Monthly Archives: April 2013


Progress. It was the theme for this week, everywhere I looked.

A Dollar Tree store is coming! (See what I did there?) πŸ™‚

Huge progress has been made on the house.
The view out the living room window, Wednesday morning. Shingles being torn off and thrown into the back of a dump truck. Bye, shingles, thank you for sheltering us for so many years!

And by Wednesday, we had this.

Funny story about this new roof. Apparently, the construction supply store that our builder uses sent the wrong shingles. Instead of sending and delivering regular, 10-year house shingles, they sent architectural, TWENTY-FIVE-YEAR shingles instead!! The roofer went ahead and used them, and since it was their mistake, we got a pretty sweet, free upgrade on our roof. This roof can last until the house is paid off! Well, unless we have any more trees move in with us.

Yesterday, a couple guys came by to patch the hole in the hallway.

They’ll be in and out over the next few days, mudding, sanding and then, eventually, painting the whole hallway. Almost good as new! At least the holes are whole again.

In other progress news, I have been hard at work on decorations for my niece’s upcoming wedding, which is now two weeks away! Eek!! I have made pinwheels and poufs, and yesterday, I bought all the silk flowers I’ll need for her bouquet, corsages, boutonnieres, and other decorations and projects. I have a long to-do list for the next two weeks!

Progress is a good thing.


Still Alive

You find a way, somehow, to get through the most horrible things, things you think would kill you. You find a way and you move through the days, one by one, in shock, in despair, but you move. The days pass, one after the other, and you go along with them β€” occasionally stunned, and not entirely relieved, to find that you are still alive.
β€” β€œThe Year of Fog” by Michelle Richmond


Last fall, when we were in the thick of dealing with Augie’s recent death and Simon’s near-fatal illness, we were exhausted, grieving, and really couldn’t handle one.more.thing. to deal with. Enter Todd.

Todd came up to our house one day, hungry and wounded. He looked like he had been shot with a bb gun. With our hands more than full with caring for Simon, and making sure our other kitties stayed healthy, we still had to help this sweet boy. We took him to the vet and had his wound treated and brought him home to start an antibiotic. We set him up on our front porch, with a little house and heated pad to sleep on. He repaid us with love and this sweet face.

It really struck us how much he looked like Augie, our five-month-old kitten that we had just lost. If Augie had had a chance to grow up, he would have looked identical to Todd. We didn’t think this was a random coincidence. God sent Todd to us. Even though we have many other cats to care for, God knew we could and would take care of sweet Todd. We still played around with the idea of adopting him out, but we were so overwhelmed with the other stuff that was happening at the time, we put out a few feelers with some local animal rescue people, but no one came forward to adopt him.

More time passed, and we grew more attached to Todd. In mid-January, Todd disappeared. This was abnormal for him, as he was so happy with us and stayed on the porch or in our little strip of woods next to the house, at all times. He was definitely someone’s cat, very sweet and tame, and had been neutered. So he wanted people. He wanted us. So when he disappeared, we got really worried. He was gone for about two days and we decided to put up fliers around the neighborhood, in the hopes that someone had seen him or had him. We thought that maybe he had just gone back home, although when he had first arrived, we had been unable to locate an owner for him.

Days passed. Then, five days after Todd left, Brian got a phone call. It was a Saturday morning. A teenage boy told Brian that he had seen the flier and thought that the cat on it might be trapped under his parents’ house, in the crawlspace. We went immediately to their house, which was only on the next street over from us. We went under the house and sure enough, there was Todd. Cold, hungry, scared. I picked him up and he clung to me. It was then, at that moment, that I whispered to him, “You are mine.” There was no way, after that, that I could give him up. Brian and I already loved him so much by this point. And we couldn’t bear to put him through breaking his attachment to us and having to bond with new people. He had already been through so much, and we wanted him to feel safe and loved. But we were about to be dealt another blow.

We wanted to transition Todd to come inside, but after dealing with a deadly virus for a few months, one that could live up to a year in the house, we needed to get Todd vaccinated. We took him to the vet for his shots, and had him tested for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus, or AIDS), and the result was positive. We were devastated. FIV is not an immediate death sentence, and cats that have it can still live long, healthy lives. But it is transmittable to other cats through fights or biting, and our Todd was a bit of a biter. So we knew we could not integrate him into our multi-cat household. Again, the idea of adopting him out to someone who only had FIV+ cats became our only option.

After researching, we discovered that the snap test that was done on Todd at the vet’s office had a pretty substantial failure rate, and that the vet may have not left Todd’s blood sample out long enough to get to the proper temperature before testing. Another possibility was that Todd may had already been vaccinated for FIV and the snap test isn’t sensitive enough to tell whether it’s picking up actual virus, or just vaccination antibodies. Those things prompted us to take Todd to a vet who could perform an actual send-out lab test to double-check. This test would tell us for sure.

We took him for the test, LOVED the vet, and waited. And waited. For a week. Finally, I called to check on the results, and they had just gotten them in. FIV NEGATIVE. NEGATIVE!!! So he had gotten a false positive result on the snap test at the other vet. We were overjoyed. Since we were in the middle of getting Todd his vaccination series, we didn’t want him running off again, and he couldn’t come into the house until he was fully protected, he lived in our outside semi-feral cat pen for about six weeks. Finally, a couple weeks ago, we brought him inside. That same night, the first night he was in, was the night of the storm and the tree. But we won’t hold that against him. πŸ™‚

Make Like A Tree…

I am starting fresh here with a new blog, mostly to concentrate on sharing my photography. But after a really tough, stressful and sad year, I just felt like I needed a new space to share and document life. (My old blog is here.)

Sometimes we coast along, with blue skies and smooth seas. And other times, the sky is angry and the sea tosses us at will, never leaving us in one place long enough to recover from the storm before the next one hits and we are lost at sea again. That’s kind of how life has been lately. And when I say “lately,” I really mean for the better part of a year. 2012 was pretty bad. There was loss. Lots of loss. Grief that I still have to manage on a daily basis. Questions that will never have answers. Faith that is tested.

With so many things happening, seemingly at once, it’s hard to figure out where to even start. So I’ll just start with recent events and go back and fill in as I have the inclination and energy.


Two weeks ago, we had a pretty bad storm that sent straight-line winds into a nearby pine tree and snapped its top clear off. The winds then carried that tree top around, swirled it and stabbed it at an angle, directly into the roof of our house. It was probably the scariest thing that’s ever happened to us. We were home, in separate rooms trying to keep our kitties calm. There were literally thousands of strikes of lightning with this storm, but we thought it was “just another spring thunderstorm” and we could just wait it out. I was sitting on the bed in our master bedroom. The tree that this top came from just happens to be outside our master bedroom, maybe 10 or 12 feet away from the outer wall and side of the house. I heard the loudest thunder, flash of lightning, and then BAM!! And dust fell onto the bed from the ceiling. I froze for a second, but called out to Brian to see if he was ok in another bedroom. He yelled that he was, so I got off the bed and carefully walked to the door, as if the floor might give way under my feet.

I opened the master bedroom door, and was literally face-to-limb with this tree top. It had stabbed into the roof, come down through the entire attic space, and now rested about six feet into our hallway. All I could say was, “There’s a tree in the house.” Scary. We made it through the rest of the night with water coming in at many places in the roof. Here are some pictures.

It was really, really bad.

About three days later, thanks to the delay of our insurance, we had the tree removed and the roof tarped.

The piece that was hanging down into the hallway:

The hole the tree left once it was removed:

Lots of tree was removed from our attic and hallway.

Today, more than two weeks since the tree first violated our home, we had our roof replaced, the broken rafter fixed, and just in time for more rain, coming in tonight and lasting through tomorrow.

Into each life, a little tree must fall, right?