Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

For those who want to feel a bit better about their day...

I’m going to preface this with saying this story is only for those of you comfortable with the real life sides of dealing w animals ;).  You know who you are.   The rest of you - you have been warned.

An expert multitasker,
she is both our story's protagonist and antagonist ;).

So if you’re on my FB there’s pretty much no way you could’ve missed that we now have a feline addition to our house.

She’s an older kitten but still a kitten, and so much fun :)

As w most critters I encounter, I figured we should do some basic training.  Sit, high five, and “in the crate” are solid - so long as there are treats involved.  Recalls non-existent - pretty standard for a cat.   Getting much better about not scratching things and knowing which surfaces she’s not allowed to be on.  So all good - close to a solid family companion.

Life skills

Thanks to the internet, I also stumbled upon the idea that it’s possible to toilet train a cat.  Not litter - she came w that.  But actual toilet. 

Game on ;)

And until today, so far, so good.   We’re at the point now where her litter is essentially just under the seat - so she has to jump on the toilet to use the litter box, but otherwise it’s still a litter box (albeit a shallow one).  And it’s been pretty much no issue except that it requires more frequent cleaning that normal litter, and when she buries it, the litter flies a lot farther.  Short term pain for long term gain.

Today I had to go to the office.  We’ve been having issues w Tucker peeing when we both go out (behavioural not needs based) and because I just really didn’t want to deal w that, I left him w a good treat when we left (Sasha was w me - she spent the day w Bailey).  I swear this is related.

So back to Nola - in the entire time she’s been with us, there’s only ever been one accident and it was the night after we moved her box.  She’d been shown the box, but I think maybe lost it….  Before and since, no problem.   Her litter was spotless when I left, so I really didn’t stress about her.

Fast forward to when I got home.  Shortly after walking in the house all I could smell was excrement.  This is not good.   Took a quick look around the ground floor and nothing.  Smell gets significantly worse going upstairs.  Checked all the open rooms - nothing obvious. Looked at her hiding spots.   Still nothing.

It couldn’t possibly be in the litter bin and that foul could it?

Well no.  Not quite.  Went in the washroom and not only was the litter untouched, it was protected!   Oh fuck.   Pardon my language but you will understand shortly.  Somehow, the lid was down.  So Enola could NOT access her litter if she wanted to.   And where was the stench?!?!   

The tub.  I mean, credit to her to pick the best possible place.  But….  Remember Tucker’s super treat???    I’m guessing Enola had her share.   Sasha doesn’t get those treats because it gives her diarrhea.   Suffice to say the volume of fecal matter in the tub outweighed the cat :(.  In multiple deposits, most of which didn’t resemble solid.  And one tiny cat paw print.   It looks like self preservation cleanliness kicked in after the first effort and she balanced on the end of the tub.   But oh my god.  Explosive diarrhea on the day she was locked out of her litter and I wasn’t home to fix it.  This did not end well.   

For the record: I have looked after many tiny people, cleaned more stalls than anybody ever wants to count, had my arm all the way to my shoulder shoved up a horse’s ass (if you’re not a horse person that’s a literal statement - done while wearing a long glove) and cared for multiple pets of many species. This was among the worst I’ve dealt with. 

So lesson learned.  Tub is cleaned.  Multiple times.  Toilet lid is tied open.   I just really hope it didn’t scare her!   She hurt herself playing w a feather toy the other day and now she’s terrified of it.   That would put a significant complication in things.  So we shall see.

This is now a daemon-spawn toy, to be avoided at all costs.

And yes - she seems totally fine since I’ve been home :).  We’ll see over the next few days if it did irreparable damage to our training.

New year, new hobby?

lol okay so this has nothing to do with the new year.  As some of you may know, I continue my search for something new to do to replace the void left by the lack of eventing.  Fitness, goal setting, friends, stress relief (although admittedly also stress causing!)...  so much that I never really clued into was all tied to that.   And I've tried a wide variety of ridiculousness over the last few years.  Spanish and Piano both seem to stick, but neither of them address the fitness or the social aspects.  Sooo...


I'm not even kidding, although I probably should be.

I've always thought ballroom dance might be fun, and at one point (possibly while slightly intoxicated ;)) Chris agreed to go along with this idea.  Except...   We don't exactly live near options for learning anything.  I searched.  A lot.  And failed time after time.  One school I found but they were taking a term off.  lol that kind of thing.

But targeted ads remember...

So while there was nothing last year while I was looking, apparently a whole bunch start in Jan/Feb.  Random, but okay?!?!   Alas, while I now have a variety of options, none of them worked particularly well with our schedule (did you hear C's sigh of relief from there?).

The ad that started it all

BUT those same targeted ads also told me about a "ladies night" teaching beginner latin dance.   Now *that* could be fun.   I had some real hesitations though.   Let's start with my dance experience:

  • I have vague memories of a pink tutu when I was a tiny little person...  Maybe 6?   Idk, don't really remember.  I liked the tutu, I did not like the class.   I finished the term and that was the end of dance at an age when one can learn to dance ;-P
  • I signed up for beginner adult ballet in uni.  I was SO excited.  It was heartbreakingly awful.  I lasted exactly 2 classes.  I have vivid memories at being singled out and yelled at for not pointing my toes correctly (they were pointed, but not right).  No explanation of what right might be or how I should do it differently, just that it was wrong.  The rest of the class was no better.  In retrospect, that was definitely not an appropriate teacher for beginners, but at the time, it was just an all-round negative experience.
  • My sense of rhythm is questionable at best.  I'm really good when partnered with a horse.  With a person?  Not so much ;-P.  My piano adventures have highlighted this challenge.  It IS, thanks to said piano, improving.  But still pretty interpretive ;-P
  • I *cannot* dance.  I have never been able to dance.  I both feel and look incredibly, painfully, awkward.  I remember various friends over the years trying to teach me - from friends' basements as teenagers to at the club as a young adult.  No success.  Ever.   Even in VR it's pretty horrible.  I remember C walking in on my VR dance one day: "are you...  dancing?" lol.  It was a legitimate and valid question.  
  • My balance is excellent and coordination is usually pretty solid (yeah dressage!) - the problem is, my whole life has been targeting very subtle coordination and movement.  Dance is...  The opposite of that ;).    Also, I can work my feet, or I can work my arms but rarely both.  And if I try to actually move my body?  Well I have to make sure nobody calls the paramedics for some sort of medical emergency ;). 
  • And, sub-point, even if the coordination all aligns and all the body parts go where they're supposed to, it's the opposite of smooth and graceful.  Lol more like a slightly rusty robot is following poorly coded instructions.
So yeah, set up for success is not high.   However, I tagged a friend who is generally game for most adventures and convinced her to join me.  She loves to dance, but rates her skills about the same as mine ;).  

Reached out to the school and got very quick response with a positive approach and what seemed like a reasonable sense of humour so okay...   Age range 30-60, 20ish people in the class, complete beginners encouraged.  That means enough people to hide if needed, we won't be youngest or oldest, and hopefully our hopelessness wouldn't hold others back.

And today we went.  It's definitely in a not-great area of town, but the studio itself was a good size.  Looks like a repurposed church, but mirrors all lining one side like you'd find in most studios and lots of space for sure.

It was So. Much. Fun.  lol way better than I'd expected.   We learned the 101-very-basic-level intro of three dances: the merengue, bachata, and salsa.   The instructor is awesome.  Super welcoming, encouraging, and open.  And also breaks it down and simplifies things clearly.  Willing to repeat herself and demonstrate.  Answering all questions, seemed to be having a fun time, just all-round great instructor for beginner adults.  

AND...  We're not the worst ;-P.  lol we're pretty strongly right in the middle of the group.  Which, to me, in this case, means we're in exactly the right group ;).   In riding I always like to be at the bottom and scrap my way up cause I learn so much more so much faster.  But in riding, I don't feel like I borrowed someone else's legs for the day lol.

But yeah, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected and the time flew.  She kept it moving and didn't focus on any particular thing too long -- great intro class.  I definitely enjoy the more complicated / less reasonable parts more; I think because they take more of my attention and force me to completely check in to what I'm doing.  That and horrible failures make for better stories and the only way for truly horrible failures is to attempt the slightly insane ;-P.  Which, in my case, might be as simple as a spin ;)

Anyways - it's only Tuesday, yet somehow has already been a very long week, and I did not sleep well last night.  So this was a really lovely shift of both mood and enthusiasm.  Excited for next week.  Also, unlike Arial Silks, which I also loved but got super frustrated with, this one I CAN practice at home if I'm so inclined.  So the whole having to start over every week shouldn't be an issue.   So yeah, accidental targeted advertising win ;)