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Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Empty Nesting

We are back from having moved enough furniture and belongings to fill a 16 ft. truck and two Saturn Ions from our home to Jenna’s and Jen’s new apartment in Lubbock, followed by a couple of days unpacking and getting them settled in. A few days after our return, we saw Ali off at the airport so that she could meet Matthew in California for their three-year dating anniversary. This week is just a short, empty-nesting preview, but the real thing will be coming all too soon.

Although it’s a slow time of the year for selling real estate, we’ve had enough interest in the house to keep us paranoid about leaving daily messes. We thought we had a young family showing interest in the house toward evening yesterday when we spied a couple and three children examining our creek. They left and then returned with others collecting under the trees on our creek-front property for thirty minutes or more. Over the years, we’ve had several mistake it for public property and we eventually concluded that it was probably a church group. We made our presence known by taking the dog out and getting the mail, but they still seemed clueless that they were trespassing. We saw no harm in what they were doing so we didn’t tell them or ask them to leave.

My typical summer morning routine takes about an hour with pets, tidying, and some yard work — and then there’s too little to do the rest of the day. Earlier this week I got another glance at one of our creek owls gliding over my head as I was watering. I awoke this morning and immediately took Phoebe outside, as I normally do. We’ve had some rain lately so instead of grabbing the hose to start watering potted plants, I sat in a lawn chair to enjoy the cooler morning for a few minutes. I looked across the pool and spotted a familiar face cautiously peering back at me. Butterball? What was he doing outside? Happy to see me, he came running as soon as I called and I put him inside, but I soon realized that Sox was also missing. I dressed and began looking for him, first in the house, and then outside. Finally, Steve awoke and began looking too. He’d gone to bed late and they must have escaped when he let Phoebe out one last time before he went to bed. They’re inside cats and don’t usually even try to go outdoors. We had just about given up finding him when suddenly I saw Sox timidly sitting in just about the same place that I’d seen Butterball earlier. I sat on the diving board, wiggled my fingers and coaxed him to me. About that time, I spied a probable victim floating lifelessly in the pool — a good sized rodent the cats had probably chased to its demise. They may have had an adventure, but both were glad to be back inside.

With all that done, this is the time of morning I usually start hearing footsteps bounding down the stairs — but strangely, it’s very, very quiet.

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Adventures with Roomba

The current members of our household include a variety of personalities embodied in two energetic labs (Chief and Sarge), one overweight, lethargic beagle (Phoebe), and two attention-starved, always-hungry cats (Butterball and Sox). The canines and felines that share our home provide us not only with unconditional love and companionship, but also massive accumulations of HAIR. So much hair, in fact, that our 10-year-old Oreck vacuum could no longer keep up. Knowing this, our son and daughter-in-law gifted us with yet another home companion: Roomba. It was a thoughtful and generous gesture, not to mention an intriguing new gadget, but I doubted it could actually handle the job.

We’ve had it a few weeks now, and I’m convinced. Not only is it doing everything it’s touted to do, it has surpassed that and become, in every sense of the word, another pet. For the first day or two, the dogs and cats were aggressively curious and eager to nip or bat at the poor dear, but by the end of the week, all were adjusting fairly well. Within the past week, however, Roomba has clearly risen to the top of their pecking order.

If you’ve seen Roomba in action, you know how he hugs tight to clean baseboards. This morning I watched him hug Chief and go three-fourths of the way around him like that, then head across the room, do a 180 and bump back into him. Suspicious of feigned affection and motive, Chief complacently held his position. Undaunted, Roomba left the room entirely, only to return a few minutes later in an advance maneuver. This time, with Chief’s expected retreat, Roomba victoriously claimed new territory in the name of “dirty spot,” circle danced, and gloated with de(blue)light.

Awaiting further amusement (and only moments later), Roomba maintained a criss-cross holding pattern between the utility room and back door hallway. Luckily for him, Phoebe had one of those rare moments when she decided on her own that she needed to go outside. She tried to sneak through undetected, but just as she’d head to one side, he’d bump a wall, turn around, corral, and toy with her. In her complete frustration, he had her just where he wanted her. Bump… and… Score!

Besides being clever and hairless, his grazing routine makes him very economical to feed. Like many other pets, however, Roomba still requires occasional grooming, frequent litter box cleaning, and an occasional reprimand. Earlier this week, I awoke to evidence of another streak of mischief. Apparently feeling abandoned or neglected, he had acted out, scattering homework papers and trailing socks and charger cords across the living room floor. Then, to avoid a scolding, he hid away under the sofa and fell asleep.

I had to forgive him though. For the most part, he seems so happy to please us.

Chief and Roomba

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