Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Old Days (Good Times I Remember)

I think that I'm hopelessly nostalgic, sometimes even to the point of maudlin sentimentality. A bit of that was triggered by two events last week. The first was a Facebook memory from two years ago that showed a picture of Grendel, Rhiannon, and Maebh milling about in the sunshine near the big sliding glass door. The second was hearing the song Old Days by Chicago play on Pandora. One verse particularly stood out:

Take me back
To the world gone away
Seem like yesterday

The ten years when I shared a home with those three were some of the best years I've ever known. It saddens me to think that it's now a world gone away, never to return.

Maebh's recent dental adventure wasn't anything life threatening for her (though my wallet is still recovering). However, she's 14. Rhiannon is 17. In cat years, they're getting ancient. Maebh is still pretty spry; Rhiannon is definitely showing her years and getting fatter to boot.

The Golden Girls

Back in the day, my lounging around the house (as one does), had a magnetic affect on the cats. They'd gravitate to me or to each other near me. Life was a movable cat puddle.

Creating permanent dimples in the couch

We're less cohesive now. Maebh still considers me furniture the minute I sit. Even when I'm upright, she bullies me into to sitting in the recliner so she can sit on me. It's nice to be wanted, even if only for my ample lap. Rhiannon used to prefer sitting either on my right (before we both got too fat for her to fit between me and the arm of the recliner) or nestled between my legs. Not so much now that it's harder for her to jump up on the furniture. I have a step thingy that she can use to get onto the couch and thence onto me, but now she finds it too roundabout. Plus, I think she gets confused about how to get up there. She's always been kind of stupid (sweetly so), now she's also senile.

Grendel picked me out in July 2006, I picked out Rhiannon in August 2006. Maebh joined the tribe in March 2007. We were four. They were all younger then and more open to new relationships. Despite a spat here and there between Grendel and Rhiannon, the cats were often bundled together with or without me. They were a happy little clowder, a few contretemps notwithstanding.

The movable clowder

These days, Bogart is the only youngster (with all of youth's annoying unbridled enthusiasms) and the old girls are adamant in ostracizing him from their tribe. I hoped I could keep the show going by introducing a new cast member for an existing role, like the way Dick Sergeant replaced Dick York on Bewitched and nobody noticed. But Maebh noticed and  after 18 months I'm resigned to her hatred of Bogart being implacable.

Bring me the head of Bogart the Cow Cat

We're like Cyprus now. The invading Turk (Bogart) has his own territory and the Greeks (Rhiannon and Maebh) have theirs. I'm the hapless schmo with a foot in each warring camp. All I need is a baby blue helmet. Any attempt to get them to mingle turns into a Sharks v. Jets rumble and Tony (Maebh) inevitably shivs Bernardo (Bogart). Even with only one remaining canine, I assume her bite to be still formidable and abscess inducing.

We've reached a modus vivendi, but it's not without inconvenience. My lounging moments can't exert the gravitational pull that drew all the munchkins together to me. I miss that.

The girls will die eventually. I hope not for a long time, even though that means Stately Chez Dave will remain an indefinite Cyprus. When they go, Bogart will have an unrestricted run of a lonelier house.

I'll be wary of bringing a new cat (or cats) in after the girls go. Bogart seemed to do well in community in the shelter before I adopted him, but he's aggressive with Maebh, who does not respond well to his attention. I long for a harmonious home without Iron Curtains and Checkpoint Charlies to keep the cat population apart.

Standoff at Checkpoint Charlie

With Bogart, I tried to extend or re-boot the bliss of my three-cat household. It didn't work. I don't want to repeat that disappointment, so I assume that Bogey will be my last cat. But who knows?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Everything that is purchased must converge

I came home Friday evening and found my mailbox full of joy. It was a near-perfect convergence of things I'd ordered at various times all coming in at the same point. Only one item of my outstanding deliveries was missing and it arrived today.

This week's haul:

Collateral Damage

My last figure order to Timeline/Hoka Hey was to get some of the civilians from their Border Reivers range. This is the last order of minis for the Enfilade! game I'm running as part of The Irish Project. The game will be The Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits, which was an attack on an English column headed to Enniskillen. The column contained wagons of supplies as well as a cluster of civilians/camp followers. In the battle, the civilians broke and ran as the English force fell apart. Several extricated themselves with the soldiers, but a number fared not so well. War in 16th c. Ireland was cruel. I figure they'll be a good distraction for the Irish and I'll need to make up some scenario rules for them. They'll be used in the game as "Clubmen" according to The Pikeman's Lament rules. Pitiful, but not quite helpless.

Wagons Ho! (Collateral Damage part deux)

I ordered three wagons from Irregular Miniatures. They're quite nice. They come in several pieces, so I'll be in confession soon seeking absolution for my rage and foul language as I fail repeatedly to assemble them. Remember kids: Instant glue isn't.

Both the wagons and the wee metal civvies arrived from the UK within two weeks.

Wretched Hovels

While shopping around for buildings suitable for the Celtic fringe—terrain for The Irish Project games—I found some Hudson and Allan buildings for sale at the Michigan Toy Soldier Company. Those arrived within a week.

They're actually Scottish crofters' cottages, but I think they'll do for ramshackle Irish farmhouses ca. 1594. I don't think there were any farms or such in the area where The Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits took place, but I'll have the two buildings out there anyway. It's a skirmish game, gotta break up the field somehow—and I don't know for certain that there wasn't a wretched groveling peasant family or two eking out a living from the rocky soil.

The Fruits of Promise Breaking

The last item in the convergence was the completion of some out of stock items from an order I made to The War Store earlier. As I mentioned in January, my New Years' resolution of not buying any minis for new projects has been compromised. In that post I said I wouldn't buy any AWI minis until after the Enfilade! convention in May.


I ordered soon after I posted that. I now have several boxes of Perry Miniatures AWI. I'm focusing on 'Mericans right now (yes, Brits and Loyalists traitors later). I'm interested in gaming the Southern campaigns when Rebels and Patriots come out next year, so a lot of my figures are militia, on foot and mounted. I've got some riflemen, too. That was my first order, which was only partially fulfilled while The War Store awaited restock des frères Perry.

Soon after receiving the partial shipment of the first order, I ordered more. More militia plus Lee's Legion foot and mounted.

I also ordered some Chessex dice from the War Store. I realized that for six players in a convention game of The Pikeman's Lament, I'll need 72 dice. So, I got two blocks of the small 12mm D6s, all ivory white.

I also picked up a block at The Game Matrix in Tacoma on Saturday, so now I have 108 12mm ivory-colored dice. That's enough to be getting on with. I probably could have cobbled together six sets of 12 D6s from the existing dice hoard chez moi, but buying dice for me is like buying shoes was for Imelda Marcos. Always gotta have more. Always gotta have the right ones for the occasion.

More bones to roll

Speaking of dice, I ordered more bone dice (true bone, not bone-colored) from Quartermaster Stores in Wolverhampton in the UK. These took some time because they were waiting on shipment from their supplier. But they arrived just a few days ago (a pre-convergence convergence). I had ordered some of them before, but the ones that arrived in the last order are considerably different, as in much nicer.

The bone is whiter and the pips are bigger and better defined. They aren't perfect cubes in any sense, but they're more regular in size shape than my beloved Viking bone dice.

I figure these new bone dice will be perfect for 17th-19th c. games like The Pikeman's Lament, Rebels and Patriots, etc. There was one flaw, however.

That's the only one I noticed. If I were shooting craps with that in the Old West, I might get hanged.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Cat toofs, anxiety, and such

Maebh the Merciless is at the vet. She started exhibiting a soreness on the left side of her mouth this weekend and I sort of knew that it likely means some teeth are comin' out. Maebh is over 14 now. So far, she's had no health issues and apart from her teeth, she's still in great shape.

Of course, I hoped that it would be a simple matter. I hoped Grendel's illness would be constipation. But no. It looks like 3 teeth need to be extracted, including her left canine, which is the worst. She had a chip at the tip, which the vet says is possibly how an infection set into the root. I don't know how she chipped her canine; maybe it happend by hitting bone the last time she bit Bogart.

I could get the teeth extracted tomorrow or April 13 or later. I'd rather get it done now, even though I was hoping to take her home today. The vet recommends leaving her overnight. Cats are calmer going into surgery if they haven't first had the trauma of being caught, stuffed into a carrier, and driven across town. But it's the first time I've left her overnight anywhere in the 12 years I've had her. She's very fearful with strangers and she's always been tough to take to the vet. I'm not sure, however, if she's more anxious or I am. For me, the worst is imagining what's going through her mind, enclosed in a small kennel in a strange place.

You're leaving me here? Forever? Don't you love me anymore...

When Bogart was at the vet for a week, I visited him every day. When Grendel had a tooth extracted some years ago, I brought him in in the morning and picked him up the same day. He was easier to get into a carrier. I figured getting Maebh back into the carrier later today (for overnight) or tomorrow morning would be traumatic (more for me than her, that cat can put up a fight). She yowled the whole way in this morning, but was silent at the vet.

So I left her there after the checkup this morning. I know she'll be OK, but I still feel bad. I'll visit this afternoon and leave one of my stinky shirts with her overnight. She often sleeps on my clothes, so I think having the stench of me with her will make her calmer.

I'll visit her first thing in the morning and, expecting the best, I'll have her home tomorrow night.