Monday, April 27, 2015

The Tale of Our Pen Killing Kitty

Both Vince and I woke up a little bleary-eyed this morning. Not because we had a wild night out on the town or anything, although we did stay up rather late watching an episode of “Bloodline” on Netflix. (Good series, by the way!)

No, the real reason for our lack of energy this morning was due to our killer kitty, Twinks, who has developed a penchant for “killing” ballpoint pens.  All manner of writing implements, really. This is good practice in the event there is ever a ballpoint pen uprising in our household, but I think the possibility is somewhat remote.

You’d think our killer kitty would prefer being outside stalking creatures smaller than she, say of the chipmunk or squirrel variety, but I’m not so sure that’s true.

Why?  Because whenever there is a bug or ant in our house that needs to be “handled,” she merely looks at it with a sniff of disinterest and goes on with the more important tasks of her day. Namely, grooming, napping or yakking up a hairball.

But just wait until we finish our evening pre-bed ritual and finally click off the light, give us about a half hour to j-u-s-t settle into that drifting off to sleep deliciousness, and Twinks will start up with a meowing so insistent, it’s like Lassie barking to tell us Timmy’s in trouble and may have fallen into the well.


I, personally, can simply roll over onto my “good ear,” and ignore her, but to Vince, the sound is like fingernails on a chalkboard. And this is precisely the time when he decides our cats belong solely to me. Vince refuses to (a) change cat litter, (b) clean up kitty barf, and (c) get out of bed to investigate the latest Twinks “kill.”  (Please note that if ever a Twinks kill involves anything in the rodent category, he WILL be the one to handle that little chore!)

She only stops meowing when I finally go downstairs to investigate and discover her latest, er, victim.  Last night it was an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie.  Twinks was evidently proud of having bagged the Sharpie since she even put her paw on top of it as if to stop me from picking it up.

My habit has been to bring the fallen pen upstairs and place it on top of my dresser, which is the one piece of furniture I haven’t seen Twinks attempt to climb. The pile of pens got to be so mountainous, though, I finally put a pen cup on there. But even that has become rather full lately.

This nightly caterwauling has gotten so bad, I’ve recently added a task to my evening routine, which is to walk around the house searching for stray pens that we’ve taken out but have forgotten to put back in their proper drawers. And I make sure to close the drawers firmly once I put away the pens because I wouldn’t put it past little Miss Twinks to use that slight opening to paw open the drawer so she can go on a pen-killing spree.

Yet despite my attempts at removing all writing implements from kitty access, she somehow manages to find a new one every night.

Smart cat, dumb human? Perhaps. But I’m hoping I’ve managed to crack the case.

This morning I was downstairs cleaning out the wastebaskets and, out of the corner of my eye, I watched her leap from the chair to the desk to the table where I have a large collection of pens that I thought were surely out of her reach.  Guess not, since she pulled one out of the container with her mouth and dropped it on the floor.

Aha! I thought. Her diabolical plan is to let it lie there all day and ignore it – until late this evening after we’ve gone to bed when she will carry it to the stairs and start her meowing. 

So later today when she was catnapping (which is cat speak for “basically all day long”) I snuck downstairs and picked up tonight’s “victim” and put it back in the box. And then put the box in the closet. And firmly shut the door.

So we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a full night of restful sleep without a Twinks Pen Killing Incident.

But in the event she has another stash somewhere, we're planning to wear ear plugs tonight. Just in case.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Technology Rant of the Day

I don’t think I’m technologically illiterate, but there are times I’m ready to give up and go back to the days of the rotary dial telephone and snail mail communication.

Like today, for instance.

My iPhone instructed me that I had a software update to install and, like a good little techno-geek, I pressed the Settings tab to comply. Except that my iPhone got snippy with me and told me I didn’t have enough storage to complete the task.

The last time my iPhone got snippy with me, I took it to the Apple store and traded it in. 

Take that, iPhone 4!

Sure, it was an expensive alternative to actually deleting stuff off my phone, but, hey, I was ready for a new one anyway.

This time, unfortunately, my phone isn’t eligible for an upgrade and I refuse to pay $600 for a new one. So I figured I’d better investigate the source of the clog.

Turns out that the bajillion photos I’ve taken on my iPhone are taking up the lion’s share of the storage. This was not surprising since I had no less than fifty-seven photos of our friends’ twins messily playing with smash cakes on their first birthday a couple months ago. Fifty-seven!
Lots of photos, yeah, but they sure are cute!
And this was only a small portion of the photos I took that day.
You thought I was kidding?!

And why I haven’t deleted the two dozen photos my niece recently took of the inside of her mouth in order to count the number of teeth she has, I do not know.  Perhaps I was thinking I could someday embarrass her with them or something.  Hee hee. Evil Aunt Jane, I know.

Anyway, I spent half the day trying to figure out how to get the photos off the phone and onto the external hard drive I purchased for this very purpose.

And, while I somehow managed to get eight hundred seventy-two photos onto the hard drive, there were many, many more photos than that on my phone. Which doesn’t compute.

Kidding. I don't have a great aunt Myrtle.
In frustration, I tried simply trashing all the photos on the phone.  I figured I’d risk deleting that last photo of great aunt Myrtle celebrating her 100th birthday because somehow, somewhere I have stuff stored on the “Cloud” and surely that photo must already be saved. Right?

Yeah, right.  I pretend like I know what the Cloud is all about, but in truth, I have no real freaking clue. Like…where do I find stuff that is stored on this mystical Cloud? 

Got me.

I tried Googling instructions on the photo transfer process, but got frustrated and had to step away from the computer, lest I do something drastic and toss the thing out the window.  Instead, I did Saturday chores like watering the plants, washing the darks and scrubbing the toilets. Believe me, I had to be extremely frustrated with my online search to have preferred scrubbing toilets over deciphering Google instructions.

Eventually, I wandered back to the computer and tried again. I read something about how photo albums added using iTunes cannot be deleted from the iPhone unless one accesses iTunes and makes the change there.

Great.  I no longer have iTunes loaded on any computers we own because I exceeded the number of computers I had loaded it on.  And, while I thought I had followed instructions and “unauthorized” old computers that had iTunes on them before recycling the machines, evidently I didn’t.

In the end, I manually deleted enough photos to give me adequate storage to allow the Software update.  

It doesn’t make me any more informed about the correct process, but at least I got the job done.

Until the next update, anyway.

And I'm really hoping that by then I’ll be eligible for a phone upgrade and I can tell snippy iPhone 5 where he can stick it when he tells me I don't have enough storage for the update.

Okay, technology rant over. For today.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Great Decluttering Project of 2015 Continues

So my last blog was about organizing and clearing out a lot of junk in my home. I call it the Great Decluttering Project of 2015.

I started on it a couple weeks ago, but I haven’t accomplished all that much, particularly in the furnace room-slash-storage area. Oh, who am I kidding?  I haven’t even started on that room.

But I do think I am working up to it. Why? Because I have managed to clear out some other areas of my home.

Like, for instance, I organized and decluttered our entryway-slash-laundry room. And now the room is both functional and pretty, which makes me smile just looking at it. And, believe me, I look at it a lot. You wouldn’t think that a household with only two people living in it could produce as much dirty laundry as we do. But we do.

And I also cleared out the freezer. We haven’t even lived in this house three years yet, so how we have a frozen pot roast from 1983 is a mystery.

Well, okay, so not really. But some of the stuff I pulled out of that freezer did vaguely resemble something from the last century.

And on today’s agenda was the dreaded furnace room.

Sadly, I never made it.

Instead, I completely overhauled the master bathroom drawers, cabinets and closet.  Why? Well, near as I can tell, I was procrastinating. I figured it would take me only an hour or so to work on this area and then I would head downstairs.

I had, after all, organized this room about a year ago. An hour? Yeah, right.

Clearly, the expiration date on any organized area is one year. Because it took me several hours to get through all the cabinets, drawers and the closet.  Yikes.

I tossed things that evidently were on the bubble last year when I organized the area. Things that were jumbled up in the drawers were moved to bins in the closet and labeled.

It’s a wonder I didn’t find more than one colossal size container of certain items – like Q-tips. Thankfully, we only had one. But as it is, the mega-Costco-sized container will last us well into next year.

On the other hand, if there is an Apocalypse anytime soon, we will be the “go-to” people for toothpaste. We have enough to keep the teeth of a small third world country shiny clean and bright.  Sadly, we don’t have enough toothbrushes for said third world country. We have only one spare toothbrush. One. It doesn’t compute. Fourteen tubes of toothpaste and only one lonely little toothbrush?  And, hey, I’m all about sharing – but not my toothbrush.  So it looks like another trip to Costco is imminent.

Y’know. Because of that Apocalypse thing.

Oh, and the other thing I was happy about accomplishing was that I hung the two auto sketches that Vince and I had framed, which had been leaning against the wall in our front hallway for the past three months. And I even measured the walls so the pictures would be straight and even.  Didn’t rely on the Jane Eyeballing Method of Picture Hanging. Guess there’s hope for me yet, eh?!

There is one tendency I need to curb during this Great Decluttering Project of 2015, though. I have become a big fan of the label maker. Okay, I may as well admit it.  I am addicted. I have been labeling everything

Vince gave me a hard time about labeling the spot in the cabinet where his camera goes. His camera has been in the same place in the same cabinet since he got the camera for Christmas several years ago.  So why did I need to label it?

My perfectly reasonable response was, “Well, if it is supposed to go in that cabinet, why do you leave it on the counter?”
And just because I think I’m soooo funny, I hauled out the label maker one more time and put labels on the washer, the dryer and the back door. And waited for him to notice.

He finally looked at the back door as he was heading out the other day, and did notice that label.

And he laughed.

Mission accomplished.

And I swear to you – I’m gonna get to that furnace room. Soon. This year, anyway.

While I still have tape in my label maker.