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Filed in:Tuxedo
Family·Our Life

Purr-fect Inspiration

May 4th, 2009  · stk

Our cat, Tuxedo, is fat, old and lazy. Scott thought that a positive motivational message would inspire him. See if it works

Tuxedo Gets Motivational Message

Scott's father sent Scott an email today. Attached were a bunch of great animal photos, many of which were amazing, fast-action shots. Scott loves animals!

Isn't Rachel is always saying, "Scott should have been a veterinarian?"

One of the photos, in particular, caught Scott's eye and he thought it might motivate our cat, "Tuxedo". He's a neutered, 17-year-old cat that lays around the house and is keen only on dinner, a warm lap or geting petting. He's not too interested in catching mice.

Scott moused his way over to Big Huge Labs and within 60 seconds - OKAY, more like 10-minutes because he had to tweak the fonts and colors - came up with this motivational poster.

For more about the motivational poster, Tuxedo's reaction and to see the 30 other great animal photos, carry on ...

Motivation for Tuxedo

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Digging the White Stuff

March 19th, 2006  · stk

A month ago, we were extolling the fact that it seemed winter had passed us by in Edmonton, this year. No longer. Yesterday, we received 22 cm. of snow. Read about how it affected our family (especially our cat)....

22 Centimeters of Snow

On March 5th, we reported a recent snowstorm, how winter seemed delayed this year and how spring was forecasted to be running a tad late. Two weeks later, we're hip-deep in snow and regretting any claims we made about winter passing us by this year. We received 22 centimeters of snow on Saturday. When we awoke, it was snowing. All morning, it snowed. It snowed through lunch and all afternoon. It snowed past dinner and into the evening.

At mid morning, Scott went out and shoveled the front walk, the drive and the front stoop. He assisted our neighbor, getting her car unstuck from the middle of a nearby residential street. We helped the guy across the way, get his car back on the road, after parking too close to the sidewalk. By the time evening rolled around, it didn't look like Scott had shoveled at all. So he went out and shoveled some more!

We haven't lived in Edmonton long, but in our brief two-year tenure, THIS is the most snow we've ever seen. It's unreal. As Scott jokingly told a neighbor, "Maybe I'll just make a tunnel to the front door, it might take less effort!"

Fortunately, the snow abated Saturday night. We awoke on Sunday, to cloudy skies and shortly after lunch, Scott was out shoveling again. This time, it was the back stoop, walkway, alleyway and garage parking area. He filled trashcan after trashcan with the white stuff and hauled it to various places around the yard. He began to run out of places to dump it!

We've been debating where we're going to move to, after Rachel finishes her Nursing degree in August. We'd been considering a move to Canmore, near Banff National Park, just west of Calgary. We'd even considered the notion of staying in the Edmonton area, as the cost of living is reasonable and the summers are glorious. This recent storm might have nixed both of those thoughts, as we're likely to stick to our original plan of moving to Vancouver Island. Moderated by the waters of the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver Island rarely sees much snow. Just the ticket, according to our California-boy, Scott.

We Know Snow

Alex didn't seem to mind the fluffy stuff and was eager to go outside and "help" Scott shovel the walk, the driveway and other wide expanses that needed to be cleared of over a foot of snow. She enjoyed sitting in it, rolling in it, throwing it, eating it and (occasionally) tossing a scoop or two of it into a bucket ... then promptly dumping it where it had already been cleared. Though the Oop loved the snow, she has no idea of where it is supposed to go. :|

The snow seemed to affect most everyone's schedule in the household. Scott spent several hours shoveling it, while Alex spent nearly an equal amount of time playing in it. Only Rachel seemed unaffected, as she's busy on a term paper, which is due Monday. She sequestered herself in her basement office and has been relatively immune to the the snow outside. It was, perhaps, the smallest member of our household that felt the effects of the snow more than anyone else. Tuxedo, our lethargic cat, ventured outside once, to do his "business" and it was a very pitiful feline that returned.

Poor Tuxedo is getting on in years, nearly 13 all told. His idea of a good time is a long, quiet nap on a heater vent, followed by a hefty dish of wet cat food. Going outside is only desireable if the sun is shining. Tuxedo isn't fond of the winter cold. So far this year, he hasn't had to deal with much snow. So he was surprised, when we opened the front door, to be faced with several inches of snow. With a gentle boot at his bottom, he soon found himself up to his belly in snow. He shook a couple of paws, hoping to rid himself of the disdainful snow, but each step caused more to stick to his warm fur.

We watched, curious to see his reaction and at first, we wondered if he would move at all. He looked this way and that, realizing that only the cement walkway was clear enough for him to tread. So down the front steps he went. He stopped at the lawn, with snow higher than his head, putting a paw forward. "No good," he thought, as his paw was swallowed up in white. He shook it vigorously and treaded down the path, to the driveway. He longingly looked at the shallow depression under the pine tree, where bits of grass were poking through. "How can I get over THERE?" he seemed to wonder. He tested this way and the next, but each was blocked by too-high snow. Finally, in desperation, he went out into the front sidewalk. He dug a tiny hole and there, in the middle of what would normally be a wide, cement path, our cat did his business (quite hurriedly, I might add).

True to form, he even tried to "bury it", which was amusing because the paws that hate snow, were busy shoveling it. I guess the hereditary need to "bury one's business" outweighed the hereditary "distain for all things water". Anyway ... once finished, he raced back to the front stoop and meowed pitifully, eager to get back to his warm bed and out of the hellish white.

From relatives in Phoenix, Arizona to friends in England, we can only say ... "See, here's REAL snow!"

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Spring in January?

February 6th, 2005  · stk

It's tough to complain when temperatures get to nearly 50°F(10°C) at the end of January, in Edmonton (but watch us)! My father, who lives in northern California, said that Edmonton was actually warmer than where they are (but only in the morning as their temps climbed into the 70's, later in the day. Not here. We've generally been below freezing most days and it's not uncommon to be at or below 0°F(-17°C). We had one bad cold snap, where the news shows were warning that with wind-chill, it was getting to be below -49°F(-45°C) and that exposed skin would freeze within minutes. Advice - stay indoors.

Schools don't have 'snow' days in Edmonton (if they did, all the kids would be pretty dumb ... or ... they'd never have a summer vacation because they'd have a LOT of days to make up)! Nope, they have 'too-cold days' (don't know what they're officially called), but school is closed when it gets too cold. The bad part? Ski resorts are closed when it gets too cold too! So, the kids are stuck indoors, waiting for tolerably cold weather.

Because it's our first winter in Edmonton, we're pretty aware of the weather. We're pretty much housebound, especially with Alex, because she just can't handle that kind of bitter cold. We ARE getting stir crazy. Thank God it's sunny a lot, not that Rachel would notice though, because she's usually sequestered in some classroom, or laboratory, or the hospital. Alex crawls onto the chest that's in front of our big picture window and looks out at the wintry scene, chirping at the birds, which stop by to eat seeds from the suet that's hanging from the eaves. "Cheep, cheep," she says, smearing a slobbery hand against the glass, excited to have spotted a bird. It's difficult to imagine birds staying the winter, but the Magpies, Red-Breasted Nuthatches, Black-Capped Chickadees & Sparrows are all here (playing 'King of the Suet'). The cat finds looking out the picture window a bit frustrating, seeing 'prey' only inches from his nose. He has a distinctive, "ack, ack, ack" sound he makes when he spots birds and we just figure that he's more annoyed because he feels obligated to chase the birds when, in truth, he wished they'd just go away so he can nap.

The cold means having the car on the block heater, which (fortunately) we haven't had to use very often. However, the cold and snow is a deterrent to go out, so on really cold or snowy days, we just stay home, unless we absolutely must go somewhere. Rachel walks a couple of blocks to catch the bus, which takes her to the light-rail & a 40-minutes later, she's at the University. The snow means having to shovel and it's MUCH easier, now that we bought a real 'snow shovel'! The walkways are easy and it's nice to get outside. I work up a sweat, doing it, so it's not a cold task. However, the driveway along the side of the rental house is narrow and is difficult to clear. There's no room to pile the snow, so I've been using a 109-liter plastic trash can to move it to the back yard. My record: 36 trips! That's a LOT of snow!

There is a trick to shoveling, we've learned. You've got to get it BEFORE anyone has walked on it. Once it's compacted, it can be really glued to the cement. If that happens, the walk is uneven, or worse - (if the temperatures are right) - it will melt and turn to ice. Nothing short of a chisel, a blow-torch (or precious warm sunshine) will level the walk again.

The recent warm spell, though much enjoyed, caused its share of headaches. There were enough warm days to melt a lot of snow, but far from ALL of the snow. So, by day the roads were slushy, wet & dirty. At night, they were deathly slick ice-rinks. Rachel has fallen hard, more than once, making her way down the dark sidewalk at before 7AM, on her way to catch the bus. The walk around the block that Alex made? It took an hour, mostly because of Alex's curiosity with EVERY dog we met, but also because SHE slipped and fell a lot. Warm days meant slick sidewalks and chilly-cold puddles. Poor Alex was soaking wet when we arrived back home, sore from falling & her hands red and raw from trying to get up. Still, we both needed to get out and the air temperatures were pleasant (in the sun).

The cold is back again (and more snow). Shoveled yesterday and again today. This California boy complained to Rachel, "At least in California, you'd get a break from yard-work in the winter. Mow in the spring and summer, rake leaves in the fall, then watch football all winter long! Here? Mow for three weeks in the summer, rake leave starting in August, and then shovel snow the rest of the year!" She didn't laugh.

If we think that the winter is hard on us, well, all you have to do is think about poor Tuxedo. This poor "born & lived in British Columbia all his life" cat, has (until this year) probably seen snow for all of 20 days of his entire life. And now, not only does he have -45°-weather to deal with, but finding a snow-free spot to do his 'business' is neigh to impossible! (He takes advantage of the cleared walks, by gingerly backing up to the snow (without his paws into it), hanging his rear-end over the snow! It's a sight. If the walks are snow-covered, he dances around (it's gotta be cold on the paws) venturing off the path, using one of my deep footprints as a potty spot. We built him a small, pillow-lined and waterproof box that he uses to stay out of the weather. Generally though, he's not out that long.

As if this poor cat doesn't have enough to contend with by dealing with the snow, the house is hardly a haven for him, with Alex squealing and chasing him around. We used to let him hang out in the large basement, because we generally discourage Alex from wandering down there alone. He became the invisible cat, because the only time we saw him was at dinnertime. And sometimes, we shut the basement door, just to enforce the 'upstairs rule' with Alex. Oops. Guess poor Tuxedo needed to go out and there wasn't anyone to ask. (Or he just decided, "The heck with going out, I'll just find a spot HERE.") Either way, we discovered a couple of 'presents' in the far corner of the room (by olfactory senses FIRST) and have had to institute an "upstairs rule" for BOTH Tuxedo and Alex. Besides, we figure that the best way for them to adjust to each other is put them in the same space. So now, Tuxedo has his 'cat bed' right beside Alex's highchair (smack dab in front of the heater register, which he LOVES). "It's not so bad," he figures, "Alex likes cheese. I like cheese. Alex is clumsy. I am quick!"

We're all having a tough time with our first Edmonton winter. The big question? When's spring? April? May? Answer: not soon enough!

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Filed in:Alexandra
Tuxedo·Humor

Alex the Cat

November 14th, 2004  · stk

There is nothing that causes Alex more squeals of delight than a sighting of our cat, Tuxedo. These sightings are rare not because of Alex, but rather, the cat is actively HIDING from Alex. He spends a great deal of time in the basement, napping on a blanket among boxes or under the covers of the guest bed. It's the only way he can catch uninterrupted Zzzs (which, next to eating, is his 2nd favorite pastime). Laps and petting have taken a distant third place, but let me tell you, when the Oop goes to bed at 8 PM (her bedtime), the cat emerges from the basement, looking for a warm lap. He's become quite militant about having one too, demanding that either Rachel, or Scott, provide him with a warm, cozy spot (preferably one that INCLUDES petting). Anyway, this is supposed to be about Alex, not the cat.

Because Alex is so enamored with Tuxedo, she knows what a cat looks like and "meows" when she spots one in a book. She has been doing this for quite some time and we may have already mentioned it, but we've noticed that her "meows" have improved DRAMATICALLY. Now, when she pipes up with a "meow", it's difficult to tell if it's Alex or the Real McCoy (if we're not standing right there). Well, a few weeks ago, we discovered the answer to the mysterious question of WHY Alex's "meows" were becoming so realistic. She has been living an alternate life - as a cat! Scott went to go put out the trash the other day and found Alex, one hand in the cat's water bowl (just sitting there, wet up to the wrist) and the other hand plucking dry cat food out of the food bowl and into her mouth. SHE'S BEEN EATING CAT FOOD! (In one fell swoop, we discovered the answer to yet, another mystery - why was Alex's breath smelling was so bad?).

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