Monday, January 28, 2008

Living In A Van Down By The River

Since relocating one year and eight months ago from the suburbs of the Big City, which was in another state, to our current digs--I'll call it "Sunny City in Sunny State"--we have very much changed the landscape of our lives, as well as our neighborhood. Where we used to live in a state that had four seasons, we now live in a state with four types of year round warm weather. In my short, almost two years here, I've experienced the seasons as follows:

1) Lovely, breezy and warm. Agh. I love it here.
2) OMG, I can barely breathe it is SO hot and humid. What were we thinking?
3) Wow, it really is sunny. All the time. I mean, I like sun as much as the next person, but my skin is aging from just driving around town. Jeez.
4) Hmm. I didn't know it could rain this much and be hot and humid. Interesting.

Other than the weather, another big difference in the landscape of our lives is that we now live by a river. And with the river, in this particular neighborhood, comes...cats. LOTS AND LOTS OF CATS! Let me explain.

Although we don't actually live in a van, we really do live "down by the river." Our current neighborhood is only one block away from the cities winding river that stretches and snakes it way through several neighborhoods. I've never lived by a river before, and although I can give you some intelligent guesses, I can't tell you the exact reasons why this particular neighborhood has so many cats. But it does. They are everywhere. You see them when you walk. When you bike. When you drive. And now they are TAKING OVER our home. Our backyard. And our driveway. And our front porch. And our fence. And our shed. And now, our cars.

This morning as we were all getting into the car, heading out for our day of carpooling, work and school, we were all struck by an unbelievably strong, foul smell. The Kid yelled out, "Ugh! Mommy, what is that smell?" And Aqua Man yelled out, "Ugh? What the hell is that smell?" I had to be something with the cats. I looked around to find the evidence and that's when I saw sizeable "water" stains right in front of the tires on one car, and the front tire of our other car, and a smell that, well, I won't describe for you. I realized that now the cats are SPRAYING the tires of our cars, trying to mark out "their" territories. GRRRROOOOSSSS!!!!!!!!

After months of seeing up to 5 different cats a day "visit" and lay all over our back deck, and fence, and front porch, and sometimes under our parked cars, and occasionally hearing late night cat fights, they've graduated to marking our cars. I do have to say, that over the months, we haven't done much to try and keep the cats off our property. Up until this point, I've just personally felt like, hey, we all live here together in this neighborhood, so let's just share the space and make it work. But marking our cars? That's a deal breaker for me. I don't want anything bad to happen to the cats, but I do want them to back off!

So, on an already busy day filled with many things to do, today I add the following:

1) Find a holistic/alternative way to get cats to stay off our property and, for the love of all that's good in the universe, to stop, well, frankly, pissing on our cars.

I've heard that pure, essential Peppermint Oil is a natural determent. But it's expensive, and with this much marking, how much will I have to buy to stop this madness?

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