It’s a pets’ Christmas

Today has been a peaceful and special Christmas Eve. Unwrapping presents with Mimi before breakfast. Breakfast via the Dunkin Donuts drive through.

Breakfast on Christmas Eve was $6.66 before tax

But the best part of the morning was when all the kittens vacated my room. Mama Periwinkle (Wink) let me see her baby chick! I see there is only one egg left— and I’m still not sure if there is a younger chick in there under the older one.

Periwinkle and Peek-a-Boo (Boo-Boo) were bonded females, and even now Boo-Boo seems to protect her “sister” and guard her nest. Yo-yo is a devoted father, but the three birds seem to be raising the family together.

Around lunch time, we video-called the teenager’s grandparents and both teenagers opened their gifts. Teenager #2 cried when upon discovering that my mother in law bought a custom made ornament personalized with name, the year, a musical staff and a drum. The fact that practical strangers were able to discern that many little personal details became a little overwhelming.

But the biggest moment of my Christmas Eve was finally escaping the clutches of Covid enough to deliver Fenrir of the Norse Pride aka Fern aka Fern-Edie now to be Edie to her FURRever home through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. The fact that one of my favorite people adopted her certainly made it even better.

Because she went home with a friend, I made a little care package to introduce the two of them.

And I also gave Nala a Christmas gift. After a nap on my shoulder. The gift—A new bell to replace the one she brought with her from Bird Mania. She broke the clapper out of her old one. She’s already unwrapped it, played with it, and rung it for me.

Update on babies— whether furry or feathered

Today was definitely a day of taking care of animals.

For a good deal of the early morning I didn’t hear any baby bird chirps so I got nervous, but when I do hear chirps sometimes it sounds like another budgie has hatched.

Yo-yo— the green parakeet and the daddy— is a good parent, checking on mama and bringing her food and sometimes helping around the house. Boo-boo is the yellow bird, the female who is usually the alpha and a bit of a bully. The teenager picked Boo-boo and Periwinkle out for me in January 2019. And the two females were best friends.

Boo-boo helps protect the nest.

Around 9 a.m., I took a drive to the Poconos to visit my dad and deliver a Christmas present I helped order for the teenager.

He took me to breakfast and I stood outside the diner puzzled by this sign:

They meant it to say “open” and the servers were trying to convince the customers that it was right.

It’s not. It’s clearly “Nepo.”

Upon my return, we crated seven kittens into two crates to take them to visit our cat foster godmother for vaccinations, dewormer and claw trims. The teenager is pet sitting for her as of Saturday.

Fern, who will be known as Edie, is going home tomorrow. Her new mom, a friend whom I met working at Target, will be picking her up tomorrow and they have never met so I am nervous and excited.

Vale has an approved adoption application and will be going home Saturday at Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab’s adoption event at Petsmart.

Loki, the other sibling from the Norse Pride, will be going to the Petsmart event too. The organization has other approved adoption applications but hasn’t matched everyone yet so my bedroom may be kitten-less by Saturday night.

At the minimum we are hoping Vesta of the Roman Pride (and maybe Mars) will go to Petsmart, too.

Vesta

And someone needs to consider Hermes. He’s about nine months old now, sweet and smart and great at socializing younger cats, but he still doesn’t trust hands.

Hermes

Yuletide whirlwind

Yesterday was the winter solstice— Yule— and the great convergence of Saturn and Jupiter that may have been the Christmas Star of Christian Heritage.

Sugar Cookie and Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

My neighbor Jan and I went on a Christmas season road trip to pick up a package. I wasn’t sure I could make the 90-minute drive alone.

I am grateful to live in such an old fashioned neighborhood that I know what neighbors will have adventures, which will grab me groceries, and who won’t mind grabbing me a coffee.

We stopped at Target and I got my annual bag of Candy Cane Hershey Kisses and treated myself to the new Sugar Cookie Kisses. They have real bits of cookie inside and the white chocolate kiss tastes like icing.

When I got home, the teenagers drove me over to Dollar General and Twin Rivers Music. Dollar General to get the pickle Doritos that are apparently a Dollar General exclusive and Twin Rivers Music for valve oil, a mouthpiece brush, ukulele strings and kazoos.

Teenager #2 thought her kazoo was broken, so teenager #1 had to teach her how to play it (which she did while driving the car!).

YouTube: Christmas Kazoos

YouTube: Review of Sour Pickle Doritos

In honor of Yule, and to celebrate the longest night of the year, I let the teenagers unwrap their stockings (which included some traditional stocking stuffers and some non-traditional items). A lot of make-up, gift certificates for Hyperion Salon and Lucha Bella skin care, candy and snacks, and activity books.

Teenager two got her first paint-by-water book which I bought for her because it featured Sponge Bob. I also got them coloring books of cosmic cats and uni-creatures and a robot faces sticker book.

YouTube: Dumping the stockings

Lunchables Dirt Cake

Activity Books

Teaching the Art of Paint by Water

Review of Oreo Candy Canes

We ate too many of my mother-in-law’s cookies and finished the bag of Doritos so I shouldn’t be surprised that I gained more weight.

Today is a new day and it feels like a clean start thanks to the energy of Yule and I feel a little stronger and more like myself, though still very easy to exhaust.

I got up, cleaned up after one set of cats, shoveled the path for a heating oil delivery, saw my friend Gayle, loaded the dishwasher and started a load of laundry. I tried to pick up some garbage from the house strewn with wrappings and about 5 loads of clean laundry.

Then I worked with Nan by phone. The Fluffy Norse kittens decided to join me on the sunporch and, of course, climbed the Christmas tree.

Fern-Edie in the Christmas Tree

I got the laundry out of the washer and hung it, and teenager #1 made me an egg sandwich, even though by then it was noon.

I tried to clean up the bathroom. Started the dishwasher. And came up to check on the birds.

YouTube: Do we have baby budgies?

And we have one tiny bald, baby budgie!

I am so terrified I will do something to hinder Momma Wink from taking good care of her eggs and baby. I’m especially worried everyone isn’t getting enough to eat.

So finally that brings me to Nala— she’s afraid of something and it might be the parakeets. She’s barbering badly.

Snow Shenanigans

Greetings from day 9 or 10 of my Covid life. We had a pretty sizable snowstorm yesterday that reminded me of my childhood.

If you look carefully in that first picture you’ll see a cute little Nissan 4-door. It had North Carolina plates and like a real Southern Belle the owner tried to drive over all the snow.

My teens are now out back shoveling the garage and I’ve exhausted myself loading the dishwasher. My main Covid symptom today is extreme dizziness. I’m sick of every beverage I’ve been drinking — 1-2 liters of seltzer a day, 32 to 64 ounces of herbal tea and 1-2 cups of coffee.

And while my appetite is fine, I have at least one bowl of soup a day so I can get even more liquid.

Yesterday the teenager asked her dad to bring me a good old-fashioned NY style pizza which I ate for lunch, dinner, midnight snack and breakfast.

The teenager also asked me to record different cats’ reactions to the snow.

Misty: Misty fights the snow and Misty goes for a walk in the snow

Opie: Opie says no to snow

Vale: Vale explores snow (to apply to adopt Vale— visit Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. Vale’s adoption page)

Fog: Fog in snow

Venom et al: Swarming the snow

In other fun news, the Roman Pride explored the snow from the safe confines of their room: Fosters try snow

And if you’re curious how the Romans are progressing— Romans in the morning

Hopefully these cute tuxedoes will be ready to adopt soon.

And Loki of the Norse Pride acts like a little puppy: Loki plays with the cockatoo (to apply to adopt Loki… Loki’s adoption page

Budgies laid eggs

So today I was lying in bed recovering from Covid, dizzy and congested, when I noticed that I only have two budgies.

I have three parakeets — Peek a Boo, Periwinkle and Yo Yo. Boo boo is the bold solid yellow budgie; Periwinkle is the blue one. Yo yo is the green male I got later. Boo is female. I thought Wink was male but he was the one sitting in the coconut. And when we found him— he had eggs.

So, looking closer at Wink as “he” came out to see the food and nesting materials I put out for him, he appears to be a she and Yo appears to be his mate.

I guess Wink’s face and beak look so blue because she’s blue.

Covid update and holiday greetings from Zeus & Apollo

I didn’t write yesterday because I was exhausted and dizzy and sneezing and fighting the Covid rash that covers my hands and makes me want to slice off my skin with a razor.

I’m sleeping 12 hours a day with The Norse Pride curled up against me like good little nurses and Nala, the naughty cockatoo, breaking dishes that are heavier than she is.

The foster kittens urinated in my underwear drawer. The cool new jean-looking leggings with the pockets that I got at the thrift store for work came out of the wash with a giant bleach stain on the butt. The electric bill came— and last November and December it was $55 each month. The new bill is $130.

I started the day sneezing and even more dizzy than yesterday. And when I blew my nose it was equal parts snot and blood.

So it looks like today might be similar to yesterday— I watched all of Ink Master season 1 yesterday. Today I’ll watch season 2.

But the happy news— Facebook alerted me to a message sent to me last month from Zeus & Apollo’s FURRever mom. So we had a conversation this morning about how they are doing.

Zeus has become a cuddly mama’s girl and Apollo loves his new brother Butter. I’m told Apollo is getting very tall. And Zeus still chirps and cuddles.

Day 4 of Covid isolation

Sunday. Next Sunday at this time my isolation period will be over.

I feel stiff and exhausted, and I have a weird rash that makes my hands burn and itch like crazy but all-in-all Covid symptoms are minimal today.

The most exciting thing we did today was play with foster kittens.

Vale got to wear a sweater.

For information on adopting Vale, click here.

Vale and his brother Loki are both available at Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab.

Some fun kitten videos:

Harness training Vale

Hermes and Vesta

The Roman Pride and Hermes

This is really a good amount of fun for me, but as we got Vale into the sweater we got a text that my dear cat-loving former world colleague was bringing her homemade egg nog.

The teenager has taken a liking to eggnog, but as of most of the younger generations, she’s never had the real thing.

I had had some fruitcake for breakfast— her great-grandmother’s recipe made by my mother-in-law. My in-laws have a really delicious fruit add. I brought some to work last year for Mr. Accordion and he shared it with the office Christmas party, a decision he make have regretted.

And now this.

And I used some more of Bill’s gift card to order wings from Deux Wings on GrubHub. I am not a fan of wings, but the teenager is. I rather enjoyed the mac and cheese and amazing French fries.

From Deux Wings, great food

On TV today, I started My Mad Fat Diary and Ink Master.

Bubble gum soda, Bizzy Hizzy and the wildlife

I was up blogging and cuddling kittens last night until almost 2:30 a.m.

And then I woke at 9 a.m. to a flurry of text messages— similar, but not as stressful as, yesterday.

We had a meeting regarding some new contributors for Lady Boss Magazine. In the middle of it, teenager #1 texted home from school that her grades had “magically gone to shit” and that she would go to guidance to see if she could transition to fully online as whereas teenager #2 needs to be in school for success, teenager #1 can be self-directed but needs a regular routine more than an in-person teacher.

By the way, there is no transition required— starting tomorrow teenager #1 is fully online.

Meanwhile little foster kitten Vale of the Norse Pride no longer wishes to stay in my bedroom with his siblings. This feisty Ruby wants to explore the house and hang out with the big cats.

Vale and Opie

And the highlight of my day was discovering A-Treat Bubble Gum Soda. It was surprisingly delightful and not as sickeningly sweet as I feared. (See the video.) here: Bubble Gum ATreat taste test

And as if this wasn’t enough to force me into sugar overload — the Bizzy Hizzy (Stitch Fix’s Bethlehem warehouse) had bagels, Oreos and butterscotch Krimpets. Not to be confused with crumpets. Everyone went berserk over them. The bagels were sad, the toasters broken and the cream cheese stingy and rather sour tasting.

Despite every joint in my body below my rib cage throbbing (I hope to goodness it is due to the forecasted rain tomorrow), I binned about 600 items in women’s non-apparel and 900 in apparel. I worked really hard to make the women’s non apparel bins (NAP) look like the concepts and photo on the training board. Organize items like books on a shelf.

This English major can handle that.

And I learned that our inventory devices are “hammers” and their brand name is Thor.

I’m surrounded by Norse legends.

I only walked about 10,000 steps instead of my normal 22,000.

My listening material tonight included a comedy roast I didn’t like, Dax Shepherd interviewing astronaut Scott Kelly, Trevor Noah discussing racism in the housing market, something about how the Metropolitan Museum of Art refuses to count the value of its paintings, and a fashion podcast lamenting how in a pandemic world the absence of fashion shows puts a lot of people out of work.

Well, chances are the models were already starving.

And on the way home, there were two occasions where wildlife crossed the road in front of me.

First a deer.

Then a fox.

I’m taking my aching bones to bed.

Kittens, craziness and the end of my first two weeks at StitchFix Bizzy Hizzy

So tonight I finished my first two weeks at the Bethlehem warehouse of StitchFix, or the Bizzy Hizzy as they call it. I am still fascinated by the logistics of the warehouse and how well it works.

I reached 128 again tonight in my picking, which considering it looked like I hit 80 before my meal is both good and disappointing. I think I would have hit 140 had I not been stationed in W most of the night. Between the physical distance between that section and the “garage,” about 750 steps, I lost a good four minutes with every cart. That adds up to an hour over the course of the night so yes my math is correct.

This job requires so much walking— about 21,000 steps tonight—that my calves, thighs, feet and butt all burned by the end of the night but it’s the “agony” of muscles that haven’t seen that kind of action in a long time.

I do love seeing what goes in each fix and the fact that I work alone and can compete against my own performance pleases me.

I even got to visit the employee store tonight— where dresses and pants are $10, tops are $5 and you can buy five items. I bought some Christmas presents for the teenager. And a Karl Lagerfeld Paris polka dot sleeveless blouse and 1822 denim ankle skinny jeans in acid-washed camo for myself.

As close to Chanel as I will ever get

The teenager ordered Dominos at midnight so we could all— me, the cockatoo, teenager #1 and teenager #2— could have a pizza party.

That feels like a great start to the weekend.

This afternoon, teenager #1 got a haircut and bleached her hair. While out with her dad, they stopped at our foster godmother’s house to pick up a spare 18-pound turkey she had. Now it looks like I’ll be having some friends over for a turkey meal on Sunday. It will be my first attempt at making a turkey.

Meanwhile, the ringworm which originated with Hermes what feels like months ago has not only spread to both other litters of foster kittens but two of our personal cats.

Speaking of cats… teenager #1 took this video of Jupiter from the Roman Pride and within the first 24 hours on YouTube it had 622 views. YouTube: Hello Jupiter

Another day at the Bizzy Hizzy

It’s approaching 1 a.m. and I am amazed at how quickly I am adapting to going to bed around 1:15 a.m. and waking up around 8:45 a.m.

An hour ago I was placing my laptop into the cupboard, taking my last cart of fixes to the “garage” area and heading to the time clock.

I only walked 16,000 steps in the warehouse tonight but I hit the pre-direct pick picking goal of 128 fixes.

I am sitting in my bed with a gin-and-cucumber-positive-beverage-B12 cocktail. I have kittens surrounding me (the Norse Pride domestic long hairs) and Nala chattering and falling asleep on my knee—and I know my bird should be asleep right now but she wakes up when she hears me come home and she’ll be super angry with me tomorrow if I don’t give her a bedtime cuddle.

She just fell asleep — on my knee.

The scene looks something like this:

The swarming Norse Pride

Poor Fog is whimpering outside my door as he used to be the cat that slept with me until the teenager moved the Norse Pride (some of our foster kittens through Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab) into my room. He wants no part of those pesky furball kittens.

But he misses me now that I am working, and he pursues every opportunity he can to be with me.

Fog

Today involved some meetings, including the Lehigh Valley Regional Homelessness Advisory Board. I organized some paperwork and paid some bills as this week’s unemployment payment came.

I received EBT/SNAP (food stamps) for September, October and November so I’ve been combing every store possible for the best deals. Grocery Outlet and Lidl remain my standbys, but I find some good coupons at CVS. Today they sent me a coupon for a Starbucks Frappuccino from their ready-to-drink cooler for $1.49. I had $1 in Extra Bucks expiring today so I got the coffee beverage for 49 cents in food stamps.

Why does SNAP pay for candy and bottles of Frappuccino but there is no program to pay for bath soap, laundry supplies or toilet paper? One friend remarked that poor people must not be allowed to be clean.

So, now that I’m employed again these are issues I shouldn’t have to contemplate much longer.

And I suppose eventually StitchFix might ask me to stop blogging about them but I hope not— I’m a wholesome blogger with a long history in the public relations and journalism field.

But I’m so excited about hitting the 128 number and we had Thanksgiving dinner at work!