The new doors are by far the biggest news in the cats’ world these days (just wait until October… they are in for a rude awakening, ha!) and both Cora and Tali have had their share of adventures so far.
Tali has finally started using the cat doors, but only if we refuse to help at all. If she knows we’ll hold the flaps open for her or open the back door, she’ll wait around for us to do that. If we ignore her crying, eventually she’ll go through on her own. She’s a smart one… in her own way. Once outside, she explores a lot further than Cora does (including houses still under construction), but hopefully she’ll start sticking closer to home once she figures out the territory.
Cora brought us “presents” the first couple nights she spent out hunting, which we promptly disposed of outside. On the third night, she brought in one that was still alive… a baby bunny. We heard it scratching around early in the morning and thought the worst case scenario was that Cora was playing with something dead… but we had no idea it was actually alive and well! Fortunately neither of the cats seemed to hurt the rabbit while it was in the house, they just chased it around the laundry room. After we figured out where (and what) it was, both of the cats seemed to lose interest… I guess one night of play was enough for them. I had to get to work that morning and Sam couldn’t lure it into a cat carrier, but a wildlife removal specialist was able to trap and release it. Whew!
The bunny adventure seemed to curtail Cora’s presents and hopefully that’s the last of the adventures for a while… crossing fingers and toes!
Who let the cats out? I did!
Cora has been using the cat door from the dining room to the screened porch regularly for a couple weeks now, and Tali is slowly but surely accepting the concept. One day Tali will get it… hopefully… it’s just going a bit slower than we hoped.
We wanted both cats to use the first door before showing them the second one that leads from the porch to the outside world, but this weekend we decided to go ahead and show Cora. She caught on right away and has been happy as a clam going in and out when she pleases. The first time we let her out, she stuck close to me and edged around the side of our house, then explored the neighbors’ yards out of my sight for a bit, but she didn’t stray far and came right back within a couple minutes. After that initial supervised trip, she’s been on her own and so far so good.
One of the best parts is that Cora’s so tired out from her adventures that she’s super sleepy when she’s back inside. Sleepy Cora is the best Cora, so we’re all happy with the new arrangement We also noticed an immediate difference in the litter box volume, which is awesome, since my main goal is to get rid of the litter boxes entirely.
Now if only Tali would get on board…
I didn’t take any pics this weekend, but here are a few from a snow day in January 2011, a few months before we moved to San Francisco when the cats became indoor-only for the new few years.
Welcome to the great outdoors again, cats!
We’re flying back home from the beach today, so here’s an Instagram update on your favorite felines. This batch is from January and February – those snow days feel like a million years ago already!
Last week we finally had two cats doors installed – one from the dining room to the screened porch, and one from the porch to the outside. I’m excited that we’re one step closer to the cats being indoor/outdoor again AND eliminating the litter boxes… but the cats have to learn how to use the doors first.
You would think it would be a piece of cake since they used a similar door to get to the porch in our last apartment for two years… but so far, no such luck. This is all Cora wanted to do at first:
By the end of the first day, Cora could go outside through the door but couldn’t figure out that it worked both ways. By the end of the second day, she would occasionally forget about the door (and whine to be let out) but mostly grasped the idea.
Tali refuses to even consider the cat door.
We’re only introducing one door at a time, and there will probably have to be food involved before Tali will get on board, so we’ll keep plugging away. If only they knew the freedom they could have if they would cooperate!
What’s that they say about old dogs and new tricks?
One of the best things about writing a blog for a few years is looking back at past posts. I always get the itch to go on some weekend adventures when it starts getting warm again, and March always seems to be the month when I wake up from winter hibernation and remember how much fun it is to explore.
Here’s some Throwback Thursday action from March 2012, when we visited the Alameda Flea Market one weekend while we lived in San Francisco. I still chuckle when I remember that we spent our cash on lunch and then couldn’t actually buy anything… ha!
The Alameda Antiques Faire is a huge flea market crammed with vendors, open on the first Sunday of every month. Sam and I made the trek (not easy using public transportation, especially because the Alameda bus stop closest to the market is temporarily blocked) the first week of March.
It was a treasure trove of antiques, big and small, and also a pretty large variety of food trucks. Unfortunately, we always forget that the East Bay is about 10 degrees warmer than the city, so we were sweltering soon enough and there’s no shade on the open pavement. (Fun fact: when the Flea Market is not set up, the same field is used by Myth Busters to test out their stunts!)
Also unfortunately, we spent all our cash on lunch and the ATM machines were out of money… so, we couldn’t actually buy anything. But we still had fun window shopping!
A few city sights from the Alameda Flea Market:
I haven’t shared an official “tour” of our new house, mostly because it still feels too unfinished. But after my parents visited last weekend I realized how much this new house feels like home after three months, whether it’s finished or not. So it seems like a good time for a few Before/During updates… and plans for the Afters. (Of course, we’ll probably never be truly “done” but that’s OK!)
Let’s pretend we’re walking through the house from the front door, shall we?
Home Sweet Home
Whether you walk into the house from the front door or the garage, you’ll enter the foyer that connects to the two guest rooms/bathroom and hallway to the main living area.
Here’s a Before from January:
- find a solution for hanging coats – either hooks above/by the bench or a coat rack or some sort of armoire
- entryway table either by the front door or door to the garage
- hang art or figure out what to add to the blank wall and accent wall
Front room in January:
And today… the front room has had the most progress, for sure! We finally have a bed (no more air mattress!) and the bare minimum for guests – a nightstand, lots of blankets, and a space heater.
The sewing room is a different story… it’s honestly stressing me out a bit.
It’s become a bit of a catchall, with all the unpacked artwork hanging out in here and sewing stuff all over the place. I do love my new bookcase though! The lack of organization is driving me crazy but I just don’t know where to start… so I’m at a standstill for now.
I don’t think I’ve taken any pics of these two rooms, so here they are! They’re functional for now, so we don’t need to make any major changes.
- organize closets – (1) in the front room, find smaller bins for our holiday decorations so they can go up to the attic, (2) in the sewing room figure out how to organize my craft supplies, and (3) in the linen closet, come up with a better system to keep everything organized (it’s fine for now but could be better).
- hang art on the walls – not sure if I want to do another collage wall of mini quilts, but I’ll probably want to hang my collection of framed cross stitch in one of these rooms.
When you leave the guest room area, the garage door is straight ahead. Over the weekend my Dad and Sam built a shelving unit to corral everything in there. I don’t have a Before pic, but just imagine all those bricks and buckets of paint cluttering the walls. What could be stored in the attic moved up there to make more room in the garage.
- buy a lawn mower!
Down the hallway is our office space. Right now it’s not extremely useful since neither of us work from home too often and when we do we prefer to use our laptops in the living room. Another downside is that since putting my bookshelves in here, I almost never actually read anything from the shelves. I miss them! Still noodling on what to do about it – move the books or find a reason to use this room more? Eventually I think this will be my sewing room when we need the spare rooms for kids.
Here’s a Before:
And now… it’s pretty much the same, with just a bit more clutter.
- find a filing solution – the two plastic boxes just aren’t cutting it anymore, and I don’t have a good system for transferring paperwork from incoming mail
- organize office supplies better – notecards, printer paper, etc. are still sitting in boxes
- hang art on the walls – maybe a chalkboard/pegboard/bulletin board
At the end of the hallway is the main living area, with the kitchen, dining room, and living room in one big space.
And now… pretty much the same!
Here’s the only pic I could find that shows the new tablecloth (when Tali was stalking the contractor as he worked on the door.)
- find a more useful solution for the bar cart that’s left over from past kitchens. Right now it’s a catchall for decorative kitchen stuff but doesn’t serve much of a purpose since we have more than enough cabinets to store everything
- find a glass-front hutch or cabinet to display decorative items, to move them off the bar cart. I’m thinking a corner cabinet to use up the dead space behind the dining room table.
- organize cabinets – most things are in place but I’m so used to cramming everything into a small kitchen that some cabinets are still entirely empty! My Mom helped me figure out a few useful switch-arounds that should help make the workflow more efficient.
- hang art on the walls
Still pretty much the same! The biggest eyesore is the TV, with wires going every which-way and a few pieces of sound equipment that are too big for the average TV storage that we’ve seen in furniture stores. But over the weekend we discovered Rooster Tails, where they build custom wood furniture that is both beautiful, long lasting, AND reasonably priced! We were so impressed with their stock and customer photos all over the walls that we didn’t think twice about placing an order for a TV console on the spot, and I have a feeling we’ll be going back for more.
- replace couches with sectional
- once TV console and couch are in place, find appropriate-size area rug and possibly a new coffee table (the current rug and table will probably move outside to the porch)
- hang art on the walls
Off the dining room is the screened porch. No change here at all, except another row of houses has popped up in the background, across the green space. Just a long To Do list.
- install cat doors from the dining room to the porch and from the porch to the outside (doors purchased and carpenter coming this week, woohoo!)
- buy outdoor furniture – probably a couple chairs and/or rocking chair. Trying to avoid iron and mesh this time around since all our past patio furniture has rusted and/or molded
- buy grill
- plant herbs in a raised bed
- add some bushes for privacy
Back inside, the last room of the house is the master bedroom and bathroom/closet.
The main change is our new bed! Something new for the master meant that we could move our old bed to the guest room. The king size is a nice upgrade, although it makes everything else seem dinky in comparison. It still feels a bit barren in here, and I’m trying to figure out what to do in here next, but it’s fine for now.
- find more proportional bedside tables (and relocate these – either to the guest room or as side tables in the living room)
- add rug(s)
- relocate the trunk
- add a chair and/or another dresser to fill up some of the empty walls.
- hang art on the walls
And that’s about it! Hope you enjoyed this In Progress tour… I had fun at least! I’ll try to do regular updates as we fill in more of the empty spaces. I think once we get some art hung on the walls it will feel a lot more “finished.” But even if it never feels done, I love our first house so much!
I took an unintentional blogging break last week… let’s just call it Spring Break! The weather got warm and all I wanted to do was soak up the sun. The first day of Spring yesterday was cold and rainy… go figure!
My parents are coming to visit for Easter, which is always great motivation to get some things done around the house. The main excitement was our new bed!
We graduated to a King size… and this thing is huge! Everything else in the room looks like doll furniture now. I’ve gotten used to it but we’re exchanging the box spring for a thinner one (5″ vs 9″) so hopefully that will help.
The cats approve their new napping location, although it’s a bit hard for Tali to climb up. You and me both, Tals!
With the new bed in our room, the old one got moved to the guest room.
Finally, after almost 7 years, my parents don’t have to sleep on an air mattress! I’m sure they’re relieved.
Shamrock Specimen Art
AND a Paper Shamrock Garland: