Archive for June 2015

Marceau and His Rabies Vacinations – Again, a Starcrossed Path   2 comments

It’s been seven years since Marceau got busted. It started when I   recognized the symptoms of his having a urinary construction – repeated straining in the litter box with no results. Since this is potentially fatal, I rushed him to the vet. It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I remember this because the vet said they couldn’t treat him since it would entail a three- day stay at the hospital and they’d be closed over Thanksgiving. He referred me to the Bedford- Katonah Emergency Veterinary Hospital since it is fully staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Bedford? Bedford as in Martha Stewart? Richard Gere? Ralph Lauren? I was a few breaths short of hyperventilating as the dollar signs flashed in front of my eyes. I packed him back in his carrier and off we went  to the moneyed town. Emergency hospitals are always expensive, but I could only imagine how much this one would cost. As it turned out the bill lived up to my expectations……. and then some! But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was  Marceau got busted.

He was released on Thanksgiving evening, and I thought all was well until I received a call  Monday – at work, no less. It was the Westchester Department of Health. The hospital had reported Marceau’s scratching a technician,  and records showed he was not up to date on his rabies shot. Visions of a truck pulling up to The House of Mars and white suited men with respirators and masks taking him off to be beheaded so they could test his brain and see if he was rabid. Then he realized I didn’t live in Westchester County. “Putnam County will be calling you.” he said

Five minutes later – different voice – same story. But this guy was cool. “Mail us his rabies certificate.” In other words. Go get the shot.

In case any one is wondering why I let his shots lapse. It’s because since all my cats are indoor cats, I saw no reason to vaccinate them. Up until that phone call, I didn’t realize New York State requires all dogs and cats to be vaccinated against rabies. You better bet I’ve learned my lesson!

Since the rabies shot is good for three years and three Mars live at The House of Mars, I’ve staggered the visits so I only have to capture one cat per year.

Last year was Marble’s turn.


Next year is Marcel’s.


This year was Marceau’s year.  Lucky Marceau.


Poor me. Vet visit day is my most dreaded day of the year. It seems I send out a psychic signal and the intended flees just as i close in. I kept track of Marceau’s  sleeping mid-morning sleeping schedule for weeks so I could make a strategic appointment.  Since he likes dosing in the sun on the cat condo from 10:30 AM on, I made an 11 AM appointment. The conversation went this was – as it always does.

“Which cat will that be.
“Marceau, Mar-ceau. e-a-u

The day arrived and of course, he bolted as I closed in. It cost me a can of cat food, and a ton of guilt. The only way to get him back was to open a can which brought him on the run – along with Marcel and Marble. They got to eat, he didn’t!

When we arrived, we were ushered into an examination room. The door shut, then it opened again and in popped the head of the receptionist. “This is Marcel right?

“Nope, Marceau. e-a-u

Next the vet and a technician came in. Marceau actually enjoyed the experience since, after the examination and shot the technician rewarded him with a through combing and removed at least a pound of winter hair.

All went well, The vet  said he looked great, and was in great shape. At last the dreaded appointment was over. I paid my bill, packed up Marceau, and off we went.

When I arrived home, I took out his rabies certificate so I could put it in a safe place.

20150614_174728 I took one look and grabbed my  phone. The contrite receptionist promised to send me a new certificate right away.  One that said Marceau. – e-a-u

Sure enough the very next morning the mailman brought this.

20150614_175421 I can hardly wait to see what 2018 will bring our way! Not!

The Sad Sweet Saga of the Tomato Plants   3 comments

I so enjoyed growing tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers last year that I decided to one-up myself and instead of buying plants. I usually start flower seeds in the basement, and although historically, most fail to thrive once in the ground, hope springs eternal. So, early March found me carefully opening seed packets and tomato, cucumber and pepper sowing seeds in planting trays. I placed them in the basement windows where they’d enjoy the morning sun.

Each morning I visited them, whispering words of encouragement as I gently misted the soil.  As the days passed with no signs of life, I entreated them. As April dawned, I summoned them to choose life. Finally in mid-April I threw up my hands and declared OK for you! Do what you want. Who cares. I can always buy plants.

In early April, I brought them up to the deck where the sun could bake the soil all day, then put them in the shed at night since, after soaking up the heat of the sun all day, it retains it well into the evening. Finally, one by one, 19 pairs of green leaves popped through the potting mix, stretching toward the warm sunlight. Tomatoes!!!!!! Welcome, Welcome,to The House of Mars, I exulted over each one as it emerged.

Eventually I realized I had a problem. What was I going to do with 21 tomato plants? They were my babies. I’d brought them into the world. I felt obligated to find them homes. Not just any home, my tomatoes needed good, caring homes. With this as my standard. I eliminated a few people who came to mind immediately. I stopped short of asking for references but i did come up with a list of candidates.

Actually the first two had no choice. I know my SIL (sister-in-law) to be an accomplished gardener with experience working in a nursery,and she and my bro have a fairly large terrace in their building; one that gets lots of sun. So no questions asked, I thrust two plants on her. 19 to go.

Same thing for my BFFFW (best friend from work). We’d discussed gardening many times, primarily who’s poison ivy itched more. She has more property than I do.  So she got 3. 16 to go.

I put out the word to the other candidates I’d come up with and the answers poured in, all in the affirmative.

I’ll take one15 to go.

We can take two. 13 to go

Sure give me two 11 to go.

That’s so nice of you. Give us 6 Six! gulp.

Oh well, that left me with 5 for myself. Last year I bought 4 and while they produced an adequate amount of tomatoes I could have put more to good use. At least I had one more plant this year

Since they needed lots of  TLC, I kept the five runts of the litter, kissed their siblings goodby, and delivered them to their new caregivers.

As for my five? Well, one decided it didn’t like The House of Mars, so, a couple of days after bring planted, it withered away. Then aliens invaded – not the usual suspects, my resident ground hogs  and neighboring deer.(Not yet anyway). Not even the usual tomato-eating insects. No these strange-looking hard-shelled aliens are bout the size of a ladybug, but with a hard black shell ,shaped somewhat like a family crest , and a round clear yellowish suction cup bottom. At first I just removed them to another part of the yard since I hate to kill anything, but they multiplied as did the perfectly round munch holes they left in the leaves. I hardened my heart and found myself taking glee in the crunching sound they made as I crushed them.

So now I’m left with 4 plants, one of which looks very questionable. Since the three cucumber seeds that germinated produced plants that looked healthy in pots, but bit the dust once in the ground, and the pepper seeds never woke up, I set off on a mission yesterday. I couldn’t find any cucumber plants but I’ll keep searching; meanwhile I came home with four yellow pepper plants and four cauliflower plants.

At least Ithink they’ll produce cauliflowers. The tag was missing and, of the two workers I asked, one said he thought so. The other one didn’t speak English.

Let’s put it this way, by the looks of the leaves, I’ll either get cauliflower or collard greens. I’d take a picture of the mystery plants and see if anyone would post a knowing comment, but somewhere, sometime, someplace, I lost my camera this winter.

However,  thanks to a postcard two of my happily settled plants sent from their new home, I can close with a photo.WP_20150516_003