Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cat Burglars

Recently I read another blogger’s post that talked about all the things that have been lost in her house. She called her house The Black Hole, and proceeded to list the items that had been lost recently. My first reaction: That’s it? Oh I’ve got that beat. Of course it didn’t occur to me until just then that my house also contains an invisible black hole that sucks in unsuspecting stray objects when no one is looking. What’s funny about it is the fact that most of the missing items have absolutely no connection to each other, other than being owned by my family. Apparently the black hole is completely random, and not the least bit picky about what it eats. Well, I take that back. It must be a little bit picky, because every once in a while it will spit something back out to be found again.

So I set about putting together a list of those things at my house that have gone MIA. At first I thought I could blame the disappearances on my cats, since the first few things on the list are things they would snatch, and have in the past. However, it occurred to me as I wrote out the list that the cats could only be partially blamed. A lot of the items on the list would not, and could not, have been taken by them. So, I figure the ones they probably did get their claws into were batted around for a while, and then forgotten, only to be claimed by the black hole. Here’s the list I came up with, and I was amazed at how easy this was to create (we’re missing A LOT!):

Pink rubber bracelet - my Breast Cancer Awareness bracelet – I hadn’t taken it off since I got it in 2005, and suddenly one day it was just gone off of my wrist. I feel a little naked without it!

Toy ball of string - from Sweetpea’s Mini Pet Daycare set – ever notice once you get past the age of 3 the toys start getting smaller and smaller?

Cat’s scrunchie - I know it’s been washed a few times from being batted into the piles of dirty clothes on laundry day, but I haven’t seen it in weeks

1 whole box of wooden beads - these disappeared little by little

Many, many rubber bands

Many, many pens, pencils, highlighters, crayons, etc.

Tiny Cinderella’s glass slipper - from one of my daughter’s tiny princess sets where all the pieces are so little you need a magnifying glass and tweezers to put the princess’s shoes on her – luckily Cinderella has a twin sister that doesn’t need her glass slippers most of the time

Plastic ziplock-style bag of loose tobacco - I’ll explain this…

Several sets of nail clippers

2 tank tops

2 bottles of nail polish

Several CDs - containing both pictures and music – one of which was just loaded onto my IPod mere weeks ago. *Poof* gone.

The Santa Clause DVD

Remote for the window air conditioner - lost three times, found twice

Countless single socks

3 cross stitch patterns

2006 tax returns - both state and federal

2 cooling racks

Countless notepads

My birth certificate - original copy

Whole set of corn-on-the-cob holders - those little pick things you stick in the ends of corn cob so you can pick it up to eat without getting your hands burned or too messy – these disappeared one at a time

My song list - ongoing list of songs that I keep that I want download from Itunes

Several Christmas Bears

There’s also a whole list of other items “lost” in our last move, but I suspect they are just still packed away somewhere. The cooling racks may be among them. I’m also sure there are things not on this list that I have given up looking for, and then just forgotten about. Amazingly enough, no Polly Pocket accessories or any of the various puzzle pieces have come up missing as of yet. I better knock on wood, Murphy may be listening. I am happy to report that since I put this list together, the black hole has spit out several things it apparently wasn’t pleased with the taste of: both tank tops, my birth certificate and The Santa Clause DVD (hidden under Sweetpea’s bed). In addition, several other things have been recovered that I didn’t even know were missing: a bone from Sweetpea’s Mini Pucci Puppy set, a pet toy from the Mini Pet Daycare set (soon we’ll have all the pieces again), and a necklace belonging to either Tiny Sleeping Beauty or Tiny Belle, we’re not sure which. They share anyway, so I’m sure it doesn’t matter much whose it is. I can’t wait till we move. Who knows what else we’ll lose…er…find.

So I said I’d explain about the tobacco. Recently, since these types of specialty shops are not available in my hometown, my mom sent my husband and me to a tobacco shop to purchase some loose tobacco for her to give as a gift to a friend who smokes a pipe. We made the purchase of two bags of tobacco, brought them home, and set them on a table out of the way to await delivery for the next time we saw my mom. For the next two weeks, every time I walked by the table I would find one or both bags of tobacco on the floor. I was continually picking them up and putting them back on the table, without thinking about why they were ending up on the floor. At some point I started to question it, I think, but then just dismissed it as a combination of “slippery” plastic bags and vibrations caused by people walking by the table that was causing them to slide and then fall.

Then, one night as I was picking up the rest of the room, I once again found a bag on the floor. But this time there was only one bag. I looked everywhere in the general area, but could not find the other bag. It then occurred to me that the tobacco, even through the thick plastic bag, had a very strong odor. And, most likely, a very attractive odor to a cat. Like a ton of bricks, it hit me. One or both of the cats had been up on the table, after the tobacco. They were the reason the bags were constantly on the floor. And now, they’ve stolen a whole bag of tobacco! They’re tobacco thieves! Tobacco cat burglars! Upon closer examination of the remaining bag, I found what could have easily been a scratch caused by kitty teeth, and then a puncture mark just about the size of a cat’s fang. Now granted, there was only one scratch and one puncture mark, and by experience I have found that if a cat begins to chew on something, they don’t normally stop at half a bite, unless they’re startled/chased away from whatever they’re chewing.

So, though I have no definitive proof, the absence of the second bag is awfully incriminating. Being that these are indoor cats, the bag has to be in the house somewhere, right? You’d think. But my husband and I have searched the house from top to bottom, and cannot find the bag anywhere. We’ve checked the places the cats normally hang out – under beds, behind furniture, the bathtub, a couple closets, every little nook and cranny. Nothing. Of course we had our fun wondering if the cats made a pipe out of a bear-shaped honey jar or a hollowed-out apple, and then stole some matches and had a good ol’ fashioned ”pipe” party. We speculated whether tobacco gives them the munchies. We even checked their fur for hidden bottles of Visine and air freshener. No evidence whatsoever. So, until we move, we’ll probably not know what they did with the bag of tobacco.

In other pet news, I’m saddened to announce the passing of both Mr. Fish (the beta) and Nemo (the plecostomus). A few weeks ago we awoke on a Sunday morning to find both fish had died during the night. I suspect they fought and ended up killing each other, but we’ll never know for sure. As for us, we won’t be fish owners at home for a while, (though I still have Gill at work). The tank has been retired. Of course, Sweetpea was understandably upset…for about a minute. We didn’t even have to have a funeral. A simple flush with no fanfare seems to have provided enough closure for everyone concerned. I think they would have wanted it that way.

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