Saturday, May 31, 2008

Life's a blur right now...

Yes, I am alive and yes I am a blogger-slacker. I apologize.

Just a very short post to say I'm sorry about my lack of posts and more importantly, visits to your blogs lately. I've been working two jobs to help out the kidcousins in Billings and going back and forth to see my dad as often as possible.

I have some wonderful photos I'd love to post, some insights I'd love to share, but I just haven't had the time to write or even download the photos from my camera to my computer.

My hope is to take some time off over Father's Day. I want to spend time with daddy and my brother, of course, and see the kidcousins. I might even have a few hours to visit your wonderful blogs and write a post or two of my own.

'Til then, I just want you all to know I love you and miss you, more than I can say. Things are going well...just very busy. When I think of what was happening a year ago...I have to be very pleased with the way life is going. I hope you can all say the same.

**Photo by darin11111

Thursday, May 08, 2008

To make a long story short even longer...

Those of you who read this blog (both of you--LOL) know that I adore my brother Mike. He is one of the kindest, most decent people I have ever had the pleasure to know. You might think that I'm prejudice, him being my brother and all, but anyone who knows him says the same thing.

For years he took care of my mom and dad, moving into their home to provide them with the support they needed. His doing so enabled them to stay in their home for a very long time. When mom passed away, he stayed with dad to ease his loneliness and give him financial support as well.

When dad started showing symptoms of Parkinson's Disease several years ago, Mike took over all of the duties necessary to keep him home. His life revolved around dad and their dog Shasta. He did this for many years until it became obvious that dad could not be left alone during the hours that Mike worked. Dad agreed and we began the paperwork to move him into a nursing home near my brother's work.

Once dad was settled in, did Mike relax and take some time for himself? No he did not. Not a day goes by that Mike doesn't visit dad, always bringing treats for dad and his roommate and often bringing goodies for the staff as well.

While he's on his daily visit, Mike dotes on the residents as well. He fetches them water, finds and returns their lost items, helps them eat, and consoles them when they are sad. He's so helpful, that many of them think he's on staff there.

The staff think the world of him, too. Every time I stop to visit someone tells me what a great guy he is and I've even had them try to set him up with their friends!

And what does Mike do when he's not at work or doting on the residents of the Beartooth Manor? He dotes on his dog Shasta and his two newly acquired cats, Floyd and Cuddles.

Floyd showed up on the doorstep one day and of course Mike let him in and fed him. He came and went as he pleased for several days until a lady showed up asking if he'd seen a yellow and white cat. Mike said that he had and in fact the cat was sleeping on the couch at the time. The woman was quite thrilled to have "Pretty Boy" back and took him home with her.

The next day, Pretty Boy was back. Mike petted him, but did not let him in the house because he didn't want to encourage him. He came back day after day and finally the woman asked if he would like to keep him, since he obviously preferred Mike to her. Mike, of course, said that he would and promptly renamed him "Floyd" saying no WONDER he ran away!!!

Since the first of the year, Mike had been taking care of his neighbor's two cats while she convalesced in a nursing home after an illness. A few months ago her daughters decided that she should move to an assisted living facility near them. It was a good plan, except she would only be able to take one of her dear kitties, so she asked Mike to take the other, which he did!

After Mike officially adopted Floyd, he tried to make him an indoor cat, but Floyd would have none of it. He was used to coming and going as he pleased and he made the most pathetic noises at the door and finally Mike gave in and let him out. Cuddles, on the other hand, was perfectly content to stay in.

Mike works 12 hour shifts, going back and forth between days and nights. He hired a young man to come in and walk Shasta for him, but the schedule didn't work well for Floyd, who had his own timetable and didn't seem keen on adjusting it to anyone else's. Finally Mike came up with a plan.

He put a cat door in between the basement and the attached greenhouse and one from the greenhouse to the backyard. He placed a table leaf (oak no less) between the pool table and the shelf under the window so that Floyd (and Cuddles should he ever desire to leave the house) didn't have to (God Forbid!!) jump all the way up to the shelf to exit the premises.

Floyd was free to come and go as he pleased, but as you can see from the photo, Mike can close the basement window when he doesn't want Floyd to go out.

Problem solved.

Mike calls it....

Are you ready for this?

The Catobahn.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

And the answer is....

Since none of you correctly guessed what the photo was on my last (slacker) post, I will save the all-expense paid trip for the next guess-athon and drink the half bottle of Strawberry Hill (hee hee, hiccup--oops, I already did).

So now let me set the scene for the photo...

For decades the basement in the Absarokee house remained dry, only flooding during storms of biblical proportions. For the past several years, for one reason or another (and believe me I do have my theories), the basement has flooded despite our having put pumps down there.

This year my brother decided to be ready.

He spent many a weekend chipping the concrete from around the French drain in the basement. He worked his tail off to create a sump so that he could put a float-controlled pump in it.

Those are 5 gallon you can see how large the rock is.

I showed up just in time to help him plumb it in and take a few photos, of course.

Including this lovely one of a long-deceased arachnid of some type.

You have probably guessed by now that the photo in the last post was a close up of the sump he built.

Let the rains come!