Harv Dreams of Bubbles

My sister and brother-in-law just adopted two kittens. Super cute, great personalities. We went to see them a few weeks ago and as we were playing with them, my sister commented that one cat seems to be more of a “mouser” and the other a “birder” while describing their styles of play.

I hadn’t really thought about Harv in either of those terms before. And as it turns out, he’s neither. He’s a bubbler!

I was about to start washing some dishes the other night and so I squirted some dish soap into the sink. As I did so, several tiny bubbles floated out of the nozzle, immediately catching Harv’s attention. He went nuts!

After he popped all of the bubbles he sat there looking at me expectantly, wanting more. I obliged. He went nuts again. Meowing crazily, tracking the bubbles across the kitchen as they floated perilously close to his swatting range. I was amazed. I kept making bubbles for him to chase and he loved it.

Then D came along and told me I was wasting dish soap, so I stopped and finally got started on the dishes. But Harv didn’t want to stop. He kept meowing and brushing up against my leg all cute, trying to get some bubble action going again. I decided that this was a hobby worth pursuing for him so the next day I went to the store and bought actual bubbles. With the little plastic wand and everything. I thought he might enjoy the challenge of larger bubbles.

It was tremendously fun!

bubbling

moar bubbles

Especially after I started blowing them in front of a fan and letting them really whip around the apartment. That made him insane!

on the nose

preying

Harv loves tracking the bubbles and then getting as close to them as he possibly can before they burst. Classic bubbler, that cat of mine.

It’s like crack for him, he wants to chase bubbles every night now. He’s hooked. Just look at his face when I got the bubble bottle out:

IMG_6210

Look at it:

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 8.16.56 PM

LOOK AT IT FOR ALL ETERNITY:

bubble obsessed

That photo is just dying to be made into a meme. Even the strongest of all catnip couldn’t compete with bubbles for this cat’s attention. It’s all bubbles all the time around here now. And I’m an enabler.

Advertisements

Harvey’s Birthday

Harvey is my special little guy. Coming home to him is always the best part of my day. I get home and no matter what time it is, he races to the door to greet me. He weaves his chubby little body impatiently between my legs, oftentimes tripping me inadvertently as I try to get through the front door and kick off my shoes, because he just can’t wait one damn second for my loving attention. He demands that I crouch down and lower my face to his so he can “kiss” me hello by rubbing his nose up against mine. It’s our routine, it happens every night without fail.

D graciously lets Harv have the first round of kisses and affection every night when I get home. He knows how much I cherish those fleeting lovey dovey Harvey moments, because they don’t last long. Soon after he’s gotten his nightly greeting, he’s all rambunctious and hyper, practically bouncing off the walls. And once he switches to play mode you can’t get anywhere near him without being swatted in the face. Harv gives love on his own terms, and you take what you can get without any ifs or buts about it. So D steps aside, selflessly, and lets Harv get what he wants of my affection first. He’s amazing like that.

It’s been like this for three wonderful years now. Today is Harvey’s third birthday. I can’t even believe how fast the time goes. It feels like it was only yesterday that we brought him into our home and opened our hearts to him. It’s the best thing we’ve ever done, adopting him. Pets bring a special kind of happiness into our lives, a happiness that I can’t live without. The first year that D and I lived together we had no pet. It was sad, for me. I didn’t really realize what was missing at first, but I knew that something was wrong with our situation. Something was off, I felt sad often but nothing was really the matter with me.

Sometimes, we’d be sitting there at night, just watching T.V., and I’d suddenly feel an overwhelming ache. A gaping hole in my heart and the pain of it, so suddenly unbearable, I couldn’t make sense of. And then one day it dawned on me. I needed a pet. I needed something furry to love. There was always a cat or two roaming around in the house I grew up in. Fuzzy friends to play with and adore. I missed that. I missed the soft sound of kibbles being crunched in the next room over. I missed that pins and needles feeling felt in my legs while reading and cuddling a cat in my lap for hours on end. I even missed the constant assault of fur upon my clothing. I’d gladly spend a fortune on lint rollers for the love of a good pet.

So we made my universe right again when we adopted Harv. Because he means so much to me, and because I might be a touch mental, I spoiled Harv a bit for his birthday this year. He’s my special little guy and I dote on him so.

First up on the kitty birthday docket, a bath. We plunked him into the tub and scrubbed him up real good. He smells like a goddamned springtime bouquet now.

Next, an extravagance. A brand new kitty palace for my darling prince.

new kitty palace

harv's new digs

new toy fun

D thought I was being excessive. Harv already has a carpeted platform that he loves to play on and sleep in. But it’s not enough. Nothing will ever be enough for my precious Harvey. So more carpeted cat palaces it is! I’ll fill the whole frigging apartment with them if I have to, just to make Harv happy.

Then, we bought him a fancy can of wet food for dinner. The vet says that he’s a tad too fat so he’s been eating diet food for the past eight months, but we figured it being his birthday and all he was entitled to a diet cheat. We purposefully tried to buy the most expensive can we could find. $2.69 is as high-end as it gets for cats, I guess, because that was the priciest tin we could find. Harv lapped up every bite with the greedy enthusiasm you’d expect from someone who is cheating on their diet. Money well spent.

So maybe I spoiled him for his birthday this year. And maybe that seems crazy to you, but I don’t give a shit. Really, it’s the least I can do. Harvey totally changed our lives. He filled a hole in my heart, and he made us into a family.

our family

little harv and i

I owe him a hell of a lot more than $2.69.

Chunky Monkey

Poor Harvey. We took him to the vet this weekend for a couple of shots, but that wasn’t the worst of his problems…

The doctor said that he’s too chubby and has to go on a diet. Being of the curvier variety myself, I feel for the poor little guy.

This was our first meeting with the new vet and we loved her. Her face lit up when she first saw Harvey, she remarked on how handsome he is numerous times, and she gave him lots of affectionate pets throughout his examination. So clearly she’s very caring and really does love animals, which is important to us. We liked his previous vet in Richmond Hill too, more specifically we liked one of the two doctors working at that practice. The doctor we actually did like was nice, but her bedside manner was much more reserved than the one we just visited. The other doctor at the old vet was a total dick. D hated him almost instantly upon meeting him. He was unfriendly and unkind, not giving a single fuck about anything. He handled Harvey too roughly and barely gave us the time of day when we had questions about Harv’s overall health. Not the kind of person that I want to rely on for my cat’s care. One visit to him was more than enough. Whenever we made appointments for Harv after that one horrendous visit with Doctor Doom, we’d make sure that he would be seeing the doctor we actually liked. It was quite the hassle given their varied work schedules. Needless to say, I was quite selective in picking out Harvey’s new doctor in Toronto. We didn’t want to find ourselves in the same situation.

We were very pleasantly surprised. Like I said, the new doctor was outgoing, friendly, and showed extraordinary care to an animal she was only just meeting for the first time. A total slam dunk.  However, there is that whole diet thing to consider… Poor Harvey. He was called “chunky monkey” no less than 15 times during his visit. I know he’s got a small frame that has filled out generously since we first brought him home. But I didn’t think we’d have to resort to a diet!

The kibble he likes to eat is labelled “weight control”, and he doesn’t eat a single scrap of people food. But he is a bit of a pig for wet food. And as the vet said, the fancy feast he hungers for is equivalent to feeding him pizza for dinner every night. Like a really cheesy, deep-dish, grease ball of a pizza. Oh man, that sounds so fucking awesome. I can’t take that away from him, can I? I love my little Harv as is and I don’t want to deprive him of anything he may want. I mean, it’s not like he’s obese. He just has some extra chub to love, right?

Maybe we need a second opinion. What do you think, reader?

Figure 1: lounging on the bed last Sunday

Getting some evening sun last week

Figure 2: getting some evening sun last week

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 3: watching some T.V.

Figure 4: hanging out with his friend

Figure 4: hanging out with his best friend

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 5: napping alongside me while I read

Figure 6: joining us for dinner

Figure 6: joining us for dinner (but just for company, not for eating any of our food)

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 7: snuggling with D

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Figure 8: greeting me when I get home

Is my darling Harvey a chunky monkey or just a naturally curvy cutie? As long as he’s healthy, I don’t really care how big he is. D and I will love him no matter what. Either way, we can all agree that he’s got a very happy life. And he clearly doesn’t give a damn how he looks. He’d probably be just as happy at ten pounds as he would be at thirty. But that’s because he doesn’t understand the negative impacts a life of excess can have. Which is where I come in…

Perfectly happy as is

Perfectly happy as is

His health and well-being are totally on me. And I don’t want to fuck this up. I want him to keep having a happy life, so I guess that means doing whatever it takes to keep him healthy. If feeding him junky wet food for dinner puts my standard of care in a similar class as that of the douche-bag vet in Richmond Hill, then I need to change that. Because I am nothing like that jerk when it comes to caring for the pets I love. Our new vet is right. She has a great big caring heart, and she’s right. She fell in love with Harv as soon as she laid eyes on him, so I know she wouldn’t steer us wrong.

I’m going to go ahead with the diet because I trust and respect her opinion. And because I want this wacky little kitty to stick around for a very long time.

Harv’s Greatest Hits

I got the crazy cat gene from my dad’s family. They’re all nuts about cats. So, you’ve been sufficiently warned. I am a bit of a crazy cat lady. This post reflects my indulgence of the gene.

Happy 2nd Birthday Harvey!

My darling little Harv turns two years old today. And based on the astute calculations of a cat age calculator that I found online, he’s now the equivalent of a 25-year-old human. Right on buddy!

We got Harvey in June 2011, he was just a couple of months old. Looking back, its unreal how tiny he was! D and I had been together for a while and something was missing. I’ve always had pets in my house growing up. When I moved out, striking out on my own for the first real time since university, our family cat Chubby Cody had to stay behind with my mom. He wasn’t my cat to move. And my apartment hadn’t come with any free pets, so I had to go without for a little while. It felt weird not having a furry little buddy around the house. After a while, once we’d settled in, I started to feel that it was time. Time for a new little buddy to love. I told D that I needed a pet and we started our search.

It wasn’t long before we found him. Adopting Harvey is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. When I picked him up for the first time and he snuggled his tiny little kitten head into my shoulder I knew we were meant to be. Instantaneous love.

Since the internet is strictly fuelled by cute cat pictures these days, I thought I would celebrate Harvey’s spectacular life thus far by counting down his greatest hits in napping. It’s just my way of giving back. You’re welcome internet.

Hold onto your donuts people, it’s about to get crazy cute up in this bitch!

HARVEY’S GREATEST HITS: NAPPING EDITION

10) Cat on a sill

Our old apartment had wide window sills, perfect for cat naps! A young Harv, getting his beauty rest on. You’ve gotta hand it to him, he’s got great potential.

window ledge

9) The Fancy Man

Sometimes Harv likes to put airs on. The airs of a sophisticated and refined house cat. He’ll sit with his paw draped leisurely across his manly chest. It is an optimal napping position to showcase his little cat boobies. Exquisite!

fancy cat

8) Classic Couch Surfing

Here again we see a young Harvey demonstrating his remarkable napping prowess. This was before his aforementioned boobies came in.

harvey nap

7) Nest of Blankets

Harv loves to burrow himself deep within the blankets on our bed. This is a particularly desirable napping space when the bed is being made. As the sheets are lifted, being positioned on the bed mid-air, Harv likes to dive under them. Making himself look as cute as possible, ingratiating himself in your heart, to ensure that he isn’t ousted from what is sure to be a supremely comfortable nap.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6) Cruisin’ in the Catmobile

Best purchase ever. It paid itself off hand-over-fist in cat joy within hours of bringing it home. Harv loves to nap in what has come to be known as The Catmobile. It’s his own private penthouse of cat nap heaven!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5) Soaking up the Sun

Surely you’ve all realized by now that cats are solar-powered? They need to soak up as much sunlight as possible during the day so that they are adequately prepared for their nighttime adventures. You know, like howling at the front door until it feels like your ear buds are bleeding. Or unceremoniously knocking those sanctimonious houseplants off their pedestals when they least expect it.

IMG_1078

4) Table Dancing

Harvey is not allowed on the coffee table or the dinner table. That was a difficult battle though. Many vigorous and discouraging spurts of the water bottle helped us secure our ground. We fought long and hard to win that one. Sadly, our victory cost us the side table.

IMG-20120701-00060

3) Lovin’ D

Harv loves to sleep with D. His favourite thing is to curl up around D’s head and briefly lick his hair before retiring to kitty sleepland for the night. He’s been doing this ever since we brought him home. He’s incorrigible! And precious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2) Straight-laced

We have a nice couch, but we’ve kept my old futon from my university days too. For the occasional use when someone sleeps over. Harvey, however, sees the futon in another light. It’s his and it serves him tirelessly. Its been enlisted to serve a higher purpose now. Higher than even drunken sleepovers. Its calling now is to provide Harvey with a superlative place for napping at all times. And it hasn’t failed him yet.

IMG-20120527-00043

1) Bliss Catsonified!

Well I couldn’t very well say personified now could I? So Catsonified it is. Ah, wait. Let’s try this again… Purrsonified! Nailed it. This is my most favourite picture of Harvey to date. And as such, it has reigned supreme as the desktop wallpaper ever since it was snapped. He truly is the happiest little kitten in the world in this picture. The very epitome of bliss. That is one nap that’s been done some serious justice!

best nap

Once again, you’re very welcome internet. This should provide you with sufficient sustenance for this week. And I think it’s earned me a week without any of those frustrating mac rainbow wheels, yes? Come on, hook a girl up.

Happy Birthday to the cutest little snuggle munch that ever lived. You’re totally rad Harv, I dig your style.

5 to 9: Day 2

I’ve always thought that retirement is a sweet deal. You’ve got nothing but time. Time to do whatever the hell you want with your days. And then hopefully, some fat stacks of cash to burn.

The only thing that didn’t appeal to me was the supposed hours that retirees keep. But, on second thought, I think I get it.

Maybe it’s the jet-lag, or maybe it’s just our bodies natural desire to rise with the sun. I don’t know. But we are routinely up around 5:00am and passed out asleep by 9:00pm. It could also be because we pack so much activity into our days. It’s weird because we’re on vacation. Why the eff are we getting up at 5:00am every morning? We went on vacation so we wouldn’t have to be up super early to start the day!

Yesterday we took in the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. I had planned those activities to take up a full day. We were at the zoo by 9:00am for open, and had finished at the Aquarium at 11:30am. D’oh!

The zoo was great, it was a lot of fun. There was a wide variety of animals on display. But it was small. But I guess I’m just a little spoiled on zoos because the Metro Toronto Zoo is massive. I just took for granted that all zoos are around the same size. When you go to the Toronto zoo, you plan a full day. If you’re going to see every exhibit, it’s at least 5 hours. Plus travel time, plus lunch.

The Honolulu Zoo was way cheaper to get into though, and I appreciated that.

D’s favourite part was the Toucan. He was so lively! He kept hopping from branch to branch, stopping to pose for our pictures. Such an incredible bird. He’s gorgeous. If you look closely, you can see how vibrantly blue his eyes are.

Toucan Sam

Toucan Sam

I liked the lemurs and the meerkats best, because they’re so cute and I could get great shots of them.

little cuties

little cuties

just like we practiced

just like we practiced

There were a lot of giant tortoises as well, which were quite impressive. We watched one of them spend 10 minutes crawling about 8 feet towards us! I’m a super fast walker myself, so I can’t possibly imagine taking that long to get anywhere.

take it easy

take it easy

The Aquarium was a quick walk down the street from the zoo, so it was our next stop. It was shockingly small. I had expected humongous exhibits. Just massive tanks of fish and intricate walkways throughout. I thought we would see sharks, whales, dolphins, sea lions, walruses, and all manner of sea life like that.

We saw some cool tanks, but nothing mind-blowing. The jellyfish were really cool.

little jellies

little jellies

big jellies

big jellies

Afterwards we walked along the beach, and stopped at the Barefoot Cafe for lunch. A very very delicious lunch.

fish 'n' chips

fish ‘n’ chips

Is it morbid that I had fish for lunch directly after visiting the aquarium? I couldn’t help it though. It looked so good. Mmm, it was! Flaky fish in a crispy panko batter with some light and fluffy tartar sauce. That’s all I need in this life.

views from the walk back

views from the walk back

Afterwards we decided to veer off the course of the tourist. We took a long walk away from the strip to see more local areas. I went into a great little shop where I found some really special souvenirs. We walked and walked and walked. We walked for as long as our little legs could manage it. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were pooched.

But we had a very important goal that we still needed to achieve today. So we got ourselves dressed and went out for a lovely grandpa dinner at 4:30pm. I wanted to have time for a leisurely dinner, but ensure that when it was over we could take in a sunset. By 6:00pm dinner was done, and we walked down to the beach to grab a bench and savour the view.

It was spectacular!

Hawaiian sunset

Hawaiian sunset

cooch ya later

cooch ya later

The sun just kind of tucks itself back behind the clouds and says goodnight.

It felt incredible sitting there, watching it. Listening to the waves and kids playing on the beach. Breathing in the salty beach air. Just holding hands on our bench with all the other seniors. It’s peaceful and lovely. We’re on the go all the time, never slowing down. When we’ve finished doing something, it’s always “what’s next?”

We don’t have to be that way here. We can slow down. We can enjoy what’s around us instead of always looking ahead for what’s next.

We savoured the sunset and then went back to our room. We had drinks, we played cards, and we relaxed. We went to bed at 9:00pm, not because we wanted to, but because our bodies just told us that it was time.

It makes sense to me now. Keeping these hours. You fill the days with as much splendour as you possibly can, and you turn in for the night. You want to get up as early as you possibly can because you don’t want to miss a minute of the day.

Consider me well acclimated for the life of a carefree retiree!

cheers bitches!

cheers bitches!

Student Loans

I’ve been miserably sick all weekend. Out of nowhere I was hit with this dreadful cold, so I’ve been a sniffling, snotty, coughing mess since Thursday. I booked Friday off months ago because I was going to give myself an awesome long weekend to cap November off. So it would make perfect sense for my mutinous immune system to jump ship right before my glorious plans could even get out of the harbour, right? I wasn’t even planning on posting this week because my mood has been so foul. Best laid plans have been foiled, so fuck it. Instead of scampering through the streets with gleeful inhibition, I’m a hostage in my own apartment until I can pay the hefty ransom of 10,000 sullied kleenexes to my captor, this bitch of a cold.

Pretty grim stuff, I know. How could I possibly put a positive spin on anything right now? I can’t even remember what it feels like to breathe normally, unhindered by the shroud of nasal congestion draped around me.

Then I remembered something while looking at the calendar on the fridge. Friday November 30th was the last day of the month. My student loan payments are due on the last day of each month, and I started making payments on the debt exactly two years ago as of November 30th. I have been making regular payments on my student loans every month for the last 2 years. Wow, I know this is cliché, but time really does fly when you’re dutifully living the dream, responsible adult styles.

I remember feeling so confused and overwhelmed in the fall of 2005 while I waited in the seemingly endless line at the student loan office with Marion. The office opened at 8:00am, but we got up at 6:00 so that we could get a “good spot in line”. Turns out a “good spot in line” meant that we’d only have to spend half of our day waiting. We packed a deck of cards to pass the time, and snacks so we wouldn’t be tempted to leave the line when hungry. There were so many other students. Hundreds of kids, all waiting in line to sign the forms that would put them in debt with the government for the next decade of their lives.

One by one we would take our turn handing over our void cheques and signing on the dotted line. The curmudgeonly women reviewing the details on our forms not offering the slightest encouragement. They were magnificently robotic in every action, and had zero tolerance for questions. “Sign here, date here, initial here, you’re done. Next in line!”

I was glad that Marion was with me. She was orderly and organized, she knew what needed to happen, and was able to answer all of my questions. When we were finally finished, I felt so disheartened. Just days before when I’d moved into my dorm, I was excited. My life was just beginning and I was on the brink of something spectacular. But the stark realization that I was taking on a tremendous amount of debt, without a career guaranteed upon graduation, made me feel so insecure and anxious.

How would I ever pay this loan off? For every semester of education earned, I had to shoulder more and more debt. Was it really going to be worth it in the end? I come from a modest family, I’m one of five kids. I knew that pursuing this education meant I’d have minimal help from my parents. They were supportive in other ways, sure. But they couldn’t afford to put Marion and I through school at the same time. If I wanted to get a degree, I’d have to find a way to foot the bill myself.

I wrestled with those niggling feelings of insecurity and anxiety for months after getting my loan. I was only able to subdue those worries by telling myself that graduation was really too far ahead in the future to fret about. It would be ages before I needed to seriously think about a repayment plan. I was just a kid. Kids don’t worry about budgets and debt. Adults do. And I would have plenty of time for those things in adulthood.

Plus, if I couldn’t find a way to pay off the debt I had a Plan B in mind. I would run from it!

No job? No problem! Take what little clothing and money you do have and hop a bus, train, or plane out of the country. You’ll sever ties with everything and everyone you’ve ever loved and vanish into thin air. You’ll become an insanely brilliant ex-patriot writer, putting extensive volumes of your genius to press under an intriguing and beguiling pseudonym. You’ll have torrid affairs with handsome foreign men, and never tire of roving the globe. You will have a remarkable life of hedonistic adventure, free of any debt or obligation. Then after many years have passed, when it’s finally safe, you’ll return home. All prior debts having been miraculously expunged during your absence.

Plan B is not for the timid. But I was still hopeful that it wouldn’t have to come to that. And thankfully, it hasn’t yet.

I just kept working away. I’d go to classes, write exams, pay my bills, and head down to the student loan office to sign for my loans every semester. Time passed, and I graduated. Sure, I still had heaps of debt to my name. But I had grown leaps and bounds since that first semester. The confused teenager overwhelmed with the stress of supporting herself had gradually transformed into a mature, self-sufficient adult woman. I had gone through so much in my time at school. I tackled any and all challenges with gusto. Sometimes I succeeded in my ventures, sometimes I failed. When I failed, I learned. When I learned, I grew. I didn’t need to run away from my problems, because I was more than capable of tackling them head on. The ill-conceived Plan B need not come to fruition after all. And I had a six month window between graduation and my repayment due date to find a job.

Needless to say, I accomplished that goal. I’ve been going to work every day since September 2010, making my way in the world. When the day of loan repayment finally arrived, I wasn’t scared. I confidently dialled up the National Student Loan Service Centre and made arrangements for my monthly payments. I worked out an amount that was good for me, and I’ve been making payments every month since. Every payment I’ve made has been with money that I’ve earned entirely on my own.

While it would have been a great blessing to have a wealthy family taking care of all my financial needs, I consider it an even greater blessing that I’ve been given the opportunity and ability to provide for myself. I used to envy the kids that had everything in life handed to them. I don’t envy them anymore, I really don’t even give them much consideration at all. What we’re born into is merely chance. How we carry ourselves and what we make of ourselves is choice. All I know is that everything worth having in my life, I’ve earned. And I’m allowed to be proud of that.

I’ve been paying this loan off for the past two years, and I’m not even close to being done. I’ve made a hell of a dent so far though. It’s going to take a lot of time, and a lot of effort on my part. But it’s cool, because I know I can handle it. I’m not some superhuman overachiever spreading myself too thin, and stressing myself to the point of a nervous breakdown.  I’m also not an apathetic slacker. I’m just a regular kid, who needed help financially so I could earn my degree. If I can do it, anyone can.

Was it worth it to sign away a significant chunk of my earnings for the first decade of my career? Would I do it all over again if I had to? Fuckin’ A!

I gained so much more than I ever hoped to in my time at school. The friendships, the memories, the life experiences, the freedom; it’s all so invaluable. In the larger scheme of things, that loan of mine is peanuts and it’ll be paid off in no time.

I may not have had a very good weekend, but I can at least smile about that.