Saturday, November 14, 2015

PREPARATIONS, AND CAT CAPERS



Preparations for another dreaded winter. Long journey into night.

I live on King's Mountain. The house that I bought here was owned by Mr. King. The mountain was named for his ancestors.

I'm actually on a lower elevation than I was in Texas. On the high, endlessly flat plains of West Texas the elevation was over 3,300 feet. No lie. The wild winds were frigid. The house wasn't insulated and it was colder than a witches tit. Alert readers will know that I stole that analogy from J.D.Salinger (even though I never liked Catcher in the Rye).

I (reluctantly) recall the bitterly cold Texas winter when my furnace broke and I didn't have heat for over a week. It got down to 4 degrees at night. If I didn't have a fireplace I would have turned into a popsicle.

No fireplace here in the wilds of Tennessee, and the house is just as cold as the one in TX. I don't want the water pipes to freeze and break like they did last winter. There was a hard freeze last night and it was colder than a penguin's kiss (I made that one up - - it's better than J.D.Salinger).

Yesterday I went under the house to check the pipes and make a feeble attempt at winterizing them. Access to the "crawl space" is difficult. First I have to carefully and painstakingly remove lattice around the front porch and crawl under there. Then I have to unscrew and remove secret panels to get under the house. It is extremely dark, filled with Gothic spider webs (they're the worst kind), and mega-spiders that look like tarantulas on steroids.

This whole under-the-house experience didn't scare the jeeters out of me.
It didn't scare me witless.
It scared me beyond the realms of shitless.


My cat Scratch
enjoying the great outdoors

Let me make a necessary interjection here:
For reasons that I won't go into right now, I've been letting the cats out for an hour or two every day. They were all wandering around while I was under the house.

Before I made my exit from under the porch, I searched around carefully to make sure none of the cats were in there. Then I secured the secret panels and very carefully replaced the lattice around the porch. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief for managing to get out from under the house alive.

That's when I heard the meowing.
(of course)

Scruffy, my little Feline From Hell, was trapped under the house. Despite my initial instinct to leave her there forever - -
I reluctantly removed the lattice, crawled under the porch, unscrewed the secret panels, and rescued Scruffy.

Enough said.
Three cats are more trouble than a dozen kids. I think.

Late last night I heard a ruckus in the living room. The cats were after a mouse. The mouse initially ran up the grandfather clock (I'm not kidding) Hickory Dickery Dock. Later it hid under the clock.

In the morning, after I groggily crawled out of bed, I found a dead mouse carefully placed by my bedroom door.

During the previous mouse-hunting session they left a dead mouse in my bed. Remember that one?

 Scruffy and Bosco waiting to get the mouse
hiding under the clock 

The photos on this post are of poor quality because I took them with my cell phone.

It's a perfectly gorgeous day today. Sunny and in the 40's. Crisp, pure air and a gentle breeze. A few reluctant withered leaves are still clinging to trees. Several hawks are soaring in the blue sky. I saw some cardinals and a woodpecker. And lots of squirrels.

It's my mother's birthday today. I miss her. 













23 comments:

  1. put the cats in the house before you go outside. and make that drive into town for supplies now before it snows a shit ton.

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    Replies
    1. Tony, I miss California the most when it snows a shit ton.......

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    2. AM - - the cats are so damn independent that I can hardly keep track of them had a strong feeling that one of them(or more) would wind up under the house.

      Fortunately I have more supplies here now than I did last winter.

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    3. @tony - what, it's a perfectly legit philly expression YO! :-)

      @jon - hurray for supplies!

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  2. my Mom passed away
    2 days ago
    I will always miss her

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's often very difficult to believe our loved ones are gone.

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  3. I hope your cousin checks on you by phone every night to make sure you are alive.

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    Replies
    1. Fortunately my cousin checks on me quite often.

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  4. Your Grandfather clock is beautiful indeed. I'm sure glad it made the journey from Texas unscathed!
    But I'll never understand why felines believe their humans would be honored to receive a dead mouse. Eeeeew! (At least, I hope its execution was swift.)

    My own parents' birthdays never pass without my feeling lost all over again. I'm sorry, Jon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have actually rescued a few mice from the cats on occasion. I don't enjoy seeing anything killed - - yet, I don't appreciate them in the house, either.

      The deep pain of losing a loved one never goes away.

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  5. Make sure you take your cell phone with you when you go outside and under the house in case a snake, spider bites you, you have a way to call someone. Three years ago I went outside early in the morning to get the paper and fell and broke my hip. I had to crawl until I got inside the house and call myself an Ambulance. I don't live alone on a mountain its neighbors all around, but they probably were asleep at that time. Take care. Jean from Alabama.:)

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    1. Jean, I remember your ordeal with the broken hip. Its frightening to realize that all those neighbors were around and you still couldn't get help. Cell phones are a necessity and a Godsend nowadays.

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  6. I seem to recall a Kings Mountain that figured in the Revolutionary War, but think it was in Carolina (one of them --there are only two, aren't there?). Either it was a different mountain or a very long mountain as you're in Tennessee. Either way, be careful this winter and don't slide down it and join whoever it was named after --who may still be sliding after 2 centuries.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Geo, I erroneously said King's Mountain.
      It is in fact King Mountain - - and there's a small chapel around here called King Mountain Baptist Church.
      At any rate, it's such a nonentity that I doubt if it's even on a map.

      I'll try not to fall this winter, since I might slide all the way to King's Mountain in Carolina.

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  7. You are the top cat, if they bring you the kill.

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    Replies
    1. That certainly makes me feel better.

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  8. Is it possible to add a wood burning stove to your house? That might be a great back up plan. After both of my parents were gone I felt like an orphan.

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    Replies
    1. A wood burning stove is definitely a future possibility.

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  9. UGH! A hard freeze already? Too soon, too soon! Have you ever tried using heater tape to wrap you water pipes to keep them from freezing? I think you can buy it at just about any good hardware store.

    You should feel honored your cats deliver dead mice to you. You're their guy!

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    Replies
    1. I never thought of using heater tape - it's a great idea. Thanks!

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  10. Cute, adorable cats!! Awww... <3

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  11. Jon,
    Wow! You live on King's Mountain? We have a connection! My ancestor, (5 times great grandfather) Major Jonathan Tipton was a hero who fought in the American Revolutionary War (along with General General George Washington. I'll send you a link by e-mail on the history. I am so envious of you. You truly live in a beautiful part of the country.
    By the way, I'm glad your cats can get out a few hours every day. Another "by the way", I HATE crawling under crawl spaces. I'm claustrophobic and have horrible memories of crawling in those spaces when I was a small kid. Yes, the spiders and who knows what. One more, funny story about your cats catching that mouse Come winter, those field mice look for a warm place and thus into your house. You DON'T want them in your house. Your cats did good.
    Ron

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