Dear diary:

Last night when I came home from work, one of the cats was nowhere to be found. The two tiny panthers (it just took me three tries to successfully figure out which large exotic feline was the black one) are always milling about and very excited at dinner time so this was highly irregular and a little alarming. I checked the garage and basement to see if she had followed us and been locked in behind us, but no luck on either of those. We couldn’t think of where else she would be. There really wasn’t anything else to do though: as much as we love them, the cats are utilitarian to us — they are simply here to control the rodents, and we got two cats in case one died for whatever reason — and we hadn’t seen any real reason to panic yet so we went to bed and simply hoped she would show up in the morning.

I just went out and checked this morning, and there the fat little thing was! Up in the barn with the hay and her sister, just like usual. What a relief. “The cat came back,” indeed. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world if Jinx had disappeared and never returned but we certainly would have been sad for the loss.

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Puma – no. Jaguar – no. Panther? YES.

It’s been as cold as the ninth circle of hell around here lately. For those not familiar with Dante’s Inferno, the deepest bowel of hell is a lake of ice where the worst sinners are frozen, trapped forever, so yes, saying “it’s cold as hell” is quite acceptable. Anyway, it’s been cold like this for about a month now, and I have mixed feelings about it, and those mixed feelings make me feel guilty. The layers of my discontent are absurd.

Let me explain. I have mixed feelings because I typically love cold weather — snow, frost, ice, chilly winds, etc. But these things have come so late in the season that I find it disorienting. Here I am, my internal clock ready for and expecting spring, and we’re still getting temperatures of -5 C at night. It’s similar to how I don’t like spring, but on a much longer timeline: I’ve mentioned here before how spring days make me feel weird because it will be sunny and hot but also drizzling and cold at the same time, and for some reason that really throws me for a loop. It’s like I don’t know how to feel those days — upbeat and chipper or miserable and downtrodden? This stretch of cold weather late in the season isn’t all back and forth like that but it is extremely atypical and thus somewhat emotionally confounding for me.

On top of that, I feel guilty for not loving this cold weather wholeheartedly. I’m usually nuts about this stuff, and I frequently reminisce about the coldest winter memories I have — blizzards in Ottawa, Quesnel, and Edmonton — so why don’t I appreciate this more right now? I mean, I certainly don’t hate it, but I do find it annoying in that dog walking on the frozen snow is a real pain in the ass, for example, and I can’t help but feel guilty for not wholeheartedly loving this weather while we have it. Satan in Hell knows that come the inevitable inferno of this summer, I’ll be longing for these short, dark, frozen days. Maybe I should just remind myself of that aspect when I find myself getting annoyed.

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“One day soon, I’ll miss this.”

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A tale of cat turds and extra sensory perception

Last night, it was snowing like a bastard so I went outside and moved my car to make it easier to get out when I left for work this morning. I cleared the snow off the car, hopped in, and started it up. Then I smelled the strong, pungent, unmistakable stench of shit in my car, like I had stepped in it and brought the foul stuff into the vehicle with me. But, strangely enough, I hadn’t. There was no shit anywhere. Not on my boots, not in my car, not anywhere I had walked in the snow. I shrugged and put it out of my mind, and finished what I was doing.

I went back inside the house a minute or so later to find Jenn coming down the stairs, holding our cat as far away from herself as she could, proclaiming that he had just shat in our bed, and was continuing to shit as she carried him outside. That’s right, the cat shit in our bed. He’s an old barn cat named Masuku who has always loved to come inside whenever we allow it, and Jenn thought we should bring him in last night on account of the inclement weather. But I guess it’s been so long since he’s been inside that he has forgotten what is expected of him there, and Jenn said she walked into our bedroom to see him squatting right in the middle of all our blankets, confidently releasing his bowels into our most intimate of spaces. It wasn’t like he was terrified and spraying diarrhea; no, these were fully-formed solid turds he was depositing, and continued to deposit as Jenn rushed down the stairs with him.

That will be the last time Masuku is ever allowed in the house. He really went out in a blaze of glory. Much manic cleaning ensued.

That’s a gross little story in itself but for me, the most fascinating aspect of this debacle is that I inexplicably smelled shit in my car right around the moment Masuku shat in my bed. How strange. I was just saying to someone recently that there was a period in my life a few years ago where I experienced several strange coincidences that really made me go, “whoah, this is spooky.” I wrote about some of those things here and here. I’ve gone a long time without experiencing anything spooky so as much as I want to puke at the memory of our damn cat shitting in our bed and down the stairs, I have to be grateful for — and try to focus on — the cool, mysterious experience related to it.

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Huh. Apparently it’s a thing. How about that.

Treatise on Studded Snow Tires in Snow-less Climates

I don’t think it makes any sense for people to drive around on studded snow tires for six months out of the year in a region where we rarely see snow at all, and when we do we’re only talking about 1-2 cm of it. All those studded tires are doing on bare roads is making more potholes for everyone to slam into that are going to be a costly nuisance to fix. I don’t think much else needs to be said on this topic.