Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Daily Photo: Renovations and Thoughts

Mimi at the basement door, the boys inside, lots of updates on the renovations from the past week.

Mimi is mad because I’m outside and she’s stuck inside. But it was already dusk by then and even Mimi can’t come out in the backyard with me then. You can see Mr Sunshine and Giuseppe lying on the floor inside. I love that door. From July 14.

Lots of fun and change in the past week! Several new parts of the renovations are finished or in process, and it’s been interesting to keep moving on with changes. I installed a new screen door on the basement door, and kitties are inside! That means the basement work is finished and things are looking good. I hardly know what day it is as things move along and I’m up late and up early, but onward. Jelly Bean hasn’t changed much and has seemed to lose a little more weight, so I took him to PetWellClinic on Saturday for bloodwork and an exam, more on that at the end of this article. The work itself isn’t as fun as looking at what’s been accomplished. As I look to the future I am full of thoughts and memories.

I’ll jump to today, Monday, July 17, and my thoughts on beginning the changes to the kitchen, then jump back to last week when things really started to move.

The kitchen, ready for all new things.

I really have been looking forward to all the work that’s being done here, but change after a loss can sometimes be painful.

At any other time I’d walk into this kitchen and see all my stuff and probably see most of my cats, on the cabinet in the middle of the room, on the cabinet in front of the window, on the cat tree next to the refrigerator, on the floor.

After I lost Mewsette I cried a lot thinking how she wouldn’t be here and new memories, new photos, she wouldn’t be part of them. The most difficult to consider was the kitchen. She spent most of her last 2 months in this room, on their cabinet in the middle of the room bumping her head against the back of my arm for food, on the cabinet by the window with Mr Sunshine, on the cat tree looking out the window.

It’s the room where most of my memories in this house are made because it’s the room where I spend a lot of my time, maybe more than anywhere else, and the cats have always been here with me from the night I moved in and had their meals all set up when I let them out of their carriers here on the kitchen floor. Over the past 33 years I’ve painted several of their portraits from scenes in this kitchen.

I know I was putting off packing up the kitchen and moving everything out of here, it’s one of the reasons why I was up so late last night with it. Most of the furniture is not coming back, only their cabinet, a little wooden cabinet that won’t be coming back into this room except temporarily, and the bookcase. It’s something that reminds me I don’t have another chance to get a photo of Mewsette just as it reminded me I didn’t have another chance to get a photo of Cookie or Peaches or in Namir or Stanley or any of the others.

But they are all here with me and telling me to get over it. Once I started moving things and emptying out the kitchen I didn’t feel a pain of sadness or regret. I have so many memories and I’ll be making more and I’ll be thinking of them as I do.

And as I work at my computer here, I’m all alone. They are in the basement, Sienna is in my bedroom, Morty and Mr. Max are in the studio. It’s a little disorienting. I can’t wait to have that part of it back to normal, at least for a few days, since the bathroom is next and they will need to be in the basement for that, but only for the days while they are working.


Now back to Sunday, July 9 and moving forward from the first Carnegie Farmers Market!

It was good to be back at the first Carnegie Farmers Market on Sunday. So many people, not a whole lot of purchasing, but a whole lot of looking and saying hello and taking business cards and brochures.

Heavy rain and storms had been forecast all week, but by Sunday morning the clouds opened up from 10:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon, no rain and even a little sun, just the right amount of time for us to set up and be there and tear down and go home.

Because my bigger tent is in the backyard with my basement stuff underneath it, I had to use my small tent and it was a little too crowded in there. Can’t wait till I have my big tent back and can really stretch things out so that people can fit inside and look at things.


July 10, Mimi christened a bit of the new concrete by the basement door.

Mimi’s pawprints in the concrete.

We’ve been staying on the deck while they were working because the backyard has stuff all over it, plus it was rainy and it was hot but today is nice and she was curious. I go down each day to check the progress and take some pictures, it’s been exciting.

So Mimi walked around through the grass and the bricks and smelled things and looked at the open basement doorway.

I thought of Mewsette and how she would react to this in her silly ways, and just at that moment a Red Admiral butterfly flew past my head and out to the flowers by the gate, the same species that visited us in the garden one morning about 6 weeks ago.

I picked up Mimi and carried her into the basement so she could smell things, she had her fill and walked under the steps and right across a little patch of wet concrete. It’s quite well set and there was no residue on her paws. She wasn’t likely to make too big of an impression at her weight, but there were dog paw prints and some of the old concrete on the basement floor. It’s kind of a tradition I think.

July 11. Find Mimi in this picture. Shouldn’t be too hard with this one. Our side steps are a little overgrown.

July 11. Mariposa is really stylin with her ear hair today. Whiskers always.

July 12. So today is roof day and electricity day.

My old shingles

These are some of the shingle pieces that came off the roof. I’ve found pieces of them before as they’ve been flying off the roof for years, that interesting wood grain pattern, and originally they were bright green. They’re very tired now so they’re pretty faded.

When I moved in nobody knew how old the roof was and that was 33 years ago. I’ve tried to research these shingles to see when that pattern was made but I never found anything. I think they are from the late ’40s or early ’50s when I believe the house had somewhat of a makeover.

I have the upstairs windows closed and covered for the sake of the cats who were hiding up there. They’re doing okay. I went into Max and Morty’s room just to check on them, and though I have the windows covered I saw a DOT of light on their cat tree but coming from an odd angle. I looked up and the disappearing stairs door in the ceiling which is slightly open showed that there was a considerable amount of daylight up in the attic since they’ve taken off all the old shingles and sheathing. Oh well, I knew that would happen.

The electricity has been off for far longer than predicted. No matter what is ever done around this house, there is always a problem. So I’m sitting here, I can’t go out the doors because of flying shingles, I can’t turn on my computers, and I think I lost my car key, but I’ve been walking around and petting cats.

I’ve been moving roomfuls of stuff here and there for over a week, and even all this is better than roof leaks, water in the basement, and all the rest.

July 14. Mr Sunshine celebrates the reopening of the basement to cats with his own special rolling on the floor celebration.

They’ve been locked out of it for nine days. Mr Sunshine was the first one to come down, followed by Jelly Bean and then Giuseppe, and then finally Mimi realized and woke up and came downstairs. And promptly wanted out the basement door. But all of them explored. Basil is afraid to come downstairs, Hamlet came down walked around, felt a little weird sat behind some shelves for a while and then explored some more. The girls haven’t been down yet. Can’t wait to see their reactions.

The interior French drain was finished on Tuesday, and that evening I rehung the interior door and installed a brand new screen door that I purchased and cut down to fit the opening. You’ll be seeing a lot of that in pictures.

The concrete would be set enough by Thursday to start moving things back in so I started moving first my shelves in, and then items for my studio yesterday afternoon as they were finishing the roof.

The roof was done on Wednesday and Thursday, and was finished just before the big storm on Thursday evening. Yay! No drips and falling plaster in the bathroom! No rain pouring in the windows because the gutters had pulled away from the house. I could actually leave the windows open during the rain.

Tonight and tomorrow I’m packing up my kitchen and moving the stuff I don’t know where. Most of the furniture in there now will be replaced by cabinets but I will keep it handy until the cabinets are done. I also need to move my work table from the studio where Mr Max and Morty live and move that to the basement. I will probably do that next week.

I also need to free up my big tent for Sunday, and pull my table out of there. Somehow I feel like the logistics are a problem.

Have a great weekend everyone!

July 14. Mr Sunshine was the first one to come down to the new basement when I opened the basement door. For the past 3 days in the morning he’s been walking over to the basement door which has been blocked shut and standing there and looking at it as if it will magically open and then he looks at me knowing that I’m the reason it’s still closed.

Some photos as the cats started to come down into the basement after I opened the basement door, Mr. Sunshine, Jelly Bean then Mimi. Giuseppe caught on, then Hamlet, each of them taking a different path around the basement and interested in different things.

If you look down at my foot in the photo of Mr Sunshine standing in front of me and kind of looking up, you’ll see that he has his hind paw on the instep of my foot. This is a lifelong habit of his, and it means I’ve been approved. I presume that also means the basement.

The hole in the middle of the floor is actually my basement drain. It’s a big old thing and the original octagonal cover rusted away so I had to make do with a smaller cover that’s further down into the opening while I have an old grill rack on the top to catch cat toys before they fall in.

July 14. So everyone has visited the basement and approved.

Seven cats in the basement.

Mariposa, Bella and Hamlet are intently watching something just outside the screen, and arrayed on the floor are Giuseppe, Jelly Bean, Mimi and Mr. Sunshine . Basil is galloping around the basement. Sienna went upstairs. Mewsette would be here being silly so I think of her too.

I think I will add a layer of chicken wire over the screen because of what Giuseppe’s claws did going after a moth. they really like the style of door that goes all the way down to the ground. So do I.

And just about all of them discovered the little tunnel that goes around the room. I have everything pulled out six or more inches partly just because of the shape of the floor and the walls, and partly for them, so they can get around the room behind everything, getting to litter boxes, playing, exploring, evading each other. I had it that way before too, but ironically that’s where most of the water came in, right around the walls so it was always wet.

I’m glad they like it, because they’re going to spend at least a week down here without coming upstairs while they’re working on the kitchen, and maybe while they’re working on the bathroom too.

July 15. Note the very small black cat trying to find some way to get into this tent.

I only returned about half of what belongs in the basement because I need that space to store things from the kitchen while they’re working on it, and there’s a good chance the cats will be spending a few solid days down there too. I didn’t want it to be too crowded for all of that.

So for last week’s Farmers Market I used this smaller blue tent because I’d used the white one for all the things I took out of my basement. But I really need the white one for my vendor display so I substituted my blue tent for my white one successfully while stuff was still under the white tent.

But it was fun folding up a 10x10x8-ft tent enough to lift it over the stuff it was protecting and then unfold another tent over top of the stuff and tie on the tarps that are pretty effective side walls. Unfortunately I broke one of the struts that holds up the canopy and have to repair it.

July 18. Another Farmer’s Market, and a red admiral butterfly was flying all around and came to visit my tent, as they seem to visit me when I’m thinking of Mewsette. I tried to get a better photo, but these ones flutter and fly around so that’s very difficult! I heard others talking about the butterfly too.



Mary and I spent a good bit of the day holding the corner of the tent where the strut was broken, despite my hurried efforts to repair it. We got through but I’ll have to get that before I use the tent again. So it was especially nice to have a visit from Mewsette.

July 17. Not happy that they’re stuck in the basement this time, Mimi and the boys circle around my feet when I go down to visit them.

Work started on the kitchen floor today, and it may even end today! I had to pack up everything and move it somewhere else. Of course, I’d just done that with the basement stuff but that was why I only moved a portion of things back into the basement knowing that my kitchen things were going to go down there too.

I had packed up a few things, but started moving in earnest after yesterday’s Farmers Market and was up with it quite late. So I decided to play a trick on the kitties. Just like you hold a meal from the cat you’re trying to trap, I delayed their dinner time until, gasp! 3:00 a.m. I really didn’t think I’d get them to do that first thing in the morning but at that point they would have followed me anywhere with an open can of food. I have trays downstairs and their dishes and their food, filled up a bunch of dishes and they all started eating. I snuck upstairs and pushed the cover over the hole in the door.

The only one missing was Sienna who is still upstairs in my bedroom where she prefers to get room service.

The guys working in the kitchen called me to let me know that hey we think one of your cats got loose! I thought they meant out the basement door, no somehow Jelly Bean managed to reach over the toolbox and slide aside the plastic bin lid that I had used to cover the hole. I wonder if it was a three cat work up there, and only Jelly Bean was small enough to fit through the opening. So far so good otherwise!

Jelly Bean’s veterinary visit, and more

Jelly Bean hasn’t changed much and has seemed to lose a little more weight, so I took him to PetWellClinic on Saturday for bloodwork and an exam and found that he has lost weight—he’s only 4.8 pounds now.  I’d been trying to hold off on this for the expense and doing all the things my veterinarian had suggested, but I was actually very concerned about him. He does have a yeast infection in his ears and the medication has helped his balance, and he is more active and eating a little better. We’ll know more when the bloodwork is back. The visit was $238 for the exam, comprehensive senior bloodwork panel with T4, culture of the gunk in his ear, and medication for that.

It’s one of the reasons I’m uncomfortable with them in the basement where I can’t see them easily whenever I want to check on them—I have to go outside and into the basement door to see them rather than using the door in the kitchen where they’d easily run past me and get back into the house, something I don’t want when they are working, and getting them all back in there before the work starts again is a real frenzy!

Also, Mimi has developed a UTI, though I have a small amount of medications on hand to treat her. I’ve got the frequency under control, but she’s still using the floor instead of a litterbox, and she’s probably developing a yeast infection in her ears too, one of the things that usually happens. Though I try to keep this fun, it’s actually stressful for all of us, and this is one of the things that happens with Mimi. She really needs to have her annual exam—she never had one last year, so it’s been two years since she’s had a full workup and I can tell she is moving into renal failure.

And Giuseppe needs a blood pressure check to see if his medication is working for him. Sales at the farmers market really help with this, but so far I’ve sold only $25 in goods in the first two Sundays.

As always, if you would like to help me with veterinary costs, I appreciate every donation. Morty still needs prescription foods until I can get him back to the veterinarian for some blood tests so we can find out more about his particular condition, and all of them need to eat. I want to keep them all comfortable in whatever way is best for each cat. And now that I’m back in my basement studio—and I know that water isn’t coming back—I can actually work much more efficiently!

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“Milling”, pastel on black paper, 9″ x 11″ © Bernadette E. Kazmarski

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One thought on “Daily Photo: Renovations and Thoughts

  • 15andmeowing

    I am sorry so many have health issues. I have been through that many times and know how emotionally ( and financially) draining it can be. XO


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