Just give up on me. I can’t seem to blog as often as I like, and I spend half my time feeling guilty for not updating. Ok, don’t give up on me, but maybe lower your expectations. Right now, I can’t seem to keep it together.
I’ve completed a lot of projects of all sorts in the last few weeks. I finished putting hardwood on the stairs (I still need to paint the risers, but no big deal there), I finished putting wood in the hallway, and made it about 1/3 of the way into the office. After several disasters with the trim, I ended up having to paint it (which I didn’t want to do, and it took forever!). I also finished the sweater made from my handspun yarn and started a new one. I also sent Chimera, Sylph, Pegasus, and Griffin back to the shelter, where they got adopted immediately. Duck, Goose and Lamb are not quite ready for various reasons.
(click to embiggen)
For a rank amateur, I think I did pretty well with these projects. The people who sold us the wood for the floors made it sound like the installation would be really hard and that I was making a mistake by not having it professionally installed, but I can honestly say I think they were wrong. I will qualify that, though. If you are thinking about installing hardwood floors and just want to save a few bucks, doing it yourself is not the way to go. There are some very frustrating things that can happen while installing floors (for example, though they are supposed to be exactly the same, the boards occasionally varied in width by about 1/16th of an inch, which turns out to matter very much for how the install goes), and you may have to rip out some boards to correct your problem. You also have to occasionally come up with creative solutions to the problems that come up. If, however, you are installing hardwood floors yourself because you like doing home improvement projects, have at. Translating to knit speak – if you are a project knitter, hire a pro. If you are a process knitter, do it yourself.
Despite how it may appear, I am actually not a glutton for punishment. I made plans to buy pre-finished baseboards for the walls. Finishing trim sucks, as I learned when I put the kitten bathroom together. When I went to the home-improvement stores, I learned that the pre-finished trim they had looked cheap and fake. I then decided to buy unfinished trim to stain and varnish myself. For some reason, no type of stain would take properly to the wood, despite the fact that I followed the directions on the cans exactly. In tears, I went to our local paint specialty store and told them what happened. I asked if there was a way to paint over the stain disaster. As luck would have it, there is a primer that you can use to paint over a stained or varnished surface, and then you can finish it with latex paint. The catch is that the primer is oil based, so the clean-up involves mineral spirits. I could not bring myself to do the priming. I didn’t want to finish my own trim in the first place, and now it was going to take 37 steps to complete. I made every excuse I could not to finish, even resorting to the honest “I just don’t feel like it.” Luckily, Michael stepped in and helped me finish the trim in the last 2 nights. This was important to completing the flooring because I used the un-floored section of the office as a painting studio. I figured if I got any sort of paint on the sub-floor it wouldn’t matter because it would be covered up. Plus, the office is a place where I can close the door to the cats and open a window to let the fumes out.
This is what the trim looks like when it is against the floor and the walls. What do you think?
In the time between the floor and the trim, I managed to finish the sweater I made out of my handspun yarn. On the bright side, it’s the best-fitting sweater I’ve made for myself to date. It isn’t too wide and I don’t look like I weigh 50 more pounds when I wear it. However, the sweater is a little shorter than I like. I ran low on yarn, so I figure that I did an ok job given what I had available to me.
While I do have this picture of Lamb snuggling with the sweater in its project bag, I do not yet have a picture of it on myself. We have had only dreary weather since I finished and I want to take a picture in good lighting. Given that we had our first snow this winter on the last day of summer, I think the world owes us a few more bright, sunny days for taking sweater pictures.
The 4 kittens I returned to the shelter on Saturday are all here in this picture, along with Duck, Lamb, and Serra. And Michael. I am happy to say that they are all snuggly, happy kittens and I am proud of the job we did with them.
The kittens who were left behind have been absolutely wonderful to live with. I’ve been sick all day today, so all of them spent at least some time snuggling me. They are mostly here because they had some sort of ailment to overcome as well. Lamb had a spot on her face that had a trace chance of being ringworm (now that she’s got some skin medicine, I am thinking it was a false alarm), so she has to wait 10 days for a fungal culture to come back negative. Goose still had soft stool despite 2 courses of Flagyl (for Giardia). It turns out that overeating, which Goosie loves to do, can cause soft stool and even diarrhea in kittens, so we’ve been testing out a restricted diet for her. So far, so good. And Duck is just underweight, and trying to convince me to adopt him. He makes a good case for it.
If you know anything about me by now, you are wondering how I am surviving with only 3 kittens in my home. Ok, so maybe I am a glutton for punishment. One of the foster coordinators sent a note saying that they needed to get kittens out of the shelter, and I happily answered the call. I asked for bottle-feeders since the shelter finally knows that I am experienced enough to handle that sort of challenge. As it turned out, 7 kittens, one of whom is a loner who got added in, came to the shelter the day I was able to make time and room for them.
At this point, Bella, Edward and Renée have struggled a bit. Renée had diarrhea on the first day and wouldn’t eat, but a night of fluids and Nutri-Cal seemed to solve her trouble. Edward threw up about 6 times last night (roughly every 2 hours), and Bella threw up a little today and abstained from a meal. My new policy is “If you throw up or have diarrhea today, you are getting sub-q fluids.” So far, I think it’s a winning strategy. Edward is the only one who worries me still. A few of the kittens have been interested in wet food, so I think that it won’t be too demanding to care for all the babies and make sure the sick ones get the special looking-after they need.
The big kittens are jealous of the new babies. When I bring the babies and the bottle out, Goose comes up to them to hiss. Even sweet Duck (aka Mellow Yellow) made it clear that he was not willing to accept kittens who might be cuter than him. I swore to all the kittens that they were equally cute to me, but when little Alice tried to play with Goose when I had her out for feeding-time, Goosie growled. They won’t really have to interact at any point, so I am not worried.
I hope to have more completed projects of various sorts to show you in the next few days, and I really hope not to have to report any kitten casualties. I think life will be easier when we can put all of our rooms back the way they belong. Here’s hoping.