We built this kitteh citeh

D. does this thing where he creates structures in his mind. 

We were at lunch once on a work day, and he wasn't as verbose as usual, so when I asked him what was up, he said, "Oh... just thinking about building a workbench.  Is it okay if I build a workbench?"  "Sure," I said, dreading the huge project ahead.  It took ex-fiancĂ© P. days upon weeks to finish the workbench in our rented North St. home four years ago.  It turned out pretty nice, but that's one of the only things -- other than that workbench, a table he made for his sister (where the emphasis was really on the table top, which had pictures on it underneath the polyurethane; the table itself was very simple), and a screen he built at the North St. house to keep the cats out of the living room -- that I remember him successfully building.  His woodworking talent isn't astounding, I think; it was the creative things he would do with simple construction that was eye-catching. 

One thing that P. also seemed to have trouble with was having wood left over or having a measurement be slightly off, which screwed up half the project.  He did so much research, shopping around, drawing, measuring... only to usually have something come out weird.  Which is why I was so surprised when D. went to Home Depot that Saturday and, in two hours, with no drawings or measurements, he built a workbench one could park a truck on, and he tossed the extra two feet of 2"x4" into the firepit.

So a couple days ago, with the help of my dad and my Home Depot credit card, he built a kitty city without so much as a shopping list.

Cutting the plywood to fit around the poles.

It's starting to come together -- we added carpet on the poles and surfaces, then twisted rope around some areas for a scratching surface.
Almost finished, right side up.

Building the little house on top, which we pretty much measured out to accommodate Cissy.  Micky's been terrorizing her lately.

The finished product!

D. thought to affix the top with hinges, in case we need to get a cat out of the house.  Also, my dad put a dog toy in the door to get the full effect.

Kittehs love!  They're playing with toys we hung from hooks screwed into the bottoms of surfaces.

Mushed pea-brain -- amirite?

So D. quit drinking.  He hasn't had a drop in almost 16 days.  The first week, he lost 14 pounds.  This week, the dark circles under his eyes were gone, even though he's still staying up just as late as he used to.  Anyway, looking back to his first week, I think I've found a diet.  He said he likes sobriety so far.

Ugh.  Just paid bills and rejoiced at money left over, then D.'s transmission craps out to the tune of $880.  And the low tire pressure light in my car is on.

Burned my baked salmon last night.  Actually, it wasn't so much burnt as it was dry.  Something sucked every last drop of moisture out of that salmon, despite it marinating in olive oil.  My roasted potatoes also burned.  But the broccoli was cold.  How is it that I'm able to kick ass and take names at work, but I can't pull off something that is actually "my thing"?  I enjoy it, I've been told I'm good at it, but something about it is inconsistent.  I mess up the most random things -- last night I served salmon-flavored crust, "pebble-style" roasted potatoes, and lukewarm broccoli marinara (which at least smelled good).  The Monday after I hosted a fancy, gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, I fucked up Zatarain's jambalaya.  Yes, the one where you literally throw rice and meat into water for 25 minutes.  Turns out I put too much water in the pot, so by the time it boiled down, I had mush for rice.  It was inedible. 

Then there was the time when C. and M. wouldn't freaking leave, even though I had my and D.'s dinner ready on the stove.  The peas became mush, like C.'s brain.  Aha!  People say "pea-brain," right?  So "mushed pea-brain" is worse, because at least peas are edible (according to most people).


Bye, Bye, Birdie

So apparently there was a dude with a stab wound in his chest wandering around my street yesterday.  Sounds about right -- in the last six months, there was a meth lab bust in the 700 block, a drunk driving fatality at the corner, and a cop -- conspicuously parked in front of a house a couple doors down -- asked us if we'd "noticed anything" about the people who live there.  We said they had a cat.  I think she was expecting us to say, "Well, they're black, so..."

D. is drywalling our upstairs bedrooms.  The master bedroom is first.  I've developed this hacking/spitting/choking cough because of all the dust, but so far the project has gone smoothly.  We took advantage of a 12 months no interest dealie thing on the Home Depot credit card (oh god, I'm just like Extreme Home Makeover... LET'S GO TO SEARS) and got all the drywall, trim, insulation, etc.  Everything but the sprayfoam, which we'll get from somewhere else.  I'm especially excited about the trim -- I'll finally have crown moulding in that room, plus those little squares with the designs on them that go at the tops of the doors and windows?

Um... these thingies?

Yeah, I got those, without the fugly curtains.  thisoldhouse.com has instructions on how to use the original door/window trim to make a mirror.  I would love to do that.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  This week, my job is simply to throw all the lath out the window, making sure not to hit our brand new air conditioner.  I'll later wheel the lath back to the woodpile -- and I'll say now, we're only doing one room for the time being, but we're going to be all set for autumn parties around the firepit.

In other news, I've started watching Mad Men on Netflix.  Somehow, I'm already on season three.  (Actually, that's probably because I was sick all weekend and barely left my chair.)  Here's how each episode typically runs:

Don Draper has sex with someone other than his wife.  Betty Draper is nice to everyone except her family members.  Joan's curves defy gravity and pretty much every book of the Bible; she gets her way merely by breathing in a man's direction (but I'm pretty sure she's my favorite character).  Meanwhile, Don lights another cigarette.  Sally Draper pouts about something.  Bobby Draper is replaced by another child actor.  Peggy forgets to put on mascara but manages to come up with a good ad slogan, only to not get recognition because of gender issues that are obvious at this point in the show.  Audience is amazed at the amount of liquor, smoking, and catered food portrayed in the office.  Meanwhile, Don gets drunk.  Pete Campbell does something douchey.  No one really remembers the names of anyone else working in the agency.  Maybe Ken, or the hot-head with the beard.  Or the guy with glasses who looks just like the bearded guy, except beardless.  Sterling has sex with someone other than his wife, lights another cigarette, and gets drunk.  Everyone waits for Don and Betty to have angry hate sex.
Despite all this, it's a really good show.  I'm trying to get D. to watch it (after all, I've agreed to play this Star Wars game thingie with him)  :)  but he's resisting. 

Oh!  And no, I didn't feel the earthquake.  It was raining and thundering here at the time.  Not even really sure how people in my town were able to feel it, considering all the geographical barriers between here and Virginia.  Mountains, etc.  Oh well -- the only time I've ever felt an earthquake, I woke up to the bed shaking and windows rattling, and I'm so unfamiliar with the concept of earthquakes that my first logical guess was that the house was haunted.  Which I thought it was anyway.


"You're a kitty!"

Haven't posted in a while -- I've been working way too hard and having way too much fun.  Oops.

The Fourth of July party was fine.  I, of course, had too much food.  No meltdowns, though -- my aunt brought potato salad and Greek pastries, my dad brought baked beans, my mom brought drinks, and D. bought a grill.  My dad grilled the hot dogs (no one requested corn dogs, but I still have all the non-perishable ingredients for the breading, so I might still make them someday), and D. set off fireworks in our street.  We sat on the curb and watched the sky with our neighbor Tom.  Tom's from Brooklyn and every other word out of his mouth is muthafuckin'.  We adore him.

D. and I had taken the day off work for the Tuesday after the Fourth, and we devoted most of that day to two little kittens -- a tiny grey one, and a skinny black one -- we had rescued from a farm up near Rensselaer.  D.'s a Harry Potter nerd, so we named the black one Bellatrix and the grey one Narcissa.  Now that I've seen all the HP movies and listened to D.'s descriptions from the books, the kittens' personalities match perfectly with the characters.  It's uncanny.

Little Nars... we also call her Cissy... she's wide-eyed and quiet until you turn your back.  She is the cutest fucking thing I have ever seen. 

Bellatrix... or Bella, as we call her... hardly ever stops moving and is pictured here playing with a leaf that she pulled off a plant in our foyer.  She's bigger than Nars and plays with everything.  Especially feet.

Here's a picture of Micky, just for shits and giggles.  She's my pretty girl who has to follow Mommy everywhere.  She has like seven different meows.
I've had so much fun caring for these kittens.  My 10-year-old cat Micky is getting more and more used to them.  She's hissed and swiped, and even chased after them a few times, but we've kept the spray bottle nearby.  We're to the point where we let the kittens out all the time, even when we're not home, because even though Micky has swiped at them, she's never once had her claws protracted.  I believe that she knows they're just kittens and mostly they just wanted to play with her, but she's being the mean, bitchy cat because she needs them to know their place.  D. says that might change once Micky's much older and realizes that Bella is ginormous.  And, despite Cissy's current size, the vet says she should be a very big cat later on.  (Both D. and the vet says she's gained weight over the last month and a half, but I refuse to believe it.  She is the tiniest creature I have ever seen.  I tell her she's no bigger than a pea.)

It's funny to see them play, though.  Kittens walk much differently than older cats.  I'm not sure why or how to explain it, really, but there's something awkward about them.  Cissy fell off my desk this morning.  Just slipped and fell.  Bella knocked over a bowl of popcorn (and she went tumbling with it) that was sitting on D.'s computer tower -- and surprisingly, she wasn't doing that on purpose.  And when they were introduced to the rest of the house after being quarantined in D.'s room for five weeks, they seemed to have trouble walking on the carpet in the hallway, which is different than the carpet in D.'s room.  But holy crap, they are so fucking cute.

Cissy enjoys fitting herself into every impossibly small crevice in the house, and then when D. and I go crazy trying to look for her, imagining all these terrible things that could have happened, she appears out of nowhere on the stairs or front hallway like "hai sup," and we're like, "OMFG CISSY WHERE WERE YOU" and she's like, "ummm idk lol"  Yesterday I took a picture of her sitting inside one of D.'s shoes. 

Bella cannot wait to get into EVERYTHING and wrestle with EVERYTHING.  Even when Micky bops her on the head, she's like "lol omg!  wheeeeeeee!  hai!  hai!  hai!  hai!" and then Micky is like, "i will fuckin kill u bitch" and Bella is like "hahaha you have a tail and I have a tail and LET'S CHASE THEM!  hai!  hai!  hai!"  It's actually kind of relaxing to have her sit on the back of my chair while I'm dicking around on the computer, because she plays with my hair, and I haven't gotten royal treatment like that since my hair surpassed my thoracic vertebrae.  Micky plays with my hair too, but in a different way:  She does it when she's hungry, I'm sleeping, and she's trying to wake me up.  So she pulls.