What a gorgeous day it is today! As I write this, we are at -2C/28F, with beautiful sunshine and next to no wind. Snow is melting all over the place! Including our nice new roof – with not a single leak into the sun room!
I’m not sure how many cats I saw this morning – I lost track after 20. That long haired tabby even let me pet him, as he followed me up the driveway. On the way back, I spotted The Distinguished Guest, tucked into a path in the snow, waiting his chance to come closer to the house and get some food.
I got a message from the garage, letting me know our van was ready to pick up. The final bill was $216 and change. It meant setting a little bit less aside for our “car payment”, but not by much.
We got to talk about his trip to the auction, and no, he was not able to find anything, and he was able to explain the issue.
We actually got approved for a larger amount loan than the cost of the vehicle we were interested in. The problem was that the monthly payments would have been $750 a month, because of the interest. As my credit score is so bad, the interest rate would have been 29%. Which is insane. To get a vehicle that meets our needs, with payments we could afford, that was also 2014 or newer, with a maximum 180,000 km… well, it just doesn’t really exist.
Of course, right now, we have nothing to improve our credit rating. We have no debt. No rent or mortgage. Nothing that would improve our credit rating.
Get a credit card.
More specifically, get a card with a $300 or $500 credit limit. Max the card out every month, and pay it off every month. Which we could easily do with a single Costco shopping trip. In 6 months, we’d have a good credit score. Together with the money we are setting aside every month towards a down payment, he’d be able to get us a much newer and better vehicle, with payments within our budget.
While we were talking, his mechanic joined the conversation. He knew full well what we were going through. Thanks to the lockdowns, he lost his small trucking business 2 years ago. It wiped him out completely and, of course, his credit score was wrecked. He wanted to get a loan for a truck to start over, but couldn’t get one. He got himself a $500 credit card, maxed it out and paid it off every month, and it repaired his credit rating enough that he was able to get a lone for a truck – and those things go for about $200,000!
It’s basically the only way we have available to us to repair my credit score, so when I got home, I went online with my bank and started looking up what was available. Once I got to a certain point, though, I decided I needed to talk to someone, so I called it in. As I spoke to the representative, he told me the main issue was that I have no income – it will be based on household income. My chances of being approved was pretty low, but I could apply for a secured credit card. That, however, had to be done in person. He recommended I do that, rather than continue trying to apply over the phone.
Well, it was early enough in the day, so off I went to the nearest branch, in the town my mother lives in. I tried calling my mother to see if she would need groceries, but got no answer, so I took her car just in case.
I got in to see someone fairly quickly and explained our situation. We started the application for a secured credit card. The down side of this is they work it by locking the amount – in this case, $500, which is their minimum – in our account, so that if we ever reneged on a payment, they would get their money out of the locked funds. However, she suggested we go ahead and try for an unsecured account, first, and see how it that went.
Much to my shock, I got approved for a $1000, unsecured credit card!
I asked if it could be reduced to $500, which she was able to do.
I should be getting my card in 7-10 business days.
The whole thing was shockingly painless!
Once it comes in, it will be used only for gas and groceries, within our usual budget, that’s it!
With that done, I finally managed to connect with my mother and popped in for a visit. She only needed a few things, so I just ran out and picked them up for her. She commented that she wasn’t feeling that well, after the procedure – then started to tell me again that if they couldn’t do what she was there for, because she was on blood thinners, then what was the point? I told her, she was there for the scope; the taking of samples would have been only if they found something of concern, and for that, they would have had her come back. She started to get angry and insisted she never left the room and never had the procedure. She watched other people come and go, but not her. I explained the light sedation to her, and told her I don’t remember getting my bronchoscopy, either. Turns out she’s working herself up to thinking that the stuff they sprayed in her mouth, and lying about doing the scope on her, and her now not feeling as well is them trying to kill off old people to save money.
The sad thing is, I can’t fault her for thinking that. However, our “wonderful” health care system is now using MAiD – Medical Assistance in Dying – for that, so there’s no need for the elaborate scene she’s building up in her mind. So far, no one has tried to talk her into offing herself, at least. It’s a good thing we don’t live in BC. 😕
Anyhow, I temporarily mollified her, but I know it won’t last long. Aside from that, it was actually a really good visit, and I even got to talk to her about our plans for getting chickens (which she enthusiastically supports), and to make it so that if things happen, like the power going out for a long time, we’d be okay. Every time I bring that up, she starts talking about being able to use the old wood cookstove in the old kitchen, and I had to explain to her again, how badly damaged it is, and why it would be wildly unsafe to use it, even if we did manage to repair it. We may some day be able to fix it up, but until then, there are other things that we can do that we can do ourselves, at little cost, like building and outdoor kitchen under a shelter. In the past, she would have mocked me for the things I was talking about, but she doesn’t do that anymore. Since we’ve moved here, she gave us the hardest time over our plans, because they were so different from how she did things, and she didn’t believe we would actually do them. One example being the retaining wall I wanted to build at one end of the old kitchen garden. When I described to her what we had in mind, she laughed out loud. Then she told me how the family that used to live across the road from here (no one lives there now) had all sorts of grand plans for how they wanted to fix up the property, with retaining walls and garden beds and more. In all the years they lived there, they never did any of it. Therefore, neither would I.
Then I build the retaining wall, and we did several other things I’d told her about that she laughed at me over, or even became angry over, because she would not have done things that way. But they worked. So now, she no longer laughs.
For now, anyhow.
So it’s been a pretty productive day, even if not in the ways I expected or planned on!
At the time I headed out to do my morning rounds, it was only -18C (about 0F), with no wind chill to speak of. As I write this, less than an hour later, we’re already warmed up to -15C/5F, again with basically no wind chill. We’re supposed to get a high of -10C/14F today. It’s going to seem tropical, after the past week!
I still wasn’t quite able to do my usual rounds. The wind has blown over many of the paths dug out in the snow. I decided it was a good day to test out the new heated gloves and do some digging, starting with the plow ridge across the driveway. My mother’s car had a hard time getting through it, yesterday!
Some of the cattens kept me company.
They love that tire that’s used to keep the doors from blowing open. It gets nice and warm! With how much warmer it is, I’m seeing them running around and playing, all over the place!
Along with the plow ridge, I also cleared the path to the compost heap. The wind had completely filled in parts of it, and the snow was brick-like on top, so that took a while. I didn’t even try to dig the path to the sign cam – too long! – but I had my nice new boots, and plowed my way through the wind packed snow. That was almost as tiring as shoveling! It’ll be easier to dig out later, though. The boots are awesome.
As for the gloves…
They are nice and warm, even without turning on the heat. They didn’t seem to get any more pliable by the time I was done, unfortunately. The long cuffs are great – except that they’re not wide enough to go over the cuffs of my parka, nor narrow enough to go under. So I ended up with both cuffs all bunched up. The stiffness of the gloves makes it hard to put on the second glove, but there was an extra problem. These XL gloves fit my wide hands just fine – but I have short fingers. So any time I tried to do something like adjust the other glove, it was hard to get a good grip with floppy finger tips! Plus, the touch screen sensitive parts on the thumb and pointer finger are slightly ridged and harder, so that gets pushed around more, too. I didn’t even try to test the touch screen sensitivity. I have to take a glove off to get my phone out of my pocket, anyhow, so there was no need – plus, just handling my phone with the gloves would be unnecessarily difficult. The last thing I wanted to do was drop my phone in the snow. I did get a lot of use out of the wrist straps while switching out the memory cards, pausing to get my phone out, or to dig out a tissue to blow my know while digging. I like being able to just drop the gloves and have them hanging!
It’s been quite a while since I switched out the trail cam memory cards. Today is the first time I saw the batteries on the solar cam at anything other than 100%! When I first opened it up and checked, it said the batteries were at 75%, but after I switched the memory card out it went up to 80%. Which tells me that it’s more about the cold. Much to my surprise, the older sign cam’s battery meter was still full bars. I suppose that makes sense, though. The gate cam is mounted on a stand in the open. It would have had the full blast of yesterday’s winds coming from the southeast. The sign cam is not only under a tree, but the sign it’s monitoring, as well as the trees across the road, would have stopped all wind from that direction, so it was quite protected.
It should be interesting to see the files over those freezing cold days! The camera that got stolen would do weird things when it got really cold, like turn everything pink. The new camera has had some cold spells before, but not quite like what we’ve had for the past week, so I’ve yet to get a good look at how it handles severe winter conditions.
Considering how many days of files I’ve got to go through, I think I’ll make some tea, first! 😄
This is what I found, when I was about to go into the sun room with the kibble.
One very bedraggled baby taking advantage of the empty heated water bowl!
Also, that has got to be the whitest nose I’ve ever seen on a cat. I think it may just be how the camera picked up the lighting. Particularly since the eyes look so light, too.
I am somewhat concerned about the long haired cats outside. None of them are socialized, really. There’s one that sometimes lets me pet him. We can’t get near the others. Their fur could get to incredibly matted. Even if we were able to get them to the point that we could pet them, I just can’t see them ever letting us brush mats out of their fur!
Wow, did the temperatures sure drop overnight! Especially with the wind chill.
It does make for pretty sun dogs, though.
I honestly can’t remember if I’ve ever seen rainbow sun dogs before, other than in photographs! The colours were much brighter in real life.
As I write this, we’re at -19C/-2F, with a wind chill of -31C/-24F. It’s actually gotten colder from when I was doing my rounds this morning! It was “only” -16C/3F with a wind chill of -25C/13F Our high for this afternoon is supposed to be -16C/3F with a wind chill of -29C/-20F If I could avoid heading to the city today, I would, but it’s supposed to get colder over the next few days, so this is my window.
The kitties are taking full advantage of the sun room, including this little shrimp.
The photo sucks because I was taking it through a screen window. This tortie has been named Phantom by the girls, because it has a black “mask” over one eye. She was so solidly asleep that, not only was I able to go into the room and set out kibble in various containers in the sun room, I was able to actually PET HER!!!! Just for a few moments before she woke up, saw I was touching her and ran off. Even then, she only ran as far as the door, then stopped to look at me, until I went over to untie it so I could do the outside kibble trays.
It would make life so much easier if we could socialize more of the females. I don’t like the idea of having to trap them, as that would make them even more distrustful of us. Still, it’s better than having so many litters of kittens again!!!
The fog has mostly dissipated – I was still seeing touches of it while going my morning rounds.
My goodness, but it does make things beautiful, this time of year!
I couldn’t resist getting a picture from the same spot as yesterday.
The temperatures are nice and mild right now. As I write this, we’re at -8C/18F, with almost no breeze at all. We’re supposed to reach a high of -6C/21F today. A good day to finish clearing in front of the garage so I can open the doors to get my mother’s car out, and clear a few more paths.
One way we can tell how much more pleasant the weather is, is by the cats.
The usuals are back to preferring to eat on the cat house roof again. In this bunch, there’s only one that’s friendly. I can sometimes pet the black and white, but not often. Still more than I can come close to Broccoli. I don’t know how she’s been with her kittens gone. She’s been avoiding me, so perhaps she’s made an association between me and missing babies. I don’t know. I so want to socialize her more! We’ll have to wait longer before we can try to trap more females. The hard part is waiting for things to warm up, so there’s no chance of a critter freezing in the trap, but not so warm that they start going into heat and get pregnant, first.
Speaking of which, I saw Shop Towel skulking around when I put the food out. While I was switching the memory card on the trail cam (and melting the frost off the lens and solar panel), I heard a cat fight, and am guessing it involved Shop Towel.
Before going in, I tried to get some more pictures of the frost and was able to zoom in to get this little cutie.
We have not been able to keep up with the feeding this winter, because of the racoons destroying the hanging feeder, but the chickadees and blue jays have been raiding the kibble trays, instead!
While getting this shot, something strange in a tree above the storage house roof caught my eye.
Well, I guess we can see who Shop Towel went after! One of his older sons, no less. A couple of the grey and whites are much larger – more like their dad in size.
In other things, I spoke to my mother last night. She’s in need of a grocery shopping trip, which is why I want to clear the doors to her car. She was fully expecting to go to the grocery store today; apparently my sister is supposed to be visiting her, though my mother didn’t seem sure, when I spoke to her. I pointed out to her that it’s New Year’s Day. The stores will be closed. She sounded so surprised when I told her that. 😕 So, if all goes well, I’ll be heading out tomorrow to help her with shopping – in her own car!
For now, I’m monitoring cats. With the littles gone, I actually got a full night’s sleep! The ladies seem relieved to have the room to themselves again – even if Marlee still hisses at Butterscotch and Nosencrantz sometimes. Leyendecker and Cheddar seem to be looking for the littles when they come in. Meanwhile, I now have grandma, who moved out here with us, in with me. My daughters just let me know she’s been behaving oddly, like there is something stuck in her mouth. We thought it might have been something stuck in her throat, but I’ve seen her eating. She seems fine, until she suddenly makes retching faces and started rubbing the sides of her face with her paw. My one attempt to gently move her head for a look had her meow in alarm and run off, so I do think something is hurting her. Hopefully, it’s something that will work itself out. So far, she’s eating and drinking normally. Right now, she’s on my bed, not far from Marlee, and settling in for a nap.
I’ll have to get one of the girls to take over monitoring her when it’s time to get outside.
First of all, I wanted to update on the cat lady’s husband. They’re awaiting the results of neurological tests but, so far, he seems to be all right. It turns out that, while he stopped for a traffic light, a tow truck, towing a vehicle and driving 80kph, didn’t notice that vehicles had stopped. It hit her husband’s truck, pushing him into the vehicle in front of him. If he had been driving a smaller car instead of a large truck, he would have been killed!
Road conditions have been slippery on the highways, and it got brutally cold last night. At about 7am this morning, I checked the weather and we were at -32C/-26F, with a wind chill of -36C/-33F
My husband got this picture through the bathroom window, this morning. We left the doors to the sun room propped open just enough for the cats to get through. The spare ceramic heat bulb is set up, and sometimes we’ll see cats under it, or on top of it, but mostly they just pile together on the swing bench. When I headed out this morning, the thermometer in the sun room was at -20C/-4F. Better than outside, but still nasty!
The big tuxedo and its black and white sibling were covered in frost! I’m not sure why those two were the only ones that were so frosty.
Meanwhile, I’ve managed to bring in three kitties that are now in baby jail.
Cheddar was most curious about the strange ladies!
The other cats were not at all happy to see them. Nosencrantz sat there next to the cage, staring at them and growling.
They aren’t sure about being in the cage, but when I was petting Plushy and Princess through a wall with larger squares, they were both purring enthusiastically. Unfortunately, Plushy started trying to shove her face through and actually getting pretty far, so I’ve had to cover about 3/4s of the top with towels. As I write this, Plushy is settled on the red blanket above the litter, Princess is crunching away at the food bowl, and Muffin (the muted calico) has settled onto a towel next to the food bowl and just sitting like a loaf. They are doing okay, but I’m glad I put together the baby jail, because they’d be quite freaked out if they were loose in the room. Butterscotch and Nosencrantz are not pleased to see them. Only Cheddar seems good with them, but Cheddar is good with any cats!
Later on, we’ll keep going outside to pick up any white and greys that will let us, and figure out which one is female. If any. Strange that it seems to be almost exclusively males that are becoming more socialized, but almost none of the females.
Then, tomorrow morning, we’ll load them into carriers (either with another female from outside, or one of the remaining indoor females that still needs to be fixed), and head out to meet the cat lady with them. She’ll take them to the vet the day after, and then we’ll figure out when they’ll be coming back here to finish recovery.
We are supposed to be warming up from now on, though we’re still at -28C/-18F right now, with a wind chill of -39C/-38F. At these temperatures, it takes almost no wind at all for those wind chill numbers to drop substantially. The forecasts have changed again, of course. Today, we’re supposed to reach a high of -20C/-4F, then -12C/10F tomorrow. We no longer have predictions to go above freezing anymore, but in a couple of days, we’re supposed to reach -1C/30F and stay close to that for almost a week.
Tomorrow morning, we should get a visit from one of the guys on the roofing crew. I may be out delivering cats when he’s here, though, so I’m hoping my husband will be able to go out and talk to him, and find out what kind of schedule they’re looking at. Depending on how things go with dropping the cats off tomorrow, I might continue to the city and do the Costco shopping, since I’m booked to help my mother with errands the day after, and I really don’t want to do the Costco shopping on a weekend!
I’ve been driving around more in the last couple of weeks than I have for the past several months!
Oh, that reminds me. I need to call the garage and book my mother’s car for an oil change. I’d better do that now, before I forget again!