Saturday, December 31, 2005

Weekly Weigh-in: Return of Catzilla

Just when we thought Billy's diet was starting to take hold, he gained again. He's back to 14 lbs, 13 oz, a gain of 3.5 oz since last time. Whitey also gained a little bit, and is back to 13 lbs 5.5 oz. We need to buy more food soon, and it looks like it's time to switch over to the weight control formula.

Emily is also heading in the wrong direction, having lost an ounce at 6 lbs 4.5 oz. I'm willing to put that down to measurement noise, but we'll need to keep an eye on her. As per usual.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Photo Friday: Newsworthy Cat

Katherine got a new camera for Christmas, which immediately led to a new photo collection of our favorite subjects. One of the first shots was Whitey getting comfortable in the least helpful place he could Christmas morning. (Katherine was reading those comics before Whitey arrived.)

Whitey hogging the comics

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Photo Extra: A bear loving cat

A bear is having a Christmas party, and there are kitties invited.

(We've seen several stories about Aristotle the bear before, and this one included pictures of the author's real cats.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Weekly weigh-in

And the numbers are...
Billy: 14 lbs. 9.5 oz.
Whitey: 13 lbs. 3 oz.
Emily: 6 lbs. 5.5 oz.

The boys are losing, relative to last time, and Emily is gaining. In fact, we'll soon want to try to level the boys off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

We are we are we are the engineers

After feathers, pom poms, and other Things on Strings, Billy's favorite toy in the whole world is the filter for our cat fountain. We were reminded of this this weekend when, while cleaning the upstairs fountain, Drew discovered that it had been running without any filter at all for some indeterminate period. We think he must have grabbed it when one of the humans was filling the reservoir, but we aren't sure.

An even more dramatic reminder came this morning. I'm sitting in bed reading the paper when I hear a rattling noise in the hall. It's Billy, playing with the cap from the downstairs fountain. (This is a piece of molded plastic that covers the reservoir and the filter.) Hmmmm....... I head downstairs, where I find the filter, surrounded by wet spots, on the carpet in the front hall. Hmmmm..... Once I get to the fountain itself, I discover that it is unplugged, and pulled out from the wall a bit.

Putting the pieces together, I think this was a team effort. Whitey unplugged the fountain, which I've seen him do before. (Unplugging involves pulling the wire loose from the transformer, not pulling the transformer out of the wall.) This made the water stop cascading down. Billy then stuck his paw into the now dry space (Where'd the water go? Meow!) and popped off the cap, giving him access to the filter.

As a cat valet, I'm annoyed. As an engineer, I'm impressed, and profoundly grateful that they don't have thumbs. Then we'd really be in trouble.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Where did the week go?

We're hre, the kids are fed, and the litterboxes are clean, but we seem to have fallen off the blogging wagon.

Do we have any readers left, anyway?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Photo Friday: Attack from Above

Since we posted Billy in a compromising position when being attacked by a feather a few months ago, we figured we should see if Whitey could be captured looking silly via an attacking feather. We succeeded.

Whitey attacked from above

Monday, December 12, 2005

Emily On The Warpath

Emily is in quite the mood tonight.

Maybe I stressed her appearing in the door of her powder room (litter-box closet) to clean the boxes, maybe her stomach bothers her (she threw up a snack today) or maybe it was just her general mood.

In any case, when she came out of the closet into the bedroom, she jumped up on the bed and saw Whitey in "her" spot up by Katherine's pillow. She growled. Then she growled again. Then she bounded across the bed and started pummeling Whitey, twice her weight and an eighth her age.

Whitey rolled on his back and generally looked shocked. I didn't see him hit her back, although given she only got about two swings in, she merely may have made her escape before he could recover.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Not Friday Photo: Brotherly Love Again

Sometimes Whitey wishes his brother would leave him alone, but sometimes curling up with another warm kitten is pretty nice.
They were even more in sync before the photographer turned on the lights and made Whitey cover his eyes.

Friday, December 9, 2005

Winning Lottery Numbers

  • Emily - 6 lbs, 2.5 oz.
  • Whitey - 13 lbs, 7.5 oz.
  • Billy - 14 lbs, 15.5 oz.

The boys lost weight since last time. Good. Emily did too. Bad.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

After last night's story, the change in direction at the end of this graph tells it all.
Temperature plot during heating failure
The first reduction in temperature loss must have been caused by coming home and turning on various lights; that's an interesting and useful (in winter) side of effect of not killing myself by tripping over a cat in the dark.
Update: it occurs to me when I came home I shutdown the furnace and its ventilation fan, which pulls fresh cold air into the basement. That may have been the real solution for the dropping thermometer.

Get the Door, It's Domino's

Tonight's dinner is pizza for me. This was best, as I can't use the stove. And there in lies a rambling tale.

Over the weekend the local gas company dug a trench in front of the house one door up on Summerhill.

Today, they dug a similar trench in front of the kitten farm. I found this when I got home in the dark. I also found a note telling me to call them so that they would turn our gas service back on, which of course implied the service was off. I called, mentioning that the new gas meter had a slight smell to it as well.

Providing this latter information was a big mistake, this turned the turn the gas back on call into a gas leak call. This caused the wrong type of crew to be dispatched.

When he arrived, he hunted for a gas leak in the house with no gas service. After we sorted out that we needed the gas on first, an exterior road crew was dispatched because it turns out that the note saying "turn on the gas" actually meant "replace the gas service from the street". However, now they need an interior crew as well, because they need to slightly redo the internal pipe around the meter.

They are still milling around as I write this, ~ 3 hours after I got home.

The same weather station which monitors our external weather data also reports and records the conditions inside. This means I can tap into our server to report that the dining room temperature has been dropping since 2 PM this afternoon.

Fortunately, it is only down to ~ 61 degrees inside after a reasonably mild day, and they should finish this decade.

The whole affair can be best summed up by that I think the cats liked our previous utility visitor better.

At least the cats all ate well (their usual menu) despite the confusion.

I think all cats have official permission to burrow so long as they don't disturb each other.

Photo Extra: Reunited

That other Emily is now back with her family. The new link is from the local paper, and includes more and larger photos.

The Paw of Friendship

Emily has figured out I'm the chief valet this week.

She's been in and out of my office a lot since I got back, and this morning gave me the Paw of Friendship. That's the gentle velvet paw reaching out to stroke and get some attention, and is not to be confused with the claws extended Paw of Death (generally reserved for the boys), or the Nip of Feed Me. Neither of those are exactly happy gestures.

One other gesture I got last night while reading a book after dinner was the Greeting Leap of Feed Me. This would not have been nearly so noticed had it been on to my desk, but I was reading at the dinner room table. That's what she leaped on to in order to announce it was time for her second supper. I don't recall if I she got the Mist of Doom, but I did take the hint and headed up to her suite to provide a snack.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Inmates Running the Asylum: 2005 edition

It's time for IDEM again, and thus I'm chief valet for a few days.

This year IEDM is in DC, so I actually went down with Katherine to play tourist for the weekend. Jen the Cat Sitter watched over the beasts as usual, which means the the kids were warm, safe, and a little bored in my absence. She'll also stop in the next few days to give Emily lunch.

Emily in particular is affected by us being gone; she doesn't get to graze as much with a cat sitter, so when I offered her snacks last night and this morning, she ate like she was channeling Billy. So long as she eats, we're happy.

Also, Billy decided I was his sleeping pillow. I don't mind much, but I nudged him everytime I roll over and he finally left at 5 AM.

Sunday, December 4, 2005

Tool Time

The table formerly known as the printer stand is now in my office, used mostly as a landing zone for my briefcase. However, to the cats important thing is that it is immediately next to my closet door, which unlike several of the doors upstairs actually latches. This makes the closet, among other things, a good place to store my local stash of kitty treats.

When I was up again early in the middle of week, Billy hopped on the table and started working the knob. This is not the first time he's tried a doorknob, as he tends to rattle the bathroom knob from the floor a lot. However, the table gives him much better purchase for this door.

No, he didn't get the door open.

Yes, I think he'll try again.

Please don't loan him any tools no matter how much he asks.

Saturday, December 3, 2005

All The Comforts of Home

When we're home, the thermostat automatically drops from 68 degrees to 66 or lower at night, for comfort as much as cost savings.

It used to be when we went on trips, we would lock the thermostat at 60 degrees to save money while we were gone.

Now, especially with Emily who gets cold easily, we're considering locking the thermostat up to 68 during our next trip so the four footed mafia is comfortable in our absence.

Never mind they have fur and will burrow into blankets if they want.

Are we suckers or what? :-)

Friday, December 2, 2005

Photo Friday: Brotherly Love

I wish I had a series of images for this. I didn't think to get the camera out until the situation had evolved.

First, Whitey is curled up on my futon, happily asleep and minding his own business. Then, Billy comes along, climbs on top of his brother, and starts cleaning Whitey's head and ears. After a little bit, I get the camera out. By the time I'm ready to compose the shot, Whitey has apparently said, "Hey, Tubbo, I can't breathe under here!" and taken matters into his own paws. I'm sure everyone out there with an older sibling can sympathize.


Thursday, December 1, 2005

Home for the Holidays

The wayward tabby Emily from Wisconsin that disappeared two months ago and wound up traveling across the Atlantic to France on a ship boarded a Continental Airlines flight Thursday -- in business class.

Our own Emily wonders how else would a cat travel (if she had to).

She also points out that of course one would leave it to a tabby to go and get lost like that in the first place...