Tag Archives: Announcements

Just Let Me Blow Away The Cobwebs…

Howdy folks,

Well…it has been a long time since this blog was active, hasn’t it? I don’t even want to check when I last published something. I know it was after I purchased my tickets to the UK, and that was a long time ago now; after all, I’ve been working for what seems like years and my trip was planned shortly after I was employed at the lab. Yeah…it’s been a long time.

Anyway, I apologize for that. Despite the lack of activity on this site, the blog isn’t officially dead. It’s just that between work, sleep and Gears of War 4, I haven’t had the time or energy to do anything else. This past month has been especially exhausting because we’ve been working at least an hour overtime every day. Urgh. Busy doesn’t cover it. I blame the holidays. Thanks, Thanksgiving, for being a turkey paradise. You’re the reason I don’t get home until nine o’clock. Grr.

Oh well. On the plus side, despite my hectic schedule, things are going to change for the blog in the future. Or at least I’m hoping they will. Coming up fast is my aforementioned trip to the UK, which is less than a week away now, and wow, I can’t believe that it’s going to happen, I’m practically on the plane and it still hasn’t sunk in yet.

Ahem. Well, in addition to giving me the glorious opportunity to see my family for the first time in 2 ½ years, it’s also good news for the blog as both Vanna and I intend to take a lot of pictures! Most of our plans are TBD, but there is a trip to Edinburgh which we’re both excited for, so that should result in some fantastic pictures.

That’s only a short-term solution, however. Going forward, I have a goal for 2017 (New Year’s resolutions and all that), to write something for the blog at least once a month. I’m not sure what I’ll write about, but I want it to be something that takes more than a few minutes to write (i.e. not this post), something which will spark my creativity. After all, part of my reasoning for taking a hiatus from the blog was because I wanted to spend my free time working on my book. Well, that isn’t exactly working, so why don’t I change it up? Maybe blogging will become a catalyst to my writing. It can’t hurt, can it? And I miss writing about all of my complaints, like I used to in the old days (you know, pre-marriage, because now everything is perfect).

So yeah. Let’s see how that goes. I’ll uh, speak to you again soon…hopefully from the UK!

Alex

A New Countdown Begins…

After months of waiting and planning, I can finally confirm my biggest news of the year – Vanna and I will be heading back to England this Christmas!

Very, very excited to be sharing this news, as I’m sure you can imagine! This will be the first time I’ve seen my family since I left the UK in July 2014. It’s been a long time, and even though it is only going to be for a few weeks, I can’t wait to visit friends and family, see my favourite sights and eat my favourite foods…it’s going to be awesome.

No concrete plans beyond the flights have been made yet, but if you shift your attention to the right, you can at least track the countdown to our arrival in the UK. 113 days until the flight, 114 until we land in Newcastle. We’re practically only a few weeks away!

Anyway, once I have more details on what we hope to do, I’ll provide a follow up post with dates etc. Until then, have a great weekend everybody! I’ll be working Saturday through Monday which sucks, but hey, more money in the bank is always a good thing. Need to save up for the trip, after all.

Bye for now,

Alex

 

 

 

A Very Subdued 4th of July…

Happy Independence Day America! Speaking as a Brit, I’m not sure you made the right decision (it isn’t too late to come back!) but you’ve stuck to it, so fair enough.

Unlike all the other 4th of Julys I’ve spent in America, this one is going to be spent doing…nothing at all. No special t-shirts, no parades, no food indulgence; just me, my Xbox, and the cats. Where’s Vanna? Well unfortunately she had to work this weekend, which is why this year’s holiday is such a non-event. Had she been available we may have gone up north and celebrated the day with family. But she’s not, so we’re not. Lame, right?

But hey, don’t let my boredom stop you from having a fun time! Oh no. Despite our residual feelings of bitterness, Frankie,

(currently sleeping)

Anya,

(also sleeping)

And I all hope you have a great day, even if you aren’t American and it is just an ordinary Monday.

Until next time.

Alex

P.S. Speaking of cats, no escapes since my last post. The catio has been kiboshed for now as it isn’t stable enough for a roof, and without it, Frankie keeps jumping out. We’ve accepted Anya will remain an outdoors cat, at least for now. Once it gets closer to winter, however, we’ll have to really work on catifying the apartment so they can be stimulated whilst staying indoors. Urgh. Effort.

 

Another Cat Incident…But The Catio Is Good To Go!

So after the kitten drama last weekend, we were hoping for a calm, uneventful week. What we got on Wednesday, however, was another night of worry and panic. Why did it happen again? Well, we were foolish enough to let Anya go unattended for a few hours. Big mistake. Escape number 2 was worse than when she disappeared for 24 hours though, because this time both she and Frankie got out.

*sigh*

We’d left one window open. Didn’t think too much about it; Anya had never shown any interest in using that window, so we thought it would be okay. Nope. Evidently she was luring us into a false sense of security, playing dumb while she waited for her opportunity to take advantage.

It took us a few hours before we realized what she had done. To be honest, it could have been even longer were it not for the insects swarming us. We’re used to having beetles or fruit flies, but not mosquitoes. Or moths. Initially I called out Vanna for leaving the door open too long when she came in from work. But then she went into the bedroom and found a big hole where the screen frame once was.

usually, Anya picks at the corner of the mesh and sneaks through the small gap…which is at least considerate. This time, she didn’t have time for that. This time she just shoved her fat head at the screen until it popped out. With the light on, the bugs swarmed in. This bad situation was then made worse when Frankie, presumably concerned about kitten heading out into the night, followed her.

As soon as we discovered both cats were out, we rushed out there and started calling their names. No response. Vanna was worried but I was freaking out. Anya would probably make her way back when it suited her, but Frankie? He would want to return, but he would be too scared. He’s a skittish little kitty. He would hear a noise, run, hear another noise, and then run some more, on and on until he ended up so far away he wouldn’t be able to find his way home. This was not good, people.

Fortunately Frankie didn’t have a complete freak out, and I found him in the bushes across from our apartment. This didn’t mean he was an easy catch, however; though both Vanna and I tried calling him out (I even went back there in the hopes he would come to me if I was sitting in his safety zone), he was too scared to approach us. Instead he would run as soon as we approached him. Worried we’d push him further away, we headed back inside in the hopes he’d return on his own.

Well, around 4am kitten came to the window. Vanna went outside on a hunch and heard little Frankie crying. Even so, it took a good thirty minutes to coax him out into the open. Vanna had to sit down on the grass, say his name over and over, and then shake one of his toy mice until he eventually felt brave enough to approach her. She did a great job. Had it just been me, Frankie would still be outside now, crying and crying…

But he’s safe now, and that’s all that matters. Jump forward to Friday then, and the catio assembly. It took a while (the connectors that snapped the wire squares together had a tendency to fall out; it was only when we gave up on the roof did it stay together) but we eventually formed a neat rectangle to put outside the window. It isn’t a big space (any bigger and it would become too unstable to be trusted) but Frankie likes it. Not sure kitten is impressed though.  She likes to venture further afield, act all independent and do things on her own terms.  But she lost that right when she knocked the screen out, so she’ll have to accept the catio is her future, at least until we can trust her to come home on time (she’s like an unruly teenager, it’s ridiculous).

Anyway, we’re starting to catify the place finally. Here’s some pictures of Frankie enjoying his outside area from the bedroom (had I gone outside, Frankie would have freaked out). Is the cage strong enough to keep them from escaping? We’re not sure. Being the dopey cat that he is, Frankie might try to climb it, while kitten will be no doubt doing her hardest to pick her way out. It’s a work in progress. Not too bad, eh?

He was rather tentative initially.
But quickly got comfortable, sniffing the area and rolling around.
Still somewhat skittish though. We won’t trust him alone in case he decides to scale the fence, but I think it’ll really help with his pent-up energy.

I’ll try to do another update soon.  Have a great Sunday!

Alex

I’ve Never Been So Grateful For Air Conditioning…

Howdy folks,

So it has been unbearably hot in Willmar for the past few days. How hot? Weather advisory hot (that means stay inside folks!) Seriously, we’re talking about 90+F (around 36c) weather since Wednesday, with awful humidity to match (I stepped outside earlier to check the mail, felt like I’d been assaulted by a hot, damp cloth). Thankfully our new apartment has an air conditioning unit, so we haven’t suffered too badly, but wow, it has not been a fun week.

As a result of this extreme heat, our attempts to fix up the apartment have been delayed somewhat; between Vanna working and me breaking into sweat simply picking up after Frankie (I’m blaming the heat for this; I’m unfit but not that unfit!), we haven’t been able to achieve as much as we’d planned. In other words, no photos of our apartment just yet. Sorry.

Hopefully it’ll be cooler tomorrow so we can assemble the bookcase we bought from IKEA. Once that has been put together, we’ll be much closer to showing our new home to the world. If tomorrow maintains this horrible trend, we may have to postpone til next weekend. Urgh. Very frustrating.

On the plus side, while you wait for the grand unveiling, here are a few pictures of Frankie enjoying one of the toys we bought him last week (more on our efforts to catify the apartment in due time) as well as a short video.

Otherwise, expect another update soon regardless of how far we progress…unless, of course, I die of heat exhaustion working on the bookshelf. Though that would be noteworthy enough to merit an announcement, I imagine Vanna would be too grief-stricken to post pictures of my final achievement.

Alex

Here’s a shot prior to the storms and the humidity and the horrible heat.
The Catit Circuit toy. Essentially there is a ball that the cat pushes around. It took Frankie a while to understand this…
Especially as he preferred to play in the box it came in…
…which admittedly was rather cute.
But after a while, he discovered the actual toy.

 

So…We Ain’t In Crow Wing County No More!

Wow it has been a long time since I posted, hasn’t it? I do apologize (even though I said myself I wouldn’t, I think it is necessary for this gap), but I do have a good excuse – we’ve just finished moving from our little home of three years in Breezy Point (Central Minnesota) to Willmar, 140 miles away in Southern Minnesota.

Big step, right? It was also something of an abrupt one, as Vanna’s decision to go to Ridgewater College to study as a vet tech was only confirmed in April. Obviously, we’d considered this step for a long time, but the actual decision was made less than two months ago.

Consequently we’ve both been very busy putting our affairs in order, as I’m sure you can understand. After all, we had to finish our work assignments (more on that soon), pack all our stuff up (not fun), hire a U-Haul trailer (also not fun) and then start getting everything unpacked at our new apartment.  We’re almost there (internet was installed on Saturday, and it is glorious) but we still have things to do before we can say we’re truly moved in. Isn’t moving wonderful?

Anyway, this is just a quick post to let you know we’re alive; once Vanna considers the apartment good enough to share, I will take pictures and provide you with a more detailed update on our lives.

After all, quite a lot has happened since my last post. There’s cat stories, weddings, Christmas plans, and, uh…more cat stories.

This feline has been particularly naughty.

Speak to you soon (hopefully later this week, depending on when I put together the bookshelf we bought at IKEA…),

Alex

 

Say Hello to Frankie! (and Anya too!)

So we have a new addition to our family! His name is Frankie and he is a beautiful little kitten! Where did he come from? Well, there is quite a story attached to Frankie, which I will discuss very soon. Until then, enjoy the pictures!

Hi buddy!
He loves to watch us from up there!
Anya isn’t too impressed that she has to share attention now.
We still love you kitten. Even if you are a pain in the butt.
He’s skittish but getting better.
“Frankie Baby” – Vanna, constantly.
Oh kitten…
Little Frankie is very timid, especially around Anya.
Sorry about the board games…anyone for Family Fued?
Best picture ever! So dramatic.
Oh Frankie.
“Should I run away?”
What, a cat that doesn’t attack our hands? This is..unusual.
Aw don’t be scared, little Frankie!
Well, he likes feathers.