Foster Furmonsters

I’ve been slow to post this past week because I’ve been busy temporarily expanding my family of one human and one cat to one human and THREE cats!  Well… one cat and two teeny tiny itty bitties to be completely correct.

Meet Almond Joy and Reese (the shelter named their entire litter after candies). Or I as like to call them Officer Fuzz Nugget (The Fuzz) and Reese. Or Little Boy Cat and Little Girl Cat.

 

The Fuzz

Officer Fuzz Nugget conducting an investigation surrounding the untimely demise of a green mouse

 

Reese is a peanut-butter cup of sweetness and purrs.

Reese is a peanut-butter cup of sweetness and purrs.

I started volunteering for the Washington Humane Society back in May working primarily with dogs and in the adoptions office and it is one of the best things I could have jumped in to. My passion for this work is worth a separate post but – for now – suffice it to say that I’m hooked.

So after weekly visits at the shelter for 3 1/2 months – knowing it is a slippery slope – I decided to try being a foster fur-parent.  The main reasons were:

  1. The shelter has been overrun with cats needing fosters for a while now.
  2. I harass other people about fostering and figured that if I’m going to bug friends about doing it, I should try it myself – excuses be damned!
  3. I love Fabian but eventually I want to expand my menagerie so I figure this is a great way to test the waters and see if she’d be OK without any permanent commitments in place.
  4. The news cycle as of late has been depressing so… KITTENS!!

This is why last Wednesday night I brought home two 5 week old 1 lb-ers.

In 5 days we have had 1 visibly sick kitty; 1 emergency vet visit; 1 poop in the cat carrier; 1 vomit session; multiple scratches up and down my legs from kitten-climbing; 1 stinky bathroom (to last a month or more); 1 poop outside the litterbox; 1 planned encounter with Fabian; 2 jailbreak encounters with Fabian; 10 medicine feedings ( 5/kitten); and a lot of pouncing, purring, squeaking, fuzziness, shoulder-perching, pooping, playing, and general kitten-ness.  It’s a lot of work. Kittens are A LOT of work. And they also like to pretend to be boots…

KITTEN-BOOTS!

KITTEN-BOOTS!

…which is kind of painful. Painfully ADORABLE!

Fabs is not taking it so well.  When I got the kittens home the first night, I placed the carrier in the middle of my hallway – which is really just a tiny room where all the doors to other rooms are.  I was told to let my “resident cat” (foster terminology) smell them in this safe situation. The below is footage of this momentous meeting.

Clearly love at first smell/sight/hiss.

The kittens are super duper cute and I think fostering is VERY important; if you take one foster, it saves two lives – the life of the animal you are fostering and the life of the animal you provided space for at the shelter by taking another OUT of the shelter. So technically by taking two kittens, I’m helping to better four lives.  That being said, considering my 500 square foot circumstances and the kitten-realm that my bathroom has become in order to keep them isolated for health/safety reasons – I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do this.  Maybe once a year.  Maybe twice.  But probably no more than that.  Plus it is A LOT of shuffling to do things that are second nature. Like going in and out of my bathroom.

There is a whole new routine I have in the morning now:

  • Wake up
  • Good morning cuddles/scratches with Fab
  • Close Fab into the family room (she’s been heading in there on her own so far…this is good)
  • Get kitten meds from fridge
  • Mix kitten wet food and kitten dry food in tupperware; close up for use later
  • Open bathroom door
  • Get Reese from the kitchen where she has inevitably escaped to
  • Pick The Fuzz up at the open bathroom door where he is inevitably lingering
  • Close bathroom door
  • Look to see if poop in litterbox is healthy
  • Scruff kitten number 1 and give meds; some fighting ensues
  • Scruff kitten number 2 and give meds; some fighting ensues
  • Let kittens run around for a few minutes pouncing etc.
  • Pry kittens off of legs
  • Put kittens in carrier and place carrier in hallway
  • Move kitten food dishes, kitten toys, and kitten bed away from tub base and take step stool out of bathtub (placed there in case a kitten somehow got into the tub and needed help getting out)
  • Shower while contained kittens cry
  • Do as much primping/prepping for the day as possible as contained kittens cry
  • Put kitten food and fresh water in dishes and move everything in the Bathroom Kitten Suite back to kitten-ready positions as contained kittens cry
  • Put carrier back in bathroom and close bathroom door
  • Unleash the kittens
  • Supervise feeding for a few minutes making sure there are no fights and no one kitten gets all the food
  • Sneak out of bathroom while kittens are distracted by food
  • Continue getting ready until the bathroom is needed again
  • Sneak back into the bathroom hoping kittens are still distracted by food
  • Get Reese from the kitchen
  • Get The Fuzz from the bathroom entrance
  • Do make-up while kittens treat legs as trees; try to hold off on mascara until kittens are pouncing on one another away from legs
  • Pry kittens off legs
  • Get eye-makeup remover and re-do mascara (wash, rinse, repeat)
  • Take one last look around at bathroom and make sure all things that can be done are done
  • Pry kittens off legs
  • Close bathroom door
  • Open family room door
  • Let Fabs sniff/hiss at where the kittens have been; including hands
  • Give Fabs treats and pets if she wants them
  • Remember one last thing in the bathroom
  • Close Fabs in the family room
  • Open bathroom door
  • Get Reese from kitchen
  • Get The Fuzz from bathroom entrance
  • Close bathroom door
  • Brush teeth, grab earrings, get lipgloss, take rings off holder or whatever other thing I forgot to do previously
  • Throw tinsel ball into corner away from door and sneak out of bathroom
  • Close bathroom door
  • Open family room door
  • Say bye to Fabs
  • Leave while contained kittens cry

It’s kind of exhausting. And even going to the bathroom is a challenge.  Let me tell you, it is an interesting thing to be going about your business while a kitten scales you in attempt to sit on your lap or perch on your shoulder…

But it will be worth it when these two little balls of fluff and energy get to go to a forever home; I’m hoping they’ll get to go together because watching them play and cuddle is awesome and they clearly benefit from one another’s company…

 

Almond Joy (foreground) and Reese (background) first night in their Bathroom Suite at The Apartments of Eternal Christmas

Almond Joy (foreground) and Reese (background) first night in their Bathroom Suite at The Apartments of Eternal Christmas

 

…and I am convinced that Fabian turned into a semi-psychopath because she didn’t have a friend. So let my little demon feLion Fabian Raven be a warning to you all: if you get a kitten, you might as well get TWO kittens.  And if you are looking for two right now, I have some that would love a forever home with you!

The Kindness of Strangers

I should have known that things were going to be “off” at the Apartments of Eternal Christmas this week as soon as I saw this:

Oh. No.

After 1 year and 9 months of solo living, I have done the thing I have been fearing most: I locked myself out of my apartment while going down to the laundry room.

You see, I am paranoid about always having my keys and my phone on me even if I’m just running downstairs for 2 seconds. I don’t ever leave my apartment unlocked and I always make sure keys are in hand before leaving. I guess I was a bit distracted due to preparations for kittens (more on this later) so I did not realize I was without my keys until I was 3 feet from my door – which was far enough away that when I turned around, I could not reach the door before it slammed.

No keys. No phone. Just dirty laundry, detergent, and quarters.

One of the things I like about my apartment building is that people are polite but private. I don’t know why but not really knowing my neighbors or feeling pressure to know my neighbors has been in the plus column. It’s the introverted-extrovert in me, I suppose. So I was less than pleased when I realized I was going to have to knock on doors of people I did not know for assistance. The universe was at least conspiring to be sure that I wasn’t in my usual laundry room state (read as: no bra, slippers, and acne cream) so that when I knocked on a stranger-neighbor’s door, I didn’t have to be ashamed of being locked out while awkwardly-yet-strategically crossing my arms in front of my chest to poorly hide the bra-less-ness.

I hear the TV on in the apartment directly under me, so I knocked on the door. The dog barked and I waited a moment but nobody came. So I knocked again.  And this is how I met Neighbor Paul – formerly known as the-guy-who-impressively-and-enthusiastically-washed-his-car-in-a-thunderstorm.

When I told him what happened, he gave me his phone in order to call our property manager.  But he didn’t have the number. However the universe ALSO conspired to have me locked out on a day when repair flyers had been distributed so our property manager’s number was everywhere.

Now not only did Paul give me his phone for that call but – because our landlord did not pick up – he insisted that I keep the phone for 30 minutes until I got a call back, told me to do my laundry, and said he’d find me later.  And not only did he find me later sitting on the front stoop waiting for The Unlocker to arrive, but when he found me, Paul brought me booze.

We chatted about the apartment building, the neighborhood and had started to scratch the surface of work when The Unlocker in the form of Edwin The Repair Man arrived and my new neighbor-friend and I parted ways.

BTW – Edwin is my favorite repair man and he gets called to do everything from repair leaky sinks to SCARE RACCOONS OUT OF PEOPLE’S APARTMENTS. For serious. He once got a call from folks on the first floor after a raccoon wandered in because they had left their un-screened window open. Very concerned, I asked him if he called animal control. He said “No. I just make LOUD noise.”  Edwin is also very sweet and super friendly so only after many repairs and conversations – and now one unlock – did he finally tell me that my demon-cat scratches repairmen when I am not around. He felt the need to stress that it only happens when I am not here.  I digress…

Anyway, I now sit in my apartment WITH my keys, a Straw-ber-rita, and with a new friend made; and I am once again impressed and touched by the kindness of strangers.

YES.

YES.

 

 

These Are My Confessions: Bugs and Bedding

These Are My Confessions may become a series wherein I admit things that I should probably not put on the internet. But you only live once so…

I’m not going to beat around the bush here. My apartment has bugs. More specifically, my kitchen has bugs. It has had bugs for a little bit of time now. I say “bugs” but they are roaches. Which makes my skin crawl so I’m going to keep saying “bugs” so maybe you’ll picture ladybugs or fireflies or butterflies… which is not what I have in my apartment. I have roaches bugs.

When it became more than just one or two here and there (which is to be expected in an urban setting), I reported the issue to my landlord. This was back in mid-winter and that call resulted in  The Apartments of Eternal Christmas being fumigated. It also resulted in an epic car breakdown with The KitBit* in tow and a Blanche DuBois style relying-on-the-kindness-of-strangers situation as I was on my way to the BFry’s to wait out the fumigation. It may have resulted in this Facebook post:

Sometimes/And Then Sometimes: A Personal Essay - posted to Facebook on February 17th, 2014 - because I was blogging before I had a blog...

Sometimes/And Then Sometimes: A Personal Essay – posted to Facebook on February 17th, 2014; because I was blogging before I had a blog…

 

Bugs had never been a problem in the whole year+ I had been living in my apartment and I am not a dirty kitchen-keeper (because aside from the occasional tartlet I rarely cook) plus there was construction happening on the apartment below me so I had hope that this was a one-time anomaly. And things died down.

Literally. Bugs died and I would find them down on the floor.

Now, I’m a pacifist and the kind of person that likes to catch-and-release but finding bugs dead-as-a-doornail was oddly satisfying. Gross. But satisfying. And all was quiet on the apartment front for a time.

Then a few weeks ago, they started again. The BFry and I returned from a lovely evening out and immediately had an epic battle vs. approximately 20 bugs. 20 OF THEM.  And because I can’t squish things, the BFry did all the swatting and smacking and smooshing while I stayed out of his way. My preferred method of bug destruction is to catch them in a disposable cup and then run to the bathroom to flush them down the toilet before they can crawl out, throwing the cup away afterwards.  I don’t know what that says about me…

Anyway, I reported the buggy-ambush to my landlord and he sent someone the next day to put down traps. And about a week later, Faybsuh-laybsuh-little-layduh* and I had to evacuate to once again head to the BFry’s for what I like to call a Fumigation Vacation; Fabs* enjoyed herself, as you can see:

What a lush!

LUSH

 

I, again, had hopes that this would clear up the problem at least for a while.  No such luck.  There has been some calming of the issue, but not enough. Never enough.

And so on the evening of July 23rd, no longer relying on the landlord and armed with self-bought sticky-traps and cat-safe poison-traps, I waged war.

I am the 300. I am King Leonidas.  And the bugs are my Persians circa 480 B.C.

 

This is what I look like in my head as I am laying those bug traps down. (© 2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

This is what I look like in my head as I am laying those bug traps down. (© 2007 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

 

After arriving home close to 9pm, I placed those traps around the kitchen.  And in the process, flushed at least 3 bugs down the toilet. But I’m out of solo cups so have been using an empty paper towel roll and I trap bugs inside the column to then transport them to their watery fates which is MUCH harder than the cup method.  It was rough. And I did it all in heels. Adorable Crown Vintage t-strap 4″ heels; who says women can’t do it all?!

After I was satisfied with the strategic placement of both kinds of traps and felt I had killed enough for one evening, I treated myself to a 2003- freshman-year-of-college-throwback whiskey-sour. Complete with star-shaped ice cubes, an orange glitter swizzle-stick – a #fauxdult move if there ever was one –  and apparently a bit too much whiskey.  I think this was somehow influenced by feeling like I could “do it all” and since “Do It All” was actually the motto of my conservative Catholic alma mater during my freshman year (I know, right?), I was feeling a touch nostalgic.

As I slowly became tipsy, I remembered that I wanted to get Faba-face* a set of bowls that sit off the ground so as not to attract buggy attention.  And I started browsing Amazon because I have Prime and you can’t hate on free shipping.  Then, just to check, I migrated to Overstock.  And then I started looking at sheets. Because I was sent that bedding coupon

And so it happened that in a full-on whiskey-sour fog of sweet-and-tart regret, I bought #ALLOFTHESHEETS.  Seriously.  I thought it was appropriate to purchase three sets of polka-dotted sheets in various pastel colors along with pillowcases and a food/water bowl set for my cat.

I mean – this is the kind of bounty a grandma would give her cat-loving tween granddaughter for Christmas:

 

3 pastel polka-dotted sheet sets, one cat food/water bowl system, and a set of white pillowcases for good measure.

3 pastel polka-dotted sheet sets, one cat food/water bowl system, and a set of white pillowcases for good measure.

 

So while some may get drunk and make booty-calls or call up exes, I imbibe in celebration of waging war on bugs and then purchase sheets that no self-respecting adult woman would want to sleep on and things for my cat.

These, my friends, are my confessions.

* The cat, Fabian Raven Ittameh Bittameh Kittameh The Duchess of Things, has many, many nicknames.

Update: since July 23rd, the occurrence of bugs has greatly decreased but I’m not getting cocky about it yet…

Purchases of Promise

Occasionally I get the idea that I’m going to be a different person than who I currently am and decide to invest in tangible objects that promise to help me become this new person who I am so sure I actually am deep down inside.  I think this impulse may stem from my belief that talents and truths can be buried and all you need to do is unearth the hidden treasure to become who you have always been destined to be. Or something.

And apparently I also think that means that I need to purchase tartlet pans with my 20% Off coupon to  Bed, Bath and Beyond to fulfill my previously undiscovered destiny of becoming a celebrated tartlet maker. Or at least someone who makes fancy and impressive tartlets to bring to parties or to serve to friends or the BFry on a lazy Sunday morning for breakfast like it ain’t no thang to make tartlet crust from scratch (when it is most definitely a thang). My actions in this regard may also correlate heavily with my enthusiastic-yet-short-lived bursts of extreme Pinterest-browsing. And I may or may not have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to tartlets called “All Tarted Up.” Because I am merely human and a sucker for a pun.

So on January 24, 2013, I used those 20% off tartlet pans and a Pinterest recipe and I made these:

Posted to Facebook with the caption: "If these taste half as good as they look...man...I may have found a new love."

Posted to Facebook with the caption: “If these taste half as good as they look…man…I may have found a new love.”

Despite that declaration of potential new-found love, this, my friends, was the one and only time I have made tartlets. Because you know what? They tasted fine delicious-ish but were a pain in the keister to make and only yielded four tiny tartlets for HOURS of work. They were also super expensive because I did not have all of the ingredients on hand in my teeny-tiny Smitten Kitchen style cooking/baking/microwaving/refrigerating center at  The Apartments of Eternal Christmas to make my own bastardized version of Flourishing Foodie’s mini heirloom tomato tartlets with a parmesan crust.  I had to buy #ALLOFTHETHINGS before getting down to business.

So now I have tiny tartlet pans that sit in solitude in a top cabinet with the round layer-cake pans and a box of granola that has gone untouched for far too long.

In any case, I refer to tartlet-pan type investments as Purchases of Promise.

Over the last decade, here are some of the other Purchases of Promise I’ve made:

  1. Guitar: Folk-Songstress Phase – I went hard with this one because I thought I was going to be the Stevie Nicks of my generation. Or at least I’d get decent enough to accompany myself singing here and there to make the singing less terrifying and have the guitar to focus on. I bought the guitar, a gig bag, a tuning pipe, tons of picks, how-to-play guitar DVDs and books. I tried to play it only a handful of times over the 3 years I owned it so it got pawned off to a friend during a move that required downsizing…and money. And I’ve seen the guitar used as a prop on stage in a theatrical performance, so it’s doing better than it was sitting in my room.  This dream is not entirely dead though and I have – on more than one occasion – considered purchasing a banjo. I have nothing more to say for myself on this front.
  2. Mop and bucket: Clean-and-Green Phase – I was going to (1) clean my floors frequently and (2) ONLY clean them with a mop and traditional sudsy water/environmentally approved cleaner so as not to be wasteful or harmful to the environment. I don’t think these items have been used in the way they were intended to be used even once. I store things in the bucket. Things like Swiffer pads. And wet Swiffer pads. And paper towels. And the mop has been used to reach cobwebs in high corners. But so has the Swiffer.  #allhailtheSwiffer.
  3. Clothing Steamer: Professional-Real-Adult-Lady-Phase –  I was going to save so much money by steaming my clothing at home vs. taking items to the dry cleaner. Or – let’s get serious – wearing them wrinkly. I asked my parents for the steamer for Christmas a few years ago; I did my research and got a mid-priced, portable, easy-to-care-for model. And I have used it zero times. I have loaned it out to a theatre company once for use on costumes during a production – so it has been used. But I have used it zero times.  I know not how the thing works yet it continues to sit out in the open in my room as though it will be used at any moment. I have no hope I will actually use the steamer some day.
  4. Capers: The Gourmet Chef – What do capers even go on? I’ve had a jar of capers for about a year now and don’t know what to put them on. They may not even be good anymore.
  5. Knitting kit, wine glasses/chalkboard paint, painting supplies: DIY Gifting Gal – Have a birthday coming up? Let me give you these 80’s style leg-warmers knitted together with sparkle-rainbow-yarn and love! Get your Masters? Here are some wine glasses with chalkboard paint bases so when you are entertaining, people can write their names in chalk on the bottoms for identification purposes! Have a baby? Here is an adorable painting of Tigger to go in your Winnie-the-Pooh themed nursery!  Yeah. I sometimes forget that I was the kid in girl scouts who was not only not very good at arts and crafts, but who would throw her arts and crafts violently across the room or on the table in frustration and then cry.
  6. Table and stools for kitchen: The Civilized Citizen – I will be taking all meals at the table from here on out because eating in front of the TV is for heathens. But I really just want to sit on my super comfy sofa. And – hey! – there’s a new episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race available On Demand.  And I can just pull over this stool and use it as a tray table…
  7. Ulysses by James Joyce: The High-brow Literate Lady – I don’t even know what I was thinking when I purchased a book that entire semesters of college experiences are dedicated to. If this book needs a professor and a syllabus to decipher, am I really going to get through it?  Plus my Harry Potter collection is on the same bookshelf. And I’d choose Harry Potter any day.

In thinking of all of these items (and many more), my newest idea is to try to be as minimalist as possible. To go through all of my stuff and jettison things I have not used in a year plus. Because maybe it is my destiny to be the no-fuss, no-frills, no-crazy-amounts-of-extra-bedding-in-the-closet type whose apartment is always ready for visiting and whose every item serves a function. Maybe. But I do have a magical unicorn 20% Off Your Entire Order coupon from Bed, Bath and Beyond waiting for me at home…

The Apartments of Eternal Christmas: An Introduction

About 1 year and 9 months ago, I decided that after multiple post-collegiate years of numerous addresses and roommates, it was time to venture off to get my own place. And by that I mean *rent* my own place. And by that I mean rent my own place that I could actually afford and not be forced to subsist primarily on peanut-butter sandwiches due to the monthly price.

This means that I live in 500 square feet of glorious semi-solitude (walls are thin) a sporadically-scheduled bus-line-ride away from the metro within the brick box of a building I refer to as THE APARTMENTS OF ETERNAL CHRISTMAS.

I moved in during the fall of 2012 and shortly after, Christmas decorations appeared on apartment doors and the exterior of the building out the window of one of the ground-floor apartments.  Those decorations stayed up.  And stayed up. And stayed up. And well…

Christmas in July!

Christmas in July!

The above photo was taken YESTERDAY.

Apts 2

Candy canes and tinsel 4eva

As was this one.

I think it is hilarious. And confusing. And I’m just glad that the festive outdoor musical icicles finally lost their ability to sing.  That was kind of annoying.

The Apartments of Eternal Christmas and its inhabitants are sure to be featured in future posts – so with this, I say welcome to my home.  It is the most fauxdult of buildings and for that, it’s perfect!