Monday, January 31, 2011

Worried Sick about my Princess Kitty

Meet the Princess Kitty:

It's a terrible picture, I know. It was taken through the window because once I go outside she's under the tree.

Princess is a sweet little feral cat who showed up sometime this summer. According to my neighbor, she'd been living under the pine tree in my front yard for several months before I discovered her in October and started feeding her. Somebody trapped her and got her fixed at some point, because her left ear is clipped (national sign used by TNR programs - Trap - Neuter & Release). The truth is I have no idea whether she is a she or not. But since she rarely goes anywhere it's likely that it's a female. Maybe someday I'll find out it's a male and have to change its name to "The kitty formerly known as Princess."

Anyhow, we've got a big storm brewing. The wind is howling, and the snow is falling, and it's supposed to be WAY below zero soon and stay there for a good day or two.

I've done everything I can think of to help her. I've built 7 different shelters... all of which she refuses to use. I've shoved all manner of boxes, crates and snugglies and straw under the tree, but she prefers to lie in the dirt. Yesterday, with CatMan's assurance that it would be no more dangerous than Christmas lights, I even put an outdoor approved electric heating pad under there... But no luck.

At one point I thought about trying to trap her and bring her inside, but since she won't go into anything, I don't think I would have had much luck. And I was really afraid that I would scare her off and then she'd be in even worse shape than she is now. Plus, she's totally terrified of other cats, and I've got 3 males...

But, this morning she wouldn't even come out from her hiding place in the branches to eat. She tends to hunker down during snow, so that's not totally unexpected, but I can't stop worrying.

CatMan says she has plenty of fur so she'll be fine... but I still can't stop worrying.

I'm not the praying type... raised as an athiest, it's sort of hard to get behind prayer... but if anybody could send some positive energy through the universe for my little Princess Kitty, I'd sure appreciate it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Gardening

Oh, I am getting so spoiled. The past 2 days have been in the 70's here in Denver. So I took advantage of the opportunity to go do some winter gardening. It was soooooo wonderful! I dug up another few feet of grass and enlarged my south facing garden plot by another 10 square feet or so. I also pulled out several miles of bindweed roots. I suppose one way to look at is that no matter how badly my expanded garden may do, it couldn't be any worse than a yard full of bindweed!

I also set up my little homemade seed incubator in the garden level south facing window, and hopefully all of the kale, collards, kohlrabi & broccoli will have a fighting chance. (Thanks Melissa for the inspiration: I've concluded that the bugs that keeps infesting my cruciferous veggies are aphids. So this year I'm gonna try covering them and spraying with a garlic/soap spray at first sign of the little buggers! I WILL have broccoli this year, I will, I WILL!

And last, but not least, I harvested enough winter spinach for a lovely salad. Yum!

Oh... the gardening bug is going strong already. I fear three below zero is gonna come as a rude awakening next week!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Flaming Hot Diva (Cup)

There are people who can get by nicely on 5-6 hours of sleep per night. I am not one of them. In fact, if I don't get my usual 8-9 hours, I become pretty much useless.

So yesterday, while it was totally, incredibly cool to get a free energy audit, the dudes showed up at 8:15 in the morning! In my book this qualifies as cruel and unusual... not to mention the fact that I was up past 2am obsessing about cleaning... because, you know, those energy auditors are real sticklers for dirty mini-blinds!

OK, so suffice it to say that I wasn't exactly hitting on all cylinders yesterday.

Anyhow, after the dudes left, I was going about my daily business. OK... fellows, you might want to beware, this next part gets a bit "feminine." About a year ago, after reading "No Impact Man" I decided to try a "Diva Cup" for my feminine hygiene needs. Turns out the thing is FABULOUS, whether it's green or not. I mean, seriously, you only have to change it once in the morning and once at night, so you don't have to count the hours and worry about toxic socks, and it never leaks, and you don't have to worry about having a fempon on hand... OK, so you get the picture. Anyhow, when you're done using the thing for the month, you're supposed to boil it for 20 minutes to kill any lingering germs.

So, back to yesterday. After the dudes left, I decided to boil my Diva cup, along with a little plastic squirty thing that I use to clean it out. Now, did I mention that I don't function all that well when I don't get enough sleep? So, I put the thing on the stove and promptly head over to Beth Terry's site to read all of the comments on my "Show us your Plastic Challenge". I was happily reading away, and commenting on other people's posts when I noticed a strange smell.

At this point, most normal people would think, "something is wrong", unfortunately, my thought process went more like this: "Isn't it interesting how the brain works. Here I am reading about plastic, and so my brain starts conjuring up the smell of plastic."

OK... so about 30 minutes later, I look up and see smoke pouring out of the kitchen. Suddenly, I remembered my Diva Cup on the stove. Oh man... it wasn't pretty. Seriously, the water had boiled completely away and when I took the lid off flames shot up about a foot in the air. I think the plastic squirty thing was the main thing burning since silicone doesn't really seem terribly flammable to me.

Oy Vay! So here it is, the remnants of my flaming hot Diva Cup! Think that will void the warranty? :)

Remember this the next time you think you've done something really stupid. There is, at least one person out there stupider than you, at least when she doesn't get enough sleep!

And for those who just can't get enough of my Diva Cup idiocy... you can read the exciting sequel to this story: Lightening Doesn't Strike Twice, but what about Divas?

Heaven help me...

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Benefits of Being Broke

OK... first of all, I don't really consider myself broke, just frugal and finding ways to outsmart the system. But I am living on a small enough amount of money that I was able to qualify for a govenment run, stimulus funded weatherization program.

Sooo... this morning I got a free energy audit done on my house! It was totally cool... they hooked up this fan to the front door and checked the whole house for leaks. Turns out all of my caulking and weatherstripping worked, and the house it so tightly sealed that they can't seal it up any more without putting a vent into the basement for combustion air on the hot water heater!

But, I could use some more insulation in the attic and insulation in the walls, both of which they are going to do for free! Totally cool! I just have to figure out how to get enough of the siding off so they can drill holes for the wall insulation, otherwise they have to drill the holes inside - yikes!

Turns out my 12 year old fridge is operating with the same efficiency as a brand new one (costing $3.50/month to run) so no benefit there. They might even put storm windows on the single pane basement windows, but it depends. Apparently sometimes it makes it so the windows can't be opened completely which is a fire/egress hazard. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because those things leak heat like crazy.

I admit, I feel a tad bit guilty getting this stuff for free. I still can't really believe it... I mean really, I could be making more money if I were willing to go get a "real" job. On the other hand, I've paid a boatload of taxes during the years when I was making more money... so I'm not gonna feel too guilty about it!