feeding the cats, hoping to catch some of them and get them neutered, but of course we were not fully prepared. No cat cage, no gloves... nothing but a bag of cat chow and high hopes of saving a life or two.

To make a long story short (I have to get ready to go to work), I ended up getting bitten by one of the cats. I didn't get a picture of it, but it looked something like this:

scary black cat

It wasn't the cat's fault. The poor thing was scared. Still, I ended with some kitty fangs in my hand. You know what that means... The next day I called my doctor's office to see if I needed an antibiotic. The nurse told me that they send all cat bites to the ER. Seriously? The Emergency Room? I told her that it wasn't serious at all, definitely NOT an emergency. She said that is standard procedure. I insisted on seeing a doctor before being sent to the ER, so they reluctantly gave me an appointment.

The nurse who came to the waiting room to take me back to an exam room looked at me and said "You're the mouse girl!" What have you gotten into now? After briefly explaining, she said "I want to follow you around for a week. You must have a fascinating life." Fascinating? Yeah, right.

The doctor agreed that it wasn't serious, and gave me an antibiotic but told me that I had to be seen again in a week. Even if it was completely healed, I HAD to go back and let them see the wound. I figured that was better than going to the ER, so I agreed.

One week later, I go back to the doctor. After the routine blood pressure, pulse, temperature check, she examines the seagull and cat bites and then says that even though everything was healing nicely, she wanted me to get a rabies antibody test. Apparently I had a fever. Great. There was no way I could have rabies. I figured she was just being overly thorough. I took the paperwork, "filed" it in the glove compartment of my car, and figured she would never know if I got the test or not.

A week goes by, and I am really feeling like crap. Tired all the time, headache-y, stiff neck, eyes hurt. All of the classic signs of a fever. I took my temperature. It was 100.2. I take some Advil, and get on with my day. Next day, feeling like crap again, temp was 99.9. Holy crap, could I have rabies????

I dug the paperwork for bloodwork out of my glove compartment and hauled my fevered self to the lab. Two (feverish) days go by, then three, then four. I don't hear a word. I call the doctor's office on day 5. I am told it takes at least a week for a rabies test, sometimes two weeks. Then there was the Thanksgiving holiday... I tell the nurse I still have a fever, she wants me to come in right away. I put her off, figuring there is no point in being seen without the results of the bloodwork. At this point I'm thinking rabies is a possibility...

Fortunately, the nurse called yesterday. NO RABIES!!! Yay! Time to do a happy dance! Since I still have a fever, they put me on another antibiotic. The third one in as many months. Let's hope this one knocks the hell out of whatever is wreaking havoc with my body!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another bite.

First things first... Happy Thanksgiving to all! Yes, I know it's not until tomorrow, but I am working tomorrow, and don't know if I will get a chance to blog.

Yes, that's right. I am working. On Thanksgiving. Glitter World is open, so I will be putting on my happy face and ringing up tons of glitter-covered-crap that people just can't live without and feel the need to buy on Thanksgiving Day. It's not so bad, really. It's just another thing to be thankful for, right? A job. Two jobs, actually. So many people would be thrilled to be working tomorrow, or any day at all, that I don't feel as though I can complain about working. At least I don't have to cook a Thanksgiving meal. Cracker Barrel, here we come! Yet another thing to be thankful for!

What else am I thankful for? Emma, Tara and Cooper, of course. Although they have their cute little noses out of joint because their little mousey brothers Stevie and Carlos got their pictures in the last blog post. Was there a single picture of the dogs? Nope. Sure, the dogs were mentioned in passing, but apparently that wasn't sufficient, and their egos have taken a hit. So, without further ado, I give you (drumroll, please)...

Cooper, Emma and Tara!

Cooper, Emma, Tara
I wanted to get a picture of them doing something cute, but this is what they do 99% of the time. This photo is unusual in that all three babes are in one photo--a rare occurrence! I am so thankful that they are happy and healthy, particularly as Cooper and Emma would technically qualify as "seniors", although both can still act very much like puppies on occasion.

Here is another picture of the babes from today when I ran home from work to let then out at lunchtime.

Tara & Cooper

That's Tara and Cooper. (Emma was camera shy.) It was raining, and Tara and Cooper hate getting their feet wet. I was standing out in the rain, getting soaked, cajoling and pleading with them to "come down and do pee pees". They are doing their best to ignore me. Notice the closed eyes... It kills me that the think that if they can't see me, I can't see them. Silly babes.

At the risk of doggie overload, here is a picture of Cooper and Tara from last week.

Cooper, Tara & Hanna
The chicken on the gate? That's Hanna. She is (or was) the neighbor's chicken. She has been living here for a couple of years. Notice Emma is not in this picture. She's afraid of Hanna. I know, I know... a bird dog who is afraid of a chicken. My dad says I have single-handedly ruined the breed by coddling my sweet babes.

Anyway, Cooper quickly lost interest, but not Tara. She and Hanna had a standoff, and I was about to be late for work.

Tara & Hanna
The only thing I could do was "shoooo" Hanna off the gate.


Oh my, look at that ugly scar on my hand... We'll come back to that later.

Hanna decided she didn't want to be "shoooo'd" and found somewhere else to perch. On me.

She stayed on my arm until I walked to the woods and found a tree limb for her to perch on. Silly bird.

Back to the scar...
Seagull Scar
Ugly, isn't it? It's about six weeks old now, so it's actually looking a LOT better than it did. How did I get it? Another bite. It was more like a rip, really. My sister and I were on the beach at Fortescue, and a woman down the beach was fishing, and a seagull got caught in her fishing line. How? I have no idea. I've never seen that happen before.

Of course, I go running down the beach to lend a hand, and the seagull bites the hand that frees it! It wasn't his fault, though. The poor thing was terrified. The fishing line was wrapped around both wings and both feet. Between the three of us we managed to get him free and he flew away (thank-you-baby-jesus) leaving nothing but three happy women, and some blood on the beach. My blood, not his.

Fortunately, the seagull was not harmed in any way.

Fortunately, I now have a house a Fortescue, so was able to go and wash the wound with antibacterial soap & wrap it up.

Fortunately, I recently had a tetanus shot, (you know... from the mouse bites) so I feel protected from any heebie jeebies that seagulls might carry.

Unfortunately, I have an ugly scar, despite the use of Vitamin E cream.

Unfortunately, seagulls creep me out now. This is what I imagine every seagull is saying to me:

Mean seagull

Unfortunately, the seagull incident was not the end of my adventures that day...

Stay tuned for another bite. Literally.

Monday, November 21, 2011

At long last...

Finally, a blog post! I appreciate the emails and Ravelry messages I've gotten over the past couple of months, but want to assure you that everything here is fine. Mom and dad are doing great. The dogs are all happy, healthy and always looking for trouble. I've just been so busy, working at the museum and at Glitter World. I have so much to get everyone caught up on that there is no way I can do it in one post. In the first place, I would be up all night working on it, and in the second place, it would bore you all to tears.

Have you ever heard the joke about "How do you eat an elephant?" Answer: One bite at a time. Anyway, I have a big ol' elephant of stuff to share, and will be writing "bites" until I get caught up. Now for the first bite. No pun intended... You'll understand this later on.

A couple of months ago, my niece who works at the local PetSmart posted a picture of a blind mouse in need of a home on her Facebook page. Apparently this little guy came into the store for sale and was missing an eye and she was afraid it would become "snake food". It's bad enough for these little mousies to be sold for food (yes, I know about the circle of life and the food chain and all that, but I don't want to see it or allow it to happen on my watch, you know?) but this poor little guy would never see the snake coming at him and have no chance at all to get away.

Well, since I am not using credit cards, I had to wait 3 days until payday to go at get little Stevie. (I named him after Stevie Wonder, being blind and all) Not having had any caged pets since I was a kid, I needed the cage, litter, bottles, dishes, food, etc. and had to wait until I got the cash. So, on payday I went to PetSmart and bought this:

Stevie, Carlos & Cliff
It's not just a simple cage, it's an apartment tower of mousey-fun! I went with the super-size accommodations, because Stevie was in a cage with two other mice, and I didn't want to buy just Stevie and have him miss his little friends. Of course, I couldn't choose which of the other two mice to buy, and if I only bought one, the other one would be all alone, so of course I had to buy all three mice.

Admittedly, I had no idea what I was getting into, and I don't recommend anyone purchase a pet if they do not fully understand what the care of that pet entails. In fact, I have never had any great fondness for mice. Really, I hate the little suckers. Correction... I USED to hate the little suckers. Somehow I managed to convince myself that little Stevie was going to be snake bait and I was his only hope for survival. So, I just jumped in with both feet and am in this for the long haul...for better or for worse.

Better: There is a Rat and Mouse Club of America and the people on the forums there are very helpful to newbies like me.

Better: They are all boys, so there will not be any additional mice.

Worse: They are all boys, and boys will fight to the death as they mature.

Worse: I had to purchase two additional cages to prevent mouse homicide... or mouse-icide????

Worse: Boy mice are notoriously stinky, and one boy mouse smells as bad as five girl mice.

Worse: My laundry room immediately took on the odor of 15 mice. We're talking really, really stinky.

Better: My sister's secretary took one of the mice off of my hands.

Worse: The laundry room still smelled like it had 10 mice. Still really, really stinky.

Better: There is a product that you add to their water bottles and it helps to neutralize the odor of mouse urine.

Worse: It takes several weeks to get the odor down to a manageable level.

Worse: Mice bite. They bite and hang on with a vengeance even when you are screaming and trying to shake them off of your hand.

Worse: If you are bitten by a mouse (or two, or three) you need to get a tetanus shot and an antibiotic. Just add the co-pay and prescription to the cost of the mice, cages, litter, food, water additive, etc., etc., etc. Also, the doctor has to call the county board of health and then tells you to monitor the mice for any non-mouse-like behavior. Rabies, you know.

Better: I have two new little souls that it is surprisingly easy to love. Here is little Stevie:

Stevie Wonder

And here is a picture of both Carlos Ruiz and Stevie Wonder:


My stinky boys. Priceless.

Stay tuned for future bites. Literally.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

After the Storm...and the Earthquake.

Hurricane Irene has come and gone, but rest assured that everyone here in BritKnitterville is fine. I hope everyone reading this is safe, too. Irene was downgraded to a Category One hurricane by the time she made landfall in New Jersey. Oddly enough, this is just the third time in the State's history that a hurricane made a direct hit. This was the first time that we boarded up the windows of the Museum where I work.

Hurricane Irene 3

Irene caused the evacuation of Cape May County (yes a whole county of people!) and most of the shore communities on the coast. Fortunately my little house in Fortescue is on the Delaware Bay side of the state, but I would say that just about everyone left the island for higher ground, even though evacuation was not mandatory. My sister and I drove down there this morning to check on things, and there were lots of trees and wires down (and no power on the island), but fortunately not a lot of property damage. My little house survived with only the loss of one of the window shutters. Whew!

Not only did we have a Hurricane this week, we also had an Earthquake! In New Jersey! Ok, so technically it wasn't centered in New Jersey, but it sure felt like it! I can't imagine what it was like in Virginia. One minute I was sitting at the computer at in the Museum's library, and my chair starts rolling. I look up, and the hanging lights are swinging. We ran out into the museum (a GLASS museum, by the way) and the ginormous chandeliers in the lobby are swinging. Being in a glass museum in an earthquake is not my idea of fun, by the way. An earthquake in New Jersey...very strange.

In other news, I have a fourth dog. Well, HAD a fourth dog. For 24 hours. He wandered into the yard last Sunday and started eating the cats' food in the garage. He had a collar, but no tags and I named him Russell. Why? He's a Jack Russell Terrier, so what better name for this sweet boy?


To make a long story short, I will never take another dog in to the local SPCA to be scanned for a microchip. I will wait until my Vet's office opens and let them scan the dog. The local SPCA took Russell from me to scan him (no chip, by the way), and wouldn't let me take him back home! I told them I would give them all of my information in case the owner turned up, but they said they couldn't legally release him to me since I wasn't the owner. I never heard of that before. I took Cooper there three years ago to be scanned and they released him to me. Not Russell. They said I could come back in 7 days and fill out an application for adoption. Let me tell you, I was a mess. I was crying, which got another woman crying, and then two more women came to see what we were crying about and they started crying. Still, I had to leave without Russell... I posted his picture on Craig's List and Missing, and hung posters in local stores. In the end it was the posters that reunited Russell with his owner. No more SPCA for me!

I'm sharing this picture just because it's so cute:

dad working on shed

That's my dad, with his hair all messy and dirty knees. Doesn't he look great? Especially considering that he has had a rough year with two cancer surgeries. (Still cancer free!!!) He is working on a ramp for the shed at Fortescue. He is happiest when he has a project, and the Fortescue house is an endless source of projects for him. Endless, until the money runs out, which it does on a regular basis. I just made my second mortgage payment, and oddly enough it still doesn't feel like it's MY house. I still have that "trespassing" feeling when I walk in. This helps, though:

Scarlett Framed

It is a picture of my first Brittany, Scarlett. My sister had an artist friend of hers do it for me shortly before I lost my sweet Scarlett. Now, every time I walk in the front door, this is what I see:

scarlett framed

Yep, that's my house alright. Scarlett watches over it for me while I am away.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'm still here...

Yes, it’s been a while. A looooonnng while. Between working 7 days, and working on the house in my “spare” time, I’ve been neglecting every other area of my life. Rest assured that all is well here. Mom and dad are doing fine. Emma, Tara and Cooper are all great. Ornery as ever, which is always a good sign. Recently we even passed the three year anniversary of the day we found sweet Cooper McLooper. I think he's happy here, don't you?

Loopie Coopie

Anyway, the house is coming along nicely. Ceilings have been painted, fences have been put up, shed doors have been rebuilt, electrical stuff has been rewired, and lamps have been hung. Of course, none of this could have been done without help from dear old dad. Here is the electrical engineer, himself:

chick magnet

Yes he is, indeed, modeling a “chick magnet” T-shirt. My dear, delusional, dad.

Mom has been very helpful, too, with lots of design advice. Here she is on moving day...

mom at fortescue

... napping on the sofa, umm, contemplating color schemes and curtain styles. Of course, when I say “moving day” I use that term loosely. I haven’t actually really and truly moved. First I had to get the fence installed for the dogs, but then there were some problems with installation, and the company hasn’t come out to fix it yet. That’s a story for another day, though.

Then there was the problem of a place to sleep. I almost envy the cave dwellers, in their lack of decision making when it comes to decorating and finding a place to sleep. In the civilized world, this is a multi-step process, involving first buying a bed (as I will still have a bedroom at my sister’s house). Done. Then choosing a bedroom. Done. Then picking out a paint color that wouldn’t clash with the carpet. Done. Then actually getting that paint from the can onto the walls.

Not done. :sigh:

Maybe this weekend when I get off work from Glitter World, but maybe not. The painting has to be done before I can arrange for delivery of the bed, because who wants to climb over a bed while trying to paint? I also wanted to replace the (old, nasty, ugly) ceiling fan in that room but it looks like that will have to wait. All spending has come to a screeching halt. My checkbook needs life support after hemorrhaging money over the past month. However, I am proud to say that I have not used a credit card since August 13, 2010. Shocking, isn’t it? If I can’t afford to pay cash for it, I don’t buy it. Living within my means...a concept Congress can’t grasp.

Never fear, though. There are still plenty of no-cost and low-cost things to be done, and first on my list was hanging this lamp:

my lamp

Isn't it lovely? Mom and dad made this lampshade. Actually made it! Cut the glass, wrapped the pieces, and soldered it all together. They made several cut glass lamps back in the 70s. After this one was finished, they decided they didn’t like the shape, and it was on its way out to the trash. Yes, the trash. Growing up, if a thing wasn't useful or was perceived as lacking in some way, it was put out for trash day. I often wonder what would have happened if any of us kids was handicapped or had any learning disabilities... But I digress. I loved the lamp and couldn't stand to have it tossed out, and even though I didn’t have a place for it at the time, I rescued it from the trash and stowed it under my bed for safe keeping. When I moved in with my sister, I hung it on an enclosed porch, but now it has a place of honor above my dining room table. I knew I would have a place for it someday... I just didn’t know that “someday” would take 30 years, or be so far from civilization!

I know that some people (most of my family, that is) think Fortescue is the ends of the Earth... the back of beyond... but I think it’s just perfect. I’ve met several of my neighbors already, and two of them are knitters! Everyone is so friendly and laid back. If you’re looking for what are traditionally known as the “finer things” in life, like internet access, marginally reliable cell service, trash pickup, mail delivery, or more than 5 television stations, Fortescue is not your kind of place.

If you are looking for a peaceful spot to relax and decompress with a walk on the beach, and don’t mind driving 20 miles (or more) for a gas station or a grocery store, I have a gem of a spot for you.


The people here are so friendly, and everyone has time to sit and chat over a glass of iced tea. The best thing about being here is asking someone for directions to, say, the dump, or a farm stand to buy some corn and tomatoes. You get answers like:

"Head out over the bridge, and go inland for a couple of miles. Make a left at the yellow house with a pool in the back yard. Keep going for a bit, and there will be a deli on your left (that they neglect to mention has been closed for more than 40 years, just in case you were hoping to get a sandwich and some chips), and then a pasture on the right where the cows are always wading in the creek. Make a right, and stay on that road until you see the black lab hanging out on the porch of the brick house, and then make the next left. If you come to the big oak tree that lost a limb a few winters back, you know you’ve gone too far."

Seriously. It is so funny. It makes me want to ask someone for directions even though I don’t need to go anywhere!

OK, enough for this post. For now, I’ll leave you with a video of a new song by the Zac Brown Band. This song perfectly describes the Fortescue way of life! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The sign says it all...


Yes, the population at Fortescue increased by one yesterday! I've already met three neighbors, and two of them are knitters. I don't have telephone service or internet down there, and even cell phone service comes and goes. It's wonderful!

More later, with pictures. For now, I am headed back to Fortescue with another car load of stuff.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lots of News, All of it Good!

Almost a month since I've posted... I'm a very, very bad blogger. It's been a month of ups and downs, and generally nerve wracking episodes pretty much daily. Today, however, was an "up" day. Way, way up. Dad went back to his surgeon for a follow-up visit today. He had his thyroid removed on June 8th, and after a pretty rough recovery, he is doing better now. The best, most important news from his doctor visit today is that the biopsy report was clear! No cancer at all! What a relief. Dad is still pretty sore from the surgery, and has limited neck movement, but after another week or two he will be back to his old self.

We traditionally make him his favorite meal - hamburgers with all the fixin's for Father's Day, but not this year. Here's a picture from a couple of years ago:

Can you see how big that burger is? He piles everything on his burgers. Cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, green pepper, onion, pickles... so much stuff I don't know how he eats it all. Maybe by this weekend he will feel up to the traditional Father's Day burger fest.

More good news: Mom is doing really well after her surgery last week. She had a botox injection into a muscle at the base of her esophagus, and she is eating much better now. It may have to be repeated every 6 months or so, but that's a small price to pay for being able to eat without the discomfort she has been experiencing for years now.

More good news: I've got mail!

Phot4tsq mail

Yes, it's all junk mail, but it's mine. Ok, none of it has my actual name on it, unless I want to change my name to "Occupant" or "Current Resident" or "Box Holder", that is.

So what's the big deal about getting mail? This mail was in my very own Post Office Box. Mine! At Fortescue!

Why would anyone get mail at Fortescue unless they lived there? They wouldn't! I will be closing on my house on Wednesday! Yes, that was another good piece of news today. After a nail-biting four days in which the bank and the homeowners/flood insurance company were going back and forth about the wording on the insurance policy (of all things to hold up a sentence in an insurance policy!), they finally came to a compromise, and in a mere 36 hours, I will be a homeowner! Me!

Does that mean I'm a grown up now? I hope not.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pass the Marshmallows...

A few weeks ago, I was feeling like I was going nowhere with my get-out-of-debt plan, so I decided to figure out how much I had paid off since my last bonfire. I removed the chains from the Chain of Shame, it made a tidy little pile.

May Fire1

Time to break out the matches...
May Fire2
...and celebrate...

...and then go deeper into debt:

Under Contract

Yep, the Fortescue house is now officially under contract! Woo Hoo! All I need now is the mortgage commitment, which should come through by June 10th. That will keep everything on track to have the survey, inspections, certifications, blah, blah, blah, done by the settlement date of June 30th!

It looks like June will be a big month around here, with Dad's thyroid surgery on the 8th, and mom's esophagus surgery on the 14th. Fortunately, dad is already stocking up on supplies in anticipation of spending time in Fortescue in the next couple of months.

What supplies?

dad with bug spray


Friday, May 20, 2011

Too Many Red Flags

Man, it's been a while. Yes, I've been busy, but that's not the only reason I've been away from the blog. I've tried a couple of times to write, but it has never come out right, so I hit DELETE instead of PUBLISH.

First things first...

Good news: Dad is doing well after his surgery in March.

Not-so-good news: He was diagnosed with thyroid cancer a couple of weeks ago. We are told that it is completely unrelated to the prostate cancer. He has to have surgery to remove the thyroid, and then a couple of weeks after that he will have to be re-admitted to the hospital to take some very weird meds. Apparently, within 3-5 days of taking these meds, he will glow in the dark. (Not least I hope not.) Next week we will find out more details on the surgery and post-surgical treatment.

Other than that, everything is pretty much the same. Mom is doing well. She is scheduled for Botox next month.That's right, Botox! I can't stop laughing whenever I think of it. She's not getting it for wrinkles (if she had any, that is). She was recently diagnosed with esophageal achalasia, so they are going to relax the muscle at the bottom of her esophagus with Botox. I keep telling her that once you start with the plastic surgery, it's just a slippery slope. Pretty soon she will be getting a butt lift and a boob job!

The dogs, assorted cats and chickens are all doing great.

OK, I think I'll end this post right here.

Thanks for reading.


See ya.

Go on now.

You're still here?

You're asking about the little house at Fortescue from my last post?

The house I have been drooling over for two years now?

This cute little house with tons of character?

Why yes, I did indeed put in an offer on this house!

I know the house is small; the bedrooms are barely big enough for a twin bed, let alone a full or queen; the bedrooms and bathroom are up a narrow, winding flight of steps; the outbuildings are practically falling down and are one high tide away from being washed into the marsh. I know all that, and I love the house anyway. The deeper I got into the house, though, the more red flags started popping up.


The house has been vacant for over three years? That just proves that it needs someone to love it. Termite damage? OK. I can live with that. Leaky pipes? No problem. That's what plumbers are for. An owner who is reluctant to sell? That's a little harder to deal with, but that's what real estate agents are for.

And then came the big red flag. Do you see that outbuilding behind the house? Inside the building, there is an old, unused shallow well. You open the door, and there is a hole in the ground, about 2 feet in diameter, full of water. No lid or anything to keep you from falling into it. No big deal. Make a lid for the well, secure it so no one can fall into it, and viola! Well problem solved. At least we thought it was a well. Turns out, it's the septic. Full of water. No lid, because apparently it fills up so often that it has to be pumped out once a month. Estimate to get a new, properly draining septic system? $15,000-$25,000.

Big red flag. Huge. Big enough to cover the whole state of New Jersey. Granted, New Jersey is one of the smaller states, but still...

Fortescue House

This house is just not an option for me, and will henceforth will be referred to as "The Money Pit".

But... behind every dark cloud there is a silver lining. When God closes a door, He always opens a window. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I could go on and on with pithy sayings, but you catch my drift.

I now present.. (drumroll, please)... the Silver Lining:

25 Louisiana b

Longtime readers might recognize this as the house we rented last summer when an old friend came to New Jersey for a visit. This house is also in Fortescue, and while it doesn't have the charm of my house the Money Pit, there is something to be said for three bedrooms, a bath and a half, and actually being able to flush the toilets.

So, am I just teasing, or did I actually take the plunge?

Hand me a towel, because I am soaking wet!

I was afraid to post about this earlier, afraid I would jinx it, but I made an offer, it was accepted (after some back and forth), the contracts have been signed, the attorney review period is over, and an independent house inspector only found two things wrong: it needs GFI outlets in the kitchen, and the front porch is missing lag bolts. Easy stuff.

Now I'm just waiting for the mortgage to come through, but have been assured that it will go through without a problem. Famous last words, right? I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched, but I'm starting to think that I might actually be a homeowner very soon.

How's that for a silver lining?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Working, working, working...

...and more working. Mom and dad are both doing good, the babes are all excellent (health-wise, not behavior-wise, of course), but between working at the Museum and Glitter World, I'm feeling like a zombie. I keep telling myself that this won't be forever, and I just have to keep my eyes on the goal. What is my goal? Get out of debt! Pay off all credit cards and my car, and become totally debt free. I can't imagine how that feels, but if all goes according to plan, by June of 2013, I should be able to tell you. Seems so far away, but I am determined to do it. Absolutely determined.

No deviation from the plan.


At all.


Wouldn't it be fantastic...

If it were a possibility...

That this could be mine?


So, on one hand I could be totally debt free in approximately 26 months.

On the other hand, I could go deeper into debt for approximately 26 years.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?


Updates in the near future.

For now, you guessed it, I am off to work.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quickie post before I go off to work at Glitter World... Our store has been targeted as a [queue deep, echo-ey voice] Store of the Future. As a result, the dress code has changed. This is after I already bought three pair of khakis and half a dozen black shirts, of course. I'm not sure what the whole Store of the Future thing means, really, but I do know that I am no longer a lowly cashier at the bottom of the pecking order who occasionally teaches knitting or crocheting. Nooooooooo. I am now a Yarn Expert!

Yarn Expert

True, I am a Yarn Expert who is really just a lowly cashier at the bottom of the pecking order who occasionally teaches knitting or crocheting, but now I get to wear a cool T-Shirt!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Good News. Not Great, but Good.

I've been delaying posting because I was soooo hoping to have great news regarding dad's cancer. All I have is good news, but good is better than terrible, or even mediocre news. Below is the email that Mom sent out to their church's prayer chain. I just cut and pasted it for the blog because Mom said it so much better than I could.

Good Evening Everyone,

Today was the first post-op visit following Don’s surgery for prostate cancer. He was relieved of his “buddy bag” as he called it and is now allowed to drive. That is the immediate good news. Many biopsies were taken at surgery. They confirmed that his is an aggressive cancer and indeed all biopsies came back clear/negative but one. When the pathologist was bisecting the prostate he found that one capsule of the cancer had penetrated though the lining of the prostate therefore his Stage 2 cancer was upgraded to Stage 3. He will be followed with every 3 month PSA tests and if the numbers start to climb he will then be evaluated for probably radiation therapy. Whatever happens whenever is all in God’s hands and we would appreciate your continuing to pray for him. Thanks so much for your faithfulness.

In Him Because He loves us all,


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pot Pie, Anyone???

Thanks again, everyone, for keeping dad in your thoughts and prayers. He came home from the hospital Thursday night, and is already driving mom crazy, ummm, up and around. You can't keep a good man down! The next milestone is Monday the 28th when we go back to Fox Chase for the full biopsy report and removal of the catheter. Ouch.

In other medical news, the babes all had their annual checkup at the evil Vee-Eee-Tee, (a.k.a. the WonderVet) yesterday. As I was getting my little car ready for the onslaught of three big brits, look who decided to help.

Chicken in car
Yes, that is one of the neighbor's chickens. In my car. A chicken in my car.

Chicken in car2
I opened all of the doors and ran from side to side, trying to shoo that bird out of my car. At one point I might have been heard to threaten her with the stew-pot if she left any chicken poo in my car. Eventually, I did get her out of my car without having to act on that threat, and was able to get the babes into the car. By myself. I took all three hooligans, by myself, in my little Prius. What was I thinking? I have no idea. Here are a couple of shots of the babes in the back seat of my car

babes to vet1

babes to vet2

They were a little squished, but not for long. Emma jumped right into the front seat and planted herself in front of the air vents. She loves the feel of the air conditioning blowing right in her face, so I turned it on full blast. Big mistake. It felt like a meat locker in my car, but every time I turned the fan down, Emma would whine. :sigh:

Luckily, I had an early appointment and it wasn't too crowded in the waiting room. As soon as I got the babes into the office, they took off in three directions with me in the center holding the leashes. I felt like the hub of a wagon wheel. After much tangling and untangling of leashes, I managed to get them signed in and seated.

Then the vet's three-legged cat wandered out from behind the counter. Now, my babes hate cats, but a three legged cat? They figured that was easy prey. There was much whining and woo-wooing on the dogs' part while the cat calmly sat just out of reach, yawning, while I was pulling on the leashes with all of my strength, saying "we love kitties...kitties are our friends."

At that point the vet techs saved my arms from being pulled out of their sockets by calling us back into the exam room. God Bless the Vet Techs!!! I tried to get a photo of the babes, but this was the best I could do. Notice the leashes wrapped around my legs...

babes to vet3

It was all worth it, though, as the WonderVet pronounced all three babes to be beautiful, healthy, happy and frightfully undisciplined. Who could ask for anything more? :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dad Update

I can't thank everyone enough for your support yesterday. I felt the support as I was waiting, knitting, waiting, knitting, waiting, knitting, and knitting some more. It was a long day, as you can tell from this picture of mom and my sister Donna.

Waiting at Fox Chase

Dad's surgery went well. There were some complications, and it took about an hour longer than expected, but that just made us extra thankful that we chose Dr. Viterbo at Fox Chase Cancer Center. I don't want this to sound like a commercial for Fox Chase, but everyone there was wonderful. Not only did dad get the best of care, but they treated all of us who were waiting, waiting, waiting with kindness and patience. No question was a stupid question, and if you were wandering around in a stupor with a blank look on your face, someone always stopped and said "You look lost...can I help you?" (Don't ask me how many times I was lost and wandering around with an (allegedly) blank look on my face.)

I've got to go now. I'm getting ready to pick up mom, go to breakfast, and then drive to Fox Chase. Anyone familiar with Philly driving knows this is no small task. This country girl will be crossing a bridge, driving on I-95, and braving the road construction and crazy drivers on Cottman Ave. Ugh.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Catching Up

I can tell this is going to be a jumbled post, just because my brain is only functioning on half power. Last week mom had Mohs surgery for squamous cell cancer on her head, and tomorrow dad has his surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center. (If anyone has a spare moment tomorrow, I would sure appreciate some prayers/thoughts/good vibes sent in the direction of BritKnitterville.) I took off from both jobs for the rest of this week so I can be available to take mom back and forth to the hospital. It's just as well I am not working, because of my aforementioned brain function deficit.

Today at work I was mounting labels, so I carefully marked the cutting lines, sandwiched the layers, and as I was putting it into the heat press I then noticed a misspelling in the label. Arrgh! I went back to the computer, made the correction, printed out a new sheet, carefully marked the cutting lines...again, sandwiched the layers...again, and then put the labels into the press. I went back 10 minutes later, and that stupid press still wasn't hot. It's an ancient beast, and it does take a long time to heat up, but this was ridiculous. Then I saw the problem. I didn't plug it in. Stupid. I've been doing stuff like that for weeks now. Hopefully after dad comes home from the hospital and is on the road to recovery my brain will recover, too.

Anyway, I wanted to thank everyone for your suggestions for the wedding afghan. I have just about given up hope of combining a Celtic and dog theme, so am pretty sure I will be going with either this one or this one. (My apologies to those of you not on Ravelry-- you probably can't see those links.) I'm just waiting for both patterns to arrive and then I will decide. Or not. Maybe something else will strike my fancy in the meantime.

Just because no post is complete without photos, here are a couple of shots of the sea glass I found at Fortescue over the weekend.



Pretty, huh?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Desperate Cry for Help...

OK, knitting peeps... I need help. Big time help. I need a pattern and have been searching Ravelry off and on for a few weeks, and nothing pops out at me.

I want to knit an afghan and need a pattern. Not just any pattern... just the right pattern.

For a couple getting married. Not just any couple... my favorite couple.

That's right, two of my favorite people in all the world are getting married. The WonderVet and the WonderNanny are becoming one, which make me think that everything is right with the world! Seriously, could there be a more perfect union?

Now for the pattern... WonderVet is very Irish, so an Aran-celtic-cable-y pattern would be fabulous. Both are clearly animal lovers, (even going so far as raising a sheep in the house...remember this post from a couple of years ago?) so some kind of paw print or other animal-related-thingy incorporated into the design would be a plus. They have lots of dogs, so washable and durable are very important.

Is that too much to ask?

Any suggestions?

Oh, and because no blog post is complete without a photo, here is a seldom-seen shot of all three dogs in one photo! That's Emma peering over the back of the sofa doing her impersonation of a vulture, with Cooper and Tara on the big doggy bed below. Enjoy!

81 (2)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.....

First of all, thank you, everyone, for all of your support. Dad read the comments, and they are really appreciated!

The residents of Britknitterville woke up to more snow this morning. Ugh. Enough already!!! Yeah, it's pretty, but I refuse to take any more picture of the nasty white stuff. The good part about it is that work is closed until noon today. Yay! So, in between laundry and paperwork and scratching bellies, I am finally getting in another blog post.

Do you remember my little house at Fortescue? Well, not really MY house, but I consider it mine.


Hopefully some day, but more on that another time... Anyway, the little town of Fortescue has been in the news lately. This article on the feral cat colonies at Fortescue was in yesterday's paper. How can some of those people be so unfeeling? These cats are not hurting anyone. In fact, they are keeping down the rodent population on the island. Sheesh!

Here are some photos of the cats. We go down and feed them at least once a week. Aren't they beautiful?


The blue tubs are cat shelters. They are a tub within a tub, stuffed with insulation in between, and the "porthole" allows access for the cats while keeping the inner tub (stuffed with straw and blankets) nice and cozy.

Here is a recent photo of dad working on one of the tubs for the cats! Who knew he was a cat lover?

Tara says those cat shelters may be cozy, but she'll stick with her big doggy bed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I'm back with a PSA...

Confession time: It's been a while since I have blogged, and I (shamefully) haven't read anyone else's blog in months. It really feels weird to be here, but for now I am back, checking in, letting everyone know that I am still alive. The hooligan Brittanys are in fine form, too. No health problems, just the usual orneriness that is inherent in the breed, but that just tells me that they are perfectly fine, healthy and still very puppy-like, even at their ages.

Just for fun, here is a little video I took of the babes this morning. They each had a special ketchup heart on top of their breakfast for Valentine's Day, and they loved it!

So, why have I been away for a couple of months? I have lots of excuses, all of them quite lame...
  • the dreaded holidays
  • working two jobs
  • getting classes started at Glitter World
  • making samples for the classes (4 knitting lessons and 4 crochet lessons, 2 samples per lesson for a grand total of 16 projects)
  • knitting a kajillion samples for my Craft Yarn Council teacher certification
  • stuff that I haven't been able to think about, let alone write about without my head exploding, which would make quite a mess with all those pieces of brain matter splattering the walls
Yep, it all boils down to that last one, so now for the real reason I've been MIA.

My Dad.

Dad has cancer.

I couldn't say that for weeks. Couldn't think it. Could barely get out of bed when the results came back from his biopsy. It is prostate cancer, which is one of the best kinds of cancer to get, if there is any such thing, but dad has an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

This past week we went to Fox Chase Cancer Center, and we all feel as though he will be getting the best of care there. (Nothing but the best for my sweet dad!) I won't go into details here, but the doctors at Fox Chase exuded confidence, and dad's surgery is scheduled for March 15.

Now for my PSA: Ladies, made sure your guys get their PSA checked. Right now I know more than I ever thought I would about, ummm, boy-parts... and, again, I won't go into detail here, but please make sure your husbands, fathers, brothers, boyfriends... heck, even the pizza delivery guy... make sure they all get tested regularly.

OK, enough for now. I was going to get started reading some of your blogs tonight, but my head is feeling like it is getting ready to explode, so some knitting therapy is in order. I WAS going to sit in my knitting chair, but look who has beat me to it...

Mr. Cooper McLooper. He's a silly boy, but I love him!

Note to self: Ask WonderVet about getting Cooper's PSA checked.