Just Enough

William visited the vet Monday to assess the efficacy of the weight loss program he began in December.

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Christmas 2014: William, Ernest, their rug, their welcome mat, their mice, bits of cardboard from their scratch lounge. © MKWaller

Before continuing, I’ll note the difference between this visit and the one last December: On Monday, David took William for his checkup, and a good time was had by all. In December, I took him, and he bit me, and I had to go the emergency clinic so my arm wouldn’t fall off.  And the vet tech was doing the same thing to him both times. But I needed a tetanus shot anyway.

To resume–I wasn’t surprised when David reported there had been no efficacy at all.

For the past three months, we’ve fed the guys less, and better quality, cat food, but William’s waistline hasn’t shrunk. Neither has Ernest’s, and he could stand some shrinkage, too. They rarely ate all they were fed. But even less food was too much.

Solution: No more grazing. No more nocturnal snacking. When they finish a meal, food disappears. That’s it. No more. Nada.

Today we began serious dieting. Breakfast was served between 10:00 a.m. and noon. (I got a late start, so they did, too.) They left half uneaten. I trashed it. Dinner would be served at 6:00

In the early afternoon, they appeared in the living room. Ernest did his usual thing–positioned his posterior on the arm of the recliner and propped his front end on my shoulder, then tried to scooch the rest of the way across and drape himself over the rest of me. I can’t see the keyboard that way, so I did my usual thing and resisted.

But William did the unusual–he sat in front of my chair and stared at me.

Christmas 2014: William's dish.
Christmas 2014: William’s dish. © MKWaller

By mid-afternoon, I felt like a swimmer in a shark tank. I typed, they circled. Then both sat and stared. Then they sashayed back and forth from me to the empty dishes.William meowed. Most days he speaks only to Ernest and to David, and in a conversational tone. My meow sounded like a cuss word.

I promised their papá would serve dinner at the appointed time.

An hour later, the situation had worsened . They trotted around the house at my heels. They emitted faint little mews: “Please, sir, may I have some more?”

I truly sympathized. I felt their pain. I suggested they do something to take their minds off their stomachs. That’s what I do.

Such as, once about a zillion years ago, when I was in the third week of a medically supervised liquid fast, I took my mind off my stomach by feeding the sad, hungry stray dog that had occupied the garage for a week, thus ensuring I would feed him the next day, and the next, and every day after that for the rest of his life.

(And to put minds at ease, I’ll add that what the other participants in the program and I commonly called a fast was not the kind Gandhi went on, that doctors were in charge, that I was adequately fed, and, after the third week, not hungry, and that I never felt so good in my life as I did during the seven months I lived on 520 calories a day. There is nothing so energizing as a ketosis high.)

Well, anyway, the guys pooh-poohed the stray dog idea and kept on channeling Oliver Twist.

I couldn’t stand it. “Three bites, I will give each of you three bites. That’s it. Three bites.”

Ernest vacuumed up his bites as soon as they hit the dish. William sat on his haunches, looked at the kibble, looked at Ernest, looked at the kibble, looked at me. I’ve known for a long time that William is passive aggressive.

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Christmas 2014: Ernest’s dish. © MKWaller

Finally I said something like, “Eat the (*$))T(#@^&^ food.” I don’t approve of strong language, but I was trying to hold Ernest back from invading William’s territory and scarfing down a total of six bites. Cussing seemed right. Especially since William had already cussed at me.

When he was ready, William ate, slowly and daintily. He then padded into the living room and lay down on his rug. Poor old Ernest kept on begging. His metabolism is faster than William’s. He moves around more. Sometimes it seems William has no metabolism at all.

And that’s what makes this kitty diet challenging–two cats, different needs. Could I try feeding them on opposite sides of a closed door?

Not unless I want the door to be shredded. Which I don’t.

It’s now nearly midnight. Two kitty dishes sit on the kitchen floor. They’ve been there for four hours, too long, really. One is empty. The other appears untouched.

Ernest just ate a bit more and now sits on his rug, washing his face. William sits there washing his feet. I don’t know when he last partook.

I wish I could make them understand that soon I will remove both dishes. When they want their midnight, or whenever, snack, it won’t be there.

I don’t want them to overeat. I want them to satisfy their nutritional needs. I want them to eat enough. Just enough.

Just enough to keep them from goose stepping all over me in the middle of the night.

Just enough to stave off hunger pangs so I may wake in the morning, all by myself, refreshed, no cat standing on the pillow batting at my nose.

Just enough. Oh, sure.

Fat chance.

Bedtime at the Davis Home

I swear I did not plan this, because where cats are involved, no one can plan anything, but–

I had just published the preceding post and turned off my laptop when William walked over and looked at the chair and then looked at me.

I spread out his blanket. He jumped up and settled in for the night.

My blanket spreading isn’t as neat as David’s, but no one has complained.

My new chair
My new chair

 

At Home with the Davis Family

David has a new recliner.

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David’s new chair

I have a new recliner, too, but I am a mean, contemptible battleaxe and I do not share.

(I do put a blanket on my chair and tuck William in at night. Ernest won’t share David’s chair, either.)

Are You Happy Yet?

A fellow writer said the posts that get the most positive reactions on his blog are pictures of his dog. He thinks dog pictures make readers happy and so they like him.

I don’t have a dog, but I want to make you happy, and I want you to like me, so I’ll do the best I can with what I’ve got. This will at least fill the gap until I return to my regular schedule.

If you’ve seen pictures of William and Ernest, you’ll note nothing has changed.

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Diary of Louisa May Alcott: Virtues and Vices

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The Davis Tribe of the Tiger

Louisa wrote in her journal about a conversational lesson with Mr. Lane:

“What virtues do you wish more of?” asks Mr. Lane.

I answer:–

Patience,                Love,                Silence,

Obedience,            Generosity,     Perseverance,

Industry,                 Respect,           Self-denial.

“What vices less of?”

Idleness,                  Wilfullness,      Vanity,

Impatience,             Impudence,     Pride,

Selfishness,              Activity,            Love of cats.

   from The Girlhood Diary of Louisa May Alcott, 1843-1846:
   Writings of a Young Author

William
William of Orange
Ernest
Ernest, Earl Grey

My Writing Writing Writing Day: Yeah, Right

In the previous post, I announced my intention to get up, go to BookPeople, write for an hour on a project of not-email and not-post (because Ramona DeFelice Long told me to), and get off the laptop by 7:00 p.m.
Here’s how the day went.
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Ernest

At 8:00 a.m., I discovered Ernest experiencing grave digestive problems reminiscent of previous problems caused by eating string. No matter how careful we are, he’s always able to find string.

After practicing every sneaky tactic I know to wrestle him into the carrier, I hauled him to the vet, wrote a check, hauled him home, and spent the next twenty-four hours stalking him up hill and down dale, from litterbox to litterbox, to get an accurate picture of his post-doc activity.
If there wasn’t any, I would have to take him back to the vet today for reconsideration of the diagnosis of UTI to ingestion of string.
In addition to the X-ray, the veterinarian gave him a long-lasting injection of antibiotic so we wouldn’t have to catch him and fight over pills or liquid for a week. I could have chosen to start treatment without the X-ray and see what happened but wasn’t sure I could get him back into the carrier if the antibiotic didn’t work. Some things are not worth the effort.
Because we have two cats and two litterboxes, and because I knew isolation wouldn’t be possible, at least if I valued our doors, I sat up all night watching him. He slept. All night. Didn’t go near a litterbox. I played Bookworm.
David rose at 7:00 a.m. We changed shifts. I went upstairs for four hours of sleep. David stalked.
I woke at 11:00 to the news that Ernest had performed admirably. David had kept samples. I said I didn’t need to see them.
Ernest is in fine fettle. At present he’s lying on my arm, making biscuits where I wish he were not. I will tolerate this until the first claw penetrates my clothing and punctures my flesh. He means well.
In fact, he forgave and forgot as soon as we returned from the veterinary clinic. He swished around as if I had never betrayed him, sat in my lap, pinned down my left arm while I typed, lay on the footstool, gazed at me lovingly.
I’m grateful he doesn’t hold a grudge. In the fight for proper medical attention I nearly dislocated his shoulder. I’m trying to forgive and forget that my back and my right arm will once again have to be put right by the massage therapist. The carrier alone is heavy, and with Ernest inside it gains seventeen pounds.
Concerning the writing life: I did not go to BookPeople; I did not write for an hour; I did not eat breakfast or lunch until nearly 3:00 p.m. I did not do anything except be nurse and mama to a big, hulking guy tabby cat.
But hey–I got another blog post out of it.

The craziest thing is that it’s almost the same post I wrote two or three years ago, about the day I was

William
William

determined to write write write but instead spent the day lying on the floor in William’s bedroom, trying to coax an ailing Ernest out from under the bed and to the doctor.

Now the question: Do these things happen because I’m crazy, or am I crazy because these things happen?
What is the moral? (Must be a moral.)
  • Change in the Davis-Waller house doesn’t seem likely, at least while Ernest and I live here. Might as well accept that and go on.
  • I should never never never publicize my intention of writing writing writing.
  • Writing writing writing equals change. See first moral, above.
And failing to follow through is embarrassing. Especially reporting the failure, as is only fair. Readers deserve to know.
cropped-img_31112.jpgWhen this post is safely online, I shall throw things into a bag and head south to retreat with Austin Mystery Writers. I will have a cabin and a river and some pecan trees. I will not have Internet connection or decent TV reception. Phones will work only outside.
And for the next two days, I promise to sit in a porch swing and Write. Write. Write.

 ***

If paragraphs in this post are incorrectly spaced, please pretend they’re not. Today’s format is like Ernest–not under my control. It’s just one more miracle of modern technology.

Excelsior! – Yeah, Right

(Excelsior: a Latin word meaning loftier,
used in English as an interjection meaning Ever upward)
***
 
The shades of night were falling fast,
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, ‘mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device,
      Excelsior!
 
His brow was sad; his eye beneath,
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath,
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue,
      Excelsior!
 
“Try not the Pass!” the old man said;
“Dark lowers the tempest overhead,
The roaring torrent is deep and wide!”
And loud that clarion voice replied,
      Excelsior!
 
In happy homes he saw the light
Of household fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone,
And from his lips escaped a groan,
      Excelsior!

“Oh stay,” the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast! “
A tear stood in his bright blue eye,
But still he answered, with a sigh,
      Excelsior!

***
A traveller, by the faithful hound,
Half-buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device,
      Excelsior!
 
There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay,
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell like a falling star,
      Excelsior!
 
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
 
***
 

IMG_2677I should have posted a list of resolutions on January 1.

I should have said, In 2014, I will write a blog post every day and write one short story a month and submit it for publication and finish my novel and query agents and sign with one and impress a publisher so much that he will offer a 6-book contract and an enormous advance to publish the novel and will pay for a coast-to-coast book tour and I will graciously accept and while waiting for the book tour I will lose 800 pounds and finish my second novel and I will reduce clutter and I will run a marathon and I will read Moby Dick and all of Henry James’ novels and I will learn to cook and will put a tasty and nutritious dinner on the table every night and I will read a book a week and will practice the piano and take voice lessons and a conversational Spanish class and I will, by January 1, 2015, be such a paragon of perfection that I will never have to make another New Year’s resolution ever again.

But all this week, I’ve been in a beastly mood, just waiting for some unsuspecting person to do something nice so I could switch on my evil eye, and that feeling was compounded when Ernest ate six inches of ribbon that was hanging from David’s birthday balloon, which we didn’t think he could reach but were we ever wrong, and then I stayed up two nights watching him for symptoms before delivering him to the emergency clinic Wednesday night and at dawn Thursday picked him up and delivered him to his regular doctor, who this afternoon said so far he seemed okay and probably just needed to come home and move around and relax because he’d been sort of frozen up, not because he was scared but because he didn’t like the people there, from which description I gather he was in a beastly mood, too.

To make a long post short, I don’t want to write about resolutions, much less make them, and even worse, I don’t want to spend 2014 striving to become a better and more productive person.

I want to recline in a vat of chocolate.

Anyway, to show I’m still a good person even though I don’t want to be, I’ll share this post from Totsymae: 9 Rules on How to Be Fabulous in 2014.

Nobody knows more about being fabulous than Totsymae, and I’m not talking everyday, garden variety fabulous. (To wit: Rule 1. Carry breath mints.)

I’ll be back in a day or two and maybe then I’ll have something more edifying to impart.

 

A Davis Christmas 2009: Compromise

David & Kathy’s preference

As you know if you saw our last post, our Christmas tree has been the subject of intense, but not unexpected, conflict.

As soon as the tree lit up, so did William and Ernest. William had to be physically restrained from chewing on the lights.

The next morning found the tree lying on its side and the cats out of sight. The tree spent the day en deshabille, as it were.

William & Ernest’s preference

After lengthy trilateral negotiations, a compromise was reached.

Ornaments and tree skirt are, of course, out of the question.

Gifts will appear Christmas morning immediately before they’re to be opened.

Compromise

*****

Featured image by SDRandCo via morguefile.com

A Davis Christmas 2009: Why Decorations 2013 Are Downsized

Yesterday: December 9, 2009

Last night David strung lights on Christmas tree.

William began gnawing on lights.

Kathy went bananas, envisioning surgery to pick shards out of William’s GI tract.

William said he didn’t care.

Ernest said he didn’t care either.

David distracted William and Ernest.

This morning Kathy picked up tree, sopped up water, dragged lights to higher elevation, considered going back to bed.

Kathy regrets she didn’t get a shot of tree lying on its side, blocking entrance to kitchen.

William and Ernest said if Kathy had gotten up and fed them the first time they pounced on her, she wouldn’t be sitting here now, thinking about dragging tree to dumpster.

Today: December 10, 2009

*****

This post first appeared on Whiskertips, December 10, 2010