Tag Archives: Cat ownership

Building Projects Are Family Friendly

30 Apr

Whenever my parents came to visit, I always had a list of jobs around my house and yard that needed to be done. My Dad was not the type of person to sit around and do nothing. If he did not have a goal, he would just get too antsy.

Over the years he helped my husband put together bookcases, desks, closet organizers and more. They planned and dug flower and vegetable gardens. And spent hours together walking through home improvement stores and buying much needed equipment!  My Dad and husband loved going to home improvement stores together.  If they spent less than $100, I thought it was wonderful.  Most times they spent much more.

One year they built a giant closet organizer for my walk-in closet. They went to the home improvement store and brought home information on how to do it.  We designed it. Then my husband and Dad bought all the shelving and hanging poles, and spent a few days putting it together. I have had the best use out of that one project.

My son enjoyed helping as well. The first time he really got into putting something together, besides Lego sets (which he was quite good at completing), was when he was in seventh grade. I think it was because he was taking ‘shop’ in middle school. He got the urge to really build and use tools in that class.

My son builds his first project with my husband and Dad.

My son builds his first project with my husband and Dad.

The first project they all worked on was a desk that needed to be put together for my computer. My Dad, husband and son set up a command center on my dining room floor near the stairs. Why there? I am not sure. I think it was because my dad could sit on the stairs and direct.

They pulled out the instructions, got some tools and spent the next hour happily bonding through building. It was fun for the three of them. And, eventually, they actually finished putting the desk together.

These type of projects were easy. All the pieces came in a box. They only had to assemble it. My husband and son put together three bookcases for our basement family room with these box projects. There were drawers and closet doors, which was a bit more of a challenge. But they were able to complete their mission.

Building his first independent project for the cats.

Building his first independent project for the cats.

My son wanted a bigger challenge. He wanted to build a place for our cats to hang out. We had seen some of the cat platforms in the pet store. But the one he wanted was expensive. At the same time, I was reading a magazine for cat owners, in it was the instructions on how to make one at home.

That was all information my son needed. He begged my husband to help him build it. So they took the magazine to the hardware store and bought all the needed supplies. It took several weekends, and several trips to the store. But the time they spent together building the cat hideaway and platform was worth much more than the money spent to make it.   An added benefit is that the cats love it.

The cats loved the finish project.

The cats loved the finish project.

But my son is not the only one to get the building bug. My daughter was often right there with them putting things together. She had the patience to actually read the instructions. Her Dad and brother were more likely to go by instinct. Her help was always appreciated, as she used her calm to keep them on target when the building was not going exactly as planned.

When my Dad had a more difficult time putting things together, my daughter, who went to college near by, was the helper. But she was more than just a builder, she was often a tech support. Spending a weekend with her grandparents meant also fixing the computer, the internet connection or a television’s reception.

She was not the only one to help, but since she actually stayed with them, they often saved up chores for her to accomplish when she visited. My brother-in-law and nephew were the usual tech support because they lived close by. But I think they enjoyed the ‘vacation’, when my daughter could take over for a bit.

Cousins putting together a coffee table.

Cousins putting together a coffee table.

Years later, my nephew moved to Kansas for his master’s degree.   My children and I took him shopping for a coffee table. It came, of course, in a box. The three of them had a great time putting it together. Their Grandfather would have been so happy to see them on the floor with the pieces and the screws and the directions. I sat on a chair and directed…taking my Dad’s role.

Building is fun. But more important, in our family, it brings us together for a glorious time as we reach a common goal.  Dad would be smiling.

Cats and Kids

16 Nov

Way before I had children, I had a wonderful loving cat.  A golden tabby, Topaz loved me.  He was gentle and kind.  And filled a need that no one could fill.   It was my mother-in-law, Lee’s, idea for us to get a kitten.  I had infertility issues.  And Topaz helped me get through a very difficult time.  I loved him.

And then we had children.   Although, through the years we always had cats… right now we are on cats 3 and 5….they never quite had the significance of Topaz.  I think because once you have children, you are caught up in so many events and dramas and activities.  You love your pets, but your children come first.  They are so demanding.

Of course we – my husband and I– always had the belief that in a way the cats were much better behaved than our children.   They never yelled at me or complained.  They always gave me love.  They purr, they chirp, they touch noses.

In fact, they never ask for anything but for food, water and love.

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So as the years went on, and some of our beloved cats left this world, we always found another waif to bring home.

Now we are back at the beginning.  The children are gone.  But the cats have stayed.  Cats 3 and 5 provide me so much love and attention.  Perhaps a bit more love and attention than Jay and I need, especially when they takeover ourbed.  Cats on our pillows; cats on our heads; cats on our feet; cats wherever we are.  Now that the weather is getting cold again, the warmth of the cats is much appreciated.  But the ‘on the head’ cat stuff really should end.

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I will admit there is one area that our cats do misbehave…in the kitchen.  Cats on the table and on the counter, I know some people find that disgraceful.  But in reality, even if I do chase them off, they will only go back on when I am not home.  So why make them hypocrites.   This way we all know…the cats like the sunshine on the table.   They like the cool of the counters in the summer.

Our cats greet children on Halloween. 

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They help me read and watch television.   They help me learn to take big steps to get out of the shower. They entertain us.  Whenever a package arrives, the box provides days of activity for our cats.  Which in turns provides hours of entertainment for us.

I think the empty nest syndrome would be so much worse for me if it were not for my cats.  I did realize how silent the house would be without my children.   I did not realize how much I would miss their hugs, their arguments and their presence.   At least with my cats I still have someone to talk to and to hug.  I hope my children realize how lucky they are that I have my cats….

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