Thank You to Mysterious (Belated) Secret Santa

January 17, 2023

By Karen

Last weekend, I ordered a 2-pack of wreath bags from Amazon for my front door and mantel wreaths. (Now I’ve got to find a place to put them, since my parents’ attic isn’t the option it once was.)

They arrived yesterday in an unmarked white van. What surprised me was finding two packages on the front step: a box and a plastic bag.

The box contained the two wreath bags…

The plastic bag package blew me over and nearly had me in tears. Clearly, someone had read my previous post about our Christmas holidays and decided to step in. They sent these gorgeous slippers (which happen to match my new nightshirt)…

Now, these aren’t the kind of slippers you wear to knock around the house doing chores. They’re the thick, luxurious, special-occasion kind you wear to curl up on the couch to read a good book, or to pack for lounging around your cabin in comfort on a cruise ship.

They came with this note…

I can’t say I know who sent them, but I have my suspicions. It had to be a person who either knows my address or took the time to find it online. It can’t be that hard; Anthony Bourdain found it in 2008 to FedEx me a letter. The shock of receiving this package was on par with the jolt I got when I saw “Bourdain” in the return address on that FedEx envelope.

In any event, I want to thank him or her profoundly for this mind-boggling gesture of kindness. What makes it even more astounding to me is that I’ve actually ordered lately from Amazon — TWICE — similar slippers for myself…

And both times I’ve given them to my mother because she said she needed new slippers, so I never really had them. (I must divulge that these are thinner and flimsier than their photo. My new gray ones put them to shame.)

So, once again, thank you, whoever you are. I’ll never forget this. And I’ll be grateful you’re in my life somewhere every time I wear them.


A Much-Belated Holiday Recap

January 12, 2023

By Karen

The Christmas tree is still up and on track to stay up until February. It seemed I just couldn’t catch a break through the holidays.

The new white tree was the season’s highlight. The rest of the usual hurtle through the holidays left me cold and I wished many times it would all go away. Especially those bare-faced Christmas shoppers cramming every store parking lot so they could be vile to strangers inside — while shopping for their “loved ones.”

Like the four fucking twats in Target the weekend before Christmas. They chose the busiest time to heap TWO carts with small items they claimed were for “charity.” As an impatient line snaked behind them, they stood like doorstops beside the conveyor so nobody else could follow them, sipping Starbucks, laughing and taking selfies while the cashier struggled to ring up and bag their shit.

To top it off, those bastards took MY cart for their haul. I only realized it when I turned to put a monster package of toilet paper in my cart, only to find it gone. (Blessings on the kind lady behind me who gave me hers.)

At home, it was all cooking and cleaning. I didn’t send cards. I flitted through two stores for gifts and whatever I found, I found. I barely scraped off the price tags and dropped the stuff into gift bags. We all have too much junk anyway.

I REALLY just wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t last year, either.

Christmas falling on Sunday couldn’t have been worse timing. It was just another weekend with more work and stress, and I didn’t get a day off to prepare or recuperate. Did I mention that the temperature was in the teens?

I woke up Monday after Christmas to find this nice long crack in the kitchen picture window…

These windows are barely 13 years old. If Champion Windows is a thing where you live, my experience is that their claims of superiority are bullshit. The windows do NOT deflect heat in summer nor keep in warmth in winter. And they CRACK. The cheap, drafty construction-grade windows the house came with lasted 23 years without cracking.

The window has a lifetime warranty, but Champion says it could take 60-90 days to replace the damn thing. So, maybe by spring.

I worked through Christmas week into the New Year, because freelancers never know when the next job is coming, and clients like to have clean desks so they can take the last of their vacay with a clear conscience.

My sister was sniffling and sneezing Christmas Day. Wednesday morning I woke up with my nose streaming so bad, I had to postpone a dental cleaning. Now can’t get that done until February. A COVID test came up clean, and on Friday I was fine, so go figure. Forty-hour bug?

The cats and I finally had our little Christmas on New Year’s morning. They had a blast playing with a few toys, gobbling treats, getting high on ‘nip, and watching our perennial feature, Video Catnip. Here’s Roc after the stockings were emptied. As you see, it wasn’t much…

He approved of the new scratchy thing that replaces their tatty cardboard sardine can…

Remember last year when Santa left me soybeans (edamame)? This year it was chickpeas, and they’re awful…

I got matching sleep socks to go with my new nightshirt. You’ve got to see the cute cat sayings all over it…

Now, here’s some live action I captured. One of Tony and Roc’s favorite toys is a frog made out of deer hair or something. But they’ve chewed the legs off two of those, so this year Santa Kitty went for a bumblebee. Tony and I had a real tug-o’-war over it. The birds you hear are Video Catnip. The other weird noises are Tony’s new (well, it’s been here but they forgot it) hamster…

I have to hide the bumblebee between play sessions because its yellow fuzz wouldn’t survive an hour. Roc keeps leaping onto the bookcase to find it, because he knows that’s where it must be.

Believing I’ve got the most brilliant cats in the world, I decided to test them with a treat puzzle. It didn’t go as well as expected for Tony, although he initially seemed more adept than Roc. The big sneeze you’ll hear is Max, and he does a quick cameo jumping down from the mantel…

Roc eventually took a turn on the puzzle himself. To the left of the puzzle you can catch a glimpse of what’s left of the frog carcass. Tony couldn’t resist photobombing…

I’ll post video whoever masters the puzzle first and whips aside all obstacles to get to the treats.

Another reason the holidays were a bust is that both of my parents are on banana peels with their health. My mother’s cancer came back in the fall at stage 4. She declined any treatment and is on hospice now. My father developed a new heart issue that required another stent last week, and he spent two separate overnights in the hospital, one of those never in a bed, but in a chair in the emergency room.

It seems local hospitals are now besieged with COVID, flu and RSV cases, thanks in part to people who refuse to mask up in public and protect others and, for all we know, refuse to even get vaccinated for COVID or flu at all.


Tony Takes You On a Tour of Our Tree

December 17, 2022

By Tony (Photos by Karen)

Karen finally got our new white Christmas tree all decked out with her cat ornaments…

And the tree has become my favorite daytime napping spot. It’s like snoozing in an albino forest, but it doesn’t make me and Red Doggy dream of a White Christmas…

Two years ago, Karen showed you our personalized ornaments and told you how in 1983 she began collecting (mostly) unbreakable cat ornaments after Rex destroyed a ton of glass balls. Here’s Rex, looking innocent…

Over the decades, the collection grew so large, it really needed a bigger tree. This year the ornaments have more room to spread out and breathe. The black cat ones really pop, like this little angel kitty, who honors Rex and all the kitties who lived their nine lives with Karen…

But the collection actually kicked off with this white kitty, many years before pure-white Fred and Adele joined the family…

Readers know we lost Adele in 2019 when she was nearly 20 years old. Her passing made room here for me, so I’m really grateful to her, although we never met. Roc told me not to be sad because she would have taken one look at me and whapped me. This furry ornament that honors Adele sits near the top of the tree for a good reason…

Cats LOVE furry ornaments! Karen learned this early with this red and white blob. It IS a cat, believe it or not. It also hangs near the top because it looks like something that needs to be killed and dropped at Karen’s feet. Any of us would be glad to do the job if only we could reach it…

Notice to the left of the furball is a lame cat-shaped life preserver. That’s an official Fancy Feast ornament from 2014 when they had apparently zero imagination, but more on Fancy Feast to come. On with the tour!

Karen thinks we haven’t noticed, but all over the tree she hid a bunch of Jingle Snitches she made one year with bells and ribbon, like this one…

Rest assured, we’ve mapped out where they all are and can play with the tree without tripping them. The tree also carries some warnings to humans, like this one…

Here’s another cute and silly ornament that looks like Adele if she played dress-up, which I’m told NEVER happened…

Since the Fancy Feast mascot is a very spoiled white Persian, their ornaments always look like Adele, like this furry one from 2005…

Since all but two of the Cats Working family have been black (I’m the first 50-50), we have a lot of black ornaments. On the old green tree, this little kitty who looks like Roc was always last to be put away because Karen could NEVER find him. But on the white tree, you can’t miss him…

We also have a few celebrities, like Garfield, dressed up as a bored caroler…

Here’s one that looks like Max…

And here’s one whose face looks like ME!…

I’m sitting nicely next to another VIP, Tweety Bird. Sylvester is here, too, but out of frame.

Here’s another one whose face looks like me, but it’s wearing Max’s usual irked expression. It’s kind of beat up, so it must be one of the oldest ornaments…

Now, THIS kitty wearing a hat and mittens looks most like me, except my legs are all white…

We have many, many Fancy Feast ornaments. Karen thinks her collection is missing only the first two. This was her first one in 1987, looking, of course, like Adele…

Many of the ornaments are intricate (and highly breakable), but in 2013, Fancy Feast utterly cheaped out with this one made of cardboard. They must have felt guilty about it, because they sent us two…

This 2021 Christmas cat cookie ornament is on the tree for the first time because Fancy Feast didn’t send it before Christmas last year. This one came with a cat-shaped cookie cutter, too, although I’m strongly against anybody eating cats, even for fun…

We had no hopes of getting the 2022 ornament in time, but as Karen and I were working on this post, it CAME in this mysterious box. (Did I tell you the packaging has become so elaborate, it’s collectable in itself?) Don’t miss Yours Truly peeking in the background…

Inside the box, the ornament is cradled like a precious heirloom, which I guess now it is. The cat looks more like Fred than Adele. Anybody got a can opener? I bet there’s a treat inside…

And here it is, taking its rightful place on the tree, beside the Fancy Feast 1995 model…

I hope you enjoyed my little tree tour. I’ve shown you only a fraction of what’s hanging on that thing, but these are some of my favorites. Happy, Safe and Healthy Holidays to all our readers. And never forget…


New Christmas Tree, Part Deux: The Lights

December 1, 2022

By Karen

I’ll admit I didn’t thoroughly think through the logistics of putting lights on an 8’ tree — nor foresee that all the lights would be on one continuous string.

I gave away my seven strings of 700 lights with the old tree because they had green cords that simply wouldn’t do with a white tree.

I replaced them with this newfangled 500-light LED string from Amazon because I fell madly in love with the spool and the price was right…

Photo: Amazon

Over the decades, it never mattered how painstakingly I wrapped and stored my lights. Next time, they’d always end up tangled. The spool concept is so DUH!, I’d like to see a federal law mandating Christmas lights on spools forevermore.

But I did have misgivings. Coming down from 700 lights to 500 seemed like a lot of dimming. However, Amazon reviews assured me that 500 LEDs would be plenty on an 8’ tree. Once that quantity was decided, it was final because these strings can’t be plugged together.

In hindsight, I’m thankful I didn’t go for 1,000 because that would have killed me.

When the lights arrived, I thought there had been a screw-up because they all looked white. But it turns out there’s a control button on the plug that makes them glow white, multicolored, blue and green or yellow and red, blinking or solid on demand.

My next surprise was realizing that they were spooled exactly backward. I hang lights from top to bottom with the plug last so it’s near the outlet. But this spool started with the plug. So, I had to unwind and rewind all 165’ by doing laps in the living room…

For less tangling on the rewind, I should have dragged them around the entire house, but then cats would have tried to help and that wouldn’t have ended well for anybody.

The next thing I realized is that having all the lights on one heavy spool really makes it a two-person job. One circles the tree hanging lights and the other follows, feeding more lights.

What to do, what to do? I’ve never had Christmas help in my life. Boyfriends always tended to evaporate around holidays.

(Wait, I take that back. I must have done once. When I was 23, I lived briefly with this guy who gave me a cheap, out-of-season ruffled cotton dress for Christmas, a style he’d never seen on my body. He accessorized it with maroon boots — both left. His mistake meant Santa probably left another lucky woman somewhere in Richmond two right boots. We parted ways soon after.)

The solution to my solitude popped into my head during my morning Calm meditation.

First, I removed the tree top and hung lights on it. Then I hung the spool around my neck with a long scarf. I had to take this photo to show you after I was finished, because once I put the tree top back on, the tree had me on a leash of lights…

I’m letting my hair go gray. Not loving it, but it’s cheaper.

This idea was PERFECT. I was able to climb around and control the flow of lights as needed. When I got near the end and the weight was less, I transferred the spool to my left wrist.

By the bottom, I felt like I didn’t have enough to do the job, but there was no turning back. Redistribution would have been a nightmare.

I waited until nightfall to see the results. Tony seemed happy…

What do you think?…

The tree definitely leans left, which in this house is appropriate.

Max came downstairs to check out my handwork and gave it four paws up…

Next up, the cat ornament collection meets its new home.


Cats Working Goes BIG This Christmas

November 28, 2022

By Karen

According to the label on its box, our lovely 6.5′ spruce Christmas tree turned 25 years old this year. We used it for what turned out to be the last time in 2020 during the pandemic…

Assembling it branch by branch and hanging our full collection of cat ornaments was so much work, we kept the tree up until February. Back in 2011, when Max was a kitten having his first Cat Working Christmas with the late Adele and Cole, he demonstrated how much fun it was to climb that tree.

My ornament collection has only grown since then, and the poor tree felt overloaded, so this year I decided to surprise the cats by switching things up.

(The old tree and its lights and garlands were adopted by a young guy who blew the leaves in my yard last week.)

Our new tree from Wayfair is 8′ of white iridescence, and comes in only four sections. I wish I could have gotten video of myself putting it together because the sections were loose and the branches kept flopping over me like a frantic octopus.

When I saw how the branches are half naked, the potential for a Christmas disaster suddenly loomed large…

Roc, always on the lookout for a way to get into trouble, immediately noticed this detail…

He just had to sample the taste of cold steel (or aluminum?)…

Then he checked to see if the branches would hold his weight. His answer was me screaming, “Roc, NOOOOO!”…

Tony was more circumspect, taking in the new arrival from a safe distance…

(Max took zero interest in this adventure, preferring to nap upstairs in the Man Cave, which is filling with boxes as I get the decorations out. He did come down that evening and inspect my handiwork.)

Finally, I had all four sections nested on top on one another and had managed to avoid losing an eye to the floppy branches…

Even though it’s only 18″ taller than the old tree, this one brushes 3rd beam, a feature with “Disaster” written all over it as soon as Roc and Tony see it from up there. But for now, they were present and ready for the next stage, which we call “The Floof.” This is the most time-consuming process for any artificial tree. The cats were no help, but took turns supervising me. Roc first…

Then Tony. He was particularly good at pointing out where I missed a branch…

After nearly an hour, the floof was complete…

If I can say anything about this tree, it’s that it sheds worse than any cat. I was kicking myself for vacuuming BEFORE I started, because I had to do it all again…

These shiny little spreckles are now everywhere, and I expect to see iridescent poop in the litterboxes through the holidays.

Once assembled, the tree posed two problems. The first was the bare branches up the middle, shown here from a cat’s-eye perspective…

The second was its location. The smaller tree felt more intimate standing in front of Fred Astaire, but this one’s girth makes it overwhelming. So, I moved it. This wasn’t as hard as I feared. After pulling off the top section so it would clear the beam, I dragged it a few feet to a spot where it’s now the living room’s focal point when you walk in the front door. It’s also safely beyond 3rd beam…

But now with daylight behind it, the naked center really shows and could use some filling in. Unfortunately, I gave away my stash of iridescent garland with the old tree. But I did keep our tree skirt with bells, which the cats aren’t happy about. They call it the “Jingle Snitch”…

After buying more garland, I did my best to wrap it around the naked interior. [Note to self next time: Do garland BEFORE Floof.] But it does seem a bit more filled in and nobody’s tried to climb it. What do you think?…

Next step, the lights. I’ve got 500 new LEDs all on one string. But this is all I’ve had the energy for so far. Stay tuned…


I’ve Just Been Hacked

September 8, 2022

By Karen

Hackers were assaulting my checking account from Sunday, August 28, to Friday, September 2, and it’s taken me this long to recover. I’ll tell you what happened as a cautionary tale.

Two Sundays ago, my bank emailed me a Security Alert. In part, it read [verbatim]:

On 8/28/2022 12:46 AM, there was the forgot password process was attempted for your login ID… If you suspect fraudulent activity, please contact us… Please do not reply to this message.

The bad grammar and absence of contact info looked like spam. I knew my little community bank doesn’t do weekends, so I was helpless until Monday.

But that afternoon at 4:50 p.m., a quick succession of more Security Alerts arrived about: 1) forgot password, 2) change to secure access code contact information, 3) added a Tempia Otey (??!!) to account, 4) a process was started to add an external contact.

At 5 p.m., my landline rang. Caller ID showed my bank and its local number, so I answered. Mistake ONE.

It was “Jacob” from the “Fraud Department,” following up since they hadn’t heard from me (how?).

Jacob was a criminal newbie with Swiss-cheese story he kept having to “check with his supervisor,” which kept dropping the call. Once, he called back from 843-474-1626 in Beaufort, SC, stammering that that line was “more secure” than the bank’s. (If this doxes you, Jacob, tough. The bank and the FCC have this number now, too.)

MAJOR POINT: You know two-factor authentication, where they phone or text a code number to you so you can access a website or account? To “verify” me, Jacob somehow sent one of those to my landline, and it actually came from my bank. I’m still kicking myself for telling him what it was, but I hadn’t yet realized he was a hacker. Mistake TWO.

Jacob’s real mission was to “verify” (i.e., steal) my debit card information.

When I refused to tell all (I did give some, like a dummy) Mistake THREE, Jacob transferred me to his “supervisor” Jessica. She’d only say, “We need your debit card number,” so I hung up on her.

The next day, Monday at 7 a.m., this Security Alert arrived…

On 8/29/2022 6:54 AM there was your security alert preferences were changed.

I called the bank as soon as it opened and we found the bogus Tempia Otey online withdrawal and another one. They totaled $500 and luckily had been blocked by Zelle, a third-party money transfer thing my bank has. So, I changed my password and drove to the bank to close my debit card.

At 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, the hacker phoned again, spoofing the bank on Caller ID, calling himself “Jonathan.” I answered because the bank had promised to call back about the Zelle situation. Once again, not knowing it wasn’t the bank, he sent an authentication code to my cellphone this time (so he had both my phone numbers), and I told him the code. Mistake FOUR.

I think this call sealed my fate.

As soon as I realized it was Jacob again, I hung up. A few minutes later the Security Alert emails started rolling in…

On 8/29/2022 3:11 PM, there was an invalid password for your login ID was submitted.

…forgot password process was attempted…

…security alert preferences were changed…

Since Zelle had blocked suspicious activity, bank customer service was on the case, and I’d notified my branch there was a problem in person, I thought they all had my back and we were done. Mistake FIVE.

Beginning Tuesday, the hackers siphoned daily increasingly large amounts from my checking account into another account they’d opened in my name somewhere until I was out $14,000, which I’d set aside for some major bills.

I discovered these thefts Friday, September 2, after I was locked out of my online account trying to get my monthly checking statement.

Hair ablaze, I dashed back to the bank to close the checking account and file a fraud report. (When they printed my statement, the daily theft withdrawals were screamingly obvious.)

The bank said it might take “months” to research and recover my “disputed” $14K. And they said it was now in MasterCard’s hands. WTF? Who ever said anything about MasterCard? The debit card was closed BEFORE the withdrawals started.

This crime began within days of the bank launching a new app. I think the app has security issues a cruise ship could sail through. The bank employee who helped me had been getting the same Security Alerts on HER account and blowing them off. And she said other customers had been making similar reports (presumably also being blown off).

With a new checking account, all my online bill-paying information, automatic drafts, the direct deposit arrangements with clients got obliterated. I’ve spent most of this week piecing my finances back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

BUT THERE’S A HAPPY ENDING: Instead of months, the disputed $14K was restored to me within 24 hours — but it was deposited in the now-closed account. ANOTHER trip to the bank got the funds over to the new account. I’m a familiar (if masked) face at the bank now.

LESSONS LEARNED: I can’t trust my bank. Their “security” is nothing but useless ungrammatical emails. They’re unable to detect a multi-day theft in progress. And if I hadn’t been proactive, my $14K would STILL be sitting in a closed account.

I’ll take your questions now.


Max Discovers the Joys of Meditation

June 28, 2022

By Karen

Of all the cats ever on the Cats Working crew, Max has always been the most soft-spoken and reclusive, preferring the privacy of his Man Cave to shooting his mouth off on the blog or romping around with Roc and Tony.

But lately, Max has gotten quite a bit more sociable, now spending most days hanging out with the guys in the living room. (One reason could be that it feels about 10 degrees cooler downstairs in the summer.)

Evenings after dinner, he’s even been joining Roc and me on the couch to watch some tube.

On my iPad I have this app called Calm. I rely on it to keep my head from exploding from all the terrible things happening these days.

I’ve been devoting about 30 minutes every morning to daily meditations with Calm’s Jay Shetty, Jeff Warren and Tamara Levitt. (Tamara’s voice is so smooth and relaxing, it could melt diamonds.)

Max has noticed my ritual, and you know there’s nothing cats love better than a good ritual. Now, as soon as Max realizes I’ve “assumed the position” on the couch, he shows up for some TLP (tender loving petting).

“I see you’ve got two hands free. What are you waiting for?”
“Yeah, right there, where that pesky collar used to be.”
“The top of my head can never get enough attention.”
“Now help me work this crick out of my neck.”
“Don’t forget to scritch my neck on all sides.”
“Do you really find the sound of these people babbling relaxing?”

I got two clips of Max in action. Here’s the first one…

And more. This is actually the cutest one…

Max confesses he wonders why Tamara tells me to, “Notice the paws at the beginning of the inhale,” and “Notice the paws at the end of the exhale,” because people don’t have paws.

Another thing I’ve started doing lately is, after scooping out the litterboxes, I smooth the litter perfectly flat like a Zen garden. It gives the kitties a tranquil place to do their business, and footprints in the litter let me know they’ve left some new buried treasure for me to scoop.

“Meditation is great! Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.”

BONUS: I recently came across this thing called ASMR, and these videos are the most relaxing sounds EVER. The Sara Coromo videos are my favorite, but there are sounds for everyone out there. Here’s a short sample…


Success Report: DIY Kitty Perch Rescue

May 31, 2022

By Roc

Remember that fantastic gray kitty perch Karen put together for us as an early Christmas present during the pandemic…

Tony sleeps up top evenings, and we’ve kept it looking nice. I can count on one paw the times Max has ever touched it.

Tony and I found one sisal post PERFECT for wonderful claw-grabbing s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s and we’ve been giving it daily workouts — until this happened…

I can’t blame Tony. I’m the only kitty with the size and strength to commit vandalism of this magnitude. I even get a criminal look in my eyes when I’m pondering my next big caper…

Around these parts, they call me “KMD” (Kitty of Massive Destruction).

This development upset Karen because 1) Loss of a popular scratching place put us one step closer to digging in to the furniture, and 2) It looked bad, not that the living room is what you’d call a showplace even on a good day.

The sisal was flimsy, and the post underneath turns out to be crappy cardboard. Which explains how Karen got the thing dirt-cheap. What did she expect for less than three figures? Mahogany?

Out of respect (and aversion to Karen’s screaming), Tony and I have steered clear of that post since the destruction.

After determining it might be fixable, Karen turned to the trusty internet and discovered a cottage industry for restoring sisal kitty scratchers.

She bought 164 ft. of MEEXPAWS 1/4” sisal rope from Amazon, which came nicely coiled, and with a roll of double-stick tape…

Photo: Amazon

But Karen didn’t want to use tape or glue because they might not withstand our assaults, and they’d ruin the cardboard if the post needed fixing again. What to do, what to do?

We don’t own a big staple gun, and Karen was considering nailing it when she found this perfectly brilliant man with a YouTube video, “My cat tree repair without tools or glue”…

We tackled the project this past weekend. I supervised nearby, of course. Karen first removed the original sisal, which had been stapled.

Immediately upon untying the new bale of sisal, all 164 feet unraveled at our feet into a tangled mess, which Karen then had to fling around the post with every row she wrapped.

Sorry, no photos of that because I have no thumbs for the iPhone and if Karen had let go for a second in mid-wrapping, it would have all come undone.

As she used up rope, it got a little easier. Finally, she made it to the bottom and tied it off. Voila!…

The color’s a bit off, but it’s heavier rope, so even BETTER than before.

I say that even though Tony and I have so far refused to be the guinea pigs to test it, even though Karen gave us an hilarious demonstration to refresh our memories on how to scratch a post.

Karen was so pleased with the result, she’s gotten ideas about our other perches. But first, she needed to salvage the remaining sisal, a job not made any easier by Tony romping all over it, biting at it like she was playing. We’ve got this much left…

Karen thinks there’s enough left to give Tony’s favorite blue perch at the top of the stairs a refurb…

We’ll need to get more sisal for the short perch by the living room window that screams for attention…

And then there’s that tall perch next to the couch…

The lower level there where Mickey and the Teds hang out could also use some love…

I’m glad Adele isn’t here to see this because she believed “Every Cat’s an Artist” and called all these perches “art installations.” She’d be spitting mad and fluff-tailed to have her creative endeavors sisaled over.

Speaking of outrage, Karen has been wondering why we all suddenly stopped fighting over Max’s favorite kitty bed near the sliding glass door. She found her answer while taking these photos…

There was a hairball on Max’s favorite cuddle toy, Cattey. By the color, it could belong to anybody, but she’ll never find out who because we’re cats, not rats…

(PS: You’ll be relieved to know that Cattey is fine. The hairball had dried out and came off without leaving a stain. I hope you weren’t eating dinner while you read this.)

UPDATE FROM KAREN: A few hours after Roc posted this story, I went downstairs and caught him giving the new sisal post a going over. He looked at me with his, “Am I in the doghouse?” expression, but the sisal stood up to him hanging on it beautifully. So, it looks like full steam ahead on sprucing up the other perches.


Abortion: Only the Tip of the Real Problem

May 3, 2022

By Karen

A draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court’s still-pending decision on Roe v. Wade has leaked and reveals the expected. The conservative majority (Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, maybe Roberts) will allow states once again to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies, or risk death trying to end them.

Meanwhile, sadistic state Republicans across the country are passing draconian laws to severely restrict or ban abortion altogether.

The nightmare is here, so, will women stop whining and start demanding an eye for an eye? Or, a dick for a uterus?

(NOTE: I use “dick” instead of the proper term to avoid an avalanche of porn spam.)

While Republican men have wet dreams about torturing expectant mothers and then starving, neglecting, abusing and using their toddlers for target practice, women seem to be repeating Democrats’ mistake by playing nice. They express outrage on cable news and hold marches and peaceful protests.

Women, wake up. We need to scream and do something about the root cause of abortion: men’s dicks.

Dicks exist only for sperm delivery. OK, sperm and urine. Dickless men would have to sit down to pee like ladies. No biggie.

If not for dicks doing their sperm thing, abortion would be unneeded, legal or otherwise.

Every abortion now in question started with a dick attached to a man.

[“What about in vitro fertilization?” you cleverly ask. Stay focused. Women who get in vitro (Latin for “without dick”) are desperate. They don’t get abortions unless something goes terribly wrong. Those tragic terminations should have another name and are excluded from my discussion.]

Sicko Republicans paint women as inherently evil baby-killers whose lives must be destroyed — even if they were rape or incest victims. Whereas, the real evil is men’s unfettered dick freedom. Nobody’s suggesting the first fucking remedy for that. Not even male birth control.

Female legislators need to grow a pair and write counter-legislation.

How about bills mandating stiff penalties for men who impregnate women against their will, even if they’re married? If the child is born, the woman can sue to ensure financial support for herself and the child for 18 years, even if there’s a divorce.

Or, how about enabling a woman to sue for $10,000 any man who hits on her for unwanted sex that could result in pregnancy?

Call this one #MeToo on Steroids, or a Bounty on Indiscriminate Dicks. If Texas can put a bounty on uteruses, why not?

Men who try to skip out on the court’s ruling against them for any reason are reported, arrested and given the option of vasectomy or chemical castration (their choice) so they can’t offend again.

This is basically TNR (trap-neuter-release) used on feral cat colonies to reduce their numbers, only applied to human men. If enough men skirt their financial penalties, they get neutered, the birth rate drops and abortion eventually becomes moot.

Seem harsh? Think about this:

Most men think of their dicks as instruments of pride, pleasure (or power) over women, not baby-makers. To exterminate men with this attitude would admittedly be extreme, but we can certainly curb their dicks.

While this female-friendly legislation gets debated, women could exercise options some currently ignore, if the numbers fleeing Texas for abortions are any indication. For starters, keep your legs together. If you feel frisky, you can do the job quicker and better yourself and, unless your man has no hands, so can he.

In extreme cases, remember Lorena Bobbitt. She became famous in 1993 for cracking under sexual abuse (and a forced abortion) and castrating her husband. The world would be a lot safer for all women if more wives trained their husbands to sleep with one eye open, or risk waking up looking like a Ken doll.

Women need to get real and get loud about dicks. In addition to legal penalties, we need to ban Viagra, Cialis and whatever other dick-inflating pills they’ve got, as well as pumps, implants and any other pervy devices they use.

If women can’t have abortions, then men need to take responsibility for their role in pregnancy and be punished to the fullest extent if it’s unwanted.

And may every dick on the Supreme Court (including Amy the c*nt) who doesn’t like this solution be damned.


Our Poltergeist Strikes Again… and Again

April 4, 2022

By Karen

Last year, I told you how Roc and I witnessed a book being pushed or pulled out of the bookcase in my bedroom when nobody had touched it.

[OMG… in pulling up the link to that previous post, I just realized the new development I’m about to tell you started within a week or so of the book, in July 2021. It never occurred to me the two incidents might be related.]

It was a Thursday morning that July when the wall switch that powers the garbage disposal went suddenly dead. The disposal itself was fine and relatively new; I just couldn’t turn it on. I wondered if the tiny ants who sometimes invade the kitchen in warm weather might have caused the problem.

I quickly learned how you don’t appreciate your disposal until it’s gone. For the four days I waited for a repairman, I had to scrape uneaten cat food and other yucky bits into the “stinky bag” I always keep in the freezer for onions, banana peels, chicken bones, et cetera, until trash day because rancid garbage makes me gag.

The repairman removed the switch plate and didn’t see any ants. When he touched two wires together, the garbage disposal roared to life. So, it appeared to be a simple loose connection. Who knows how that happened after 39 years?

As a precaution, I had him replace the whole switch, and he showed me how he twined the wires together to be extra-secure.

All was well until last Monday morning. I’d just scraped a pile of Roc and Tony’s rejected cat mush down the disposal when I flipped the switch and it was dead again.

The repair company couldn’t send someone until Friday, so I had to scoop the now-soaking-wet cat mush out of the disposal with my hand and into the stinky bag.

As the week dragged by, I kept flipping the switch to make sure it wasn’t a bad dream, but it was futile.

When the second repairman finally arrived, I flipped the switch for him once and it was dead. Then I flipped it again.

IT WORKED!! WTF??

And it worked every time after that. He checked out the new switch and everything looked fine. And no ants.

I felt like a complete fool, now out $99 for the unnecessary call. The repairman probably thought I’m a pathetic cat lady with more money than brains who calls in bogus issues for somebody to talk to.

Now, I throw anything down the garbage disposal with trepidation. Fool me twice… Or is “something” trying to get my attention using the electricity? This incident brought to mind what happened one night in October 2021.

I told you how the living room lamp mysteriously blew a bulb at a crucial moment while I was watching the Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner. The timing of that gave me chills.

What’s next?

UPDATE – IT JUST HAPPENED AGAIN: I first drafted this post two days ago, so the Phantom of the Garbage Disposal knew I was writing about it.

Yesterday morning, I was tidying up the Man Cave Café (a.k.a. upstairs bathroom). Max was sitting in the Man Cave (bedroom/junkroom) on the end table beside the couch, and Roc was standing at the opposite end of the couch. My back was turned when I heard a thump.

It was this small Amazon box holding my collection of plastic store “poop bags” nicely folded for future use…

As you can see, the box was securely tucked between other boxes. I haven’t touched it since I put it there weeks ago, and the cats were nowhere within striking distance. Now, that box was on the floor. Max and Roc were looking at the spot where it came from, but not spooked at all.

I recreated the moment to show you where/how the box landed, and Tony insisted on assisting me…

I have logistical questions about how the box landed with its top facing up without actually being lifted (or was it?). I put it back in position and pulled it out every which way. It always landed where Tony is standing. So, whatever’s doing this stuff is flexing its muscles. I swear I’m not making any of this up.


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