Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Three Little Kittens

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This morning, driving to the commissary, about ten feet apart on the highway, I saw the smooshed bodies of three little kittens. They must have been about five or six weeks old. I felt sick; I still do. What kind of animal would throw little kittens out the window of a car to let them die in terror on a busy highway? Who raises these people who could act with such cruelty?

I am a believer; I believe God put each one of us here for a purpose. I think we often misunderstand some of God’s intentions; I think sometimes we get it very wrong. I fantasize that maybe these little cats and dogs we adopt are really our guardian angels, who will speak up for us on the last days and tell the Lord Jesus how we treated his little ones. Imagine the punishment for hurting a helpless animal! Imagine the penalty for hurting an innocent, defenseless child!

June 3, 2013 Posted by | Circle of Life and Death, Crime, Family Issues, Florida, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Random Musings, Rants, Relationships, Spiritual, Survival, Values | Leave a comment

The Little Blue Pill

I’m not a person who feels a lot of pain. I hardly ever get a headache, rarely get even a paper cut. At one point in my life, when my biliary duct blocked, the doctor gave me pictures and looked at me sternly and said “You could have died, politely waiting out there in the waiting room. When this happens, come in immediately, show the ER people these photos and tell them you need this blockage cleared immediately.”

That one really did hurt, but I’m not much for groaning and writhing in pain, so I didn’t.

Today was a confluence of events. Yesterday, when the air conditioning people were at our house, all day, configuring and installing the new air conditioning system, the terrified and disoriented Qatari Cat spent the day in the large laundry room, with his cat bed and his food and water, and his litter box. It was a long day, and he was alone, and he could hear loud bumps and thuds, and he could smell strange smells, and hear strange voices. Therefore, when let out, he needed to snuggle, closely, to the one he thinks is his mother, i.e. me.

He curled into my arm and purred and cried about his long day and how scared he had been. He was still snuggling, closer and closer, during the night, as I was trying to sleep. He is a good sleeper, doesn’t move around a lot, but when he is snuggled up against me, it is hard to move. Now and then he will snore, or go into kitty-dream state, legs thrumming along and sub-vocal snarling, which can wake me.

Our normal water aerobics instructor was out, and the substitute was wonderful, but we did more repetitions of high kicks, jacks-crunches, and more high kicks; it was a great workout, different from what we are used to.

We really needed to clean our floors after the air conditioning crew, so AdventureMan took all the carpets outside for a good vacuum front and back while I tackled the tile floors throughout the main level of the house. Some of the grime was ground in, this wasn’t one of those quick swish washes but a lot of stoop and scrape, or hands and knees and scrub kind of jobs. While down close, I also noticed the base boards needed a swab, more bending and stooping.

I still had one appointment to go before I could kick back, and while waiting, I noticed my back was a little uncomfortable. By a little uncomfortable, I mean it had my attention, I couldn’t get comfortable. By the time I got home, it had my undivided attention. I know what works for me, back when I had a reaction to a root canal, I discovered Aleve, so I had some on hand.

AA105020

When I went to take one, I saw this great big capsule. I remembered tiny little blue tablets, sort of ovoid, but I guess I had just grabbed whatever I saw and it happened to be a capsule. Swallowed the capsule.

BC528140

There is a reason I don’t like taking medicines, and that reason is that because I don’t take a lot of medications, when I do, I can tell. It takes the edge off. I feel slow. I feel a little loopy. I feel tired. And then, by the grace of God, in an hour or so, I feel no pain in my back.

It wasn’t a bad day, just a day with some unexpected conditions. Scrubbing floors is not my favorite thing. In Kuwait and in Doha I had wonderful women who kept my floors sand-free, and sparkling clean. As I clean my floors, I found myself remembering them fondly.

AdventureMan popped his head in the door to tell me how much he likes vacuuming the carpets outdoors, where he can see the intricacies of the patterns. He can see I am grumpy. “I don’t really like cleaning floors!” I grump.

“Let’s hire someone to do it for us!” he responds, and my day suddenly looks a lot brighter. 🙂

May 29, 2013 Posted by | Aging, Doha, Exercise, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Health Issues, Home Improvements, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat | Leave a comment

Qatari Cat’s Happy Place

Winter in Pensacola is mercurial, one minute the temperatures are in the seventies, and the next minute we are covering our more fragile plantings and hoping they make it through the freeze. This year we had hibiscus blooming that has suffered from the winter two winters ago, a very cold winter, and we weren’t sure they would survive – for two years!

When the temperatures go down, the Qatari Cat begs to go out into the garage (he remembers it is a very warm place) but two minutes later he is saying “I made a big mistake! Let me in!”

Last year we bought an electric bed for him. It doesn’t get really warm, not as warm as a heating pad, but it gets warm enough that he thinks it is heaven. He could stay in the bed just about all day, rolling around so that every part of him gets some of the warmth some of the time. He doesn’t leave it much except to eat.

I keep it in my office, at my feet. He dreams, snorts, shudders, moans and growls, and nothing I do bothers him in the least. He has found his happy place. 🙂

January 18, 2012 Posted by | ExPat Life, Humor, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Weather | Leave a comment

Hungry Baby

Who knows what a cat is thinking? This morning, I found the Qatari Cat’s baby by my side of the bed. Sometimes I find him at the foot of the stairs. Never in the Qatari Cat’s chair. But when we came home, I saw this:

October 19, 2011 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Food, Humor, Pets, Qatteri Cat | 2 Comments

I Don’t Know Which was Worse

I had to take the Qatteri Cat to a boarding facility today, and I had a really hard time with it. First, when I got home, he was all stretched out in his heated bed. I had unplugged it earlier, and I had not filled his bowl at noon, and I figured the combination of hunger and not-warm bed would encourage him to come downstairs, where I waited for him with his cage. I had brought the carrying cage out several days ago, because he always freaks out when he sees it, so I leave it out until he gets so he can walk past it without running.

But this time, I kept going upstairs to check on him, and even though his bed was no longer heated, he just kept stretching and turning over.

Finally, I took his bird/stick toy, and teased him a little, at which point he was wide awake, and chased me merrily down the stairs and around the house until we got to the cage, where I scooped him up and popped him in.

As we drove to the inn, he complained a little, but he was lying down in the cage and looked pretty relaxed. I had a big pit in my stomach. I felt bad about tricking him out of his bed and turning his toy into a manipulation to get him into the cage. I know, I know, I am over-thinking this and feeling bad over not much.

So we get to the inn, and QC goes right into his upper berth, a two room suite with a special covered area for his litter. He steps right out of the carry-cage and into his room, and doesn’t even look back. We fill his dish with lunch, and shut the door. The tech brings out the kitty-treats and QC’s eyes light up.

I don’t know which was worse, feeling bad about bringing him to the boarding place, or feeling bad because QC didn’t appear to mind it that much, LOL.

February 2, 2011 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Random Musings, Travel | Leave a comment

Things Get Done

As many of you who know me may know, I am mildly obsessive-compulsive. I like things to be in their designated space. I like a clean house, down to the baseboards and the hidden places. I suppose it gives me some mystical illusion of control in a world where there is little (I believe) that can be controlled.

I believe my faith is pragmatic; I have learned – at least in my life – that God is in control, and that his plans are far better than my plans, although when I am in the midst of chaos, I have problems clinging to that belief, LOL.

But he sends me messages. As I have ended the old year and started the new year in a frenzy of cleaning out and organizing, I have come across lists from nightmare times in my life, mostly getting ready to move or settling in to a new location. Lists and lists of things to be done, things to be checked on . . . and I am comforted to know that what – at the time – was overwhelming, the details sorted themselves out. Things got done. Little by little, we ate the elephant.

As I came across notes and lists this morning, for buying this house and getting settled in Pensacola, I was able to take a deep breath. We survived. We got it all done. Lists and lists of details, and we got it all done. All of a sudden, things assume their proper perspective, and I thank God for this view of what my life looked like a year ago compared to what it looks like today.

We are settled.

I have friends.

We can pay our bills.

We have a house to live in and cars to drive.

We are in good health, and we have a good doctor.

We have a place where the Qattari Cat can stay when we go out of town.

We are registered voters, and have driver’s licenses and pay our taxes on time (insh’allah.)

We have a strong and rewarding family life, and activities we enjoy.

Life is sweet.

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Home Improvements, Living Conditions, Moving, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Random Musings | 4 Comments

Demon Cat From Hell at the East Hill Animal Hospital

The Qatari Cat occasionally has a little problem with cleanliness and hygiene, and since we don’t know if it might be a sign of something serious, we booked an appointment with a vet, the vet everyone talks about as being the best vet in town, so caring. We’ve visited her operation on open house day and we were impressed with her professionalism and knowledge, so we called her.

It was a really really good thing we did. When it came time to take him to the vet, I just plonked the cat cage down next to him, picked him up and put him inside, before he even really knew what was happening. He complained all the way to the vet, but nothing serious, like our diabetic cat who hated car motion and always threw up and defecated when we would take her places. 😦

We signed in, visited with the three little kittens seeking adoption, and then, our name was called. We took QC into an examination room where the assistant weighed him and stroked him and told him how sweet he was. He ate it up. He was as good as gold.

The vet came in, and took a look, said it didn’t look serious but that sometimes you see this problem in big cats and long haired cats, so they would just clean him up a little and shave his bottom.

“Hold him down like this,” she showed her assistant, and the Qatari cat cooperated. Er, well, he cooperated until the first vibration of the razor hit his hind-end hairs, at which time he did an instantaneous transformation into The Demon Cat From Hell, twisting, howling, hissing, trying to bite or scratch, little legs going in reverse, back writhing . . .

“I can’t hold him!” the assistant cried, and she hid her terror, but her voice trembled.

“Get the towel,” the vet said calmly, as she held him down with her two strong hands while the demon-cat-from-hell told her he intended great harm to her as soon as he could get free. She threw the towel over his head, which only made him madder and squirmier, but as the vet tech struggled and held the Qatari Cat down, the vet calmly continued with the “grooming.”

“We use these to clean the bottoms,” she said, pulling out those antiseptic wet-wipes we all carry around to wash our hands when there is no water around.

I just laughed. I have chased the Qatari cat around with warm wet cloths, with wet wipes, with towels . . . he does not like anyone messing with his bottom.

“Now that you’ve shaved him, I think he’ll be OK until the next time,” I said.

Trust me, Qatari Cat, when he is rational, knows I am the alpha. He obeys me. I can tell him to come in out of the garage and he will come; I can pat the bed and he will come lie down next to me. He knows my signals and he acknowledges my Queen-of-the-food-supply-and-warm-body status. Mess with his bottom, however, and all rational thought (in cat terms, rational thought, not our terms) flies out the window as the basest of instincts takes over.

Here is the sweet part. The clinic wrote us a thank you note for our visit. When it came in the mail, I was almost afraid to open it, afraid they would tell us that unfortunately, their practice is full right how and that they would like for us to find another vet for the Qatari Cat. Not so. It was a genuine thank you note, thanking us for our visit. They are totally a class act.

East Hill Animal Hospital, Pensacola, FL.

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Civility, Community, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Pets, Qatteri Cat | 5 Comments

Cats in Cages

For four months now, since we moved here, AdventureMan and I have been looking for a good cat hotel for the Qatari Cat. When we are away for short times, our son and his wife look in on QC, making sure he is well fed, well loved, etc. but if we are going anywhere for a longer time . . . we don’t want to burden a family with two working adults, a baby and three cats of their own.

Seeking a good cat boarding facility in Pensacola has been daunting. The very best one we found prior to today had a separate, quiet floor where the cats were boarded, but the cages were sterile. There was one cat, who looked just like QC, and the veterinary technician said he was a BAD CAT, and poked her finger in at him and told him he was a bad cat. They had great dog facilities, play times, etc. Cats were . . . chopped liver

And that has been our experience, desperately looking around Pensacola for a GOOD place to leave QC. We have visited so many places, veterinarians, grooming places – cats in steel cages. One place had larger steel cages, but cats in dark, damp, smelly rooms, cats warehoused in the same dank, dirty place with DOGS, cats in steel cages, looking miserable. Honestly, how can we travel? We can’t leave QC alone too long; he gets really depressed and stops eating and stops taking care of himself. And visiting all these boarding facilities was just depressing. We would walk out with a pit in our stomach.

Today, we passed one place – it looked cute. AdventureMan said “you run in and see if they board cats” (it looked like a dog place). I walked in, and there were three women grooming dogs, and it was quiet. The dogs all looked really happy. No, they don’t board cats yet, not yet, because they want to do it right, had I ever heard of cat condos?

Yes! Yes! Like the Kitty Ritz in Kuwait, a place that understands cats, understands their need for security, for privacy in their litter, for some variety and some stimulation under controlled circumstances. We loved the Kitty Ritz, and we loved the cat hotel we used to take our cat to in Germany, where they had kitty condos and a cage full of mice that kept the cats fascinated for hours. Our cat loved to go there! They even knew how to give her insulin shots twice a day.

So we went looking, one last time, and we found what we were looking for, at Village Groomers and We Tuck ‘Em Inn in Pace, less than half an hour from our house.

The place is CLEAN. Orderly. The cat dorms are roomy, one room for sleeping and observing, another room with litter and food. Each cat has his or her own drawer with his or her name on it with special foods and cat toys and blankets – anything from home to help the cat be content and secure.

We reserved an upper dorm for Qatari Cat. It gives us so much peace of mind knowing he will be well taken care of.

August 18, 2010 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships | 2 Comments

Grumpy Wednesdays

I always get up grumpy on Wednesdays these days. My early water-aerobics class at the Y helps my mood, but when I get home, I have the dreaded cat litter to take care of. Thursday is garbage pick up, so Wednesdays I dump out all the old litter, wash out the litter box, dry it and refill it. I gather up the garbage from all over the house, put it in the can, move the can to the curb and then it’s picked up on Thursdays.

I think it took me all of 30 minutes.

I probably grumped about it about three hours, until I had it done. It occurred to me that I was letting a very small (but unpleasant) amount of time totally spoil my outlook. Literally, doing the job, doing the job well – takes minutes. Why do I grump about something so small?

Cleaning out cat litter is not a pleasant task. When I was pregnant, AdventureMan took over the job, because cat litter can hold parasites harmful to babies. Thirty years later, AdventureMan looked at me speculatively, his eyes all squinted up, and said “Isn’t the risk to your pregnancy about over by now?”

LLOOLL!

July 29, 2010 Posted by | Character, Family Issues, Florida, Living Conditions, Pets | Leave a comment

Bionic Cat

You can read this entire story at The NPR Website

No Mouse Is Safe: Cat Gets World’s First Bionic Paws
by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oscar, the cat with a pair of prosthetic paws, is seen in an undated photo.

June 25, 2010
Oscar the cat may have lost one of his nine lives, but his new prosthetic paws make him the world’s first bionic cat.

After losing his two rear paws in a nasty encounter with a combine harvester last October, the black cat with green eyes was outfitted with metallic pegs that link the ankle to the foot and mimic the way deer antlers grow through skin. Oscar is now back on his feet and hopping over hurdles like tissue paper rolls.

After Oscar’s farming accident, which happened when the 2 1/2-year-old-cat was lazing in the sun in the British Channel Isles, his owners, Kate and Mike Nolan, took him to their local veterinarian. In turn, the vet referred Oscar to Dr. Noel Fitzpatrick, a neuro-orthopedic surgeon in Eashing, 35 miles southwest of London.

Together with biomedical engineering experts, Fitzpatrick gave Oscar two metal prosthetic implants that are a bit wobbly, to imitate a cat’s natural walk. But first, he covered the brown implants with black tape to match Oscar’s fur.

Fitzpatrick said he and biomedical engineers designed the artificial paws so that they would be fused to the bone and skin. “That allows this implant to work as a seesaw on the bottom of the animal’s limbs to give him [an] effectively normal gait,” he said. “Oscar can now run and jump about as cats should do.”

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Adventure, Customer Service, Health Issues, Pets | 2 Comments