Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Poor, poor Alex.

It was his big day- he finally got his license!

He hopped in his parents' white subaru forrester for a quick spin to Walgreens.

Coming out of the parking lot, he saw a red subaru coming towards him, turn signal on, and he assumed that car would be pulling into the parking lot beside him.

(Oh, gentle Alex. Never assume while driving! Other drivers are much more impatient and believe me, you can't read their minds.)

Putting on the gas, Alex rolled forward as Katy swore, honked, and hit.

I'm fine, people. I was only going 20 or so, and it's nothing that a little trip to the chiropractor and/or massage therapist and some yoga can't fix.
The suby, on the other hand, is in sad shape. "Total financial loss," they told me regretfully at the repair shop.

The car wouldn't drive away from the scene (which happened near 82nd and Holgate) and was blocking a lane and a half of traffic. Officer Baxter to the rescue! She blocked my car from oncoming traffic and even filled out our accident report.

So I may be in the market for a new used car soon. Any opinions?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Last winter was a cold one in Portland, at least at the Raymond Street house.

Our cats had adjusted to life on the inside, chasing and being chased, eating endless meals of kibble and napping in bed (and sometimes spilling kibble chunder on the snowy white down comforter- damn you, Sylvia!).

Throughout the month of January, we hadn't noticed our neighbor at home much, but that was nothing new. I often noticed that his lights went on and off but I never saw anyone through the windows. (And believe me, I looked.)

It wasn't until his cat, a mangled looking beast that a previous tenant had abandoned, came to visit us that we realized Mike was out of town.

This scruffy-furred, string-tailed, shoulda-been-a-waif cat made his way onto the fence, then the garage, and finally the roof of the house to stand and stare hungrily in the window at us as we sat at our computers, no doubt eating something delicious just so fate could rub it in.

Of course I ran outside with a plateful of kibble for him. He wouldn't come near me but after I put the food down and retreated, he approached the food and began eating. He really horked it down- head bobbing, barely chewing as he raced to get the food into his belly. I went into the house to watch him eat. After a couple of minutes he started doing a particular step and shuffle, which I realized he did to alleviate paw pain as he stood on the gravel driveway. Oh, poor hungry horky!

We fed him until Mike came home from his trip to South America, and even after that sometimes since Mike came home debilitated from back surgery and couldn't always feed him.

Winter turned into spring, and regular feedings turned into love (or at least a sort of practical affection).

Horky gradually moved onto our front porch and even began to defend it, on occasion, against Sylvia. He would sometimes venture into the house, tentative, curious, almost apologetic, until I would chase him back to his porch.

The past few weeks I've been running around, busy busy busy as I'm often wont to do. Whenever I passed him, he would raise his little head for a pet, but more often than not I would only give him a passing ruffle, a plateful of kibble and then be gone.

On weekends when I would sit on the porch and horky would be there, he would sometimes come up onto the chair for petting, headbutting me gently and twirling in circles for maximum hand exposure.

Billy kept him fed and watered but also kept his distance.

Unfortunately, sometimes bad things happen to good people.

There was an incident last week, a murder, really.
These fierce dogs were up-in-arms, full of fire and giddy with pack mentality (of two).

Neither Billy nor I witnessed the event (we're afraid Mittens did) but when Billy arrived home, he found Horky lying in the front yard, punctured by many sharp canines and mortally wounded. Actually, gentle reader, Horky was dead. Another neighbor indignantly shared that he noticed two pitbulls fleeing the scene.

It might have been that since Horky lived with a pitbull he had less fear of them, or that they snuck up on him, or that he couldn't run fast enough to escape.
Whatever the reason, Horky met an untimely end and our porch is a little more lonely without him.

RIP, Horky.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Siding Excitement

Late summertime is Billy's vacation from work, generally- no more classes, no papers to grade, no students begging for anything, and lots of time to sleep in, play ball with the cats, and work on the house.
This year, thanks to his first online class, there was no vacation.
In between editing the final draft of the vacation-stealing class, he's been working on scraping the paint from the house, tearing off old siding, insulating and prepping new siding.

Ceilings in old houses are prone to cracking (so I hear), but our dining room ceiling cracked when the rotten siding on the eastside of the house eventually let in too much rain.

Covering it proved effective as a temporary fix to get us through the winter, but now Billy has torn the siding off and is almost ready to affix the new siding. (He's getting to be an expert at this job, since he redid some fascia last summer before installing the new gutters.)

Hopefully we won't spring a leak somewhere else, but who knows- that's what makes old houses so lovable, right?