Meowy Catsmas

The damn cats have been here for exactly a year. Oh, joy! And tomorrow is also the 1st anniversary of the release of my first kidney stones. Thank God that’s over.

My little Grinch didn’t want to put up a tree this year. She was concerned for her cats. I was concerned for the glass ornaments.

We managed to get our 5 foot, fake, pre-lit tree out of the box today. I usually set it on top of a small skirted table. An accident waiting to happen, right? My brilliant idea was to screw the base of the tree to the cheap table. That was a small project. (Never the right tool when you need it.)

Later, as we worked in the other room, the meowing turned to crying. “Go check on the cats, please,” I said. Moments later, she screams from the living room, “Dad. You have to see this!” The tree looked like a blind man trimmed it with a chainsaw. One cat was on the skirted table, at the base of the tree looking up at his brother. Oh, brother. The other one was tangled in the wires, hanging upside down from his haunches.

It took the two of us, one at each end, to push him backwards past the wire to freedom. He wasn’t grateful. He was still trying to hang on.

The tree stands sturdy, all lit, gathering gifts in its entire naked splendor. (Ornaments would be too risky this year.) A full, plastic, quart-size squirt bottle stands nearby to defend the tree from would be feline climbers.

Damn Cats and Meowy Catsmas.

ciao, Pete

Efficiency Expert







They Ate My Nuts!


This is the second in a series, which I’m sure will be epic, about my daughter’s damn cats. Actually there was one, up to this point, unrecorded incident which spurred the outcry, “DAMN CATS!” It was a small incident where they broke a favorite flower vase. But that was what started it all.

Snacking on peanuts and other tree nuts is one of my favorite things. I always check the label and get the lowest sodium ones. Often I buy a variety of nuts: almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, etc. and mix them myself.

Lately, I mixed a small batch of honey roasted peanuts and roasted hazelnuts. I munched a few handfuls after dinner and left the bowl on the kitchen counter. I left about a cup and a half in the bowl that night.

Next morning, the bowl of nuts was empty. I swear it was half full when I went to bed. I asked my daughter if the cats were in her room all night, as usual. She said, “Yes.” What the heck? I noticed three hazel nuts on the kitchen floor. What the heck? Am I NUTS?

I double checked. “Were the cats in your room all night?” “Yes”, she came back. “But, I did let them out early this morning.”


ciao, Pete

It’s all a matter of face

When it comes to dogs, I have a steep learning curve. Fortunately for me, Schnitzel has a passion for pet-agogy.

Meeting and greeting Schnitzel I never understood why verbal greetings and petting was not enough for Schnitzel. Every time I came home, Schnitzel would run up, fling his body at me, dash three or four yards away, and then return to leap upwards, again and again. (If he could fly squirrels would be in serious trouble.)

I was mystified for some time. I never knew just how to respond except perhaps to feel just a little bit guilty for not taking him along or for staying away way too long (in dog time).

After watching Schnitzel meet and greet other dogs I came to recognize that dogs prefer to lick faces; Schnitzel was trying to reach my face to greet me and to physically reestablish contact after prolonged absence. Further, his dashing away to leap upwards was a heroic attempt to gain altitude – to reach my face.

The challenge now became, could I, would I learn to meet and greet in dog language?

Now, being face-licked my or any dog’s tongue is not exactly one of my life’s top ten experiences, but I have learned to bend a little.

I love all 20 pounds of him; if I get a bit of dog slobber on my nose, I choose to live with it.

Dogs lick to like.

A Paws-able moment

If only my eyes could take a snapshot to share.

We were sitting down to a quiet breakfast this morning when Schnitzel clambered upon the third seat at our table. He waited patiently (for a dog at least) for us to respond to his canine agenda.

After politely welcoming him into our company we returned to breakfast, eating, reading, and discussing amongst ourselves.

Then Schnitzel quietly lifted one paw onto the table, just onto the very edge of the table, no more. At first alarmed, then reassured he was not going to climb up onto our breakfast table, we returned to our human pursuits.

When he received no desired response from us, he raised his other front paw to the table laying it alongside his first, and continued to waiting for us to comply with his canine wishes.

And then I got it.

The two of us were sitting with our two human paws resting on the edge of the table – and now so was Schnitzel.

Now, we will never know whether he had he done it on purpose, but to my eyes he had clearly joined us in an entirely paws-able manner.