Entries Tagged 'critters' ↓

“Aquarium” Rhymes with “Vivarium”

Yes, forever, I know.

We’re just going to jump over everything to what I feel like nattering about today: aquaria and vivaria.

The cichlids and my pleco have been doing pretty well in my 55-gallon tank, but in the last few months the general population of Ron’s 75-gallon tank was waning, until only the couple Yellow Labidochromis (Labs) cichlid refugees from my tank, and one offspring, were left. Once the other fish had been eliminated, the labs in Ron’s tank turned into scaredy-fish. Then Ron’s filter started acting up.

Meanwhile, I started looking at bio-active vivarium (plants, soil, bugs as clean-up crew) information. Bio-active vivaria are mostly self-sustaining and self-cleaning, and tend to hold humidity well. That last is a useful thing for Chirrut, my Rhacodactylus Leachianus (Leachie, New Caledonian Giant Gecko). I’m also thinking of a simpler bio-active setup for Shai-Hulud, one of the male sand boas. 

Ron suggested making one of the aquaria into a bio-active vivarium, since it made sense to consolidate all the fish to one cichlid aquarium. We decided it would be easier to move the three labs from his tank to mine instead of moving more fish to his, along with a bunch of decor. Plus the gravel in his is a suitable drainage layer for a vivarium, the shells in mine not so much.  

So that’s what we did Saturday morning. Re-arranging most of my rocks (real and artificial) and driftwood partially defeated the “not moving decor”, and it turned out his tank had three adult Labs, not two. The count of one juvenile was correct. We also tried to suffocate my pleco, who had been hiding in a piece of artificial rock and fell out on the floor shortly after I removed it from the tank. There was lots of activity as the fish (a bunch of Labs and two White-Topped Haras) negotiated territory. The point of re-arranging my decor was to mess up the established territories, and it seems to have worked reasonably well. The pleco has survived, but spent the rest of the day and Sunday sulking in a cave. 

Yesterday morning there was apparently some warfare, based on the very beat-up Lab hanging at the surface in one corner of the tank. I’m pretty sure he (assuming, based on size, markings, and males typically dispute more) wasn’t injured when I got up with the dogs. Poor thing had torn up fins, tail, and body wounds. I debated, and decided to see if he’d survive the day. He did, and also survived last night.

This morning I thought of moving him to a breeder box/refugium in the tank. I poked around PetWhatsit and Amazon and found a couple that would work. Then I thought of the little desktop aquarium Ron had at Toshiba. Not in the spare bedroom, drat. Then I finally remembered that we have BUCKETS, one of which I’ve tried to keep fish-water only. And the sponge filter I set up in my tank 2+ years ago in case we ever needed to set up a quarantine/hospital tank. Plus in a separate refugium I can medicate without having to remove carbon from my canister filter, worry about meds killing all the beneficial bacteria, use less meds (because dosage is based on water volume), etc. etc. etc. 

Robin consented to be a Mover of Heavy Objects and lugged a 5-gallon bucket of water from the bathroom to the bedroom. Our well water is an African Rift Lake on tap, so no pre-treatment needed. He also cut a simple square-ish lid out of a piece of corrugated plastic signboard (bought for backing fabric with paper for bookbinding, but I don’t mind sacrificing one of 10 sheets), and suggested adding a couple pieces of rock from Ron’s aquarium. I caught the fish after several tries (amazing how well a fish in his de-finned state could swim), put him in the bucket, and dosed the water with general water treatment and an anti-fungal medication we had on hand.

The 150-watt heaters in Ron’s tank and mine (2 per tank) are over-powered for a 5-gallon bucket, so I poked around and finally found a 50-watt model with good reviews, adjustable temperature, internal thermostat-controlled, not-glass, and available via Amazon Prime same-day shipping. And I added a couple thermometers to make that free same-day shipping. I could stop and get *a* heater at the big aquarium store at Golf and Roselle, but there’s no guarantee I could get one in a reasonable power range with all the features I want. I am stopping at a PetWhatsit on the way home (PetWhatsit being right on my route) to pick up some anti-bacterial medication that’s good for preventative use in this kind of situation. 

Although the fish didn’t seem to have suffered any further injury overnight (I took a couple pictures last night to have for comparison), I wish I’d thought of the bucket refugium yesterday, so I could get him into a less stressful environment sooner. Refreshing my memory on hospital tanks, I should do daily partial water changes. That should be about a 5-minute job. 

Meanwhile, the gravel in Ron’s tank is drying, and we discovered why his filter wasn’t working – the intake was badly clogged, I think with the remains of a moss ball. Hmm…do I want to add the filter to my tank for ridiculous amounts of filtration?  His lighting should be reasonable for a vivarium, his driftwood is chunky enough for Chirrut when he grows up, and we have a misting unit that wasn’t quite right for the snake enclosure we originally got it for. Unless the Money Fairy blesses us with a present, I’ll be working on acquiring and assembling further vivaria pieces slowly. 

Next purchase (I ordered a book already – what a shock!) is probably a desert-ish soil kit for the sand boa. The isopods (rolly-pollies) and springtails I’ll get from a different supplier who doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for shipping if the weather is decent. I’m side-eye-ing the idea of succulents in the sand boa vivarium, as suggested by the guy who sells the soil kit. Previous reading argued that succulents are not good terrarium occupants, as they like air flow, and a vivarium is a terrarium with critters. The supplier I plan on getting most vivarium supplies from sells only a couple really tough types of succulents. If I do decide to try a succulent in with the sand boa I have plenty at work, anyway. 

Tuesday from the Underworld

Cranky Prognathodon was very cranky yesterday. Started in the morning when something went “pop” just above my right ankle, with extra pain from the foot to the knee. Reminded myself that if I’m debating going to the ER/acute care, then I should stop debating and go. Decided on the acute care that’s part of our doctors’ offices. X-rays showed nothing, pre-x-ray the nurse said he thought it was tendon-ish. Shoes help, I think it’s better today.

Monday night my dinner fought me, badly (mechanical/restriction issues). Tried breakfast on the way home from the acute care yesterday and it was definitely Not Good. I think my throat and a bit downward are very irritated and swollen from Monday. So I did liquids the rest of the day yesterday. Just tried some applesauce, that wasn’t as easy as liquid, but working. In a bit I’ll try some yoghurt.

So, yesterday, I’m at home with my leg up, and there’s a knock on the door about mid-day. It’s the neighbor with an armful of happy naughty puppy. I hadn’t been too concerned about not seeing Gimli for a bit, as it was fairly nice out. The dog walker came shortly after, the boys really like him. In the afternoon I took the boys out with Gimli on the 50’ rope and started checking the fence. Unfortunately, I started with the back fence line, which is the most challenging to get to/painful with my leg. Turned out to be a tunnel under the front corner. Blocked with broken concrete that was nearby under the porch.

I sat on the back porch steps and watched the dogs play for a while. Came in, Tommy stopped in the kitchen to wash a paw. Settled back on the couch, eventually realized I hadn’t seen Tommy (the dog door was closed, not up to chasing dogs, even just around the yard). Call, hear him rustling. Call some more. More rustling. More calling, more rustling, and eventually he appears from the kitchen. With blood on the paw he stopped to clean some more. He’d broken a claw off short. With much flailing around, Tommy and I leave for the vet, figuring I’m going to have to call and tell PeaPod I’ll be late for my pickup. Being bold, stupid, and not up to facing the stairs, so leaving Pippin and Gimli loose in the house (dog door extra-barricaded).

By the time we were heading toward the vet’s office I realized that the bleeding had stopped, and Tommy didn’t seem particularly uncomfortable. I decided that although it was worse than a claw-clipping accident, we could skip the vet visit. Got turned around, and picked up PeaPod. Tommy was riding very nicely, until I opened the window for the PeaPod Pickup. He *is* a beagle, after all. 🙂 Pippin and Gimli were good while we were gone, and as I’d ordered PeaPod after my acute care visit, there was only one load of stuff to bring in. Although at that point I didn’t know I’d be needing liquid food for dinner, sigh.

Got home, ordered egg drop soup for dinner, with a wonton soup for today. Ate a little more than was advisable, but not problematically. The dogs were fairly well-behaved for the rest of the evening, especially since I kept them in and Tommy on his cable when he was out. He’s been rather obnoxious barking at the two back-neighbor dogs lately. I think he wants to play, but he says so loudly and at length, and Gimli has started joining in. Growf.

Stopped on the way to work for applesauce, yoghurt, and squishy soup – cream of chicken and chicken & stars. Not sure if wonton soup will work tonight, we’ll see. And some chocolate may have also followed me, because it melts and your mouth, no problem, right?

Long Weekend

Last Thursday evening when I went to bed I wasn’t optimistic about the amount of snow we’d get. But last Friday morning when I listened to the traffic and weather reports and looked out at the world I determined that the weather gods had listened to the prayers of me and many schoolkids and it was a SNOW DAY! Too bad it wasn’t an officially-work-declared one, so it ate a day’s vacation, but my sanity in regard to driving is worth it. Ron was in Green Bay last Thursday night and headed to Iowa on Friday, missing the vast majority of the snow. Friday morning about 10 am I went out to ask the neighbor to plow the driveway, and he and I were the only signs of life on the street.

Ron came home Saturday and stayed until Wednesday morning – took an extra couple days to try to loosen up some stubborn muscle soreness. Robin got in to Joliet about midnight last Friday night/Saturday morning, but didn’t ping me for a ride until about 5:30 am. I got a quick shower and set out for Joliet. I briefly took Mongo out of 4WD, put it back in to get going from a stop, decided to see how bad the expressways were, got onto 53 South at Euclid, got off at Algonquin (the next ramp), and circled back home. Checked the IDOT-reported road conditions around 9:30 while picking up PeaPod and decided the answer was still “No”. About 11:30 I looked again, things seemed encouraging, and off we went.

Robin was home about 24 hours – long enough to do laundry, get groceries, some minis, and start work on said minis. He left earlier than necessary on Sunday (although not as early as he’d have liked, due to having to replace the Kia’s battery, which had not-at-all-unexpectedly completely died), so that if there wasn’t long-term parking for drivers he could come back home and we’d figure out an alternate plan. But he didn’t have to do that, so now I’m done driving to Joliet, barring unforseen circumstances. Yay!

Monday was a state holiday (Lincoln’s Birthday), more yay! The dog-walking service came over in the evening to meet the boys, discuss details, etc. They’ll be starting next week Tuesday, since I have Monday off for President’s Day. Yay!

Had Ying out Tuesday night while cleaning up an epic deposition of metabolic end products. She’s gotten to be quite the big girl. I can hold her with one had . . . briefly. She also seems to be getting a little less head-shy, which is nice. Mite wars are back on in force, with the discovery the previous weekend that they’d gotten to Tanami. Not seen any on Moresby, who has the other half of the divided cage, but he’s been soaking enough that it’s a possibility. Ron checked Ying and Mau Xanh over Tuesday and didn’t see any on them, either. *All* the reptiles are being treated at this point, regardless.

Just finished another round of cleaning up Nyar’s toes – stuck shed on toes (and tail tips) is capital-B Bad. Worked on them Thursday, applied Neosporin, and Nesporin again last night and tonight. I think I’ve got them about shed. Also got his nostrils cleared, shed tends to clog them, or else he’s like a marine iguana and sneezes out excess salt/minerals. Either way, when they get blocked he stops eating. I expect he’ll chow down tomorrow.

Still Falling

Still falling off the internet.  Well, not the internet so much as blogging. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that said falling to some extent commenced with Robin going off for training.

Anyway, Robin got home for a week over Christmas, and Ron was also home. Yay! We didn’t do anything in particular, but it was nice.

Robin finished training and got his own truck about . . . um . . . three weeks ago. Yeah, three, since he’s been home twice now since getting it. He’s working out of Werner’s brand-shiny-new Joliet terminal, doing regional, home on weekends. He’s doing night runs between the Joliet area and Indianapolis, with lots of the loads being Amazon trailers.  When Robin comes home he gets snubbed by Gimli for about a day, except that Gimi isn’t actually good at the whole snubbing thing, especially when Robin scoops him up and snuggles him.

The day the bitter cold spell started earlier this month Ron slipped and fell, bashing his left elbow. It was bruised, swollen, and sore, got a minor infection where he skinned it, got that cleared, then earlier this week it got really really sore, still swollen, and has kept oozing fluid (plasma). He got to our doctor Friday, who sent him for an X-ray. No obvious fracture, seems to be all soft-tissue injury. Yesterday the swelling was better, and it was less sore, yay.

I’ve figured out that when Ron’s home we need to do something together besides go to the grocery store and sit around the house. Doesn’t have to be a big deal, but something. Yesterday all three of us went to breakfast, before the inevitable grocery shopping. Inevitable shopping because it’s much cheaper for Ron and Robin to stock up while at home rather than truck stops.

Robin’s plan is to get the Kia towed over to John and Scott’s for repair this week (although I’m the one who’s actually going to invoke the towing, since I’m awake during business hours and have keys). Which will be nice for me, Joliet is a solid hour from home, and an hour and a half from my office when we left at 4:30 pm. I really need to poke at the GPS in Mongo the pickup and see why it keeps trying to send me on daft routes (as opposed to the sane ones suggested by Google).

Got a quote from a dog-walking service for coming by once per day to give the boys some exercise. Now we have to decide if the budget is ready to start adding things like that back in. I’d really like my cleaning fairies back, but the dogs have priority.

Oops, Fell Off Again

Yes, I kinda fell off the internet again.

Robin is still wandering the country in training. I hear from him, usually a short Facebook post, about once per week. He’s on trainer #4, and I’m hoping will be done soon. He’s spent a couple weeks waiting for trainers, but at least he’s been being paid for the waiting.

Two weeks ago Ron started orientation with Schneider, half of last week was kinda flail-ish with getting his truck and getting it fixed and cleaned, so today starts his first real week. He left stupid early this morning, and will be back Saturday, so home Saturday night through Sunday night. So far he’s happy with Schneider, and his shoulder is enjoying not dealing with tarps.

The dogs are Not Pleased with being crated all day. Once we settle into a more predictable pay schedule and pay off some bills that have accumulated, I’m hoping I can get a daily service to come and let them out around the middle of the day.

Thanksgiving with the extended family-by-choice was fun. 8 of us total, which meant we all had “real” plates and flatware, and the house was pretty much full.

Last weekend we bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree – Peanuts brand and everything. We were at Ace Hardware, and saw a pre-lighted 18” tree, and we considered it. I wandered through the aisle of holiday stuff and found the Charlie Brown tree and snagged it. It’s a proper straggly thing, crossed-boards base, one red ornament, and a “Linus blanket”. It’s sitting on top of the living room water bottle (to be fairly safe from toppling by playing dogs), and Christmas presents are being piled on/around the “Christmas Chair” nearby.

Natter about craft shows at the local high schools can be found on the Otter blog.

Yesterday we went to the storage locker for a couple Otter-ish things, and cotton duck from my fabric stash. In the afternoon we made an apron for Ron from said duck. It’s fairly long, and the bottom turns up and is attached at the sides, and the edge stiffened with some leather, so it forms a big pocket to catch chips when he’s woodcarving.

I also shopped the stash for upholstery fabric, and made new slipcovers for the bolsters that live on/around the couch. They’re 2-3 couches old, and an icky faded blue that do not match the blue couch we have now. Once I had the covers done (which didn’t even take too long), we decided to pull the old dead foam out of the bolsters, and re-stuffed them with fiberfill from Sweet Potato, Ron’s co-driver bear, who has developed holes in multiple seams. So now we have a pair of cylindrical bolsters that look nice and are actually useful again.

The Water Resources Christmas luncheon and staff meeting is on Thursday, so last week I made myself a new shirt and vest. Both had some issues, but were solved. I just need to put a hook and eye on the neckline opening of the shirt. I should consider ironing it, too, but I don’t know if I’ll get that far.

Didn’t Mean to Fall Off the Internet

Oops, I seem to have disappeared for a while.

On October 22nd I took Robin to Indianapolis. Actually Robin drove down and I rode shotgun, with Gimli in the back. I-65 down was a mess with on-and-off construction all the way. So I took something-or-other west almost to Bloomington/Normal, had dinner with Ron, then took 39 north to get home. Which made for a loooong day. Gimli was not happy with driving away and leaving Robin, and even more unhappy when we left Ron.

Robin is still alive, I got e-mail from him today. Not sure where he is, other than probably the continental US, as he doesn’t have his passport or passport card with him. Nor an ATM card, because Chase no longer does the instant issue thing any more, and the one that should have arrived a couple weeks ago is still AWOL (but has been cancelled). Fortunately, Robin is getting paid on a company debit card, so he’s not wandering the country without fundage.

Three days after dropping off Robin (ie: that Wednesday), I went to Gary and picked up Ron and all his stuff. Ron enjoyed the flatbed work, but two weeks on the road at a time was too much, and some other things, and the upshot was that Ron resigned from Roehl. Good thing I didn’t take Tommy to pick him up, Mongo the pickup truck was full, both back seat and bed.

Ron did a little flailing around, and then early last week we got a resume finished and job-hunting commenced in earnest.

JB Hunt seems to have a lock on all the local (as in home every night) jobs, and they want some more experience. And there are a metric boatload of headhunters looking for bodies to fill those jobs – Ron quickly got to the point that early in a call he’d ask if they were calling about JB Hunt positions.

However, last night he got a call from a guy who was much more helpful, and thought Ron would do well with Schneider, and if Schneider didn’t work out, would keep working with Ron to find something.  Local jobs are desirable, scarce, and can have issues with having consistent loads, so Ron and the recruiter decided to look at regional jobs (which Ron had already been looking at).

Schneider seems to be working out. Ron’s scheduled to start orientation Monday the 27th, since they’re not start an orientation class next week. The general schedule for a typical week would be leave Monday, come home some time on Saturday, off the balance of Saturday and Sunday. And they have a “Chicago” terminal, so we don’t have to keep renting yard space (although depending on exactly that is…).

Our current yard space is paid through the end of December. We decided to hold onto it, as we weren’t sure if Ron was going to need it, and Robin might need/want it depending when he finishes training and gets some home time vs. when Werner finishes work on their Joliet terminal.

We’ve been working on giving the snake enclosures thorough cleanings, and Ron’s been playing with woodcarving, so the living room floor is more or less coated with wood shavings. It will be clean by Sunday, as we’re having people over for a Thanksgiving dinner.

Ying showed her appreciation for her clean enclosure by leaving a large pile of metabolic end products, and then being cranky about me trying to clean it up. Bruce just curled up high in a corner on his jungle gym and sulked (yes, snakes can sulk. It’s a body-language thing.)

More Bullet-Points

  • Since I’ve been more than a bit remiss in posting . . .
  • Robin passed the difficult 2/3 of his CDL test two weeks ago. I supplied fundage for couple more hours of driving practice, and this morning he re-took the road driving portion and passed. Yay!
  • MuseCon is dead. I have feelings about this. They’re complicated.
  • There are still brush piles in the backyard, but the still-growing stuff (some of which is grass, most of which is . . . not) has been trimmed to a reasonable level. I think I’m just going to buy a fire ring after all.
  • Still playing both versions of “My Singing Monsters” despite getting repeatedly annoyed at the sequel. Ron suggests the annoyances are what keeps me coming back. He might be right.
  • Done some Otter Necessities stuff. More about that in the usual place.
  • After thrashing herself out of her enclosure and falling to the floor while attacking her food two weeks in a row, I have successfully learned how to feed Aurora the corn snake without so much excitement. She still gets excited and thrashes around, but I open the door enough to admit the rat and tongs, so she doesn’t have space to fall out. This is particularly silly as she doesn’t get live food.
  • Robin took the air conditioners out of the windows a couple weeks ago. There were many, many shield/stink bugs.
  • Robin and I investigated the new (as in moved) Schaumburg Dick Blick store. I had a not-too-large fail, and also got Robin some additional sketching supplies to take with him during training.
  • Ron has started woodcarving, as he needed a truck-friendly hobby for his downtime. Chainmail is too itty-bitty if when rings are dropped.
  • I now have a set of tube watercolor paints, some test bits of basswood, and two dwarf/gnome-ish figures to paint.
  • I left my iPod in a skirt pocket and it went through the wash. RIP iPod. And Apple has discontinued the Nano, now all they have is the phone-size Touch with a bunch of features I don’t want/need.
  • OTOH, I’ve determined that I can use my iPad to play music from my portable hard drive through my portable speaker, which accomplishes what I used my iPod for, without stuffing the memory on my phone or iPad with music. I found Ron’s old iPod and Xap found a cable for it, and then Robin handed me his green iPod Nano, which he doesn’t use any more. So, options, I has them!
  • I downloaded recent-ish purchases from iTunes to the desktop computer, and keep forgetting to update the music on my hard drive, and/or replace some of the music Robin likes on the green iPod with what I like. D’oh!
  • My new-ish co-worker is loud, and I don’t always want to have my door closed, which only does so much good anyway unless I shut it tight.
  • At least I promptly quashed the use of speakerphone in his open cubicle. Speakerphones are only for use in conference rooms or offices with DOORS, which should be SHUT when using speakerphone, dammit.
  • Last Tuesday morning at oh-dark-thirty Gimli insisted that he really needed out. He caught a rabbit. There’s a reason I keep my wellies in the dining room. He was reasonably good about giving it up, both the initial confiscation and after we played tug with it.
  • I got back to bed about 4 am. Then I had to try to settle a wound-up Tommy, who had missed most of the excitement by being on his cable and/or in the house.
  • I kinda slept in. Then I gave up and stayed home.
  • Since Robin was home and mostly-unoccupied last weekend, the weather wasn’t stupid hot, and it was a bonus long weekend for me, we made pasties.
  • Lots and lots of pasties. 90 of them. The freezer is not quite full.
  • This weekend I made something like onion soup with lots of meat and Italian-ish seasoning, put it over French rolls in foil loaf pans, topped with provolone cheese, then froze it, so Ron and Robin have very wet Italian-ish beef sandwiches to take with them on the road. I was restrained and the batch was only a six-count.
  • We also made a usual stupid-big batch of chicken macaroni salad.
  • This morning Ron left with pasties, chicken macaroni salad, and I’m assuming at least one beef sandwich brick, in addition to the usual supply of canned or otherwise shelf-stable food.
  • I think Robin has decided to go to work for Werner. No schedule for training, etc. yet.

Bullet-Points, we got Bullet-Points

  • The brush piles did not get ground up this weekend, for boring reasons.
  • I did get cleaning done in the dining room, and Robin worked on the spare bedroom, since we weren’t out dealing with brush.
  • We found floors!
  • I got pictures of Buford the very shy snake with his enclosure door open. He did not approve.
  • Baljeet the snake seems to have resumed eating after the trauma of mites and mite treatment.
  • Caudimordax was pretty good about getting a snake sauna and having stuck shed removed from his head.
  • Tommy earned himself the name “Mousebreath”.
  • Kajura the snake was fed on Thursday, as the mouse they were supposed to get on Tuesday “mysteriously” disappeared.
  • Pumpkin pie spice mix is appropriate any time of year, and yummy, on baked apples.
  • Baked apples would have been even better with Granny Smiths than Honeycrisps, and could have used a tiny pinch of salt.
  • Another round of baked apples, happened, because a bag of small back-yard-tree sweet apples of unknown type appeared at work. Cut in chunks, pumpkin pie spice, brown sugar, butter, baked, then topped with salted caramel coconut milk ice-not-cream was yummy.
  • Chicken fricassee-like stew made with coconut milk instead of cow milk is pretty good.
  • Not sure the little new potatoes in it are usual, but I put them in anyway, and don’t regret it.
  • Leftover Minimalist Potato Salad is pretty good for breakfast.
  • I need to pick up more eggs, potatoes, and mayo next time I get groceries.
  • Lummy the tortoise doesn’t care if other tortoises think prickly pear cactus is wonderful, he wants his greens, dammit.
  • I prefer the original “My Singing Monsters” to the “Dawn of Fire” sequel.
  • I blame Robin for Singing Monsters infesting my iWhatsit.
  • I need more keys to buy more Dibblers!

More Stuff Accomplished

Let’s see, since I last posted almost two weeks ago…

My sister’s closing did happen on the Nth scheduled date. Robin drove to Escanaba on Wednesday (before Labor Day), helped her move Thursday, and instead of coming home on Friday stayed until Sunday – he and my (step) Mother helped get things in place on Friday, Robin hung art; they showed Robin Gladstone, where my Dad grew up), and visited the family farm on the Stonington peninsula. And then Robin gave his grandma a ride to the ferry in Manitowoc, as her car was having issues.

Which left me wrangling beagles on cables, because fence. On Labor Day Robin cleared brush along the back/east fence line, accidentally taking out the neighbors’ internet line in the process. And a little later Gimli charged the door when I was dealing with Tommy and escaped. Fortunately, the back neighbors snagged him. Over Labor Day weekend I worked on Otter stuff, more natter on the Otter blog.

Last week was fairly routine. Ron got home Friday evening, yay! Yesterday he had to go to the Gary terminal to swap trailers and pick up tire chains. While he was doing that Robin and I measured the east fence, and got ground contact-rated pressure-treated lumber. After lunch Ron and Robin trimmed the lumber and Gimli-proofed the fence. And there has been much beagle rejoicing, as they’ve been able to run loose.

While they were working on the fence I cleared off “my” end table and added a narrow section of shelving where it was sitting. I filled the shelves with junk that was on the end table, in front of the snakes by the desk, and stuff that had ended up piled on the desk. So now we have a nice-looking usable table, and less mess.

Today we did some Otter-ish stuff, and later in the afternoon I went grocery shopping. This evening I ground up a big chunk of beef and chopped up a bunch of onion in the food processor, then cooked it all. I was planning on grinding 2/3 of the beef for tacos and chili, and making stroganoff with the last third. Normally I use chunks of beef for stroganoff, but I decided on laziness for the win and ground all the beef. So now I have a bunch of beef and onion ready to finish making dinners tomorrow and Tuesday, and had tacos tonight with the last bit.

Excitement, with Dogs

My sister’s closing got re-scheduled *again*! AAARGH! Current schedule is Thursday, and she has the paperwork and it appears in order; so Robin is driving to Escanaba tomorrow, helping her move Thursday, and coming back Friday. Robin should be starting behind-the-wheel training for his CDL once he gets back (currently out getting his schedule, then coming home to pack).

Friday morning Ron took Tommy to the yard to visit his truck and put groceries away. Tommy enjoyed the trip, especially sharing Ron’s breakfast, despite twice attempting to hang himself.

And then there was Gimli . . . Gimli figured out how to escape from the yard on Friday, and did it multiple times over the course of the weekend. In order to find the escape route, Robin started clearing brush from the south fence line Friday evening while Ron and I piled the cut stuff up. And then Robin and I continued Saturday morning, after Gimli broke his collar and escaped again and I made new collars for both beagles. So the yard is effectively much wider now, except that it isn’t a yard so much as a series of brush piles (even without dog escapes the brush-clearing really needed to be done), which the plan is to run through a chipper.

Meanwhile, we had not actually found the prime escape route, which Sunday night Gimli demonstrated to be the east fence line. All 60 feet of it. Headdesk, headdesk. We’ve formulated a plan for dealing with it.

Ron left Saturday morning, so he missed most of the excitement of me trying to impale my foot on a small stump/spike (only a bruise and lump on my left arch, thanks to good hiking boots), Robin getting lots of minor scrapes and scratches, both of getting minor sunburn, and me clipping a couple Pippin claws too short Sunday night, so now my light blue skirt is liberally blood-spotted. Fortunately, the skirt was already spotty (bleach, I think) and disreputable. And Pippin was very good about us getting the bleeding stopped (time, pressure, and super glue).

Sunday morning about 3 am my body announced that the UTI I had a couple-few weeks ago was back with a vengeance for round 2. Eventually I got back to sleep. The acute care associated with our doctor’s office opened at 9 am Sunday, and I was there very soon after. More or less uncomfortable the rest of the day, improvement started overnight.

I was not up to the MuseCon wrap-up meeting/party Sunday evening.

Baljeet the baby rat snake did not eat last week, dammit. Trying again tonight, will try what I did last time I got him to eat (annoy him into striking).

Meanwhile, Ron’s temporary crown came loose yesterday morning. A Google search determined that real dental professionals say that denture adhesive can be used until you can get to your dentist to get it re-cemented. Then in the afternoon-evening yesterday, Ron ended up sitting an a highway doing a parking lot impression while the mess from a semi having its fuel tank ripped off was cleaned up.

When *that* was done, and Ron was therefore in violation of his allowable drive time and trying to get to somewhere to park, he discovered that Kentucky has some badly-designed off-ramps, and he got hung up on a guard rail. Apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence, and other similar ramps have been modified, but not this one. Headdesk, headdesk. After a chunk of guardrail was removed with a cutting torch, he was pulled back onto the road by a wrecker and sent on his way only needing two new tires, some tie-down straps, and a bungee or two. The officers at the scene were very nice about it all, and even invoked pizza.

But I was a stressed, Tommy was baying at various things out the window behind the couch/right next to my ear, Gimli really doesn’t grok this out-on-a-cable thing, and I was up too late plus not sleeping the best the last couple nights (see above, re: UTI), and still off this morning, and took a mental health day.

So I was home when Ron called and said he’d probably be sleeping at home tonight, as he’s got a bright and early appointment with the dentist tomorrow morning, as he has now, it seems, *swallowed* the temporary crown.

Robin just got home to retrieve a piece of paperwork the CDL school doesn’t have, which is needed before he can drive their trucks. Yes, he’s taking his binder of all relevant paperwork back with him.

In better news, the bruising and swelling on my foot is going down. Most of the above chaos is chaos, but not crises. And most of all, we don’t live in SE Texas.