Sunday, September 18, 2011

Short video of Shadow and Cora as themselves

Here is a video that shows Shadow being very Shadowish (and Coraline being very Cora-ish partway through):

Video picture quality isn't the greatest because I didn't realize how bad the lighting was during recording. And anyone who's lived with cats should know that if they're doing something you want to film, it's almost a given that filming conditions will be sub-optimal -- and that the more time you spend trying to set everything up perfectly the more likely you are to miss whatever it is you were trying to film.

That said, I am still happy I managed to get this particular moment on camera -- it is just so, so illustrative of Shadow's personality, and Cora's, and the way they relate both to each other and to me. (Brodie and Nikki were off napping elsewhere during filming and
thus do not appear in this clip).

I also tried taking some still photos of the scene as it unfolded but only a few came out even marginally post-able (the rest were too dark or blurry to see much of anything):

And as a bonus, below is a picture drawn by 8 year old nephew Jake (he left it as a present for me and Matt at his grandparents'/Matt's parents' house). Apparently this is what happens when Auntie Anne (NOT THE PRETZEL LADY) lets the kidlets play with her ipod touch all evening:

(He's spelled NYAN wrong but this is completely made up for on account of POP TART SPRINKLES!)

(And now I must go to bed because this many parenthetical statements and this many ALL CAPS in this short of a post definitely indicate brain = in need of sleep!)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Termite Termination...without evacuation!

Yep, the termites have been thwarted...without any need for humans or cats to vacate the premises! There was a bit of a miscommunication at the pest control company -- the only reason we'd initially been asked to leave for the duration of the treatment was because someone at the firm had been under the impression they needed to spray aerosol stuff in the crawlspace (under the house). But since they were just injecting insecticide into the dirt under the garage, there was really no conceivable way for any of it to get on or near any of the resident mammals. Which meant we got to stay in the house -- I shut everyone (myself included) into the computer room while the exterminator did his work, but even that was mainly to avoid getting underfoot.

I am sure the cats were NOT disappointed by this turn of events -- I mean really, they got to do exactly the same thing they usually do on a Friday afternoon (which is to say, sleep), no need for anyone to be shut up in a carrier and carted across town. Hooray! But by the same token, the experience of trying to plan a short evacuation has led me to figure it might be a good idea to have a "drill" once in a while, just in case we all ever DO need to get out of the house for any length of time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Termites. And a Field Trip For Cats.

Matt (the SO) and I recently began some electrical improvements in our garage -- basically the wiring in there was really old and crappy and scary (definitely NOT to code in places) and the lighting was poor, and there was nowhere to plug in a washer or dryer, and Matt needs more and beefier outlets for all the machine-shop stuff he would like to eventually install. It's been a project long in the making (or at least in the wanting), so it's nice to be finally getting to it.

As for how it impacts the cats here -- well, that's an interesting and somewhat convoluted matter. See, while the electrical part of things is going quite well (Matt even did the responsible thing and went and got permits from the city! And we are doing fun awesome things like bending conduit and attaching it to the walls! OMG!), we found a few subterranean termites attempting to set up shop in the wall framing.


The damage we discovered was mainly just tunnels left by long-since-fumigated buglets, but still. We saw at least five or six live ones and that was enough to prompt calling the exterminators. I mean I know the termites are just trying to survive and all, but I am unwilling to let them eat my house toward that end. Left unchecked, termites can literally do this, and if it's all happening sight unseen (as it typically is), conditions can become quite dangerous for anyone entering the structure. Which means that the critters have to go, and that apparently (per last week's inspection) entails the exterminators drilling holes around the perimeter of the garage and injecting insecticide into the dirt underneath the slab there.

Anyway, the cat-relevant part of this ordeal is the fact that, despite the fact that the house is NOT being tented (this is just very localized application of liquid insecticide), the exterminators require the structure (meaning the whole house, as ours is an attached garage) to be vacated by all resident mammals. Thus, while Nigel the goldfish gets to stay happily swimming in his aquarium in the computer room, Matt and I and the kitties need to be elsewhere for approximately four hours on Termite Death Day.

We've scheduled the thing for one of my non-work days (currently my schedule only has me out of the house three days a week) so someone will be there to let the exterminators in. Matt will be at work, and I have plenty of places I could go locally that would get me out of the house...but the cats are going to be another matter entirely.

I can't just take them all out into the yard with me as the termite guys need to do some stuff outside as well and the yard isn't huge (meaning there's no way to get the requisite distance from the extermination work area). I REALLY don't want to board them, as they would all hate it, and plus it just seems like overkill given it's only for 3-4 hours. I had a friend offer to let my kitties hang out in his guest room but he lives a few towns over and my non-driving self wouldn't have any way to get there (let alone with four cats) during the day.

Thus far, the best option that has presented itself is for Matt's parents to pick me and the kitties up on Termite Morning and bring us to their (local, in-town) house for the day. This still makes me nervous for about a zillion reasons (most of them named "Nikki", who is going to -- and I don't use this term lightly -- flip her shit when she sees/smells that OTHER, UNFAMILIAR CATS LIVE THERE) but at least it wouldn't involve any of the kitties having to deal with totally unfamiliar humans. I will probably just see if I can put my guys' carriers in the parents' spare bedroom or something and hope they will sleep for a while. It won't be fun for them but it should at least be safe and minimally horrible.

All that said, I guess I am pleased that this situation has at least prompted me into action on something I should have taken care of a long time ago -- that is, last night I went ahead and ordered two more cat carriers. For a long time we only had one, because the kittens were so little they would all fit. Then the kittens stopped being so little (read: grew up into massive muscled strapping Beasts of Awesome) and so I got a second carrier in order to make for more efficient vet trips. Really, though, if you have four cats you should have four carriers -- I mean, in case of an emergency evacuation or something you REALLY want to be able to pack them up properly for maximum safety and whatnot. So now I will have four carriers, and that should not only make transporting them off on their field trip easier, but give me additional peace of mind in the emergency-preparedness realm.

Finally, I also have to admit that I am a teensy bit curious about seeing how the kitties react to "going visiting", especially given that most of the cats currently traipsing through Matt's parents' house are Cora's, Brodie's, and Shadow's cousins and probable half-siblings. I mean I don't expect them to remember specific individuals given that they were only 7-10 weeks old when they were last over there, but I am wondering if anything will at least smell familiar, and if so, what they will do. So as much as I am not looking forward to the logistical ordeal of this whole thing, and as much as I feel bad for having to put the cats through it in the first place, it isn't liable to be boring, that's for sure!