Cat Harassment

 Breeder's Corner, Cat Tales, General  Comments Off on Cat Harassment
Aug 122011

When we first brought Duchess home, she was a jumpy, timid creature. Naturally any cat is going to be nervous in a new environment, but I’d never known one who was so alarmed by everything. If someone stood up too fast, she would bolt into the basement. If Alpha Geek or the Artist stood up at all, she would bolt for the basement—she was fine as long as they were sitting, but when they stood up they were just so appallingly tall it freaked her out. If we moved too fast, or made a loud noise, she would bolt for the basement.

Often Alpha Geek cannot resist pushing someone’s buttons, including hers. When he took off his shoes, he would take a sock and lob it gently in her direction. She would bolt for the basement.

My younger son, the Director, is energetic (to say the least). These days it’s fashionable to say that such a person has ADHD, but the Director really does; he’s been diagnosed and we’ve done a lot of work with schools and shrinks to help him learn to control his impulsive behavior. (Turns out ADHD, like Asperger’s Syndrome, is a form of high-functioning autism. This is what happens when geeks breed.)

The Director is rarely still. He usually runs everywhere. He’s prone to abrupt, unpredictable bursts of motion and noise.

Nonetheless, he is the one that our nervous, jumpy cat chose to be Her Person.

If anyone else ran towards her, she would—you guessed it—bolt for the basement. If the Director ran towards her, she would get up to meet him. If anyone else picks her up, she struggles mightily; she hates to be picked up. If the Director picks her up, she will complain but won’t struggle. When the kid is in school, she looks for him when it’s time for him to get home.

Alpha Geek has trouble fathoming this attachment. The kid will sit on the floor and pester the cat. He’ll roll her over from one side to the other. He’ll pick her up and put her on his lap, and when she climbs off he’ll pick her up again. Finally Alpha Geek will say, “Leave the cat alone.”

So the Director will get up and leave. And Duchess will get up and follow.

Because ultimately the reason they have such a close bond is that they understand each other. They’re both complete and utter attention whores.

Nowadays she’s not nearly so nervous, either. She comes to greet us when we get home, and will also come check out strangers (as long as they don’t come in the front door). She’s no longer alarmed by the two tall men walking past. If Alpha Geek lobs a sock at her, she will step to the side just far enough to avoid it, then give him an “Oh, please” look worthy of any teenager.

Not only has she settled in, she has become queen of the house. Just as I predicted.

May 122011

The toilet in the hall bathroom has a gizmo to prevent it from running endlessly if the flapper is leaky. It involves a little ratchet that prevents the floater from going down, attached to a plastic chain that hooks to the flush lever. The idea is, even if the water level goes down, the floater will stay up unless the flush lever is pushed.

Yesterday the little plastic chain broke. Hence, the floater wouldn’t go down, the tank wouldn’t refill, and the toilet couldn’t be flushed.

Now, we have two bathrooms in our house. Two. We’re privileged that way.

So you would think that, on seeing that the toilet wasn’t flushing, my children—my teenaged, supposedly intelligent children—would go use the other bathroom.

Or maybe you wouldn’t think that, because you know some children and are familiar with their disgusting ways.

That’s right, my two boys continued to use the non-flushing toilet all night, filling it with piss and toilet paper and who-knows-what that wasn’t visible in the nastiness.

Today I repaired the chain. It was easy, I used a paperclip and had it working again in two minutes. Then, not realizing that the toilet paper floating in the bowl was hiding an entire night’s worth of output, I flushed the thing to see if my fix had worked.

Yeah. You can probably picture the fun I’ve had cleaning that up.

Look Out, World

 Breeder's Corner, General  Comments Off on Look Out, World
Mar 092011

…The Director turned sixteen yesterday.

As always, he wanted to have his party at his favorite pizza restaurant. When he was little, parties tended to consist of parents, grandparents, and sometimes a friend near his own age.

This year, he had three of his friends from high school at the party. The adults (and older brother) sat off to the side and talked among themselves, while the birthday boy and his crew discussed video games and gadgets. They demolished most of the birthday cake, and gathered around to be impressed at the gigantic modular toy gun one of his friends had gotten him. It shoots foam darts and lights up, and is actually three different guns that can be snapped together to form a single gun.

They were all dying to see it in action. “Can we take it outside and try it out?” asked one of his friends.

At first, a decade of Mommy habit rose up and I started to demur—playing outside, next to a parking lot? Unsupervised?

Then common sense stepped in, and I told my son, “If you can’t handle a parking lot at sixteen, there’s no hope for you. Go have fun.”

So they did. They swarmed in and out a few times, reading the directions on the box and collaborating on how to make the gadget work. It was a complete guy-fest. They had a ball.

Two of his friends were dropped off by their parents. The third drove himself there. My son has peers who can drive. If he would get off his ass and sign up for driver’s ed, he would be driving.

Be afraid.

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