Archive for November, 2005

Meet the New Family Member

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

When Beau Hunk was divorced, he got custody of the dog but lost custody of his cats. He and my cat have never bonded… hell, she’s never bonded with anyone who isn’t me, ever. She’s what he calls “a snotty little puddy”. And she is. Furthermore, she absolutely hates Woo with the burning passion of a thousand suns. Everytime he gets within three feet of her she growls and runs away. Of course, he thinks this is hilarious and frequently chases her whilst squealing with joy, a habit we vehemently discourage.

But Beau Hunk has missed having a cat. We agreed that as soon as we made the move, he would get a cat. He was pretty specific about what he wanted: an orange male tabby that he could let grow into a big brute. It turns out that our real estate agent (who has ended up also being our official city guide, Welcome Wagon and all-around local resource – way above and beyond her duty) is involved with a local rescue agency and they just so happen to have a cat that fit the bill.

Meet Bill. Bill the Cat. For those of you who might remember the old Bloom County comic strip, he was named for the Bill the Cat character. But he’s not quite a cat yet, he’s just a kitten. I keep wanting to call him Bill the Kitten – BTK for short. But I have been assured that I am the only one who is politically incorrect enough to find that amusing.

But make no mistake, he is a real killer. So far he’s managed to kill at least three of my plants, and can be frequently seen engaging in mortal combat with shoes, watches, Q-tips, wrappers and ink pens. (I swear, that Bic almost took him!) He’s learned he can get on to the window sill from the kitchen table, and from there, if he’s careful, he can juuuuuust make it to the kitchen counter. And oh my! but there’s a treasure trove of toys on the kitchen counter!! Not to mention food. We’ve learned you don’t dare leave anything in the sink, or you’ll find it on the floor later. We’ve started calling him a “menace to society”, and trust me, that’s pretty damned accurate.

For the most part, Bill is a good cat. But he seems to have two speeds: running around in a frenzied blur, and sleeping like the dead. Ah, life as a kitten. Woo is getting along well with him, but can sometimes be a wee bit rough on him. Bill is taking it like a trouper and puts up with it. Beau Hunk has done a good job making sure that Bill is used to being picked up, turned around and generally mauled. One day he was playing around with him and found that when you push his ears down, he looks a lot like Yoda.

Hmmm. The force is strong with this one.

The dogs have accepted him completely, and Bill and my dog have become fabulous playmates. My dog will take off running and let Bill chase him, then turn on him and poke his nose at him, sometimes pretending to bite at him. You can tell it’s all in fun, and they play nicely. If anything, the dog has gotten hurt a few times when Bill has “attacked” him and catches a tender spot.

Bill is good at attacking. He likes to attack ankles as they walk by. He likes to attack toes as they sit on the couch. He likes to attack anything that moves. Which occasionally gets him a ride on a foot and a gentle toss, because his little teeth are sharp!! We had to trim his claws because they were like little razors, and when he attacked, it really hurt.

My cat doesn’t really want much to do with Bill. I’ve seen them awkwardly playing a few times, but for the most part, she’s a “get outta here kid, ya bother me” kind of cat. If he gets too close to her, she growls, but mostly, they leave each other alone.

Bill has a great personality, and we are really enjoying him. Everytime I watch him attack our feet or play with the dogs, I imagine the line from those old Foghorn Leghorn cartoons “You’re a chicken and I’m a chickenhawk!!” That’s Bill. Even though he’s the smallest animal in this house, he’s got no problem going for the big kill. We found out today that he has no fear of heights. Beau Hunk had to do some work in the attic and the next thing we knew, Bill had scaled the ladder and was King of All He Surveyed.

A few nights ago I was watching TV in the living room and had my feet covered up in our red blanket. The next thing I knew, Bill was on top of my feet attacking. I had the camera handy and documented the experience:

Anatomy of an Attack
Click an image for the larger picture

It’s Momma feet – ATTACK!! Attack. *yawn* atta…zzz zzzZZZ ZZZ *snort* (I flexed my feet and raised his ass in the air. Huh? Wha? Why’d ya move?

For those of you who are keeping track, that brings the headcount of our house to two dogs, two cats, one kid and two adults. The females are firmly in the minority, being outnumbered two to five. The humans are also outnumbered three to four. Everyday we wake up and hope they don’t figure out how to open the feed bins, or we’re outta here. Beau Hunk and I take a bit of solace in my cat being such a snot and not being friends with the animals – she’s like the swing vote on Survivor. As long as she doesn’t make an alliance with the other cat and dogs, we have a chance of not being voted out.

What a Difference a Floor Makes

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Yesterday was a monumental day in our household. We finally got our new carpet! As you may remember, the carpets in this place were absolutely hideously gross, and even after having them professionally steam-cleaned there were clear outlines of where the previous occupant’s furniture had been. The area between where his couch and coffee table had been was so disgusting – even after being cleaned – that we put our couch over it so we didn’t have to see it.

Where his couch was.
Click any pic for a larger view.
In case that last pic wasn’t detailed enough for you.

We knew right away that we didn’t want to live with this, so the replacement process was started quickly. We went to the Home Teapot back at the end of September. We picked out the color and requested a measuring at that time. It’s taken us this long to get this clusterfuck off the ground and get our stupid carpet installed.

Meanwhile, we have spent the last six and a half weeks living out of boxes and with a minimal amount of furniture. There was no sense in moving all the stuff in just to move it back out for the carpet install. First it took a week to get the measurers out here, then it took another week for them to get the figures back to the Teapot. We placed the order (and paid for it) on October 10, just before we took off for our wedding/honeymoon. We were told it would take a week or two to come in, and that the installation company would contact us when it came in to schedule an install date.

In the meantime, we busied ourselves painting the walls in the carpeted areas. It was kind of cool not having to mask off the floor and just painting right over the carpet. My last house had new carpets when I moved in (which were phenomenally cheap and shitty), so all the remodeling was done over keepable flooring. Not giving a crap whether we spilled or oversprayed on the carpet was a really nice change. Of course the bright, clean new walls just made us want carpet that much more. But the call from the install company never came.

On October 28th, we were in the store and asked about our order. Nobody knew a goddamned thing. “Call back on Monday”. So we did. We called on October 31st (a full three weeks, thank you veryfuckingmuch) and finally got someone who was willing to call the carpet shipper and find out where our carpet had gone. Guess where it was? In the motherfucking Home Teapot store. Since October 13th.

Our carpet had been in their store for nearly three weeks and nobody noticed. It hadn’t been logged in, and the two rolls weren’t even stored next to each other. Profuse apologies were offered, none of which meant a whole lot, and the installer was contacted. When the installer called us, we were told we couldn’t get an appointment until November 10th. WTF?? We had already waited patiently for three weeks, why in the hell did we have to wait another (almost) two?

The person from the installation company wasn’t sympathetic. She wasn’t even polite. She said this was the first they’d heard of it, it wasn’t their fault, and they wouldn’t pull someone else out of queue to accomodate us. Period. If I didn’t like that, that was between me and Home Teapot, and I would need to contact them.

Which of course I did. They did the phone version of the big dumb grin and shrug – golly gosh darn gee, we screwed up, but we can’t make the installation company do anything, so golly gosh darn gee, it sucks to be you. Uh, no. Beau Hunk got a manager on the phone and very calmly explained that this wasn’t our fuck up, it was theirs, by their own admission. So why are we, the ones who are paying the bill, the only ones showing any accomodation here? The manager still didn’t offer any relief for the install date, but did offer some “consideration” for our next big project around the house. We still don’t have any definition of what that “consideration” will be, but at least we feel like we got kissed after we got screwed.

Shortly after we made the appointment for install on November 10th, we heard from Woo’s school that he would not have class that day – it was a “staff development day”. Bummer, because there’s no way Woo could be here for the install, and going to school would be the perfect three hour distraction. But you get what you get in life, so we figured out another plan.

What wasn’t in the plan was me waking up with a migraine. But thanks to meds, I was able to get up and have some sort of life. But talk about bad timing! Beau Hunk ended up moving the furniture all by himself, except the bed and mattress. I managed to help him with those, and my brain gave only feeble threat of exploding.

The installers were scheduled to arrive between 8 and Noon, but since they were coming from an hour and a half away, we knew they weren’t going to be here before 10. We were glad about that, because had they showed up at 8, they would have been pissed because we weren’t ready. As it was, they got lost because online maps always show that you make a left off a highway that doesn’t exist. The road exists, but you have to go to up one street, access a frontage road and make sort of a u-turn to get to the road, which is neatly hidden between the Ace Hardware and a used car lot. Somehow I managed to get the installers here – talk about the blonde leading the blind – I haven’t lived here long enough to know all the streets, and they were from a different town.

They showed up a little after 11am, and they were the nicest guys!! Even though there was the mix-up in directions, and I couldn’t efficiently guide them here, they all got out of the truck with big smiles, and made time to say hi to Woo. Anyone who takes time to say hi to Woo is tops in my book.

After a picnic lunch on the lawn with Daddy, Woo and I took off for the “castle park” – a local kid park with play structures that can only be described as kid heaven. It’s a huge park with massive wooden structures that have spires, hidden stairways, and every climbing / sliding / running surface you can imagine. It even has a water volcano and splash park in the summer. We had been there before, but on a day that wasn’t a school holiday. This day, it was packed.

Woo did ok with the crowd, but not really well. We ended up going to the bathroom three times in the first 20 minutes. And it wasn’t about going to the bathroom, but a form of perseveration – repetition of activity that is a classic autistic behavior. He said he had to poop, but since he had already done that, I knew he didn’t have to. I could also tell by how he answered the question “do you have to go poopy”, because he’d look around and change the subject. I know enough about this kid and his poopy behavior to know if he has to go or not. And he did not.

Near the end of this process, a woman came into the bathroom, peed, washed her hands and then exited without a word. Until she was outside the building and had walked 20 feet to where she was under the window, when she loudly and indignantly said “There’s some woman in there telling her kid to poopy. If he doesn’t have to poop, he doesn’t have to poop. Jesus woman, give the kid a break!!” She never saw either one of us, and she didn’t say anything while she was in the room. Instead she chose to hurl a cheap, faceless shot from outside the window.

So I figure on cheap, faceless shot deserves another:

Fuck you, you gutless piece of shit. Who the fuck do you think you are? Do you know me? Do you know Woo? Do you know that Woo is autistic? Do you have a single braincell in that empty fucking head of yours that understands what autism is and how it affects behavior? Of course not.

You probably don’t even know that Woo is almost five. Because of his massive speech delays, he sounds like he’s two, and you in all your infinite wisdom and with your extraordinary brain power, probably assumed that I was interacting with a two-year-old who didn’t know about his bodily functions or how to control them. But you didn’t take the time to find out any of that. You didn’t take the time to find out anything at all. Instead, you used an infinitesimal amount of data to judge me as a parent. And you didn’t even have the spine to do it in a way where I could explain to you that I have a special needs child, but instead had to hurl your judgement through an open window from the safety of the outside of the building.

So by your rules, I guess I could say that you sounded like trailer-grade trash, because I had as much information to leap to that conclusion as you did to question my actions and motives, having never laid eyes on each other. But that would lower me to your level, something to which I do not aspire.

I hope you feel really good about how you taught someone how to parent from outside that window. Because I know I’ve been put on the straight and narrow! I’ve cured my evil ways!! All because some spineless, judgemental sack of shit. Oh, and in case you didn’t catch it at the beginning of this rant, let me repeat myslef – fuck you.

For the record, I said nary a word when I heard her comments. I don’t know if Woo heard her, and even if he did, he didn’t need to hear me say anything, especially what I wanted to say. I did the best thing – I took the high road. As I walked out, I wondered if she was around to see us when we left, and I wondered what she thought of her comments then. But chances are, she thinks she’s right, and nothing would change her mind. And now that I have given her and her crap far too much of my time and energy, I will stop.

We hung out at the “castle park” for a couple hours before we headed back to the house. The installers were just finishing up the pad, which was bright red on the upper side. It was so bright, it made the walls look pink. Our house looks terrible with pink walls.

The three of us hung out in the driveway until the carpet was done. We had a hell of a time keeping Woo out of the house, off the “take away” pile, and out of the way of the installers. Somehow we managed. And again, the installers were really wonderful with him. They smiled and talked to him, and were incredibly patient. They did a nice job too. So far we’re really happy with how it turned out.

It was almost 5pm when the carpet was all done. And oh what a difference!! It looks so much nicer in here now, it has almost erased the memory of the Pig Palace. As a bonus, it smells like new carpet. Yay!!

The old stuff:
The dining room The living room The hallway
The rest of the hallway The master bedroom



The new stuff:
The new carpet in the living room The new carpet in the dining room