Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kitchen renovation, part eight

Ed installed the moulding just before the end of the year.

Moulding complete!

Ed tiled the backsplash on New Year's Day.

First wall done, only two to go.

Turning the corner.

Removing spacers.

The thinset is curing.

Grouting (three days later).

Ed framed the window with some extra toekick and spacer material and installed a new light.

Lola checks out the new light.

It's hard to photograph, but here's the photo from the web site where we bought it:

Almost done -- the last thing will be replacing the track lighting with recessed lights.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What we've been up to

Snuggling Miss Betty.

More snuggling. (We try to provide equal snuggling opportunities for Lola, but she usually prefers to supervise from afar.)

Hosting Brad en route from Reykjavik to DC. The kittehs, they flock to him.

Being disappointed by Law & Order. You're on national TV. Get a copy-editor!

Finishing up the kitchen. The kitchen is almost done -- pics to come later!

Volunteering at the Children's Room, an organization that helps grieving families, for the National Day of Service. There was a great post about this on EmilyStyle, which is where I found the USA Service web site and signed us up. It ended up being perfect for us. We worked with a team to assemble IKEA Billy bookcases (which I can almost do blindfolded) and secure them to the walls. We loaded them up with books. The bookcases needed to be shimmed, so someone bought a package at the hardware store and Ed used a butter knife to score them. We had a few tools with us, but we should have brought more. :)

Afterward, Ed and I sealed an outdoor bench with tung oil. He noticed some areas in the basement that needed a professional's attention, so he wrote up a brief report with some recommendations. All in all, it was very satisfying. We were really impressed with the work that the Children's Room is doing. I'm sure we'll be involved with them in the future.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Betty is safe!

Betty's claws were torn from her ordeal. Here she gets a soothing betadine soak.


Last night Betty got spooked and ran out our back door. She is an ex-feral and I've always been terrified that she'll get out and we'll never see her again. (She is very skittish, not to mention fast, and I almost always have a hard time catching her in the house when it's time for her dental rinse.) Ed chased her through the yard (for the first lap, he was running in his socks, and we have around a foot of snow on the ground) and when I got home I chased her too. I had my hands on her but she wriggled free and climbed up a tree. Every time we called to her she would climb higher.

We didn't know what to do so left a ladder against the tree and a trail of food into our open basement. We couldn't sleep so kept checking throughout the night, but no Betty. It was 20 degrees outside and I was sick with worry.

This morning I started calling around to see if we could get a tree-trimming place to come by with a bucket truck. I also called the Animal Rescue League of Boston -- they have a rescue service. I saw my neighbor from across the street and told her what happened. Her husband is a landscaper and called me right away. He said he's been involved in many cat rescues and that often the bucket truck just makes things worse because of the noise and the stranger in the bucket. So we were banking on the tree-climber from the ARL.

I was distraught and antsy because there was nothing to do but wait for the ARL guy. Kris came by to keep me company, reminding me of Elizabeth Zimmerman's admonishment to "knit through every crisis."

Around 3 p.m. Ed decided to make an attempt to climb the tree while we still had daylight. We fashioned a cargo strap into a swiss seat and found a (real) carabiner that I used to use to hold my keys. He ascended our 24-foot ladder and tied himself to the tree. Rachel came by to keep me company. Ed put Betty's bed and some food into a bucket on the end of a long pole to see if he could get her in there. No dice. Just then my neighbor John came to see how we were doing. He left to get more supplies from his landscaping business.

John came back with a climbing harness like the kind used by telephone workers. He coached Ed through everything. (Also, thank goodness for the day-long rock-climbing lesson we took in Acadia in 2006.) Ed climbed all the way to the top of the Canadian Hemlock where Betty was perched, 40 feet up. John would spot branches for Ed and let him know which ones would hold his weight, as well as keeping the rope taut so the tree wouldn't move too much. The tree was about 3" in diameter at the top where Ed and Betty were.

(At this point the ARL guy called, very apologetic, to say he was busy with another cat in a tree and also a coyote who got hit by a car, plus two other rescuers called in sick, so he couldn't come until tomorrow.)

Betty can't really meow under normal circumstances (long-term damage from the pneumonia she had as a feral) but she managed to make some surprising mewing sounds when Ed got close. She kept trying to move away but as soon as Ed got his hands on her she calmed down and grabbed onto his shoulder. We raised a bag and he put her in it and lowered it down. I ran with her into the house.

Then Ed climbed down. We thanked our neighbors profusely. Now we're all in the house. Rach is still here and my BIL is coming by with BBQ. Betty is fine. She has some nasty scratches on her nose and lost some claws. We cleaned her up and she gobbled up some food. Now she's pretty much acting like nothing happened. We will be triple-checking all doors from now on when we leave and enter. But I think she probably learned her lesson. This was one of the worst days of my life. I'm so glad it turned out okay.

And to my friends with kids: I salute you. I worried so much about Betty and she's not even a child. I am completely drained of energy. You all must have super-human worrying capacity.

A final thought: John and Teresa from across the street and Colin and Susan (our neighbors who own the Canadian Hemlock) were awesome. I should be more social. :)

The end.