Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Morning Chit Chat - Flea Market Edition

How was your weekend?  Cold? Ours was downright chilly here.  The weather has finally taken a turn toward normal for this time of year, but it's been so nice for so long that it seems colder than it really is, I think.

We have been done with our Christmas shopping for about a week, buying all but a couple of gifts online.  I don't know if any of you are done, too, but I have it say that it was so nice on Saturday for us to go out "shopping" without the pressure of gift-buying hanging over our heads.  You could see the stress on the faces of the other shoppers and hear it in the snippets of their overheard conversations.  Shane and I, though, had a nice, relaxing time in the stores.

Our first stop Saturday was at a store called Pryde's Old Westport.  I wish they had pictures of their store on their website.  It is a historic two store brick building with so much kitchen merchandise that you can barely make your way throught the aisles.  Yet they somehow manage to display it all attractively.  Shoppers are treated to never-ending cups (glass cups at that) of tea or coffee during their visit, and it's clear that the employees love being at work.  We bought just a few things we needed or wanted for our kitchen, such as a silicone coated small whisk and a ravioli cutter.  Although I do most of the cooking, Shane is always willing to shop with me in these kinds of stores.

It was later than we thought when we were finished at Pryde's, so we decided to have an unplanned lunch out.  We went to a burger joint in the same part of town called Westport Flea Market Bar & Grill.  I remember going here as a child when it was fairly good sized flea market with just a snack area where you could buy drinks and chips from vending machines.  Over time, they began serving hot food until the establishment became more restaurant than flea market.  Today there are only about five flea market booths still open.  The food was very good, but I miss the old days when there was more to browse.  For what it's worth, I had a coupon in the van, which they gladly accepted, although it was a few days past its expiration date.

After lunch we stopped at Sam's Club to get the van's tires rotated and browsed another flea market nearby, then hit a children's consignment shop and yet another flea market just blocks away from home.  We finally made it home and settled in with a movie and frozen pizza for supper.

Sunday started with me putting in my monthly couple of hours of volunteer work at our recycling drop-off.  The weather was cold, but I actually saw more people bringing their recycling than I did on the nicer weekends.  I spent the rest of the day cooking, cleaning and reading the paper while Shane put lights up on the outside of our house.  Kat came home from a weekend at her mom's and Shane was going to enlist her help in putting up our tree inside, but by the time we got supper and Kat's bath out of the way, it was getting late.  I think they will put the tree up today when she gets home from school.

Work has been slow for Shane.  The week before Thanksgiving, he worked 1-1/2 days.  Last week he worked a half-day on Monday and all day on Friday.  He's working today, but isn't sure if there's work for the entire week.  He is able to file for partial unemployment whenever he works less than two-1/2 days in a week (if he works more hours than that, he makes more than his unemployment benefit anyway).  While we are concerned, of course, I can't say we're actually worried at this point.  Last year at this time, we had some savings, but we also had a hefty van payment.  This year, we have very little left in savings, but we don't have that monthly payment to make anymore.  We feel confident we can get buy at least until our tax refund comes, although we might have to use it to play catch up rather than using it to buy new carpeting like I had hoped.

Finally, I've noticed that our social calendar is filling up.  I bet some of yours are, too.  My dad has decided to host a Christmas gathering after all.  My mom, who is not well, doesn't know about it yet.  If we surprise her with a visit, she'll enjoy it, but if she knows ahead of time, she'll just worry about the house or cooking, and she is not well enough to do those things.  I'm just waiting for my dad to set a firm date, but it looks like it may be the day after Christmas.  Also new to the calendar is a visit with our friends John and Trish this Saturday evening, and a pending visit to my sister and BIL on 12/23.  I think that one may be nixed, though, because we will now be seeing them at my parents' house.  Either way, things are starting to get busy around here!

P.S.  For those who are wondering, the older cats are still not happy with the idea of Mittens being here, and we now believe it's Mittens, and not Swiper, who is using the bathtub as a toilet.  The questions now are why, and how to make her stop.  She's such a sweet kitten otherwise, but I suspect now that is why the previous owner didn't keep her.


Lisa B. said...

I need to check that store out. Sounds like a great day of shopping.

As far as the kitty, you can try several things. But I doubt you will ever know why.

Try a different litter.
When they potty in tub, take cat to the mess, show and tell them no. Clean up mess and place in litter box, place cat in litter box and show them their business.

Run a couple inches of water in tub. A couple of times getting their feet wet will stop it.

What are you cleaning tub with? A lot of cats are attracted to the smell of cleaners and bleach. Try cleaning tub with vinegar.

If all litter boxes are in the same area, the cat maybe to intimidated by the other cats to go there. Try moving the box for this cat to a secluded area.

Good Luck!

Annie Jones said...

Thanks for the tips, Lisa. We're open to trying anything. So far, we have one litter box in a different room from the other two. We have put Mittens in a litter box and have witnessed her using it (both to pee and poop), so we know she WILL use a box.

Next I'm going to put a litter box in the bathroom, although there really isn't floor space for it. If that doesn't work, I'll try keeping water in the tub like you suggested. If that doesn't work, I'll try shutting the bathroom door when we aren't using it (I don't do that because it gets cold in there). Hopefully the offender won't start pooping on the floor if I block access from the bathroom.

I'll also consider trying a different cleaner. When I scrub the tub I use baking soda and Dawn, but I've been cleaning the cat messes with homemade all-purpose cleaner. It has a little ammonia in it, which probably only attracts the cats more.

Right now, Mittens is intimidated by the cats in general. Two of the three try to jump her any time she's out of hiding for more than just a few minutes. If she's sitting with one of us, is under the couch, or is on top of Kat's bed, the feels safe.

It didn't take nearly this long for Siesta and Tuxie to adapt when we brought Swiper home a year ago, but now I think it's Swiper who's keeping things stirred up.