That Time Gus Climbed the Tree

Sunday night, while I was dying of the flu, our indoor cat Gus somehow escaped the house, as has been known to happen a time or two (dude stalks the door like it's his life)... and then climbed 30 feet into a tree (as has been known to happen... never). Oh, and I should mention that Sunday night was freezing and raining, the best kind of weather for midnight tree climbing.

Matt discovered him after returning home from a concert (that I was supposed to be at too - stupid flu!) Gus was up there meowing like it was somehow our fault he was up there. Seriously, this cat.

Well, when he wasn't down by morning, Matt did what any responsible cat owner who has ever read a children's book would do - he called the fire department. Well, wouldn't you know it, but they don't actually rescue cats from trees anymore, if they ever did! See, don't believe everything you read people! Animal control did stop by, but the kind man took one look and offered "he'll come down when he gets hungry enough" and left.

Plans were devised. Neighbors were called. Nerf guns were aimed and shot. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, the crows and hawks had started circling, seriously pissed about the cat in the tree. Gus, for his part, played it pretty cool. And loud. He couldn't figure out why we hadn't rescued him yet. Like it was somehow our fault he was in this mess. Here's how I imagine our conversation went.

Us: Gus, come on buddy! Come down!
Gus: You morons. Come up here and get me. Can't you see how high up I am?
Us: Gus, you want some food?  Here kitty kitty! Come down and get it.
Gus: Don't patronize me. I'm in a tree, for crying out loud. How dare you leave me up here!
Us: Gus. You idiot. Fine. Stay up there.
Gus: Fine! Maybe I will!
...you get the gist

By Tuesday, Matt (and the rest of our neighborhood, I might add) came to the conclusion that after two days of freezing cold rain, nothing was bringing this stupid cat down. The experts would have to be called. Fortunately, our neighbor realized she knows a guy. And the guy graciously offered to swing by on his lunch break with his tree climbing gear. Thanks, Rob from Downey Trees Inc!

Gus was super excited to see a human.

He was less excited about being stuffed into a pillowcase for the ride down.
Long story short, Gus was rescued from the tree and is happily resting at home, warm and fed, just as annoying as ever. Yes friends, we had to hire* a tree removal company to climb up and save our stupid cat. This ranks right up there with the time we had to pay for an emergency blood transfusion for our other cat. What is it with our cats? We really must look into dogs.

Haha, suckers!
*Rob actually refused to be compensated for his work. The best, right?! I tried to convince him, but he told me to "spend it on making sure the cat is okay". I plan to use the money to pay someone to take the cat from us. 50 bucks, any takers? Anyone?

*      *     *     *     *

I'd like to thank Rob of Downey Trees Inc, officially our new tree guys, once we actually need tree service and not cat removal service. I'd like to thank Kim, for putting us in touch with Rob. I'd like to thank Reed for sacrificing his Nerf arrow in the quest to knock Gus from the tree. The entire neighborhood deserves praise for their support and concern during GusGate2015. Matt devised some clever though unsuccessful rescue attempts and never gave up on the cat. Thanks to Lee Anne, for keeping Annie inside while the tree guys were here. Thank you to Google+, for artfully and automatically designing the lead photo without me asking. And of course, this story is dedicated to Gus, without whom we would never have gotten into this mess in the first place.

No cats were harmed during the making of this story.



It has not been the greatest start to 2015. Violet has been out of school since Thursday at noon with what I'm assuming is the flu. I felt like I got hit by a truck around 4 p.m. on Saturday and was waiting for the doors to open at Urgent Care on Sunday with a high fever, chills, body aches, etc. And yes, we had the flu shot this year. I won with a positive flu test with a side of sinus infection. Woot!

Funny enough, two years ago this same time I was at Urgent Care and discovered I was pregnant with Annie, after they had done a pregnancy test that came back negative and given me a steroid shot, oops. The same doctor treated me this time and we reminisced about the event. I was happy to report Annie turned out just fine (and I imagine the doctor was a little relieved himself to hear it).

Anyway, I'm out of work for two days with the worst substitute plans ever and no energy to come up with anything better. Thank goodness for my wonderful team that can carry me through at times like this. And thank goodness for my mother-in-law and mom and husband, who are all pulling triple duty right now, keeping this ship running while I'm down and out. Hopefully I'll be feeling stronger tomorrow.

PS Did I mention our cat got outside and got himself stuck in a tree 30 feet in the air in the freezing rain? Yeah, good times. He's been up there for over 24 hours now. Awesome.


Reading the Funny People


I find myself reading (and re-reading) a lot of funny-people autobiographies. Something about hearing other people tell their stories is always inspiring to me, someone who dabbles in storytelling myself.

Amy Poehler's book had a slightly more serious tone, I thought. She's a really smart lady. Most comedians I like tend to have very nerdy, intelligent backgrounds. You have to be, in improv. Part of me kept wishing she would spill the dirt on her divorce to Will Arnett (aka The Day Love Died) but a bigger part of me was glad she didn't. There was a lovely chapter on her two kids, however. She gave quite a bit of valuable advice in her book. My biggest take-away was her motto: "good for you, not for me". If someone does things differently than you do, has a different parenting philosophy, birthing plan, whatever, the correct response should always be "Good for you! Not for me." So true. And helpful!

I have no schema for Dr. Doogie. Everything I know about NPH comes from watching HIMYM and the awards shows he has hosted since. That being said, I love NPH! And the format for his autobiography meant I was going to read it, even if I didn't like him. How clever! I totally cheated - I read straight through the book, disregarding every "If you want to become a Broadway star turn to page 146, if you want to get into a fistfight on Sunset Boulevard turn to page 93" crossroads. I was too worried about missing a page to skip around! This book was fun, informative, and comes with bonus magic tricks! For real, the back cover, instead of being a blurb previewing the contents of the book, is instead a magic trick of the "pick a card, any card" variety. The correct answer (that crazy Neil, gets it right every time!) is in the inside jacket flap.

Reading these two books made me want to go back and reread one from a couple years ago. Mindy Kaling's voice in this book is spot on. If you watched The Office or The Mindy Project, you'll be able to hear her narrating this book in your head as you read. Mindy's is probably my favorite of all the books on this page, simply because she is the most likeable and relatable of the bunch. I'm sure everyone who has starting reading has imagined bumping into Mindy at a nail salon or Great American Cookie mall stand and becoming instant friends. Her book is broken into bite sized bits ranging from how she got started in Hollywood to why she doesn't eat cupcakes anymore (an actual chapter), several sweet paragraphs about how much she loves her parents and wants to get married someday, and even "Why Do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?" Yes, Mindy, why is that? If I was going to write an autobiography (assuming anyone would be interested in ever reading it), this is the tone I would go for.

And of course, having read the above, I had to go back and pick up Tina Fey's book again. Her cover confuses me the most. But like the others, another well written book from a very smart person. Like Mindy's book, there are several random chapters and lists, and she touches on all the topics you would expect from a Hollywood star: being too thin, being too fat, how she was the victim of a random knife attack in grade school... okay, that last one isn't one you'd find in everyone's autobiography. However, excellent all around. Like Poehler's, it delves a bit more into the idea of "comedy" and specifically being a woman in comedy. There is good SNL gossip and shout-outs to other famous names you'll recognize. It's been fun rereading it, especially on the heels of all the others.

So that's what I'm reading these days. Apparently I needed a little funny to kick off this year. But hey, it's working! These first seven days of 2015 have been great! Now, anyone have any recommendations to get me through the remaining 358?


New Year

We ended 2014 right, by turning our oldest child into a Starbucks addict. Her first red cup!

New Year's Eve selfie before heading over to our PJ Poker Party!

Except instead of playing poker, I snuggled with this love bug until she finally went to sleep.

Teaching Violet how to "clink".

Welcome 2015!


Dance Party!

"Happy" and Such

Clearly I'm trying to make up for my lack of posting this year by cramming as many updates into the last week of 2014 as possible.

Here are some things to know about Annie right now...

At her 15-month well-check, girlfriend clocked in at an impressive 26 pounds. That's the 98th percentile, folks. She's been in 18-month clothes for a while now. She's working on feeding herself with a spoon and clearly enough is getting into her mouth. She has also mastered drinking through a straw, which is always a game-changer.

The move to the young toddler classroom at school has been the best. I feel like she's learned so much in just the short time she's been there. Most days, Annie takes a solid two-hour nap (hopefully I'm not jinxing myself today). For the most part, we can take her upstairs and put her in bed and she doesn't protest too much (knock on wood again). She also learned how to have a dance party in this class. She claps, waves, gives hugs and kisses too. So sweet. They have outdoor time every day, and now Annie brings me her jacket as her signal that she wants to go out, rain or shine.

Annie is also talking up a storm these days. Words she can say include: mommy, daddy, up, more, ball (I'm pretty sure this was her first word), happy, night-night, bye-bye, doggy and woof-woof, ah dah (all done), ah-bee (open), uh-uh, no-no and the always popular and hilarious uh-oh, uttered at every juncture from dropping snacks on the floor to seeing the cat.

So far she still thinks it is cool to follow directions. When I tell her it's time for a diaper, she goes and lays down on the changing pad. She can carry things to people, goes and sits in her chair when it is time to eat, even handing me the bib. She can throw things in the trash can on request and get her own cup when she is thirsty. The only time she intentionally disobeys is when I catch her climbing the stairs. She gives me an evil cackle over her shoulder and starts climbing doubletime before I can grab her. She also has a bad habit of trying to unroll all the toilet paper and likes to play in the cat food when we're not watching. She definitely requires more supervision than Violet did at this age! But she is so sweet. Love my girl!


Christmas - the rest of it


Wow, the picture taking apparently just went downhill as the season went on. There are hardly any from our time at the Loughman home, but rest assured, much fun was had. Both girls had fun playing with their cousin Brooke, Violet especially. There were moments I didn't know exactly where my children were or what they were doing, but I wasn't particularly worried about it, which is a pleasant place to be. I'm going to have to hire Brooke to come hang out with us for a week this summer so my children can be entertained.

Christmas at the Loughman's involved more presents, lots of good eating, playtime for the girls, some couch-lounging, the start of a new book (Amy Poehler's "Yes Please" - so far excellent, although my reading time has dramatically decreased with the departure of cousin Brooke... come back Brooke!), the bowling alley, the movies ("Into the Woods" - excellent! Fun fact: I played Rapunzel in our high school's version.), and a wine tasting game (I correctly identified four out of six wines - not terrible). It's always a lovely, relaxing time at the Loughman's for Christmas. After doing my own share of hosting, I was just happy to be in someone else's house where I didn't feel the same compulsion to load the dishwasher every three seconds. With a 15-month-old, we kept it fairly low-key. No fancy dinners out, nights didn't stretch too late, we're just in that season. But laid-back seemed to suit everyone else just fine. Until next year!

Burning off some energy at the park.

This guy. That beard.

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