Friday, May 31, 2013

Teaching an old cat new tricks.

The first thing everyone says when they meet Toivo for the first time is always a variation on, "Oh my god, that cat is enormous."

Fat little dumpling.

He's a big boy.  Even if he wasn't fat, he'd be big -- he's long and tall and built like a viking.  But well, he is fat.  Really fat.  Not quite as fat as he once was -- he had to be well over 25 pounds when I moved back from Montana -- but still, pretty damn fat.

He managed to drop a little weight since then, primarily due to me guilt-tripping my parents into putting him on diet cat food, and hearing from a vet that he should be getting a fixed amount of food every day from a measuring cup.  Evidently, from the time my younger brother acquired him as a kitten up until the measuring cup protocol was initiated, they'd just basically fed him every single time he yowled by his food bowl.  If you've never met Toivo, let me assure that he spends about 90% of his waking hours yowling by his food bowl.  Which explains how he got the way he is.

Anyway: since back around Christmas or so, we've noticed a few very gradual changes in his behavior -- nothing big, but subtle stuff, building over time.  He's drinking more water than usual...his litterbox has to get changed a lot more frequently.  His appetite's been fine, and he doesn't seem to be in any physical discomfort, but still, something was setting off alarm bells.  Cue Wilford Brimley talking about ordering his diabetic testing supplies over the phone.

Using my guilt powers again (for good!), two Saturdays back, Toivo took his first trip to the vet in almost ten years.  (Impressive, considering he'll be twelve this summer.)  Upon arrival, hoisting the cat carrier over to the scale at the front of the office, the vet audibly grunted and remarked, "There'd better be two cats in this box."

There was an examination; Toivo sat, looking pissy, but he kept his diva crap to a minimum and didn't lunge at anyone or try to take out a chunk of their arms.  With Toivo, that qualifies as a victory.  The only time he jerked around was when they had to throw a muzzle on him to draw some blood, and even then, other than when the needle pricked him, he just kind of sat there and took it (with a little hissing).  I guess having not been to the vet in ten years worked to our advantage -- he didn't know he had anything to be afraid of.  And the only dicey moment came when a wiener dog came walking into the exam room.  Toivo is famously antisocial with other animals, to the point where he and Flannery are still never loose in the house at the same time after all these years.  But he just sat there, muscles tense, eyes narrowed, watching the wiener dog as it trotted in & out.

There was the requisite (and deserved) lecturing about his weight.  The vet agreed that cat diabetes was basically a foregone conclusion, and left me & my mother with Toivo in the exam room to wait for the test results.  Toivo walked around, sniffing things, until he sat down in front of one of the doors, watching the crack at the bottom for the wiener dog's feet ticking past on the other side.

The vet came back, looking dumbfounded.  "I didn't believe the results, so I ran the test again.  I don't know what kind of guardian angel this cat has...but he's normal.  Everything came back normal.  And if ever there was a cat that should have diabetes, it's this one."

May 18.

Our 22.2 pounds of love is now on a diet.  Not just a diet -- an EMERGENCY DIET.  Basically, the vet thinks he's like Mr. Burns -- he's got Three Stooges Syndrome.


He's drinking enough water to ward off the diabetes -- for now.  But he can't go on like that boom, it's time for low-calorie cat food, and less than half of what he was eating before on a daily basis.

May 20.

I'll say this much: it's going better than I thought it would.  I expected way, way more yowling.  Instead, we're getting more yowling, but only slightly more. 

And maybe it's just me, but lately, whenever he goes waddling down the stairs in front of me...maybe it's just a trick of the light, or the jiggling, but I think his butt already looks a little smaller. 

Rain, rain, go away already.

It's been a little damp this May.  Just a smidge.  We went from sixteen inches of snow on the 2nd...

May 2.

Snow on May 2nd.

Snow on May 2nd. this by the 6th:

May 6.

Which led to a lot of little impromptu streams forming all over the yard...

Impromptu streams in the backyard (from all the melting).

...which led to a minor mudslide over by the edge of the ravine.


Here's hoping June's a little less erratic.  Though at this point, I guess there isn't much left that could surprise us.  (Of course, by saying that, I've probably doomed us to swarms of locusts or something.)

Oredock demolition update.

Moving along at a fairly fast clip at this point...

May 22.

The bay's been pretty churned-up lately due to all the storms we've been having -- the clay on the bottom (along with sediment that flows in from the creeks and streams) gives it that pinkish hue.

May 23.

Definitely kind of surreal to see that big space forming, and to see the lake from this new angle.

May 30.

What's making me happy this week.

I know, I already did one of these this week. 
But sometimes, you've just gotta cut the noose and let it loose.

Police blotter.

Wednesday, 6:49 P.M.:  Caller wanted to speak with an officer about "Facebook crimes."

Friday, 4:27 P.M.: Report of loud music coming from neighboring apartment.  Update: officer advised he made contact with tenant, who said the volume knob got stuck and he was able to turn it down just prior to officer's arrival.

Saturday, 9:34 P.M.: Caller reports that 4-5 unknown younger males in the park in Grand View were trying to tip over the outhouse.

Sunday, 2:13 P.M.:  Caller in Bayfield requests an officer go to the casino and locate his wife and have her call him at home.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What's making me happy this week.

I'm slowly winding my way through the new season of Arrested Development, mostly because my ability to binge all at once is hindered by our relatively slow internet connection at the house.  For every 3-4 minutes of show I see, I get 3-4 minutes of lag time while the next chunk loads.  Instead of letting that drive me crazy, I remind myself that I waited for seven years for the show to come back, so waiting a few extra minutes is hardly the end of the world.  Generally, that works, though patience and self-restraint aren't two of my strong suits.

Anyway:  I'm about 2/3rds of the way through and generally, I like it, and some parts I've liked quite a bit.  (Biggest laugh for me so far: the thing with the duck.  You'll know it when you see it.)  I can understand some of the criticisms people have made of it, but on the other hand, I think some people are overestimating the perfection of the first three seasons (I mean, season three in particular went a off the rails in a few places).  And it was perhaps inevitable that this wouldn't live up to all the hype, or to all the months (years!) of speculation and anticipation.  As someone who watched it live during its initial run, and has revisited it on DVD in the years since, I'm not understanding where critics are seeing such a huge drop-off in quality between those years and this season.  It was always a little uneven, as great as it was.

In lieu of posting any clips from the new season, here's an
oldie but a goodie.

Monday, May 20, 2013

What's making me happy this week.

Time to add streaming video back to my Netflix subscription...

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Love Day.

So happy for Minnesota, and for all my fabulous friends who've been waiting so long for this. Happy day!

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Police blotter.

Tuesday, 5:06 P.M.: Caller reports large coach-style bus parked on Vaughn Avenue just north of the corridor bridge (railroad trestle).  Bus is stopped short of bridge to avoid impact, but is unable to turn around, requires assistance backing vehicle out.

Wednesday, 12:55 P.M.:  Caller reports a jeep by the high school so covered in mud that no one can see out of it; occupants are driving with doors open so they can see.

Thursday, 11:06 P.M.:  Burger King employee reports that there are cars whipping donuts in their parking lot.

Sunday, 10:09 A.M.:  Received a call asking for a welfare check on caller's mother who lives in Friendship, WI.  She was talking to her mother and the line went dead.  Update: dispatch called Adams County and received a call back stating they contacted the mother and everything was fine.  The mother hung up on her daughter due to her daughter wanting money and the mother didn't want to give her money or talk to her daughter any more.

Dispatch from the Helena bureau.

My friend Emily, knowing of my deep and abiding love for Vigilante Day out in Helena, sent me this on Friday after the annual spectacle had concluded and it cracked me the hell up.  Her words and pictures expertly capture the essence of its majesty, and she has graciously allowed me to share them here.

Another year of whores, drunks and militias
By Emily

This year was missing aliens, snarky political commentary and was highly short of prostitutes, but there were still some good ones. 

The requisite drinking high schoolers...
Vigilante Day Parade 2013.

Vigilante Day Parade 2013.

It's really good to have friends with barnyard animals.

Vigilante Day Parade 2013.

Militia, anyone?

And of course, the brothel scene. You can't see the girl dressed like a whore in the background, but she was there and you know it.

Vigilante Day Parade 2013.

Vigilante Day Parade 2013.

This was one of the best hangings I've seen in my years as a Helena resident. Well crafted, actual costumes and they really strung the guy up. Then I had to explain to Aine why he was hanging by a noose, and what was meant by "vigilante justice" anyway.

I still don't really comprehend why the kids in this town get a whole day off of school to parade around town while every crazy weirdo in the tricounty area cheers them on, but hey, when in Rome...