Making a Break for It

Well, it was inevitable. Ripley escaped his designated safe zone today. I was in the kitchen, just about to leave the house, and he jumped right over the styrofoam barrier we had temporarily erected while the door is under construction. Cleared it in one leap. I picked him up and handed him to my husband, on the other side of the barrier.

5dm32444-webIt was inevitable, of course. But I thought we’d get more than 4 days out of our makeshift structure. Of course Ripley objected to being held, so my husband put him down. Then I realized I needed to get a pair of shoes out of the closet before I could leave the house.

5dm32534-webI stepped over the barrier and went to open the door to our bedroom. Ripley shot between my legs and went through the door. “Get him before he goes under the bed.” So Ripley managed to violate two off limit areas in the space of two minutes.

092320165dm32527-webMy husband stepped up efforts on the door tonight and we are hoping to get it installed before the weekend is over. Meanwhile, we had to go back to keeping Ripley confined to just our TV room with the doors shut. Of course now he tries to make a break for it almost every time we open the door. He’s tasted the freedom of the outside world and is no longer content to be confined to his safe space. He is one bold little kitty.

Happy Kitty, Sleepy Kitty

Kittens sleep a lot. Which is good, but I need to start getting shit done while Ripley is sleeping, instead of watching his adorable little twitches. He is doing a remarkable job of making me forget my stress about the house and my anger and sadness over my friend’s death. They say pets are good for your health and now I see why.

5dm32443-webRipley is a little playing machine. I’m trying to give him lots of active play with various cat toys, but we also have things he can use to entertain himself. This little ball on a track is his favorite.

5dm32546-webI’d think he’d get frustrated that he can’t actually “catch” the ball, but he just seems fascinated with its motion around the track. It’s absolutely hilarious to watch him stalk the ball. I actually joined Instagram just so I could post kitty photos and videos. Ridiculous.

5dm32529-webI’m not sure what captured my heart more, his beautiful coloring or his incredible little personality. You’d expect a kitten that had been abandoned would be aggressive or timid. Ripley is just very active, playful and happy. Of course I have zero perspective on kittens, so he’s likely just a typical well-adjusted one. But I keep thinking he’s incredibly special, just like our niece. Well, to us he is, anyway.

5dm32551-webSo here I am, a gushing first time “mom” at the age of 52, watching my new baby, photographing his every move and posting it on social media. Although I haven’t put anything on Facebook yet. We haven’t told many people about Ripley, since he was a bit of an impulsive decision and kind of a statement about getting out of having a vacation home. And we haven’t really broken the news about that to everyone yet.

Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty

I’m just going to warn you that my blog is going to be dominated by kitten photos, for now, at least. So get used to it.

5dm32497bw-webRipley is absolutely gorgeous. How could I possibly resist a face like this? Of course the lighting in his room is shit and he doesn’t sit still for very long, so there’s a bit of a limiting factor. If we were in our new house and I had my photo studio, he would quite possibly be the most photographed kitten on the planet.

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I’m guessing he will surpass Nola for sheer volume of photos, if only because he’s here and I’ll see him every day. And I’ll probably photograph him every day, at least while he’s still a kitten. Which won’t be nearly long enough.

5dm32456-webThe first 24 hours were good. He’s settling in and getting comfortable with his new space. He’s eating well and using his litterbox consistently. Pretty much perfect. I’m hopelessly behind on email and our kitchen is a mess, but it seems like a small price to pay for this.

Little Ball of Fur

This is it. Our last morning waking up in a kitten-free household. I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. Our first task for the day is getting enough sisal rope to finish the scratching post. Oh, and buying some clay litter, because that’s what Ripley is used to. I bought two other, supposedly better kinds yesterday, but you’re supposed to condition them to new litter over time.

We managed to finish wrapping the post with sisal. I avoided the hot glue this .time but my husband got a nasty blister when the gun squirted him. I hope Ripley appreciates all we’ve done to make him feel at home. What am I thinking? He’ll be happy as long as we feed him and play with him. Fortunately, kittens sleep a lot.

We picked him up at 1:00. Ripley was sleepy, having just been woken up from a nap. He went into his new carrier and we brought him home. He spent most of the ride peeking through the little holes in the carrier. We brought him into his designated room and took the top half of the carrier off. He lost no time in exploring his new environment and playing with his new toys.

After a nice long play, some food and a quick stop in the litter box, he settled in for a nap. Ripley seemed completely unfazed by the new environment. I’m sure he’ll make a fine addition to our household.

Final Preparations

Tomorrow our new little ball of fur comes home. I made trips to no less than four different pet stores today, stocking up on essential supplies. That’s in addition to the many, many Amazon orders that are still arriving. My husband hasn’t quite finished the new barn door, but we’ll just keep Ripley confined to the TV room until that’s done.

I helped my husband hot glue some sisal rope on the ultimate kitty scratching and observation post he built. We both manage to burn our fingers, turns out that hot glue is really, really hot. Crafting is not for sissies. We also ran out of rope before we ran out of post. So it looks like we’ll be paying a visit to Menards in the morning.

I’ve read about seven books on cats, two specifically on kittens. People welcome infants into their homes with less preparation. I’ve never been responsible for another living creature before and it’s kind of freaking me out. I’m hoping I’ll calm down once Ripley arrives. They say that cats can sense your anxiety, so now I’m getting worried about that.

A Quick Trip to High Country

We went to bed at 8:00 last night. Yes, it’s ridiculously early, but keep in mind that it was 10:00 in Minneapolis and my husband has gotten very little sleep the last few nights because he’s building the barn door for our kitten. I have no excuses, I just like to sleep. Of course the early bedtime meant we were both up and out of bed before 4:30 this morning. We went for a walk as soon as the sun started coming up. It was still ridiculously hot by the time we returned home.

My first task for the day was to visit our storage locker and retrieve a box of paperwork. I can’t even begin to articulate how badly I failed on that effort. First by showering and putting on clean clothes for the task, second by thinking I could get to the box without excavating a ton of stuff and third by forgetting the lights in the storage facility are motion activated. So of course they went out while I was neck deep in the locker. I almost killed myself trying to get back out.

So I returned home sweaty and dirty, without the box. Fuck it. I put on a clean shirt and we headed up to Prescott. The weather there was absolutely perfect and we had a nice lunch, followed by a walk around the town square. Then we met with the realtor who is listing our two lots there. We didn’t really need to meet her, but it was good excuse for a visit to Prescott, one of my favorite small towns.

An Ex-Parrot

So, this happened. We arrived at our home in Phoenix this afternoon and immediately turned up the air conditioning and opened the curtains. When I looked out at our balcony, the first thing I noticed was several enormous piles of bird poop. The second thing I noticed was a large, gray dead bird.

But not a pigeon, oh no. That would be ordinary. This was a parrot. An ex-parrot. Not just pining for the Fjords. (Google Monty Python parrot sketch if you’re unfamiliar with the reference) Specifically, an African Grey Parrot. Most likely, someone’s escaped pet. Now a desiccated mummy on our balcony.

I feel bad, but my dark and twisted sense of humor kept surfacing lines from the Monty Python sketch. Given the horror and heartache of having a friend in the hospital on life support only made me more prone to finding humor in the darkness.

Fragile and Short

Once again the universe has exercised its unlimited capacity for capriciousness. Today I found out that a friend and former co-worker was hit by a car while walking home on Saturday night. The driver, most likely drunk, left her in the road with brain and spinal cord injuries. She is currently on life support and is not expected to survive.

Word travels quickly when tragedy occurs, especially in today’s always connected world of social media. I received the news from a mutual friend, who was kind and brave enough to call and tell me. I, in turn, passed it on to another mutual friend who is currently traveling on the opposite side of the planet and out of cell phone reach. I had to use Facebook Messenger.

A CaringBridge page was set up for her, not to solicit money but to pass on information. So far it only has one entry – a simple statement about the accident, posted less than 24 hours after it occurred. The comments are heartbreaking wishes for a speedy recovery, posted by people who have not heard the shattering news that recovery is beyond the reach of kind thoughts and prayers.

My heart aches for a kind, funny, intelligent and caring woman who is being ripped from this earth way too soon. Hug your friends and family and tell them you love them, because life is fragile and short.

The Second Autumn

I’m hoping to spend some time photographing fall colors this year. They’re supposed to be spectacular due to all the rain we’ve received.

5dsr4937It was fall in Australia the last time we visited, but most of the trees I saw were of the leaves turn brown and fall off variety.  Not exactly photogenic. There were a few exceptional ones I found during our visit to the Royal Botanic Garden.

5dsr4938Of course it’s hard to focus on photographing trees when you have a hyperactive toddler hunting monsters right in front of you. I was not able to capture a photo of any of the monsters. Photographing imaginary creatures is beyond my skill set.

5dsr4973But trees are right up my alley, so to speak.