feline felonies

Mischief Update: Of Shell Games and Suspicious Crashes

If you were expecting an update about completed construction–really?! In this town, with these humans, over a holiday weekend? With me involved?? Surely no one is that naive.

Status of roof: Still up in the air. As roofs generally are. Ehehehehe. No word on whether/if Roofer Number Four has convinced Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… to do the work he outlined for the price he’s willing to charge. Clock is ticking. Will there be any wood, felt, and shingles available when some agreement is reached? That is a very good question.

Nothing more has happened with the ceiling in the craft room. If my plans work out, the humans will get about half an hour’s notice from Attempts Total Involvement that they have to get all the breakables out immediately. The human female has been putting off that little chore, so it’ll be fun to watch her scramble. Still no word on where all the books and shelves are supposed to go, either.

The sewing machine has been cleaned and returned. The humans are just this minute hunting up the screwdriver to put it back into the cabinet—

Norns’ Nighties! What was that awful noise?!

And why do the felines look so guilty? Oh, I bet I know what happened. One or both of them jumped up on the cabinet and walked out onto the extended table. I’ve been working with them on stealthily going where they’re not supposed to, and the lessons seem to be paying off! I think they need a refresher, though, because if they’d done it properly, it wouldn’t have landed on the laundry basket. It would have fallen forward, gouging the laminate flooring and the armoire and breaking the table. The only fallout from a dump-over in this position is literal fall-out. The humans are going to be sweeping and magneting up pins for a good while. Between that and lowering the very heavy machine precisely into the cabinet, if I’m lucky, someone will need a bandage before the day is out.

The specially-ordered lightbulb for the human female’s big sewing lamp came–and it is exactly identical to the one from the local crap craft store. And this one not only strobes, it emits a high-pitched hum guaranteed to drive her ’round the bend (okay, further ’round the bend) in under a minute. It’ll have to go back. I have offered to write a Strongly Worded Letter to the fine folks at Obsolete Technology Troubles. She’s hoping they offer a replacement lamp, but I bet I can word it in such a way that they offer only a grudging not-apology and something useless like $5.00 off something she doesn’t want. In the meantime–No stitching for you!

So, yes, I’ve been busy. My best work here, though, is not in tipped furniture, flickering bulbs, or scheduling woes. Oh, no no no! It is with accounting. Numbers are a very, very fertile ground for mischief.

The Water-sucking People billed Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… directly. USAA paid them, minus the deductible. Attempts Total Involvement have sent USAA a bill for work which has not even commenced yet, and USAA has paid them, minus the deductible. That’s right! They’ve deducted the deductible twice! The human female paid for the sewing machine cleaning out of her own pocket and sent USAA the receipt. You’d think that USAA would add it all up and just have the humans pay ATI the deductible minus what was spent on the sewing machine and then pay ATI the remaining bit of the deductible. Loki-Logic, though, dictates that USAA is going to send a check to reimburse the human female for what she spent on the machine, issue a check for the full amount to ATI, and have the humans write a check to the Water-sucking People for the amount of the deductible. Meanwhile, the advance on the roof claim just sits in the bank, waiting for some sort of agreement to be reached!

That whirring noise you hear is the human female’s head spinning. If we wrapped that noggin in copper wire and gave her some magnets for earrings, we could hook her up to the power grid and make up for some of the whopping power bill that the old AC racked up as it was dying while trying to cool the house in the middle of a heat wave.

The final, finishing financial finagle was to make sure the humans received their own Strongly Worded Letter, letting them know that their claim for “damage to their AC” has been categorically and very pointedly denied, disallowed, and disapproved.

Which would be truly crushing, you know, if they’d actually made that claim. But no. I saw to it that that thing died in such a manner that every last cent for its replacement came out of their own linty pockets. Belts will be worn a little tighter this season.

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The Week From Hel, Day 5: Finished…For Now

The whole household was up early today, to get ready to take Flannel Cat to the vet. She can’t have breakfast, and she’s not a fan of the carrier, so she’s not terribly happy. The humans have donned long sleeves to try to get her in the carrier (more Feline Rodeo!), since she left some super scratches on the human male the other day, when he was trying to gather her up and keep her out of the condestruction-fu on Tuesday.

Two and three quarters of a mile of piteous mewing later, and toothache kitty has been dropped off. Next stop–the Super Special Lighbulb and Battery Store. Can they order a replacement bulb that will fit the stitching lamp? They say they can. But we’ll see a) if they can actually get it, b) whether it will fit in the lamp, and c) it actually works. My money is on the silly thing continuing to strobe.

Now to return the Unhappy Bulb. The humans have tried putting in in and taking it out several times, to no avail. Bad bulb! No biscuit!

Well, rats! I was hoping the crap crafts store clerk would tell her she couldn’t return it, not even with the receipt, because she had opened the package. But there was a new person manning the till and she called for instructions on how to do the return, and they gave it to her. No fair.

Now we’re headed for the library. For reasons passing understanding, the human female’s urge to collect small, brightly colored bits of paper again. Foolish woman, you do not need another hobby! She went online and discovered that the local library has all the stamp catalogs that she’s too cheap to buy. You’d think reference books like that would not circulate, wouldn’t you? But no, there they are on the shelf. Took her a while to locate them, though, since they’re not on the shelf marked “Stamps, Photography, and Coins.” The human male is asking her if she really wants to check out ALL of them. Well, yes, she says, she does. That has earned her a monumental eye roll, but the checkout clerk seems to be happy enough to let her have them, so it looks like we’re losing a dining room chair for the duration.

Clara B. Mounce is rolling in her grave.

(later) It’s time to go collect Flannel Cat. Sigyn is extra glad to learn that she only needed one tooth out and came through the extraction $urgery ju$t fine. The vet says that she (the cat, not Sigyn) will need pain med$ and a antibiotic$. Please, oh, please, oh, please let the vet send the humans home with a bottle of that nasty, banana- or bubblegum-flavored amoxicillin liquid that they make for toddlers! I really, really want to see the humans trying to get a ml or two of that into the cat! Banana goop everywhere!

Curses! Foiled! The vet has offered a long-lasting antibiotic $hot instead and the humans leapt at the chance. But they do have the pain meds, and ehehehehe! The bottle is leaking all over the human female! Good show. I was afraid this wouldn’t be fun.

Two and three quarters of a mile of scratchy-throated meowing and we are home again. I’ve told Taffy Cat that Flannel is an impostor and not to be trusted, so there is a great deal of suspicious hissing going on, which is annoying and alarming to the humans, bewildering to Flannel, and vastly amusing to me.

(later) I have relented a bit. The AC repairman has sent the humans the missing paperwork. Nothing from the roofer, however.

(later) Time to give Flannel her pain medication. Does she want to come out and be fussed over?

She does not! Okay human male, get your long sleeves on while the human female draws the medicine up in the syringe.

Or tries to. The humans have found my last bit of mischief for today. The pain medication was dispensed in a teeny little bottle, with a supplied (needle-less) syringe for measuring doses. And the syringe doesn’t fit in he bottle! Not only that, it splattered out a good portion of its contents when the human female opened it to try! The human male is rummaging through his ink sample bottles to find a wide-mouthed one to transfer the liquid into.

And so we conclude with a smaller, shorter, less frantic version of the Feline Rodeo until the patient is safely corralled and hugged and the medicine administered. A few more hisses from Taffy and we are ready to put this week to bed. I’m sure it’s one none of us will ever forget.

No, wait. The porch light just blew out. Now I’m done.

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The Week From Hel, Day 1: It’s Getting All Muspelheim Up In Here

Looking back at recent posts, it’s been tra la la la shopping trip, tra la la la cooking, hum te tum traipsing about in wildflowers, and general jocularity. Time to put an end to that! I’m going to see how much pure, raw mischief I can cram into a single week. And how expensive I can make it! Hold onto your hats, kiddies. Loki’s getting that Special Naughtiness Tingling in his horns!

We begin.

It’s summer. It’s hot. The humans are wimps. None of this is news.

What is news is that my special weather/household mischief looks like this:

See that? The state-of-the-art programmable thermostat is set to 77 degrees F, but it’s actually 80 in the house. And getting warmer, as the outdoor temperatures creep up to the high 90’s and the Heat Index approaches 110F. Something, somewhere, is wrong with the HVAC.

And, of course, I induced it to start these shenanigans last Friday night. The humans had nothing for it but to tough out the weekend with fans and cold suppers and cool showers. Monday morning has brought the opportunity to call the repair folks and get laughed at because–haven’t you heard?–there is a national shortage of cooler parts!

Oh, the humanity! You have never heard such meeching and moaning as is going on in here! You’d think the humans were going to expire, the way they’re carrying on! Sigyn, and I, of course, can be magicked small enough to fit into the freezer. This has several advantages:

  1. One cannot hear the whining from inside the freezer,
  2. Once the freezer door is shut, there is virtually no chance of glimpsing the human female wearing shorts, and
  3. The freezer is where the ice cream lives.

I know some of you will be curious. Of whom is the portrait hanging above the thermostat?

That is the human female’s grandmother, a truly formidable female who grew up poor, worked summers on the farm and winters in the logging camps of snowy Quebec, worked into her eighties with no complaint, and who used to sit in the shade in 100+ heat and opine as how it was nice to be warm.

Mortals used to be made of sterner stuff. I will rule this rock in no time.

Obviously, it’s time to call the repairman. Someone will be out this afternoon, but first things first! It’s time for that dreaded yearly event….

…drumroll… (Why do humans drag out the percussion when they want to create suspense? In Asgard, we just beat our drinking vessels on the table to heighten the excitement)…

Taking the felines to the vet for their checkups and vaccinations!

I have recently become familiar with the Midgardian spot called “rodeo,” in which capricious animals are chased around, caught, confined, ridden, etc. before crowds of cheering fans. In addition to the excitement of the “sport” itself, many spectators are there for the thrill of knowing that at any minute one of the participants may be gored, bucked off, trampled, or otherwise broken, bloodied, or otherwise rendered unfit to continue.

Crating two agile felines is essentially equivalent. You’d think that two normal-sized humans working together could handle two small mammals under ten pounds apiece, especially if taken one at a time, but you would be mistaken. I’ve been coaching them, and this should be anythign but simple.

Yes! Neither Flannel nor Taffy is having any part of it this morning. The humans have shut all the doors so that the felines have no recourse to spaces under the beds or behind toilets, but that doesn’t mean catching them is any easier. They can still get up in the window among the smashable plants or streak for the crannies behind the sofa.

Great Frigga’s hairpins! They’ve got Taffy in the crate! No, wait, she’s out! Stuffed back in again! And she’s out again! Eehehehe! That beast can turn around in half her own body length, and she’s all muscle and claws. There! Finally! One down, one to go!

Flannel is struggling, but it’s the piteous mewing that is really making caging her difficult. She has perfected the “But I thought you loved me?” look down to a fine art. I’ve been practicing with her, and it has paid off.

Two and three-quarters of a mile of yowling in stereo later, here we are at the vet.

Taffy, who fought with all her might to keep from being put in the carrier, has lost no time in getting out and looking for a means of escape.

Flannel’s feelings have been deeply hurt, and she wants the humans to know that she may never come out again.

(a bit later). Well, both furry minions have been vaccinated. Flannel needs some bloodwork done (more guilt-tripping, sorrowful looks), and she may need to come back later in the week to have some dental work. We are done here for today, having parted with a Prodigious Amount of Cash.

But we may need to seek some medical attention for the human female.

Later. It is penitentially hot in the house. The fellow from the AC repair firm is up in the attic, looking at the unit, and making expensive clucking noises. Ehehehe! What is the prognosis, my good man?

Insert ominous, sucking-air-through-teeth noise here.

Sleipnir’s Fetlocks! My mischief really is working overtime! The air conditioner seems to have lost at least half of its coolant, and it’s the “old”, environmentally-unfriendly sort of coolant that can be replaced–for a hefty fee–but which is being phased out. And then it would still be an old AC unit, subject to total failure at any given moment.

The alternative is a new system. The one that is actually obtainable is, of course, the most expensive option, though there will be a small rebate from the city and a possible tax credit next year (if I don’t meddle with the tax laws before then, which is, of course, highly unlikely…) What’s it going to be, humans? You have to decide Right Now!

I knew it! They’ve opted for the more expensive option, thinking that this will mean they’ll be cool, comfortable, and environmentally friendly very quickly and for a long time to come. As I said, wimps.

Still, it will be nice not to have to sleep in the freezer.

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Close, But No Cigar…

Sigh. I’m really going to have to have a word with Flannel Cat. She’s earning full marks for puking from high places, as well as for chewing on the corners of the human female’s stitchery pattern. She’s even doing well at hopping up on the stove to try to reach the African violet victims that have been moved from their doomed perch in the window to the (relative) safety of the pass-through.

But A) She was not stealthy enough to jump up on the stove quietly, and the human male was able to catch her in the act and…

B) She didn’t quite get the plastic chicken-broth-carton-cap down inside the burner pan where it would catch fire and reek next time someone started cooking.

Flannel’s cute, but she’s not the sharpest crayon in the box.

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Mischief Update–Naughtiness Old and New

(Checks notes) Apparently I’ve been so busy doing photographable mischief that I haven’t had the time to write about all the other mischief I’ve been doing.

Firstly, the roof. You will recall the Hellishly Horrible Hailstorm that Happened Here. Suspecting that the roof had been damaged, the humans had three different roofing companies out to give their opinion. The consensus opinion was that the human female looks awful in shorts. And that the roof is, indeed damaged. Not only that, the gutters and leaf guards on the gutters have taken a big hit, and my army of trained squirrels have eaten all the vent caps. True!

All it takes is a little bit of this.

The humans contacted their insurance agency, who sent someone out to have a look. Days passed, and the insurance company sent a very detailed run-down on what they were willing to pay for all the various steps of roof replacement, gutter replacement, vent caps, etc. So then the humans had to decide which roofing company to go with, and they had to get the gutter company out to offer an opinion as to whether they really need replacing. I had a chat with the roofing company they selected, and made sure that the estimate, when the humans received it, exceeded what the insurance is willing to pay. I had a second chat with the gutter company, which is of the opinion that the gutters don’t need replacing, exactly, but that maybe they need to come off before the new roof goes on. And then go back up or get replaced. Ping-ping back to the roofing company, which says they don’t need to take the gutters off to replace the roof. Return serve to the insurance company, with the humans providing the roofer’s bit and asking what happens if they spend more on the roof and less on the gutters. And that is where the ball lies, with everything on hold as the humans wait to see if the insurance company will increase what they’ll pay for the roof. The first check from them has arrived, and I made sure the bank’s lobby was closed due to lack of staff when he went to deposit it. However this all turns out, you can be sure I will hide some important piece of paperwork that the humans need to submit to prove that they actually did the repairs, so that they can get the remaining settlement money. Assuming we can ever get the repairs to take place. There’s a two-week waiting period for repairs once you even get on the schedule—and who knows how long the repairs will take, or what the roofer will find when the old shingles come off? (He’ll find that plywood has tripled in price in the last few months, that’s what he’ll find…)

I continue to train the felines to add “spice” to the humans’ life. I’ll have to work with Flannel Cat some more, though, and teach her how to harf up her supper more quietly. Unfortunately, last time she did it, she telegraphed her intent with a prodigious gagging noise and some extreme facial contortions, such that the human male was able to leap up from his seat on the sofa so that he was unscathed when the rain of soggy kibble fell from the topmost perch of the cat tree, which stands directly behind the sofa. Flannel spectacularly decorated that perch, the next two levels down, the sofa, and the floor, but she missed the human male. Pity. Both felines routinely hurl upon the bed quilt, though, which necessitates a lot of laundry. Good kitties!

The gold “balloons” on the fence around the Large Ugly Apartments (LUAs) continue to irk me. They put them up, I deflate them,

they put them back up. I deflate the whole row.

So far, I am winning.

As you can see, NO option is Loki-proof, and at at least $7.00 a pop, it all adds up.

Breakfast continues to be fruitful ground for mischief-making. The human female and I had a long conversation the other morning about whether it was useful and saves time if the eggs come pre-cracked.

I say it is. She says it isn’t. Agree to disagree.

The gravity in the bathroom is still functioning.

If I grease the towel rod, I think I can get this to happen on a daily basis…

The lone surviving hollyhock has bloomed. It has frilly, pale pink petals.

Don’t get too attached to it, human female. I’ve inoculated it with some sort of orange rust and invited some spider mites over as well. They’ll go nicely with the runaway mint and the dollarweed I’ve let loose in the lawn.

The humans continue to try new recipes. I like to suggest ingredients to them.

Somehow they did not go for that one.

I meddled with the human female’s iPad tablet so that it would not charge. At all. It was actually losing power while plugged in and eventually shut itself completely off. The human male took it to see if it could be repaired. The repairman plugged it in and it worked perfectly, making everyone look like an idiot. I love it when that happens. Meanwhile, I’ve arranged that the human female’s laptop will, once or twice a day, just decide to stop charging unless she wiggles and waggles the cord around just so to find the sweet spot.

Hmm. What else is new? The next door neighbor mowed down the elm seedling between the houses that the human female had put a big, red, DON’T MOW flag on. So much for a free, conveniently-situated shade tree.

Oh, and my new hobby is putting little pinhead sized holes in all the human female’s favorite shirts. Right in front where they can’t be invisibly mended. And I made sure the only jeans that fit her have been discontinued.

All in all, I’m keeping busy. It’s true that I don’t get to wreak sweet havoc with vendors and office coworkers these days, but it’s still a good life. I mean, I can still arrange for cryptic and confusing email offers like this one.

And it’s time to feed the cats again.

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I Have Trained My Minions Well: Mischief by the Numbers

1 pot broken beyond repair

2 violets on the floor and needing repotting

3 violets knocked over (one is still in the window)

29 leaves broken off

1 cat

3 seconds

30 minute clean-up.

1 hacked-off human female

Flannel Cat, you have outdone yourself, and I salute you.

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No. Yes. No. Maybe…

No

…You’re not imagining things.

Yes

…You did pick up the piece of broccoli you dropped and put it in up on the counter in the bowl of things destined for the compost heap.

No

…No one took the compost out.

Maybe

…My minion has clever little paws.

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Who Are the People in Your Neighborhood?

The improved weather is giving us a chance to explore the neighborhood a bit more. There’s a new subdivision south of us that we haven’t visited yet. It’s a nice evening, Sigyn. Let’s go for a walk.

Uh, oh. I don’t have a good feeling about this..

I’ve heard of “going for the rustic look,” but this seems a bit much.

And the new neighbors don’t look too friendly.

Odin’s eyepatch! Definitely NOT friendly!

STOP LICKING MY SWEETIE YOU HIDEOUS CREEP!

Augh! The ugly dog is armed!

Great Frigga’s corset! What a misunderstanding! Apparently, they’re not from around here, and are unused to Midgardian customs. Where they come from, a good bum-licking is how they say “hello.” The exchange of saliva is regarded as a sign of trust and friendship. I don’t see the appeal, but I’m glad not to have to slaughter all of them–my mischief schedule for today is already packed.

Ah, and I guess here comes the Missus.

Greetings, Madam. What a lovely… home you have. I like what you’ve done with the…foundation.

Sigyn is making friends with Auntie Sk’rrbx.

While I have the “pleasure” of introducing myself to Uncle Raaarbaghk.

We should get together and talk weapons over a tankard of ale someday soon.

It’s a growing family. The triplets seem… nice.

Well, it has been “lovely” meeting all of you.

Sigyn, darling, we need to be going. You can come back tomorrow to swap recipes and whatnot.

Well, that was interesting. I can do without the licking, but I think Uncle and I could become very good friends…

Time to get home, though. I’m teaching Taffy Cat how to mangle the blinds.

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