House Holes

Today I’m going to talk about holes in houses.  House holes, as it were.  You know the type…doors, windows, that sort of thing.  In the last couple of days, house holes have been rather important around here.

Bear with me as I give you a bit of personal door history that seems irrelevant, but isn’t.  I break door latches.  I am a world-class latch breaker.  You see, we live in a farmhouse that is well over 100 years old.  Old houses like to move with the seasons.  When they do, the outside doors often don’t shut properly because everything ceases to line up and the latches don’t latch.  To me, this is unacceptable, so I try to force them closed until I break the latch.  I should be more precise and say latchES because I’ve done this more than once.  I swear it will work someday, but don’t tell my long-suffering husband Bill that I said that.  I’m in enough trouble already.

Since I’ve broken multiple latchES, I’ve had to make do.  I swapped a latch from one much-used door to another that is used rarely.  They are identical so I thought: “hey we never use this door so let me swap the latches out and we’ll be good to go!  So I did that and we WERE good to go.  The two doors we used the most were in perfect working order.  For a while…

It was when the frost settled under the sunroom that things got a little dicey.  You know where I’m going with this right?  Yes, the main door at the back of the house was no longer shutable.  Is that a word?  Hey, if I typed it, it must be. Being the stubborn person I am, I HAD to make that door close. Yes, I broke that latch, too.  This was a problem because this door would now swing in the wind unless we locked it.  But if we locked it, we could no longer enter the back of the house.  I finally figured out a bungee cord solution that kept the wind from opening it up, but we still locked it most of the time because our Great Dane Walter would get out otherwise.  It wasn’t a perfect system, but it worked…sort of.  Keep in mind that during all of this, long-suffering husband Bill is trying his best to avoid saying:  “I told you not to force that door closed!”  He would be right, of course.  Still, saying it might have been life-threatening so he restrained himself.

Yeah, that’s the very long door history.  It does provide a backdrop to explain why the next part was so mortifying.  Yesterday was a ‘Wendy day’.  Wendy comes here a couple of times a week to clean and generally keep us from being the slovenly people we are.  She puts up with a lot around here.  She keeps things somewhat orderly and keeps us in our place if we mess up.  ‘Mess up’ literally and figuratively, that is.  She’s like family and I don’t know what we’d do without her.  She loves Walter, too.  That’s saying a lot right there!

Yesterday, Wendy informed me that she entered the house through the dog door.  I’m not kidding!  That door with the broken latch was locked and she couldn’t get in that way.  She could have tried getting in by the front door, with a perfect working latch I might add.  But since the snowbanks are high, she would have to walk along a very busy road to get there.  She didn’t want to park in front because the carpenters were working away on the new garage and mudroom.  This was not going to deter her.  Wendy, being the resourceful woman she is, just crawled through the dog door to get in.  Let me emphasize that she not only had to get through the dog door itself but also had crawl under a flight of stairs and through another opening.  It’s hard to describe, so see below.  Why didn’t she call and have me unlock the door?  It was because it was very early and she didn’t want to wake us up.  I know I can be frightening before I’ve had my coffee, but still!  Silly woman.

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Dog door accessed under a stairway and through an opening into the back of the house.

 

Crawling through the dog door won’t happen again, thank goodness.  I still don’t believe she did it, but after today things will be much easier.  Today the carpenters are putting a hole in the side of the house.  They are cutting a great big hole in my pantry to put in a door.  We’re getting a new house hole that will be the opening for a man-sized door…or woman-sized door, as the case may be.  It will definitely be a Wendy-sized door. The new mudroom and garage are going to be accessible from the main house!  This is all very exciting but still, let’s have a moment of silence to mourn the desecration of my beloved pantry…  Sigh…

 

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Meet Steve, our carpenter/designer who made this process so easy.  We are so lucky to have him.

 

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Here’s Joe, Steve’s trusty sidekick.  He’s always smiling, even when he’s trying to avoid the camera!

 

So that’s the story of the house holes.  Doors, dog doors, and a new entryway.  The only thing we didn’t talk about is windows.  A window is what I’ll be thrown through if I break any more latches.

Tulip and Ezra

There are times when you have to make something good out of something that isn’t.  After our cat Echo died a few days ago, I was determined to keep my spirits up.  He lived a good, long life and his passing wasn’t quite as terrible as it might have been if he was younger than his 19 years.  Still, I miss him.

I felt a little guilty, but I started looking for kittens quite soon after he left us.  It kept my mind busy and there was that excitement over bringing a new pet into the house.  Of course, this time it would be a challenge because of our goofball Great Dane.  Our entire lives have changed because of Walter.  Nothing is safe if it’s lower than 7 feet off the floor, and even then it’s not safe.  There is nothing we can do that misses Walter’s attention.  Bringing a new pet into the house was bound to create an uproar.  Still, Lily is now an only-cat and she needs allies.  She needs them badly!  Walter is a tour de force and a one-cat army isn’t going to cut it.  Lily needs some paws-on-the-ground support.  So I started my search.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the local shelters had no kittens.  It is past kitten season.  Or too early for kitten season.  I think kitten season is just about any time other than now.   But still, aren’t there always unwanted kittens, even if they are a bit older?  I wasn’t locked into the idea of having tiny kittens, but I figured anything a year old or younger would be able to adapt to Walter.  Adapting to Walter is probably overly optimistic.  Tolerating Walter is probably even too much to ask.  See?  Everyone in this house has to work around Walter and his crazy ways.

After many phone calls, I finally got a lead on a rescue that had a lot of young cats.  It was an hour and a half away, but we were undeterred.  Off we went, armed with cat carriers and high hopes!  The place was packed, not only with animals but also with prospective adopters.  It was a zoo!  We headed for the cat area and sure enough, there were quite a few young cats and kittens.  Yay for us!  Everyone was in a good mood and the animals seemed to be very well cared for.  All good signs.  We started to check out the little felines.  I’m not sure if they were auditioning for us, or if it was the other way around, but it was quite the process.  They had quite a selection and we wanted to make sure we found a good fit.  One took to Bill immediately and another was inquisitive to the nth degree.  After all was said and done, we came home with those two kittens, both around 3 months old.

I’ve had a really hard time getting pictures, but here are a couple to give you an idea of what they look like.  Meet Tulip and Ezra:

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Tulip

 

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Ezra

 

Getting a good shot of Tulip is next to impossible.  She’s a scampery kitten, after all.  She’s faster than my shutter-finger, that’s for sure!  She’s mostly black with some white on her chest, toes, and just a hint around her lips.  She looks like she has a tiny milk mustache.  She could be a tuxedoed poster kitty for that Get Milk! ad campaign.

Then there’s Ezra. He’s all-gray with those arresting green eyes.  He looks like a space alien.  Enough of these reboots, Hollywood!  Alien Ezra would is ready to make his debut.  See E.T. Kitty on a screen near you!  Seriously, I really hope he grows into those eyes…they are intense!  They will probably be less overwhelming when he gains some weight.  He was taken from a hoarding situation and he’s had a rough start.  Thankfully, Tulip isn’t as thin as he is, and she has a nice thick coat.  She might have to share it with him till he puts some weight on!  Cuddle up kitties!

As time goes on, I’m sure there will be plenty of Tulip and Ezra stories. They are staying in the bedroom behind baby gates, for now.  That way Walter can see them, but not eat them.  I think it will take some time for him to get used to the idea of two crazy kittens.  I know it will take some time for the kittens to get used to him.

It will be interesting to see how Walter reacts to Ezra when the baby gates come down.  That little guy is kinetically supercharged, even by kitten standards. Walter is Walter.  He still chases Lily, our older cat, much to her chagrin.  I’m thinking the kittens will act as a diversion and she’ll be able to walk through the house at a more sedate pace befitting a middle-aged lady cat.  Who am I kidding?  There is nothing ladylike about Lily, or catlike for that matter.  She thinks she’s a dog and acts like one, too.  As much as she must be missing Echo, I can’t imagine that she’ll be amused to see these little upstarts.  My guess is that Ezra will be bouncing around Lily like Tigger bounces around Pooh while Tulip looks on, bemused.  Lily will view Ezra with gimlet eyes and put up with just so much.  What happens next will probably be post-worthy.  Never underestimate the powers and guile of a middle-aged cat-dog when confronted with an alien-kitten.

 

 

 

Mwaorw!

I tend to focus on Walter in my posts because he’s so outrageous and there are just so many outlandish stories to tell.  I’ve never really posted much about my cats.  We have Lily, a gorgeous calico and Echo, a very small black cat.  Lily is 12, and Echo is 19 1/2 years-old.  Or at least he was until this afternoon.  This afternoon, we said goodbye.

We adopted Echo from the local animal shelter back when Bill Clinton was still President.  I try to rescue black cats because a lot of people have superstitions about them.  They either think they are bad luck or they get them for nefarious reasons.  It’s chilling to think about, but the shelters will not let anyone adopt a black cat around Halloween.

Echo got his name because he came to us after we lost another black cat.  He was an echo of Maxwell and he looked so much like him, it was really uncanny.  He was a weird little cat.  Hey, what do you expect in our house?  All of our animals are weird.  Walter is insane and Lily, our other cat, thinks she’s a dog.  There is no shortage of quirkiness here, that’s for sure.  In the spirit of full disclosure, the humans are a little odd, too.

Echo’s weirdness became apparent when he was a kitten.  He was black, but he had the voice of a Siamese.  You know, that sort of Mwaorw sound.  Those who’ve had a Siamese know exactly what I mean. That wasn’t very that good, was it?   Impressions aren’t really my forte and my cat impersonations leave a LOT to be desired.

Now all of that Siamese-sounding Mwaorwing was really impressive when he did it for seemingly no reason at all.  And he did it VERY, VERY loudly!  It was always when he was in another room, totally alone.  He only weighed 7 pounds, but he sounded like he was 100 times that weight.  All of that Mwaorwing was so impressive that Walter would rush to Echo and join in with some pretty amazing howling.  It was duet like no other.

The fact that Echo would Mwoaorw loudly when he was all alone was pretty funny, but that’s not all.   As he got older, he would hiss when he was alone, too.  Just one solitary hiss.  It was then that I started to wonder if Echo could see ghosts that were invisible to the rest of us.  If that was true, what on earth were the ghosts doing that made Echo hiss?  Or maybe he was just nuts.  We’ll never know, but the mind reels!

In the past couple of weeks, Echo had not been himself.  He was relieving himself in the most unusual places.  Let’s just say that I should have bought stock in the company that makes antibacterial wipes. I’d be a millionaire!

At 19 1/2 years old, it’s not surprising that he would show signs that he was failing. For the past two days, he acted like he was going blind.  Diabetes was suspected, among other things.  All of this was dreadful, but the good news is that he only had these symptoms for a short period of time.  For his first 19 plus years, he was a happy, healthy, tiny cat with a big voice and a lot of love.

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Save My Naps…Or Else!!

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Hi down there, I’m Walter.  You do realize that I’m not actually writing this and Linda is just using me to tug at your heartstrings, right?  I’m not even doing the typing!   She figures that these pics will spur you on to send something for Guest in Jest.  All I’m doing is providing the eye candy to get some attention.  Now that’s quite clear, let’s get on with pretending that I’m narrating this thing.

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I’m usually a pretty laid back guy.  I like to curl up on my old quilt and have a little nap.  I love my naps.  Naps are the best!

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I might even loll a bit on the couch after a particularly hard day of proper napping.  But all of this relaxation has come to an end.  Linda is worried, and when she’s worried, so am I.  This has to stop.  If you don’t send in some submissions for Guest in Jest, there will continue to be sadness.  If that happens, my naps will be greatly compromised and we don’t want that, do we?  Do we?  No, we do not!

 

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If I don’t get my naps, I’m really miserable.  Look at me up there.  Things are bad.  I’m already crying.  I’m begging you!  I can’t sleep when Linda’s so glum.  I just want to go back to one of my sofas and rest.  Mmmm, back to my cozy quilt…  Wait, I can’t think about that now.  I have to convince you all to do what is necessary.  To do what is right!

I’m sure none of us wants Guest in Jest to come to an end.  Linda has been begging…a lot…and only a few posts have trickled in.  She thinks you must be tired of hearing it and that’s why she’s asked me to do it.  We will not rest until we have a backlog again.  The alternative is unthinkable.  If the posts stop coming completely, the series will end.  For real.  You know she’s desperate when she calls in the big dogs.  That’s where I come in.

 

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I’m just waiting for some Guest in Jest submissions. Someone could drive up and give us one, right?  It would be so cool if that happened!  If one of those posts comes anywhere near, I’ll be sure to bark extra loud so Linda can go snag it.  I like to keep an eye outside as well as on her inbox.  You never know where a submission might appear.  Plus, I’m almost sure that mailman is coming to kill us!

 

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So please help.  If Guest in Jest ends, I have to live with a forlorn Linda and that would not be fun.  She’d be depressed and then, of course, so would I.  There is only one thing sadder than a sad Linda, and that’s a sad Walter.  I mean look at me up there.  I am super sad.  If I pout enough will you send something?  Please!?

In order to save my naps, all you have to do is send something funny to Linda.  Her email address is mainepaperpusher@yahoo.com

It doesn’t have to be long, just humorous. Tell your friends and encourage them to participate, too.  A piece you’ve already posted on your own blog would be fine.  Poems of every sort are encouraged.  A funny picture with a caption would be great.  I’m pushing for a series called “Meme Monday,” but Linda’s not so sure.  Back to the topic at hand.  Even a simple joke would cheer Linda up immensely.  Most importantly, if she’s cheered up I won’t have to fret so much and then I can go back to my beloved quilt and have a little siesta.  But if you don’t something, things could take a nasty turn.

If you will not respond to our begging, I might have to take more serious measures.  I am very devoted to Linda and will do everything in my power to keep her happy.  Plus I have to keep my naps in mind.  Never underestimate the power of naps.  So be warned, if you don’t submit something soon, I’ll be coming for you!

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You don’t want to mess with the demon dog from Cornville, do you?  I didn’t think so.

There’s No Need To Fear!

There is a t-shirt out there that says:  “OWNING A GREAT DANE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO GO TO THE BATHROOM ALONE.”  I can’t even begin to tell you how very true that is.  In case you were wondering why Great Danes inspire a t-shirt like this, there is no great mystery.  Every breed of dog has a t-shirt with the same wording.  Every dog wants to be part of your bathroom routine.  For some it’s endearing, for others it’s a total nuisance.

Walter is adamant that he be part of every action I take when I first get up.  We have a pattern.  He used to get so excited that he would jump up and put his paws on my shoulders and practically bowl me over in his excitement.  Now I really appreciate that he loves me that much, but falling over is not exactly what I want to be doing when I really have to pee.  There could be accidents…and not just from bodily injury.

I finally came up with a solution that worked pretty well.  I trained him to grab a toy as we headed toward the bathroom, and that stopped him from jumping.  Though he does rear up like a small stallion sometimes, toy in mouth, he at least has stopped jumping on me.  Yay!  Problem solved!

He isn’t a total gentleman as we head toward the bathroom, though.  He still puts his head down, toy in mouth, and pushes my hind end because I’m obviously not going fast enough.  He knows that once I’m seated he will get his ears scratched and he can offer me his paw.  See?  We have a routine.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember that Walter takes his toys very seriously.  Sometimes he actually drops one at my feet and that just shows how much he loves me.  He rarely drops his toys for any reason, but this is special.  It’s ‘our’ bathroom time.  It might be a bit unconventional but it’s a routine I can handle.

Let me just preface this part of the story with the understanding that Walter has a lot of toys.  A LOT of toys.  Two bushel baskets full of toys.  There has never been a dearth of dog toys in this house.  Each toy has a place in Walter’s regimen.  He has his tug toys, his chew toys, and his plushies that he likes to carry around.  The latter category is usually what he chooses to accompany us to the bathroom.

His first toy when he was a pup was a plush Gumby.  It was a staple for ages until it was mercilessly destroyed by Greta, another Dane we had at the time.  See here for a description of that unfortunate event:  Gumby is Dead

After Greta killed Gumby, I ordered TWO Gumbys for Walter. Hey, recent events had proven that you probably should have a backup Gumby at all times.  Walter was not going to be Gumby-less, that’s for sure.  Not if I had anything to say about it!  When I ordered the Gumbys, I noticed that Amazon also had a lot of talking cartoon character dog toys so I got a couple of those, too.

Back to the bathroom.  You knew we’d get back there again eventually, didn’t you?  So there I was, sitting there doing what one does in a bathroom and Walter was sitting in front of me, toy in mouth, asking for attention.  We were a little distracted when a bird flew by the window and we both watched for a minute.  Wild birds are so cool, and Walter thinks so, too.

I finished my business and and stood up.  That’s when I felt a weird sensation and heard this:

Sound heard from my pants!

Yup, while were both distracted by that bird, Walter had dropped the talking Underdog plushie in my pants!  I would have been pissed if I wasn’t laughing so hard!

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Greta Follow Up

For those of you who have followed the rocky road that Greta the Great Dane has taken, I have news.  I was told today that Greta has been approved to go to a family with no other pets or children.  She’s going to her new home on Monday.

You can’t even imagine how happy this makes me.  There was a good dog under all of that aggression, she just needed to be in a home without another alpha dog.  I really think she’ll do well and I’m thankful that she’s had another chance.

I also want to thank you all for being so kind while I’ve been dealing with all of this.  You’ve reached out and shown compassion beyond measure.  I’m so happy to give you all some good news.

I promise, the next posts will be humorous and I also promise that I will still be sharing Walter stories!

Losing Greta

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog for a while is that I’ve been trying to recover from the emotional trauma that has surrounded Greta.

We no longer have Greta.  It’s been agony, but she couldn’t live here anymore.   Walter would growl at her if she came near his food and she would go insane and attack him.  It was going well for a few weeks and then all hell broke loose.  She growled at Wendy, the gal who cleans here every week.  Fighting with another dog is one thing, but if the aggression is directed toward a person, that’s something else.  Around the same time, I was injured in one of the fights, but I still hoped things would settle out.  Of course, they didn’t.  The hostilities increased but the rescue didn’t have a place for Greta to be fostered so I felt like we had to give it every chance.

On Labor Day there was a fight to end all fights.  Walter had a serious gash on his leg.  Greta looked to be ok with no wounds on her face or legs.  We rushed Walter to the emergency vet who is an hour away.  There we sat waiting for him to get stitches.  I felt horrible.  I felt like I had failed them both.  By trying to make things work, I had only made things worse.

When we got home, I found that Greta had been injured after all…behind her ear.  She would need stitches, too.  At that point, it would be quicker to wait for our vet to open, rather than head back to the emergency vet.  I spent a horrible night knowing that something had to be done.  The rescue HAD to take her back.  She just couldn’t stay here anymore.  Late that night, sent an email to the rescue and let them know the situation.

The next morning we made an appointment to have Greta stitched up.  They couldn’t take her till 3PM and for the next few hours I made calls.  I got in touch with the rescue and begged for them to take her back.  When they realized the severity of the attacks they told me that if they took her back, they would put her down.  I was crushed.  I told them that I had an appointment that afternoon to treat her wounds and if she had to go, she was going while I held her.  The reason for that appointment changed quickly.  I felt so helpless.  I had a contract with the rescue; if the dog was to leave my care, she HAD to go back to them…and they were going to kill her.  I left a message asking them if I had my vet call them, would they consider letting me break my contract.

I called my regular vet and told her the situation, hoping that she would talk to the rescue and convince them that Greta could go to a single dog house and that she didn’t need to be put down.  This vet, who I trust completely, told me that she would be leery of keeping Greta alive because she had shown some aggression toward a person, even though it was only a growl.  She was very upset that she couldn’t be there for me while this was happening.  She had only recently euthanized Levi, a Dane I thought the world of.  I couldn’t believe we were facing another death so soon.

I talked to Wendy and told her about the situation and she was adamant that I take Greta to the Humane Society where her daughter worked.  She said that Greta would have another chance and her daughter could work with her.  But I couldn’t do that unless I was freed from my contract.  I should have just conveniently “lost” Greta and let her go to the Humane Society surreptitiously, but if it was ever found out that I did, I’d be in big trouble.

At 3PM we went to the vet’s practice.  Since my vet couldn’t be there, another one came in to do the deed.  I was beyond distraught.  As she was filling the syringe, she kept telling me that I wasn’t ready to do this.  I KNEW I wasn’t ready; I would never be ready.  This couldn’t be happening.  Greta was only a year old.  The staff at the practice came in one by one to say goodbye to Greta and to give me hugs.  It was unbearable.

The vet again said that I wasn’t ready, and she was right, but I had no choice.  There was no way Greta could come home to us and I wasn’t going to take her back to the rescue only to be euthanized by strangers.  If it was going to be done, it was going to be done with her in my arms.

Then my phone rang.

It was the rescue!  I told them I had a plan to get Greta some help where she could be ‘rehabilitated’ and be placed in an appropriate home.  Of course, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Humane Society could do for Greta, but it was her only hope.  They released me from the contract!!!

I called Wendy and told her that if Greta could be kept from other dogs and the public, AND get some training, she could go to the Humane society.  We sent Greta off to be stitched up and within minutes, Wendy arrived in the vet’s parking lot and took Greta away.  I was still a sobbing mess, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

Greta is now in her own kennel at the Humane Society.  I get reports about her every few days and she is doing great.  The staff there love her and  she is in the care of a vet and two trainers who will help to prepare her for a home with no other animals, and no children.  Wendy’s daughter is the director of the dog division there and made sure everything was done right.  Under the circumstances, I couldn’t ask for a better solution.  It still hurts and I’m crying as I’m typing this.  At the time, I just retreated from everything as I tried to recover.  I am still trying to get over the loss and the guilt. Things are a little better now.  I’m making peace with the situation and Walter is getting used to being an “only dog.”  I think we’ll keep it that way.  I’m not sure I could bear another alpha dog showdown.  I can’t deal with any more aggression, and I certainly can’t stomach any more injuries.  It’s time to leave the blood, guilt, and tears behind and look toward a calmer life.  I think Greta will have one, too.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prepositions of Moving

We have been the recipients of a very generous gift of furniture and other various objects from our beloved aunt who has the audacity to leave Maine and move to Florida.  The nerve!  But we still love her dearly because she promises she will come back to visit regularly.  Regularly means weekly, right?  Probably not but I can hope!

Some of you out there might remember that I’m a hoarder collector of many things.  I have a lot of stuff.  I have stuff that hasn’t been organized properly in ages.  This is a problem when furniture is incoming.  Where to put what?  This wonderful influx has forced motivated me to do some organizing and get rid of some stuff (Oh, the humanity!)

This whole organizing thing isn’t easy,  but it had to be done and it meant that things would be so much nicer and neater.  There was the added plus that my couch would no longer be held together by duct tape.  The dogs just don’t  understand why they can’t come into the living room now unless we are here.  They are no longer allowed to rear up like horses and fall down to play doggie Twister.   Our aunt mentioned that perhaps a new coffee table would act as a speed bump.  It has slowed them down a bit!

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I can almost hear them wondering why on earth there is a quilt on the couch.  They are perplexed, but I digress.

It is here that we need to talk about the prepositions of moving.  I think moving from one house to another might be easier than what I’ve been doing.  Instead of moving OUT and moving IN, I’ve been moving AROUND.

AROUND is a whole different preposition from IN and OUT when it comes to moving.  A whole different proposition preposition, indeed.

IN and OUT are perfectly normal as moving prepositions go, but AROUND is where I get into trouble.  This thing has to go there but the thing over there has to be moved first to another place altogether, usually in another room, on another floor or to another building.

IMG_0052Let me just say that my garden shed runneth over.  Remember those tile games we had as kids (for those of you old enough to remember such things) and you had to move the tiles AROUND and AROUND until you made a picture?  That is what I’ve been doing…HERE, THERE, and EVERYWHERE (my apologies to the Beatles.)  But you know what?  The final picture, as it is evolving, is pretty cool.

The picture isn’t in focus just yet.  Just because I’ve moved the stuff to the area where it belongs doesn’t mean that organizing all of the little things is done.

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It’s amazing what I’ve found while organizing stuff.  Do you think any sane woman needs four power sanders?  Don’t answer that.  We won’t even talk about the hand tools.  In the sunroom I had enough potting supplies to start a greenhouse.  How many wires and cords and adapters should a person own?  Whatever the number, I’ve got more.  “Hey, look at this!  It’s a firewire drive!”  I even found my Sony Walkman…that plays cassettes…hello 1980’s!!

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So I am now dealing with different prepositions.  As I go through things, and place them where they belong, I realize that some of them go HERE and some go THERE.  And some of them actually go OUT!

Pigeon Preventers And The Hangry Cats

 

This was originally written as a guest post for the “Hair of the Dog’ series on It’s a Dog’s Life

I don’t think I’ve published it here, but my brain has been acting up lately.  I think I might have given the link.  But I somehow remember really screwing the whole thing up.  If I’m duplicating it, just smile and nod like you would for someone who just isn’t connecting the dots…because you know…I’m not!  If I haven’t posted it before…it’s yet another dog story…with cats!

 

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One might think that keeping cat food where it should be would be an easy task.  Even with dogs in the house, most people are quite successful in keeping their cats well-fed and happy.  Our cats, however, are food-insecure.  When I first heard the term “hangry” I thought of my cats.  Putting the words ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’ together was brilliant and a perfect way to describe what my poor felines felt about their disappearing meals and the dog burglar who committed these crimes.  You’ve heard of cat burglars?  Leave it to us to have a dog burglar.  His name is Walter.  Walter is a Great Dane and when this all began, he was a puppy.

If it isn’t obvious already, Walter LOVES cat food.  We have a table next to the window in the kitchen.  On this table is a cat bed along with the cats’ food and water bowls.  The cats can sleep, eat and watch the birds there.  Perfect, right?  No, not right.  Not right at all!  Even though we tried to block the access to those bowls with kitchen chairs, and every other type of obstacle we could think of, every once in a while Walter would sneak in and clean out the cat bowl.  Sometimes he’d even drink their water!

When I made a change in the cats’ dining arrangement, all hell broke loose.  Since Echo was 18 years old at the time, I figured he deserved a bit of luxury in his waning years.  I decided to feed him his favorite soft food.  Old age has its rewards and all of that, right? Because Lily, our 11-year-old, tends to be a very hungry big girl (she takes after her mother,) it was necessary to keep the cats’ food dishes separate so Echo could eat all he wanted without Lily’s interference.  Great plan, right?  Yeah well, not so much.

Trying to keep Walter from getting the dry cat food was a battle every now and then.  Trying to keep him from the wet food was war.  Constant war, at that.  I thought I could outsmart him, though.  I’m smarter than the average Dane!  Yeah well, maybe not so much.  It seems that Walter is not an average Dane.  So what next?

I had some shelves in the kitchen corner and I should have known the shelf wasn’t high enough.  Still, that worked for a while till Walter was tall enough that he could reach it.  Next, I got one of those little plastic drawer affairs to put on top of the shelf.  You know the ones where you can add or subtract drawers to your heart’s content.  There wasn’t going to be any subtracting here…I kept adding drawers and the cat food rose higher and higher, but I still found the cat dishes on the floor and they were so clean that I could see my reflection in them.

As this process unfolded, poor Echo practically needed an oxygen mask to climb high enough to reach his food bowl.  It was about five feet off the floor and Walter was still getting taller.  As fast as I raised the bowl, he grew enough to reach it!

Then I had an idea!  I was actually pretty smug about it, too.  I took the top off of the set of drawers and put Echo’s food inside the top drawer.  That way Walter would have to climb five feet and then go up and over the side of an 8″ drawer.  My smugness was short-lived.  It wasn’t long before he figured out a way to outsmart me and Echo continued to be calorically deprived.

Then Walter started reaching beyond the drawer!  There was a little shelf on the wall where I kept the cat food cans.  One morning I got up and found these on the floor…

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Walter had figured out a way to take the tops off those cans and then he chewed them into oblivion as he got every last bit of cat food out of them.  How he didn’t lacerate his tongue or his intestines, I will never know.  Those cans of cat food were nearly seven feet off the floor!  How was I ever going to thwart him?  When people are fed up they often say ‘enough is enough’ but in this case, enough was more than enough!  This was beyond enough.  I started to scheme until I had another idea. I wasn’t smug this time, I was merely hopeful.

My plan was to put the cat food in its usual place, put a mousetrap next to it and then put a newspaper over it all.  My theory was that if he got up there, he’d spring the mousetrap, it would snap up and make a racket against the newspaper and scare the heck out of him!  Bill reminded me that a 19-year-old cat might have a heart attack if he happened across my trap before Walter did.  Bill had a point, but I was undeterred.  There had to be a way to stymie this ever-growing dog.  I needed help to implement my cunning plan. There was only one place to go.  I went to the hardware/farm store.

The people at the store are very nice.  They never look at me like I’m an idiot when I ask crazy questions.  I might hear a snicker or two as I’m leaving, but they never do it to my face.  I appreciate that in hardware/farm store people.  Anyhow, I explained my predicament and asked where the mousetraps were.  I was desperate.  If I had to, I’d take the cats to another room for a night or two and put my devious plan into action.  The gal who works there nodded her head as though I wasn’t crazy at all.  She was giving me one of those ‘smile and nod’ looks when suddenly, it was obvious that she’d come up with a crazy scheme of her own.  Did she take me to the mousetraps?  No!  She took me to see a product called Bird Be Gone!

At first, I didn’t understand.  Then she opened the box and took out these spikey things they put on house eaves to keep pigeons away. Pigeon preventers!  They had both plastic and metal versions.  We opted for plastic since there was the possibility of impalement with the metal ones.  At this point, I thought a good bit of impalement was just what Walter needed!  Once I put those evil thoughts out of my head, I went home with the plastic pigeon preventers and some velcro.  This is what they look like…

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My theory was that if he got his collar caught on the pigeon preventer and the little plastic prongs didn’t snap, the velcro would come apart and he wouldn’t be left hanging there.  See?  I really didn’t mean him any harm!  However, at this point, it wasn’t about the cat food anymore (sorry Echo.)  This was about me trying to keep one step ahead of Walter.  This whole Great Dane outsmarting his owner thing was going to stop!

That night I put a strip of the pigeon preventer spikes on the front of the drawer in which I fed Echo.  There!  If Walter wanted to get up there, he was going to feel plastic spikes against his neck and back off.  That ought to stop him!  It didn’t.  The next morning, the pigeon preventer was on the floor…with the empty cat food bowl.

The next night I not only reinstalled the first preventer, but I put a second one up there for good measure.  The next morning I was thrilled to see that the cat dish was where it belonged and all was well with the world.  I had thwarted Walter but good!  His days of cat food burglary were over!  And for a few days, I really thought that was true.  I was wrong.

It wasn’t long before I woke up one morning and walked into the living room and found Walter chewing one of the pigeon preventers like it was a dog toy.  When he saw me, his face was a tapestry of emotions.  I saw surprise, guilt, sheepishness; but most of all, I saw triumph.  I quietly went into the kitchen, picked the cat food dish off the floor, and went straight back to bed.