Archive for the ‘I Hate Laundry’ Category

Random Scenes

The caretaker has recently been so involved with non-feline projects that she has had no time to record events at Stratford Palace. Until life gets a little less hectic, our gentle readers must content themselves with a few random scenes from the past couple of weeks. They are presented in no particular order, since the caretaker has also been too scatterbrained to keep up with chronology.

Scene the first: Buddy Meets Ellie

Buddy has hopped onto the table to examine the various items thereon. To his great delight, he finds a small stuffed elephant that the caretaker has purchased for her short grandson (the tall one has outgrown plush toys). Ellie has exceptionally soft fur, so Buddy cannot resist becoming better acquainted with her. The caretaker enters the room in time to see him rubbing his face all over hers. He then flips over on his side and hugs her.

Caretaker: Get a room!

Buddy: *Hug*

Buddy and Ellie

Buddy and Ellie

Scene the second: Buddy Plays Chimera

Buddy has hopped onto the table to examine the various items thereon. Having finished his inspection, he lowers his head and glares ominously into the kitchen where the caretaker is preparing her breakfast. She catches a glimpse of him and draws in her breath sharply.

Caretaker: My goodness, Buddy. Aren’t we looking particularly gargoylish this morning!

Buddy: *Glare*

Scene the third: Buddy Defends the World (again)

Buddy has hopped onto the back of the chair in which the caretaker is resting. He suddenly notices that the caretaker’s head is an evil monster that must be defeated. He therefore flops onto his side and begins wildly kicking her in the back of the head. 

Caretaker: “Hey, that hurts! Can you please stop it?”

Buddy: *Kick. Kick kick. Kick*

Scene the fourth: Buddy Gets Underfoot

Buddy is sitting in the doorway monitoring the front yard for suspicious activity. When he notices that the caretaker, who is standing near the table, has begun folding clothes, he draws near to guard her from the evil laundry monster. She takes one step back and bumps into him, nearly falling. Buddy dramatically scurries out of the room screaming bloody murder.

Caretaker: Buddy, are you okay? I didn’t even see you there.


Caretaker: Oh, knock it off. I didn’t hurt you.


And for the rest of the evening, whenever the caretaker walked from room to room, she moved very slowly.

Caretaker: Okay, Buddy. I’m going to my room now. I’ll just walk past you slowly on this side of the hallway. I can see you’re there, and I won’t step on you this time.

Buddy: *Glares at the caretaker’s feet* Marouw!

The End
For Now


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Presenting a story which has some ups and downs but which ends well.

Chapter 1: Woe is She
Venomous Vet

That fateful Saturday started out perfectly, with a hearty breakfast and a post-meal nap. For a little while the house was delightfully peaceful: Buddy was gone. The caretaker had snatched him off his throne while he was sleeping, deposited him in the Big Gray Box (BGB) before he could finish his vehement protest, and walked out the door trying desperately to maintain a firm hold on BGB. Bear had no idea where they went; she simply knew that Buddy was not eating her food, drinking her water, or taking over her favorite napping spot. Even better, he wasn’t lying in wait to pounce on her. There was no felicity in the world superior to this. These were perfect dozing conditions.

And then it happened. Bear’s nap was cut short by the sound of the front door opening again, and she looked up in time to see the caretaker bringing back a Buddy-filled BGB. When its door opened, Buddy came charging out like a speared rhinoceros. But that was only the beginning of Bear’s calamity. The caretaker’s next move was to shove Bear’s furry frame into the BGB, latch the cage door securely, and walk out the front door. After an interminable 10-minute car ride, Bear was sitting on a cold metal table being prodded, pilfered, plundered, pillaged, and poked while the caretaker watched, offering no help whatsoever. Another visit to the metal table two days later had the caretaker taking part in the poking ceremony, which was to be repeated every morning and every night for several months.

But the quick jab of an insulin needle twice daily was of little consequence when compared to the major dietary changes that would now be imposed:

  • No more gravy (inconceivable!)
  • No more meat-flavored cornmeal-laden bits that crunched like bones (impossible!)
  • No more tasty treats (unconscionable!)
  • No corn flakes or wheat biscuits (actually, not a problem at all)

Life as Bear knew it was over. But she wasn’t going out alone. Since there was little chance of keeping them on a separate diet, she would be taking Buddy down with her. There was, at least, some small comfort in that.

Chapter 2: Woe is He
Grains Have Left the Building

Buddy’s visit to the vet had been fairly normal, which is to say he flipped out during the car ride and banged his nose against the cage door, tried to escape when being weighed, fidgeted during the physical exam, barely noticed the rabies shot because he was so distracted by the contents of the vet’s pocket, and violently objected to being returned to the confines of BGB. So when he returned home and switched places with Bear, he relished the hour of solitude in his own personal man-cave. Having shaken off the dust from his recent outing, he convinced himself that all his troubles were over.

Whereas, forthwith, to wit, his troubles were only beginning for his well-known hatred of all healthy food would now be strained to its very limits.

When the caretaker returned with Bear, she brought a cardboard box filled with canned food. That could have been such a monumental event, but this was Special Food for cats who are either afflicted with “the diabetus” already or who just need to lose a bit of weight—say, for example, if a certain white and black cat weighed 14 pounds and should really weigh 12 pounds, according to the vet.

At the next meal time the caretaker opened one of the cans to reveal a substance that was both meaty and smelly, two of the cats’ favorite food descriptions. She then scooped out a little of brown mush onto two plates, set the plates on the floor, and both cats cautiously licked the surface of it a couple of times, as though sampling the most expensive beluga in the world.

Then they each chowed down.

Then Buddy threw up.

Thankfully, the caretaker had already formulated Plan B.

Chapter 3: Woe is We
Gravy, We Hardly Knew Ye

So we come to the concluding chapter in our saga of revenge, illness, diet, suffering, and barf. The loss of gravy was eventually borne with amazing alacrity, but not until the caretaker located a type of healthy food that Buddy could tolerate and that would also alleviate Bear’s condition. The caretaker has learned to administer insulin shots so well that Bear rarely squirms or flinches now. And in the past few months, Bear has gone for regular check-ups that usually end with the caretaker being told to reduce the insulin dosage.

Best of all, the caretaker located a grain-free dry food that crunches well enough to satisfy even the bone-hungriest cat. Bear has regained her shiny coat, her bright eyes, and a guarded sense of playfulness. In fact, only tonight when the caretaker was walking down the hallway holding a sweater fresh out of the washing machine, Bear began to pretend that it was the Great Cardigan of Doom. She jumped from her spot in the hallway and ran aimlessly into the bedroom before darting out again to face the dreaded beast head on. Happily, both of them survived the encounter, as did the caretaker.

And so, gentle readers, even if we have come to the ending of all things, we are still pleased to report that the denizens of Stratford Palace are doing fine.

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Just when Buddy and Bear thought conditions at the palace could not get any worse, they were subjected to a Saturday filled with what the caretaker calls “cleening” but the cats call “hooman-generated mayhem.” The cats have no idea what the goal of this activity might be; they only know it is sheer terror for them, as large sticks with brushes are wielded, toxic chemicals are sprayed, and furniture is moved around. But this weekend, an unforgiveable act occurred, and Buddy has decided it is high time he lodged a formal complaint against the caretaker (hereinafter called “the party of the worst part”). Unfortunately, he has watched enough snippets of courtroom dramas to gain a smattering of mind-numbing legalese. But his text shall be reproduced verbatim below, to prevent yet another complaint from being lodged:

A Formal (and Buddy-Eloquent) Complaint
against The Odious Woman Who Cleens

Whereas the mighty Sovereign of Stratford Palace has repeatedly been frightened by the rapid motions of brooms, mops, and dusters (hereinafter called “brushes-on-a-death-stick”); and

Whereas the serving dishes of said Sovereign have been removed from their appointed positions to accommodate the frantic gesticulations of the Odious Woman and her brushes-on-a-death-stick; and

Whereas the sleep of said Sovereign has been interrupted on multiple occasions by the inordinate fluffing of pillows and flipping of bed linens; and

Whereas the flagrant processing of pelts has been pursued so rampantly in the palace that said Sovereign has been sent fleeing for his very life (and pelt); and

Whereas, the peace and tranquility of a previously leisurely Caturday have been shattered forever by the hissing of spray bottles and groanings of the Laundry Beast; and primarily

Whereas the personal bathroom facilities of said Sovereign were just this weekend removed to the palace front lawn in a wanton disregard of decorum and propriety, causing the same said Sovereign to spend half an hour staring out the front door in disbelief and another half hour cowering under his own personal cot;

Whereas all these indignities and more have heretofore been borne with quiet patience and grace, therefore, to wit, the previously mentioned Sovereign has taken pen in hand to bring suit against the Odious Woman and all of her cleaning paraphernalia. Since there is not enough money in the world to pay restitution for the damage she has caused, the Sovereign of Stratford Palace wishes to inflict the following tortures on her, as payment in kind for the pain and suffering she has inflicted upon his person:

  • May all of her hair fall out except in the places where she does not want it to grow (to wit, her chin)
  • May her ice cream melt and her chocolate sauce run out.
  • May she be eternally stuck in traffic thirty yards from a Starbucks so that she may smell the coffee but be unable to purchase a cup.
  • May her shoes all have tiny little sharp stones lodged in places from whence they cannot be removed.
  • May her radio get stuck on the country music station.
  • May she be awakened at 3 every morning instead of 4.
  • And finally, may she spend the rest of her natural life ensuring that the Sovereign and his cranky sidekick are lavishly provided with the finest treats.

The final item may, we repeat *may*, already be occurring., but Buddy refuses to believe that the caretaker is doing her level best to serve him. We shall see.

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Those who know the caretaker best will remember that very little of her energy is ever expended in housework. Though she had never been a champion at this sport, she was completely frightened away from it about twelve years ago when a vigorous round of toilet scrubbing caused a freak accident that threw out her back so badly she could not stand up straight for several days.

Nevertheless, there are times when household chores simply cannot be avoided any longer, and yesterday was one of those times. The changing weather is necessarily accompanied by a change in wardrobe: all of the thick, heavy black clothing makes way for breezy, lightweight black clothing (and an occasional pop of color just to keep people wondering).

But no outfit would be complete without scads of cat fur, and that is where Buddy stepped in to make his contribution to the spring wardrobe. Those who know Buddy best will understand that this is a major sacrifice on his part, given his aversion to laundry. But perhaps it is only laundry in motion that he despises. Laundry at rest seems to be a conquerable beast.

The only thing Buddy despises more than laundry is being groomed, and as a result he frequently decorates the caretaker’s wardrobe with long, white, silky hairs. I suppose he sees her dressed in black and assumes that what she really needs is to look like him. But he does not discriminate. Should there happen to be, say, a mauve housedress lying about, he is only too happy to deposit his gifts. Several photos of this event will be provided, just to prove that he is not some docile kitty getting ready to doze in a pile of clean laundry. The first photo was taken shortly after he noticed the pile of clothing lying in wait in the fancy Louis XVI chair with the dancing man and woman:

Buddy Helper

Buddy Provides Accessories for the Dress

The process begins with Buddy rubbing his silly head all over the garment that is being decorated. The photo below captures a sense of motion, as the garment flails about like a hooked trout.

Buddy, laundry

Sometimes Wardrobery Is Violent

The violence only escalates when claws and teeth get involved in the process.

Buddy, laundry

Going in for the Kill

And the final flourish is shown below, the hapless garment being crushed up against an upside-down head by two very strong front paws.

Buddy, Laundry

Coup de Grace

We will spare the gentle reader any further horrors. Suffice to say that the mayhem ended only when the garment had been wrestled to the floor, at which point Buddy lost interest in it. What point is there in continuing to attack a felled opponent?

It only remains to point out that in this one activity, Buddy was able to combine his predator instincts with his flair for fashion design. It has been said that the only thing that separates hoomans from animals is the ability to accessorize, but apparently that distinction has been obliterated.

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The caretaker would now like to share a few entries from the journal of Buddy the Scientist, just in case the homes of any of our gentle readers are infested with laundry beasts. Buddy’s solution may not be the one you would choose, but don’t say he didn’t warn you.

11/12/2012, 0900: The caretaker has just begun to engage in that most hateful of activities that we cats know as “pelt sorting,” but which she insists upon calling “laundry.” These euphemisms are getting out of hand. For example, what I call “sheer torture” she calls “grooming.” Worst of all, Bear has succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome and now actually begs to be “groomed.” Never fear, faithful reader. We, the royal “we,” shall not fall prey to that trap. Nor shall we let “laundry” get the better of us. We are entirely too cunning for that.

11/12/2012, 0920: During the laundry portion of the week, we are accustomed to the caretaker’s wandering to and fro with armloads of pelts, subjecting them to water torture and then to the heat chamber. But today she has added an unusual level of horror, apparently reserved for only a few of the pelts. It involves a special torture table and a dreadful monster that she keeps concealed in a closet. It is smaller than me, but it has a hard shell that is impossible to crack, and so we have not yet been able to defeat it. We suspect its only vulnerability may lie in its long, thin tail because the caretaker is always careful to prevent us from chewing on it. How is a scientist supposed to make accurate inferences if not allowed to gather data?

11/12/2012, 0930: As we are able, we sneak up to sniff the monster, but the caretaker keeps pushing us back and warning us that we could “get hurt” if we continue. (We take special note of that thinly veiled threat.) One of the times we got close to it, we found it to be emanating an oppressive wave of heat, and our heart sank within us. Is it not enough that these pelts have been through two levels of torture? Must they also be singled out for scorching? There is no end to the treachery of this woman, who is so bold as to serve us HER choice of food on HER schedule. If the Geneva Convention doesn’t cover these fell deeds, it should be amended. (It may, of course, continue to omit the tormenting of bugs and rodents from the list of unacceptable activities. We are quite satisfied that these acts are sports, not crimes.)

11/12/2012, 0933: She has now been scorching one particular pelt for 3 minutes, moving it about methodically so that every square inch is subjected to the searing heat. During this process, we have observed that the beast is an obedient accomplice in these endeavors. It seems to have no mind of its own, and very little sense. For that reason, we first thought it might be a dog, but then we remembered that it smells nothing like those dreadful creatures. Too bad, really. We always enjoy an opportunity to teach a dog his place in the world.

11/12/2012, 0935: A new observation finds us astonished on many different levels. The monster must have caught sight of our royal person, for it began to hiss violently. With this new data, we are ready to name the creature. Its hard exoskeleton, its long tail, its ability to emit heat, and its hideous hissing can only mean one thing: it is a throwback from the era of dragons and dinosaurs, so we have dubbed it “Hissorapter.” Our sincere hope is that it cannot spit out poison. If so, we must flee this place immediately and abandon our observations. As serious as we are about our scientific work, we have no desire to sacrifice our royal person for the sake of a few facts. The pursuit of science ends where the endangerment of life begins. Especially our life.

11/12/2012, 0955: The caretaker’s taste for torture must be waning, for she has hung up the last pelt and set the hissorapter on the floor, with the explanation that she is concerned we would have “accidentally” knocked it off the table. Ha! If such a thing were to happen, it would be no accident, we can assure you. But as it is, we are left staring at the beast, hoping it does not turn on us. But then we realize that it has no legs. The treacherous caretaker has obviously lamed it so that it cannot escape. But we must not pity it, given its willingness to cooperate with the caretaker’s schemes. No matter what the circumstance, it is our responsibility to fight evil, for besides being a scientist, we are also a king. With such weighty matters on our shoulders, is it any wonder that we sleep so much? Just being who we are is exhausting. We would invite you to try it sometimes, but you would collapse under the weight of responsibility. You are, after all, only hooman.

11/12/2012, 1010: The monster’s heat has now abated, so we have done the only honorable thing. With one swift stroke of the paw we toppled it, spilling its contents. But those contents reveal the last bit of data we need for our scientific assessment. If that animal had a proper heart, it would be oozing blood, but it spills only water. Thus we may now walk away, confident in the knowledge that we have destroyed the very source of evil itself. And in that act, we have learned the caretaker’s euphemism for the beast, for the she is now spouting forth its name as she scolds us and sets it upright: “Buddy, WHY did you knock over my iron?!?!?”

There it is, faithful reader. As is only fitting, its name is a four-letter word: IRON, meaning “evil hissing beast that emits heat for the purpose of torturing pelts.” Such evil can only be conquered through the sheer force of scientific endeavor. That, combined with a strategic slap of the paw.

Science always wins.

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Caturday is always welcome at Stratford Palace, but this week’s respite from the world of work was especially needed. The caretaker has already related Monday evening’s tragic tuna tale. Then on Tuesday, there was a series of laundry accidents, beginning with Bear’s soiling of the caretaker’s bed (don’t ask). We will pick up the story with the necessity of washing sheets on a weeknight, which is not the caretaker’s first choice of evening entertainment. But Tuesday night it was fraught with the additional danger of a stopped-up pipe that began to barf dirty, soapy water all over the kitchen floor just as Buddy had settled down in the caretaker’s lap. One minute he was sleeping serenely; the next he was listening to the caretaker yell, “Oh, no!” and being dumped onto the floor so that she could rush into the kitchen and stop the washer water from doing the same.

Even at the best of times laundry is a stressful activity for Buddy, but after his shake-up, he spent the evening darting from room to room, getting ready for his best performance ever. About nine p.m., the caretaker was spreading the newly laundered sheets on the bed, blissfully unaware of the danger that lay only a few feet away. As she took a small step toward the head of the bed, Buddy took a giant leap from under the bed, crossing her path and tripping her. Now if one is going to topple over ungracefully, it is a good idea to have a bed around to break the fall. The only casualty was the caretaker’s knee, which hit the floor and sustained a small bump. All in all, the caretaker fared much better this time than she has in previous battles with gravity.

But that was not the end of the horror, for we must provide an accounting of Halloween at the Palace.

Given Buddy’s history of darting out open doors, the caretaker didn’t think it wise to invite endless streams of children to beg for an insulin rush, so she kept the front porch light off to discourage trick-or-treaters. It wouldn’t have mattered, however, because no one would have dared to venture up the driveway. Before it got dark, Buddy noticed people walking down the sidewalk and envied them greatly. So he stationed himself in the window and put on his best gargoyle look. Upon seeing that face, it was not likely that the words “Mommy, look at the sweet kitty-kitty! Let’s go visit him!” would fall trippingly from anyone’s lips. The only way the little children could stay carefree was for their parents to say, “Look away children. That cat statue is entirely too grotesque. The woman who lives in that house should be ashamed of herself.”

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

Mercifully, the worst of the danger seems to have passed for now. But the threat of horror lingers on. The caretaker just heard the mournful meow of a restless Buddy, and was then startled when he suddenly jumped onto the chair arm. Apparently there is just no end to the madness. Yep, it’s pretty much a normal evening here at the Palace.

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Lest the previous post leave our gentle readers with the impression that Stratford Palace is a pigsty, Buddy and Bear would like to stress that the caretaker has a cleaning regimen which takes up a substantial portion of every Caturday and is extremely distressing to the cats on many levels.

One of the main problems is the matter of the caretaker’s missing lap. When she is sweeping floors and emptying garbage cans, her lap might as well have an “out of service” sign on it. This situation is much more of a grief to Bear than to Buddy because when the caretaker is home, Bear’s goal is to stay as close to her as possible, but both cats are distressed by the extra noise and commotion they must endure until cleaning is complete.

Buddy’s main concern when he finds the caretaker standing and working instead of sitting quietly is that he assumes that her motives are the same as his: scoping out mayhem to pursue. For example, when she wields a broom to rearrange the various bits and pieces of dirt on the floor, Buddy expects his life to end at any moment by “blunt force trauma.” (He really must stop watching so many crime mysteries.). The missing lap/walking caretaker is also a problem during laundry time, and unfortunately that process has not changed much since the days in the Seafoam Cottage (See “An Open Letter to Hunter Van Pelt.”)

However, there is one particular laundry day that must be chronicled here, as it created the greatest distress Buddy has yet seen at Stratford Palace. Our gentle readers may not be aware that the cats have their own room, complete with a supply cabinet, litter boxes, and a small, quilt-covered cot, pictured below.

Fort Cat

Fort Cat/Cot

Hoomans would, of course, be tiresome and say that a cot’s only appropriate purpose is to be slept upon, but the underside of the cot provides the perfect place for Buddy to play his favorite game, “Hide-and-Go-Sleep.” The caretaker has learned to look here first whenever she is getting ready to leave the house and needs to make sure he is not locked away in a closet.

It is not so much the cot itself that Buddy loves but the quilt that turns it into a cat fort par excellence. It did, that is, until that fateful day of 14 July 2012, which shall forever more be called “Laundry Day” instead of “Bastille Day.” (Except, of course, in France, because the French are selfish and have absolutely no perspective on what constitutes a real problem.)

And what, the gentle reader might ask, made this laundry day so fateful? It was nothing less than the washing of the quilt, preceded by the removal of the quilt, which left the soft underbelly of the cot exposed. There are no words to describe the look of betrayal and alarm that emanated from Buddy’s face when he walked into his room and found his cat fort dismantled. Doctors may get along just fine without borders, but there is no way a cat fort can be useful without walls. He walked under the bed and looked out at the caretaker accusingly, daring her to point out that she could now see him.

Trying to process the loss of both a porch AND a fort, Buddy wandered nervously around the house during the wash cycle, and finally found a place to nap fitfully while the quilt was drying. Then he followed the caretaker to the clothes dryer, watched carefully as she hoisted up the laundered quilt, and then escorted her to his room, hoping against hope that his beloved fort could soon resume its proper form. Like any good manager, he stood to the side and watched her imperiously as she centered the quilt on the cot, smoothed it out, and checked to make sure it hung straight on the side. And like a good manager, he ran forward to point out all the mistakes she had made. As soon as she left the room, he ducked under the bed to make up for lost time and was not seen again for several hours.

Of course, the observant reader will have already noticed the miracle that is described in the previous paragraph. Under normal circumstances Buddy runs frantically away from anything to do with laundry. But on this day, his fear of pelt sorting was eclipsed by his great need to restore order in his fragile universe.

But rest easy, gentle readers, for order HAS been restored. The picture of the cot above was taken after the quilt was washed. God’s in His heaven. Buddy’s under his cot. Bear has been fed. All’s right with the world.

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