Monday, September 29, 2008

We are mean

And if the Cat Nanny ever sees these videos, she might not watch our kitties again. I saw the hat on a display at Target that was filled with dog costumes for Halloween. This hat was designed for cats and had a cut out of a cat head in it. I couldn't resist.

Eddie actually tolerated the hat better.

Chloe just looked like we were torturing her so I won't embarrass her by posting her video.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The task that grew or how we organized one of our two closets

Having been a project manager, I do love to make task lists. Kent accuses me of scope creep in that I’ll say we are going to do some task and then I (sneakily) add on. While that’s true sometimes, it wasn’t true yesterday. The task at hand was just huge all by itself.

We have just two closets in our apartment and both are pretty big. We’d already organized the one in our bedroom because we had to when we replaced the damaged dry wall. But we’d just thrown things into the closet under the stairs. I was confident we could get more in there and also be able to get things out more easily if we restacked everything. So that was on my list for yesterday. In addition, we have those few pesky boxes left to sort through and figure out where the contents go. That was on my list too.

The slide show on the left will give you some hint of the amount of crap stuffed in that closet. We went through all the boxes and got utterly ruthless with things. Wally kept hopping from box to box, looking all cute so I had to keep grabbing my camera and getting pictures of the cuteness.

We did finish the closet (hurrah!) but it took all day. And one unexpected outcome was poor Eddie lost his perch by Kent’s desk. He seemed really bereft last night, and cried and cried even more than he normally does.

Finally, Kent took this video last night. I’ll warn you, its two minutes long and kind of boring, but it’s also very typical of how the boys groom each other. At one point, Wally bites Eddie’s throat because Eddie stops grooming him. That’s brotherly love for you.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It’s the end of the world

As we know it, and I feel fine. Mom, this blog entry is for you.

Last night Kent and I finally got to have dinner at Franklin Café. We’d heard good things about it from our realtor, Paul, who also warned us that it tends to fill quickly and you can’t make reservations. We got there about 6:30 and snagged the last table, which was by the window. That made for chilly eating but great people watching.

Kent had the steak frites and I had the roasted chicken, which came with brussel sprouts. My mother can attest to my extreme dislike for most strong-tasting vegetables, and brussel sprouts definitely fall into that category. But I decided that if the nasty sprouts were just on the side, in other words not actually incorporated into the chicken, I could work around them. The server assured me they were a side dish and furthermore that they were amazingly good. I remained skeptical but thought well maybe it’s time to give the sprouts another taste. I told Kent I would taste them if he would and he immediately said no way.

Dear me, our server was not lying. As I recall, sprouts have always tasted exactly like nasty little cooked cabbages, which I still dislike. But these had not a hint of that flavor—they’d been thinly sliced and quickly sautéd, probably in olive oil, and had salt and pepper and some other savory seasonings on them. Seriously they were good. Kent had a taste and agreed, then I ate the rest.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The strange cat

Actually we have two cats that roam around our patio. I haven't been able to get a picture of the other one, it's pretty big and all white and moves really fast. Both Eddie and Wally hiss at it when they see it.

This is the ginger cat I mentioned yesterday that Eddie was hollering about. I was amazed at how bold this guy was, he stuck his head through the security bars to try to peer into our back door. I got this picture and one other one that has a sliver of his backside as he slunk away. When I've walked through the alley on my way to the store, I've seen this guy and always call him. He never comes but he also doesn't run away, so I think he's been around people a lot. I'm not sure that's true for the white cat. He was skulking around this morning but before I could get my camera turned on, he'd zipped away.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Crazy cat

I was going to tell you about the ginger and white cat who roams around outside, not sure if he's feral or just an outdoor cat. Eddie and he went eye to eye this morning through the window with the air conditioner in it. The outside cat stood on top of the air conditioner outside while Eddie stood on top of it in the house as they hollered at each other. But this afternoon as is often the case, Wally upstaged Eddie.

Kent got in this morning after being gone for most of the month. Because he was gone so long and had to take his suits, he ended up taking the ultra huge suitcase. Before he headed into the office, he did unpack but he left the suitcase out. Wally found it and you can see what happened in the two pictures.

I think Wally was looking for presents but all he found was a ticket stub which he's been batting around the apartment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pictures are worth a thousand words

And here's how Wally does it (with bonus help from Eddie).

First, here's the toilet. I don't know that he would have figured this out if the handle were on the front of the tank. But it's on the side and you push it down toward the floor to flush.

Next, you see Wally in position and working the lever.

Finally, here's Eddie trying to help. In fact, just a moment later he got up on the back of the toilet to see what the fuss was about but didn't have a clue what to do.

This afternoon, Wally used his lil head to push the handle. He never actually gets it fully flushed so when I hear the toilet running, I know what he's been doing. Kent gets home tomorrow, so I'll have him show me how to turn my camera to the movie clip mode and see if I can get a video of him doing it. I swear Wally likes to be photographed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My trip to New York

Did you have to write those annoying essays when you first returned to school: What I did on summer vacation? I sure did, and this entry reminds me of those days.

I always enjoy New York, even though I've been there a lot. Mostly though I really loved seeing Kent. He's been gone a lot this month and after living apart for nine moths, I get grumpy when he's not around. One benefit of living in Boston is that the flight to New York is pretty short. I thought about taking the train and may do that another time, and I guess I could have driven but honestly I wouldn't want to pay for hotel parking in New York. We stayed at Club Quarters right by Radio City Hall and he got an amazing rate: $235 a night. Any more that's a good rate no matter where you are but it's really fantastic in Manhattan.

We hooked up with two different sets of friends, one on Friday night and the other Saturday afternoon. That left us plenty of time to enjoy seeing each other. As Kent said, we can aim for the same sort of relaxing, do-nothing weekend at home but the truth is all the various normal household chores call our names and we end up getting busy with mundane tasks that need to be done but aren't particularly relaxing.

Fashion Week was--alas--already over but that meant we could get things on sale at pretty good prices. For example, I got a Kenneth Cole purse for under $100. Yes, that's still a lot of money but it's at least within the realm of consideration. I turned down an even better Cole Haan purse for $245 :-)

I also managed to collect four blisters, three of which ruptured and bled. So I wimped out last night and grabbed a taxi from the airport instead of taking the T. Poor feet.

This morning, I realized that Mr. Wally has learned how to flush the toilet. I wish I'd had my camera because it's pretty funny how he does it: he perches on the back of the toilet and pushes the handle (which is on the side, not the front) down with his paw. He was most intrigued. I was mostly amused.

Friday, September 19, 2008

We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto

Well it's a good thing I am not driving to the airport today as I head to New York City to spend the weekend with Kent.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Odds and ends part three I think

I do odds and ends because I’ll have a bunch of short things I want to write about but none of them would ever grow up to a full blog entry. Today is an odds and ends day.

First, my husband has been in Kansas City this week. I am SO JEALOUS! He told me last night it was very weird to be there without me being there and no longer owning a home there. I’m sure he felt almost displaced.

Second, I met the Cat Nanny. She is a South End institution—about eight years ago after she could no longer work due to health issues, she began sitting for kitties whose owners were out of town. I knew she would be great with my kitties when she just plopped right down on the floor and began loving all three of them. The boys are pretty indiscriminate, but Chloe is a different story. Guess who sought out the Cat Nanny for lots of petting? So that right there sealed things for me.

Today is my mother’s birthday. When my brother and I were little, she would fix us whatever dinner we wanted on our birthdays. My brother always picked tacos (deep fried), with Orange Crush and if I recall correctly, chocolate cake. I always had short ribs and angel food cake with no icing or anything on it. So today, Mom, I’ll cook you a virtual birthday dinner—just let me know what you want.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wally is still fierce

While the weather is nice, I've been keeping the living room window without an air conditioner open. All three cats take turns sitting there looking out at our patio. And even though we live in an entirely urban setting, we still have squirrels and unfortunately we have cats. I don't know if they are feral or if their owners are just nuts to let them outside, but I've spotted probably three different ones in just the month we've been here.

This morning the boys were sitting in the window and I kept hearing Wally hiss. He's normally not a hisser so I was puzzled. From where I sat at my desk, I couldn't see anything on the patio that might get him riled. I moved over to the window and there underneath the window was a large white cat. Wally just kept hissing at him but that's as far as he took it. So I dug up this picture from when we first got Wally and Eddie. He's wet from his bath (which he hated but which he sorely needed, smelly little thing) and he's hissing at our German shepherd. Yeah three pound kitty vs 75 pound German shepherd. Pretty sure the dog would have won had she been so inclined.

From Kitties

Monday, September 15, 2008

How Wally attacks things

Kent's camera takes pictures and short video clips so last night he took this movie of Wally attacking my feet. In this session, Wally is actually pretty subdued, normally he just kicks like a maniac on my feet. He bit hard though, you can hear me saying ouch because it hurt.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A small lesson for me

As most of my friends and family know, I work out six days a week. It's a commitment I made to myself and I usually keep it. I recently decided to go to church on Sundays and last Sunday was my first time.

This morning, for no real reason except that it's rainy and humid out, I woke up flat exhausted and thought well I'll just skip working out and church. Then I realized I would keep both of those commitments if they involved someone else. Surely I was worth the same consideration? So I both worked out and went to church. Yes it's still rainy and humid out but I kept my commitment to myself and that makes me feel pretty darn good.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting down to the final boxes

Why is it the last few boxes are always full of stuff that doesn't really fit anywhere but you can't really just throw away? It's painful and tedious to go through it all, and the way I'm wired, I'd rather toss everything at this point.

Wally helped though, I guess that's good. And then the boys romped around a lot. They love to get between the side of my desk and the wall--that's the heater you see behind Wally and that's why I have to keep the desk away from the wall. The boys don't know that, of course, they just think it's a great place to hide.

One of the things I found as I unpacked made me glad I hadn't thrown it all away. My mother should remember this, I believe my grandfather gave it to her. You can't see them all in this picture, but the pig has suitcases with exotic destinations placed on its body. As I remember the story, G'Pa X'd out all the other destinations, drew a suitcase on the pig's butt hanging from the tail and wrote "Vermont" on it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The "joys" of home ownership

Our toilet has been temperamental since we moved in. Sometimes you'd get a perfect flush the first time with barely a push of the handle. Other times you'd have to hold and hold and hold and then maybe if the toilet gods were willing, you'd get a good flush. Sometimes you'd just have to resign yourself to reflushing.

Now that's always bothered me. I was going to say it bugs the crap out of me but thought better of it. Sorry for the awful pun. Anyway--to me it's pretty simple. If I push the handle down, I should get a flush right away with no contortions or prayers required.

Yesterday things got worse, although I remained blissfully unaware until 11 PM. I knew I was having to flush more than once but what I didn't realize is apparently we have a clog, which I discovered at 11 PM, when I also was already in my PJs and also really needed to pee. Let me tell you, folks, that is just not a fun discovery.

Long story not quite so long, all my efforts (including walking half a mile to the store to get a plunger which doesn't work in our fancy pancy toilet), hollering, crying, sniveling and generally being miserable--none of it helped. Kent suggested using a wire clothes hanger to ream out the toilet. Except we no longer have even one wire hanger.

I spent the night at a nearby hotel and called a plumber recommended by our wonderful realtor, Paul. The plumber should be here within a half hour. I will pay whatever his fee is to have a working toilet.

The picture is what I came home to. As you can see, Wally knows damn well where the toilet paper is. He usually can't get to the container since we keep it sort of tucked between the toilet and tub. I moved it last night so I could uselessly plunge the toilet.

UPDATE: Greg the plumber has been here and gone. For $85, I have a working toilet, he adjusted the handle and showed me how to do it and we talked about replacement toilets that don't sit so low to the ground that you think you are in kindergarten again. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A story about Rayna's arrival

My older son and his fiancee set their wedding day for September 9, and let us all know well ahead of time so we could make plans. But then my sister Amy called me to say she wouldn't be attending. To put it mildly, I was pretty disappointed. I also (secretly, although she says not so secretly) wondered if perhaps she had put some sort of hiking or climbing adventure ahead of her nephew's wedding but no, she hadn't. When I asked how come she couldn't make it to the wedding, she said it was too close to her due date of September 17. Given that this was Amy's first child, I was pretty excited and I shrieked and bounced around the house like a crazy woman, I'm sure Amy thought I lost my mind.

As it turned out, Rayna did not wait for her due date. Instead Amy ended up at the hospital the same day as Jordan's wedding and Rayna was born pretty early the next day. Amy was kind enough to wait until we all woke up to share her news.

Now Rayna is two years old and from what Amy shares with me, she's super active, inquisitive and a lot of fun. Motherhood seems to really agree with Amy; in fact, she's expecting her second child in January.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My how they grew

On Sunday I got these two pictures. Eddie and Wally usually curl up like this at some point during the day and they also usually go to town grooming each other. That's what they were doing in the picture where you can see their reflections in the mirror.

Those pictures reminded me of one I took just over a year ago, shortly after we got them. Even then they were cuddle bunnies with each other. Awww!

From Kitties

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wally found the dryer

We have a stackable washer/dryer combo in our apartment. It's the kind that's essentially one piece so it's different from the ones we had in Kansas City. I always wondered if Wally would figure out there's a warm hidey hole up there and today he did. I will be ultra diligent since I had some friends who lost their cat in a very gruesome way to a dryer they didn't realize she'd climbed in.

Also the tropical storm last night mostly missed us. We got a fair amount of rain but inland they got a lot more than we did. So far so good on the closet.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Almost forgot

I've never seen the image for a tropical storm before on the National Weather Service web site for my location. It's the tropical storm conditions expected image, and yes that's right. We will be enjoying the remnants of Hanna tonight and tomorrow. In fact, tonight's forecast calls for up to four inches of rain. I sure hope whatever repair was made to fix that leak into our closet really works.

Two quick things

First, this picture is just for you, Kalea. It's a very typical Eddie Playgirl for Cats pose.

We did get a vacuum today, but just couldn't bring ourselves to spend $500 for the Dyson. So we got a Dirt Devil for $150. As Kent said, we can buy almost three of them for the price of the Dyson. I used the new vacuum today to get the litter behind the console, and you can see it in this picture:

Friday, September 5, 2008

Somewhat embarrasing . . .

We had two vacuums when we lived in Kansas City: a large Kenmore upright and a small Eureka Optima bagless vacuum. The Kenmore is very powerful except the hand tool doesn't do a great job on furniture (a must with three kitties) and it's not all that great on bare floors. But it's fantastic on carpet. We got the Optima for the hardwood floors in our previous house, plus the hand tool was amazing on both stairs and furniture.

However we ruined one of the two included filters for the bagless vacuum by using it to clean up all the dry wall dust and debris. And for whatever reason, the second one didn't seat all that well so getting the stupid cannister open to empty the container was a real pain. I looked all over for replacement filters but they are not to be found. I thought I found them at Bed, Bath & Beyond but alas they don't fit. So that vacuum is useless because it won't run without the filter.

We've been using the Kenmore since our things were delivered a couple of weeks ago, and I figured I better check the bag because it wasn't doing all that great of a job on the carpet since we moved. I got a nasty surprise when I opened the bag container--there was no bag and the container was about 1/3 full of packed solid cat hair. Dear Lord it was gross.

I emptied it out as best I could, and got a bag in there but honestly it's not working all that well. And the really sad/embarrassing part is I think we were the ones to take the bag out. If I recall correctly, we figured since our things would be in storage for a couple of months we didn't want a stinky mostly-full vacuum bag smelling up our stuff. I guess we are in the market for a new vacuum now. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


OK my fellow kitty-loving friends, I have a couple of questions for you.

First off is the issue of litter. Specifically when Eddie uses the litter box, he turns his front paws into giant shovels and scoops massive amounts of litter out of the box and against the facing wall. I'm talking too much litter to vacuum up, and it's all with his front paws. He's not kicking with his back paws. It's truly impressive and also disgusting how much litter he moves.

So do you have any suggestions on how to get him to stop? Or alternatively, got any ideas on how I can better contain the mess? Here's the back of the console where the litter boxes are housed. As you can see, creating a barrier will be complicated by the curve of the wall.

And the second question is how can we install shelves capable of taking a cat's weight and the initial extra weight from when they jump up on the shelf? The boy kitties are climbers, especially Wally. And Eddie is just a lard butt, he weighs about 15 pounds now, so I figure the initial load from an Eddie jump might be pretty hefty. We'd had the previous owners leave the floating shelves, which I think they got from West Elm. Those shelves did not take even Wally's weight. I'd prefer to have the cats be on something better designed for them than have them climbing our bookcases.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wally redux

Wally found another hiding place, and he looks a bit annoyed that I found him. This is in our bedroom closet inside the pet carriers which have been disassembled and stacked. So he's lying on the metal doors which are on the bottom there. Hardly comfortable, but very private. Well it was private until I found him.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bonus Wally pictures

He was a busy boy today. The first two pictures are of him in our closet. Please know that the shelf he's on is a good six feet off the ground. We are not sure how he got up there. He looks entirely unrepentant as he eats the wire, doesn't he?

Closing in on the finish line

I hope your holiday weekend was relaxing. Ours was all about painting and putting up pictures. In fact, I think Kent is highly grateful that he can go to work this morning and sit all day. I did keep him busy, poor man.

We’d hoped to get the entire apartment painted over this weekend, and we came close. We chose to put off painting the stairs and the hall by the stairs until next weekend for two reasons—first, we were pooped and second, we needed another paint pan.

I got the kitchen painted during the day Friday. When I pulled the fridge out, I got a nasty surprise—most fridges hide some dirt but this was really gross. I snapped a picture of the grossness behind the fridge and included it in the slide show. Once Kent got home from work, we tackled the bathroom and finished that before we fell into bed.

Saturday we got our bedroom and half the living room, and on Sunday we finished the living room and went off to get haircuts. Yesterday we put up pictures and mirrors and rearranged the living room. We are using mirrors to both visually expand the space and add more light, and it seems to be helping. While we may move some pictures around later, the huge gold mirror you see over our couch is not moving any time soon. That thing is really heavy and we used three dry wall anchors to ensure it stays up on the wall.

I included a picture of Eddie on a box in the slide show. I have to tell you, he’s found that box no matter where I put it—I think he must have the top bowed down enough from his huge butt that it fits him like a glove.

Finally this picture is of our window well in the bedroom. We used four bags of marble gravel to help increase the light, and yesterday I found the glass when I was unpacking boxes. Kent’s mother gave him this glass, it’s really cool looking and we were afraid we had gotten rid of it before we moved. Kent thought it would look really cool on the gravel so when I found it, I put it out there. And I think he’s right, it does look cool.