Mysteries solved

April 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Were you one of those kids who read under the covers with a flashlight after your parents told you to go to sleep? I would have been, but my bedroom closet had a light, so I read wrapped up in a quilt, sitting on my closet floor. For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to read past my bedtime, and my favorite late-night reads have been mysteries. I started with the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books saved from my mother’s childhood, and was hooked. My taste in whodunits became darker and edgier as I got older (how could it not?), but recently I’ve shied away from graphic violence. Too much of that in the real world. Maybe I’ll become one of those gray-haired old ladies surrounded by cats reading cozy British mysteries. So be it.

When I was growing up, many of the books that I read came from either the school library or our neighborhood branch library. I’d check out as many books as they’d let me, devour them, and go back for more. But once I got out of college, I lost my library habit, becoming instead a devotee of the bookstore. I can spend hours in a bookstore, and until recently, found it difficult to walk away without a book – or several – in hand. Back in the day when I moved every couple of years, I shed some books each time I packed up my apartment. We’ve lived in this house for 13 years now, our many bookshelves are overstuffed, and the old tactic of getting rid of a few old books every couple of years to make room for the new isn’t working for me any more. I want to reduce the number of books in the house, not just maintain.

So, I’m getting rid of my paperback mysteries.

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Unstuffing the files, part 1

April 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

This sorter with a slot for each day of the month (and a drawer with a section for pens and space for stamps or envelopes or whatever) seemed like a good idea at the time. We bought it for tracking bills and other date-sensitive mail… and as long as we filed the mail when it came in and checked the slots regularly, it worked just fine. And when we didn’t (which was frequently the case), it really wasn’t any help at all.

These days, most of our bills arrive via email, and the majority go directly to our credit union‘s online bill payment system. I check a couple of times a month to be sure that the bills have arrived and the payments are going out as they should, and that’s it! We haven’t yet reached my goal of a paperless home office, but we’re getting closer.

Since we no longer use this nice organizer, it’s leaving our house. I hope someone else may find it useful.

While we’ve succeeded in reducing the amount of the paper coming into the house, we still have to deal with the reams of paper that we already have… more than enough to fill the pair of 2-drawer filing cabinets that we have.  I’ve spent hours this year sorting through a decade of files, figuring out what to keep and what to toss. Much of what we’re tossing has enough personal information on it that I don’t want to get rid of it without shredding it. Our small shredder has been getting a workout, but shredding papers is boring, noisy work. Happily, our credit union had their semi-annual Shred Day today. At several of their branches, they had shredding trucks that would take two file boxes or a garbage bag of papers and shred them for free! (Have I mentioned that I love our credit union?) This morning, I took a 10″x12″x15″ box stuffed with sensitive documents to one of the branches, where it took just seconds for the young guy who’d been soaking up rays by the shredding truck to take my box, dump all that paper into the shredder, and hand me the empty box. Success!

That’s 15 linear inches of papers, plus the bill organizer, making 16 “items” unstuffed today.

Coming soon: getting rid of paper copies of documents we need or want to keep.

Lyra’s drawer

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

A while back, I was going to clean out a drawer in my dresser that’s a jumble of jewelry and accessories. When I opened the drawer, our tuxedo cat Sergei came running. He shows up whenever he hears a drawer opening; drawers are where we keep cat treats, and toys that he might chew to bits were they left out. He jumped onto the top of the dresser and meowed. I don’t keep treats or toys in that drawer, but there are usually treats in the other top drawer. While petting Sergei, I opened the drawer and reached in for treats; what my hand found first was the bag of needles.

That’s when I began to cry.

The needles were for giving subcutaneous fluids to our cat Lyra, whom we lost to kidney failure induced anemia last June. We administered fluids to her on top of the dresser, and stored subq fluid supplies, the other drugs that kept her going for six months after her diagnosis, and many bags of pill pockets and kitty treats, in that dresser drawer.

After Lyra died, I threw away meds that had to be refrigerated and partially used subq fluid supplies. I packed all of her special prescription food into a bag, and moved it out of the kitchen. We took the sharps container of used needles to the drugstore. But I didn’t touch a thing in Lyra’s drawer, as I’d come to think of it, just tossed new bags of treats and cat toys for our remaining cats Sasha and Sergei on top of the remnants of Lyra’s sickroom.

When my hand found those needles, months after her death, I knew it was time to clean out Lyra’s drawer.

After I’d had a good long cry, I gathered up the contents of the drawer, as well as the cat food from the basement. Here’s what we had:

  • 12 cans of “renal health” cat food
  • most of a 10-lb bag of “renal health” dry cat food
  • Tub of aluminum hydroxide phosphate binder (cats with renal failure don’t properly excrete phosphorus)
  • 6 tablets fomotadine, aka pepcid (cats with renal failure often have excess stomach acid)
  • 13 needles for subcutaneous fluids
  • 3 small self-adhesive compression bandages (peeled off her legs after transfusions or blood draws)
  • Insulin syringe (escapee from a 10-count bag, used for Epogen and darbapoetin injections for anemia)
  • 2 intrabuccal syringes of bupenorphrine, an opiate, prescribed when she appeared to be in pain after her last transfusion (in the blue vial)
  • 3 tablets prednisilone (to control asthma symptoms, which were not related to CRF, but worsened as she got sicker)
  • AeroKat feline asthma inhaler (never used, as she wouldn’t let me get it near her face)
  • Tub of lysine used to treat an upper respiratory infection (cheaper made for humans and sold in huge tubs at Super Supplements than when prescribed by vet)
  • A pill cutter

We’re keeping the pill cutter. The dry food will be tossed; we’ll dispose of the meds and syringes at our neighborhood drugstore, along with human meds. I’ll take the inhaler to our vet, in hopes that he might know someone who could give it a try with their asthmatic cat.

Today I took the canned cat food, along with the towels from the linen closet unstuffing, to the Seattle Humane Society. They were happy to have both. While I was there, I petted and talked to several very friendly cats (it was quiet at the time), including a sweet soft gray cat who reminded me just a little of Lyra. (Happily, she was adopted today.)

And then I came home and snuggled Sasha and Sergei… and gave them and Maisie a few extra treats.

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