Cat Lore

Earlier, I mentioned that cleanliness is the secret weapon. Now is the time to avail myself of that superzapper to clear out the destructoids not taken out by the New Year reset button.

I wake up from a comfortable sleep full of dreams about Bigfoot studies and mountain retreats. I give myself a relaxed, easy shave and a nice hot shower. A fresh set of clean clothes and a dash of tropical rainforest aftershave to make me feel like a million bucks. My mindset is rooted deeply in the quiet, contemplative emptiness of a new day.

Next up comes a full and hearty brunch (my favorite meal of the day) for K and I. I cook up a helping of turkey bacon, fried eggs easy up with lots of pepper, hash brown patties (with an extra for K because she loves hash browns), and toast with butter and blackberry jam from K’s delicious homemade bread (she’s getting quite good with bread now, after having read Yakitate for inspiration).

Frankie comes by for a pet. She looks out the window and meows at me. I take her up in my arms and we have a walk around the neighborhood. She is well-behaved, paws calmly digging into my sweatshirt as we take in the cool air in the light of the bright sun. Then it’s back to finish up the cooking.

K and I have brunch and revel in the comfort and satisfaction of a shared meal together. The food tastes delicious. Frankie munches on her dried salmon treats, Blink washes herself in her lambskin and wooly tower, and michael the ratbag pigpen snowbeast sleeps at the top of the stairs on an empty laundry bag.

Next up: chores. K vacuums while I do dishes. Frankie comes by and watches me clean dishes in the sink, enthralled as always by the running water and the steam. She grows sleepy and climbs into her crow’s nest by the fridge, joining Blink and Michael in slumber.

I clean out the fridge, then get a pizza dough started for Pizza of Doom. I mix up some rum punch for a shin-dig with the parental units tomorrow (though there’s plenty for sampling later). The punch forms easily, the flavor masking the strong alcohol with just the right amount of flair.

K decides to join the cats and sleeps on the couch. I tuck her in with Jeero the ani-pal and she passes out. It’s a lazy day after all, and one needs one’s strength.

I put the last of the suitable holiday cookies and cakes out for the squirrels. They show up within minutes and clean out the lot – in a half hour there’s nothing left. Feeding the animals gives me a warm feeling.

While I wait for the dough to rise, I sit at my special spot next to the stairs and gather my materials. In particular I contemplate the photograph of a willow loaned to me by the Incorrigible Witch Hexe witchiepoo of the many ovens.

I go over in my mental containers the experience of her two collage booklets (a term which fails to do justice to what they actually are, but needs must make do when the Devil drives), and how they relate to something in my book. I never would have thought I’d encounter a living example of concepts I only imagined in my head.

Then there are the “last request” Koh-I-Noor woodless colour pencils she gave me. I examine my poster board sketches and imagine what the next step might be.


Frankie has knocked the box of hot cocoa powder from the counter to the floor of the kitchen. I come over and pet her, giving her lavish and deep voiced praise. She settles down and cat loafs on the counter in cat thought. I stand beside her and space out, the two of us keeping each other company.

All is calm, all is sunlight reflected brilliantly off the beautiful, cold nature slumbering in a half-sleep drowsiness outside.

Frankie and I, in each other’s company, silently existing one for the other in nameless ways while the house sleeps. She and I watchful, guarding, alert, and openhearted to the being and becoming oneself.

A half hour passes in this manner. Frankie moves softly then, leaping down to the floor and off to her crow’s nest to snooze once more. I remain, watching the day change slowly into the muted orange glow of sunset followed by the bluish gray shadows of twilight. The dough has risen, and it is time to make tonight’s nourishment.

An inspiration strikes me and I decide to try something new with the Pizza of Doom recipe. I’m pleased because I know I’m making just enough, no more. As I roll out the dough, my brain buzzes with troubles “I should” be worried about, but they melt in contact with how I’m floating through my dreamy, alert witnessing.

The pizza comes perilously close to melting down like a reactor. I lack panic; I adjust the oven and let it ease down gently, until it comes out complete and delicious. I sense that K is hungry and ready to wake, so I stir her with a mere touch.

She grabs a slice and starts surfing the net as if she’s always done this. One by one the cats activate, going for their bowls of food. They eat small amounts and are remarkably polite with each other. I chomp down on a slice and savor the experience.

All is well.

Back at the Honeycomb Hideout, Blink and Frankie were able to fend off The Invaders and keep the Krell Furnaces running on time.  We brought a shell-shocked Michael back from the kennel services.

It appears the combination of an orderly routine and over exposure to multiple ani-mani-mals cured him of his intruder-torpedo hit of neurotic behavior.  He was back in full operating condition and ready to surround the Hideout with peace love and Meow-Bombs.

While we unpacked and recovered from our vacation, I got to thinking.  Those bees probably won’t be lasting long, what six weeks?  And I would be a real jerk if I let them run down into the ground, much as I need their aggression to keep the beat down at bay while I repair and recharge my battered starship of the imagination.

What that new breed of bees needs is a home.  A place to make a nest and grow into a healthy hive of killer bees!  Okay, so they bite and sting and rip and tear.  But they work twice as hard and make twice as much honey.  They’re hardier and more dedicated than your ordinary honeybee.  I say I should give them a chance.

And the best place for a hive of killer bees is a nice secluded nook or cranny in the brain stem of the imagination, or a real world location that evokes that confluence between worlds.  I’m sure that little side room in the basement would be a perfect place for the bees.  They can get out through the ventilation system.  Isn’t that what all monsters do?

Yeah, what am I doing caring for dangerous imaginary insects right?  Well, if you ever saw that scary movie Willard (the original), about a guy who takes care of rats and trains them to kill people he doesn’t like.  Or you saw the sequel, Ben, about a boy who bonds with the rats post-Willard and gives them his help.  That’s why.  I have a soft spot for “vermin” and “pests”, because they are tough and mean.  I relate to them.

You never hear about the Queen of the killer bees, or her consorts.  But her story has got to be in there somewhere.  And her bees might be buffalo soldiers, stolen from Africa.  Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival.

It’s all about the caring and sharing.  A moment of surrender, which a lifetime of prudence can never retract.  Those bees will check out the night flowers and make the sweet, sweet honey while I hide them from the idiots on parade.

Hurricane Hanna brings in some much needed rain to the area I’m living in.  K and I are happy we don’t have to water the garden for the next day or so.  I always get happy and feel renewed when it’s raining.  But alas, the haunted house and my mirage won’t let us rest for even a moment.  It’s either crumcake bumout, or have your relaxation interrupted by troubles.

Frankie shows a limp, and we see she’s developed a swollen paw.  Well that’s just great, another hit from the crumbum volleys.  Our cats are taking hits for us, and it’s breaking my heart.  If that weren’t enough, the rain leaks into our newly repaired fuse box, and it’s scare of an electrical fire or short circuit explosion all over again.  Crumbs, and I can’t even get a day off to be ruined, that’s how Sector 2.2 this is.

I’ve had enough.  It’s totally time to put on the thinking hat of ultimate doom and figure out what is going on.  I put on my brightest red shirt and shorts, start stomping around like a big grouse, and get angry.  Any supernatural creature or ultra-dimensional being I run into had better hope they have a hall pass signed by me, or I’m going to give them the real world knuckle sandwich and kick them into the hot pot, where I’m going to turn them into food so I can make my bills this week.

I mean, I’m ready to pull my hair out here.  K is all stressed out, and that means I’m really not happy.  Time for time, and yeah it’s all in my mind, so get ready because I’m in the mood to dig ditches.  I gather up a bunch of books from my best-of friendly reading collection and start memorizing ideas.  I might not have many torpedoes left, but I can mine a few more mental paradigms for ammunition.  Shapeshifting 101, get some sense, fool!

Luckily Captain Rowdy was able to restore the main laptop computer circuit and restore lost data.  It’s an EDR (Emergency Damage Repair), so I don’t know how long the jury-rig will hold.  Hopefully by remembering to hit the manual backup override regularly I’ll dodge more croaking of the circuit until I can reincarnate the module.

I’m working on redlines now, in readiness for the third set of revisions, so I don’t need the computer right now.  I’m handling hard copy and jumbling notes about, making a module interface not as critical at the moment.

The launch patrols didn’t sight any phantom dogs, and I haven’t seen any other Unbelievables on the sensor records, cloaked or uncloaked.  The neighborhood cats all seem out in force, however, so increased activity must be going on.  I just hope commander Smokey can handle it, even though Frankie and him just broke up.  I saw a volunteer cat stuck in a tree, either scouting for Clingon jackup cruisers or cowering from phantom pack intruders while waiting for backup.

I’m holding on to the last few mental torpedoes for now, in case I need a special delivery system.  I mean, talk about being stuck in Sector 2.2!  For those of you not in the know, the Star Trek arcade video game had a round where all you did was chase a crazy robotic drone based on Nomad, the super powerful probe from one of the TV episodes, as it dropped mines everywhere and set you up for blowing up real good.  The first time I had to fight that thing was in Sector 2.2 (every round was fought in a “sector”, where Mr. Spock’s voice would say, “Now entering sector…”), I was stunned.  Since then, it’s a euphemism for the suk-level.

And yeah, no starbase neither.  How’s a karmanaut supposed to recharge shields or reload on torpedoes, make repairs, have shore leave, etc. when you can’t get no dock-up?  See, right now I’m stuck at work with no backup, which means no vacation until I can hire a new console operator.  I’m literally like Kirk in “The Doomsday Weapon”, piloting a half-destroyed starship on near-automatic with only a super-engineer keeping the ship running (or as we say, my psychological automatic process).  Meanwhile, some nut is taking my real ship out for a joyride to pick up some Romulon ale and Twinkies.

Or rather, I’m stuck in the not-bonus round, getting jacked, and there’s no starbase recharge for a while.

What happened was my friend and co-worker, a British citizen, was taken into custody by immigration and detained.  Apparently some new law is roping in hundreds of regular people, even with their documentation in order, and forcing deportation hearings on them.  Meanwhile, they sit and rot in tent cities with no laundry or barber facilities waiting for a due process that never arrives (via the handy dirty trick of moving suspects from place to place at taxpayer expense without even telling the court).

His car was broken into and stripped right before this two-month ordeal began, so he wasn’t having a good time to start with.  I think the most surreal moment was when his dad told me he had been shipped to Brownsville Texas, near the border, right as Hurricane Dolly was slamming into the coast.

My friend finally accepted deportation (he’s a small guy and doesn’t speak Spanish, and living with mercenary guards and hardened Latinos was wearing him out), and in a twist of fate immigration dropped all charges and basically said, “never mind, come on back to the states anytime you want”.  He’s understandably reluctant to come back, and at least he’s gone to a country with family and friends where he won’t disappear.

Me and the co-workers have talked to him, and he’s in great spirits, trying to get his life in order after twenty years in the states.  His parents are probably going to sell their businesses and move back there in the next few years.  Tax dollars at work!  Cheap labor, come on in.  Skilled workers who play by the rules, get lost!  And they ask me why I drink.

But the net effect for me is no console operator, and work has entered a period where it’s the busiest time of the year.  I’ll make it through, but having to pilot the ship and hit the phraser button rapid-fire because you’ve got no recharge ability blows.  The crumbum volleys are a flying fast and furious I tell ya!

Even though I don’t have cable, it’s hard to avoid the backwater shadow cast over society by big business.  The ultra-rich are busy bidding for the candidates they think will be best short-term monarch for their interests.  The fleer patrol (false prophet flagships) is out in force in the mediapoly, making sure nobody talks about the issues or carries any news about what the public actually wants.  I swear, I have enough problems without having to hear about the shenanigans of McCuckoo and Ophony as they try to sell us their brand of toothpaste.

Around here where I live, it’s always a tender time during ratify-candidates-already-decided-for-you days.  It’s serious business, because depending on who is coming in or going out, many people’s jobs are at stake.  People seem to drive a little more hard-nosed, shop a little more with the jitters, and hop on pop a little harder in their domiciles.  TV and stereo systems always rise in volume during this time as folks try to drown out the stress with louder programming instructions.

Unfortunately, poor Blink our cat must have taken a hit to the life support.  She’s one of the more dedicated huntresses in our household, eliminating meeses and cave crickets wherever they may roam.  We noticed her urine was coming out wine colored (that’s fancy talk for bloody whizz).  We took her to the vet for a checkup and some kitty drugs, and it appeared to clear up.

Alas, the symptoms returned, and Blink was not a happy camper.  We took her back for a steroid injection to unclog the tubes and an x-ray, which showed no stones or other obvious problems.  We got more kitty drugs, and after a long while, she looks fine.  Hopefully it was a really nasty infection and we’ve taken it out, because the next step is bloodwork and an ultrasound, and that might get serious.

Having the cat patrol makes certain things nicer and easier, but you have to pay the upkeep costs.  Not just love, but also the physical chore of waste disposal, water and food refueling, toy playtime, and of course life support via vet specialist checkup.  Blink has been using me as her personal starbase to dock at and recharge, which I’m grateful for.  Her problems are typical of the edge-of-your seat crumbum storm it is out there right now.

Bob Dylan was right, “Look out kid / You’re gonna get hit” and “Better jump down a manhole / Light yourself a candle”  If I can just dodge those crumbum mines, maybe I can get a shot at the Nomad probe and get out of this sector.  Good thing I kept the reserve warp ready.

I don’t like doing it, but all my cats are neutered.  Doesn’t seem to have slowed Frankie down much, however.  She’s got that natural spark that makes you go, “Oh, that Frankie!”  Now it looks like she’s got an admirer.

There’s a local patrol cat that belongs to neighbors on one end of the cluster.  He’s a sleek, grey haired, very polite fellow K and I call Smokie.  A friendly cat to the max.

He comes and visits every couple of days, and Frankie can see him stride up the sidewalk to visit.  Her tail poofs out like a racoon’s, she rushes downstairs to look out the kitchen window, and gets excited.

Smokie trots up the stairs and waits patiently.  After a while of Frankie staring at him in full battle mode, he takes off to the catnip lady next door and heals himself some hit points.

Finally, we decided to come outside to meet this courtin’ cat and take his measure.  He meows politely and offers himself up for a pet, which we cannot refuse.  We talk to him and he remains dignified and calm throughout the whole affair.

Frankie watches from the screen door, her tail thrashing furiously.  We take her out to meet Smokie, and she hisses at him.  Not want!  We chastise her and take her back inside, then feed Smokie some of our high energy lynx food.  He devours it happily, waits staring at Frankie for a respectable period, then moves on.

Now K and I have the drill down.  When Smokie comes a-courtin’, and Frankie starts spazzing out, we open the door and greet our fine gentlemanly visitor.  He gets a free meal and a brief chance to talk and peer at Frankie with the screen door chaperone (we leave them in peace for a few minutes, to say what cats do to each other in a moment like this).

Frankie seems to enjoy her visits.  Last night, we let Smokie give her a nose kiss, and she didn’t hiss.  Maybe she likes Smokie after all!

Frankie’s first crush.

Crumbs, sometimes you can’t sit down and write a post no matter what.  It’s like the summer of beat down and all I can do is go back spaces and slide down chutes.  Everytime I sit down to compose my thoughts, I get another random encounter.  But should I do something else, such as read a book or make a round of pesto, the random encounters hide behind the couch again.  I’m feeling like Batman in that awful TV Batman movie.

The garden has become a battlefield of weeds and failed plantings versus the last stand of the forces of yumminess.  The weather here has been so volatile, it’s hard to get out and do any work.  It’s hot and humid, with regular threats of thunderstorms that rarely materialize any rain, but look threatening to keep K and I indoors.  The onion and potato shields are down to 50% and falling.  The tomatoes are still weeded and strong, but growing slowly.  The leeks are okay for now, but the lettuce has all bolted, so that game is up until fall planting.  I was getting tired of lupin salads anyway.  The basil is online, thank goodness!

Half of the garden is overgrown with weeds, led by thistle towers and grass infiltrators.  The only good thing is we’ve had no bugs at all.  They don’t even want to touch what we’ve got.  The bees and butterflies are more or less there, but in scraggly amounts.  The birds use us as a syopover, but the general traffic all around is way down from last year.  A chippie-munkie has taken up residence under a fence post and is helping himself to our seeds.  As usual, the horseradish is indestructible and pushing the weeds aside.  One thing we do have a lot of are earthworms.  It’s almost as if the soil is terrible for everything but them.  Eat up worms, may as well since the garden’s on auxiliary power.

Meanwhile, the parental unit garden is looking great.  They’ve started to harvest their bumper crop of potatoes already, it’s sad.

K finished a spare kitty pie and I cleared the space between my metal organizers on my desk.  Combine pie with space, and Frankie has settled into a new roost.  That cat is spoiled!  Meanwhile, Michael has been getting fatter and more lethargic.  Which means his poop factory is at 110% reactor capacity.  The big cat news, however, is the installation of the new curtains.  By the Paul and K handycrew, that is.

The metal blinds that came with the townhouse have not been popular with the cats.  So they push them out of the way to look out the windows and end up bending the metal.  It’s a choice then, between allowing the blinds to be slowly damaged or no privacy when the sun goes down.  Plus, the noise the cats make when pushing the metal aside is annoying.

So we scanned for some cheap thick curtains, scored big time, and put them up.  The blinds went up all the way, and the cords were stashed.  Now the cats can poke their head through the gap or around the sides without any problems, and we can shut out prying eyes when we don’t feel like being on display.

The coolest thing though, is the box bay window.  We put the curtains up so the cats have a private sunroom with cushions, blankees and kitty-pies.  It’s like a big tiger den they can retreat to and snooze, snoop out the window, or loaf regally.  Frankie went ape for it, and her happy meter went way up, since she’s a tiger anyway.  Michael just found it and approves, in a “it’s about time” kind of way.  Blink has her own den, in the towel closet, which she has figured out how to open.  She climbs up a few ledges and falls asleep on the sweaters.  Cute +1!

Finally, K and I have been watching Charmed.  We just finished the first season and are starting the second.  Oh, dear, sweet potato pie the writing is horrible.  But it’s like a train wreck, you just can’t stop looking and cringing.  I like the premise, and the demon-of-the-week plots are mildly interesting, but it’s an acting-free zone populated by dysfunctional plot elements you can see coming a mile away.

Three hollywood-beautiful witches gain superpowers and the ability to cast spells from a spellbook when they inherit said spellbook (called “the book of shadows”) from their grandmama.  They become “the charmed ones”.  That means they fight evil, protect the innocent, and struggle with all that real world stuff like career, getting dates with hollywood thud-studs, and working out their family issues.  Hey, what’s not to like?

Unfortunately, the lame writing is filled with convoluted plots and illogical character actions.  The actresses can’t act worth beans, which makes the terrible dialogue and scene pacing agony to watch at times.  The WTF moments per minute is very high.  But, hell, I know I’m eating a Big-and-Nasty here, not a burger I cooked on my own grill with all the fixins.  It’s interesting to me because there’s so much potential in the show.  That potential gets picked up, dropped, and trod over.  But it’s still there, so I watch and gaze in wonder at this two-headed baby with dull surprise.

In garden news, the potatoes are coming up nicely. The tomatoes need a lot of care, so it’s touch and go with them. Onions and chives are on target. The lettuce, contrary to last year, is being really difficult. It looks like it might surge forward soon. I hope so, it’s been a long spring.

The basil croaked, which really surprised me. The other herbs are doing well and spreading rapidly. I’m psyched because our cooking gets so much mileage now out of them, and we now know the power of saving herbs for later in the winter. The garden is teeming with earthworms, which it wasn’t last year. I guess word has gotten around that this plot is active.

K and I have a huge amount of plants in moss packets ready to plant, hopefully this will start the serious attack of garden goodness. Oh yes, and we have a new blue hose with a purple multi spray attachment that rocks the mike. Our major challenge this year is keeping the weeds, which have mounted a massive attack on all fronts. My back is killing me, and the thistles ruined my gloves, requiring me to get a fresh pair. Sheesh!

Frankie has taken to bullying Blink, the older and weaker female cat. It’s gotten to the point where Blink is always hiding and skulking about, and it’s driving K and myself up the wall. In all other ways Frankie is a honeybear, but when she doesn’t get her way (such as wanting to get a walkies outside and we say no because the landscapers sprayed the grass with pesticide today), she acts out on Blink.

We’re really not happy with our vets. We took Frankie in for a respiratory infection, and they decided to give her the latest round of shots because we hadn’t been in to update them. This was in addition to the antibiotics they prescribed. Now, we hate giving Frankie her shots because she becomes weak and sad for three days, and it’s heartbreaking to watch. So for them to give her the shots before we could protest, when she was already feeling crummy because of an infection. Well, the vets are on my poop list. I’m going to go empty my wallet somewhere else. Frankie hid under the bed and sulked for days, and it made me mad.

On the bath front, my aunt gave me an awesome array of bath salts from Pretty Baby, and some cool dude bath bombs from Lush. Alas, I’ve used up the gift boxes and I emptied out my main store of goods the other day. Not having the requisite ability to meditate my cares into valuable cash and prizes at a certain level is of course, intolerable. But understandable, since my stress levels have been off the wall the last month and a half.

Actually, I have a whole stash of bath bombs I’ve been holding onto for karmic reasons, which I’ve been unable to touch. The victims I’ve planned these for will no doubt benefit, but for me it means lean times. So K and I made a brief run and I picked up some more of my faves. There’s this pine-volcanic gravel bomb that does the trick nicely, and I’ve been jonesin’ to make use of that kind again. Stimulates my brainstem nicely, and I’m glad to have it back.

Picked up the third Age of Bronze, titled “Betrayal Part One”. It’s as good as always, and I read through it so quickly it’s sad. The Trojan War is finally starting to heat up, as both sides start to maneuver their pieces into position, while the personal stories of the characters continue to develop in interesting ways.

Of particular interest to me is the diplomatic mission to Troy to regain Helen and avert the war, where several people reveal their character in really cool ways. I never get tired of Odysseus’s trickery, and I have to say Palamede’s honesty is starting to win me over. Paris’s cowardice, arrogance and treachery are really going too far. Troy is doomed.

K has been getting the hiking bug, and after a long search she finally found a pair of boots she could deal with. REI had nothing but high priced, weird and poorly manufactured junk. That surprised me. LL Bean just didn’t pass the muster. So we hit the local Ranger Surplus, because I needed a new pair of jungle boots and a new pair of fatigues. K was skeptical, but she found exactly what she was looking for there. Durable, support, reasonably priced, and not made cheaply.

I swear by my army boots and fatigues. My old desert storm boots and fatigues have been slowly falling apart this last year, despite my best efforts to milk them further. I’ve worn the fatigues for twenty-one years, and the boots for eleven. The service, when it comes to the basics, knows how to make long-lasting, hardy equipment and that’s no joke.

The boots breathe and stand up to anything while giving you support and protection. The fatigues cover your legs with cool/warm air as necessary, and they protect you from terrain, foliage and insects like nobody’s business. Plus the pockets are awesome. I’ve carried empty beer bottles in all four at the 9:30 Club, saving my friends and me the hassle of throwing them out while the music is raging. It’s good to have a new set. I feel it’s appropriate, in a way, with the way my life is going.

The progress on my book continues. I’m 87% through the revisions, and am about to tackle the climax of the story. Come on, big creative push!

I got my hands on the DVD for Hawk the Slayer, and am very pleased I made the acquisition. It’s a sword and sorcery movie from 1981, and is actually watch-able, in a Beastmaster kind of way. The dialogue, characters and plot are all hilariously awful. I place the movie somewhere between average and good. It’s not “good enough” to be good, but it isn’t “average enough” to be average. This is the kind of movie you can watch with friends and have some laughs. Though nothing will beat the sheer WTF-ness of The Core. All I can say is that the universe must have taken pity on me for having suffered through The Return of Captain Invincible, and compensated me with a movie that is both bad and fun.

Just finished Season 1 and 2 of Heroes by means of Netflix. K’s new computer, plus our nifty high speed FIOS connection, equals “watch now”. Apparently, you can watch Netflix movies on your computer, who knew? Because we subscribe, we get a certain amount of free hours of viewing each month, so we’ve been draining that account dry to get caught up with the show. Maybe I’ll go into analytic detail of the show in another post, but for now all I’ll say is the show is worth watching. Lots of problems and plots that don’t add up, and Season 2 drops in quality significantly, but I’d say Season 1 was a heck of a lot of fun.

Musically, I’ve been listening to The Cure’s Wish and really digging it a lot. It comes on the heels of Disintegration, which carries the distinction of being my big breakup album. So to hear the post-breakup energy many years later after putting college way behind me, it’s very cathartic and enlivening. I’ve also been listening to Deutsch Nepal, a dark ambient sound that I’m really starting to dig. I’m going to have to get some more of this stuff. It puts me in the zone when I need to concentrate at work or hash my book revisions out.

On the cat zone, K and I got a large bath mat for the upstairs bathroom, and Frankie loves it. She uses it as a springboard to dash downstairs, then comes back up and rests on the bunched up mat. Frankie made sure to trill at K and give her the head-butt leap of affection to let her know this was approved. Meanwhile, Michael and Blink got a new soft throw to lay on. The fuzzy warm goodness does well on the couch, and when a human sits there with the throw over them, the two cats gravitate. Even independent Frankie has been taking turns resting on it. Wow!

My car was broken into the other night. I drive a bucket, and one of the doors doesn’t lock all the time. Needless to say I never keep anything valuable in there. Just a glove compartment jammed full of napkins ripped off from fast food joints, some moist towelette packets, and a pad of paper with a pencil. I could follow the progress of the intruder exactly. First, the pad and pencil tossed casually to the floor of the car. Then all the napkins got shoved out of the way and left on the passenger seat. Finally the moist towelette packets had been thrown on the ground outside of the car in disgust before leaving the door semi-closed. I had to laugh, because it’s a lot of effort to clear the compartment out for zero returns.

It may be winter for all practical purposes, but I’m still looking forward to next spring’s planting. K and I got ourselves a garden weasel finally, and aim to test it out as soon as the ground dries out a bit from the recent snow we had. The ground hasn’t hardened quite yet with the cold, but the weeds and other plants are on the defensive. I’ll give the scoop on how reliable this ding dang darn thing is when compared to the TV commercial soon enough.

And on a final note, I have yet to begin writing my Xmas cards. The beat down looms!

As I mentioned earlier, I used to hate all cats with a passion. The time has come for me to tell the story of what made me hate cats so much. Why, why the hatred? Well, here it comes, and it ain’t pretty.

Back when I was living with my folks, post college graduation burnout, next door there is a house we came to call the Hell House, because the family that lived there were a psychological cesspool of dysfunctional, rancid energy. Fights, screaming, smashing things, littering. Name the drama, it happened there. One of the more unsavory mutations of that family lifeforce, while it inhabited the Hell House, was their chaos attribute of Infestation (Dumper Cats).

Specifically, they maintained a stable of cats in the general vicinity that ran loose at all hours. These cats bred with each other, attacked birds and squirrels, and invaded other people’s yards in large numbers. And, of course, they relieved themselves in other peoples’ yards as well, thus the nickname of “Dumper Cats”. Well, that’s not what they were really called, since the actual descriptive was a profanity. Use your imagination.

Since they were free to breed at will, plenty of yowling and mewing occurred at all hours. Yet the actual number of the cats didn’t seem to increase, although I always saw new arrivals with different shades. My guess is that the litters were sold off for extra income, with an occasional kitten kept over to replenish the stock when these cats inevitably fled or died from disease. Our only recourse was to have the super-soaker primed at all times, since the cats grew wise to the sound of the hose being turned on.

Perhaps it wasn’t so much the cats themselves, but what they represented. They were a visible sign of psychic contamination. The folks and I came to hate them with a passion, and reveled whenever we got a direct hit with the water. The family’s drama was bad enough, to have to suffer the invasion of your own personal space by numerous cats was a transgression. You’d be sitting in the backyard, enjoying the garden and the birds eating their seed or washing in the bath, when along comes a mottled white cat through the fence looking for a bird lunch. Peace and tranquility disrupted! You have to scare the birds while you scare off the cat, and your thoughts have been interrupted.

So all cats became known as Dumper Cats. Eventually, the family broke apart despite itself and the house was abandoned. For a long time it was a morass of psychological residue, and the cats wandered off in search of some other source of food. The house was bought by a nice handyman. He moved his family in, and fixed the place up so you would never guess it was once the Hell House. The Dumper Cats are ancient history. But it would be a long time before K would come along and show me the power of the non-Dumper Cats.

Okay, it’s Frankie time. It’s the night of February 14, three years ago. I’m going out to drop off the trash in the apartment complex compactor outside. It’s cold out, but that’s okay because it’s not a far walk so I’m only wearing a long sleeved shirt. I approach the complex and I spot a partially grown kitten. The kitten spots me, perks up, and immediately runs towards me as if she’s won the lottery. It’s almost as if she’s been waiting for me. I drop off the trash, play with her, and decide to come back with K and a handful of food. She looks awfully hungry.

Fast forward to now. Frankie healed the cut on her lip and instead of sleeping amongst the trash during a sudden snowstorm later that night, slept on my chest after purring herself to sleep. She’s got her shots, and the other cats have accepted her as a reality that isn’t going away. She got through her kitten phase, praise the maker, and gets lots of regular feedings, a warm set of feet (mine) to sleep on every night, and many toys. Pamper = To The Max.

K and I named her Frankie after the character Angelina Jolie plays in the movie Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. Frankie is adorable. If you don’t agree, please report to the nearest reactor and volunteer for shielding tests! There’s a whole story about my hatred of cats that I will relate at another time. All you need to know is that I’ve had my Road To Damascus moment and really dig feline critters now.

Frankie, unlike most cats I’ve known, loves to have a leash put on her and walk around the neighborhood like a canine critter. One of her many names is “Frankie-doggins”. She gets really upset if I don’t take her out for a walk during the day, or hunting for moths at night. Its kind of weird how well behaved, and mischievous she is at the same time. When I look in her eyes, there’s an intelligence that goes beyond what I see in the other two cats, Michael and Blink.

I don’t know what it is about the time period from about 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm, but Frankie does some kind of “super-activating” and gets really rambunctious. She’ll usually be asleep in the bedroom absorbing major Slack points. Then, all of a sudden, she activates. Only it’s not the usual activation of a cat going into patrol and beg mode. Nope, she initiates what K and I can only describe as “the Frankie Tricksy Hour”. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing at the moment it begins, for the next 25-35 minutes you are in the Tricksy Hour Zone, where madness reigns supreme!

That’s right, it’s an “hour”, even though technically only 25-35 minutes pass. You’re on Tricksy time, and it’s time to pay the piper. Frankie begins jumping onto counters and shelves and knocking things over. Not big things, little things. Pens. Keys. Magazines. Papers. She’ll look at you as if it wasn’t her, but the Not Me Goblin who did that. She’ll wait until you are looking away, and do it again. You get up and chastise her, and she meows at you like you’re being mean. You put her on the ground, and a few minutes later she leaps up and starts doing it again. Frankie will then change her tactics and come up to you to begin meow bombing. Unlike Michael’s shrill and incessant artillery barrage, however, Frankie’s meow bombs are sweet and heartrendingly cute. “Please? Oh please? Won’t you do whatever it is?” Nope, she can’t tell you what it is. Good luck finding out!

Emergency thrusters engage! Frankie’s tail goes poof, like a huge raccoon brillo pad, and she runs through our home in bursts of speed, then looks to see if anyone is watching her. Random meows ensue, then she’s off again, up and down the stairs. She looks out the windows and meows some more. What? Is there a giant cheeseburger out there or something? If, at this point, you don’t get what she’s going on about, then she repeats the cycle and goes back to knocking things over. Humans can be so dense sometimes!

Yup, she wants me to grab the leash and harness, and take her out on a walk. There’s meeses, and cheeseburgeroids, and probably an ani-mani-mal or two out there. She’s got to make her patrol because it’s the moment of super-psychic fluctuations in the space time continuum. Ugh, but K and I are busy doing chores, watching the Netflix Channel, or writing/playing games on the computer. It’s your choice. Take care of business, or suffer the Tricksy Hour until you are free. Frankie comes up and rubs her head against you and starts to purr. Who knew being lazy could be so much torture?

But that’s the price you pay for having a super-cat living in your home. Duty calls, and the safety and security of the free world depend on your help! No vacations when you’re the sidekick of an animal with super-powers. Who knew I was volunteering my home’s services as a Cat-cave with high tech gadgets and neat-o costumes? Yep, just call me Leash-boy. At your service, mighty Frankie! Golly gee wilikers! Let’s go foil those meeses but good! Frankie says, “Later leash-boy. First let me roll around in these pine needles and search for booby traps.” Sigh. The glory.

« Previous PageNext Page »