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Caturday 131

Posted on October 19th, 2019

Dave!Somehow... sometime... in the middle of the night I scratched my eye. This happens two or three times a year and I have no idea how I manage it. Do I scratch it with a fingernail? Does a blanket slide across it? Do I get it stuck open when I'm laying on a pillow? Dunno. All I do know is that I wake up in sheer agony, and wishing that I had those OcuCaine drops that the eye doctor uses to numb your eyeball.

In absence of OcuCaine, all I could do is stumble downstairs for some Advil... and nearly die.

When the cats run up stairs, they take a high-speed turn at the top by digging their claws into the stair tread carpet and changing direction. Lately the edge of the carpet has come up, so I have to remember to step around it. Which is something I do by habit.

Alas when I stepped around the carpet, I nearly killed myself falling down the stairs avoiding Blue Mouse... and stepping on Fuzzy Ball Two, which Jake or Jenny apparently ripped off the cat tree last night. My vision was all messed up because of the tears my eyes were making...

After loading up on Advil... and Tootsie Rolls... I went back upstairs to sleep for another 90 minutes before the breakfast alarms rings to feed the cats. But when I got to my bed, it was already occupied...

Any normal person would have moved a cat or two in order to get their bed back. But not me. I slowly and carefully slid in-between them diagonally so they could stay where they were resting. Five minutes later they heard a noise or something and ran off. Which meant my efforts were all for naught. But no worries, Jenny was back soon after...

Jenny laying on my bed with her paws stretched out towards the camera as I scratch her belly.

Jake waited until I got downstairs...

The weather here is that dreary, awful, wet, and grey kind of weather you get before the brisk Fall days with dry blue skies take over. Fake Jake is not a fan at all, and is usually waiting out the rain in one of his shelters...

Fake Jake laying inside his winter shelter looking outside and waiting for the rain to stop.

Or sleeping through it...

Fake Jake laying inside his winter shelter sleeping.

Can't say that I blame him. I'd sleep through these days if I could.

But, alas, it's off to work I go...

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Caturday 130

Posted on October 12th, 2019

Dave!Today after work I was hungry so I ran to the local drive-thru to get some fries to hold me over until dinner. Then I drove home and ate them in my car in my driveway because I didn't want to eat in front of my cats. I would have pulled into the garage and ate them there, but my cats run to the door and wait for me when they hear the garage door opening. The last thing I want to do is get them excited and have them sit there waiting for 15 minutes while I scarf fries.

I mean, come on, this was Jenny staring at me this morning until the breakfast alarm sounded, how can I eat in front of that?

Jenny staring at me from the cat tree in my bedroom.

Though perhaps I am being too kind. According to science, Cats Know Their Own Names, Even if They Pretend Not To. I'm telling you right now... Jenny DEFINITELY knows her name. Jake seems to sometimes, but I'm not 100% sure. In any case, yes, they pretend not to... unless it suits them. The little scoundrels.

Speaking of scoundrels, this is me when I hear a skirmish: "HEY! WHO INSTIGATED THIS?!??? Let's go to the tape!" — =watches camera feed=JENNY! YOU INSTIGATED NOT ONCE... BUT TWICE!!! =sob= I'm so proud of you, my tough little lady!

Little poo-heads!

Though they can also be the most adorable things on earth too. My cats are rarely on my bed at the same time. They take turns... and if one sees the other on the bed, they will leave and come back later. But the electric blanket seems to be a big enough draw that they will make exceptions now...

Jake and Jenny laying next to each other on my electric blanket.

If you remember from previous years, Jenny's favorite thing in cold weather is the electric blanket, which means she will be there a lot.

Jenny walking up to me on the electric blanket looking for the perfect place to lie down.

Though this time of year both of them spend plenty of time using my body heat as a source of heat too...

Jake laying on top of me for heat.

Jenny sitting next to me for heat.

Though, these are cats we're talking about, so everything is not all perfect. Lately Jake has been copping me some serious attitude. Here he is when he couldn’t get a pretzel out of the box and I wouldn’t help, so he turned his back on me. This is despite my calling his name. AND WE KNOW THAT SCIENCE SAYS HE CAN TOTALLY UNDERSTAND MY CALLING HIS NAME...

Jake sitting on the couch with his back to me while a box of pretzels sits next to me.

Jenny's not innocent in all this. Earlier this week she came into my bedroom meowing for treats. I told her no, that she just had breakfast. She threw herself down on the bed and just stared at me with a look of 100% derision...

Jenny looking at me with an air of complete derision.

JUST LOOK AT THAT SMIRK! SCOUNDRELS, I SAY!

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Just Another Thursday Morning…

Posted on October 10th, 2019

Dave!As usual when I return from a trip, my cats have been taking turns glomming all over me. Poor Jake acts like I've been gone for years, and will sleep on my bed for two or three nights before things get back to whatever passes for "normal" in my house.

Though at some point in the middle of the night, he left me long enough to go downstairs and grab Mufasa and Moose the Mule and bring them upstairs. I went to take a photo of them when I woke up this morning and was surprised that iPhone decided to use the flash instead of Night Mode. The flash washes everything out, so I turned it off and Night Mode kicked in, giving much better results. Apple needs to work on this. Maybe the camera should know how to cut back on flash and create some kind of “Half Night Mode” for cases like this? Just a little flash on top of Night Mode would have cut down on grain, but preserved color fidelity and detail. Oh well. Until that day, I’ll just keep the flash turned off. It just seems to ruin things...

Mufasa the toy lion and Moose the Mule toy mule on the floor of my bedroom... taken with iPhone flash and is all washed out.

Mufasa the toy lion and Moose the Mule toy mule on the floor of my bedroom... taken with iPhone in Night Mode and looking all gorgeous.

I don't know what's going on with my cats and their toys. When I got home from work yesterday, I walked in the door to this...

Mufasa the toy lion laying on the floor with a long, long stream of packing pillows strug out behind him.

I don't know what chain of events led up to it. Maybe Jake did Jenny wrong, so she took Mufasa away from him and was going to ship him back to Africa? Silly cats.

Yesterday I made potato salad (again) and it was the first thing I thought of for breakfast when the cats' feeding alarm went off...

A beautiful scoop of my homemade potato salad with paprika on top sitting in a bowl and ready to be eaten.

As I was taking my tater salad back to bed so I could go through my email and get some work done, I noticed that my thermostat was glaring at me. Apparently it's time to turn on the whole-home humidifier...

The display on my smart thermostat telling me that the indoor humidity is only 24%.

I would have turned it on right then, but all my woodworking tools are piled in front of it, so I guess that will have to wait until the weekend.

When I managed to get back up to my work, my laptop let me know that the final version of MacOS X "Catalina" dropped while I was in New Orleans (I've been running the betas since they were first released)...

My MacBook Pro telling me that it's downloading the final version of MacOS X Catalina.

There goes my morning productivity. Fortunately Jenny came up after her breakfast and kept me company while I waited...

Jenny laying next to me as I wait for my laptop to finish updating its operating system.

As usual with Apple, first there's a time to download screen... followed with a time to install screen... followed with a time to update screen. Which not only made it so I couldn't get any work done, it make it so I was late to the office. Yay.

Just another Thursday morning.

   

Caturday 129

Posted on October 5th, 2019

Dave!I try to keep a clean home at all times. Partly because I never know when people will drop by, but mostly because I just like living in a clean home.

When it comes to cleaning, it's mostly about my cats. They drag toys everywhere. They leave fur everywhere. They track kitty litter everywhere. They bring dead bugs in from the catio. That kind of thing. I'm not saying that I don't make messes of my own, but I am saying that most of the cleanup requirements are not because of me.

Carl the RoboVac helps. He does a very good job of sweeping up kitty litter and fur day-today. But he has his limits, so I end up having to vacuum things like stairs and moldings manually once a week.

And then there's the deep-cleanings.

I used to "deep clean" every other month. Then it was four times a year. Now it's twice a year in March and October (or possibly when I have company staying with me, especially if they have cat allergies). It just doesn't make sense to be cleaning all the time when my cats are just going to get fur over everything. The most important deep cleaning is the Spring. So much dirt gets tracked in over the winter that it's pointless to do any thorough cleaning after the snow falls. So I just wait until March when the snow has gone and things have dried up.

My October deep cleaning is happening over the next couple weeks. Everything gets moved and taken apart. Everything gets scrubbed. Everything gets washed. Everything gets cleaned. It's a lot of hard work, but worth it because I know that my house is free of filth. For a few days, anyway.

The problem is that Jake and Jenny always want to "help."

Deep cleaning is something different and new for them to get excited about, so they are always all over anything that gets moved and investigating every little thing I do. Unless there's noise involved, at which time they run and hide.

Which is why I always vacuum first. It's just easier that way.

I juuuusssst finished vacuuming five minutes ago.... Annnnd they're back already. Apparently there's something happening outside that they simply must look at...

Jake and Jenny sitting on the cat scratcher lounger and looking out the window.

Used to be I could count on them to hide for at least an hour when the vacuum comes out. I guess those days are gone...

Jake and Jenny take a break from staring out the window and are now staring at me.

Jake and Jenny bored now and wandering around the cat scratcher lounger.

It was probably Fake Jake, who has been hanging around ever since I put the heated winter shelters out for him. Real Jake isn't quite so threatened any more, but Jenny is still mostly terrified. She hisses at him even when she knows she's not in danger...

Jake sneaking up to the front screen door to visit with Fake Jake.

Jake at the front screen door visiting with Fake Jake.

There was a part of me that hoped I could eventually bring Fake Jake inside, but it's just never going to happen. He's horribly aggressive towards other cats and I Would never risk him hurting Jake and Jenny. So... my neighbors and myself do the best we can to take care of him and make sure he has shelter and food. The heated kitty igloos are a favorite spot for him to hang out when it's cold or raining, and I still have cameras inside so I can see if he's hurt or sick or needs help...

Fake Jake cuddled up on the heating pad in his kitty igloo sleeping with a smile on his face.

My cats are happy inside now that I've turned the heat on and put out the kitty beds for them to sleep in... or half-in...

Jenny is hanging out of her kitty bed and yawning.

See you next Caturday!

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She’s Gotta Have It

Posted on October 3rd, 2019

Dave!It is easier to set my Alexa alarm to 7:04am than to reset the clock on the cat auto-feeder which has been gaining time and drifting a little bit later and later every day. So that's what I did last night. There's no sense messing around with the feeder until stupid Daylight Saving Time ends on November 3rd.

This morning Jenny was NOT having it.

At 7am ON THE DOT she was on my bed meowing her head off wanting breakfast and was very cross indeed that Alexa hadn't chimed in on that. Can you imagine what my life will be like in November when I have to set the clocks back and she has to wait ONE HOUR?!? No extra hour in bed for me... I can guarantee that. Actually it will be two weeks of no sleeping in, because I change their clock in 15 minute increments over time until they are off DST. Apparently it helps them adjust easier...

Jenny laying on my bed forelorned with a paw and claws out while waiting for the Alexa alarm as I scratch her belly.

In other news... I was very nervous testing my blood sugar this morning. After all the potato salad I ate last night... and the huge bowl I had just before bed at 1am... I was sure it would hit 300. But nope! My spleen totally had my back and was a chipper 117 this morning. IT'S A POTATO SALAD MIRACLE!

Not a bad way to start my Thursday.

I am celebrating by having a bowl of potato salad for breakfast.

   

Caturday 128

Posted on September 28th, 2019

Dave!What happened to the transition between Summer and Fall? Does anybody know?

Usually there's a "grace period" before it starts getting really cold... but not this year. One minute it was blue skies, sun, and warmth... the next minute it's overcast, dreary, and cold. This is a bit of a bummer because I like a month with a low electricity bill since I'm not running the air conditioner or the heater. This year it was just three days before I made the switch.

When it's cold, there's nothing better than a warm cat laying on top of you. Jenny doesn't do this very often, but Jake is totally into it...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

Um... not exactly what I had in mind.

Oh that's better! In other news...

Jenny has had a floopy whisker since she was a kitten...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

A while back it fell out and left me wondering if it would grow back straight or floopy again. I noticed it was back... and, yep... it's floopy again. This makes me strangely happy, because it's one of the things that makes Jenny uniquely my cat...

Jenny and her floopy whisker.

With the weather getting colder and rainy-er I set out the cat shelters for Fake Jake. On Friday I saw that we were due for a cold snap this weekend, so I braved the rain to install heating pads. Good thing too, because Fake Jake has been all over them...

Fake Jake huddling on a heating pad in the shelter.

He showed his gratitude by running up to me for butt scratches when I ran out with the garbage. Unfortunately, I left the door open and Jake and Jenny saw me betraying them for another cat...

Fake Jake getting butt scratches while Jake and Jenny watch through the window of the screen door.

I tried making up for it by giving them their own butt scratches, but they seemed oddly detached...

Fake Jake huddling on a heating pad in the shelter.

Anxiously awaiting them pooping in my shoes.

See you next Caturday!

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A Million and One Things

Posted on September 27th, 2019

Dave!Facebook has a features called "Memories" which allows you to revisit posts for the day of years past. Most of the time, it's kinda cool to look back and see what was happening last year... three years ago... five years ago... and so on. Other times? Not so much.

A year ago today I was burying my mother.

It's weird... very weird... to think back to that day.

She had died three months prior, but it took a while for her marker to be made and shipped from the Veteran's Affairs office. I ultimately decided to go with the free marker they provide to veterans because the local funeral home had gone out of business and I just didn't want to shop for another one. Also? I really liked the simplicity of it all...

Mom's Marker

Placing that marker was symbolic of so many things.

For the previous three months I had been in a constant state of stress and anxiety. Closing out accounts. Paying off bills. Writing thank you notes. Sending out death certificates. Disposing of possessions. — It's a million and one things and it seems like it will never, ever end.

Until the marker is set, you write an obituary, and it does.

Except it really doesn't, of course.

It was never a sprint, it was always a marathon. And as I sit here one year later, I'm really glad I didn't know this back then or I probably would have gone insane.

Though it's early. I still might.

In the meanwhile, I have cats to keep my mind off things...

Jenny, an orange cat, sitting in front of the television looking at me as Samuel L. Jackson lifts up Goose, an orange cat, in the movie Captain Marvel.

A job for which they are exceptionally well-suited.

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Winter Is Coming…

Posted on September 26th, 2019

Dave!This morning I woke up to a news report that there will be a cold snap in the Cascades starting Friday night. Snow is expected to accumulate anywhere from 4 to 10 inches.

Oh hell no. I am not ready for snow.

Now, usually I don't panic on these things, because any snow that lands will melt in short order this early in the season. I'll be driving over in the afternoon and there likely won't be much of anything on the ground. On top of that, I have been driving in the snow all my life and am pretty good at it, so it isn't a concern. And I have chains just in case things get unexpectedly bad.

But my snow tires expired last year which means I have to get new ones this year. This is a definite cause for concern. If you wait too long, it will be slim pickings or... worst case scenario... there will be a waiting list because they're all sold out. Making matters worse, sometimes you can't get an appointment to get your new tires mounted, balanced, and put on your car because the appointments are fully booked.

So this time I ain't waiting.

I made an appointment during my lunch, and away I went. And now my car has pretty new shoes...

A close up of my new winter tires showing monster tread and lots of siping.

If I drove a lot, I would probably have waited a month to save some tread. But I drive so few miles each season that my tires expire long before the tread is too low to be legal, so I figured I'd just beat the rush so I don't have to worry about getting an appointment when the snow hits.

Buying tires is kinda a weird deal. The advice is always "Buy the best tires you can afford!" because so much is (literally) riding on them. I always followed that advice for my mom's car... buying her the absolute best tires I could get, regardless of cost. When it came to my own car I was far less picky. I always bought mid-quality all-weather tires that were half the cost (and I never bought snow tires). When my mom couldn't drive any more, I donated my crappy Saturn to the veterans and took over the car I got her since it was newer and less crappy. It's a cheaper model 2007 Toyota Corolla, but it's clean, dependable, and in great shape. Since I already had the snow tires for it, I went ahead and had them put on.

And was subsequently shocked at how nice it was to drive through snow, slush, and ice with proper winter tires on!

It's so nice that I don't ever want to go back to all-weathers for winter driving, even if that means I have to spend money I don't have to get new ones. Because not having to brake six feet early on icy roads so you don't slide into an intersection is totally worth it. I remember one time I was driving to the airport at 4:30 in the morning and had to turn around and take an alternate route because my car didn't have enough traction to drive my regular route. At the time I was like "Oh well." But now I know this wouldn't have happened if I had winter tires, so driving my mom's car has been a game-changer.

Especially to my wallet.

In other news...

My cats haven't left tributes in a while. This morning I awoke to Blue Ball, Pretzel, Moose the Mule, the skin from a toy that's been ripped off the cat tree (which they brought in from the catio), and a ball of cat hair. No idea what they are wanting. Maybe it's to turn the heat on? I think it must be to turn the heat on...

Cat toys and crap left on my bedroom floor.

I kinda miss waking up to find what my cats brought me in the middle of the night. They used to do it in exchange for food, I'm guessing. Because once they were trained to wait for the Alexa alarm, they stopped bringing me stuff. Surprisingly, they know enough to not bring tributes to Alexa. Smart kitties.

I wonder if Jake and Jenny will appreciate that we'll be riding on awesome new winter tires when I take them in for their annual vet checkup in February?

Probably not.

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FlyPad

Posted on September 24th, 2019

Dave!This is the first post I’ve written entirely on my iPad. Thanks to iPadOS 13 (which was released today) and other apps stepping up their game, it’s actually a realistic option for me now.

Not that it’s easy, mind you.

It’s time consuming and clunky.

Take getting an image to appear in this post, for example. First I have to open the image in Adobe Lightroom for iPad so I can adjust it a bit. THEN I have to save it to my iPad so I can open it in Image Resize, because Lightroom DOESN’T ALLOW YOU TO FUCKING SPECIFY PIXEL DIMENSIONS WHEN YOU CROP A PHOTO. Once I crop it To 1200 × 800, I then have to save it to FTPManager Pro so I can upload it to my blog. It sounds simpler than it actually is. And it doesn’t end there. I then have to open up my WordPress admin panel to write the actual post. But since I want to use images where I put them instead of where WordPress wants them, I have to copy and paste code from old entries into new entries.

Like these photos of Jenny going after a fly in the window this morning...

Jenny stretching her neck up to look at a fly in the window.

Jenny stretching up the window under the window blinds to find a fly.

She’s adorable, I know.

Eventually (hopefully) one of these days it will be a more streamlined process to edit and upload images and write posts. I’m guessing it took me three times longer to post this on my iPad than it would have on my MacBook Pro. With practice, perhaps I could get it down to twice the time? I dunno. Right now I’m just happy I can do it. An iPad is a lot easier to lug around than a laptop.

   

Caturday 127

Posted on September 21st, 2019

Dave!As I mentioned last Caturday, I ordered a brand new cat tree to replace the disgusting pile of filth that the old one had become. My biggest worry was that the cats wouldn't like new cat tree smell and reject it. So after I put the new one together on Wednesday, I thought I'd keep both trees out so there could be a transition. Turns out it wasn't necessary. They were all over the thing from the minute they saw it...

Old cat tree. New cat tree. Both cats on the new cat tree.

Jake knawing on the new cat tree.

Jenny sitting on top of the new cat tree.

During their dinner time I hauled the old tree to the garage so I can eventually rebuild it. The new one slid to the old location and the cats didn't seem to notice that anything was different...

The new tree in the old location with Jenny sitting on top of it.

   
Yesterday I heard some commotion in the dining room. Not knowing what I was in for, I walked in and saw that Jenny was on the dining room table. At first I was all "GREAT! NOW I HAVE TO DISINFECT THE TABLE AGAIN!" But then I saw how neatly she had bundled up the table runner that I had up for dinner last weekend, and was all "Awwwww! Aren't you just the cutest thing!"

Jenny sitting on top of the new cat tree.

And she really is. I just melt every time I look into that little sour-puss face. And since it's been getting colder, I brought out the cat beds they like to snuggle up in this time of year. So now I get to look into her little sour-puss face every evening when I watch television...

Jenny waking up in her cat bed with her little adorable frowny-face.

   
First I added a second blanket to my bed... then this week I added my electric blanket. Something Jake and Jenny just love. But this year Jake has been all over it...

Jake laying on the electric blanket looking very content.

He even gave himself a pedicure on it the other day...

Jake biting the claws on his rear foot.

Jenny is pretty aggressive when grooming her claws... but Jake takes it to the next level. There were times I honestly thought he was going to rip his claws right off his foot.

   
and that's all the cat-news for another cat-week. See you in seven cat-days... same cat-channel... same cat-time!

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