Thursday, August 19, 2010

The best time waster.

I am surprised I didn't see it before!  The best thing I ever did to waste time well was get a cat.  My cat, Le Pusse, is a master time waster!  She could have a PhD in wasting time.  I have learned great things from her.

For those of you who don't know, we got Le Pusse as a test run cat.  The kitty ophanarium, i.e. Save A Dog Scheme (SADS), is chock a block full of cats that have been surrendered or found and the kindest group of people look after the cats; volunteers and staffers alike.  On our first visit a kind hearted man introduced us to all the cats.  We agreed, since our lives were so up in the air, and were especially airborne at the time of kitty contact, just helping out would be great.

You see, some kitties need a bit of TLC.  They have been on the streets too long and have lost that part of their heart that is human.  Other kitties, lets face it, have been harmed by humans and want nothing to do with us anymore.  Fair enough, we can be a nasty breed.  So the foster care program gets kitties out of the cages and into homes where they can learn to purr at the touch of a hand and shed all over your black clothes.  Hubby and I felt up to the task.  Not only do we love cats but we love challenging cats.  Our cat, Marmalade, was once affixed with a cardboard label on his second only trip to the vet: CAUTION! WILL BITE! 

After a day of thinking about it and ringing up the leasing agent we decided to go for it.  We went back to SADS and met with Jacky.  She and a volunteer took us back into the kennels and we met the cats again.  The younger kittens tussled about with their roommates completely unaware of their predicament.  Ah, to be young and foolish!  The more senior kitties had their paws tucked under their bellies and squeezed their eyes in a meditative pose.  They knew, eventually, this too shall pass.  The more surly kitties slunk in the dark recesses of the cage and only their eyes could be seen.  They hissed if you came too close.

Up on the highest row, about five cages from the door was a peridot- green eyed beauty named Cleo.  As Jacky made her way through the room Cleo puffed up her white fluffy chest and gazed down on me like the Cheshire Cat.  Hubby and I knew it was at the discretion of the staff which cats were most in need of re-homing so you can imagine my relief when Jacky said, 'Oh Cleo here, she's been with us for awhile.  I think she could really benefit with some time outside'. I jumped at the opportunity.  From the way she looked at me I felt this cat already knew me.  But I did feel some trepidation. 

I was worried she wouldn't fill the kitty boots before her.

We loved Marmalade.  

We loved Ollie.

We loved Lumpy. 

Great cats had come before her.  Would she fit in with us?

Every worry I had melted away when we got her home.  This cat was insta-purr.  She gleefully padded about our little apartment purring her heart out.  She was afraid of everything from the TV, to the kettle, to plastic bags, to barking dogs.  And on more than one occasion we had to fish her out from under the bed.  She settled in slowly but at night I heard her under the bed purring and I smiled.  By August I knew it.  She was ours.  

I lived in fear that SADS would call and say someone wanted to adopt her, could we please bring her in?   When Jacky did call my heart leapt into my throat.  Was someone there to adopt Cleo?  No, she was just checking in.  So I told her the good news, we wanted to adopt Cleo.  Wonderful!

It was the best $70 we ever spent!  Le Pusse is de-sexed, micro-chipped and tattooed.  She eats the finest French kibble and has the most luxurious soft blankets to kneed and cuddle.  She gets a brushing every day.  You might say she is spoiled.  But I get so much more.

I get a cat that sleeps on my legs and a cat who chirps at me in the morning until I put ice cubes in her water mug.  I get a cat that runs laps in our apartment and plays with a furry toy mouse.  I get unconditional affection and the best little pal a person could ask for.  She sits on my fabrics when I sew, she watches me when I make coffee.

Now a year later you would barely recognize this kitty.  She has gained a bit of weight and her coat is silky smooth.  She's not afraid of the TV, or the kettle, or plastic bags.  I take her outside to sniff the morning air and her head bobs up and down on the currents of the last breeze.

I watch as she gets trapped in the winter sunbeams that warm her belly and our chilly apartment.  I see her abdomen heave with satisfaction as she spontaneously erupts into self-soothing purrs.  She doesn’t do much, and she doesn’t have to.  She may be lazy but she is wasting time with us now.  And isn’t that the best thing in life?  To surround yourself with people and pets you love wasting time with?

So, if you are thinking about getting a pet, do us all a favour and go to your local adoption centre.  There are so many great pets out there that could benefit from a little TLC.

Time wasted to date with Le Pusse: One year and counting!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I may have mentioned before that hubby is a good researcher.  So when it come to buying our third fridge he researched the heck out of it.  You see, this fridge had to suit a very specific purpose.

Our first fridge is boring and the purpose to which it has been put is rather pedestrian.  It keeps our food cold.  Too cold in fact.  The temperature of the unit has never been stable.  Our sandwich meats and cheeses regularly freeze.  There is nothing worse than waiting for a wheel of brie to thaw when the bread, crackers, olives, and dips are already out... And you're soooooo hungry!!!   Strangely enough, if this fridge was in charge of regulating the temperature of our beer it would have been 'fixed' a long time ago.  But since it only harbours our food it has been assessed a much lower priority.

Our second fridge is our kegerator.  It holds our two Cornelius kegs, filled at this time with a drastic attempt at an Abby Ale (more on that at a later date) and our 4 star single hop APA.  This beauty also has trouble regulating its temperature but too cold beer is not the worst of sins.  We used to pour jugs and then wait patiently for the temperature to come up.  This was never a problem in the summer.  Give it a few minutes and the beer was good.  Since the winter has set in our 'too cold' fridge became a real problem.  The beer was taking too long to warm up!  That fancy doomahicky you see on top of the silver fridge in the next picture is Hubby's creation. It regulates the temperature of our kegerator to within one degree! More on that another time.

Our third fridge, as I said, was bought with a specific purpose in mind.  As the temperature in our apartment varies wildly (from 13 degrees to 20 in the winter and 15 degrees to 32 in the summer) brewing under temperature controlled conditions was hard, neigh, impossible.  As you may or may not know, yeast get busy at different optimal temperatures.  And the temperature they get busy at really affects the flavour of the brew.  Hubby said we 'needed' to get this under control.  I still think we 'need' to get the cat to the vet.  But, like our first fridge, the cat was assessed at a lower priority level; somewhat more important than a new fridge (for obvious reasons) but less important than beer (also for obvious reasons?).

So Hubby researched the heck out of our third fridge and found three types that can hold the fermentor we currently own, with a fully removable freezer compartment, and space for a lamp, heat rock, heat belt or other fire prone concoction to heat the unit.  Getting one of these fridges was easier said than done.  Especially when you are as cheap as we are!  We couldn't spend more than $150.  That was the challenge.  We stalked the Trading Post, Gumtree, and Ebay.  We went to far flung nooks of this city and trudged through warehouses of unusable fridges. On a side note, I saw a great food fridge! But no! Food?  We aren't here to keep our food happy.  We are here to keep the yeast happy!

Finally, after many disappointing trips and one very confused man in a Bunnings car park, we found the make and model we wanted and it was only a few suburbs away!  After a short glimpse into the hipster lifestyle in trendy Carlton, we agreed on a price, lugged the fridge onto the street, and into our Ford Festiva.  Festevy is surprisingly generous in interior space and the fridge stood almost upright in the back.  It was done.  Weeks of disappointment after being outbid on Ebay, meeting strange men in houses, and explaining the odd use of this fridge, everything was sorted.  We had our fridge!

The Mistral fridge is home.  We had to move my sewing table over a smidge to fit it.  And yes, it may seem drastic to have 3 fridges in a 500 sq foot apartment.  But it will pay off.  We already have our first lager fermenting away!

But for every glass of beer that is half full there is another that is half empty.  Subsequent to getting the fridge home and paying $120, two identical fridges went up for bidding on Ebay.  One sold for $40, the other sold for $80.  Such is our luck!

Now I want to name the fridges.  Any suggestions?

Time wasted to date: 30 hours