Tag Archives: cats

This and that

No, honey, that smoke detector is not a kitchen timer.

 Earlier this week, Mrs. Poolman made us tacos for dinner. This is usually a fairly easy, mistake-proof meal. Not this time. Rather than heating the taco shells in the oven, like we normally do, Mrs. P decided heat them in the microwave.

 “What is that smoke I smell?”

I pulled the taco shells, that were “spooned” together, out of the microwave. They were still combusting! I stuck them in the sink and hit them with the dish sprayer. A large cloud of steam later, the “blaze” was extinguished. I’ve heard of hot Tex-mex food, but really!

 We always have soft tortillas around, so we just had soft tacos that night.

 Actually, this just makes us even. A few weeks ago I saute’d some tilapia for dinner. I used a new spice mix, not knowing it was heavily salt-based. The fish filets were virtually inedible. I’m not a great cook, but usually my meals at least can be eaten. Not that night.

 *   *   *

I understand the reason behind Amber alerts. But is it really necessary to send the same alert out to my phone every few minutes all night? The other night, my phone was hopping with an Amber alert from Tampa, more than 300 miles away. I had to turn the phone off just so I could get some sleep. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Duh.

 *   *   *

It’s tough running a small business, but sometimes when I see how some businesses treat their customers, I don’t understand how they can keep their doors open at all. Last December, we contacted a local pest control company about some unwanted pests in our attic. We called this company because they handle other termite inspections and because someone close to us works for them. The pest control guy came out for an inspection a few days later and said he would be back the next week to seal off the attic and set some traps. Two months later, we hadn’t heard back from the guy. When we finally reached him, he confessed he “forgot.”

 So he sent one of his minions out to seal off all entrances to the attic, but he had forgotten to bring the traps.

 “No problem, I’ll be back on Thursday to set the traps.”

 Of course, he never came. Meanwhile, we got a bill for the incomplete service.

 After continuing to hound than, we finally got the rodent boy to come back out last week and set his traps — four months after we initially called. He is supposed to come back this week to collect whatever (hopefully nothing) that has been caught. We’ll see.

 *   *   *

And speaking of unhappy experiences with local merchants, we took Sammie the dog and Sid the Tailless cat to a groomer this weekend to be trimmed a little. Both are long-haired and desperately needed it. We went to a groomer we had not used before. I don’t know what the groomer was thinking. Sammie was cut down fairly close. Sid was practically shaved.

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

Sid the Hairless (as well as tailless)

He looks like a little piglet with the head of a lion. Poor thing. Fortunately, Sid doesn’t really seem to care how funny he looks. His “sister” Penny, however is another story. She has been hissing at him ever since he got home yesterday afternoon. Quite the critic she is. Fortunately, Sid is an inside cat, so sunburn won’t be a problem. Otherwise…

I don’t think we’ll be using that groomer again. Duh.

We have squirrels! Well, we hope so anyway.

It may just be time to declare war on squirrels around the Poolman house. As cute as the little demons are, they are starting to get under our skin.

Earlier this year, I had a leak in my car’s windshield washer system. Everytime I refilled the reservoir, the fluid would just come pouring out. I thought maybe I had a broken tube or lose connection. No, said the mechanic. I had squirrels. The suckers had chewed through the plastic tubing.

Did someone say "party?"

Did someone say “party?”

This past Saturday, Mrs. Poolman and I went up to the attic to bring down the Christmas decorations. She noticed right away that there was ample evidence of rodents having partied there. (I don’t need to discuss the evidence. It was not pleasant.) Mrs. Poolman immediately began having visions or giant wharf rats taking over her house and sneaking up on her in her sleep to gnaw off her toes. I suggested our problem was probably not rats, but one of their smaller cousins. I have never seen a field mouse, let alone a wharf rat around our hour house or yard. On the other hand, our and the surrounding yards are a paradise for squirrels. There are millions of them out there. I strongly suspect our B&E culprits go by the nickname “Rocky.”

Sid

Sid

Penny

Penny

Mrs. Poolman began to make disparaging comments about our “lazy cats” not earning their keep, and threatening to take them up to the attic and leave them there. Sid and Penny were not impressed, and went back to sleep. In defense of our cats, they don’t have access to the attic where the squirrels are.  Our daughter, Writer Princes, works for an exterminating company. She will send someone out this week to take care of the unauthorized entry point and whatever party animals have been left behind.

This and that

It’s been about a month since I last posted. After our trip to France, I needed a bit of a “blogacation.” I’m back with a mixed bag of thoughts.

The hot news out there this past week has been the sex scandal surrounding David Petraeus.

David and Paula Broadwell in happier times.

What a waste! It is interesting to note the double standards our society has for those in the public eye. If Petraeus were a Hollywood celebrity or a professional athlete, the entire episode might not even be worth a mention in People Magazine. I think we, as a society, tend to be a little sanctimonious when it comes to a good scandal. I’m not justifying marital infidelity, but I don’t understand why today that activity needs to ruin a good career. In the not-to-distant past, many great and admired leaders had a little, or a lot, action on the side. (Hello, FDR, Ike, JFK, Teddy K, etc.)

I got a chuckle out of a set of petitions that have been circulating around the Web promoting states to secede from the Union following President Obama’s re-election. What a bunch of sore losers! I’m not an Obama supporter, and, while fairly centric, lean more towards the right side of the political spectrum. (Big surprise there, huh?) This is a democracy folks. If you want someone you like in any elected office, then go out and convince enough people and get them to vote. If you can’t, then suck it up and live with it. Don’t just try to take your ball and go home. And, oh, by the way, didn’t we settle the issue of secession back in the 1860s? You would think the folks here in Georgia would remember that.

How messed up is college football? Imagine this. My Florida Gators are 10-1 and ranked #4 in the country. With just a couple of games going the “right way” this weekend, (wins by UF, USC, and Alabama) they could play for the national championship. And this, for a team with an offense so bad they would have trouble getting a first down against Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind. I love the Gators, but I do wish they would play some offense.

And if sex scandals, a replay of the Civil War and the BCS aren’t enough controversy for you, how about skydiving cats? There has been a uproar (or at least an upwhisper) over a Swedish insurance company television commercial that featured supposedly skydiving cats. I like cats. I have two of my own, one of whom is snuggled in my lap as I write this. But when I heard about this, I laughed. Jeannie Moos with CNN picked up on the story and had this tongue-in-cheek report.

The key here, folks — they didn’t really throw cats of airplanes. It’s all a joke. And besides, don’t cats always land on their feet anyway? (That’s also a joke.)

Who let the cat out of the bag?

Mrs. Poolman and I had a busy weekend. Sunday was all yard work, but Saturday involved a grueling trip to a “shot clinic” and two movies, one very good, the other very bad.

We started off with a trip across town to a shot clinic for our menagerie of pets – two dogs, Casey the Lab and Sammy the Mutt. We also included the two cats, Sid and Penny.

Even with the two of us, it was a lot like work. The shot clinic was very popular so we had about a 45 minute wait. The two dogs were totally excited to have the chance to be in the same place with so many other people and pets. The cats were less so.

We really didn’t want to put both cats in the one carrier that is large tough to hold them both. When loaded with 30 pounds of feline, it’s awkward and heavy. So instead, we put Sid into a relatively small cat carrier and Mrs. Poolman borrowed an idea from my brother-in-law for a way to transport Penny – a mesh, drawstring laundry bag. It really worked. Penny was not happy about the whole idea of being carried around, transported in a car and getting her shots. But with the mesh bag she could see out and was reasonably well behaved.

There is a cat in there.

"All right. Enough with the fun. I'm outta here!"

It was a good plan. If you have cats you need to transport, keep it in mind.

It’s all in the name

The Gator Nation is in an uproar over former-coach Urban Meyer’s hiring at Ohio State. Those hurt feelings were rubbed raw when he reached back and poached his former strength and conditioning coach to join his OSU staff.

Personally, I’m not all that concerned about it. As a Gator fan, I know our team has more than enough on its plate, to rebuild from a 6-6 year, than to worry about what may be happening in the Big 10.

For some fans, this whole situation is putting them in a serious pickle. One couple is thinking of changing their child’s name.

That’s just crazy.

Alberta the Alligator. Isn't she lovely?

Now for the disclaimer  – I’m not totally innocent. I have named cats “Gator,” “Stevie” (as in Stevie Spurrier) and “Alberta” (UF’s female mascot, Alberta the Alligator.)

But a child?

Seriously?

Mrs. P has mentioned that she was just glad our children were born well before Gator football took off in the early 90s. Otherwise, who knows what may have happened?

Tebow Poolman?

It has a certain ring to it.

Who thinks of these things?

There are times I see or hear about something and all I can think is “Who was the genius who thought of that?” Other times, the only thought that goes through my mind is “WTF?” This week, I ran across two items that, I think, fall into the second category.

Neuticles

“What are “neuticles?” you may ask.  According to the Web site, neuticals are “testicular implants for pets. Neuticles are available for canines, felines, equine, bulls or any pet which is neutered.”

Apparently, these are artificial “balls” that are implanted in a male animal after sterilization. Why would you need such a thing? Again the Web site has anticipated the natural question.

“Neuticles allows your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and aids in the trauma associated with altering.”

And the practice isn’t limited to that family golden retriever.

“While canines and felines have been most popular, other pets have been Neuticled including prairie dogs, water buffalo, monkey’s and even rats!”

I have to this company credit. I think they have created a product to fulfill a market need that no one even knew existed.

Who would have thought that we needed artificial testicles so our pet prairie dogs don’t lose their self esteem? And people actually buy these things! Amazing.

Clowns Without Borders

While I’m normally hesitant to criticize someone trying to do a good thing, I’m not sure whether to laugh with or laugh at this group. I guess their hearts are in the right place.  The group sends “clowns”  (Cue Frank Sinatra.) around the world to refugee camps, natural disaster scenes and so on. They put on shows for the people there to lighten their day. It sounds like a noble idea. I imagine someone in a refugee camp or who has experienced a natural disaster might easily be in a foul mood. It would be quite understandable. I wonder though; if I were in a refugee camp, and I had the choice between a visitor with food, fresh water and medicine, or a clown with a rubber ball nose, I think I might go with the food and water.

But that’s just me.

Ode to a swimming pool

I have often thought of our swimming pool, which we had installed in 1994, as our 7th child (after two natural children, two dogs and two cats) because of the amount of care and attention it requires. I ran across this description of a pool today. I can relate.

“Swimming pools need things. It isn’t enough to invest in the pool, the pool will require constant care, a cover, extra lounge chairs, extra towels, and plenty of poolside umbrellas. As soon as you think it is all taken care of, a storm will blow the umbrellas into the pool and rip the liner. You’ll replace the liner just in time for your children to have parties that you will get to cater. Afterwards you can spend the evening laundering your towels. Then the pool will want toys – slides, floating chairs, LED lights. You’ll want the pool to have self-cleaning robots that you just toss in…”

There is a great deal of truth in that paragraph. However, we still love ours .

 

Facing demons with a toolbox

This past weekend I faced another home-repair demon and emerged triumphant.

As I have written in the past, home repair is not my strong suit. When I tackle a job beyond the very simple, my odds of success usually run around 50-50. Sometimes, the damage I inadvertently do creates a larger repair bill than if I had never attempted the task to begin with. As a result, I look at almost any home-repair job as a major challenge and all victories sublime.

Mrs. Poolman is my strongest supporter. You would think that after all the years we have been married, she would have picked up on some of my weaknesses. (Well, she has picked up on many of them, just not this one.)

“Oh, Poolman, we don’t need to call a repairman. You can do it!”

Which brings me to one of Poolman’s Lessons on Life.

Nothing is impossible for someone who doesn’t have to do it.

This weekend’s plumbing story began last week. We have two and a half baths, but with only two people living in our house full time, the master bath and the half-bath off the kitchen get 99% of the use. We keep the door closed to the seldom-used bathroom in the hallway, because one of our cats (Sid the Tail-less) has been known to use it for his functions. (“Hey, if you’re not going to use it, one of us might as well. Meow!”) Unfortunately, Sid has not familiarized himself with the proper use of the bathroom appliances. All of which means that when I stopped into that bathroom last week and found the toilet running, I had no idea how long it had been doing so.

“Oh, boy,” I thought, “what a great opportunity to try my hand at toilet repair.”
Actually, as it turned out, it was a fairly easy repair. I just went down to the handy Ace Hardware store and bought a new valve assembly. Surprisingly, it went together just like it said in the directions. That may not be a first for me, but it seems that it is rare enough that I am always surprised when it happens that way.

I ran into two minor problems, but I was able to think my way through them.

One issue was really stupid. I couldn’t get the hose connector unscrewed from the tank. “Lefty-loosey, right?” In this case, that is true – if you are lying on your back and looking at the connector from the floor, but not if you are kneeling and reaching under the tank to get at it. Duh!

A masterpiece!

Once I had the new valve assembly installed and made sure it was both working and not leaking, I had only one remaining concern. How much water did we waste all that time we didn’t know it was running? Coincidentally, the semi-monthly water bill arrived on Saturday. It was more than twice the normal bill.

Crap!

Pun intended.

Catchin’ up on a holiday week

Christmas is behind us, but I still have nearly a week left before having to go back to work. Life is good.

We had a rather quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas. Mrs. Poolman and I went to 4 pm Mass and then over to some friends for their annual Christmas Eve open house. Both our children were either working or were tied up with their spouse’s or GF’s families. They came over to our house late Saturday afternoon. We did the gift exchange and had a fantastic holiday meal of prime rib roast, twice-baked potatoes, squash casserole, and more. Yum-yum!

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I took off for Jacksonville to visit her two sisters. We had hoped some more of the nieces and nephews might have been able to join us for dinner, but it was not to be. That’s life. I contributed a pan of chicken enchiladas to the evening meal and we had a very nice visit.

We had a fairly busy day today. I had a routine dentist appointment this morning. After a lunch of left-overs from the above-mentioned Christmas dinner, we took two of our pets to the vet. Penny the Kitten needed her initial check up and round of immunizations. Casey the Lab, however, has some sort of growth between two of his toes on one of his front paws. The vet isn’t sure what it is, but says it’s about a 50-50 proposition that it may be a malignant tumor. He’ll remove it next week and sent it out for lab work. At the same time, Miss Penny is going to lose her “lady parts.”

We’re off to the church tonight for this round of the Interfaith Hospitality Ministry. As I have described in other posts, our church cooperates with others in the area to host homeless families for a week at a time. They need couples to spend the night at the church to “host” and troubleshoot as needed. We’ve done it several times already over the past two years. It’s an all-together good thing. Actually it’s less of trouble for me because I can sleep like a baby under almost any conditions. Mrs. P, on the other hand, hears every bang or creak and never does get much sleep. I guess I can count on her taking a “long winter’s nap” when we get home tomorrow morning.

It’s a holiday week!

I have been totally uninspired to write for the past couple of weeks. We certainly have been busy, but it’s been all the normal, not-all-that-interesting stuff.

It’s been a disappointing college football season. Our Florida Gators have flip-flopped back and forth from looking like world-beaters (not very often) to impersonating Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind.  There is one game left, against rival Florida State. We’ll see who come to play.

The newest addition to the Poolman family, Penny the Kitten, is doing very well. It took her about a week to figure out the other members of our animal sub-culture were pretty harmless. (You can get stomped by a large dog, but it won’t be intentional.)  She and Sid the Tailless have become tight.

Penny & Sid taking a "cat nap."

Sid gets in on a little grooming of his little sister.

She and Sammy, the younger, smaller dog, have hit it off big-time. They actively tease and play with each other, and Penny is holding her own just fine. Penny has actually gone up to a resting Sammy and curled up with her. I have tried to get a picture, but every time I start to point a camera at them, Sammy gets up and walks away. It’s like she is ashamed to be caught snuggling with a cat. Very weird.

Planning Thanksgiving has been a challenge this year. Mrs. Poolman is working Thanksgiving day, which means we won’t be eating the holiday meal until after 8 in the evening. You would think that would make it very easy to plan around our children, their in-laws, potential in-laws, etc., but you would be wrong. As of this afternoon, we got word that Writer Princess’s in-laws would not be coming. Her MIL is undergoing radiation treatment and doesn’t want to even leave the house. Quite understandable. WP and SIL will be heading out to their place early in the day and preparing a Thanksgiving meal there.

There are still a bunch of “maybes”. Poolboy’s girl friend’s parents are thinking about going to Disney World for the weekend. Maybe they will; maybe they won’t. Maybe GF will go along; maybe she won’t. As of this morning, we still weren’t sure whether to set places for five or 14.  Oh well. We’ll either have the right amount of food, or a ton of leftovers. Either way is OK.

These odd holiday schedules are nothing new for us. Mrs. P works either Thanksgiving or Christmas every year and alternates. I pretty much have the holiday meal preparation down to a science. I also get lots of help from others who prepare side dishes.

No CCD this week because of Thanksgiving. The break comes at a very good time.

Lots of great football this weekend — might as well enjoy it because the end is in sight.