Friday, August 29, 2008

The painting begins

We are painting the entire apartment this holiday weekend. While the colors the previous owners chose are nice enough, they are also dark. Since this apartment doesn’t have a lot of natural light, staying with those darker colors makes no sense to us, plus to be honest I don’t much care for the green paint treatment in the living room. To refresh your memory, here’s the picture I took during inspection.

I got our supplies yesterday and not being blessed with any amount of patience, I went ahead and started painting the dining nook/office yesterday. Again, I loved the dark brown color they’d used but it just really made the place look very dark.

However as I moved furniture around, Wally started crying. I suspect he thought we were moving again, and he was inconsolable. He’d run into the living room and just cry. When he cries, it’s a small little meow instead of the huge YOWL that his brother Eddie does. And it’s really pathetic to hear. I tried to pet him and reassure him but he was not a happy kitty. He knocked over our (metal) bathroom trashcan—very startling to hear—and made sure I saw him doing it. Plus he just generally tore around the place, I’d just see a small yellow blur as he streaked past.

Finally here’s a rare picture of Chloe not curled up in a little ball. I’ve started a folder of Chloe pictures, and the recurring theme is “Chloe curled up on the bed, the couch, the chair, the rug etc. etc. etc.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Guess it's home now

Wally has given his seal of approval.

Or else they sell exploding toilet paper here in Boston.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I've never cared for Pergo flooring, I've always preferred the real thing. Wood just looks better, it's got depth to it and I also like the creaking sounds you get with older wood floors. Because our apartment is a garden (aka basement) apartment, wood flooring isn't an option because you'd have to put the wood on sub-grade flooring. In this case, that's concrete. So the previous owners installed Pergo.

Now I will say I really don't care for the particular color/pattern they installed and also their installer put the flooring in oddly. The "grain" runs across the short side of the room, and all the seams line up instead of being staggered. I think staggering would minimize the seams. So we will end up replacing it although that project is pretty far down the list at the moment. But oh my goodness this stuff is easy to care for. When a cat horked up something the other day, we just grabbed paper towel and a spray bottle of Windex and hey presto! It was gone.

The sound the kitties make thundering on the floor is pretty funny too. I don't really know how to describe it, except to say it's sort of like tile but a little hollow. Last night after I'd headed to bed, I could hear kitties racing up and down the hall. They can't get traction, and at one point I know at least one of them wiped out and hit a wall. I couldn't help it, I was evil and I laughed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Scope creep

So we have completed one home project. Yes just one. I know I’d said we were tackling two this weekend, but as is often the case with home repair projects, we encountered a little bit of scope creep. Since I used to be a project manager, I talk like that a lot.

We knew we needed to replace parts of two pieces of dry wall in the closet because they’d been water-damaged. But once Kent pulled out the existing storage system, we realized that another piece had been damaged. Or course we found that out after we’d already made our Home Depot run and given them over $300.

Right then I realized painting the bathroom was just not going to happen. So that element got de-scoped. And Kent went to Home Depot again for the extra green board.

In addition to replacing the dry wall (we used green board because that space will always face moisture challenges—oh heck who am I kidding, it’s DAMP under those stairs), we also had to paint the entire thing and clean off the floor tiles. Because it’s humid in the closet (see also damp basements), the mudding compound wasn’t dry until this morning. That’s when we slapped paint on the walls. Once it was dry enough, Kent was able to start installing the new wire storage system. Seriously if you know you have moisture issues in a closet, why would you put in particle board? That’s nothing but a giant sponge just waiting to soak up every water molecule and grow mold.

Wally found the rolled-up egg crate mattress we used to use on our bed. Here you can see his butt, which sort of reminds me of the opening scene in Wizard of Oz when Dorothy’s house lands on the witch.

And here’s the rest of him.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oops forgot this

A gaming friend posted a link to this YouTube video. It's 100% clean and absolutely hilarious.

Pachelbel Rant

Storage solutions

We are fans of the show Small Space, Big Style—even more now that we actually live in a small space. I always wondered what people in tiny homes do about the litter boxes though, and usually that’s not shown on TV. One episode did talk about that, the woman had an ottoman made that was really a small skirted padded table and the litter box went under the table. Very clever but we have two litter boxes so we needed a different solution.

Last weekend, we bought a console for our TV, DVD player and cable box. We had measured the litter boxes and thought they would each fit in a cubby and they do.

So Kent took the backs off the cubbies, and then slid the litter boxes inside. So we don’t actually have to see the boxes, we bought some ceiling fixture acrylic that has a pebbled texture—think office fluorescent fixtures and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s turned out really well. We have the console still pretty far off the wall until they get used to the boxes being in there. Plus we have got to find nubby mats that we can cut down and put behind the console—Eddie really flings the litter.

Today's projects are replacing drywall in the bedroom closet (it got wet and it stinks), and painting the bathroom.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pictures says it all

Depressing, eh?

On a more cheerful note, I picked up a copy of Nigella Express. Nigella Lawson has a Food Network show but I've never seen it. I have, however, listened to her when she's been on NPR. This may be my up-to-date replacement of my New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It's an elephant not a goat

Last Friday Kent likened our first round of moving from St. Botolph to an anaconda swallowing a small bird. Saturday's round, he said, was more like a chicken and he thought today's would be a goat.

He was wrong.

It's at least an elephant, and may well be a woolly mammoth. So if you take a look at the slide show, you can see a small bit of our current state of affairs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Starting the punch list

Of course anytime you buy a house, once you get moved in you see the flaws. One flaw—and I’m not quite sure how we’ll fix this one—is that the microwave is mounted very high up. I’m sure the previous owners did this to keep the bar/counter area as open to the living room as possible, and I’m a fan of that. After all when you live in about 1000 square feet, the goal is open and airy. However, I’m 5’5” and while I can manage to microwave small things safely (say a cup of water or a bag of popcorn), I really can’t do much else. See?

I mentioned the drunken dresser on Sunday and thought you might like to see a picture of the damage. What isn’t coming through in the photo is how if I barely touch it on either side, it sways. A lot. I thought I could move it a tiny bit down the wall yesterday without damaging it further but all I did was hasten our next trip to Ikea. Instead of replacing the dresser, though, we are looking into wardrobes like these systems.

And finally since this blog is named kitties kitties kitties I figured I’d better include a current picture of the kitties. I took one of Chloe too, but really all she does is sleep curled in a little ball or else perch on my lap—very sweet but it doesn’t make for interesting pictures. All three have calmed down a lot and very quickly too. After the peeing incident last Friday I really thought we were in for a long time of crazed/bad cat behavior.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Much better

Saturday's move went much better. In fact the only glitch (if you can even call it that) was that since we were the afternoon move for our movers, they didn't get to the old apartment until after 4 PM.

Getting our furniture in here seemed to calm the kitties a lot. We still have boxes stacked everywhere, but I think they kind of like that. I've seen various kitty combinations on the different box stacks.

One big breakthrough occurred yesterday. Ben had told us that when his family moved from Lawrence KS to Detroit, his two kitties completely forget they didn't really like each other. Similarly, I've seen Chloe gradually warming up to the boys and yesterday we found Chloe and Wally nearly in a kitty pile.

Finally, Kent's dresser will not survive this move. He bought it when he got to Boston since all our things were in Kansas City. While it looks nice enough, it's a pretty cheap dresser from Ikea. He didn't put the back on it—he says not having a hammer made that impossible. During the move, pieces started dropping off that thing even though the movers had it well-wrapped in some kind of industrial saran wrap. It's standing in our bedroom leaning about three different ways.

The head mover said he knew it was from Ikea, that most of their furniture never survives a move. That's not what they are intended for. You assemble them and when you move, you leave them. I think it's not just that the item is cheap but also because Kent left off the back since my identical dresser came through just fine. Oh well. We'll probably still get another one because they are inexpensive, roomy and look good. Only this time, he'll put the back on it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Ug moving

Depending on when you asked yesterday, I'd have told you the move was going well, was OK or was really a complete pain. This morning I'm squarely on really a complete pain.

To start, one of the kitties peed on our bed before we'd even started loading up the car. We are pretty sure it was Eddie, although as stressed as all three are I wouldn't be surprised to find out otherwise. So one of our featherbeds was ruined as was a pair of sheets. I say this because I ran down the street to the dry cleaners to see if they could clean the featherbed and the owner told me he no longer had machines big enough for them. When I asked, he said no one he knew had any. Well I'm not going to lug around a peed-on featherbed so out it went. The sheets were old and were destined to become paint drop cloths shortly, just not quite that fast. And now I need to find a replacement for drop cloths.

On the bright side, the rain held off until after we'd moved four carloads and were done for the day anyway.

Last night was not fun. When Eddie is stressed, he talks a lot and very loudly. So he told us all night long how displeased he was with this whole situation. He'd come get under the covers for about three minutes, spring out as though shot, run into the living room and start talking. Since we only have boxes here at the moment, the sound just reverberated.

Right now at almost 6 AM, Eddie is still talking and I'm not sure how he has a voice left. Wally is hiding in a box, and Chloe is being the sweet good kitty she always is.

The movers come today to get our furniture out of Saint Botolph (we were not moving a hide-a-bed down three flights of stairs, into a truck and then into this place). Then Wednesday the rest of our belongings from Kansas City get here. So I fear the kitties won't be able to get settled for another week.

Friday, August 15, 2008

If you get a chance

Check out the translation of the two talking kitties in the YouTube video link section. I laughed a lot--very cleverly done. Thanks to Kalea for giving me the link.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cats are unsettled

I'm packing up things in prep for tomorrow's closing and our move out of Saint Botolph. They're running around, playing tag, startling at the least sound and generally acting like freaked out cats. Poor kitties. I want to tell them that by this time next week, life will be a lot calmer but of course words don't mean anything to them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Cheese, toast and pouncing kitties

On Friday we move to the South End, which has a bunch of little shops and restaurants, and we’ve had fun exploring the area. Our realtor had mentioned Formaggio which bills itself as a neighborhood shop for epicurean delights with a worldly feel.

We were intrigued just by the description, although you sure wouldn’t think all that would be available in the dinky store. But the store more than lives up to its billing. We could hardly take everything in, that place is just packed to the gills with a bazillion cheeses and meats and pastas and wine and—well you get the idea. Kent turned to me and whispered, “There are eight different kind of goat cheese!” Keep in mind he didn’t mean eight different flavorings; we are talking about different cheeses from different regions. He said, “You know what this means?” We can never move back to Kansas City.”

Yes I know KC has the Better Cheddar, but trust me when I say the difference between the two shops is as drastic as the difference between Better Cheddar and the grocery store dairy section.

I’ve started eating a piece of toast on run mornings before I head out. It’s very foreign to me to eat breakfast so soon after getting up, but I’ve found that I need something in my tummy or else I get nauseous while running.

Ah pouncing kitties . . . how I love thee. I must since they are still alive this morning. OK to be fair I need to put the blame where it belongs, squarely on Wally. He’s got a game he plays with me at night when we go to bed. When I get under the covers, that’s his sign to absolutely go ballistic on my feet. He bites, scratches and uses his back legs like a demented bunny if I so much as think about moving a toe. I’m fine with the game at bedtime. I’m not fine with the game at 3:30 AM, especially since the middle of the night game also includes pouncing on my hands which might be on my belly. Ooof.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another reason to run

As my friends and family know (because I’m sure I talk about it way too much) I work out six days a week. I didn’t always, but a few years ago when my health took a turn for the worse and I had another three major abdominal surgeries, I realized I needed to do something about my lack of fitness.

Two and a half years ago, I started with Pilates, which kicked my butt. Pilates is especially good for developing your core or abdominal muscles, something I seriously lacked. Since my gym didn’t offer very many Pilates classes, I started taking yoga too.

Last year I was on the road 100% for the first six months of the year. I packed my yoga mat and also added in an aerobic workout so I didn’t get bored. In early July, I started running—well really I trotted. The nice thing about having done all the strength exercises I’d been doing is that I had muscles and I’d slimmed down so I didn’t have to haul as much around when I ran.

This morning I ran across an article on WebMD that touted the benefits of running as we age. Take a look, I think you’ll find it interesting. While it's great running offers these additional benefits, that's not why I run. I do the yoga, Pilates and weights to stay fit and thin. I run to stay sane.

Friday, August 8, 2008

More odds and ends

First, I may have hit a personal best with my run this morning—I ran 9.45 minute miles. I realize by most standards that’s practically a snail’s pace but hey, I ran 4.1 miles in 39.54 minutes.

Second, we are still on track to close a week from today. Moving again will be a huge pain but at this point, the pain of moving is far less than the pain of staying here. Plus the apartment has been rented out to a girl who is really excited about living here. That made me both sad (this place is gross, where has she been living?) and happy—no more prospective tenants traipsing through our apartment.

Third, I took this picture of Eddie about 10 minutes ago. Seriously, this cat has major attitude. I guess really I should spell that cattitude.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How we came to have three kitties

Chloe is my kitty—I got her shortly after 9/11 and she’s really truly my cat. She will let Kent pet her now, after six years together but it took him probably two years before he could do that.

Then we got Sammie almost two years ago. He was another rescue kitty, about seven months old and pure black. I do have pictures but since he’s all black you can’t really see any details. Sammie was the first kitten that Kent had really ever lived with, and Sammie is the reason Kent came over to the dark side and is now a cat person.

However it turned out that Sammie had FIP which is always fatal. He died just over a year ago, at about 14 months. In addition to grieving for our lil guy, we also felt cheated. He was such a fun kitty and we didn’t even get to enjoy him for a year. Our vet, who was fantastic during the whole ordeal, asked that when we were ready to adopt again, we consider a cat from his practice. Apparently people dump animals there all the time—he said it was very normal for him to get to work to find dogs tied to the railing, or a box with kittens just left there.

So that’s what we did. We wanted to get one more cat so we’d be a two-kitty family again, and we liked the idea of rescuing another cat. We thought we’d look for one between one and about three or four years old so that Chloe wouldn’t have a super dominating cat annoying her—in other words, no kittens.

Get ready to laugh at us.

We went there on a Saturday and looked at ALL his cats and holy cow he had a bunch of them. In Kansas City, you can have four pets if you live within the city limits. Apparently a woman had ended up collecting and/or rescuing 37—yes you read that correctly, thirty-seven!!—cats and someone had turned her in to animal control. So we looked at every one of those cats. They were all very well cared for and decently socialized but too old for us.

Then we heard kitten meows. Oh, we say, you have kittens? May we look at them? Suckers! They were two litter mates, both boys and about three months old. We each picked one up and we said well we could take one of these guys. Then they started crying for each other.

Yeah, we took them both home.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


It’s hard to tell from the pictures I post exactly how large Eddie really is. Chloe and Wally each weigh right about 10 pounds. On Wally, that’s stretched out over a very long frame while Chloe is a lot more compact. But neither is a particularly large cat. What you notice about Chloe when she’s running around is that her legs are pretty short so she almost looks like a small raccoon when she scuttles around. Wally is quite thin because he’s got a very long spine, long legs and a really long tail. But for some reason he looks bigger in his pictures.

Eddie weighs in at almost 15 pounds, so he’s got about five pounds of additional weight on him—that’s stretched across a frame about the same size as Wally. But Eddie also has big paws and a bigger head. He doesn’t really fit in my lap any more, he’s just too big. But he still tries.

So here are a few pictures from yesterday and you may think I did weird things regarding the relative size of the cats. But I didn’t, they are these sizes.

Edited to add: I just took this picture. That's my lap you see Eddie trying to curl up on.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

To my sweating friends in KC

Did you know your forecast calls for a low of 81 tonight? That's two degrees higher than our high of 79 for today. And tomorrow when you'll be "enjoying" 100 degrees, it will just be 84 in Boston.

In all seriousness, I especially felt sorry for my friend Kevin, who moved in yesterday's heat. You guys apparently had a heat index of like 112. Gotta say, while I miss a lot from KC, I do NOT miss the heat.