Tuesday, May 31, 2011

the bright side

It's true that the week ahead holds a lot of horror for Bill and I.

It's not fair that it's going to fall to us and to my sister's boy and his friend to euthanize those animals, but I've discovered that life isn't fair anyway. The upside to everything is that I'll be able to go in there afterwards and clean.

It's been traumatizing just going out there to visit and realizing that the air quality in my parents' home not acceptable. Knowing that dander and feces may be coming up out of the heat vents from the basement. Knowing that the house that my step-dad has lived in his entire life could be condemned - it's even scarier than having to euthanize all those animals. We're looking forward to being able to help them in many more ways than this.


In other news, I wasn't able to get a new netbook. The dividend cheque was only $130 due to a terrible fiscal year, but I have another plan. There's a place that sells refurbished netbooks for $230 and they'll take it in two payments, so that's what I'll do. Bill got his guitar this year and Em got her netbook this year, so I'll not feel guilty at all. Much.

I just need something to look forward to.

Monday, May 30, 2011

thanks for nothing

The call from the SPCA Peace Officer didn't go well.

"Let me guess," she began. "Your family has let a cat problem get out of control and now you want us to come out, clean up after you, foot the bill and look the other way on charges -"

"I made the call because my parents have lost the ability to take control. And yes, I'm looking for help. I don't know who else to call and we need help."

"Who's paying the vet?"

"That's why we called. If I had the resources; if they had the resources, I wouldn't be talking to you."

"This is going to take several officers, several vans, a couple vets...thousands of dollars! There's only one of me - I'd have to bring in people from Edmonton and Calgary. I think you're going to have to take care of it yourself. Honestly, the most humane way to go about it is to get the help of a marksman."

In my mind, I'm thinking to myself Seriously?! Seriously??!!

So in the next week, my husband Bill and I, and my nephew and his friend will be making trips to the farm each night to systematically triage, treat, OR euthanize over 110 feral cats suffering from various illnesses. We're creating a new pet cemetery and Bill will be on hand to say several prayers after the burial.

It's agonizing to even think of it. I know that perhaps I was naive thinking that there'd be help, but I didn't really expect what we got when we called - nothing. No help, but threat of criminal charges if we don't comply. I think I know why it took us so long to act! In any event, our concerns lie with my parents and those animals.

Wish us luck.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


random garden pic

I made the call to Animal Services yesterday.

I began by saying that I was sure it was not animal hoarding, even though my brother Steve has been trying to feed and care for them all. It began years ago, when my folks were still in their seventies. One neighbour dropped off an un-neutered Siamese, which got several females pregnant. Many of those animals stayed in the outbuildings and those kittens got pregnant. And so on.

We started talking about getting help last year. This year, it became unmanageable.

At any rate, after the first few minutes, the officer explained that since Steve is the one that tries looking after them, he'd be the one facing charges. At that point I got very upset and pointed out that Steve is a caregiver for our aging parents - he cleans the kitchen and floors and bathroom and also helps with yardwork and snow removal. He drives 100 miles round trip every week just to help Mum with the dishes and to change her bedding.

It's taken us years to act on this for this very reason alone, but now it is more important to improve quality of life for my parents.

Animal Control asked about adoption - did I think if they got several agencies involved, could they be rounded up, treated and adopted out?

"Maybe a small percentage," I replied. "But most are infested with mites, fleas, worms and disease. Personally, I think over 90% of them need to be euthanized."

They asked for a legal land description and I couldn't give it - yet.

"I need time to talk to my parents and my sister. They have one dog and three cats that are fixed and need to be removed before anyone shows up."

"We wouldn't seize that first day," she said.

"I need the weekend. Here is my on-call cell number and my husband's. If you don't hear from by Monday at noon, feel free to contact me."

I have to say that making that call was scary. I didn't cry on the phone with the officer, but did cry talking to my sister. Later, when Bill's sister Cathy offered to help clean the farm afterward, I cried again. "It's so bad, Cathy - I don't know if I could bear taking you out there."

I called Jim (step-father) to let him know that things were going to be proceeding quickly once the address was given. "I want for you and mum to be able to stay in that house. Also, if we had left it and someone else reported it, you would face charges because you're the landowner."

"I don't want the house condemned."

"I know. Don't tell Steven."

"He'll be here Monday night to clean but will leave again Tuesday morning - "

"I'll let them know. Debbie will take Buddy (Steve's cat) and Cathy is taking Lucy. We'll take the other two cats that are fixed -"

"They can stay here, in another room."

"I don't think so - they recommended we have those animals completely removed so as not to hinder the seizure."


The next week is going to be long and hard. You know, if you had told me this would happen when I was eighteen, I would laughed in your face. Back then, Jim made sure the cat population was under control! It's scary seeing what can happen, once you get old! I hope my kids are around to help us out.

Monday, May 23, 2011

no sharing!

Back in the old days, I had a desktop computer, a keyboard, a digital camera and a program to edit photos. I miss it a lot! Bill even gave me a new digital camera when the old one gave up the ghost, but of course both computers are in bad shape. Bill used my laptop so much (and downloaded P2P file sharing as well as games) that it crashed within months. I gave it to him.

I use an old system hooked up to the TV to play on FB or write posts, but I don't really like it. What I'm hoping for this week is a sizable dividend cheque from my local Co-op. You see, we have these grocery stores/gas stations/liquor stores/home building supply stores that are owned by members like me. Twenty years ago I purchased a membership for $1.00 and every year I receive dividend cheques that range in amount from $35 to $350.

Since I drive a company van and use a company fleet fuel card, I've been filling up to the tune of $150/week since last August. 5% of that is $255.00 plus anything I purchased in food or liquor...I'm hoping to get at least $350.00 tomorrow. If I do, I'll be getting a little netbook that can be for my own use only.

It must sound selfish, but in a family like mine, you need to have your own stuff. Seriously, as much as I love Bill, I do NOT want to share a comp with him. Shoot me.

Today is raining but I'd love to be able to pick up some bedding plants. I know, I know! It's a problem. I'm hoping to be able to take some pics this week and post them so you can all see my gardening efforts.

Happy Victoria Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

the farm

Photographer unknown

Rain is usually a good thing, but if it keeps up this afternoon I won't be able to plant anything out at my parent's farm. I've had plans all week to dig a long flower bed beneath my brother's window (wild flower mix, some perennials) a couple smaller beds beside the gazebo (vines, one is beans the other an annual purplish flower) and a few small beds around the out-buildings for Lupines, which I started in April.

Yesterday I planted my own seedlings! There are Bachelor's Buttons, Blanket Flowers, Malva, Purple Bells and Hosta (that came as five seedlings in a plastic bag for $10! Usually I pay a minimum of $6 for one.)

I hope that most of them survive.

I'm also getting nervous about the farm because this year, I am calling Animal Control for help. Longtime readers might remember that since my parents' health has declined, they have not been able to handle the cats that are reproducing at an alarming rate - at last count, there were over fifty coming in & out of the house and another fifty outside. This is up by 100% from last year! My brother works away and has been providing food but cannot keep up with medical intervention. In the past he has taken various animals to be spade or neutered; he also gives them shots of penicillin at home but there are outbreaks of worms, mites, fleas and disease.

I've informed my sister but not my brother because he will be the one to fight me on it. I think he's trying to avoid a kitten massacre but at this point it is more humane to euthanise. I just hope that the govt. body understands that my parents have had no control over it - we do NOT want them to be shamed publicly, either on the news or in the local papers. My mum is 84 and very fragile.

If I do go out there today, I might bring it up again just so that they know we're serious about it. We need to make sure that they can stay in that house until they die, which is their wish. It's the only way it's going to happen - even now, the air quality is questionable due to all the dander and waste. BUT we can do a big clean once all the animals are removed (with the exception of Lucy, the border collie that was Dale and Jamie's and two other cats that are fixed.)


Enough of that!

This is May long weekend, so I have tomorrow off as well. If I can't plant today, there is always tomorrow. Have a good one!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Spring is in the air. Sort of.

photographer unknown

In the last year, I've become extremely addicted to gardening magazines and landscaping. This isn't a good thing for someone who owns postage-stamp size front and back yards, but I do have access to my mom's yards and that'll go a long way in keeping me from withdrawal, lol.

This year I'm planning on planting a LOT of flowers and perennial plants in and around their deck and to help me save on costs, I have started a crop of seedlings inside my house.

Right now I have Lupines, Blanket Flowers, Bachelor's Buttons, Phlox and Globe Amaranth growing in containers on every window sill in the house! I also have packets of seeds for all kinds of vines and poppies, which can be sowed directly to the ground.

I'm looking forward to May 25th, which is when the threat of frost is completely past.

Work is work, and while I still enjoy taking care of my clients, my boss is still a dink. Even when he's seemingly nice, you know that it's coming eventually.

Yesterday I got a call late in the afternoon from a woman that had moved into a supportive living facility. In the past, we were told that we'd lost the oxygen contract and that we must pick up our eqipment if one of our clients moves in there, so when she called, I was apologetic but firm.

"I'm so sorry Ella! Please talk to your nurse."

That nurse called me back ten minutes later and gave me the go ahead to deliver O2 and explained that her wing fell under a different government agency. Yay!

"If you want to keep this client," she advised,"you'd better show up today. And bring some better equipment! That concentrator she has is too loud."

Damn. This means a call to the dink.

In our company, anyone that wants to deliver the smallest, newest concentrator has to get special permission from the area manager. We think that our company is afraid of making these machines the new "standard" because even though they're nicer, quieter and smaller, they break down a lot more. Still, since other companies readily supply them, we're under a lot of pressure.

"Kat-ty," Omar says in this Middle Eastern/French accent. "You do not have the medical expertise to deliver this equipment."

"What?! I deliver this kind of thing several times a week. I do equipment education almost every day!"

"Where is the respiratory therapist?"

"She's doing assessments an hour away."

"Why is she out of cylinders?"

"Because she just moved."

Twenty minutes later (all in overtime by the way) he relents and "lets" me go. *sigh*

Bill's parents are still here, they're staying out at Cathy's place. We're going out there tomorrow for Mother's Day and for Em's 14th birthday (hard to believe she's 14 already!!)

I believe we're going out to see my mom this afternoon.

Happy Mother's Day!!