Archive for the ‘pets’ Tag

Baby Groot, the Lazarus Hawthorn

We had a scarlet hawthorn tree in our front yard. It died a few years ago.

I gave it every chance, we watered it for a year and then let it stay an eyesore for another six months before we gave up and had it removed. And I mean removed.

We had the stump ground down four feet below the soil surface, because we wanted to plant another tree there eventually. This is important, because that tree was not just dead (really, a year and a half with no living leaf on it), it was gone.

Then we had the worst winter in decades, fondly known as the snowpocalypse of 2017. A carport collapsed, warping the air conditioner so that it had to be replaced, destroying the chest freezer, and damaging the paint of my car. And blocking our access to the back yard for about four months.

By the time we got the mess cleaned up and the carport replaced, the back yard was a shambles–and it hadn’t been in great shape before. So plans were made, money saved up, and in June 2018 we had both front and back yards taken out and redone simply, keeping a couple of rose bushes in the front and….


Hey, where did this little hawthorn tree come from growing in exactly the same spot as the original tree?

Yeah. Our hawthorn came back not just from the dead, but from the dead-and-removed. The landscapers weed-whacked it a bit before Spooky Man noticed what it was, and he saved it. Because it’s either a zombie or our very own Baby Groot. Yeah, our tree has a name now, and we are babying Baby Groot.

She is ours and we love her.


Marroooo! The Cat in the Pack

I have a cat who, I think, thinks he’s a dog. I have another cat who will speak dog if Spooky Man asks him to.

What does this have to do with “Marroooo!”? Well, we took Stuart to the vet last summer with Hank the dog. And he discovered — again — that he doesn’t like car rides. We discovered what he sounds like when he tries to howl like Hank: Meeeoooow. Meeeooowww. Maarrroooo!

This is all backstory.

Tuffy, the outside cat, recently had to spend the night inside because Spooky Man was sure it was going to be Too Cold For Outside Cats. At four a.m., my darling man got up to use the facilities and Tuffy — wide awake because all self-respecting cats should be out catting around at four in the morning, thank you very much — meowed and chirped to go outside, please.

Spooky Man said, “Okay, you can go outside if you give me one ‘maroo’ and one ‘maroo’ only.”

Tuffy immediately said, “Maroo?” Yes, it was in the form of a question. A rather puzzled question, too, actually.

Spooky Man let him out. It took me 15 minutes to stop giggling and go back to sleep. This is the sort of reality you can never put in a novel because it won’t be believed.


Shar-Pei Tidbit

Spooky Man reminded me today that Chinese Shar-Pei’s are not a breed the Idaho prison system uses for its guard dog program.

One of the K9 folks once told him, circa 1994, “They’re great barkers. They sound ferocious.” (heavy sigh) “But they’re just too damned happy to actually bite anyone, even with training.”

I like that in a companion dog.

Stuart the IT Cat

Stuart somehow reformatted Spooky Man’s shiny-new-laptop solid-state hard drive RAID on Tuesday. He (Spooky Man, not Stuart) had downloaded a rather large file and wanted to copy it onto a flash drive. Stepping into another room for a moment, he returned to find him (Stuart, not Spooky Man) standing on the keyboard, trying to remove the flash drive (bad kitty! you have to unmount it first!).

Upon rebooting, the computer couldn’t find Windows. Spooky man spent most of Wednesday reinstalling and reconfiguring the computer. But even after all that, it still wasn’t right. The third drive was missing, somehow — I say “somehow” because when I asked “so what’s wrong with it?” he made a face, then mumbled something along the lines of “Damned cat, I should have skinned him.”

So this morning, on the way home from the last doctor appointment for the month, we stopped at Best Buy and he asked a Geek Squad person for a second opinion.

The drives are all fine. They’re just uncoupled, and the third one, which I understand is some kind of hybrid hard drive that is half-solid state and half-normal, is empty. Somehow, Stuart managed to reformat that hard drive, says Spooky Man.

I say, he’s quite an intelligent cat — by nine months of age, he had figured out how to open drawers and understood that the doorknob opens a door — but I don’t think he’s quite that intelligent. Perhaps Spooky Man did something (or failed to do some other thing) while reinstalling Windows yesterday that changed his RAID from all three drives to only the fully solid-state drives and reformatted the hybrid. I didn’t say that in the store, because then he would have looked stupid in front of a Geek Squad Geek. Because of a cat. And he’s an A+ certified nerd (Spooky Man, not Stuart).

Not acceptable.

However, the final answer is that the computer is fine, the cat is fine, the hard drive is fine, and Spooky Man didn’t look stupid in front of the Geek Squad. They didn’t even charge us for looking at it.


At some point, Spooky Man will have to accept that a highly intelligent cat is far more dangerous than a normal cat and treat Stuart accordingly. You cannot stick something interesting and different looking into the edge of the thing that you put on your lap (instead of a cat, the horror) and not expect him to investigate as soon as you’re not looking.

Well, you can, but you might end up looking stupid in front of a Geek.

Fur Family Update

Still no photos of the other two cats… Serena had a mat in her fur, Spooky Man tried to cut it out; one snip went wrong and she now has a bandage on the small hole in her skin.

Spooky Man feels awful, since he’s the only human she really likes. No photos until she heals, which might take a while — she’s going to be 20 years old around the first of September, which is about the human equivalent of 120.

Tuffi acquired an abscess at the base of his right ear that he scratched open. It was ugly; at one point, he had gotten all the fur off his right ear and had what appeared to be a gigantic hole in the skin. The original scab looked like it covered half of his ear, and the rest of the ear had that glossy look of burned skin.

He was not pleased about the wound cleaning, the peroxide treatment or the surface antibiotic. He was not pleased about house arrest, either. I wasn’t pleased about holding down a growling cat built like a linebacker, with only a towel between us, while Spooky Man cleaned, disinfected and applied antibiotic ointment.

The fur is starting to grow back (Spooky Man was concerned that he’d have a bald ear forever) and the scab is now smaller than a standard pencil eraser. So he won’t be ready for a portrait until his ear is fully recovered.

Some people’s furry kids.

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