Saturday, February 28, 2009

Not the best night of sleep ever

Warning—slightly gross details ahead.

Last night around 1:30 AM we were awakened by the kitties doing something out in the living room so Kent got up to investigate and I turned a bit in bed and put my hand squarely in a small puke pile. Under the sheets. Yes, Eddie finally puked under the covers with us. Highly gross and especially annoying since we’d just changed the sheets yesterday.

So we clean it up, strip off the bottom sheet and mattress pad, toss them in the washer and figure we’ll just sleep on top of the feather bed and do a full change in the morning. Well some of it had stuck to the top sheet so it now dropped down on the feather bed—EW. So we ended up changing the sheets entirely and crawling back into bed.

If Kent’s had a drink or two or when he’s traveled, he produces exceptionally loud startling snores. And that’s what happened next. At one point I was so jarred awake by his snore that I hit him—usually I nudge him to get him to change positions but this time I had such a huge rush of adrenaline that I just hit him, sort of a fight or flight reaction I guess.

And during this time, the cats were being semi-noisy out in the living room. They weren’t quite bad enough to get up and find out what they were doing. But they were bad enough to keep interrupting our sleep.

This morning we were awakened by Eddie flushing the toilet. Today we’ll be fixing that situation. Kent got a ½ x 2 inch board he's going to cut down so we can put it under the toilet handles. I’ll post pictures of that later.

And in the rush to get the puke cleaned up, we forgot to re-do our kitty countermeasures to protect our paper towel. Boy were we dumb.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Guess Eddie felt left out

Because he just successfully flushed the toilet. As in the toilet flushed completely. Until now, the boys had only been able to partially flush the toilet which caused it to run all the time. Sigh.

Update on Wally

We've been deliberating seeking Wally out every day, multiple times a day, just to love on him. Our goal was to help him calm down just a bit, knowing that utter calmness was almost certainly not a realistic goal. I do think our strategy is working because he's calmer and he's starting to seek us out for petting and lap time.

Wally used to climb a lot in our house in Kansas City and he loved to go down to the basement and then jump up to the duct work and squirm in there so he could explore. We don't have anything like that for him here and I think he would have loved it if I'd gotten the gigantic cat tree that stretched to the ceiling and had five different platforms for cats to leap around on.

We do have a mid-century armoire that Kent's mother gave to us. It's a bit over five feet tall and stands in our living room near the hallway to the kitchen and bedroom. I don't think Wally could jump from the floor to the top, but he was able to jump from a covered wicker basket that stands about 20 inches tall. I was impressed because the basket lid isn't all that sturdy and it gives a little even under Wally's slight weight. He stayed up there for maybe 10 minutes and then hopped down. His brother was not happy and cried while Wally was up there.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not really a shill

I love the magazine Real Simple, and I’ve had a subscription to it for a couple of years. My mother says it’s just another women’s magazine and maybe that’s true, although Kent reads this one every month and I don’t think he would read Family Circle or Woman’s Day. He’s said before he wishes that there were an equivalent version for men that covered similar topics except for men.

So the point of even mentioning the magazine is last month’s issue, which had an article about extending the effects of various spa treatments so you’d really get your money’s worth. I generally don’t go to a spa, although if I were rolling in the dough I’d get a massage every week. I’ve had three facials in my life. I liked them a lot and loved how my skin felt afterward, but the cost in time and money was more than I could personally justify. So this article intrigued me—maybe I could take some of these ideas and just do more at home? Of course the article (as with most articles in Real Simple) is all about product placement; still over the few years I've been reading the magazine, I've found their recommendations to be generally quite good. While I am very good about using a quality face cleanser (cannot say enough good things about Purity, which also takes off your eye make-up), and I exfoliate once a week and use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it, I still don't always know what's out there and don't want to spend my money on things that might end up being useless. But the recommendations also spelled out why these products were recommended, so I figured I would give these ideas a try.

And that’s what I did. First the article recommended using a toner that contains salicylic acid to help keep the smoothness you get with a facial. I scouted around and found Biore had one for like $6, so that was a good budget find. The article also recommended using Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System, which was $25 at my pricey Boston CVS. Well OK that’s a little more but I thought I would give it a try. I’ve used three times (once a week) and I must say it really does smooth out my skin. The article also recommended some heavy-duty moisturizers but my skin is still pretty oily so I just ignored that suggestion.

So there you go—I’ve found some products I really like and they were budget-friendly too. For less than $35, I'm getting elements of a facial every week.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New victims--er subjects

I made a couple of outfits for my sister's children which you can see here:

Here are a couple of close-ups of them:



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not typically me

I got up at the normal time this morning, that is to say about 6AM. But have you ever had one of those days when you just can't seem to get moving? That was me this morning. I looked at the clock and realized there was no way to get ready for church and get there on time or even remotely within an acceptable amount of lateness. I don't even know what it was that took up all my time but here I sit, un-showered and hungry at 9:35. Guess I better get going!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Brotherly love or how kitties don't share and what we are doing about it

You've seen from the videos that the top perch on the cat tree really won't hold both Eddie and Wally. Wally usually loses out simply because Eddie is huge and just muscles him out of the way. So we closed off the hole in the bottom of that perch with some heavy cardboard and then covered the perch with a carpet remnant cut to fit.

Here's how they look right now--Eddie still takes up way too much room but they are both snoozing away.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

He knows

I’ve never seen Wally behave the way he did yesterday. You recall that on Tuesday night he broke our mid-century Harlequin butter dish. We both got up to deal with the mess and didn’t say a word to him, mostly because we were too focused on the loss of that dish. Normally if Wally gets on the counter or something, we’ll sort of holler at him (Get down! No!—that kind of stuff), but we didn’t Tuesday night. In fact we barely caught a glimpse of him while we were picking up the pieces; he was pretty clearly hiding from us.

That behavior lasted most of the day. He was skittish, and amped up and racing around the apartment but carefully avoiding me. At one point I picked him up and he was literally quivering. So somewhere in his kitty brain, I think he knew he screwed up royally.

Yesterday afternoon I made a point of loving on him periodically, and last night he was a little less rowdy. Unfortunately he’s learned how to open the brand-new Velcro ties we just got on Monday so he banged the cabinet doors open again last night starting around 4AM. As a friend of mine said, it’s like we have a furry toddler. I’m just glad he doesn’t poop his pants.

My mother did some online scouting for our dish and found at least one that either was still for sale or had been recently. That gave us both hope that maybe we can replace the dish after all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


When Kent and I first got together we began collecting Harlequin dishes to complete the set his mother had passed on from the early days of her marriage. Harlequin dishes are similar to Fiesta in that they are brightly colored and have a distinctive shape, but the Harlequin ones are not collected as much so finding some of the pieces was pretty hard. You can read about the differences here, and see pictures of some pieces here. Our first or second Christmas together, Kent managed to find a butter dish and gave it to me. I wish I could show you a picture of what the dish looked like—it could hold a full pound of butter and ours was the really cool turquoise color.

Last night we were awakened by something breaking. Wally moved the butter dish from its spot against the wall on our pass through and far from any edges all the way to the edge where he pushed it off. To be honest with you, I cried. The dish was beyond salvaging in any way and was not only in pieces but parts were nothing but slivers. We know it was Wally because Eddie was under the covers with us and Chloe never gets on the counter, ever.

We almost certainly will not be able to replace that dish—in my brief search online this morning; I didn’t find a single one for sale. As I said, they are pretty rare and those who have Harlequin tend to keep them. It’s one thing when Wally destroys a roll of paper towel. This is different and I’m really struggling with not being angry with him.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Where is that clementine?

We both love clementines, they're probably our favorite kind of citrus fruit. I especially like it that they are so easy to peel, so I've been keeping them on hand this winter. I don't like my fruit cold though, so I'll set my clementine out in the morning and eat it later in the day when it's room temperature. Yesterday I never got around to eating my clementine and in the middle of the night, Wally found it and knocked it off the counter. The problem is I can't find it now. I've looked under pretty much every piece of furniture and I'm stumped. I just hope it dries out instead of rotting.

Here's a couple of videos of how Eddie gets Wally off the top perch of the cat tree. As you can see, he's so much bigger than Wally that he can use his mass to sort of squeeze Wally out. And if that doesn't work, well he just bites Wally.

Mean Eddie

Still mean

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Way too cute

Kent took this picture yesterday. You can read the details on his blog but he kindly let me use this image.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

We're having decent weather here in Boston so Kent and I got out of the apartment for a while. I was feeling a little stir-crazy after being indoors the entire week. In fact, I hadn't left the house since I went to church on Sunday. I'd planned to run errands later in the week, and then of course Tuesday I got sick. Well I guess I was technically out of the house Tuesday when I got locked out but it wasn't exactly a fun time.

My Valentine's gift to Kent was a bit selfish since I got him a pair of down booties and I got me a pair too! These booties come up over the ankle and are technically called tent booties but I don't think you'll catch us in a tent any time soon. Our office nook (which is right off the living room) has marble tiles; those tiles are pretty but quite cold. So even though winter may be on the way out, I think we'll end up using the booties a lot.

A week or so ago Kent and I were in Levenger's at the Prudential Center, and I saw this pen. In the picture it looks red but it's really quite pink, leaning more toward the raspberry side of pink. I completely raved about it and then promptly put it out of my mind. Guess what I got from Kent? Yep, that fantastic pen!

We'll go out for an early dinner at Columbus Cafe and that will complete our Valentine's Day. I hope you have a good one as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sneaky Kent

We ordered some longer Velcro strips to Velcro our kitchen cabinet handles together. Wally has a bad habit of opening cabinet doors in the middle of the night and letting them slam shut. That wakes us up pretty quickly and the only way to stop it is to somehow get the door handles tied together. We've had moderate success with a couple of shorter Velcro ties (the kind you use to keep computer or stereo cords together) and we hope the longer ones will really do the job.

Kent emailed me this morning to say those strips were out for delivery and I should put a key in my pocket. Believe me, after Tuesday's fiasco I most certainly did put a key in my pocket. I had no intention of spending another hour and a half out in that entryway. Only what was out for delivery wasn't the strips after all. My Valentine's flowers arrived today *big smile*.

He's so sneaky.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Comfort foods

When I was a little girl, I was sick a lot up until age 9 when my tonsils were removed. Apparently they really were nothing more than giant germ catchers because my health improved dramatically once they were gone. But prior to that, I caught everything there was to catch and as I recall it, never went a month without missing some school.

Our family had the normal go-to foods like ginger ale or applesauce for when we got sick. My mother also fixed soft-boiled eggs on crackers. Basically you boil eggs for about 90 seconds and then crack open the shells and put the eggs over crumbled-up saltines. They were easy to eat because the eggs softened up the crackers so they didn’t hurt my throat. I know they sound vile but they weren’t, and I still make them even now when I’ve been ill.

I’m not ready to eat anything—the gut issues make that very clear—but once I am, I’ll fix some soft-boiled eggs on crackers. Until then, it’s hot water for me.

Edited to add: My mother is right, the cooking time is three and a half to four minutes. I do like them runnier so I go on the shorter side.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Not the best day ever

Yesterday my sister’s son (who is not even two months old) was hospitalized with RSV. As you can imagine that’s been hard on their family and of course the rest of us to a lesser extent as we watch from afar. I don't have an update yet from my mother, because I'd planned to call her this morning. As you'll see from the rest of my entry, I got a little sidetracked.

This morning I woke up with an intestinal bug. I should mention I’m prone to get them, although I almost never get colds. But I can also force myself to wait to do the stomach/intestinal bug deed until I’m someplace private or more convenient to do my business. That ability stood me in good stead this morning.

After I’d made several necessary trips to the bathroom early this morning, I headed back to bed. Sometimes I can sleep through the worst of a virus like that, and that’s what I planned to do today. I woke up shortly before 10 and thought I would feel better if I were clean, so I took a shower. Just as I was getting out, the doorbell rang. That’s not entirely unusual because UPS and FedEx always ring and usually won’t leave the package. I debated not going upstairs since I was dripping wet, but my overdeveloped sense of duty won out and I threw on a robe, my slippers and headed up the stairs.

Our front door actually opens into a small foyer that has another door leading out to the iron grate door. This detail is important in understanding what happened. I unlocked our front door so I could get back in because I hadn't grabbed my keys on the way up. I opened the exterior door, and it was FedEx with Kent’s Zune—fortunately the package was small enough to fit through the iron grate door outside. But when I tried to open our door, it was locked. This meant our door had actually been unlocked for a couple of days and I’d inadvertently locked it.

Well this was not good. I could feel those puking urges building back up but pretty clearly there was no place to do that. Plus my wet hair was dripping down the collar of my robe. On the positive side, I was stuck in the entryway, not actually outside, and there is a small wall heater there. On the negative side, I didn’t have my keys or my phone and still don’t have Kent’s number memorized. After all, I (almost) always have my phone with me . . . Also on the downside, the carpet in that entryway is beyond filthy with leaves and sand and salt from this winter. But that was the only available place to sit.

Long story not quite so long, I tried getting someone to email Kent by hollering at a couple of random strangers on the street who I am sure were convinced some crazy woman was let out of the loony bin too early. Fortunately I heard an upstairs neighbor come down and she very kindly emailed Kent, who came home as fast as he could. As you can imagine, I immediately burst into tears because I was so thankful I wasn't going to be stuck out there until 5:30 or 6PM. I was also really glad Kent wasn’t traveling.

So the take away for me is two-fold: memorize Kent’s number and get another key made we can hide in that foyer.I’ve been inside for about 45 minutes and took a second shower and I’m still cold. Time to drink more hot water and call my mother.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Kitty nose!

This morning Kent took pictures of some flowers he gave me for my birthday. He had to shut Wally and Eddie in our bedroom because they wouldn't stay out of the frame. Well Chloe ended up poking her nose in where it didn't belong. But it's a cute picture and also a rare one of her where she's not curled up in a ball.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Poor Wally

Eddie can and does move Wally off the top perch. Partly he just hassles and torments Wally until Wally gives up but he also uses his far greater mass to shove Wally out of the way. In the picture to the left, you can see Wally's head poking down through the entry hole to the top perch.

The reason he's doing so is in this next picture. Look carefully and you can see part of Wally's ear and you'll realize that Eddie is sitting on Wally. Yes, Eddie was successful. But then not five minutes later, he hopped off the perch. It's almost as if he were just making sure he could get the perch when he wanted it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Sticker shock, more list items and a form of detente

First the list items.

17. Wally likes raw carrots. If I leave my little bowl out with my baby carrots, he will get at least one out and try to eat it. He hasn't succeeded yet but he keeps trying.

18. When he's really excited, he drools a little. He did so yesterday when he really really wanted to be petted.

Now for the sticker shock. Everything is more expensive in Boston and that includes groceries, clothes, utilities--everything. Yesterday we met with an accountant to see if our situation warranted his services. You may remember I have a complicated situation left over from my first marriage and so we absolutely must have a solid professional prepare our taxes. Our accountant in Kansas City was both a JD and a CPA, plus he'd worked for the IRS so he was highly qualified for us. His fee was in the low three figures. Yesterday our estimate involved commas . . . and not on the bottom end of commas either. Yeouch. He did offer the name of someone else who is a bit more reasonably priced. I sure wish we could just do this stuff ourselves but that happy day is still in the future.

Finally the detente I mentioned. This is the first time I've seen both boys on the top perch and not fighting. Once Eddie is enthroned, Wally can't budge him, it's just an issue of mass. So I was glad to see them both there even if only for a few minutes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A list about Wally

Yesterday I got the idea to list Wally's freaky behaviors but I thought maybe I couldn't come up with enough for the list to be worthwhile. Silly me. So here are the things Wally does that may qualify him as a freaky smart cat, or perhaps just strange.

1. He closes the bathroom door, so he can

2. Try to flush the toilet. He pushes the handle down just far enough to drain some water from the tank so that the toilet runs.

3. He exterminates any loose toilet paper rolls so that they look like exploded chickens.

4. He does the same to rolls of paper towels.

5. He does the same to boxes of Kleenex.

6. He eats plastic grocery sacks. They are empty, he is really truly eating the sacks.

7. He also eats dryer sheets, and has so far barfed them up so they haven’t caused an intestinal blockage yet. I do throw them away, but he also

8. Gets into any trash can he can reach. So now our bathroom trash is under the sink and we’ve given up on the office trash can. It’s permanently knocked over during the day and we put it in the closet under the stairs at night.

9. He opens kitchen cabinets. Floor level, above the counter, above the fridge, he is not particular about the location. We now tie them shut with seam binding, every night.

10. He teases out my clean running socks from my drawer and then behaves as though they are mice that must be killed. He prefers the dirty ones but I got much better about immediately putting them in the hamper.

11. He found the box of parts for our closet system and continues to bring us the plastic end covers, even though we've moved or otherwise made the box inaccessible several times.

12. He loves the small, soft cloth that came with my HP laptop for cleaning the screen. Every day he figures out how to get it out of my desk and then will leave it randomly around the house. Usually on top of us while we sleep.

13. He would live in the dryer if we let him.

14. Apparently once our feet are under the bed covers, they are dangerous and must be killed. Every night. Sometimes multiple times in the same night.

15. While sleeping, if one of us happens to scratch a place on our body he will pounce that spot. Let me assure you that waking up like that is not fun, especially if it’s your belly.

16. Oddly when people come over, he gets skittish and usually runs away. OK that’s not a freaky smart thing but it’s so at odds with how he is otherwise that I had to mention it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The fun continues

I took these videos yesterday. As you can see, the kitties are still quite enthralled with the cat tree. Based on their extreme affection for the tree, I think maybe the pet store guy used an entire gallon of catnip oil on it.

This morning I was shocked and amazed to see Chloe actually get on my desk (she never ever does that, this is truly a first) and then get on the top perch of the cat tree. While these pictures aren't great photography, they show Chloe doing something other than curling up in a little ball. Eddie didn't like it that she took the top perch, so he chased her off and he's up there now.

Finally, I thought these pictures were pretty cute, too.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Plan B

We would have liked to have waited for the very cool cat tree I mentioned in my last blog entry, but Wally has a real need to climb now. So I headed out to Target to see if they had any cat trees that would work. No luck there.

But we do have a pet supply store near Target that carries a lot of stuff; I'd seen at least one tree there before so I stopped by. Obviously I found one otherwise I wouldn't call this Plan B. I took these short videos this morning after I got the tree in the house. Wally is still literally drooling over the catnip oil and generally warning off the other two cats from the tree.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Someday we'll eat at Toro's

Yesterday we tried again to go to Toro’s. We’ve heard such good things about the restaurant and according to their website, they are open for lunch. So we braved the mid-20s cold and headed down there. They may be open for lunch sometimes but they sure weren’t yesterday. So we tried Tremont 647 instead. I'm not providing a link because their web site has music and it bugged the crap out of me this early in the morning. Brunch was quite good, nothing ultra fancy but all very well done. They make a pop tart that is just amazingly rich and good—and get this, it had blueberries in it and I even sort of liked the blueberries.

On the kitty front, my lap became contested territory between Chloe and Eddie yesterday. Normally when Chloe realizes my lap is (overly) full of Eddie, she moves on. Not yesterday. She stayed perched like this for probably five minutes. That’s a long time for a cat.

Wally now opens the cabinet doors in the kitchen, but only the ones on top of the fridge. We’d heard him banging around in there a couple of nights ago, and yesterday when we got home from brunch, one of the doors was wide open and the French press was sitting out on the top of the fridge. Clearly he’s bored and needs to climb so we scouted around online and found a cat tree we may end up getting (it’s the one on the right). It’s not available yet but at least it doesn’t look horrible and is no more expensive than the ugly cat trees.