Hermes world view is expanding. He’s about eight months old and though timid super inquisitive. He’s the last remaining member of our first litter of fosterkittens. He is listed for adoption on the web site, www.felineurbanrescueandrehab.org.
This cat is the perfect mentor for younger kittens. He loves to watch the action and the household but doesn’t like to be the center of attention. If you’re looking for a subdued cat who loves to listen to your conversation, sniff everything in the house and sits near you without being clingy or needy, consider him. As he continues to relax around people, he’s going to be a character. And he’s no dummy.
He’s timid because he was so wild and sick as a baby. He would dart around the room when we tried to med him. Hence the name Hermes, like the Greek messenger. He had a couple rounds of respiratory infections, weeping eyes that still flare up occasionally, then two bouts of ringworm.
Now he’s healthy and the patriarch of our fosters.
My routine is fairly set… I get up, use the bathroom, weigh myself, feed cats, and brew a cup of coffee (using the time while it brews to tidy the kitchen).
I drink the coffee while hanging with our personal cats, sometimes I do my journal entry then other times I wait until I return upstairs.
Once my coffee is done I start a load of laundry, make sure the kibble is put away where our two cats with urinate issues can’t find it, and head up to “wake the birds.”
Usually by now it’s around 9 or even 10 a.m. (as I work 3:30 p.m. until midnight). I open Nala’s cage (my Goffin’s cockatoo) and throw back the curtains so the budgies fill my room with chirps and chatters. I check on the babies and everyone gets fresh food and water.
The photos really don’t do them justice. They all have open eyes, clear faces, beaks, feet and wings. They are getting feathers and one is turning blue like Mama Periwinkle.
After feeding everyone I let Peek-A-Boo-Boo free fly as she is stuck in the tiny cage right now.
Then, in an attempt to set my head straight for 2021, I made my bed— inspired by a post by another blogger on her M goals for 2021.
Movement and mindful eating are also on my list. I am losing a little weight every day just by making better choices and paying attention to how much I consume.
I think my journaling and blogging might be similar to meditation. It clears out my head and puts me straight.
But I failed in my grandiose plans to start my I journal with some sort of fancy motivational speech.
Loki went to the adoption fair at Petsmart with our cat rescue group Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab. He had a scheduled meet-and-greet with a family. While he was gone, teenager #1 and I went to the dollar stores looking for organizational materials.
And then we got the sad text: “Loki did not go. 😦 ”
It’s 12:05 a.m. and I still have to open my journal. My morning started merely five hours after I went to bed with a series of foibles that are normal in my life… so let me appease anyone waiting for my next blog post with this little post I made on Facebook:
Some of our challenges in this household for 2021 include:
Reassure teenager #2’s male cat that he is safe. The other cats feed off his insecurity and terrorize him which leads to urination outside the box.
Eat healthy again.
Each member of my household has some sort of fitness goal. Mine is the inevitable lose weight, but I am going to focus on strength training. Strength and endurance to me are the key to building a healthy body.
I know 2020 dealt a lot of people a bad hand at cards, so to speak, and I know so many people have suffered— loved ones lost, food insecurity, unemployment, instability, break-ups.
I naively believe every year will “be a good year” or a better year… but let’s talk Turkey for a minute: I have a disability (cerebral palsy), I come from a certain socio-economic bracket that has made it difficult (but not impossible) for me to achieve long term financial stability, and my own job choices have often valued community, family and altruism over traditionally-defined middle class life.
2019 was the year I resumed my professional career after taking ten years “off” to raise my daughter. (I worked for Target for those 10 years and they gradually increased my part time hours to full time and so I opted to get paid a professional salary versus a retail wage if I were to put that many hours in.)
My husband and I separated in 2019. That was a huge change after 20 years, and it still pains me. My husband is one of the kindest people in the world, and while I still lament that we couldn’t fix our problems, the end had to come.
So what were the joys and lessons of 2020?
Let me share.
Cats. December 26, 2019 through late January 2020, the teenager trapped the feral kittens born under our neighbors porch. We kept two of them. Taming feral kittens gave us so much reward. And led to us working with FURR. Our fostering career has involved 12 kittens so far, in seven months. And I cannot tell you how much I love having babies around all the time. On days I don’t want to get out of bed, I do for them.
Birds. I met Nala on December 28, 2019 and brought her home in mid-January. By dealing with this obstinate Goffin’s cockatoo, I learned a lot of patience. And the best way to top being “a crazy cat lady” is to be the crazy cat lady with birds. And my parakeets had babies for Christmas 2020. I have three chicks that I have seen grow daily.
Professional and personal growth.I found myself crying at my desk more often than I like to admit in 2020. It became apparent by the end of January that my boss was an incredibly toxic person. At the same token, I learned so much from her that when she dismissed me during the pandemic, I could use those new skills to help a young nonprofit grow. Between my original job and my volunteer work with new nonprofits, I showcased this knowledge to steer these organizations to grants. And the success rates for grants, publication of an first-ever annual report, and various media placements throughout the Lehigh Valley was exhilarating.
Expanding family. As my faithful readers may know, I have a second teenager staying with me. This teenager has turned our lives upside down, but has shared in our joys and tribulations during the last four months. I always wanted a larger family— and I got it this year: a menagerie of birds, cats and teenagers. It’s been amazing to share our joys and traditions with someone and see my daughter react to no longer being an only child.
New attitude toward challenges. I am always the person you can count on when you need someone. So people don’t realize that I am often terrified and insecure. Being “alone” and a single custodial parent has gotten me over that. I had five months with no income and I lived on the $4500 I had in savings. I ended up in the hospital with a cat bite during that time period and it was such a great learning experience. I learned a lot about myself, my neighbors, my friends, and how amazing teenager #1 really is. And then I finally get unemployment after I get my new job at Stitch Fix. I promptly use it to pay off some of my medical bills and a few living expenses I had put on my American Express.
We will move beyond Covid. I finally got a job and three weeks in, I contract Covid-19. That whole experience was something, but again— I learned to ask friends, neighbors and family for help. And that GrubHub gift certificate I received during the summer months sure came in handy. This whole pandemic world has me mapping out whom I would recruit for my squad in a real catastrophe.
Maybe I’m just weird— but I see a lot of hope and triumph emerging from struggle. Cheers to 2021.
I got up early today — at 5:45 a.m.— to take the teenager to our FURR godmother’s house for her pet sitting job.
These two personal cats of the household wanted my affection and made a receiving line. From the tilt of their heads I am guessing they don’t like paparazzi.
In related FURR news, little Loki Dokie Puppy Turkey of the Norse Pride is learning the rules of the greater house versus life in the master suite. He still likes to challenge the “no cats on the counters” rule but he is learning to prefer the scratching posts to the furniture. For that I am grateful.
Yes, the scratching post is broken but they don’t mind. We just have to watch the sisal and reattach it.
In other news of gratitude, the chicks seem to have doubled in size. They must be very hungry right now because they chirped much of the night.
Yule was hatched on the solstice, Winter hatched next, and then, yes, Christmas hatched on Christmas.
Mama gives me one chance each morning to check on them and take their photo. If you want to hear the protective mama bird noise, here it is: Protective Periwinkle.
So now, the only thing stressing me out is the fact that I haven’t heard from my doctor’s office. I called them yesterday about my need for a follow up Covid test and a doctor’s note.
Today has been a peaceful and special Christmas Eve. Unwrapping presents with Mimi before breakfast. Breakfast via the Dunkin Donuts drive through.
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.
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.
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.
Routines in this house have changed since I contracted Covid.
Today I have completed the 10-day isolation period recommended by the CDC and can now leave the house. I want the teenager to take me to the Dollar Tree and Petco.
It’s 7:40 a.m. Because of my job on second shift and then my illness, I haven’t been up this early in probably months.
My room is typically a cat free zone. Nala, my Goffin’s cockatoo, and my three budgies (and now three budgie eggs) are in there.
But the Norse Pride ended up with me— in part because the teenager worried the Roman Pride were making them nervous and in her words they were too small to bother the birds.
The kittens, after a month in my room, decided they want to be with the big cats, so when I come in and out of my room, Vale leads a charge.
Because of this I leave my door open more soon they can come back. And now my cats and Teenager #2’s cats like to gather here. Her cats want to watch birds. My cats want to enjoy a warm bed with me and watch the birds.
Now dear Fog was my bed mate before cockatoo and before kittens. He and the three-legged old man liked to rest in my room and minded their own business.
And now Fog has taken to opening my bedroom door and joining me in bed in the morning, which confuses the Norse Pride kittens who don’t understand the magic of how a cat opens the door.
He doesn’t like the kittens— but he wants to be with me as I have my morning coughing fit. He’s got to be checking on me.
But the kittens are fascinated and confused by him and run to me. And it’s been a while since I had an 11+ pound cat in my bed. So it’s a jarring way to wake up.
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.
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.