A Few Things

1. Duck Dynasty Season 3 comes out on DVD in a few days. The beards. The river. The camo. Be still my heart.

When I bought season 2 on its release day, the cashier asked me if it was for my husband. I thought about lying and saying yes, but I proudly said no. I love that show with my whole heart.

2. Getting my annual haircut on Thursday. Suggestions?

Warning, my hair easily becomes too short. And when that happens, I look like the lady in the Dilbert comics with triangle hair.

3. I’ve been killing it at the gym lately. Eight pounds g-o-n-e. Boom.

4. Speaking of healthy choices, in case you think I have it all together in the culinary world and every night we eat a home-cooked dinner with homemade salad dressing and freshly baked gluten-free confections, let me set you straight. Last night we had gluten-free frozen chicken fingers, gluten-free mac and cheese from a box (I cannot lie. I love me some squeeze cheese) and frozen sweet peas that I had to pour boiling water over because they had frozen together in one block after being partially defrosted several times when moonlighting as an ice pack.

5. It really has been a year since I got my hair cut, not counting bang trims. Maybe longer. I think I got bangs last April. So a year and a few months.

6. I’m growing out my bangs. I’ve decided that my will to have Zooey Deschanel bangs is not as strong as the willpower of my cowlicks. And every time I did my bangs, they looked great. But only in the mirror. Then I’d embark to the wide world and instantly my bangs would go all wonky. The pictures. Oh the pictures. Also, my buddy/bang trimmer quit to have a baby. The best part of my bang trim was gabbing for 15 minutes. What’s with that? Priorities, Kelly!

7. We started free-feeding Charlie instead of feeding him on a schedule. I guess he’s happy because he stopped pooping on the garage floor. He’s now eating a little more than before. Yes, I know. His weight will surely kill him. Even so, his life expectancy is now greatly extended from when he was pooping in the garage – if you know what I mean.

I explained this to the vet. She met the decision with disapproval until she listed off a dozen ideas to help him lose weight and I had tried every one of them and failed. We had already even attempted her suggestion of kitty cardio time chasing the laser pointer. We tried that. He chases it for about a minute and then lays on his back and follows the dot upside down with his eyes.

What can I say? Charlie, he’s consistent.

8. Next week is salad dressing week. Be looking for two great salad dressing recipes.

9. If you’re growing basil, you’re really going to like salad dressing week. If you’re not, you’re going to be stuck re-examining your priorities, your life decisions, your very soul.

10. Pippa and Charlie went to the vet last weekend. Charlie laid on the floor on his back and impressed the vet with his stellar personality. Pippa – ummm…she did her best impression of a feral cat. And I was like, “Pippa, you were not raised by wolves.” But that didn’t help. Then this happened.

Yes, I know I’m evil for stopping to take a picture in her hour of distress. Sorry Pippa.

 pippa

 And when I say evil, I mean that I am probably the best cat parent ever.

Pippa, Lady of Leisure

We got Pippa after Lucy, the greatest cat in the world, died at only a few months old. Pippa is named after a statue of a character in a poem called Pippa by Robert Browning. Pippa (the character) goes on a walk through the woods and encourages everyone. And I needed encouragement. Only Pippa (the cat), she’s not so encouraging. 

What can I say, I love her anyway. Charlie gets more camera time. Mostly because he’s always sleeping in an absurdly cute, otter-like position. Pippa’s mostly on the move or in a bad mood, so she doesn’t get a lot of pictures.

So in the spirit of cat parent equality and because I’m mad at Charlie right now because he keeps pooping in the garage, here is a glimpse at Pippa’s routine.

BTW – Many of these are phone pictures and aren’t exactly up to my normal quality standards.

Pippa Cuddles into Things

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Like the bed.

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And things she’s not allowed to touch. Like my curtains.

Pippa Attacks

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Run for your lives, all you broken cardboard coat hangers..and other such villains.

Pippa Achieves the Perfect Temperature

Accidental Okie Pippa Life 2Doesn’t she  look abused, mistreated, malnourished and unloved? Yeah, I thought so too.

Accidental Okie Pippa Life 14Oops. Too hot. Time to cool off.

Pippa Protects Her Turf

Accidental Okie Pippa Life 1This is my place of leisure! Move on knave!

Pippa Tolerates Charlie

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Doesn’t she look happy? She really is his protector. It’s actually quite sweet. I have to give Charlie baths with the bathroom door closed because if I don’t, Pippa comes in and bites my legs in an attempt to free him.

Pippa, Blogging Assistant

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Need to do an important photo shoot? Are ribbons involved? If so, Pippa’s your gal. She’s always ready to help with the blog.

Pippa Engages in Trench Warfare

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This is her reenacting one of World War I’s lesser-known battles, Battle of Shirt Drawer.

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Cat or secret agent? Now she’s looking innocent while waiting for the right moment to attack. Or fall asleep. One of the two.

Pippa, Roofer

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Last winter Pippa discovered the roof. It’s her own little kitty playground since Charlie isn’t athletic enough to jump from the fence to the roof. Or the ground to the fence. Charlie is firmly planted on the ground. 

I always know she’s found something good when I hear footsteps racing above my head.

Accidental Okie Pippa Life 13All clear!

Pippa Hunts Birds

Accidental Okie Pippa Life 10It was all fun and games until she actually caught one. She didn’t know what to do with it and just carried it around the yard for an hour. Don’t worry, it was dead. I checked. Now the birds have a vendetta. They dive bomb and harass her. Just like Alfred Hitchcock predicted, the hunter has become the hunted.

So that’s Pippa’s life of leisure. Are you as jealous of it as I am? 

My Hero

It’s no secret that The Professor and I have cats.

There’s Pippa.  She’s the oldest.  We got her after our four-month old kitty Lucy tragically escaped and was hit by a car.  We named her Pippa after a poem by Robert Browning about a girl named Pippa who goes on a long walk and encourages everyone she meets.  We needed encouragement and a fostered little kitten was sure to fit the bill.

Except Pippa apparently actually means pissy, because Pippa is the pissiest little cat I’ve ever had.  Just like how in the arctic in the summer when there’s flowers blooming and birds chirping, but the ground is still in a state of permafrost, Pippa is always somewhere on the annoyed spectrum.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comHere’s she’s sleeping on The Professor’s leg on a road trip. (Yes, our cats travel with us like dogs).  This is her begrudgingly happy face.

There’s only one exception to Pippa’s mood, and that’s when she’s warm…or, well, in need of warmth.  Her affection level is directly related to how cold she is, and how warm she wants to be.  I feel loved.  I feel used.  Mostly, I feel loved.

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Charlie, on the other hand.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comHis full name is Charles Bingly George Warren, and he’s an oaf.  He spends his days begging for food, collecting cylindrical objects from around the house – straws, razor blades, The Professor’s tooth brush, drain plugs – and sleeping on his back whilst loudly snoring.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comAnd despite being on a strict diet, he’s so fat that he can’t properly clean himself…ahem….down there.  So he gets frequent baths.

I have to lock Pippa out of the bathroom during Charlie’s baths because, hearing his plaintive cries, she gets protective and starts biting my legs to let him go.

On to my hero.  That is The Professor.  For Christmas, he got me the greatest gift in the whole world: a cat door.  Yes people, our cat litter is in the garage!  Hallelujah!

cats | www.accidentalokie.comHe bought a kit from Lowes.  We had to buy a “big cat door” to accommodate Charlie’s girth.  This is especially sad seeing that Charlie is not even a year old.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comNext off came the door – the only one in our house not yet painted.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comWe traced the pattern on to the door, which was laying on a work table.  And he used a power drill to cut through the door.  It is a double layer solid door, so we had to match up the template to the other side and repeat.

cats | www.accidentalokie.comThe idea is that you screw the edges and the door pops out.  Hurray!  It worked.

I couldn’t take pictures of the rest of the steps, as I was laying on the ground in the garage, holding one side of the door in place while The Professor screwed in cat door on the other side.  About 10 minutes later, we were done!

It took a little coaxing with treats for the kitties to accept their door, but within about ten minutes, Charlie had mastered it.cats | www.accidentalokie.comPippa, the suspicious cat that she is, chose to only look through it and attack Charlie when he tried to cross.  You shall not pass!

By the end of the day, they were both pros.

Every day I thank The Professor for what has to be the greatest gift ever…no more cat litter in the house!

Charlie Update

Beware: This blog post talks about poop, and I don’t mean that in a euphemism sort of way.

When we last left our hero, he had just come back from an ominous vet appointment.  The vet said his big belly was indicative of feline intestinal peritonitis, a terminal disease.

www.accidentalokie.comSee – giant belly.

The vet suggested a new cat food.  After a few weeks, Charlie was still having explosive excitement in the litter box.  I wanted to go back to the vet, but to a new vet.  Our first vet seemed almost giddy to have a patient with a rare and terminal cat virus.  He exclaimed over and over how rare FIP is, and then feigned sadness.  Plus his office was in constant chaos.

We took Charlie to a new vet, and all I can say is I LOVE her!

1. She’s only a vet for cats and has about 10 cats who live at her practice full time and roam the clinic.  The fact that they all get along seemed to calm Charlie down.

2. At the height of her exam table is a large, plexiglass bird cage with a pair of bright yellow birds.  Charlie hardly noticed he was being poked and prodded, what with all the hunting he was doing.

Cue the kakakakakkaka – cat bird hunting noise.

3. The vet says the word ain’t, which I feel gives her street cred.

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She took one look and Charlie and said, “FIP cats are skin and bones.  This cat ain’t got no bone on his body.”  I immediately believed her because she said ain’t and because my cat was so perfectly distracted hunting birds.  She obviously knows a thing or two about cats.

She said she is 99.9 percent certain that Charlie does not have FIP.  He’s five months old, has no adult teeth, and should weigh about four pounds.  At his appointment he weighed eight.  The vet explained that he’s been growing so fast, his high-fat, low-protein kitten food doesn’t have the protein he needs to stay full.  So he’s been overeating to get the amount of protein he needs, and thus, the litter box explosions ensued.

The vet sent us home with new food.  Within a few days, Charlie’s litter box excitement was gone.

But that’s when poop problem two started.  I will spare you the details, but imagine a cat walking through your living room and suddenly a little one inch turd falls out of his butt, which spooks him and he jumps.  And then you have to fall asleep every night to the sound of your cat crying at your bedroom door because you’ve had to lock him out of your room, seeing as how you don’t want poop in your bed.  And then you wake up every morning and walk around the house looking for cat poop.

Charlie went back to the vet where after two days he didn’t not have one accident.  Figures, right?  They changed his food again.  Oh, and in the six days between his appointments, he had gained a pound.  The vet says he’s on track to be 30 pounds.

The official diagnosis is that Charlie isn’t a cat.  He’s a pig.  The vet has recommended that we put bowls of food around the house with just 1/4 a cup of food in each.  This way it’s harder for Charlie to binge.

So Charlie the sweetest cat ever is going to be okay.  He will continue fulfilling his mission of being Pippa’s buddy and my snuggly kitty.  And he’s going to be huge.  And we love him.

But if you happen to speak cat, we’d appreciate you passing on the suggestion to stop farting in our faces.

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I’m back!

Two weeks of no blogging is too long!  Here’s what I’ve been up to.  It’s been a lot.

I had three invitation jobs all due in one week.  I made these.  Isn’t the placement of the RSVP card cool!  I love it.

And I made these.  And I assembled them.  There are three layers of paper, and I love them with my whole heart.

We had The Professor’s sister and her husband over, and we played this game.  You buy energy and materials, and run regions of the country.

I did not win.  Mostly because I stopped paying attention half way through.  This is why I’m only good at mini golf for the first five holes.

And I cooked beets.  I love beets.  I’m the only one under the age of 70 who loves beets this much.

And I cooked with this.  It’s my favorite.  Yes, I order my paprika from Spain.  It’s not too expensive, and it might just change your life.

We took Charlie to the vet to get tested for worms, since his tummy is so fat.  He tested negative for worms, so the vet told us that he either has really bad gas or he is dying of feline intestinal peritonitis.  If he has FIP, he will just get skinnier and skinnier until he’s all bloated stomach and bones.  Because he’s monstrously fat all over, I don’t think he has FIP.

The vet has recommended special prescription food designed to help restore balance to an upset tummy.  It’s $20 for two pounds, which how much a good ribeye steak costs!  But if it helps, thus proving that Charlie isn’t dying, it’s worth it.

The food has caused all sorts of problems.

The vet laboriously explained that if Charlie wouldn’t eat his expensive food, we could bring it back for a full refund.  Currently, we’re having the opposite problem.  Charlie loves his new food.  Pippa loves it too.  We don’t let her eat it because it’s so expensive.  So, she’s on hunger strike.  Now Charlie eats his special food and most of Pippa’s food.  He’s still fat.  Maybe fatter.  Pippa’s losing weight, though.  Not that she had any to lose.

I made dinner for some friends who had a baby.  Recipe to come.

There was a lot more crammed into these two weeks.  It’s been busy and good.

The Two Stooges

Meet Pippa and Charlie.  Charlie’s in the foreground.  He’s about five months old.  He indiscriminately loves all food, and on a related note, he farts like an old man.  We got Charlie to be company for Pippa.

As Pippa grew from the six-week old kitten we fostered, it became increasingly clear that she is not a social kitty.  She loves her window seat and her cat treats and chasing bugs in the back yard at twilight.  The Professor and I are somewhere down on her list after her second-favorite scratching post…well third-favorite, if you count the sofa.  At only about eight months old, she became so neurotic and reclusive that she didn’t even like to be touched.

Pippa

After talking to some friends with multiple cats, we decided to get a sweet, gregarious boy kitty.  Charlie fits the bill, and miraculously our plan worked!  Pippa is about a thousand times happier now that she’s not the center of attention.  She and Charlie are pals.  They clean each other’s ears and wrestle, and every day their respective personal space bubbles shrink.  Pippa even likes us more, but nothing will ever sever her first love, the window seat.

A few nights ago, The Professor begged me to stay up with him and watch Rocky.  I’d never seen Rocky.  Why?  Because I have no brothers so we didn’t watch movies like Rocky.  My sister and I watched My Little Ponies and Beauty and the Beast and the six-hour version of Pride and Prejudice.  The Professor has taken it upon himself to indoctrinate me into the world of boy movies – Rocky, Hoosiers, and an entire cannon of badly dubbed kung fu movies.

But now I have seen Rocky.  All I have to say is this:

“Yo Adrienne!”

Finally, just as the big fight scene was starting, I decided I could resist sleep no longer.  Just one more thing before bed- scoop the cat litter.  It’s my every-other day chore that I dread and procrastinate.

Just as I was scooping the cat litter, Pippa and Charlie came in and decided to both use the littler box at once, side by side in an awkward group poop huddle.

It was all working out fine until Charlie finished first and reached around for litter to bury his business.  That’s when Pippa pooped on his head.  That’s also when I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep.

Charlie was rushed to the sink where, under extreme duress, he and his poop-matted fur got a bath – arms sprawled, claws activated – ready to hook onto anything, and meowing like he was being slowly mutilated.  This is also when Pippa came to investigate the cries of her partner in crime.  Now we had one cat in the sink covered in Seventh Generation Lavender Dish Soap (whose label states that although it’s not meant for consumption, it’s non toxic), and one cat on the rim of the sink crying in sympathy.  And Rocky was losing to the guy from Arrested Development.  And I too was covered in poop.  And the sound of my morning alarm clock was growing closer by the second.

With all the poop finally washed away, Charlie was wrapped in a towel.  That’s when Pippa, who loves water, got jealous.  Now we had a shivering kitten in a towel and a howling cat in the sink wanting her turn to play in the water.

We are magnets for weird animals.

I passed Charlie to the professor and turned on the water for Pippa, but she changed her mind in favor of checking on her kitten,  alternately attacking and cleaning him.

Finally at nearly 1 a.m., it was my turn to get the cat poop off me and collapse onto the bed.

Isn’t Pippa sweet?  She decided to help Charlie dry off.

And that is the story of why I splurged on a sugar-free vanilla latte the next morning.