Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

Why Cats Don’t Fly

by: Corey

To begin with, we would both like to apologize for not writing this post much sooner.  As many of you already know, we landed in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday October 13th for our 2 week + stay visiting Lisa’s parents.  After a couple of days  in Raleigh, Lisa came down with a pretty bad cold.  As soon as she started feeling better, I started to feel kind of crappy.  I don’t know what if was, cold/flu, but it was definitely not very much fun. As you can see, our trip of a life time didn’t exactly start as we would have hoped. On the bright side, we are both feeling much better and we both know we will face much more daunting obstacles in the near future.  Before I proceed, I also want to apologize for the lack of color in this post which will not contain any pictures.  We hope this will not happen t0o frequently in our future posts.

As many of you are already aware of, Lisa and I (mostly Lisa) have done a great deal of research and planning to get ready for this trip.  This entailed many, many hours on the computer looking at reviews on clothing/equipment, reading every interesting travel blog on the internet, and many other random tasks to get ready for what lies ahead.  One of these random tasks was taking our cat, Norma Jean, on a number of car rides to get her acclimated to moving in a vehicle.  We had originally planned on driving to Raleigh, but after looking at the cost to rent a car for the time that we would need it, we found that it made more sense to fly.  Outside of one bathroom accident, Norma was outstanding in the car.  She didn’t whine/cry, she got out of her carrier to walk around, and generally seemed to be enjoying herself.  After that first “accident” we began bringing the litter box along with us, just in case, but she never needed it and was fine on every car ride leading up to our departure. However, Lisa still felt a bit of trepidation about our big travel day, I was confident that Norma would be fine.

Let’s turn to our day of departure, Saturday October 13th.  We left my parents house around 4:45 AM for our flight that left Milwaukee at 6:30AM for our connection in Chicago.  Packed in my parent’s truck was my dad, mom, brother, Lisa, myself, and Norma in her brand new cat carrier.  On a side note, in order to bring a cat on a plane, you need to have a carrier that meets specific specifications to fit in under to seat in front of us.  This is where you’d put your normal carry-on.  Despite this fact, the airlines still charge $125 for her to fly which to us was just ridiculous.  I digress.  Now, when Lisa and I drove, it was always nice out and we made a concerted effort to drive nice and smooth.  This was not the case on this morning. First, it was pouring rain which Norma has always had a hard time with – thunder & lighting are her Kryptonite.  Secondly, my dad (it’s not your fault Dad) didn’t exactly make it the smoothest ride in history.  Despite some fidgety behavior on her part, Norma was pretty good on the way to the airport.  However, as we approached the airport, she started making noise and moving around a bunch.  As I tried to calm her and see what her deal was, I found the reason for her discomfort. I don’t know if it was the weather, the driving, the stress, or the over the counter sedative we tried giving her before we left, but Norma had thrown up.

As soon as we pulled up to the airport, Lisa and I quickly got our bags from the back of the truck and made a B-line for the nearest  bathroom.  We were hoping for a family bathroom with no luck.  Lisa ran into the Women’s restroom a couple of times to wet paper towel with water & soap and clean up what she could as I held a struggling, scared Norma.  Lisa made quick work of cleaning the cat carrier , we forced Norma back in her carrier, and entered the ticketing line as quickly as possible.  Our plane was leaving in less than an hour so time wasn’t exactly on our side.  We were both a little shaking and nervous.  After about a minute in line, I started to smell something kind of foul.  At about that same time, I hear Norma start to squeaking and meowing, I turned to Lisa and said, “Do you smell that?”  I wasn’t the only one with a foul odor in my nose.  I lifted Norma’s carrier, turned it to side, and found the source of the stench.  It was a fresh, logged shaped cat poop.  By this point Norma was trying her best to scratch her way out of the carrier and I don’t blame her.  Lisa and I looked at each other and Lisa said, “It’s fine, we’re going to be fine!”  It must be said, that my wife was trying her hardest to remain calm, but it was a bit difficult considering the circumstance we found ourselves in!

We couldn’t get through that line fast enough. Fortunately, no one, including the United employee who checked us in, seemed to notice our plight.  If they did, they didn’t find it necessary to embarrass us.  Once we dropped our checked bags off, we wound my parents and brother.  Although there was supposed to be sadness because we were leaving, they found our problem pretty amusing.  We finally did find that Family Bathroom that we were looking for and again did our best to clean Norma and her carrier up. When we were done, we had just enough time to say goodbye to my parents and my brother.  We got through security without incident, found our gate, and got a few minutes to relax our nerves.  Norma settled down, although be were both waiting for her to complete the trifecta and pee all over her carrier.  Lucky for us, that didn’t happen.  Both of our flights, our lay over in Chicago, and our drive from the airport to Lisa’s parents went off without incident.

We have now been in Raleigh for the past 11 days.  Norma Jean acclimated herself to her new home pretty well.  She only scratches on her new scratching post, she is constantly acting like an idiot (chasing her tail or imaginary objects), and is very curious about the goings on in her grandparents room.  For us it has been nice, despite our illnesses, to relax and get everything prepared for our up coming journey.  It wasn’t optimal, but I think our cat flying experience was a good precursor to help us prepare for dealing with the unexpected situations that we’ll be facing in our upcoming months on the road.

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Silverstein “Stinky” Waller”
June 25, 2007 – April 23, 2012

A few weeks after we got married we got Norma Jean at the Waukesha County Human Society.  After a couple of months of it just being the two of us and Norma, we decided to get her a playmate.  We, the weird people that we admittedly tend to be, came up with a name for our new cat before we even walked into the Milwaukee County Human Society’s doors.  Silverstein, after the band Silverstein which is named after the poet Shel Silverstein.  This was the name Lisa first came up with and Corey loved immediately.  So as we roamed the halls of the humane society we found ourselves looking for a silver/gray cat.  They had a few, however, there was a feisty little one with tiger striping that looked pretty cool.  He was the one and we brought him home. 

Now there are two ways to introduce cats.  The right way: is to lock the new cat in a separate room and let them kind of get used to each other’s smells and then give them short times together, again to allow them to both get comfortable.  And the wrong way: is to walk in the front door, open the new cat’s carrier, and see what happens.  Poor Norma.  We choose the second way. The second Silverstein got out, he began chasing Norma all over the house, generally beating the crap out of her.  After a couple of hours of this we both began to become worried that maybe this wasn’t going to work.  We went to work the next morning hoping that by the time we got home things would have settled down at least a bit.  Luckily, they did.  When Corey got home the next afternoon the two cats were taking a nap together, best friends after a night of all out war.  One thing was very apparent after that first night.  This was Silverstein’s house.

Throughout his life Corey has had quite a few cats.  Not one of them has come even close to touching Silverstein and his incredible personality.  From his loud mouth purring to the place he choose to spend his nights, wrapped around Corey’s head even if that meant forcing him off the pillow.  Silverstein always made his presence felt.  He liked to play it up like he was a real tough guy, but reality didn’t quite match up.  He would always be the first to greet Corey when he came home, unless he thought it was a stranger and he ran away to hide under a chair.  One time we brought a dozen balloons home for one of Lisa’s picture projects and left to do some errands.  We came home to find Silverstein hiding in the kitchen drawer with all the measuring cups and spoons.  We have now idea how he managed to squeeze his fat body in there or why he was so afraid of those balloons.

When he played, he really liked it rough.  Corey could push him to the ground and roughhouse him and he would just lay there purring, happy as could be.  Sometimes Corey would even put his face in jumping range over Silverstein.  He’d jump up and hit Corey with both paws in the face, claws in because he didn’t want to hurt Corey.  

He hated company.  He usually would either hide somewhere in the bedroom or, if he was feeling brave, walk around and hiss at any stranger that got too close.  We originally tried to bring the cats up to Corey’s parents’ for holidays, but Silverstein ended that because he always ended up under a couch, hissing at people.  I guess to others he must have seemed like a big jerk, but he wasn’t like that with us.  I think that’s what made Silverstein so loveable.  He hated everyone, but loved the three of us so much.

One month ago, on April 23, 2012, we had to say goodbye to our little boy cat.  To be honest, it’s been a rough month emotionally trying to get on with a life that doesn’t include Silverstein. Some people may think it’s silly to mourn a cat, but he was one of our best friends & it’s weird to think that it’s just the three of us now: Corey, Lisa & Norma Jean.

Back in January, Silverstein started throwing up and losing his appetite.  We took him to the vet, where they put him on a couple of medications which seemed to do the trick.  He seemed like he was back to normal.  Unfortunately, this didn’t last for very  long.  Within a couple of months his previous symptoms returned, but worse  this time around.  Corey also found a weird peapod-like object in the litter box.  It could have been from either of our cats, but we assumed that it was probably from him since he wasn’t feeling well. 

 Lisa noticed blood in his stool one morning while getting ready for work & that freaked both of us out.  Obviously concerned, we brought him back to the vet, where they insisted on saying that it was probably the same thing from January & prescribed the same medication.  If, after that, he still wasn’t better, then they’d do x-rays and blood work.

After that second visit to the vet his appetite plummeted.  We tried every cat food we could find & even caved in, giving him our food: tuna, deli meat, ground turkey, anything to get him to eat.  After attempting to get him in for blood work & x-rays on a Saturday morning with no luck, the vet suggested we buy some AD to nourish him over the weekend and then get him tested the following Tuesday.  We weren’t keen on this plan, but weren’t sure what other options we had.  So, we bought the AD, which is soluble cat food that’s supposed to have an appealing aroma, in hopes that Silverstein would get something in his system.  It didn’t work.

On Sunday morning, April 22nd, we brought him to a 24 hour animal hospital in our area.  By the afternoon we learned that he probably had liver disease.  They kept him overnight & the next morning learned that not only did he have liver disease, but that his small intestine & pancreas were probably infected.  They’d have to do more tests and he’d have to wear an esophageal feeding tube for at least 3 months.  At that point the doctor was going over the costs of all these procedures and we realized we had to let him go.  Around 11:30 that Monday morning we held him while he slipped away. 

Some of Lisa’s co-workers have suggested getting a new cat, but they can’t seem to grasp just how special he was to us.  Have you ever met a cat who purred when you put him in a dress?  Or who smelled something stinky & went back not for one, but two sniffs?  Or whose preferred relaxation method was on his back?  That was Silverstein!  Not a day goes by that we don’t miss him and while we wish we had more time with him, at least we got 5 great years with our baby boy!  

Rest in peace Stinky

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Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year!

We also wanted to send a special shout-out to our Raleigh family & friends: we wish we could be there with you this year & we’ll see you in the summer. . . Merry Christmas!!!

Lisa's face doesn't normally look like that, but Norma Jean's so squirmy & (after several attempts) this was the best photo of her. Notice that Silverstein, my cat, is on his best behavior! (Boys 1: Girls 0)

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It was balanced when we put it up, but the kitties feel that the tree is their playground! See the little kitty in the corner?

I know we have been bad about blogging, but it wasn’t until my buddy Gillian sent me an email wondering how things have been that I knew it was time to drop a line.  Honestly, we’ve just been really, really busy!  I realize that’s no excuse for not staying on top of the blog, but that’s the problem with having a travel-oriented blog when we’re just saving right now. 😛 

Between work, Christmas shopping, planning for a trip to Raleigh and not to mention all the other normal parts of our daily routine – laundry, cooking, eating, sleeping, reading, crocheting – we’ve been busy & pretty exhausted as a result. 

Work, work, work: I have a huge project at work that needs to be done before we go out-of-town, so I’ve been working my butt off to make sure it gets done.  It’s not a very hard project, but it has me working in the vault, where there’s no insulation or heat, getting together contact information to send out invitations for a big event in February.  (If you’re new to this blog, then you should know that we live in Wisconsin & that we’ve been between 0 & 20 degrees F this past week – in other words it’s flippin’ cold back there!)  Then, there’s Corey with his 4, 10 hour days and his additional 8+ hour weekends tiling.  Friday was his 20th straight day of work!  I have no clue how he does it.  Luckily, that was his last tile job of the year & this week he only has to work Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday.

It hasn’t all been boring work stuff.  Here are some fun decoration photos.  Please note our ridiculous cats in the tree! 

Norma Jean



I made these cute little crochet ornaments, but the cats have decided that those are there only for their amusement!

Crochet Ornaments

On to the shopping portion: Shopping for my parents was easy.  We’re all so happy to see each other that the gift aspect really isn’t that important.  Can’t tell you what they’re getting, cause the read the blog!  Corey’s parents are another story.  We ask them what they want & they either say nothing or I’ll get back to you & never do.  So we end up hounding them for weeks until they finally make a decision.  And, that still leaves his brother, Jared & his aunt and you can’t forget that we also need to get at least 1 thing for each other.  This year we decided to get each other more Christmas presents than last year.  Last year we still hadn’t saved a dime, so in an attempt to get the ball rolling we decided to get our passports in order as a gift to each other.  This time around we put a $60 (ish) cap on the amount we could purchase on each other.  It’s always fun to get a surprise from your love on Christmas!

What’s a travel blog without a bit of travel?   We’ll be leaving for Raleigh on Christmas day.  My dad inadvertently taught me one of the best holiday travel secrets.  If you want to beat the crowds and have a better chance of getting to your destination on time, then you should travel on fill-in-the-holiday day!  The first time we went to Raleigh we left mid-week right after Christmas, thinking we’d be fine.  Boy were we wrong.  Our first flight was delayed, making us miss our second flight & flying to another city in hopes of catching the last flight from Newark to Raleigh.  Our original plan was to be in North Carolina at 1 PM, but we didn’t get there until 3 AM.  We would have made it there faster if we drove!  That’s not to say that everyone who flies on Christmas day travels worry/hassle free, but it seems to be a more relaxed bit of people traveling & in general the flights seem to be on time.  Anyway, we’ll spend this Christmas Eve at the Waller’s in WI & Christmas Day with the Davis family in NC. 

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!!!!

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(I realize that a book case, a cat and tile really do not go together, but random events took place last weekend & I wanted to share)

First off, we want to give a huge thanks to Mr. Waller, not my husband, but his pop, who refurbished this beautiful book-case for us! Isn’t it lovely! 

Also, here is an exact depiction of our fat cat, Silverstein, when he smells something stinky. (FYI: it’s usually something that smells good to humans, but the cats seem to be disgusted by such smells.) 

1. BIG inhale 

2. Somewhat stinky face 

3. Another BIG inhale (didn’t snap the photo in time) 

4. Affirmative (the carpet “stinks) 

Lastly, Corey tiled our bathroom & kitchen floor this weekend!  For those of you not in the know, his father is our landlord & this plan has been in the workings for a bit.  Anyway, the tile has been laid & it looks great!  See for yourself: 

Bathroom (before & after)


Kitchen (before & after)


That’s all for now. . . P.S. – Norma Jean, our other cat, says “hi!”

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So, it’s Friday the 13th & I work at a cemetery.  I’m sure most of you, who don’t know me, are thinking that I’m some weirdo goth chick that digs dead people or perhaps has some weird fascination with horror films.  I’m not one of those people and the people here are, for the most part, normal.  We’ve got one guy, who looks a bit like Lurch, but he’s actually pretty nice. 

As far as scary films go I need to watch them during the day & it can’t be the last thing I watch before going to sleep.  My imagination is way too overactive for a nighttime horror viewing.  The last time we watched a scary movie before bedtime I had nightmares about staring in my own true-life slasher.  Not fun!  At least I was able to fall asleep. Most times I’ll just lie there with my eyes closed, thinking about the horrible things that will probably never happen to me.

For my friends that don’t live here I want you to have a better understanding of the cemetery grounds.  Driving up to the main building looks more like a castle & the inside looks like a museum.  If it weren’t for signs that proclaimed we were a cemetery & the crypt flies – if you don’t know, you don’t want to know – I’d think it was a historical site.

So, why is Friday the 13th so unlucky?  Is it because scary films say it’s unlucky?  Other than the headache I woke up with its been a pretty good day.  It’s Friday & it’s summer!  What could be better than that?  Is anyone being followed around by some scary masked murderer?  Did my black cat cross your path?  Usually the freaks come out on occasions such as this, but I haven’t seen any.


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Like I said in our first post Corey was raised in Wisconsin & I was raised in North Carolina.  Corey grew up playing basketball & has always been a huge UNC fan.  His love for the team encouraged him to apply to schools in NC & that’s how he ended up going to Appalachian State University.  We met shortly after, dating on & off for a bit, always remaining close.  Once we realized that we were meant to be together Corey proposed, we had a short engagement, wed & got my things together to move to Wisconsin.


Corey still enjoys basketball along with football, baseball & golf.  We like to bike to stay active, but haven’t done it a lot this summer.  He loves finding new indie bands, reading & films.  

I played soccer for about 15 years recreationally, but haven’t touched the ball in a few years.  I love photography, reading, arts & crafts, indie music & films.

I went overseas in my junior year of college & fell in love with travelling & was happily surprised when Corey said he wanted to travel as well.  I started doing some research in 2006 about round the world travel & found that it actually could be done. 

Once we got settled in our new apartment in 2007 I had to find a job.  After several temp jobs – 5 in 2 years – I final found a good administrative job at a cemetery.  That’s when we began to save.  As long as our situation stays the same, no major car trouble, no major injuries, we’re on the right track to depart in 2012. 

Our biggest concerns are our cats, Norma Jean & Silverstein and saying good-bye to our family & our friends.  We don’t have to think about it now, but it’s a constant fear in the back of my mind.  

So, that’s a little bit about us.  If there’s anything else that you’re dying to know, please ask. 

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