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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pet Adventures

Much has been happening with the pets since we took them out of their familiar environment.  Since we've had a dude tearing out tile in our upstairs bathroom, I've been getting this face from Albus:

This look says: "Mommy, why are you letting the scary noises
happen to me and why aren't you doing anything to MAKE THEM STOP???"

He sort of hides behind a box, chair or TV tray in an attempt to get away from the noise.  Which makes me feel REALLY bad.  Until I remember that he's a dog and his only jobs are:
  • Eating
  • Pooping
  • Looking cute
  • Barking at anyone who comes to the door

And let me tell you, he is a pro at those jobs.  You'd think he'd be in barking heaven with all of the repair people coming in and out of this house lately!  He barks his little doggy head off at them and then they sit and pet him.  Tough life.

We also went to visit the new vet last week.  He was very nice.  And I have to say, our last vet was weird.  He kept calling Albus a "little turkey" over and over.  So, what?  You want to eat him?  He has nice legs?  I don't get it.

Albus is VERY scared when it comes to getting his nails trimmed.  So much so that our last vet gave us some sedatives that we're supposed to give him an hour before we start.  He gets really dopey and sleepy but the moment we put trimmer to nails it is as if we never gave them to him.  So this time, the new vet trimmed his nails.  He had one of his assistants hold him and then he tried to soothe the dog and quickly trim up his nails.  Albus whined and cried and moaned just like he does at home.  And then he pooped.  That's a new one.  Afterward, the vet said that Albus wasn't being bad or naughty, he was just really, really scared.  But he didn't try to nip or bite him so things could have been worse.  Then the doggy got a treat and it was as if the nail thing never even happened. 

The cats are also really confused by the move. I decided to move them up here separately since we knew it would be virtually impossible to move both of the cats or (god forbid) both cats AND the dog at the same time.  Penny did OK.  She meowed a bit but I just turned up the car stereo.  Moving Phoebe was going to be a really big test.  She made noises like she was being slowly murdered when we put her in a carrier and moved her the one mile from DJ's apartment to our last house in Normal.  I called the vet and asked if the sedative pills that he'd given us to feed to Albus before we trimmed his nails could also be used on cats.  When the doc told me "yes" I made high five motions to myself and proceeded to crush up a pill into some wet cat food.

Well Phoebe is way smarter than that.  She wouldn't touch it.  Even when I put a layer of uninfected food on top she still wouldn't eat it.  So I just broke the teeny pills in half and crammed them down her throat.  Surprisingly, she actually swallowed them.  They didn't appear to do much but she did let me put her in the cat carrier.  Once we were on the road, I decided to let her out of the carrier in the hope that she would stop moaning.  Well silly me, I decided to do this while I was going through the drive-thru at McDonalds.  So picture me pulling up to the window swearing like a sailor because a certain cat has decided to jump up on my shoulder/edge of the front car seat in an attempt to jump out of my open window.  I'll just bet that made the day of the teenager working the drive-thru who was trying very hard to cover up a smirk.  Other than that, the drive north was pretty uneventful.

From the above story you would probably conclude that Phoebe is a curious, smart little cat.  And you'd be right.  She is also a demon from hell in cat form.

Here she is sleeping behind DJ's Keurig maker and k-cups on the kitchen counter.

I can't tell you how many tiny places I have found this cat.  In the tiny space behind the microwave.  Inside the top of DJ's unassembled theater chair, under a wooden cart in the kitchen... I know things are really unfamiliar in this new place, but come on!  Cut it out.

But that is all child's play compared to the night we thought we would have to murder Phoebe.

I don't condone animal violence.  All of those ASPCA commercials with the rheumy-eyed kittens and shaking dogs with Sarah Mclachlan singing her sappy little heart out make me sad.  But I seriously wanted to murder our cat.  Or at least give her to a no kill shelter.

To begin with, the cats had been shut up in the upstairs for a few days because we were having our basement painted (including the floor!)  We had to keep the cats up there for another few days since it would take a few more days to dry and we certainly didn't want a couple of sticky cats wandering around the house!  I don't remember why, but that day had been particularly long and grueling.  I think it was the day we got back from moving a bunch of furniture from DJ's dad's.  Add to that the fact that we had been sleeping on an air matress for a number of days and that made us rather unhappy campers.

And then Phoebe started meowing.

She does this every once in a while.  Some nights around like, 2 AM, she'll get a wild hair and meow right outside our bedroom door.  I don't know why.  It isn't like she wants to play with us.  That's not really her thing.  Anyhow, that was the WORST night in the world for her to pull that gag.

But it didn't end there.

Usually, she meows like, eight times and by that time you're half awake and really pissed off and you stomp over to the door and whip it open. Most nights when you do this, she runs like crazy.  A sort of kitty "ding dong ditch" if you will.  Other nights she makes the mistake of sticking around or pulling the prank multiple times in a row just as you are about to get back to sleep and you have to give her a little smack on the kitty noggin before she runs off.

But that night, it kept going.  And going.  And going.  And it wasn't just her little teasing meows either.  It was the horrible moaning noise she makes when you put her in the cat carrier.  And she stood right outside our door and did this repeatedly.  We were at a loss.  What is her deal?  She has food and water and a litter box.  And a cat bed!  The dog is put away so he can't bother her.  But does she stop?  No!  Not after a smack on the head.  Not after yelling.  Not after shaking her because it is 5 AM and we're all so tired we JUST WANT IT TO STOP!!!!  (Clearly we're going to do well with a lack of sleep when we have kids).

I can't even remember how we made it through the night after that.  I do know that we slept in until like 1.  The next morning when we weren't sleep addled, we figured out a way to keep the cats on the ground floor without them escaping into the basement.  The grand solution: wedge a huge packing box in the doorway at an angle.  Tah dah!

Phoebe is still with us.  She is still a demon.  But we won't kill her :)

On a happier note, what do you get when you add adorable dachshunds, a costume based on the racing bratwurst from the Milwaukee Brewers games and a festival?  You get the 2012 Dachshund costume contest which immediately followed the Dachshund Derby (wiener dog race!!!) at Milwaukee's Germanfest.

So to recap:


Bean, the winner of the 2012 Dachshund costume contest.

Basically, a wiener dog in lederhosen.  If I could have found a photo of him on the interwebs, I would have included it.   Ah-mazing!

That concludes this episode of Pet Adventures.

Tonight's Menu: Spinach Strata 

Tomorrow's Menu: "Cheater" Fondue with cheese ravioli, chicken nuggets and broccoli dippers

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mmmmm. Bread.

I used our bread machine today.  I have to say thanks again MM for buying it for us when we got married!  Yummy, yummy bread.  Here's the recipe for the tasty cheddar herb bread that I made today.

Cheddar Herb Bread Machine Bread


1 1/4 cups lukewarm water 
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
1 tablespoon extra-virgin
olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 tsp Italian herbs 
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground coarse pepper
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup freshly-grated parmesan cheese
3 cups bread flour
3 teaspoons instant active dry

Place all of the ingredients in your machine in the order that your manual recommends (mine puts liquids in first, followed by dry ingredients and then yeast on top).  Choose the basic setting.  Mine has a three hour timer which includes all of the mixing, rising and baking.   Let cool for at least an hour.  Makes one 1.5 pound loaf.

Aaaaaaand here are some pictures of the new house:

 The first two photos are of our bedroom.  Those rooms are now two different shades of mocha.  The icky pink bathroom in the third picture is now completely torn out.  The dining and living room still look like the pictures except that they are crammed with boxes and a few pieces of furniture. 

Tomorrow's Menu: probably marinated beef in the crockpot with brown rice and some veggies.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First real post

So.  I've been "underemployed" Since the 7th.  This week has been the first where I've actually been finished with signing legal documents and moving our stuff.  Granted there are still a hundred boxes sitting around here unopened but... whatever. 

Here are some things I have done since moving up here:

  • Opened a new checking account
  • Had the interwebs, phone, Dish and a home security system installed
  • Got new carpet put in our library/music room (more carpet coming soon)
  • Had 5 rooms plus most of the basement floor painted
  • Had the renovation guys start tearing out our upstairs bathroom (Oh the tile dust!  Why didn't I think about the tile dust?!?!)
  • Talked to every single office in the Milwaukee area about water testing.  And now that I've found the right lab that will test to see if we have lead in our water, I have to take the water to them instead of the other way around.  
  • Bought a ton of shit (including but not limited to: carpet, lamps, sink, TV stand, about 8 rolls of shelf liner, garbage cans)
  • Went to my local Ace Hardware to have some keys made and basked in the small, hometowny-ness of it
  • Visited the local bookstore and purchased Montana 1948 

Things I have yet to do:

  • Finish a book. Which sucks because I'm currently working on Tracks by Louise Erdrich and I've enjoyed every book I've ever read by her.
  • Get a job
  • Clean out our garage.  Which is a problem since neither the hubs nor I can park in there at the moment.
  • Meet my neighbors to the south.  Which is also a problem because we're going to be installing a fence next to their property and we should probably talk about it with them before it goes up.
  • Successfully hook up my flexible dryer duct to the vent and have the damned thing stay hooked up.  Apparently I fail at simple home fixes.
  • Get a job
  •  Attend some sort of 'fest in Milwaukee (Yep.  Missed Summerfest, Bastille Days and several others).
  • Have visitors at our new house (though I hear this will be remedied soon)
So there you go.  Nothing too exciting yet.  But I have yet to spend more than 45 minutes in my local library so we'll see what happens then.

Update: Since I now  have plenty of time to make lots of tasty food for dinner these days, the hubs is requesting that I have a daily menu on here.  You know, like when you were in middle school and they'd read what lunch was on the morning announcements?  Like that.

Tomorrow's Dinner Menu: Lasagna Roll-ups, fresh green beans, homemade cheddar herb bread.

Tonight's Menu was: Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken, homemade garlicky potato wedges, sliced strawberries.