Sunday, June 29, 2008


MMMMM breakfast at The Pancake House in Grosse Pointe, MI. You sure don’t eat there for your health! And maybe it wasn’t the best choice for breakfast before heading out for another day of driving, but we wanted to go there and have breakfast with Ben and Jen and Alison. As you can see from the picture of Ben and Alison, she's decided she looks better without the bow in her hair. Of course all the waitresses were oohing and ahhh-ing over Alison. One told us the dress exactly matched Alison's eyes, which made me smile since I sewed that dress for her.

In my opinion, Detroit drivers were the absolute worst of any drivers we encountered on our trip—that’s 1600+ miles of driving and yes, Detroit, you win Worst Drivers Anywhere. Seriously—lane markers were apparently just suggestions and it’s also apparently normal to cross from the very far left lane across three or more lanes of traffic to exit the highway with only a couple of hundred feet between where the driver would start and where the exit actually was. It’s not so much that they were rude or angry, just dangerously oblivious. Detroit also has a ton of road work going on so even though we left Ben and Jen around 10 AM, we didn’t get out of the city limits until close to 11:30.

Eddie barfed in his carrier Friday. We made bets that Chloe would barf on Saturday but true to form, Chloe kitty cat was good as gold and never barfed. Of course she did cry a lot on Saturday.

Kent had optimistically hoped we would get to Worcester, MA Friday night. In fact we made it to Syracuse, NY before we agreed enough was enough. We found a small local restaurant called The Clam Bar (sorry, no web site but here are some reviews) that looked interesting so we gave it a try—amazingly good food. If you are ever in Syracuse and you like seafood, check it out. The prices were very reasonable, the drinks were good and we both loved that it was not a chain restaurant. Oh and they have fantastic clam chowder.

Thursday--Detroit or bust

Our first order of business was finding Chloe a new carrier, which we did in Newton, IA. With that, we hoped our kitty issues were behind us. Thursday was a long day but a good one since we were stopping in Detroit to see Ben, Jen and Alison.

The cats serenaded us for a while but it wasn’t too awful, and they settled down pretty quickly to sleep all day. Well they settled down until Wally barfed in his carrier. Yuck.

We didn’t expect Iowa to be as hilly as it was. Neither of us had really driven through the state so it was new to us—and so very, very green. We saw some remnants of water from the recent floods and a couple of highways that were closed, probably due to high water. But we weren’t directly affected by it, except to marvel at how green everything was and how high all the rivers and streams were.

We saw Alison Thursday night, even though we got there after her normal bedtime. She was a hoot, crawling around, crawling up our legs, waving hello and blowing kisses. Plus Jen fixed us a really great meal—we loved sitting and relaxing with her and Alison. We said hi/bye to Ben when he got home from work close to 10:30 and headed back to our hotel.

Wednesday's fun

Wednesday our movers and packers came—early. And in addition to being early, they were really fast and also nice. The packers finished up around 12:30 and our moving guy had finished loading everything (by himself!) by about 3:00. He helped us load up the trailer, for which we were most grateful since we feared we’d be stuffing a two pound sausage casing with five pounds of sausage.

But of course it’s impossible to move without some sort of mayhem and ours came when the moving driver knocked a huge limb off the sweet gum tree in front of our house. I wish I’d taken a picture because you can’t get a sense of how big that limb was from what I’m writing. Knocked down, it covered our sidewalk and extended into the street a little bit. I called the city and arranged for them to come take it away—thankfully that tree is on city property!

Getting the cats wrangled into carriers was like herding, well, cats. Usually we have Eddie and Wally share the big carrier because it’s plenty big for both. But Wally did the hiss/spit/yowl thing and started immediately fighting with Eddie. So we put Wally in a soft-sided carrier—after all, he’d been using one as his napping spot so we thought that would work out alright. But as we loaded up Chloe and Eddie into the car, Wally (who was still in the house) escaped the soft-sided carrier. So we hauled Chloe back in the house, put Wally in her carrier and her in the soft-sided carrier.

We got going around 4 PM, and as we drove Chloe got more and more frantic in the soft-sided carrier, mashing her little face against the mesh and making very pathetic mewing sounds. We realized we would need to find another regular carrier—as cool as those soft-sided carriers are, all three cats really hate them for traveling.

We stopped at a motel about 10 miles east of Des Moines that night. As per usual for Iowa this summer, Des Moines got plastered by more rain they didn’t need. Oh and the cats completely spazzed out all night long, no exaggeration. As I told Kent, I think I slept about four hours, but in 10 minute increments.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More about Wally

I've changed my slide show so you can see Wally in his natural (that is to say, strange) environments of choice. Today he investigated the orange trash can. Even though one of the pictures is pretty blurry I still included it because he has his head at a 180 degree angle to look at me.

We bought a moving supply package of boxes that came in a huge box along with some bubble wrap. Well Wally loves plastic so as we were drifting off to sleep we heard noises from the downstairs--they were not the kind of noises that reassure you your animals are behaving. So Kent went downstairs and sure enough, Wally had knocked the huge box over so he could eat the bubble wrap. Well Kent was exhausted as we all were from loading a moving truck yesterday so he pushed the box to a wall to keep Wally from getting to the bubble wrap.

Apparently that was Eddie's cue to eat the box. I have no idea why one litter mate eats plastic and the other one eats cardboard. I just know it can't be all that good for either one of them.

Edited to add: today I caught Eddie in the act of eating the box. See?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stressed kitties

It’s easy to forget that animals involved in moving from one house to another are affected—maybe more so than the humans (who presumably made the decision to move and understand or at least have advance warning of the chaos involved). So I’m not altogether surprised that my three kitties are showing signs of stress.

Our house has been on the market since the third weekend in September. Nine months later, we may have sold the house. But in that time, we’ve had easily eight open houses and close to 20 showings. Any way you slice it, that’s a whole lot of strangers coming in and out of the house, freaking out the resident kitties.

Yesterday I took the cats to the vet to get their yearly shots—I wanted to get the immunizations done here in Kansas City where I know the vet, the vet knows the cats and if the cats are going to have any weird reactions, they can do it here before we head out for a very long car ride. I have three soft sided carriers which you can see here on the right. The carriers are perfect for short trips since I can actually carry all three of them at once, and it’s pretty easy to get the cats into the carriers. Whoever designed these is very clever, there are mesh ventilation panels on all four sides and you can configure the straps a bunch of different ways to best support the weight of the animal inside.

Well they all squirmed and made their noises (Eddie yowled, Chloe cried, and Wally hissed and spat—very true to form for each of them). We got to the vet, got them weighed and poked and then back in their bags they went for the trip home.

I happened to catch a glimpse in my rear view mirror of something . . . wait a minute, it was a kitty head! An Eddie kitty head. Yep, he’d managed to push on one of the zippers enough to get it to open and out he popped.

But today as I was running around the house, I noticed that Wally had found a safe spot in one of the carriers. This picture is dark and grainy because I took it with my phone's camera. I managed to get one with the real camera but it's too bright and washes out his little face. So I went with this picture. I wish I knew what he was thinking—he looks very weary and wary. Poor kitties. Poor humans.

I can’t wait for July to get here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

With apologies to the rest of you

Here is a picture of the cutest granddaughter ever. She had eaten her Cheerios, some of my pizza crust and a few bites of ravioli. She's waving at me in the picture. I set the camera on the table, which is why she looks like she's looking up--she is, at me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The destroyer strikes again

Wally may be a very cute kitty, but that cat loves to chew plastic. He especially loves plastic bags and will gnaw any part he can reach. That's why I have to hide the trash cans in the bathroom. I tried taping the plastic to the can and he just ate the tape.

He also loved to grab the Grandma doll out of the doll house. He was most adroit in snaking her through the window and then carrying her around the house like a dead rat. Funny but frustrating.

He struck again Saturday. As part of the race loot, finishers got a pair of flip flops that had the name of the race on them and the logo on the flat part where your foot rests. Pretty clearly they were not high end flip flops but I thought they would be good to take to Boston and use as summer slippers since it's been so freaking hot in Boston.

Wally thought otherwise. I saw the bottom of the flip flop first and just laughed because it had puncture marks in it from his teeth. When I turned it over, I realized he'd taken out gouges which you can sort of see in this picture. So the flip flops went straight into the trash.

Monday, June 9, 2008

I have been remiss

And Kent pointed it out to me. I'd included pictures of Wally and Eddie but hadn't gotten around to posting one of Chloe.

I've had Chloe since October, 2001. She was about a year old and had been dumped by her owners. Her foster mom told me Chloe would always need to be the only cat in the house because she didn't tolerate other cats. When we got Sammie (RIP Sammie cat), she did a fair amount of hissing and growling at him, but after a while they lived in a mutual state of ignore.

She couldn't ignore Wally and Eddie, though. They were three and a half months old when we brought them home so they were still well and truly rambunctious kittens. They completely ignored her hints to leave her alone, and her more blatant go-away gestures. Now I'm likely to see any two of the three romping around, and although I haven't yet seen a true kitty pile with all kitties, they've come very close.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A new tape

When I was a little girl, I really, really wanted to be a gymnast. I thought they just did the most amazing things and looked like they were having so much fun doing all those flips and stuff. I forget which Olympic gymnast inspired me so much but it would have been during the 1968 Games. Anyway, I'm sure I annoyed my mother endlessly asking to learn how to be a gymnast. She found a place that offered lessons on Saturdays at my elementary school, which meant I could walk to them. And I did—I don’t think I missed any or if I did, at least very few.

But the thing is, wishing doesn’t make something so. Never mind that I had all the drive and desire in the world to become a gymnast, I utterly lacked the right kind of body to do much of anything beyond cartwheels and round-offs. I had (and have) no flexibility, and never could master a back bend, let alone back handsprings and so on.

This studio held end-of-year performances where we'd show our parents what we'd learned. The first year, we were all dressed as clowns. Students could buy the clown suits (which were pretty bland) or our parents could sew us clown suits. My mother sewed a really cool suit out of very bright fun material. I’m biased but I do think my suit was the best of all the clown suits.

I don't remember all of the things we did in that first performance but I do recall the diving forward rolls over other students. Now I could dive and roll over three students, but just barely. And somehow during the performance I couldn’t get to the right spot in line so I’d only have three to dive over—and I had to dive over four. Well I didn’t make it. In fact I really splatted and all the parents sort of gasped and groaned on my behalf. I got up and danced around like a clown (hey I was into the part), and I had a nice rug burn on my forehead for a few days.

I think that’s when I formed the idea that I was not athletic. Fast forward to seventh grade when I was running either the 50 or 100 yard dash (I forget which and it doesn’t matter now) and pulled a quadriceps muscle in my left leg. Man that hurt! And it reinforced the idea that I’m not athletic.

Even while in the Army, I never considered myself athletic.

This morning I just ran a 5k race in Kansas City. I had to walk one part of it due to the extreme steepness of the hill. I finished in 33.28 and came in fifth in my division.

At the risk of sounding corny as all get out, today I can say that I am athletic. Good-bye, old tape!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I have proof

My dad is not so fond of kitties these days. He's more of a dog person, and doesn't like it when a kitty wants to sleep with him. To each their own, although at some point I'll write about the differences I see between dog people and cat people. Yes, I know it's been done to death, too bad.

Anyway I found this photo as I was sorting through loose pictures to decide which should go into albums, which should be given to family, and which should be pitched. From left to right is my brother, Doug, our dad, and me. Dad is holding the mama cat and we are each holding one of her kittens. First I cracked up at how cute the kittens were, and then I marveled at my dad holding not just a cat, but a Siamese cat. Now THAT is advanced kitty-ology! I don't recall if the mother cat had just the two kitties. I think she was the cat we named Cinnamon, and I believe we kept one of her boy kittens, and named him Simon.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Everyone has a secret shame--right?

Mine is two-fold. I like KC and the Sunshine Band and I love Hello Kitty. My Hello Kitty adoration is well known among my friends, so over the last five years I’ve gotten Hello Kitty hats, headbands, socks, stickers, a coin purse, a small make-up bag and of course my Hello Kitty dolls action figures.

This past weekend Kent and I were purging more stuff in preparation for our move. I told him I was a little undecided about what to do with my Hello Kitties. He said I knew what I needed to do.

I agreed with him and said I would be keeping them. He looked at me oddly but didn’t say anything as we kept tossing things into the donate pile. About five minutes later I realized I might have misinterpreted his statement and I asked him if he’d meant I should get rid of Hello Kitty. He nodded his head so I fetched my Hello Kitties and asked him how he could consider getting rid of such cuteness.