I hope everyone knows that next Thursday is Halloween. Since one of the major things everyone associates with Halloween is black cats, I thought we should revisit a post I made some time back that met with positive comments. Here you go:
Two things we’ve done this past week have been upgrades. The first was a new toilet, and the second was upgrading the bed my wife sleeps on. Both require more exposition to understand.
When we bought this house 9 years ago, it came with that ugly “early ’70’s Harvest Gold” colored toilet and bathtub. Now, the bathtub can be recolored, but not a ceramic toilet. In addition to that, the tank on the toilet held 3.3 gallons of water, and used all of it for every flush, making it a huge water waster. After talking to our plumber, we realized that if we replaced it now, we could pay it off in a year or two with the savings on our water bill, AND have checked off one purchase we would need for the future total bathroom remodeling project. So we did. The toilet we got has a dual-flush system to increase how much water we save. When we only pass fluids, we can push one button on the tank and it only uses 1 gallon of water to flush. When there is more material to flush, we push the other button, and it uses 1.4 gallons of water. It looks great, and works perfectly. We’re happy with the result.
Shortly before we decided to move forward with that project, my wife made a trip to the chiropractor complaining about waking in the morning, EVERY morning, with back pain. The chiropractor looked her over, and told her she probably needed a mattress that provided better support. My wife took that to mean a firmer mattress my wife sleeps on. But, when she priced mattresses locally, the prices she saw ran from $250 to over $3000. So as a compromise, I suggested we trade beds until we’d saved the money to get her new mattress.
Enter act 2 of that saga. She had planned to go shopping for the mattress this morning. In the interval time, I’d been having trouble sleeping on the same bed she did – to me it felt like a brick already. I couldn’t imagine how you’d make it more firm, short of removing the mattress and putting a 4″ thick steel slab on the box spring. But Merlin (one of our cats) decided to NOT let me sleep at all last night, and I realized it wasn’t about how FIRM the mattress was, but the unnatural way that my body had to bend to try to sleep on it at all. The only points of my body making contact with the mattress were my shoulders, hips, and ankles – none of the area between those spots. So, I had an idea – a Memory Foam Mattress Topper, to provide full support to all contact points of the body whether she’s on her side, back, or front.
When she got up this morning, I’d already briefly searched eBay just to prove my theory was possible, and explained to her what I’d figured out – including that the mattress topper was, at worst, half the price of the very cheapest mattress she’d intended to look at. Also, no delivery fee, because she’d be able to put it in the car to bring it home with her. She liked that.
Ultimately, that is what she got. It worked so well, when she tested it after we finished installing it, she loudly exclaimed, “WOW! This feels like one of those luxury hotel beds I always want to get lost in forever!” Of course, the FIRST member of the family to actually sleep on it is – MERLIN. LOL!
but a whole lifetime for him. I’m talking about our pet cat, Merlin, who joined our family 10 years ago today. You can find our original announcement here:
Sorry I don’t have any update photos to share, but he still doesn’t pose for cameras. He does purr a lot, and he still chases shadows. Now, though, he prefers to chase shadows that we aren’t deliberately making for his amusement.
Merlin – our black long-hair male cat – has now been living with us for 9 years. While that means we’ve been his family for almost all of his life, he’s been a part of mine for less than 20%. Don’t get me wrong, he still gets what he wants most of the time. But I have been thinking about some things.
One thing that had my attention recently was the idea that, even when they have food still in their bowl, whenever my wife and I are eating our cats will both sit near us and look like they expect a turn. I wondered why they do this, even when their noses should tell them that whatever we’re eating is too spicy or something that they don’t like.
Then I remembered an episode of “Mutual of Omaha’s WILD KINGDOM” that I saw as a kid. The episode explored the behavior and pecking order of a family of wild lions, and suddenly Merlin and Morgaine made sense. In a group of wild lions – called a PRIDE – the female adults will do the hunting, but the alpha male will be the first to eat. Eating order is determined strictly by social status, but everyone in the pride gets a turn at the fresh kill. That’s what is going on when our cats sit and wait while we’re eating – it’s the PRIDE mentality kicking in. They want their turn, even if they decide to walk away.
Which leads me to another cat-related revelation. Sharing scraps. To us, it’s just a sample of whatever is on our plate, and as long as it’s something they can safely eat, sharing a small portion isn’t a big deal. But to the CATS it is a big deal – if you refuse to share, you’re telling them they are not a member of YOUR pride. You are sharing your home, and making them feel rejected at the same time. It’s no wonder so many people think of cats as aloof and disconnected.
Note: though the original photograph is copyrighted by Warren Photographic, I used IRFanview to edit it to insert the text. That was the only change made.
Someone once made note of the fact that sharing your home with a cat means never having a moment’s privacy. My wife will certainly attest to that; both of our cats have followed her into the bathroom many times each. They won’t follow me, because I don’t allow them past the doorway. They will sit outside and wait, though.
A couple of days ago my wife threatened the male cat (Merlin) with a name-change. She said we should have named him “Snoopy” – because he not only observes everything that we do, but gets into everything we leave out.
Today my wife was a bit rushed getting ready for work, because she was running a few minutes late. About 5 minutes after she pecked me on the cheek and ran out the door, I heard this very pitiful “meow”. It sounded rather muffled.
Upon searching, I found Merlin – INSIDE the bathroom with the door closed. Silly cat.
Oh, and on another note, I have to love how it seems one of our cats thinks I’m the greatest hunter on earth. He watches me get into the refrigerator and pull out a sealed storage bowl, and yet (as if by magic) just minutes later I pull fully-cooked chicken out of the microwave. After 8 years, he’s still trying to figure out where the bird was! lol