Sunday, August 18, 2013

Homo Alone

The weather has been warm in St. John's for the past couple of months, and I have been slacking on the blog front. Or the doing anything productive front. The humidity here makes my brain feel water-logged, so I've been trying not to use it.

Work has been ridiculously busy and hot. It's like trying to cook in a sauna, with a layer of slippery sog coating everything. I think any customer who complains about slow service during a heat wave should have to come and spend a five minute time-out in the kitchen, sitting in front of the open oven door.

This past week and a half I've had a lot of spare time, since Lisa is on an adventure. She's in Colorado, running the Transrockies 6 race. While she runs/hobbles up and down mountains, I am home alone. Well, nearly alone. Tinkle and Marvin didn't accompany their mother to Colorado, so I am sole cat caretaker.

Lisa has a very special relationship with her pets, and I know I need to honour this. Sometimes, it is hard.

The responsibilities are extensive. They include, but are not limited to:

Cat guardian duties include becoming intoxicated and feeding Marvin peanut butter toast at 3 a.m. 

1. Supervising the kitty banquet (twice a day). This involves preparing a grotesque mixture of different raw animal trimmings, nutritional yeast and various medications for elderly diabetic kitties with bowel issues. For a vegan duo, we sure have a lot of meat in our freezer.

The best part is the three times a week when the cats eat quail for dinner. Of course Lisa feeds her cats quail, right? While Lisa is away, I am tasked with chopping a whole quail in equal halves every other day. My brother would be proud.

A whole quail looks a lot like a miniature human, and sawing through bone and skin with a bread knife makes me throw up in my mouth a little. I am a germaphobe, and dealing with raw meat means a lot of extra stress, and a lot of extra disinfecting.
This seriously pervy quail image was poached (haha...see what I did there) from this guy's blog:
I used someone else's photo because our freezer is currently quail-less. I chopped the last one in half yesterday.

It's better if Lisa just deals with the animal bits when I'm not in the room. I  then try not to think too hard about which surfaces may have meat juice contaminants on them (the answer is all of them, including the floor and the top of the fridge).

2. Playing with the felines in very specific ways. One game that must be played at least twice a day involves crumpling up dozens of pieces of paper, and flicking them at the cats (actually, this part I kind of enjoy). The cats then pounce and attack them. Fun for everyone, right?

Unless I do it wrong. If I don't flick the balls hard enough, Marvin ignores them. Instead, he will pretend Tinkle is a ball of paper, attacking her from around corners and jumping on top of her as she passes under his perch. I then have to risk being clawed/ bitten in the jugular/eyeball to keep mother and son from de-limbing one another.

And after one of these episodes, I have to vaccuum up the pulled-out cat hair chunks.

3. The kitties must have supervised backyard playtime daily, or Marvin will keep me awake yowling all night.

 Really? All that fuss at the door, just to do THIS? I would like to point out, this is exactly what he was doing inside. 

The problem with backyard playtime is that Marvin has discovered how to escape. I have rigged up several (so far unsuccessful) contraptions designed to contain him. It is a game that I have lost three evenings in a row. Which means I end up jogging around the neighbourhood in my pajamas, shaking the yogurt container full of kitty treats, shouting,

"MARRRRVVVVINN....Here, kitty, kitty, kitty...Lisa's going to kill me... little fucker, where are you hiding... I'm going to skin you and make a tiny, ugly accent rug.... Who's a good boy??....come on, MARRRRRvin...."

Fact: The neighbours think the lesbians next door are insane.

4. The kitties must have constant human fur-to-skin contact, or they follow me from room to room, whining. It's like having a pair of furry toddlers that make me sneeze. And if they don't get enough love, they deposit angry little poop nugget surprises in secret hiding places (like on my favourite Birkenstocks). So to discourage fecal punishment, I'll pat them regularly, and let them sit with me on the couch after dinner. However, I am NOT a fan of kitty co-sleeping.

The first night Lisa was away, I was lonely, and had a moment of weakness. I let the cats sleep with me. They are less-than-ideal bed buddies.

Tinkle is a bed hog.

Tinkle: "MY couch! MINE! Thou shalt not sit here!"

Marvin is a genuine kitty asshole of a sleeping partner.

Instead of lying nicely on the bed purring, he decided to punish me (I'm still working out which offense I was being punished for). He waited until I was nearly asleep, crawled up to my neck, yawned carcass breath up my nostrils, and proceeded to whack my face (hard) with his paw (using fully extended claws, naturally).

He did this three times in a row (I am a slow learner, and was in a forgiving mood), holding off each time until I started to snooze.

Marv is two inches from my face. His breath reeks and I'm allergic to him so my eyes itch and he's drooling...
but I'm not allowed to move or he'll hit me.
The third time, I picked him up, tossed him out the door (Lisa: I tossed him ever so tenderly, I promise) and went back to sleep. Until 5:30 am, when dear ol' Marv decided it was feeding time. Only a glass of water (upturned on his head) could convince him otherwise.

Despite all of these things, I feel that the cats and I have reached an understanding. Basically, that understanding is that they will do whatever they want to do, and I will do whatever they want me to do. And then I am rewarded with drooly cat kisses, and forced snuggles.

I am looking forward to Lisa's return tomorrow.

Also, I guess this would be the wrong time to mention we're looking for a cat-sitter for two weeks over Christmas. Any volunteers?

Athletic Update:

Lisa did an amazing job soldiering on through the pain during the first four days of the Transrockies Run. She has an IT band/quad issue though, and was forced to sit out the last two legs of the race, since even walking was painful. I am so proud of her for listening to her body. I fully expected her to return in a wheelchair, so the fact that she's still upright (as far as I know) is a bonus.

She's already talking about next year's Transrockies race. Sheesh.

Lisa also cheerfully announced a couple of days before she left for Colorado that she has signed us BOTH up for the Cape to Cabot race in October. It's only a half marathon distance, but with BIG HILLS. I'm going to die.

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