Sunday, January 20, 2008

Three-Day Weekend

It is very cold here in Chicago, even for us Chicagoans. I generally like winter weather, but anything less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit is a bit annoying, and anything less than 10 degrees Fahrenheit is really quite intolerable. So we spent much of the weekend holed up in our warm house.

On Saturday, I very successfully got a fire going in the wood stove. This was quite an accomplishment for me, because the last time I tried to start a fire, I cursed and swore at the damn thing for several hours, stopping every five minutes or so to go hunt for dry kindling in the yard. In the process, I smoked up the house and gave Meg a headache. I've always been bad at starting fires, even though I was a Boy Scout for many years.

The last time I was at the grocery store, I figured out that many people must lack fire-building skills, because they sell little blocks of fire starter. All you have to do is take a match to it, and it burns clean, hot and long. So I lit one of those and then added a few pieces of wood later, and we had a rip-roaring fire in no time. However, I just learned that some of these fire starters you aren't supposed to use in wood stoves as they have wax that will screw up the catalytic combustor. I don't know if this one had wax in it, but I'm going to make sure that the future ones are approved for wood stoves.

Toilet training with Angus is going well. According to Charles Mingus, the hardest part, moving the litter box from its original home into the bathroom next to the toilet, is over. I'm not really sure I agree with his approach, being that I cannot imagine that teaching a cat to poop in a toilet is easier than moving a litter box across the floor. It strikes me that Charles Mingus was a bit of an odd bird.

I successfully executed step two today, which was to start raising up the litter box by putting it on some books.

Speaking of bathrooms, here's the first coat of paint in the bathroom.

As you can see, it's really quite blue. As intense as the color is, we think we really like it. We're going to give it a few weeks just to make sure, but we're pretty sure that we'll settle into it soon. We had had a dark-green shower curtain up, which we determined was really making the room a bit too dark. This one seems much cheerier. Now all we need are a few lighter-colored towels.

Here is a shot from inside the bathroom, looking out into our green hallway and our antique red kitchen. We believe in bold color choices in this household.

Apparently Angus's newest trick is to bring things up from the basement and give them to us. This evening, Meg and I were sitting in the living room enjoying each other's company when we heard the sound of a cat up to something. We look over the couch to spot Angus carrying a 30-gallon garbage bag in his mouth up from the basement. Perhaps he was trying to tell us that we needed to clean up.

Or maybe he thought we'd enjoy playing with it.


Paula in Iowa said...

I'm a lurker. Just wanted to tell you that even if youu haven't many comments, We Are Still Out Here! Thanks for being around and about.

Janice said...

RE bathroom, that is indeed a vivid blue. Looking forward to seeing it in person one of these days.

RE M. Angus and his delivery service, Max says that a cat hauling bags around indicates his thoughts about moving and packing. You may want to make sure that he has not been contacting Others.

RE cold---yeah, like BRRRRrrr or something. I am quite ready for warmer temperatures.

the fiddlin' fool said...

Janice, it's actually darker than the pictures let on because of the flash going off. If you look at right-hand side of the second picture, that darker strip is the other wall which wasn't exposed to the flash. That's more of the true color. Still quite vivid, though.

JustApril said...

Cats are so weird. I'd really like a transcript of what they are thinking sometimes =) Wood stoves are definitely different. That used to be my job every morning, get the fire going in the wood stove. (our only heat was wood stove and fireplace) Tell ya what, once you get good at it, you'll NEVER have trouble getting fires started anywhere else. I'm a pyro by now, lol. If you can find them, old cedar shingles made most excellent kindling.

Will be tuning in to see the rest of Angus and the Toilet Training Saga =))

Anonymous said...

I wish you luck with the toilet training. I tried it with my 2 cats. No problem getting them in the bathroom or even up to the toilet. (btw, I had a big plastic salad bowl that I wasn't using). I had the insert in the toilet--they kept giving me funny looks, but they went along with it--then I started trimming a hole in the middle of the bowl. The problem arose when the cat couldn't figure out that she should keep her feet on the seat and not in the bowl. When the hole got bigger, she refused. Neither of them could handle it when the sand disappeared.
However, the tiny white print should say that all cats differ and YMMV... I hope you succeed.
Liz in NoWhere PA

Sandy said...

I know your wife knows how to start a fire. I recall seeing her do it a time or 2.

RobynR said...

*snrk* maybe Angus knows what you're up to with the toilet training and is telling you to trash the idea?
And on the subject of toilet training, are all of the felines going off the box? If not, how will you keep Himself out of their box? I know that if my guys had had an opportunity to go back to the sand, they would have in a heart beat.

Lanea said...

Good luck with the toilet training. Yarrow could learn if he wanted to, but then he'd just use his skills for evil. Speedwell isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, so I don't think I'd risk the project. Stupid plus evil equals very bad things once you introduce waste.