Thursday, January 28, 2010

(Not so) Quick Update

Sorry for the delay...things have been a bit stormy around here lately. Between all the crises, I just haven't had time to sit down and write for a bit.

We took Leo and Rocky in for their follow-up FIV/FeLV tests (the shelter tested them not too long before we adopted them). Unfortunately, we got some not good news. Leo is FIV positive. Not what we wanted to hear, after all our troubles with Ziggy.

However, looking on the bright side, trying to find the silver lining and trying like mad to make least it was not FeLV too. That would have been much worse. FIV is certainly not a death sentence, and many cats live long, healthy lives with the disease. We just have to be more vigilant in watching him for any signs of getting sick, as he won't be able to fight off stuff as well as he should.

Rocky seems to be fine and in good shape (in fact, his shape is getting rounder by the day!!!). He tested negative for both, even though he and Leo play and wrestle together on a regular basis. We'll hope that stays that way!

We've been working extra hard trying to get Hubbard's insulin levels under control. They raised him from two units to three, but I think it will take four or five to really put it to bed, so to speak.

They also made us continue to give him the steroid for the pancreatitus. I know he is feeling some better, given how hard he fights both of us to NOT TAKE THAT DARN PILL!!! We have finally found a delivery method that works. ESM has been crushing the pill and mixing it in with some chicken broth. She then draws that concoction into one of the liquid syringes we got for giving him liquid medicine, and squirts it down his gullet! He still fights a bit, but not nearly as hard as when we were trying to use the pill gun with him. Thank goodness!

Hubbard has also taken to wetting down the carpet in front of our master bedroom door lately as well. I know it is because his insulin is still not right, and he is still drinking quite a lot. He is rapidly ruining the carpet there (not that the carpet was in great shape to begin with!). So, between ESM and I, plus my mom, we came up with a workaround for now. We put down a length of that thick plastic carpet protector and old towels that ESM washes very regularly. At least now when he does it, we can clean it up easily. I just hope we can get his insulin dialed in quickly, so he doesn't have to go so much! Poor guy!

The basement has mostly sat for a bit, other than my ESM's little "stress release" the other day. She had been having a particularly bad day with lots of annoyances, however falling down the stairs in our house was really the last straw. She went down in the basement, picked up one of the small sledge hammers we have, and wailed the living bejeezus out of one of the walls. Looks a bit like swiss cheese now. Luckily, we are planning to demo ALL the no real harm done. She seems to be recovering from her fall, and I am very pleased for that.

ESM did go down today and take down some more studs as well. She likes tearing things apart, pushing trees over, etc. sometimes. I can't really blame her. It does relieve stress, but apparently not like putting large holes in walls does. *grin*

--Sundown, Out

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And So, It Begins...

Well, I've been thinking about it for years, been planning for months, and now progress has begun on my most ambitious project to date. The building of my home theater!

During our recent house-purchasing adventure, one of the criteria in selecting a suitable domicile was that it have room somewhere that could be converted to a theater. This house had ample room in the basement, and it wasn't being utilized very well as it was. So ESM and I decided that was an opportunity to remodel the whole basement space into something that worked better overall.

I have been in the planning stages since we moved in, and have done several plans, some of which I have shared here. We have more-or-less decided on a design, after a dozen or so iterations. Follow the link to my Picasa album I have dedicated to the basement remodel, including my theater. I have a copy of the current plan there.

Yesterday, we began demolition of the old basement space in preparation for the remodel. We demoed about a third of the basement walls in about six hours. Not too bad for just the two of us. The furring walls are still up, but they are coming down next. I am planning to build/rebuild furring walls all the way around the outside of the basement and insulate them. Right now only part of the walls are built, the rest of the basement is the bare concrete foundation walls.

When I am all done, the plan is for a 13.5' by 10.5' theater room with a 95" by 40" Cinemascope-aspect (2.35/1), acoustically transparent screen with the front speakers in a small space behind it. I have the projector picked out, unless something better comes along between now and when I buy it! *grin* I will be using a Panasonic PT-AE4000U 1080p LCD projector. It has all the features I want, including an innovative lens zoom memory function which allows the unit to detect Cinemascope aspect media and zoom out to fill the full screen. Very cool device.

I will keep up with my progress here, and I will also be starting a post on to keep up as well.

EDIT: I somehow forgot the best story from the demo! I think I was distracted by helping ESM with Mr. Hubbard and his various maladies.

Before continuing, and given the current nanny-state country we seem to live in, I feel I must warn you. This story is not suitable for younger viewers, those with heart conditions, weak stomachs, or anyone who is easily upset by general weirdness. May also be NSFW. YMMV. Burma Shave.

Still here? Read on!

Part of the demo included taking down a thirty-someodd-year-old fiberboard tile ceiling. You know, like the ones in everyone's grandma's basement. Of course, when those were put up, they interlocked together and were then stapled up to supports on the joists. Makes them a pretty sturdy ceiling.

So here I am, up on the step-ladder pulling down these tiles. As I took down two in one corner, I noticed something laying up in the ceiling. When I reached in and pulled it out, I found I had discovered someone's "special" hiding place. It was a hardcore porn mag with a copyright date of 1978. Now, this was NOT Playboy, or Penthouse, or even Hustler. This was one of those you had to send away for from the back of certain magazines and came mailed in a plain brown envelope. The price on the cover read $7.50, which would be about $25 today!

ESM and I had quite a good laugh about our "find," briefly discussed various habits of teenage boys, both then and now, then started back to work. As I pulled down on the next set of ceiling tiles, something large and rather heavy fell out, hit me on the head and tumbled to the floor! I uttered several loud obscenities as I caught myself so I didn't fall off the step-ladder. When I looked down, it was a brown paper bag which had ripped partially open on landing on the concrete.

Y'all can see where this is going, can't ya...

It was a bag full of, shall we say, "used marital aids"...both male and female versions, along with other bits of pleasure paraphernalia. We were both glad we were wearing gloves, masks and safety glasses at that point!

Well, I guess we now know what THAT room was for! We did take a couple of digital pics, to document the moment for posterity. There was also some discussion of putting them back in the ceiling when we finished the space, as a sort of time-capsule for the next generation. However, the thought of storing such items, especially in a used state, for any length of time made us both oogy-feeling. So, we ultimately decided to get rid of them and press on.

It was lucky I was not seriously hurt, as I'm not sure how exactly I would have worded the "Cause of Injury" part of the accident claim form for insurance. "Hit in the head by falling dildos," just doesn't seem like something they would pay out for.

-- Sundown, Out