The Cats Play on Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In furtherance of yesterday's post about Charlie and the rest of the cats, I give you the following:



Girl Cat worrying her corner (and worrying me!):

Girl Cat


It's a Cat, Cat, Cat, Cat World

>> Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Today Darling Husband and I woke to a surprise.  Our long lost cat, Charlie, has returned from the dead. 

Go ahead, giggle. 

Charlie was Princess's brother, and we adopted them as semi-feral outdoor cats many years ago.  Almost exactly four years ago, Charlie didn't come for breakfast, or dinner, or breakfast, which was very unusual for him.  Sure, he was an outdoor cat, so he wandered, but he always returned, and never stayed away for more than 2 days.  After all, Charlie was a pretty smart cat, and he knew better than to waste a free meal. So when he didn't show up for three days, we had begun to fear the worst.  There was a rash of coyote attacks in our area, and we were worried that poor Charlie had met his end at the hands of a coyote predator.  Now, Charlie was one big cat, so that had to have been one mean coyote, but no matter what happened, Charlie was gone. Even the birds seemed to think so.  When Charlie was alive, those birds stayed up in the trees and only landed in the neighboring land.  Our yard belonged to Charlie, and they knew it.

Now, you might be thinking about feeling sorry for those birds, but I wouldn't bother.  You see, the birds brought their own ostracization on themselves.  They, led by the blue jays, had the funny idea that they should try to gang up on Charlie and repeatedly dive bomb him.  Why?  I have no idea.  I think probably because he liked to lay on the food table so they couldn't have any.  I watched one foolish bird trying this trick one sunny afternoon.  He dove at Charlie, then retreated like a pendulum, then he dove again and retreated again, and then dove again, and retreated again ... you get the idea.  Charlie just watched, and watched, and finally, a picture of utter calmness, Charlie reached his paw up on the next bird dive bomb, and "BOOM," that was the end of the bird.

Shortly after Charlie disappeared, the birds began landing in the yard in huge flocks on their migration south for the winter.  If we needed any more evidence that Charlie was nowhere, we had it now.  Some days it felt the birds got more of the catfood than the remaining cat did.

Yet, last night, Charlie appeared at the table sneaking food, and making Darling Husband feel like he was seeing a ghost.  Even more miraculously, someone had shaved most of his fur.  I am puzzled where he was and why he couldn't come back because, like I said, Charlie was king of the back yard and not one to pass up a good meal.  I am most puzzled, though, about how anyone managed to actually shave him.  That cat wouldn't let anyone touch him unless sedatives were involved, so whoever tried it might have a great deal of scarring to identify them in the future.

So very strange.  Charlie, for all that he was a "no touch" kind of cat, was very devoted to us and seemed to care about us very much.  He and his littermate, Princess, were very attached.  Occasionally they would ask to come inside to sit near the door and watch TV.  Charlie used to love to sit on the back stoop and peer in to see the football game, and if DH didn't come outside to play with him when Charlie wanted, Charlie would deliberately walk up to the back door and turn his back on DH inside, repeatedly until DH got the message and brought the toys outside for Charlie.

And yet, someone shaved this cat.  I can't quite get over this.

I suppose I will shed more on this story as it unfolds, but as for now, we have to be satisfied with an 8 or 9 year old cat returning from the dead after a 4 year absence.  I think that should do, don't you?

On "inside cat news," Girl Cat tells me that there is another mouse or something in the house.  I don't believe her, but she is persisting in telling me there is something worrisome in the corner of the dining room.  There is no hole in the wall large enough to see in that corner, so I don't understand what her issue is, but we all remember what happened the last time Girl Cat worried about a corner.  I am afraid ... very, very afraid.

And then there is Houdini.  He ... um ... okay, there is no way to talk about all that is going on with Houdini without grossing you out.  Moving on.

Big Black Cat may be due for a name change soon too, if things go along the way they have been.  Poor Big Black Cat has never had a very thick coat of fur anyway, but now he seems to be losing his thin layer across his belly.  Darling Husband suspects that Big Black Cat is evidencing male pattern cat-baldness to keep Darling Husband company as he gradually kisses his own hair goodbye.  I guess we'll have to see.  In the meantime, Big Black Cat has been exceptionally needy and permanently attached to my lap every time I sit down.  It's been a great excuse to keep sitting down because, I tell you, that cat is heavy.

Unfortunately, all of this "cat" stuff has been interfering with me doing anything important, like actually writing a funny blog instead of a random set of paragraphs about what the cats have done today.

Oh well.  Better luck tomorrow.


The Official Name Changing Ceremony

>> Monday, October 18, 2010

I don't know if any of you have noticed that from time to time in this blog, I have referred to my son "Toddler" by the nickname "Bubba."  If you did notice, perhaps you also noticed that the name, "Bubba" has been sneaking in a bit more often recently.

See, the problem is that "Toddler" is outgrowing his name.  It's hard to talk about an almost 3 1/2 year old that goes to school three days a week and no longer wears diapers as a "toddler" anymore.

So, after much thought, consideration, and more than a few helpful (and not so helpful) suggestions from my readers via Twitter, I have decided to re-christen "Toddler" as "Bubba."  I mean, technically we do live (slightly) south of the Mason-Dixon line, and Bubba was technically born in the south, so we can use that as the excuse for this otherwise hopelessly northern and midwestern family using such a ubiquitous southern nickname.

My other excuse is, that is one of the things we really call him, and "Kid," or "Annoying Chatterbox" just didn't seem to fit the mood I was going for.

And ...

after announcing that ...

I don't seem to have much more to say on the subject. 

In other, miscellaneous news,

Toddler ... I mean, Bubba, has been "playing cars" with Houdini for the past few days, and I swear that Houdini is actually starting to bat the cars back. 

Bubba has reached the stage where his answer to everything is the opposite of whatever it is I want.  Instead of saying, "No," though, Bubba has to be more verbose.  He says, "I don't think that's a good idea, Mommy."  Or sometimes, "I don't think so, Mommy."  It's hard not to crack a smile when i should be cracking the whip.

Additionally, my most striking condemnation as a parent has come from the mouth of Bubba.  He picked up his toy phone last night and began talking.  DH and I were having a conversation, and Bubba looked over at us and said, "Mommy, Daddy, stop talking.  I'm on the phone.  You can talk when I done."

For our final announcement, I am loathe, surprised, and rather stunned to announe that my not-quite-three-and-a-half year old came home this evening and asked me if I would please turn on the Suite Life on Deck.  Hey!  What happened to watching Mickey Mouse?  I didn't have this renaming ceremony because I actually wanted him to grow up or anything.  If he does insist on watching this show (I'm still hoping it's a fluke because we said no more cartoons today), I hope he decides to like a character that is ordinary and responsible, like ... like ... wait, there has to be one on that show.  Doesn't there?

And ...

That is about it.  See ya.


After This I'll Quit Teasing You About My Vacation

>> Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This vacation I just took was a weird one.  We wanted to give Bubba a real family vacation with his mom and dad to make up for us taking off and leaving the country.  You know, we'd never been away from him for more than one night before, and there we go taking off for his third birthday.  Great.  More evidence for our Parents-of-the-Year Trophy.

The problem was, after that big "mom and dad only" trip to Egypt, funds were ... well ... tight.  So, the trick was going to be "doing Disney" on a pretty down and dirty budget.  Toward that end, let me just tell you how much I love hotel reward points.  I spent eight days at a fabulous Marriott hotel with an amazing pool, and I paid for parking.

Yes, parking.

But, on a trip to Disney World, what is the single biggest expense?  Lodging?  Maybe.  Tickets?  Perhaps.  Food in the parks?  Now you are talking.  Disney, I love ya, but that park food is awfuly pricey for the family on a budget.  I thank you profoundly for allowing patrons to bring food into the parks.  I thank you, thank you, thank you.  Bubba thanks you, and my wallet thanks you.

There was one problem with the great plan of ours to pack food and take it with us.  It required us to have food worth packing.  No problem, right?  We had a cooler and a microwave, right?

Oh, no.  Think again.  We were staying at a full service hotel that doesn't have microwaves.  Nope.  If I want something heated up, I am free to work with dining services, and they will accomodate.


I'm going to go down to dining services in the morning and ask them to heat me some hot dogs and chicken sandwiches so I can take them to Epcot.  Ummm, no.

Fortunately for me, we were anticipating this problem.  Even more fortunately for me, my mother had the brilliant idea of suggesting that we pack the panini maker to help us out.  Whew!  (Thanks again for that inspired piece of thinking, Mom.)

So, there we were, in a nice, roomy hotel room, with a countertop, a fridge, a panini maker and a coffee pot.  I learned quickly that I can make a lot of food using only a panini maker and a coffee pot.  For the most part, I tried to stick with things that were "precooked" in case I did something silly like expose my family to a raging bacteria from poorly cooked chicken, but still, we did a lot.  We had broccoli, chicken, general tso's chicken, italian meatballs, noodles, even spaghetti once, and (of course) paninis.

Yes, you read it right.  All of this with only a panini maker and a coffee pot.  Necessity truly is the mother of invention. 

I just can't get over the irony.  Here I am, in a glorious hotel with multi-star restaurants and a fantabulous hibachi grill surrounding me on all sides ... and I'm cooking ramen noodles in a coffee pot.

The things I'll do for Disney.


Let's Face It, We Are a Weird and Backwards Family

>> Monday, October 11, 2010

I am sniffling, and I'm sick of it.  My nose has been dripping like a faucet since September, and the past 24 hours have been nearly constant.  I think I might lose my mind.  Allergies suck, and I want to go back to Florida.

What, you say?  Florida?  Won't that make your allergies worse?

No, no it won't, because I'm part of this crazy, mixed-up, backwards family.  Toddler and I both found our seasonal allergies improving the further south we went.  For me, this fall has been a miserable one, with my worst allergy attacks coming up in Pennsylvania, and my best days by far being in Orlando, Florida.  Sadly, no place seems to give me complete relief from the incessant sneezing and nose blowing (so attractive), but I have noticed a distinct change each time I cross the Georgia/South Carlolina border.  North of the border, my stuffiness is worse.  South of the border (the actual border, not the giant tourist trap), my symptoms improve.

What is up with that?  After just spending a weekend in State College with a tissue (okay, a series of tissues continually ripped out of the box) in my hand for 48 straight hours, I just want to go back to Florida.  And, no, the tissues were not for the tears during the game, although Toddler did give off several of his own, poor guy.  No one likes a really bad loss, and this was a really bad one.

Speaking of Florida, I have to say that Toddler's reaction to Disney World held some surprises too.  Now, keep in mind that this Disney-crazed family has had this child at The Happiest Place on Earth 4 times before he was 3 1/2.  He is no stranger to Disney or Mickey Mouse, but, being that he is very young, each time is a bit like a brand new adventure.

Take the Winnie the Pooh ride for example.  Two years ago, and again last summer, Toddler thought the Winnie the Pooh ride was the coolest thing on Earth.  I have pictures of him staring around hm in rapt attention.  This time, he screamed and cried in line and attempted to refuse to get into the car (until he realized it was a ride, then he was all for it).  But, when the lights "went out" (read, "dim slightly and display psychedelic colors") Todder began a plaintive wail of, "It's very dark in here. [It wasn't.]  How are we going to get out of here?  We have to get out of here!"  Of course, at the end of the ride, he said, "Can we do it again?" 

These general themes were repeated at various points around the Magic Kingdom.

Let's take the PhilharMagic as another example.  This 3D movie experience is a long-time favorite of me, DH, and Toddler.  This year, however, was Toddler's first year actually wearing the 3D glasses.  Shortly into the movie, when things were spinning around on a fairly dark screen, and things were "flying" at us from the screen, Toddler jumped down off his chair, clung to me, and whispered (as only a child can whisper loudly), "They ARE NOT GOING TO GET ME!"

I guess I don't have to wonder if he got the benefit of the 3D effect.  Clearly, he did.  You will be reassured to know that after a few hugs, he was fine.  In fact, he enjoyed the movie enough to ask to "do it again."  After that first little incident, our most difficult part was convincing him that he absolutely had to return the 3D glasses no matter how much he wanted to keep them.

So, here we are, DH and me, thinking that with the weepy reaction we are getting in the "dark" parts of some of these rides, we'd best avoid the ones that can be really scary, like the Haunted Mansion.  I mean, with the 1 billion other rides and shows, we can skip that one this year.  After all, Toddler was a big fan of Goofy's Barnstormers roller coaster and really wanted to ride it again and again and again.  It seemed like a fair trade.

The next day, though, we just could not pass up the chance to ride Ellen's "dinosaur ride" in the Universe of Energy at Epcot.  I mean ... it's dinosaurs that blow snot on you, and a cool movie to boot.  What is better?  But then, there was Toddler and that newly developing, "It's very dark in here," schtick he was perfecting.  What to do?  Skip the ride?  Heck no!  I'll just hold the little jumping bean and try to keep any crying lower than the decibles of the speakers, right?

Well, not quite.

He loved the ride.

Every blessed minute of it.

No fear in sight.

The child freaks out on Winnie the Pooh and loves the growling, snarling, man-eating dinosaurs in the Universe of Energy. 

Let's face it.  We are a weird and backwards family.  We should have gone on the Haunted Mansion.


Not So Short, Not So Tall -- Wordless Wednesday

>> Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I'm sure these Wordless Wednesday photos will generate a few questions.  Enjoy them.



Happy Wordless Wednesday.


Wake Up Calls

>> Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Um ... hello there.  Yes.  I haven't seen you in awhile.  I know, I know, it's my fault.  I've been remiss on this blog.

See, I was off on a little vacation visiting a certain mouse in Florida.  He's a great buddy of Toddler's and an old, old friend of mine.  Of course, he and his friends are the only mice I tolerate, as some of you might recall from my prior post, His Name Isn't Mickey So He Isn't Welcome Here, but tolerate him, I do.  I even stood in line for a whole 30 minutes so Toddler could see him ... twice ... and I usually don't stand in line for much of anything if I can help it.

Anyway, I am back and full of apologies for the extended absence.  I hope you will forgive me, because I have some stories to share. 

For those of you that have been reading this blog for awhile probably remember that I have an ... issue ... with mornings.  (I would link to a post, but I don't know as I could actually choose one out of the many in which I comment on the level of antagonism that I have with mornings.  I might have to go back and start a new blog label "Mornings" and just add it to my list of labels for you to peruse.  Yeah.  I'll add that to the list of things I need to do to improve this blog.  Maybe when Toddler is in college I'll get around to finishing it.)  I really can't think of a "good" alarm clock or wake-up call, but after spending 10 days sharing a variety of hotel rooms with my 3 year old, I have discovered a few wake-up calls that definitely fall into the "bad" category.

The fortunate part of our vacation was that traipsing through the Disney parks every day wore out Toddler, and he had taken to sleeping in a bit.  (What a relief to any family with small children.)  We decided we would just wait until he woke up, and no need to set and alarm to try to get to the parks when the gates opened.  Of course, any family members of mine reading this will think I have committed a sacriliege by even saying such a thing, much less doing it, but not really.  Sleeping in for Toddler usually means 7:30, and occasionally 8:00, so we were still up plenty early and got great parking spaces.

The unfortunate part of our vacation was that Toddler was exhausted, and he sometimes forgot to wake up when he really needed to. One morning, early in the week, Darling Husband and I woke up to the sound of Toddler rolling over and saying, "Uh, oh!!!!!"

In unison we said, "What's wrong?"

He replied, "I'm soaking wet!"

We both said, in unison again, "Oh, crap."

That, my friends, is not a good wake-up call.  And, when the child says "soaking wet," he was actually being quite modest, which is rather miraculous considering he did get up in the middle of the night to go potty.  For the second time, I had to call a hotel room front desk for an emergency sheet change.  I'm afraid I might be getting a reputation here.

On another morning, we woke up to hear Toddler whining in his bed.  Again, we asked him what was wrong, and he replied, "Help!  I need to get the poopies out!"

Again, my friends, this scenario is not a good wake up call.  No, no, no.

(I have to take a little aside here to observe that the "Potty Mouth Blogger" has struck again.  I'm seriously considering whether I should just give up and rebrand my blog that way.  At least, I should create a label for "potty stories," right?)

On the other hand, I did run into one wake up call that I found, while not pleasant, at least mildly amusing.  It involved Toddler silently slipping out of bed, coming to Darling Husband's side of the bed, and staring Darling Husband down in his sleep, waiting, waiting, waiting for Darling Husband to open his eyes.  When Darling Husband finally did open his eyes, Toddler let out  a little chuckle and then said ... (wait for it) ... "I need to go potty."  Heh.


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