Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Pet" Peeves

The longer Mel and I live together the more, unfortunately or fortunately depending on whose side we are referring to, I think we become like the other.  For example, the downstairs neighbor drives both of us crazy.  Mel pretty much doesn't like anybody.  Well okay, I pretty much don't like anybody either.  I like lots of people, just not most of them.  This neighbor always has something to say about everyone and everything and always has plenty of complaints to heap upon this poor soul of an HOA board volunteer.  (Oh the stories - and yes one day I most certainly will write a book called "True Stories of Fake People."  My copyright is already in place, my book deal signed.)

One of Mel and I's pet peeves is being interrupted in the sleeping process, or near-to-sleeping process.

I argue that she should be less incensed since she is a cat and sleep comes absolutely naturally to her, but I digress.

Other than a violent chainsaw accident, you may never find a faster way to lose an arm or hand then to wake Mel up from a deep sleep.  If you have ever seen the Disney animated version of Aladdin, in one of the first scenes the "Cave of Wonders" awakens and the spirit of the cave has a deep booming voice which threatens to swallow whoever is in the cave if they touch any of the treasure in the cave.

I imagine Mel's voice sounding the same and threatening to swallow whoever touches her in her sleep.

Last night, Mel and I went to bed early.  By early, I mean we were grandmas and were tucked in circa 8 pm.  Well actually my grandmothers both stay up late - my Grams is regularly up past midnight.  So more like being the working girls that we are, we were tucked in by 8 pm.

Around 9:00, just as we both hit that twilight of barely reachable, so-close-you-can-taste-it sleep -
Knock Knock.  
Mel lifted her head and I looked back at her.  She put her head down and I closed my eyes.
Knock Knock Knock. 
Knock Knock-Knock Knock.
Knock Knock Knock Knock.
Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock Knock

Dear Lord,
Please make her go away.
I know she sees my car in the parking lot.
I know she knows I'm home because she is the neighborhood gossip and spy who always knows not only when everyone is home, but when they got home, what they wore to work, what they're having for dinner and whether or not they have chewing gum on the bottom of their shoe.
Please, please have mercy upon us.
Love, Kelsey and Mel

It took 15 minutes to simmer back down from being extremely irritated that it took her 8 rounds of knocking to figure out that I wasn't going to answer the door (a previous time the count was 19 and I was in the bathroom - when I finally was able to open the door I immediately said, "HI.  I was going to the bathroom.  What can I do for you?"  I thought then that that situation had solved any future problems of not having 50 acres in the middle of no where to myself, but I was wrong.  At least the count is down to 8 which is probably "normal" in her mind).

So tomorrow morning, I may set my alarm for 4am.  I will then run back and forth through my second floor condo which is situated immediately above said neighbor.  In cowboy boots.  Doing gymnastics.  I may just then go down to my car and turn on the brights since I park right outside her bedroom.  Perhaps I will learn how to use my fancy stereo system and turn the bass up to 10000 gazillion +.  I may open my trunk and blare Snoop Dogg from my subs (yo).  But not before I lay on the horn and throw pebbles at her window to make extra sure she can hear everything that is going on - after I pound on her door 8 times on my way out to my car.  With a sledgehammer.

Needless to say, Mel and I have both been rather crotchety today.  And we are attempting to go to bed early.  Again.  In fact, I am in bed now.  It is 6:46pm.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Devil Went Down to....well, downstairs.

The beasty is currently sitting on my lap imploring me to write about her antics.
To start:
1. Devil costume has been conquered.
2. We are still praying together - and tonight my camera was within reach.  It sort of interrupted the thought process to stop and take a picture, but I feel that the prayer was still complete.
3. Fall decorations have been destroyed.
4. A story.

1.  I think Mel actually enjoyed her devil costume.  She seemed right at home in it as she slithered about the living room.  I'm not sure she appreciated the horns as much as the cape (perhaps she felt like supercat?), but I didn't lose any arms, legs, fingers, toes, or eyeballs in the process of dressing her up. Or my face.  =D

2. In a previous post I wrote how when I sit down, light a candle, and start to pray out loud for my friend Will who is fighting cancer, Mel will come up and sit with me long enough for the prayer and will hop back down once I'm finished.  Well tonight I caught her in the act!  You can see the lit candle between her ears. :)

3. Once the devil costume was on the beasty, she proceeded to eat my hay bale, silk flowers and chew on my candy corn lights.  Once the devil costume was off the beasty, she proceeded to eat my hay bale, silk flowers and chew on my candy corn lights. Here she has pulled apart my silk flower arrangement that I made by hand, myself.

And 4....A story.

So the other day I came home with several bags of stuff in my arms.  I kicked open my door, put everything down and shut the door behind me.  Normally Mel greets me and if I jangle my keys, I hear her squawking.  Well my hands were full so there was no key jangling and therefore no squawking.  And there was no cat.  Highly unusual.
I started to call for her.  She generally comes to her name especially if she has been alone all day.
No Mel.
I went into my room.  Not on the bed.
I opened up my closet and checked my pile of handbags.  No Mel.
Pile of jeans.  No Mel.
Suitcase.  No Mel.
Linen closet.  No Mel.
Laundry room.  No Mel.
Dining area.  No Mel.
Living room.  No Mel.
Under the bed. No Mel.
Under the couch.  No Mel.
Guest bathroom.  No Mel.
My bathroom.  No Mel.
Balcony to see if she locked herself out again.  No Mel.
Guest bedroom.  No Mel.
Guest bedroom closet.  No Mel.
Bathroom cupboards.  No Mel.
Kitchen cupboards.  No Mel.
Dryer.  No Mel.
Underwear drawer.  No Mel.
I was beginning to get frantic as I had covered my square footage + some at this point.
No Mel.
Well something I've been learning over the past few months is that in staying calm, I usually get what I want sooner and easier than freaking out.  Sort of like the old story about the princess who searches high and low for her prized pearl and diamond necklace and can't find it anywhere, but when she sits down to think it through, she finds it already around her own neck.
At this point I'm talking to myself.
Mel is generally not the Houdini type cat.  She's generally just a crank pot.
I'm racking my brain.  Did someone come in my house and steal my cat?!
I noticed that my sofa pillows had the tell tale cat indentation in them.  I touched it.  Still warm.
Cat must be close by.  I relaxed a little bit.
About 10 minutes had passed.
I retrace my steps....
Just then there was a knock on the door.
I ran over and opened it and in comes Mel.
Mel was not the one who knocked.  But she may as well have been.
My neighbor stood there looking at me, and said, "Oh I guess that IS your cat."
"Oh my gosh!!" I gushed.  "Where did you find her?  I've been looking everywhere for her!!"
Verbatim: "She was sitting at the top of the stairs staring at your door like she wanted in."

Sigh.  It's a good thing she does not have opposable thumbs - nothing would be safe.

One final picture for tonight that I'm sure will help me get a date in the future:

She does have her moments....

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's a Lion, It's a Bear....It's Just Mel

In an effort to not spend a gazillion dollars getting home this holiday season, I started my airfare search early.  At one point Mom (Gammy) and I had discussed driving cross country again like we did last year (circumstances being that I was too sick, unable, and not allowed to travel by plane).  In an effort to get home for my grandfather's funeral service and have Christmas together in addition to allowing me some ample supervised recooperating time from surgery, Mom plopped me in the back seat of my Toyota Echo (at 106,000 miles) and set off ahead of a snow storm (go Momma Bear!).  Our car ride was fun until Day Four when we were both going stir crazy in the teeny tiny, itty bitty Toyota Echo...and we hit snow in Flagstaff, AZ.  Mom even made me wear a pink birthday ribbon and tiara on our drive through Tennessee last December 4th.
(Anecdotal side story:  We crawled into an Ihop after a long day of driving, Mom relentless about me wearing my tiara and ribbon to announce to the world that it was my birthday (mind you I could barely walk at this point) and the server (who also told my mom that he had no idea what the soup of the day was, but that it smelled) asked, "Is it really your birthday?"
"No," I replied, "I wear pink ribbons and tiaras that say 'Birthday Girl' every day."
"Really?  Where are you from?"
"Not East Tennessee."
But I digress.  And I actually love East Tennessee.)

And Mel actually LOVED the car ride.  She sat on my lap almost the entire drive from coast to coast.  The snow we hit in Flagstaff was of particular curiosity to her.  She kept batting the fluffy monster flakes of snow as they splattered on the window and windshield.  When not keeping my lap warm, she was perched behind the seats in the back of the car, keeping a lookout for us. 

So this year I thought, both Mom and I are feeling better and we can make better time.  I want to take Mel with me because I refuse to pay $40-$50 per day for someone to spend 15 minutes throwing down some food for her and probably running out as fast as possible so as not to be eaten alive by the Lion Hybrid Diabolical Beasty.  And I think I've tortured my friends enough with asking them to "take care" of her (IE risking their lives to make sure my house is in one piece).

Well all in all, I worked out the cost and with hotels thrown in, it was still $700 plus whatever mom would have to spend flying both ways anyway to help me drive.  When I found a nonstop fare for the same cost I booked it and booked Mel.

Then I thought, "Oh shit.  What have I done?"

I'm going to have to take Mel on an airplane.  With other people.

I called the airline desk to see what the stipulations were.  $100 each way for Mel.  Will have to check my bag because Mel is my baggage.  Mel is my baggage.  Har har. Har har har.  HAHAHAHAHAHAA.  Never was there a truer statement.   30 day health certificate in advance.  Oh, and they reserve the right to refuse aggressive animals.


"What's considered an aggresive animal?"  I asked, trying to feign stupidity and make it sound like I was only curious, not that I was asking because I own one.

"I mean... she's going to probably be hissing because she'll be scared."

Nice recovery - Mel as a scared little petunia in an onion patch.... right.

"I would recommend a tranquilizer," said the representative.

I simply ended the conversation at that point (tranquilizer?  yeah right.  Can I get a tranquilizer to tranquilize her please?).

So I'm a wee bit concerned about getting Mel on the plane.  On the other hand, they accept people who pay for one seat and take up two, and screaming ill-behaved children.  My little dumpling will be just fine.

But just to be safe, I think I'll call the animal control shelter and see if they have any leftover bear tranquilizer darts that they'd be willing to sell me.

Oh and the whole thing about not spending a gazillion dollars was such a joke.

Mel riding in the car on the drive home last March.  

Monday, October 4, 2010

She's a witch...she's a devil...she's a...pumpkin?

This past weekend Mel and I decorated her house.
Mel LOVES decorations.  Decorations involve boxes.  New smells.  Things to chew on.  Ladders.  Climbing up on the ladders so that I can't get down.
The first year I had Mel I bought her an angel costume for Halloween.  It was only a dollar and she ate the pipe cleaner halo.
This year my mom sent a much more appropriate devil costume for Mel.  I'm procrastinating on putting it on her.  I may wait until closer to Halloween so that in the event I lose an arm I'll fit right in without costume.
As I unpacked the box of fall decorations I pulled out Mel hopped in and out of the boxes, chewing on most of my decorations.  Melody got her name because when she is excited she seems to dance around in her own way.  Appropriately:

Mel's Favorite Things (to tune)-
Dried autumn leaves in baskets a plenty
Pumpkins and ghosts that number of twenty
Boxes to jump in and hide til attack
Kelsey's foot that I'll never give back

Fall colored leaves on a long string of garland
To understand garland you must be a MacFarland
Draped everywhere for the cat to chew on
The devil at work, or at least his spawn!

Then comes the wretching brought on by fake leaves
It's the best thing when that sound's achieved
Sounds like a plumber who just cleared a pipe
Don't take away my leaves or you'll get a big swipe

When it's autumn
With the beasty
And you're feeling scared
Just simply remember to fight her right back
With vinegar spraaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy... and a glaaaaarrrrre

Bravo, bravo.

So this weekend was filled with trouble making.  My leaf garland (my love of which is inherited from the MacFarlane/MacFarland side of the family who always seem to have garlands draped around at holiday time, my dislike of which comes from the cat treat they become) half survived the cat.  I place my pumpkin decorations out along with some autumnal candles.

And then I went a little to far and bought a can of pumpkin at the grocery store.  What on earth could Kelsey possible be doing with a can of pumpkin besides making something nasty for a haunted house?  Surely, SURELY, she is not going to try to actually make something edible with pumpkin.  From scratch!?

Ahhh yes.  I did.

Pumpkin bread, pumpkin pancakes, and pumpkin cookies.  Not ONCE did I set off my fire alarm - huzzah!!

AND I learned something about Mel.

Mel loves pumpkin.

The cat who won't eat wet cat food, tuna from a can, cat treats, expensive cat treats, gourmet cat treats, luxury cat treats, things that are cat treats bordering on human food - she ate pumpkin.  Just when I thought things couldn't get any more weird.

I have to say, walking into my kitchen and seeing Mel with her head down in the (nearly) empty can of pumpkin guts caused me to stop, turn around, and walk back into the kitchen a second time just to make sure I was really, actually seeing this happen.

Sure enough she brought her head up out of the can, covered with pumpkin and cleaning and preening the morsels off of her face with her paw, quite enthusiastically.

Last night she had her face in my pumpkin cookies.  This morning she had her nose in my pumpkin bread.  Relentlessly.  I finally put some bread crumbs in her dish and she neatly ate around her regular food, sucking up the bread crumbs.

Now interestingly, I attended church yesterday and the sermon was on the bread of life.  Our minister brought in a basket of all types of different breads for communion - tortillas, naan, pita, gluten-free... and blah blah I'll spare you a spiritual lecture, but it was quite an interesting message.  In my previous post I mentioned how Mel has been "praying" with me for our friend Will.  All of a sudden my cat is eating bread.  Has she been enlightened?  Has she come over from the dark side?  Has she taken a break from reigning over Hell?  Had she not eaten her pipe cleaner halo, I could try it on her and see if she were to spaz or spontaneously combust or sit peacefully.

Nah.  I'm looking forward to seeing the devil costume that "Gammy" sent on her, but not getting it on her.  Maybe if I leave it sitting out for her she'll put it on herself just like she helped herself to eating pumpkin.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Prayers and Hairs

It's been awhile since there have been some serious Mel antics.  I feel like I am waiting in the calm before the storm.

Other than attempting to ingest my blooming violets and laying on my freshly dried, clean clothes in the dryer (her favorite naughty thing to do), things have been pretty mild.

Although we are back to the 4am Mel tornadoes around the condo during which she enjoys jumping up on the bed, running around the room, flying back up onto the bed, and chewing on my hair.  This is by far the strangest Mel behavior I have ever encountered (thus far anyway, I hesitate to make any definitive statement about Melody).

Mel and I have actually been praying together.  There's a saying about cats and their recognition of positive vs. negative energy and "filling the void" when too much negative energy is present or "boosting" the positive energy.  When I was sick last year, Mel seemed to always know where my pain is and then position herself on that place.  She even learned that she couldn't lay on my right side where my ostomy bag was and where they had made the incision to perform surgery.  She remains intuitive about my moods or if I'm not feeling well.  Besides friends, cats are the best medicine.

This past week has been tough - in fact typing out the word "week" seems so disconnected because the past week has felt like months.  A good friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer.  In fact it is our buddy Buddy's Dad, Will.  Strangely one of the only people Mel ever liked, I swear she knew exactly who I was talking about the other night when I started praying for him out loud while sitting in bed.

She hopped up on the bed and curled up on my lap, shifting her weight and looking up at me with her green eyes as if to say "I want to pray for him too."  I put my hand down next to her paw and she put her paw on my hand.  It was really an amazing thing.  Once we were done, it was also like she knew.  She got up, stretched out and jumped off the bed and didn't return until the lights were out.  She has continued to sit with me when I pray for my friend at 11pm each night.  I think it is her way of putting that boost of positive energy into the prayer for Will.

Nightly, Mel and I "share" the (my) pillow.  This involves me using the far right corner (approx. 2 inches of the pillow) and her laying on the rest of it.

While very cute and charming, there are several things that happen in this scene.  Either I end up with Mel's whiskers tickling my face or ear, I end up with her butt in my face, or she chews my hair - in a fashion similar to a cow chewing its cud.  Nosh nosh nosh.  Smack smack smack.

I've never been able to figure out why she does this.  Does my hair taste good?  Is there something in my shampoo that makes it tasty?  Does it feel good between her teeth?  Is she actually trying to eat my hair like she eats my violets?  ...
My cat is possibly trying to eat me alive.  I knew it.