completely random topic change

Ok, so, we need to move on quickly because I’m uncomfortable leaving that post at the top of the page too long. Let’s talk about something else, shall we? Hey, I know!

CATS!

No, not the musical. Ok, so remember when we did this to Beaumont?

Beaumont post-haircut

I have to say, he doesn’t seem to mind his haircut too much. His short hair feels like velvet, so we can’t keep our hands off him, and he’s getting way more love than he ever got when his fur was all nasty and matted. So he’s happy. Which is good, because before we had him shaved, my mom was all, “You’re going to traumatize him! He’ll be scarred for life!” And, uh, no. Sorry, Mom. He’s a pretty happy fella.

It’s funny how different our two cats are in so many ways. Lately we’ve been having these intense afternoon thunderstorms, which are pretty common in the South. The humidity builds and builds and finally just explodes sometime in late afternoon. The funny thing is how differently the cats react.

Exhibit A: Teenie. Teenie was born in Memphis (I saved her from an ice storm in January 1997, a few days before my 21st birthday), and she lived there for a couple of years, so she’s used to this type of weather. She’s also old (almost 13!) and she sleeps a lot. The loudest thunder clap rarely gets her to even crack one eye open.

Then there’s exhibit B: Beaumont. Poor Beaumont was born & raised in the Pacific Northwest, where sure it rains a lot, but it’s more of a constant drizzle. There’s very rarely anything dramatic in the weather. (You know, except the occasional 70 mph wind storms. But those only happen when I’m EIGHT AND A HALF MONTHS PREGNANT AND YES I’M STILL BITTER ABOUT IT.)

Anyway, Beaumont does not know what to do with thunderstorms. He freaks. A little while ago, I heard a faint rumble of thunder way off in the distance, and Beaumont (who had been sound asleep on a dining room chair) rocketed up the stairs and under the bed as if someone had fired a starter pistol right next to his ear. (Um, not that I’ve ever actually shot a starter pistol near my cats. Honest. I really haven’t. Please don’t call PETA on me.)

laziest. cat. ever.
Meanwhile, Teenie’s all “Yeah, don’t wake me unless it’s the apocalypse. And maybe not even then.”

So, yeah. Cats are weird, I think is what I’m saying.

There. A blog post all about my cats. What could be less controversial, I ask you?

And how are you today?

fleeeeas!

I have to admit, it’s been kind of nice for the past few days to not feel pressured to post something just for the sake of posting, but at the same time, I find myself constantly thinking “gee, I should really write something.” I guess that’s the point of NaBloPoMo, to get yourself in the habit of writing on a regular basis, so you don’t end up posting once a year (hi, DaveM! I totally just called you out!).

Anyway, while Catie and I were in Mississippi, Dave mentioned that Teenie had some bald spots on her back. She tends to groom excessively when she’s stressed out; she actually has permanent hair loss on her belly because she licked herself bald every time I moved (which was once a year for a few years in my early 20’s). I figured that she was just upset because I was gone, poor kitty. I felt bad, but I didn’t worry about it too much beyond that.

When I got home, however, I realized that Dave was actually making light of the situation. She has two huge bald spots on her back. I started to freak, and Dave said, “yeah, it seems like something’s wrong with her skin too, we’re probably going to need to take her to the vet.” Now, it was 1 a.m. and we’d had a hellishly long day, but I still sat down on the floor and called her to me to try to check her out. And I realized that her skin wasn’t just bumpy, it was… moving. My cat is quite literally infested with fleas. Besides all the fleas crawling all over her, she was also covered with these tiny black grains of sand, which didn’t take me long to figure out were flea larvae. Oh my lord, I wanted to vomit.

Our cats never go outside, so I really don’t understand how they got fleas in the first place, except that we must’ve brought them in somehow. But Ive never seen anything like this before. I’ve seen cats that had a flea or two, but nowhere near this level. The poor thing must’ve been in absolute misery. It’s probable that Beaumont has them too, but his hair is so long and black, it’s impossible to tell. We’re treating him as if he has them too.

There wasn’t anything we could do about it in the middle of the night, but the next day we trooped off to PetSmart and stocked up on anti-flea stuff. We got both the spray to kill them now, plus the maintenance anti-flea stuff to use in the future.

Today I went to re-wash everything in the laundry room, since Teenie’s been sleeping in the laundry basket for the past several days. The basket and the floor surrounding it are also covered with black sand/flea larvae. So. Unbelievably. Gross. I would take pictures, but seriously? Y’all don’t want to see this. I’m about to go scrub the whole laundry room down with bleach, because that’s the only way I’ll actually believe that it’s clean.

Here’s a question: any of y’all know what we’re supposed to do next? I’m sure there must be other fleas in the house, and I have no idea how to get rid of them. Do I call an exterminator? I thought about getting one of those foggers, but both Dave and Catie have asthma, so I’m sure that even if we leave the house for hours, it would still mess with their lungs when they come back to those fumes. Surely there must be some sort of “natural” way to get rid of fleas? Anyone? Help?

blogging from our new house

We made it to North Carolina. The flight was relatively easy and uneventful, which is always a good thing. Cate was so happy to see Dave at the airport that when he picked her up, she buried her face in his neck and didn’t move for several minutes. Poor kiddo, I think she had decided that Daddy guy was gone for good. We’ve never seen her like that, it was sort of heartbreaking.

The house is super-cute and I love the neighborhood, so I’m really happy with our choice. But of course, it’s a rental so there are a few maintenance issues: the A/C works downstairs but not upstairs (a real problem, since it’s hot and upstairs is where we sleep), the garbage disposal is broken, the dryer took over three hours to dry one load of clothes, etc. So there are lots of little things. And the house doesn’t feel very clean to me, which I suppose is because the previous tenants had teenage boys. It’s not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, just maybe not quite as perfect as you’d expect a house to be that you’re moving into for the first time. I’m looking forward to getting unpacked and doing a really thorough scrub-down of the whole house. It’s sort of impossible to do right now with boxes everywhere.

Speaking of the boxes: my general rule for moving is to get the beds and bathrooms unpacked first, then you can take a shower, go to bed, and deal with everything else the next day. Makes sense, right? Well, I consider it a huge victory that among the hundreds of boxes in our house, I was able to find the boxes with our bedding in them (crib bedding too! different box!) and get everything fixed up with a very agitated 18 month-old running around demanding our constant attention. Score one for teamwork: Dave kept Cate distracted while I got the beds made.

The cats were delivered this afternoon, and the poor kitties are totally freaked out, but very happy to see us. Cate missed her little buddy so much, she and Beaumont have basically been making out for hours (lots of full-on face nuzzles). Teenie is so happy to see us that she’s even been letting Cate pet her, which is kind of a huge deal for her. And Teenie is usually the skittish one who hides under our bed all the time, but she’s been exploring both upstairs and downstairs of the house, so that’s great. She hisses at Beaumont when he gets too close to her personal space, but otherwise they’re both fine.

Cate didn’t go into her crib easily tonight, which I was kind of expecting, since it’s her same crib but in a totally foreign room. She freaked when I put her down, and I didn’t have the heart to make her cry it out on her first night, so I brought her into our bed until she fell asleep (which took about three minutes tops – baby girl was worn slap out), then I moved her to her crib. I’m wondering if I’m going to get a 3 a.m. wake-up call or not. Fingers crossed that we all sleep well this first night.

18 months (and a move update)

Cate is 18 months old today. She had her well-baby checkup on Friday, and she’s still solidly in the 75-90th percentiles for height and weight (33 inches tall, 26.6 pounds), while her head circumference is still off the charts. That’s my girl, ever consistent.

This is normally when I would write a post about her latest development milestones, but I don’t really know where to start. She blows our minds with some new word (or sentence!) every day, and it’s really hard to keep track of all of her latest cool tricks. She’s also starting to enter into the “terrible two’s” phase where she tests our limits and throws unbelievable meltdowns when we say no, but as awful as those moments are, they’re pretty rare. For the most part, she’s just lovely, fun and delightful, and we can’t get enough of her.

Because she’s so aware of her environment and so consistent with her routine, I am a little worried about how this move is going to affect her. I know she understands a lot more words than she can say, so I keep telling her that we’re going to move to a new house this week, but it’ll be ok because Mommy, Daddy, the kitties, and all her toys are going to be there. I don’t know if she really gets it or not, but hopefully some of it is sinking in.

Speaking of the move, this is how things are going so far:
* Last night was my last girls’ night with my Seattle girls. Kind of sad, but I know I’m going to see a few of them at Kris’s wedding next March, so it wasn’t a “good-bye forever” kind of scenario. I didn’t even cry.

* The pet movers are coming to take the cats tonight. They have a 6 a.m. flight tomorrow morning, and there’s no way the transport people can get here to the boonies to pick them up and back to the airport in time. (We live about 30 miles from Sea-Tac, not an easy drive.) So they’ll board them tonight, fly them out first thing in the morning, and board them in Raleigh until we get there. I’m really going to miss them while they’re away.

* Monday morning, Dave is leaving for his cross-country drive, and the movers are coming to help me pack. We’ve gotten most of our stuff packed already, but this last stretch is sort of overwhelming, so we’re paying for help.

* Tuesday, the movers are loading up everything and starting their drive. My sister arrives around noon. She’s getting a rental car (with a toddler seat) because the movers are taking my car. Tracy, Cate and I are going to check into a hotel that night.

* Wednesday is our official closing date. Dave and I already signed our part of the paperwork last week (we signed early so Dave could leave on Monday), so the only thing on the agenda that day is to get the empty house cleaned, and get the keys over to the realtor. Hopefully, after how crazy the past week has been, Tracy, Cate and I will get some downtime in the afternoon to just hang out and have fun. I’d like to enjoy our last day in Seattle.

* Thursday, we fly to Mississippi. I know my parents are super-excited already. And considering the stuff my mom has already bought in anticipation of our arrival (fingerpaints, sidewalk chalk, an inflatable wading pool, countless toys), I know Cate is going to have an absolute blast there.

We’ll be in Mississippi for a week, then Cate and I fly to Raleigh on Thursday, August 7th. I can’t wait.

More updates when I can, but the blog might be pretty sparse over the next week or so.

down to two cats and five days

If you tried to click over here this morning and got some funky “install WordPress” screen, I apologize. No idea what happened to my site, but it seems to mostly be fixed now, although there’s still some weird issues with my permalinks and archives, which I’ll be investigating as soon as I get a chance. (Ha! Moving in 5 days! Free time = FAIL.)

Last night, I took Greta over to her new home. She’s gone to live with a very nice family, and they have a farm with a horse and everything. It’s a pretty remote area, so she’ll be able to run around outside and hunt mice to her heart’s content and there won’t be any worries about her getting hit by a car. So that’s great. I hope she’ll be very happy there.

This morning I took Beaumont and Teenie – our two remaining cats! Just two! How totally reasonable and sane that seems! – to the vet to get their vaccines up to date and a copy of a health certificate that they’ll need so they can fly next week. They both did well and are totally healthy, although Beaumont now seems a bit spooked by the fact that both Cleo and Greta are gone. (Teenie couldn’t care less. She’s all, “Ha! Good riddance, bitches!”)

Funny coincidence about the vet appointment today: tomorrow is Cate’s 18-month well-baby checkup, so apparently I’ll get the honor of restraining small creatures while they get shots two days in a row. Lucky me.

Packing is still coming along, and we’ve rented a dumpster to get rid of the guest bed (the one that was drenched in cat pee) and a few other random things. Do we need five garden rakes, four of which are totally rusted from being left out in the rain? No. No, we do not. Thank you, dumpster rental company for taking all this crap away so I don’t have to think about it. (As for the landfills where this stuff is going to end up: um, sorry? Oops.)

Not much else going on, we’re just getting into that frantic “I don’t care what it is, throw it in a box!” phase. Watch, we’re going to get to North Carolina and have like 20 boxes labeled Miscellaneous. It’ll be like Christmas opening everything up. “Ooh, I wonder what’s in this one!” Good times.

Oh hey, want to see a cute toddler after she’s been playing in the sprinkler? Sure you do!

just after playing in the sprinkler

You’re welcome.

downsizing the pets

I mentioned a while ago that with the move, we were going to try to re-home Cleo and Greta. We’ve been overwhelmed with four cats, and scaling back to just two felt a lot more manageable. My initial instinct was to keep Cleo and Greta together because they get along with each other really well, but their personalities are so different that it really just isn’t possible.

We found a new home for Greta almost immediately, which surprised me. She’s so skittish around people, I didn’t think anyone would be willing to take her on. But the realtor who sold our house lives here in Duvall and she said she needs a barn cat. Since Greta loves to hunt and isn’t very big on human interaction, Dave and I agreed that arrangement would probably be a really good fit for her. Kim, the realtor, hasn’t taken her yet, but we’ll set that up sometime in the next couple of days.

Cleo proved to be much trickier. She’d be miserable as an outdoor-only cat, she likes to be inside most of the time and she’s a total cuddle-bug. But nobody we knew was in the market for a cat; and with it being kitten season right now, there’s an awful lot of kitties available for adoption.

We asked our friends, family, neighbors, the vet, and then finally I put ads on both craigslist and PetFinder.com. I got a couple of responses from the ads, but they always fell through for one reason or another. I even contacted the no-kill shelter where Dave originally adopted Cleo from, but they’re overfull with cats right now and couldn’t take her back. I was really starting to freak out about what we were going to do with poor Cleo. She’s such a sweet kitty, I figured it would be a breeze to find someone who’d fall in love with her like we did.

On Tuesday, I got the email from the shelter saying that they couldn’t take her back, and I was pretty upset, practically in tears. A few minutes later, I happened to look at my cell phone and saw that I had a voicemail. A lady had called me responding to my craigslist ad for Cleo. She came over to meet her yesterday, and decided to take her home with her.

I’m so relieved and sad at the same time. The lady seemed really sweet; she and her husband lost a cat recently and their other cat was lonely. They also have a dog, but the cats have their own room where the dog can’t bother them if they want to get away from her. And they live in a rural area where Cleo can continue to go outside when she wants to, and no worries about her getting hit by a car. So it’s a great arrangement, really. I couldn’t have asked for better. But we loved her and we’re going to miss her pretty little face, and her giant thumbs, and the way she’d drool on us when she was happy.

Cleo

I hope you have a happy life, baby girl. I really, really do.

Sorry to get all maudlin here, I think I’m just starting to feel sort of emotional and overhwelmed because this move stuff is all really starting to sink in. It’s a good thing, and I’m really excited about it, but major life transitions are scary and stressful, and there’s just no way around that.

As for the cats, I suppose I just need to keep reminding myself that my litter box duties are about to get cut in half, and that should keep me from getting too mopey about it.

we won't be homeless in August, hooray!

It would appear that we officially have a house in North Carolina. Yay! It’s a super-cute house in a really nice neighborhood, it’s actually a little bit bigger than our current house, and you Seattle folks would fall over dead if you knew how much we’re going to be paying for it. For reals. I can’t quite believe myself how much we’re going to be saving.

So now I get to tell the movers that we actually have an address where they can deliver our stuff. Hallelujah. That’s one huge source of stress that’s been lifted.

I’m still trying to work out the details for moving Beaumont and Teenie. I’ve gotten an estimate from a pet-moving service that gets good reviews from what I’ve seen so far. They pick up the cats from our house, take them to the airport, take care of boarding them in Raleigh, and deliver them to our new house once we’ve arrived. They’re a bit pricey, but I’m thinking that the convenience factor alone might be worth it.

Total topic change, here’s some new Cate-speak for this week:
* At daycare, when she woke up from her nap: “Passy, come get me!” (Patsy said she thought she must’ve mis-heard her, but she said it twice. So Patsy did indeed go get her.)

* To me, when I was sitting at the kitchen table working on my laptop: “Get up! Get up!” She wanted me to stop typing and chase her around. So I did.

* Also, she knows the sign for bird, but she does it backwards, so it looks sort of like the bird’s beak is eating her face. It’s very Hitchcockian of her.

That’s all the news on our end. Hope everyone has a great Fourth of July!