Christina asked for cat/SIL updates, and I will also throw in a freebie "falling-down-the-stairs injuries" update.
Cat update: Mouse is holding steady. She continues to be a shadow of her former luxuriously plump self (6 pounds down from 11). Her thyroid was re-tested this fall and her current dose of medicine is still working for her. She still occasionally pees in inappropriate locations, but nowhere NEAR as often---and the vet thinks at this point it could be partly an old-age thing. She doesn't wear a calming collar anymore: for a number of months I could TELL when the month was up and it needed to be changed, but then one month she didn't seem to need a new one so I tried not using one, and she seemed fine. Benchley and Feather continue to be lovey-cuddlekins-friendy-friends, so they mostly leave her alone. Sometimes all three of them will sleep on the same chair, though it's always that Benchley and Feather join Mouse, not that Mouse joins THEM.
Sister-in-law update: Holding steady, WE HOPE. The lawyer is waiting to do the final settlement of the estate until after the 2010 taxes (including taxes to be paid on sold stocks) are done. As far as we know, Beth hasn't changed her mind about keeping the house, but we also keep getting cc'd on letters to her from the lawyer that say things like, "Because I haven't heard from you regarding my letter of the 18th, I will go ahead and...," so that's a little worrisome.
As an aside, Paul's aunt (his mother's sister) got bonus points (+3 for thinly-veiled family gossip) on this year's Christmas letter by adding a P.S. that she hoped we'd wish Beth a merry Christmas from her, because she had no contact information AT ALL!!---with "AT ALL" underlined twice. Because this came on the heels of a letter saturated with "blessings"s and "amazing"s (including suggestions that these amazing blessings prove that God favors not only America [sic] ((because she definitely means "the U.S.")) in general but also their family in particular), the peevish little passive-aggressive P.S. was EVEN BETTER and I upped the bonus to +5.
I sent her a cheery note telling her that Beth's contact info hadn't in fact changed (I had to tear up my first attempt and start over, because "not in the last eight years, in fact" and "the same info as your late sister's, if you still have it" was not the tone I was aiming for) (the tone I was aiming for was "I hope you will notice that _I_ am noticing that your silly attempt at peevishness showed only that YOU are the one who hasn't bothered to keep in touch---but without you being able to call me out for tone") (this is a very tricky tone to achieve). She mailed me RIGHT BACK, flustered by her tactical error and hoping to redeem herself while simultaneously shifting the blame, saying that Paul's dad's sister's husband (are you following this? Paul's uncle-by-marriage, but on the OPPOSITE side of a divorced family, so there was NO REASON his aunt would have been in touch with them except to pry) had told her the house would be sold last year.
Well well well! So this got another bonus +5 (very unusual to score Christmas card points for something that did not in fact arrive by Christmas card, but I find that awarding points keeps me from awarding smackdowns), since she has revealed herself to be a prying old pry-bag, and why aren't ANY of these concerned aunts/uncles contacting either Paul or Beth to ask about their plans? If this had been an email exchange rather than snail-mail, I might have responded with "Oh, that's odd! We haven't talked with him about the plans!"---but that's impossible to write on a little floral notecard and sign it and stamp it and put it in the mail, and perhaps that is for the best. I hope my silence instead conveys to her my intended tone, which is "Uh huh. Why don't you just consider whether that reply improved your position."
Okay, so that's the update: Paul's family in its usual dysfunctional turmoil, but luckily far away from us. And we hope the estate settlement will happen soon, with no last-minute changes of heart from his sister.
Injury update: Buttular region (injured in both falls) still uncomfortable when transitioning from sitting to standing, but improving. Ankle (injured on the second fall) doesn't hurt to walk on, but has gradually over the course of a week gone from having a bruise on one side to having a bruise on three sides, and then the top of that foot swelled visibly, enough to hurt when I put on my shoes. But...the INTERNAL part of the foot/ankle isn't bothering me at all: that is, the bones don't hurt, the joint doesn't hurt in any direction. It's just the skin and padding that feels injured and ouchy.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...