family


After my last post, I stepped into the tub for a shower and realized an important piece missing.  How does the shower have anything to do with an automatic cat pan?  Well simply the lack of pellets noticed that morning.  The Cat Genie has custom pellets for its operation.  They look like someone took a broom that has those hollow bristles and cut those bristles in 1/4″ lengths.  Those things get everywhere.  I have found them in my bed, through the carpet, even in my sock at work.  I felt like I was walking on a pebble and on removing my sock, found on of those pellets.  One chore was to sweep the bathroom and return the pellets to the machine again.  Did I mention they get everywhere?  Now that the machine is in a closet, the number of pellets in diverse locations has decreased.  Also helping this scenario, I believe, is that I put a scratch pad right at the opening of the closet, so the cats have to walk on it to get in or out.  Here I was standing in the shower and realized that I was not pulling pellets off my feet.  What a nice discovery!

I do have to get into the closet every week and a half, roughly, and sweep in there and return the pellets to the machine, but on the whole, this beats scooping the cat pan every day.

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We have tried to automate our cat care.  That puts the idea in a short nugget.  Further explanation requires many more words.  Cats are normal jumpers.  Fences are an enjoyable path along the side of the lot – not that a cat as any respect of man-made property limits.  Dogs, for the most part are respecters of fences.  I say the most the most part, because there are exceptions where they have jumped over or just put a hole in the fence.  This is an important concept to us as we have a canine who thinks cat nuggets are a wonderful commodity to munch and leave around the house.  (knowing cringe here is appropriate)  By utilizing the characteristics presented, we have installed a block from the dogs and managed to keep nuggets where they belong.  Initially, this began as a set of shelves in the corner of the bathroom.  The bottom shelf is relatively even with the counter and above the toilet.  In the corner nearest the sink, a hole allows tubing to connect from the water supply to one of those automatic dog waterers.  That job took a week to get plumbing to match and stop leaking.  Frustration level – orange.  Around the corner of the same shelf is a blue bowl.  There is a piece of downspout leading to the second shelf.  The cats were smart enough to discover that if they dug into the spout of the food dispenser, they could obtain additional supply.  Placing the food dispenser on the next shelf stopped that behavior.  Yes, the food is measured and dispensed at three times through the day.

The dispenser measures the amount of food and the motor runs producing a low noise calling the most food aggressive cat – Whiskers to the first shelf before the cycle is finished.  This has been going on for a few months, so the amount of food consumed is reasonable, I guess.  All weights of the cats are being maintained, except Whiskers.  She has doubled herself since her reproduction factory was removed.  I guess the cyclic cat cry was replaced by an appetite.  There remains a little food about 1/2 hour post administration and this is eaten prior to the next cycle, so I’m not of the mind to change the settings any more.

That leaves the cat pan.  Put a clothes pin on your nose, here comes the cleaning again.  Remember we have three cats.  Take your normal olfactory sensation and triple it.  We tried regular litter, sand, scoopable, and finally had two pans – one with scoopable litter and the other with pellets and a pad underneath to catch the urine.  The combination worked all right.  That’s when I noticed the Cat Genie.

The Cat Genie is expensive.  It’s not as much as a couple of other styles utilizing scoopable litter, but still takes quite a chunk of change.  Also, there is the need to have cleaning fluid and replaceable pellets returned to usage.  The unit is designed to force the buyer to use only the brand supplier.  There is a radio code placed in the package of the soap which ostensibly identifies the authentic soap and times cycled for the machine.  One cannot refill the cartridge and replace it.  The machine will reject a reintroduction of the same cartridge.  I guess that is the reason there were empty cartridges available on ebay for $9.  Anyways, we purchased this machine and have been using the supplies as required.  The machine has had a couple of hicc-ups and required a cleaning and removal of two foreign objects at different times.  The first time was a ball.  All the poop was collected in the chute and filled the thing.   A superball was enough to block operation.  Another time it was making a ferocious noise and this time I had to tear down all the way to the pump to discover a picture holder – one of those bent metal pieces you hammer on to the wall on which a picture is hung.

The unit has been running well after the objects were removed.  Placement of this unit was consideration.  We had it in our bathroom for a while and worked around it.  The dogs would remove treasures from time to time and the cats were so-so about consistent usage.  We would have treasures here and there and the shampooer was well used as well as several things run through the washer.  A better placement needed to happen.  There is a closet next to the bathroom.  I cut a hole in the wall between the closet and the bathroom allowing a cat to enter the bottom of the closet.  Next we obtained a duct fan, motion detector with 10 minute timer and LED light strip.  All these were utilized in the bottom of the closet so that when the cat peeks through the opening, the light turns on as well as the fan which is ducted into the attic and out the vent in the roof.  The bottom shelf was extended to cover entirely to the door and separate that area from the rest of the closet.  Next a water supply was added as well as a drain set into the tub drain.  The Cat Genie was placed in this closet and all operate well.  The dogs can’t get into the closet and the cats have seemed to adopt this new location as we haven’t received any more treasures in the bedroom.  One, and we don’t know who, has occasionally placed an offering in the tub.  I don’t want to fuss too much as this location is phenomenally easier to clean than other locations which were formerly utilized.  One additional observation I have made is that when the bath mat is left in the tub, there are no treasures left there for us.  You can guess where the bath mat has been left.

The next wonderful observation is that entering the room doesn’t have the aura of cat presence to the olfactory observer.  Our air is actually cleaner as a result of this set-up.  I can announce pleasure of that result.

I have typed little recently.  There is a reason.  I have heard many opining about the start of a new year and having new beginnings, etc.  I sort of hope so, but was feeling the “new year” as just another day.  How did I spend New Year’s?  Spouseinbox and I rewired an outlet, added another outlet and I drove to Big City for a doctor’s appointment.  Spouseinbox had to work, so the trip was done solo.  What’s this to do with typing?  Let me back up a bit.  We have wanted a baby.  We both love babies and volunteer in the nursery at church.  That’s where we get our baby time.  During one scan, there was an incidental, “oh, you have a cyst in your thyroid” noted.  We performed the anticipated referral to endocrinology and had an ultrasound which led to a biopsy which led to surgery for cancer which led to radiation treatment which led to no baby time.  That whole scenario played out over the span of 10 months.  In the midst of that story, we had bed bugs.  Annoying things, they are.  I read how they are the ultimate Hitchhiker.  We have suspicions from where they originated, but don’t really know.  This led to moving all cloth items into the garage to process through hot wash, or freezer and the destruction of the offending bed and frame.  So far, Lord willing, I have only seen 2 of those things out of that bedroom.  Both were in the hall and dispatched accordingly.

Since all the cloth items were in bags and the closets clear, I decided to assist spouseinbox and move a closet rod lower to match the reachable height.  One rod didn’t want to move.  It was set in those cups having a screw in the middle and an opening on one side where the rod is to slide and slip out of the adjoining cup.  The screw had moved out somehow and was preventing the removal of the rod.  I moved it around and tugged to no avail.  Finally, I decided that it was just a closet rod and if I pulled in the center, it would bend a little to come off the screw.  Pulling didn’t work, so I pulled harder.  that didn’t work, so I just yanked with all my might and it came out.  More correctly stated, it popped out and we both ended up on the floor with my wrist in excruciating pain.  It didn’t take my brain cells 2 seconds to decide I had done something not very nice to that wrist.

Spouseinbox kept a box of braces for various body parts, and I went to retrieve one, and with that applied, tried to finish the job.  There are times when ADHD has no place in my mind.  Nothing to distract here.  Not even a broken wrist.  Spouseinbox talked me to the walk-in clinic where the tugging injury was described and the nurse practitioner stated no X-ray was needed as it was pulling not an impact injury and sold me a brace.  Talk about profit margin.  I had to sign a waver of purchase as they were charging $72 for this silly thing.  With insurance bargaining, the price became $53.  I still had to pay that much for a brace the replacement of which I picked up on line for $26.  Keep that in mind next time a clinic tries to sell you one.  Just say, “thank you for the opportunity to be soaked, but I will purchase myself.”  Imagine if the bulk of people had to purchase their own medical equipment.  That would change the way things are done in medicine.

So to shorten this long story, I have been in and out of the brace over the last 6 months and up to 3 medicines for pain.  Wearing the brace made it extremely uncomfortable to type as well as use the mouse, so I have practiced mouse movements with my left hand.  At work, I’m rather proficient at usage now.  Well, at the appointment yesterday it was confirmed that the wrist was broken and the bone in question was healing in an arched position.  That being the case, I have a couple of choices.  I can live with the pain and start P/T again.  I can have the first set of carpals removed and the remainder would contract into that space with a reduction of movement, or I can have the entire wrist fused and be the equivalent of having an internal brace.  Pain or limited to  movement.  Joy.  The brace has been removed.  That helps the pain level.  (Granted, I’m still taking 2 of the meds.)  I’m planning on reducing the meds and start all of the exercises I learned from P/T the last time (for which I still am paying, thank you very much).

I’ve decided that this is going to be the equivalent of the advice given to knee replacement patients – take it until the pain is too bad, then have the surgery.  That’s my plan, and without the brace, it’s much easier to type again.

A new year.  I hear of hope, promises, ideas, plans.  Well, you have seen a little bit of mine.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the calendar, but here’s to looking forward with hope that the plans yield good results.

As for the electric project, that’s part of another story I may write some time.

I read through this article and noted a concept described, but not stated. That is the focus of an individual in regards to relationship to spouse and children.  In the 50s, there were television shows using entire families with each member showing the anticipated roles they played in society.  Using the female role mentioned in the article, note the disdain the teacher had for the role of mother. What is the main difference, personally speaking, between a mother and someone at a job?  The mother is working to care for others.  The woman in a job is working to care for herself.  This is not to disparage working moms who need to put food on the table.  I just want to recognize a concept using the scenario presented in the article – man supporting the family and woman supporting the home.   The child received a disparaging remark from her teacher that she should not consider caring for children as a worthwhile activity even though she was living the result of someone engaged in that action.  The teacher was trying to inculcate the child into selfish rather than selfless mindset.  The educator was trying to intrude in the family concept of the home life.  As an aside and quote I have used previously – Dr. Thomas Sowell noted that if one simply wanted to present sex education as the facts, it could be done so in a few classes.  The only reason to extend it over multiple years is to undermine the training received at home.  This demonstrates a similar retraining.

Arranged marriage – perfect name for the concept of deliberate action based on thought and conversation.  Emotions come and go.  Feelings run the gamut of ecstasy to discouragement.  Self absorption can only destroy a relationship.  Joy is recognized when shown in desire to give to others – in this case, the children.  She recognized how her dad gave to the family and the mom gave to the kids and him.  “It was never really spoken about to me, but those are just the ideas I developed and carried with me.”  She developed those ideas because she lived them.

This is a national religious holiday with a long history.  As a way of remembering, here are links to history, proclamation and establishment.  Thanks to God is noted in each rendition.  We thank Him as well.  We have come thus far through this year with an incredible number of challenges and recognize God’s blessings through them all.

Today was listed as labor day and as such many received a vacation day.  My work was closed, so I took the opportunity to labor at home.  I installed shelves in the garage, pulled weeds, did laundry, planned a Kairos weekend, and got ready to paint the back fence.  Not too bad for a few hours without my regular work to do.

We have a  flag pole out front and I left it empty today.  Actually, the labor day was a result of the organized labor movement in the late 1800’s and commemorates the formation of unions and their power.  I don’t have a use for the unions.  After all, their initial purpose has been supplanted by labor laws and OSHA and they serve to protect poor workers and increase wages above market rates.  That is the real reason for the increases in minimum wage – the unions use that figure and argue that their skills entitle them to x amount above the minimum.  Any politician pushing minimum wage increase is doing so to pay off the unions.  Broad brush, I know, but too easy to show as well.  Therefore, I didn’t raise the flag.  Tomorrow, the Texas flag will be raised as my usual tradition.

Spouseinbox got inspired this evening and we all received benefit therefrom.  The object of a bit of preparation was a chicken dish consisting of green beans, chicken, and potatoes with a topping of ranch dressing mix.  The result is shown below:

supper 90417

From spouseinbox: I found a simple recipe on Facebook, and decided to try it for supper tonight. I used about a pound of chicken tenderloins,  and cut them in about 4 pieces per tenderloin. I cut up about 6 small potatoes, and put in 2 cans undrained green beans. I then used ranch dressing mix packet rather than Italian dressing mix packet.
Overall it was good, and everybody got seconds. However, I will do a few things differently next time. I will use canned green bean and potatoes drained, and mix in the chicken rather than lay it on top. It had a lot of juice this time, and I feel the seasoning seemed to be “washed off” the food into the juice.
I will look forward to next time.

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