The Four C’s, Continued (Only Me)

(Correction: someone pointed out that there are four C’s. Ok, fine. Cat, Chiropractic, Car & … Correction or Continued. Or, maybe, Carrots, because I had to toss two wilted ones last week. ) 😉

In what seems like a significantly too short a time, HBlu is on his way back to me.

As he is being re-lodged in the back seat, I begin my questioning.

“Wait,” I say. “We’re supposed to pick up his thyroid medication. It was ordered last week. Did he get his blood draw to check that the thyroid med isn’t harming his liver? Did he get his steroid shot? How did he present? Did he hiss or flinch when his back was adjusted? Should he still be on the pain meds?”

Yep, I’m that crazy cat mama.

Back he went; back out he came. He was reported to be a sweet boy, still very tight and hunching, but no fussing or hissing. Seems like HBlu reserves that stuff for only me. Blood drawn, meds in hand. Great! Off we go, ahead of schedule.

Or, not. The strangest thing: turning the key released 50 deranged woodpeckers ambushing my engine.

My first thought was, “What? I got here just fine.” Truly, the car started without any trouble at home. I mean, key in, crank, tah-dah!

Ok. Any doors open? Nope. Any warning lights? Nope. In park? Yep. The anti-theft blinking red dot was engaged. Hmm. I locked and unlocked or unlocked and locked the doors and tried again.

The peckers were replaced by a marching band of squirrels made up entirely of cymbals.

Because denial is ingrained trait of mine, I waited about 30 seconds and attempted a 3rd try.

A conga line of long-nailed, tap-dancing vermin-fans of the Squirrel Band partied on behind them.

At this point, second guessing sets in. “What? Did I suddenly forget how to start a car?”

I gave my engine a full 60 seconds to clear its throat, positive it would get a grip on itself and start.

Nope. Same awful ratcheting noise.

One big calming breath later, I pulled out my AAA card and made the call of defeat.

AAA is 100% automated now. But, brilliantly, they will send you a link to click which will help the rescuer pin-point you. Which, 100% beats my, “Um, I’m off US-12, behind a Tim Horton’s, in an office strip mall, in front of a vet’s office” would-be offering.

Appreciatively, the kindly, yet sterile, robotic informed me my approximate wait time would be 1 hour and 15 minutes.

So, I phoned a friend. Chatted, waited. Waited, chatted. Checked the arrival time update and it had moved 10 minutes in the wrong direction. Harrumph, but… Ok.

As it got closer to my supposed saving, I began the pivoting, neck-stretch search. I was watching the driveway entrance and noticed the car next to me had a holographic purple hued blue coat. It was a really pretty and distracting color. I sat there contemplating whether it could be a custom color or if I could get a car like that. Ponderance complete, I glanced over at the driveway.

No savior insight, on my eye-swing back, I noticed that the car alongside me had an agitated driver. On the phone. Staring at me. Or staring back at my unfocused stare. Clearly not amused.

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The Three C’s (Only Me)

Nope, not clarity, cut or color.

Cat, chiropractor and car.

The first two words were never something I imagined ever saying in conjunction.

The third, well… I’ll get to that.

Here’s a not-so quick kitty update.

Blu’s back is messed up and has been since we were on our regular morning cat leash-walk and encountered an unleashed large dog this past summer. The vet had been asking if he’d had a fall. Turns out he did; from my arms, after shredding my chest. He hit the ground hard, sort of on his side, but jumped up and ran straight home. He was there was waiting at the door to be let in when I caught up. It took me forever to remember that because he seemed fine for quite a while after.

Anyway, the cat chiro is a bit of a drive and requires wrangling that selectively wily Blu cat in his carrier. Illogically, the carrier is where he likes to sleep in the daytime. Somehow, all I have to do is silently think, “It’s almost time to get going,” and he lumber-sprints. This pending trip, the little booger bolted and wedged himself under the basement stairwell.

I had the fore-thought to warn my hunched-over self, “Ok, when you get him, just don’t stand up because you’ll bonk you head.” Grabbed him, rolled him up in my ratty don’t-care-if-you-shred-this-any-more-than-it already-is-holey sweater, aannnd… stood up. Quickly, moving with significant force and speed, which resulted in stars and swearing and a lumpy bluish front forehead bump.

After being blind-folded and jostled up the stairs, he took being pushed into his bag rather mildly. He even rested quietly while I changed out of my not-to-be-seen-in-public top, but, then, began thrashing while I put my shoes on.

Shoes are another trigger. He associates them with leaving the house, now. Sir Harley is fine in the car, until it begins to move. Then, it’s 20 minutes of whiny-boy crying and me apologizing, asking for forgiveness. Explaining, I really do love him and that’s why we’re doing this, again.

I got a little turned around on the way there this time which added an extra 5 minutes travel and yakking. Luckily, we were going to be early. Arriving just on-time at our destination, all is quiet again as soon as the car’s set in park. I call-in to let them know we’re waiting.

The vet briefing is over the phone, and then someone comes out to take him in. I really dislike this COVID necessary scenario. I want to be with him and see how he reacts and ask a million immediate questions. Instead, I’m stuck in my car along, sitting sandwiched between two other pet parents.

It’s a little chilly, but I turn the car off.  I’d cranked the heat on the way and wearing a ridiculous-looking but ridiculously-warm bright red, branded but free, puffer coat.

I’ve reached the necessary age of Michigan Non-Vanity, adopting the Who cares how I look? I’m not shivering! way of life I probably should have years ago. I suppose the fact that it’s 36 degrees in December, categorized as only ‘chilly,’ proves I am indeed, somewhat adaptable.

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That’ll Be Easy (the Final Crafter’s Saga 5)

Pondering the next step, well, I decided on the next – step.

Not sure where the idea came from, but I found if I could insert the paper into the upside down punch and hold it firmly enough to flip, I could place it on the floor… and… step on it.

After about 200 of those couch slouch sitting, toe touch bends and leg lift/lowers, my heel got a little sore.

So, I switched. I guess being right-handed’s akin to being right-footed. The left foot was adequate, but the right foot had the rhythm, and later the blues and purple-ish greenies, too..

Tender, bruised heels = my second documented suffering for art. The first suffrage had to do with a v-shaped linoleum cutter across three tips of three fingers leading to the post-healing inability to feel the strings on the electric Yamaha folk guitar I’d won from WINE Radio. Lessons were dropped.

Sure, there’ve been nicks and nail splits, Mod Podge in the eye, hot glue gun burns and other unique displays of self-damage along the way, since then. (Wrong tools/wrong sitting position, mostly.)

I have an absolutely adored hideous collection of paint splattered, glue stuck, ripped clothing. The kind your mother warned you that you wouldn’t want to be wearing if you were ever involved in a car accident. Only outdone by the sage advice that you should always have pristine underwear for the same reason.

Many an undergarment went into the laundry basket on wash day and never returned. I did make every effort to rescue perfectly-worn jeans from the same motherial fate, I succeeded a number of times. I do occasionally dispose of one. Very occasionally. Only if I have a back-up to my back-up.

Anyway, in the middle of semi-concentration required stompage, it occurred to me that I could be pretty specific, if I wanted to. By this point I pretty much assumed I wasn’t going to be making my Sunday afternoon drop.

And, there you go. Add another level of dafter-crafter. Might as well.

So, after stomping enough to cover 34 cards, plus extra because some were bound to be ugly, I spent some time pouring out unnatural leaf shades for known preferences: Purple, Blue, Green, Rainbow. (You know who you are. 😉 ) Drying time required.

Plucking my little punches neatly into smart piles, wasn’t all that easy, either. I mean I made about 275 grouping decisions determining which color dominated the petite pieces of paper. Took a bit of patience and as good bit of time because I got side tracked by, “Oh, I love this one!” and “Oh, I should frame these three,” and “Oh, I saw one just like this a moment ago… wonder which pile I put it in? Orange or Yellow?”

The ‘Easy Horizon’ was in view, at last. All I needed to do was plop 7 or 8 glue-dotted paint chips to each card.

I faltered at the first leaf. Should the one dedicated to the top of the barren tree be hanging down, barely holding on? Should it be lifted up by a strong wind or just standing signifying the season?

For once, I decided not to decide. Sort of. It depended on the randomly selected leaf pattern. Some looked better dangling; others were perkier upped.

As for the other fallen additions, I tried to assembly-line stagger their positions into something resembling a true pile. That’s about as almost-random as this particular run of salutations got.

37 printed, cut, glued and commented seasonal message inserts later, it was time to sticker the backs, stuff & seal, address, lick stamps and apply return addresses to envelopes. Yep, I had enough matter for a solid three more mastered works.

28 dedicated hours later, I can proudly say, I drove off to the mailbox in a daring 5:10 PM dusk, and made it back home before the streetlights even flickered. Easy.

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That’ll Be Easy (A Crafter’s Saga 4)

I’m sure you know where this is heading, so I will spare you the shredded details.

I went down to the basement and used my old-fashioned wooden, elementary school in the 70’s, slicing block with lever.

You know, the one where my teacher told us to be very careful when we used it, and then almost immediately nipped her finger. I was terrified of that thing.

I store it in the drawer above the fabric drawer. I don’t take it out there, though. I just pull the drawer out far enough and use it just where it is. Awkward? Of course! Time-saving? Meh. But, the paper scraps are retained, nicely. While I was there, I did some smart thinking and chopped all of the ink layer rectangles, too.

That was actually easy. While it’s fun to be fancy, sometimes the primitive stuff works reliably better.

Next step: stampede stamping the ink layers and the white card stock.

Easy enough after a few, totally expected, crooked and over-lap pressings. (Pssst. Crafter’s secret: that’s why we have extra pieces and supplies and left-over small amounts of pieces and supplies, which we faithfully store. Though, they will likely never be needed.)

Now, onto the super-fun and exciting part! Punching out 240 or so maple leaves from my two-days-prior poured acrylic swirls on ugly neon yellow card stock that I couldn’t imagine any other use for all these post-store years.

Ah, the hand held assistive apparatus owned for at least 19 years. It had to have been used at least once before. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have looked at it and recalled it to be a bit-sticky, like new dies are. I knew it just needed to be used to loosen it up.

It’s probably a bit of a spoiler to let you know I looked up the answer to a question I should have asked before I began this step, but here you go, anyway: Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, silicon oils, defoamers, stabilizers, metal soaps. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become water-resistant when dry.

Word to the wise: they become punch resistant, too. Although, that wasn’t perfectly clear to my creative genius until my hand started cramping. Not to be deterred, I switched hands. Following a few fumbles, I decided I could place the punch on the coffee table, squat-up to apply appropriate pressure and get some glute work in there, too.

A few struggle-shapes in I had a few logical visions.

  1. a scenario where I would end up with a pulverized slate tile, leaving a gaping gap in my living room decor.
  2. it was gonna take a while, but eventually, the pressure needed would be lessened.
  3. if I continued this way, not only was I still flirting with destructive danger, but my hands would hate me.

Interesting illogical resolutions:

  1. placing a thick (slippery, duh) glossy magazine on the coffee table as a pressure cushion.
  2. adding a little olive oil (out of wd40) to ease the resistance away.
  3. continuing until my hands could no longer squash out a squeeze, switch gears to glue-running and assembly, then finish the rest tomorrow.

Re-thunk thoughts:

  1. don’t be a dolt. enough with the coffee table torture. find a different surface.
  2. how do you get oil completely off a creviced die-cut, will it rust if washed and why isn’t repeated action helping?
  3. 20 or so really pretty leaves in, a deadline reminder, and… ouch.

This is typically the time a crafter stops to reassess invested time vs future hours required against the likelihood of completing the project in time to make the necessary Sunday afternoon Post Box drop. Then, forges on to concoct an easier way to accomplish what must be accomplished. I subscribe to this process, because, I’ll be danged if I’m going to call wasted-time and walk away.

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That’ll Be Easy (A Crafter’s Saga 3)

Plaid lines to follow! Success was on the horizon.

Seriously. How hard could it be to cut a straight line when there are lines to follow?

Kinda hard if you’re working with a maybe-a-little dull rotary push blade, a slippery plastic ruler, still stubbornly assuming an awkward couch-to-coffee-table posture.

I didn’t count the passes. I just know I, multiply, veered off the rule, lost the grip, over-corrected and then over-corrected the over-corrections.

After a few thinner, shorter, not card worthy swipes, I tried another roll-over aiming to trim with fabric scissor. Ancient, pre-Jeff, inherited, fabric scissors. When I thought about it, I calculated they were nearing or at 50 years old, holding just a smidgen of rust.

Correctable, in my view. A kitchen trip to grab the knife sharpener and hone away, also netted me an apple. It was a particularly good batch of market apples. I needed a break, so I savored, while staring at the rotten fruits of my labor.

That’s when I decided. Deviously counting the odds, here’s how I added it all up. The lop-sides and veers would herald obvious hand-made. By default, this would make them endearingly rustic. At least that’s what the perfectionist in me planned to say if anyone had a word about it.

Creative minds envision orderly procession, despite the disorganization of supplies and the tendency to rationalize with the phrase, “For now…”

Who wants to put away paint tubes by color when another fabulous idea has surfaced, which, if isn’t documented this very minute might float away, forever.

For now, I’ll leave it there. For now, I’ll remember where it is when I need it. For now, I’m just going to take a 10 minute (ahem 1.2 hour) break.

60 minutes later, the fabric finagling ended satisfactorily.

Since the Singer was still set up, I figured I’d give it a try for straight-cutting paper layers.

That’d be easy, for sure.

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