I must say 2021 had its ups and downs but towards the end it really pushed my limits.
The first thing was the dishwasher. I know, dishwashers may be considered a luxury appliance more than a necessity for most people but the periods of time that I’ve been without a working dishwasher in my childcare home have proved to be difficult. I’ve replaced my dishwasher more times in my 25 year childcare career than all my other appliances combined. I will admit that I work them hard – running as many as three full loads per day.
My current dishwasher started acting up this past summer – occasionally it would leak, though not consistently. Sometimes it leaked immediately though sometimes I didn’t start leaking until it was more than an hour through the cycle and it often went for weeks without leaking at all.
It wasn’t just ‘when’ it decided to leak that was inconsistent but also ‘where’ it decided to leak from. Sure, if it always leaked from the door I could assume it was the door seal and replacing the gasket would solve it – but the gasket looked fine. Sometimes the door seal would be completely dry but there would be a river flowing from under the dishwasher across the kitchen floor – or worse, a waterfall in the basement that was not noticeable from upstairs.
Then, in the fall It started intermittently sending codes that it was unable to reach temperature high enough to sanitize. Being able to use my dishwasher to sanitize dishes, and toys, is extremely important. So as ‘unable to sanitize’ warnings increased and the constant supervision required to watch for leaks I just decided to stop using it for anything more than a drying rack. I’ve ordered a new one, but it won’t be here until February. *sigh*
The second thing was the little stray cat. On November 12th, just after the first snowstorm, my husband called me from the back door to tell me there is a very upset kitten shivering in our yard. I was busy with the children but told him if he could get it into the cat carrier and put it in the basement I’d post a picture on the neighbourhood association site to see if anyone in the area had lost it.
Working together my husband and son were able to contain the very upset kitten. No one in the neighbourhood claimed it though others in the area reported having seen it around for a month or more. It was terrified and starving, I could feel all its bones but it just curled, motionless, in a tight little ball when touched. I made a makeshift kennel for it in the basement so it could have a litter box and food dish but it still spent most of its time hiding at the back of the carrier.
I made several ‘ found cat’ reports and contacted shelters. No one had room for it – one suggested it sounded semi-feral and I should put it back outside. I certainly couldn’t do that, however, I also couldn’t have an unvaccinated cat around my cats or the children. I felt bad leaving it alone in the basement but at least it was warm, dry and had plenty of food which it devoured.
I knew it would have a better chance of settling down if it could at least see people and other cats so I took it to the vet. After two weeks of four meals a day ‘she’ now weighed 2.4 kg. ‘Beebe the basement cat’ was estimated to be 8 months old, now fully vaccinated, dewormed, tested FIV negative and cleared to be around people and other cats. She still only wanted to hide.
I had ordered a large three tiered kennel for her but the shipment was delayed. It the meantime I periodically brought her upstairs in the carrier for visits with us. She seemed to really enjoy watching TV and was extremely interested in anything on a plate – I was certain she had been in a home at some point in her past.
My two older cats were unimpressed by her presence but Montgomery absolutely loved her. He got so excited every time I brought the carrier up from the basement and sulked when I took it back down. Wherever Beebe was, Montgomery was as close as possible. Here they are enjoying the sunshine.
Beebe was not thrilled by all his attention and most definitely did not want to come out and play with him but she didn’t seem to mind the company if he remained calm. She also was becoming a little less timid – mewing from the basement when she heard me get up in the morning. Watching me prepare her food but running back to hide in the carrier when I got close.
Once the big kennel arrived she did seem a little more relaxed. Accepting pets and offering head butts through the bars as long as there was a barrier between us. Outside the kennel she was still very stressed. The kennel could be moved easily to various places on the main floor so she could enjoy the sunshine, watch the children play, or have some quiet time.
On December 23rd she went to the vet to be spayed. Initially still groggy when she came ‘home’ she did eat and move around. The following day she seemed a little less active but ate her food and used the litter box. She was alert and greeted me with head butts on Christmas morning but refused to eat. She deteriorated rapidly throughout the day and in the evening we took her to the emergency animal hospital. She was in respiratory distress and had arrhythmia. Sadly, euthanasia was the best option. RIP my poor little Beebe. – such a short hard life.
The third thing – day three of my four day Christmas break I was notified that I was a close contact of someone who had tested positive for Covid 19. As a precaution I decided to close for the three days between the Christmas long weekend and the New Year’s long weekend to give myself a 10 day isolation period and protect the children in my care. I am fully vaccinated and have now tested negative so it probably wasn’t entirely necessary.
Still, as 2022 begins I am happy to report that I am off to a great start. I’ve got almost all of my year end paperwork done already – it is usually March before I do that. I have completely cleaned and reorganized the basement – that has been on my ‘to do’ list for a very long time.
I am getting used to this handwashing all the dishes thing. Yes, there will be a lot more dishes once the children return, but I know the new dishwasher is coming so the extra work is temporary.
I have an empty cat kennel. I considered donating it to a shelter but then also thought it may be good to hold on to in case another stray cat in need shows up on my doorstep. I’m even contemplating possibly fostering cats/kittens – could risk becoming the crazy cat lady 🙂