My crime was pet sitting. Dog sitting specifically. If you are keeping track – and Powder is – we have two instances of allowing unauthorized canines in the house for extended periods this year. That is coming dangerously close to becoming a habit.
When Under the Bed Dog came, Powder made herself scarce. I naively figured she’d be back to cuddling in bed as soon as the dog left. I should have known better. This is the cat who sat shiva on the wardrobe for 18 months after we got Freckles to Make A Point (emphasis hers). She’d probably still be there if we hadn’t moved the bed she used to get up there and had to Learn To Deal (emphasis mine).
The day after UTB dog left Powder would sit next to me but not touching. She would then pointedly ignore me. If I wasn’t noticing that she was ignoring me, there would be quick meows to make sure I knew that she was having nothing to do with me. Since she was sitting right there, if I would pet her or hug her, well, that was on me. She was not encouraging it. She would just sit stiffly with haughty disapproval.
I would point out to her that the offending canines belonged to the husband’s brother and ex-wife respectively so maybe her complaints are being directed towards the wrong party. But, as a fellow female she obviously recognizes who is in charge around here and therefore I get the blame.
Last night she decided that I was repentant enough and decided to cuddle on me in bed. I guess I’m forgiven. This time.
At least, that’s when I first heard her running up and down the hall.
Then she’d jump on the bed and sigh. Then she’d shake her head and make her tags jangle. I put her drops in her ears. I keep dog ear drops on the nightstand for just this situation. It didn’t help.
Run up and down the hall, jump on the bed, sigh, shake, cuddle, more sighs, move to a different part of the bed, shake, sigh, repeat over and over.
I got up to see if she wanted to go out. For the last month with Under the Bed Dog, every time Freckles goes to the door to go out, UTBD runs to a far room and hides. You have to get her leash and beg her to hold still long enough to attach it to her, and lead her to the door. At 4:20 AM? She’s right there ready to head outside with Freckles. So, I’m getting a robe on because it is way too hopeful to think she’ll come back with Freckles.
4:25 – I’m back in the house rummaging for a flashlight because I can’t see that $&@|~< dog in the dark.
4:30 - Get her back inside.
Freckles is still agitated. She has a pre-breakfast snack. Twice. Finally, at 5:10 she lays down.
Guess whose alarm goes off at 5:30 for CrossFit? Guess who decided while out chasing a dog before dawn that she had already had enough activity this morning?
The husband emerges from his uninterrupted sleep. I mutter that the dogs have already been out. He looks at Under the Bed Dog and says, "You must have been such a good girl to come in so easily for the mommy!" I might have snapped a bit while telling him that I was chasing her around at 4:25.
I fell asleep after he left. Freckles walked me to the door when I left for work. It was nice of her to interrupt all the snoring she'd been doing since 5:10.
I normally sleep on my left side. Freckles is behind my lower legs and Powder is in front of my chest. I am suggestible at night. They manage to push me around so that they are more comfortable. I wake up with my back muscles spasming because I’ve been pushed into unnatural positions. The husband sleeps secure on his side of the bed since he is an unmovable object. I complain and he says, “I slept fine.”
Under The Bed Dog has turned into On Top of the Bed Dog this visit. I wasn’t happy. Adding another dog into the mix was going to be horrible. But, I was pleasantly surprised. She slept between the husband and I and I was impressed by how unobtrusive her presence was. Powder won’t sleep with us since there is another dog so I had all kinds of room.
I commented on how well I was sleeping and the husband snapped, “I’m not.” I guess Under The Bed Dog is pushing hard against him. Most nights he tries to shove her back but he eventually gives up and goes to the guest room because he just can’t sleep when he’s being crowded. Poor baby.
Last night she wouldn’t lie down. She sat between us and looked at him like, “Aren’t you leaving? I want your spot.”
I’m having the best sleep ever. Now when he storms off in the middle of the night I say, “Bye, bye” and he tells me to quit giggling. He points out that she isn’t staying forever so we’ll go back to normal sleeping arrangements soon so I had best enjoy it while I can.
Under The Bed Dog is here. She’s Z’s dog and she’s special in her brain too. She inspires a lot of thoughts like, “Bless your little heart. You’re as dumb as a brick, aren’t you?”
She is incredibly timid at her house. She’s pretty brave here but she just has no idea how to be a proper dog. She looks up to Freckles to find out what to do. That is a good idea in theory. ‘When in Rome’ and all that. But her logic circuits break down at critical junctures. For example, she sees Freckles sitting on the couch next to a human and decides that would be a good idea for her too. Most dogs would go to the other side of the human. Not Under The Bed Dog. She attempts to occupy the exact space that Freckles is occupying. Since that would fry the laws of physics she ends up laying on top of Freckles. The proper response to that is for Freckles to tear her head off for being uppity. That doesn’t happen. The only reason that it doesn’t is because Freckles has learned that UTB Dog doesn’t learn anything from being reprimanded and Freckles doesn’t want to put out all that effort for nothing. So Freckles squirms out from under her and goes somewhere else.
UTB Dog has chewed up a pencil and a razor since she has been here. Yes, she was under the bed at the time so getting the pieces away from her was challenging.
This morning she got spooked because Riley looked at her so she refused to come inside after going to the bathroom. She was running in our backyard and the neighbor’s yard. I was out there in my bathrobe and crocs before dawn trying to get her back. All I needed was curlers in my hair and a rolling pin it to be perfect.
Freckles was so sad on the first day that she let me make her into the bed. Of course the next day I covered up UTB Dog’s head with an afghan and she couldn’t figure out how to get out so she laid there for half an hour, bless her heart.
I was sleeping nicely the other night when Freckles woke me up. She was restless. She was off the bed and wandering around and whining.
I sat up and she came over to me. She put her head in my hand and stared up at me with the saddest face ever. I asked her what was wrong. She let out a little whimper. I figured she needed to go out so I got up.
Quick as a whip she jumped into bed and stretched out on the spot I had just given up and sighed contentedly.
I informed her in no uncertain terms that this was unacceptable. (Since it was the middle of the night my addled brain expressed this all in a few choice words.) She got up and went back to her normal spot on the bed and went to sleep. I have no idea where she got that plan in her head or why she’d thought I let her get away with it.
I recently got this new pain medication in for cats. Cats are hard to medicate for pain because everything kills their kidneys. There are no pain medications for cats labeled for use in cats in the U.S. for more than 3 days. Some of the drugs we have are used in Europe and Canada everyday but that’s technically illegal here.
This medication is called Devcor and it is an over the counter supplement made with anti-inflammatory herbs. I love some other products from the company so I decided to try this out. I haven’t had any complaints about it not working and even had some positive feedback on it (rare).
Powder is 11 now and is losing her jump. That’s a good sign of arthritis in cats. I’ve put some strategically placed steps around the house for her to get to her stuff. I’ve given her pain meds when she is really bad but we all know that vets are the worst pet owners around so she isn’t on pain meds all the time. Cobbler’s kids have no shoes and all that.
Yesterday she was bad. She was crawling up the bed because she couldn’t make the jump so I gave her some devcor. A few hours later I had to yell at her before she got on top of the birdcage. It must be good stuff!
So, I was watching an episode of Supernatural in the bathtub. (I set my iPad on the toilet and watch on Netflix if you must know.) It was the episode where a bunch of family dogs in a town are actually skinwalkers who waiting for the signal from their pack leader to attack their families and turn them into an army of skinwalkers. Right when they revealed that plot point Freckles gets up and licks my arm. She then sat and stared at me with sad eyes for the entire rest of the episode.
They came the other day to drop off all the supplies on the roof. Freckles was not having it. People walking around on the roof and making noise was unacceptable. It was sort of fun to watch her run around and bark at the ceiling but eventually we convinced her to lie down and chill.
They came back today.
There was barking again. I told her it was OK. She gave me a look that clearly stated that she knows several definitions of the word OK and people trying to get in by tearing off the roof of the house is not in any of them. She finally laid down but she kept giving me the eye. It was like she wanted me to sign a waiver saying that if they got through the roof and stole everything it was not on her because she told me so!
Wait until tomorrow when they come to finish up and there are plumbers in the house too.
Ever since I met the husband six years ago we have been looking for a couch. He wanted a sectional like his neighbor had. Of course that couch came from a store that didn’t exist any more.
So for the past six years we’ve been testing sectionals. He wanted leather. I wanted comfy. I can test every couch in a store in a few minutes. I sit down. I stand up. I declare it uncomfortable. Why would anyone want to buy a couch that isn’t comfy?
The other problem is cheapness. We don’t believe in borrowing money for something like a couch so we need to save up for it and this is expensive.
Long, long, long story short he called me a week or so ago at work and said he bought a couch. I went after work to see it. He was leading me through the store and I saw one sectional. I thought “At least I know he didn’t buy that one.” Of course, he sat down on that one. It is hideously ugly but it is comfy.
It is coming today. Last night we moved the old couch. The animals were horrified. Powder used to panic when furniture was moved. Her first people abandoned her when they moved. She thought furniture moving meant we were leaving her. Now she’s had enough moves to know she’s coming with but she was pissy. “Why can’t we just pick a house and stay there?”
The overall worry though was “Where are we going to sit?” Neither Powder or Freckles, my delicate little flowers, would consider sitting on the floor. Who does that? They are civilized pets.
Freckles spent the morning guarding the remaining piece of furniture in the living room. It also had all the pillows and an afghan on it for added bonus comfies.
Right now she is a bit afraid of the new couch. It is also cold so she doesn’t want to sit on it. I laid down on the couch and she immediately laid on top of me. Yep, we buy a sectional big enough for everyone to stretch out on and she’s still laying on me. Why am I not surprised?
Riley is a thug but he needs cuddles from his mommy daily. This is especially true if we go away. We went to my parents’ for Easter. We were only gone around 24 hrs and the pet sitter (or Staff as Powder sees them) came once. It wasn’t like he was abandoned in the wilderness. But, he needs lots of cuddles to make up for it.
He is a big cat. He’s twice Powder’s size. She, however, is the Queen and even though he sometimes chases her there are two things that are inviolate.
If Riley is eating and Powder wants to eat, Riley leaves.
If Riley is laying on my chest in bed and Powder comes into the room, Riley leaves.
This is understood. She only has to look at him and he scuttles away like he’s been beaten for this infraction before. I was going to write about how I didn’t understand why he reacts this way but I realized that I sometimes don’t roll over in bed if she is giving me The Look.
Yesterday Powder was laying on my chest and Riley jumped up on the bed. I assumed he didn’t realize she was there and that he would leave. But, he was singleminded in pursuit of his cuddle. He walked up to me and laid down on my chest – pushing her out of the way. Two humans and a dog held their breath. This was very bold stuff. Riley was facing me with his back to Powder. As he settled in I saw the look on his face. The horrified look that said he realized that he had just made a huge tactical error. We are waited and then Powder just laid back down on my stomach. I think she was just as stunned as everyone else.
So does this signal a change of rules in the house? Last night Riley was laying on my chest. We heard the footsteps of Powder coming into the bedroom. Riley lit out of there like a shot. Once might be forgiven but I think he’s toeing the line right now.
Last night the husband started giggling in his sleep. Actually his sound output was snore, snore, giggle, snore which is sort of sweet until it goes on for too long. He’s more of a nightmare kind of guy so I’m glad he was happy but he was keeping me up.
At the same time the dog apparently had a dream where she was running a marathon. (This is amazing because lately she’s been refusing to go on walks. When we take her she stops frequently and acts like she just can’t go on. I was starting to think I was going to have to carry her home the other day. We walked very slowly home and when I took her leash off in the driveway – she ran full speed into the backyard.) Anyway, my back was the road under her feet in her marathon dream. I decided I had had enough.
I moved into the guest bed. Normally this freaks out the husband. He takes it as a sign that I want a divorce and not just a restful night’s sleep. But a few times lately he’s slept in there so I figured he’d understand now.
Nope. A little bit later while I was still playing Candy Crush on the iPad they appeared. Freckles landed on my stomach to say hi. The husband asked why I had left. I explained giggling and running. He accepted that grudgingly and took the dog and went back to bed. For a while. About half an hour later I had just turned off the iPad, taken off my glasses, and settled in. I heard him get up. He crawled into bed with me. I was yelling, “No. No! My glasses are over there.” I snatched them out of the way just as he laid down and looked at me and said, “What?”
He said he had a bad dream. Usually these are war dreams but this was a picnic with fresh honey that was interrupted by his ex-wife. He shuddered. I pointed out that if we were in fact sleeping together we ought to sleep in our real bed near the alarm clocks where I wouldn’t have to sleep with my glasses in my hand. He said he didn’t want to sleep in the “bad dream bed” but that I should go back to hear the alarms.
I trudged back to my bed only to see that the animals thought that they had achieved their dreams of getting the bed all for themselves. There were two cats and a dog on a queen sized bed and somehow it was all covered. I pushed and shoved my way into a spot and finally fell asleep.
Until the husband decided that he wanted to come back to bed too…
Getting up at 5:30 to go workout was hard this morning.
My bird Jules is not a fan of men. When I got her she decided that the husband was not to be trusted. She would get all fluffy whenever he looked at her. Birds fluff up their feathers to make themselves look bigger in the face of a threat.
He’s been sucking up to her by giving her grapes and treats. She moved his threat level from He Must Die to I Guess He Has His Uses but He’s Still Sketchy.
I got her out this morning and had her on my shoulder. He was home from work and ready to take a shower. He was very ready to take a shower as in uncovered. He said something to me and then stopped and said, “She’s really fluffy.”
I looked at Jules. She was puffed up to twice her normal size. Then she looked away from him and seemed to compose herself. Her feathers lay down flat. Then she looked at him again and got flustered all over and fluffed up. He said, “I think she’s upset by the dog being near her.”
She averted her eyes again and unfluffed. Slowly she glanced back towards him without moving her head. Feathers up. “I don’t think it’s the dog that’s upsetting her,” I explained. “I don’t think she knows what to make of you without, um, colors on.”
I had to take her back to the cage. She was fine as long as she didn’t look. Maybe she was a nun or a spinster schoolmarm in a previous life. Poor thing, she’s probably scarred for eternity now!
With all this talk about Hurricane Sandy let’s not ignore the littlest victims.
Tuesday morning I knew we were going to have a problem. I came home from the gym and was face to face with happy wiggly doggy.
Freckles – It’s dog park day.
Me – It’s raining. It isn’t raining at the dog park.
It is raining all over the eastern part of the continent so I’m pretty sure it is raining at the dog park. It never rains at the dog park.
No, you just never go if it is rainy. There is another problem. You know the big pond in the middle of the dog park? Yay!! Go to the dog park and play in the water!
No, it has been raining hard for three days. The park has probably flooded. Yay!! More water in the dog park! Let’s go!
It’s dog park day.
When that argument wasn’t working for her she pulled out the big guns. She would crawl up on my lap and give me the spaniel eyes.
Once she realized that I was settling in for a long day of sewing she went harrumphing off to pout on the couch. Her only hope of getting happier was remembering that her daddy brings her home prime rib on dog park days.
Daddy came home with salad instead.
Freckles will be taking applications for new humans in the comments.
I’m smart now and I know that this kitty only cries like this when he knows that his dearest wish is about to be denied.
No, you can’t bring it in and eat it in the middle of the living room floor at your leisure.
Because Mommy is mean, that’s why!
He knows this so as soon as he saw me he spat it out on the deck. We negotiated through the door and I only opened it when he promised not try to pick it up as he came through the door. I know his tricks.
It turns out that he needed to come in because he had to use the litterbox. Seems the great outdoors isn’t good enough for him anymore. Spoiled cat.
Last night I woke up and realized that I was being bullied in bed. The man and the Powder cat were on either side of my head so it seemed like my head was in a vice. Freckles was laying horizontally across the bed and had pushed my feet off the bed.
There is no moving either the man or the Powder cat. That is the heaviest 9 lb cat on earth. She’s the definition of an immoveable object. She takes on the density of a black hole at night. It is amazing.
So I sat up and tried to move Freckles. I shook her gently. No response. I whispered to her. Nothing. I picked her up and she didn’t move a muscle while I moved her to lay lengthwise between the man and I. I whispered, “I know you aren’t dead. Quit faking.” She huffed and rolled over thus proving me correct.
I put my head down at the foot of the bed and put my feet between the cat and the guy but I was worried about kicking him in the face because I’m considerate that way. So, I got up and went to Z’s room and laid down on her twin bed.
For a few minutes I was happy. Then I heard the jingle of dog tags. I set myself firmly in the middle of the bed. Freckles jumped up on the bed. I informed her that I Was Not Moving. She had her chance to cooperate. She laid down but her feet her hanging off the bed and guess what? She didn’t like it. Imagine that. She went stomping off back to the big bed. Poor baby.
Yesterday I had the day off even though it wasn’t my normal day off. I got up and wandered with Freckles out to the kitchen. I was mentally running through a list of what I had to do to try to put them in order. Freckles headed towards the back door. I muttered, “You go outside and I’ll get my shoes and I guess we’ll go to the dog park now.”
All hell broke loose.
I wasn’t even 100% aware that I was talking out loud. I certainly didn’t think she was listening. But as soon as I said that she started screaming and jumping. Her plan to go outside was forgotten. She ran downstairs to the garage door and started throwing herself against the door to get to the car, screaming the whole time.
I followed her down and made her go outside through the garage.
Freckles: “Car. Car. Car. CAR!”
Me: “You have to pee first. It is a 20 minute ride to the park.”
Freckles: “Car. Car. Have to get in the car. WE’RE GOING TO THE PARK. RIGHT NOW!”
I drug her out and she peed as fast as possible and ran back to the car. I always worried about what I said around the birds because I didn’t want them to repeat it. I guess I need to worry more about what I say in front of the dog because she speaks a lot more English than I give her credit for.
Z is not an animal person. She claims to love them in the abstract but we’ve only recently stopped her from screaming whenever a pet touched her. Since she’s been staying with us this month she’s seemed to bond a bit more with Freckles. She goes and hugs her. Freckles sleeps on her bed when I leave early to go work out. (That may be due more to the large stuffed bear that Freckles likes to rest her head on though.)
I noticed that after Z calms down from a meltdown she likes to give Freckles huge body hugs and talk to her about how horrible we are. I thought that was a good thing to be able to have a non-judgmental ear to listen to her version of the story. I forgot that Freckles is anything but non-judgmental.
On previous visits if Z has been carrying on, Freckles will walk out of the room while making big sighs. We point out that her behavior is even annoying the dog.
The other day after a crying fit, Z came downstairs to the sewing room where Freckles was sleeping on the carpet. She dramatically fell to her knees and threw her arms around the dog. She buried her face in her fur. Freckles looked at me over Z’s shoulder and the message was clear:
“Get. Her. Off. Me!”
I avoided eye contact. Eventually Z let her up and started talking to me. Freckles took her chance and tried to quietly sneak out of the room. Z noticed and called her back. Freckles walked back with her head hanging and got another bear hug. I avoided looking at her. All I could think of was the old joke about having to tie a pork chop around a kid’s neck to get the dog to play with them.
A few days ago I got called back from the grocery store because Z was acting up. I was met at the basement door by both Freckles and Powder. They never voluntarily head to the basement – especially not together. That gave me a clue that it was a bad tantrum. They both just stared at me. I guess I’m being held fully responsible.
I’ve been taking an online Chinese food therapy course. I’m most of the way through the lectures so I decided to start making some of the foods and testing them out on my pets.
First up – asparagus:
I kept hearing over and over in lectures that cats love asparagus. That seems odd. But last night I steamed a big bunch of asparagus for dinner. I took the left overs and started chopping up the flowery end finely to offer the cats when I noticed Freckles. She was at my feet in full on begging mode. She usually reserves that for getting steak or cheese from her daddy. I handed her a piece of stalk. She slurped it up and kept begging. Usually with veggies she takes it enthusiastically and then is disappointed that it isn’t something better. She never lost her love for the asparagus.
I put the finely chopped flowery part in the cat bowl. Powder gobbled it all down. She had been eating her dry food but stopped and preferentially ate the asparagus. This is a cat who once ate an entire salad so I wanted to test Riley too. I didn’t have a chance until this morning. I had two ziploc bags. One had chopped up stems for Freckles and one had chopped up flowers for the cats. I put some in the cat bowl but Riley wasn’t allowed to have any. Powder got them all. So I went and hand fed Riley and he loved them too.
Meanwhile, I went to feed Freckles and left the stem bag open. I came back to Powder with her whole head in the bag, gobbling up huge mouthfuls of asparagus stems.
Result – asparagus gets three enthusiastic paws up but the only vegetarian (Jules the parrot) hated it so she gave it one beak down.
Recipe two – marrow soup
Here’s where we get into hard things for vegetarians. It called for chicken bones. I don’t have that. So I collected a steak bone and a pork shoulder bone from the husband’s meals this week. Then I put them in a big pot, covered them with water, added 1/4 cup of vinegar and a handful of baby carrots. The vinegar and carrots are to make the broth acidic enough to leech the minerals from the bones and dissolve them enough to release the marrow. I cooked it on low for 5 hours. The pork bone dissolved enough to let me crack the bone. The steak bone didn’t do much. Using the chicken bones makes more sense now because they would probably totally dissolve.
I strained out the broth and threw out the bones and carrots.
Cats- 2 huge paws down. Maybe there was too much vinegar taste
Freckles – The. Best. Thing. Ever!! I gave her a bit of soup and I’ve never seen her so happy. She kept going back to the bowl to check if more had magically appeared. I had a hard time getting her to come to bed since she wanted to stay by her bowl just in case. For now she’ll be getting a bit daily until this batch is gone. I guess the husband is going to have to start eating chicken wings every so often so I can get bones.
Marrow soup is full of minerals and in Chinese terms it is a jing tonic. That means that it is good for very young and very old animals because it has a lot of easily digestible nutrients from the marrow.
I went and did my workout at 6:15 this morning. The timed part consisted of 5 repeats as fast as possible of a 400 meter run followed by 15 squats while holding weight over your head. I was doing 15 lbs.
I staggered back into the house and Freckles greeted me at the top of the stairs with a huge yawn and stretch. She works so hard in the morning to get off the bed and come see her person!
We were going to get married in Florida in January but then he started a new job and he couldn’t get the time off. I had already ordered a dress appropriate for a Florida beach wedding. So we decided to do an Ohio beach wedding but we had to wait a while so I didn’t freeze to death.
We went up to a resort on Lake Erie. I picked an officiant from a vendor list based on her having the best website. Her wedding page was in between the reflexology and other energy healing pages. I knew I had to hire her. It was just us and Freckles the flowerdog.
Freckles was bored and laid in the flowerbeds. We had a handfasting instead of a more traditional wedding. The only hitch was that the officiant tied our hands together before the SO got the rings out of his pockets. He had to escape briefly to retrieve the rings.
Freckles was the star. She had a lace bandana and a white leash. Passersby congratulated her on her cuteness. She is also the queen of the photobomb. We had a photographer and occasionally she wanted a picture without Freckles and Freckles wasn’t having it. She’d jump on our laps and pose. We had to tie her to a tree to keep her out of pictures. Then there was howling.
I don’t have any pictures yet but I’ll post when I get the disc. Then
we changed clothes and went looking for something to eat. We didn’t find any decent restaurants around but we did find a soda fountain for floats while we were looking. We also found this.
What kind of town needs a permanent lice clinic? We didn’t get out of the car in that town. I love the email on that window.
We ended up back in the lodge for dinner. Obviously the surrounding area is dicey.