Saturday, November 15, 2008

I am the worst human being on the planet
Yesterday we took Smith back to the Humane Society. After a sleepless night and an awful morning, Forrest and I realized it wasn't going to work. I know we didn't give it much time -- but we know Cipher and she was miserable. We've never heard her hiss, snarl, growl, or spit before, but put another cat in her territory and she turns into Satan's pussycat. Both she and Smith wanted to be Alpha cats and there was no negotiation between them.

I think the big problem was that Smith wasn't our choice. We might be OK with another cat, but one we chose because we liked him/her and because we thought he/she would be OK with Cipher. This cat was kind of an accident, we took her because my mom changed her mind. And we thought it was worth a try rather than just taking her back to the shelter. But it was a huge mistake. And Fo and I just weren't that committed to having her that we were willing to put up with a few weeks/months of fighting and upsetting Cipher.

And, now that Smith's gone....we feel awful. Relieved, but guilty. I cried when we left her at the shelter and feel like I'm the most heartless human ever. We know it's for the best, that in the end she'll find her perfect home. We just feel awful that it wasn't us and that the poor thing had to go back into a kennel. Being a volunteer at the Humane Society I know she'll be taken care of, will get lots of volunteer love, and will one day rule her own household (like Cipher rules ours), but I still feel bad. It's also going to be hard going to the Humane Society every week and see little Smith in the cat room and know I brought her there.

Like I said, intellectually I know it was the right thing to do. But emotionally I'm a wreck. I couldn't shut off my brain and sleep last night....I just kept seeing that cute little pink nose and those sweet green eyes.

So, I'm the worst human being on the planet.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cipher vs. Smith - Round 2
Is this the cat my mom was talking about? The scaredy cat that hid all the time? Cause she's nothing like that. Smith is curious (she's sniffed the entire house), active (she jumped up on the kitchen sink), and actually quite aggressive (taking the hissing initiative at poor Cipher).

Husband and I are nervous wrecks. They met. (The cats, not us.) And circled each other like prizefighters for two hours. Cipher stalked her so low to the ground she wouldn't have cleared a speed bump. Smith staked out every room in the house, hid under the sofa, crawled under the bed, tried to pee in Cipher's box, and generally raised hell.

There was hissing. There was growling. There were noises usually associated with Linda Blair's head turning around.

And through it all, we were freaking out. We've never seen Cipher like this. Our sweet, playful, loving kitty became sullen, nervous, and angry.

We know it's natural. We've heard from the experts (Husband's folks who have 5 cats -- my ex who has 4) about integrating kitties and how it takes time and patience. We're just not sure we're brave enough.

Smith is a really sweet cat, and we'd hate to have to bring her back to the shelter. The poor thing must be so stressed and mother only adopted her a month ago, then she's here, and next....? But it's so hard to be strong in the face of our Cipher being upset, our not being sure we want another cat, and Smith causing havoc in the house.

God do I need a nap.
Cipher vs. Smith - Round 1
The new cat is in residence. We've tentatively named her "Smith." My reasoning is the poor thing has had 3 names if 3 weeks so she's in need of an alias. The name might change as we get to know her better, but for now it's Smith.

And Cipher and Smith are both in the process of being miffed. Smith is in the office with Husband, with the door closed and his fingers crossed. Cipher is sitting right outside, sniffing and meowing. They had a brief interlude, which involved Smith hissing at Cipher and Cipher puffing up her tail to approximately the size of an adult boa constrictor. Smith has made several alien noises, none of which were met with anything like approval from Cipher.

I'm in the living room, hiding, having taken an Imitrex due to a severe cat-induced stress headache. Cipher, by the way, hasn't stopped meowing in about 10 minutes. It's going to be a seriously long night.

Are you sure none of you want a cat???

Academy of really cool things
Today Husband and I went to the beautiful new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. And holy cats, is it cool! Thanks to advice from Finny, we went directly to the Planetarium after entering and began our day with 30 minutes of stargazing. (And planet gazing.) (Creationists beware!) Then into the gorgeous rainforest, where all these shots were taken.

This was easily our favorite spot. Full of wonderfully colorful butterflies and birds. A few tiny, sneaky frogs. Lots of plants, leaf-cutter ants, moths and, down below, eels and fishies. It was the kind of place where you could easily spend an hour or more walking around and saying "look over there!" to anyone who will listen.

Many years ago Husband and I went to a butterfly exhibit in Philadelphia and it was similarly wonderful. What is it about butterflies that turn you into a kid again? All those amazing hues flitting overhead, catching your eye and making Craola look like they don't know shit about colors.

We were amused an how many people walked through without stopping to actually look. There was this one huge moth that only Husband and I seemed to notice. That's the thing about places like this -- you really have to take the time to see in order to appreciate what's around you. You'll miss half the magic if all you're doing is heading on to the next place.

As an aside, I'd like to take this opportunity to wish The Lurker a very happy birthday. For a large chunk of my life, all my closest friends were men. I didn't really have many female friends. But now, thanks to The Lurker, The Foreigner, Finny, The Belle of Belfast City, Mama D, and SdeM I find myself surrounded by smart, funny, sexy, amazing ladies -- each of whom inspires me in some way. I love you all and I'm so lucky to have you as my family.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Temple of Aqua
Today's trek took us to our two favorite used record stores where we went bankrupt. But at least we had some lovely (blessedly free) scenery along the way.

The Pulgas Water Temple, o the peninsula, is a hidden treasure. There's nothing there but this small structure, a pool, and lots of lawn. But it's a beautiful place and quite peaceful.

Tomorrow we try the Academy of Sciences again. And we might (might) pick up the new cat.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The bridge walk
Today was day 1 of Husband's vacation. We went to Golden Gate Park to visit the new Academy of Sciences....but it was packed. We hit traffic as soon as we turned off 19th onto Lincoln but when we got to the Academy at about 11 am there must have been 300 people waiting out front. And that's not an exaggeration. It was a mob. So we went to plan B and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Husband had never done this before, and I hadn't in years, so we decided it was a perfect day for it. And it was. Clear, cool (but not too cold) and (thankfully) not too windy. It wasn't too crowded either. We sort of laughed at the irony of several hundred people at the park and practically nobody on the Great Highway or on the bridge. I took the above shot (plus a few of each other) and then we drove down the coast and had lunch in Half Moon Bay. We even found a little music store in HMB where Husband scored two of the five jazz CDs he doesn't already own.

Not sure what we're doing tomorrow, but today will be hard to top.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The new cat has been postponed
Just an update to say that Lily/Glory/Cat-X has not moved into Chateau Cipher. Husband and I are on vacation this next week (No, we're not going anywhere. We're gonna play tourist in the Bay Area. Tomorrow, the new California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.) But we will be out most days and would prefer to be around for the great introduction.

We're still accepting applications to be Lily's new parents (so far we've been inundated with a grand total of none) but are pretty much resigned to being a 2-cat family. Keep your fingers crossed.