taffy cat

The Transformation Is Nearly Complete

I was laughing the other day, listening to the humans grumble while cleaning up simultaneous barfage from both cats at once. Then I had the notion that it would be even more amusing–and an actual kindness to the humans– to turn the felines into something useful, if only for a little bit. If the furry minions weren’t cats, what could they be?

Flannel Cat, obviously, would make an excellent sofa cushion. Warm, soft, squishy. Not very bright.

Or maybe packing peanuts, because you can always get more into a box than you thought.

“If I fits, I sits.”

Taffy Cat, on the other hand, has done so well with the training I’ve been giving her that there’s really only one option.

“You don’t need both of us.”

“I can make pieces smaller than cross-cut.”

“My work here is done.”

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I Love A Good Mystery

“What was THAT?!” The humans have just heard a very loud crash from the general direction of the kitchenish area of the house. Thus begins my mischief of the day! The fun is in watching them scurry around trying to determine the cause and the extent of the calamity.

Everything seems fine in the kitchen. Nothing has fallen off the top of the cold box. Nothing has tumbled out of the dish drainer, and the dishwasher is not running, so it’s not an appliance malfunction. All pots and pans seem to be secure.

Perhaps it was in the front bathroom? No, everything is fine here. No shower doors have fallen down, and the litterbox has not exploded. (You laugh, but a match applied to the miasma that Taffy Cat is capable of leaving would have dire consequences indeed.)

Oh, this is too rich! They still haven’t found it! The hanging rod in the front hall closet is firmly in place–no tumbled coats here.

Nothing is amiss in the game room. The teetery stacks of games are all still upright, and the shelf with the printer on it has not collapsed.

The humans are completely flummoxed. They have no clue WHAT that terrible noise was. Ehehehehe! This is even more fun than I thought it would be! I would have been satisfied with the mischief if they had sussed it out right off, but watching them trying to figure it out has been even better.

(later) They still haven’t found it. Oh, well. It is time to start dinner. The human female is fetching the rice from the pantry.

And she’s catching a clue…

Wow! I do good work.

All I did was nudge a five-pound bag of sugar on the top shelf, thinking it would fall on someone’s head in due time. When the human male replaced a roll of aluminum foil up there after lunch, things must have shifted and it fell off the shelf. The bottom shelf was actually a cookie sheet placed atop a wire grid cube. It collapsed under the assault of the sugar, spilling all of its contents against the door.

Dinner will be delayed. There’s a shelf to rebuild and provisions to replace. On the one hand, I’m very impressed with the mess, and the sugar bag leaked a little, so there’s that to clean up as well. On the other hand, I’m a little disappointed that none of the salsa or honey bottles broke. I would pay money to watch the human female try to get honey (or her precious maple syrple!) off the linoleum.

Oh, well. There’s always next time…

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Mischief Update: A Smattering of Mischief From All Aspects of Life

I feel as if I’ve not been posting often enough lately about making the human female miserable. Too many posts about strange Midgardian shops and food and nature and flowers. (Love you, Sigyn, but face it. Posies are not what I’m here for.)

But I have been far from idle. Let me fill you in about all my various naughtinesses.

The house: Repairs from last year’s hailstorm damage are at last complete with the installation of a new skylight. However, the final chapter of the long saga of condestruction has yet to be written, because Roofer Number 5 has yet to a) ask the humans to sign the conditional check that Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… mailed to them and/or b) write a check for the difference between the payout and the actual costs. There’s also the fact that the human female hasn’t yet found all of the little goodies from the installation of roof and gutters. Why, just last Saturday, when she was weeding around the house, she came up with these.

There are plenty more for her to find when she mows for the first time. Can you say, “Whannnnnnnggg!!!”? The lawn mower is going to!

Oh, and speaking of weeding, I’ve set up a battle for the ages in the side yard. It’s Mint vs. Bermudagrass vs. the human female and her St. Augustine grass army. Right now it’s each faction for itself, but I predict the Bermudagrass and the Mint are going to make common cause and form a botanical Axis of Evil which will be all but invincible.

So, yes, the house repairs are essentially done. It has all left the human female twitchy quite leery of bad weather. Which means that I’ve arranged for a line or two of really nasty weather to go over the house each week. Don’t worry about me, though. I can teleport myself and Sigyn to someplace safe every time the radar looks like this:

So many tornado watch boxes!

and I refuse to join in the exciting-but-not-at-all-fun activity of sitting in the closet with the cats and everything precious when there’s an honest-to-Thor tornado in the vicinity. Actually getting the cats in there is a three person job and there are only two humans. It’s like an insane hybrid between Twister (ha!) and Sardines. Yeah, no thanks. The mortals can cower amidst the hangers and mismatched shoes. I’ll go relax on a beach somewhere.

It is definitely Spring, and that means not just scary storms–it also means pollen. Every day, the human female’s car gets yellower and yellower. I wish she’d park it in the garage and put the male’s car in the driveway, because it is blue. Blue and yellow make green, which I’m sure would be particularly aesthetically pleasing.

Ah. The human female’s car. I get so much mileage (snort!) out of it. She got the flat tire fixed, but yesterday the Tire Pressure Monitoring System light came on. She thought that meant she had another leak, but she eventually smarted up and consulted the owner’s manual. It’s wor$e than an impending flat, because if it’s just the TPMS light without the little flat-tire-and-! icon, it means the TMPS system itself is malfunctioning and will not warn her of any problems with the tires. Fixing it is sure to involve computer chip$ and diagno$tic te$t$. Meanwhile, the passenger side rear door lock is still non-operational. The handle is wedged in the lock position with a big wad of paper. There is a huge bag of plastic wrap from the Food Bank in the cargo area–plus some in the front seat—that all needs to go to the recycling center. I tell you, the vehicle is super-classy from bumper to yellow bumper.

I have been finding the Food Bank to be a very fertile ground for mischief. I’m not allowed to take photos in there, but let me tell you, it’s a big metal building full of fun. The human female comes home each week filthy, sweaty, tired, and reeking of various effluvia. If there’s something that stains, you can be assured that I’m shoving it in her path. One week it was slimy cucumbers and furry peppers that needed to be culled from among good produce. Another week, it was a can of Alfredo sauce that had somehow been breached. The contents were unbelievably stenchsome and gray and crawling with…things. This past week, it was leaky bags of flour and sugar, sticky containers of applesauce, and some broken glass that led to a bandage and some bloodshed. And yes, I was responsible for the fact that, during the sorting of donations, there was nearly a whole pallet full of canned corn and almost nothing to vary it up with. Scale that wasn’t weighing properly? Also me. Ripped bag of jelly beans turning the floor into a rainbow colored minefield? Me again! It’s a rare week she doesn’t break a nail or three or throw her back out, but she keeps doing it. So far, she’s not signed up for any warehouse shifts, and I really, really want her to, because if watching her try to steer a pallet jack is funny, just think of what I could do if they let her drive a forklift…

I continue to wreak havoc with the mail. Last week, not one, not two, but THREE packages that were logged as “delivered”, weren’t. The human male had to go down to the post office twice, chasing after them with the postmaster herself. They had been delivered, all right, to a differently-numbered box in a different multi-box unit, on a different street entirely. But I’m not completely heartless. some of the mail is getting through!

She probably doesn’t have to worry about getting selected to sit on a jury, though. This part of Midgard has trial-by-a-jury of one’s peers. The chances that the defendant is going to be a lumpy, aging, klutzy plant nerd with the reasoning powers and emotional control of a backward toddler are vanishingly small.

I also made sure she got the invitation to a luncheon honoring a friend of hers for various charitable efforts. Yes indeed, the human female and her $75.00 per plate were specifically requested to attend.

Other tidbits: I have fixed it so that the human female’s mouse won’t work when she works plays on the laptop whilst sitting on the sofa unless she moves it to the opposite side of the laptop, forcing her to mouse with the arm that gets tendinitis if she mouses with it. I have also seen to it that the new operating system on the laptop provides a very, very annoying plonky sound effect whenever she downloads anything. No amount of following directions on how to get it to stop doing that has worked so far. If she figures it out, I’ll just make something else start making noise.

Oh, and then there’s the labels. The human female identified a number of plants for a colleague and typed up the labels for mounting. She used a template she’s used for years, one that perfectly sets the labels up eight to a sheet, complete with Texas county maps where she can color in the county in question. This is what they looked like when I got through with them:

I continue to work with the Terror Twins. The other morning, I had both of them harfing up breakfast at the same time! I had a very kibbly obstacle course there for a while, and it was such fun I think I’ll do it again next week. Flannel Cat, especially, is very prone to submitting her meals for review if she’s kept waiting for them. And I’ve trained her to eat just a little at a time so that her leftovers have to be picked up and rendered inaccessible by Taffy Cat (because Taffy is a Hoover and rivals Volstagg for sheer capacity.) Of course, Flannel will then ask for the rest of her meal later in the day, requiring that the other furry minion be distracted or sequestered behind a locked door so that Flannel can dine in peace. But Flannel finds Distracting Entertainment—such as The String!!distracting and will frequently abandon food dish in favor of pouncing. Given that and the fact that Taffy will start clamoring and climbing on the humans a full two hours ahead of mealtime, the feeding nonsense can occupy a good portion of the day.

I do try to see to it that the humans have to spend a further good portion of the day on the telephone, trying to mitigate one or another of my nefarious schemes. The human male has gone multiple rounds with SuddenDrop, their internet provider recently. The humans, angered by an unannounced 20% rate hike on their bundled cable TV and internet, ditched their cable entirely and promised the company they’d cancel the internet the minute that fiber internet becomes available. The current provider responded by capping their download allowance without telling them. That was right about the time the human female’s computer decided it didn’t want to recognize its charging cable unless the moon was in the right phase and she held her face a certain way. Downloading all the software on the new laptop put them well over the cap on data, and they got billed for all of the extra bytes. All of them. Surprise!

The human female spent a good deal of time on her phone. Something that should have been a one-phone-call finagle—getting a nursery in her mother’s home town to plant a tree in her mother’s yard—turned into a multi-day, multi-call, multi-text operation. Every time she called, she got a different person and had to explain what she wanted all over again, and the person who knew about pricing didn’t have the schedule, while the person who could schedule the job didn’t know if they had the tree she wanted in stock, and the person familiar with the stock is not the one who could handle the billing. Despite asking the nursery to call the mother to arrange a good time for planting the tree, the nursery merely showed up with it, ready to plop it in the ground. It’s in now, and since I actually like the human female’s mother, I’ll probably let it live.

Whew! See what I mean? Busy, busy Loki. That’s all for now. I’ve got to go convince one cat that she’s starving and the other that there is some paper that desperately needs shredding.

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Employee Development

I write a lot about my furry minions and the mischief they perpetrate at my request. They have some delightfully devilish natural inclinations, but I also like to encourage them to try new things. What kind of a boss would I be if I didn’t foster the development of new skills?

I’m especially pleased with how Taffy Cat is progressing. With her long, lithe build, she is just the right shape for conducting archaeological investigations.

Exploring the middens left behind by primitive civilizations is important and rewarding work—especially if they microwave turkey bacon and dispose of the paper towels.

She is also turning into a very enthusiastic and creative Document Security Specialist. She learned from Flannel Cat but has far surpassed her instructor in a very short time. No paper is safe from her! Leave something lying about, and there is a near 100% chance that it will come under her scrutiny and be reduced to very finely cross-cut shreds. Everything is fair game for chewing and spitting out. Grocery lists, calendars, memos-to-self, edges of papers peeking the littlest bit out of books. On the chairs, on the floor, on the dining room table; it doesn’t matter. Have teeth, will travel.

Observe the start she has made on the envelope containing the human female’s latest botanical manuscript.

The envelope is certainly now unsalvageable, and she is just one or two good mouthfuls from embarking upon the document itself.

And the human female writes in the margins

Methinks that beast deserves a raise!

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Progress, But Still Room for Improvement

Perhaps you recall that the my efforts to train the felines to barf in such a way that soggy bits of half-chewed kibble actually land *in* the humans’ shoes have been less than entirely successful. Thus, I have made it a point to have weekly practice sessions with the aim of improving their aim. Behold the results of a recent attempt:

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Very sloppy. Taffy Cat, this has all the hallmarks of your work, and I can see that you were trying, but this is not your best effort.

You didn’t manage to get the kibble into the human female’s shoe, and what you did get on the shoe was only a few drops of hork-juice.

How are we to know whether her hikers really are waterproof unless you get them thoroughly soaked?

Flannel Cat, I notice that you have eschewed shoes* entirely this week, but I can give you partial credit for tagging the quilt on the humans’ bed. Any pukeage that results in a wash load is good in my book.

So, continue to practice, both of you, and for now I want you to run some laps. No, not right now. Wait until about 11:30 tonight, when the house is quiet, so that the galloppy thud of eight little feet and the scrabbling squeal of sharp turns on laminate flooring are louder and more disruptive. Bonus points if you take the laps across the bed with sleeping people in it. Got that? Good!

Now go sit in some clean laundry and rest up for tonight.

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*But she HAS chewed shoes, because Crocs are just that delicious and make funny squeaky noises when you bite them.

Mischief Update–Bits and Pieces

If this were a meeting run according to Rules of Order rather than a Manifesto of Mischief, we would start with Old Business. Ongoing projects, as it were.

The humans still do not have the new gutters that Roofer Number Five promised. Nor have they received word whether Usually Sounds Amiable, Although… is going to pay for the hail-cracked skylight. You’d think the roofing company would want to finish this job, seeing as how they haven’t been paid yet. I think I can stretch this situation to January if I try, so there’s my first New Year’s Resolution right there.

I may have overdone the mischief with the bedroom ceiling fan and the constantly-breaking chain. It broke one too many times and humans got rid of it, bringing home a nice, more powerful, quieter model with a sturdy chain. Just so you know, Sigyn is wrong–my pout is adorable, thank you.

Over the weekend, I got my hands on the humans’ light-up magnifying glass.

A corroded battery weakened the plastic bit you see in my hand. It won’t hold battery #3 in place anymore. The human female tried superglue, putty, and wedging things with little bits of cut-up rubber band. All failures. I could magic it back together, but that would defeat the whole purpose of breaking it in the first place.

I continue to not go anywhere near housework. The felines, however, have been quite helpful recently. Here they are folding clean laundry.

That’s one load that’s going to get to go for a second ride…

The cats are pleasant enough to look at as they are, but I’ve been experimenting a bit with some shape-shifting spells. What do you think, one head apiece or…

Is the two-headed model better?

They do like to conduct mischief in tandem. Covering laptop bags and backpacks with Specialty Fibers is a favorite activity.

I have been working a bit on the canine front as well. At my behest, the neighbor’s off-leash mutt charged and barked and growled at the human female when she was three feet from her own front door. I’ve also chipped away at a different neighbor’s fence boards so that at any given moment, one or both of their barkers may be running loose in the alley, to the detriment of hygiene and vehicular safety.

Pervasive Number Confusion (AKA PNC), the humans’ new bank, continues to set low expectations and fail to meet them. The other day, the humans received an Important Paper Letter in the mail letting them know that they could choose paperless statements. The humans are already paperless.

Balancing the checkbook is going to be easier this month. There will be fewer deposits to add in, since the humans’ monthly retirement checks from TRS failed to show up in either paper or electronically-deposited form. (You will recall that they were receiving actual checks while waiting for the Direct Deposit paperwork to kick in.) The human female contacted TRS, which lived up to its full name of They’re Really Swamped by sending back an e-mail that said that, due to high query volume, someone would probably be able to get back to them in five business days. Or perhaps it’s PNC’s fault? Or Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly? I might know…but I’m not telling! USPS, meantime, has been cheerfully delivering the humans’ mail to other addresses. It’s such fun when things arrive that are correctly addressed but which have been marked “redeliver” by whomever they ended up with first. Funny how the unwanted catalogs and junk mail seem to find the house on the first go….

Ugh. That’s enough for now. It’s October weather out there, and this poor Frost Giant is going to go sit in the freezer for a while. (So don’t be surprised later if the ice cream’s gone.)

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That Was Predictable

Sometimes mischief is unavoidable. When Loki makes plans, it can be very, very hard to thwart them.

Other times, my mischief is detectable from a mile away, and anyone who was trying at all could derail them, if they were willing to expend the effort.

It’s just that, usually, most mortals can’t be bothered to expend the effort.

Case in point. When the humans were finally able to get the roofers to come out and install the new roof, they were advised to remove everything from the walls, since the vibrations from all the shingle-nailing can send pictures and whatnot crashing to the ground.

The humans have a lot of DVDs. They long ago overflowed the designated shelves and had piled up on top of the shelves in touching-the-wall, teetering stacks many Sigyns tall. The human male took the stacks down and put the DVDs in boxes. They overflowed the boxes and formed teetering stacks much closer to the ground.

Because the humans are procrastinators, they have not yet sorted all of them out and returned that corner of the habitation to functionality. They should have known I couldn’t pass up the opportunity…

It was the work of a moment to enlist the aid of one of my furry minions, and less than a moment for said minion to up the chaos coefficient of this domicile.

There is now a nice scatter of cases all over the floor. Well done, Minion! So well done, in fact, that you deserve special recognition. Let us zoom in on the scene to observe my congratulatory placement of a magnet taken from the cold box.

Give credit where credit is due, I always say!

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I Have Trained the Minions Well (Wordless Wednesday)

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Mischief Update: Let’s Revisit Hel Week, Shall We? Part 2: Non-Condestruction-related Items

It wasn’t all home improvement here last week, no indeed. At any given time, I have many, many plans afoot, irons in the fire, and nasty twinkles in my eye. In non-condestruction news:

We were treated to a truly Ragnarok-adjacent thunderstorm here. No hail this time, but it lightninged (Look at that! The spell-checker likes that word!) non-stop for about two hours, with torrential rain and strong, gusty winds. Flannel Cat, of course, retreated behind the sofa. The human female stayed up to watch the show—and to make sure the roof stayed on.

The next morning, the yard was full of yard salad.

Pleas note that most of that is not from the humans’ own trees! When Sigyn and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, we noticed even bigger casualties.

That juniper looks positively bloody inside!

Great Frigga’s Corset! Look how close that water oak came to falling on that house! Bet that made a terrific noise, too! Makes me wish I hadn’t let the humans cut down the big dead one in their backyard. I bet it would be on the roof by now and they’d be negotiating for a new one from under a tarp instead of just some hail-pocked shingles and warpy gutters!

Gravity remains in effect in the bathroom

I am pleased to report that Flannel Cat’s trip to the vet went quite well. She was home and in fine fettle by the end of the day. The loss of a tooth did not seem to bother her much at all. She was most enthusiastic about the temporary substitution of gooshy food for kibble on her daily menu. Taffy Cat took about six days to stop hissing at her for smelling Wrong. In the end, the humans purchased some of the bottled-kitty-happy-pheromones and put it in a diffuser, which seemed to help. It also helped that Flannel Cat will go miles out of her way to sleep on anything that is even a fraction of a millimeter fluffier or softer than its surroundings, so her camping out on a worn T-shirt belonging to the human female, thus:

made her smell enough like Eau de Human Female (ugh!) to be acceptable. The Terror Twins can now be in adjacent zip codes without further contretemps.

I have no doubt that they will soon be back to their ridiculous lounging configurations.

Behold the two-headed beast
Can’t make the bed if it’s occupied

The canvas shopping bags are more coveted even than the cushion, so they must share if both are to recline upon Nirvana. Never mind that 4/10 of Taffy is hanging off.

You’ll recall that the initial trip to the vet with both cats–AKA the Feline Rodeo–resulted in the human female being on the receiving end of a bloody but shallow scratch from Taffy Cat.

Initially it didn’t hurt at all. After a few days, it had begun to twinge. It didn’t look infected, but being who she is, the human female opened a Google search for “cat scratch fever” and started taking notes. Soon, her whole wrist was quite painful and eventually she decided retaining the function of her extremities was more important than the embarrassment of seeking medical attention for something as trivial as the above. Since her primary care doctor was unavailable until the middle of July, she saw someone else, which was was a bit less mortifying. (She was relieved; I was not. I had been looking forward to watching her usual doctor struggle to suppress the epic eye-roll the human female surely deserved.)

And how did that turn out?

Sometimes she’s not as stupid as she looks.

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