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So, I swear I’m not trying to turn this into a cat blog…

September 7, 2012

…but I figured I ought to post the end to the Marvin saga.

Or at least, I sure hope it’s the end.

After all the waiting and hoping he wouldn’t need it, he finally ended up having his surgery on Wednesday.

Late Thursday morning, I received a call from the vet that he was using the box like a champ in his box and was ready to come home!

I arrived at the vet’s office and that cat was CLEARLY ready to get out of there. He’s very vocal by nature, but that’s usually all it is – just talk.

That didn’t keep the vet techs from being a little…tentative.

Two of the girls took his carrier out back and promptly returned, with no Marv.

“Do YOU want to go get him out of the cage? Maybe he missed you…”

As soon as we got out to the car, I unzipped the carrier (he’s gotten quite comfortable in the car, after all these trips back and forth) and he crawled into my lap where he purred the whole ride home.

So far everything looks good; he has to go back in 10 days or so to have his stitches removed, but otherwise he’s in the clear!

(Hi, my name is Erin and I find no shame in posting about my cat’s litter box habits on the Internet. Nice to meet you.)


Lobster Rolls, Two Ways

September 4, 2012

We made lobster rolls the day after we made steamed lobster, several weeks ago.

Remember that? I know, it’s been awhile…what with work and the countless vet trips and all, I’ve lost track of time. Where was I? Oh, yeah. Lobster rolls.

We didn’t eat until after 8:30pm that day.
Have you ever tried to take a decent picture lacking not only natural light, but artificial light, too?

We have these great little LED 9-bulb battery-powered lights that we bought from a store in Belfast.
Tom held two of them directly over my dinner.
We both wore headlamps.

And the pictures? They were awful.

I resigned myself to the fact that I’d have to make them again before I could share them with you.  

(Darn, right?)

So on Friday night, I thought I had plenty of daylight left. …Then the sky filled with dark clouds, thunder started rumbling, and I decided to face the facts: y’all are getting some terrible photos whether you like it or not.

Who knows? Maybe lobster rolls just aren’t that photogenic anyway.

This time around, Tom steamed and picked the lobsters while I was at the vet (again) with the Marv. I came home and prepared the lobster salad as below.

Two batches, one classic (well, almost) and one spicy.

Both were tasty, though I think we both preferred the stand-by classic version. I really liked the lobster with the avocado though, so maybe the dressing just needs a little tweaking.

You mean I’ll have to eat more lobster in the name of research? Darn.

(spicy on the left, classic on the right)

I used the meat from approximately two lobsters to make each batch. That’s four lobsters total, for those of you keeping track at home.

The “classic” batch got enough mayonnaise to thinly coat the lobster, salt to taste, and three green onions, thinly sliced. That’s it.

To the spicy batch, I added mayonnaise, the juice from one lime, a few splashes of Tabasco sauce ( I used the green kind), approximately 1/2 teaspoon chili garlic sauce, a teaspoon or so of wasabi paste (I made mine from Penzeys wasabi powder), 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, and salt to taste.

Each batch gets tossed to coat, then chilled. (Notice I didn’t say refrigerated – chill however your circumstances allow. Say you don’t have a refrigerator, and your lobster winds up in a cooler filled with block ice and local beer? That’s perfect.)

Next up, the rolls. New-England style rolls are key; they’re split on top, so you can butter each side and toast them in a cast iron skillet.

Each roll gets lined with a large leaf or two of lettuce, for crunch.

Then the lobster salad gets divided among the rolls.

Then, the rolls get devoured.

(Sorry I didn’t document that step for you. Things moved along a little more quickly than anticipated. Whoops.)

As a side note, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to boring, side-split, run-of-the-mill hot dog buns. We butter and toast the New-England style rolls for plain old hot dogs now, too.

God, when did I become a hot dog bun snob?

(Did you know there was such a thing as a hot dog bun snob?)

spicy rolls were adapted from this site, and tweaked to accommodate what I had on hand.

* * A Very Marvy Update, Part II: The vet decided to keep him yesterday morning, to pass a catheter and figure out why he wasn’t urinating on his own. He found a good deal of inflammation in the urethra, so he decided to keep the Marv overnight, catheter in place, and re-evaluate today. Again, fingers crossed.

A Very Marvy Update

September 2, 2012

This isn’t the post I wanted to write tonight.

I wanted to tell you about the fabulous lobster mac and cheese I made tonight.
And the grilled pizza we made last night.
And the lobster rolls we made the night before.

And the fantastic hikes we’ve been taking.

And the little projects we’ve completed around here.

I’ll get there.

But the thing is, each day that’s gone by since last Friday, no matter how much fun we’ve tried to cram in, has been punctuated by Marvin’s ongoing health issues. I’ve gotten lots of requests for updates, and the truth is, his progress is kind of at a standstill.

After going to the vet last Friday on an emergency basis, and spending a full six days there as an inpatient, we finally got to bring Marvin home late Thursday afternoon. He was able to pee on his own at the vet’s office, and so he was cleared to come home to us.

They sent us home with prescription food, formulated to help prevent future obstructions. Luckily, he LOVES it.

He’s always been a fickle cat. At home in Pike, after breakfast and dinner – like clockwork – Marvin would come up the stairs from the basement and leap onto the kitchen counter.

He wasn’t interested in any of the “people food” we might be preparing; no, he only wanted water.

His own individual little ramekin of water.

Fresh from the tap.

Cold, please.

Since arriving in Maine, he’s had constant access to fresh water, but maybe it just isn’t fresh ENOUGH for him. Sometimes it seems like we have to pour it in front of him, or he doesn’t believe us. So, upon bringing him home, I went out and got a special, chilled gallon of Poland Spring water. We now keep it in the cooler and pour it for him on demand.

Spoiled? Never. Not this guy.

I figured, okay, so special food and special water…we can do this. If this is his prescription for good health, I can handle it.

This was the time, with renewed vigor and a clean bill of health, to surge forward. To march diligently into this brave new frontier of specialty food and cold bottled water, a brave and monumental place where the cat pee flows as freely as the Poland Spring.

Except…he didn’t pee.

Evening came and went, and we figured, okay, maybe he doesn’t need to go.

Until he got in the box…and nothing happened. And he growled.

And repeated this cycle a few more times.

He acted fine otherwise – eating, drinking, purring, head-butting – but to be safe, we called the emergency line. The vet was confident we could watch him throughout the night and bring him in the next day if we didn’t see an improvement.

This brings us to Friday. We brought him back to the office to learn that he WASN’T obstructed, but still couldn’t pee on his own. It could be any number of things, from nerve damage in his bladder, to loss of muscle tone, to urethral swelling, to a detrusor muscle that won’t relax, or any combination of the above.

So, the poor Marv has prednisone.

And diazepam. (Have you ever seen a stoned cat?)

And today, he got a shot of dexamethasone in the butt.

(He wasn’t thrilled.)

In the meantime, until he can start to pee on his own, we get to go back to the vet daily – once, sometimes twice – so the vet can “manually express his bladder.”

Read: squeeze the pee out of him.

As you can imagine, he doesn’t like this too much.

Please, everyone, keep your fingers crossed that things start to turn around. There is a surgery they can perform, but there’s a 15% chance of serious complications that, in the vet’s words, “can lead to the demise of the cat. It’s never happened on one of HIS procedures, but those are the published odds – and 15% is kind of high, so we’re hopeful that this “watchful waiting” business pans out.

On a positive note, this cat, who used to growl at the pet carrier for a week if someone ELSE had to go to the vet…is getting quite good at car rides.



August 30, 2012

I be headed out to pick up me little pirate friend!!

Okay, so I’m not very good at pirate speak…
but he’s finally coming home!

Things I’m Learning As I Go, Vol. II

August 27, 2012

1. Do NOT come to the laundromat during fair week and expect to find open machines. Also expect a very…different population at the laundromat during fair week.

2. Porcupines are VERY awkward little creatures. Also, they don’t run. They slowly waddle away when chased. And when I say “chase” – I mean “walk slowly in his direction.” No wonder they’re so pointy. If I couldn’t outrun…well, anybody, I’d probably want to be pointy too.

On second thought, after evaluating my running ability…perhaps I should look into becoming pointy.

3. You can’t bring an empty growler to a brewery to be filled unless it initially came from that brewery. For example, my Lake Placid Pub & Brewery growler would not be eligible for a fill at Marshall Wharf Brewing Company.

Though apparently this rule does not apply to pint glasses, as evidenced by these tasty brews consumed at the BBQ joint adjacent to Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor.

4. The turkeys. They’re everywhere. If you’re a turkey, midcoast Maine is the place to be.

this is a Tom, but NOT a turkey. (most days.)

5. Maine is a happier place to be when the guy in the picture above is here with me.


August 24, 2012


(an old phone photo – TOTALLY relaxed…)

Marvin is back to the vet, this time with a complete urethral blockage. Poor guy was probably suffering all day while I was at work. I feel awful.

(Don’t worry, we’ve established ourselves as clients with a local veterinary hospital (that comes highly recommended) – no more scaredy-pants, 1.5-hours-away emergency vet.)

The vet I met tonight was very compassionate, yet candid. Best case, Marv will be there all weekend and come home Monday. Worst case…let’s not go there.

He’s in good hands, and all I can do is wait.

Nights like these, it sure is tough to be up here.


August 22, 2012

Tonight, the sun dips behind the ridge at 7:30pm, a full 33 minutes ahead of western New York. Tom has gone home for a few days, so this will be my second night alone here. Like last night, I will bring Max inside to keep me company.

I cook dinner a little earlier than I’d prefer, so I can take advantage of the daylight. I go outside to the barrels we’ve topped off from the well, I fill a pot of water, and I bring it inside to boil.

Tonight’s menu includes fresh ravioli and summer squash; I toss them together with a splash of olive oil and call it good enough. I reach for my favorite Himalayan pink salt and some freshly cracked pepper. I briefly contemplate whether this salt tastes any different than plain old kosher salt. Unable to be sure, but confident in my preference anyhow, I sprinkle away.

I plate up my dinner and realize that an appropriate “serving size” is probably NOT equal to one full package.

I tell myself that I’m all alone in the Maine wilderness, and should the need arise for me to defend my pets from something fierce and dangerous, I’ll need my strength. Comfortable in denial, I dish up the whole package.

In my defense, I DID add vegetables.

I head outside and settle into my lawn chair with my dinner, my dogs and a local brew. It’s a pumpkin ale; a sure sign of fall’s rapid approach. The air feels brisk, confirming what my beer already knew.

The bugs aren’t bad tonight; they must be cool, too. With this in mind, perhaps fall will be a good thing.

I look to my left and notice the giant, untidy pile of wood waiting to be stacked before the weather turns. Since my last photo, the pile has grown to three times its original size.

…On second thought, perhaps we could stick with summer awhile longer. There seems to be less work involved.

7:30pm approaches, and quickly passes. I briefly wonder what everyone back home is doing with their extra 33 minutes. I reach for my headlamp. I’ve gotten better at remembering to grab it ahead of time.

I allow the dogs to lick my plate clean, rationalizing that, since I cant rinse it under the sink, I’m just making dishes easier for later.

I pause to consider when I got so good at rationalizing.