Moustache Cat and Her Friend Heisenberg Cat

Well. Very few of you took me up on my challenge to create a meme for Oreo/tuxedo/mustache/moustache cat. This may be because I used the gauche American spelling for “mustache” and you guys didn’t understand that we have a classy undertaking happening here.

That said, for the four of you who partook? You are my new favorites.

Pilgrim Cat Wishes You a Happy Belated Thanksgiving.

Karen started off with a holiday-inspired idea. I posted it first because it is time sensitive.

"I not always wear a top hat, but when I do, I am the cat's meow."

Thank you, Beth. Oreo gives you a happy meow for the compliment.

"I have class....and you?"

Excellent capturing of Tuxedo Cat’s essence, Keegan!

"Created by Glen Charles & Les Charles and James Burrows"

You are awesome, Kelly. This made me giggle uncontrollably.

Because Oreo was lonely without more captions, I decided to go ahead and give her some myself. I hope you enjoy.

"You grew a Movember moustache? Amateur." "I have a top hat. Your argument is invalid." "One does not simply grow a moustache. One is born with it." Hey girl, I like to cuddle too. It's not a moustache. It's a way of life.Also, because we’re jerks, we couldn’t stop at putting a hat on just one cat, so when Starfire stopped moving, we dropped the thing on her head and photographed her as well. I texted the photo to my friend who gave us the hat and her husband came back with this response: “Heisenberg.”

Which, naturally, led to this:

Black cat with black top hat and the caption: "Say my name."Then, because I was having too much fun to stop and because Starfire looked SO damn menacing, I decided to end with this one:

Black cat with black top hat with caption: SOON.Thank you for indulging me. I’ll stop now and return us to our regularly scheduled programming of non-feline-related matters. Maybe.

I’m Forcing a Meme Here, People

Hey there! How is your Thanksgiving going? Are you here reading this because you’re hiding from your relatives? Are you waiting for your potatoes to finish cooking? Maybe you’re in some sort of turkey-induced lethargy and can’t do anything but sit on your couch and surf the internet.

Or you live in any country other than the United States, maybe you are wondering why there are suddenly a billion photos of pie in your Facebook feed.

Well, I am here to help you with your Thanksgiving ennui.

Yesterday I posted this photo:

Oreo cat wearing a top hat.

Mustache cat is distinguished.

I posted it and you clamored for a tuxedo cat meme.

Well. One of you said that maybe it would be fun to have a tuxedo cat meme sometime, but no pressure really.

Happily for me, I had already made a meme that I posted on Facebook a while back but that was mostly ignored. It is possible—I’m just sayin’—that mustache cat may not be meme material.

Here is what I had come up with:

Photo of black and white cat in a top hat with the words "No, tuxedo cat thinks YOU are overdressed."It is also possible that maybe *I* am not meme material.

You guys tend to be far funnier than I am. Give me your caption suggestions. Or take the photo and make your own. Please don’t leave tuxedo/mustache cat without a caption. She would be terribly sad.

(Happy Thanksgiving!)

Hi, Team!

How have you all been?

Good, good, glad to hear it.

Hmmmmm.

There is nothing happening in my life. Nothing. I was going to write a whole post about my neighborhood’s two-day group quest to rescue a runaway dog from down the street and how I ended up with a neighbor standing on my front porch this morning with a handful of chicken who was asking why, why, WHY would this dumbass dog not come to him, but it ran into my backyard instead so he closed the gate to trap the dog and he’ll be there until his owners come pick him up and I never actually saw the dog, so I assume someone came and got him or else my yard somehow swallowed him, but then I realized that you don’t care about my neighborhood or the dog, so I decided to not write about it.

*taps foot and looks around*

Then, as I do every week, I cleaned my gerbil tanks and now that I have these kittens, that tank cleaning time is fucking perilous. I’ve had cats jump into the gerbil tanks while I’ve been cleaning them (the gerbils are safely relocated to a smaller holding cage during that time), so I have to remain vigilant to make sure that the kittens don’t sharpen their predatory skills on my wonderful little gerball friends. I was going to write about that, complete with photos and then I realized that this might also not be, how you say, scintillating subject matter to you, so I decided to not write about it.

Starfire sitting atop a gerbil tank

Prey, meet predator.

Let’s see.

Then, I read this article (well, most of it—okay, part of it) about how if you put periods at the end of your text message sentences, people will think you are mad at them and not, in fact, that you are just specific about your punctuation and I got all worried about how people perceive my text messages and then got a little clarity about why Alex always seems to misinterpret my texts and get defensive, causing me to have to leave a smiley-face emoticon at the end of EVERY text (right after the period) and then I decided that people are confusing and I am not sure I am ready to interact with life, you know, at all. Thanks, Maggie, for posting that article in your news feed, by the way. Now I feel inadequate on a whole other platform. I was going to share it with all of you but then realized that some of you might also feel inadequate to function in society after reading it, so I decided to not write about it.

*closes eyes to see if there are ideas on the inside of my eyelids*

Ooooh! Ooooh! So, Oreo, my mustache cat, entertains one of my friends more than I can even tell you and she thinks that Oreo needs her own meme, agent, and movie deal, a la Grumpy Cat, but that maybe Oreo needs some props first, so one day she dropped by with her daughter and they had found a top hat for Oreo so that she can be fancy every day.

Oreo wearing a top hat

Oreo was not as happy about this hat as one would have hoped.

I was going to write about that, but the photo kind of says it all, so I don’t have to.

Well. It turns out that I have written a lot of words about not writing, so mission a-fucking-ccomplished. I do have one last thing to show you, which just might be the perfect capper to this non-post masquerading as a post.

I was cleaning a closet the other day and found this photo from maybe three years ago when my family went to some event or other and there was a photographer there to take photos of people. It turns out that my family did photos three years ago in exactly the same way we do them now.

Photo of Team Stimey looking goofy

At the time, I remember thinking this photo was absurd and not good for a whole lot. Now, I love it more than anything and kind of want to frame it.

From the Wiggles bandage on Jack’s face to the paint all over Quinn to the “I’d rather be over there,” look on Sam’s face, this photo is classic Team Stimey all the way.

Well. I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s interlude in pointlessness. Be sure to check back soon for more stories about animals you don’t know and photos from many years ago!

Making Quinn Miserable

First thing this morning, Quinn told me he didn’t feel well and that he didn’t think he should go to school. I didn’t think he was really all that sick. I didn’t think he was sick at all. This led me to assess my options:

(1) Keep Quinn home.
(2) Send Quinn to school only to hear from the nurse 45 minutes later that he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to come home. At this point, I would again assess my options:
     (a) Go get Quinn and bring him home.
     (b) Ask the nurse to send him back to his classroom, only to get another
     call a half hour later when Quinn did one of two things:
          (i) Was disruptive and complainy enough to be sent back to the nurse’s
          office.
          (ii) Wanted to come home so desperately that he convinced his brain
          he needed to throw up, which would lead to his throwing up on a desk
          in the classroom and being sent home.

This wasn’t my first rodeo. No matter what, Quinn was hanging out with me at home today. I decided to just start with him there.

I’m not stupid though. I knew what he wanted. He wanted a fun day, full of cats and cuddling and board games and maybe once I got tired of actively making his day the best it could be, I would send him off to play video games with a smile on my face.

Nice try, little man. Quinn expressed his belief that “taking care of him” was the same thing as “entertaining him.” Thus began my campaign to make Quinn’s day as boring and miserable as humanly possible.

I started by making him nap. Unfortunately, as he was not actually sick and it was 8:45 in the morning, he was unable to fall asleep. Happily, he had a cat to amuse him.

Quinn lying on the couch with a small black cat.

I spend most of my life trying to get the cats to sit with me and they steadfastly refuse, but Quinn stays home once and they decide that the couch is the most comfortable place in the world to sit.

Unfortunately, cats aren’t very good at holding conversations, so I was the recipient of Quinn’s non-stop chatter until I forced him to read. Funnily enough, this didn’t stop his chatter, but just focused it to the topic of cats, which was the subject of each of the three library books he had checked out last week.

Quinn would intermittently say things like, “I’m going to play video games at one! I have a quest to complete!” and “Can I play video games now?” I alternated answering every one of his questions with either “no” or “Do you want me to drive you to school?”

During hour two, I realized that we were out of milk and bacon, so we went to the grocery store. This provided many opportunities to make Quinn miserable by doing things as simple as pushing the cart slowly past the bakery department without stopping.

Quinn sitting in a cart, pointing.

In this photo, Quinn is pointing at cookies. Shortly thereafter, he started heaving his body back and forth, trying to move the cart from within. He failed.

I’m not made of stone though. Per his request, I bought him chocolate chip toaster waffles, causing Quinn to smile slyly and say, “Your no-spoiling plan has backfired.”

After the grocery store, we spent the rest of the day at home, reading, eating waffles, and bickering like an old married couple.

Sample conversation:

Me: “You are an obstinate little man, Quinn.”
Quinn: “What does ‘obstinate’ mean?”
Me: “It means stubborn.”
Quinn: “I think it means epic.”

The low point of the afternoon was our ten-minute fight over what to do with the little bits of soap stuck to the bottom of the bathtub, which were evidently interfering with Quinn’s ability to take an afternoon soak. I was of the opinion that it was soap and the problem would resolve itself as soon as there was water in the tub. Quinn, on the other hand, believed that I should scrub the tub immediately and, upon his arrival home, Jack—who left the soap bits in the tub yesterday—should be promptly and severely punished.

I’m happy to say that I prevailed—in both the bathtub fight and the longer term struggle to keep Quinn mostly happy, slightly bored, and away from any and all screens for the whole day.

He may not know it yet, but Quinn will be headed back to school tomorrow. Fortunately, I think he’s ready.

And if he’s not? Well, today’s chocolate chip waffle mistake won’t happen again.

This Is Jack’s Autism and It Is Good

red graphic with the words "THIS IS AUTISM"I was talking to Jack this afternoon, asking him some questions about what he thinks about his autism and whether I could share it here for the This is Autism flashblog. He was very eager to share with you and painted a verbal picture many of you know, that of a loving, happy boy who loves video games and his brothers.*

Then I asked him how he felt about his autism.

“Um, good,” he said without hesitation.

There is a lot to say about Jack and a lot to say about his autism, but this piece is what I want to share today—the part that is confident that every part of him is good, the part that doesn’t know the picture of kids like him that Autism Speaks is trying to paint with messages like their Call to Action that went out last week.

Honestly, I don’t think it would ever even occur to Jack to say that his autism is a bad thing. He hasn’t learned that it makes him better than or less than anyone else, but he does know a lot of autistic people and he thinks they are pretty cool, which makes him believe that autism is all right.

Here’s the thing: It matters how you feel about your child’s autism, but it matters far more how he or she feels about it. However you feel, I believe your kid should think that every part of himself is awesome, and as his or her parent, it is your job to make sure that this is the case. There are a lot of things I second guess myself about in terms of my parenting, but this? I know I’m doing this part right.

Jack feels good about his autism and that means Jack feels good about himself. Rock on, Jack. This is his autism and he feels good about it.

******

* Jack’s response to what he wanted to tell you about his autism: “This is Jack. He likes to pretend to launch doomsday missiles and plays with his brothers. He has three cats who are not very scared of him and who purr. He is all interested in the Transformers games and Badland. This is autism. P.S. Do you love kittens?”

 

Algernon’s Army: New Recruits

You guys. You guys. I have no words for you all. You are SOUL FILLING. My mail is such a happy part of my day nowadays. Would you like some examples as to why I love my mail so much? It’s because my mailbox overfloweth with love. And rodents. And other small furry things that are almost rodents.

photos of a stuffed squirrel, otter and round hamster

From my friends Katie, Sherry, and Michal. Thank you. So much.

That first little guy there? She’s a squirrel who came from my 7-year-old friend Katie, who made sure she was all decked out enough to join the rodent brigade. Even better than the squirrel was the note that came with her:

note in child's handwriting on orange paper: "From Katie to Jean. I am sorry that your mouse is gone. So I give you this present to make you happy."

“From Katie to Jean. I am sorry that your mouse is gone. So I give you this present to make you happy.” (And, yes, she did use a sad-girl emoticon instead of a period to end that middle sentence there.)

Is that not the nicest ever? I love that kid.

That otter in the middle comes from my old college chum. She sent this amazing note with it telling the story of the debate amongst strangers that took place in the store as to what animal exactly this was and whether it was, in fact, a rodent. Answers: otter and no.

Nonetheless, otters are one of my favorite animals and he is small and brown and fits in perfectly as a conscientious objector to Algernon’s Army.

Then there is Speedy at the end, who is really not very speedy because he is chubby and round and can’t actually move very fast. He’s like the rodent version of me. He is hilarious. Jack almost passed out laughing when he saw him.

Then there was the very wonderful card from my mother-in-law wherein she posited that Algernon had fallen in love and was off on new adventures elsewhere. Oh, and she wrote that inside a greeting card that had this on the front:

Cartoon drawing of Noah's Ark (with two Algernons pasted on it). There are two dinosaurs sitting on a nearby island saying, "Oh, crap! Was that TODAY?"

I think she is subtly referencing Algernon’s resiliency here.

Do you want to know what else came in the mail today? A photo book about Algernon from my beautiful friend Bec. The book includes the very first post about Algernon that I ever wrote and then photo highlights of his adventures from the past two years.

Cover of a book showing a photo of a small white mouse peeking out of a swimming pool and the word "Algernon."

It is amazing.

Algernon’s Army is so large that I had to dedicate a shelf to it. Because I don’t have a single unused shelf in my house, I had to buy and install a shelf just for my new little friends.

White shelf with all my stuffed rodents and my Algernon book on it.

I think you’ll agree that it was worth the effort.

The shelf is appropriately situated over one of the gerbil tanks.

Algernon's Army shelf over a gerbil tank.

I like how Jetpack and Jefferie are standing at attention here.

I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to look over my left shoulder and see my shelf-o-love-and-rodents. You guys are amazing.

I think that is probably all of my Algernon-related news. Thank you all for continuing to be so awesome. I love you guys.

Cats vs. Gerbils

Cats vs. gerbils, but not in the “cats eviscerating gerbils” sense that you might be thinking. No, the cats are saving the eviscerating for the mice that are apparently living in our basement unbeknownst to us. Well, formerly unbeknownst. Their little corpses dangling out of our kittens’ mouths alerted us to their presence.

No, what I am trying to do is contrast group sleeping patterns.

To wit, kittens:

A three-shelf cat tree, with a kitten on each shelf.

A kitten for every shelf and a shelf for every kitten.

Versus gerbils:

Three gerbils kind of stacked on top of each other

It’s like Yertle the Turtle, but with gerbil stacking instead of turtle stacking.

The cats cuddle with each other, but not quite in the same way the gerbils cuddle with each other…or rather, how they use each other as beds and to prop themselves up.

I like how the guy on top there was all, “Now I’m going to use you to prop me up to the water bottle so I don’t have to expend any effort.” Meanwhile, middle guy was very earnestly cleaning his feet with his teeth.

Come to think of it, the kittens clean their feet via mouth as well.

I’m glad I don’t have to clean my feet with my mouth.

And there you have the first in what will no doubt be a long line of cats vs. gerbil posts. We can only be so lucky.