Sunday, February 28, 2010


Frank Sinatra sang it way before my time, but the Fuzz ball was certainly snarling it last night. Sometime in the wee hours, I stretched my legs full length, only to run into...a hot mass of fur. I did not like it. I nudged--no movement. I nudged harder--still no movement. I then purposefully poked my foot at him and got a little nip in return. So, I told old man cat to GET OFF MY BED while giving him a good sized shove. To use Nephi's terminology, he was obliged to leave his warm spot at the foot of the bed and find a more hospitable environment.

On the other hand, my red headed daughter-in-law invited me to feel her expectant tummy this evening. When I placed my palm down firmly on it, I was rewarded with a couple of quick little kicks. I liked those, but her baby didn't appreciate me. He/She quickly retreated to a less threatening place closer to her backbone. Somewhere in my imagination, I'm pretty sure I heard an in-utero grandchild saying, GET OFF MY BED!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Three Little Monkeys?

Three men out and about, accomplishing manly endeavors
Three women chatting away, eating their yummy dinner
Three kids escaping upstairs, thinking they're very clever
One cat's food bowl, laying in multiple slivers

Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Bad For a Strictly No-Talent Outfit...

You are the poem I dreamed of writing;
The masterpiece I longed to paint.
You are the shining star I reached for
In my ever hopeful quest for life fulfilled.
You are my child;
Now, with all things I am blessed.

author unknown.

All who know me, understand that I am haunted by feelings that I have no discernable talents. This weekend, however, in stake conference, the visiting authority told us that if we wanted to know how effective we were as parents, look not at our children's accomplishments, but look at the way our children parent their children. If that is really true, I acknowledge, in this one case, of being an artiste extraordinaire because my children are AMAZING parents!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gus Goes to the After Life...

So, there we were with three cats. That's dangerously close to the "collector stage." You hear about people like that--the city finally breaks their doors down and finds their house filled with animals. We weren't that close, but I felt like we were! I never knew how the house would smell when I returned home from work, and would frequently have people meet me elsewhere if they needed to see me. This was not a favorite stage of life.

Adding insult to percieved injury, the kittens played with each other and did no more than aggravate Gus; the hoped for exercise was just wishful thinking on our part, and he remained a 25 pound cat.

One sad night, I looked back at Gus as I made my way from the living room to the bedroom and I noticed him laying in a strangely still manner on the living room floor. He was gone. He must have had a massive heart attack while following me back to my room. We gave him an Egyption style burial in the back yard, sending him to the afterlife with a can of tuna and a baggy full of meow mix. We said a few words over his grave, and I cried for days. Strange behavior for a person who doesn't like cats!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Here, Birdie, Birdie, Birdie...

One of the things that has suffered since moving to the attic is my ability to diet, not that I ever had much ability, but we will pretend for the sake of today's post.

Between being a road warrior with my sales job (think lots of fast food), coming home to the excellent cooking of my daughters-in-law, and the delights of my new little dorm fridge, I have managed to gain a couple more pounds. This is seriously not a good thing, and causes me more than a little grief.

Tonight I opened my scriptures with thoughts of dieting in mind (doesn't everyone read scriptures when they think of dieting)? Of course that could be because thoughts of missing a meal scares the "heck" out of me, but I digress...

Psalms 124:7-8 leapt out at me: Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. My mind immediately visualized me as a bird (albeit a fat one), breaking free from the net and flying upwards. And the net? It was made from strings of words: McDonald's, Wendy's, Whataburger. So maybe the fabulous cooking of my daughters-in-law is not the problem here. What do you think?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Back to the Beginning III

Gus was so fat that people would stop and stare when they saw him; their jaws would drop. We tried to put him on a diet, to no avail. He couldn't even jump up on our bed anymore. At night, he would stand there looking sad until one of us picked him up. Then, he would walk across our stomachs, looking for a comfortable spot. He was so heavy, it felt like he was poking holes in us with his feet.

One day, Kevin had a "great" idea: Gus needed a kitten to pester him and run the weight off of him! He just happened to know a family whose cat had a new litter. With many misgivings, I agreed to not only one kitten, but two! One short hair and one long hair. They came with the usual promises that I would never have to scoop the litter box, etc. Right.

When we brought the newly weaned kittens home, they saw Gus lying on his side in the living room, swollen belly and all. They literally ran to him, nuzzling his stomach with their little faces and kneading it with their paws. When they found what they were looking for, they each latched on. Of course they got nothing, but they didn't stop trying for two weeks, at which time Gus had had enough and let them know it in no uncertain terms...

Monday, February 15, 2010

Warning: Literary Vice Indulgence

Jason Bourne has forgotten his identity. I must see him through to the end of the book.* It's nothing like the movie...I shall return!
*The Bourne Identity

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Disneyland, Disneyworld, Disneyattic

I never knew my life would become so fascinating that I would have to have a security gate installed.

To the eyes of three small grandchildren, our attic loft is like a vacation hot spot. There are rides (our twirling office chairs and elliptical machine), a petting zoo (cat), theater (Sesamie Street video clips on Grandpa's computer) and refreshments (whatever contraband Grandma & Grandpa are caught snacking on).

Our state of the art security system (baby gate) at the foot of the stairs works quite well, but comes with features we didn't anticipate: 3 little pleading faces on one side, and grandparent guilt on the other!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Gus was the link between our obliging indoor/outdoor cats and our current dictatorial cat. Shortly after Trenton lost his war with the neighborhood, Gus disappeared for a week. Just when we had chalked up another win for the coyotes, he dragged himself up to our doorstep, skinny and broken. He had been hit by a car, and for the most part, was manuevering via his front legs. We shuddered to think how many days it took him to find his way back, how many bushes he must have hidden in, and just how hungry he had to be. But he was home. He had struggled to bring himself back to us. Chalk one up for the scaredy cat.

We spent more to get that cat back to good health than we had ever spent on our kids, medically speaking, and it was a long process. He was so skinny, that we let him eat as much as he wanted, which is the way we ended up with a 25 pound cat. He got so fat that he looked like he was stuffed with gerbils, and we were crazy about him.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Today I shared my attic loft with two adult sons. One was working from home because power was out at his place of business due to yesterday's snowstorm. The other employed his efforts at, well, finding employment. The three of us quietly worked away at our respective endeavors, shut away from the rest of the world as tree branches outside released huge clumps of snow, freeing themselves from the white blanket that had covered them.

Downstairs, muted by closed doors, grandchildren shrieked and played and ran through the house, their mothers keeping close watch over them and their own sanity. But in my attic, blessed peace, serenity and calm reigned.

Skip, Skip, Skip To The Loo...

This morning I awoke to Fuzz nestled to my side and looking at me expectantly. I ignored him and turned over. Finally, I could bear it no longer and leaped out of bed, racing to the bathroom with him running directly in front of me, tail up in the air. It was a race for wills and bodily functions: He wanted breakfast, and I wanted, well, you know...and I wanted it without a cat staring directly at me until I was done.

The dance ensued. I shooed him from one nook and cranny of the bathroom to another until I finally maneuvered him out the door and shut it tight. And oh, the irony! Before I did another thing, I reached down and filled his food bowl.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

View From the Attic Window

Record Snow For Texas. That's what the newspapers say. When I press my face to my cold little dormer window, I look directly out on the huge tree in our front yard. If I were Pollyanna, I could jump across to it. As I recall the movie, she wasn't very successful at it...

The big branches are at eye level, as well as the little twigs. They are all covered like a snow scene in an Ezra Jack Keats book. Hmmm, my thoughts seem to be on movies and books. Guess what I do on snowy days?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to the Beginning

The fuzzy one sits on my computer and stares at me. It is not difficult to guess what he wants; he wants me to come to bed. I am out of order, you see. It is late at night, and I am somewhere that he is in disagreement about.

House cats are not like the in "n" out variety. They don't politely sit by the door and hope for results. No. They order you around.

The change came when we started giving them actual names. One Christmas when we were low on funds, we thought a trip to the shelter would be in order. We got the last two kittens they had. Two animals necessitated a change in our naming pattern. We could have gone for "Kitty One," and "Kitty Two," but instead they were dubbed, "Gus," and "Trenton."

Gus was the proverbial scaredy-cat, hiding behind dressers and under couches. Trenton, however, was the neighborhood scrapper, walking arthritically with a torn ear from his many street brawls even at a young age. Both felines sensed the house rule, though: the kitty loo is outside.

A change in employment status led to a change in state residency. Trenton tried to conquer one neighborhood too many, and Gus became a lone cat.

Obliging Friends

Oh, I am in heaven, I am, I am! There is a big white box sitting on my dresser, and it keeps things cold, specifically: milk, OJ, yogurt, cream cheese, apples and Slim-fast. Sitting next to it and on top of it are cereal, bananas and mini-bagels. I am trying out Lean Pockets in the miniature ice-cube tray to see if they will really freeze. I am giddy with excitement! Who would have thought such a small change could bring such euphoria? We owe a big thank you to Steve and Gail for their generosity in lending us their daughter's dorm fridge from her college days. Breakfast independence is now ours! Think we should invite them up to the attic for yogurt by candlelight?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Obliging Pets

In the 25 year haze of welcoming our first child into our home, and waving as the last one left, there was a whole cavalcade of auxilliary critters, mostly all felines of the short haired, grey striped variety. We named each one of them, in its turn, "Kitty." They wound their way around our ankles inside the house, and politely meowed at the door when they wanted out. These were cats who knew how to dig a discreet little hole outside, no litter box needed. One by one, each "kitty" forrayed a little too far afield, where we suspect a hungry coyote invited them to dinner. Then, like clockwork, another grey striped kitten would follow our kids home...

Monday, February 8, 2010

How it all Began...

Let me begin with a little analysis of what led me to begin living in my attic with my husband and a crotchety, fuzzy cat.

You see, most of my children didn't really like bringing their friends to our house, not that there was anything wrong with our house. We just weren' Other homes had cool parents, fun toys and neighborhoods with more kids to play with. We basically had a TV and anxieties.

So, when my last one was almost ready to flee the nest, my husband and I bought a new house--well, not really new. Actually, it was about forty years old, but it had some great features. Besides the basic hallway with the bedrooms and bathroom in between, it had a mother-in-law apartment by the kitchen and a really unique room upstairs. This room was long, like a bowling alley with angled walls, and had a bathroom and closet on one end. How cool was that?

Now that we had our new house and empty nest, we began to re-invent ourselves as a fun couple with friends. We began inviting people over for dinner and even hosted some small open house receptions for our children when they got married. Of course that was after the other sets of in-laws had the really big parties. But that was okay, we did things according to our scale. And you know what? People liked coming to our house.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Of all the indignities I have suffered in my life, sharing a bedroom and bathroom with a disgruntled, opinionated, not to mention loose follicaled long haired cat may be one of the more aggravating ones.

It never occured to me that I would someday have a litter box under my vanity, and I never dreamed that an elderly feline would one day be attacking the bathroom door with phantom claws if I tried to claim a little privacy and shut him out...

But I am getting ahead of myself. This blog is about my self imposed living experience in the attic of my own house.