My Novels

Monday, May 19, 2008

Rental house rented!

Whew, that was fast, huh?

I always plan to keep it longer, but someone always appears who wants it soon. This time, the lawyer across the street recommended a middle-age married couple who have no children. The man's boys do visit once a month; the woman's grandchildren occasionally visit. The man is very handy around the house, and the woman LOVES gardening/yard work! They looked like ideal renters, but time will tell.

So far, they've finished up the few tasks I didn't have to use the handyman for. The woman has planted flowers (from her parents' greenhouse in the yard, done minor landscaping!) and I knocked $200.00 off the deposit for their help. They already have the power in their name, and are moving in some things, but won't live there until the first of June. They signed a year's lease, so I'm hoping I won't have to deal with rental issues/moving, etc. for at least that length of time. Both said they hope to stay was long as possible, maybe even buy the house from me eventually.

I did hire a handyman for several tasks, took down old shower doors, built a new fence gate on the backyard fence. I painted outside some, redid the foundation paint, etc.

Here's some recent photos of the rental house, where DH and I lived over 20 years:

The front entry, lots of big trees in the yard but the size is deceptive because the rear of the house has a huge addition with den/backporch; there's also two paved driveways, and a detached garage

Everyone LOVES this large fenced backyard with big trees!

In the meantime, I had a heart-wrenching situation develop over the weekend: Next door elderly neighbor lady discovered a mom cat had given birth to four kittens in the shrubbery in front of her house. Apparently all the kittens left except for one, which got caught in a fierce storm Friday night...and was apparently starving, yowling and keeping the lady awake. She came over here in tears, begging me to try and catch it. Long story short, I did. And the kitten, cute and healthy-looking, was feral of course. I got it in a carrier, then put it in a large crate with litter/food/water and it started eating non-stop. Eventually I was able to touch and pet it, but if I took it out of the crate, it panicked and starting squirming to get away.

Once I got a good look at it, it appeared the pads of all four paws were raw looking. On closer inspection, it looked like they had been burnt ... and I thought that very odd. But then it occurred to me that if the kitten had been near lightning or was wet and touched something electrical, it would have burned it's feet. That was the only explanation I could figure out for such an odd problem. However, it was healing fine and with a bit of care, I'm sure it'd be okay.

But, I have four ailing cats, just spent $348.00 on one cat who had to have a tooth pulled. Plus, another cat, Bob, has really been sick the past few days; I have an appointment for him at the vet this afternoon, and I'm not hopeful he can be helped. He's been going through these spells of eating ravenously, then throwing up and diarrhea for a year or so. Every time he pulls through, but this time, I don't think he's going to. He's skinny as a rail, and just has that staring look in his eyes that I've seen before. At any rate, I fear he has leukemia; several of my cats have had it, and that's the main reason I couldn't keep the kitten. I couldn't expose it to that, and risk that kind of sorrow again. I promised myself I'd not have another kitten/cat till all these were gone, and I made sure nothing remained here to expose them to that disease.

So I took the kitten to the animal rescue people today, and maybe they'll find it a home. I hope so anyway. The FOCUS group usually takes kittens; CAAWA (the other rescue group) takes dogs mostly, as fosters and then tries to adopt them out.

I just wish people would SPAY/NEUTER their pets. The mom cat has been living at the house across the street, where a woman feeds/pets her, but claims she can't capture her. Bunk! If I can capture a wild, feral, scared kitten, that woman can lure the mom cat into a safe-trap. Oh well, what are you going to do?

I'll end on that sad note, since it's nearly time to take Bob to the vet.

(P.S. My cats got leukemia virus from a stray I took in and didn't get tested at first. ALWAYS keep strays separate from your other pets till vet checked!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Rental house is empty

My renter just came by, dropped off the keys to the house. It was sad to see him go, in a way, because I knew him at work. But he is leaving for an excellent job opportunity. We hugged, and he said he'd keep in touch. It's odd, but every renter I've had always says I'm the best landlord they've ever known, and we always part on friendly, but sad terms.

So...on to the hard work ahead. Renter's mom will give the house a thorough cleaning tomorrow, then I'll go and check on what needs doing. See about hiring a handyman next week to do some upkeep stuff that's been put off too long.

I plan to keep the house for a few weeks, maybe a month. Since I have the time now, there's lots of deep-cleaning (like washing windows, vinyl siding, etc.) I need to do. Possibly some touch-up painting inside and out. I put the electricity in my name, and will try not to get in a hurry to rent it this time.

I wish I could find a renter to stay at least 3 years, because at that time I'll be eligible for DH's substantial social security check (widow's qualify at 60, if unmarried). That is when I plan to sell the house, won't need that rental income any longer.

Sorry to say, I took the dog back to the animal welfare people. She was a sweet dog, but I am fairly sure she had the beginning of possibly cancer (the lumps on her back most probably are tumors, according to the vet). I noticed on the walk yesterday her back legs seemed unsteady, as if there could be a spinal issue already. But I know she was happy here for the short time I had her; and my dogs learned a lesson too. On the other hand, I don't think I'll repeat it -- two dogs are enough, and Rambo definitely wasn't happy with another dog on the premises.

Hmm, live and learn, huh?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Proud of my dogs...

First, let me say I'm VERY proud of my two dogs. Sure, they were territorial, jealous even...but you know what? Both understand discipline, and what NO! means. After some posturing all around, a couple of skirmishes, they allowed Marla to be here. Or at least, tolerate her being here.

Yesterday I allowed them into the backyard, and they met Marla. There was a bit of tension, but it all worked out.

As for Marla, she's doing well. This morning she wanted to come inside the house and sniff around, and though my dogs watched her closely, followed her, they allowed it. She wanted back outside, and I let her out -- but moved the large dog-house to my carport. The dogs have all been around each other, off and on, but with my supervision. I do think if she were a permanent dog, I could get my dogs agreeable on accepting her.

The thing is, I don't think Marla is well. The volunteers told me she had some knots on her backbone, and the vet said he couldn't tell what it was without a biopsy. She is past five years old, and frankly, emaciated. She likes treats and scraps, but has a little trouble accepting good quality dry food. Not sure why. She will eat it, but wants the goodies more.

I do plan to work with her, but I honestly don't think this dog is adoptable. Nor do I think she will live long. I know an ailing critter when I see one -- been through it too many times with my own cats.

At least she's having some happy days, even if they are her last. I took her on a short walk alone this afternoon, and she had a GRAND time, sniffing and enjoying the different scents. I took my dogs first, together, but not with her.

It's all just so sad...but I've wondered this before about animal rescue groups: should we save those animals that are obviously dying -- or help the young ones who are just born and could have long lives?

Something to ponder for everyone.

Monday, May 05, 2008

New dog on the block

After some soul-searching, I decided to put my heart into what I love: helping critters. (As if I haven't been doing this all my adult life!)

I decided to become a foster home for shelter animals. Starting with this dog:

Meet Marla, a mixed breed

She is a very sweet, docile dog, small enough for me to handle/manage. She'd been at the shelter a long time, and was about to be history. The local animal welfare group asked me to take her as a foster, and I agreed.

After a busy morning, picking her up at the shelter, getting her rabies shot, bringing her home, she is enjoying the large backyard -- and something she hasn't had in a long time, treats and chew bones.

Loving a good chew!

All the neighborhood dogs are up in arms, like this neighbor dog on one side of my chain link fence:

Say what? A mug-ugly mongrel next door, yuck!

And these purebreds on the other side of my yard:

Gawd, that's a scrawny dog!

Lots of barking at first, but it calmed down.

My plan is this: I have Marla in the larger backyard with the large doghouse for her today. My dogs are separate, allowed to come in and out of the house, and use the smaller area off the carport -- being able to see and smell Marla through the chain link fence. Later, I'll have them on their leashes and hook them to a tie-down in the ground in the larger backyard, where they will be restrained, but able to meet Marla easier. Sort of learning to get along, I call it. A gradual process, which I hope will work (and I have researched this).

I have to take Marla to Pet Depot or Tractor Supply each Saturday, and leave her for prospective adopters to look at. Or I can stay and help with the management of the cats/kittens, dogs/puppies. We'll see.

Renter is moving out Wednesday, so lots of hard work ahead in getting that ready to rent again. I will probably take Marla with me when I work there, since there's a fenced yard too.

As I stated in my last entry: I can't save them all, but I can make a few domestic pets' lives just a little better.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Break my heart

I WANT to be involved with the local animal welfare organization, want it with all my heart. But I'm afraid of getting my heart broken, there's SO many suffering, needy dogs/ can I stand it? AM I strong enough, that's the question?

Today I stopped by Pet Depot, where the local animal welfare group has dogs/cats from the animal shelter, and talked to a woman I've known for several years. The desperation of spring litters (puppies/kittens) was in her eyes, on her made me want to cry.

I've rescued my share of kittens over the years, god knows. It was an integral part of life, the thing that always kept me LIVING when I just wanted to commit suicide because of the cruelty of humans to one another and to animals. My pets sometimes (often) were the ONLY reason I got out of bed in the morning, knowing they were depending on me. And that's not a sad statement, it's a positive reason for living, and how much a pet's life can mean to a human.

As much as I feel a "calling" for my creative writing, I also feel a "calling" to help suffering domestic creatures -- who want only our help, our love. I have known for a long time this was part of my mission, in whatever way I can fulfill it.

But am I strong enough?

I remember years ago when I first discovered the Doris Day Foundation and in one of the newsletters, an article described the moneumentual task of helping ALL the multitudes of suffering pets...especially in shelters. It said something to the effect that we cannot help them all, but to the ONE we do help, it makes all the world of difference.

That will have to be my philosophy if I get involved in this animal welfare organization. Other than, of course, ALL my monetary funds going to that effort, once I'm dead. I made SURE of that.

Friday, May 02, 2008


I just returned from an exhilarating bike ride. Overcast, mild temps, late afternoon and one of those days when suddenly you hit a transcendental moment. Much like a "runner's high" you feel as if you are soaring, flying even, one with the bike, noticing everything around you: the dark sky, the misty air, flowers blooming nectar, yards neat and tidy, people nowhere in sight...just you, alone, flying. The bicycle is no longer an object, it is part of your body, inseparable from your soul.

I had these moments when I used to run, and each time my creativity soared as well. My imagination took flight, just like my body and soul. I've had these wonderful moments on my bike, and in truth, this is why I still bike -- in spite of weak knees. I feel regret that so many people never find this transcendental moment through some kind of exercise; surely if they did, there'd be more fit individuals.

Anyway, I had a busy day: painted all the ironwork on my front porch, whew! A serious job, but I'd been meaning to do that since I moved here nearly two years ago. In addition to all the spring cleaning, I have finished several long-neglected tasks around this place. The rental house will be empty next week, so I'll be busy there for some time as well.

In the meantime: welcome back IMAGINATION. I have decided there is NOTHING like solitude to bring back imagination and creativity. Since my sister has been in Europe, and we've not talked daily on the phone (like we usually do), I have become acquainted with my muse again. Trust me, this is GREAT. I have a new novel outlined, and the characters are already taking over my inner world! While I work on the rental house, I'll let that imaginary world work within my subconscious...and then, perhaps I'll write another novel.


Yes, I CAN write for a newspaper. No, I do NOT feel it is my calling -- merely a job.

We should all find our calling and I found mine long ago...when DH was gone all the time, and I was alone. Fiction is my savior, and always will be.

Solitude is NOT a bad thing -- for artists.