Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fundraiser to Help our Pets: Update 2!

My husband and I are currently raising money to cover our familiars' bills.
or sharing our GoFundMe campaign on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or other personal or social networking site.
And a gigantic thank you to everyone who has donated or shared our cause so far!
We couldn't do this without you!

As you likely already know because I discuss it so much here at Witchy Words, my husband and I have had a troubling time with our apartment.  Everything from a flea infestation from inside the building to a homicide in our parking lot, we've known we've needed to move for quite some time.  However, nothing has been as pressing as the mysterious number of illnesses my pets have endured since our move in date last August.  Leaving out routine vet visits (such as vaccination day) or unrelated items (such as Zeus losing a tooth) we have endured almost $1700 in bills from everything from Hermes's baffling vomiting spells to Artemis's life-threatening impacted colon.  All of these have no known cause that the vet can determine because we cannot discover what the pets might be getting into their systems to make them so sick.  We have pet proofed the apartment again and again and I'm an ISTJ Virgo II with OCD, so we keep our living space spectacularly clean with pet-safe, organic cleaners.  The only thing the vet can determine is that it must be environmental, which it means it is the apartment we live in and we absolutely have to move.

Coincidentally, the cost to move will be about the same as the vet bills.  However, while we've been here, I've also been drastically sick with something called Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome, a condition where a person's immune system attacks healthy tissue and organs in their body.  I spent four months blind from autoimmune scleritis, and five months going through invasive medical procedures to determine why I was having severe stomach pains only to find out I have Celiac Disease and a vitamin D deficiency.  The bills have been horrendous, even with health insurance.  To make matters worse, we've been paying on my husband's student loans.  He has a BS in Network Security and is about $45,000 in debt.  Our monthly payment on these bills comes up to roughly the cost of living here in Kansas City.  Between my health issues, my pets' health issues and my husband's student loans, we're in a hole we feel we can't get out of.

This is why I created a fundraiser to help us move.  We would be truly grateful for any donation, however large or small, that can help us on our way.  Even just one dollar gets us one dollar closer to our goal.  If you can't donate, please consider sharing our GoFundMe campaign or this blog entry to your website, blog or social networking site of choice.  Every share means just as much to us as a donation, truly!

Update August 26, 2014: On Monday, my husband and I took a look at four more houses and finally made a decision on a house to rent.  We submitted our application Monday night, which cost $60, and are now awaiting approval.  Once we are approved, which will likely be sometime tomorrow, we will have two weeks to put in our deposit of $950 (our portion after our roommate pays his will be $633) and our pet deposit of $300.  This is truly where we need your help.  We have currently raised $505 with our GoFundMe campaign.  After the application fee, we are just $188 from the deposit.

There are so many options for rewards to donate, ranging from a real, physical thank you card to a print to a video and even a personalized sketch!  If you have the availability to donate or share, we would be so appreciative.

The support we've received thus far has been absolutely amazing.  Thank you so much, everyone!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Terra Sol Luna Coven's Sun in Virgo Ritual 2014

On Sunday, local coven Terra Sol Luna held a public ritual honoring the sun, particularly as it enters Virgo.  It was attended by around 20 other local Kansas City pagans and was hosted by fellow coven member Lee at her house in south KC.

The weather was incredibly hot and sunny, which was actually perfect for the purpose of the ritual.  Before I took any photos, I asked coven members for permission.  I certainly never want to overstep my boundaries!

The ritual began by first sweeping with a besom widdershins about the circle to remove any unwanted energy.

Purified water and incense were also used around the outside of the circle to protect and cleanse it.

Then the elements were called...

.. and the circle was cast and raised!

By the way, can I just say that Jennifer's wand is absolutely gorgeous?  Because it really, truly is.

We opened the ritual with a short introduction...

... along with readings from coven members about the Sun God and the sun in Virgo.

One of the reasons Terra Sol Luna decided to celebrate the sun, and thus the God, is because they felt the Goddess gets an immense amount of attention in ritual.  Why not the God as well?  Particularly in the midst of Kansas City summer, where the temperatures are starting to enter into the triple digits (Fahrenheit), the sun that gives us abundance and life should be honored.  In addition, the sun just entered Virgo, a sign known for its practicality, problem-solving and organizational skills.  This creates a time to get things done, to take stock of what we do and don't need and to explore what it is we need to do to get our life on track.

The readings were accompanied by lighting the appropriate candles in the center of the circle.

Once we were fully introduced to the meaning of the ritual, sage was used to cleanse us of all negativity and burdens.

This was necessary, because we were then handed a clay protection charm to charge.

The charm itself contained the Elder Futhark rune Algiz on it. Algiz represents an elk, an animal which is strong, powerful and protective.  This rune does just that: protect.  The scrolls the runes were tied around contained a protective chant in which we used to charge our runes with protective power.  We were encouraged to go home and decorate our runes appropriately.

Cakes and ale, served as fruit juice because of children attending the ritual, were then charged and served.

Finally, the elements were released and the circle was then lowered and closed!

After the ritual, there was a potluck barbecue!  Food included grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie burgers along with chips, mac salad, egg salad, baked beans and more.  We talked a bit before coven member and host Lee brought out her gorgeous albino python. I will leave you with pictures of Kaa.  Enjoy!


If you like what you see and enjoy my blog, please consider sharing or donating to my fundraiser campaign to help save our four familiars from the terrible apartment we live in.  My husband and I are currently in a bit of a financial pickle and could really use your help!  Thank you so much!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fundraiser to Help our Pets: Update!

My husband and I are currently raising money to cover our familiars' bills.
or sharing our GoFundMe campaign on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram or other personal or social networking site.
And a gigantic thank you to everyone who has donated or shared our cause so far!
We couldn't do this without you!

My pets are absolutely everything to me.  As someone that works from home, they are my coworkers. As someone that does not plan on having kids, they are my fuzzy babies.  As a witch, they are all four my familiars.  I couldn't imagine life without my fuzzy family, and I would do anything to help them.  I would sooner move in with my parents than sacrifice any one of them due to financial distress.  Fortunately, that's not something I've come even close to doing in the past.

A volunteer animal rescuer, I have had a hand in personally rescuing all of my pets from terrible situations.  Artemis, my Malshi, was abused, covered in mats, fleas, bruises and malnourished when I took him from his abuser's home.  Zeus, my rotund tabby, had, according to the complex, been a trashcan and sewer stray for three years before I pulled him off the street.  Hermes, the longest long cat, was dumped at an apartment complex's mail room in hopes that someone would take him in. And finally, I rescued my tiny Apollo as a six-week-old kitten abandoned under a walkway.  Inevitably, rescue animals may develop health issues from their previous situations, but for four years after rescuing Artie, we had surprisingly no health issues.  Just routine visits to the vet for vaccinations, and a single asthma diagnosis for Zeus that has actually gotten better over the years.

On August 25th, 2013, my husband and I, along with our four pets moved into a new apartment.  We were enamored with the granite counter tops in the kitchen, the spotlights at the bar, and the large stone wall that proceeded from the first place.  However, it didn't take long for things to begin going very, very wrong.  We've had everything from a leak that sprung on our brand new mattress, of which the roofing company took nearly a month to fix, to a bat inside our apartment, and more.  We've even had a homicide in the parking lot and a DUI driver crash into a nearby building in the complex. My husband and I have been apartment dwellers our whole lives and this has been, by far, the most disastrous apartment we've ever lived in.

However, the very worst part is that, after four years of owning pets who really only needed to see the vet for vaccinations, we began having recurring issues.  Aside from moving, nothing about our pets' lives has changed. They maintain the same diet and level of exercise.  We have pet-proofed the apartment again and again.  If there is something they're getting into, we cannot find it.  The following is a comprehensive list of all vet bills that are not vaccinations:

September 28th, 2013: Artemis - Bladder Infection - $130.81
October 3rd, 2013: Hermes - Skin scraping for unknown sore - $156.72
November 19th, 2013: Zeus - Bladder Infection - $148.65
January 22nd, 2014: Artemis - Bacterial Stomach Problems - $132.25
February 12th, 2014: Apollo - Blood in Stool - $101.75
February 14th, 2014: Hermes - Followup for unknown sore; bat scratch - $147.00
March 18th, 2014: Hermes - Vomiting profusely with unknown cause - $81.00
April 25th, 2014: Hermes - Vomiting; Centrine Tablets - $28.50
July 30th, 2014: Artemis - Bladder Infection - $130.35
August 12th, 2014: Hermes - Vomiting; Centrine/hospitalization - $96.55
August 16th, 2014: Artemis - Impacted Colon with no known cause. Includes urinalysis, fecal exam, abdominal radiography, hospitalization, IVs and fluids - $511.69
August 20th, 2014: Hermes - Vomiting; Centrine - $58.50
Total: $1695.27

This list does not include the following incidents:
Flea infestation from inside the building, requiring us to purchase Comfortis for our indoor-only cats.
Zeus's second bladder infection, where I requested that we skip the vet visit and get a round of clavamox.  The vet agreed.
Zeus randomly losing one of his lower teeth and needing surgery to remove the root in order to avoid infection.
All routine vaccinations and Artie's flea pills, as per usual.

This list also, obviously, does not include all of the health issues that I have experienced while here, including autoimmune scleritis, Vit D deficiency and a diagnosis of Celiac Disease.  All of this on top of my hypothyroidism, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis gives me Multiple Autoimmune Syndrome.  Why mention this when they're not related to my pets or the apartment?  Because diagnosing them has been expensive, and treating the autoimmune scleritis even more so.  While my husband and I have stable jobs, the fact is that, between my husband's student loans, my health problems and the pets' health problems, we're pretty much broke.

The vet has suggested that, since there's little idea as to why my pets are becoming ill routinely, it might be environmental.  Whether my pets' health issues are a result of problems with our complex or simply coincidental, I don't know.  What I do know is that, given the circumstances, we can no longer stay here.  My husband and I are hopeful that, if we move into a new place, the health issues with little to no known causes will simply disappear.

However, moving takes money.  Because of the immense amount of vet bills we have experienced over the past year along with my health problems and my husband's student loans, we do not have the deposit for a new place.  Voicing my concerns about finding the money for the deposit a few days ago, it was suggested that I start a funding campaign to raise said money.  Originally, I refused.  Other than Artie's recent impacted colon issue, none of the bills have been life-threatening.  My husband and I, scraping by the skin of our teeth, have managed to cover all of said bills, but it has brought us down to next-to-nothing in both of our bank accounts.  After having to vet Hermes again on Wednesday for his unknown vomiting issue, in which he throws up clear liquid 7-10 times, it's clear to me: I need to swallow my pride and ask for financial help.

Thus I created a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for our move.  We're likely looking at an application fee of between $50 and $90, a deposit of between $600 and $650, a pet rent deposit somewhere between $250 and $400, and then first month's rent of similar range to the deposit.  All of this totals to about the same amount as our pet bills - around $1700.  I don't believe in coincidences. As much as it hurts to swallow my pride, I will not let this apartment hold me here.

In the few days since I began it, we've raised an astounding $280.  We already have enough for an application fee and are well on our way to a deposit!  This is perfect, because we'll probably be paying the application fee on a place sometime within the next five days, and the deposit sometime in the next fourteen.  In the end, we need to be able to pay the full amount by September 20th.  I can't tell you how terrified that makes me.

GoFundMe has no minimum donation.  If you have a few dollars you wouldn't mind throwing our way in order to make moving a reality, my husband Aaron and I would be absolutely and eternally grateful. I've added a ton of options for donating, so you can hopefully get something out of it as well!  $25 gets a personalized thank you card while $50 gets you a print of our pets "signed" by our pets.

Actually, no quotes needed.  The prints really are signed by our pets.  No fear; we used non-toxic stain-proof paint safe for pets, and even went the extra length to clean off their paws with pet-safe soap and water afterward.
Here's the print!  It even has a personalized message about where Apollo's paw is.

Even further, $75 gets you a personalized video thank you with, at very least, myself and one of my pets.  I'll try to orchestrate video taping in a way that includes the very most of my family that I can.  And, of course, it includes the print and personalized thank you as well!

And, if you really want to go for gusto, choose the $100 option.  It gets you a free sketch of your pet drawn in my cartoon style, along with all of the above!

As you may recall, this is what I do for a living.  Utilize my professional services!
If you cannot donate, I 100% and completely understand.  We're in quite a fix ourselves, so I know what it's like to be unable to financially help.  However, if you can't donate, please please please share our campaign.  Word of mouth is the only way that we're going to reach our goal of renting a new place.  Take the link.  Nab an image from this blog.  Upload it to your blog.  Link it on your Facebook or Twitter, your Tumblr or Instagram.  We would be so incredibly appreciative of all the sharing we can get in this matter.  Sharing our campaign makes just as much of a difference in our lives as donating!

In the meantime, I am busting my rear on commissions and caricature gigs, attempting to do everything in my power to raise enough money for the move.  We're also trying to make ourselves and our lives presentable as we hope to move into a rental house versus an apartment.  This means that I thrift stored two new outfits that properly fit me and got Artie groomed.  Obviously, we're trying to keep the costs down as much as possible, but being in unkempt clothes or having a dog with matted fur could give off the impression that we are unclean, destructive people, of which we obviously aren't.  And, particularly after Artie was vetted and had one of his legs shaved for the IV, it became apparent that he would need a groom before any pet interviews were conducted.

During all of this, my husband and I are desperately trying to keep our spirits up. With that in mind, I would like to relate to you a short story from Artie's grooming experience today!

As you've seen from the above photographs, Artie is a long-haired toy sized dog.  A Malshi (Maltese/Shih Tzu), in fact.  For years, we've wrestled with the length of his fur. You see, Artie is a long-haired dog that wants to be a short-haired dog. I love the shorter puppy cuts on long-haired toy breeds, but I've always left the tail long on Artie. This would result in night after night of my dog attempting to pull out his hair. Finally, after everything he went through last weekend, being vetted for a life-threatening issue, I broke down and had the groomers shave his tail. It turns out, under all that fur, he has a PERFECT SPIRAL TAIL. I have been unable to stop laughing every time I see it!

No day is a bad day when it involves an Artie Butt.