Friday, December 19, 2008

While the humans are away (in dreamland)

... the cats knock over their toy box and drag every single one of their portable toys to right in front of the bedroom door. And knocked over the rocking chair.

Translation: See What You Made Us Do? We Were SOOO Bored, We Had To Fend For Ourselves*!

Poor kitty.

*The headline style of cat-talking is a reference to some delightful books by Doreen Tovey.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

There goes the water bill

Merlin has successfully flushed the toilet on his own. He was thrilled. I am worried.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Scavenging for Kitties

Backstory: Last week I made a lemon cake with coconut frosting for the DH. I had it sealed in an inverted bowl (cake on the lid, the bowl covering the actual cake) on top of the fridge.

Yesterday morning while I was on my way out the door, I noticed the cats sitting in various places around the living room, just Looking At Me. Since they're usually running and jumping and pouncing things, I knew this was some kind of Urgent Moment. I checked the food dish, and -- sure enough -- they were Out Of Food. It's a gravity-type feeder*, so I jiggled the top to send about a quarter-cup of food down into the bowl. Then I got out of there quickly, promising to feed them as soon as I got home. (In my defense, my shift that morning was starting at 4am, which means I have to open the store for everybody, and they just might notice if I was late.)

At around 3 pm I got home and made immediately for the cat food to Make Things Right. Then I saw that I didn't need to: Merlin (Gravity's Little Helper) had gotten up on top of the fridge and knocked the cake down. How the stoneware plate survived the fall and the plastic bowl cracked to smithereens is anyone's guess, but the lid popped off and a good half of the last piece was now in feline tummies.

Merlin ran right up to the mess, sat down and Looked at me. Well, You Weren't Going To Feed Us, So I Had To Do Something, he huffed.

*Which we got Free! With Purchase of some kind of cat food back in the '80s (I'm not kidding) for Scratchy. I think we even washed it once ... but it's the only piece of cat paraphernalia that no cat has been able to destroy, which makes it in my opinion the Most Miraculous and Best Cat Thing Ever.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Poop Off

After hearing all sorts of potty-training tales from friends (seriously, there was Jordana, Liz, some other friends of ours and a coworker who were all potty-training toddlers at the same time! I was averaging one poop story per day, minimum. It was awesome. No complaints, really -- you'll find out why), I think this confession is long overdue.

Merlin likes to poop in the bathtub. Dunno why. Couple theories:
1) I don't clean the litter boxes enough for his liking (most likely, kinda)
a) He doesn't like to use certain boxes for certain, shall we say, duties?
b) and the one he does like for that task is also popular with his sisters
2) He objects to the type of litter used.
3) He knows that humans use the toilet, but since he can't get at the toilet properly (we keep the lid down, lest he try to go swimming again) he uses the bathtub as the Next Best Thing.
4) He's Merlin. He is strange.

I'm attempting to clean the litter boxes more frequently/regularly to eliminate Option 1, and we're now trying to isolate Opion 2. Thus, the Poop Off.

I've got three litter boxes (we should have a fourth, according to the books, but we're out of space). In Box One is our regular brand, Tidy Cat Multiple Cat Formula (With Antimicrobial Something-or-Other!). In Box Two is Arm & Hammer's new Natural Formula (made with corn cobs). In Box Three is a Silica formula, which the books say is supposed to be good.

So far the silica is winning out with Novelty Points. Once Molly figured out that the litter wasn't Good To Eat (eugh), they have all taken turns hopping in the box and walking around, with the other two close by, watching avidly. I haven't checked to see if it's actually been used, but it's certainly been occupied.

The Arm & Hammer is a bust. I've used a similar formula before (World's Best Cat Litter, Extra Strength or something), but this one ... waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy too much perfume. Merlin took a sniff and actually hopped backward away from the litter. I'm going to make use of their Customer Satisfaction hotline tomorrow. Rule Number One: Cats Do Not Like Strong Smells. Except In Garbage.

The Control Box has hardly been touched (see above re: Novelty).

And Merlin's pooped in the tub again.

I'll report next week with more litters!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Madness Begins

This weekend, I had a customer ask for Ocean Salt. "Well, we have sea salt, " I began, trying to ease the correction in there gently. I practically heard the Whoosh of it going over her head.
"No, I need Ocean Salt," she insisted. "It's a coarse grind."

I felt like asking if she had any particular ocean in mind, but even I thought that might be taking sarcasm to an unhealthy level.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Housekeeping confessions

Trying to keep a clean house* with three young cats has its challenges.

We've learned to get rid of our "in" box on the office desk, because it became a cat bed and Molly routinely removed items from it to shred behind the CPU, where we couldn't get at her. There were several late bills/lost receipts before we became hip to that little trick.

Then there was the cache of socks I found way under the head of our bed (had to actually move the bed away from the wall to get at them). I had noticed that Michael's red socks had made a disappearing act, and figured they had gone to meet the Great Dryer in the Sky. Nope. They had fallen prey to a cat's horde.

We've learned to check the bathtub before starting a shower: Merlin likes to bring toys in there during the night. And knock over any available bottles of shaving cream within reach.

Then there's String. String is Miri's raison d'etre. If it is within reach, she will play with it. If it's thin enough, she will swallow it. I've pulled as much as two yards of yarn out of her at one time. (Pink yarn, too -- looked like I was performing a very complicated disembowelment.) So no string left out at any time.

... And then there's toilet paper. And paper towels (Molly's favorite). And sponges (eh? They travel in our house). And tissue paper. And Q-tips (Miri eats them).

Then there's the reason for this post:
Michael and I had separately noticed that our toaster was smoking when in use. Michael opted (logically) not to use the toaster. I used it anyway, figuring, "eh, it happens sometimes." (Becoming a firefighter was never in the cards for me, it seems.)
Finally Michael, sane man that he is, suggested that perhaps I should check out what was in the toaster that was making it smoke so copiously before putting in those frozen waffles. Oh, all right. Much fishing around (yes, I unplugged the appliance -- I'm irresponsible, not suicidal) with a (wooden) chopstick revealed the source of the smoke:

A chicken breakfast sausage link. That neither of us humans put in there. And the last time I made chicken breakfast sausages was ... ?

Well, that explains why the cats were playing with the toaster a few weeks ago.

* "Clean" is a relative term here, vaguely defined as "anything short of total squalor, depending on the humans' energy levels."

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's getting pretty hot/humid these days, which can result in ... shall we say ... more "colorful" customers ... at least that's how we choose to interpret it.

Today, a certain coworker of mine (about 26, Wheaton alum, worked at Honey Rock -- with AndreaW) was ringing up a customer. He must've asked her how she was doing or something equally suggestive, because all of a sudden she's saying (loudly -- the whole front of the store heard her),
"I'm over 60, my boobs are sagging, and if it gets any worse, I'm going to have to pay you for sex!"

O .... ooookaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy ...

When one of the full-timers saw how he was stammering and completely unable to function after that, he sidled up to the poor young man and said, "Hey, this is your opportunity to create a total WOW customer experience! C'mon, man, take one for the team!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Just went to see Prince Caspian at the Glen Art this past Sunday (yep, it's still there!*)
It was visually entertaining, the plot wasn't bad**, Lucy is still far less annoying than in the old British version (did anyone else want to give that Lucy a good smack?), the music was lovely, yadda yadda --
then what is the name of all that is furry was up with the music at the end?!? It's a period/fantasy film, people! Contemporary pop does not belong anywhere near there! If you must, put it at the end of the credits, when most people have left the theater! Not when there are still talking lions and girls in fancy medieval-style dresses still on the screen!

Five bucks says Miley Cyrus is in the third movie.

* There is also now a sign at their concession stand that says:
All our popcorn
is made with
FREE oil!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Not for Boys

Ladies, I have found the Wave of the Future. It will save tons of money in the long run, and is way less hassle than anything else out there. This is personal testimony.

Just, ah ... get a pot at a thrift store to sterilize it.

Monday, June 09, 2008

New Blog

For all you moms out there (you know who you are), I would like to introduce you to my friend, Liz. The link to her blog is right there at the top ... see? She's an amazing person (an MA and 3 kids under 5! Jordana, any of that sound vaguely familiar?), plus she makes fabulous baby slings. She uses primarily batik fabric, all of it 100% cotton.

Anyway, stop by her blog, say hi, and give the lady some book recommendations! (Yay! A reader!)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Not Good

Something Terrible has happened in the last few years:

I've begun to appreciate cute shoes.

I could blame Michael, who rented me "In Her Shoes" a few years ago when I was sick. I could blame Jennifer Weiner, who wrote the book upon which the movie was based. But I think I should place the blame squarely on the actual culprit:


Fortunately for everyone, I have a job that requires sneakers. But rest assured, Wes' wedding (if I get an invite) will require New Shoes. And I will have lots of fun shopping for them.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

That was *so* last week

... after a full night of being unceremoniously dumped on the floor whenever he dispensed with the eye-poking, Merlin has decided that perhaps he should concentrate his efforts elsewhere.

So now he just shuts himself in the bathroom about 10 times a day.

Apparently, he thinks he's a 13-year-old girl.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Merlin has a New Thing.

When I do not dispense with the cuddles in a timely fashion (like, say, 'cause I'm ASLEEP), he pokes me in the eye. Repeatedly.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


I may or may not have mentioned the kittens' Number One Fan (outside of their nuclear family, of course). Her name is Justine and she's currently in first grade.

First, the setting: our townhouse is set a couple feet off the ground, so steps to the front door, that kind of thing. We also have floor-to-almost-ceiling windows in every room (before you think we're overly posh, let me tell you that the windows are also very Dry Rotted and our landlord can't afford to replace them, so we are currently looking into ways to keep the outside out, so to speak. Does anyone know if there's a kind of caulk or caulk-like substance that will work on windowsills?).

Our kitchen window is on the communal yard side of our house, which means that the kits can -- without having to jump to a windowsill -- watch all sorts of kids playing. And vice versa.

So when we got the kittens last year (already? Wow.) and I'd set up a little corral-fence in the kitchen right next to the window, a certain five-year-old (at the time) girl got to watch the kittens grow up from tiny puffballs to the sleek cats they are now. We couldn't bring them outside until they'd had their shots, however, and the one time we managed to get the cats out before it got too cold, she was at a friend's house. And modern adult/child neighbor relations being what they are, we couldn't very well invite her inside. So she made a habit of coming to our kitchen window after school every day. She kept a small stick near the window and would lightly scratch at the screen and the cats would come running and flirt shamelessly with her. (Molly especially would Pose Like A Supermodel at her. I have no idea where she got that from.) She'd put her hands against the screen and the cats would rub up against her hands. Cue the violins.

Until this past Sunday. We took the cats out, and Justine was home! She got to pat them silly and was the giggliest, happiest little girl in the world. Especially since the cats recognized her scent and were incredibly friendly with her. She drew us a picture of herself at school (everyone: awwww) and has been stopping by the window for a chat/play with the cats every day. Yesterday, her mom let her come inside for a visit. Mom can see into our kitchen from her front step (where she was sitting, watching her older son play catch), so every once in a while Justine would stand in the window and tell her mom she wasn't coming home ever.

Plus, she wore the cats out pretty good. She even got Molly to chase her up and down the hallway -- that cat hardly ever wears out. We managed to get Kermit out of bed for a midnight (for him) snack.

Kids are such fun.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Spring!

We took the cats out on leashes two days ago ... I wrestled Merlin and Miri into their harnesses, handed them off to Husband and Brother-in-law, respectively, then set to work on Molly, who was being A Challenge (suffice it to say that when the time comes to put a screaming toddler into a snowsuit, it will Not Be A Problem. Toddlers don't have 16 claws.). As soon as Molly and I stepped outside, Miri saw the open door and dragged poor Jonathan back inside (all, what, 8? pounds of her), saying She Will Not Go. She spent the rest of the time watching from the kitchen window. All of our windows are floor-to-ceiling and it didn't take Merlin too long to find out that if he stood on the air-conditioning unit, he could be nose-to-nose with Miri. All 3 of them hung out by the window for a while until Interesting Smells called the outdoor cats away.

Merlin did especially well outside and it didn't take him long at all before his tail was up and he was swaggering around like he owned the neighborhood. Odd thing: he loved rolling in the grass, dirt, sidewalk, whatever, and got his leash good and thoroughly wound around himself until he couldn't move anymore. It reminded me of Scratchy, who used to head straight for the biggest patch of dirt in our backyard in Santa Fe and roll around until his normally pristine white fur was the shade of a well-groomed Irish Setter. Fortunately for Merlin, he has sisters to help him out in getting clean so he wasn't subjected to the post-walk bath that became a regular with Scratchy.

Molly started to like the outdoors as well, following everywhere Merlin went (after allowing for a suitable time lapse to make sure the bushes Didn't Kill Him) and doing pretty much everything he did -- except for the rolling part. That's entirely too dirty for the little MollyDolly (but would've been right up Miri's alley, were she to have been there).

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Felis vs. Machina

I have previously mentioned Merlin's Thing about water bottles (i.e. that they Must Be Knocked Over). Apparently, Things With Water Reservoirs falls under the Water Bottle heading.

To wit, our humidifier. Ole Merl found out that not only is there a lot of water to play with in there, but if you knock apart the whole thing, there's a soggy papery treat (filter) inside to tear apart and scatter.

We (I) have tried the following:

1. Yelling at Merlin. Right.

Merlin: 1; Momcat: 0

2. Came up with an ingenious truss (somewhat resembling a bridle) made out of cotton straps and a buckle that effectively held everything down. Merlin studied it for 5 seconds, grabbed one of the straps in his teeth and yanked sideways. Water all over the place, plus there's this great new rope thingy to play with!

Merlin: 2; Momcat:1/2 (hey, that humidi-bridle took all afternoon! Pitypoint.)

3. Immediately after Incident 2, I found a bungee-net that I use to cover the basket on my bike. I hooked it around the humidifier, completely covering the thing with bungee strappage. Again, Merlin studied it for a few seconds (long enough for me to get back into bed) and then we heard the telltale gurgling of the water reservoir. Looked up in time to see Merlin, with a bungee in his teeth, standing about a foot away from the humidifier as he's dragging it across the room. Sproing! And it's all over.

Merlin: 3; Momcat: 1/2

4. Finally, a blash of frilliance. Got some industrial-strength sticky-backed velcro strips, stuck everything together so's you can actually lift the whole thing up by the previously detachable reservoir. Ha! Got into bed, heard aforementioned gurgle, looked up in time to see Merlin picking up the whole dang thing by the power cord and tipping the whole lot over.

Merlin: 5 ('cause seriously); Momcat: 0 (who am I kidding?)

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

According to Some

I have a puffy purple winter hat, which I call my Great-Aunt Maude Hat. I knit it with wool and purple Eyelash yarn and then felted the whole thing so that it looks like a giant purple puff sitting on my head. When I'm home, the Great-Aunt Maude Hat resides in a bin next to our front door.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I trod on said hat. In the bathroom. In the middle of the night. A whole living room and hallway away from where it normally lives. Upon questioning, here is what They have to say for themselves:

Molly: I Have No Idea What You're Talking About. Ooh! Did you bring home chips?

Merlin: You should have seen it!!! This GIANT PURPLE THING was creeping around in the middle of the night, I know, 'cause I was watching, that's what a good cat does, always watching, and I tracked it through the living room, and then when it was about to go into the bedroom and KILL US ALL, I RAN and POUNCED on it, and KILLED it, and now it's dead!!!

Miri: I'm not saying anything happened, but if something did happen, The Hat Had It Coming.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I'm typing this without any vision correction, so you'll have to forgive the typos ... I just didn't want to forget this one ...

We have a standard tub/shower situation in our bathroom. Now that the kits have stopped pooping in the tub when left unattended (don't ask), they love it in the bathroom. Best place ever.

One of their favorite toys is the shower curtain. At night, after we've gone to bed, Molly in particular likes to go tikka-tikka-tikka with her paws on the heavy vinyl liner. Very, very loud.

Tonight after my shower, I noticed a little bit of light shining through the shower curtain where no bit of light should be:

Five feet up on the liner is a little hole, surrounded by unmistakable claw/teeth marks.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Have I mentioned Merlin's Thing?

It's water bottles. They must be Knocked Down. If I've mentioned this before, then just consider this an acknowledgment that it's still going strong. The little boy also doesn't really make with the purring and cuddling -- until nighttime, when I can't get him off me. He must curl up either next to me (under the covers, except for the head, no covers on the head) or on my pillow ('scuse me, his pillow). Usually he paces back and forth between these two locations, and will wake me up if I'm not lifting the covers up for him. All the while purring fit to bust. Love is a very busy thing.

He also loooooves going into the bathroom with us. Don't know why. It's just a Thing He Does.

Molly likes to cuddle when we're lying on the couch. She'll jump up on my chest between me and my book, stand there until I realize that it's Not Reading Time Now, then she'll curl up for a nap. She also still likes to ride on shoulders, although it's a dicey hobby now, as she is too big to just perch. So there's lots of lounging around shoulders and necks. Like right now.

Miri isn't the biggest cuddler, but once you're at the computer, it's all over. That's Her Time. She'll stand in front of the monitor until you stop typing, then jump at your chest until you cuddle her. She's also the one most likely to start purring just because you're looking at her.

Miri and Merlin both also like to play Catch the Cursor. I think a really great, hi-tech (expensive) cat toy would be something like Crimsonland (a game Michael's been playing) with a touch-sensitive screen so the cats could actually play along. I know Merlin would adore that.