Not so much that the cats are acting itchy, as that I keep finding spots of flea poop on various smooth horizontal surfaces where the cats have been.
So, off to the store for a box of Advantage II for large cats (over 9 pounds), this being what I'd bought a few months ago - not cheap, but it works and has a much better reputation than the cheap products with regard to, e.g., not killing pets. Then...
Well, I figure I can keep the mess to a minimum by applying the stuff outdoors. So I open a path to the patio, and Huckleberry and Southmoon scamper out, with Top Hat ambling along later.
Open the first tube. Huckleberry is handy. Left hand under the chin, tube applied to back of neck, squeeze, squeeze (the tube, not the neck). Suddenly he notices that I've Put Something On Him, and runs to the garage.
Southmoon, meanwhile, has wandered into the sideyard. Chase her out of there, as far as the back of the house. Fetch the second tube. She figures Something Is Up, and Why Is Huckleberry Acting Like That? She goes into frightened wild animal mode, becomes very elusive, and runs into the garage, with its many places of concealment.
Top Hat is just inside the garage, and not particularly on alert, so I grab her (a bit awkward, regardless, since she's generally averse to being restrained in any way) and apply the poison.
Southmoon is still being evasive, so I go find Piggy and give her a half dose.
A couple of hours later, Southmoon has calmed down enough to be relaxing (more or less) up top of the cat tree, so I sneakily apply her dose; when she notices that I've put something on her neck, she freaks out again.
Now it's getting to be evening, and it seems they've all forgiven me, despite having oddly-styled hackles for the moment.
And they should be less bothered by fleas the next month or so.
Jumping in and out of boxes, playing with the wrapping paper, and generally being in the way: that's overgrown kittens for ya.
Huckleberry doesn't want to wait until tomorrow to open his presents. He thinks they look like cat toys and smell like catnip, and he wants to get at them now.
Hey, Petco actually had a catnip rat, and a few other somewhat size-appropriate toys, so I didn't have to look for cat toys in the dog department! (The label proclaimed it to be a "giant" rat, but it's really only the size of a small rat.)
Next year, I gotta start the cat-gift shopping on line, to see what toys for big fuzzy critters might be found. Breed-specific toys for Maine Coons? For bobcats? Pygmy mountain lions?
I'm still toying with the idea of getting some quail retriever training dummies and a launcher.
Uh-oh. Southmoon just discovered the catnip residue on my hands.
They'd been flea-ridden of late, and refusing to eat their yummy flea-poison-capsule-contents-dusted-over-treats, so it seemed time to try something else.
Local PetMegaMart had what seemed a Deal on a 6-month supply of back-of-the-neck flea stuff for a cat of at least 5 pounds, which could be a 1-month supply for four cats* plus two doses left for next month.
Applying the stuff, out on the patio, turned out to be a two-person endeavor, mainly because the youngsters think patio time is play time. Play time aside, they're not altogether enthusiastic about the stuff.
They've been trying to wash the backs of their necks. The resulting effect is of hackles** not so much raised as moussed.
* One a little over 5 pounds, probably, and the others 15 pounds or so each.
Dunno about travel; in past years, there's been parking in a large garage within walking distance of the fairgrounds. This year, nothing about that in the getting-there information; apparently those of us coming from the south are supposed to park at Oracle and take the shuttle bus, which seems rather less than convenient, especially if I buy anything large before departure time.
Anyway, gotta print some info, and some business cards.
Info should be easy: send to laser printer. Complication: Huckleberry the Arcturan Megakitten hears the laser printer spooling up and jumps on it, causing jams and scattering of already-printed pages.
Business cards should be easy, modulo feeding the paper: I have a PDF formatted to match the laser-perf cardstock which I also have. Just have to configure the new-ish office-type inkjet printer for letter-size paper (it's usually stocked with 11x17)... which means some significant futzing around in the "clear" area of the table, which all too often is full of cat.
Well, Top Hat had vacated the spot in front of the printer a while ago, so I just had to contend with a curious Huckleberry and Southmoon, both wanting to help. Oh, and dragging the printer far enough out of its nook to change the magenta ink cartridge.
But... it seems that the office-type printer, while it handles 11x17 plain paper admirably, doesn't speak card stock: it consistently declares a jam, whether I use the cassette or the rear feed slot.
A little more bashing at that (and some searching of the Intarwebs), and if it doesn't start cooperating I'll just have to drag in the cheap&cheesy little inkjet to print the cards.
Update: Gave up, for now, on getting the big printer to handle thick paper (apparently the menu option for thick paper doesn't do what it says on the tin). Ergo:
Out to the living room. Fetch the cheap little printer. Note that it doesn't have a power cord attached. Find the power connector: a dainty 2-pin type. Look for the cord. Eventually find, if not the, then at least a cord that'll do.
Plug USB cable into workstation front-panel port (driver is already installed from when the printer was new, an emergency purchase when the old 11x17 inkjet died). Doesn't seem to work. Kernel messages indicate a failure to enumerate. Maybe it doesn't get along with the USB3 port? Try a different one: also failure to enumerate. Wha'? OK, plug it into the hub where other things tend to be connected: now it works, and it feeds the card stock, and... most of the way through a page, it comes un-enumerated.
Guess the USB interface has some serious bobbles. Oh, well: I got two almost-full sheets of cards printed, so I have enough to fill my pocket for a day at the fairgrounds.
Joy had left her hot-air hair-curling thingamajig plugged in, in the bedroom.
Huckleberry had turned it on, leading to panic.
I think Top Hat had also been there, and fled in the opposite direction.
Anyway: wide awake now. Outdoors: rain. This morning, once it gets light: I'm on setup crew for an outdoors wedding. Forecast: not terribly informative, but it looks like we won't get rained on too much.
At least I won't be standing around on a blazing hot afternoon wearing a sport coat and slacks hastily acquired at Goodwill (i.e.: polyester).
As I lay in bed last night, my foot was struck by a projectile moving, near as I can figure, somewhere around 20 feet per second*.
Well, that's not much... but this was, roughly speaking, a 120,000 grain projectile, so it had the momentum of, say, a 230 grain projectile moving at around 10,000 FPS**.
Not as injurious as a 20 million grain projectile at 20 FPS (small car, 14 MPH, yeah, that'll hurt), but still.
At least it was blunt. And the kinetic energy was that of a 230 grain projectile at (pokes calculator again) 450 FPS. So, frontal area does seem to have been a large factor in the lack of serious injury.
Maybe I should stop lying so close to the edge of the bed. A bit further inboard, and the ballistic fuzzballs would miss more often.
* Half a second to traverse a 10-foot hallway? 20% the top speed of a cheetah? Sounds plausible***.
** According to Hollywood physics, the impact must have blasted me out of bed, up into the air, and out through the bedroom window, scattering bits of glass and window frame everywhere.
*** Noted later: XKCD gives the top speed of a housecat as 13 m/s, or about 42 FPS. So Huckleberry could plausibly have been going a fair bit faster than I'd guesstimated. He's a big fast critter.
0335: Wake to the sound of horking from the hallway. Crawl out of bed and investigate. Top Hat, the shaggy beast, has deposited a monster hairball on the floor (at least it was on the vinyl, not the carpet). Clean it up, stare at the Internet for a while, and return to bed.
0748: Driving across a bridge, or causeway, over some wide, slow river. Top Hat suddenly gets excited, leaps out the passenger-side window (despite it not being open anything like far enough for that), does a perfect belly-flop into the water, and commences dogcat-paddling to the shore. Get off the bridge, pull over, park, and run back to retrieve the soggy bundle of fur.
0750: Wake to the sound of Top Hat galloping into the bedroom and leaping onto the nightstand and thence the headboard for a look out the bedroom window.
1440: Get my brain working almost well enough to make sense of that brokerage statement (unless I've gone delusional, which is always an option). Figure out, in general terms, which pages correspond to what totals, and where those numbers need to end up. But then Top Hat decides to help, in her inimitable way, by sitting atop the forms and giving her best Dot Warner impression.
The others have been more or less behaving themselves. It's mostly the bumble-kitty being strange today, in real life or otherwise.
Huckleberry and Top Hat want to help me sift through last year's financial paperwork.
They both like to lie on piles of paper.
Top Hat offers to shred the evidence. (Er, Top Hat... those in that pile are receipts for business expenses. Shredding them is counterproductive.)
Southmoon, at least, hasn't taken an interest. Yet. She likes to lie on papers, too. And maybe she'll contribute a dead leaf or a bit of cardboard. (I gotta train that critter to bring cash, jewelry, and stock certificates.)
Well, with the relevant papers sorted from the other vaguely-financial records, the piles aren't too deep. But Schedule D will be a pain (what with having to dig through long-archived records), and Schedule C will be at least as much of a pain as usual (for the second year in a row, I'll be reporting income that wasn't reported on 1099 forms... last time, because the payer died before doing the paperwork; this time, because the payer is an overseas business and doesn't do U.S. tax forms).
Oh, well. I assume that reporting income that the IRS didn't already know about won't get me flagged for an audit... right?
Now, how to shuffle papers and Turbot Ax, in my office, without the cats getting in the way, but without blocking ventilation and having it get all hot and stuffy in here? Maybe I should add a screen door, and claim it's a tax preparation expense?
Update: The brokerage statement is 34 pages long, of which 16 are used accounting for my sale of a rather old and underperforming mutual fund... which had, apparently, accreted quite a few shares, accounted for in small lots, over the years.
Update 2: Once again, Schedule D is a wholly unnecessary pain-beyond-imagination. TurboTax and the brokerage don't seem to agree on exchanging data, so I'll have to enter everything manually. The brokerage statement, apart from having one sale spread across 16 pages of small fiddlies, isn't in the format that TurboTax expects me to transcribe from.
And it's looking like a Really Good Thing that I kept half of the proceeds from one of last year's two sales in reserve... 'cause between tax due and the first-quarter estimated taxes, things are looking quite alarming so far. But of course I won't be able to get to the final numbers until I slog through Schedule D, and then Schedule A. And then there are the inevitable California fiddles.
And... has anyone out there, ever, received a 1099-DIV with a nonzero amount on line 10 (Exempt-interest dividends) and actually known what states were involved?