Climber April 5, 2009
A lot has been going on lately, not all of it good, but it’s going to take me some time before I can write about everything and do it justice. In the meantime, take a look at what Forrest has been up to. And I mean “up” in the most literal sense of the word.
The Secret March 9, 2009
On Saturday, I discovered The Secret.
It rocked my world. It changed my life. It allowed me to get through the days without frustration and exasperation. In peace.
It has nothing to do with the book.
For The Secret is as simple as the air around us. Fresh, outside, almost spring air.
When Forrest goes outside for a few minutes, it zonks him out for the rest of the day.
Case in point:
Yes, I know we’re the crazy cat people dragging their feline around on a leash. I had bought the harness and leash last fall, thinking it would calm Forrest down a little if he could go out and run around for awhile. It was a little too heavy for him back then, and he was more interested in playing with the leash than he was in going outside.
Now that he’s grown a little a lot, I figured it was time to try again. He loved it. Although he was a little hesitant at first, he quickly realized that he was somewhat free and could walk around the deck and backyard. He had a great time sniffing at things, chewing on grass (what there is of it), and watching birds. We went out three times over the weekend, and I swear by Sunday night he understood that seeing his leash meant that he got to go outside. I think he’s part dog.
And when he passed out each time afterwards, it wasn’t his usual 20 minute catnap. He was out for HOURS! Mike and I could eat without fighting him for our food, we could watch TV without scremaing at him to leave Guinness alone. It was heaven.
Now I just need the weather to cooperate so that we can make this a ritual every evening!
Six months February 1, 2009
At the beginning of August, he was this:
Now, he’s THIS:
(Please ignore Mike’s “playoff beard”. I know I certainly am.)
He’s the same height as Guinness, although leaner. He’s still quite a character. Definitely a kitten in spirit, if not in size. The declawing and neutering only slowed him down for a few days, and didn’t calm him down at all. He’s a hunter–he hides and pounces, catches his prey (usually a cat toy), and then hides it in one of Mike’s shoes. He’s also a thief. There are things missing from the house that Forrest has hidden that we just can’t seem to find, like Mike’s nose hair trimmers. Seriously.
Because of Forrest, we know not to put toilet paper on the holder,
to put breakables up high,
to check the dryer carefully before turning it on,
and to duck when you turn the water on, because he’s sure to come bounding from the furthest part of the house to see what’s going on.
Some of his hobbies include:
- eating your food when you turn your back
- pulling the strings out of drawstring pants and carrying them around the house
- biting toes
- watching snowflakes and trying to catch them (even though they’re on the other side of the glass)
- checking to see if the sink is clean and licking it if it’s not
- slamming his body against the shower door while I’m in there, then waiting until I open the door when I’m getting out and playing in the water. He then lays on the bathroom rug and stretches out, enjoying the heat. We call it his “sauna”.
His favorite foods include:
- anything you’re eating at the moment. Anything.
- soups–split pea, potato and bacon, bean
- cereal, preferably soaked in milk. Cheerios are a big hit.
- bread. We’ve learned not to leave a loaf of bread on the counter because he’ll bite through the bag.
- as a last resort, Friskes.
We tried so hard to train him to stay off of the island and counters, but he’s untrainable. He’ll jump back up just as many times as you put him down. He was afraid of the spray bottle for about 3 seconds before he learned to hold his ground and turn his face to the stream of water, completely unfazed. When we have people over, we have to move the food and litter box into our bathroom and shut the bedroom door. It’s just a matter of time before he figures out that our door doesn’t latch and if he would throw himself against it, it would probably bounce open.
Sometimes I think he’s the smartest cat ever. Other times I think he’s as dumb as dirt. The one thing I do know is that he’s definitely a cutie–
Catching up November 1, 2008
The week before last, I did something I never did before. I took a week of vacation time . . .without going on vacation. The last time I even took a whole week of vacation was three summers ago when we went to the Outer Banks with Mike’s family. The time before that was a trip to Aruba in 2003. The only other week off was our honeymoon–9 years ago. All of our vacation time has been long weekends or centered around a holiday. I needed a break.
My one goal was to get our bedroom torn apart, painted, put back together, and the curtains (that I bought 2 years ago!) hung. I spent all of Monday and Tuesday doing just that.
Notice my little helper. I’ve been wanting to paint our bedroom for a long time, but knew that it would be a pain–our furniture is heavy. Oh, and our bedroom is usually a mess. It was nice not to have to cram it into a weekend and to know that I could take my time.
The rest of the week was fairly uneventful. I had a few other little projects I wanted to get done, which I did, and a few larger projects that I wanted to get done that I blew off in favor of curling up in a chair to read. It was a relaxing week overall, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I might end up taking a week off every year just to do stuff around the house.
That Friday night, Mike, my sister-in-law JLo, and I piled in the car and headed to Virginia to celebrate our niece’s sixth birthday. On Saturday, we ventured out into the drizzly rain to Hollywood Cemetery to take pictures for a school project that JLo was working on.
Afterwards, we went out for lunch to Richbrau, a brewpub and restaurant. By the time we finished eating, it was pouring down rain, so we headed back to the house to celebrate LiLo’s 6th birthday with homemade lasagna and an Oreo pie.
We headed back to Pittsburgh on Sunday, and by the time we got home, I had a cold. This week flew by, getting back into the swing of things at work and trying to shake off this cold. Thursday night, Mike decided he wanted to carve a pumpkin. Forrest helped.
Last night was our neighborhood trick-or-treat, and the weather cooperated for once. We set up a table at the end of the driveway with the jack-o-lantern and candy, and spent most of the time catching up with neighbors.
Mike’s roasting pumpkin seeds as I type this, waiting on the garage door repairman to come. We’re both anxious to pick up Forrest at the vet. He came through the surgery without a hitch and had his stitches removed this morning. We should have clearance to go him around noon. The house has been so quiet without him–we can’t wait to have him back at home!
He’ll have the “Balls and Claws” special, please. October 31, 2008
Mike dropped Forrest off at the vet this morning to get his vaccines (since he was too sickly with ringworm to get them done last time), get neutered, and also declawed.
That process that I’m so against, that’s so inhumane and cruel.
But I’m at my wit’s end. He’s aggressive and getting more so each day. Mike and I can fend him off (most of the time), but it’s taking it’s toll on our other cat, Guinness, who now sleeps with one eye open. Forrest isn’t a mean cat, he just wants to play. But he takes it too far and doesn’t know when to stop. He attacks Guinness relentlessly, even sinking his teeth into her neck. The teeth we can’t do anything about, but the claws . . .I’m finally ready to admit they have to go.
We’ve been pretty good about keeping the Soft Claws on him, but they’re not enough. The other night he worked his way under our leather rocker/recliner and tried to claw his way out from the inside. It’s like our chair was possessed by an alien–he’s one strong little cat. If we would have let him keep going, he would have punched through the leather despite having the Soft Claws on.
But still, I’m feeling guilty and second-guessing our decision to have this done. We can’t pick him up until tomorrow, so tonight (after trick-or-treat!) is going to be rough. Without Forrest, our house will be quiet and peaceful. Giving me even more time to wonder if we did the right thing.
Maybe I’ll spend that time playing catch-up and writing a long rambling post about my adventures over the past few weeks. . . .
Internet Contagion and the Fearlessness of a Certain Kitten September 19, 2008
First of all, one of my blogging friends has mono. Oy, do I feel her pain. So go over to Keeping the Dream Alive and give her your wishes for a speedy recovery.
She and I were going back and forth via email about her having mono and not knowing where she got it from, and we came to the conclusion that I gave it to her via the internet. You know, a cyber-virus. It only makes sense. Other than the fact that I would have had to kiss her or use her toothbrush or something to actually pass it on to her, but humor me. This is going somewhere. Kinda.
ANYHOW, since I gave her a cyber-virus, I sent her some cyber-chicken soup and a cyber-blanket for her to cuddle up in. She also requested a kitty, since her mean mean (just kidding!) husband won’t let her have one.
I offered to put this little guy in a box, duct tape it real tight (because he’s very resourceful and very sneaky), and send him right off to her.
Which led me to give her a list of his antics that she would have to endure. I rattled off about seven things without pause. I then realized that those were only the tip of the iceberg. This cat has such a personality that I thought I’d share some of his little quirks with all of you. They certainly make my life a living hell more interesting.
- He loves the hair dryer. My loud 10-year-old hair dryer that sometimes startles me when I turn it on? He comes running when he hears me fire it up and sits on the bathroom counter, waiting for me to aim it his way.
- Also loves the Swiffer sweeper. Really, I can’t blame him–I do too. But it makes it hard to swiff (please just tell me I made up a new verb) when there’s a kitten pouncing on the thing. And because we have mounds of cat hair everywhere, my Swiffer tends to make a high whining noise after sucking up little furballs–a noise that is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard. But he keeps right on pouncing. It’s like sweeping with the Energizer Bunny around.
- “What’s in the toaster? Hmm, let me stick my head in and see.” This is what I imagine Forrest saying to himself before he checks out a hot appliance. YES, I KNOW THE CAT SHOULD NOT BE UP ON THE COUNTER AND WE’RE GROSS GROSS GROSS. So don’t ever eat at our house. And I’m buying a spray bottle today to squirt him with to hopefully train him to stay off of the counters. Why do I feel that I’ll have gallons of water to wipe up?
- In addition to toasters, Forrest has also taken a liking to other appliances. He enjoys walking across the hot stove to see what’s cookin’. Last week, I got so pissed at him that I put him in the laundry room and shut the door. Perfect. He had food, water, and a litter box, and I had some peace and quiet so that I could cook. He cried for about 10 minutes and then was quiet. I thought all was well. Except . . .
- when I opened the door to let him out, a blast of hot air hit me and I noticed there was condensation everywhere. He had managed to disconnect the dryer’s exhaust from the wall WHILE IT WAS ON. At least the laundry room smelled like Bounce instead of cat shit for once.
- Speaking of letting him up on the counter . . .he typically gets up on a chair, gets up on the island, and then jumps across to explore further. He also tends to leap before he looks. Earlier this week, he made the jump, slid on whatever pool of wetness was on the counter at the time, made contact with a glass bottle, and smashed it against the wall, shattering it. Thankfully, he wasn’t cut. Oh, did I mention? This was 5:00 IN THE FREAKING MORNING!
- He loves people food. Doesn’t matter if it’s drowning in hot sauce, a vegetable, or hard candy, he’ll try to swipe it from you. Makes for interesting meal times in our household.
- Way back when he was a little harmless thing–a few weeks ago–we kept him in the master bathroom. He had ringworm and we were trying to keep him somewhat quarantined. Our bathroom is fairly large and he was a tiny little thing, weighing in at 1 1/2 lbs. At first he was OK with his new living arrangements. But then he started to revolt. One morning I went into the bathroom to find the stopper to the sink drain uprooted (for lack of a better word). He must have decided that the 14 toys we had put in there with him weren’t enough and he needed something else to play with. We have dual sinks in the bathroom. As a testament to his strength, I tried to remove the stopper on the other sink. And couldn’t.
- Somewhere between 4AM and 5AM each morning (weekends included because Forrest’s skilz with the calendar are just as good as they are at telling time), I am awakened by the sound of a cat gagging. A hairball? No, or not yet anyway. Forrest likes to chew on my hair while I sleep to the point that he gags on it. I then have to extract the (still-intact!) strands from his gullet. Add this one to the list of reasons why my hair will never be long. I think I need to switch shampoos, because apparently the one I’m using has trace amounts of catnip in it. I now sleep with a T shirt wrapped around my head to fend him off, but he’s catching on. By next week, he’ll be chewing through the T shirt to get at my hair.
- Chewing? I think he’s part tiger or something. HE has some strong teeth for a 3 month old kitten. Don’t believe me? Ask Mike, whose toes Forrest sharpens his teeth on daily.
- Let’s talk about the 2 cats getting along. They don’t. Simple as that. And even though Guinness outweighs Forrest by at least 12 pounds and packs a mean wallop with her paw when she swats at him, Forrest just keeps coming back for more. Immediately. Hissing, screeching, and rolling around ensues. All of you country folk that used to hear cats mating outside your bedroom window at night . . .you know that sound? (Am I being too much of a hick here? Do you have NO CLUE what I’m talking about?) Anyhow, that sound is a symphony compared to the noise that these two make. It drives me INSANE.
- I love animals. I truly do. Seeing an animal in pain, or hungry, or stranded makes my heart melt. But if one more person tells me that having him fixed will calm him down, I just may get out the pruning shears and do a little snip snip on him myself. We have TWO MORE MONTHS until we can get him de-masculinized (another new word, what do you think?). Anybody know a black market vet that will do it a little sooner than the recommended 5 months? If so, we need to talk.
But when he’s sleeping, he’s the most precious little kitten on God’s green earth.
Busy weekend September 15, 2008
Friday, Mike and I had tickets to the musical Wicked , which was PHENOMENAL. I actually enjoyed the musical adaptation WAY more than the book, which seems like it should be a sin. Aren’t you always supposed to like the book better? We didn’t get home until close to midnight, grabbed a quick bite to eat since we didn’t have time for dinner before the show, did some last-minute housecleaning, and went to bed.
We were up early on Saturday. My friend from high school (who was also a college roommate) came to visit with her husband and their two little boys. We spent the morning talking and catching up, went out for lunch, went to an indoor recreation place so that the kids could play for awhile since it was raining all day, and then headed back to the house and had dinner delivered. We were up until the wee hours of the morning and had to force ourselves to go to bed since the kids would be waking up early. The day went by way too quickly!
It was so good to see them again. The past few years we’ve only seen them at weddings and bridal showers and baby showers, so this was a perfect opportunity to visit with them and not have a scheduled event to go to. This was also the first time we had seen their youngest son, who just turned 2 earlier this summer. Amazing how time flies by. They are the type of friends where months or years can go by without seeing them, but within minutes of being together it feels like we were never apart to begin with. I just wish we all lived closer so that we could see each other more often!
Sunday afternoon ended up being lazy, which was great. I took a nap on the couch with Forrest, who was tuckered out from playing with the kids nonstop. Apparently that’s what we need to calm the kitten down–a 6 year old and a 2 year old! And since we had put Soft Claws on both of the cats a few weeks ago, I didn’t have to worry about either of the kids (or us!) getting scratched while they were playing.
I’m glad I took that nap since the Steeler game was a late one last night–even with the nap it was such a struggle getting up for work this morning. Tonight we’re going to take it easy and catch up on laundry and all of the mundane household stuff, including looking at paint samples. Next weekend’s project is painting the bathroom. I’ve been talking about doing this for 2 years and I’m finally going to get it done!