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By: joealaska , 12:06 AM GMT on June 16, 2013

Life is good in Kentucky.

I continue to tread water here, still not driven to find a new job...yet. The first move will be to find a place to stay here in town. I do not need much, maybe just a studio apartment. At the same time I need to get a car. There really is not room for me here. I need some room to unpack my CRAP.

Meanwhile I am enjoying having plenty of time available to do WHATEVER.

The house here is on the second hole of the local golf course. It is on the inside of a sharp left dogleg where big hitters try to hit over the house as a short cut to the green. This leads to plenty of free entertainment for all of us here. DotMom spends a little bit of free time each day checking the obvious spots outside for free golf balls. Golfers are not supposed to walk on our yard looking for the lost balls, although they do so occasionally. In their defense, it can be hard to see exactly where golf course ends and backyard begins. But NO PROBLEM, Dot will be right there to show them the boundary. She knows many of the golfers, and the regulars know where the lines are. Still, it is pretty common for these folk to be up close and personal. Walking near the house, looking for that golf ball. A ball in the yard is not a big deal.

Unless it hits off the house first. ESPECIALLY if the golfer tried to hit over the house on purpose. Ask DotMom how she feels about that... She does not hear as well as she used to, but when that ball plunks off the roof, she hears THAT and is all over it. Usually she tries to find the ball quickly and waits for the golfer to come a looking. They always come looking.

When this house was built, it was the last home on the road. At least at that time. Eventually, the road was continued on further as a new section of the subdivision was built. But for several years, there was no house on one side and beyond, nor were there houses looking beyond the back yard.. There was a great view looking out back. Across the golf course and a small pond, the view was of rolling fields and farmland. It was common to see deer walk across the field. Sometimes many deer.
For me, the best view was from the patio in back looking down the fairway to the 2nd hole green. We could watch any golfers as they hit approach shots, then putted on the green.

But that view has changed. A house was built next door, then more houses. A bunch of big homes went up across that farmland. A couple of trees in that back yard of the house next door now block the green from our view. Then late last year the new neighbor took it all up a couple of notches. They put in a new pool. There are not many pools around here, but now we got one right next door.

Our house has a sunroom in that corner of the house. Best room in the house, featuring many windows to let us enjoy what views remain. With the water less than 30 feet away, we are becoming closer than ever with the neighbors. A single dad is the owner. He has a couple sons, who have girlfriends, who have bikinis. The dad travels with his job, so we have seen a couple pool parties already when the cat is away.

So our new view is pool people in various pool party pose. It is hard to look out the window and not feel a little embarrassed, especially when they look up and there is eye contact. Like they caught you staring at them. No, just opened the blinds...

These are the problems I am dealing with on a daily basis now.


Onward with the blog.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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18. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:34 AM GMT on June 21, 2013
joealaska has created a new entry.
17. osdianna
3:11 AM GMT on June 21, 2013
I finally ordered my copy of the book, and now look forward to reading it. I too was hoping to hear how you got Fluff.

She is a remarkable cat, a great deal of fun to watch, play with, and just hang with. She spends a lot of time either on the recliner with me as I read or watch the news, or upstairs on the cedar plank window ledge. Now that the weather is warmer, I leave that window open a lot and she is now eye level with the crows. She can also see most of the front yard, so watches all that goes on out there, including the local rabbits.

My favorite thing about her is her very expressive tail; it's always moving back and forth, but not in an aggressive "I'm about to attack" way, just as if she is conversational with it.

I was lucky to be watching Dutchie the first time she saw a deer; when she is outside, I leave the door open so I can watch for her, and she jumped up on the bench outside, eyes wide, body tense in alarm, so I got up to see what startled her. It was one of last year's kids...obviously familiar with cats, but curious about this one. It had come within 20 feet of Dutchie and she was about to bolt, so I opened the screen door and she raced inside.

Too bad I didn't have my camera handy.
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16. miyuki
10:02 PM GMT on June 20, 2013
Yes Joe, your book is an excellent read. The sign of a good author is having your audience wanting more, and we do!
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15. Ylee
6:38 PM GMT on June 20, 2013
Around here, there used to be an old rouge black longhair male that was seen over a two mile stretch of road. He whupped all the male cats that crossed his path, and generally lived his life fast and hard. Haven't seen him in a couple of years, so he probably died in much the same fashion.

Dotmom, thanks for the offer, but with my busy life, I do well to visit my aunt, who lives a quarter mile away! I'm sure you know how it is! :(
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14. iaotter
3:43 PM GMT on June 20, 2013
I have ordered the book, gotten the book and read the book. Awesome read. I like the conversational style and the humor. Can't wait for book #2. I did feel sorry for poor Fluff with all that car time and hiding under hotel room beds. Still, she seems to be a pretty well adjusted kitty in spite of it all.
Thanks for keeping the blog going even though you aren't in Dutch. Looking forward to your next adventure.
How did you acquire Dutchy? Or is that a tail for the next book?
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13. joealaska
12:52 PM GMT on June 20, 2013
Hello GracieO,

Thanks for giving the book a read. I agree the book is shorter than I wanted. Originally it was much longer as I included some "side trips" that were nothing to do about getting to Dutch.

However I elected to focus on the one plot line and get some experience in the whole process of writing and getting a book published.

The result is that the first book will set the ground work for book #2.

Glad you are enjoying it.
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12. GracieO
12:30 PM GMT on June 20, 2013
I received you book Monday evening, well I devoured half of it already, last night, after I got off work. It's good read dude. I'm a bit disappointed that it not a long read. I'm used to 400+ pages. But it's wetted my appetite for you 2nd book. To bad they don't have Popeye's Fried Chicken in Canada, but then again it would probably be screwed up too.
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11. osdianna
6:44 PM GMT on June 18, 2013
I had heard of the study UK talks of, and my only surprise was the distance traveled; I thought they roamed farther than that. My neighborhood is mostly brushy and treed camping lots, 60 ft wide and 120 feet deep. Some have not been cleared, but allowed to grow wild, and most are surrounded by screening stands of trees, willows, salal, and Himalayan Blackberry thickets...lots of hidey holes for cats, raccoons, rabbits, coyotes, deer and a few other creatures.

Overlapping territories of neighborhood cats is the interesting part; there is now a male cat skulking about that has been marking the area, including the front storm-door, and I often see Sadie re-marking her yard, all to the entertainment of Fluff and Dutchie. I am now using vinegar to wash down the door, but they still stop to sniff.
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10. dotmom
1:42 PM GMT on June 18, 2013
UK says:
I have a feeling I now know how a still boxed, individual size, luxury chicken and mushroom pie mysteriously appeared on my lawn a few weeks back…

Dotmom says: Don't eat it!!!
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9. insideuk
11:41 AM GMT on June 18, 2013
Since many here appear to have cats to chase about all over the house/ neighbourhood/ golf course I thought I’d report on some findings that came up from a recent scientific experiment in the south of England…

A group of ‘CAT SCIENTISTS’ (I’d have plumped for ‘cat connoisseur’ or ‘cat savant’, maybe even ‘cat doyenne’ – since the titles appears entirely self proclaimed) gathered in a small rural village to gather data on the local cat population. A total of 50 cats were offered up by their owners to take part in the week long study to track their movements and behaviour. All were keen to find out what their own little ball of fur gets up to when left to its own devices, so they gathered in the local village hall to learn about the technology that was going to be used/ installed about their pets person. The cat scientist team brought in a vet who had experience filming wild animals in Africa, who held up a huge collar that was designed to carry camera and GPS equipment around the neck of a lion.

The average domestic moggy could have jumped straight through it, circus stylie, even after lunching on the hind quarters of a small deli counter. There were one or two horrified gasps from the assembled cat lovers before the cat commanders explained that they planned on miniaturising the collar somewhat. There was obviously no way little Tiddles was going to exit the average British cat flap in the latest in African vogue. It was the equivalent of wearing a hula hoop for a wedding ring, any groom attempting to carry his bride over the threshold was going to get thwarted, bruised and bounced back into batchelorhood.

So regular sized cat collars were adapted to hold GPS units, no larger than a matchbox, and each owner was told to introduce these collars in as stress free a manner as was possible to their pets. Most took this advice seriously and roasted an entire chicken, per cat, to provide enough distraction to get their less than impressed moggies used to wearing the device.

So how far do you imagine YOUR cat wonders off from home territory?

I’ll do all the metric/ imperial conversions for you…

If you have a male cat he will on average range about 110 yards radius of home. A girly will average just over half that distance. The local farm cat covered considerably more distance per day, with hunting activities leading him back and forth – but even he never stepped outside an invisible boundary line 170 yards from home.

That is much less than I had expected.

The cats, given absolute freedom to choose when to come and go (ie without needing a humans helping hand to open doors) would on average only spend 20% of their time outdoors. The cat masters put this down to them starting to lose a bit of their wild instincts and opting for the cushier pampered life of being waited on hand and foot.

Still, they did do a bit of hunting – perhaps just to keep a paw in. The cats that allowed the fitting of the slightly larger digital camera devices, following a four course roast luncheon (2 fish courses, two meat) attended by local dignitaries and featured in full colour photo montage high society diary pages, showed their hunting prowess to all its gory detail.

The owners were also asked to capture/ box up any little formerly living ‘gifts’ that their cats brought home. A total of 20 birds were brought in to the delighted cat guru’s village hall HQ – a weeks kill for 50 cats. That was less than they expected but considerably more than I could possibly endure in my personal Tupperware collection.

One lady brought in a kill that was too large for the box – a barely damaged bunny rabbit was discretely shrouded in a plastic supermarket carrier bag enroute through the village, but then put on a display table.

A pristine and freshly ironed white linen table cloth showed off its best side for TV.

Another lady opened up her Tupperware to reveal a large eyeball. Nothing else. Just a large eyeball with a small amount of furry eyelid, possibly an eyelash. I was watching on a full HIGH DEFINITION large screen television.

I may need therapy.

I certainly need new food storage ideas.

How cats behave around each other was interesting. They will defend their own territory, that is the area immediately surrounding their food and their bed. But in the vast majority of times any incursion into enemy territory will be met with a stand-off situation, not an actual furry cuffs fight. This is because a cats instinct is one of self preservation, it considers its physical wellbeing of paramount importance – it knows an injured cat is one that will not survive the wild.

What the filming/ tracking cat wizards believe, and their evidence during this week long survey backed up, is that cats live within a community organised ‘timeshift’ system. Where 2 or more unrelated cats lived in such close proximity that their territories overlapped then they had actually developed a shift system so that one is indoorsy whilst the other is outdoorsy, thus avoiding the standoff situation all together.

All cats leave their secretions as markers on anything they rub against or walk over, and these act as chemical markers which other cats can read. They can tell which of their foes was in the area and how long ago they were there. They could, in effect, map each other without the need for cat administrators and their clumsy collars camping out in the village hall 24/7.

They are also much better at clambering over 7 foot high fencing than any 6 foot tall cameraman and his assistants. They had free roaming rights throughout the village and set up various fixed camera points inside and outside village homes.

This was how it was discovered that a great many cats had more than one feeding bowl.

Many owners had absolutely no idea of the little furry visitors they were getting in their homes – emptying food bowls left for their own dear creatures. Often the same cat would visit near neighbour homes daily for extra courses, all with the aid of their built in foe tracking device. If only judges could keep track of Lindsey Lohan’s activities so easily.

When it came to households with several cats under one roof they discovered remarkable bonds. One home had 8 cats, all unrelated, male and female of mixed ages. Only one of those cats chose to roam around outdoors, though they all had the freedom to choose, the other 7 happily occupied their corners of the building. Some had a companion cat, a friend for life and they would never leave each others side. They went everywhere together, ate together and groomed each other. Yet they also tolerated all the other cats and the human family that they allowed to live with them in their happy catty commune.

I suspect that family had to visit a branch of KFC for their stress free collar introduction. No domestic oven would have been large enough to provide enough of a roasted chicken distraction.

At the end of the week all the villagers gathered in the hall to see what their pets had been getting up to. They watched giant screens depicting the exact routes their cats had traversed, in minute detail they could witness the carnage laid bare on trestle tables, and they could seek to gain financial compensation off shocked neighbours for all the losses they had incurred due to that thieving little bugger from down the road.

I have a feeling I now know how a still boxed, individual size, luxury chicken and mushroom pie mysteriously appeared on my lawn a few weeks back…
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8. dotmom
1:11 PM GMT on June 17, 2013
Now Ylee, you may come visit - but do you have to bring all your belongings and "that spoon too?" The door is always open, please stop by. JoeKY did have a nice Father's Day. He got to do what he likes to do most these days - watch TV sports and eat. It doesn't get much better than that for him.

Today we are off to the car store to talk about our 1996 Camry (128,000 miles) that has a "belly ache." We should probably buy a new car, but I love that little Camry (just don't use the cruise control - I think that is the thing that made so many accelerate and crash). We'll see how much to cure her. It is not an emergency room visit yet.

Everyone have a good day.
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7. joealaska
12:44 PM GMT on June 17, 2013
Hoping all those FATHERS out there had a nice Fathers Day.

We had a nice day with JoeKentucky. We watched golf all afternoon as Phil Mickelson came in 2nd AGAIN in the US Open. This after a lunch at Dad's favorite restaurant.

Late afternoon featured a nice rain storm that blew through the area.

Hope Dad had as good a day as I did!
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6. happytoberetired
9:55 PM GMT on June 16, 2013
Should we throw out a query to our "friends" on FaceBook to find you an abode? I am guessing that would be a resounding HECK NO! Just trying to help you! ;-)
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5. Ylee
6:32 PM GMT on June 16, 2013
Well, that pretty much rules out me visiting you at your folks, Joe! We'd be comparing photo equipment, which would cause my wife to apply the business end of a Lodge Logic skillet!(or a suitable substitute!) :' )

Happy Father's Day, JoeKy! In the local vernacular, you done did good! :' )
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4. insideuk
10:07 AM GMT on June 16, 2013
I hadn't realised quite how serious the imperative was for you to move out, but then again, this is the first I've heard of any POOL ISSUE. You kept that one quiet.

It's all in the timing really isn't it. Spend 5 happy years in Alaska, discover the pool building plans, exit Alaska just in time for the summer to get heated up to bikini strength in Kentucky?

You need your own space Joe. No ifs or BUTTS.

I couldn't see these big open plots for gardens working in the UK. Everyone likes to keep themselves to themselves here, with defined privacy – any pool building would doubtless come with some modesty screening or else be disallowed by the planning guidelines. Ditto, new homes – windows that directly infringe on an existing neighbours privacy would not be granted planning consent. And without consent the new building gets torn down.

We don't have gated communities in the UK either, or at least they are very rare, designed for Russian billionaire oligarchs in leafy Surrey. They rarely live in the houses they own here, they are merely an investment opportunity combined with a safe haven bolthole in case of trubba back home in Russia. One I saw recently had installed under drive heating, and it was a big driveway, just to prevent icy patches during the winter.

Money to burn.

But British and US housing is chalk and cheese. I've watched lots of TV shows where Brits are looking to buy property in the US. As a general rule your homes are HUGE in comparison, much more open plan inside and out, lots more bathrooms to bedrooms, have vast furniture and usually are up for sale at a fraction of the cost here. Florida really stands out since the property price slump – a recent show featured multiple 5 bed detached homes with pools for under £100k. Houses half their size with no pool would cost four times that in the UK. The differences are astonishing. But the Brits looking round those properties were intimidated by the open plan plots – hard to separate us from our six foot high fences and prickly hedges.

Which would make retrieving your golf ball almost impossible without ladders and long trousers.

Your 'short sale' thing doesn't exist here either. A recent programme had to explain how that all works for the British viewers. They showed how people had torn up the interior fittings on such sales, but now the banks will pay big cash sums to homeowners who leave the property in a good condition? Seems twisted to an outsider.

The good news is that US house prices appear to be picking up from coast to coast, an average 10% in the last year?

Someone needs to get himself sorted out. A home. A car. A fork and a real (non-paper) plate?

At least Dianna has kindly sorted out the spoon problem.

Though I think whilst Farfle was a neighbour the last poop scoop was shovel sized. If the old blogs were to be believed that dog visited and left gifts that would have required planning permission in the UK.

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3. osdianna
5:06 AM GMT on June 16, 2013
I think the hardest part of moving into an area is watching it change, especially if you think you have a small corner of paradise and are quite content with the wide open spaces...no neighbors, great views, peace and quiet.

Then one day the lot is scraped clean of ANY vegetation, and someone builds a house and you are staring at the big windows...and the blinds are always closed...what's with that? Anyway, I guess the only way to avoid such a thing is to buy somewhere out in the middle of nowhere, or buy an island.

Or I could just get used to being around people again. I am spoiled...not interested in living in a regular neighborhood ever again...been there, done that. No sidewalks, no street lights, I want to be able to see the Milky Way...when it isn't cloudy.

I had a chance to go into one of our shops here in town last week, called The Flying Cat. It's actually a gift shop but of course, with that name it specializes in cat-related items, such as Laurel Burch socks and bags, pottery for snotty cats....you know. Anyway, I found a real prize, a stainless steel litter scooper for the cat boxes! If you have ever had kitty litter that is clumping and made of clay, you will appreciate such a tool. I swear they could pave a road with some of the clumps these cats produce, so a plastic scooper lasts maybe a few months. This baby will last the rest of my lifetime, and I can leave it to someone in my will!

I have already purchased a second one for Joe; he can't have mine.
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2. BriarCraft
4:00 AM GMT on June 16, 2013
In my family we have a saying, "Family is like fish; after three days they start to stink." I do hope you all survive the experience, DotMom.

Speaking of experience, Joe, and old habits as well: How are you managing the transition from handsome foxes to young things in bikinis? I don't suppose they'd understand if you tossed some kibbles in that direction and grabbed your camera?
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1. dotmom
1:09 AM GMT on June 16, 2013
Well now the secret is out, our house is too tiny and he has to watch bathing beauties. I asked him once if he liked "bathing beauties" and he said he never bathed one! Ha, ha, ha!

So here we are a couple of super seniors with two grown children and two large cats all living together in a little brick house. Let's say this. Our house is small - when it was built, there were just two. We were not expecting children - or cats. But as my brother used to say - as long as you have trains, you will have wrecks. Now what the heck did that mean? :)

So we are a bit cramped with all that was brought back to this house. We are making the best of it - I think rather cheerfully. I know that things will change. Time is always a factor. We have to love one another and above all - exercise patience. Stay tuned!
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