kaigou: just breathe (2 just breathe)
Well, the bombshell update is that we came within about twenty feet of having our house burn down from an electrical-cable-started brushfire. Fortunately, it was middle-of-the-day, and (since our house is pretty much blind to that side of the woods) we had a sharp-eyed and -nosed neighbor who first thought it was a midday barbecue... then thought twice and came down the street to see. She banged on our door as she was calling 911, then ran to our neighbors and alerted all of them, too. It couldn't have been more than three, four minutes from her call to the fire trucks' arrival, but my gods, it felt like the longest and most terrifying moments of my entire life.

Crazy enough, my first impulse was to grab a picture of my great-grandmother off the wall (why? it's scanned, and my sister has a copy), and the next reaction was to turn off my computer. Whut? Apparently, logic is not my friend when panicked. Then I headed to the backyard with a hose -- because thinking clearly also is not in the cards. I think I was there for a minute, before the water pressure dropped too far (because CP had turned on the longer hose, in the front yard), so I went back inside to grab the dogs and get them into the car. When I came back out with a cat, next-door neighbor was there and asked if she could do anything, so I just handed her the cat and went back inside for the youngest cat. (Middle-cat was outside, keeping himself well away from the chaos, fortunately.) Took a lot of chasing, wrestling, and some serious scratches and one pissed-off hobbit-in-a-box later, I was walking out the front door as the fire trucks pulled up.

If you've ever done a sport that has sprints at the end -- running, biking, whatever -- you know how sometimes time doesn't seem to make any sense? The average race for my sport was about six minutes. Fifteen hundred meters: two minutes for a five hundred meter start, two minutes for the five hundred meter body, two minutes for five hundred meters of sprint. Well, give or take thirty seconds wherever. Thing is, I can distinctly recall races where it felt like the sprint alone was twelve minutes. Time lengthens, stretches, doesn't mean anything anymore, when that much adrenaline is in your system. Standing in the yard watching the flames eat up the summer grasses, I couldn't tell if they were coming at me fast, or slow, or frozen, or if I was there fifty seconds or five hundred seconds.

I'm not sure if it's consolation that the fire chief's comment (as they were wrapping things up, afterwards) that the timing was really close. Five more minutes... he waved in the direction of a coming storm. Rain, I said. No, he said: wind. And the wind was heading cross-creek, right at our house, which meant if the neighbor hadn't reacted as fast as she had, and the fire department weren't literally a mile up the road and a quarter-mile to the left, the storm's vanguard of high wind would've hit that fire and shoved it right up against our house.

Yeah. Yikes.

(Yesterday, CP said something about how if an electrical cable is going to snap off and hit dry grass and spark something, why didn't it happen during a storm when there's rain? I said, better at 1pm on a Tuesday than 1am on any night. If it'd been middle of the night, by the time we'd realized, it would've been too late.)

Anyway, talk about having things wake you up to putting life in perspective. Of all the things that I wanted to grab, or thought I should grab, in a split-second decision standing there trying to figure out where I'd put the leashes (more like spinning in place in a total panic trying to find the leashes) I realized the priority was to get the animals out. Anything else would be gravy. But the animals were one thing that required no compromise. Which should probably be an obvious decision, but it's wierd, it's like your brain goes through the revelation anyway, in that moment.

Amusing footnote: as I realized the most important duty (while CP was outside with the hose) was to save our four-legged children, Sachiko ran back to her bed then reappeared for me to put on the leash. I barely noticed. I got the dogs outside, pretty much dragged them both across the zapping invisible-fence-line (didn't have the motor coordination to remove collars as well as put them on), shoved them into my car, rolled down the window, and ran back inside for the cats. Only later, when the firemen gave us the clear, did I realize: Sachiko had grabbed her stuffed frog and had been holding it in her mouth the entire time. Clearly the priorities are the same for everyone in this house: save the babies! Even the stuffed ones.

Fifteen minutes later, we had large drops of rain coming down. It rained later that night, and again for about a half-hour yesterday. I still haven't walked out to see the empty lot, or the size of the burn scar. All I know is that CP's comment was that the fire wasn't halfway across the lot like my adrenaline-crazed eyes had thought. It was more like fifteen feet from our property -- and our house is only about five feet more from that point. Another five feet and the fire would've hit dry two downed trees, and a dry old fence after that. The firemen literally arrived in the nick of time.

Very, very, lucky.
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)

...seems to have developed some kind of marmalade growth.

more images
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 mao amused)
Odetta, the great dane mix grande dame, was a Sherman Tank: she didn't go very fast, but she could take out entire bushes and small trees to get there. Saimhain, the beagle-mix with only two braincells, was an old Army Jeep: could get up pretty fast when must needs (preferably if also going downhill with a tailwind, in a hurricane), but then she'd come to a complete and sudden stop and need at least eight hours of rebuild time before she got going again.

Me: I'm not sure what Balto would be.
CP: Something big, not too fast, but happy.
Me: Drawing a blank.
CP: I'm thinking a VW bus.
Me: That works. A real trooper, and when he does break down, it doesn't take much to make him happy again.
CP: All he needs are the flowers painted on the side.
Me: He's a happy boy.
CP: And sort of round, too, just like a bus.

I think we ended up deciding Sachiko might be an old Peugot coupe, an Austin-Healey, maybe a Triumph Herald (coupe). Something, as CP put it, "with British electronics". The kind of vehicle that's cute and trying for elegant, although as a mongrel she's a little on the discount side -- but not quite as low-class as a Pinto. One that's fun, but don't breathe wrong or it'll stop working and simply refuse to do anything unless coddled for at least an hour.

Me: She's a flakey girl, after all. She'd be a flakey car.
CP: Just think Lucas wiring.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (2 fear the toolmonger)

Considering how much he eats, either he's got two hollow legs, or he's just storing the food where normal cats would have bones. And seeing the way he sleeps, the lack of bones might explain a lot.

Also, I am 99% done on the mother of all lazy susans.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
Is it some kind of cat holiday? Yesterday, three different people all journaled within a half-hour of each other, with cat pictures. At least one of those people isn't linked in any way (except via me) to the other people. But cat pictures, bing bing bing! And again today, two more, also by people not linked to the first. I'm suspecting it's some kind of movement.

*digs around for more cat pictures*
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)
Balto was crying, so I finally went over to see what had him upset. Sachiko was in her bed, making "burying" motions with her nose.

Me: Strange, there's an extra stuffed animal in there. Haven't seen.. OMFG IT'S A BABY RABBIT OMG HOLY CRAP
Me: yes? Animal control? what do I do? Should I take it somewhere?
Animal control: Are its eyes open?
Sachiko: My baby!
Me: Yes, and it's bigger than a tennis ball.
Sachiko: My baby!
Animal control: Scoop it up, take it outside. It'll be fine.
Me: Somewhere the dogs won't find it, you mean.

I put on gloves, scoop up baby rabbit, take it outside, and return to find Sachiko in the backyard searching for something. Unh-hunh, while Balto runs around like a big dog chicken with its head cut off.

The cats haven't noticed a thing.


12 Feb 2011 11:47 pm
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)
It is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to code ANYTHING when there is a KITTEN who is DETERMINED to EAT your SCREEN.

No, seriously. He keeps climbing up in my way and licking the screen. I don't get it. Sometimes he chases the mouse, but whatever he's doing, he manages to stick his tail right in my face at the same time. Plus he's like one of those rodents in the whack-a-mole game. You shove him out of the way, and he pops right back in place again... and his purr just gets louder each time. I think he's having fun. Well, at least one of us at this desk is, then.
kaigou: Toph punches Zuko. (2 pigtails and inkwell love)
Discussing the newest member of the horde, Zaizai, a 7mos old orange tabby.

Me: I think Zaizai's going to end up like the Monster. Low, and round.
CP: I suspect he's going to end up like Balto. Low, and dense.
Me: Balto is dense in more ways than one.
CP: Balto, does your head have a low specific gravity?

I wanted to name him Zai-Tian [在甜] as a play on honey/sweet, being an orange-tabby, but CP thought that sounded too much like zai-jian -- "goodbye" or "see you later". Desperation made me remember the nickname Zaizai, which means "little child" ... but first tone means "calamity" -- as in the kind created by mudslides, tornadoes, and small rampaging kittens. Naturally, the name's already been mangled by CP, into Zoomzoom. Pictures forthcoming.

ETA: I don't know why I bother naming animals, actually. Odetta became Bonehead, and Saimhain became Pigtail, Kiku became Squeaky (and sometimes, Squeaky Monster, and sometimes, just plain Monster), Sachiko became Flake (and sometimes, Coyote Girl), Balto became Little Red Nutball (and sometimes Goofball), and Baccano became Bakabaka. Now Zaizai is already Zoomzoom, but with a meow that sounds like an engine cranked against its bearings, he's rapidly becoming Creaky. Soon, I'm sure, to be Little Monster. Why do I even bother?
kaigou: stop it. you're scaring the dog. (2 scaring the dog)
We trained Baccano to come in at dusk by teaching him that tapping-on-metal means gravy! canned food. He learned on his own that "taking out a small dessert plate" means "dinner is about to be served", thanks to CP talking to Baka while he got out the can, the fork, and a plate, to lead the way to the Place Of Gravy (aka the guest bathroom).

For the next two weeks, Balto has to eat soft/canned food while his mouth heals, so he's now got his own stash of canned food in the pantry. Last night, Baka came in while I was in the kitchen getting ready to put out food for Balto. Of course Baka has to shark around underfoot, rattling like all get out (it's sort of like the motion cats will make to spray, except no spraying -- he just rattles like crazy in excitement).

Then I opened the drawer where the plates are kept, and pulled out a full-size dinner plate, for Balto's meal. Baka took one look at the size of the plate and let out a loud MWAOOOH!

It sounded exactly like he'd just cried out in joy, "whoa!", at the size of how much gravy! canned food he'd be getting. And then I pulled out the large can of (dog) food, and Baka just about rattled right out of his skin in pure joy.

I almost didn't have the heart to disappoint him.
kaigou: this is the captain. we may experience turbulence and then explode. (3 experience turbulence)
1. Balto went in for neck injury just before Yule, and during the checkup, the vet noticed Balto's got two broken molars. One is snapped, the other is cracked (vertically, at that). Today Balto went in to have his teeth pulled, and let's just say when the vet called to give me an estimate of what it'd cost... well, that's about four mechanics' visits for my car. That's a serious amount of four digits to drop on us without warning. But since one of the molars can be saved (via root canal) and that's a dental-specialist vet, we ended up spending only three-quarters of that estimated cost. Yeah, like this is a big improvement. Bleah.

After a day spent under and then recuperating, Balto's home again, wiggly as ever, and spent the first hour wandering around the living room crying. Not because he hurts, from what I've figured out, but because he greeted Sachiko, and then greeted Kiku... and Baccano was still outside. Oh noes! His kitty isn't home! ...finally, after doing enough tapping-on-sliding-door (to mimic sound of can being tapped), Baka came running in, and now Balto's calmed down. Then CP finally got home from his evening's meeting, and Balto went from fifty-whiney to zero-sleepy just like that.

Ah, now all is well with the world, mostly, in the mind of a groggy red nutball.

Although he did do one thing that has me baffled, when it comes to boy-dogs: he refused to do anything before we left the vet's. He gave that excited crying all the way home, was out of the car instantly, dashed into the house, barely pausing long enough for me to get the leash off. Then he was out the dog-door and into the yard, where he peed for like ten minutes with a blissful (and post-surgery slightly stoned) expression. I have no idea what was up with that.

2. Baccano is a plate-licker. It was bad enough that CP discovered Baka will beg (and pretty obnoxiously) for swiss cheese, which CP will dole out, only every now and then, in teeny pieces about the size of an eraser... but such a teeny piece was enough to hook Baka instantly. (It's like the stupid movies from junior high: one drag, and you're ADDICTED!!11!! FOR LIFE!!)

Over the holidays, our neighbor made her annual Very Awesome Orange Pound Cake (to which, I admit, CP and I are addicted). I had a slice one evening and set the plate on my desk after finishing; ten minutes later I looked up from my book to see Baka on my desk, meticulously licking every inch of the plate. I yanked it away from him, then warned CP that when the sugar rush hit, the littlest demon might end up rocketing around the place for an hour. No noticeable effects, however, so I relaxed.

Until the next day, when I had a slice (sans plate) and went to get up from my desk -- when Baka leapt up on the desk, did a hand-check, hooked a claw in my palm and started licking my fingers. WTF, cat. Seriously. No sugar for you! I consoled him with some jerky.

A few nights ago, I had peanut-butter cookies for a snack, and set one on the mat by my keyboard while I typed. I look over a minute later and Baka's on my desk WITH HIS FACE PRESSED AGAINST THE COOKIE. Mouth open! Tongue descending! The little demon was freaking licking the cookie.

I have no idea what's going on with this cat, but I can say that I think sugar gives him nightmares, seeing how later that night he woke up from a sound sleep, with a bone-chilling holler. Scared himself right awake, and then carried on at me for a good few minutes, telling me all about it before he finally calmed down. I'm not certain there's a connection (he's had nightmares before, though they're pretty rare), but still. Not like I want a plate-licking cheese-eating hallway-roadblock monkey demon suffering nightmare-DTs post-sugar-rush.

Fortunately, jerky remains the great consolation prize.
kaigou: Edward, losing it. (1 Edward conniption)
The nice thing about a large computer monitor is that it's big enough to watch HD subs. Also nice is setting up the sofa so I don't have to sit up straight while watching, but can be appropriately lazy, while still able to see the subtitles clearly, even from six or seven feet away.

The problem is that the desk is no longer within easy reach... and it's damn hard to see subtitles through the fuzzy ass of a cat determined to find that Very Last Bit of Jerky that he's convinced must be hidden somewhere under the keyboard. I'm thinking maybe a watershooter. Except that this means if my aim's not perfect, I'll be soaking the screen instead. Maybe I could just wrap the monitor in saran wrap?

You think the cat'd know by now what it means when I yell at him that he's not made out of muddy water.
kaigou: animated gif of the medicine seller from Mo No No Ke (1 Kusuri-uri smile)
...is the need for a looooong perch.

kaigou: Edward, losing it. (1 Edward conniption)
1. You are not allowed to chase spiders that are LARGER THAN YOUR HEAD. I'm looking at you, littlest demon.

2. I don't care that you can lay down in the hallway and stretch far enough that your front paws touch one wall and your back paws touch the other wall and that this means you're thirty-seven-and-three-sixteenths long when fully extended. As long as you weigh less than 11lbs, you STILL must come in at night.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (5 streets of east london)

I guess this means I gotta shut up about how the coyotes have been staying over in the other half of the park, and not coming down our way. (Yes, that is a tongue. Cat food is apparently yummy to all breeds of canine.)

( a few more )
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (scaring the dog)
...needs a pith helmet.

With little holes cut out for his ears.

rest of pictures here

also, ikea hack: note what's in the background. swag! from favorite author! about a favorite book! eheheh. I'm such a dork.
kaigou: this is what I do, darling (usual suspects)
Ce n'est pas un chat.

C'est a damn nine-pound demon in pinstripes. )

And a few other random notes. )

Last week's humpday Sinfest would be a great deal more amusing if I'd not had to live through this weekend.


kaigou: this is what I do, darling (Default)
锴 angry fishtrap 狗

to remember

"When you make the finding yourself— even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light— you'll never forget it." —Carl Sagan

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