Sheltering in Place – Day 43

Today was Ellie, my cat’s,10th  birthday. I looked on the internet to see what else happened 10 years ago on April 28th. Absolutely nothing else of significance. Apparently, the highlight of April 28, 2010, was Ellie’s birth. I’ve always suspected this. No wonder she thinks of herself as a queen (note the crown). I know her date of birth because her mother, a seal-point Siamese, was in the animal shelter where she gave birth to a litter of kittens. Ellie was one. Yes, for all her regalness, Ellie is a rescue cat. But she has requested we keep it on the down-low. She doesn’t want word of this to get around the neighborhood. She has her reputation, doncha know. I thought it would be nice to show a typical day in the life of the monarch, she who graces us with her presence: First, there is breakfast. I think it should be noted that after a long night of sleeping, a hungry cat can be the most insistent alarm clock in the world. And breakfast seems to be sacrosanct to most cats. Breakfast is from 9 to 9:15 am. There is no deviation. After breakfast, we have nap time. True, she just woke up, but there is a certain amount of stress in moving from the bed to her cereal bowl. Besides, her philosophy is nap time should take up the bulk of the day. This is different than sleeping, which she does at night. In the daytime, she naps. All-day long. It’s written in her contract. She has many separate nap times and they are delineated by food and snacks.  After breaking her fast, the rest of the morning is devoted to her mid-morning nap. Then a light snack from 12 noon to 12:15. For the record, there are…

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Sheltering in Place, Day 42

The governor of California has extended the shelter-in-place mandate until the end of May! Good grief! I have committed myself to nattering on about my thoughts and feelings until the shelter-in-place days are over. But what am I going to drivel on about? Because, let’s face it, drivel I do. Let me marshal my options on possible subjects: 1 -Hubby. The man I married is an endless source of material. Love him though I do, he is responsible for much amusement around the house. And aggravation.  Usually, he’s endearing and thoughtful. He has been known to clean up the kitchen, load the dishwasher, and do a load of laundry, all before I get up in the morning. But just when I think he is the most thoughtful man in the world he goes and does something thoughtless, like leaving one of the stove burners on after he’s cooked something for himself. No matter how many times I tell him to turn the burners off BEFORE he lifts the pot from the stove, he keeps forgetting. We even have little signs – “The fire marshall is watching YOU.” Someday I just might pull the stove out and put in one that turns itself off when there’s no more weight on the burner. That stove is right around the corner, should the house not burn down beforehand. 2 – Ellie, my cat. My darling, adorable, tubby Ellie is a spoiled brat, indulged beyond belief. I not only acknowledge the fact but stand firm that it is totally my doing. I say with no small amount of pride that I can take any ordinary alley cat and turn it into a neurotic French Poodle in less than three months. I like to think of it as a gift. 3 – My hair, my…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 35

Kitty litter. There are supposed to be 100 uses for it besides the obvious, which is poop patrol. But the obvious is what I use it for. I remember when I was a kid back in the Punic Wars, we didn’t use store-bought kitty litter, even tho it was invented in 1947. You either brought in dirt from your garden (and all its pests) or you used strips of newspaper. The Miami Herald was my mother’s favorite home-made kitty litter. It was torn into narrow strips, spread around in the box, and the cats never seemed to mind at all peeing on the latest headlines. My job was to rip up a week’s worth of strips every week to be stored in a bag for later use. I may be resorting to that method very soon. Why you may ask? Because the sellers of Ellie’s kitty litter are now asking $25 a bag. And that’s NOT for a 60-pound bag, as you would think. It’s for a 6-pound bag. That’s outrageous. As it is, I’ve been paying $14.99 a bag online since early March, due to COVID19. Fortunately, I have a couple of bags stored away. I use a particular brand (see right) because it has a low dust level, is ecologically sound, and lasts a long time. I can go 6 to 8 weeks without changing the litter. But not at 25 bucks a clip. So I am now resorting to other brands for my little darling, Ellie. I’m not sure she even cares. Ellie is from the school of thought that she is there solely to do her business. She feels she does not need designer litter and I need to get over myself. She has not told me this in so many words, but after a while,…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 31

Hubby is a musician. His first instrument is his voice. He really has a gorgeous singing voice. This is not bragging. He does. We’ve been married since 1982. I don’t have to brag anymore. He sings all types of songs, from rock and roll, to soul, to crooning standards. And there are his other, secondary instruments, such as guitars, drums, and piano. Add to that lot his paraphernalia, which includes music stands, microphones, amplifiers, miles and miles of wires, and I don’t know what-all a professional musician seems to need. It is neverending. I have often said to him, “So listen, darling, you can’t just play the triangle?”         But the answer is no and what he uses in his musical career takes up space. We live in a 2-bedroom condo with a carport, not a garage. Which is why our king bed is on 6-inch risers.  Storage. One of the bedrooms already functions as his music room slash office and it is at full capacity. The drums alone fill a closet. So under our bed everything that can fit goes, much to the cat’s delight. Cats love his stuff. Many’s the time we have found a cat nestled inside one of his guitar cases snoozing away. Hubby’s not thrilled about it, but he’s used to sharing all aspects of his life with a cat. Goes with the territory. Back to the 6-inch risers on which our bed rests. These risers don’t last forever. No matter what you pay for them eventually, they break. And when they do it’s a big job replacing them. So today we had to remove the bed covers, mattress cover, foam padding, mattress, and box springs to replace two. These things ain’t easy to move around. They are awkward and heavy. And no…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 24

Everything I am, I owe to my cat. Now some people might call this a harsh assessment of me, the human being. But I feel that Ellie has shown me areas of my personality that could use some work. First, humility. I can say with no small amount of pride that when I am with her she doesn’t seem to mind. This has boosted my self-esteem tremendously. Being not minded by your cat is a feat unlike any other. It is not often that your cat gives you a free-to-walk-about-the-place card. I take this with the humbleness it deserves. Second, clarity. Having prolonged chit-chats with another entity who dozes off upon occasion or interjects the conversation with yawning goes a long way in reminding one to keep up the pace of the subject matter. Do not rest or linger upon a particular subject. Do not indulge in long-windedness. When I do, Ellie hops off the bed and heads for her cereal bowl. Or litter pan. Either way, she makes it clear I am never going to win the debate championship. Brevity is all. Third, campaigning. Rubbing bellies, chuffing under chins, scratching behind ears goes a long way to winning over a constituent to your way of thinking. Democrats and Republicans take note. If you are looking for a canoodle with a warm, fuzzy thing, consider doing this. Do not, however, do this with two-legged constituents, especially if they answer to the name of Tiffany or Peaches. This has gotten many a politician in deep trouble, often putting the kibosh on a promising career. As Ellie has said, choose your companions wisely. Then chuff away. Fourth, compromise. You are not going to have your way completely. In fact, you may not have your way at all. So you wanted the quilt and…

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Sheltering in Place – Day 20

In these times of stress, I am trying to keep my life smaller and simpler. And remember to be grateful. We will get through this, I know. We just have to wash our hands and ride it out. But here are five things that help me do that almost daily. Things that make me feel better 1 – Canoodling with my cat, Ellie. She may be a bit tubby, but she has the softest, most luxurious fur I’ve ever felt. There’s nothing more soothing that stroking her and listening to her purr. Better than a Valium. Really, it is. 2 – Stepping outside and inhaling the fragrance of the orange and lemon blossoms that happen to grace my small, back patio. I watch the bees buzzing around flowers, the sun peeking through the leaves and branches, and I think the world isn’t so bad, after all. Really, I do. 3 – Watching the hummingbirds hover around the birdfeeder. They let me know when the feeder is running dry, too, by fluttering in my face. Maybe they haven’t carried a sign saying “birdfeeder empty, Mom,” but I know they know I’m their mommy. Really, I am. 4 – Watching old, old reruns of Are You Being Served, an ancient British sitcom from the seventies that still makes my laugh. I grew up with those people at Grace Brothers Store. I think of them as part of my family. Really, I do.     5 – Playing gin rummy with hubby. I taught him how to play and he wins far more often than I thought he would. But then, I win sometimes, too. We have a lot of fun and enjoy ourselves enormously. I believe that’s because we’re evenly matched. Really, we are.

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Sheltering in Place – Day 14

We can relate, even though it’s only day 14. From the Funny Cat Diary Secret Cat Diary DAY 752 — My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while I am forced to eat dry cereal. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope of escape, and the mild satisfaction I get from ruining the occasional piece of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant. DAY 761 — Today my attempt to kill my captors by weaving around their feet while they were walking almost succeeded, must try this at the top of the stairs. In an attempt to disgust and repulse these vile oppressors, I once again induced myself to vomit on their favorite chair … must try this on their bed. DAY 762 — Slept all day so that I could annoy my captors with sleep depriving, incessant pleas for food at ungodly hours of the night. DAY 765 — Decapitated a mouse and brought them the headless body, in attempt to make them aware of what I am capable of, and to try to strike fear into their hearts. They only cooed and condescended about what a good little cat I was … Hmmm. Not working according to plan. DAY 768 — I am finally aware of how sadistic they are. For no good reason I was chosen for the water torture. This time however it included a burning foamy chemical called “shampoo.” What sick minds could invent such a liquid. My only consolation is the piece of thumb still stuck between my teeth. DAY 771 — There was some sort of gathering of their accomplices. I was placed in solitary throughout the event. However, I could hear the noise and smell the foul odor of…

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I’m teaching my cat, Ellie, to say the word ‘Greenies’

There is a method to my madness. My two cats get three types of treats. Yes, they are spoiled, but let’s move beyond that. Yulie has learned through the years to jump up on their counter, and point to the treat he wants with his nose. Problem solved. But it is Ellie that concerns me. When I put treats down on the floor for her (she can’t jump up onto the counter; too tubby), Ellie turns her back on me and just sits, waiting. I have to put all three treats down before she turns around and chooses one. Sure, she does eat the other selections, but maybe it’s more of an afterthought? Anyway, it occurred to me that if I teach her to call out the treats by name, it could save me a lot of trouble. I started with the brand, Greenies. My reasoning was ‘Temptations’ is a hard a word to say right off the bat. And the word ‘Party Mix’? Forget it. And after all, she is a cat. She needs time to work into this. Every day for about three months, I shook the bags with the treats in them and she came running. Then I repeated the word “Greenies’ again and again. So far, nothing. So I STILL have to put all three down for her to select the one she wants. And then she eats the rest! I mean, really? How dumb can she be?

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Gobble, Gobble

  Which do you like better, cats or dogs? Cats are phenomenal animals. They have surpassed dogs in popularity, but I suspect this is because we have a lot of city dwellers in apartments where space is at a premium. We could never short-shrift our canine buddies; dogs are pretty terrific, too. Most people I know have both when they can. I would if we had the room. In Japan, where many apartments are the size of closets, cats are almost revered, which from a feline’s point of view is only as it should be. This Thanksgiving, Yulie and Ellie want to reach out and wish all their four-footed friends a safe, happy, and tummy-filled holiday. Across the land shelters are filled with those less fortunate. Please remember them, too. To us, their two-footed friends, they advise to keep turkey-coated tinfoil out of harms way and not let pets get too freaked out from visitors or small hands that can paw harshly at them. Good memories and love to all, no matter how many feet we have. Or if we meow or bark. Happy Thanksgiving. To enter to win a Thanksgiving placemat for your cat’s cereal bowl, leave a comment and email your home address to heatherhavenstories@gmail.com.

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Happy Halloween from Ellie and Yulie

It’s on the way!  It’s nearly Halloween and Ellie has a new hat and a new job! She’s been hired out as the official Good Will Black Cat Ambassador for HavenMeister Productions (that would be us) for the Halloween season. As she’s not allowed outside, her job is to lounge around the house with her belly hanging out, eat her treats whenever she wants, and play with any toy that amuses her. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it. We were going to give her a cardboard haunted house, but she’s afraid of haunted houses and prefers her pillow, thank you. She is thrilled to be earning 3¢ a week!   Her brother, Yulie, who happens to be a Flame Point Siamese is getting into the act. He’s a fun kinda guy. And if you’re looking for a fun, lightweight mystery to read with a few witches in it, try my first Persephone Cole Vintage Mystery, The Dagger Before Me. A 1942 Broadway production of Macbeth has double, double toil and trouble. But Percy Cole, along with her noodle and a WWI German Mauser, is on the case.   Happy Halloween, everyone!

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