Along for the ride:

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Do cats remember dogs visually?

I brought home a new foster dog a couple of days ago. Scout is a mature collie boy with no apparent behavioral issues. My first "normal" dog in a while. I'd forgotten how easy collies usually are. Low-key, gentle, accepting of people and other animals. He needs to lose a few pounds and his eyes are being treated with drops and ointment twice daily, but he's otherwise very low-maintenance.
Slinkie, our cat, was right by the front door when we arrived on Thursday. She was surprised to come face to face with a dog the minute the door cracked open, but the meeting was peaceful. We re-erected the customary barricade that allows Slinkie a safety zone in part of the house that includes our bedroom and access to her door out to the garden.
Slinkie has been unusually confident in seeking out nose to nose contact with Scout, through the barrier. She has slid into the common space, wound her way around Scout's legs and miaowed greetings. Scout is thrilled. Even though he's a chunky fuzz-ball version, with some shaved-off patches where his coat was heavily matted when he was picked up as a stray, Scout shares a striking likeness with Diva, our original collie girl who is no longer with us. It's very unusual for Slinkie to be so accepting of a new resident canine. I keep coming to the conclusion that Scout reminds her of her old friend Diva.
There aren't a lot of empty spaces in my life just now. I travelled south last weekend to hang out with a friend. I don't remember if we've ever had a couple of days which were just for us; neither husband in tow. We chose to see movies that we liked the sound of and not something of universal appeal, and ease of translation. To heck with the "greater good", we had a blast.
The day after my excursion, I had to return to the airport to pick up The Artistic One, who landed from France minus his suitcase. The luggage did catch up eventually, but not without several days of phone conversations with Air France, which eventually unearthed the fact that somehow TAO's pronunciation/or writing skills had misled the poor airline into spending a couple of days driving around trying to find Deep Cleefe Drive, Rather than Deep Cliff. TAO's bag was delivered to our door in dead of night, complete with his lap-top and his medications.
Re-opening our work-shop on Tuesday morning, we quickly discovered that a large number of tools had gone missing. There was no sign of a break-in and I had been there, working in my office all the prior week. Sometime between Friday and Tuesday someone, somehow, helped themselves to $10,000 worth of equipment.
We made a police report, had a locksmith change our locks and must put it behind us. There's no recourse, no insurance and no sure way of discerning what happened. We're almost more angry at our one "lead employee" who was supposedly the only key-holder. Although the key is imprinted with the words "do not duplicate", he chose to have an extra key cut and gave it to our second employee, presumably for his convenience, should he be late getting to work in the morning.
We don't pay them to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists but it's hard to imagine they didn't know this wasn't good employee behavior. If they thought we'd be O.K. with it, they could have asked us, right? My first instinct was that I'd rather fire both of them. TAO doesn't want to as it's taken a long time to train them to do the work we need them to do. It's all very distasteful.
On a lighter note, I've been helping a client with ideas to remodel her childhood home. Her father passed away a few months ago and the house, which was built in the 1940's has a labyrinthine floor-plan with bits that were added on over the years. The in-law unit above the garage has a toilet in one closet and a shower in another and there's a downstairs bedroom with a door through one end into the garage.
The garage-bedroom is a natural place to put washer and dryer (currently in the tool-shed). A sink and some cabinets turn that into a laundry/ mud-room and reducing the size by moving one wall creates a full-size guest bedroom with copious closet space on the other side.
The in-law unit will be accessed by a new straight staircase, which will pass through the toilet-closet. Changing the location of the stairs also adds space in the kitchen below, and now the kitchenette anteroom is perfect for a full bathroom. There's a deck off the bedroom that has a view over trees and a glimpse of San Francisco Bay. It's sunny, with windows on three sides. It's destined to be a fabulous suite.
I've brought the floor-plans home with me. I'm trying to work out the best layout for the kitchen. I've enlisted a designer friend who is really good at space-planning. Unfortunately she's not always reliable about deadlines, especially when it's a case of returning favors, which is why I'm trying to move forward in my own way, in case she lets me down.
"Little House" as we've been calling it, has the potential to be a sweet little home with character. It has personality and a large flat garden on a very quiet street. My client's Dad used to enjoy his garden, and feeding the birds. A Blue-Jay followed me, peering at me through different windows, from a variety of improvised perches, as I went from room to room. The garden is overgrown but I can see the magic, waiting to be brought back. It's a perfect candidate for a white picket fence and a wonderful outdoor entertaining area.
I'd be keen to help plan the rebirth of this Little House purely because I love this kind of problem-solving construction, and the client is a sweetheart, but this also has the potential to be a house we can rent and live in as part of our master-plan to reduce our overhead and our time driving back and forth every day.
Many a slip is possible before this comes to pass, so I won't jinx it by saying it's a sure thing. If it happens it will be several months away. The house has been gutted and will need to be put back together once design decisions and budgets are firmed up. Even if we don't end up living there, Little House has sparked so many dreams of decorating rooms and gardens to plant that I feel recompensed for my time. I could never resolve a Rubik's cube puzzle but I can move walls around in my head and visualize the results.


  1. Do your employees get a bonus @ Xmas? Perfect time to recoup some of your losses. "Oh we're SO sorry, we took such a BIG loss this year, we just can't afford it"

  2. Silliyak, without proof, I can't accuse regarding the loss itself. However, I had better not get any requests for a raise anytime soon:)

  3. I don't even know what to say! I would also like to know who the locksmith is that copied the key! Anyway, that really sucks. That is a huge loss. I am sorry to hear this.

    I don't know if cats recognize other animals or now. I always thought they just had a 6th sense and knew what other animals will make good friends.

  4. Nice to hear of your girl time with your friend, without husbands.

    I sure hope you don't have to give a key to the new locks to any of the employees. That was a big blunder on the part of the lead employee. I would think that just still having a job is enough kindness.

    I am excited for you about the little house.

  5. No accusations, just "Can't afford it this year due to our expensive losses"

  6. Birdie, surprise, surprise! According to the locksmith who charged me $200 to re-key my doors, unless you pay an additional $70 and fill out a list of authorized key-holders, "Do not duplicate" means nothing. Even then, people can take key elsewhere and get it copied.

    CiCi, they have to be able to get in sometimes when we can't be there. I did ask what they would think if I had keys made to their homes and distributed those to all and sundry.

    Sillyak, I know what you mean. It's not as though our cup is running over.
    I'm ready to look forward rather than back on this particular subject. I love it when others imagine what fun it must be to have the "freedom" of owning our own business! Just shoot me, instead:)

  7. That's a lot of money to lose, I am so sorry to hear it.
    Your break sounds good though. It is wonderful sometimes to do just what you want without having to consider others.

  8. So sorry about the loss. That's a heavy burden to bear.

    Glad AO got home safely. I was a bit worried that the paperwork would somehow be lost somewhere. Luggage is much easier to deal with. *sigh*

    Slinkie is a most discerning cat. I'm sure the visual impact of the new dog helped, but sounds as if Scout was sending out some good vibes as well. Bet they are cute together.

  9. Wally, I value friends so much more than things.

    Jean, Scout and Slinkie are making small steps towards a cross cultural friendship. Many sophisticated diplomats could learn something here.

  10. Do cats remember dogs visually ? When it suits them , yes .

    And as for the break-in and the reason it was so easy , despite your security measures .... I'm afraid I would have sacked the lead worker , however skilled . Skills can be learnt , but a sense of responsibility to one's employers and fellow team workers is either there or it's not . In any business great or small , everyone must be trustworthy.

    The house plans sound perfect and great fun to do . A view of the bay .... how lovely !

  11. I would have thought that scent would have played a bigger part in cats' recollection than sight, but who knows?

    Sorry to hear about your numpty employees - common sense severely lacking it seems.

    Still, Little House sounds fun.

  12. Sounds to me as if you need to put up your feet on an ottoman and rest a spell....

  13. Hope you and Slinky continue to get on well with the new lodger. A stray needing to lose weight? That's surely very rare.

    Are you sure neither of the employees has a hand in the theft? No sign of a break-in? That's unusual.

    The Little House sounds fun, it's lovely to be able to redesign the property and if you design it to your own satisfaction it'll probably suit others too.

  14. S&S, the workshop employees are officially my husband's domain. I am of one mind with you, but it's his decision (to be lived with).

    Argent, numpty is such an uplifting word, never heard hear. Thanks for the smile.

    Maria, kind thought but just the opposite is true.

  15. Friko,
    Scout's intake paperwork said he was stinky and so caked in feces that they shaved chunks of his coat to get out the worst matts. He began the week hardly able to get up and struggling to walk more than a few steps, at a snail's pace. He's much more energized now, after regular strolls. We go a bit further each day. He has no fear of humans, other dogs, or loud noises, trucks etc. All of which makes me think he was living with a shut-in human who had a house full of dog-poo. Who knows if he escaped one day or if he was turfed out by someone else. We can only make up their stories. We mostly don't ever really know.
    Scout currently has two potential forever homes in the running and our area coordinator's husband is tempted to adopt him himself.

  16. It's good to read that you've managed to stuff a little fun into your life, but I'm sorry to hear that you've been stiffed.
    The Little House project sounds fabulous and I am seriously envious of your abilities to do what you do. If ever you would consider a Canadian contract, do let me know.
    I really hope it works out for you. You deserve some good luck for a change.

  17. Deborah, we're over it, can't change it anyway so behind us it will go.
    I get a lot of practice at construction meetings. I love it when everyone's throwing ideas around. I listen in, even when it's not my trade. I always learn something and sometimes contribute. Space planning is a living form of algebra.
    I can do this in Canada. What do you need?

  18. Space planning? I am intrigued...I'd love to hear more about your house project for this friend...I hope all goes well.

  19. e, I should find out more this week. They requested city permits and the builder returns from vacation. All systems go, but wait and see which direction. All the great ideas in the world get filtered through the Bang-for-your-Buck equation. I think the house is going to so increase in value that it might not be as good a deal for us to live in. We'll let destiny take its course. Such a nice client and such a lot of fun to see something grow to be the best it can be. C'est la vie...