Day three. And this one hurts a little.

One of the great double-edged swords of our modern mobile-technology age is that everyone–and I mean damned near everyone–almost always has a camera with them. And more likely than not, that camera has internet access. This means that those people can post cute pictures of their kids, animals, or landscapes; or they can mock misspelled signs or bad wordings in menus; or, unfortunately, they can post self-portraits. A lot.

Lucky for you, I’m not a fan of selfies.

CaptureBut I do find a simple kind of joy in looking at stupid pictures of all kinds of stuff online. And there are enough that make me laugh that it makes the stupid ones go right by. So I admit to you, here and now, that I am a frequent viewer of content from the Cheezburger sites–a complete collection of internet memes ranging from animal pictures to bad clothing choices to bad repairs to celebrity photos.

And yes, there are times I wish I could say that a picture or two were my idea. But they never are. It’s a blow to my creative ego.

When you’re needing cute pictures of animals, just hit the Daily Squee. If you want to see a bunch of useless and funny information and truisms placed into graph form, hit Graph Jam. Whichever of the channels you check out in your daily sprint across the internet, something there is bound to catch your eye and make you ask just where humanity is going.

Just don’t expect any kind of satisfactory answer. Because it’s just too damned scary.

See you tomorrow.

Those among you who have read last week’s entries will recall that we had taken Etta and Gus in for their declawing.


Of course, I do know that there are those of you who also drop in here once ever week or so and read backwards…So skip back a week and read forward for once.


Anyway, to the cats.


I dropped them off shortly after 7 a.m. on Wednesday. They had their surgery that day–not finishing with Gus until sometime around 2, and I know this because I called like a worried father. They spent the night–together, at least, thanks to the techs at the vet–kenneled at the vet, and then most of Thursday so that they could be observed for a bit and wait for us to get off of work to pick them up.


When the tech briefed us on what we needed to know about our freshly dulled kittens, she asked (only half-seriously, I think) if they could keep them because they are just so damned cute. We respectfully disagreed, especially since we’d already paid the bill for two declawings and the overnight stay and the pain killers they’d be taking for the next couple of days. Since we got them, we’ve sunk somewhere between “gasp!” and “holy moly!” on them. Nearly as bad as kids. Except that they’re cuter.


So we took them home.


Once they settled down, they both seemed happy to be home and with their people again. And over the last few days that they’ve been home, they’ve been settling in to their new (front) clawless existence, and gradually feeling less discomfort each day.


And my legs and arms appreciate very much the lack of front claws.


See you tomorrow.

Assuming you read this the day after I write it (which is what most of you do), by the time you read this, Etta and Gus will be at the vet to be declawed.


Oh, there are probably some of you bemoaning the fact that we’re taking away one of the cats’ natural defenses, all in the name of saving the furniture, area rugs, clothing, and our skin. Heck, even Patrick said that he has qualms about doing it. But I moved to quash those right away.


I have had cats almost all of my life. They have all been declawed, and within a few days of having it done, have shown no inclination to want them back, let alone needing them. Etta and Gus, like all of the cats who have come before them in my life, will live their lives comfortable ensconced in our home, in a nice warm house, with food and water provided, and absolutely no need for them to hunt, gather, or even worry about future survival out in the wild. In short, their lifestyle negates the need for the front claws. And it will be nice to have them out.


They’re both aggressive scratchers, and do the kneading thing without a thought. So having the claws out in order to avoid damage to things and people will be a relief.


We’ll get them back home Thursday after work. They’ll be happy to see us, sure, and probably a little irritated. But soon after, they’ll both be just fine and will never remember having claws.


I’ll keep you updated.


See you tomorrow.


4228286033_78e0f4bafd_zWe said our final goodbyes to Pippin this fall. She’d been a great cat and a great companion for just about 21-and-a-half years. She’d seen the arrival of two other cats, a dog, a couple of hamsters, some fish, a wife and three kids, and outlived most of them.


She was as much a large-as-life personality as every other female in my life, and I mean that in a very good way to all of them–I’m nothing if not to be put in my place by the women I love.


And I’m very glad to have had her for so long, and glad that she could just quietly slip away.


In October, we got new cats, and for those who’ve had pets, you know it’s never so much as replacing them as getting a different model.


But we went with two. The brother-sister team of Etta and Gus.


So let me give some background…Some time ago, the discussion of someday getting new cats was raised. But with the elderly Pippin hanging around, that wasn’t really a viable option: she was happy being the sole feline in the household, and wouldn’t have taken well to fresh blood. But the family discussed the thought, knew it would be something we’d all want, since cats have always been around as long as the kids have been alive and as long as Jenni and I have been together. Eventually, I’d decided that I’d like a pair of cats, and preferably a brother-sister combo so that they could be close friends for life. And then, in an extended moment of brilliant collaboration, we all came up with their full names: Dr. Henrietta (or Heinrich, if male) von Flufflebutt, with the other named And Guest (yes, include the And, otherwise the joke doesn’t work).


When we found them in our first trip to the Humane Society–heck, within 15 minutes of arriving, Etta had me wrapped around her finger–it became clear that we’d be coming home soon with a pair of cute little tuxedoed kittens.


Here’s the problem: you forget after 21 years just what having a kitten means. Pippin took care of Felix when we got him back in ’96, so we really had very little training to do. This is so much harder…They’re both such kittens, and they love getting into everything they shouldn’t.


This year, we’re thankful that we didn’t buy a new artificial tree, because Etta and Gus have been climbing and sitting in the tree, bending branches down almost all the way to the top. Hopefully next year will be better.


More to come tomorrow.

You stand warned now: it’s difficult to write this.


You see, Etta hopped up on my lap about 10 minutes ago as I was seated in front of the computer pondering this evenings missive, and has not shown any inclination to get out of my way. In fact, a short time ago, she ended up crawling up to sit on my arm, casually kneading it, licking my wrist and motoring with her distinctive, very loud purr.


And since I can’t really type easily with one hand, and have no desire to be here forever typing the whole post with just one hand, I ended up leaning back in my chair, letting her climb up on my chest, and lay down.


And so, as I write this very paragraph, she’s engaging in her evening bath, choosing this very moment to lick her butt on my chest between me and my keyboard.


I love kittens.


Actually, Pippin was similar, except for slightly different reasons, I think. Besides being extraordinarily attached to me (unlike Etta, who is somewhat attached to me, but also has four other people she can go to for attention), Pippin discovered that in the winter time, sitting on my lap when I was at my desk at home captured the full force of the furnace register positioned under my desk. So, if I was writing one of my many Constitutional Law papers, she’d enjoy a nice, warm lap.


And now, as if to break the mood, I need to wrap this up. Etta just farted and I need to clear the room for a bit.


See you tomorrow.

Oh trust me. I know. I know that really, the entire reason for you visiting the site these days is to see Dr. Henrietta von Flufflebutt and And Guest–Etta and Gus–and find out what their latest hijinks have been.


And I could very well indulge you. I could. And I will, at some point.


Sorry for being away for a while. I’ve been fighting the cold that currently seems to have its grip on everyone. It’s settled in my head, causing the morning stuffiness, headache and sore throat. And after about an hour of getting going and rinsing out the sinuses and a hot, steamy shower, things finally get to the point where I’m feeling human again. But it’s an exhausting cold for some reason, and I’ve been eager to curl up in bed since Thursday night. But Friday, I decided to just stay home and rest.


Saturday afternoon, Jenni, Patrick and I went to the Gopher game–outside, in 30-ish degree weather (I know, I know…). (See the picture on the Tumblr site as linked at the right). Jenni hasn’t been to the new Gopher football stadium yet, and even though she isn’t a fan of football at all, she seemed to have a great time. And honestly, I think Patrick had a better time, too. I get involved in the game. He watches the band and Goldy…Always has, probably always will. Then he checks back into the game enough to ask me what just happened. It’s okay. It’s just who he is.


Yesterday, I fulfilled a hunger–Sunday evenings being my ambitious dinner evening–and I threw together the full turkey dinner. Sure, we had a friend over so she could meet the cats, but honestly, I would have made turkey anyway because I was just hungry for it.


So back to the cats. We’ve gradually been opening up the house for them to roam and get comfortable in. By Sunday afternoon, we’d opened up the basement and even moved the food and litter box to their permanent locations. After some issues navigating the stairs (seemed to be the first time for that apparatus for them), they seemed to enjoy having so much room. So in the space of just over a week, they went from living in a 3×3 foot cage to having two stories of a house at their disposal. Plus comfy spots to fall asleep, five people anxious to show them attention, toys, a constant stream of food and water, and the new-found bonus: a kitchen.


Both cats have discovered that the kitchen is the Source of All Food. So for quite a bit of yesterday afternoon and this morning preparing breakfast and lunch, I had two kittens circling underfoot. It’s a good and bad thing at the same time: I’ve missed that in the few weeks that Pippin’s been gone, so I’m happy to have that normal back in my life, but I’m forced to admit that it’s a bit of an annoyance to have. Especially where the turkey was concerned. Both have had some of the beast, and they’ve got a craving for it now.


In the meantime, I took them into the vet on Saturday morning for the free checkup you get if you adopt a cat from the Humane Society. Of course, as with all free things, free doesn’t translate into free when you end up leaving having paid about $100 per cat for booster shots, first shots, and a blood test. Ah well. Cost of the pet. Wash, rinse and repeat in a month…This time bringing fresh stool sample with me to make sure they’re dewormed…Fun!


They have been pretty nocturnal–as cats tend to be–since we’ve had them home. For the last few mornings, I’ve heard them chasing each other around and playing anytime from about 3 a.m. through to about 4:30 or 5. This past morning, however, was different, as they discovered the joy that is sleeping in a bed with two warm people.


At one point, I rolled over and came face-to-face with a furball with a very loud motor. Yes, there seems to be much happiness in the kitty kingdom around here.


So there you go. More on the kittens. Check the pictures over on the Tumblr page, and I’m sure you’ll hear more about them here.


See you tomorrow.

Oh hell. I don’t know why I’m even going to bother not trying to write about the cats for a while. It’s been so long since any of us have had kittens that it’s fun to relive this phase again.


We’ve gradually been introducing Etta and Gus to new parts of the house each evening: they arrived in Jenni’s den, were released into the living room last night, and tonight were given the run of most of the first floor. They’ve been pleasantly compliant so far, in spite of their curiosity, only getting into small amounts of trouble over the last couple of nights.


So tonight, while I was making dinner, I sat down in one of the living room chairs, and was quickly greeted by this:

And yes, it was noisy with all of the motoring. Though this was after Etta licked all of my fingers very thoroughly. I’d write it off as her being interested in the smells of dinner making, but I think it’s mainly her way of expressing her love, because she’s done it to Jenni too.


We’re seeing more of their personality. Etta is definitely the aggressive, forceful one. She will clearly be the one who will expect to get what she wants through the course of her life. Gus is settling into what I think he’s decided is going to be a pretty nice life. He enjoys playing, sleeping, and he too has developed a very loud purr which was very surprising. They’re both starting to vocalize a bit, with Etta sounding more like trills and high pitched squeaks than meows, but we’ll see how that changes with age.


My father will be pleased to know that both cats have taken to playing with wadded up balls of paper, and Gus in particular will carry them around in his mouth and sit and chew on them and then play with them more as he feels the need. Before that, he was carrying around a jingle ball in his mouth. He now prefers the paper wads.


You forget, though, once you’ve had an adult cat for so long, just how easy it is for kittens to jump and climb, and just how fearless they are about most things. Etta climbed up three-quarters of the way up the gates I’d put up at the top of the stairs to the basement before I caught her and got her down. She tried once more before I squirted her with the water bottle, and she hasn’t tried since.


They both get quite a second wind around 9:30 every evening, chasing each other and rough housing for quite a while. Though Etta has this odd affectation when they fight: she will run at Gus kind of sideways with her back arched and her tail fluffed up a little bit. I know what she’s trying to do, but she just isn’t quite there yet, and frankly, it’s just funny to watch.


So there you go: the latest news from the cat front.


See you tomorrow.

For the whole two of you out there in the world who haven’t been told, texted, e-mailed, or seen it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or our Tumblr account, we are new parents.

Yeah, okay. So this really only shows the male cat and not much of his sister. But you can see more of them if you hit the link at the bottom of the three pictures on the right. But I’ll offer up the complete story here.


So it’s been pretty quiet and a little lonely around here without Pippin. It’s the first time since I was three that I haven’t had a cat in my life. We’d decided a while back that we’d like to have more cats, but just needed to wait for the right time.


Friday night, we headed out to the same Humane Society location where I’d bought Pippin 21-plus years ago.


I only had a couple of wants in getting new cats: a sibling pair, preferably boy-girl; and they need to have some personality. When we got there, there were only two sets of kittens, and one of them had two of the three already on hold. So I looked at the other set.


Our new additions were two of a six cat litter, and only three of the litter were still available. They’d just had their sterilization surgery Friday, so they couldn’t be handled, but I still stuck my finger in the cage to see what they were like.


And one of them rubbed up against my index finger and immediately started purring. Loudly. I was done. And I don’t think we had been there for 10 minutes yet. So all that was actually left was choosing which sibling. We put them on hold since they couldn’t be adopted until the next day.


Normally, most families would then need some time to come up with a name for their new pets. Not us. We’d had the names picked out for a few months. So formally, for all of you out there who haven’t heard yet, we present our new cats: Dr. Henrietta von Flufflebutt (Etta for short), and her companion And Guest (yes, And is part of the name, and his is Gus for short). All of us contributed something to the naming.


Etta is a forceful, friendly girl who has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard. And Gus was initially pretty skittish, but late today, he’s really come out of his shell and even started purring loudly when I had him on my lap for a while.


But one of the highlights so far has been having the announcement made at the Humane Society that they were going home to their forever homes. And yes, they used their new names. Their new full names.


So stay tuned. More kitten hijinks and stories to come, I’m sure.


See you tomorrow.

Yes, my cat is sleeping with the top of her head down…


Since today’s as good a day as any, Happy Birthday, Pippin. Here’s how she chose to spend some of it:


Trust me, she’s happy.


Garden work is underway. Lots done, lots more to go.


See you tomorrow.

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