$0, same as in town
May 15, 2023 6:34 AM   Subscribe

Happy freethread Monday! It's gonna be sunny here in Seattle, which means more time on the bike saddle for me. I hope you all have a great week!
posted by Gorgik (77 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Anyone read a good freeth recently?
posted by zamboni at 6:43 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:45 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I really need to put in some serious quality time in the saddle myself. A local bike club has a series of monthly rides throughout the summer that are great prep rides for RAGBRAI, but it threatened rain on the first one (last Saturday), plus my right knee isn't quite healed up completely, plus I was still getting over a cold, plus a bunch of distracting problems (it's been a pretty rainy spring, which at one point just over a week ago knocked out my power; also my DSL modem at home gave up the ghost, and although I was supposed to get a replacement on Tuesday, whoops!, someone slipped up at my ISP and I didn't get it until Thursday; a bunch of stuff surrounding my driver license renewal that I don't even want to get into). I probably would have done at least the shortest ride (this club actually maps out rides of differing lengths, from pretty short up to a full imperial century), if not for not wanting to risk my knee going out during it while riding in the rain somewhere an hour's drive from home.

So my homework for the next month is to both ride every decent chance that I get, working my way back up distance-wise, while also doing some joint-strengthening exercise. Being 59 should be interesting, especially on the front end.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:46 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

My rats now have an on suite garden. I made them a big dig box, grew stuff in it, and today I connected the cage to the box with some PVC pipe. They will get in easily enough, but I'm not sure how easily they'll get back to the cage as there's a vertical bit of pipe for them to climb.

See it here

(I'm absolutely loving mastodon, by the way. I've seen people here complain about "hall monitors" demanding content warnings etc, but I suspect the problem is the unexpected culture shift from Twitter. My experience has been that it's a really friendly, welcoming place where it's easy to find people who share my interests.)
posted by Zumbador at 6:49 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]

The veteran bluesman Taj Mahal has a new album out, and this time he's tackling big band jazz. I've only played it twice through so far, but if I had to pick a favourite track right now, I'd go with Lady Be Good.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:53 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Wait, Mefi has a Mastodon instance? That’s awesome!
posted by johnxlibris at 7:16 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]

Been playing Tears of the Kingdom this weekend, and enjoying it thoroughly - it's been fun to see all the evolutions from Breath of the Wild. Though I saw the comment "sticking rockets to koroks is praxis", and boy is that the truth.
posted by NoxAeternum at 7:17 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Anyone read a good freeth recently?

I could read a freeth for hours
posted by cubeb at 7:20 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I let myself get invested in Stanley Cup playoffs and watched the Edmonton Oilers (deservedly) get relegated to the golf course last night. On one level I enjoy getting caught up in it all, watching with friends/family, the level of skill and commitment, etc

on another level, it's a relief to free up the time. and what a reminder: these men get paid quite well to chase a puck on an ice surface that needs to be maintained through April/May/into June. There were three evacuation notices in the province during a recent game as wildfires bloom throughout Alberta. I don't know what the carbon footprint of professional ice hockey is, but maintaining sports palaces and ferrying players around doesn't come cheap.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:27 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]

I opened my Take A Plant/Leave A Plant stand for the season yesterday. We had a few people drop off some tomatoes and squash before we even got the sign painted, so hoping for a good season! Highly recommend if you like plants and already have a lot of Little Free Libraries around :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:35 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]

Dear Seattle, take your weather back, I haven't seen the sun in over a week
– Colorado
posted by alex_skazat at 7:36 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]

Gorgik, pretty sure we got all Seattle's rain here in CO. North and South Table Mountains are greening up nicely.

I don't mind so much because I prefer it to fire warnings. But I did have to invest in a decent umbrella.

Alex: jinx!
posted by emjaybee at 7:40 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

The veteran bluesman Taj Mahal has a new album out, and this time he's tackling big band jazz.

This explains why he's doing a set in Brooklyn! I didn't know anything about the new album, but my father has been a Taj Mahal fan for DECADES, and his album Giant Step soundtracked a good chunk of my childhood.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:44 AM on May 15

Wait, Mefi has a Mastodon instance? That’s awesome!

Mefi has, indeed, got an Mastodon instance. Open only to Mefi members so it's Very Civilised Indeed. You can join by sending a Mefi Mail request here
posted by Zumbador at 7:45 AM on May 15 [7 favorites]

Haloween Jack, having a bum knee is a really good reason not to go for a cycle! Don't mess around with that.

I've been going for short cycles myself every morning. Just around the neighbourhood.
posted by Zumbador at 7:48 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

The weekend was peaceful. Mother's Day was exactly the way I wanted it - donuts for breakfast, a walk at the flea market, a quiet dinner. My gift this year was a $10.00 mesh nebulizer (UNUSED) and some used CDs, a very respectable flea market haul. The mesh nebulizer is not meant for everyday use, but it is nice for travel so I don't have to haul a very large, very loud nebulizer with me.

Good news: spouse had three interviews and one offer (contract to hire, but the pay is good and the contract would buy us more time) last week. He has more interviews/screenings this week. The asthma flare-up has gone from "oh my gods, I think I might be dying here" to "huh, annoying but manageable with stretching and breathing exercises". I am still asking for a medication change next month.

Bad news: spouse's parents continue to act in manners terrible.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 7:52 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

I don't know what the carbon footprint of professional ice hockey is

Colossal. Pro rinks might have more efficient chiller systems than community centres (which took me a while to find out after coming to Canada that "community" was defined as "ice hockey"), but when Ontario required energy audits of all municipal facilities a few years back, hockey facilities showed up as huge bright spots on the maps. They were so bad that the consultancy commissioned to produce the reports had to tone down the false colours to make hockey look less entirely bloody awful.

It's warming up, leaves (and Leafs, heh) are out. The garden (wild) is full of rose-breasted grosbeaks. Went out on the bike yesterday morning, and despite missing a couple of weeks, it didn't hurt when I got back. I'm also professionally playing with the new Raspberry Pi camera boards, which are rather nice and exactly what our clients want.

As I'm the only one of us three kids abroad, I get to send mum flowers on the "wrong" Mother's Day. I don't know anyone who gets so much joy from flowers as my mum. Not merely does she rearrange them and use them for church flowers (something she's done for over 50 years), but she can keep useful parts of an arrangement going for weeks. For dad's funeral early this year she was disappointed that *everyone* sent her white flowers: dad's passing wasn't unexpected, and a little colour in January would have helped. (If anyone is in Glasgow and needs to send flowers, Stems of Burnside are unbelievably good. Very fresh, well selected, thoughtful arrangements - and the ultimate seal of approval is my mum's: she's beyond picky about flower quality, and Stems make her happy.)

The only tiny downside of the warm weather is that I can no longer wear the pair of overalls I picked up a couple of weeks ago. They're so comfy! I think they're meant for paintballing, and I could do without them being olive drab, but hey: comfy and cheap and fun to flop about in around the neighbourhood.
posted by scruss at 8:16 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]

I am going through old journals and reflecting that whatever else bad I can say about the present time, at least it’s not 2006.
posted by Peach at 8:18 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]

My older sister is visiting from California this week. I'm picking her up at the airport tomorrow.
I probably oughtta order that new Zelda soon.
I finally finished rereading Gideon the Ninth, so now I can start rereading Harrow, so maybe some time before the heat death of the universe I can read Nona.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:19 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

The annoying stuff that happened:

My community garden didn't have anyone on hand to cover the morning shifts for EITHER Saturday or Sunday this weekend. I sucked it up and covered both days, and that SERIOUSLY ate into my ability to Get Shit Done this weekend; my housecleaning was totally half-assed.

To boot - on Sunday I also put out a call for volunteers to help me plant three flats of native perennials and wildflowers throughout the garden proper. Two of our regulars showed up for like an hour during the 4 hours I was there but that was it, so I did a good chunk of most of the work; and then about 6 people showed up right when I was down to my last 3 seedlings. Sigh.

And - one of the things I wanted to do this weekend was set up a new TV stand (one that has more storage space for my DVD collection), but I gave it a go Saturday night and could not get the thing started. I briefly tried asking my roommate for help, and he did come to help me try to decipher the instructions, but what the instructions said to do weren't really working. (Although, I was briefly cheered by the look my roommate gave me when I described the thing as "the Target knockoff of Ikea"). I've reached out to a guy on TaskRabbit for help, and we're having issues finding a time. Sigh.

....but then the good stuff that happened this weekend:

During one of my work breaks on Sunday (most of the plants went in a patch that had some VERY VERY rocky soil), a young guy wandered by, briefly asked a couple of general questions about membership, and then said "okay, I'm in - where's an open plot I can have?" I slowed his roll a bit by saying that "uh....let's actually get you in touch with our treasurer to pay the dues FIRST," and he happily went off to do that right away - so fast that we haven't completely sorted out whether the plot he wants is even open yet. I've managed to slow his roll a bit further, but - damn we need someone with that much energy, so this should be fun!

Also - someone in my Buy Nothing group was giving away a free baking mold to make financiers. She's right by work, so I'll be stepping out to get that this afternoon. (Ironically, after my trip to the dentist.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

We might have company sometime soon! Some friends who are moving away from this area want to come and stay for a couple of days. This would be delightful! They even lived with us here at one point so we know we have the space for them.

The thing is, after they moved out, the room they used to occupy has become that room you just put things in you don't know what to do with at the moment.

So, now I have to figure out what to do with all those things I didn't know what to do with! That's a bit of a large chore, but it will be nice to get it done, and this is probably the motivation I need to finally tackle it.
posted by hippybear at 8:43 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

I'm now completing my 9th year in my current job, and managed to secure myself a bump up to a senior-level paycheck now that I'm the old-timer on the team. Our contract where we work was just renewed, so that takes a huge amount of pressure and stress off my plate.

We spent Saturday hiking around the woods with a mushroom farmer and medicinal herb expert who came across equally cultured and prepper-adjacent. It made for a weird few hours. I'm definitely not in tune with nature most of the time, so it was an educational experience for me. We weren't allowed to harvest any of the mushrooms we found, but we sampled various wild greens along the way. I knew about sorrel from having it in soups, but fresh wild sorrel is incredible and I have already forgotten how to spot it.
posted by emelenjr at 8:45 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

My late, quiet, and buttoned down father would have been 100 this year, and I've been reflecting about him quite a bit lately. We always had difficulty connecting, and he disapproved of a number of my less conventional romantic relationships, but never said anything outright.

A few years ago, I ran into an old family friend, almost into her 90's. She and I exchanged words of rememberance for a few moments. She then looked directly into my eyes, and said "Oh. You look exactly like your father." And then reached out and stroked my cheek, growled, and added "Exactly like him".

Perhaps my father disapproved less than I thought.
posted by SunSnork at 8:50 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]

I can't keep chocolate bars in the kitchen because the roomie will eat them instead of real food (this is a complicated thing, advice not solicited), and I can't keep them in my studio because I will eat them in addition to real food (ditto), but I definitely can keep them in the grocery store and not eat them when I'm at home because I don't have any within reach. That'll work.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:54 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]

Hello from the (reasonably short) line for the newest rollercoaster at Dollywood, the Big Bear Express! I'm local to Dollywood and I'm a season pass holder, so I'm just popping by for a few hours before I go home and pretend to be an adult.

Hope y'all have some fun today, too.
posted by workerant at 8:58 AM on May 15 [14 favorites]

I made a really great olive-oil chocolate cake yesterday (courtesy of Smitten Kitchen), and it was a big hit with the family at Mother's Day dinner, which also included peanut noodles and awesome ribs. A good time was had by all.

Just met the guy who owns the house next door, which had been rented for a while, and now he's prepping to sell it. I warned him about the rats digging under the fenceline, and asked him to remove the old doors propped against the fence and peeling paint into my backyard. He seems nice enough; hopefully he will sell to a pleasant young family. (It's a tiny place with almost no outdoor space at all, and it's in pretty poor condition from what I can tell.)
posted by suelac at 9:02 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

The Big Landscaping Project started today. A crew is here dismantling one of three retaining walls, and eventually everything on my property which isn't House or Garage will be replaced.
posted by JohnFromGR at 9:32 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

About 6 weeks ago I submitted my annual self-eval at work in the form of a parody of "you'll be back", from Hamilton.

My manager, a Hamilton nerd, was most effusive about it during my performance review a few days ago.
posted by Gorgik at 9:34 AM on May 15 [11 favorites]

So... I spent three of the past four days driving back and forth into the deep red heart of central Florida to deal with the sudden hospitalization, and then shift to hospice care, of my uncle, for whom I have POA and am health care representative. I spent many hours bedside with him, and a parade of Trumpy friends, who, to be fair, were kind-hearted people. My uncle died on that fourth day. And now I've begun all the stuff you have to do when you're executor of an estate.

But then this morning was the awards ceremony for the 11th graders at my twin sons' high school. For one of the boys, it's been a challenging but manageable year, and everything has pretty much gone his way -- straight A's, re-elected class officer and officer of several clubs, somehow found a terrific girlfriend :) . For the other, though, it's been really stressful, with the workload forcing him to give up some activities, and the grades suffering anyway.

But over the course of the hour, he received three recognitions, for creative writing, his computer programming on the math modeling team, and music performance. And then at the end of the ceremony, they have a special prize for creativity, and he was recognized for his creation of a classical music arrangement that was recently performed at a public event, as well as for his work on two stage productions. He went up on stage to receive the award, and received huge applause from his classmates. He was over-the-moon happy, feeling like all the work paid off, and I was thrilled for him, all my stresses of the past week fading away.

Life does have its swings.
posted by martin q blank at 10:09 AM on May 15 [23 favorites]

we put a deposit down and signed a contract to have a pool put in the back yard next spring/summer.
My wife is absolutely over the moon about it, I am excited too but I'm left contemplating the best avenue to pay for the damn thing without adding gobs of interest or paying taxes on taking funds from my IRA (no penalty lucky me)

Man, swimming in my own back yard sounds amazing!
posted by djseafood at 10:20 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

having a bum knee is a really good reason not to go for a cycle

Speaking of bum knee... I have always been a very sedentary person, with a desk job and no love at all for any strenuous activity. I've fitfully tried various exercise regimens in the past but couldn't stick to any of them for very long. However now that I am officially Getting Older (and really feeling it) I decided I had to get and stay serious about exercising. I bought a stationary bike in 2021 and started getting on it regularly but that faded out after a few months due to reasons. Early last year, though, I got back on a schedule that I've mostly kept, though I do occasionally postpone a session when I'm just not up to it on a given evening, or - and here I finally reach my point - due to pain.

When I started out a half-hour session exhausted me; as time went on that stretched to the current hour-long sessions. That was when I started having occasional trouble with pain in one or the other knee. I learned to start wearing compression sleeves on my knees for every session, which helped, but even then I was sometimes out of commission for 4 or 5 days until the pain dissipated. I finally talked to my doctor about getting a referral to a physiotherapist, but around that time things began to change - I eventually learned to spot the very first glimpses of pain and favor that knee a bit while exercising by using mostly the other leg for propulsion, and keep wearing the knee brace after exercising or even overnight/next day. Over the course of a few months of doing that, I noticed I was feeling knee pains less often. In the past couple of months I haven't yet had to forego a session because of my knees. Improvement!! Yay!

By now I've reached the maximum resistance setting on the inexpensive exercise bike and even that's started to get too easy. Doing a fair bit of walking on a recent day outing reminded me that walking still makes my leg and butt muscles ache and gets me out of breath rather quickly, so I've decided to replace the bike with a decent treadmill. So I'm sure more sweat and unpleasant effort await me. I continue to hate exercise, so I hate that I'm feeling better because of it. But I know that it helps and I've got to keep it up (carefully, of course).

And I agree with Zumbador, treat your knees nicely!
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:20 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

The roommate is out bowling tonight so I can clean I peace yay.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:35 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Just got back from a 2-hour bike ride in really nice weather. Bike is electric so my knees could stand the 2800' elevation gain.

50 years ago, May 1973 was a big month for me. My son was born on the 3rd, I graduated college on the 13th, tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of my 1st day at work for IBM, and on the 22nd, I turned 21.
I was starting to become an adult.
posted by MtDewd at 11:05 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]

Work is in crisis. I think it would be unwise of me to say too much here when I drive around in a truck with a metafilter sticker prominently displayed but wow, wow, holy shit, you think it can't happen here and then it does. Just not being in Florida doesn't mean Florida can't come to you and WTF, Oregon? My leftie Portland friends, please wake up and keep a closer eye on the coast, make some connections and nurture some progressives to step up to the plate. There were way too many uncontested local races on the ballot for tomorrow's election and the other side has plans - well, kind of, I guess Kill, Crush, Destroy counts as a plan - and a playbook.

Home is also (continuously and forever) in crisis. The combo is not great for my mental health and neither was the 90+ degree weekend.

On the bright side Toddler can now say octopus and it is exactly as adorable as you would think. And the weather is now beautiful; unfortunately, I will not be leaving work in the foreseeable future but at least I can open my office window.
posted by mygothlaundry at 11:12 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]

I'm jealous of a job where you can write a Hamilton parody for your evaluation and it's loved. I had to write mine today and it probably took me 10 minutes because literally I turn in the same list of things every year with minor alternations. My job hasn't changed, they don't ask for follow-up on "goals" and I left my goals the same as last year. I see no point in putting any kind of effort in any more since this is a dead end and I'm just going to get pages and pages of my failures in response.

Anyway, my weekend was awesome. We had two town festivals this weekend, one of which is my favorite all year and I didn't end up having to go out of town for part of it after all, which is a yay. My mom continues to be occupied with her boyfriend and no longer cares about Mother's Day. I got taken out for a fancy brunch, I got free stuff, I got some gorgeous clothes, I hung out and listened to random bands and did karaoke. I wish every weekend was this awesome.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:22 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Yesterday was the first day I could really devote to yard work, and boy did I overdo it, very achy today.

One part of my tasks was I cleaned up a large patch of tigerlilies that's probably been there longer than I've been alive. I've never cleaned it out and it probably hasn't had any care in forever, so I went nuclear and mowed down the 1' tall lily leaves and raked it until it was bare dirt. Don't worry about the tigerlilies, it seems nothing kills them, they'll be just as tall again in a couple weeks.

In the process of cleaning it up I got out my metal detector and gave the flowergarden a sweep. And to my surprise -- a hit, right away! Dug down, found nothing. Very close, another hit! And nothing. And--wait, everywhere I sweep is getting hits, and wherever I dug I found a big clump of tigerlily bulbs. Picked up a bundle of bulbs and waved them under the metal detector away from anything else...a hit, strong hit for iron. Apparently my tigerlilies look like metal to the detector, defeating my hopes of finding anything of value back there. Even with iron disabled in the detector, it still wanted me to dig places without me finding anything a foot down. I did find a 1919 penny though, but nothing else of note.

This week is exciting for me: for several months I've been a theoretical returning-older-than-average-college-student, and my summer classes start on Wednesday! Going from theoretical to real is always terrifying, but I'm holding it together.
posted by AzraelBrown at 11:37 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]

I had to write mine today and it probably took me 10 minutes because literally I turn in the same list of things every year with minor alternations. My job hasn't changed, they don't ask for follow-up on "goals" and I left my goals the same as last year.

I was grumbling about a similar situation with my own evaluation at an old job ("how the hell do I set new goals for this year when I'm doing the same crap") and my father said the "magic" words he used to solve that problem were "...continue to".

We don't have a formal review process here at work because my boss hates them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:38 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]

Finally reading The First One to Die at the End (Adam Silvera) with my daughter. I'm not sure I'm as in love with it as much as I was with They Both Die at the End, but it's still quite good.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:55 AM on May 15

I envy you AzraelBrown. I miss my mom's tiger lilies*. She grew them for most of my life before Asian beetles and some other kind of invasive Asian bug (whose name I can't remember: red, long-bodied--maybe a scarlet lily beetle) wiped them out. She tried all kinds of traps and deterrents but nothing worked.

*TBH, I don't know if they were technically tiger lilies. They were orange with black spots and faced downward. The seeds were black and spherical.
posted by sardonyx at 12:03 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

Free thread you say....?

I draw a fair bit and one thing I've recently started drawing is ball point pen renderings of AI generated people.

The original image here is a mess, as far as where the character's left ear is, his eyes looking in different directions, the weird placement of the neck, etc and I have, for the most part, kept those anomolies in the final drawing while attempting to infuse the image with some sort of human type quality.

Anyways, a hopeless rearguard action, which is fun, in response to the tsunami that is AI art.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 12:27 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]

Continuing the saga of my job switch, my former boss and I just got permission from our new company to open a local office so I am no longer exiled to Charlotte.

I really tried to inure myself to Charlotte and I just couldn’t. The traffic was awful in different ways when it was moving and when it wasn’t, everybody kept cautioning me not to get murdered on the greenways, the Y was tiny and run down, etc, etc, insert grumbling here.

I just wanted to stay home and stop moving, and now I can. I can just be old and tired for a while.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 12:33 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]

Today would’ve been my mom’s birthday-
We lost her just seven months ago.
A true Force of Nature— someone who enjoyed jazz, Frida Kahlo, Mad magazine, movies, flowers and butterflies!

I took the day off work in her honor and had brunch with our family friend who was my mom’s “extra daughter.”

Great day, Great Mom!
posted by calgirl at 1:37 PM on May 15 [14 favorites]

("how the hell do I set new goals for this year when I'm doing the same crap") and my father said the "magic" words he used to solve that problem were "...continue to".

Oh yeah, that's about what I did. Like "continue to learn my job" and "take classes when there's something available I haven't taken yet."

In other news, I found out that the company that put on the Big Yarn Expo in my region once a year and also did online classes monthly just dissolved/filed for bankruptcy. I admit I'm not totally shocked given things I've read online the last few months and I kind of expected they weren't going to make it another year. But it sucks. The classes they offered were very good, both IRL and online, and there isn't anyone else like them doing that that I know of.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:19 PM on May 15

I'm coping. That's a major accomplishment. Anything else is bonus.
posted by mightshould at 5:22 PM on May 15 [11 favorites]

I apologize if I'm massively oversharing here, but I had to say this somewhere. TL;DR: I miss my cat.

Obituary for a street cat named Flurb

I only had him in my life for a few months. I thought I'd be over this by now, it's been weeks since he passed. But I miss him so much I can't stand it.

I take care of a small colony of feral cats, and this spring I had a few new ones show up. One was a white and black male who liked to sing at night, so he got named Tom Jones. Another white and black showed up who was almost identical, so I named him Steve McCoy, noted Tom Jones impersonator. And then one morning I was out feeding my little horde and I saw a cat on top of a garbage can across the street.

He was black and white and had phenomenal whiskers, and I was kind of tired of naming cats, so he became Flurb. I figured he was another feral, so I set about getting traps from the local animal shelter and got started trapping the new cats for their trap, neuter and release program.

I failed. For some reason my little colony has learned that traps are bad news, and they avoid them like crazy. One of them, The Phantom, even nudges the traps to get them to close. But while I was trying to trap the newcomers I noticed that Flurb was behaving oddly for a feral. He'd wait for food right outside the house, and he'd hang out there for a while before feeding time. He came closer to me than any of the ferals I've been feeding for years. And he seemed kind of bad at feral-ing; he was always kind of scraggly, and it being January, he seemed more wet and cold than my other ferals.

And then he started letting me pet him, and I realized he was a stray, not a feral.

It took me a couple of weeks, but he really started trusting me. I got to pick him up, and he'd let me hold him for a few seconds before politely letting me know he wanted down. I got to rub his belly. I fell in love.

One week there were below freezing temperatures forecast, and I was worried about Flurb being out in the cold. So when I went out to feed him I left the door open behind me. He lurked around the doorway, seeming curious. So I sat outside by the door and watched him eat, and then he came over to check out the house again. He walked inside, then came back out. Then he went inside again, and settled in.

I shut the door, and I had a cat. He didn't seem upset about it; I fed him some more wet food and then he claimed a cushion and started a deep grooming routine.

I contacted the local shelters and humane society and posted about Flurb on their sites and on Craigslist, but no-one claimed him.

He was obviously a house cat at some point in his life; he was a very polite companion, he used the litterbox well, he loved lounging around and being petted. I was, of course, totally over the moon. Being chosen by a cat is mind-blowing, it's such an honor. I'd been having a tough time of it, and Flurb gave me something to look forward to, he gave me hope for the future. I started really trying to solve my problems, because now I was taking care of this little guy, and I was determined to give him a good life.

He liked playing with little toy rattle balls; I'd kick them around and he'd chase after them all over the living room. He used to do this thing where he'd be lying down and I'd be petting him, and when he was really relaxed he'd roll so his front legs were up and he was presenting his chin to be petted. I called that Flurbing. But what got me most about him was that he loved listening to music. If I was working at my desk he'd jump up, knocking my mouse and keyboard and electronics around, and then he'd settle down right in the middle of the stereo field between my speakers, and he'd pay attention. When the music changed his ears would perk up, when an instrument was panned to one side he'd turn to hear it better. I started putting on albums I thought he'd like. I started thinking about designing a musical instrument for him.

He was never quite healthy. He developed a skin condition that made him crazy itchy, and the vet put him on steroids. He was frequently nauseous, and very picky about food. His coordination was off; when he wanted to jump up on a table he'd take a running jump and fling himself, skidding across the surface he landed on, knocking stuff aside. Or he'd miss, and fall. I thought, I hoped, that he was just getting over malnutrition and the minor injuries he'd sustained while living on the streets.

I got some help from the animal shelter, a volunteer came out with a drop trap and got both Tom Jones and Steve McCoy in a matter of a couple of hours, it was impressive. Tom Jones got neutered and returned to the neighborhood; he hung out for a few days and then disappeared, which is pretty normal for tom cats. And Steve McCoy turned out to be a former house cat like Flurb; very sweet, very loving. He got taken in by an animal rescue organization. And there he tested positive for FLV. Feline Leukemiavirus.

I found this out at the end of March, and suddenly a lot of things about Flurb made sense. I didn't get Flurb tested, I figured I'd do it the next time he needed a vet visit, because you really can't do anything for FLV. And I didn't want to know. So I kept pampering him, learning just how he liked his food, making sure he was well hydrated, and he kept putting weight on.

Until he didn't. He stopped eating as much, and then one weekend he stopped eating altogether. He'd gag at the smell of food. I kept him hydrated, got him to eat a little bit, and rushed him into my vet first thing Monday morning. She took some blood and ran some tests.

Flurb had FLV, and he wasn't doing well. We talked about his chances, his quality of life, what she'd have to do next to keep him alive, and we decided it was time to let him go. I stayed with him as it happened.

I heard that afternoon that Steve McCoy passed away the same day.

That was near the end of April, and I'm still destroyed. I had such hope for our life together. I loved him so much. I miss how he'd curl up next to my head as I slept, how he'd sit on the amp next to my computer, basking in warmth and attention, my brave copilot as I played my space exploration game. I miss him curling up next to my leg as I read.

Now I'm watching the rest of my colony (Captain Midnight, The Phantom, Luna, James, and Moose), and waiting to see if they start getting sick. I can't bring another cat into my house for months, for fear that the virus is still lingering somewhere. And now when I try to look forward to the future, he's missing from it, and it's not the same.

posted by MrVisible at 5:50 PM on May 15 [18 favorites]

This week I learned that only people in Australasia know what a "Chook" is, and the rest of the world is content to call them Chickens.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 6:54 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I just now learned that Judy Dench played Sally Bowles in the West End premiere production of Cabaret. I had NO idea!
posted by hippybear at 6:57 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I have been continuing with my long series of watercolor paintings about adoption, and making YouTube videos to explain why I'm making the visual choices I'm making. The playlist is here: https://tinyurl.com/adoptionpaintings. The cliff notes are: I'm a scientific illustrator and so that's reflected in my paintings, which are very representational. I use the Common Cuckoo to represent biological parents, and the cuckoo's egg and chicks represent the adoptees. The agencies that took advantage of unwed pregnant women are cats, and my own secret heritage and the lies that covered it up is represented by pomegranates and Dala horses. The videos make it all clearer. I hope.
posted by terridrawsstuff at 7:11 PM on May 15 [6 favorites]

On April 25th, Mr dbmcd and I adopted a pair of “older” kitties (5-year-old brothers). We got them from a shelter, where they’d been surrendered by an older woman who had to go into a care home.
They were pretty traumatized as the shelter moved them to a cat cafe, but it was too much for them, so they got moved back to the shelter, then moved to a different room. We didn’t see either of them for almost a week, except a feeding time. Then gradually one (Winston) started to warm up. His brother, Juan (or as we call him, Casper, because we never see him) is super shy. One night at 2am, he decided to see what this large opening was - it was the top of the laundry chute, he was promptly delivered 2.5 stories down into a pile of laundry. So, no trauma (ha!). Husband and I padded down to the basement to retrieve him, and hubby grabbed Juan, but he wriggled almost loose, at which point hubby grabbed a leg. That’s when it got fun, and Juan sunk his teeth into hubby’s lower calf. Multiple trips to the doctor ensued, but all is now well. We left Juan in the basement (with food and water) for a week, and finally got him and brought him back up. More trauma for poor little guy.
Meanwhile, Winston gets up on the sofa and snuggles with me, and purrs, and is generally a sweetie. Casper made an appearance on the main floor last night where he made significant eye contact with me (from the safety of a stairway bannister). So there’s hope. No cat tax because I don’t have any pics yet.
And, since there’s a knee theme this week - in 9 days, I get a new left knee! I’m so excited, I can’t even say. I’ve waited two years for some residual small blood clots to resolve (pro tip: never get cancer), and have become increasingly less active from the pain in my left knee.
Anyway, long-winded, but I do love me some kitties.
posted by dbmcd at 8:59 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]

I'm coping. That's a major accomplishment. Anything else is bonus.

If email signatures with personality were still a thing and allowed in the 2020's, this would be mine now. Thank you.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:14 PM on May 15

WhackyparseThis, some part of my brain does kinda know "chook"! Like, if you asked me the definition of "chook," I (probably) wouldn't come up with it straightaway, but if it were on a multiple choice question, I'd get it at once. Nice word.
posted by taz at 10:30 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

This week I learned that only people in Australasia know what a "Chook" is, and the rest of the world is content to call them Chickens.

The same word - here pronounced "chuck" with a very short "u" - is still used as an affectionate form of address in parts of Northern England. My dictionary of slang confirms it began as a word used to summon chickens at feeding time.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:40 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]

This week I learned that only people in Australasia know what a "Chook" is, and the rest of the world is content to call them Chickens.

I'm in Yorkshire, Northern England and we definitely know what chooks are round here. It's even spelled that way, I bought a house years ago with a chicken run in the garden, it had a big wooden sign over the door with "Chooks" burnt into it (they weren't included in the sale, sadly).
posted by tomsk at 4:10 AM on May 16 [1 favorite]

Good luck with the kitties, dbmcd! It can be a long road. We fostered two cats from a hoarding situation for a year and a half, and eventually chose to adopt them. They were, and still are, fairly damaged cats, but they are doing well here, and still slowly improving, even two years on.

Cha Cha has some ongoing skin issues, but is nearly a normal-but-skittish cat otherwise. Grace was one of the most traumatized cats from the hoard, but is doing so much better now. She is still very skittish but is starting to seek out attention and interaction. It is so rewarding to get her purring! But, two years. That’s how long it took to win Grace over.
posted by notoriety public at 6:48 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

Had a pretty good Mothers Day trip to visit Mom. We did a big paella for her, and bought flowers for the garden, and installed them.

I'm treating this thread as gentle admonishment to ride my bike more. So, ok, message received. Tomorrow.

My architect friend and neighbour just got two 10 week old kittens from a shelter. They've been fostered really well and are adorably social and confident.
posted by Artful Codger at 3:26 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]

I'm treating this thread as gentle admonishment to ride my bike more. So, ok, message received. Tomorrow.

Just be nice to your knees! :)
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:32 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]

Or feed rice to your bees, or put mice on your cheese - whatever, I"m not a cop
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:33 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]

Four out of five mice surveyed prefer being put on cheese.
posted by hippybear at 2:59 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Mouse Georg, who lives in cave & eats over 10,000 rice a day, is an outlier and should not have been counted.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:06 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

That was rice that was meant for the bees!
posted by hippybear at 5:27 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

The job market. Bananas. The job spouse was offered was pulled due to lack of funding. He had not accepted it yet, so we are good there. He had another good interview on Monday, but that place is moving slowly.I’m still mad at how unsupportive his parents are being. The first words out of their collective mouths was “what did you do wrong and how are you going to fix it?” The conversation went downhill from there.

We finally did an adult thing and shut down an extra refrigerator and the kegerator. The fridge was failing and needs to go - we kept it limping along until we got new appliances. The kegerator was a surprise. Spouse built it himself and was really fond of it. I’ve cut back on drinking to the point that I am no longer bringing anything new into the house and I’m down to a cocktail or glass of wine on a Friday/Saturday night. Spouse decided to join me, so the next thing to leave the house is most likely to be the wine rack.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 3:33 AM on May 18 [1 favorite]

I got some sad news this morning, that a longtime friend just passed away. She had cystic fibrosis, so she died young. She fought hard.
posted by notoriety public at 12:34 PM on May 18 [4 favorites]

So sorry, notoriety public.

....And i was going to come in to post some schaudenfreude about one of my more heinous exes, but I'll hold off a bit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:57 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

No, let’s hear it! Schadenfreude is one of the true incorruptible joys of this fallen world. It may be a petty joy to take pleasure in the misfortunes of them who done you wrong, but it’s joy all the same.
posted by notoriety public at 3:06 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

I'm expecting delivery of an unusually bulky/heavy item, and the delivery service sends automated courtesy phone calls just before it's dropped off. Which is fine, but I was amused by the grammar of the message:

"Your delivery will approximately reach you in 10 minutes."

Approximately reach me? What, they're just gonna dump it out of the truck at the nearest intersection? The next town over? "Ehh, close enough..."
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:08 PM on May 19 [3 favorites]

Update: I'm happy to report that "approximately" turns out to mean "at my front door".
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:34 PM on May 19 [2 favorites]

Speaking of schaudenfreude, I saw Avenue Q tonight.
posted by jenfullmoon at 12:18 AM on May 20

No, let’s hear it! Schadenfreude is one of the true incorruptible joys of this fallen world.


So, like 20 years ago I started dating a sommelier; at the time of our first date, he had literally just been laid off from a position as junior lead sommelier at the original 21 Club. He also was living with his mother, but had been there to care for her when she had breast cancer; she was recovering, and he was just starting to see what the moving-out options might be.

While we were dating (for 2 years), he was on the hunt for another sommelier or bartender position at a fine dining place, and was also periodically hunting or another apartment. He had a few jobs here and there, and a couple apartment leads now and then, but nothing really panned out. (At least that was what he would have told you.) Then, after 2 years of dating me, he broke up with me over the phone about a week before my birthday because he'd met someone else.

I bounced back pretty quick - this was a breakup in which he was 100% unquestionably the heel, and I met a far, far better guy a year later, who then also broke up with me a year later and it took a longer time to recover. But that put the sommelier out of my mind, and if he ever did cross my mind I would just roll my eyes or say "ugh" and move on.

I was bored at work yesterday and Googled him out of curiosity. I found his Linkedin page, and from there I learned:

1. He finally moved out of his mother's place in 2020.
2. And apparently - he then moved to Colorado.
3. Where he is a waiter in a Chili's.

For the record, I don't think there is anything inherently declasse about either being a waiter in a Chili's, or about Colorado itself. But I know that that asshole probably thinks it's a fate worse than death, and so I cannot stop laughing.

(I've also reached out to my friends who moved to Colorado themselves and told them, and asked them to take pictures if they want to go point and laugh.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:27 AM on May 20 [3 favorites]

I felt same about a shitty coworker who went back to his old job--which he hated--because here was worse..
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:01 AM on May 20

The best revenge is living well. The second best revenge is fire ants.

(Joke stolen from the long-deceased, long-mourned A Softer World webcomic.)
posted by notoriety public at 11:23 AM on May 20 [4 favorites]

So the "unusually bulky/heavy item" I mentioned above was a treadmill (to replace the stationary bike that I didn't think was giving me enough exercise). Once I wrestled the box into the house and saw how relatively enormous it seemed in relation to my living room I thought "Good lord, what have I done??" Extracting the two hundred pound monster from the box and hauling it into position, like a tiny tugboat shoving the massive Ever Given free, was more of a workout than I've had in years. But I got it assembled and it does fit! Fortunately my living room is larger than one might expect for a modest apartment. It still rather dominates the room but I can maneuver around it, and I live alone, so it's all good.

Maybe by tomorrow I'll have recovered enough from the setup process to actually use it...
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:23 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Greg, sweetie... it's a two hundred pound object. You are hardly a "tiny tugboat" next to it.
posted by hippybear at 3:55 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

I BEG your pardon!! I've never been so insulted in all my life!

(that's not true, I've been insulted worse lots of times)
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:28 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

The coating of finger oil on your pearls is effective against decay.
posted by hippybear at 4:40 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

Ha! Oh, I'm saving that one for later - I'm sure it'll come in handy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:48 PM on May 20 [1 favorite]

If you get bored walking/jogging on the treadmill, you could always move it to the other side of the room. It's probably more exercise.
posted by MtDewd at 7:41 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

I just now learned that Judy Dench played Sally Bowles in the West End premiere production of Cabaret. I had NO idea!

And Herr Schultz was played by Peter Sallis (Wallace out of Wallace and Gromit), and the MC was Barry Dennen (Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar - this is true both of the movie and the original album, where you can find the one true Christ, that is to say Ian Gillan).
posted by Grangousier at 11:25 AM on May 21 [1 favorite]

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