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A long, hard Fall

Posted by joeabbott on October 25, 2010

In spite of posts about video games and hiking and home projects, it’s been a long, hard Fall.

imageimageThings started sometime in the early Autumn when Spencer, the cat we’ve had longest, started to take a downward turn. It started while we were away, I think on our CO trip, and appears to have been another bout of something he had a year back. We had both x-ray and ultrasound inspections last Fall and it showed he had some sort of calcification or crystalization of something in his kidney or gall bladder. I don’t recall the issues but he was becoming jaundiced. And there’s an old saying that goes, “a yellow cat is a dead cat”.

Well, we were able to treat him a year ago and now we came home from CO to a cat with yellow-hued temples and no appetite. So, we got him into the vet. We’re still giving him regular fluids (the vet just gave the OK to get him off nightly fluids) and he’s on a number of meds, but he’s stable and a happy cat. One side affect … or maybe it’s just his age … but he’s not eating as much. That’s fine, as no one would accuse him of being a “small cat” (he just dropped below 18 pounds), but as we weigh him daily, the long continual loss of weight is just a reminder that things aren’t quite right.

Then there’s Trimble, our second cat. I’d call him a kitten because he’s full of energy and tiny compared to Spencer (he’s just over 7 pounds), but we’ve had him since kittenhood … for about 5 years now.

I think of him as our little “princeling”, he’s adorable and playful and just a touch snotty. He’s known nothing but servitude his entire life. Well, we believe he has allergies to something but not sure what. Last year, when Spencer had his attack, out of the blue, Trimble began bleeding from the forehead, just in front of the ears. A terrible looking thing that we were able to treat with topical antibacterial ointment and some sort of oral med. Well, we were watching for it again this year and up it cropped! We hit it early with the oral med and it knocked it out quickly so that was good. And then came the pampas grass.

imageimageSuz wrote about it here but Trimble decided to eat some. The long grass blade went in partway, but stopped going in … and the remainder pushed up through the back of his throat into his nasal passage. Now a pampas grass is heavily serrated and the blade (good name for it) just lodged in this throat. He sneezed and vomited and wretched blood for a day before we got him to the vet. They had to sedate him to remove it and for the next 4 days he would just curl in your lap and sleep. That was hard on all of us … but he had it pretty bad. He’s still sneezing a bit so some of the grass may still be in there.

And Suz has had a lot of visits to the doc, too. Nothing terrible like the cats have had but normal routine stuff and the recognition that neither of us is in our 20s or 30s anymore. One of the worst issues is seeing the doc about an old fall she took. They looked at a “sprained thumb” she’s had for a couple years and determined she’d torn a tendon (or is it ligament?). As a result, she has a lot of physical therapy and some discussion around how that’s corrected. Ugh.

Our computer problems are partially logged here. I’ve decided to look into a new power supply, something quieter than the jet engine I have next to me. This machine is good enough and doesn’t need to be updated and, probably most importantly, I can get a new power supply for around $80 … which is significantly less than a new computer would cost.

Then there was our web page hosting situation. Suzy keeps her blog out at, a site we hosted with AdHost through special arrangement. It cost us nothing but we were capped at 300 MB, and Suzy finally maxed that space out. While discussing what it would take to get us more space, we looked into other options … meaning, other hosting services. While “free” from AdHost was nice, managing 300 MB just didn’t seem like the way I wanted to move forward. And, yes, AdHost would sell us more space … but at ~$20 a month for 1 GB, we found other services had much better offers.

We ended up with Site5 and, while moving your web presence can be a pain, they’ve been great. And, at under $5 a month for unlimited space, we’re happy as clams. The happiness came after a bunch of days of looking into issues … most notably, moving from an IIS-hosted service to a PHP-hosted service. I’ve been happy being ignorant of such things for a while, but now I needed to learn about hosting. And, specifically, PHP-hosting in the backend while using iWeb as the site creator. A bunch of pains, a bit of cussing, but now our site is up and running.

But, in the process of doing business with online services, our credit card number was swiped (again) and we’re going through getting a new one and dealing with all that jazz.

Yet all of those woes were merely annoyances compared to the latest heartbreak this Fall: our mother-in-law Edy passed away on 10\18\2010.

Now, some might say that she was a step-mother-in-law, but it doesn’t change the fact that a family member and friend has been lost.

imageEdy came into the family through marriage to Richard, my father-in-law, some 12 years ago or so, and she and I became fast and grand friends. At family gatherings I’d look for her, sidle up, and rib her for the remainder of the evening. And every now and then, when the planets aligned, I’d get the better of her. But mostly it was an education (for me) in sass, spunk, and manners. Those were good times.

Our respective political views never would have brought us together but we were family and there was always more things to talk about. There were the family gatherings either in Moses Lake at her home, or sharing our house with them when they came to Seattle; there was the vacation we took with Edy and Richard to Branson, MO, spending a week with them at their timeshare; or the times we just spent talking.

When we stopped in to Moses Lake, she’d set the house afire with her hustle and bustle. Cooking, cleaning, and entertaining with the family. You could see the old “farmwife” come out in her as she did it all … for a group of 20 and then some. It was a skill that looked a lot like art. I’m not sure we could do as good but, when she and Richard would spend a night with us in SeaTac on their way to Portland to visit Edy’s sister, Edna, we’d put on what finery we could. Tempting her with juice, eggs, croissants, and, when she was feeling spunky, maybe even a little bacon. It was nice to be able to reciprocate for all the hosting they did for us.

But we’d be hard pressed to repay them for the Branson trip.

imageSaid in “certain tones”, that might come off as a bit vindictive, but I mean it in all sincerity. We enjoyed a week of seeing the Ozarks, whether walking through the neighborhood or through the high rolling hills; we went to Silver Dollar City and walked around a fair (pretty much); there were the evening music shows, the comedy shows, and the meals together. It was spending a week with family in another place and enjoying their company. And I had a grand time and wonderful memories.

But the time talking is probably what I’ll remember most.

Edy had a lot of stories, as befitting someone who didn’t just spend a long time on the planet, but someone who lived a very long life. She shared with me more than once stories of how, when running a little farm in South Dakota or Klamath Falls, people would constantly stop by. They’d be looking for a cup of coffee, a can of gas, or a place to sleep. And she would provide them what they needed, without considering the cost to her and her family. She stated that she was taken in and that she wasn’t young and foolish anymore … that she wouldn’t do that again.

But I believe she would do it again. And again and again. It’s who she was and something she taught a younger generation. And, late in her life, she took in the Stapelman family … as we took her in … and she provided us all with sustenance and shelter just like she was a young farmwife.

As I said, it’s been a long, hard Fall, and Edythe Stapelman will be missed.


One Response to “A long, hard Fall”

  1. […] my mother-in-law, Edy, passed away after a lot of illness, it got me thinking, and I brought the box out. But there it sat. And then a […]

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