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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

old and new cats

we had to put Pumpkins down the Friday before thanksgiving... DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis, had him on a crash to dust, and it was the only merciful thing left for us.  what a cuddlebug he was! -- but also a trial, as he almost never dumped in the litter, only urinated.

one very hard week befell, and last Saturday, Shawn texted some pictures of rescue cats that had just come in to a pet shop.  we stopped by to see them Sunday after church, as well as critters in two others, on the way home.  he called twice Sunday as I was wrestling with the impossible in fitting a handrail to DeBasement steps that would level out and curve around the wall at the landing.  wrestling.  impossible.  to hell with it, and brought in a straight handrail that will run along the steps only.

as we were stripping off and breaking screws threading the holes for the critical two of 5 holders on the floor, shawn called back... and finally said, "If $260 is too much for you (Cheryl is a tightwad, she admits it) then I'll buy one for you."

it was 5:09, and the web said that the store closed at 6, so hustle-boom, off we went with the carrier in tow.

turns out they cut off adoptions at 4 pm, but we talked our way into it because if we picked up the kitties on a weekday, there would be no time for socialization basically until the weekend.  our schedules suck.

so home came little George and Martha.  I'd show them, except when they finally worked up the courage to leave the carrier and its thick warm fleece, they high-tailed it to a corner under the buffet.  dark.  hidden.  sigh.

George finally worked up enough spunk to jump into the buffet where a bottom drawer used to exist, found he could climb up and get into the top drawer.  Martha stayed behind.  I had orange George pegged to be the chief troublemaker of the littermates.

turns out when there is exploring to do, grey Martha does it.  almost all our once-a-day kitty sightings are Martha, tailed cautiously by George, who bolts for a hidey-hole as soon as he sees eyes of anybody else.  Martha will linger briefly before disappearing in a streak.

so getting them to the vet on Saturday is going to be interesting.  I set the appointment late morning, figuring it would be quite the search for today's hidey hole.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I see I neglected to finish a story here

namely, the celebration trip to Cold Stone after I got the heat working in The Great White Whale of a car.

got there right at closing, they took pity on us and whipped a couple of treats.  we got back in the car, headed over to Menards for some screws to help hold the car door together (lost one) and headed home.

slippery slope drive... the car was barely moving in forward.  got home, started looking up transmission issues in Grand Marqs, and managed to get to work and back for two days.

Friday, really sloppy coming off a stop, ordered some likely parts online, and got a case of ATF.  seems there is a generic gunk-up issue that resolves with a new filter and uprating from Dexron II/Mercon to Mercon V in the 1995 and later transmissions, a new variant.

the next weekend, after letting my car sit a week and using Cheryl's, blocked up the car and slid under yet again.  I have jackstands, but they don't appear solid enough to me, I've wiggled the whole car underneath them.  I jack the car up as needed, and slip an assembly of cut-up 6x8 and 8x8 landscape timber underneath the frame.  once the jack goes down, I body-slam that side of the car.  no movement, barely a ripple on a glass of water put on the hood, I'm ready to work underneath the thing.

cranked around the engine with a wrench on the crank pulley bolt until I had the drain plug for the torque converter handy, drained that thing and as much ATF as would seep over from the tranny, reinstalled with torque setting, and started taking the pan bolts out.  an excellent opportunity, by the way, to get the last two sizes of micrometer torque wrenches I didn't have on sale at Harbor Freight.  about a quart of ATF left in the pan, as well as a monster beard of little fine metal shavings on the pan magnet.  was scraping those off for quite a while, it was like microfine mud.

swapped filters, cleaned the pan to eat out of, reinstalled everything, refilled, put the car back on the ground... mostly have reverse, no forward.  Eric was in the vicinity, he came over and found another 2-1/2 quarts of ATF would go in while I revved the car, so the converter hadn't refilled.  still no forward.

we ended up having a junkyard pull tranny shipped in to John's, and had them do the mechanicals.  I don't have the strength on my back or side to wrestle a damn transmission around, even if I rent or buy a tranny jack.  they have guys, hoists, and tools I don't.  easy $500 decision there.

it's running, but I couldn't see the road going home in the dark, rainy night.  next evening, put a headlight restoration kit in, realigned the lenses, all is well.

the house was a little emptier last night

since Wednesday night, we have been worried about our cat Pumpkins.  he was basically himself in the morning, jumping into the bed after my wife got up to check on me, get a head rub, and jump off again.  when it's my turn to get up, he's a fixture needing his tummy rub and neck rub at the same time until I absolutely have to get cracking and get to work.

Wednesday night, he was a listless little orange tabby rag.  poked about the web online vet sites, decided we would try broth, canned chicken, half a pepcid AC, and encouraged him to drink at every step.  cats, if you didn't know, are not long for the world if they stop drinking... there is a hand-in-hand with using the kidneys and losing the kidneys.

Thursday night, my wife had enough, and packed the kitty into the car for the emergency vet clinic 20 miles distant.  I drove over from the tail end of a union weekly negotiation call.

results... DKA, diabetic ketoacidosis, and even if we submitted him to approximately a week of high-effort, mid-4 figure hospitalization, not good odds.  we debated the obvious, and Cheryl was not ready to submit Pumpkins to euthenasia.

so Friday, I had all-day training.  cuddled my little buddy, laid next to him on the floor as he contemplated a series of dainties on plates and several water dishes of different heights and sizes, and eventually had to get dressed.  in he comes, ten feet at a time between rests, to see me.  lifted him onto the bed, gave him a good 15 minutes, and then was past the wire, absolutely HAD to get dressed and go in for factory training on a new line of equipment we are buying by the trainload for next year.  you may guess, but I'm not telling.  it'll be good.

put the fleece I've had to lay at the bottom of the bed in the sheets for my little crampy toes down in the hallway for something warm and familiar, put the cat on it, and had to run.  no breakfast, no lunch, had to live off the machines for the day.  the group decided to cut out the hour lunch break, so I got out early.  in the meantime, Cheryl had gotten a 4:30 appointment with the vet, and son 3 was going to take the kitty in.  I called Shawn, and told him I was tied up in traffic, taking an alternate, and would be able to spell him for the kitty visit if he preferred.  which he agreed to, didn't want to be anywhere near that trip, although he was at the house getting his cuddles in with pumpkins.

we went, the body temp had fallen almost two degrees from the emergency clinic, and the blood results they faxed over told the tale... it was End Times.  got ahold of Cheryl between buses, both I and the doctor talked to her, and we agreed it was time for the final gift.

told Dr. Pomeroy be careful which arm you stick that thing into... hit the wrong arm, you don't get paid.  he laughed for half a minute, and said modern practice was to reach the bloodstream via a kidney for minimum shock.

and I had time to introduce Pumpkins, perhaps the sweetest, most loving cat I've known in my life, to a friend of mine he'd be moving in with.

Fella name of God.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Them Bayou Boys... not the fastest rabbit in the woods.

I am informed that the bayou boys, poster children for not too bright, have put their reactionary takebacks formally on the table from 5 days maximum sick time a year to the awful management healthcare plan.  no solid salary offer yet.  the union negotiators will have their comebacks Tuesday.

this is proceeding right down the disrespectful Hewitt plan towards union busting, as I read the updates.

a reminder that when companies try and bust unions, unions work on busting companies.

everybody take a deep breath, and try to get along, please.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bayou Boys: going down the Nacchio road?

I am informed the CEO told an investor call, on a question by an investment analyst, that the company felt good that they were going to roll wages down to the level of the competition.  Namely, crappy cable companies that don't provide any service.

Well, in my personal humble opinion, that was deliberately providing misleading and materially misleading information to investors.  That is a Federal crime.  CWA members are not accepting wage and benefit rollbacks from a quarter to almost half of current, in some cases.  Unless the minions at the talks are lying upstream, the CEO knows this.  if CTL doesn't come clean, CWA will have to.  It would help if the company would start negotiating as well.

I am not permitted to speak for either the union or the company, to everybody's benefit I might add, but talking to my AVP today, a good number of the 13,000 members probably share my insight in this.

We all know what happened when Evil Joey Nachos pumped Qwest stock talking about a "secret military sale" that existed only in his head.  He's still in Federal prison.