Just Heather
If only the human siblings in this house could get along so well.

If only the human siblings in this house could get along so well.

2009-06-206_595For Christmas last year, we received a membership to the Children’s Museum. I was very excited as we had actually never taken the children. I am such a horrible mother. Indianapolis is actually home to the number one children’s museum in the country. We have been several times now that we are members, and we will never be without a membership again.

Their current feature is The Power of Children. We’ve been through the exhibit twice and I hadn’t even seen a third of it. It looked incredibly fascinating and powerful (thus, the name). However, it’s not so much for children. My girls just couldn’t care at all. I joked that I wanted to visit the museum one day without them so we could finally spend some time with the things we enjoy. Our next date, C=Children’s Museum, was born.
We dropped the kidlets with MFJ and headed downtown. With the construction they still have going on at the museum, we ended up in the basement to start. We bypassed the dinosaurs—been there, done that. On our way up to The Power of Children, we stumbled on the 2nd reason for our no kids allowed trip, The Clone Wars exhibit. I’m sure Lorelai will love it, but she wouldn’t be as interested in the details and we would have missed a lot chasing her down in a dash towards the train exhibit.

The Power of Children exhibit was definitely worth the trip. We sat through all 3 presentations and while I’m not sure Spencer was all that into it, I thoroughly enjoyed them all. The Diary of Anne Frank is the only assigned book from junior high that I actually read cover to cover. Clearly, we learned no lessons as the hatred and racism continued in our country. The story of Ruby Bridges fascinates me. I just can’t get over how recently it was. I would love to think we’re beyond that, but 50 years later I still see it regularly. Ryan White’s story was familiar. I was young so I think I remember the movie about his story more than the actual news. I grew up here in Indiana, though, so it was a pretty big deal.

2009-06-203Our next stop was for the geeks in us (okay, mostly him). The games through the years exhibit is fun even with the whole family, but we never get to play when the girls are around. Someone is always taking over my joystick and losing my last life. It was a bit crowded so I still haven’t had the opportunity to play Giant Connect 4, but beating Spencer at Pac-Man was worth it. Since we were already there, I insisted that we ride the carousel. Without children to wrangle, I was able to read all the cute tidbits on the history of the carousel. It’s amazing how educational even the fun & games exhibit can be, but we really had a lot of fun being kids.

We capped off our date with a few minutes of relaxation in the basement. Of course, remember we’re at the children’s museum so that isn’t even remotely dirty! They have this rotating couch-like thing that looks up at the bottom of the Fireworks of Glass sculpture pictured above, which, by the way, was apparently created by a pirate. See? Educational.

img_1779-largeHubby got an iPhone last fall and I, of course, have wanted one ever since. I don’t usually require much in a cell phone. I need it to call, text and survive the occasional fall. That means the iPhone was out for me, until I heard about the hard-shelled cases people use to take their iPhone mountain biking. Perhaps, with a hard-shelled case, an iPhone could survive even me.

Of course, we don’t have an extra $200 to get another one. Enter the new iPhone 3GS with the resulting price drop in the plain, old model that’s good enough for me. We have one contract up for renewal now and another in October, but still lack the funds to pay even the reduced price. Then I saw a Tweet from Planet Green about recycling your old phone if you plan to get a the new iPhone. My savings-oriented, scheming brain kicked into over drive.

I headed to my favorite gadget recycling site and checked the value on the current iPhone. $249—more than enough to buy the new one when it is released later this month. By the time I convinced hubby that being without his precious iPhone for 2 weeks would be worthwhile if it means he gets the updated model for nothing,  the value had dropped to $229. That is still more than enough to pay for the updated model with our contract-renewal discount.

We thought he’d be using my seriously jank phone until June 19th, but it looks like the buy offer is good through 7/9 so he’ll be keeping the iPhone until his free Father’s Day present arrives. It means the purchase goes on a credit card, but it will be paid off as soon as our inexpensively” target=”top”>Gazelle check arrives. If you have an AT&T plan up for renewal and a current iPhone, I’d try it out before the values drop even more.

As for my phone, I’ll still have to wait. I’m such a good wife.

I have said for a year now that if we ever get another cat, I want a Litter Maid! My least favorite part of owning a cat is dealing with the crap box. I wanted to make it as easy as possible the next time around.  On the way home from picking up the kittens last week, I stopped to purchase this one. It rates poorly on Amazon, but I didn’t know that at the time. I got a bit nervous when I saw all the reviews, but I would not be deterred.

img_1687I set it up right away. It didn’t work.  It just kept making this weird clicking sound. Rather than assuming Amazon customers may have been on to something, I decided to read the instructions. This is when I learned that the cleaning rake was strapped to the box for packaging. Oops. A quick clip with my scissors and we were in business! I couldn’t wait for one of the cats to do his so I could see it in action. (Yes, I realize how odd that is.)

We have now been using this for over a week and I have changed the receptacle once.  It is such an amazing change over scooping and dealing with disgusting litter.  The Littermaid really does keep the litter scooped throughout the day. It has a sleep setting at night so you don’t have to hear the motor (which, unfortunately, is exceptionally loud) and runs in the morning at the time you have set to wake.  If the cats are overly, ahem, productive at night, I’ve noticed the rake does have a bit of difficulty on that first run.

We have 2 kittens and it seems to fill the waste receptacle after about 5 days.  I’m sure once they grow, it fill even more quickly. I’m searching for a greener solution.  However, it is so freaking handy to just push in the lid, lift the waste arm and throw the box of crap into the garbage.  I never see it, I never touch it and I don’t even have to smell it.  I just hate the idea of throwing away a plastic box every 3 or 4 days.  I don’t even throw away butter containers!

All in all, I’m pretty pleased (especially considering the reviews I read).  I’ll never go back to a traditional litter box again.  I’ll be even happier once I get the chance to purchase a cover for it.  The cats seem to scatter the litter just by jumping into it.  Also, the handy paw scraping carpet doesn’t really have an impact if they just jump over the back upon exit.  The cover will limit they’re entry & exit to the front where the carpet can actually help scrape the litter dust from their feet (I hope). At the very least, it should stop them from tossing litter over the side of the box.

The next part of my litter box solution is finding a better home for it. It is currently in our bedroom which pleases me not one bit, but we’re currently co-sleeping.  More accurately, they’re sharing our bed while I get next to no sleep because curious kittens think it’s fun to play with Mommy’s hair.  However, I’m not comfortable letting the tiny kitten roam on his own just yet (he has a thing for electrical wires and I’m hoping to prevent a Christmas Vacation-esque moment).

Thus, the cats, and their box o’ crap, remain in our bedroom for the foreseeable future.

Our progress, so far, on the summer list for Wordless Wednesday:

Baby, my hometown cat

Baby, my hometown cat

I have had cats for most of my life.  It started when I was 4 and my dad told me absolutely, never ever are we getting that cat. Then I cried. Her name was Sweetheart and she went on to have 5 kittens, most of whom we kept.  Her last kitten lived until I was in high school. About a year after she passed, I started in on wanting another cat.  My dad said no way, absolutely not. We are never getting another cat. Then, I may or may not have cried. His name is Baby and he still lives with my parents.

Tommy the Cat, 1997-2008

Tommy the Cat, 1997-2008

When Spencer and I were getting married, we already had a dog.  Indy was almost one and tons of fun, but I still wanted a cat.  He said no, but finally relented (even without the tears!) and got me a kitten as a wedding gift.  Tommy was the greatest cat ever, even if Spencer never quite saw it that way. He was sweet, playful and never, ever cross with the kids (though each went through their toddler stage of torturing him constantly).

When he passed away, I always knew I’d eventually get a cat but it takes some time to heal. Apparently, for me, that time is always about one year.  I’ve been making noises for a month or so about getting another cat. In April, Brenia’s Girl Scout troop visited PetSmart, and their on location pet rescue. I, of course, wanted to take them all home with me. He said no, but announced on Mother’s Day that my present was getting a cat. I had my heart set on a kitten, but I also felt tugged to rescue one of the cats.

Captain Nemo

Captain Nemo

Earlier this week, my friend let me know that PetSmart’s rescue shelter had new kittens. We stopped by “just to look” and came home with two.  We picked out one of the baby kittens, but Captain Nemo’s soulful eyes kept calling to us so we had to bring him home. Both cats are affectionate, playful (a little too playful for my tastes at 4am) and good with the kids.  The youngest is not quite sure about Indy, but Nemo seems to have made his peace. He does hide from Lorelai, but that’s just common sense.


"We named the dog Indiana."

When we adopt a pet, we would ordinarily change his name. Indy was once Snoop, but he didn’t really seem to know it. That happens when a dog spends 22 hours a day in a crate. Nemo seems to have stuck, though. Partly, because Finding Nemo is Spencer’s very favorite children’s movie, partly because it was rather funny to be looking for Nemo all evening when he hid and partly because he seems to come when you call. Bogey, however, is not our baby kitten’s name.



The problem is, we weren’t sure what was. We kicked around quite a few names but nothing really seemed to fit him yet. The girls suggested cliches like Shadow and Midnight, but I’m not really into that sort of thing. We’ve named most of our animals from movies or television shows (kids too!) so we kicked around Cat Kirk for awhile. The girls hated it and even though I loved the idea it just didn’t feel right. I liked Pixel, suggested by Spencer, but it was a blatant ripoff from some Twitter guy’s bunny. Somewhat related to Pixel, I suggested 8-bit. I think it stuck.

5995377I love food. I love musicals. I love pirates, a fact which everyone in hubby’s family now knows (thank you, Jagermeister). All of this adds up to the Beef and Boards production of Treasure Island being tailor made for me. It was always our intention to visit this local dinner theater as part of our Alphabet Dating journey, even before I discovered they were featuring pirates through the spring.

We had plenty of letter choices—dinner theater, play, musical—but when I won tickets last month it was obvious we would be using the alliteration for our B date.  I was very excited.  Him? Probably not so much.  Musicals aren’t really his thing, especially when he has to dress for the event.  I, personally, couldn’t wait to get dressed up, have dinner with my husband and catch a show. About pirates.

Then the weekend arrived and brought one of our biggest fights yet.  The night was rocky, the next day tough and I didn’t think we’d last to the evening much less feel up to a date.  We hashed through a lot over the course of the day and finally got to a pretty good spot.  It’s been one step forward, two steps back since we began the rehabilitation journey.  We’ve been on our current path for a month now so this time I’m convinced we’ve made lasting progress.

Anyway, the evening arrive and we were still married; I got all decked out (he told me I was beautiful—bonus points), he suited up (yum!), the babysitters arrived (Thanks, Mimi & Papaw!) and we set sail (ha—get it?) for our musical adventure.  I knew very little of what to expect, though I’ve been wanting to visit the place for years.  My parents and extended family all love Beef and Boards but that was the extent of my knowledge.  I didn’t even have real tickets, just an email telling me the show was at 8pm and the hostess had our reservation.

We arrived at 7:30 feeling pretty good about our promptness only to discover that the show starts at 8, yes, but the dinner buffet is 6-7:30.  Oops.  They were gracious to us and the waiter brought us each a plate anyway.  I couldn’t eat most of mine, due to my gluten intolerance, but I picked through what I could (off both plates, of course).  Turns out, the food wasn’t worth an extra hour of our time anyway. We did enjoy our intermission sundae but even that seemed to be nothing more than ice cream from a bucket with Hershey’s syrup.

The show, however, was well worth the price of admission even if it hadn’t been free. The production was fun.  The all male cast was a hoot.  The songs were lively and fun.  I loved that the stage direction kept putting pieces of the show right in front our table.  My one disappointment was that the gift shop was closed after the show.   I wanted a pirate flag, but it’s probably just as well that I didn’t add to our junk collection.  I’ll scrapbook the playbill instead along with the single, slightly blurry picture above.

The “rules” of Alphabet Dating specifically exclude movies because the point is to create experiences and reconnect.  That really requires something other than sitting next to one another in the dark.  It’s my game, though, so I make things up as we go. Still, the lighting and seating arrangement made the play acceptable for our purposes, I think.  We were able to cozy up together to enjoy the show and each another.

Here’s to 24 more letters (plus a lifetime) of enjoying one another.


The original Alphabet Dating project fizzled out last fall. After a phenomenally rough holiday season, Spencer and I decided to give it another try. When my brother and his wife gave us Pacer tickets for Christmas, coupled with an evening of free babysitting, we had the perfect opportunity to start again. Armed with Restaurant.com certificates for Blue Crew, we were prepared for an evening of athletics. A sports themed date is perfect for us. I love basketball; he loves the Colts.

View from Our Baseline Seats

View from Our Baseline Seats

It was a decent game, and I really enjoyed the baseline seats. We’ve been to several games over the years, but this was my first opportunity to have noisemakers behind the goal. I was stupidly excited about it! After the game, we headed out for appetizers at the Blue Crew. When we arrived at 10:05pm, though, we were told the kitchen closed at 10. Having missed dinner, we were hungry but I was determined to keep with the A-themed evening.

Majors Sports Cafe

Majors Sports Cafe

The next thing to pop in my mind was a sports cafe run by a friend of mine. Majors Sports Cafe has 47 television screens around the restaurant and a unique, eclectic menu including buffalo meatloaf! We enjoyed our dinner and conversation while we I kept an eye on hockey, soccer, a Peyton Manning documentary and an XBox competition—definitely more sports than even I was anticipating.

not from our baseline seats

Game 2: Club Level

We actually had the opportunity to revisit the Pacers (for free, I might add) before we got around to the next letter in our dating journey. That was a serendipitous evening with an even more serendipitous meeting. We bumped into our high school best friends as we were walking to the club level. Clearly the beginning of our new Alphabet Dating experience was steak sauce. Because that also starts with an A.