Deblogging: It’s Like Debugging, But With Words

Riley Lubs Hiz Toyz

It’s been such a long time since I’ve written anything about the goings-on here at Chez Gique.

Why? I’ve been putting stuff off, and avoiding my desktop computer, and not using the laptop because it seems really slow and pokey now, and a whole host of reasons. The backlog of Stuff I Need To Do and the backlog of Stuff I Should Blog About is just… enormous, and the tools at my disposal (newish iPhone, newish iPad mini) are usually being used for important stuff like reading about someone doing something worng on the Internets, or playing Minion Rush.

So anyway, a list, in emotional bombshell order, of stuff that’s on my mind or on my chest that I need to put into words and deal with.

Riley died on August 31. I have a lot of photos on my phone of him, and even more on my desktop, but not many of him from the last couple of months, because his lymphoma just made him so, so skinny. I tried, in a last ditch effort, to get him on a more beefed up drug regimen and it seemed to be helping at first, but he couldn’t hang on to any nutrition no matter what we did.

Finally, the last week it looked pretty dire, as I had time off that week and spent a lot of time holding him and trying to get him to eat. On the Sunday, he stood over his water dish with this befuddled “what do I do now?” attitude and was unable to lap up any water. He was unsteady on his feet and as David and I looked at him, aghast, I thought “Oh, he’s done…. he’s just so tired.” It seemed like the last-ditch, full-bore heroics route would just prolong the inevitable, since he was dehydrated anyway and I could only get him to take a few squirts of water by mouth with a syringe.

I held him as he rested from the effort to try to get him to drink and eat (he pretty much turned away from offered food, and the oral syringe was clearly causing him to stress out). And David and I decided, well, we’d fought hard and Riley had fought hard, and our vet’s office, though closed, had an outgoing message that recommended a nearby 24/7 emergency pet hospital for out-of-hours problems (it was a Sunday, after all). So we packed Riley into his favorite basket (not the usual carrier), and we went over there while I held him on my lap and petted him. He looked around a little, like.. “whu…. whut’s goin’ on?” but he didn’t cry and wasn’t too fussed. And so on and so forth; the vet evaluated him, talked to us about options, and agreed with us that it was time. We stayed with him, petting him and talking to him, through the very end. The vet left us alone with him for as long as we needed.

We left without out our dear friend and companion, but before leaving him alone on the cold steel examining table, I made sure… I just had to make him a cozy kitty one last time, it was this thing I would always do. We were leaving a towel behind, and I wrapped him up in a little nest the way he had liked. It was a very final farewell, because as I handled him it was made crystal clear to me that he was gone. We left, quickly, and went home to clear things away and clean up the area where his bowls and food had been stored. Later that day, we went to a family barbecue and wondered what the hell had happened to us – felt like we’d been blindsided. Little did we know… but the house has been awfully quiet since then.

We miss him and will continue to mourn him for a long time.

As it happens, he had a stash of meds and food that could be donated back to our regular vet to help someone else’s cat, so yesterday I finally made time to head over there with a bagful of high-nutrition kitten food, drugs, supplies, and some other canned stuff that was refundable. Actually, I was in the neighborhood because of the next development in order of emotional bombshellness.

So I walked in to Arlington Cat Clinic and dropped off all the goodies and chatted with Adelle at the front desk, and looked at the current cat-in-residence who’s available for adoption – her name is Gabby and she looked like a sweet girl tabby. Then one of the techs walked to the back with a small cat carrier that was emitting a series of tiny little squeaks.

What was it? a Meezer kitten – a Siamese that had been found in someone’s window well. It required hand feeding because it was so tiny. It was just a week or two old.

When I was growing up, my childhood cat Beebee had several litters of kittens, until my mom finally decided to get her spayed (or as I thought it was pronounced, “spaded”). So it had been many years since I’d held a wee Meezer kitty, and it was just big enough to fill one hand. Its eyes were open but its ears were still placed far down on the side of its skull – as the kitty grows, the ears sort of migrate from the sides to the top because the space between them doesn’t increase that much.

So it cried and went “eee! EEE!!” while I held it under my chin while I cried and went “aw… AWWWWW”, and the tears started to come. Adelle came up and asked me something about Riley’s stuff that I’d dropped off. So I cuddled it a bit and handed it back for more feeding, knowing that we couldn’t possibly handle another cat for a long while yet. We need to take some time.

But boy, it sure is going to be cute, and there are some siblings and the mom that someone else brought in, so if you want to get your name in, check with Arlington Cat Clinic, they have a lot of other kittens and cats available for adoption that are currrently fostered out. Although they don’t take cats in, they do have their… network of minions that make sure that cats have someplace to stay while waiting to be placed.

Here’s a video that they made, featuring hospital cat and Head of Security, Dr Leon. I didn’t see him on our recent visits, so I hope he’s okay, he was a big help when I had to re-learn how to pill Riley a couple of years ago.

So that brings me to the next thing on my mind.

It’s a wonderful thing that David’s dad Sheldon and his lovely lady Linda live near us, as we can get together with them so easily now, with no hour-long drive to their home. We attended a family barbecue (the day we lost Riley) and then a week later, there was another family barbecue – so easy now to gather the family, we couldn’t be happier for Dad and Linda.

At that second barbecue, we met some new extended family (close family to Linda). It was a very nice time, but there was a lot of hubbub and people milling about, so it was kind of hard to visit with everyone. Some of Linda’s family members were traveling on to the next part of a long-planned vacation, and they were very excited about that. I wish I had spent more time talking with them. REALLY wish.

A few days after the second barbecue, Sheldon texted me to call him, and got shocking news; one of Linda’s family, that we met for the first time that Sunday, had passed away suddenly, and Linda was already on her way to an Eastern city to be with other family members who were left waiting for everyone to get home from the west coast vacation. There’s a lot to leave unsaid, but it was completely unexpected, although the family member did have a chronic illness that ultimately wasn’t the direct cause of death.

It was just. awful and so very sudden. You just can never tell what comes next (or not) in life.

So to make things easier for Shel, I went over several times this week to help him with Linda’s cats, and then he went East for the services. I was happy to do something to help Linda so she wouldn’t have to worry, and I was happy to spend time with cats that I could feed, pet, and say “bye-bye” and head home. Shel and Linda got home earlier today, and her family are gathering themselves together after dealing with the services and all the people wanting to help them – there was an outpouring of love, and it was very inspiring, according to Linda. But still, in the end, the family is left to pick themselves up and go on, so they will.

Aside from the crappy end to the summer, it’s been great… um and now it’s going to be fall soon, as the weather seems to have gone colder and wetter awfully early.

That’s about it for the catch-up, now to see if this draft makes it to the server.

Crossposted from the backup site on,

David has updated the servers, and moved stuff around, so for now at least, I’m blogging again.

And Snow, It Finally Begins

Was home Friday, had a thing I couldn’t schedule on the weekend, an errand at village hall, and other chores. Originally had a vet appointment for Riley, but pushed it to tomorrow, as I didn’t want to mess with fresh snow and traffic snarls while trying to transport him (he gets spectacularly carsick). He had a scary problem earlier this week, vet thinks he has GERD so now I get to give him the kitty dose of Pepcid AC in addition to the other stuff. He’s maintaining weight, though. And last night he entertained us with his Bowl o’ Cat trick. I was laughing too hard to take a picture, so my husband David took it.


Riley is to bowls as Maru is to boxes, apparently. Anyway: SNOW, we finally has it!

It’s finally looking like winter in the Midwest as the season’s first big snowstorm crawls across the region, leaving skiers and snow-reliant businesses giddy but greeting morning commuters Friday with a sloppy, slippery drive. After starting as one of the warmest and brownest winters in recent history, parts of Wisconsin, Iowa and Missouri were blanketed in white before the storm moved into Illinois and Michigan. Snowplow drivers were out in force overnight in Chicago, as six to eight inches of snow and plummeting temperatures moved in.

It’s about time! We went to a cross-country ski club meeting last week, guess the requests for everyone to do the Snow Dance worked. Sorry, everybody else. Link: Midwest Finally Gets First Big Snowstorm Of Winter : NPR

Riley News: LOVE Them Tuna Treats

Riley’s been doing really well since we got his prednisolone reformulated as a tuna-flavored liquid treat – he loves lapping it up from a plastic syringe that’s designed for “oral” applications. Thank goodness for Keefer’s Pharmacy:

Keefer’s Pharmacy, along with being a regular pharmacy, is also proud to be a Compounding Pharmacy. This means that Keefer’s has the ability to make up medications that aren’t commercially available. The spectrum of compounding is broad, but Keefer’s covers almost everything. And, in addition to compounding for people, Keefer’s Pharmacy makes up almost a significant portion of their medications for pets.

via Compounding Info.

Riley Doing Well At The Kitty Spa


While we’re on vacation, I checked with our vet, Arlington Cat Clinic, where Riley is being boarded (and probably being a little boreded). He’s fine, eating well, getting his meds. Doc Esbenson thinks he should have better “numbers” for white blood cell count, though, so he will check with a specialist. They’re taking good care of Riley and report that he really, REALLY likes the Fancy Feast Extra Gravy style that we sent along with his prescription Science Diet food.

We miss Riley and although we’ll be sad that vacation’s over, we’ll be glad to bring Riley home once we return.

Resolutions Not Meant To Be Broken If I Can Help It And Not Force-Fed Chocolate

Isn’t this a boring blog? Isn’t it? My life’s not really this boring, it’s just that I rarely take the time to write a full-bore flat-spin blog post anymore. I fall back on my old standbys, Google Reader (shared news) and my various Twitter accounts. I can’t catch up on blogging during the work week for going on 3 years, so every now and then I do a big “here’s what’s been going on” catchall.

Yeah, boring. And I haven’t even really done a big London mixed-grill slap-up bang-up, either. The pictures are still on my hard drives – the laptop, the desktop, AND the iPad – but I hope to work through the main archive, cull the weaklings, and upload the lot to Flickr and Facebook.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I even did a write-up of the last trip to Hawaii. I suck at blogging, so I resolve to do better.

I resolve to write more blog posts – ideally, every other day if possible. I used to update multiple times a day but most of that was “ZOMG look at this dumb political hack putting his big fat cloven hoof in his pie-hole” stuff.

No, I want to blog more about what goes on, day-to-day, in a house with 2 somewhat disorganized geeks, more computers than can conveniently be counted while wearing shoes, and a cat who stalks dust bunnies and re-delivers them up in covert locations.

Also, I resolve to write something so funny, rant-astic, or well-written that it blows “How Old Is Your Whirlpool Washer” off my ALL-TIME MOST READ, MOST COMMENTED POST list (I don’t mind that the post about installing the graphics card is second, I’m just glad people find it useful).

Meanwhile, Allie Brosh gets all kind of love from famous Internet geeks like BoingBoing and TV’s WilWheaton, and any day now I expect that she’ll get a book deal, rather than self-publish like Betsy did. And while I’m at it, gosh darn it, I’m going to update my blogroll. Okay, done.

I also resolve to find more awesome for my blogroll.  However, this could take some time, as I tend to burn about 10-15 minutes per link, because I keep finding more and more awesome stuff.

Other resolutions: I will sign up for the health club at work after the new year. The monthly rate is higher – no longer subsidized by the office – but dammit, I’ve regained some weight and I liked feeling trimmer and slimmer. I know I can do it, and I know I can say “NO DAMN YOU CHOCOLATE BROWNIES, YOU MAY NOT GET IN MY BELLEH” when necessary at work. It’s tough getting through the candy holidays, though. I did it last year, didn’t avoid it much this year. Will have to be strong for Valentine’s Day and Easter, and then we’re good until Halloween.

Another resolution: I will try to get to bed earlier.

And some more:

  • I will try to read more books this year.
  • I will not settle for another Top Gear or Mythbusters rerun, I will seek out new worlds, new civilizations.
  • I will try to update the church website more frequently and promote events via Twitter and the blog.
  • I will try not to grumble, bitch and moan about those things that frequently make me G, B, and M.
  • I resolve to make eye contact and smile at people more often. I don’t do this, and it seems to matter. Duh.
  • I will try to behave as if I have a normal-sized amygdala.
  • I will try not to bore people with my doings at church, with the cat, or in Second Life.

And oh, crap: now I need to do a whole raft of boring, Second Life-specific resolutions like everyone else. Huzzah!

Happy New Year, everyone! Let’s be not boring out there!

We’re going to the V-E-T

@MrRileycatEsq and I are going to the k-i-t-t-y d-o-c-t-o-r in about 10 minutes. Routine checkup, will be asking them about the adolescent acne that he seems to have on his fuzzy little chin.


As usual, he will yowl all the way there and barf on the way back, so it’ll be an awfully fun time for all.