William visited the vet Monday to assess the efficacy of the weight loss program he began in December.
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.
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.
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.
While we’re on the subject, I’ll add this picture, taken the first night David’s chair was in our living room.
Sometimes, one chair is big enough for both.
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.
David has a new recliner.
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.)
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.
Louisa wrote in her journal about a conversational lesson with Mr. Lane:
“What virtues do you wish more of?” asks Mr. Lane.
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.
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.
The craziest thing is that it’s almost the same post I wrote two or three years ago, about the day I was
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.
- 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.
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.
used in English as an interjection meaning Ever upward)
“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,
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.
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.
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.
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.
This post first appeared on Whiskertips, December 10, 2010
I promised myself that tonight I would be on my stationary bike by 8:30 p.m. and in bed by 10:00.
Missing the bike objective, I set a new one: 9:00 p.m.
So I sit here at 8:55, watching the minute hand make its way toward the 12, and I think, Should I push that goal back to 9:30?
Doing so would push bedtime back to 10:30 or thereabouts. Too late, really, for someone who sincerely desires to reestablish normal sleep patterns. As in, sleep while it’s dark, etc. and so forth.
Oh dear, oh dear. I’m about to miss the 9:00 p.m. bike time. In fact, I just did. It’s one minute after.
Perhaps it’s not necessary to begin biking on the hour or the half-hour. Perhaps it’s possible to bike for 16 minutes, or 23, or 27. Perhaps getting to bed by 10:03 would be acceptable.
Black-and-white thinking impedes progress. I’ll get on the bike as soon as I’ve finished this post. And if the minute hand happens to be atilt, so what?
The photograph has nothing to do with the post.
The rest of the story: David and I watched the clock for twenty minutes and then headed for the nearest movie theater to see Hitchcock. Of the seven viewers, six lasted to the end of the movie. One bailed out early. He looked too young to know who Alfred Hitchcock was. If he’d stayed, he’d have seen a pretty good show.
Tuesday marked my first visit a movie theater on Christmas Day. For my first four or five decades, my mother’s family clumped together every Christmas, singing carols, tearing into packages, eating too much, laughing, watching my grandmother try out a toy in the living room accompanied by protests that we kids had to play with them out by the garage.
But time passes and things change, and now David and I are the family. Our holiday was quiet. Since we’ve been married, I’ve cooked Christmas turkey, duck, Cornish hens, and goose, the last in homage to the Cratchit family. The experience of parboiling a goose prompted me to give up the pretense of enjoying domesticity. After the movie, we went to a Chinese restaurant, where the scales fell from my eyes. Everybody in Austin was at the Asian Lion, most of them queued up in front of David and me. But the chicken and green beans made the wait worthwhile. I came away feeling no guilt for breaking with tradition.
That wasn’t the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone around the holiday. Our first Christmas together, David and I spent Christmas Eve night in Cuidad Acuna, across the Rio Grande from Del Rio, Texas. It was cold. David managed to turn off the hotel room heater the wrong way, and it refused to come back on when needed.
He had originally wanted to spend Christmas in San Miguel de Allende, but I knew we would be beset by banditos or federales and wouldn’t get home for New Year’s, so he settled for Acuna. I should have kept my mouth shut. I didn’t realize at the time that David knows what he’s doing, and he has no intention of walking into danger. But the moment has passed, and now I’ll probably never get to see the church that I’m told looks like a birthday cake.
Come to think of it, there was an atmosphere of anxiety during the trip. That was the Christmas Osama bin Laden had threatened to attack the U. S. At that time, I was oblivious to the possibilities (as were most of us before 2001), and focused on eating tacos Tapatios, tacos pastor, and tacos barbacoa, and on using as much of my thirty-year-old Spanish as I remembered, which consisted mostly of saying to David things like, “Como se llama soap?”
Anxiety arose on the way out of the country. A lot of traffic goes across the International Bridge every day, and pre-9/11 it seemed a mere formality. But, showing my drivers license to the guard, I remembered that this weekend, authorities were on alert. The guard asked where we were from. David, with his lawyerly background, answered the question he was asked:”Austin.” The guard looked a me, and my mind shattered: I was from Austin, well, I’d driven from Austin, but I lived in Fentress, but I was born in Luling…” I forgot to mention three years in the dormitory in San Marcos.
The guard gave me a l-o-n-g, speculative stare. I looked him straight in the eye. Finally, he nodded us through. I resumed breathing. I’m sure he’d concluded that if I had a secret, it would have tumbled out by then.
Well. I started out to say we had a good Christmas, and I wind up nearly eight hundred words later trying to get back across the Mexican border. But it’s a pleasant memory, right down to my bare feet on that cold, cold tile, so I’m glad I allowed myself to meander.