Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Early tomorrow morning I'm flying down to Dallas with The Scholarly Gentleman and our friend Edd. This is the first real vacation I've been on in a few years.

There are no volunteer duties to be fulfilled, no auctions to be run, no difficult people to be cultivated, no relatives to please (or, at least, to not shock), no storage lockers to be inventoried, no moving vans to be rented, no presentations to give, no awkward reunions planned, and no schedules to be adhered to.

Theoretically we're going to visit an enormous bookstore in a tiny town in East Texas. But, since we all have houses piled to the rafters with books, it's not exactly a shopping trip. My plan is to relax, enjoy a warmer climate and a slower pace, and avoid rattlesnakes.

We are leaving in the cats in the capable hands of our house sitter, who spoils them rotten. Sheba is pretty much recovered from her nervous breakdown and is now living on the kitchen counter, purring. Mabel, back at the vet to have her nails clipped this week, has lost a few more ounces so she's scheduled for a more detailed round of thyroid tests when we get back.

In other animal news, we've caught the dog that's pooping on our front yard. And the owner.

It turned out to be the Scottie from down the street. We were headed out to do errands this afternoon when it came shimmering down the sidewalk (it lives four doors to the south) scampered right past us, and squatted down on the lawn. Meanwhile, the owner leaned out her front door and started calling for it. We kept the dog entertained, which had the effect of luring the owner out into the open, where we were able to inform her that her dog had, once again, pooped on our lawn. The woman seemed unfazed about anything except getting the dog to come home. But now I know where to deliver the piles of poop — either to the owner's lawn OR to the pristine lawn of the remodeled house they have up for sale, only two doors to the south of us!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Slowly, back to normal

It's taken nearly two weeks, but Sheba the deaf white cat is nearly back to normal. After our vet ran tests to make sure there was nothing wrong with her thyroid, blood sugar, liver, and kidneys, we put her on a low dose of Prozac. Each day she got slightly better, less agitated, and began spending more and more time on the main floor of the house with the other cats. Today she resumed demanding water from the tap in the bathroom, and slept on her usual towel on the counter under the Xenon lights. And she pulled the kitchen calendar off the wall.

A few days ago we discovered what we think caused Sheba to flip out while I was in Florida. She goes outside for a brief period once or twice a day. When I returned from Florida, she was rushing outside at every opportunity, and then holing up in the cat tree on the front porch. Attempts to bring her in involve literally dragging her out of the cat tree while she held on with claws.

Friday morning I spotted Sheba on the neighbor's porch, getting ready to attack an enormous black-and-white male cat. According to neighbors, that cat spends most of his time on a nearby porch, inciting that family's indoor cats to hysteria. I shooed the cat, and Sheba agreed to come indoors. However, I think she has since nailed him.

We're keeping her on the Prozac for a while.

Meanwhile, I now have the electronic alarm system set up to catch the dog, which had left two more piles of crap on our lawn over the weekend.

The system was not triggered last night, but there wasn't any evidence on the lawn. We'll be on alert again tonight (the indoor-alarm half of the system can be turned off during the day while the outdoor sensor remains in place).

The worst case scenario is that the owner has spotted the sensor (camouflaged by a small shrub) — but even that's a win in terms of keeping our lawn clean.

One final note about animals — this afternoon there was a large black cat in the backyard that was covered in dust and appeared to be trailing pieces of rope or a harness. Whatever he was "wearing" didn't in anyway impede his movement, and after giving me a startled look, he vanished through the "cat opening" in our back fence. This attracted the attention of Mabel, Kaylee and Zoe, who looked utterly incredulous. Sheba, fortunately, sleep through it all.

Tomorrow: The semi-annual car check up at High Road. After I drop off the car in the early morning, I walk back along Ballard Avenue and see what new shops have appeared. Usually stop for breakfast at Vera's or at the Smoke Shop (which is pure time travel back to 1965).