Kitten Fix

The couple who have been pet sitting for us are fostering some kittens so young that they had to be bottle fed. They invited us over to see them last week, so Leah could get another kitten fix.

There were actually two sets, one about two weeks older than the other. There were at least eight total, not including their own, older cats.The little kittens were all pretty well socialized, which is not surprising consider that they have to be handled so much.
All the cats, both young and old, seemed to get along quite well. At least one of the older cats likes to groom the kittens.

Sometimes the kittens are not really into it, but the older cat is pretty insistent.

Maybe they don’t smell good.

As usual for a bunch of month-or-two-old kittens, they play hard.It’s hard to tell just what is what in the photo, but it was about as hard in real life.

Leah was in cat heaven for a while. It’s sad that none of our cats are nearly as friendly and affectionate as all of these cats, both kittens and adults. Even Mollie, our newest cat, who we thought might be a good pet, is mostly indifferent to us, although she appears to enjoy being petted. I told Leah we should trade one of ours for one of the kittens, but she isn’t thrilled about having a kitten that small.

All the small ones are fosters who eventually will go to new homes. I think they’ll make good cats for someone.


Advantages of hanging around

Leah and I were born in Rome. We have both lived in other places but ended up back “home”. Neither of us has any really strong connections to this area any more, but we have found a few advantages to staying put for a while. They fall more into the convenience category, but it’s kind of nice.

I have mentioned before about our regular Wednesday huevos rancheros lunch at the Los Portales Mexican restaurant. When we walk in, the person who seats us usually says, “You don’t need menus?” because she knows we’ll be having the regular. When we’re seated, if the server is one of the regulars, she’ll bring out exactly what we want: sweet tea for Leah and unsweetened for me, with extra lemon. Also, one or two bowls of regular salsa, a bowl of hot ranchera sauce, and a bowl of burrito sauce. Then she will ask if we want the regular. If it’s a new server, one of the regulars we know will usually walk by to make sure we get everything we need.

At the end of the meal, the servers bring one to-go box (for Leah’s left-over rice), an empty cup for Leah’s tea (fixed just the way she wants it), and a to-go cup of unsweetened tea for me. On one occasion when we ate there for dinner, the server didn’t bring our check, so at the cash register the guy there let us give him our orders from memory. “You’re regulars,” he said, “So I trust you.”

I have also mentioned that I have had hair my hair cut at the same barber shop for my entire life, save for once when my father got adventurous and took us to another shop. Even though I get only a couple of haircuts a year, the barbers know what I want. On Tuesday when I got my second (and last for the year) haircut, there was a new barber. I ended up in her chair. She asked me what I wanted, and I said, “A short cut.” She asked how short. I was going to tell her to ask the barber next to her, but before I could say anything that barber volunteered, “Number 3.” I don’t know exactly what Number 3 is, but it turns out to give me a short haircut like I want.

I sometimes wish we could move somewhere else, somewhere we didn’t have to suffer through the miserably hot and humid summers. But, since it doesn’t look like we’ll move any time soon, at least we can enjoy some of the benefits of staying put.

Irma’s in the was*

Here on Thursday afternoon Hurricane Irma is long gone, not even a tropical depression any more. There were hints of sun Wednesday morning, and even some blue sky on Thursday.

Although in Georgia at least two people died, many areas experienced damage, and more than a million people lost electrical power, we escaped with essentially no problems other than a lot of green leaves blown off the trees.

The last forecasts prior to the passage of Irma into western Alabama called for three to five inches of rain here. Our rain gauge registered about three inches over Monday and Tuesday, although I’m not sure that’s correct. The wind was not extremely strong, but I suspect that it was strong enough to prevent the gauge from measuring correctly. It was the best kind of rain, gentle and long-lasting. There was little runoff anywhere in our yard.

The wind was strong enough to break off a few dead tree branches along Fouche Gap Road, which I tossed into the woods as I walked the dogs Wednesday and Thursday. It was also strong enough to whip a three-trunked hickory tree back and forth pretty well as we looked out from the dinner table. I’m not sure whether they are tall enough to reach the house if one of the trunks fell, but I have to figure that out. Falling trees killed at least one Atlanta man in his house, and an Atlanta woman in her car. As much as I like trees, I don’t want one to fall on our house.

One nice aspect of the storm was the low temperatures. We had highs in the 60’s three days and it was cool enough at night that we debated whether to put a blanket on the bed. Now Irma is gone, the temperatures are predicted to get back up into the mid to upper 80’s in the next week.

*A Language Log post mentioned the expression “in the was” from a BBC interview of a retiring opera singer, referring to her career being in the past. I thought it was a nice expression, so I used it here.


We learned Thursday night that Hurricane Irma’s expected track will take it almost directly over us, although as a tropical depression rather than a hurricane. This is how we learned about it.

The path goes almost directly over Atlanta and the last point is over us.

The US National Weather Service shows this as Irma’s expected track as of Friday afternoon.

This is the predicted cumulative precipitation amounts. It looks like in Rome we can expect two to four inches of rain.

This is a good example of “be careful what you wish for.” We had been watching the track predictions ever since Irma got far enough along for anyone to predict its path in the US. The early forecasts took it almost directly over Miami and then up the eastern coast almost directly over Savannah, Ga. Atlanta was expected to get some rain from the outer bands, but no effects were predicted for us up in northwest Georgia. Since we are a little short on rain now, I kept hoping the track would move a little west. Now it has.

It’s not that we’re actually in a drought like we were last year, but virtually every time the Atlanta weather people forecast rain for us, we get significantly less than they expect. We have new plants and grass that need water. Our well needs water, too.

Of course, things can change in the next couple of days; the predicted track has already changed significantly. Irma’s path might veer east or west of its current prediction. But we should see fairly soon. Irma is supposed to be in south Georgia by Monday afternoon, and to pass over us by Tuesday afternoon.

The NWS forecast discussion continues to say that Irma is a life-threatening event for the coastal regions of Florida, not to mention the islands it has or will hit.

The NWS discussion of the Irma forecast says, “This afternoon’s NHC forecast was again adjusted a little bit westward following the trend of the ECMWF model and both the HFIP corrected consensus and the FSU Superensemble.” This mild statement says something fairly serious about the commitment of the United States to the NWS and science in general. The ECMWF is the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. Their hurricane model is generally considered the best in terms of its ability to predict the track a hurricane will follow. That is, it’s better than the current US models, which is kind of off, since hurricanes are not much of a problem for Europe, but they most definitely are for the United States. One might naively think that the US would consider hurricane forecasting important enough to commit sufficient funds to get the best model in the world.

But, no, our government thinks that weather forecasting and sciency things like that are a waste of money when there are rich, important people who need tax cuts.

ArsTechnica has an interesting article about the spaghetti plots often shown for Hurricane tracks.

UPDATE Saturday morning: Hurricane Irma’s predicted track has already moved west from last night when I originally wrote this post. It is now expected to cross west out of Georgia into Alabama somewhere south of an east-west line through Atlanta. Atlanta and Rome, as well as Chattanooga, TN, where my brother lives, are no longer in the center of the cone of uncertainty for Irma’s path. We are still, however, in the cone. We are still expected to get somewhere between two and four inches of rain.

Cat contemplates self

Like most cats, Mollie likes to jump up onto things. She particularly likes to investigate Leah’s dresser. She even more particularly likes to investigate the drawers.

She’s not necessarily interested in the contents. She’s really wants to get behind the drawers. The construction of the dresser prevents that, but she has found a way into the deep recesses of the bathroom vanity.

Once on top of the dresser, there really isn’t much to see.

Except that other cat.

What a good looking cat.

She checks it out for a while, but, really, nothing much other than grasshoppers can keep her interest for very long. Time for a nap.