cats

Starting the Day Off Right

We love our cats. Truly. But then you roll over at 4:30 and realize you’ve been sleeping in cat vomit. And then you are just starting to drift off when you hear the delightful sound of your other cat hacking up a hairball all over the bedroom floor. And then it is 6:30 and from the monitor, a little voice chirps, “is it morning? Can I get up?”

Happy Sunday! At least we had cinnamon rolls. And we needed to do laundry anyway.

What’s a Wazoo Anyway?

Y’all, it’s been a week.  I have had meetings and conferences out the wazoo.  What part of the anatomy is the wazoo exactly?  Do I need to worry about its rights being legislated away? No? Anyway, the point of all that is to let you know that while I have a cajillion slightly more interesting “genuine” post ideas rattling around in the pumpkin shell I call I head, it is not this day that you will get them (5 pts if you name the movie from which I paraphrased).  I am wiped.  So, more blather to fulfill the NaBloPoMo monster.

  • It turns out that at a conference attended by 2000 people, you will find people you know from unexpected places.  I discovered – quite by accident – that a high school classmate was in attendance.  10 minutes of frantic Googling, and I confirmed it was he.  By the way, our high school was two hours west of here, so it’s not like we both live in the county.  Small world!
  • I hope to post some of the stuff I learned at the Internet Summit.  I’m still mulling it over.  It was interesting to hear how “professional” tech blogs are now grappling with some of the issues we’ve faced in the mom blogosphere in regards to monetization, but it looks like the tech blogs are a few years behind because they are only starting to move to sponsored posts.
  • Today my husband received information from the American Legion thanking him for his military service and telling him what benefits he was entitled to.  The only problem is that my husband wasn’t in the military.  There must be some other person with the same name. The benefits are really awesome, though!
  • I LOVE this article from the NY Times: “In Praise of the Hashtag“.  I’m a very active Twitter user and find myself using hashtags snarkily, and I like the linguistic analysis of the phenomenon in the article.  Also?  “Octothorpe” may be the best word ever.
  • This post about writing from The Rumpus is amazing: Not Writing Is Your Alligator
  • I never fail to giggle from something on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Back from yet another globetrotting adventure, Indiana Jones checks his mail and discovers that his bid for tenure has been denied
  • Another oldie but goodie: Generation X is Sick of Your Bullshit
  • This post, Mompaganda, at PhD in Parenting is amazing and I agree with so much of it.  This paragraph uncannily sums up something I thought about yesterday and my fear of what happens to the blogosphere as we seek relationships with brands:

Instead of judging ourselves and each other so fiercely it’s time we turn our attention beyond the “mom wars” to the true battles of our era: battles over natural resources, economic disparities and the construction of truth in our media environment.

I apologize because I’ve got nothing else.  My brain is empty.  Better posts to come, I promise! I leave you with these pics:

Someone is happy b/c he gets ice cream because he took a nap at daycare!

Bit, our big cat, looks ready to flee at the first opportunity

How was your week?

Sunday Wistfulness

Here it is Sunday night.  The clock says 8:30 PM, but my body tells me with greater authority that it is 9:30 PM darn it!   Our first day dealing with the time change was mostly uneventful.  I habitually wake up at 5 AM (not something I like), but this morning it was 4 AM.  The cats wanted to eat earlier and let us know it, but our kitties will use any excuse to eat as soon as possible.  Daniel woke up at a reasonable time, which really is all that matters since we have been practically been doing calculus to figure out how to handle the time change with the minimum amount of disruption to our routine.  Isn’t it funny how something like a time change has morphed from minor annoyance (oops, I showed up to work early!) to a major obstacle? Ah, parenthood.

My major complaint with the weekend is how short it felt.  If we can legislate when we turn our clocks back, why can’t we legislate that weekends need to be long enough for you to a) actually enjoy them b) get some rest and c) accomplish even a fraction of what you need to accomplish?

Jimmy and I both feel like we lost more than an hour today; we lost the entire day.  Jimmy has been suffering from a Frankencold (partly sinus, partly congestion) all week that makes him sleepy, yet prevents him from getting sleep.  As I did last Sunday, I awoke with a migraine.  The migraine itself is brutal enough, but once it’s over, I feel like my brain has been scooped out.  I’m weak.  I can’t find words (I called an onion an orange).  It’s like being hungover.  And to have two in a week sucks.  I don’t know if it’s the weather or stress or what, but they are amazingly debilitating.

And I medicate them with caffeine.  I don’t know if any of you suffer from migraines, but medication doesn’t work (maybe some good drugs would, but I don’t have any), so if I can’t sleep it off, then the next best thing is caffeine.  I drank a lot of coffee this morning.  The only problem with the coffee (other than non-stop peeing) is the jitters.  Happily, the jitters left me with so much excess energy that I swept the entire house.  Sweeping and laundry (washed and dried but not folded!) is the sum of our accomplishments this weekend.

That’s OK, though.  What’s important is the great weekend we had with Daniel.  He amazes us every day with his sweetness, his thoughts, his sense of humor and whatever catches his fancy.

When we went outside this morning, Daniel thought my flowers could be put to better use by decorating the jack-o-lanterns on the porch.

The artist at work

The artist at work

Beautified Pumpkin Family

Later on, he found a wreath-making kit I had intended for a craft for us to do and decided he would rather play with the leaves than make wreaths.

We all love Fall in our house

It turns out that trains like to travel through leaves as well.

The Island of Sodor in Fall?

Our littlest cat Lucy has discovered that the smallest human in the house is very aware of her, and they are fascinated with each other.  Today she had us in hysterics when she shoe-horned herself into one of Daniel’s shoe boxes that he was using for leaf storage.

They love each other

Tomorrow it is back to work and what will undoubtedly be a stressful week.  I’ll think back to the weekend and the giggles and cuddles shared with my wee family and hopefully that will insulate me from any sturm and drang. And hopefully the next weekend will come swiftly.

An Open Letter to My Cats

SW, Lucy and Bit

Dear precious, fluffy, anxious, Type A  kitties,

I love you.

But there is poo in the hallway.

I cannot blame you completely for your uncouth manners when we have neglected your litter boxes more than once.  I get it.  I know you like a clean litter box in which to do your business.  I would too!  But…

But sometimes you prefer the hallway to your litterboxes even when they are pristine.  That really pisses me off because I will feed you and there will be no poo and then I will return later, and there will be a fresh, steaming pile.

Kitty cats, we are all trying our best here.  I know that being the creatures of habit you are, you haven’t quite recovered from three moves in 8 years.  I know that the installation of the hardwoods into three bedrooms and the necessary shifting of furniture over a 6 month period from December 2008 – May 2009 was a further major shock because you lost the cozy nooks that you had sought out for yourselves in the guest bedroom which suddenly wasn’t the guest bedroom any longer and why the hell was the bedroom furniture in the living room?

Bit, our first-born kitty

And I know that your delicate and aging sensibilities were dealt a shocking blow with the birth and arrival home of Daniel in June 2009.  Just what was that tiny, crying creature?  We could see your brains trying to figure out what he was and what his arrival meant to you.

Yes, he was loud.  No, he didn’t sleep a lot.  Yes, we realize that now he  likes to chase you and play with your tails.  Yes, we try to prevent him from pulling ears, whiskers or delicate tails.  No, he’s not going anywhere, and he is quite fond of all three of you.

Precious kitties.  Precious Bit, SW and Lucy, we realize that you are getting older, and it makes us sad.  You were are babies for many, many years, and now our babies are not just growing up but also getting older.  I can’t remember the exact calculation, but you are 14 and 12 respectively.  That might mean you are our age or closer to our grandparents’ ages.  Your ears are graying along with our hair.  You are crotchety.

But kitties, we try to do our best for you.  We dutifully feed you at (almost) the exact times three times a day.  We hire a pet sitter for you when we go out of town for even one night.  We administer pills, change foods, and feed  you all in different locations.  We clean up copious amounts of cat vomit and sometimes have the delightful experienceof stepping in it with bare feet. It’s not easy and sometimes I require a document in order to keep everyone’s needs straight.

So maybe you could throw us a bone?  Maybe you could attempt to fold laundry? I know it will be hard without opposible thumbs, but surely there have been other cases of thumbless-laundry folding.  Or do dishes?  Or perhaps simply come and cuddle with me when you can?

You were our first babies, and we love you despite the poo in the hall.  It is duly noted, and it would be awesome if you could clean it up.

Yours,

Your Cat Mommy

Week in My Life: Monday

This week I am participating in Adventuroo‘s Week in My Life project, the purpose of which is to give a peek into your life and all of its little and big moments.

My first post is on our morning routine, which is especially frantic on a Monday.  The pictures aren’t be great because I took them in a dark house before the sun was (mostly) up, but hopefully they convey the flavor of our morning.

Shower!

Each Sunday I tell myself I’m going to take a bath that night so I won’t have to rush on Monday and without fail, I find myself trudging to the shower on Monday morning to wash my hair.  Washing my hair also means I have to dry my hair and try to tame it with the straightening iron.

I feel pretty. Oh-so-pretty!

Feeding the Beasties

By 6:30, I’m out of the shower and go to the kitchen to retrieve the cats’ food.  We have 3 cats, and they are very enthusiastic about their meals.  They each eat in different rooms because my biggest cat is OCD and will consume his and his siblings’ food before they have a chance to.  My third cat has slipped into the bedroom to eat her breakfast before I can get a picture of all three.

Feed us or we'll eat your soul!!

Doodlebug!

At 6:45, I hear Daniel’s voice on the monitor.  He’s awake albeit a little early.  I let him play in his room a bit longer while I finish putting on my makeup and putting in my contacts, and then I head to his room to get him.  Bless his heart, he’s not expecting the flash from my iPhone.

WTF is up with the flash, Mama? Stop it already!

He grabs two of his stuffed animals and trots to our bedroom.  He usually picks up Juliet (the white cat) and Alpha Pig, but sometimes he’ll add a third. Some mornings he’ll stop in his doorway, hold up his arms and whisper groggily, “Up.” I’ll pick him and he buries his face on my shoulder while I carry him down the hall *swoon*.

I cuddle him and ask him about his night while I turn on the tv and then put him in the crib to watch Super Why while I finish getting ready.  Daniel is 28 months and is at that stage where he is almost ready to sit and pay attention but still prefers to jump on and off the bed, so to the crib he goes.  He typically watches about 15 minutes of tv each morning.

Juliet is the white cat, and you can see Alpha's cape underneath her. The other animal is my ancient Alley Kat.

Collecting the Bags

By 7:15 I am back in the kitchen pouring coffee into my thermos, getting my lunch bag together and making sure Daniel’s clothes are together (his grandmother watches him every day, so he usually goes in his pajamas).  With the exception of the coffee (ewww), all of the bags have been prepared the night before, but I always double check.  I should have checked better today because I left my salad dressing sitting on the counter and had to run out at lunch to buy more. I place all the bags the table in the hallway so I can put them in the car.

Bags, bags and a lot of coffee

Time to Go!

By 7:30 I’m dressed and as presentable as I’m going to get.  The bags are in the car, and I change Daniel, put him into his coat and buckle him in the car seat.  Then our commute from Johnston County to Raleigh begins.  Daniel always has Alpha Pig and Juliet with him, and we have a couple of electronic alphabet toys to keep him entertained during the 30-ish minute commute.

Wish I were that awake

While he plays, I chat with him and listen to satellite radio.  Sometimes it’s NPR but lately it has been Morning Joe on MSNBC because I have become fascinated with the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.  It’s a sick obsession. I switch back and forth though.

Should probably listen to Lithium or the 80s station instead

Then we arrive at work, and Grandma is waiting to pick up Daniel!  The morning routine is over, and the shift to the work routine has begun.

Notes

  • J does exist.  He gets up after I do, though, and yesterday he was sick, so that’s why he’s not in any pictures.
  • I realized how little conversation there is during our morning routine due to the time of the day and the need to get out the door.
  • What the pictures and write-up don’t catch is what’s going through my head.  Since I get ready by myself and mostly before Daniel wakes up, I have a lot of time to think which often becomes time to stew or compose or worry.

Daniel and His Wabu

Lucy enjoying Daniel's new mini couch

Like many couples, J and I had pets before we had children. We have three extremely spoiled cats, and they have been part of our family since 1997, 1999, and 2001 respectively. So yeah, they’ve pretty much ruled the roost and called the shots since day 1.

I was curious how things would change when Daniel joined the family. We tried the technique used with dogs and brought home his first t-shirt for the kitties to sniff. The kitties were curious about the newborn, wondering what was that strange humanoid who wailed often. As Daniel became more mobile and their food and water bowls became prime targets for him, they were wary of him, and I cleaned up upturned water bowls several times before we placed them out of his reach. The kitties took their banishment from our bedroom with relatively good grace (because Daniel slept in our room for his first 1.5 years) as well as the other changes to their routine.

Thankfully, Daniel loves the cats. I was so worried that he would be allergic like his uncle and cousin are, and that would cause a major dilemma, but thankfully he’s not. He truly loves them. He has been fascinated with them since he was aware of them and this fascination has increased as he crawled and then walked. “Mama” was one of his first words, but he coined a term for his kitties soon after that has stuck: “Wabu”. We’re not quite sure how he came up with that word, but it has lasted. I’ve spelled out and said “cat” to him as well as the names of our three cats several times, and each time, he responds, “Wabu.” Frankly, it’s adorable. His first made-up word! Sometimes he even calls us “Wabu,” which we consider to be a major compliment.

Petting his "Wabu"

Last weekend our littlest cat, Lucy, decided to spend a lot of time in the kitchen while Daniel was there. J and I were a little surprised because once they notice he’s in a room, they quickly exit (pulled tails are no fun despite how gentle he tries to be), but this time, Lucy stayed for a long time. He was able to rub her and kiss her, and she seemed to enjoy it, reclining on his new mini couch. We’ve noticed how they love his toys and he loves their toys. I thought she would exit fairly quickly, but she seemed content to recline, despite the fact that she was in his territory. Lucy loves cuddles and rubs, and I wondered if she had realized that Daniel was a prime source of cuddles and hugs!

Daniel is in a very sweet stage in which he wants to kiss everything, and Lucy is no exception. She endured many kisses and hugs from him, and I was grateful that she did. In the interest of full disclosure, our kitties are not declawed, so we supervise “play time” with them very closely.

It really has been magical for J and I to see our kitties embrace Daniel. Bit has clawed at the door when Daniel would cry, acting like a concerned mommy. SW, our shy kitty, is intrigued but hesitant. I think they’ll become great friends when Daniel is a little older, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him cuddled at the foot of Daniel’s bed. Lucy wants cuddles and isn’t shy, but she has only recently acknowledged Daniel as a suitable cuddle giver.

We can’t wait to see how his relationship with them develops as he ages, but we hope that he never stops calling them by the name he coined for them. We hope they will always be his “Wabu.”

Pure sweetness!