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My Life with Kittehs

Monday, June 29, 2009


It was 2:20 a
m when I heard the sound. It was a howl. Like a lone tiger calling for its mate in the Ohio wilderness.
Only it wasn't the wilderness, it was urban NW Ohio. It wasn't a wolf, but my housemate's overweight cat. He wasn't calling for his mate. He has been neutered.
I immediately got up. I guess it would be likened to a mother jumping out of the bed at the sound of a child crying.
Yes, it is just like that.

I ran downstairs and asked Fattie, "what is wrong."
He started pacing and howling again. I followed his gaze to the windows. I searched the porch for the source of his frustration. Was there something on the porch that had upset the cat?
I found nothing.
I went back to Fattie Cat. I wondered, what could be bothering him.

Then it hit me. Where was Skinny Kitty? I hadn't seen her since mid morning.
I walked around the house. Looking for Kitty. Fattie followed me in an anxious huff. Then I heard a "thump" on the second floor. It could have only been Kitty jumping down from something. I looked for her in my closet. Nothing. In the yarn room closet. Nothing.

Then I heard her meow. She had been locked in the other roommates bedroom. OOOOOOH.
Skinny Kitty ran out when I opened the door but stopped at the top of the stairs as if to say "thank you" to Fattie Cat.

Yeah, Fattie was just sitting on the top step as I searched for Kitty.

Fattie looked at me and yowled again. Walked over to the water dish that he insists I keep maintained with fresh water. He indicated with his nose that it needed to be refilled. As he usually does.

There have been occasions where he has wakened me up from a leisurely nap to fill his dish. He will crawl under my bed and meow until I get up. Fattie will casually trot to my door, check to see if I am following him then proceed to stop at the water dish. He has trained me well. ..... Oh did I mention that his original water/food dish is kept in the basement. He seems to think that he deserves fresh water on the second floor as well as the basement.

I filled it with water from the bathroom sink. He looked at it, meowed and then looked at me again.

I sighed. He doesn't like the dish to have any cat hair in it when he drinks from it. So I cleaned the water dish before filling it yet again with fresh water. He approached it. Sniffed it and then began to drink. Skinny Kitty cautiously sauntered next to him and drank, too.

For good measure, I gave them some kitty treats before sneaking back into my bed unnoticed. It was now 2:50 am

Crafty Update

I am working on a blanket for my across the street neighbor who is having a little girl this Fall. I am using this openwork pattern with the prettiest pink yarn.

I have almost completed the shawl that I am making to cover my shoulders during the long and cold conference meetings in Charleston in two weeks. Brrrrr.

Mark my text, I will not volunteer for another traveling scarf group. The premise is easy. Start a scarf mail it to the next person. She/he adds to it and mails it on. And so on until it gets back to you. They are nerve wracking when life makes you too busy to keep up with sending/receiving. I have three scarves mocking me right now. Just sitting on my floor. Waiting for me to add 8 inches and mail them to the next person.

I expect to finish the granny square blanket this month. Wish me luck!



My Block is Full of Mystery

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Mysterious Third Can
Yesterday was trash pick up day. After work, I pulled up to my home and found three trash cans.

Two, I recognized. This one is the the mystery. Look at it. It looks like it belongs at my house. It was the only one standing upright in my yard. To the casual observer, it is my trash can. But it is not. The other two had fallen down. Very odd.

Did they mate? And why won't the real owner of this can retrieve it?

I don't know why, but strange things continue to happen.
Geppetto?
or Pied Piper? To whom do these kids belong?
The number of children on my block have grown. I remember 4 maybe 6 kids. Now there appear to be twelve. Seriously.
I asked the SAHM across the street to explain it all to me. She assured me that there were only two new kids, as one house had new owners. It didn't add up.
Then I got it.


The kids across the street had been on "This side of the street" restriction until about two weeks ago. Now that they can cross the street, they are all over my yard and my neighbor's yard.

And they act as if they own the entire block. I see them riding their bikes (six to 8 kids at a time) up and down another neighbor's driveway. He recently had it blacktopped so it is smoooooth riding for them. It is like a carousel. They kids ride from the blue house on the corner to the middle of the block, into the driveway and make a u-turn back to the blue house. One after the other. They do this when he is at work.

They are so laid back that one day, I spied
a pair of socks and shoes on my front lawn. For several hours. Then they disappeared. Magic.

Often, I come home from work and find the remains of a water balloon fight. In my lawn. On my sidewalk. Everywhere. And the kids have been sharing my name among each other. So now it is, "Hi Frizzy..... Hi Frizzy, Hi Frizzy " about 12 or so times as each child notices me. It is difficult to ignore.

Very funny.
Some stuff, I just don't want happening next door to me.
I was confused when I noticed that the little girls (who previously did not cross the street) seem to visit the next door neighbor, Junior, on his front lawn and try to stand near him. Then I remembered that his voice is deepening. It is amazing. This kid is now a middle school hunk. One gal can't keep her hands off of him. I think she has a crush but he doesn't know what to do. Last week, the kids were serenading thee couple with that classic romantic ditty
"K-I-S-S-I-N-G........."
I write this because I have been sitting on my porch lately. On evenings that I know the mom is not home, I like to stand on my stoop and watch the kids to make sure that he doesn't leave and they don't go in the house. Yeah, I have my eyes on him.
Other stuff, I don't need to know
On Sunday, I saw Junior dragging the house water hose and cart across the street. I think that I saw six other kids following him wearing their swim suits. They were headed to another kid's house. I thought about shouting after him. I know that noone would have approved of him taking the hose cart. But......I changed my mind and went back to my romance novel. There were too many explanations for the hose...I wasn't that curious.

Sounds of the night
In addition to the sound of kids playing there has been a lot of extra noises lately.
The next door neighbors decided to get a puppy just to annoy me. The puppy and the older dog like to play "keep away" with their steel bowls at about one am every night on the cement driveway.
One night, I snuck out there, flipped over the steel bowl, stole one of the driveway paving stones, put it in the bowl, filled it with water, and went back to bed. Mystery of the early morning racket, resolved.


My Dad the Chocolate Barney

Monday, June 15, 2009

When I was a kid, my dad was sick and twisted. I love him dearly but he wasn't normal.
Daddy killed the Easter Bunny
One Easter, when I was about 5 I asked about the bunny. He casually told me that he caught the Easter Bunny sneaking into the house and killed him. Cut him up and put him in the freezer. I was terrified for years to look into the freezer. When we moved a few years later I watched my mother intently as she emptied the freezer. I wanted to get a final look at the Easter bunny. He also claimed responsibility for the death of Santa Claus.

Daddy had a car that could fly
Dad loved to drive us around and try to convince us that his car could float. He would ride us around the block several times until we admitted that we felt the car float. He drove huge GM cars back then. And I swear they did kinda float over bumps.

Daddy was a rolling stone
Dad had been married before he met my mom, so I have an older sister and an older brother. He made sure that we always knew our family. His definition of family was loose, too. When untimely death took my sister's step-father, Dad treated her little brother like family.

During summers, this brave man would gather all five of us to stay with him for a few weeks. In his sparsely furnished apartments he would leave us while he worked. In this way, Dad was a genius. We rarely destroyed anything of value. I mean, we were all about 18 months apart. In hindsight, I kinda feel bad for my oldest sister. She would go from her mother's home with just her and her little brother to Dad's house where she was in charge of two boys and two girls.

Daddy prevented alcoholism
At night, we would sleep on the floor of his living room or separate into the guests rooms if they were available. To get the five of us to sleep Dad taught us a drinking game. We played Spoons and each time you lost we had to drink a gulp of beer. Back then, Dad drank really cheap beer. It was a recession after all and Red, White and Blue beer wasn't going to make us like drinking beer anytime soon. One visit, one of us figured out that the beer tasted better when mixed with fruit juices. Yes. Before the age of ten I was drinking fruit flavored malt drinks.

Over the years, each of us in turn would realize what Dad was doing and decline the beer. It became more fun to watch the younger ones get silly and sleepy.
I love my dad. I can never turn my nose up to beer. Doing so would be akin to saying that I don't like my Dad. And I aint saying that.

Dad eats gross foods
Dad would order lots of pizza for us when we visited. One large pepperoni for us and one large pepperoni with anchovies for him. I am convinced that he did not regularly eat anchovies - only when we were visiting. Every once in a while the boys would be dared to eat an anchovy laden pizza. We figured that if one of us could tolerate the pizza then he know that the game was over and start ordering two pepperoni pizzas. It never happened. Today, anchovies do not frighten me. I welcome the smell of them, cuz they remind me of Dad and his silly tactics to horde pizza for himself.

Dad is picky about his TV
We watched a lot of videos when visiting Dad. As a baby boomer and student of the civil rights era, he felt compelled to augment our education with videos.
We watched old episodes of Amos and Andy to be educated on early TV and how it minstrelled the black culture. Imagine being a kid at your dad's feet and he is cursing at the TV. Cursing at the video that He Rented from the store and pointing out every stereotype and caricature. Then suddenly, he gets misty remembering his grandmother's love for the show.
Confusing.... and funny.

Then there were the blaxploitation movies of the 70s that he forced us to watch. Every visit a new movie, a new indignation remembered by Dad. He would spin tales of going to the movies with friends and leaving angry. I love watching those movies now. They remind me of Dad being angry at the TV and of being a kid. My favorite is still Blacula.

Dad also had a wacky streak. One day he snuck in a video before he went out for the night for us to watch. We were expecting some old pimp movie with guys wearing platforms and boas. Or an afro wearing good girl out for revenge with a gun. What we got was Faces of Death. Yes, there were guns but none of the fine drama you find in those old flix from the 70s. When he came home later that evening, he snickered while asking us if we enjoyed the movie. He played pranks like that on us a lot.

Dad loved his square burgers

Dad made sure that we knew our extended family. We took trips to Chicago, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Georgia and North Carolina. Dad was a man of habit, as well. No matter where we went, we always stopped at a Wendy's. We would take I-75 from Ohio to Georgia and stop every few hours for coffee and food at Wendy's. When I got old enough to drive to fast food restaurants, I avoided Wendy's for years. Now they are my second choice behind Steak N Shake. During the trips, we listened to jazz. Not this stuff you hear now but real classic jazz. I think only two of us enjoy jazz now. The other three can't stand to hear it anymore.

Talking to Dad now is tricky as he works for GM, I never know what mood he will be in when we speak. Will he be railing against the corporate machine or the government? Will he be considering retirement? Will he be talking about the upcoming jazz concert at the park? I never know.

Dad was protective
I went away to college in the early 90s. About 3 hours from him. That did not matter. He called my dorm room every Saturday at 8:30 am. This was before voicemail and cell phones. No matter what I did on Friday night, I had to be in my room by Saturday morning or I panicked. In return, he faithfully deposited 20 dollars into a savings account for me each week.


I will always be a beer loving, 1970's movie watching, jazz loving child of my father forever.

Happy Father's Day

Crafty Update
I completed the Red and White Granny Square





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