Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Comrade In Chaos

The other day while I was at the vet thingy's office, I was reunited with an old acquaintance.

Zharkhov, the self-proclaimed "Guardian of The Land of Unpleasant Pokings". You may remember Zharkhov (aka Mr. Tinky) from an earlier post called "A Foreign  Exchange". (click on the title to follow the link). Zharkhov, was the resident cat at the veterinary hospital where I was being treated after nearly shredding this mortal coil.

In the short time that I was sequestered in the Land of Unpleasant Pokings, I had grown quite fond of the old Russian Blue. His eccentric manner and odd way of speaking had quickly endeared him to me and I have often wondered how he fared.

As luck would have it, Thursday, while attending my quarterly health check, I heard a familiar voice coming from the adjoining exam room:

"Vad do you tink you are dewink? I am not needing unpleasant pokings! I am finest spaceyman of roobust Rooshan healdt. Back away wit dat unpleasant poking dewice!" Suddenly there were the sounds of a scuffle, a blood-curdling scream, followed by the sounds of two legger footsteps beating a hasty retreat down the corridor.

"Zharkhov?" I called.

"Da. Who dis dat calls de name of Zharkhov?"

"It is I, Cujo, High Poobah and Supreme Ruler of All Universe Thingies (known and unknown), Menacer of Squirrels and Smacker of All Things Whiny!" I replied.

"Ah, da, I remember now. You are leetle oreo cat dat weesited last year. You not dead?"

"Not that I'm aware of. In fact, I seem to be very much alive and well." I said

"Da, is good. Being dead is bad for health".

At this point, one of the vet techs came in and took me to the lab for my bloodwork. At the same time, another tech had grabbed Zharkhov and brought him to the lab as well. After placing us in adjoining kennels, the tech went about their unpleasant business leaving Zharkhov and I to speak in relative privacy.

I asked him why he was no longer allowed to roam the halls of the Land of Unpleasant Pokes. Come to find out, he no longer resided there. It seems that shortly after our last meeting, Zharkhov had been reassigned to a new location. He is now the Official Therapy Cat and Mascot at Sunny Acres Retirement Home.

Intrigued, I asked him to describe his new life.

"It is not so bad.", he began, "Land of Wrinkled Two Leggers is wast. Many different rooms and beds upon vich to lay. Zharkhov has many laps to choose from. Wrinkled ones move wery slowly. Some wrinkled ones no move at all. Wery relaxing. Much food for Zharkhov. Wrinkled ones often drop food on floor. Dis prowides many snacks for Zharkhov. Only ting Zharkhov no like is veelchairs. Veelchairs make Zharkhov's tail nerwous. Also, smells not so good."

Zharkhov was describing an ideal life for a cat. Unlimited napping, unlimited laps, food around every corner, constant attention and affection. He told me that they even had something called a "sun room" with floor to ceiling windows where the residents could spend the day quietly contemplating the abundance of bird thingies just outside.

In spite of his description of this idyllic existence, I couldn't help but feel sorry for him. There seemed to be one vital ingredient missing........chaos. How could any card-carrying feline possibly be content living in a place that was engineered to be completely serene and peaceful? Where they frown upon spontaneity? Where calmness was encouraged and mayhem was discouraged? No, my friends, this is no life for a proud Rooshan cat whose ancestors had once graced the laps of czars, czarinas, emperors and other various cyrillic despots.

I asked Zharkhov about this discrepancy.

"Da, is boring at times. Boring is sometimes good ting for old cat such as I. But Zharkhov not alvays bored. Zharkhov has vay of keeping amused. Zharkhov knows old two legger legend of Banshee. Banshee is spirit dat wisits two leggers before dey die. Banshee makes keening sound in middle of night. So sometimes in meedle of night Zharkhov make Banshee sounds."

"And this makes the wrinkled ones panic?" I asked hopefully.

"Nyet, bod it makes dem spill dere jellos. Zharkhov likes dere jellos."

Well, I can't argue with that.

Soon the vet thingy came and told me that my checkup was good and that I was healthy as could be. As I was carried from the room, I looked back and waved farewell to my Rooshan friend.

"Da sveedaneeya my bi-colored comrade", he said. "Next time bring wodka".


Friday, January 22, 2016

Treasure Hunt

Two leggers seem obsessed with mysteries. Whether it is unexplained happenings, undiscovered creatures or supernatural events. They never tire of seeking answers for the unanswerable.

And yet they call us curious.

But the one type of mystery that really gets them going is that of "hidden treasure".

It seems that throughout two legger history, every lost culture, every outlaw or rogue, every secret society and every wealthy hermit has reportedly left behind a hoard of treasure, cleverly hidden in some remote region. Like squirrel thingies stashing nuts for Winter, they supposedly bury their belongings in totally inaccessible locations in the theory that they will someday return to reclaim said hoard. In order to confound anyone seeking their wealth, they often leave cryptic clues and maps behind that generally lead to more cryptic clues and maps that eventually lead to absolutely nothing.

There are literally thousands of such legends and yet in all of recorded history not a single treasure hoard had been discovered. If there were truly that many out there, one would think that at least one would have been discovered by accident.

And yet they persist.

My two leggers have been watching a program on the talking box thingy about one such legend. It is called " The Curse of Oak Island". For over 125 years two leggers have been tearing up an island off the coast of Nova Scotia looking for a treasure that they are convinced is buried there. Every week they announce some new lead or technique that they are convinced will guarantee them success in uncovering the treasure.

Heck, they don't even know what the treasure is, who buried it, or even when they supposedly buried it. Theories about the treasure include pirate thingies hiding booty, Knights Templar hiding either the Ark of The Covenant or the Holy Grail, Aztecs hiding gold, Vikings hiding loot, Canadians hiding goats and someone from Kentucky hiding his famous fried-chicken recipe.

They spend tons of money and time trying to find the theoretical bounty. Digging, diving, researching, metal detecting, they have attempted every known method to solve the mystery.

And yet they have missed the most obvious method of all........

At the beginning of every episode, the narrator says in an over-dramatic voice: "The Legend of Oak Island states that nine men must die before the Island gives up its treasure. Eight men have died over the last 125 years trying to find the treasure......."

Duh, the solution is simple. Pick the most unpopular guy on the team and make it look like an accident. Problem solved and plus, one less person to share with.

Be that as it may, I have decided that since the two leggers are so obsessed with searching for treasure, I would entertain them by setting up a little "treasure hunt" of my own. I often steal things from them for my own amusement, but in this case it would be for theirs.

So, what should I hide?

I considered hiding the key to the liquor cabinet. But the male two legger keeps his stomach medicine in the liquor cabinet. I know that sounds odd, but you see, he loves orange juice. He once read somewhere that orange juice is very acidic and in large amounts can damage the lining of the stomach. So in order to avoid this, he only drinks orange juice that has been liberally diluted with tequila. Hiding the key may prove detrimental to his health, so that rules that out.

I once stole the female's earrings and hid one in the Royal Litter Box. Their panicked search was quite amusing, but I made the mistake of mentioning it in the blog thingy, so they are now wise to that ploy.

It needed to be something small and easily concealed, yet also so valuable or useful that the two leggers would move heaven and earth to recover it. Something that they would not rest until they had solved the riddle and recovered the item. Something so precious that they would risk life and limb to get it back.

Suddenly it hit me!

The one object that they hold in such high regard that it has its own special box. It rests in a place of honor and used more often than any other utensil....................the corkscrew. (cue dramatic music)

In the wee hours of the night, when the two leggers were asleep and all was depressingly quiet, I crept into the kitchen, found the corkscrew and removed it from its box. I quickly concealed it in the one place that I knew the two leggers would never look. Yup, I hid it in the tool box. The male's tool box has not been opened in over ten years. The female won't open it because it is dirty. The male won't open it because if he did, he might be expected to fix something.

After concealing the loot, I made an unreasonably complicated treasure map complete with a bunch of very ambiguous clues and passwords. I then placed the map and clues in the box which once held the corkscrew.

Alas, my plot was foiled. Little did I know that my two leggers who NEVER have a contingency plan for ANYTHING, happened to be prepared for this particular disaster. Upon the discovery of the theft, the female immediately pulled a spare corkscrew out of the cupboard and opened the wine bottle without missing a beat.

Upon investigation, I discovered that they have spare corkscrews stashed in every room of my house and two in the bathrooms!

I admit that I am quite annoyed that my plot failed. However, I suppose that I can take comfort in the fact that should the apocalypse occur, my two leggers may starve, but they won't go thirsty.

Friday, January 1, 2016


It is the end of an old year and the beginning of a new year. In two legger culture it is perceived as a time of transition, reflection and introspection. They either mourn or celebrate the events that occurred during the past year, while they either anticipate or dread the possibilities of the coming year.

For us cats, it is Friday.

Just another day filled with naps, food, and if we are fortunate.....chaos.

Well, the day was not entirely uneventful. In a manner of speaking, today was a day of transition for us felines as well. For you see, today we mourn the passing of the greatest cat toy of all.........the Christmas tree thingy came down.

To make matters worse, it came down intentionally........completely unassisted by yours truly.

Yes, the two leggers have removed my tree and packed it away until next December. They have packed away all the scornaments and dropsicles. They have removed all the shiny, battable and breakable parts, all the cutesy knock-knacks that amuse me during the holiday season. They have secured all baubles that I enjoy making go bump in the night.

I of course, "supervised".

Now when I say "supervise", I mean that I did everything within my power to make the experience as aggravating, miserable and frustrating as possible. It is my duty as the local household god thingy to hinder all activities that the two leggers deem "constructive". Fortunately for my purposes, the two leggers invariably make my mission easy in the extreme.......

After checking that all four of us feline types were contentedly napping in our nappy spots, the two leggers began by bringing four very large, empty, plastic boxes into the living room. Upon opening, these four very large, empty, plastic boxes were instantly occupied by four, no longer napping cats. It is a well-known law of nature that any empty box, no matter how large or small, must contain at least one cat within 5.3 seconds of opening. In the case of there being more boxes than available cats, other items such as catnip mousie thingies, hairballs (preferably damp) and milk carton rings may be used as substitutes. All attempts at removing cats from the aforementioned boxes must be met with extreme resistance up to, and including, bloodshed.

However, the two leggers being the determined creatures that they are, eventually succeeded in the removal of the feline occupants. This was not unexpected and only served to mark the beginning of Phase II of my annual post-Christmas chaos.

While the female two legger concentrated on removing Tiger Lily and Jaq from their individual boxes, Ivan and I had already accomplished the removal of several scornaments from the lower branches of the tree thingy. These were immediately batted down the hallway, thus initiating a spontaneous game of Hallway Hockey. Our game was short-lived when the female broke up the game by confiscating our "puck" and fixing both of us with a malevolent glare and using two fingers on her right paw in the international gesture of "I'm watching you!".

Having exited her box, Tiger Lily pounced upon the tree skirt and began furiously skrooching.*

* For those of you unfamiliar with the term "skrooching", it is the act of sliding one's front paws around the top of any flat piece of material such as a bed sheet, blanket or towel as though something small has been lost beneath the material and must be recovered with all possible haste. During the skrooch, one must keep their head and shoulders hunched low with forepaws outstretched while the hindquarters remain elevated and tail straight up or slightly bent. A manic or "crackhead" look on one's face completes the effect.   

During her skrooch, Tiger Lily managed to dislodge several more scornaments and very nearly brought the entire tree thingy down when she slammed against the trunk in her enthusiasm. Once again, the female intervened and chased Tiger Lily from the room.

In the meantime, Jaq had taken advantage of the distraction and had climbed to the very top of the tree thingy where she had developed a jealous fascination with the angel that was perched atop the highest branch. She decided that she was a better tree-topper than the current occupant and with a mighty swat, sent the angel thingy flying. Well, perhaps "flying" is not the correct term because the angel's wings never even flapped on its plummet to the floor. 

I guess Lucifer was not the only fallen angel.

Sadly, the impact of the angel striking the floor drew the attention of the male two legger and Jaq was subsequently removed from the top of the tree thingy and locked in the guest bedroom. 

By this time, Ivan and I had been banished to the computer room, Tiger Lily was incarcerated in the master bedroom and Jaq in the guestroom. Thus ended any further opportunities for us to assist the two leggers. We all voiced our great displeasure at this exclusion from the fun, mrowring and scratching at the doors, but our protests went unheeded. 

So now the two leggers have finished. The tree thingy and all of its accoutrements have been packed away for another year. The front rooms have been returned to their normal configuration. 

But all is not lost. In all the excitement, the two leggers failed to keep an accurate count of the glass ball thingies. It seems that two of the scornaments may have "accidentally" rolled beneath the wine cabinet and thereby forgotten by the two leggers.

I assure you, they have not been forgotten by me.............

I hope you all have a very happy and blessed New Year!