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January 28, 2005

Time for another entry...

Not that new or interesting things happen all that frequently around here. As I've noted before, with all the animals at the age of majority (with cats, I figure it's two years; with dogs, who knows?), new things don't happen very often.

I've been playing around, the past week or so, with lawn/landscape planning software. I've decided I'm seceding from the U.S. in my own small way, and screw the world. I don't like the way things are going, and the only control I have is over this little 90'x120' old-'burb lot on which we live, so I'm determined to control it in a big way this year. In other words, I plan to '0wnX0r t3h |_0t, |_0|_' bigtime.

We already cut down four trees (all silver maples that were full of bugs that would eventually have killed them, as little as I like to lose greenery), so I'll have to replace the 'visual interest' with something. So the home and garden planning software kills time before the mid-February seed starter date I gave myself last month, when I bought the starter packs and the seeds for the forget-me-nots, pinks and lobelias.

This is the software I've been using:

Oops -- was going to link to the page on the Broderbund site for the software (it's Broderbund 3D Home Architect Design Suite 6.0), but it's completely disappeared between two days before I purchased the software and now (a span of a whopping four days). I'm impressed they axed it that fast, and with so little warning -- I suppose the product support will be impressive, and the updates frequent. NOT.

Sigh. Oh, well -- at least the animals don't require upgrades. That's reassuring. Hope the seeds I bought to start early don't require any customer support -- I'm fooked if they do, because the original owners probably have left this plane of existence. Kali, I'm looking at you...

Anyway, enough about gardening -- this journal is intended primarily to be about the animals. Not much changes in big ways, but there are small changes, however transient they may prove to be.

For instance, this past week, Squeek has suddenly and firmly decided books that I want to read in bed at night are her enemies. If she wants to get up on the bed -- even after Tink is there, which doesn't seem to bother Tink, perhaps because she knows Squeek will leave voluntarily once the light goes off (or she can bully her off, if she doesn't) -- and have some attention at bedtime, well, screw my book. Squeek is more important, after all.

She gets right up in my face, on my pillow (I have to lie on my stomach and splay my legs to read, since Tink affixes herself to the bed for the night about ten minutes after I get into bed), between my eyes and the book, and walks back and forth until I give up on reading entirely and pet her.

This is unusual because Squeek usually doesn't ask for much, affection- or attention-wise, if she's not asking for food. She likes a minute or two at night from Tony, usually after I get in bed, and she'll let me run a hand over her head when I deliver food on the table by my desk, but that's about it most of the time.

But this time of year, I always enter the 'insomnia zone,' and no amount of melatonin, or antihistamines, or really much of anything not manufactured by Big Pharma and requiring embarrasingly candid admissions to my somewhat arrogant (however competent) primary care physician, seems to make much difference. So I try to read around the usual diversions that don't really matter much any other time of year -- Tony's snoring, Tink's camping between my knees and pinning me to the bed, the joy of wearing industrial-strength earplugs that almost but don't quite block out Tony's snoring (because they're designed to cut damaging high-frequency noise, not annoying low-frequency snoring), that sort of thing.

As has happened off and on for the past seven years, since we first brought her home in ninety-seven, Tink settles in between my knees early on; add to that the fact that Tony snores like an outboard motor; plus, this is the time of year my ears get tired of having mega-compression earplugs jammed in the canals and rebel by either developing ingrown hairs or just plain aching like a broken tooth when I jam the plugs in because to really block the sound I have to create a mild vacuum against my eardrums...

So to lull myself to sleep, I try to read something not too exciting for a while, when I first get in bed, since it has some return even if I'm not sleeping (which, quite frequently, I am not). Only the past few nights I haven't been able to, because it's pretty much impossible to read through ten pounds of tortie meat, however transparent the fact she's jealous of the book may be. Her jealousy, in other words, may be perfectly transparent; she is not.

Not that it matters to Squeek. Oh, no -- she doesn't seem to sleep much more than I do (cats generally spend about 60% of their day asleep, at Squeek's age, but there's no way she clocks more than half, when we're around), and I sleep somewhere in the vicinity of 25-33% of my time. No wonder she's a bloody psycho-freak -- for a cat, she's suffering sleep deprivation, most of the time.

Max is enjoying the snow, now that it's frozen fairly solid and, even when soft, not piled up above his ribcage. He actually loves to go out and run in the snow, and the cold seems to affect him not at all. Wish I could say the same -- when it's this cold, it takes me almost as long to wrap up to take him out for his late-morning walk as it does to do the walk itself, up and around the block.

Today, we walked the longer, Friday walk -- up two blocks, over one, down two and back -- and my kneecaps felt like frisbees by the time we got home. Max seemed unfazed, even though it was about ten degrees with a headwind for half of the walk. He's eating an ice cube, right now. I swear, this dog could live in Antarctica and never notice it was cold.

Not much other animal news. Tink and Gord are their usual food-begging, occasional lap-stealing selves. Gord steals a lap two or three times a day; Tink only does that on Fridays, if I'm sitting in my computer chair, just before Tony calls to say he's on his way home from work.

Some folks fool themselves their cats want to sit on their laps and petition for attention because they like them ... I'm convinced Tink does it because she's afraid if she doesn't, I'll somehow forget to give them their five o'clock/late afternoon (they don't get it until Tony gets home on the days I work) kibble. Because, you know, I forget it so often. Same thing as Schnickel walking on the bed, searching desperately for my bladder to put pressure on, first thing in the morning -- because I so frequently forget to feed them when I first stumble out of bed. They get their food before I get my coffee, and that tells you all you need to know about my priorities vis a vis the cats. It means one of two things -- I love them, or they're so freakin' annoying that if I didn't feed them before I poured my coffee, I'd kill them and stuff them in the freezer.

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds it may incriminate me.

They whine because they're on a permanent diet, of course, so they always think that if they're hungry I must have forgotten to give them food. Because there's nothing wrong with a normal (American) domestic shorthair housecat weighing 18 pounds, right? Except the possibility of them developing diabetes, and the fact that if something happened and one of them couldn't eat for a few days, they might develop fatty liver syndrome and croak. Other than that, there's nothing at all wrong with them being so overweight they're greasy, grumpy, itchy and covered with dandruff. Heh.

Which is to say, they can whine all they want, but they're getting what I say they're getting to eat, and that's it. The vets at the clinic give me the stinkeye if the cats get much over fifteen pounds, and I guess looking at them, I can kind of understand it (though Tink doesn't show her weight much because, unlike Gord, who actually gets a spare tire, she puts it on evenly all over her body and she's enormous), and they're better-tempered when they're not tubby and incapable of grooming themselves.

You gotta love winter, trapped in a small house with five domestic animals. It gets so, by this late in the season, the little shits own the place more than we do -- we lose the will to fight many of their quirks, and they generally decide many things. For instance, if you're not sitting at your computer right now, typing with a 22-pound Pomeranian mix draped across your arms, you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Seriously.

Posted by Melinda at January 28, 2005 10:38 PM

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