Monthly Archives: October 2013

The kitten project, part 2

As National Cat Day comes to a close, I want to update you on our kitten project. Also, this is a rare opportunity to point out that occasionally we actually do complete something.

We captured Ditto a few weeks after Dot and Dash. Spaying, neutering, and vaccinating three kittens wasn’t cheap. The next time we do this, we’ll seek out a budget spay/neuter clinic. We could have saved more money by skipping the vaccines and boosters, but we wanted to give these little ones the best possible start in life. As outdoor cats, they will face challenging times ahead, even if they have a 24-hour buffet bar.

From left: Dash, Dot, and Ditto.

Three tabby kittens

As much as I hated to think of them going back to being porch cats, these kitties were not destined to become indoor pets. They stayed with us for seven weeks, and during that time, despite interacting with us daily (and enjoying first-class hospitality, I might add) none of them showed the slightest desire to be our buds. They allowed me to touch them only when my finger was coated with Fancy Feast. When I bent my face down close to the cage, Dash stretched upwards to put his sweet little face up to mine … and spat at me. I got his unambiguous message.

One night we decided we’d let them explore the living room, knowing that we could lure them back into their cage with food. We closed off the other rooms and let them out. They promptly disappeared under the furniture like hamsters. Dot and Dash refused to return to the cage until the next day. Three days later, we forcibly prodded Ditto out from the lining of our box spring and threw a blanket over her. So ended the run-of-the-house experiment.

We could have let Dot and Dash go a few weeks ago, but once we caught Ditto, we wanted to make sure they bonded as a family again. I don’t know if that was important to the kittens, but it felt important to us. Then, with Ditto’s spay stitches removed, it was time to set them free.

Kittens' gage is open

The hadn’t seen the outdoors since the beginning of September. Summer had turned decidedly fall, and they shivered—with cold, or anxiety? Dot made her break first.

Dot leaves the cage

Ditto ran to catch up with her sister.

Ditto leaves the cage

Dash thought about it for a bit … then he was gone, slipping between the porch rails.

Dash leaves the cage

They beat a trail back to their former lair under the house next door. We hope they will move into the cozy kitty chalet that Eric built. If they don’t, surely someone else will.

A-frame cat shelter

I was going to write this post the same day we let them go, but I was so sad, I couldn’t do it. I feel better now that we routinely see the trio cavorting on our porch and sleeping on the swing. They seem happy, although they’re as skittish as ever. The mere appearance of our faces in the window sends them skedaddling for cover.

Duke was upset the day after the kittens were gone. He hung his head and led me to the spot where their cage used to stand in the dining room. I assured him I knew the kittens were gone, and that it was okay. We miss their antics (especially the wrestling matches accompanied by growls and squeals), their rapt expressions as we talked to them, and the thuds during the night as they tossed toys around.

Dash, Dot, and Ditto … be careful out there. Holler if you need anything.

Dash, Dot, and Ditto




It’s been two months since our centennial party, and we’ve hardly touched the kitchen. We’ve suffered a severe case of DIY burnout after working this project for a year. But, something finally happened to get us off our lazy butts and back to work: I wrote  a large check to our countertop contractor. Now, we must get busy—or no countertops for us!

Ironically, we must take a giant step back to move ahead. The kitchen sink and our classy, black-painted plywood temporary counters (which, I swear, people have mistaken for slate) must be removed for the installer to take measurements.

“How the heck are you going to get that sink out of there? Because I will not help you lift it!” I badgered Eric. “I’ll take care of it,” he assured me, in a manly tone. “You’d better not chip it!” I harped.” And you’d better not even TRY to do it alone!!” I’m sure he had no intention of doing it alone. I’m sure he remembers his hernia surgery eight months ago … you would remember hernia surgery, wouldn’t you?

In the end, a friend’s husband helped with the heavy lifting. I meant to get a photo of the action, but I was distracted as the guys wrenched my beloved sink from her moorings and carry her back to the breakfast room, where she will chill on sawhorses until the quartz counters are installed next week. We are back to living like this:

sink has been removed form counter

And like this:

cast iron sink on saw horses

Even my bff dishwasher has been disconnected. Yes, that means another week in a dry kitchen … but we know this drill, and this time there’ll be an awesome reward at the end. I can’t wait to show you!  (I can’t wait to show me, first.)

Maybe I can’t lift a cast-iron sink, but I can hoist a paintbrush. The breakfast nook walls and bead board are finished. (Although not the window frames. Yes, I successfully put off the really picky work because we want to remove the stops and clean the sash cords and counterweights at a later, warmer date. Let’s not talk about the bathroom window frames, which I haven’t painted for the same reason. Three years later, we’re still waiting for the right day to tackle the century-old window mechanisms.)

While I was painting, two black-coated inspectors stopped by and cited me for not posting “wet paint” signs. Their coats offer proof that I have, indeed, been painting. Now, on to the kitchen ceiling. I must complete the painting before our new flooring goes in. Don’t want any paint splatting on my new floor!

black cats with white paint

Due to a scheduling glitch, our countertop installer arrived a day late. I was expecting high-tech laser measurements, but instead, he created templates by cutting and gluing mahogany veneer strips (something that felt familiar to me, with my ancient history of sewing my own clothes). Here, the strips are laid out on a run of cabinets, outlining our future counters.

creating templates from mahogany strips

corner cabinet template

Then the strips are hot-glued together.

applying hot glue to templates

Finally, out the door they go, to magically return as quartz countertops in one week. It’s been a long haul, and I can hardly believe we’re about to get REAL countertops! Is this really happening?? (And furthermore, what could possibly go wrong??) Stay tuned!

completed countertop templates

What’s that, dear? We should go out to dinner? All week? I thought you’d never ask!