Saturday, December 24, 2016

The Real Legend of Christmas

Once upon a time, many, many years ago every Christmas Eve, Santa Claus relied upon Wilbur the Red Nosed Pit Bull to help him deliver presents to good little boys and girls and kittehs (but not very many kittehs as they are seldom well behaved) and dogs all over the world. Wilbur was eager to please and loved helping Santa. Wilbur's jaws were strong so that even in the worst of weather he never lost a present and was able to carefully place toys and treats underneath every Christmas Tree.

Then something very bad happened.

One year an especially evil kitteh who wasn't going to get any presents from Santa, because, well, because it was a kitteh and therefore evil, and because it was especially jealous of Wilbur the Red Nosed Pit Bull, pulled a nasty trick.

The night before Christmas Eve the evil kitteh said to Wilbur, "Wilbur, I am your friend and you should try some of this silly water. It is very tasty and it will make you feel good." Wilbur was very happy that a kitteh would be so nice to him and to show his appreciation, he drank many cans of this fun stuff.

Wilbur did feel silly and then he became quite dizzy and passed out cold. Poor Wilbur slept right through Christmas. Santa Claus looked and looked for him but the evil kitteh told Santa that Wilbur said he had better things to do than help a fat old man in a red suit deliver presents to a bunch of snotty nosed brats.

Santa was desperate and immediately contacted a Red Nosed Reindeer he'd heard of named Rudolph to assist him. Rudolph, who was a huge sissy and was never allowed to play in any Reindeer games, had nothing better to do anyway and agreed to help.

And so history took a turn that has long since been forgotten.

Rudolph went down in history as a hero and ended up with the girl.

Pit Bulls became vilified.

Kittehs however, will forever remain evil.

And if Paul Harvey were alive today this legend would end with, "And now you know the rest of the story."

Good day, Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, and Happy Holidays to one and all from the crew of the Knotty Cat.


Originally posted in December 2013. This year I'm too lazy to be original so I'm just reprinting it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Getting the Cold Shoulder

When we left Pennsylvania a few years ago and headed south I couldn't wait to be shut of 50 plus years of dreary winters. However, we ended up moving too far south and found ourselves in the tropics of Florida where the weather there consists of nine months of ankle sweating and a mere three months of being able to venture outside without melting. Just one extreme to another.

When we arrived back here in Hooterville I quickly realized how much I'd missed the changing seasons along with the beautiful topography. Where Florida is flat and mainly consists of but one kind of tree along with endless strip malls, Pennsylvania has mountains, valleys, and trees galore. This fall when we were out for one of our Sunday drives in the country, we crested a hill and the view of the valley below us consisted of a small country church, a farm with horses and cows wandering the pastures, and again, all those trees. I've always wanted to visit Vermont but after our year here, I no longer feel the need.

The only drawback to our beautiful spring and summer was the fact that we never did get Dear Friend's lawnmower working and the grass and weeds quickly grew to epic heights. Eventually a friend of Dear Friend's came over with a brush hog and we no longer feared losing Wilbur in the jungle while Hans played with his fire pit. In the mornings while we sat at our little kitchen table we were entertained by an abundance of insect life outside our window that were drawn to the flowering weeds close to the house that the brush hog couldn't reach. Actually, without all the lawn manicuring we've become used to in our previous lives, we both kind of like a more natural setting. Mother Nature does a pretty good job on her own and I know the bees love it.

Fire pit fun. Look at that grass.

Our Sunday drives continued into the fall and we experienced the vibrant colors of the trees and we didn't have to spent big bucks on a B&B to enjoy them, we just opened our curtains every morning. But fall never does last long enough and boom! winter was upon us.

I've used this one before but I love it.

Something we noticed this summer and very much enjoyed was the fact that our house is cool. Not groovy cool, mind you, but cool, temperature wise. Now that winter is here it's not so cool to be cool! In order to conserve heat, we've strung a blanket across the door from the living room (where in addition to living, we sleep) to the kitchen and with the electric baseboard heat on and a space heater plugged in, we're pretty comfortable.

In the living room.

For awhile we called the kitchen our walk-in refrigerator (it's actually colder than our fridge) but, when the temperatures dropped to single digits, we called it our 'sub-zero', and it's quite safe to leave food out without fear of getting sick. You can see your breath in there and the walk to the bathroom (where we thankfully have another space heater) is quite brisk.

Come winter, a twenty foot praying mantis could be lurking beyond that frozen window and we'd never see it.

I mentioned in my last post that due to a polar vortex we spent a weekend at the inn. Since Dear Friend advised us to leave a space heater on in the cellar to prevent frozen pipes, we took our passports and Wilbur's health records with us. We were relieved upon returning home to find the house hadn't burned down in our absence and we went back to our regular routine. The next morning after switching on the coffee pot and turning on the space heater in the bathroom, I was in the middle of washing my face when the power went out. We finally found the right breaker switch in the cellar, and now know that you either freeze your fanny in the bathroom if you want coffee right away, or you pee in comfort with the heater on and wait for that coffee.

The other day Hans noticed my soaping thermometer sitting on a shelf in the kitchen and wondered if the 40 degrees it showed was accurate and if it could register lower temps.

The mystery has been solved.

So, when people ask me if I miss the palm trees and beaches of Florida? My answer? Suprisingly, no, I really don't.

I've never claimed to be normal.


Wilbur's ready.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Winter Wonderland

This past weekend Hans and I went back in time and while I wish I could say it was a 'simpler' time, it wasn't. What happened was; a polar vortex (when I was a kid we called it snow) swept through our area dumping a couple of feet of the white stuff upon us. This vortex couldn't have come at a worse time as Santa was due to make his appearance at the inn for Breakfast with Santa on Saturday morning and let me tell you when Santa is on his way there's a hell of a lot of preparation involved. This meant that on Friday night (but only after the last of the diners have gone home) all the tables in the main dining room had to be completely rearranged and prepped for the jolly man's visit (and put back to normal after the whole shebang was done).

With the dire threat of weather moving in it was decided that instead of sending us home in a blizzard only to come back a few hours later, the affected staff should spend the weekend. And that's how Hans (weekend pianist), Wilbur (wannabe dishwasher), and I (waitress) found ourselves back in the same room we lived in last year. After Santa's visit I had to change out of my elf costume (seriously) and into my uniform for a company Christmas party, so my day started at 7AM and ended around 11PM. The next morning I was up early and getting one of our small dining rooms ready for a private party due for brunch.

We weren't sure what Wilbur would think about all this but after a couple of hours he got into the swing of things. We're pretty sure he enjoyed a consistently heated room (we turn the electric heat off when we leave the house), and he loved his outside romps with Hans. Wilbur's desire to mark where other dogs have gone before him far outweighed his hatred of the cold.

So, I have to share this one story here. It was on Thursday that I called Hans telling him to go ahead and pack up our belongings and the dog and come to the inn before the snow hit the fan. Right around 2PM, seventy-eight elementary kids had just exited their 'learning manners lunch' in our main dining room when I heard (and felt) something thundering through the room.

I was stunned to realize the thunder was Wilbur.


You've no idea what it's like to unexpectedly see your dog hurl himself through your work place.

Wilbur stopped when he could go no further and then sniffed frantically at the floor. "Come to Mama," I hopefully called. He lifted his head when he heard me and then took off in the opposite direction. Luckily another delicious smell caught him up short and I was able to snag his collar. That's when I saw a perplexed Hans standing at the dining room door.

I think I lost it about then and I won't relay what I'm pretty sure I said (screamed). Anyway, Hans, in the midst of navigating the dog and our belongings to our room, let Wilbur off his leash... and needless to say, Wilbur followed his nose. I'm just thankful the dining room was empty. Imagine the flood of outraged phone calls we would have received from the parents of all those traumatized students!

It didn't happen again.

We finally arrived home, turned up the heat, plugged in the space heater, and threw blankets over our confused pit bull. I have to say, as much as Wilbur may have enjoyed his adventure at the inn he's been happy to once again sleep in our Queen Size bed on the floor instead of falling out of the 'way up high' Double Size bed at the inn all night long.

Contemplating ways to get back into the dining room.