Posts Tagged ‘Darwin’

Au Revoir Carpet

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Posted by Rebecca, March 29th, 2012

This weekend Mike and I came to a sad realization– our family room carpet has to go.

This was not a happy decision because a) I’ve always wanted to keep our sunken family room carpeted and b) the timing is god awful.

It’s no secret that one of our cats, Darwin, has been battling renal lymphoma. In January, he successfully completed 6 months of chemotherapy and was declared to be in remission. This was an absolute miracle considering that the type of cancer he had was especially deadly and the oncologist had never seen a cat make it through a full course of chemo. Darwin did and continues to thrive, despite the fact that he was in such bad shape at one point that the oncologist suggested we stop treatment. We begged for just another week or two of treatments and it worked. We could not be prouder of him and of ourselves– for making the tough decisions we had to make, standing up for what we felt was right in our hearts and never giving up on him.

The downside to this happy story is that Darwin will forever have damaged kidneys. His kidney function did improve with chemo, which is how he is still alive today, but he is still in partial kidney failure. And with that comes the taboo pet owner topic of… accidents.

Darwin spared our family room carpet for months. We replaced our carpeting upstairs and considered ourselves lucky that he never went on our family room carpet. Anyone that has experienced cat accidents knows that they are extremely, extremely hard to stop once they start. Even if you cannot smell cat pee, they can and they continue to reuse certain spots.

Somewhere within the past few months, it finally happened in the family room. Our Bissell Spot Bot and Nature’s Miracle are our best friends. We even have a full sized Hoover carpet shampooer that we use often. While not ideal, we felt like we were managing the issue. One good thing (which is actually a very bad thing) is that Darwin’s pee is not very concentrated because his kidneys aren’t fully functioning. We could get rid of any smell rather easily, at least what us humans can smell. He generally stuck to one small area of the room, in front of our entertainment center (ps- this is an old picture with our old tv with wire hanging…)

After running some additional tests at the vet, we determined that Darwin’s family room issues are mostly behavioral at this point. It’s not that he’s not making it to the litter box in time, it’s that he thinks it’s actually okay to go on the rug since he’s had accidents there in the past. The past several weeks we’ve tried “potty training” him, since we can tell when he has to go. He only uses the family room when Mike and I are watching tv, so we watched him like a hawk. Any sign he had to go and we jumped up, walked him to the litter box and put him in there. If he didn’t go, we kept walking him back. Then we noticed something even stranger– he would only go in the litter box if I personally walked him there. So here I am, super pregnant and jumping up several times at night to walk my cat to the litter box and stand there until he went. Since I don’t sleep well at this point, sometimes I fall asleep on the couch and if he was with me, I’d have to jump up at odd hours in the middle of the night to walk him to the litter box. Needless to say, this method wasn’t fool proof and we still ended up with a few accidents when we weren’t vigilant.

I declared this past weekend as “Re-Potty Train Darwin” weekend. We planned to shampoo the whole carpet and use one of our new baby gates to discourage him from getting into the family room. Yes, we know that cats can jump, but poor Darwin also has a neurological disorder that makes him not the greatest jumper. Any obstacle we could use would help. We planned to have the carpet professionally cleaned before the baby comes to solve any remaining issues.

Well, plan backfired. We had twelve accidents this weekend. TWELVE.

I never wanted to get rid of our carpet, even up until a few days ago I was trying to come up with solutions to save it or be able to get a new one. I didn’t want to do hardwood and we tried to think of other materials we could use that would compliment our existing hardwood, but add some contrast and be pet/baby friendly. I didn’t want to lose this battle. Finally a few nights ago I looked at Mike and told him we should just do the hardwood.

We’ve been stressing over the constant accidents and carpet shampooing, worrying about the baby having a safe and clean place to play and embarrassed that we always have Spot Bot circles on our rug. We just need to be done with it and I have to be okay with that. These things happen and it is no one’s fault. In fact, we are lucky that he is still around and still so incredibly happy.

The problem is that hardwood is expensive and was no where near in our upcoming plans. We still have to buy things for the baby’s room, planned to replace the playroom carpet and there’s the issue of that mower we need. But this is important and urgent. We want to have it done before the baby comes to save our time and energy and also to keep this place as clean as possible. I can’t imagine I’d be able to feed the baby AND stalk Darwin for signs of a pee-pee dance in the middle of the night. We have savings for times like this, but I’ve just trained myself to never touch it. It took me a little while to be okay with using some of it to save our sanity. I mean, that’s what it’s there for.

We did consider trying to install the floors ourselves to save money. John from Our Home From Scratch happens to live in our area, has the same flooring and offered us his nailer. Oh and his floor plan is nearly identical to ours, so we have a nice visual of what our family room will look like with new floors!

(via Our Home From Scratch)

Because of our time constraints, my inability to help and the fact that we’ve never done this before, we don’t think it’s a good idea to take this on ourselves. What would take someone else hours would take us days, which we don’t have too many of lately.

We plan to pick up a small, inexpensive area rug for now that the baby can play on while we’re in the family room. We plan to put it away when we’re done with it. Maybe someday we’ll get a nice, big area rug to warm up this room, but we try not to think that far ahead. Being able to get an area rug may mean that Darwin is no longer with us, which we don’t want to think of.

After all, things are easily replaced, lives are not.

A Happy Update

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Posted by Rebecca, August 16th, 2011

Remember last week when I mentioned that we were told that Darwin most likely would not beat his cancer and that there was very little hope that his kidneys would regain function? At the time I said that all we needed was that little hope to keep us going and guess what? His kidneys are currently functioning at a manageable level!!!

I rushed home from work today, snapped some pictures for a post on another topic and ran off to our weekly chemo appointment. The doctor was running late so it took forever, which only made the weekly knot in my stomach grow larger. Then we received the great news. So that other post can wait πŸ™‚

We still have to keep that little bit of a guard up since he is still battling cancer and it can come back at any time. He skipped chemo tonight and will receive it next week if need be. Regardless, this is a huge hurdle we have gotten over, one which we were told from day one would be very difficult to achieve. Now the cancelled vacation, constant cleaning of accidents (his kidneys were so bad a few weeks ago that he was having accidents in his sleep :(), the twice daily fluids, the pills and the emotional rollercoaster were all worth it for this week. I am so proud of him, unbelievably proud of him. No matter what happens from here on out, he has proved that he is such an incredible little life. One in a million. And all mine.

I’ve always loved this sign from Barn Owl Primitives on Etsy… it seems appropriate to have now πŸ™‚

I’m off to smile myself to sleep. Cautiously, as the vet always says πŸ™‚

Staycation All I’ve Ever Wanted

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Posted by Rebecca, August 9th, 2011

Mike and I are officially on staycation! We have the next 3 days off from work, since we planned a trip to Florida but cancelled it to be home with our sick kitty. While my idea of a good time is working on the house, we know it would be best for us to get out and at least pretend we’re on vacation. We have a beach day planned for one day, a Yankee game/NYC trip for another and one day is up in the air.

But, if I were to stay home? I have a running list of small projects I’m itching to tackle in the very near future (most of which originated through Pinterest :)) I think this calls for a rainy day list! ::drumroll::

1. Washer Monogram

(via Decor and the Dog)

Michelle from Decor and the Dog created this from an image I saw floating around Pinterest a while ago. She happens to have the same last initial as me, so I kind of got to see it all personalized!

2. Gallery Wall

(via Decor Chick)

Mike and I have had Ikea frames hanging around forever now, just waiting to do our gallery wall(s) in the entryway. We’re planning on doing downstairs, up the stairs and upstairs and I cannot wait. Emily from Decor Chick recently created one and I’m currently in love with her version.

3. Lyric Wall Art

(via First Time Fancy)

I spotted the original version of this on Pinterest, but Kerry from First Time Fancy’s was the first DIY version I saw. Since I like to paint and a good chunk of Mike’s life revolves around lyrics and their meanings, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate piece of art for us!

4. Patterned Frosted Windows

(via 7th House on the Left)

I’ve wanted to frost our entryway mini-windows since we moved in, but I’ve been afraid of it looking cheap. Ashley from 7th House on the Left posted the perfect solution this week- she made a frosted pattern which makes it look oh so high end! I was so excited about this one that I printed out her template immediately. I love me some quatrefoil.

5. Living By This

(via here found on Pinterest)

I really want to take some time these next few days to breathe and enjoy life. The past month has been an absolute emotional rollercoaster for us. Last week we were told that Darwin most likely would not beat his cancer, which left me devastated for about 2 days until I realized how happy the little man is. I then felt like I had to hold my ish together for him, since he’s way stronger than I am and is acting fairly normal. He did well at the vet tonight and finally gained some weight. His kidneys are back to being physically normal this week, though they are still not functioning. We left him at the vet overnight for some extra treatments, so I am currently feeling like a giant (but actually little) piece of me is missing. There is still little hope that his kidneys will kick in, but all we need is a little hope to keep our heads up. For now, we’re doing everything we can to make sure he stays as happy as he’s been this week.Β What’s tearing me apart? Cancer. What’s holding me together? Darwin and his miraculous attitude and will to live. I shall focus on the latter. Thank you Pinterest πŸ™‚

Regardless of what I check off this list for the rest of the week, it will be a productive one. If not for the house, for my sanity (only after I pick up my kitten from the vet tomorrow and attack him with kisses!!)

ps- if you see me tweeting anything but pictures of a sandy beach please yell at me…

Feeling Empty

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Posted by Rebecca, July 18th, 2011

We took Darwin to the oncologist tonight. After discussing our options, we decided to leave him there overnight to begin chemotherapy.

There is a very small chance that he may not make it through this first round. The oncologist has had one cat that reacted badly and the chemo began to attack healthy cells. Hearing this made it extremely, extremely difficult to leave him there tonight. But we know that without trying this, he’s only expected to live several weeks. With it? He has a chance to make a full recovery. It’s going to be a very long and complicated road for us regardless, but we had to give him that chance. The form of cancer he has (renal lymphoma) is very aggressive and we didn’t have time to wait to start treatment or second guess ourselves.

Our hearts are empty tonight, missing baby D, wondering what he’s wondering about, wishing we could pick up the phone and talk to him.

I’ll probably be keeping it light around here this week. If anyone is interested in guest posting for me please shoot me an email at rebecca@thelilhousethatcould.com.

Glossy White

5 Comments

Posted by Rebecca, July 14th, 2011

Thank you all, once again, for your kind words for Darwin. We’re all hanging in there, just taking things one day at a time. Darwin’s been enjoying his brand new toy, Larry the Lion.

He’s currently sleeping on him πŸ™‚ Darwin also took an interest in our therapeutic painting project.

That picture was taken with my iPhone. It’s amazing what some good light will do regardless of the camera.

We’ve spent the past few days finishing up our painting. Since we only did one coat of primer, we ended up having to do 3 coats of paint to cover up the taupe we previously had on the wall! Lesson learned, but it’s finally done πŸ™‚

We have our entryway lamp on a timer, so that’s why there is a funny contraption in the outlet. We’ve been searching for a round, textured, chunky ottoman to stick under the table to make it more substantial looking, so that timer will someday be hidden.

We also still need to change out the gray lampshade for a white one, but we haven’t had much luck with finding one of those either!

The white we used was Olympic’s Crumb Cookie, which was the closest match to the existing trim. It is slightly less yellow, though not noticeable unless you’re me or Mike. We can’t figure out if it’s just a slight difference in finish between the different brands. Regardless, not a big deal. The baseboards in the picture above are the old paint and the wall/chair rail are the new paint.

Warning: I was completely lazy and left the mop and floor cleaner in this picture. I even saw it as I was snapping pictures but overtiredness=laziness. I didn’t feel like walking down the stairs and moving it for the sake of the picture. Whoops.

Macky thinks he’s a model. He seriously loves to photobomb.

And we forgot to put the outlet covers back on upstairs, whoops!

For the Macky fans…

I love these little mittens…even when they hit me on the way down the stairs.

I still have some touch up work to do tomorrow with the taupe. Macky thought it would be funny to rub up against the baseboards minutes after I painted them last night. Black cat + white paint = no bueno. He put himself in the tub (no seriously, he loves to play in there) and I seized the moment and gave him a wipe down before he licked himself. He thought it was funny and purred and rolled over the whole time. I wish I had pictures.

And for the fans of a good before and after? Here’s the hallway several months ago…

And today…

We cannot wait to finish up our molding and add the picture frame boxes like we have in our adjoining living room!

Then we’ll get to use our new nail gun too! πŸ™‚

Update! Had to include a picture of Darwin sleeping with his toy, because he is just too cute πŸ™‚

Yes, Larry the Lion is buried under his paw/face somewhere.

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