I fought the cat and the cat won (but so did I, eventually, so I guess it was more of a draw)

Menace 2 my sanity.

Menace 2 my sanity.

This time last year we were heading into battle. It was a battle for the ages against a foe I doubted we’d ever overcome. It was a fight for olfactory purity, and it was being waged in our home.

It started in the darkest corners of the basement, where neighbor cat Boo Radley (yes, really) liked to sit in the window wells and taunt JJ T. Cat. It smelled musty, sure, but “Hey,” I told myself oh-so-naively, “that’s just what basements do.”

I didn’t put two and two together until JJ brought the fight upstairs and I witnessed him at work.

JJ was spraying.

I didn’t know it yet — not until I bought a little black light and investigated just like I was Horatio Caine and JJ was a Miami uber-criminal — but JJ was spraying everywhere. The walls. The front door. The filing cabinet. And most hideously of all? He was spraying into the heat register in Pete’s bedroom. (We discovered that when we turned the heat on for the first time last fall and suddenly the kid’s room smelled like the swamps of Dagobah.)

We were at war against the cat, and the cat was winning.

A little Google research let us know that the war would have to be waged on two fronts simultaneously. I couldn’t make the house smell clean if JJ was still spraying, and JJ wasn’t going to stop spraying until the house smelled clean again. So I set to work cleaning every surface — Pledge wipes on the walls, carpet deodorizer on the floors and Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer on every surface — and we took JJ to the vet for a checkup.

The cleaning worked well. The vet? Not so much.

JJ was perfectly healthy, the vet said, but nothing was going to make him stop spraying. He was unhappy being inside, where the neighbor cat could taunt him at will. We had a choice to make: JJ could be an outdoor cat, or we could have a funky-smelling house of horrors. Emotionally, it was a difficult choice to make. I never wanted an outdoor cat. It’s dangerous out there. But logically, I knew what we had to do.

JJ T. Cat has been outside for almost a year now. I’ll admit to missing his presence inside every now and then. He was an excellent snuggler. But now he’s the king of the yard. Boo Radley keeps his distance, and JJ gets to lounge on the sidewalk to his heart’s content. He also has his own private entrance to his suite in the garage, because it gets cold here in the winter and I have a softish heart.

It was a tough decision to make, but you know what? I’m really looking forward to the house still smelling clean after I turn the heat on this year.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Acorn: An Influence Company‘s #SmellsClean campaign. The “sponsored” part means money and some product changed hands. Acorn didn’t tell Nichole what to write, though, which was probably obvious as they almost certainly wouldn’t have suggested that she write about flying cat urine.

Conspiracy theorists are the people in my neighborhood

We live on the weird side of a pretty weird town. There’s a Facebook group for our side of town, and while it’s mostly people reporting lost dogs, found dogs, bear sightings and poultry run amuck, every now and then something exciting happens. Like fighter jets flying over us.


I agree, anonymized Facebook commenter. There is definitely some weird stuff around here.

The road to dinner is paved with meal plans

a Married to the Sea comic by Drew Dee

a Married to the Sea comic by Drew Dee

The inimitable Jasmine Banks frequently asks people to share their Intentions For The Week on Facebook, and then on Friday she follows up with a “How’d You Do?” I very rarely (if ever) join in the conversation — because of fear of failure and all that — but I always enjoy reading other people’s goals and successes. I don’t know if I’ll join in on Jasmine’s thing this week, but I thought I’d jot a few Intentions down here just to see if it encourages me to go forth and accomplish.

Intentions, Best-Laid Plans and So Forth

  • Floss every day this week. I had a pretty solid flossing game going for awhile, but I’ve slacked off. The morning floss propels me to achieve more in a day, I think. That sounds really dumb when I write it out, but it’s true.
  • Keep notes on our homeschooling activities so I can actually write a post about it for Friday.
  • Make/eat the following meals for dinner.
    Monday: BLAs and french fries
    Bacon and avocado make everything better.

    Tuesday: Chicken tenders
    Cracker Barrel style!

    Wednesday: Fried chicken
    Pete has been asking if we could go to our local fried-chicken emporium for about a month now. He’ll be happy Wednesday night.

    Thursday: Chicken tacos
    All hail the slow cooker. Especially on the weeks when we have soccer carpool duty.

    Friday: Pizza
    Since we’re eating out on Wednesday, it’ll be homemade.

    Right now I intend to eat a banana whilst trying not to imagine it’s chock-full of baby spiders. (As if I didn’t already loathe bananas enough.)

    Do you find it helpful to set weekly goals? What’re you aiming for this week?

    I’m linking this up with OrgJunkie.com’s weekly Menu Plan Monday thing.

  • A nice little song and a strange little video

    I wasn’t sold on Tweedy after listening to the first few tracks. I’m not big on change. It’s growing on me, though. This video is weird. I enjoyed it tremendously.

    Notes from the parking lot

    parkinglotnotesI’d intended to bring “John Adams” to the mall with me this afternoon, but I left him at home on the couch. So I decided instead to use the time while the kids were in art class to longhand some thoughts into my little notebook and see if they might turn into a blog post.

    I’ve been neglecting the blog lately. I feel like I don’t have anything to say. It occurred to me a few days ago that this happens around this time every year. I run out of things to say or enthusiasm or motivation or whatever, and then I go to the Type A Parent Conference and get filled up with inspiration again. Only this year I didn’t go to the conference, so here I sit in the mall parking lot with nothing to say and no motivation and no inspiration.

    My plan was to go to Ulta and buy some shampoo and conditioner and then sit in a cozy nook at Barnes and Noble and read “John Adams.” But then I left the book at home, so the plan became go to Ulta and buy some shampoo and conditioner and then sit in a cozy nook at Barnes and Noble and do some writing. But the bookstore seems to have eliminated all of their cozy nooks. I wonder if they just moved all the tables and chairs down to their Starbucks kiosk. Regardless, I didn’t want to sit at the Starbucks kiosk, so I’m sitting in the parking lot. It wasn’t a wasted trip, though. There was a copy of “Coolidge” on the clearance table. I’m quite a few presidents away from him yet, but you just don’t pass up a $6 presidential biography.

    * * * * *

    I needed a change of scenery, so I went to the toy store’s parking lot. It used to be a Hooters. (The toy store; not the parking lot.) I stopped for a sweet tea on the way. I was wand’ring lonely as a cloud. And also I grow old, I grow old, and I considered rolling up my jeans today to better display my sparkly new shoes, but then I decided against it. I don’t know what’s acceptable, fashion-wise, and normally I don’t care. Every now and then I wish I did, though.

    So about the new shoes. They’re Tom’s, which as I understand it aren’t meant to be worn with socks. I don’t normally go sock less. How does one keep one’s shoes and feet from smelling funky when one goes without socks? (Really: Share your fresh-footed secrets.)

    Today I saw an abandoned tampon in full bloom in the parking lot at the mall. Thankfully, it looked unused.

    I also saw, on two different cars in two separate parking lots, a pair of bone-shaped bumper stickers. One declared the driver’s love of her pit bull. The other driver loved his/her vizsla. I had to google “vizsla.” I’d heard of them but I didn’t know what they looked like. That’s a fine-looking dog. There were a couple of guys outside of the used bookstore the other day discussing one of their dogs, and one guy kept calling it a “dash hound.” That is still bothering me.

    So anyway: The blog. I don’t want to shut it down, but I need to find some inspiration. I’ll probably keep posting our menu plans, because it’s simple and I refer to the posts embarrassingly often because sometimes I forget what we eat. I’d like to be more consistent on the homeschool-roundup posts. I think it’s a nice little record for the kids. I thought I might write about “Stuff I’m Learning About the Presidents,” too, but that wouldn’t be a regular thing because I’m reading slowly.

    What would you like to read about here?