Sunday, December 31, 2006

Ideal Shopper

After being extremely disciplined all during Christmas season, today I became the retailer's ultimate customer. I was at the pet store buying the boyz food when a cat tree caught my eye. Minutes later I was loading it into my car. It cost just about as much as all the other presents I bought this year. I guess I felt a little guilty that I hadn't bought my roomies anything for Xmas.

The tree was a hit. It has two legs that serve as scratching posts. In between the posts are wooden sticks that hold balls for the boyz to swat at. On top is a big flat top that all three took turns sleeping in. Thompson in particular seems very pleased with the new piece of furniture.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ya Bums

I think we (Thompson, Diego-san and myself) tend to bore Theo. While the three of us are busy doing nothing other than lazily lying around Theo is usually wandering the house exploring things that have been here forever. Occassionally he'll squeal out his tiny mew and this lets us know he's about to get into something he really shouldn't (like knocking a book off the shelf or hopping on top of an empty box that will lead to an unexpected stumble). He's quite the active fellow.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The New Guy

Started the new job. I was walked around the office and introduced to my colleagues. A lot of people were out for the day since it is that holiday time of the year. My manager also went through all my job tasks and the stuff she wants done in the near future. It was all a little daunting and it looks like I'll be in for a bit of a challenge. It's energizing and a tad scary at the same time...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Perfect Petzzz

As a going away/congratulations on the new job gift, a colleague gave me the perfect pet a balled up sleeping kitty that breathes and purrs.

I had the kitty on my desk at work for a while and everyone that would pass by my office would look in startled probably thinking I'm just nuts enough to actually bring in a cat to work.

As I packed up my stuff and brought it home, I put the cat upstairs on top of my CD player so the boyz wouldn't try and rip it to pieces (darn cat all he does is sleep! Unlike us who only sleep 21 hours a day!) I didn't think anything of this until about 3 a.m. the next morning when I woke up and heard this purring. It struck me as odd that one of the boyz was that content just sleeping away in our normal routine. It sounded like Theo- so I looked down at his normal sleeping spot- right by my feet. He was sound asleep not making a peep.

I then checked Diego who was asleep by my side. Again he was content but not purring. I checked the pet bed by my bed and Thompson was also sound asleep. It then occurred to me that the purring was coming from the mechanical cat on top of my CD player. Without all the noise from the workplace the purring actually was quite loud. The boyz were probably amazed at how content their new (temporary) roommate was.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

My Vacation

Taking today and tomorrow off between switch in jobs. I start at the new place on Friday and then...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Playful Evening

My dad bought the boyz some Christmas toys(z). I made a big production out of opening the wrapped present (although unlike previous years I didn't bother setting up the fiber optic Christmas tree I have). This got the boyz pretty riled up. And of course each was more interested in the wrapping paper and boxes than the actual gifts themselves.

Among the toys were a bubble gun- that blows catnip laced bubbles . This got Diego and Theo's attention although neither was brave enough to get close enough to the bubbles until after they landed on the floor and popped. Thompson stood far away during the process.

More successful was a remote control mouse whose eyes light up as it twirls around the floor. Theo in particular was fascinated by this- he let the mouse run inbetween his legs and occasionally would try to swat at it but usually after it had passed by seconds before. Due to his lack of timing ability I don't think Theo will be too successful catching a real mouse if the opportunity ever presents itself. Still when I finally shut the mouse down and put it on the living room coffee table Theo immediately went over to it to check it out- so it certainly got his attention.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Crochety Kitty

Thompson is getting grumpier and grumpier as he ages. Most of this is due seemingly to Theo's presence. Often times Theo will be mindlessly walking by Thompson only to get stopped in his tracks with a menacing hissing and growl. Sometimes when Thompson is lying around somewhere Theo will try and hop up and join him only to be scowled away. I don't think it's a case of Thompson not liking Theo. I think it's more of a case of Theo's poor spacial abilities and Thompson not appreciating getting stepped on.

This dynamic is somewhat amusing at dinner time. Thompson will stand in front of his dish meowing away. Diego will stand right next to him obviously anxious for the food to arrive. Theo will wander between them and to me, rubbing up against my leg and trying to rub up against Thompson and Diego. This will cause Thompson to hop up on his back legs to avoid contact. It reminds me of a game of tag with Thompson trying his hardest not to become "it."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Theo's Paranoia

After almost two years of living with us I don't think Theo feels totally integrated into the house. A good example of this is bedtime. I usually watch some TV before trying to fall asleep. Diego and Thompson take this as an opportunity to climb in bed with me taking turns in getting their faces scratched and snuggling with me. All the while this is going on Theo stays down the hall by the stairs.

Once I turn the TV off he'll come over and hop up underneath the covers with me. It kinda makes me feel bad because TV time is a nice bonding moment at the end of the day.

Maybe it's just a matter of Theo not liking TV.

Friday, December 22, 2006

El Bingo

It semi-snowed (semi rained) this evening so the ground is all white and there is a chance that we will have a white Christmas this year. The lack of snow this year has been surprising (if not a blessing for those of us who don't ski, don't own a snowmobile, and generally don't like slipping around all winter). I remember when I was a kid every year there used to be snow banks up to my head outside. Now it seems as if we only get a couple of decent storms every year.

I do have the nostalgia thing for white Christmas's though. It just doesn't feel anything like Christmas time right now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wrong Culprit

For the past week I've yelled at Diego-san every time he goes and tries to finish off Theo's dinner. Well it turns out I may be blaming the wrong fellow.

Last night I snuck back in the kitchen after serving the boyz their dinner. I saw Thompson eating Diego's food, and Diego inching over to try and get Theo's portion. Theo was starting to back up. So this may have been the scenario all along. Diego was merely trying to get more food because Thompson was taking his?

Thus continues the Diego gets blamed for everything discipline approach in the house...

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

His World is a Playground

I haven't had much time to play with Theo recently.

He and Diego usually have a cardiovascular workout chase at some point during the evening up and down stairs, tearing around so they look like big flashes of fur going by. Thompson and Theo usually have a rigorous wrestling match every evening as well.

Still Theo looks to me to play, whether it's jumping up in the air as I pass by, or racing me down the stairs. He seems disappointed when I don't really recriprocate- don't take the play to the next level. I just don't have the energy these days. Still I must admit watching all his energy always amuses me. He does everything full speed and often he looks behind to see if we're all watching.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Xmas Shopping

I essentially finished up my Christmas shopping/duties yesterday although I haven't bought the boyz anything (I suspect Thompson may be Jewish).

I'm not too fond of shopping during the quieter times of the year so the hustle and bustle of holiday crowds tends to raise my blood pressure by measurable amounts. Every year for the past few years I've told myself I would buy everything online but I haven't gotten organized (or perhaps motivated) enough to do that. So every year I tend to devote one day to get all my shopping done. And this year that was yesterday. I think it maybe time for somebody to get a holiday spirit transplant...

Monday, December 18, 2006

Wishy Washy

That job I turned down a few months back? After thinking about it, I've decided to take it after all. I was really flattered how much the city wanted me- and since they hadn't done anything to fill the position after I turned it down...

I start December 29. I'm taking a trip to Washington DC the following week so I won't be starting in earnest until January 8.

I really excited about the opportunity. I'm always looking for chances to learn new things (much like Diego-san) so the next few months should be energizing (if not a little scary).

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Napping Habits

My favorite part of the week has become Sunday afternoons. I'll turn on the Vikings game- not that I'm a big football fan (although I've seen most of their games for the past 30 years) and end up taking a nap with both Thompson and Theo on my chest. Diego naps on the top of the sofa above us. It's nice spending time with the boyz even if all of us are asleep. Theo and Thompson are great nappers- they can lie there for hours upon hours. Diego on the other hand likes to move around so he'll nap in one spot for awhile and then he'll find another spot etc. He seldom takes a long nap on my chest or by my side.

Often Thompson and Theo will have a fight but moments later they'll both lie contently on my chest peaceful as can be, sound asleep.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Drip Dropped

Hopefully my kitchen sink plumbing woes are all behind me. I ended up calling a plumber out. Good thing too because not only did he install a new faucet, but he ended up replacing some of the piping leading to the sink.

He was a nice fellow who recently left a major company to start out on his own. He showed me the pricing pages from the company he left and had I called them I would have ended up paying twice as much. So I was glad I called him (my sister had recommended him to me). Not only does my faucet no longer leak, but the new faucet looks about fifty times better.

During his visit I put the boyz in the bedroom and closed the door. A couple of years ago when I had problems with my furnace and had a repair person out, Diego was right there watching everything the guy was doing (as if Diego had some insight into how to repair a furnace properly). So I thought I'd give the plumber some privacy. Theo spent the entire time mewing and when I finally opened the door he had hidden underneath the futon. He must have figured something really bad was happening.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Plumbing Update

I was able to find a washer the size of the one I lost for my kitchen faucet. I was even able to get it installed. Unfortunately it didn't slow the flow of water trickling non stop from the faucet.

Plan B was to buy a whole new faucet and try to install that to see if that would take care of the problem. I ran up to Home Depot and looked for the cheapest set I could find. I found one for $10.00. I looked at the directions and it didn't look too complicated. Now I have a weekend project. Or I may just call a plumber. This turning off the water to the whole house stuff gets old real quick- plus the boyz aren't happy when I won't turn on the bathroom faucets for them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Leave My Food Alone (Update)

When I got home last night and fed the boyz I checked in to see if Diego would again try and eat Theo's portion. Sure enough he backed Theo away from the dish and began eating a second dinner.

Theo just backed up and looked at me for guidance. I picked Diego up and let Theo finish the food.

I suspect this behavior may have started because I recently changed the type of food I'm feeding the boyz. I'm guessing Diego likes this food better and now wants to eat as much as he possibly can. (He's my most finicky eater). Poor Theo.

How I Became a Plumber

The boyz and I had an exciting evening.

My kitchen faucet has been dripping nonstop for the past week or so, so I decided I would try and stop the leak. I got out my tools and removed the handle of the faucet. I thought I would just need to replace a washer, so I looked at all the pieces to find the faulty rubber piece.

The washer looked fine and further I looked at all the replacement washers I had and none of them were the same size. So I began reassembling the faucet. When I was done I noticed a spring lying in the sink. So I took everything apart again and tried to find where the spring was supposed to go. That's when I dropped the washer down the drain. Oops.

I got everything (sans washer) assembled only now the drip had turned into a healthy trickle. I had shut off the water to the kitchen sink so that I had any water coming up at all surprised me. I decided to go downstairs and shutoff all the water in the house. I did so and went back upstairs to the kitchen where I discovered the water still flowing from the faucet.

This water however was getting hot, so I went back downstairs and thought that maybe the source of this water was the water in the water heater reservoir. I shut the water heater off (bad move). After about twenty minutes I checked the kitchen faucet and it was still flowing water. So I decided I needed to find a washer and hoped that would take care of what was becoming a bigger issue.

I ran up to Target (about five minutes from my house), searched the home improvement section, but didn't see any washers. I called for help and the nice young woman who came over called someone else and it was determined they don't carry washers. So I drove on over to Home Depot (about 15 minutes from my house). I got there around 9:07, looked at their sign and found out they closed at 9:00.

So I drove on home not knowing what I was going to do. All this activity of course had the boyz wound up. Theo was pestering Thompson causing quite the demonstrative hissy fit. Diego was downstairs looking at all the valves I had played with. I turned on the bathroom sink and discovered I had no hot water (despite the fact the water flowing from the kitchen faucet was now very hot).

So I went back downstairs to the water heater and saw that the pilot light wasn't lit. Oops. I read the instructions on how to re-light the pilot light (all the while figuring I was about to blow up my house). I actually got it re-lit.

I decided my next step was to go to bed and deal with the water issue by buying a washer and praying that takes care of the problem. When Diego climbed into bed with me this morning I noticed his back legs were wet. I'm sure he checked out the flowing water in the kitchen sink.

I hope someone reminds me to have a backup plan next time I decide to tackle a home improvement project. All they'll have to do is remind me of this night.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I Spoke Too Soon

Recently I was marveling to a friend how proud I was that the boyz don't fight over their food. I put out three dishes and the boyz quietly eat their share and then move on.

Well last night I left the kitchen after leaving out their dinner. When I returned a few minutes later I saw Diego standing over Theo's dish with Theo politely standing behind him watching Diego eat his dinner.

I scolded Diego. This morning the same thing happened. I don't know if I'm proud of Theo for being so passive and not fighting or if I need to teach him not to let Diego bully him around.

We'll see how this all proceeds.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tape Virgin

I'm making due this winter with a makeshift cover for my central air conditioner unit in my backyard. The cover my dad bought for me last year is disintegrating so all that remains are the sides leaving the top of the unit exposed.

The tarp I used to use to cover it with isn't in much better shape. In fact I tried throwing it out a month ago but it stuck in my garbage can so when the haulers came to empty my bin, it remained behind. I then decided to use this ripped up tarp to cover the top of the air conditioner.

The problem with this makeshift arrangement is the strap I use to keep the cover/tarp in place doesn't hold both pieces very well so when it gets windy out, I come home to find the tarp blown across my yard.

My solution to all this? Buy a new cover? Get out. I decided I would buy some duct tape and tape it all together and maybe even tape it to the unit. I've never bought duct tape in my life so yesterday when I stopped at the hardware store I didn't know what choices I would have.

I saw that the main differences in my choices seemed to be color and amount. As I'm wont to do, I decided to buy the cheapest roll that they had. I got home and looked at my purchase and noticed I had bought "duck" tape. Is there a difference? I do not know. Given all the choices and all the issues day to day life throws at you, I sometimes feel like Theo looks- deer in the headlights dazzled by all the surprises that need to be dealt with.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Things Have Changed

One of the past issues in my family is that before I started school my mom used to let me stay up later than my siblings and watch Mission Impossible.

Now the first season of that series has come out on DVD and I immediately bought a copy. Mom used to think it cute how I butchered the name of Barbara Bain's character (Cinnamon) Cimmanon...

It's kind of odd watching the show and thinking about my Mom while the boyz lie snuggly nearby. A lot of things have changed in 40 years (of course) but I can't help but feel Mom's presence when I'm watching the IMF crew trick another bad guy. Mom would have been excited to see Mission Impossible again. She also would have liked the boyz and they would have liked her as well.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Enough is Enough

I long ago gave up the fight against cat hair in my house. When the late great Mr. Max lived with me, I discovered it was just about impossible to stay ahead of his shedding. Now with three feline roommates, the struggle is impossible. Cat hair clings to my comforters and clothes. It lurks in every corner of the house. I'll vacuum a rug and in 20 seconds cat hair will appear as if by magic.

Yesterday I got a rare cleaning bug and decided it was a day to at the very least put an effort into making my house cat hair free. I vacuumed all my rugs, swiffed my hard wood floors and even cleaned out the bathrooms. All this activity of course was very traumatic for Thompson in particular. He's scared silly by the vacuum cleaner and further gets upset by anything particularly unpredictable that I do.

It took well into the evening after all the cleaning was done for him to stop having a world is coming to an end look in his sad eyes...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Sad Tale

Theo's foster mom, D, emailed a group of people (including me) looking for a home for two cats, Mr. Amory and Lynx, whose owner recently passed away. It was the owner's wish that the two find a home together.

A story like that always gets to me and I immediately want to help out. Unfortunately I think the feline population in my house is at its maximum number.

The email did get me thinking what would happen to my boyz if something should happen to me. Let it be known here and now that I really would hope that at the least Thompson and Diego would find a home together and if that couldn't also include Theo, that he would find another home with multiple cats. Also that their new owners would find a way to keep up traditions like Sunday morning treat time and turning on faucets after every meal- which reminds me I left my bathroom faucet (on a slow trickle) this morning before I left the house...

Good luck Mr. Amory and Lynx...

Friday, December 08, 2006

It's That Time of the Year... Again

Every year I live in denial that it's the holiday season and there are things that need to get done- i.e. shopping. I usually try not to think about any of that until the very last moment which only makes the process that much more stressful.

Yesterday I finally made, and ordered the photo card that I've been sending out the past few years- featuring the boyz. Last year my friend A- got a great shot of the three boyz playing together (well more like Theo playing and Thompson and Diego-san watching him play). This year I settled for a more simple three different photos combined into one approach.

I always find it hardest to choose a good photo of Diego. Theo and Thompson seem to be really photogenic (especially Thompson)- so it's fairly easy for a hack photographer like myself to capture an essence of who they are in a photograph. I'm not so lucky with Diego. Usually my photos of him tend to end up looking like a great big black blob with bright red eyes.

I ordered the customized card online- so I won't know exactly how the final product will turn out until I receive it.

One thing to check off my holiday to do list...

Thursday, December 07, 2006


It's been pretty cold around here- near zero temperature with a strong wind from the north making the wind chill downright chilly.

My house doesn't have a lot of drafts but given I don't turn the heat up very much it's anything but cozy inside. Still the boyz seem content with the change of seasons. Even Theo has taken to looking out the windows (something he doesn't do that often) and watching all the stuff blowing around (and hopefully thinking he's thankful to be safe and snug).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Last night I was settling into bed when Theo chased Diego downstairs. Thompson dutifully hopped after them. A few minutes later I heard a semi-loud "CRASH." I was too tired to go investigate the matter.

Thompson eventually came back upstairs with a "you should see what they are up to" look in his eyes (not that he's a narc or anything like it). It was more of a "same old same old" wearniess look he gave to me.

When I went downstairs this morning I looked around to see what caused the noise. I couldn't find anything noticeable out of place. I'm sure I'll eventually discover what it was.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Diego-san and I had a rough time last night. There is essentially one place in the house that is off limits to the boyz: behind the TV set in the living room. That's because there are a bunch of electrical wires there- from the TV, VCR, DVD player, and stereo. I don't want the boyz to get tangled up in the wires or worse yet electrocuted.

Diego knows this space is off limits because if he goes near there I chase him off. Last night he looked at me, went over to a spot near the TV, looked at me again and when I wasn't looking tried to go behind there. I immediately yelled at him in my loudest voice. This got his attention and he scampered away. A few minutes later I got up and saw he was sitting on the stairs. He looked at me sheepishly and when I made a move in his direction he ran away apparently thinking he was in big trouble.

I wasn't angry with him- I just wanted to let him know that the space is off limits and he shouldn't try and test me (like he does every now and again).

I later made it a point to hold him in my lap and lecture him- half wanting to comfort him and let him know I wasn't a madman- half giving him the reason he shouldn't go behind the TV- "it's dangerous and I don't want you getting hurt..." I know reasoning with a cat seems farfetched but Diego is awfully smart after all...

Monday, December 04, 2006

I Don't Need No Doctor

Theo spent all last night sleeping underneath the covers with me. This was nice as I am still suffering from the chills. His body heat felt nice.

The boyz (and cats in general) seem to have this wonderful intuition to know when something isn't right- that it's part of their household duty to comfort when someone isn't feeling right.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Health Update

Not feeling much better. Took a long nap with Thompson during the Vikings' loss. got up and tried to eat something- soup but I really didn't have much of an appetite.

We had a curling match later afternoon. We won (again). Feeling a tad better when I got home but didn't feel like eating anything so I went right to bed. Thompson seemed a bit worried about the change in routine...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Not So Quiet Saturday Afternoon

I came home from work Saturday afternoon feeling a bit under the weather. My stomach wasn't right and I had the chills. So I plopped myself down on the living room couch, under the comforter and tried to take a brief nap.

The boyz would have none of it. Diego got it in his mind that he had to rip apart the cardboard cat scratcher that essentially has three parts: the triangular base, the inner cardboard platform that holds the scratcher, and the cardboard scratcher itself. There are two holes on the side of the base that give access to a toy mouse that temptingly dangles inside.

Diego separated the three pieces. This caused the other boyz to go over and look at his work. Theo went after the now exposed mouse. Thompson, my cardboard chewer, went to work at rippng apart the inner cardboard platform pieces. This activity seemed to work them all up and they all took turns hopping up on me and not allowing me to take a nap. Argg.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Diego-san seems to be fine. I stopped home yesterday morning on my way to a meeting and I was a bit worried when he didn't greet me at the door. But before long he came down from upstairs and seemed like his usual self.

When I got home after work he was just fine. Ate his meal, and then got chased and chased Theo all around the house. Their chases usually end up with Diego hopping up somewhere higher than Theo is willing to try and climb- the kitchen table, my computer table, the top of the TV- and his favorite spot- on top of my baby grand piano in the living room.

It's amusing when Diego gets it in him that he's going to pounce on either Thompson or Theo and he's on top of the piano- his big tail will start wagging and he'll crouch low in the pouncing position- and then he'll get closer to his prey by stepping on the piano keyboard. This of course creates plenty of noise to alert anyone in the house that something is about to happen. Thompson will usually take the cue and scamper away. Theo on the other hand seems oblivious and will eventually allow Diego to jump down at him. This is what happened last night and the chase was on.