What do you mean, it’s only six o’clock?

It’s been a looong day today!

At least I thought it was, until I finally sat down and looked at the time. It’s pitch black out, and I was expecting to see something close to 9pm, but nope. It was barely past 6.

I am looking forward to when the days start getting longer again!

Of course, the day started with feeding the critters. Tuxedo Mask and Agnoos’ water bowl was frozen over, and they were very happy to have a warm water top-up! Agnoos, however, wanted to go outside. Tuxedo Mask wasn’t going for the door, so I let Agnoos out for a bit. He immediately ran onto a pile of snow from shoveling paths, hunkered down and stared at me. 😀

He did eventually come back to join the others. 😀

Including Chadicous, trying to trip me, as usual.

After the critters were fed, I made a quick run to the post office; I had to wait long enough to give them a chance to sort through the new mail, but I also wanted to get there before they closed for lunch, because I really didn’t feel like going out again when they reopened at 2! My husband is expecting the paperwork from his insurance company that he has to fill out every year, to let them know that yup, he’s still broken. At least he no longer has to get a doctor to sign off on it anymore, once it was obvious his disability had become permanent. He just has to let them know that yes, he is still under a doctor’s care. Which is getting harder to do, since it’s all phone appointments now, and he hasn’t even been able to get his bloodwork done. A few times we’ve tried, he had to turn around and leave before he ever reached the reception desk, due to pain, because of the long line up caused by restrictions. When he finally was able to get to the desk, he turned out to be missing his health card and, even though they knew who he was, they couldn’t do his bloodwork. Mostly, though, he’s just been in too much pain to make the trip to the lab.

The paperwork from the insurance company wasn’t in, but we did have a few packages. One of them was a couple of small ceramic heaters for the girls to use in their “apartment” upstairs, which gets so incredibly cold in the winter. The heater we got for them a couple of years ago had given up the ghost. This time, instead of one heater they had to move from their bedroom at night, to their studio during the day, they’ll be able to have one for each room.

I got a lovely surprise package in the mail.

It was my prize for scoring so high on my firearms safety exam! A lovely hoodie, with a pouch style pocket in the front, and our instructor’s logos on the front and back.

I had to giggle at the sleeve, though! Too funny!

After I got home from the post office, I did the rest of my morning rounds. Mostly. It was so cold, I didn’t bother trying to switch out the memory card on the sign cam. The LED screen inside doesn’t work when it’s cold like this, so I would have no idea if the micro-disc card was seated properly, or if it wanted me to format it again. I can sometimes get it to work if I warm it up with my hands, but I really didn’t want to stand in the wind for that long. I did the gate cam, which doesn’t freeze up like the newer one, but the card kept erroring out. I think moisture got into it at some point, and the contacts are damaged, because it works again when I take the card out and re-seat it, pressing it in hard. This time, it just did NOT want to read that card! I finally got it working, but by then, my finger tips were dangerously cold. This is not something that can be done with gloves on.

Meanwhile, my younger brother’s dog had come over for a visit. It’s been a while, and I was happy to see him. The cats, however, were not at all happy with the big, shaggy beast that kept wanting to play!

It did give me an opportunity to get a photo of Cabbages, sitting above dog height. Her eye has cleared up nicely though, as you can see, it’s still leaking quite a bit. There is no sign of redness anymore.

I’m seeing the forecast for Sunday is now up to 2C/36F! The cats will really appreciate the warmth. Today is supposed to be the last chilly day, and then it’s supposed to stay above -10C/14F, for a week, and even when the temperatures start dropping again, they’re still expected to be above -20C/-4F. Even the expected lows aren’t going to be much different. The cats will like that. And so will we, when our Starlink system comes in. Apparently, it’s going to be delivered by FedEx tomorrow! It was originally supposed to come by mail. It would be too dangerous to try and access the roof right now, even if it’s just the edge of the much lower sun room roof, so we might have to wait a few days. This is a bad time of year for it to come in! Which is okay; saving a couple hundred dollars a month will be worth it – if it works! Since it’s hard to tell which satellite dish is for the primary account, and which is for the secondary, we decided we will simply suspend both accounts (there’s just a $25/month fee per account that way) while we make sure the Starlink is working. If it does, we’ll close both of our current accounts and return their routers. If it doesn’t, we’ll put back whichever of the dishes we take down (we should be able to use either of the existing supports for the Starlink dish) and reactivate the accounts.

With the running around this morning, it was a while before I could snag a daughter and do Tuxedo Mask’s eye. The sun room is chilly enough that his other eye has started to leak a bit! I’d gone into the sun room ahead of my daughter to snag Tuxedo Mask and found him in his spot under the heat bulb, looking out the window.

Agnoos was outside the window, looking back at him, his front paws on the glass! He saw me and started bobbing his head around, looking into the sun room. So I went and opened the inner door. As soon as he heard it, he came running. When I opened the outer door, he slithered under it and into the sun room before I could open it all the way!

I think Tuxedo Mask was quite happy to see his brother, and they both wanted all kinds of cuddles!

The only problem is their new habit of sitting on the board the heat bulb fixture is attached to and hanging down from. It’s a good thing we can see into there from the bathroom window, because I discovered it knocked off its support. I set it back up and secured it with a small Bungee cord, but in having to keep it well away from the fixture, it would still slide around when they jumped off. When I had the chance, I put pieces of rigid insulation we have from a cat condo we made with cardboard boxes, a couple of winters ago, to make walls around the bottom of the mini-greenhouse frame I’m using the hold the heat bulb. They won’t be able to see out the window from there anymore, but it’ll be warmer. I cut a piece of insulation into two, to put on the shelf that’s supporting the board the heat bulb is on, one on each side of the board, in such a way that they will stabilize the board and also give the cats more space to sit on and look out the window, while acting as a roof to help keep them a little bit warmer under there. Between that and the box nest, they’ll be nice and toasty, even as the temperatures drop.

My husband, meanwhile, cut holes in the sides of the boxes the packages came in, to give to the cats to play in. Which I did not appreciate, since I was in the middle of cleaning at the time. He dropped them in the space I had just opened up in front of where the Christmas tree will be hung! LOL

They were, however, perfect for the sun room.

The brothers were quick to explore one of them! 😀

My big job for the day was to get things ready for decorations. Normally, we would at least have the tree up by now, and have started decorating, but this year, the only thing we’ve got set up in the Advent wreath! I decided to shift some furniture around, after vacuuming the living room carpet. While moving smaller things aside, I got distracted by the cat scratcher. It’s just a post on a base. The post originally was wrapped in carpet, but when that got torn off, my husband got some sisal rope to wrap it in. It has since been re-wrapped a few times, but the cord keeps sliding to the bottom when the cats use it. Today, I decided to save our furniture a bit and fix it, using adhesive all over the post. That took a while, but I think it was worth it. It should no longer slide down! However, the adhesive needs 24 hours to cure, so I had to hide it away until tomorrow.

That distraction meant it was a while before I could finally start vacuuming – only to discover the beater brush on our new vacuum cleaner isn’t working! Everything else was working fine, though. I figure the belt broke, but would have to take it apart to see. I decided to just use it as it was and leave dismantling the base for another time. It meant having to run it back and forth a lot more often. With our 1970’s shag carpet, it wasn’t going to be a good cleaning at all, but I’d at least be able to get some of the cat hair off the top. LOL

Not only did this end up taking a lot longer than normal, but as soon as I started, my rotator cuff in my right shoulder decided to let me know it was injured. Except I haven’t injured it. I have no idea why it was hurting! So on top of having to take extra long to vacuum the carpet with (I’m assuming) a broken belt, but I had to do most of it using only the one arm.

Oh, and move furniture, too. Not much, mind you, but enough to make things even more “fun”.

The most frustrating thing was pausing half way through the vacuuming and using this opportunity to take out a power bar with an extremely long cord my husband got a while back. There are not enough outlets in this house, and the one that’s being used to light the aquarium greenhouse is the only one on that side of the living room, and has only one working plug. So for my husband to have a light on his desk, where he does his leather work, he had to use the only other available outlet, which is on the opposite wall from the aquarium greenhouse. He picked up one of those big power bars that has three rows of plugs, facing different directions, plus USB ports. It had a cord long enough to run behind the piano and the large aquarium greenhouse to the corner of the room, then behind the small aquarium greenhouse, a plant table, the TV and DVD shelf, to the outlet in the opposite corner.

It was very handy, until it stopped working.

Then it started working again.

Then it stopped working for good.

So today, I pulled out the cord, starting at the plug end by the TV, only to get hung up at the corner where the aquarium greenhouses are, fought with it for a while, eventually having to pull the cord through the cabinet the large aquarium sits on, before freeing it from whatever it was caught on in the corner and finally being able to pull it from the other side of the piano.

Which is when I made a discovery.

It was two power bars.

Yeah. I know. You’re not supposed to plug a power bar into a power bar.

The big one that I thought all that cord was attached to did have a longer than usual cord but, somewhere behind the piano, it was plugged into a regular sized power bar with a super long cord.

Once I got them both out, I tested them.

They both worked just fine.

What I think happened is that the cats stepped on the switch on the bar behind the piano, turning it off. So when we tested the outlet and it was working fine, we figured something had gone wrong with the power bar. We were confused when it suddenly started working again, and now I figure a cat must have stepped on the switch again, turning the smaller power bar on again, only to have them turn it off again later. With it working sporadically, we tucked it to one side, figuring maybe a cat had peed on it or something.

Nope. It most likely had just been turned off in a place I didn’t even know existed until I fought with the darn thing for nearly an hour.

So frustrating.

Anyhow.

While working on the living room, furniture got shifted so I could fit the extra chairs from the dining room and store the bins for our Christmas decorations out of the way. Then, when I had the chance, I put large cup hooks in strategic places along the walls the power bar cords had run along before, well above the floor, attached the big power bar to the wall above the work desk, then set up the one with the super long cord, running it from hook to hook behind the piano, aquariums, TV, etc. and plugged it in.

My husband can now have a light at his work desk again.

And you know what?

That thing is juuuust long enough that there is no need to use the big power bar.

Oh, sure, we won’t be able to plug in USB cables to charge phones, but that just means we can set the big power bar up somewhere else, if we want to.

No more power bar plugged into a power bar.

With all that finally done, I was able to prep the space in front of the dining room door, where we will be hanging the Christmas tree, flat against the door and high enough off the floor that the cats won’t get at it. That worked very well, last year!

By the time that was all done, I was completely wiped out. So was my younger daughter, who baked three double batches of bread and buns while I was doing this. My older daughter was working on her quick commissions. A couple of times a year, she opens a limited number of slots for relatively simple commissions, for a quick turnaround time at discounted rates, skipping the usual back and forth for details. She has a lot of repeat customers that wait for these to get digital art as gifts, so the slots fill up fast. Which means she has a whole list of commissions to get done in a very short time. She worked all day, but when she came down to start another pot of tea, she told me she had just realized she’d a mistake on a commission. Instead of being done for the day, she was going to have to go back to work.

Well, at least she’s warm while working, thanks to the heaters that arrived today. In the summer, she had to work at night because it was too hot for electronics during the day, but now it’s so cold up there, they both have had to bundle up in blankets at their desks, and the cold was even affecting her drawing hand.

Tomorrow, we should be able to set up the tree and start decorating for Christmas!

The Re-Farmer

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