It’s A Miracle!

When we left Trader Joe’s today, Oliver saw an American flag flying over a nearby building.

I heard him say, “It’s a miracle!”

I asked what he meant, thinking he would answer with something about seeing the American flag meant to him, maybe mentioning Kullervo’s military service, or something heartwarming. Or I thought he would be amazed at the flag flying in the wind or something along those lines.

His response?

“Not a miracle, Mommy. It’s America!”

Well, at least he knows our flag.

Rags

Next up: Rags.

Because Loki was such an aggressive cat, when Kullervo and I started trying to have a baby, we had to decide what we would do.  Obviously, you can’t keep a cat around who hates children.  And Loki did.  He had been aggressive to children in our home before, and we were worried that he would do the same with our own kids. However, we were loathe to give him up because he was a part of our family.

So we decided that when we got pregnant, we would get another cat.  We figured that bringing a new addition into the home would be a way for Loki to learn some flexibility and how to get along with other creatures.

It just so happened, totally coincidentally, that Rags came along.  Kullervo was at his two week annual training in New York, and I had the flu.  Except, on a lark one night on the phone, Kullervo said that I should take a pregnancy test, because… what if?  We’d been trying to have a baby for a year and a half at that point, so it seemed a little silly.  But the next day I got a test… and found out I was pregnant.

That same day, some of the guys Kullervo was training with found a tiny kitten that had been mauled by some animal.  Kullervo fell in love with her.  She cuddled up to him, mewed in his ear, and let him take care of her.  He sneaked her onto the Army bus home in a box that had been filled with stuff used for cleaning weapons.  The inside of the box said “RAGS”.

When Kullervo got home, he showed me our new pet… and I wasn’t impressed.  Rags was a skinny piece of fur and bones (some of which we might have actually been able to see).  She was the ugliest kitten I had ever seen in my life.

We took her to the vet and got medicine to clean her up and make her better.  We also found out that she was actually a boy, but was so little that his testicles hadn’t descended yet.

Rags hung out with me when Loki wouldn’t, through my entire pregnancy.  He would steal broccoli off of my plate, and eat all of my mashed potatoes.  I swear, we were  a match made in heaven.  (And who’s ever heard of a cat that eats broccoli and potatoes?!)

Rags also tempered Loki’s awfulness (a bit).  Loki took on the role of single dad, and he and Rags became buddies.

Nowadays, Rags doesn’t venture outside.  He’s scared of his own shadow and jumps at every noise he hears.  He’ll hide for hours at a time.  But he loves Hazel to pieces, and lets her pet him and hug him and have her stuffed animals give him kisses.  She calls him her little buddy, and he often snuggles up on her bed with her at night.

We’ve always called him our little cat, but really, he’s a giant.  Loki is enormous (morbidly obese), and Rags might be slightly overweight, but even without the weight, both are just big cats.

Rags still loves me best and will come when I call him.  He’s an absolute sweetheart who charms anyone who gets to see him.  And he has turned into a beautiful cat with a handsome face and attractive markings.

Loki

Today at the church we’ve been attending for a few weeks, the service was dedicated to the Blessing of the Pets.  People brought their animals in, and there were speakers who all told stories of how they got their dogs and cats, and what their animals meant to them.

In honor of that, I want to do a post for each of my kitties.  First, Loki, our big, fat cat.

We decided to get a cat in 2003.  Really, we wanted to have a baby, but we were young (I was only 22), and we were still poor college kids in school full time.  Having a baby didn’t seem very practical.

So we went to the pound to look at cats.  There were a section for kittens that had four or five adorable cats.  I zeroed in on a little gray one in the back.  It looked like the sweetest little thing, was incredibly soft, and just seemed like magic.  When we headed back up to the front to ask if we could hold her, a feisty little orange ball of fur reached his paws out and batted at us.

When we got to the front, we asked to hold the orange one instead.  He seemed like he really wanted us, and he was cute and tiny and we wound up adopting him.  We named him Loki, after the Viking god of mischief… it turns out that the name was pretty appropriate.

I have since nicknamed him ‘The Beast’, as well as some choice swear words.  Loki turned out to be a pretty aggressive cat.  Over the years, we have figured out the things that make Loki mad.  They include (but aren’t limited to): bare legs, toes, Democrats, prayer, missionaries, people, kindness, other races, and being on a diet.

Things that he loves include: Kullervo, cardboard, tampons, and biting.

He’s really an awful cat, and we just love him.

Now, the entire time that we’ve had him, Loki has wished he could be outside.  We’ve lived in quite a number of places, and if he could, Loki would run outside of all of them and hide outside.  I suspect that he looks back on the first few weeks of his life, living on the rough, tough streets of Tallahassee, Florida, and thinks that if we hadn’t held him back, he could have been a jungle predator.

Nowadays, he spends most of the day outside of our Chicago apartment, stalking the neighborhood.  He’s much happier for it, although I warn my neighbors that he can be mean and to please stay away.  Everyone tells me that he’s just the sweetest thing though, and that they don’t believe me that he could ever be mean.

I love The Beast with all my heart, and for all the ways that he drives me crazy, he was our first pet, our first long-term investment in our future (you know, besides the wedding and stuff).

Super Scary

My kids manage to come up with new and improved ways to scare the hell out of me.

Hazel decided this afternoon that she wasn’t going to nap.  We tucked her in, closed her door, and she kicked and yelled.  Twice she got out of bed, and Kullervo carried her back.  Finally, she got quiet, and we settled in to watch something on TV.

When the show was over, I headed back upstairs, and when I got to the top of the stairs, I heard a little voice saying, “Save me!  Mommy, Daddy!  Save me!”

I laughed to myself-Hazel apparently wasn’t sleeping!  I started to head towards her room when I realized that the sound was actually coming from closer to the front door.

I peeked out the window and I saw Hazel, standing on our front steps, locked out of the apartment.  While we were downstairs, she had sneaked out of her room (really quietly–we had a baby monitor on!), and opened the front door.  Our door has one of those locks on it that lets you open it from the inside, but will lock if you’re outside.  And Hazel was locked out.

After I made sure she was okay (and brought her inside, obviously), we took a trip to the hardware store to get additional locks to install high above where the kids can reach.

And I would just like to say for the record how incredibly glad I am that nothing happened to her.  Nobody took her, she didn’t fall down the stairs.  She didn’t even seem that upset about it (perhaps unfortunately).