Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Hungry Strikes Back

Another note from Oliver:

The other day, I told you about how I brought about continued breakfasts by using a negotiation tool – the hungry strike. You might not know this, but my Girl is smart. After seeing me use this tool just once, my Girl turned it around on me!

Afternoon nap time was over and my Girl, I found, was in the out, spraying water on the ground. I don’t know what the ground outside did to make my Girl angry, but it gets punished with water spritzing at least once a day. Especially the ground she put in pots. It was super naughty.

While Obi and I were supervising, The Boy came up the sidewalk. He goes away every morning, and he must not be as smart as my Girl because it takes him ALL DAY to find his way back. Obi says I’m wrong – The Boy is just as smart but he goes on bigger adventures. After all, The Boy is safe inside the house with far less supervision. I say that is because my Girl is more precious. Anyway…

My Girl and The Boy discussed the naughty dirt for a while. Then they came inside. Obi got a belly rub while I took off my Girl’s shoes. Then she went to the fridge, pulled out two bottles, and she and The Boy went BACK outside. The Boy sat outside on the porch, right by the window by our condo. My girl was out there somewhere as well; I couldn’t see her but I could hear her.

So Obi and I supervised through the screen. I waited patiently, figuring they must need to discuss something important. Surely she would return for our evening snuggle as quickly as she could. But the conversation seemed normal. And then The Boy came in and got two more bottles from the fridge.

Enough was enough.

“Girl!” I called. “Get in!”

“What?” The Boy said. I can tell when he does this that he thinks he’s imitating the authority in my voice, but from him it sounds kind of whiney.

“Girl! In!”

“Oliver,” she said, “will you go make our pizza?”

“In! Now!”

“Seriously, Oli. I think I’m going to go on a hungry strike. No snuggles until I’ve had my pizza.”

Hmm, sneaky Girl.

The Boy chimed in: “what would you put on our pizza, Oli?”

“Tuna,” I replied thoughtfully as my mind raced to put a paw on the right countermove. Obi had arrived next to me and chimed in, “cheese.” I rolled my eyes and toothed his ear. I would never put cheese on a pizza. I hate cheese. I only eat it because I’m alpha food cat so I have to eat the stupid things they put out for Obi. Cheese. Gross.

“Cheese would be good on a pizza, Baby,” my Girl said to Obi. “TUNA,” I repeated, louder so she’d hear me this time.

The Boy and my Girl changed the subject again. I waited patiently for them to get back to the subject at paw. Eventually, I had to repeat my demands. “In. In. In.”

“Is my pizza done?” my Girl asked. I heard her sigh. “My beer is gone. I guess we have to make our own dang pizza.”

And then The Boy and my Girl were inside. I watched hopefully while they cooked the pizza – pepperoni…olives…and…cheese. Oy.

I guess you can’t blame them for sour grapes – they put up a tough negotiation but Oliver will always win in the end. And seal the deal with a snuggle.


Lose the Shoes

Shoes are not okay.

Shoes let you go out.

You must stay in.

Take off these shoes.


Hungry Strike

A note from Oliver:

Last night, my Girl and The Boy said they were ready for bed. So obviously I thought they were going to feed me so I got really excited. I started giving them suggestions for which flavor to open. But they got lost and went up the stairs instead of to my food bowl.

I followed them upstairs, reminding them about dinner.

They said I’ve never gotten dinner ever in my life. Unfair.

The Girl and I watch lots of television (the stupid glowy screen, not the good stuff on OutTV) so I knew just what to do: I went on a hungry strike.

When The Girl called me to the bed to snuggle, I didn’t go. I stomped around the bed in a big circle, ducking under the headboard to complete the circle. And I chanted. Feed the kittehs! Pets only for hands that feed us!

Obi sat on the foot of the bed and watched me circle. He didn’t join in. He wouldn’t ever get to eat if I wasn’t constantly reminding The Girl to feed us.

The Girl set her book down and I could tell she wanted to negotiate so I went to face her down. She leaned close to the edge of the bed. She looked me straight in the eye. “I will feed you in the morning.”

Success! Having won the talks and gotten promises of meals to come, I declared the hungry strike over. We celebrated the quick and successful conclusion of the conflict with a snuggle.

It’s better than a handshake.

The Worst OutTV Ever

Kitten Thunder likes a bunch of OutTV programming. They are usually happy with just about anything, especially if there’s smell-o-vision involved. But there is one program Oliver just can not stand.

Girl in the Out.

This is why our awesome covered porch is underutilized. It is hard to sit back and relax when a kitten is sitting at the window, crying for you to come back inside.

This evening, I planted our sturdier vegetables. Oliver followed me, from the inside, window to window. He cried. Girl. Girl. Girl? Come inside Girl.

Eventually, the kittens sent The Boy outside to check on me. As he and I talked, Oliver coached him. Boy? Boy! Tell The Girl to come inside. IN. Iiiiiiiin.

I ran out of soil for my pots so I headed inside. Then I remembered that I needed to water the pots in front so I walked right through the house and out another door. And The Boy followed me.

Kitten Thunder did not approve.

In? Come in? In?

They met us at the door and I picked Oliver up. He was so happy the show was over. Then I realized I hadn’t washed my hands. I was covered in soil and coffee mulch. I showed Oliver one of my hands.

He did not approve: Gross! Down! Get that out away from me.

String Fever

There is a stretchy string in our living room.

I don’t know where it came from, but it is there. Oliver loves stretchy strings. This afternoon, the grey kitten decided to move the string to a different location. I’m not sure what his motivation was. Safety from the brother? Better place to play? Putting it somewhere where he wouldn’t forget where he put it?

We all know how that last one goes, right?

Oliver picked up the string and looked around. He tried placing it in the fortress. He tried two or three boxes, but none of them were right. So he took the string and jumped onto the dining room table. He set it down. Batted at it. Looked out the window and sighed.

He picked up the string and went into the kitchen. I heard him walking around, crying.

He went upstairs.

He came back downstairs.

He cried and I called to him. He returned to the living room, string hanging from his mouth, and gave me a soulful, sorrowful look. And then he set the string down, exactly where he’d picked it up in the first place.

And the grey kitten joined me on the couch for a snuggle. He’ll figure out what to do with the string tomorrow.


A couple months ago, a friend of mine had a baby. To be clear, she still has a baby – now it is on the outside. I offered to bring her coffee today, as well as some adult conversation and some admiration for the little person she made.

And scritchy fingers for her two large, wooly dogs.

Guinness and Woody were very excited that somebody came to see them for a change. I sat down on the floor and let them walk all over me. I petted. I rubbed. I scritched.

And they licked.

I have very few rules in my life:
Don’t hurt people on purpose.
Don’t tell big lies for small things.
Let the past go.
Believe in positive motives in others.
Don’t kiss dogs.

When I got home, Oliver met me at the door. He was horrified. I smelled DISGUSTING. He called Obi over and they started a full cat scan. Oliver demanded to be picked up so he could sniff my arms and shoulders and hands. Obi was checking out my feet and my knees and standing on tiptoe to smell my back pockets. Eventually, I sat down on the couch to make things easier.

Oliver became more grossed out with every sniff. I smelled like dog everywhere he’d checked.

Then he looked me in the eye.

It was the moment of truth.

He sniffed my face. The grey kittens nose scanned my chin. My cheeks. My nose. My forehead, my eyelids. Not a trace of puppy.

“I don’t kiss dogs,” I said.

Well, okay then. I passed inspection and all was forgiven. Oliver plunked down in my arms and started to purr while Obi went to demand his belly rub from The Boy.

And I’ve taken a shower so I’ll be allowed into bed tonight.

What are we sewing?

I don’t know, but obviously The Girl needs our help.


And that’s why I start winter projects in May.


While The Boy was working on plumbing in the basement as part of the laundry room project, he had to turn off the water. Now this would be a straight forward proposition in some places, but not, as it happens, in our house. There were numerous options for where to turn off the water to the laundry room. One of those options was in the ceiling of the downstairs bathroom. My bathroom.

The first Monday morning after he worked on it over the weekend, I stepped out of the shower to a big puddle of water on the floor. At first I thought the steam had just gathered on the cold pipes and dripped. So I mopped it up. A while later, I identified the problem. A drip.

It was the kind of drip that you get familiar with in an old home. It was the “this gasket was fine until you touched it” drip.

I put a paint tray underneath it and went on with my day. The Boy was aware of the drip, it turns out, but was hoping it would stop. It didn’t. He was going to have to do something. But, since it was a slow drip, nothing was done right away. A week later, the paint tray had about a half an inch of water in it. As I was getting ready for work, I noticed that Oliver was in the bathroom with me. And then Obi arrived.

But I was not the source of their entertainment.

There was a bubble.

Every time the water dripped from the pipe, a bubble would form in the water and float around for a bit. The kittens would watch it intently until it popped. Then they would continue to watch, hoping it would come back. They’d lose interest and look away just as a new droplet fell to create a bubble. Then they would lean in close to look at the new bubble.

I waited.

I hoped. 

I anticipated.

It may be mean of me, but I’m sad to say neither of them ever got pegged in the head by a droplet.

Does that make me a bad “mom”?


Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, grandma, and mother in law. Plus, of course, all the other mothers out there doing what you do. And Kitten Thunder sends out warm purrs and head hugs to all the Girls and “moms” of critters big and small.

Where’s Pepe?

I had a blog all planned for tonight but, just as I settled down to write, Bestest Kitteh-sitter in the World called. She was being held captive by a bat in her house. I heard her say very clearly that she couldn’t get out of the cupboard.

I changed out of my jammies and headed up the street.

I was happy to see Lori, under the COVERS, on her chair in the living room. The bat, said the blanket, was in the plant in the corner. I had him caught just that easy, but he slipped out of the towel as I was looking to confirm he was caught.

I followed him to the spare room and closed the door to wait for him to land somewhere. Then I took his picture, named him Pepe, and went in search of a stool.


He was very interested in what I had to say. He tilted his head and wiggled his ears this way and that. He clicked at me. He agreed with me that he is a very handsome little boy.

Then he called me a bunch of names as I grabbed him, wrapped him in a towel and escorted him outside.

Goblin, who I believe is responsible for the visitor, wanted to help me catch Pepe. I wasn’t interested in his help.

When I was done, Lori and I were talking in the living room. Goblin looked everywhere for Pepe. Then he came in to sulk.


No Pepe. No legs. No love.

Goblin did not approve.

No Legs

When your legs run away, you have no defense when The Girl puts a ball in front of you on the stool. Woe is Cousin Spade.


I’m in Rock Springs to take pictures of the Big Boy 4014 on its way to its new home in Cheyenne and to teach a class on social media. Tune in Thursday for the tale of how Oliver, more whiney than usual anyway, handled my absence.