Saturday, February 2, 2019

(Belated) January Personal Update: Work, Iris, Familiars

I haven't posted a personal update since October of last year.  Yikes!  It wasn't intentional by any means.  Life just kept me busy and any time I'd miss a regular blog entry, I'd replace a personal update with it.  That's actually why this January update is being posted in February.  I actually had a different planned post for today - I try not to post personal updates on Saturdays - but I'm currently battling a respiratory infection.  As an immunocompromised spoonie, it's tough.  I have absolutely zero energy.  I also have a very busy weekend and week coming up with work, so I'm taking my energy where I can get it.  Putting together a personal update takes significantly less work, so here we are!


Work has been non-stop go through what is typically the slow and dry season.  In November, gigs tend to wind down, with a short peak in December for the holidays, before bottoming out for January and February.  I tend not to mind; I kind of view it as summer for teachers.  It gives me a chance to do paperwork and get on top of taxes before the busy season kicks in again.

Thing is, that's not how it happened these past few months.  I worked three weeks in December without a day off.  I had multiple events in January and I'm looking at a packed weekend and a long week out of town for the start of February.

I typically say that my job is more than full time and that's true during the on season. During the off season, I get a bit of a break.  Not so much this year.  I'm not complaining!  It's just not letting up.  That's partially why I've been missing blog entries here and there.  My hope was to get on top of Witchy Words articles and be several months ahead before the start of busy season.  I'm not sure I'm going to get that chance.


For Thanksgiving, my husband and I, along with our dog Artie and our parrot Iris, visited my parents.  Just last year, they sold my childhood home and moved way out of town to gain some acreage and the kind of house they wanted to retire in.

Don't worry: Iris's wings are clipped (not by my choice; the rescue clipped them) so she can't fly off in the picture above.  Plus, I took the photo from the ground so she looks much higher up than she actually is.

The day we came back, we had a blizzard that deposited six inches of snow in just a couple of hours.  In fact, the weather here at Rhoeas Hearth has been all over the place.  

I suggested that this winter would be similar to the 2013-2014 winter and I was right: Warm temperatures followed by terribly frigid ones with lots of precipitation.  We had that six inches right after Thanksgiving and then literally nothing for December.

In January, we had a foot of snow dumped on us.  And just this week, the wind chill dipped to -30F.  By Sunday, we're supposed to have a high of 61F.  Just, you know, casually raising the temperature 90 degrees.  No big.


As you may know, our rescue parrot came to us with a host of health issues: Namely, two bacterial infections and a yeast infection.  After the rescue refused to take responsibility, we ended up going to several different vets to try to resolve the issue.  The first vet cost nearly $500 just to diagnose the yeast infection and wanted me to return in two weeks for over $1000 worth of tests.  The second vet was more helpful but the medication we were given didn't resolve the infection.  When I tried to take her back, that vet stopped accepting exotics.  That moved us on to the third vet, which honestly, has been a blessing.

Dr. Jay is incredibly knowledgeable, his staff is very friendly and they didn't cost me an arm and a leg!  It was there that we discovered she also had two different bacterial infections along with her yeast infection, which is why it wasn't clearing up.  She ended up losing most of the feathers under her wings and along her legs, and the rest started looking over-preened.

That being said, I'm proud to announce that, as of January, Iris is yeast and bacteria free!

And we even have new growth!

With Iris's new clean bill of health, we're able to start working on other areas, including training and integration into our household!

She absolutely loves Zeus, which doesn't surprise me.  Zeus has always played Mr. Mom in the house and I'm fairly certain he's why all the familiars get along.  It's rare that an animal sees him as a threat unless he's decided that they're the threat.  Dude was a street cat for three years after all, and a husky one at that.  But when it comes to Iris, he's super sweet and gentle with her.

Of course, I never leave Iris alone with any of the other pets.  While I trust my familiars immensely, I know instincts can take over and all it takes is a second without my attention.

We're also making headway with Artie!  Artie wanted so badly to be Iris's friend from day one but I don't think Iris had ever seen a dog before.  She's been terrified of Artie from the start, but I think we're getting there!

Unfortunately, the other two cats have not been as lucky.  Iris goes into attack mode around Hermes (above) and Apollo, and the two are deathly terrified of her.  They're starting to withstand being closer but Iris lunges at them if they get any nearer than about a foot away.  Honestly, I'm kind of okay with that.  If we could get them comfortable around her, great, but the cats being afraid of her is probably the safest scenario anyway.

And her closeness to me?  We're definitely making progress. <3


Of course, Iris is not a familiar like the four above.

Artemis is doing very well.  He turned 10 in November and got a clean bill of health from the vet in January along with a much needed teeth cleaning.

It's hard to believe my baby boy is ten years old.  How did that happen?  I'm grateful that we only have a little bit of arthritis and some loose skin under the neck - nothing else to indicate age.  He's as spry and active as ever.

We recently started taking him to a new groomer, who posts pictures of Artie after his grooming session on their Facebook page.  I adore them, and he seems to as well.  In fact, he just got groomed yesterday!  When I picked him up, he was snoring rather loudly.  It speaks volumes that he's able to fall asleep at the groomer.

Or maybe my baby boy really is getting old!

Zeus is doing well for a nearly 11-year-old pudgy puddy tat.  He goes in for his routine vet visit this month.  Nothing unusual to report there.

Likewise, Hermes also has his routine vet visit next month.  He's been particularly needy since Iris come into our life.  I think it's part jealousy and part "wtf is this noise?"  He genuinely complains every time she's loud, which I think is hilarious given that his old nickname used to be Noisebox.  Takes one to know one, Hermes.

We had a strange episode with Apollo this past month.  I woke up to hissing and growling - a sound literally never made in my household.  As I run out to the hallway, Apollo, followed by Zeus and Hermes in full pipe-cleaner tail, come barreling through.  My husband tried to grab Apollo thinking he was being ganged up on but got clawed.  I grabbed Zeus and he grabbed Hermes, and we separated them into different rooms.  Apollo ran under the bed, claiming the bedroom, and didn't stop growling for an hour.

The whole thing was absolutely absurd.  If you know Apollo from previous posts, then you know he's my sweet baby derp.  Apollo doesn't have a mean bone in his body.  He doesn't know how to hiss or growl - at least, until this incident.  And he certainly doesn't attack.

When I let Zeus and Hermes interact, they were fine.  The minute I brought Apollo into the mix, all hell broke loose again.  I ended up having to leave Apollo in the bedroom for the day.  When I came home, I let him out and...

Everything was completely back to normal.

From what I understand given evidence and testimony, this is what I believed happened:

The night before, I was feeding the pets wet food when Hermes protested.  Hermes refuses to eat wet food, so I put down a new kind of catnip in the ritual room for him instead.  I didn't think much of it.  In the morning, the cats were helping themselves to the catnip when Apollo, as he does, got a bit too into it.  After going berzerk, he knocked into an apothecary jar and broke it.  If you know my familiars, they're fiercely protective of the ritual room.  Hermes nailed Apollo for this, which caused my high-as-a-kite Derpderp to flip out on him, landing Hermes a claw just under the eye and behind the ear.  When Apollo lashed out, Zeus stepped in to chill the fight out, as Mr. Mom does.  He also got a lashing behind the ear.  This caused the two to chase Apollo out of the ritual room, away from the broken glass, until he could get ahold of himself.  Unfortunately, the new catnip had Apollo strung out hard and it took him several hours to come back down.

We have since tossed that catnip.  Nope.  No more.

I should note that my familiars literally never fight.  They have never once gotten into it.  So this was extremely out of character for them, and especially Apollo.  Apollo is the baby, with a mental capacity of about six months old and a clumsy gate.  He's sweet but terribly derpy.  He really only knows two modes: Baby mode and crazy mode.  He doesn't know anger or jealousy.  So for him to act like this required something extremely out of the ordinary.  Since removing the catnip, we've had no issues since.

To be totally fair, this was supposed to be extra strong catnip.  Apollo has a history of being absolutely wild on the nip, so this shouldn't shock me.  Yet it does.  If Apollo hadn't reverted back to normal or shown any further signs of aggression, I would have vetted him.  Fortunately, it's been weeks since this incident and they're back to being one big happy family.

So that was a pretty eventful day.  Otherwise, though, the familiars have had a pretty smooth holiday season.  They're all healthy, happy and doing well!

I think that sums up the past three or so months! I hope you've enjoyed this massive personal update.  Catch you next time!

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