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Last Tuesday we stuffed Muriel and Callie into a cat carrier and moved them to Rensselaer, NY, where we will all live while the new house is built. They didn’t take it well.

Muriel hasn’t been out of the house since she was 10 weeks old and we had her spayed. That’s about 20 months. All she knows of the world has been acquired in an 1800 square foot condo. Sure, bugs and birds flew by the many windows and sliding doors, but they were like television - interesting but not quite real. Her world was furniture and walls and litter boxes in very specific places.

After refusing to leave to carrier for 4 hours and then hiding under the toilet tank for another 4, hunger and bowels got the best of Muriel and she began to explore the new place. It soon became obvious to her that she had entered an alternate universe. That LOOKS like the couch, but it’s on the wrong rug. That SMELLS like the coffee table, but what’s that spackle odor in the background? Those are the same humans, but they don’t sit and read, they scurry about moving large objects and making loud noises.

Now it’s a week later and she apparently has decided that alternate universes call for alternate behaviors. We came down to breakfast this morning to find her up above the kitchen cabinets. She must have hopped up onto the counter, then onto the fridge, and finally up over the wall cabinets. Once there, she froze - the house cat equivalent of the cat up the tree. This from a cat who was formerly height challenged - she’d have to pump a few times just to jump up on your lap.

We wouldn’t have noticed her for a while except that Callie was whimpering and looking up - cat language for “I’m telling! You’re not supposed to be up there! You’re going to get in trouble!”

Luckily we have a secret weapon for diverting their attention. They spend long periods of time just staring down the central air conditioning vents, waiting for the creatures who live there to stop whistling and come out to play.

The Big Toilet Decision


prodcar7a.jpgI probably should have started writing about this six months ago, but then, I haven't written much about anything in that period so we'll just skip that part by giving a quick synopsis and getting down to business.

Last January we decided to look into selling our condo in Vermont and building a house over the border in Saratoga Springs, New York. Within 2 weeks we had a buyer and found a builder. There has been much waiting around until recently but now it's all beginning to hit the fan.

We close on our condo July 1 and have rented a townhouse in Rensselaer (yes, that is spelled correctly - didn't study your Dutch too well in high school, did you?) to live in until the new place is complete. In order to give us some wiggle room, we get the townhouse June 1. That means that we are currently dismantling the VT place while starting the SS place while moving into the R place. Things are getting hectic.

We are in the "selection" phase of construction - select all the plumbing fixtures by May 15, select all the appliances by May 31, select all the flooring by June 15...

Which bring us to toilets. We need to choose three. But who knew there are 12,356 different toilets to choose from? Are we ready for "comfort height" (read - ADA / AARP compliant)? elongated or round bowl? single or dual flush (literal number one and number two)? non-slam seats and lids? antique porcelain? siphon or gravity? Between comfort height and dual flush I can't decide if I'm aging or regressing.

Now comfort height has it's appeal. A slightly shorter trip when squatting down and a slightly shorter trip on the way up. Think of the energy savings. I might even be able to swing my legs while I read. It bears consideration.

But dual flush REALLY appeals to the geek in me. The undisputed world champion of dual flush is Caroma. This Australian company has been making dual flush for quite a while as it is required down under. Push one button for liquid and the other for solid. It's supposed to save scads of water a year which is good when you have a well (as we will). It also has a REALLY WIDE TRAP - just the ticket for those times when a herculean effort is required to get rid of last night's chimichanga(s).

With such a short window of time in which to make a decision one must be decisive. We have boxes piled up all over the house, art work stacked like a Louvre yard sale, and the cats are starting to puke sponteously - this is no time to waffle.

So Caroma it is for the "high traffic" bathrooms. We'll go with a mundane crapper for the guest bathroom.

There, I feel better already...

I wonder if you can get little #1 and #2 labels for the buttons?


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