Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In Non-Cat Related News...

Lest this turn into "The Cats of Anna and Leland", I'll just give a quick Pumpkin update: still missing. We've repeatedly searched the yards around us and gotten to know our neighbors better, which I guess is good. We've even set up an all-night kitty stakeout to watch for her, but nobody showed up. Leland crawled around under our neighbor's house (bless his heart), in the best kitty hiding place of all time. No Miss P.

We have been setting out food at night, and we think she's been eating it. Next step is to set the food on the porch and set up my computer to film all night to see if she is actually the mystery cat. I hope we don't have to trap her but I fear that's coming.

In non-cat related news, I have become quite the little community member. I'm now in the Greenville Choral Society and it's nice to be singing again.

Also, I've started volunteering at the Pitt County Humane Society. I'm working as a general volunteer and on the Animal Enrichment Team, which is a couple of us volunteers who work with a dog trainer to give extra help and attention to the dogs that have the worst behavioral problems. Right now there are only about five or six dogs that I'd love to adopt, so that's pretty good.

We're working with two feral puppies that are skittish but adorable, some high-energy dogs with poor impulse control (including one who's been sent back to the shelter twice, poor thing), and a few cases of "kennel crazy" - repetitive, compulsive behaviors due to the stress of being in the shelter environment. These dogs would be wonderful in a home, but don't show well to visitors. One dog has been in the shelter for almost three years - his entire life. He is terrified to leave the grounds. When you approach his kennel, he starts to leap five feet into the air, over and over. When you get him out on the leash he is so calm and gentle, he is very smart, and he does that adorable thing some big dogs do of leaning into you while you pet them. He is clearly a special dog that would make a great pet.

So if you're in the Greenville area and you want a dog, let me know!! I want a dog. I've been looking for another job, and if I find one maybe then... but I don't want to bring a strange dog into the house while Pumpkin is still missing. So you see, we've come full circle to the cats again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Stupid Cat

LOST: My idiot cat

Dashed from our new house on her second time ever outside here, immediately ran to a tree in the backyard, scaled it, and leaped over our fence. As if she had been planning it. Last seen two days ago, calmly trotting towards our neighbor's back porch.

Does not answer to the name of Pumpkin.

Does not have a collar because she takes them off in five minutes flat and I am not made of collars.

She does have a microchip - PetWatch has put out an APB.

Most likely is hiding somewhere, probably in our rear neighbor's house because their doors were all hanging open the day she vanished.

Now I will spend my day knocking on strangers' doors and asking them if I can crawl around their backyards looking for the little moron.

Stupid cat.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Anna and Leland vs. the DMV

I started teaching last week, and Leland started his classes. Now I have a (metaphorical, it's an online course) pile of papers to grade, so naturally it's the best time to procrastinate with another entry.

Hey, I've graded 9 already. Time for a break.

I may not have graded all 9 today.

I may have only graded 3 today.

Break anyway!

We finally were able to bring our kitties down from where they've been living for the past year - Leland's parents' house. Mark and Phyllis acted like they were happy to see them go, but I know better... who wouldn't want animals that eat food off the counters and bring half-dead chipmunks into the house, claw the furniture and shed hair everywhere?

They're pretty good, but, you know - they're cats. You can teach them what wrong behavior is, but when you're not looking all bets are off.

Fletcher and Pumpkin did not enjoy the 9 hour trip from Pennsylvania to Greenville. Pumpkin let us know this in no uncertain terms by making the most pathetic little squeaky cries for the majority of the ride. Pumpkin weighs about 6 pounds and most of that is fur. The rest is eyes. She's pretty cute, and when she cries it is the most heartbreaking sound in the world.

Don't believe her. She's manipulating your sympathy.

When we got here, we shut the cats up in the spare bedroom, where they promptly burrowed under the blankets on the bed. Very sneaky - what could these cat-shaped lumps possibly be? Eventually we got tired of this and made them come out (what every website on moving with cats says you shouldn't do) to explore the house. They're fine now at night and even behave like normal animals, but during the day Fletcher hides under the couch and Pumpkin hides under the bed.

You can judge Pumpkin's mood by where she is under the bed. You see, Pumpkin isn't scared of things. I used to think this, but I don't anymore. She just hates to be messed with. There are five possible positions she will take up, depending on how certain she is that someone is going to come and mess with her (i.e., make her go into a crate).

1) Strolling freely about the house. Threat level - low. Low risk of being stuffed into a crate. This happens in the middle of the night when the potential crate-stuffers are trying to sleep. "Pumpkin jumped right on my face." Leland complained yesterday morning. That's it, Miss P. Get all that cat hair right up his allergy-prone nose.

2) Hunker position. Threat level - guarded. General risk of being stuffed into a crate. The strategy here is to keep low to the ground and sort of slink around, startling to an unnecessary degree at anything that moves, or makes a noise, or doesn't move, or doesn't make a noise. Not entirely sure what the hunker position is designed to accomplish.

3) Under the corner of the bed. Threat level - elevated. Elevated risk of being stuffed into a crate. You see, she's protected by the bed, but can immediately move to a more secure position should anyone try to, you know, touch her.

4) Under the middle of the bed. Threat level - high. High risk of being stuffed into a crate. This happens if anyone looks at her funny, particularly between the hours of 10 and 2, when she seems to be at high alert for crate-stuffing.

5) Under the bedside table. Threat level - FREAK OUT. SOMEONE IS GOING TO STUFF YOU INTO A CRATE. I'm amazed that she can even wedge herself under there. She does this when people come into the house, or if someone makes the mistake of trying to dislodge her from under the bed. In order to extricate her, I would have to literally pick up the table. It's pretty funny to be lying on the bed, with her under it, when someone opens the back door and then it's BATTLE STATIONS, with a lot of skittering claws and rustling, and then two little beady eyes starting at you from under the bedside table.

My cats have emotional problems.

We finally managed to get our driver's licenses (three visits to DMV) and license plates (two visits). The license plates were by far the bigger hassle.

We go to the license plate place (not the same as the driver's license place, obvi), and the lady says, "I need your title and Minnesota registration."

"We don't have a title." Leland says. "We're still paying on the car. There is no title."

"Your registration should say that," the lady says, in a tone that means "you'd better pray that your registration says that."

A brief reconnaissance of our documents shows that we have not brought in the registration. Anna is sent to the parking lot.

"There's no registration in the car." Anna says.

"Just bring everything in." Leland says.

"Fine, but unless our registration is a receipt from Lowe's, a U-Haul rental agreement, a bag of change, or some Sheetz napkins, it is not in our glove box."

"Just bring everything in."


Husband ascertains that Wife is, in fact, not a total moron and gives his own opinion on the situation. "There's no registration in the car."


The DMV lady suggests that we call the lien holder and get them to copy and fax over the title, providing there is a physical title. Leland gets on the phone. He is shuffled through several menus, is hung up on several times, but finally a woman promises to go look for the title. She'll call us back.

"I'll go home and look for the MN registration." I offer.

"It's probably in the cardboard box full of papers, or else in the bag of random crap." Leland offers.

(You know, the last-minute collection of random items that you throw together when they don't fit anywhere else. Ours is in a plastic bag, and contains a paystub, two tampons, unopened junk mail, little wooden disks designed to protect the floors from furniture legs, Canadian coins, and other stuff. It is still packed. Bag of random crap.)

Here is what I find at home:

1) Application for MN registration, with Ohio registration attached
2) Letter from MN regarding incomplete registration application
3) Forwarded letter from MN, reminding us to re-register car in September of this year.

And then I remembered...

We have no MN registration.

Oh, the car was registered. But we have no physical registration card. You see, Leland did not completely fill out the application. He did not include his middle name. The letter from MN (#2), informed us that the application could not be processed unless they received the vital information of Leland's middle name.

Leland has no middle name.


"I told you to call them." I muttered as I drove back to the DMV.

It's a heavy load to bear, this always being right.

Fortunately, the story ends far less dramatically. Leland looked shifty-eyed when I reminded him of our lack of registration card. Luckily for him, the lien holder did indeed have a physical title, which they faxed over, thus eliminating our need to show a registration.

And we won the right to pay North Carolina 250$ to register the car.

We - won, right?