Right this moment in Cheyenne it is eight degrees below zero. Even by Wyoming standards, that’s a wee bit chilly. In fact, a bunch of people have looked it up and we’re colder than many places in Alaska this week.
Aside from the five hours I had to walk around the downtown area in a blizzard (on Tuesday) and in below zero temperatures (Wednesday), I’ve been blissfully enjoying a career that involves my house, the couch, a blanket and a cat. And a computer, of course.
This morning, though, I realized that the furnace had been running for a while. Like, since I got up. And before that. And, more importantly, I was still shivering under my blanket.
Looking around at my bright, sunny house I realized that drastic measures had to be taken in light of the frigid temperatures. Everyone was going to have to make some sacrifices for the good of the house. Unfortunately…
We were going to have to turn off OutTV.
I went from room to room, dropping our blinds all the way to the bottom sill of each window. At first Obi was interested in what i was doing. Then he realized my intentions and was horrified.
He raced me from one window to the next. “I’m watching this channel!” But I turned it off. To the next window. “This is my favorite program!” Off.
All the programming isn’t off. I didn’t have the heart to turn the OutTV all the way off by the kitty condo. I pulled the drapes nearly closed and dropped the blinds down except for about four inches at the bottom. On, but turned way down. Also, the blinds are broken in the front window so I couldn’t turn OutTV off.
Though without dogs walking, runners running, squirrels scampering or birds hopping…there’s nothing good on OutTV anyway.
This past weekend, The Boy and I were out of town at the same time since we returned from Europe in May. The Boy was at a train show in Evanston.
I was in Utah with my family riding this.
And then I went back to Rock Springs to the county fair where I saw this.
And saw Phil Vassar in concert with a beautiful desert sunset in the background.
While we were having a great time, I worried about the kittehs. So, whilst my nephew and niece exchanged tokens for tickets at Chuck E. Cheese on Saturday, I sent a text to Lori, bestest kitteh-sitter in all the land.
Where the kittehs okay? Were they not too freaked out?
Lori’s entrance into the house each day was met with apocalypse-sized drama. There was moaning and crying. Glares and pouting. I was very worried until we got home.
Oliver says that Lori exaggerates and that – other than that they hadn’t eaten for like TWO WEEKS while we were gone for three days – they were fine. I opened a can of food for them, even though it was midnight and the breakfast bell would be ringing waaaaay before any of us would like. Sometimes, a little home cooking – or Mama’s come home cooking – is all you need to soothe a troubled soul.
We were expecting a huge amount of snow overnight. We only got four inches, not anything to talk about in Wyoming in April. When we were still anticipating, my boss (me) decided we would wear jeans today even if we still had meetings to go to today.
This morning, The Boy not only had to go to work but had to go early. No snow day for us. Oliver, though, decided we should have a delayed start.
And then it snowed.
As I was finishing up my coffee, I received a call about getting counters installed. I threw on some clothes and went out to shovel our walks for the counter guy. Jeff, from Jeff Channel fame, was also shoveling. The Boy and I are going to Croatia this spring and Lori isn’t available for kitteh sitting the whole time (has to go to Yellowstone for “work”). I asked Jeff if he would be willing to make a celebrity appearance.
And then it snowed.
The counter guy arrived and had to shovel again before bringing stuff in.
There is more to do tomorrow and Thursday, but then we’ll have a kitchen again! I have never realized how much I love my kitchen sink. It is wrong to use water from the bathroom to cook.
The kittens helped by inspecting the sink.
And then it snowed.
While the counters were being installed, I worked on jewelry for my friend Angie. She sent me a bunch of rocks to work with. Here’s Obi helping with my photography efforts.
And then I rammed my pliers into my hand and bled. A lot. And then it snowed. A lot.
One of my clients closed early so I didn’t have to go in.
And then it snowed.
My hair stylist called and cancelled our appointment.
And then it snowed.
The City closed its offices and The Boy came home.
And then it snowed.
The striations are kind of cool. By counting the rings we can see that this storm is 12 snow years old.
Oliver and Obi are as cute as ever this week, but since it is Thunder Thursday and I have two fantastic guest stories, Kitten Thunder is taking a break today. First, guest kittehs!
These kittens belong to a teacher that works at my mom’s school. She says it is their first Christmas.
Possibly their last.
I’m an ornament!
Now we’re done.
Mom seems mad.
And for the dog lovers out there: the tale of ZuZu. On Facebook this week, a friend of a friend of a friend posted about a dog who was missing up in the mountains. She’d been out with her puppy-sister and owners and suddenly disappeared. They searched and searched but were forced to leave the mountain without their fuzzy.
The post was shared by hundreds of strangers, including me. I kept checking, hoping. But three days in a Wyoming mountain in December? Her only hope was if someone had picked her up and taken her to a town.
Or so I thought. ZuZu was found yesterday in the same spot she’d disappeared – cold, hungry and tired. But okay.
Prior to staying at home and petting kitties all day, er, um, I mean WORKING at my own business, I worked for Wyoming’s department of tourism. It was pretty fun – who wouldn’t want to talk about Yellowstone and the Red Desert and Devils Tower and Cheyenne and points in between all day? But there was one problem.
The office has now moved to the state’s border.
This is a good thing, really. The old office where I worked was on the wrong side of the highway and it was ten miles into the state. The new one is on the correct side of the highway – the side where people are coming IN to the state – and way far out there.
Anyone who knows me, though, has heard the story about how when I worked at the chamber of commerce and they closed 15th Street and ruined my life. They put up one blockade and suddenly my morning commute went from three minutes to five minutes. Dude. NOT okay. And it has just gotten longer and longer and longer. The old tourism office was TEN minutes away. The new one would be TWENTY.
So, obviously, I had to quit before the move happened.
The new office had its grand opening on Friday. It is very nice. If you happen through Cheyenne, it is worth a stop. And not just because you can see my name in print on an interpretive sign at the top of a berm.
My name, a permanent part of the Wyoming landscape, in a photo credit.
But more important than my photo credits is the swag. I got myself a new travel coffee mug that is much bigger than my chamber of commerce travel mug. And some posty notes in a leather case. AND AND AND…chocolate. The chocolate came in a golden box with one of those golden stretchy strings tied in a bow.
There’s not much Oliver likes more than loops of stretchy string.
This was one of those rare instances where Oliver had more fun with a toy than Obi. Oli’s string jumped, and leaped and ran across the house for a solid hour. It eventually was lost under the door of the main floor bathroom. Obi’s? It is still on the rug. Sitting. Waiting. I did pick it up once and fling it into a box. That made it interesting.
For a second.
Today, while pulling things out of my closet, we found a golden loop in a suitcase. Now THAT one was fun.
I’ve been planning a blog post all day in my head. Then this happened.
It took me twice as long as usual to drive home. For one thing, I could barely see. For another, people were making questionable shelter choices. Like the idiot who decided to wait out the storm in an underpass – next to an already flooded drainage – because he didn’t want hail to hit his precious Hummer. And a whole bunch of people parking under our 100 year old cottonwood trees that drop branches on a sunny day. Um, no. I kept going.
The result of the storm was about 100 dimples (Divots? Dents? Horrific canyons?) in my hood and on the roof of my car. And three places where pieces of my car are actually missing. Sigh. But it makes a good story.
After arriving home and sitting in the driveway waiting for the hail to at least get smaller than ping pong balls, I finally made it into the house. Kitten Thunder met me at the door. Oliver was fuh-reaking out. He wanted to be held. Obi wanted to show me what was happening on OutTV.
The storm passed and The Boy got home so we ventured out to see the damage. There’s a lot, but other than our cars there’s nothing valuable that is lost. I was a week away from peas and tomatoes…not so much any more. Oliver was NOT happy that we were in the Out. To calm him, I went inside and turned on the TV.
That’s when the TV flashed a tornado warning. I tried to get The Boy, but he was down the block. I sent him a text. Not too worried – the funnel clouds were to the east – I turned and looked at Kitten Thunder. “You want to go downstairs, boys?”
Yes. They did.
Once I was settled in a chair and watching, coincidentally, a program on the Weather Channel about storm chasers in Wyoming, Oliver paced between me and the bottom of the stairs. The Boy arrived. Oli was content.
For the next 20 minutes, Kitten Thunder tried to convince us they needed to be airbrushed. Of course my camera was upstairs so I don’t have the very cute picture of them sitting together in the paint station. I’m pretty sure that’s why they did it.
The TV continued to beep in with warnings of flash flooding, tornadoes and severe thunderstorms. The watches and warnings are pretty common here on the high plains and most people I know were probably outside looking at the weather. But Oli doesn’t know that. So he did what the TV said and went to take shelter in his windowless box in an interior room. I also don’t have a picture of that.
Things are calm now. We have occasional big rain. Obi caught a miller moth. The Boy is reading in the living room. And Oliver is passed out from the effort of being a nervous grey kitten who is in charge of keeping the household safe.
So this was totally supposed to be what my post was about today.
I was going to be way off topic, but on Wednesday I found out that I was going to get to go parasailing in the Tetons for work. And off topic is one thing. Getting to do something awesome and tell you guys about it – with video from our helmet cam, no less – is way off topic in a sooooooo awesome way.
There were 30 mph winds at the peak and evidently the argument “wind schmind” is not good enough to talk the professionals into taking us anyway. Sheesh.
So instead I watched my friends try out the new mountain bike park (that’s why we were there, after all), took a billion pictures (why I was there, in particular), watched kids learn about mountain climbing, ate a ton of great food, took a tram to Rendezvous Mountain’s top (yep, windy), ate some more great food, hiked to Phelps Lake, and passed out every night from splendid exhaustion.
We also went to cool places and hiked a little more on the way to and from Teton Village, but I’m too tired to tell you about it. So I leave you with this: trust your vacation to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Even a couch potato like me can have a fantastic weekend in their hands.
And, to get back on topic, I bring you two sleepy kitties. These are from the archives…I’m ready to plop onto the evil couch and let it easy my tired body.
"I just need to catch about 40 winks to get ready for bed..."
It has been many many many many many many MANY months since we’ve had the windows open at our house. Yesterday, at long last, it was warmer outside than it was in. Around the time I started cooking a burger and filling the house with smoke – purely a coincidence, I assure you – I decided to open windows.
Kitten Thunder was so excited! There were smells. So many smells. And, with the help of a 30 mph crosswind, the burger smell was very quickly replaced with those smells.
"Smell-o-vision, brought to you in stereo."
On this particular program of OutTV we had our neighbor in the alley with his dog. They were dragging out large pieces of recreational equipment with big engines. Did I mention that OutTV also has sound again? SOUND! LOTS OF SOUND!?!
Shortly after I took this picture, Obi decided he needed to be in Oliver’s window. Oliver left to check out the other five windows that were open. Shortly after that, Obi decided to leave the window in a rather ungraceful fashion. The Boy called it “falling.” Obi is supervising this post and takes offense. Sometimes you just need to leave a flat surface without propelling yourself away from the wall or putting out your feet to land. We’re humans; what do we know about being cats?
For the rest of the afternoon Kitten Thunder played with The Girl’s head. I was working in my office and every time I looked at the kitty condo there was a different cat in there. I never saw them switch out. Sneaky. Very sneaky.
And today? Four inches of snow. No smell-o-vision. On the bright side? I didn’t cook, either.