And the Bad News

The second worst thing today is that we were not able to come to an agreement with the seller on the house we were interested in, so we decided to let it go. Now, this is disappointing, but when you get down to it, it’s just business: The seller wanted so much money for it, and we were willing to pay so much money for it, and the gap between those two numbers was pretty big and didn’t look likely to converge. As a friend put it when I first told him about seeing this place but not being prepared to do something about it, “My experience is that there are always other houses.” So we’ll keep looking. And at least we’ve gotten the ball rolling.

So the second worst thing is, well, just the way it goes sometimes.

The worst thing that happened today is that we learned the reason Blackjack has been swallowing a lot and perhaps occasionally horking is that he has a mass in his throat under the soft palette. The vet was unsure whether she could simply remove it, so she took a sample for a biopsy, and we should know in a few days whether it’s benign or, well, not.

There’s nothing we can do about it right now but wait, and try to make him comfortable and give him lots of love. Fortunately he’s mostly his usual self (other than recovering from being put under for the examination), but I’m trying not to think too much about it until we have more information.

Blackjack, by the way, is only seven years old. He’s been our hyper-energetic cat for years, so it’s hard to believe this is happening. Especially since we just figured he had a bunch of hair in his stomach he was having trouble processing.

You wouldn’t think that anything involving income taxes would be the high point of the day, but we met with my tax preparer today to talk about tax ramifications of buying a house together (inasmuch as we’re not married), and actually had a fine time chatting with her, even if going through all the options and running the numbers did melt our brain.

Well okay, the real high point was probably going out to dinner tonight at one of our favorite restaurants. Which after the low points we felt like we deserved.

Stretched Thin

Another week-and-a-half without updating. Sigh.

A big part of it has been deciding what to do on the house front, as you might guess. Lining up an agent and delivering all the documentation to get preapproved for a mortgage has taken quite a bit of time, and then looking more closely at the house we’re interested in. I’d forgotten how all the little details involved in the process add up to a fair amount of effort and stress! But Debbi and I have been supporting each other, and we’re making progress. We’ll likely have something to report soon.

On top of that, last week was one of the busiest weeks I’ve had at work in quite a while. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I came in to find several hours’ worth of new work in my incoming queue, which made it difficult to get ahead even though I was getting a lot done. Fortunately by the end of the week I had gotten through all the new stuff and almost all the old stuff. So that felt like a personal victory. But geez, not a great week to be run ragged like that.

On the home (well, current-home) front, Blackjack has been having hairball problems. Over the weekend Debbi thought he had the hiccups, but on Monday I realized he’s actually been trying to clear his throat, I think by swallowing. And he does occasionally throw up a hairball. He doesn’t seem miserable, but it does seem kind of tired of it (the way one gets tired of being congested or having a persistent cough, I imagine). So he’s going to the vet tomorrow and hopefully there’s a simple remedy. This is the first time he’s had hairball problems, so we’re trying to brush him a bit more. Which would be fine except that he doesn’t like being brushed. (Neither of Debbi’s cats do, while both of my cats adored being brushed.)

Rain returned to the bay area on Monday, which I’ve enjoyed, although it’s mostly rained at night. This winter has been weird: We got record rainfall in November and December, plus set some record low temperatures during a December cold snap. Then in late January we set some record high temperatures, often nudging into the 70s. And now it’s raining again. I’m sure none of this fazes all of you who live in regions that have gotten huge snowfalls over the last month, but it’s still pretty weird for this region.

And amidst all this, Debbi and I did our annual day-after-Valentine’s-Day dinner together last night. It seems like something always comes up on Valentine’s Day that keeps one or both of us busy (our first year together I had frisbee), but we’re both fine with that: It’s easier to get into a restaurant the day after, and it’s a lot cheaper to buy flowers, which I’ve done on occasion. Really a win-win all around.

Fun With Mirrors

This morning I was shaving and Jefferson had jumped up on the counter next to the sink. Blackjack was prowling around in the bedroom behind me, doing what I don’t know.

Jefferson, though, was going nuts when he saw Blackjack in the mirror! He looked intently and bobbed his head back and forth while swishing his tail! I think he was checking out what Blackjack was up to, and was trying to get a better look, but every time he moved his head to look the cat in the mirror moved too and got in his way.

It was hilarious. It’s been years since either of the big cats have shown any interest in all in mirrors.

Early Season Fog

Very foggy out this morning – quite a surprise considering it was over 80 on Saturday. My recollection is that we don’t usually get foggy days until much later in the season, but I could be wrong.

Saturday we went into the city. On the way we stopped on the peninsula to eat at Brothers Deli, one of our favorite lunch joints. It recently moved from Burlingame to downtown Millbrae, into what looks like a newly-furnished venue. It’s the same yummy food, though (I like the meat blintzes).

Our main goal was to go to Borderlands Books so I could pick up the copy of Alastair Reynolds‘ new collection Zima Blue and Other Stories. We took BART from the Millbrae station just because I’d never done it, but it’s definitely slower than going to Daly City, where there are a lot more trains to catch, so that’s probably the last time for me unless they start running more trains. I can report success on getting the book, and I enjoy walking along Valencia Street in the Mission district because of all the quirky shops to glance in. But Borderlands alone makes it worth the trip, even when their hairless cat isn’t in residence.

Sunday we vegged out and watched football and baseball. Neither of us was feeling all that motivated to do much. I made some small tweaks to the FP template and did a bunch of reading.

The cats are doing well. They spent most of the weekend sleeping. I wonder if their kitty-drugs wear them out, even beyond being sick. Blackjack is getting his energy back and is behaving a little more normally. Roulette I think is just mad at us for giving her medicine every day – she hates it and struggles to get away. Blackjack fortunately is an easy mark for the medicine; for all I know he might even like it!

Hopefully they’ll be back to 100% by Wednesday. And that we’ll have dodged the bullet without Newton and Jefferson catching it.

Cat Update

Last night I pulled out the carrying case for Blackjack and Roulette, and look where Newton was 2 minutes later:



The kittens (who, I should note, are 3-1/2 years old now, but since the cats are 9 years older, there’s little ambiguity) went to the vet yesterday. Blackjack was running a serious fever, and had an eye infection. How cats whose outdoor experience is limited to supervised outings to the upstairs porch get this ill is beyond my understanding, but we got two kinds of kitty-drugs for him. He slept hard all night and although he’s still congested this morning, I think he seems better. The vet thinks he started out with a cold (virus), and then somehow ended up with a bacterial infection.

Roulette has started sneezing too, so she gets to share the drugs.

I’ve become fanatical about washing the cats’ food dishes after feeding them, and changing their water frequently, so hopefully Newton and Jefferson will not catch the cold.

Fortunately, everyone’s been eating and drinking, so I don’t think any of this is deadly serious. But I’ll be happy when things are back to normal.

Meanwhile, I’m glad we’re not dealing with cats licking all the hair off their body, as both an old friend and a local one are handling recently.

New Toy

I got a new toy this weekend, a Canon PowerShot SD800 IS camera, replacing my venerable Nikon, which was nice enough but pretty low-tech by comparison. So far, I like it a lot, although I think the cost of memory cards is quite a racket!

Here’s one of the first pictures I’ve taken with it:


Aren’t they adorable?

The new camera takes surprisingly good pictures of Blackjack, who usually just looks like a black blob with yellow eyes.

Kitties in the Window

A friend of mine tells me from time to time that my journal is seriously deficient in cat pictures. To help fix that problem (for the time being), here’s a shot of three of the cats from yesterday:


(L-R): Blackjack, Jefferson, and Roulette

Jefferson and Blackjack both like to lie in the same places – the basket, the papasan, under the dining table, at our feet in bed, etc. Although Roulette was the one with a big crush on Jeff when they were kittens, I think Blackjack is the one who ended up adopting many of Jefferson’s mannerisms.