Scoopin’ The Poo….Litter Box Maintenance For the Disabled Cat Parent

So tonight I put on a pair of long johns, long socks, and a tee shirt. Nope, I wasn’t testing out my Halloween costume, I was doing my job as a cat parent and preparing to enter the “Litter Box Room” for the bi-daily scoopin’ of the poo. I acquired this task after becoming a full-time house-wife more than a year ago. As a person with a disability, there are some house hold tasks that I have to modify to be able to do. Today on the blog I thought I’d go through the steps I do to scoop out our litter boxes. I hope this encourages you if you are disabled, but are thinking of getting a cat.

Getting Started: Before I even step one foot inside our litter box room, I change into a pair of long pants (ones that are usually reserved for an evening at home), an old t-shirt and a pair of long socks. I also remove my shoes. Now I do not wear plastic gloves, but that is a good idea for added protection from Toxoplasma gondii. The last thing I do is grab a plastic bag.

Removal:  Now here is why the long pants and socks are a must. I am unable to stand and scoop out our boxes, so I have to sit. This means that I make contact with litter that has been kicked out of the box. To keep things as sanitary as possible, long pants and socks are a must. If I kept my shoes on, I’d have more chance of tracking litter around the house.

With a scoop, go through each box until all the clumps are gone. Put clumps into the plastic bag and seal it up when you are finished. Throw away immediately. If you managed to throw out litter, add a bit of fresh litter to the box. It should be 2-3 inches deep at all times.

Now I usually scoop the boxes out every other day. The litter is fully changed by my husband every few weeks. Since I am unable to lift the boxes, this job has been left to him. We keep track of how long it’s been fully cleaned on a whiteboard in our kitchen as a reminder for when it’s time to change it fully. Our cats seem completely happy with this arrangement, as long as it’s scooped regularly. Another added benefit of scooping every other day is that you can inspect the poo for any changes that might indicate a health issue that warrants immediate attention.

If you live alone and need assistance with lifting the boxes, I suggest asking a close friend for help. You may even offer to pay them (I also suggest if they refuse payment and are otherwise unattached, consider marrying them immediately! 😀 😉 )

Finishing: When you are finished scooping all the clumps into the bag and it’s sealed and thrown away, carefully take yourself to the laundry room (I’m lucky because our litter box room is right next to the laundry room) and take off your pants and socks and shirt. If your laundry room is not next to where your litter boxes are, take a few steps outside the room, strip down and take your clothes to the laundry room. If this is the case, you may want to have another plastic bag with you to put your clothes into so you don’t drag them over the floor. Finally wash your hands thoroughly and you are done!

Taking care of a cat when you are disabled can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible. I hope these tips help you better care for your cat.

Cheers!

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What To Do When Your Internet Dies….Or How People Lived in the ’80’s

So it happens. You wake up in the morning and open your computer, ready to blog. For some unknown reason, in the middle of your entry, the cursor starts moving independently. Like a deranged arrow, it begins dancing erratically across the screen. After doing some research, you realize that, unbeknownst to you, condensation drippings from one of the ice cream samples you wrote about earlier in the week has dripped down into your mousepad. Causing a reaction that makes navigating the internet next to impossible.

So, what do you do when you have things to do that require internet, but your computer is not having it? Here is a list:

1. Clean something-Option one here may require a bit of acrobatics, as you are forced to finally face down that mountain of dishes that you neglected while playing multiple games of Candy Crush and blogging about the world’s biggest spider and how it found its way, miraculously, across several continents and into your house.

I mention acrobatics here because the pile is so large, you are forced to stand on a chair that is placed on top of both cat carriers. You should probably do some stretches before you get up on the chair, just so you don’t pull anything in the process. I’d also suggest praying for safety.

2. Read-This ancient form of entertainment began long ago. One would sit in one spot for hours on end, with a rectangular object held in their hand. This object was made of reams of paper called a book, a single piece was called a page. Each page had words written on it for your eyeballs to look at and your brain to process. Reading proved to be a pretty rockin’ time for all that did it. Legend has it that for each book read, a new wrinkle would form in the brain. And he who died with the most wrinkly brain won an unknown prize. I think.

3. Talk to someone-Another ancient form of entertainment was talking to other people. Way back in the ’80’s this was usually done in person or over the phone if that person lived far away. You’d usually discuss what you did that day or what you planned to do the next day or in the coming weekend. One also many times made plans to see that person at a later event, usually consisting of sitting down and eating food. Or watching a movie.

4. Take a walk outdoors-Yes, ladies and gentlemen, in the ’80’s one was aware of a world outside their homes. It was called outdoors. Outdoors usually consisted of trees, green stuff called grass, and dirt. If you were lucky enough, some people even had little bodies of water to wade in called streams. The outdoors was covered with a canopy of blue called sky. The outdoors provided fresh air and sunshine to the delight of all that made their way out-of-doors.

5. Play solitaire-Now, I know you are familiar with this one. This is the computer game you play between phone calls and meetings at work. There is a slight modification to this version though as it takes actual playing cards. Just position the cards in the same places as the computer version. And who knows, you may form at least a half wrinkle in your brain! 😉

These are just some ideas of what to you when your internet dies. What else would you add to the list?

Happy Weekend!!

Dial-Up

Lulabelle’s Ice Cream Battle Extraordinaire!! Wendy’s Vanilla Frosty vs. Dairy Queen Soft Serve

Over the weekend I conducted an experiment. For a long time my husband and I have had a debate, “Which Frosty from Wendy’s is the best, chocolate or vanilla?”

Wendy’s restaurant debuted the original chocolate Frosty in 1969. The flavor of chocolate is actually a bit deceptive, as the original Frosty is actually a mix of chocolate and vanilla, according the Wendy’s Wikipedia page. The flavor of vanilla debuted in 2006.

Now, truth be told, I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to my Frosty. When vanilla debuted, it seemed a bit of a sacrilege really. Then several years later, I met and fell in love with a man who preferred the vanilla. This suddenly made for a very confusing world.

Then one day curiosity got the better of me, and after going through a Wendy’s drive thru with my husband, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try out the new Frosty. Of course I didn’t order a whole one for myself, I ordered the real thing   chocolate and tasted a small sample of my husband’s fake one vanilla Frosty. It was at this moment that I realized something crazy….the vanilla frosty tasted to me JUST LIKE Dairy Queen’s vanilla soft serve!! I swear it was like Wendy’s went into the DQ headquarters after dark, broke in and stole the recipe for their soft serve!!

Ever since then, I’ve wanted to do a direct comparison of DQ soft serve and Wendy’s vanilla Frosty. This past weekend I got my chance. With an assist from the spouse, the experiment began:

(It should be noted that I intended to input a photo of both products here. As I attempted this, I realized I have yet to put them on my computer and the camera I used is not in the house. #bloggerfail. I’ll upload the photo later this evening!)

Phase 1: The Blind Taste-Test

Both samples of ice cream were put in front of me. Both the same size. Both contained plastic spoons (although if we had to do it again, we’d get the exact same spoon for each sample as the DQ spoon we used has a unique curve that you can feel even when your eyes are closed. Despite this anomaly, the experiment continued…you know, for science and stuff 😀 ) Before testing each sample, my palate was cleansed thoroughly with water.

I was able to correctly guess which was which. While both have I’d say the same flavor, there is a definite consistency difference that separates the two ice creams. Which leads us to:

Phase 2: Noting the Differences: Declaring a Winner

DQ soft serve has a smoother and thicker quality to it, while the Wendy’s Vanilla Frosty is a bit icier, with a somewhat grainy texture. However the flavors are remarkably similar, with the soft serve sample ending with a bit more of a sour after-taste.

With our experiment done, I can now say that the DQ soft serve is the over-all winner. If I want vanilla soft serve ice cream, I’m going to go to Dairy Queen every time. For a Frosty fix, you’ll still find me at Wendy’s ordering the original chocolate version.

Our next experiment will be to see if we can turn a vanilla Frosty the original by only adding chocolate syrup. Maybe also whipped cream. After all, this is all in the name of scientific advancement. Yeah. 😉

 

Go Home Fortune Cookie, You’re Drunk!!

Photo on 2015-09-19 at 16.59

Do no adjust your screens. What you are seeing is an actual fortune cookie with not one, not two, but THREE fortunes inside. Let’s unpack them and see what we have. 

1. “You thrive on adventure. True something new”: I don’t care what you think, I’ve researched the risks and still feel like sword swallowing whilst riding a unicycle is NOT for me! 

2. “You should do well at making money and holding onto it”: You’re right, I should. This doesn’t mean I actually do. So thanks for reminding me, you jerkwad! 😛 

3. “You take criticism as an opportunity to grow”: Eh, this one I’m working on. I still struggle with wanting to panic, push you down and run away though. Growth takes time. 😛 

What Do You Get When You Cross a Chicken With a Monkey?: Aunting Fails!

Well guys, it’s happened. I shot myself in the foot. Not literally. Let me explain. Awhile back I wrote in my blog on aunting that one of the traditions I have with my niece and nephews is to give them their birthday gifts on Christmas eve. What I maybe didn’t explain was that it’s become tradition for me to make a framed picture for their rooms for their first birthday. This picture normally is made from abandoned scraps of construction paper or card stock from previous art projects. When I start I don’t know what I’ll be making, but inspiration has struck two of the three times. Here is the picture that started it all. It now hangs proudly in my oldest nephew’s room:

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For my niece I crafted a bumblebee out of construction paper. It is shown flying around the paper, spelling out her name (hence the reason I haven’t included it here).

Now, for my youngest nephew, I hadn’t really decided what his picture would be. I really hadn’t thought much about it until I happened to mention this to my sister-his mother-and she said, “You aren’t gonna make a chicken-monkey??”

See, a few months after my nephew was born and I was about to make my first visit, I watched one of my favorite movies, “Frozen” a few dozen times (remember, I work in child-care). There is a scene in the movie where an old prince is dancing with the princess Anna. He describes his dancing thusly, “like a chicken with the head of a monkey!”

When I first met my nephew and immediately fell in love, as most aunts will do, I took the baby and bounced him up and down. Now, when some people are playing with a baby, the weirdest things fly out of their mouths. Case in point, when my oldest nephew was a baby, his mother called him, “mommy’s turkey sandwich”, even though the kid looked no where near a turkey sandwich.  He did however, because of his hair, slightly resemble a rooster, which was his other moniker of choice, but I digress.

So, when I bounced my youngest nephew up and down, to make him laugh and be silly, I said, “Are you a chicken, or a monkey? Or a monkey-chicken??” This was honestly the first time he belly laughed, so I kept doing it. I kept doing it to the point where this became his nickname and now I’m stuck with having to craft a mythical beast that hopefully won’t scare the crap out of him!

This was my first attempt. Keep in mind, I have till December to perfect this:

Photo on 2015-09-18 at 17.23

Hey, I warned you it was rough. This was sketched out on a napkin in a coffee shop. For some reason this version has webbed feet.

Have you ever agreed to something that only afterwards you realized you may be in over your head??

Happy Weekend!!

To the Woman Who’s Just Resigned to Remain Childless: You Are NOT Alone!!

I was in your shoes in December. See, my husband and I had always thought we’d have kids. But early on decided that adoption was the best option. We just didn’t know when that would happen. Then at Christmas, after considering a myriad of things, we decided it was best if we remained childless.

I don’t know what going through that is like for a man, but as a woman, it is completely and utterly disorienting. Imagine growing up thinking that you’d one day be a mother. As you grow older and marry, the method of motherhood changes slightly, but it’s still a distant goal.

Then the day comes that you and your husband decide to make the painful decision to remain childless. And it’s devastating. And it just plain SUCKS. You think your life is moving in one trajectory, and God comes in and quietly whispers to you, “I have another plan for you. I want you to take this path.” And the path is unknown and scary. For weeks after your decision (or last treatment, or word from the doctor that it’s not going to happen, or another failed adoption) you are in a daze, trying to figure out what this new path looks like. In between crying and the depression that follows, you slowly begin the long healing process.

Living through this for almost a year, I have some things to say that I hope are helpful to you.

1. Grief for as long as you like. Anyone that tells you that you should be over your grief right now should not be listened to.

2. You are NOT less of a woman because you are childless!! This is a LIE that society perpetuates all too often. Even if you are childless, you still have WORTH and MEANING to your life.

3. When you are up for it, join a support group. Seek out members of your community that may be going through the same thing, or look to social media. I know it’s not the same as face to face contact, but at least you get daily words of encouragement when you need it. From people around the world.

4. If and when you are up for it, talk about your experience with others. Issues of infertility and childlessness are still in a sense considered taboo topics but, at least for myself, I’ve found that talking has helped me heal SO much. It’s also educated others about these issues.

5. Make a list of things you can do now that kids won’t be in the picture (I understand this is a hard one if you are still grieving. If so, put this one on the back-burner till you feel ready to tackle it) Sleeping in was something my husband and I put on our list. If this one is too hard, skip it entirely.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve and move on from being childless. Therefore this list isn’t necessarily complete. These are things that I found helped me.

Remember, dear, sweet, wonderful woman,

You are NOT alone. EVER!!

Cheers!

 

Lulabelle’s Primer on the Art of Apologizing: To The Ladies of The View…..

Dear Ladies of The View:

You may be wondering why everyone is still losing their minds over your analysis and subsequent “apology” following the Miss America Nurse debacle. Here’s the thing, your “apology” (I’ll get to why I’m using quotes in a moment), lacked the most important things an apology contains. Empathy and humility to admit you made a mistake and are sorry-hence my use of quotation marks.

Nowhere in your “apology” did you utter the words, “We’re sorry.” While you did say you had all the respect in the world for nurses and appreciated what they do every day, in the next breath you defended your actions by blaming your viewers for not listening to what you were saying.

So ladies, let’s review:

Proper Apology: Humbly admit that you made a mistake. Include the words, “I’m sorry”

When in doubt, remember what you learned in kindergarten. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Cheers!

PS: I am giving Joy Behar a modicum of credit for admitting she was not paying attention and admitting she was being stupid and inattentive.

Oh, and Miss Colorado, if you read this, I want you to know I think your talent was AMAZING and I wish more contestants would buck the trend and go for something a little different.

**videos appear courtesy of http://www.smartgirlpolitics.com and YouTube

Dear Mary…..

The following post is a letter to my sweet friend, Mary Boyd, who went to be with Jesus late last night….


Dear Mary:

You are no doubt getting answers to your questions of faith right now, straight from the Source.

You were worried that not following the leading of the Holy Spirit would somehow spin you outside of the will of the Lord. This is simply not true, my friend. See, our God is faithful to all His children. He gives chance after chance to come back to His perfect plan. These chances last until death. Remember Jonah and the whale?? He was flat-out rebellious about going to Nineveh to preach to the people there. So rebellious in fact that God had to send a storm and a whale to convince him that Nineveh was the right path. But after he was coughed up by the whale, Jonah realized going to Nineveh was the right choice and went. He was given a second chance. (Jonah 1-4) 

How about one of the greatest apostles of all, Paul? Originally named Saul, he started out being one of the biggest persecutors of Christians, including Stephen (Acts 8:1-2). It wasn’t till he was on the road to Damascus that the Lord stopped him in his tracks, literally making him mute and blind, that he realized the error of his ways, repented and became one of the most powerful forces for the Kingdom of Heaven. He was given a second chance. (Acts 9:1-31) 

So dear, sweet Mary, the Lord almost certainly delighted in your desire to do His will. No matter where that brought you, I’m sure when you reached those pearly gates late last night and looked into the eyes of our Savior, He lovingly declared, “Well done, my good and faithful servant! Well done!”

Good night sweet Mary! We’ll see you in the Morning! Save us a seat!

*Sidewalk Prophets appear courtesy of Youtube

A House Divided Can Still Stand….#LoveWins

This blog post began to be written on Friday, September 11th but due to sickness, I wasn’t able to finish until tonight…….


Let me just say straight away that this is not going to be a typical Friday post. I had a LAFF topic in mind, but given the date, it just didn’t seem right. We’ll be back to our regular humor post next Friday. But today something a bit different.

This week has been pretty non productive. Sickness has run rampant through our house in the last few days, putting almost all normal activity on stand still. Today was the first day I felt somewhat normal, but I just couldn’t get myself to finish the chores I had planned. However, I did manage to change the sheets on the bed. A funny thing happens each time I change the sheets on our bed. This activity makes me reflect on the differences between my husband and I. Let me explain…..

See, we have two sets of bed sheets and pillowcases. One is red and the other one is blue. However, we almost never use all one color of sheets and pillowcases. We mix and match. At the time we registered for them, I didn’t think much about specifically red and blue, I just thought they looked pretty. After we were married and were making the bed for the first time, it hit me. Red and blue aren’t simply pretty colors….they also represent the two major political parties in our country; red for republican-or conservative/right-wing, blue for democrat-or left-wing/liberal. Without outing either one of us, lets just say that we voted for opposing candidates in a recent presidential election. In this way, we are a house divided.

When we first started dating, many years ago, most people were flummoxed that we could date each other yet hold differing political views. I’m not going to say it’s always been easy. Holding differing political views has caused us to challenge one another at times. 

I guess it all started after we began dating right before the ’08 presidential election. I was on Facebook one day and a friend of mine posted a status update, detailing how her and her spouse had researched heavily to determine what candidate they were going to vote for. They. Meaning they would agree on a candidate together. This struck me as so strange. Why do you have to only choose one candidate? Where is your individuality? When you marry, do you cease to become unique as an individual? What if you don’t share the same opinions as your spouse, but still love them fiercely?

In an age where politics divides so many people, is there room in that division for love? Not just love, but love that is deep and fierce and bold? I definitely think so. My husband and I have been together for nearly 7 and a half years and in that time, we’ve learned to love beyond politics. Case in point:

In the summer of ’09 we were living in neighboring states, several hours apart. We phoned each other once a day, late at night when Chad would get off work. One night, he didn’t call. I can’t remember if I was annoyed, but knowing myself, I probably was. Early the next morning he phoned me to say that he was walking home from work the night before when he was jumped by 3 guys. They pushed him to the ground, kicked him and stole his brand new laptop. Fortunately he wasn’t far from a friend’s house, and they assisted him to the ER where he was treated and released. Hearing this story left me terrified.

In that moment, our political differences didn’t matter one bit. All I wanted to do was jump on a bus and be with him. I also knew in that moment that I didn’t want to lose him. Ever.

In this day and age when planes fly into buildings, people die in car accidents on a daily basis, and famous comedians succumb to the pressure to be perfect, shouldn’t there be more room for love? We are all living here on this blue and green orb for such a short while. In the time we have together, shouldn’t we be more focused on loving each other rather than focusing on who’ll get our vote? After all in the end, a house divided can still stand strong because….love wins.

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Blogging When Sick: Don’t Try This At Home, Kids!

The truth about being an adult is that it’s inevitable that the week you have the most things to do, that is when your body says, “Bwhaha! I don’t think so, sucker!,” and decides to attack itself and force you to sleep, drink your weight in fluids, pop vitamin C like it’s some sort of illicit drug, and eat so much fruit that you start to sprout a teeny tiny fruit hat on the top of your head, reminiscent of Carmen Miranda. 

The actual Carmen Miranda wasn’t available at press time. Fortunately, this cat was. 

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The upside is that I get to smear mentholated stuff on my chest and neck, which has always given me a weird thrill of excitement. That reminds me, it’s time to reapply. Excuse me…..

Your sickness causes you to cancel an important appointment, and you only hope and pray you are well enough to attend the social event of the year where there will be chocolate-covered Oreos and a selection of grilled meats. Seriously, it’s a can’t-miss event. 

Honestly, I blame our oldest cat. See, a few days ago I was having a great dream when all-of-a-sudden I woke up, the cat is standing over me, and my nose and cheeks were wet. She had unashamedly sneezed in my face.

I went back to sleep and woke up later feeling fine. The kitty germs didn’t sink into my body for another couple of days. It happened when we were in the middle of a wedding out-of-state. It was during the reception that I started feeling not so great. Fatigue and sore throat. But there was cake to eat, so we had to stay. 😉 I eventually found my way to the wine selections, drank a glass of red, and felt better. At least my sore throat was soothed. Which leads me to a sickness life hack: When you have a sore throat and are out of cough syrup, a small glass of wine will do the same thing (don’t drink and drive, kids 😉 ). 

So I’m trying to kick this thing out of my body by Friday. Think I can do it? What do you do to make yourself feel better when you are sick?? Let me know in the comments below! 

Cheers! 

*Carmen Miranda cat appears courtesy of Pinterest