Monthly Archives: April 2010

our new family

Well, it has been one week since we officially got Swoop and Monster Pie.  We picked them up last Tuesday, April 6th in River Falls, WI.  Matt was still home when we got there – which was not the plan, but it worked out OK.  He was really sad to give up these 2, but he knew it was for the best and he knew we would love and care for them.

They rode in the car like CHAMPS – barely a peep.  We opened the cage almost right away (they both were in the same carrier).  Swoop layed half in and half out of the cage…then propped himself up on the center console between Bruce and I…then made his way into my lap…then over to Bruce’s lap where he napped while Bruce drove back to St. Cloud.  Monster eventually came out of the cage and around Monticello was laying in my lap, but not for too long.

When we got home, they all got to meet each other and Artie was less than pleased.  Monster was the most skidish and hid by the TV.  She is sooooooo tiny.  Her eyes take up a 1/3 of her face!

She eventually made it to our bedroom where she hid under the bed.  Artie found her and must have scared the shit out of her – because she did just that right under our bed.  Sometime during the night she moved into the basement.  I didn’t bother to look for her and figured she felt the most safe wherever it was she was hiding.  Artie slept on the bed, by Bruce’s feet – but faced the door and I am not sure he ever really relaxed and slept.

I took Wednesday and Thursday off to be at home and help their comfort level.  It went great – even better than I expected.  Wednesday, I don’t think I ever saw Monster.  By Thursday afternoon, she was coming part way up the basement steps.

Swoop is just so “chill”…he seemed to transition very well.

On Thursday afternoon, I went for a walk – when I came back this is what I saw in the office window…

Doesn’t he look like he is thinking “mom, why did you do this to me?”

By Thursday night – the 2 boys were able to be about 2 feet apart and no growling or hissing.


Monster was still MIA.

When I got home from work on Friday afternoon – both Artie and Swoop were sitting together in the screen door!  It was Friday night that I realized that it was almost 2 years to the day that we had lost Bear (4/7/08) – so artie spent 1 year and 364 days as an only child!!!

Saturday, while Rachel was there – Monster started getting more brave, coming up into the kitchen.  She would still hiss a little at Artie, but he didn’t seem to mind her too much.  She got braver as the day went on and by nightime we were having to shoo her off the kitchen counters.  We left a bowl of M and Ms on the counter and before I fell asleep (with Rachel) I heard a noise – I went out to the kitchen to see the little piece of candy going down the floor/heat register!  She was probably more curious about the countertops because Rachel and I had stuff all over – fabric, clothes, sewing machine, etc.

Monday night, Bruce was playing with the laser pointer (I was on the phone with Rachel) and all 3 of them were chasing the little red light!  I got the very first photos of the 3 together.

I feel like we are weeks ahead of where I thought we would be at this time!!!!!!!  I am so happy to have both of them in our lives and I think that will continue and eventually I will get to say “Bye kids, I love you”.  When I left home on Friday for work, it was the first time in 2 years I got to say “bye kids”

rachel’s sleep over

I met Sandy and Rachel at Target in Monticello on Saturday.  Rachel and I drove home from there, back to our house.  I have talked to Rachel on the phone almost everyday since our last sleepover.  She was told this time that if there was any crying when she left me that it would be a long time before there would be another sleepover.  When she told me that I told her that we would hug on Sunday when saying goodbye and just say “bye, I had the best time ever.”  She was pretty excited to meet the new kitties, as well as my new MY GENERATION doll, Sophie.  I bought her so I could see if the doll clothes I made fit the dolls.  I had thought of returning the doll and Bruce said not to – that I could just give it to the girls, which i will after I am done making clothes.

We (the 3 of us) went to McDonalds for lunch.  Bruce helped us pierce Jenna’s ears and I found 4 pairs of post style earrings for her.  She wanted to do Lilianna’s ears too, and i kept asking Rachel if it would be OK with her mom…she finally relented and said, maybe we should just do Jenna’s ears since she didn’t cost much money (we bought her at the thrift store for 79 cents last time she had a sleepover).  Rachel and I made doll clothes.  I thought she said she wanted  SHIRTS, but she actually had asked for SHORTS.  She still is having a hard time pronouncing Rs.  Mostly the word sounded like SHOW.  She really liked the frog shirt I made from one of her old shirts.  It really did turn out cute.

Rachel got the idea to make some skirts for her dolls – she cut off sections of the legs from her pants and it worked great for that!  She was able to make 2 in less time than it took me to make a pair of shorts!

Later in the day, we went on a bike ride – we biked to the park by Kennedy and played hide and seek.  We brought all 4 dolls (Lilianna, Jenna, Sophie and the new doll ELLA that we got at a garage sale on our way thru St. Joe) in my bike basket.  We played my new Wii game – JUST DANCE, which is one that Rachel plays at Sherry’s house quite a bit.  She only did part of a song, but I did 4 or 5, it was fun and I think I entertained Rachel!  Later, we made chocolate chip bars (with special M and Ms that Rachel brought with her for cookies – which turned into bars instead).  For dinner Bruce grilled hotdogs.  After dinner, Rachel thought we should let each of the girls (dolls) jump into the pool.  The pool is the box (above) that our new patio chairs came in.  Rachel had the idea that it could be a swimming pool for the girls.  There were 4 flaps that were used as diving boards and each doll would jump in with Rachel’s help.  We had 4 little towels to dry them off after they took their turns – either oldest to youngest or youngest to oldest.

We tried watching The Princess and the Frog, but Rachel got a little scared.  She thought it would be OK to watch it since I was laying next to her – but she got scared anyways.  So instead we watched Arthur.  We slept in Bruce and my bed.  Rachel said “I want to sleep on your side” to me!!!!!!  We cuddled in bed and giggled and talked.  It was about 8:20 and she said “Is it midnight yet?”  I said nope, not yet.  Then at about 9, she asked again and I said, yep it is getting close.  She wanted to know how many hours it would be until we got to get up again.  I said, well at least 7 hours – it has to be light outside.  At 7:00, I heard a little whisper “susie, susie”  I rolled over and said, yes?  She said “look it is light outside!”  I asked if she wanted to get up yet and she said, “no, we should sleep in a little bit.”  THANK GOD!  A while later she said “Susie!”  I rolled over and she said “Lucy”…I said “Oh yeah…you are right!”  Earlier in the weekend, we were trying to remember what she had named my doll last time she was here…and it was…Lucy.  I think by 7:30 we were up though.  She watched some tv while still laying in our bed, which allowed me some time to clean up and dress.

Rachel wanted to soak her feet in our REAL hottub but Bruce had just changed the water and it wasn’t all the way heated yet.  We saved that for Sunday.



Rachel just does not like bangs – not on her, not on her dolls and I guess not on me!!  She loves to put lots of barrettes and clips her in her hair.  She had 2 braids and lots of clips all day Saturday.  When we took it out before going to bed, she loved how wavy her hair was and called it “french hair.”  On Sunday, she requested she have “french hair” so I curled it a bit.  It didn’t stay curled very well – but I didn’t use any product either…she looked so dang cute though in the braided headband.

We finally got to soak our feet in the hottub on Sunday.  Rachel had the idea that we should make a bike for the dolls.  She said we could just make it out of cardboard – use of one of the flaps from the “pool” box.  So we did just that.  We used her bike as a “pattern” and I drew it out on the cardboard.  We colored it – even adding the hearts in the spokes just like Rachel’s bike.



She is just the sweetest little girl, so kind and loving.  Like Sandy said Lydia was named after Grandma Zimmer, but Rachel is more like her.  Yes, indeed.  When something didn’t turn out as planned – like when I made her doll a dress and I tried to make a matching purse.  I told Rachel that the purse didn’t turn out and she said “well, thats ok, I didn’t really want a purse anyways.”

Rachel really got along great with the cats and I think she got to pet Artie, which might have been a first without a growl!

We went to Menards with Bruce on our way to Becker to meet Karl.  Rachel and I walked around the store and sat in various patio areas.  I rode in the backseat with her and her 2 dolls.  We had lunch at Subway and Karl met us there.

There were no tears at all this time…she wants to have another sleepover on 4/30 when I am going on a fieldtrip with her daycare to the Minnesota Orchestra.

monster and swoop facts

Subject: Swoop and Monster Pie
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 16:06:25 -0500

I would prefer it if you come on Weds, I know Tuesday night is going to be bad enough as it is- saying goodbye to my family and girlfriend. I hope that is ok, I can tell from talking to you that you are great people and very loving- these two are very fortunate there are people like us in this world! I think the hardest part about this move is losing these two, and I would just be in pieces seeing everybody on Tues night if I had to say goodbye to them first, I hope this is ok with you. The drive from the Twin Cities is about 40 minutes.
They are not really used to riding in a car in all honesty, Swoop seems to handle the ride a bit better than Monster- she might complain a bit but I find she likes it better being outside of a carrier than inside, because she likes to sit on my lap and look out the window. Not that I would strongly reccomend that for legal/safety reasons, but they both can be calmed down also by talking to them and/or petting them.
I feed them dry food from a gravity type feeder, (which you should feel free to take since I have no use for it anymore). On that note, I will put all of their toys, litter box, water and feeder all in a centralized location by the door so it is easy for you to find. I have a bunch of extra litter and food for them too. I will also leave a “timed” feeder if you are interested in it, and an automatic litter box. If you dont want one or either you can just leave them here. The automatic litter box might not be the best thing for three cats, but it may work. I actually bought it around 8 months ago, and the gears quit catching on it recently so it needs to be followed up on with the warranty ( I will leave the reciept and warranty info in it). Again, if you dont think you want or would use them, you can just leave them here.
They do share a litter box, and I have never had a problem with either one of them going to the bathroom anywhere else, so no litter box issues.
They like treats, I have both hard and soft type- but I think they definitely prefer the soft type.
I dont brush them, although I think they would like it. This is part of the reason for giving them up, I havent had a spare hour for about six years now. I have a brush I have used a couple of times I will leave for you, Swoop seems to shed more than monster, but he has the softest fur I have ever seen.
They tend to avoid being very close to the vaccum cleaner, but dont seem terrified of it. I dont think they really have any other things they are afraid of, but dont care to be sprayed by a water bottle (if they get onto the countertops, they remember not to get on after being sprayed a time or two).
They truly sleep randomly, but nothing has been constant at my house and it may just be them adjusting to me having a girlfriend in my bed- before her they slept in my bed with me. Monster likes to get into the bed around 7am or so, just before i wake up to say goodmorning.
The vets they have been to are:
Kinnicroix (in River Falls) (715)425-9550. That is where swoop had his surgery for his abcess infection, and where they both have shot records. I took swoop to the Pierce Vet Clinic in Ellsworth (715)273-4632 to have him neutered, so there are records there too- but they should all be compiled and up to date in River Falls (I will also leave their records for you). Their booster shots are due around next December. A couple notes about Swoop: 1) before he was neutered (shortly after his abcess surgery) his bloodwork was tested and this red blood cell count was low (anemic), but I brought him back a week later and he was fine. It was likely a result of the surgery and antibiotics. 2) you will notice on his back foot one of his toes are kind of sideways, and one of his claws stick out and dont seem to retract. This must either be a birth defect, or an injury that happened when he was an outdoor cat. I never noticed it in time to ask the vet, but it doesnt seem to bother him at all so I havent made a special trip to see if there is anything they can do. I think you will understand when you see it, when I hold onto his paw and touch it- it doesnt bother him at all so I know he isnt in pain.
I have never done any dental cleaning on them.
Monster is named monster because of her demeanor, she is a little squirrely but cute. She was saved at a few weeks old crossing a busy freeway in St. Paul. She isnt a monster by any means, when my ex and I named her we called her “Monstie Pie”, she also goes by “Pee-paw” (for no reason, I cant explain that one, ask my ex 🙂  She seems to be smarter than some cats for some reason. She truly is a little angel.
Here are a few things about monster that makes her the Monstie Pie:
She knows that a toilet paper roll can be spun on the holder until it is all on the floor. I learned this when I would put her in the bathroom to isolate her and swoop when I was transitioning them, but she really only does it when she is locked up like that.
She loves dots. I dont know how it started, but I left a box of dots on the counter, and she learned that by spinning the box or knocking it on the floor that these wonderful colorful little gummy toys come out and she can play with them until they go under the couch or the refrigerator (we have a wood floor here). Now, every time I open a box of dots she is there in a flash, and I throw one across the floor for her to play with- by far Dots are her favorite toy of all. It is innocent, she doesnt eat them or anything, just likes to play with them. You may see a bunch on the floor when you come here because I am spoiling them as much as possible before Weds.
She loves to help making the bed. When making the bed, she likes to get between the sheets and play. She will get in there, and I take my hand and scratch next to her, she absolutely loves that.
She does like to crawl into dishwashers, cupboards, drawers, etc. when they are left open and unattended.
She doesnt like to be picked up and held like Swoop does, but will crawl into your lap on while you are on the computer, and she picks when she wants to cuddle.
She is a beautiful black girl, but not all black! She does have two white hairs coming out of her chest.

Swoop is a bit different than monster. I gave him that name because of the way he came into my life. I was working on a job at a very bad point in my life last December, and he would come to visit me there. At the time we found the level of my Dads cancer was more serious than before, and that he would need to start chemo. Also, I was getting over the girl I was engaged to at the time, we broke up around that time. I accidently shot a nail into my hand on that job, fell off the top of scaffolding, and was just at a bad spot in my life. Swoop came to visit and the people that owned the job asked if I was interested in taking him. I said I would on the next Monday, because I was going out of town for the weekend. I came back to work the next day, a Friday, and he had a tear on his ear from getting beaten up. On lunch break I went about five miles to town, thinking maybe I should take him. Driving back to the job I seen a cat that got hit by a car, and it looked just like him. I was in a panic because I thought I was too late- then the cute little guy came out from hiding and I could hear the bell on his collar as he approached me. What a relief, I took him that moment. A month later is when I noticed his cheek was puffed up and he had lost what turned out to be about 1/3 of his body weight. He was slowly loosing weight as the infection (that wasnt visible yet) was causing him pain, enough to the point where he couldnt eat. I came home from a weekend of jumping to find him barely having enough energy to climb up the steps to eat, with a swollen cheek. It got exponentially worse when I was gone for two days. I took him into RF, and he was running a severe temperature, and I then found out how much weight he lost. It was very scary for me and him, but we got through the surgery, and he regained his health. He is now a chubby little boy, but that is ok with me- he has been through alot of crap too. He isnt fat by any means, but he is a large and healthy male now. He got the name swoop because he helped me through a bad time in my life, and in return I saved his life. “Swooping” is a term used by skydivers when somebody dives down to dock with another jumper.
Swoop is a cuddler, and likes to be gently picked up and pet. He loves to have his stomach pet, and likes to cuddle on the couch. If he isnt in the mood (which is rare), he will get a little nippy, or just run away.
He is also very chatty.

So, I think I have covered alot for you in this email. Maybe too much! They each have their personalities, and are each a bit different, but believe me- You will fall in love with them once they get used to their new home and a new friend! They are very special to me, as I am sure you know now, so if the time ever did come where you didnt feel like you can handle or keep them, please get ahold of me. I can only sleep soundly at night knowing they are being loved, and dont ever want them ending up in a humane society. So in five, ten, one year you find they arent for you- please call me. I will be keeping my phone number there and the same email, and if there are any changes I will let you know also.

I should be available the rest of the day via phone if you would like to talk at all, or have more questions about them.

Thank you!

lydia’s 7th birthday

We went to Sandy and Karl’s on 4/3 for Lydia’s b-day.  She didn’t have a party this year (I believe she lost the priviledge and was told she couldn’t go to the church carnival and instead she said she would rather not have a party and go to the carnival).  When Rachel had her first sleepover at our house, we had gone shopping and picked out Lydia’s b-day gifts.  She was pretty happy with our choices!

She got Eva’s Treasure Chest with 3 outfits and shoes.  Also some Littlest Pet Shop stuff and a bucket of cookie cutters.


Of course, Lydia shared the clothes with Rachel – so Lilianna got to wear one of the new outfits.  They were actually 3 costumes – the one below is called “old lady” – there was also a cute Sock Hop outfit.


We had a great time, and it was so fun when we were leaving because Rachel just kept saying “see you next Saturday!”

we are getting swoop and monster pie

Hi Susan,
It sounds like you care alot about your cats too, and they are taken care of well. Sorry to hear about Boo and Bear, it is really tough losing friends. After talking with my family, I think the best option for my children and myself would be to give them to a loving home like yours. I will feel good that they will have people to give them attention and love them like they deserve, for the rest of their lives. My future is too uncertain, which comes with this career. I think it would be selfish of me to bring them with, not knowing when or where I will be living in six month increments. Also, as you said, the situation seems to be a fit, and I personally believe everything happens for a reason.
I will be leaving next Weds, very early in the morning. What is your availability like to get the kids? I am booked to fly Friday through Sunday, and will be packing and saying goodbye to friends and family Monday and Tuesday. I really dont think I have time to drive to St Cloud to drop them off, but can try to make arrangements if you would like. Depending on your schedule and availability, I would like to spend as much time with them as possible before I hit the road. I do have one single cat carrier for the drive, do you happen to have an extra one?
I am going to Oregon to fly for Skydive Oregon, and the job bumps me from flying a 4/5 passenger plane to one 15 and one 21 passenger turbine. I am a skydiver as well, which really helped me to get this job. I have been flying for a few local dropzones the past five years building time in hopes for an opportunity such as this, and I am very fortunate to get this chance. There are alot of pilots looking for work, and on furlough from their jobs right now. I will be flying for them this summer, and most likely be flying the plane to a warmer climate for the winter months, then returning to Oregon the next season to fly again. This is what makes it so complicated to have pets, and I didnt really see this opportunity coming in this manner- else I wouldnt have pets. But at the same time, my purpose of saving them and giving them a chance of life has been served. I now think this is why they came into my life, and now why you have come into my life.

Feel free to call me to work out any details, if I dont answer I am likely working outside and will return your call as soon as I can. Thank you soo much for giving them a loving home, I am sure you will love having these two around as their personalities are to die for. I will get you up to speed on their personalities and likes/dislikes in the future 🙂


Subject: RE:
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 08:51:27 -0500

Hi Matt,
Nice to meet you!  Thanks for the email.
Well, I am glad I have on waterproof mascara!!!!!!!!!!!  WOW.  I can tell how much your care for your little babies!  I am the same way with mine.  I don’t have any children, so these furry friends are MY BABIES!!!  I know exactly how you are feeling…I understand your need to make sure they have a loving stable home but also how much you want them with you.  When we go on vacation to visit my folks in Arizona, we hire someone to stay at our house and take care of the cats!  It makes my vacation much more enjoyable – else I am feeling really blue missing them, thinking they are lonely, etc.
We now only have one cat now, his name is Artie (short for Arctic Cat).  He was living in our back garage for a while before we found him.  We have had him for 5 years now.  I had Boo and Bear for 15 years and lost both of them over the past 3 years.  Artie is really, really spoiled and gets lots of attention from both my husband and myself.  He does go outside, but we have a leash and pully system in the front yard and back so he can’t get out of the yard.  He is friendly and would likely just follow someone home!  The bad thing about the leash is that it ends up being almost a full time job getting him untangled from plants, trees, wash line poles, etc!
After losing Boo and Bear, I wanted to get another cat so Artie would have a pal.  I said to myself that if an opportunity such as this one came up, we would take them.  I didn’t really want to actively seek out getting more cats – but if it presented itself – well then it was meant to be.
My husband is less sure about this – he is afraid we won’t have any room on the bed to sleep!  Artie sleeps with us every night and he takes up A LOT of room!
What kind of job are you going out west for???
Susan Dircks DeWenter
Administrative Assistant
(320) 240-2155