Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

It’s nobody’s business but the Turk’s

November 26, 2022

I ain’t opening that door. I’ve seen “Poltergeist.”

Miss Mia Sopaipilla was being a pill as I performed my coffee ritual this morning, so after a couple sips to get the motor running I figured I’d best tend to the litter boxes.

There’s one in the guest bathroom’s tub and another in the spare room where we contain Mia’s restless nature at night. This two-holer setup is a relic of the Before-Time, when we had two cats. Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) insisted upon having his own personal latrine, and one feels obliged to give a 16-pound cat pretty much anything he deems mission-critical.

I dealt with the tub box first, and yep, it had seen action overnight. Then I headed for the spare room and noticed the door was closed.

Well, hell, I thought. No wonder Mia was pitching a bitch. She was locked out of her quarters. So I opened the door, gave that litter box a cursory inspection, and … it had been used too.

So I cleaned that one up, hauled what had become a sizable bag of feline exhaust outside to the trash, came back inside and asked Herself, “Why’d you close the door to Mia’s room?”

“I didn’t close the door,” she sez to me she sez.

“Well, I sure didn’t,” sez I.

A moment of silence.

“Mother?” she inquires, glancing around.

No reply.

I doubt it was Herself the Elder. She was never much of an eater, and while she had a great head of hair she wasn’t a furry, barring the occasional chin whisker. Plus, I don’t think her shade could squeeze into that litter box, which has a lid on it. It would have been undignified, even in extremis.

When Turks attack.

No, I’m inclined to suspect the Turk. My old comrade had an interesting sense of humor that encompassed leaping at you from hidey-holes, flashing the bathroom lights at us the night he died, and triggering a hallway smoke detector that requires a stepladder to reach as I was rehabbing a broken ankle.

Now there was a cat who found a loo with a lid to be an awful tight fit. He had to poke his blue-eyed brain-box out of the one we kept downstairs in Bibleburg. We called his bathroom breaks “driving the Turkentank.”

When you gotta go, you gotta go, they say. But if you’ve gone, do you gotta come back? If you do, leave the door open, or at least crack a window. Maybe light a match. I’m trying to enjoy my coffee here.

The Commander inspects his (purely defensive) chemical-weapons stockpile.

Comforted

October 29, 2022

“You’re letting all the cold air in.”

Miss Mia Sopaipilla couldn’t care less that some elongated muskrat has made off with Twatter, or Twitcher, or whatever that other thing she couldn’t care less about is called.

Miss Mia is an intelligent Animal, a Higher Order (h/t James McBride, “Mr. P & the Wind”). She don’t need no phone, tablet, or laptop to get your attention. If she wants it she will throw a meow your way or do something cute like frolic in a crinkly pile of wrapping paper, or turn your crumpled comforter into a cat cave.

And it goes without saying that she would never ever come over to your house uninvited and hammer a loved one into the hospital.

Like I said. A Higher Order.

The cat’s meow

October 10, 2022

Miss Mia Sopaipilla recharges her batteries with a dash of solar power.

After a week of rain Miss Mia Sopaipilla was delighted to find some sunshine pouring through the back door this afternoon.

Me too. I got soaked during three rides last week, and not with sunshine, either. The kind of drenching that leaves you peeling off soggy kit in the garage and lubing the squeaky bits.

On the bike. The squeaky bits on the bike.

I managed to stay dry today while cycling home from Reincarnation after dropping the Subaru off for its semiannual health check. But I was not exactly toasty.

It was 40-something downtown when I rolled away from the shop, and I was wearing wool socks, tights over bibs, two long-sleeved jerseys, long-fingered gloves, and even a Sugoi skullcap under the old brain-bucket.

Happily, it was all uphill from there, so I wasn’t generating any wind chill. And the Russians weren’t rocketing my area of operation, though I found out later that Reincarnation had scored a direct hit on my wallet.

This is to be expected when your beater is old enough to vote. Also, it’s cheaper than a car payment and just might save me a long walk home at some point. I don’t always have a bike in the back and my cold-weather kit on.

Tunnel vision

September 19, 2022

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is locked and loaded.

Everything old is new again.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla has rediscovered the joys of an old crinkle tube, some coarse wrapping paper, and a Wholeazon Amafoods shopping bag, all of which make fine sounds when run through, sprawled upon, or snuggled into.

Me, I likewise got back on the old hoss, metaphorically speaking, which is to say I started running again after giving my damaged toe a month of downtime.

Bikewise I hardly broke stride. Kept cranking out the 100-mile-plus weeks even with a pulverized piggie, and so far (knock on wood) I have avoided doing anything else inexplicably stupid to myself.

It’s nearly fall here in The Duck! City, but you’d hardly know it. Oh, the leaves are coming off the trees, but the weather widget says 87° in midafternoon and the hummers are still hitting the feeders like a cluster of knee-walking bog-trotters who just heard the barman call, “Time, gentlemen, time.”

Time, indeed.

A certain restlessness I ascribe to muscle memory. Come September Back In the Day® I would be in the early throes of cyclocross season, with a side of Interbike, and there would be much motoring and bicycling and running around to no particular purpose.

Your Humble Narrator at Dirt Demo circa 2005.

My Septembers are less hectic now. I did my last ’cross race in Bibleburg, way back in 2004, rocking a Steelman Eurocross but no spare bike, not even spare wheels. I rode to the course from the DogHaus, and when I flatted midrace, I simply replaced the tube and rode back home. It could be argued that I was not taking the whole thing seriously.

Thirteen years later I did my last Interbike. I lasted longer at that game because the finish-line payout was better and getting sockless drunk on the publisher’s dime was more or less a condition of employment.

But the publishers changed, and so did the game, and in January 2022 I retired, an event with all the significance of a mouse fart in a haboob.

I hadn’t expected to waltz offstage in the middle of a plague — which is over now, I understand, so, yay — but as the fella says, you go to retirement with the virology you have, not the virology you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Anyway, here it is September again and I still haven’t tapped my generous pension to buy a Peace Van and finally buckle down to the serious business of writing my great American road-trip story, “Travels with Snarly.”

Some days that Nobel Prize in Literature seems farther away than the finish line  with a slow leak and no spare. At least I’m still riding and running.

The Dog, the Cat, and the Voices

August 2, 2022

Dark-thirty at the DogHaus.

Tuesday is “Pay Your Dues Day” at El Rancho Pendejo.

Herself gets up at stupid-thirty to prepare for the first of two weekly 10-hour shifts at the Death Star, and somebody has to make her breakfast and lunch. I keep hoping this somebody will turn up and clock in, but nix.

So I crawl out of my coffin like a dime-store Dracula with the insomnia, head out to that kitchen, and rattle those pots and pans.

By this time Herself has brewed a cup of what she calls “coffee,” given Miss Mia Sopaipilla an amuse-bouche, and returned to her sanctum sanctorum. So I toast a thick slice of bread, slather it with Irish butter and French jam, and deliver it posthaste. Miss Mia gets a butter-finger out of this and another small helping of cat food.

Next it’s lunch, which is usually leftovers from the previous night’s dinner. But honey-chipotle chicken tacos with black beans and Mexican rice seemed a tad aromatic for a business lunch, and so this morning I whipped up a basic tuna salad and built her a sandwich with provolone, lettuce, and tomato, plus a side of watermelon chunks.

Miss Mia is always very interested in tuna or anything even vaguely tuna-adjacent, so she got a couple tidbits in the process.

After Herself hits the door running at 5:30 I’m free to do whatever. Going back to bed always seems attractive, but so does a midafternoon nap, and what the hell, I’m already up.

So I have a couple mugs of authoritative black joe and sit in the dark living room for a while, half-listening as the birds sing up the sun, Miss Mia snores on the back of the couch, and the voices in my head start tuning up.

This is the sweet spot of a Tuesday morning. No NPR, no Zoom meetings, no phone calls, no online exercise/yoga classes … just the Dog, the Cat, and the Voices. And the distant grumble of traffic, which is someone else’s bête noire.

Going nowhere fast is just my speed on a Tuesday morning. I’ve paid the toll and everything.

Gata gallivant

June 19, 2022

The patio gets power-washed.

What a difference a rain makes.

At 9:15 a.m. the temp was just 60 degrees. A few days back the overnight low was higher.

The official precip’ tally for the past two days is 0.58 inch, or about half again what we had received all year long before the monsoons kicked in. Our widget shows 0.71 inch.

And it was still raining when we got up. Might keep raining for a while, too, if you believe the Wizards, who have greatly improved their batting average lately.

I rode a bike with fenders yesterday, and yes, I needed them. Not often, but still, glad I had ’em. Cyclists in the desert look askance at a bike with fenders until they’re sporting the chilly Brown Stripe up the backside of their bibs. Then they’re all like, “Hm, good idee,” as they’re doing the laundry and hosing the grit off their drivetrains.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla celebrated the change in the weather with a fine gallivant this morning, launching off the furniture, rocketing around the house, and diving in and out of a paper bag in my office, before finally tunneling under our bedspread and curling up for an extended snooze.

A nap sounds like an even better idea than fenders. But I haven’t had my gallivant yet.

Treinta y dos

May 12, 2022

Still sharing the same bench after all these years.

Today Herself and Your Humble Narrator celebrate 32 years of holy macaroni.

O, how they laughed Back in the Day®. “It will never last,” they said. “She is a Woman of Quality while he … well, I mean, just look at him.”

I had a brief moment of fear some years later when she had the Lasik surgery, but as luck would have it enhanced eyesight does not always mean sharper vision.

And now here we are, against all odds, 32 years later and still ticking like a fine Swiss time bomb. Timepiece! I meant timepiece!

The usual massive celebration is under way. We kicked it off by singing the “Happy Anniversary” song, then broke fast with coffee and avocado toast. Someone had to take a Zoom meeting (not me). The same someone had to drop her CR-V off at the Honda shop (a noncelebratory blinking warning light, the prelude to a mechanical fishing expedition).

With an eye toward today’s bloggery I resolved a trio of niggling MacIssues without assistance. If only rebooting a Honda were so simple.

Later there shall be a Feast at an undisclosed location. I will not be cooking and Herself will not be cleaning up. And the vet emailed to report that Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s bloodwork was “amazing.” These are all the gifts we require, and more than one of us deserves.

TGIF?

May 6, 2022

“Go ahead, open that door and reach in here. Make my day.”

It’s Little Old Lady Day here at El Rancho Pendejo, and each of us has a vieja to wrangle.

Herself gets to take Herself the Elder out for a salon cut and perhaps some medium-light snackage. And I, as you can see, got to take Miss Mia Sopaipilla to the vet for her regular checkup.

I thought I’d scored the easy duty. But as you know, I will never be smart.

Shortly after we arrived at the vet’s another customer roared in with a pair of infernal hounds, one of whom was going full Baskerville. This did not improve Mia’s mood — she does not care for cat carriers, cars, doctors, or dogs — and by the time a vet popped round to attend to her, well, she was puffed up to about six times normal size and hissing like a vampire who was a couple quarts low.

So, instead of the simple drive-by doctoring I had been expecting, I found myself choosing between rescheduling (and perhaps sedation) or letting Miss Mia chill out for a while in the felines-only ward, to see if she might turn back into a mild-mannered elderly cat instead of Bastet with a Hulk overlay and a side of rabies. I picked Door No. 2 and headed for home.

Now I’m almost 100 percent certain that if I get all kitted up for what looks to be the last decent day for cycling before what firefighters and weatherpersons are predicting will be “at least four days of wind, dryness and hot temperatures,” why, that is when the phone will ring. It will be the vet, who will tell me that she is off to Las Vegas because it’s safer to fight fires than Miss Mia.

Looks like a hot time in the old town no matter how you slice it.

April is the cruellest month

April 8, 2022

“This is not the Door into Summer,” observes Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

One of Robert A. Heinlein’s lesser-known (and mildly creepy) novels, “The Door into Summer,” takes its name from the protagonist’s snow-phobic cat, who is forever looking for same.

“This will do nicely. You may go now.”

We have one of those, too. Miss Mia Sopaipilla has never been an outside cat — she tours the yard on a harness now and again — but she does love a nice sunny indoor spot on a cool April morning. And after she’s had a nibble, a nap, and another nibble, she insists that I escort her to one with all possible haste.

Thing is, Miss Mia is almost always a few steps ahead of the sun, which doesn’t really give us much love until around 9 a.m. this time of year. So we have to visit the living room, the spare bedroom, and the master bedroom to take sun samples until, like Goldilocks, she finds the spot that’s just right.

Catfishing

February 19, 2022

Many fish bites if you got good bait.