Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Day 144: Revenge of the kitties


My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 144: Revenge of the kitties

As some of you may know, I have a bad back. To relieve some of the pain, my son bought me a Dr. Scholl’s back massager a few years ago. Most of the time, the massager lives in a draw in a cabinet, but on occasion when my back is particularly bad the massager is placed on a seat on the sofa.

Yesterday was such an occasion. I don’t know what I did, but over the weekend I injured my already painful back and I was in a terrible state. While the Dr. Scholl’s back massager can’t perform miracles, its vibrations are rather soothing. It has a low, medium or high setting, as well as a heat or no heat option.

As you can imagine, this massager was of interest to the cats. Charlotte, Gabriel and Holly have seen the massager before, but for Halley and Greyson this was something new. They approached and sniffed, their head bobbing left and right and up and down. What was this thing? What did it do? Was it alive? Could it hurt them?

Eager to satisfy Halley’s curiosity, Dieter picked her up and brought her closer to the massager. She immediately started squirming in his arms. She wanted nothing to do with this thing.

Alright, he wasn’t going to force her and instead picked up little Greyson. Young and trusting as he is, he didn’t fight daddy and allowed him to be placed on the seat of the massager. Under the watchful eye of Halley, Greyson sat on it, walked around on it, sniffed and seemed to approve.

When he seemed at easy with the massager, Dieter switched it on. Maybe Greyson would appreciate the soft vibrations. Well, that was a mistake. He leaped off the seat, landed on the carpet and turned around in disgust … what the hell was that?

Up next, Holly. Dieter had only just picked her up and carried her to the seat when she already started fighting me. NOOOOOOOOO!!! She was having none of it.

The same with Gabriel. With him too it was a case of … Let me go, let me go, LET … ME … GO!!!

After these negative reactions, he wasn’t even going to try with Charlotte. Charlotte is a nervous cat by nature, afraid of anything and everything, including her own shadow. He wasn’t going to risk her having a heart attack so he didn’t bother reintroducing her to the massager.

But Charlotte surprised him. She jumped in the sofa, walked over to the massager and sat on it. Did he dare switch it on? Why not. As soon as the massager purred at the lowest setting, she looked down and started pawing at the seat, obviously not understanding what was going on underneath her feet. Having investigated and approving of the vibrations, Charlotte did the unthinkable … she lay down and snuggled up again the backrest of the massager. It would seem that Charlotte’s old bones and muscles could do with some soothing too.

Later on that night it was time for Halley and Greyson to take revenge on Dieter. At bedtime, he called them to come in from the balcony. As expected they didn’t listen. They sat on the ledge, looking at the moon and the stars, the people down on the parking lot and the passing trains.

If the mountain wouldn’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed would go to the mountain. Dieter picked up Halley and carried her inside. Then he went back to retrieve Greyson. However things didn’t go according to plan. As soon as Dieter deposited Greyson inside, Halley jumped back outside, and once he had her inside, Greyson slipped outside. While he went for Greyson, Halley practiced a case of evasive maneuvering and before Dieter could grab her out she was again, followed at her furry heels by Greyson. Dieter was back to square one. Eventually he got them both inside and they sat looking at him with a smug look on their faces. This clearly had been fun for them and a regular case of cat juggling.

They seemed to think … you messed with us (Dr. Scholls massage seat) now we messed with you.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Day 143: Greyson Needs a GPS System

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 143: Greyson Needs a GPS System

When we adopted Greyson as a kitten from a Toronto Cat Rescue foster mother, she was kind enough to provide us with his favorite food, his favorite blanket, and some toys. However, Greyson needed more than that.

As it turns out, this kitten is in desperate need of a helmet, knee pads, brake pads, an alarm clock, and bell. Anyone who has or ever had a kitten will immediately know what I’m getting at. For those who don’t catch on quick, allow me to explain …

A Helmet

Every cat lover knows that kittens are lively creatures. They run around, at full speed, oblivious to any consequences. In Greyson’s case, he frequently narrowly misses a wall, cabinet, chair, or another hard surface. We cringe when we see him running, often yelling “Greyson, look out!” or “Slow down!” He hasn’t smashed into anything yet, but at the rate he’s going, he’s an accident waiting for a place to happen.

Knee pads

Along with running, Greyson does a fair amount of jumping. Especially when going outside. Technically our living room has floor to ceiling windows, but that’s not quite true. The windows don’t reach the floor, but rather a five-inch step. To go outside we have to step over that low obstacle. For us, that’s no problem as we’re used to that raised step, but for Greyson – being a tiny kitten – it’s a hurdle he has to overcome every time he wants to go outside.
Greyson, being the racer that he is, he doesn’t step over the hurdle one paw at a time but takes a flying leap to get over it. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. When he miscalculates his jump, we hear his knees making contact with the step.


Now that you know that Greyson doesn’t just run but races, the reason why he needs brake pads should be obvious. When he’s in hot pursued of Halley, or Halley chases him, Greyson throws caution to the wind. As fast as his little legs will carry him, he runs from the balcony, via the kitchen and living room to the bedrooms and back again. During this sprint, he has to take a few corners and that’s where things go wrong. The fur on the bottom of his feet causes him to slip and slide, resulting in him losing his footing and ending up on his side or worse, taking a tumble.

Alarm clock

In case you’re wondering why a kitten needs an alarm clock, let me explain. When I go to work, I get up at 6:00 a.m., on the days that I’m not working I sleep in until between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. Greyson, who doesn’t know the difference between my working days and my non-working days seems to think that if I sleep later than 6:00 a.m. I’m gonna be late for work and so he’s made it his job to wake me up.
Shortly after 6:00 he starts giving me kisses and like I mentioned in a previous post, his kisses are not to be underestimated. https://underthetorontosun.blogspot.com/2018/09/day-141-update-on-greyson.html

Combine that with his loud purring and within minutes I’m wide awake. Something I do not appreciate.


Last but not least, Greyson needs a bell around his neck or paws. Every night, before I go to sleep, I check that all the cats are okay and last night I couldn’t find Greyson. I checked all the rooms twice and there was no sign of him. Getting more worried by the minute I looked in all the obvious and not so obvious places, even checked the balcony … nada. Now it’s not so difficult to find Halley, as she’s a white cat, but Greyson is a black/grey tabby … try finding that in the dark!

Getting desperate, I crouched down to look under the lounge chairs when suddenly I felt something tickling my cheek … whiskers. When I looked it was Greyson sitting next to me, crouched down too. He little face seemed to say … what are we looking for?
“Where did you come from?” I asked him. “I looked all over for you.”

See that’s where a bell would come in handy. Or even better, a GPS system. 

If you like the blog posts, try one of the books

Monday, September 17, 2018

Day 142: Management decided to turn off the A/C

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 142: Management decided to turn off the A/C

Even though the summer of 2018 will go down in history as the hottest year around the world, with heatwave after heatwave, the management of our condo building has seen fit to switch off the air-conditioning.

Never mind that yesterday’s temperature reached 32 degrees C (89.6 degrees F) and people are just about fainting in their units, according to some stupid bylaw the heat must be switched on by September 15th and that is the rule the manager of this building followed.

Technically, our building doesn’t have to follow that rule, because it is a condo building, not an apartment building and as such the government doesn’t have any say over us, but because the building holds approximately 10 rentals the bylaw gets enforced.

I’ve lived in this building for the past 18 years and this is the first time this rule has actually been enforced. Other years the building manager used common sense. If the temperature is still in the high 20s he waited with switching off the air-conditioning, after all, who needs heat when it’s still so hot.

However, this year we have a new building manager, a woman, and she goes by the book. When a notice was posted in the elevators that the air-conditioning would be switched off the next day, residents descended on the management office to complain about this decision. Some asked, some pleaded, some begged for the air-conditioning to stay on, but the manager could not be swayed. She said that some people might be cold and might need heat.

Some people might need heat!!! ... When it’s boiling hot outside!!! ... who are these people?

At first the lack of cool air was not such a problem, as the temperature remained below 25 degrees C (77 degrees F), but as from Thursday the temperature climbed and climbed, reaching 32 degrees yesterday. To say that it was uncomfortable inside would be an understatement. It went from warm, to hot, to stifling. Nobody had any energy and tempers flared.

If you live in a house, don’t think for a moment that this a the same as living in a condo. There’s a big difference between living in a brick and mortar house and a south facing, glass fronted condo on the 11th floor.

To bring some relief we have two fans going, but that only cools to air to a certain extent.  And if the days are difficult, the nights are even worse. Who can sleep in this heat?

Charlotte, Gabriel, Holly and Halley suffered too. In a way it’s worse for them then for us. While we could position ourselves in front of a fan or take a cold shower, the cats were laying flat on the hardwood floor, under the bed, or sought relief from the heat in the relatively cool walk in closet. After a while they figured out that though that the fan was nothing to be afraid of and sat in places where the wind of the fan lifted their fur.

Greyson was the only one who wasn’t bothered by the heat. For him it was business as usual. He ran around and played, but for once he couldn’t find anyone to play with. The others clearly were not in the mood.

Today it’s a little cooler than yesterday, and tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday will be cooler still, but on Friday temperatures are going up again. Well, technically it’s still summer until September 21st. Only the manager of our building seems to think it’s already fall.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Day 141: Update on Greyson

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts
Day 141: Update on Greyson
Quite a few people showed concern for Greyson after my post of a few days ago ‘The Day Greyson Scared us Half to Death’ https://underthetorontosun.blogspot.com/2018/09/day-139-day-greyson-scared-us-half-to.html
Readers asked if he was okay now and if we knew what the problem had been. At the time, I said that he was totally fine. After I fed him with me finger and next with a spoon, he started eating by himself and several times visited his plate. It was a total mystery. At 6:00 p.m. it looked like we had to take him to the emergency room, at 9:00 he was eating and at 10:00 p.m. he was playing. I thought that was the end of that, but I was wrong.

While on Monday he seemed totally fine and back to his old self, on Tuesday morning he again refused his breakfast. He slept a lot and didn’t look well at all. I decided not to wait. I called the animal hospital for an appointment and my favorite doctor could see Greyson at 4:40 p.m.
To cut a long story short, Greyson was diagnosed with an infection but without doing bloodwork (which the doctor didn’t think was necessary) he wasn’t sure whether it was a viral or bacterial infection. So, the doctor said that Greyson should be better by Friday, if not we should come back and start him on antibiotics. In the meantime, he send us home with Nutri-Lys and Royal Canin Recovery.

Since Greyson also had an eye infection, the vet scanned his eye for an ulcer and also checked his mouth. In both cases the diagnosis was negative.
Back home we gave Greyson the Royal Canin food and the prescribed dosage of Nutri-Lys which is supposed to strengthen his immune system. He loved both.
Today, 3 days later, Greyson is truly back to his old self. His eye is still a bit cloudy but much better then it was on Tuesday. His appetite is back and his whole persona indicates that he’s feeling much better.
Just how much better I experienced first hand this morning. Greyson clambered onto my bed and started chasing an imaginary fly. He raced around the duvet and the fact that I was still under it didn’t seem to bother him in the least. He ran around my legs, over my legs, over my shoulders, around my head and at one point across my face. Continuing to sleep was clearly out of the question.
When he got tired he took a short pause and then went for round two. This time he added a little extra though. Instead of merely racing around my bed, he now started jumping. He resembled jumping beans in a pot or popcorn kernels in a bag. When he saw that I was awake he came to give me kisses and Greyson's kisses are not to be under estimated. Unlike other cats who merely kiss their owners with a gentle touch of their nose, Greyson pushes his whole snout at various places of my face. And he doesn't do this gentle either, no he puts force behind his kisses. Alright, I guess it was time to get up.
In the kitchen Gabriel, Charlotte, Holly, Halley and Greyson gathered around me. It was time for breakfast. Greyson first ate his serving of Royal Canin Recovery and having finished that plate he moved on to what the others were eating. A little later he went back for seconds. That kitten has an appetite you wouldn’t believe.
After playtime with Halley, Greyson along with the rest of the gang went to sleep. Not lying down because he’s not feeling well, but having a proper cat nap. 
Cat lovers know the difference.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Day 140: Cats and Construction Works

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 140: Cats and construction works

The underground parking project is coming along nicely and after a noisy week (the last update being https://underthetorontosun.blogspot.com/2018/08/day-136-halley-and-geese.html the weekend brought peace and quiet. The quiet continued on Monday on account of rain.

If I thought the noise of the jackhammer was loud, that was nothing compared to another tool that was used to smooth out the edges of the concrete. A sandblaster. That thing made one heck of a noise. So much so that we had to yell at each other to make ourselves heard.

To give you an update on the latest progress ... 


While so far Holly, Halley, and Greyson had shown a keen interest in the works, while the sandblaster was attacking our eardrums with decibels, none of the cats went anywhere near the balcony.

Curiosity eventually got the best of Halley and Greyson though. When Dieter and I took them outside we were surprised at the progress the men had made. 



While initially Greyson clearly communicated "Hold me, daddy, I'm scared," later on, once he knew he was safe, he took a keen interest in the men and what they were doing. 

And what about Charlotte and Gabriel you might wonder. Those two are not remotely interested in the construction works. While Charlotte is not exactly scared, she doesn't like loud noises (doesn't even like the vacuum cleaner) and as for Gabriel ... he sleeps through anything and everything. I'm not kidding, whether the men used a jackhammer or a sandblaster ... nothing kept Gabriel from catching his zzzzz's.

As I mentioned earlier, today it's business as usual, minus the noise.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Day 139: The day Greyson scared us half to death

My Project: 365 Creative Writing Prompts

Day 139: The day Greyson scared us half to death

There are people who complain that their life is boring, that nothing ever happens. In my opinion, those are lucky people. Here there’s always something happening and none of it is good. Take the past weekend for instance …

After a long hot summer, last Saturday the temperature dropped to about 18 degrees C (64.4 degrees F). Not exactly cold, but the air was definitely chilly. Still, I saw no reason not to let the cats out on the balcony. Dieter even took a nap in the swing there, joined by Halley and Greyson.

Saturday evening Halley and Greyson were playing, as usual, racing in and out of the living room to the balcony and back again.

This continued on Sunday morning. Halley and Greyson were playing while I showered and got ready for the day. And then suddenly things went wrong.

When I presented my fur kids with breakfast, Greyson didn’t take one bite. Thinking that he didn’t like that type of food I scooped meat from another can on a plate, but he didn’t want that either. Instead, he curled up on the couch.

When I remarked “Oh this is no good,” Dieter thought I was panicking for nothing. “So Greyson doesn’t want to eat, so what?” he said, “perhaps he’s just not hungry.” This sounded absolutely ludicrous to me. Greyson is always the first one by his plate and the last one to leave. That kitten has an appetite that makes me wonder where he puts it all.

For the rest of the morning, Greyson remained on the couch. Dieter thought he was just tired and sleeping, but I knew something was wrong. I know the difference between a cat who rests, who sleeps and who doesn’t feel well. Still, maybe he just had a cold from being in the chilly air the previous day, so I tried not to be overly concerned.

Dinner time came and went and again Greyson didn’t want to eat. Okay, so now even Dieter had to admit that something was wrong. I called out vet, but unfortunately, the doctors at the clinic were fully booked.

Now it so happened that Greyson had an appointment today, Monday, at 9:30 a.m. for his second inoculation. If he couldn’t see the doctor on Sunday afternoon, at least he would be able to be seen the next day. He wouldn’t be fit to receive his inoculation, but at least he would get a doctor’s attention.

By 6:00 p.m. his situation turned into an emergency. Greyson became unresponsive and we decided to take him to the emergency hospital. I called a cab, we put him in his carrier and took him downstairs to the lobby of our building.

And then something strange happened. While we waited for the cab to arrive, Greyson got up on his feet, took an interest in his surroundings and seemed so much better. He clearly wasn’t as sick as I thought he was so I canceled the cab and we went back upstairs.

Back home again Greyson curled up on a blanket on Dieter’s bed and went to sleep. Thinking that he had to eat at least something, I opened a tin with lots of gravy and let him lick my finger. After licking my gravied finger perfectly clean a few times I switched to a spoon. I loaded the food onto the spoon, presented it to Greyson and he licked/ate the gravy and meat. Ten minutes later he had finished his plate.
That made me feel a whole lot better. He had eaten and with this food, he would get his strength back.

From there on it got better and better. About an hour later Greyson came and ate from the big plate, a little later went for seconds and finished off his dinner with some kibble and a drink of water. Another half an hour later he was playing with Halley with a ball.

Today he’s back to his usual self. He eats, drinks, grooms himself and plays. It’s hard to believe that this is the same kitten that was so sick yesterday to the point that we thought we had to take him to the emergency room.