Terror Twins

Camisones de Las Nornas! De Donde Vienen Todos Estos Sellos?!

Not too long ago (but before the car trouble$), the human female stumbled onto a stamp vendor in a part of Midgard called “Spain.” Seeing that this purveyor had stamps from many countries and not just Spain, she did a search for “plants/flowers/fruit” and sorted the results from least to most expensive, so as not to start with wildly-overprice rarities or plate blocks of twenty stamps where she only wanted one.

I knew she was going to buy a quite a few things, having a bit of pocket money put aside, and she did indeed load a LOT of different lots into her virtual shopping cart. 0.85 euro here, 1.25 euro there. Nothing extravagant, but it did end up. I couldn’t dissuade her, but I could make actually buying them as difficult as possible.

First, I tripped her up when she was trying to set up an account profile to do the actual buying. She had to try to communicate back and forth with the company–in a different time zone, in a different country, on a different continent, in a different hemisphere–in Spanish!–to get it all sorted.

Then, in all the fussing and reloading of pages and whatnot, I made three quarters of her extensive shopping cart vanish into thin air. She had to go back and add all the items in over again, one by one.

Next, muddled up the payment. Did you know that if you tickle it just right, you can get PayPeople not to work? The little icon just kept going round and round and round. She was finally able to complete the transaction via credit card, because she is a stubborn little terrier and refused to let go of this particular philatelic bone.

A package came today, and unless I’m mistaken, it should be full of many, many bits of colored paper.

This is indeed a prodigious haul!

The humans have sorted them all into little piles by country–and there are seventy-six of them.

Identifying and cataloguing these is going to take weeks, let alone getting them all mounted into albums.

And–and this is an important question, woman–just how are you going to keep the Terror Twins out of all of this while you do it?

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Oh, Come On! You Can Do Better Than That!

Sigh. Some days.

Some days it just seems like all my efforts are for naught. I spend hours and hours working with the Terror Twins every week, coaching them on how best to shed, shred, rummage, decapitate violets, refuse food, etc., etc. But do they profit by my instruction?

They do not!

One of them–I’m not sure who–did this this afternoon.

That’s disgusting!

I mean, the hairball’s a decent size, and it’s got two hairball trailers, and the overall length of the splatter is nearly record-breaking, but Odin’s Eyepatch! The human female’s very expensive custom orthotics were right. there. And you MISSED them.

Have I taught you nothing?!

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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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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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Mischief Update, Retiree Version

I bet, mortals, that you all thought I would get *soft* after the human female retired, not having students and vendors and shippers and faculty to make mischief with, didn’t you?

It amuses me when I’m underestimated…

There is plenty to do to tarnish the humans’ “golden years.”

First of all, the humans still have to deal with Usually Smashes Parcels Significantly. In a bold move of compound inefficiency, a large Purveyor of Books in New York City, at the human female’s sister’s behest, mailed two books to the human male for Yule in early December. I convinced them to utilize a hybrid, two-carrier approach. Their shipper handed off to Usually Smashes in the middle of December, at which time they vanished from this plane of existence. The vendor doesn’t know where they are, and they wouldn’t tell the sister who the first shipper was, nor will they replace the volumes until they have been missing for a month. Usually Smashes has them listed as “in transit” and refuses to do anything more. Will the human male have his books before the month is out? Who knows?!

The human female mailed a box to the Floristy Friend in a different city and I promptly hid the tracking receipt. She mailed some yarn to the Knittery Friend in the Big City to the South before Yule and tried to check its tracking. Usually Smashes directed her to text the tracking number to a certain other number, which yielded no results other than a return message, hours later, that incurs fees to read. Over the weekend, the human female tried to mail a box to another friend in the northwestern part of the state, hauling the goods, a sharpie marker, the address, and some packing tape with her, only to find that a) on Saturdays the nearest post office is only open between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and b) when she brought the goodies and a flat-rate shipping box home from the open lobby of the closed post office and packed things up to take to post office #2, I packed up the sharpie in the box. It will make a weird, if useful, addition to the contents of the box…

Nor are the humans now exempt from dealing with the University. Yes, the same University that sent out a widely-distributed email telling everyone who was tested for plague on campus in recent days that they may have received a false negative and that they all needed to go and have antibody tests done. This was followed shortly by an, “Oops! That was a mistake!” email, and now no one knows what’s going on. I’m not tampering with tests, you understand, just comminications.

And then there is the whole “insurance thing.” The humans were eligible to continue their University-provided coverage, with the billing handled by a third party. The first bill for each of them came at the end of the first month of retirement and was for two months, that one and the next, with another bill following each month. Then they each received a letter that the University was going to be taking over the billing in January (handoff orchestrated by me) and that retirees could have the premiums deducted from their pension checks, if they filled out the proper forms. Which was all well and good until the humans got muddled when each of them received a letter from the third party saying that they had missed a premium payment and Were In Danger of Losing Their Coverage. After spending the better part of two days on hold with the Third Party, the male was told, “Oh, we’re not handling that anymore; talk to the University.” The human female contacted the University and received a speedy response: “Oh, a bunch of letters got sent out in error, send me copies of what you have and we’ll sort it out.” That was several days ago now. The humans still don’t know what, if anything, they owe, who they might owe it to, or whether they’re actually covered.

The human female tidied up her windowsill plants (too lazy to repot them yet, but the defunct ones were jettisoned and the others relieved of their dead foliage) and left a space on the broad dining room sill serve as a feline vantage point. The furry beggars insist on sitting in the window anyway, but now they can do it without knocking stray Saintpaulia specimens to the floor. I have taken advantage of this avenue for kitty mischief, encouraging not one but both to get up in the window and shove the plants even further afield. Moreover, I have taught them to use this as a vantage point from which to bat at the bird silhouette that keeps avians from crashing into the window, swat at the nearby ficus, and play patty-cake with the palm tree in the corner. Taffy, especially, likes to work out her naughtiness on the plants and is quite immune to verbal reprimand, gentle “swats”, lobbed shoes which carefully miss, and being put in time out. The squirt bottle works, if you can catch her with it. All in all, it’s a good way to distract the human female from her writing. In all of the hubbub, last week the ficus went over completely, scattering soil and leaves all over the floor. That was fun.

I’ve been helping with craft projects also. The human female sewed soft cloth roll-up holders for fountain pens for the human male and two of their friends. Clever design and not to difficult to sew, but more entertaining for me since I saw to it that on roll #2, the dark green thread ran out completely with four inches left to sew and no more in her thread box. She had to remove the bobbin, wind some of it onto a second bobbin, and then use the second bobbin as the top thread. Of course, after she finished sewing the roll, she found not one but two spools of dark green thread. On roll #3, which was a different color, I arranged for the thread to break about every eight inches. Ehehehe! That spool is going in the trash! Or maybe I’ll distract her and she’ll forget to toss it and the next time she tries to use it it will all happen again…

Then there was the failure of the potatoes to bake satisfactorily in the pressure cooker, the leaky bedroom window, the jury summons, the property tax bill, and the leftovers that froze in the back of the fridge…

So, yeah, not bored.

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I Have Trained Them Well

The felines enjoyed having the humans home all day, every day.   They got lots of extra cuddles and “ear-scritches.”

Now that the humans are on campus again, the Terror Twins are on their own recognizance a good portion of the day, and I have lots of time to teach them new bad habits and reinforce old ones.  Likewise, I encourage them to act out, so as to guilt-trip the humans into feeling like bad cat-parents.

Taffy Cat has to try every box that enters the house, both for taste and sitability.

kitty-box

Two paws are in.  Surely the other two will fit?

I have been working with them, honing their skills as cordless paper-shredders.

Looks like someone has been taking the lessons to heart.

shreddy paper1

No piece of paper left unattended is safe!  (That math is the human female figuring out she has something like 35 weeks of sick leave built up.  I could help her with that…)

While Taffy has been known to bite paper every now and then, it is Flannel Cat who is the real professional.

flannelshred1

She always observes the proper protocol:  Knock papers off table or chair, bite the edges, scatter the resulting shreddy bits of wet confetti,

and look very, very innocent when caught in the act.

flannelshred2

For some reason known only to herself, she also has a real fondness for biting holes in the ridiculous footgear that Midgardians call Crocs.

bitten crocs

This perforated pair belongs to the human female.  The human male’s are similarly scarred.

I am working on a spell that would give both cats opposable thumbs.  With those and a few purloined credit cards, I think we could have some real fun…

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How the Felines Are Handling the Crisis

The Terror Twins seem to be taking having the humans home all day very much in stride.

At my urging, they are keeping up with their lounging duties.  No object is too lumpy or uncomfortable,

catoncans

There is no piece of furniture that doesn’t need warming,

pikey cat

No cozy space is too dark or too small,

flannelbox

And there’s nothing that can’t be improved with the addition of some cat hair.

Lounging, of course, is only part of the program.  They DO help with chores.  Like laundry:

basket cat

And home security.  I’ve arranged regular visits from those windowsill lizards, just to keep the blinds rattling and assure a steady supply of kitty-nose prints on the glass.

kittylizard

There are stuffed mice and pom poms to chase.  And leave in the bed—but only if they’re stiff and soggy with cat spit.

Mostly they get along.  There’s quite a bit of reciprocal ear-washing that goes on.

kitties washing

But then someone washes too hard…

washing kitties 2

And that leads to cranky patty-cake, which leads to thumpy tussling, which leads to high-speed chases with full lights and sirens.  That’s always amusing, especially since they tend to skid a lot.

Sometimes, they and I put our heads together and think up new and interesting mischief, as well as new and more inconvenient places to harf up breakfast or a hairball.

Today we are discussing the fact that this week’s mail brought Ominous Postcards, one addressed to each of them.

vet time

License tags mean vet visits, and vet visits mean shots.  This demands action.

evilkitties

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Of course, aside from lounging and hindering and harfage and dreaming up new ways of being obnoxious at the vet, Flannel Cat and Taffy Cat have somewhat limited options, since they are indoors-only.  The human female keeps telling them that they are lucky to live in such a nice house with nice (ha!) people, plenty of food, and lots of soft places to sit.

Outdoor kitties often meet with misfortune.  Poor old Marty, for example.

findmarty

Oh, no!  Marty, it seems, has gone missing.  There are posters up all over the neighborhood.

Let us examine the sign:

Marty

I take it back.  Sounds like Marty knows what’s what and is out there living his best life.

You go, Marty!

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Purrfect Little Minions

People ask me, “Aren’t you finding it difficult to come up with mischief, stuck in the house with the humans?”

No, not really.

I mean, of course, I don’t have vendors and shipments to work with, but I’m definitely keeping my hand in.  I try to arrange some thoughtful surprise for the human female every day.

And I have most able helpers.

Taffy Cat is always in the mood to cause a disturbance.

taffy peeking

And don’t let Flannel Cat’s innocent-seeming ears fool you.

She has a taste for mischief as well…

flannel strikes again

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Mischief Outside for Hilarity Inside

Now both the human female AND the human male are working from home.  They’ve each staked out their territory and the place is covered with laptops and cords and monitors.

You might suspect that, with no computers to fix hands-on and no ordering for classes for the human female to do and no coworkers pestering them in person, I’d have fewer opportunities for mischief, but you’d be wrong.

Wrongety-wrong.

With a side of wrong sauce.

<Loud, clang-clattery noise!>

Eehehehe!  Look at the human female scramble!  She thinks it sounds like the metal blinds in the bedroom being mangled, but that would be weird, wouldn’t it?

Uh, oh, where are the felines?

The felines, dear minions, are in fact in the bedroom.   They are engaged in FLINGING themselves into and through the blinds in a frantic attempt to catch one or both of the green anole lizards whom I have invited to do their head-bobbing display just outside the window.

lizard1

The human female has now raised the blinds in an attempt to keep the Terror Twins from destroying them.

Which just lets the felines see the lizards better.

Great Frigga’s corset!

Look at Taffy Cat jump!  She has quite the vertical leap and has just caromed off the window pane in an attempt to catch lizard number two.

lizard2

Who is peering down from the top of the pane just above the latch.

Eehehehe!  I should have brought popcorn!  The human female has snatched up Taffy Cat and is endeavoring to wrestle her out of the room.  Taffy Cat is protesting this procedure, and just as she is being heaved out the door, Flannel Cat has tagged in and is headed for the windowsill!

Now the female has gone back to evict Flannel Cat and Taffy Cat has streaked back in!

It’s like watching a squirrel trying to fit  two walnuts into its mouth.  Put one in.  Put a second one in and the first pops out.  Shove the first one back in, the second one pops out.

Repeat ad infinitum et ad absurdum…

Awww.  She’s managed to get both cats out of the room and has cruelly shut the door to take away their fun.  The house is all quiet now.

Until tonight…

When I let a june bug in…

The humans have a very tall living room ceiling…

And a tall cat-tree…

And the Terror Twins forget cats can’t actually fly

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