Sad News : (

I feel terrible… we all do.  One of our foster kittens died this week : (

 

IMG_1180

The little guy we named Skid didn’t make it.  Damon (who normally wakes up first) found him in the morning in Wesley’s room.  Fortunately we removed him before Wesley woke up… but we still told him the truth.  Wesley was sad and immediately asked “Why???”  Then he teared up and hid away alone for a few minutes.

 

i feel terrible for Wesley and I feel responsible for Skid.  Did I do something wrong?  Did I miss a sign that he was failing?  He looked lethargic the night before (when I took this photo), but kittens sleep for hours on end.  Damon assured me that I did nothing wrong… but I still feel responsible.

We took him back to the shelter where we picked him up.  I decided to take all of them so that they could tell me if Pouncer and Kit Kat Jam were doing okay.  They examined all three kittens and reported back to us that Skid most likely had a viral infection… he was probably exposed to it before we even picked him up.  They can’t test every new stray that has been dropped off at their facility for every possible disease… and they assured us it wasn’t our fault, and nothing could have been done to save him.

Then they told us that the other two kitten had lost weight and were probably infected as well.

Oh no.

I felt like the worst parent ever.  I decided to allow my child to foster a group of kittens.  This was my decision.  I filled out the forms and thought this was a good idea.  I imagined the worst part would be when we had to drop them back off for adoption.  I never considered that it would end this way.

I don’t even know if it was the right choice to tell Wesley the truth about what happened.  But all children have to learn to deal with death at some point… don’t they?  Part of growing up seems to be that moment when you lose your beloved pet.  It’s hard, but it’s reality.

I did tell him a lie about the other two kittens.  Not a “little white lie” either.  A bold-faced, 100% flat-out lie.  I told him that the other two kittens were going to be okay.  I said the shelter had another facility where the vets would foster Pouncer and Kit Kat Jam until they were healthy enough to be adopted.

I also assured him that he had done NOTHING wrong in how he took care of Skid… or Pouncer and Kit Kat Jam for that matter.  We tried our best to be a good foster family to them.  Then I told him that at least Skid got to spend his last few days here with a family instead of in a cage at the city shelter.  I hope Wesley remembers that part.  And that part is the truth… we gave him a warm bed, plenty of food and water, and a little boy to play with and cuddle him.  I think that’s all any pet really wants.

Sweet little kitten

Sweet little kitten

But I still feel terrible.

: (

 

It’s Raining Cats!

You know we have Snowflake and Blackjack…. but did you know we picked up another cat or two?

Let me explain.  (No, there is too much; let me sum up.)

Wesley bought me a little notebook for my birthday when he was only six years old.  I didn’t really have any idea why he bought it for me… other than it was a reddish-pink color and he must have thought it was for “girls.”

The Notebook

The Notebook

Don’t you love how awesome I am with that sword?!

I still couldn’t think of any reason why he picked it out for me, but I decided I would try to use it with him.  I started writing him notes in The Notebook and leaving it for him to find.  He would answer me back and tell me things I couldn’t get him to talk about face-to-face.  (Sometimes he wouldn’t answer with anything “revealing” at all… but at least he answered me.)

When we got to LA I asked him what he liked most about living in California again…  I asked him what he liked most about his room… and I asked him what he was looking forward to at school.  He told me nothing.  He was looking forward to NOTHING at school.    When I asked him what feelings he had about school, he told me only one; sad.  : (

So I wrote that I wanted him to be happy about going back to school and what could I do to make it better?  He never responded.  I left The Notebook out several nights in a row on his bed so he would answer… but he never wrote down anything.

Fast forward a week and these are our new foster kittens; Pouncer, Kit Kat Jam and Skid.

New additions to the family

New additions to the family

Foster Kitten

Kit Kat Jam

Foster Kitten

Pouncer

Foster Kitten

Skid

Wesley named all of the kittens… and no, Skid is not named after what you’re thinking : )  He gets his name from running so fast and then skidding across the hardwood floor in Wesley’s room.

Wesley started asking about foster kittens almost as soon as we got unpacked.  He loved fostering when we lived in Austin.  Actually we all kind of enjoyed it… that’s how we found Blackjack : )

We picked up the kittens on Saturday and they’ve been living in Wesley’s room ever since. We were sitting in his room petting the kittens and chuckling at them as they chased each other and played with string… and I asked him, “What would make school better?  You never answered me in the notebook.”

He said, “This.  This is what makes it better.”

I guess when you’re ten years old kittens make everything better.

Progress

Well, we’ve been in the house for exactly a month now, and I’m really seeing progress!  Here are a few pics from when we first arrived…

Garage

The garage on July 12th

The "master" bedroom

The “master” bedroom

Wesley's room

Wesley’s bedroom…

You’ll notice we don’t have ANY covers on the beds… because we sold them all in the auction!  Actually, we sold almost EVERYTHING in the auction.  When you plan to travel for a year, that’s what you do : )

We’ve had to spend half our time unpacking and half our time shopping for necessary items.  Of course we kept some of our furniture, mementos, pictures, and expensive items that we didn’t want to have to replace (the Pasquini cappuccino machine, the pricey vacuum cleaner), but we sold the rest.  We arrived at Killion on August 9th with no dishes, no bed linens, and no appliances.

So far we’ve had to purchase:

  • Dishes
  • Silverware
  • Pots & Pans
  • Comforters
  • Sheets
  • Towels
  • and a dozen other little “miscellaneous” pieces

But progress has been made.  Just look at Wesley’s bedroom now…

Curtains, comforter, and even artwork!

Curtains, comforter, and even artwork on the walls!

 

I don’t know yet if I’ll be seeing massage clients at our house, but I’m prepared just in case.

Massage Room

Massage Room

Our bedroom has improved as well.  We now have a real comforter…

... now with covers!

Look, a real blanket…

 

 

... and working closet doors.

… and working closet doors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the real spot that needs the most work is the yard.  Both the front and back yard are overgrown and in need of some major help.  We don’t want to hire any gardeners yet… because we don’t know what direction we want to go with the house/garden.  So we’ve been working on it on our own a little bit each week.  We bought a rake and some edging clippers and are trying to cut our way through our own little jungle.

 

Wesley even helps when the job is “hacking away” at the plants.IMG_1111 IMG_1114

 

Hopefully by the next time I post, the pictures of the garden will be a lot more fabulous… and the house will have a few more rooms that are “done.”  I only have two more boxes left to unpack!

 

Exhausted

We make Wesley a “pallet” every night from the couch’s flat bottom cushion… and almost every night he forgets to take his glasses off.  This was my view every morning as I left for school… and I wouldn’t get to see him awake until I got home at 5:00 or 6:00pm.

Zzzzzzz....

Zzzzzzz….

But school is now DONE!  (Pictures and post about school coming soon.)

I’m done for now, but I’ve left the door open to return to Chiang Mai for more classes. What’s happened since I finished school is that I realized we’re all exhausted.

Not just Wesley.  Not just Damon.  Not just me.  All of us.

We’re exhausted from traveling.

It’s more tiring that you would think.  Constantly changing hotels, packing, un-packing, researching, hurrying to catch flights, rushing to grab taxis… it’s a lot.  Believe me, when Rick Steves says “To get away from it all, you also get away from all the comforts of home,” he really means it.

That’s why we’ve decided to head home.  We thought we would travel for a year, but that was just a random pick.  I thought it would be a more meaningful trip if we got to experience a year’s worth of holidays in another country… (What would we do for Thanksgiving?  What do they do for Christmas? How would we spend our birthdays? etc.) But I think all of us are ready to leave Thailand and come home.

Once we decided to cut the trip off early, it became clear we should try to head back in time for Wesley to start public school again.  Home-Schooling was never my thing…  and Wesley didn’t exactly “blossom” using the computer curriculum.  (Well, that’s not exactly true… he did learn a lot about computers.  I did catch him reading the html code to figure out which answer resulted in a “correct” field.)  But I have definitely learned that I am NOT a teacher and I should value and appreciate the professionals who are!

So our current plan is to fly back to the USA in time for Wesley to start the second week of school (the Tuesday after Labor Day).  We couldn’t get frequent flyer tickets available before then and we were NOT willing to pay the ridiculous airfare!

If you live in Austin, Houston or Franklin… we’ll be seeing you soon!