Terror Twins

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.”

>|: [ =^. .^= =^. .^=

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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It Is Almost Too Easy To Mischiefy An Undertaking of This Nature

Paint. Tools. Two mortals who have different ways of doing things and who lose all ability to communicate when it comes to shared do-it-yourself projects. What could possibly go wrong?

Everything is assembled. The painting tools have been corralled. The furniture has been moved, and the woodwork has been wiped down.

The dropcloths have been deployed. The two newer ones unfolded neatly and sweetly and are behaving themselves, but the thinner one, the one that has been in the garage for a while in warm weather and has stuck to itself?

Ehehehe! Not so much.

The outlet face plates and light switch plates have been removed, and the wallpaper edge has been taped off.

If you guessed that I am going to see to it that the bag the human female puts the screws in has a hole and make sure that paint goes under the blue tape anyway–you are correct!

Time for the actual paint.

Take a good look–this is the last time you will see this can in this condition. Hereafter it will be unrecognizably covered in drips and spatters.

This is also the last you will see of me for a while. I shall step back and observe, because A) I don’t do manual labor, and B) I don’t fancy spending the rest of the day trying to get white latex out of green velvet.

(a bit later) The human female has done the cutting-in around the baseboards, the door frame, and the window. She is wearing a good bit of paint and the dropcloths are earning their pay. It is glaringly obvious that today’s untinted white is significantly lighter than the untinted white of yesteryear. Ah, the ravages of time (and Loki) upon acrylic! Tsk, tsk. Looks like you’re going to need two coats.

The patching plasterwork that this whole enterprise is meant to cover was extended by the plasterers up onto the ceiling, to smooth over the upper edge of the tape. This means that at least part of the ceiling must needs also be painted. I can’t wait to see how this plays out, because the ceiling in this room starts out normal height just above the wall that’s being painted but slopes up to about twelve or fourteen feet. It is divided into several sections by some decorative but inconvenient-to-paint-around exposed wooden beams. It would be, to put it bluntly, a beast to paint.

I can envision several scenarios:

A) The new paint matches the ceiling, so only a tiny bit of the ceiling needs to be painted.

B) The new paint doesn’t quite match the ceiling, but it matches well enough that the humans will only need to paint one section of ceiling (as delimited by said beams.)

C) The new paint doesn’t match the ceiling at all so they have to paint the whole thing.

The humans are hoping that it is not C, though that would, of course, be my preference. The female suspects that scenario B will turn out to be the case. She is actually hoping that they can get away with only painting part of the section that the wall abuts, so she has instructed the male (who is doing the roller work) to “feather the edge” of the new paint into the old. The male says he doesn’t understand what she means. She has re-explained it, using terms like “stippling” and “blending”. More blank looks.

Hey, you two! Can you pause for a moment? I’m going to go make some popcorn so I can sit back and enjoy this re-enactment of the Midgardian Tower of Babel story.

(a bit later) Ehehehe! The human male has presented the female with a fine, hard edge of white paint that clearly does not match the color of the rest of the ceiling. I am getting even farther out of the way, because I think she is tempted to throw something and everything she has to hand is wet and white.

(later again) Grunting and standing on tiptoe on an old chair (which has been used for painting projects in the past and which has acquired a new constellation of drips), the human female has done her best to “feather” the white into the not-so-white.

Practically invisible! To a one-eyed man with astigmatism on a galloping horse at dusk, perhaps. Ehehehe…

They now remember:

A) That they did not paint the ceiling years ago when they moved in and why–because the previous paint in this room was not quite white and they didn’t want to have to do the whole thing teetering at the top of a ladder and and trying to not get any on the beams.

B) Why it is that they do not engage in more do-it-yourself projects as a team. However, I believe that marital peace has been restored with the resolution to–at some as yet undetermined date in the future– pay someone to paint the ceiling professionally and properly.

The ceiling having been deemed “good enough for now,” all that remains (apart from arguing whether there are spots of flat paint that need touching up) is to paint the trim. Lucky day! There’s a quart of untinted white semi-gloss interior acrylic latex in the garage all ready to go.

More mischief! It’s white, but it’s not white white and would look terrible against the walls. Thus proving the old adage that every home repair project requires at least two trips to the hardware store. Will they ever be done with this job? Seems unlikely!

(still later) It’s amazing how exhaustion can lower one’s standards. The humans have looked at the one coat of paint on the baseboard and windowsill, as well as the long list of other things they need to do this week, for some of which it would be desirable to have a functional living room, and decreed that the trim on the doorway and around the top of the window is not going to get done at this point in time. A willful blind eye is being turned to bits that might want a third coat any spots where semi-gloss has gone onto flat and the project is being deemed finished if not exactly a howling success.

Speaking of howling, now that the paint is dry, the tools are clean and put away, all the drips have been wiped up, and all the trash removed, the Terror Twins, who have have been sequestered in the bedroom all day, can be released. To say that they were not best pleased by their brutal and inhumane confinement to a room with access to food, water, a window, a litterbox, and a comfy queen-sized bed would be a gross understatement. The painting today was performed to the accompaniment of paws scrabbling against a door and periodic cries of “You’ll never hold me, you dirty screw!” The first order of business, of course, is to hop up on the newly painted windowsill.

What a day! I think my favorite part was when the female’s head scarf fell off–right into a puddle of wet paint. That is one bandana whose yippee-ki-yi-yo-ing days are over.

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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.

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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