The Cat pulls a Houdini

December 27, 2010

You guys have met my cat right?

Let's just say she's an indoor cat who doesn't possess very many "street smarts."  And she's not much of a hunter, judging by her 25% success ratio with catching flies and moths.  Also, she's not very fast.  Or motivated.

Well we had some people over for a potluck/campfire/get-together type thing.  The cat was around most of the evening, hiding behind the end table and generally looking pissed about all the people who had invaded her space, although she would sometimes disappear and I would find her wandering in the garage or eating out of the dog's food dish, etc.

The next morning, I got up and started reading a book on my new Kindle.  After about an hour or so, I realized the cat had not yet come up to greet me and snuggle on my lap while I read.  This was unusual.

I searched.  And searched.  And searched.  The cat was nowhere to be found in the house, the backyard or the immediate neighborhood.  Chris helped me look.  Nothing.

Finally, we had to just wait it out... eventually she'd get hungry and come home, right?  She never wanders far, as she's petrified of the outdoors (other than eating the grasses that grow near the house) and there's really no food out there.  That she knows of.

Around two o'clock in the afternoon, Chris suggested I try the neighbors.  Their dog had been barking nonstop since we had gotten up, and usually we almost never heard the dog.  The thought had also occurred to me that perhaps the dog was barking at my cat, so I put on some shoes and headed over to meet my neighbors.

The neighbor, after he had established that I actually lived next door and wasn't just some freak show who wanted to wander around in his backyard for reasons unknown, became much friendlier and let me take a look-see in the backyard.  But not without first inferring that if the cat actually were in their backyard, the dog wouldn't just be barking at it, the dog would have eaten it and dragged the carcass to their back door as a belated Christmas present.  He didn't say that in so many words, of course, but that was the gist. Thanks, neighbor.

There was no cat in the backyard and, dejected, I wandered back to the house and attempted to finish reading my book.

About an hour later, the doorbell rings.  It's the neighbor.

"This cat of yours, does it have green eyes?  And longish red fur?"

"Yes!" I cried, barely letting him get his sentence out.

"I think we found her.  Hiding under our car in the driveway."

Which explained why the dog had been barking all day... the cat was clearly visible through the fence in her "hiding" spot underneath their car, but could not actually be reached by the dog, due to the fence separating them.  And, judging by how long the dog had been barking, the cat had been under there for at least a solid four hours.  (Why she didn't just run to our house - which happened to be in the opposite direction of the barking dog - I don't know.  I can only speculate that she was petrified with fear.)

As the neighbor and his daughter walked back to their house, I heard the daughter mutter good-naturedly under her breath, "maybe now that dog of ours will shut up."

And it did.  We didn't hear a peep out of that dog for the rest of the day.

The cat, however, was filthy.  So she got a bath.  Which she did not like very much.  (Her head looks very tiny when you wet down all the fluff and are left with just the fat cats).

She's forgiven me by now, but for the rest of the day we were treated to "angry cats":

Which didn't stop her from jumping on our laps and snuggling (as you can see). She just looked pissed off about it the whole time.

Because I have so much to be thankful for, and how awesome is the postal service

I'm going to take a pause for a moment to be totally serious.

Although I didn't get to spend this holiday season with family, I did get to spend it with some of my good friends.  And I am so thankful for how awesome they are.  (And to my friends that I didn't get to spend time with this holiday season -- you are also very awesome.)

I won't go on and on about how many things I have to be thankful for this holiday season, although friends and family are chief among them, but I will just say that I know I am very, very, lucky.

Now, on to the second part of this post: the post office.

I've gotten one of these "letters" before, and it never ceases to amuse me.

And here is what it says on the back:

In other words, oops, sorry we totally effed up your letter after accidentally running it over with a truck, sending it through a grinder, and then slapping it around a bit, but, hey, you still got it in your mailbox, right?!

Honestly, though, I respect the fact that they are still willing to send me the mail after they practically destroyed it.  I mean, they could've just made it "disappear" and I would have never been the wiser.

O potato, how shall I eat thee?

December 20, 2010

The week before thanksgiving, Chris, myself, and the roommate Payson decided to host a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone at work who was away from home or just wanted an excuse to hang out and eat.  The original invite list was small – but quickly outgrew our original stash of supplies (we can’t forget to invite so-and-so!).  Instead of one turkey we were going to need two, plus extra potatoes and more side dishes.

We put Payson in charge of buying more potatoes.  Would you like to guess how many potatoes he bought?  Here’s a clue: it’s one month later, and there’s still potatoes in our pantry.

Bless his heart, the guy bought three large bags of Russet potatoes (this is in addition to the bag of Russets that we already had, plus the large bag of Yukon Golds.)

In Payson’s defense, Chris did not give him a specific amount of potatoes to get.  And Payson knows, like I know, that Chris would much rather be over-prepared than stuck with not enough potatoes.

So a couple extra bags of potatoes (just to be on the safe side) it was.

Since then, we have had mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, baked potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, roasted potatoes, home-fried potatoes and potato soup.  I am running out of things to make with potatoes. 

We tried to take some potatoes to our friend’s houses on Thanksgiving, but no one wanted them.  So far, we have decimated one bag and made it halfway through the second.  Luckily, the weather turned cold again so we were able to start round 2 of homemade potato soup.

Speaking of which, it's time for dinner… guess what's cooking?

Why do you taunt me, California Lottery?

December 15, 2010

I mean, really.  Somebody at the lottery print shop is probably having a good laugh at that.  Yeah, why don't we give out the closest possible number to a winner, without actually letting them win anything, of course.


Confessions of the directionally challenged

December 11, 2010

I went to the mall today, and found myself surprised by the crowds.  There were people directing traffic, there were police surveillance vans, and there were very long lines at the store registers.  I don’t know why I was surprised at this – I mean, it’s just two short weeks from Christmas.  Of course the mall is going to be a zoo.

Well, actually, I do know why I was so surprised.  It’s because sometimes I am phenomenally unobservant of the world around me.  I find myself constantly surprised about very predictable events:  holiday shoppers and rush hour traffic and the gas tank getting close to empty.  (It’s not on purpose but for whatever reason, every time the husband goes to get in the car after I’ve been driving it, he gets about two minutes from the house before the gas light comes on.  This is not very fun for him.)

Let’s face it, things like “foresight” and “advanced planning” are just not my forte.  Unless, of course, it has to do with work.  This is something that confuses the husband to no end. 

“I don’t understand,” he’ll say, “how at the office, you’re the girl who always remembers everything.  You can quote entire paragraphs out of reports, you can state the exact date three years ago that a certain event occurred, and you’ve made a reputation for yourself that you are always two steps ahead in thinking of the client’s needs.  And yet, at home, I’m lucky if you remember what time I asked you set the alarm.”

I always shrug because, really, I have no good answer for why this is.

I do try to explain to him that it’s not personal.  That sometimes there are things I don’t pay attention to or plan out that really would be to my benefit if I had.  Take, for instance, my chronic habit of looking up directions at the last minute.

Actually, and this is kind of a secret thing about myself but I guess not anymore since I’m posting it here, but I have a really bad habit of leaving for a new destination and getting about halfway there before I realize that I don’t actually know where I’m going.  As in, I don’t even have a frickin address to this place.  Like, I just get in my car and start driving in the general direction, because I haven’t thought ahead further than the first ten minutes of the journey.

This is how, one time about ten years ago when I was headed to my cousin’s bachelorette party I ended up driving around for three hours before I had to turn back home because I was operating on the mistaken assumption that where I was going was due east of my home, instead of north-east.  By the time I realized how far off course I had driven, my destination was so far away that the party would’ve been over by the time I arrived.

Yes, that’s right, I left the house with nothing more than a general sense of the direction in which I needed to travel.  Which, as it turns out, wasn’t even correct.

I think that is probably the most dramatic of the incidents, but it is certainly not the only one.  Although, with the advent of GPS-enabled smartphones, directions and a map are no more than a click away.  (And with my particular bad habit, this is a definite lifesaver.  We won’t go into how many times I’ve had to pull off to the side of the road and use this particular phone feature.)

Speaking of which, however, I’ve got a company Christmas party to get ready for.  And since I’ve never been to this place before, so I should probably look up the address and directions.  Before we leave the house.  Yeah, that would be a good idea.

Where the Buffalo Roam...

December 09, 2010

This is an article that was published in our campus newspaper when I was attending college there.  It was so hilarious, I laminated it and posted it to the wall of my dorm room, along with pictures of my family, a $1 tax refund check from the State of Michigan, and my class schedule.

Because, you know, you *might* see a 500 pound bison roaming the campus.  But don't worry, eventually campus officials will outsmart the very large, slow-moving animal.  Darn those bison and their excellent hiding skills.

Planes, Plumbers, and Automobiles (and a double post day)

I know I've been kind of lackadaisical on the blog thing lately.

It's not that things aren't exciting around these parts.  

I mean, Chris met the governor and we found out why our water bill was so high that the lady at the city public works almost fell out of her chair when she saw it and we hung Christmas lights and shorted out Christmas lights and bathed the dog a lot because for some reason she is smelly(er) than usual.  Also, I bought an outfit to wear to the company Christmas party and the cat peed on the white carpet we just had professionally shampooed after a house party tracked black dirt everywhere and tomorrow the plumber is coming to possibly tear up the foundation of our house to fix the leaky pipe.  Our pool is still mysteriously broken (which is completely unrelated to our water bill) and my tax preparer finally sent the rebuttal to the IRS as to why they should not revoke my first time homebuyer's credit so hopefully sometime before next year's taxes are due I might get last year's refund.  Chris learned a valuable lesson as to why it is important to make sure to screw the oil cap of the airplane on tightly and we got to see the emergency response vehicles at the airport in action and drive back to San Diego while they cleaned the oil off the plane.  And of course the car needs to be serviced and the rent is due.  Oh, but the weather around here has been beautiful.

And with that, I'm going to slack a little more.

I give you... a story about buffalo.  The animal (not the city in New York).

Stage Fright, of a sort

December 06, 2010

Between Phoenix and San Diego, there are two border patrol checkpoints.  For some inexplicable reason, I get nervous every time I drive through them.  I don’t know why.  I’m not doing anything illegal.  I don’t look suspicious.  They don’t have any reason to pull me over and, if they did, they wouldn’t find anything anyway. 

Sometimes they just wave you through and sometimes they ask a few simple questions.  They are usually along the lines of “are you a US citizen?” and “where are you headed to?”

I’m pretty good at the first one.  And given the frequency that I travel through these checkpoints headed to the same place every time, you would think I’d be good at the second one.

You would think.

We pull up to the checkpoint this morning.  The Border Patrol agent looks in our car and glances at us.

“Are you a US Citizen?”

“Yes.”  I reply, easily.

“Where are you headed to?”

And for some reason, at this moment, my mind goes blank.

“Uhh…California.” I stutter.  Given as we are already in Califorina, this isn’t exactly the answer he is looking for.

“Specifically,” he says slowly, “where in California are you headed.”

My mind is still a blank slate.  I glance helplessly at Chris while in my mind I am cheeping at him, “helphelphelp.”  There is an awkward pause and then Chris and I answer at the same time, “San Diego.”

He nods and waves us on.

Chris turns to me.  “Really?  I mean, really?  You do realize that we are already in California.”

“I got nervous!”

“Of the Border Patrol Agent?  He looks about twenty and he couldn’t weigh more than 130 pounds soaking wet.”

“Not of him, I just get nervous in general.  It’s like taking a quiz.  I worry about giving the wrong answer.”

“It’s not like they’re hard questions.  And they ask the same ones every time.”

I guess I better practice up, seeing as how I’ll be driving through these checkpoints often in the next year or so.