Smemerson Updates

It’s been five months since I posted anything here, and if you have been waiting with baited breath for the latest installment of Go Team Smemerson, (yeah right!) don’t worry; you haven’t missed much. In a nut shell, we graded a bunch of papers, Geoffrey read a bunch of books and wrote a few papers, we drank some beer, watched a bunch of Game of Thrones, and lost at Egans’ trivia almost every Wednesday night. There are a few updates worth mentioning, however…

Cat Toilet Training

Over the past few months, we have been working on toilet training our cat, Noodles. Things went well at first; he adapted to using a litter box placed inside the toilet bowl, and was fine with things after we started cutting small holes in the bottom of the pan. We had a few setbacks this spring, however. He didn’t like it when the holes in the bottom of the pan got to be bigger than the size of a quarter. We think his trepidation was the result of the realization that his “business” and the litter he tried to bury it with disappeared into what appeared to be a smelly black hole. We also had several house guests this semester. We assumed they wouldn’t enjoy lifting the litter pan out of the toilet every time they had to go, so we took a potty training break for a few weeks, and that really confused him. He also started pooping in the shower (we think Noodles developed this particular quirk after he was traumatized by “dropping his kids off at the pool” and hearing them splash when they hit the water). After all the delays and setbacks, we were about to give up. At the end of March we decided to give it a few more days, and if he didn’t make any progress, we would accept the inevitable and go back to the litter box. Then one day, Geoff took the litter pan out of the toilet to clean it, and before he could replace it, he heard running water in the bathroom. Afraid that one of our pipes had sprung a leak, he ran into the bathroom to find that Noodles was perched on the toilet seat peeing just like the creepy cats in the pictures! Now, he goes #1 in the toilet consistently, but unfortunately for the rest of us, he still goes #2 in the tub. He has lots of privacy in the shower, and when he poops there, nothing splashes him or makes scary noises. We’ve tried to break the habit by encouraging him to use a litter box again, chasing him out of the tub, placing him on the toilet when he starts to scratch around in there, and dousing the shower in “kitty keep away” spray, but nothing works. Noodles is determined to keep using his new “favorite spot,” and now he holds it until we go to bed at night to avoid detection. Each morning whichever of us has to shower first, is greeted by a special gift from Noodles. We haven’t resigned ourselves to cleaning poop out of the shower every day for the rest of Noodles’ life yet, but we are rapidly running out of ideas. If anyone knows of a shower alarm system or children’s book about NOT pooping in the shower please send that information our way. Even though potty training the cat has only been semi-successful, the Smemersons are officially “litter free in 2014,” and we’ve never kept our shower cleaner!

The Garden

Our garden is still going strong (kind of). We’ve planted some fresh herbs, arugula, spinach, kale, mustard greens, radishes, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, squash, a variety of peppers, and some tomatoes. We’ve had an unusually cold, rainy spring, and my early crops suffered. The spinach and kale didn’t make it, but my arugula and mustard greens seem to be making a comeback now that the sun is out and it’s warmed up a bit. The tomatoes and peppers look healthy; and the squash, zucchini, and cucumbers are growing like weeds. We picked our first radish a few days ago, and while weed eating Geoffrey discovered that half our backyard is covered in raspberry and blackberry bushes! Regardless of what happens for rest of this growing season, it has already been the most successful garden we’ve ever grown. Of course, keeping most of the plants alive, harvesting one radish, and discovering some fruit bushes someone else already planted is a pretty low bar for success.


Just in case one radish and a few berries are all we ever get out of our garden, we joined a CSA through Snow’s Bend Farms. We just picked up our second weeks’ worth of produce, and everything looks great. I’ve been enjoying the challenge of trying to plan our weekly menus around the shipment of seasonal fruits and vegetables. At first, I was worried that we wouldn’t get enough each week to sustain our veggie eating lifestyle, but so far, we been struggling to eat it all. If the garden actually works out this year, we may have to invest in a freezer and canning kit to store all the produce we won’t be able to eat.  If you like fresh produce, joining a CSA is a great way to get lots of affordable, locally grown, organic produce. 


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