Cat Tree

Oh, yeah. The cats got a new cat tree for Daddy's birthday.

It was the only one I could find in black that would support both of them...as long as it is braced against the corner. He could knock it over otherwise. It's heavy duty, but so is Jem. I am thinking about ordering another one once the sunroom is finished. Oh, yeah, the floor is going down in the sunroom in a week or so. That's a story for another post. 
Anyway, cats are no longer tree-less, because they get what they want. 

Kitchen Rebellion

I was feeling a little rebellious today, so I used Mr. Fancy Chef's bread knife to cut celery AND cauliflower. I know! Culinarily Challenged, rise up! Let's show those kitchen snobs we don't have to follow their rules! In kitchening, there are no rules!

What?...There are? Oh, you call them recipes? Thought those were like guidelines. No? Very specific...huh. Who knew?

Anyway, back to me, I washed the veggies and reached over to the trusty old knife block and out came the big, Buggidy-Buggidy Knife. I call it that because that's the noise it makes when it slices my skin, unlike the smooth "swip" sound of the un-serrated type of WMD cleaving through my fingers or in one instance, the skin slightly above my knee. Long story, don't ask. The kitchen is full of Weapons of My Destruction, trust me. Everything within 20 feet of the hotbox hates me.

Where was I? Oh, yeah, so instead of putting it back and choosing a smaller and probably more appropriate knife, I went with my bad self and chopped those suckers up. I even made up a song about it, which I will spare you from, but just know that I was feeling pretty full of myself. Then the cat started fussing at me. (No, it had nothing to do with my singing. Jerk.) She started staring at me and yelling all bossy-like. I admit it. I gave the cat an extra can of meat so she wouldn't tell Mr. Fancy Chef what I did.

The last time Mr. Fancy Chef was around while I was forced to make my own eggs lest I starve to death, he made some comment about my cooking being similar to when a demon touches a bible: all smoke and sizzle, but no one wants to touch the results. I am sure he meant that with the utmost love and respect. And I'd like to say this is a case of "if you can prove you are all thumbs you don't have to lift a finger", but it's not. I can't cook. (We've covered this.)

I have issues beyond that which modern medical therapies can handle, but I do what I want. (And I want to stay out of the kitchen,)

The Googles vs. an Actual MD.

So, it's been awhile...stuff happens. (Cats are OK. Oh, and so are kids and husband.)

NOTE: this isn't a "poor me" post. I am just babbling about what a weird thing this was and how maybe when the internet tells you something can't possibly be the case, check with a trained professional.

Sometime shortly after my last post, I got "the flu". That's what I call anything that involves body aches. After about a week, I got better. Phew. That sucked. A friend and I had started walking a few days a week, and as time wore on, I noticed I was getting really sore after my walks. I figured I was still getting over "the flu". It finally got to the point that "Killer Hill" was too much for me. One night I got home from our walk and struggled to go up the stairs. My legs burned and I felt like I had done a 40-mile hike through the mountains instead of a couple of miles of gentle walking in the neighborhood. (Not that I would actually know what a 40-mile hike would feel like since I don't even like driving for 40 miles. Someone else can have my spot on the AT.) I was still sore a few days later, which was odd, and it became harder and harder to walk up the stairs or even up the driveway to the mailbox. I also started noticing that I wasn't able to lift as much as I could a month or so before. Crap, I am getting old.

 During this time, I was also having what we assumed were side effects from something I had taken unrelated to my "oldness". My hairdresser commented that my hair was thinner and I was finding hair in the shower and in my comb. I had tremors and some funky memory issues. I can't even remember all the weird things that were going on, but they all seemed completely unrelated. So, TO THE GOOGLES! Yes, I know, Google is not my friend, at least when it comes to medical stuff. (My vet loves when I call and say the Googles says the cat either has a hairball or esophageal cancer. )  The Googles is amazing when I can't remember who played Floyd Smoot on Petticoat Junction or what year Roosevelt Brown was inducted into the HOF. How to make a Singapore Sling? How much will the door lock actuator cost for a Ford Fairlane? What was the name of the Egyptian dancer in that Gunnar Berndtson painting? Google's got you covered. Anyway, we came to the conclusion that I had several things all at once, possibly MS, thyroid issues, sleep apnea, and allergic reaction to alien abduction probes. CDC said we don't have deer ticks, so no Lyme disease. Ugh. What the heck was going on?

When we got to the point where I couldn't lift my 22-pound cat (what? he's big boned!),  we decided to see what someone who actually went to med school had to say. We told my doctor all the crazy symptoms, and she said: "I am thinking Lyme disease is likely." No MS? "Nope." No aliens? "Probably not." But we don't have deer ticks here! "The CDC keeps telling us that, and I keep finding people with Lyme disease who haven't left the state. 6 so far this year. Let's do some bloodwork." So, we ran every test known to modern science, and everything came back normal...except I tested positive for Lyme. Go figure. I never noticed a tick. "Only 30 % of people actually see a tick". Am I gonna die? "Eventually, but not from this." So what do I do now? "Take antibiotics for a really long time and rest."

So, I spent the next couple of months napping and being a waste of space, but the drugs she gave me made me immune to malaria, and I could snort lines of anthrax with no ill effects. (I didn't test that theory, but the Googles said I could.) Eventually, I started to feel better. My hair stopped falling out, the tremors stopped (mostly), my memory improved, and I could do the stairs without napping afterward.

I am now walking with my husband 6 days a week. I started out struggling to get to the end of the driveway, and I am now up to 3 miles a day at a brisk pace. I have done Killer Hill twice, but neither time was pretty. I can carry a hamper of laundry up the stairs and can tote my cat around like he weighs...less. There are good days and bad days, and I may never get back to full strength, but I am so much better. I thank my lucky stars every day that I had the ability to relax and get better. I didn't have to hold down a job, get the kids to school, cook dinner, or worry about paying my bills. Also, I don't think I got it as bad as some people have. I have heard stories of hearing loss, permanent disabilities, and all sorts of other really unfortunate symptoms. I have no idea how long I had it, but I think that week of "the flu" was somehow related. People go years without a proper diagnosis, especially in states where there aren't suppose to be deer ticks. And honestly, with all the seemingly unrelated symptoms, it kinda feels like you are a hypochondriac nutcase. Who gets all that stuff at once? So, when in doubt, check with a professional who is willing to look outside the textbook. Had she not run the Lyme panel, I would still be sick and freaking out.

Now, about that Singapore Sling...because I do what I want.


Customer Service Update!

You may remember a few months back when I was complaining about what a pain it was trying to close all of my Mother's accounts after she died. Remember how they didn't actually cancel that one account, just rolled it over to my even more deceased Father, and sent him a shiny new card with a $19,000 limit, even though I told them everyone was dead? I threatened that if a new card showed up for Mom because Daddy was dead, I was going to go ahead and use it to buy a Mini Cooper?
How do we feel about a black one? Are the stripes too much?

Yes, I did indeed get a notification that a new card was on its way to my Mother.(The USPS is good, but I am guessing they aren't going to find her.) I called the card company and eventually got to some inheritance estate department, where Vincent explained that I wasn't actually allowed to buy a Mini with the card, even a slightly used Mini. I called him a meanie and we proceeded to REALLY TRULY HONESTLY close the account. Again. Some more. Probably for sure this time. 

I probably would just get a speeding ticket if I drove a Mini, anyway. I've never gotten a ticket, but something about those stripes makes me think anything is possible, and I tend to do what I want.



I may have mentioned that I am not a people person. I am, however, an animal person. Miss Bella is still my favorite neighbor. (She says "hi".) 

We have been blessed with some pretty interesting neighbors over the years. One of my favorites was from 2 houses ago. We lived in a house that backed up to some state owned forest and part of a horse pasture. Naturally, we adopted the horses and disregarded the 'trespassing on state land punishable by death' signs. I do what I want.  

One day, we walked out to the area between the pasture fence and the woods. The horses spotted us and started heading up the hill. As they got closer, they slowed down, and finally stopped walking. We could tell they wanted to come over, but something was definitely making them nervous. I noticed a huge hole under the fence a couple of feet down from us. Horses aren't known to be great diggers, and our resident gopher tortoise's holes aren't usually large enough to accommodate a human, so I decided it was either loose dogs or possibly a yeti. Since it was 89 degrees out, the yeti was unlikely, and I hadn't heard any dogs, so I decided to look around.  After giving the kids the "sit, stay" command, I headed into the woods.  (Yes, it has been brought to my attention that I am that dumb white girl in the horror movie who gets killed in the first 5 minutes because she has to go investigating the weird noise.) 

I got a about a dozen feet inside the tree line when I heard a noise above me. I looked up and saw a big dark thing. I wandered around the tree and finally discovered the big dark thing had a face. It was a very handsome bear! (A mostly harmless black bear, not a human eating death machine bear.) 

Already well on my way to Mother of the Year, I did what any good parent would do. I sent the kids back to the house...for my camera! They returned with it, and I instructed them to go back inside and hide under the bed, mostly because I thought it would be funny. They went in and made cookies, completely disregarding my orders. Hard to get mad when there are cookies, though.

So, Little Bear and I spent quite a bit of time together. He didn't seem to care too much about me, but I opted to keep my distance. After all, I was in his house and didn't want to be rude. 

A couple of my neighbors thought shooting it was the thing to do, so I called the state biologist and told on them. She said there were in fact 5 bears in our vicinity, and the wooded areas surrounding our little community were perfect for them. I asked if I could shoot anyone who threatened a bear. She said that technically she couldn't stop me (and would actually applaud), but killing someone for threatening a 300 lb bear probably wasn't going to go over well with a jury. I suggested a little kneecapping. (Found out later that a little kneecapping was like being a little pregnant. Do or do not, there is no "little".) 

Anyway, apart from the being the occasional litter bug, the bear mostly just hung out in the woods. He used our side yard as his point of entry, so whenever he took a full trash bag, he usually emptied it out on our lawn. Based on my experiences cleaning up after him, our bear loved grapes and nuts, but hated onions, garlic, and anything with golden arches. We were advised to put our trash out the morning of trash day, but some of my neighbors insisted on doing it the night before. One chap decided to thwart the bear's attempt by wedging his trash between the garage door and the car. He ended up with a dent in his hood shaped like a bear's bottom and trash everywhere. Some people just don't get it. 

At the end of the day, the horses stopped freaking out and ate the apple slices I had, the bear sort of snored/ snorted, and I went back inside, ate cookies, and texted Mr. Pet Police about getting a real life teddy bear. (He said no. Meanie!) 

This little guy stopped by our yard a couple of weeks before we left the bear house. He was actually adorable. I escorted him (at a safe distance) across the golf course until we met up with a firefighter who offered to walk our friend the rest of the way. He was headed to a pond on the other side of the 7th hole. You know, because gators also do what they want, even when they aren't real big. 


Scout Update

In case you were keeping track, Scout weighed in at a solid 15 lbs this morning. I was putting in my contacts and she hopped on the scale. Convenient.

Still smaller than Brother, but the biggest she has ever been. They have gone through several cat gym/climber/tree things, but Mr. Ugly Cat Tree Hater tends to get a  little twitchy when cat toys get scraggly, especially when they are the last things he sees as he goes to sleep at night.  Anyway, the kids are currently between models, and now get no exercise. (Other than playing with the eleventy-seven toys and running up and down the stairs like maniacs.) Guess I need to get a new climbing gym...

Mr. Ugly Cat Tree Hater likes one that reminds me of an IKEA highchair, has no scratchy bits at all, and is roughly 3 feet tall. At $695 it must be the greatest cat thing of all time. I am pretty sure Jem enjoys the empty La Croix box more than he would that thing.

I am looking at one that is 8 feet tall, 6 feet wide, has eleventy-one ledges and a hammock, all for $119. The description says "Top Quality". Maybe I will keep looking....
Scout on patrol, riding Daddy's shoulder.

We moved an armoire, so it now sits in front and below the landing on the back stairs. I thought that would be the coolest cat spot ever. The front even has an arch that they can hide behind. I kid you not, the only time they use it is when Scout wants to take a shortcut. If Mr. Cat Perch is nearby, she will hop down on it, and wait for him. Then she hops down onto his shoulder and goes on patrol. It is like one of my favorite things.

Scout's Personal Person hates "stuff". He might be allergic if not for his vastly superior genes that prevent such atrocities. (A family joke because Mr. Husband is practically perfect and it sometimes can be a bit annoying.) So, while I was attempting to get out Easter decorations, he was threatening to light them on fire. "Seriously, I can't look at this stuff all day! Can't you put out a few nice things in a little grouping somewhere clear of my field of vision?" This was followed up by "and no dumb baskets!" because I found the bin of Easter baskets. What? Every year the girls need new ones and I usually keep them. It is completely normal. Anyway, I set one of the baskets on the ground and Scout immediately jumped in it. Shocking behavior by a cat, I know. Mr. Fussy had stomped off to his office just as she did it, so I grabbed my phone and took a photo to send to him. His response? "We obviously need to acquire an appropriately sized basket for The Girl. Add it to your list."
You know, because Scout gets what she wants.

My (less than) Super Power

I have a super power. Well, I think I have several, but this one is really powerful lately.

I manage to blurt out inappropriate things at inopportune times.

The other night we had a bad storm and lost power. So, what do you do when the power is out? Play spades by candlelight, of course.

So, Mr. Cardshark was shuffling the deck and out of my mouth came "so, anyone wanna break out the old planchette and see how Mom's doing?" The older child almost fell out of her chair laughing. I didn't mean to say it, but Mom would have thought it was funny, and I am pretty sure she bought the Ouija board as a Halloween present for us one year. (For those new here, Mom is dead.)

We all got the plague, or maybe it was a mild flu. There was much whining and complaining and napping and complaining and whining, but mostly by me. Everyone else just dealt with it. While still not fully recovered from the plague, we went to the store because stupid Amazon still won't deliver frozen stuff. (I love you Amazon, but I also love ice cream!) The smaller child was bugging me about something. I finally snapped (goofy-frustrated, not angry rage monster Mom) and told her that if she didn't stop (whatever it was) I was going to chuck bagels at her and follow it up with really terrible idle threats. She started laughing because she knew bagels wouldn't hurt, I was in no condition to come up with good idle threats, and she was pretty sure I was kidding. The old woman standing across the aisle wasn't. Oops. (Baked goods are a perfectly acceptable weapon, just ask the child. However, we don't hit our children with baked goods or anything else for that matter. At least not intentionally. Unless it sounds like fun. I mean, snowballs don't count, right?)

Jaunty, pre-decapitation
Mr. Halloween has a skeleton dog. It was a resin statue planter of a dog holding a flower pot that he fancied up beautifully as only he could, and now we call it "Jaunty". He lives in our pirate room/pub and is a prized possession in our household. (We're weird) A few years ago, I broke him. I cried for a week, but Mr. Fix-It reattached his head and he is back to his former Jauntiness. During a recent trip to the grocery store, I noticed the Easter decor. There were a couple of rather large but incredibly handsome rabbit statues that I felt might need a good home. One of the children suggested that Mr. Great Pumpkin might not approve because A) Halloween is the only true holiday worth spending money on for decorations, and B) he hates decorations that aren't for Halloween. (He enjoys Christmas stuff, too, I guess.) Then she mentioned that he might "pull a Jaunty" on the rabbit. I said (louder than was probably necessary), "your father is not going to kill the rabbit just because I decapitated his dog!". An old man beside me whipped around. "No, no, we glued it back on!" That didn't help as much as I had hoped. "We're vegetarian, we love animals!" Then we left. Quickly.

I did go back for one of the rabbits, though. He is still in one piece and I don't even think Mr. Picky hates him that much. I will get the other rabbit next time. You know, because I do what I want.

Follow up: So, the rabbits sort of went on sale, and now I have a total of 3. They were lonely and sad and desperate for a home. I do what I can to help the sad and homeless holiday decorations.