Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm not a cat lady, honest. I'm stopping at two.

Pulling into the driveway one evening after work about two weeks ago, I saw a small furry creature streak across the lawn and into the bushes near my front door. It was small, but it didn't move like a squirrel. The girls and I went over and peeked into the bushes, and a tiny brown tabby kitten looked at us fearfully for a fraction of a second and then took off running into the neighbour's yard.

Over the next few days, I saw the little guy twice more. Once I caught him peeking at me from the hedge separating our yard from next door. And once, alerted by Max staring fixedly out the sliding glass doors, I saw him up on the barbecue, which I had forgotten to close after using it the night before, licking the grill to get at the last remnants of stuck chicken. Both times he fled when he saw me.

We live in the country, sort of, and so do coyotes:


and fishers:

Oops, sorry:

All of which (except for the guy who married Carrie Underpants Underwood) would look on a kitten as a tender morsel about on par with popcorn chicken. Not to mention the fact that winter is coming, and we live a block away from a very busy road full of potential kitten-smushing traffic.

I was not going to let that happen.

I started leaving a bowl of cat kibble out on the back deck near the sliding glass doors, and soon he would show up for a quick bite and then would disappear. With some help and direction from my friend Lori, I read up on feral kittens, and began to plot the kitten's capture. I started putting his food inside a cat carrier, and calling to him when I put the food out for him. Last Sunday, when he was in the carrier eating, I slowly slid the glass door open, put my hand out, and closed the cat carrier. The target was acquired.

He's been given a clean bill of health from the vet, except for worms and ear mites, which are to be expected in a feral kitty, and he's been medicated for both. He needs to stay in isolation (in my ensuite bathroom) for another week before being introduced to Max. How the Evil Ninja Assassin Cat is going to react to having a henchkitten is anyone's guess. I am sure we will hear from him in the fullness of time.

Here he is, peeking out from behind my clothes hampers:

and here he is with one of my giant shoes for scale:

When we first caught him, he was too scared for me to check whether he was a boy or a girl, so Leah and Rachel and I made a deal: if the kitten was a girl, they could name her, if it was a boy, it would be called Angus. I've wanted a cat named Angus ever since I read Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison. It turns out he's a boy.

Leah doesn't think he looks like an Angus, but I don't know, I think he kinda does:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

There is no one like her in the whole universe

Found while initialling work in Leah's workbook, where the teacher had asked them to explain the word 'unique':

Unique means special and that there is nothing in the whole universe like it.

I am unique. There is only one of me, unless I have been secretly cloned.

Yep, she's my daughter alright.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Squirrels: cute woodland creatures or evil vermin? Discuss.

I have a really nice mature oak tree in my yard. It is large, and spreading, and produces big, glossy brown acorns that look good enough to eat. So, if they look appetizing to me, you can only imagine how delicious they look to the squirrels in the area.

Lately, there have been scads of squirrels in my yard, busily burying the booty from the oak tree. 'Oh how charming,' I thought, 'you know it's fall when the industrious squirrels are out looking so cute and busy burying the acorns.'

That was a few days ago. Now I'm not quite so charmed. See, the very best acorns grow at the very ends of the branches, which are thin and springy. And the portly squirrels, seriously in need of a zumba class or two, have trouble staying on the branches to eat or collect the acorns. Their solution? Bite the ends off the branches and toss them down, then climb down the tree and stuff their fat little faces in comfort on the grass. The lawn under the tree is littered with the branch ends -- a clump of 10 or 12 leaves on a twig that's been neatly severed with a perfect 45° bite.

It can't be good for the tree, and it makes a lot of work for me and the girls picking up the now acornless branch ends off the lawn. At first, I found myself muttering, "Stupid freakin' squirrels" under my breath, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that they're pretty smart freakin' squirrels.

Smart .... and evil.

I have to wonder that since they figured that problem out, can attempted world domination be far off?

Thursday, September 09, 2010

I'm going to need a pointy hat with a veil

This morning did not start well. Somehow the alarm didn't go off, and I slept in an hour and a half late. So it was an insane scramble to get the kids to school on time and then get to work for an early meeting with my boss.

And of course, just as I dropped the girls off, the empty light on the gas gauge came on, which meant a detour to the gas station.

But there, at the gas station, when I went in to pay for the gas after pumping it, the day got a bit brighter. First, there was the surprisingly good coffee I bought there, as I hadn't had time to make any at home. And then there was the fact that the cashier called me "My Lady."

Yeah, "My Lady." Not "Miss" or "Ms." or the dreaded "Ma'am." But "My Lady". I felt like Guinevere.

It was very courtly and unexpected:
"Just the coffee and gas?"
"Yes, thanks, just the coffee and gas. I'd like to pay with my debit card."
"Do you have an Airmiles card, My Lady?"
"Um. Oh. Yes, here it is."
"Have a good day, My Lady."
"Thanks. [trying not to giggle] You too."

I was really tempted to add "My Lord" to the end of my last sentence. But I didn't. I did smile all the way to work though.