Sunday, January 23, 2011

The road to hell...

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
I'm beginning to think this is really true. Although I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Why is it that if you are doing something good for something - it always comes back and bites you in the butt?
I gave the puppy back this afternoon. I cannot have a puppy right now. Good Grief - I just got a new kitty! That's about all Jacques can handle right now. Not to mention me!
The owner never actually showed up. Wasn't really concerned to get his dog back??? So I gave him to his brother who was there moving something. I thought at the time this was a good thing, because I could also give him a couple of old towels and ask him to put something over the door of the dog house to that Petey (the big dog) would be warm. But then because we were worried the puppy would get out again he locked the puppy up in the house. Now I am petrified that they won't be there for another week - AGAIN. and who is going to feed that little guy!? If he was outside - at least I could feed him.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Waste not, Want not

Back in October Aunt Lois remarked that I'm not really making any more improvements on my house. And she's right. But those of you who are anxiously awaiting news related to that - here's one....
I've been wanting to do this for a while, but it was pretty low on the list-o-priorities. The kitchen on the first floor is leaky leaky leaky (as in air). There is one good window, one I should have covered in plastic by now, and a door that has (and I'm not kidding) a quarter of an inch of daylight around it where air gets in. The high for today was 23F. Tonight it should be 11F. That's cold. Since the room is so far from the thermostat I've put it low on the totem pole of things to be addressed, but what I've wanted to do is take the left over door from my 2nd floor bathroom and hang it in the doorway to this kitchen. Jeff make a bigger doorway when he remodeled my beautiful bathroom, and I decided I wanted to keep the old door. For the last two years, I've been wondering if I made the right decision. And the answer is yes. I had to hang the door tonight.... And just by the way... I don't get it... Jeff was always whining about how hard it is to hang a door. Seriously - you just have to make sure you have enough stuff underneath it to prop it up to the right height - then it's a piece of cake! But I digress...
Yes I HAD to hang the door tonight because right now, my neighbor's dog is in there, and he needs to stay in there.
Yeeeaaah, I'm not sure what happened, but last night I went out, kinda late to give the dogs a treat before I went to bed. (My neighbor has two dogs, I'm a sucker for a cute face so I give them lots of treats.) The next thing I know, the puppy is running around in my yard! I didn't know what to do, so I coaxed him into my house and locked him into the kitchen. I called my neighbor today to let him know I had the puppy, and he said he'd be home sometime this afternoon. I said I'd keep an eye out for him so I could get him back. As far as I know he never showed. Soooo..... I still have him.
At first I just had the door propped in the doorway to keep him in. That only lasted last night. This morning he promptly knocked it over. So I went to Home Depot and go the replacement hinges and hung the door. Its a good thing I decided to get some latches as well, because the door will stay shut on it's own, as long as nothing bumps it. The second it's bumped it springs open. So the little one is holed up in the kitchen on my old egg crate with a fresh piece of grey buckram for a potty.
The grey buckram? Yeah, so, while I was working in my studio I let him run around on the first floor. I was a little concerned because he hadn't gone potty anywhere that I'd seen. Only one little piddle on the bathroom floor which was hardly anything. While I was hanging the door though, I had to go back to my studio for something and I caught a whiff.... a whiff that only dog poop can smell like. So, now ya gotta find it and you can only use your nose! But I was lucky, it wasn't hard to spot. I had put down some scrap cheap grey buckram around the windows I was stripping (last summer). Apparently that is the place to go potty. Maybe he mistook it for newspaper? I don't know, but there were two poops and two pees (one made very strategically on a cat toy). So, long story short - he got a fresh piece of paper in the kitchen tonight. Let's hope he knows what to do with it.
Poor little guy - he is so sweet. He just wants some love. I am a little worried about Petey - the other dog. He's still outside and I hope he doesn't freeze tonight. He's got a little doghouse but without the puppy, will he be warm enough? I hope so.
I know what you're thinking...and the cats? I don't think they know. Jacques has probably smelled the puppy so much he doesn't think much of it. He wanted to go out, so I shut the puppy up in the bathroom, and Jacques just stomped right by, didn't pay any attention. Swee'pea, on the other hand, knows some thing's amiss. He smells something he doesn't understand. And the two of them? They are getting along much, much better. Its starting to feel like it's always been this way. Animals are just amazing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cats and stuff

Oh, it's all that seems to occupy my mind lately. Cats.
It's been really really cold lately, a bit of snow, freezing rain, ice, and just cold. So my rain barrel has run out. Oh yes. My cats are so spoiled that they will only drink water out of the rain barrel bucket - or a freshly flushed toilet. Go figure. I'm not quite sure how I spoiled the big man this much. But ... it's too late now.
So today I chipped ice from around the bucket that is frozen solid to the downspout. I was hoping with the warming trend (high 33 today) it would melt somewhat. Nothin' doin'. There is a great big chunk of ice holding the bucket and the downspout hostage. They will have to do for a while. It's supposed to snow tonight. Yay.
Last thursday I took Swee'pea to the vet. I'm telling you, I think he thought he was going back to the shelter. He was so heartbroken. His face said it all. He tried desperately to snuggle against my hand against the fence of the cage. Poor little guy. He wouldn't leave my lap at the vet. Just sat there and looked at me. I tried to tell him, I was taking him back home - he didn't need to worry, but you know how well that works.
So it turns out he is about 10 months, which makes sense because is SUCH a kitten. He is healthy, but might have a heart murmur. That would be three cats now... so I'm not sure I believe it. He weighs a grand total of 8lbs. Jacques weighs 16 - at the least. So that confirms that theory.
In the mean time the two of them have started some serious playing together. It's really very sweet. Jacques has accepted that this is part of our family now - doesn't mean he is 100% in with the deal but he is very sweet sometimes. They play a lot - chase each other a lot - and then when Jacques has had enough, he just ignores the little one. This is a huge improvement. I also have two (well three) alarm clocks in the morning now. The clock radio - and after about an hour - Jacques and Swee'pea both feel obligated to remind me that it is really time... time to feed them! What on earth am I waiting for!? I'm so glad this has worked out.
In other news, I finally finished my 2nd pair of socks.
There is really nothing like a pair of handmade socks. It always surprises me when I put them on. Maybe it's because they are wool, but not as dense as the store-bought ones? I don't know. Needless to say, they are pretty nice. If they just weren't such a pain to knit....

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still in Charge - but maybe a milestone

Just before I took this picture I was sitting next to Jacques petting him and thinking, wow, Jacques has been very patient the last two days. How nice that he is coming around. He might be a good daddy yet to this little one. He's much more patient about the playing, he just watches Swee'pea in fascination for as long as Swee'pea is doing what ever he is doing. Curious George would have a run for his money. While I was petting Jacques and telling him how nice it is that he's being so patient, Swee'pea jumped on my lap and wanted to be pet to. Well that was just too much for my big kitty, and he let out a very irritate growl/yowl and Swee'pea scampered. So what I mistook for patients was really the look of disdain.
I took a bath tonight and Jacques made a big show of just sitting down on the bathmat - and not needing to be curious. Swee'pea on the other had was fascinated! Could not figure out what the heck was going on. He finally crawled under the vanity and with a very heavy sigh lay down and put his head on his paws. It must be an overwhelming world to a little guy who has basically spent his first year of life in a cage.
This is talking looks like. Check out the wrinkled up nose. He doesn't talk very much, yet. I have a feeling he will be pretty vocal.
The milestone was that we all slept in the same bed last night. Jacques of course on HIS spot with the look of irritation. Swee'pea next to me until I turned over and he thought it was time to play. Nope.
Jacques is being very possessive of me, more than usual:
Here he is not on the table.
I mean, you see that too, that his back feet are still in my lap, right? Therefore - Not on the table.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Introducing... Swee'pea!

I finally landed on a name. And it fits him perfectly. He is very sweet but he's got spunk and so Popeye's little orphan is the perfect name for this little one. And I don't even mind that he stole the ball of yarn I've been working on. It's good to know what they like to play with, then you can make sure to furnish them with appropriate toys so they don't take things they shouldn't play with. Problem is, I'm not sure what to replace it with. Maybe Aunty Mellie needs to make us another large felted eyeball? (this was one of Jacques favorite toys pre-blog times).
This little one is full of the cutest antics. He will hide behind something in order to surprise Jacques. The surprise is for me because when he leaps, all four feet leave the floor and he looks more like a gazelle gliding through the air. Hopefully I can catch it on camera one day. He also doesn't quite understand toys on a stick. There is one they both love, an elephant with a pink bunch of feathers tied to it. When we first started playing, Swee'pea wasn't sure what to do. He decided this was prey and he had to walk away with it, and when we played with it the other night, he wouldn't let Jacques anywhere near it. Every time he let go of it and the toy would go flying (because of the elastic) he would chase after it, catch it and walk away with it in his mouth, growling at us. This must have gone on a good ten minutes. Jacques just looked at me with a look that said, "See, you brought this dumb little thing in here..."
And there is definitely a "cuteness" competition going on, except Jacques is the only one who knows it. Swee'pea is just cute and still kind of a kitten, so everything is fun to play with. But the other day when I left a ball of yarn on Jacques chair he hopped up and started to play with it. Now he's never really done this ever, but this time it really felt like he was trying to show me, look I can be cute too - why did you get this other thing?
And so how are we getting along? Well, it's hit and miss. Jacques' agenda is to assert his vertical dominance. Big Time.
He hops around on top of the furniture to get around whenever he can. If Swee'pea is in the room Jacques will be sitting up on something. He has begun to accept that this little pest is here to stay.
They touch noses, sniff each other can walk past each other without incidence, but then there is the "playing". Hmmmm, lets just say it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Then there is yowling and hissing and growling. Thank goodness Jacques has started to assert himself - maybe a bit too strongly sometimes. They don't really know how to read each other yet. Sometimes one or the other is just sniffing and the other will go into defensive mode with a raised paw the peace is shattered.
We always have to be on the lookout.
In both directions.
Jacques needs a lot of extra love right now. He needs reassurance every time I pet Swee'pea or show him any affection. Jacques really asserts his dominance in the bedroom (haha!). No seriously, Swee'pea gets chased out of there regularly, and is not.allowed.on.the.bed. period. When Jacques has had enough he comes and tries to get me to go to bed for the night. The little one sleeps under the basket. It's his-self designated spot. I'm so glad that is not an issue and that he does actually have a space to go to.
When I'm not worried about kitties, I started knitting a new sweater:
Except mine will be red. This is the yarn I bought with my Aunts way back in October. It's perfect for this project.

Monday, January 3, 2011

While still dreaming of Kauaii...

ah.... the Napali Coast.... warm sunshine, cool ocean water, everything green and blooming...

Oh, right I'm back in Philadelphia where the snow had finally melted.
I spent the New Year's weekend organizing my yarn stash and trying to play peace maker with kitties.
I started by pulling all of my yarn out of everywhere. I have so much! Unfortunately not enough to make lots of things. This is the problem with purchasing one ball of yarn because it's beautiful. You only get one hat, one mitten or something tiny out of it. I need to not do that so much anymore. I do have enough to start another sweater which I did, and then some more.
I also discovered this snarled madness:
I was extremely tempted to chuck the whole lot. But I diligently sat there pulling strings apart and ended up with one ball of red cashmere, three balls of turquoise wool, and several more balls of different red wools. Probably about $60 worth of yarn. It was worth it. Plus I got to play with cute kitties. Although Jacques was still very. put. out. He has asserted his dominance vertically. He jumps on everything, chairs, tables, stools, me, etc. while the little one stays on the floor. This is apparently a good strategy as validated by my friend Rachael. Whew!
So after two days of organizing, winding, and so on, I was able to color organize my stash.
Isn't it beautiful? (Yes, I'm a yarn-aholic nut - I admit it). But it feels good now to know that
when I go into a basket of yarn, it won't explode out as one giant yarn monster.
The little one was very helpful. he was good at pouncing on balls of yarn, or carrying them (such as the blue one) into different locations.
But best of all he was so helpful at winding things. He would either chase the yarn being wound or watch the winder intently.
Most of the time the two stayed in their separate corners. Jacques stayed up on a stool,
the little one stayed inside the basket. He claimed this place pretty quickly after coming into the house.
As of yesterday the growling and yowling (from Jacques) had mostly subsided. There was still some hissing but they were able to eat dinner almost face to face in peace.
Unfortunately the little one discovered a new game - chase Jacques. It boggles the mind sometimes how smart all these little critters can be - but they have zero concept of their self-image. Jacques is 16 pounds. The little one is maybe 6, if we're lucky. Instead of turning around and whacking the kitten once, Jacques kept cowering and running away. The game was making Jacques really miserable so this morning I had to put a stop to it. Every time the little one stalked and chased Jacques I squirted him with a water bottle. He learns quick that little one. I came home today and both parties were calm and came to greet me, the little one only needed to be squirted one more time. They even touched noses a few times without anyone freaking out. Maybe this is a good sign. The little one sure is cute:
That's my empty knitting basket. What a comfy place to hide from Jacques. I'm leaning towards naming him Romeo. We'll see.