Posted on February 27th, 2021
I clean the cat feeding station, the auto-feeders, and the water fountain every Caturday. Both filters in the water fountain get changed out every two weeks. It's something I'm fairly religious about because A) I want my cats drinking as much water as possible to reduce risk of urinary problems and they drink three times more water from a fountain than a bowl.... and B) If the water isn't fresh-tasting, they will stop drinking it altogether... and C) the last thing I want is for bacteria to build up and make them sick.
So there I am sitting down to dinner well after the cats have had their dinner and Jenny starts meowing off in the distance. Something she only does when she's very, very upset.
Needless to say I waste no time running over to see what her deal is. Turns out I forgot to pull the fountain out of the dishwasher and get it set up for Little Miss Jenny to have her post-dinner drink! And so I dropped everything and took care of that immediately. And she watched me as I did it the entire time. After which she was happily (and noisily) lapping up her refreshing H2O...
Glad we got that all sorted.
Jake didn't care so much for fresh water as he cared about playig with the back scratcher I left out...
Not that Jake doesn't have his own prima donna moments.
Earlier in the week I had moved the couch so I could vacuum under it. As I was lifting it up, Jake's favorite fuzzy blanket fell off and I had to throw it back up on the couch. Once I sat down after vacuuming, he hopped up and was furious that his blanky was "wrong." He was grunting and fretting and smacking it over and over and over to "fix" it...
The little guy was so agitated that I finally reached over to scratch his head in an effort to calm him down, only to be brutally rebuffed as he tried to dodge my hand...
At this point I was desperate, and ended up tapping on the window so he would think Fake Jake was outside and go running out to the catio...
That worked, and I did my best to put his blanky back exactly how he likes it. Apparently I did a good enough job, because when he came back he did only minimal "biscuit-making" before I flopped down for a nap...
Whew. Crisis averted!
And that's what having cats is all about isn't it? Crisis management?
Posted on February 20th, 2021
This past week we experienced a bit of a cold snap. Usually when this happens I turn the heat up a bit so it keeps running, because once the temperature drops enough the heat has a tougher time battling its way back. This essentially means the heater is running all the time, which can get expensive. Knowing that the cold was likely temporary, I just left the heat alone. This meant there were times it got fairly cold in my house. The cats have fur coats and are likely warmer than I am, but that doesn't mean they like it. They would much, much rather have a warm house.
An upshot of this temperature change is that Jake and Jenny are often cuddled up together sleeping so they can stay warmer...
Now, to be clear, my cats get along fine. Other than occasional play-fights and nightly incidents of them chasing each other around the house, they mostly just ignore each other. This works out great for me because they take turns seeking attention...
But now that they'd rather spend their non-stop nap-time together, the only way I see them is on the guest room security camera, day and night (except feeding time, of course...
Kind of a bummer, but it beats a $40 increase on my power bill.
I'm confident that in another week or two they'll be back to their normal ignoring each other... and paying more attention to me.
Posted on February 15th, 2021
Today is technically a holiday at work, but I'm going in anyway to clean up a bunch of little things that have been piling up. I have decided to wear sweats to the office for the first time ever because nobody should be there to notice. Except you just know that somebody will end up being there and notice. Oh well. I barely have the energy to go into work... let alone change pants. So sweat pants are a step above no pants, I suppose.
And just as I resigned myself to heading into the office a little early, this happens...
And of course she rubs all over me before planting herself, so now I'm covered in cat hari...
Then, before you know it, she's fast asleep... trapping my arm in the process...
I promised myself that I'd be in the office by 10:00am, so eventually I say "Do you want a treat? Is it treat time? Let's go get a treat!" At which time she's flying off of my and dashing downstairs at top speed.
Now, usually when I have to go into work on a holiday, I treat myself to a snack-run at the mini mart. I buy all the junk foods I normally try to avoid. But the idea of having to deal with anti-mask idiocy and "election fraud" rants was too much to bear, so I microwaved a veggie burger instead. Sometimes the snacks just aren't worth it.
Despite icy roads and nearly getting rear-ended, I made it to my desk at 9:58am. So way to go me, I guess...
What followed was a furious three-hour burst of productivity that stunned me so hard that I didn't end up working an entire half-day. Instead I ditched a half-hour early and came home to veg out in front of the television. My free trial to Apple Arcade hasn't been touched yet and will expire any day now, so I should at least take a look at that.
Posted on February 13th, 2021
Next Tuesday is Jake & Jenny's adoption day. Which means five years ago is when I rescued them from the local Humane Society so my mom would have a distraction to keep her company while I was at work. As her dementia progressed, it became more and more important to have distractions, and two kittens was a good one.
After my mom was gone, Jake & Jenny were a distraction for me, and they've been doing a perfect job of this. Even when I'm not at home. Because my iPhone has a photo block which pulls photos out of my library. And since 90% of my photos are of my cats, 90% of the time it's a photo of one of them. Usually it's cute photos that I have favorited like this one...
Other times it's photos I would just as soon forget.
Like this one which popped up yesterday morning...
It's from when Jake had a very bad urinary tract infection... just before I was due to fly to Hawaii for a wedding. Which means I had to leave the poor thing at the vet hospital... and leave Jenny home alone... while I was half-way across the Pacific Ocean. And even though I pared my trip down from ten days to three days, I was still a wreck leaving the poor thing behind when he was so confused and upset...
And I was a wreck the entire time.
On the morning of 8th I flew down to the vet's office to visit Jake and see if I could bring him home, which I could, because his urine was finally clear. But that just lead to further trauma, because he smelled like the hospital and Jenny was a hissy ball of hate towards him...
It all worked out eventually and they were back to tolerating each other (at least until Jake fell down the stairwell six months later... the day before I had to fly to L.A. for work).
Oh well. It could have been the photo from when I had to rush him back into the vet a couple weeks later... where I made the huge mistake of letting Jake out of his carrier on the return trip. Sure it looked cute on the surface of it all...
...but it was sensory overload, and the poor thing was even more upset than when I kept him in the carrier the entire time. That's probably the time I felt the most awful, because it was entirely my fault.
I feel extremely fortunate that my cats haven't required many trips to the vet (knock wood). The visits I have are tough enough, which is why my iPhone really shouldn't be surprising me with those photos like that. Isn't waking up in a global pandemic every day torture enough?
Posted on February 6th, 2021
Jenny has me completely wrapped around her paw. And she knows it.
Unlike Jake, who can't meow for some reason, Jenny can... and does... meow when it suits her to do so. When she's upset? Meow. When she wants something? Meow. When she's frustrated? Meow. Last night she hopped up on the dining room table (which mean I had to disinfect it) which is someplace she knows she's not supposed to be. As I was walking by to make dinner, she let out a meow so dramatic that I was compelled to stop and find out what she wanted. Which was to have her head scratched.
Most of the time she just meows to get attention though...
Yesterday morning I got an alert on my phone that I ignored. Then I got more and was compelled to check. VOICES IN MY HOUSE?!?
So I listened in and found that... the cats had turned on the television. Apparently I left the remote out.
And now it's time for my weekly steam-cleaning of the cat feeding station, the cat drinking fountain, and the cat Litter-Robots. When did my weekend start revolving around cat maintenance? Since I first got them five years ago ten days from now, I'd imagine.
Posted on February 3rd, 2021
Yesterday was not a particularly great day.
I've been consumed with a project at work, and packed up my files so I could continue working on it at home while watching Groundhog Day. The entire drive home all I could think about was how exhausted I was and how much I wish that I could just go home, climb into bed, then sleep until dawn.
Once I got home I noticed that the bowl I use to bribe Fake Jake away from the garage with treats if he shows up in the morning was missing. It's not easy to spot from the street, but I always scan the area to make sure that Fake Jake won't come running in front of the car as I pull into my garage, so I noticed it immediately.
And I was furious.
Irrationally furious, but that's how I get when I've exhausted.
WHERE IS FAKE JAKE'S BOWL?!? WHO IN THE HELL STOLE FAKE JAKE'S BOWL? I WILL LOOK AT MY SECURITY CAMERA FOOTAGE AND I WILL FIND YOU! THEN I WILL END YOU! I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN LIKE A DOG! BLOOD WILL RUN THROUGH THE STREETS! VENGEANCE WILL BE MINE!!!
As I stomped into the house I pulled out my phone to check the footage, and...
Oh. Well, I can't even be mad about that. Kinda ironic that if I had actually went after the culprit, I would have literally been hunting down a dog. Luckily, the bowl was still in the street where he dropped it and hadn't been run over or anything.
In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have been so angry. Absolutely anything could have happened, and it wouldn't have necessarily been theft. I should resolve that in 2021 I will wait until facts are in evidence before becoming irrationally angry.
Which, if I became angry then, would no longer be quite so irrational?
I dunno. Something to shoot for, I suppose. Hindsight may be 20/20 but my rage is eternal.
Posted on January 30th, 2021
Despite the fact that Jake is the one needing to lose weight, it's Jenny that's always begging for food. And nothing gets her excited faster than seeing me head towards the kitchen, because... for whatever reason... she thinks that means I'm going to feed her. I almost never do that because I don't want her trained to be begging for food.
Last night after their dinner was over, I went to the kitchen to load the dishwasher and clean up. She sees this and immediately runs to sit and stare at me. After 5 or so minutes she gives up and walks away. A few minutes after that I get a glass of water to refill their water fountain. She notices and comes running over at top speed. She watches me fill the fountain. She hops over and looks to see if I put food in her bowl. She then howls... and I mean HOWLS... when she sees that I haven't.
I can only guess that she was screaming NNNNOOOOOOOOOO!!!
The rest of the evening was pretty awkward, if I'm being honest.
Jake has been doing better, but he's still being awfully clingy, hanging with me every morning...
He's still weird though. A couple nights ago I heard him crying his little lungs out. It sounded serious, so I dropped everything and tracking him to the guest bedroom. He had jumped up on the desk and apparently was afraid to jump down. So I moved a chair over, then put some jeans on it so he had a soft landing spot. He looked at the chair, then jumped BESIDE it rather than ON it...
I mean... it worked... but seriously, Jake?!?
Probably still traumatized since Jenny chased him off the cat tree a while back...
Poor Jake. He conveniently forgets that he was chasing her around the house first.
And in other Jake news... earlier this week I could not access my home file server from the office for some reason, so I had to come home to get the assets I needed. Before settling into work, I grabbed a couple slices of bread and butter to eat. Then proceeded to drop a slice on me, which sent me scrambling to the kitchen for a towel. This is what awaited me when I got back to my computer...
Not a great day to be me, clearly. Oh well. Maybe that butter will help curtail any hairballs he felt like puking up?
Posted on January 24th, 2021
A new era may be dawning, but some things will never change... because an all new Q&A Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...
• Does the stair shelf you built for your cats work?
Yep! No falls since I installed it! Jenny has never been a banister girl, so she just walks along it on occasion. But Jake still lays up there all the time. Especially in the Summer when the sun shines on it. Since the catwalk I built adds a couple inches to the width, he's a lot more comfortable laying on it, and like to prop his head on the ledge to watch me and Jenny on the stairs. This, along with the catio, are two of the best things I've made to keep my cats safe and healthy.
• Which meal service do you like best?
Are you talking between Martha Stewart & Marley Spoon and "Hello Fresh," the two I am currently using? That's actually a very good question! Both of them allow you to skip weeks (which I do often because they are expensive) so when I do order, I have been bouncing back and forth. Comparing them in a face-off is actually a good idea for a post. I'll do that sometime in the coming week!
• Japanese knives RUST... they are NOT stainless steel!
Yes. When I reading up on knives, this was brought up many, many times. I made my purchase with my eyes wide open. I expected for rust to appear. But it was still the best knife for what I would be cooking, and I just made a mental note to be sure and wash the blade after every use. And I've never seen rust. Until one day I did! I went into a Google panic, found out the easiest way to deal with it was a Rust Eraser, ordered one, and then found out it wasn't actually rust before the eraser ever arrived. It was a piece of food that I didn't get wiped off and only looked like rust. Since I first got it a year ago, I've never seen a speck of rust and my Rust Eraser hasn't even been taken out of the wrapper. My MAC Chef's Knife and Bread Knife are from their "Professional" series which is "rust resistant" but will still rust if you don't wash and dry them immediately after use. I also have some "Original" series knives which are supposed to rust more easily but, as I said, I've never seen any rust on them because I keep them clean and dry.
• Are you still playing Animal Crossing?
Sadly, no. I haven't had time. And I'm scared to look and see how many weeds I'll have to pull in order to get my island back. It's a great game and helped a lot when we were first under quarantine, but I was spending 2+ hours a day playing it and had stop because there were other things I need to do with my time. Might pick it back up one day and just force a time limit so it's not consuming me like it was. Now I've got TikTok for that!
• Where's your Bernie meme?
Ummm... right here!
My house is kept fairly cool in the winter in order to save on heating costs, so Bernie judging me for the temperature... along with Jenny (and Jake, who has clearly turned his back on me)... seems appropriate.
• Are you finally happy now that Biden is president?
No. No I am not. As I have said quite a few times now, Biden was never my guy so I'm not "finally happy" that he's president. I am, however, elated that Trump is no longer president. So there's a big difference there. I won't be truly "happy" until all the career politicians and other assholes who exploit their office for personal gain at the expense of the American people are out of office. I will also be happy once all the pieces of shit who have so severely divided this country are out of office. Alas, what this would take is the American people WAKING THE FUCK UP and realizing that they are being majorly played. But that takes thinking for themselves, and we all know that this is not something we seem to be very good at right now. So... here we are.
• Where's the first place you'll go once you can travel again?
Well, odds are I won't be traveling for work or for volunteering again... at least not any time soon... so it will likely be a personal trip. My guess is it will be one I've been planning for over a year with friends to Maui. We have unfinished business there that we need to take care of. Otherwise? Not entirely sure. It will take a while for the world to get back to normal and I have no idea where my life will be by then.
And that's the last of my answers to questions I've been asked.
Posted on January 23rd, 2021
This biggest news to come out of this past week? I made a major discovery about Jenny, and I have no idea how I failed to realize it before now.
As I've mentioned a couple times, there are nights that Jenny refuses to eat her wet food. It's the same stuff she always gets... mixed with water and mooshed up so she can lick it up... and yet she is 100% uninterested. It drives me crazy, because it's NOT because she's not hungry. That cat is always hungry. So why? Why does she take one sniff and walk away until the dry food is dispensed? Why?
I'll tell you why... odds are I cooked with yellow onions.
There I was having just cooked the filling for some bean and onion flautas. The Alexa alarm rings for dinner time and Jake and Jenny are incredibly excited about it because I'm already in the kitchen. So I dish up the food, mix Jenny's up, microwave for 6 seconds to take the chill off, then set it down. Jake starts wolfing it down immediately. Jenny walks away.
The next evening she's back to normal and laps it right up.
The evening after I am frying up the rest of the onion to use in a tomato sauce. The Alexa alarm rings. I put the food out. And... nothing.
It was as if a light switch turned on in my head.
So I tested my theory three nights later... and yep, there it is. Onion stank is the reason. Apparently if the house has that smell in it she can't smell the wet food enough to think it's "safe to eat" and takes a big ol' pass.
And so I guess any time I am cooking onions I need to start after the cats have been fed and make a late dinner of it. Problem solved.
In other food-related news... last night I had baked potatoes for dinner. Right after taking them out of the oven and getting them dresssed up for consumption, Jake was all over me. He followed me from the kitchen into the living room and stared at me the entire time I was eating...
Look at those owl ears!
I tried multiple times to explain that this was my dinner and he had finished his dinner just ten minutes ago, but he was having none of it.
And in other Jake news... When I came home earlier this week, he didn't come running to the door to meet me like he usually does. When this happens it's 95% likely that the heat is running. And if the heat is running, he climbs the cat tree so it will blow down on him. He loves that. So I take a look and, sure enough, he's up in the cat tree with the heat on. And that's when I notice that this is not the only thing that has happened.
Apparently his lunch did not agree with him, because he projectile vomited it onto the window where it slid down and piled on the window sill...
Since he pukes so rarely, I guess I really don't have cause to complain. It's just that he really knows how to pick his moments, doesn't he?
Oh well. It could always be worse. He could have puked on my bed.
Posted on January 16th, 2021
When I first got Jake and Jenny, it was recommended I get a Feliway diffuser which releases pheromones that calm nervous cats. I kept using them even after they had acclimated, because I felt it probably helped when I was away traveling as well. The other night I noticed that the diffuser had ran out, which helped to explain why my cats had been curiously cautious lately. Like when I come home and they book up the stairs and won't come down right away when I call them...
So I replaced it. The next day they were all over each other. When I came home they didn't even come greet me. They were too busy giving each other a bath and couldn't be bothered...
When I looked at the security camera footage I saw they were being sweet to each other all night as well...
In other cat news... Jake came in crying one morning while I was working in bed. I assumed that he couldn't find Mufasa, so I went to look (otherwise I wouldn't be able to get back to work). Mufasa was on top of a pile of toys that Jenny was building, so I grabbed him and went to give him to Jake. He turned his head and would not even look at his favorite toy...
I thought they were friends again when Jake dragged him in the next morning...
But then throughout the day, Mufasa was left on my bed...
I went to bed at midnight, but Jenny woke me up at 2am crying her head off. I had no idea why, so it was back to the security camera footage. Turns out that Jenny was sleeping when Jake came up and woke her up. This made her so upset that she decided to wake ME up. And that's when I noticed that Mufasa was still where Jake had left him...
So is the honeymoon between Jake and Mufasa over?
Keep tuning in to find out!