Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘cat

Last Cut

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I know this cat named Pequenita who is highly skilled at showing up for scratches at the precise time that I want to use both of my hands to type on my laptop computer. She seems to know that I can’t resist her demands for attention.

Today, we head to Edina for the weekend to participate in Friswold family activities surrounding a graveside memorial service for Fred on Saturday. Please keep Cyndie and her family in your hearts and beam your love when you think of them.

In preparation for being away from home for the weekend, I jumped on the lawn tractor as soon as I got home from work yesterday afternoon to tackle the project of cutting the grass shorter than normal for the late-season mowing session. The short cut left a lot of grass clippings behind that I am going to need to sweep up.

In addition to the excessive clippings, the early cold snap and noticeably shorter daylight hours brought on dew that had me cutting some wet grass before I was through. The amount of grass stuck to the bottom of the mower deck was epic. I disconnected the mower from the tractor and struggled mightily to lift the deck for cleaning. It weighed a ton!

The whole project was a little too much for the short time I had available, so the finishing touches will come later. I still may end up needing to cut some areas another time before winter, but I’m hoping most of the mowing is now done for the season.

I’m at that point of wanting to use up the last of the gas in the mower before parking that tractor for the winter.

When I was cutting down by the labyrinth, I had to work around a couple of rocks that had tumbled from one of my recent precarious balance installations.

It’s all good fun until you neglect to pick up the fallen rocks. Those two have returned to ground level and interfered with grass cutting in the vicinity. Far be it from me to stop and get off the tractor to move them. I just forged ahead, cutting around the obstacles to keep going uninterrupted.

During our work down at the labyrinth last week, I took a picture of the center boulders and the miscellaneous additions scattered around them.

It wasn’t getting much attention during our sessions of adding rocks to the path borders, but it is the center point destination of the journey inward, after all.

The future star of the labyrinth garden, that maple tree we transplanted to the middle, will someday, long after I’m gone, tower over the paths.

Maybe by that time, the shade it will provide can dissuade the grass from growing so fast beneath its branches.

I will be happy if we’ve already made the last cut of labyrinth grass for the season. We will be making tracks in snow down there again before too long.

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Written by johnwhays

September 11, 2020 at 6:00 am

Russian Technician

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I finally figured it out. Our cat has a gift like that Russian sleep clinic technician and now everything makes sense. I now understand her crazy obsession of pummeling us with kneading paws in the early morning darkness when we least desire her affectionate attention. Pequenita is the Russian sleep tech from Cyndie’s tales of being tested in a sleep lab years ago.

First, she was told to stay awake for ten minutes while wearing the cap of countless wired sensors. Cyndie describes looking out a window and around the room to pass the time. Looking at a magazine. How hard is it to stay awake for ten minutes? Then the grumpy countenanced Russian technician’s voice came over the speaker and told her to wake up.

“I’m not asleep.” she claims to have said.

But, she was. He saw her fall asleep in about 30 seconds. He made her try again. Multiple times over the 24-hour period of testing, they played that little game. She says she failed every time. What startled her was that she felt like she succeeded every time. She didn’t think she was falling asleep.

This discrepancy of perception worked both ways with her sleep cycle. The objective is to have the patient stay awake when it is time to be awake, and stay asleep when it is time to sleep.

In the morning, Cyndie describes her battle with the Russian technician’s voice over the intercom.

“You need to get up now because you are awake.” His words grabbed her attention.

“I’m not awake. I’m still sleeping.”

“No, you’re not. I can see your brain waves.”

This guy knows what sleeping brain waves and awake brain waves look like. It’s what he does. He could clearly see when her brain woke up.

I don’t think Pequenita is perceiving our brain waves, but I think she detects that same moment when our brains wake up, yet we think we are still sleeping. That is why her treading paws on our heads is so annoying. We are trying to remain asleep. She knows that we are not still sleeping.

I think it is our breathing that she detects. Even though we have no intention of waking up yet, there are moments in the sleep cycle when we transition out of deep sleep to what I would describe as semi-conscious. For me, it is often occurring when one of my arms has fallen incredibly numb and I need to switch positions. There is also the very obvious situation of a full bladder, which I am extremely grateful to be alerted to so I can remedy while maintaining dry sheets. Sometimes, it is a result of a vivid dream experience.

My first guess is that Pequenita hears the change in our breathing as our brains wake up. I expect our body movements are another easy clue.

When she steps on our heads in the early morning hours before we want to wake up, I now think of her as our own little ornery Russian sleep technician letting us know our brains are no longer asleep.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2020 at 6:00 am

Pet Fatigue

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Getting up at zero-dark-thirty, driving an hour to work and another hour home upon completing my hours of day-job duties leaves me a little drained for the full-time dog and cat duty that I’m faced with while Cyndie is away. When I walk in the door, Delilah is all fired up to get her pre-dinner jaunt around the property and guard the barn while I check on the chickens in their coop. At that moment, I’d prefer to get off my feet and close my eyes for a spell.

Luckily, the fresh air rejuvenates me and we have a good outing, but back in the house after that excursion and I am even more exhausted than I was when I arrived home the first time.

Cyndie’s been gone almost a week, with a second week left to go before she is scheduled to return, and I’ve been experiencing a contrasting mix of reactions to my return to solo (sort of) living. Having the whole bed to myself is a bit of a luxury that I am enjoying but it comes at the expense of missing another warm body to ward off the chill of cold toes. Stretching out at every possible angle and not feeling like I am bothering anyone is sumptuous, though, I just have to say.

I hate to admit that only half-way through this current assignment of tending to the animals had me wondering yesterday if there might be someone young and adventurous who would love to have a dog like Delilah live with them.

After Delilah repeatedly bothered me for attention the other night, I finally just stopped what I was doing and sat down on the kitchen floor to interact at her level. In no time, I had drooped to completely laying on the floor and she settled on one of her favorite spots under the table.

The thing is, when I get up, she does too. No rest for the weary.

I breathe a little sigh of relief after securing her in the crate that is her den for the night, but the respite is short-lived.

Pequenita recognizes the instant the dog is confined to quarters and happily steps up for her dose of undivided attention. If I am upright, she reaches up and sinks her claws into my pantlegs and if I am reclined, she begins delivering the headbutts.

She is not subtle about asking for a little of her own undivided attention.

I feel like the mother of infants who never gets a break from constantly having a child clinging to them. At least children eventually grow out of that phase.

I dare say, if I end up living alone someday, I have a strong suspicion I would end up choosing to do so without pets, much as I love the ones we have acquired in our years here.

This becomes significantly more obvious to me when Cyndie is away for extended amounts of time. Thinking back, the year she lived in Boston while I stayed home in Eden Prairie, I don’t remember needing to care for any pets. I don’t think I realized how easy I had it at the time.

Although, I wonder what I would end up writing if I didn’t have dog/cat/chicken tales to blather on about anymore.

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Written by johnwhays

January 23, 2020 at 7:00 am

Hays Siblings

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Yesterday we made the surprisingly easy drive up to my sister, Mary’s house for a post-holiday gathering of the Hays siblings. North Branch wasn’t as far away as I expected. These are my peeps. I always find it refreshing to discover how special it feels to be with my brothers and sisters again. No one else in the world can match the connection we share with the people we lived with during our formative years.

Thank you David, Mary, Judy, and Elliott for all the years!

You are the best.

Here’s to a bigger reunion of our relations this summer. We’ve got a date!

Somehow, the Vikings pulled out a victory while we were half-watching. Cyndie and I tried to listen to the end of it on the drive home over a radio signal that was only barely discernible.

There was no question that Pequenita was happy to have me home again. She made haste to claim one of her favorite perches when I settled down to see who was getting recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press on the Golden Globe Awards show.

She is so not a Hays sibling.

We did not have a cat when I was growing up. Judy or Elliott can correct me if there was a barn cat on the farm before I came along.

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Written by johnwhays

January 6, 2020 at 7:00 am

Ferocious Feline

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Settling into an upright seated recline on my side of the bed, I positioned my laptop across my legs as Pequenita jumped up to join me. It was time to do some writing, but not before the obligatory routine of granting our feline her daily intense head-to-toe scratching. If I don’t grant her my full attention right away, she begins a pattern of looping around my computer screen over and over again until I change my mind and adjust my priority.

Of course, eventually, I give in. Soon, Pequenita is in a trance of purring while I grind my fingernails across the loose folds of the back of her neck and drag them over her eyes and down her nose. She seems completely willing to stay and receive this attention indefinitely, but my alternative agenda usually brings the lovefest to an end.

As I reach for the keyboard, ‘Nita will stroll away to the end of the bed and give me back my space. Often, after I have entered my own trance of typing and thinking, the calm will be broken by the sudden appearance of “Attack-Cat!” Either it will be my toes under a blanket or a fabric project on Cyndie’s lap that becomes the target of our ferocious feline’s wide-eyed aggression, so we are quickly forced to take evasive action in avoidance of an incidental over-application of a sharp claw in her zeal.

Occasionally, our defense involves a scramble for the laser pointer to give Pequenita an alternative target.

Sometimes, I get back to what I had intended to write about. Other times, I just tell the story that happened instead.

rrrrrreeooOOWWW!

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Written by johnwhays

December 20, 2019 at 7:00 am

Guilty Pleasures

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A portrait of my perfectly unsophisticated after-work lethargy that a more sane person might not choose to feature for all the world to view:

Pizza dinner in bed with Pequenita while I enjoy our favorite guilty pleasure rerun television series, “The Closer” with Kyra Sedgwick as Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson of the Priority Homicide Division, LAPD.

Even though we have probably already seen all of the 109 episodes of the 7 seasons that first aired between 2005 and 2012, we usually can’t remember what’s going to happen when seeing them again on one of the local broadcast sub-channels our antenna picks up.

It’s probably not all that different from the many times I watched reruns of “Gilligan’s Island” after school as a kid. There was never going to be anything new to gain out of the shows, but that never seemed to matter. I think it has something to do with the ensemble of characters the actors portray. They become as familiar as friends, and it is comforting to hang out with them.

Add in our favorite thick crust Gina Maria’s pizza that Cyndie surprised me with for dinner and I was in couch-potato –well, more accurately: “bed-potato”– heaven. An exercise in low-cost, lowbrow entertainment.

I even used the side of my fork to cut embarrassingly large bites of the pizza, instead of my knife. Oh, the horror.

What can I say? It was Halloween. I was being spooky.

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Written by johnwhays

November 1, 2019 at 6:00 am

Say Hi

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Good morning. Say hello to our chickens and Pequenita.

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One of the Golden Laced Wyandottes appears to be molting. Poor thing looks a mess.

Pequenita was doing her best queen bee daytime recline on Cyndie’s pillows. Of course, Cyndie is the one who is more allergic to cats between the two of us. Figures.

Delilah hasn’t been feeling her best and missed out on the photo sessions. She seems to be suffering a skin disturbance that has left her belly raw. The vet reports a large number of dogs have been experiencing similar afflictions. We are hoping the hard freeze will eliminate some possible allergens that could be causing the trouble.

This week, Cyndie paid a visit to a horse rescue place near Hastings to donate some left-over tack and supplies that didn’t sell in her boutique last spring. We are investigating the possibility of making our pastures available to them for summer grazing.

Could be a way for us to have horses around again, but without much of the expense.

It would be nice to be able to say “Hi” to horses again. Would only be a summertime visit, so we won’t know until next year if the possibility will work out or not.

I don’t mind waiting. Winter horse care can be stressful.

I would like to say “Hi” to days with reduced stress. Maybe I’ll be able to do that from our deck soon. Today we are going to take a crack at replacing the steps and railing tops.

I’m looking forward to saying “Goodbye” to the power tools Mike loaned us. That will be the exclamation mark on our completion of the DIY project. Then I will say “Hello” to all the money we saved.

Say goodbye, John.

Goodbye.

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Written by johnwhays

October 25, 2019 at 6:00 am

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Caged Kitty

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It was in the darkness of the wee morning hours Wednesday that I walked past the bedroom window on a trip to the bathroom and spotted a change in the position of the door on our live trap. After days of zero activity, we finally caught something, but it wasn’t the woodchuck.

It was too dark for me to discern what was in the cage, but I could see a small dark spot stuck inside. After my drive to work, I texted Cyndie to have her check the trap, but unbeknownst to me, my message didn’t make it through and I was left wondering for hours.

It didn’t matter. She heard it when taking Delilah for her morning walk. We caught a little kitty.

It was calling out in cute little “mews.”

After Cyndie figured out how to open the door of the trap, the ferocious beast disappeared in a blink. I expect the tight confines weren’t a desirable alternative to the usual wide-open expanse available to a free-roaming cat.

This not-surprising capture is the very reason we chose not to allow the pest control agent to set one of his kill traps outside the window well. We’ve sent him on his way and resorted to trying to trap the woodchuck ourselves. Based on the lack of a capture during the time we’ve had traps set for the pest, I’m letting the live-trap serve as a deterrent to keep the burrowing beast from digging around the outside of the window well.

After two separate incidents of attempted burrowing since we dug out the window well, we placed the trap and haven’t noticed any evidence of woodchuck activity since.

It would be ideal if it actually worked as a deterrent because we have yet to figure out how we will dispose of the critter if it eventually does climb in to take the bait.

We would most likely visit one of our neighbors to see if anyone would like to solve the problem for us.

I am so glad we caught a kitty and not a wandering skunk.

If I were placing bets, I’d put my money on us most likely snagging a raccoon next.

I don’t actually care, as long as it keeps the woodchuck from digging around the house.

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Written by johnwhays

October 17, 2019 at 6:00 am

Two Pets

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Recent images of our dog, Delilah and our cat, Pequenita…

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They don’t often pose so well for portraits, so we are enjoying these two captures. 

Both seemed very happy to have us home again last night. Pequenita appeared to be showing an interest in traveling before we even left for the weekend on Friday.

Anna stayed with them while we were away and also tended to our chickens. It is such a treat to have all our creatures well cared for when we are away. It is a great blessing for which we are supremely grateful.

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Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2019 at 6:00 am

Unglamorous Reality

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I think it’s only natural that our minds tend toward the fantastical when attempting to interpret an unexpected scene in our otherwise staid environment. Why would the first impression be the simplest option, when a more unlikely one is possible?

When I got home from work yesterday, I discovered a mysterious disruption around the front of my closet. There had obviously been some sort of disturbance. Several odd shoes had been pulled out, shoes I haven’t worn for some time.

I suspected someone had been looking through my shoes, but it was possible my footwear had been incidentally dislodged by a person looking for something else. What could someone have been after?

Well, I can narrow it down a little bit. The only “someone” around here all day would have been Cyndie. The most likely scenario would be that she was pulling out items to be laundered.

Not all that exciting, after all.

The truth was even less glamorous than that.

When Cyndie came in from trimming fence lines, she offered up a set of facts I had failed to consider. Pequenita had barfed in the vicinity and Delilah stormed in to take care of cleaning it up before Cyndie could react.

Lovely. Sometimes things aren’t quite what they initially seem.

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Written by johnwhays

July 30, 2019 at 6:00 am