with Lynne and Leslie
Tag Archives: money

Don’t move the furniture, or frugally loving your pet

by SweetMidlife

Hard at work, working off that expensive health care.

Leslie here!

Years ago, our Aunt Ann and Uncle Andre inherited my Great Aunt Tootsie’s cranky old diva poodle Frisky. They were a hilarious team, mostly because Uncle Andre is a manly guy who balked at the idea of something that weighed five pounds technically being a dog, let alone his dog. They spoiled that thing horribly, which she believed was no more than she deserved. But when Frisky got older, she developed cataracts which made it difficult for her to see, particularly in their large, old house with the steep steps. But they loved that dog, and wanted to do anything to make her comfortable…within reason.

“You have two choices,” their vet said. “You can either get her cataract surgery….”

“Or?” my aunt and uncle asked, probably calculating their retirement being re-routed to doggie eye care.

“Or you could just not move the furniture, because she already knows where she’s going even if she can’t see.”

Well, then. The furniture stayed where it was, and even as Frisky’s sight began to go, she navigated the place just fine, with an occasional bump. By the time she went off to that shiny dog spa in the sky, she was very, very old, and wasn’t really walking much anyway. So the dog was just fine, and the money stayed in the bank.

I love animals – I’ve had three that were/are my heart and soul, two of which died and left me a little heartbroken – Sweeney of an infection at 8, Cusack of a brain tumor at about 13. I spent a good bit of money on various things that went above and beyond usual checkups and was happy to do it, but I was always nervously reading pamphlets in the waiting room about expensive pet dental work, or cancer treatments. What would I do if one of my pets needed some crazy surgery? Would I go broke trying to pay for it, or would I try to make them as comfortable as possible, opting to extend my capital towards…human pursuits?

This brings me to the Babycat, our fine feline friend. She was about five when she found me – you never know with the street kitties – which would make her 13 or 14 now. She’s a talky, quirky, imperious little thing, and as she’s aged she’s slowed down a little. She’s also lost some weight in the last few months, and last week, when we took her into the vet dehydrated, skinny and constipated (and also not a little gross) we learned that she has a hyperthyroid condition, something common in older cats.

“Hopefully it’s not her kidneys,” my vet, who I adore, said, “because she’s probably not a candidate for a kidney transplant because of her age.”

I kind of nodded, dazed, and then ran out to call my husband.

“They say she’s not eligible for a kidney transplant because of her age.”

“No, she’s not eligible for a kidney transplant,” Scott answered, “because she’s a cat.”

I know there are cat mommies and daddies who are going to think me a lout and a bad mommy, or a cheapskate. I don’t think I am – We just gladly paid $600 for expensive foods, blood work, steroid injections, flea dipping, boarding (we were headed out of town the week we took Babycat in) and some stuff for PH balance that she hates. Oh, and an antibiotic that she tries to spit back in my face. (I know this was done on purpose.) And when she’s stronger we’re putting her on this special food that, should she eat it, both nourishes her and treats her hyperthyroidism.

That costs $17 a bag.

But we’re gonna buy that food. We want to make Babycat comfortable, to gain weight and be spunky and to live as long as she can. But here’s where I am – as old as she is, a lot of things, including the transplant or kitty radiation, both of which cost thousands of dollars, would be painful and possibly harmful to her. Also, she’s already at the average age of cats. As far as I’m concerned, she’s had a remarkable life – a kitty in a strange city who somehow made it to South Florida from the wilds of Pittsburgh, according to the unregistered ID chip in her neck, surviving on the streets of West Palm till my friend found her outside and convinced me to take her in. And for eight years, she’s had a big condo mostly to herself, with a view of the water, free food and treats and love, without a job or insurance.

She even got a daddy when her single mom got married three and a half years ago. So as far as I’m concerned, Babycat has beat the odds. She’s living the dream. She is a stirring movie, and if she were a human Viola Davis might play her and win an Oscar.

All of that to say that even if she were eligible and needed it, Babycat would not be having a kidney transplant. We would change her diet and hang out with her and buy her anything we could to make her comfortable. But we would not be spending thousands of dollars on a transplant for a cat, even a cat we love. We hope to adopt a human baby sometime soon, and cannot in good conscience give money that would be going to care for him/her to kitty surgery.

We are not judging rhose who would do that, because what you do with your money is your business, and your love for your pet is yours, and special and beautiful. I love my Babycat, and maybe if there were different circumstances, like she was younger and healthier, or we were richer, I might change my mind if she needed that transplant, which she does not.

But I don’t think so. Does that make me a bad mommy?

What do you think?


Bride at 35 Challenge New Year’s resolutions: What are yours?

by SweetMidlife

Leslie here! I’ve been on vacation all week, which has given me some time to catch up on movies and TV I haven’t seen – “The Adjustment Bureau!” Who knew? – and think a lot about things I need to do better next year. Some of those things are obvious – this gut, and not sleeping in my makeup – and others are things I don’t always think about because I don’t have the time. But I’m on it now. Here are a few things I’m dedicated to being concerned with in 2012. Of course, resolutions get broken all the time. But I want to be a better wife, daughter, friend, employee and caretaker of my body.

So I promise, publicly, to be about these things. And I want accountability! How about you?

I resolve to:

– Not use my job as a professional eater and drinker as an excuse to be fat. I can eat healthily, and stick to my workouts, on those days I’m not work-sipping.

– To get regular facials. I have great genes, and everyone in my family looks like they’ve got ugly old photos hanging in their closets, because they’re 10 years older than their skin. But I can’t take that for granted. Can’t be the only Hagatha in my family!

– To stop over-scheduling. One of the reasons my life is so hectic is because I overbook myself, and because I forget that I did and then try to make everything. Pastor David Pinckney once told me that it’s Godly to say “no.” God doesn’t want you stressed and crazy, and certainly not in his name. Can’t argue with that.

– To shut up sometime. Ever have one of those conversations with your significant other where you can mentally see the giant Stop sign floating in your head, telling you to let whatever they just said go and walk away? Me too! But I can’t drive 55, and I can’t stop that tongue from flapping! And then it just gets stupid. I can’t control every misunderstanding. But I certainly can take a beat, and I can stop myself from proving I’m right all the time. Even if I am. Which I am. Ha ha.

– To call my grandmother every other day. This is a no-brainer.

– To not leave dishes in the sink.

– To put my shoes away so I’m not tripping over them, and to put my laundry away as soon as it’s folded.

– To finally schedule that dinner with my pastor, who is busier than me!

– To get serious about saving.

I’m sure I have more. But that’s what I feel is important right now. How about you?


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