Monthly Archives: September 2011

All hail King Oliver

The last thing I moved out of my old house was two chairs that had been in my basement. Before that they were in my college apartments. Before that they were in my parents’ basement. And before that – circa 1983 – they were in our kitchen. These chairs are vintage 80’s with a golden beige vinyl and straps to make them poofy.

They also happen to be extremely comfortable for long spans of time at a desk or workbench.

Or for long spans of time surveying your kingdom.

One of the chairs was moved to a kind of weird spot in our basement for the gathering on Saturday. It’s about three feet from both walls, essentially in the middle of the room. But, for Oliver, it is perfect. Purrfect?

From his new throne he can see down the hallway to the stairs – now with mirrors so he can see up the stairs. He can also see the other side of the basement. He likes that. The basement is also quiet and dark. He loves that.

The only thing he is missing is people for his court. Once in a while he’ll call to us from his throne. I call to him from the evil couch on the main floor. If he wants an audience, His Royal Greyness will have to come to me.

"I pledge to be a kind and benevolent all who bring me tuna."


It’s Thunder Thursday! Today I introduce you to another leader, Otis. And his brothers Henry and Oliver. You can meet them at the official blog of the Cult of Otis

All hail Otis, wise and furry leader.



A special OutTV miniseries: Picket Fences

I woke up on Monday with a horrible migraine. How did I know it was a migraine? Because the sound of me chewing my cereal echoed in my head so loudly that it made me queasy. That, and I went to bed on Sunday with the same headache.

Anyhow, the bright side of the migraine is that I went in late to work. Oliver set himself up for purr therapy – right across my face – and we took a nap. I woke up feeling better. And when I went into my office to kiss Obi’s head on my way out, I saw it.

It. Was. Fascinating.

There, on OutTV, was nothing…where a fence used to be. Our back yard neighbor decided to put up a new fence. And, well, they started on Monday morning.

Much like this blog post, the plot of Picket Fences is simple and pretty easy to follow. Oliver and Obi have been watching but they are fairly comfortable with walking away if something else is going on. They can jump right back into the story when they return to the window.

Tomorrow, Picket Fences will conclude. Important plot lines will be wrapped up. Things like will the workers put the stuff they moved in our driveway back where they got them? Will they pick up the trash they left in the alley? Will they be done by lunchtime?

Don’t worry, no spoilers here.

Post Traumatic Party Syndrome

Yesterday we had a small gathering of friends over to the house. Normally, one might call this a housewarming party but, since we’ve lived here for 53 weeks, the house is already pretty warm. Instead, we chose to celebrate only having one house.

Cleaning the house was enough to make Kitten Thunder nervous. I decided they would be safer and saner if I created Thunder Sanctuary in my office. I got a refill for the pheromone ball. I put in the food and water. I put up a cute sign asking people to ask me if they wanted to meet our fuzzy little celebrities. Then, with 15 minutes to go before guests were supposed to arrive, we locked them in.

I should mention that they both love my office and would normally spend all evening in there anyway.

But not THIS evening. First Oliver cried. Then Obi cried. Then Oliver cried. Then Obi cried. Then someone threw someone against the door. Then Oliver cried.

“Hey guys? After you set me on the bed someone accidentally shut the door on their way out. We’re locked in!”

Oliver yowled at the door for three hours. Except when we were out in the driveway and he yowled at us from the window. And once when he yowled so loudly through the heat vent that I thought he’d somehow gotten upstairs where I was giving a tour.

Obi, I think, would have taken a nap after the first three times we ignored his request to come out.

I was sitting on the front porch with a couple people and I glanced through the window and saw the hook of a grey tail go by. The Boy had decided to try and calm Oliver down. He was not anticipating that Kitten Thunder would rush the door.

Since things were slowing down, we just let them stay out. Oliver pounced on me the second I sat down and purred on my lap – eyeing anyone that came near to make sure they knew that I was HIS girl. Obi plunked down in the middle of the room so he could be seen – but not touched. No touching.

So…would they have been like that all evening? Or would Oliver have panicked and managed to race out the front door and down the street, not stopping until he was too far to find his way back? We’ll never know. But next time, I’m locking them in the room in the basement.


Why the reference to post traumatic party syndrome, you ask? I have two very clingy kittens today. And I’ve sacrificed a lot of paper towel to the upchuck gods. Oliver can’t figure out why I refused to feed him again.

Right now, Kitten Thunder is snuggled together on the cat shelf. Together they’ll get through this.

Oliver passes the man test

As most cat owners know, there is nothing more irresistible to a cat than a freshly cleaned litter box. With my fastidious grey kitten he sometimes jumps into a clean box with an urgency that suggests he’s been “holding it” for a while.

Such was the case at noon today while I was cleaning the office boxes. He didn’t even let me put the cover back on. Unfortunately, Oliver was not quite sure how to use an open air box. He looked. He turned. He turned. He turned.

Finally he put his front paws on the edge of the box. He spread his legs wide. And he went.

Oliver peed standing up.

After I scooped his new offering he got back in the box. Clearly, he had other business.

I shoved his tail into the box with him and put the lid on over him. Some things no one should have to watch.


Obi is very lovey tonight. It could just be because he’s in the mood to snuggle. I think it has something to do with my fingernails being the perfect length and sharpness right now.


It’s Thunder Thursday! Today we have Gibby. Gibby is my friend Adam’s cat. Kind of. Technically Gibby is Adam’s sister’s cat but he’s had him for so long that there would possibly be a custody battle…

Video snapshots: Abuse and neglect

I got Oliver and Obi a new toy yesterday. It has light up eyes and makes “life like squeaky noises” which, in all honesty, sound more like laser fire. Why does it light up and make noise? Because, according to the box, cats hunt at night. For giant mousies with laser beam eyes.

Oli and Obi in a pre-Thunder. Cuteness like lightning.

At the end of a long day, sometimes the kittens need some quality time with The Girl. And if The Girl tries to show The Boy a video of Kitten Thunder on the camera, sometimes The Boy decides to make a film instead.

This is, by the way, exactly how Obi chooses to be snuggled – near The Girl, but not being touched in any way. Once in a while he kicks me in the back of the head to let me know he cares.

She who must be punished.

Yesterday afternoon I asked Kitten Thunder if they wanted me to open a can of food for them. Heck to the yes, they replied. When they finished eating, I wonder how long it took them to notice The Boy and The Girl were gone. And so was that duffle bag Oliver had been guarding in the hallway.

When we returned this afternoon from our overnight trip to Denver for my friend Gary’s housewarming party, Oliver met us at the door. He let me pet him for about five minutes and then he disappeared. I settled down on the couch for an afternoon nap – riding in the car can be so tiring – and called for him. And called for him. And called for him.

Obi stayed in the living room with us all afternoon. I was watching Shawshank Redemption and The Boy was reading his new book. I’ve seen this movie nine million times and really want The Boy to watch it; now he’s been exposed, at least.

After the movie was over, Oliver came down for a snuggle. I’d been punished enough. And he was exhausted – laying upstairs NOT being snuggled and NOT coming to kittykittykitty was very hard work.

He’s Chief Executive Kitten. And a CEK has to do what a CEK has to do.

A war has been declared.

And that war? It’s on flat surfaces.

Last week I told you about Obi finding the hidden toy on my shelf. Little did I know that was just the beginning. Now I find him on that shelf constantly. More importantly, there is less stuff on that shelf every day.

Obi has decided that all things on flat surfaces must move to the floor.

It isn’t just that shelf, either. It’s The Boy’s desk, which has computer wires for Obi to play with. It’s The Boy’s workbench, which has little pieces of model trains to play with. It’s the coffee table which has – NO! YOU CAN’T HAVE THE SCISSORS!

Also in the flat surface category is the dining room table, a.k.a the place we throw all our stuff when we come home. Personally, I don’t know how Obi remembers there is a flat surface under there.


It’s Thunder Thursday! Today we bring you Lisa’s cat, Raja. This is what you might call a collaga of Raja.

An Angry Letter to Albertsons

"Make sure I look mad. Can you Photoshop me angrier?"

Dear Albertsons Grocery Store,

In the words of The Girl: What. The. Heck?

Last week, The Girl opened a new jug of milk. I heard the glorious crack of a milk ring and ran to the kitchen to receive my new toy. The only thing I like from the kitchen more than my weekly milk ring is tuna. But did I get tuna that day? No. Did I get a milk ring? No.

Why? Because the milk ring on that jug was a solid ring and The Girl, in spite of her best efforts, could not get it off the jug. She apologized. We assumed it was because we had milk with the red cap because you were out of the milk with the blue cap. We ASSUMED life would resume its normal, wonderful course this week.

But no.

This week The Girl came back from the store with blue capped milk. All was going according to plan. I heard the crackle of the new milk being opened and ran to the kitchen. The Girl was pouting at the milk. No ring for me. Again.

I repeat: What. The. Heck?

Seriously, Albertsons, I have been a customer of yours for eight years. I haven’t held things against you in the past – like when you changed the labels on Friskies to trick The Girl into bringing home pate-style food. Gross. Or when you let The Girl buy tuna in oil without pointing out her error – she won’t let me drink tuna oil because she “doesn’t want to lubricate my insides.” Whatever that means.

But this, Albertsons, will not stand. Bring back my peel-style milk rings. Or else.

Oh, and if you’re thinking along the same lines of The Boy – a.k.a. Mr. “Oh no, he only has a 20 year supply of milk rings in the house” – well, you just ask him in the morning what that kind of attitude will get you. That’s right. I have plans for HIM.


Weekend snapshots: Runaway tomatoes

"Enjoy the smell-o-vision while you can, its days are numbered."

The hail storm in July broke my tomato plant down to the ground. Just one branch, beaten and bruised, survived. That one branch has recovered, though, and I got my first cherry tomatoes this week. I’ve brought in one a day so last night there were four on the counter.

This morning there were two.

I found the first missing tomato on the floor. I looked for the other one. And looked. And looked. And looked. Not having any coffee in my system, I assumed that I was wrong about my tomato count and gave up.

The Boy reported the other missing tomato had made it to the bottom of the stairs.


At the bottom of the stairs, we had a little bit of water damage at the beginning of the summer. Since we don’t want to replace the whole wall until we make sure we have the problem fixed, I am patching the wall and painting it for now.

Obi is a lot of help.

He is, surprisingly, more help than The Boy who started peeling at the wall while we were talking. I explained my plan and that he needed to stop peeling. His attempts to stop peeling resulted in a dinner plate sized hole in the wall. And the patch does not want to stick to the fuzzy part of that hole.

So Obi will be helping me with the rest of the project.


The Boy did save me with the shelving project in the garage. My “easy to assemble; no tools required!” shelves were, um, not. I struggled with them for an hour and didn’t get the first shelf assembled.

Finally, I swallowed my pride and approached The Boy. “When you are between things, could you come look and these shelves and see if they are in fact crap or if it is just me being a girl, please?”

The Boy struggled with the shelves for about 40 minutes. He put them together wrong – according to the directions. He used a lot of muscle and his full body weight. He got them together.

So a little because I’m a girl. A lot because those shelves are crap.


Oliver and Obi are both horribly neglected. I’ve only snuggled them within inches of their lives this weekend. But that hasn’t been for an hour or so. Time for another round.

Purr Physical Therapy

I had plans for things to do tonight. But they have all been set aside because the tendons in my left hand started to burn at around 4 p.m. It is a kind of burning that isn’t helped by four hours of ice pack.

It is a kind of burning that isn’t helped by purr therapy.

Not that Kitten Thunder didn’t try.

It started with Oliver who noticed that I was laying on the couch with a blanky. He is so happy that blanket season is back. So he came and stretched over my hand – under the blanky, of course – and purred. And purred. And purred. The Boy had to bring me my dinner because there was no way we could disturb such a happy grey kitten.

When he got up I went and got the ice pack. He came back and stretched over it. His look said ice through fur feels less than comfortable.

He left and Obi stepped in. He tried to eat the ice pack. He licked my hand.

Alas, the hand still hurts. Some things aren’t as easily treated with purr therapy.


While I was typing this – ow, by the way – Obi came in, used my desk to access the top of the book shelf, and stole a cat toy I’d hidden up there. Like he knew it was there and was just waiting until he was in the mood to play with it.

This toy is a mouse on a string, hooked to a stick. You all know what I’m talking about. But the string is actually wire. The kind of wire that you see serial killers strangle women with on all those suspenseful TV shows and movies. You have to wonder about the person who saw one of those shows and thought, “yes! That’s perfect for cat toys!”

That’s why the toy was hidden.

He is now walking around the house with the mousie, a killer wire and stick trailing behind him. He’s made about four laps so far.

I think it is time to free the mousie.


It’s Thunder Thursday! Today we bring you Teva and Isabel, from Alone…With Cats fame. It is a brave woman who would have two dilute torties. But they seem to play along with her games – like wrapping them in celophane outfits.

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.”

"Hate her because she left a hairball in your shoe."


I freed the mousie. It is no longer fun.