Tuesday, July 22

The saga of building a cat friendly indoor doggie gate

Here's the issue: (and a look at the final outcome)

We needed an option to keep the puppy out of the basement without limiting the kitties access to the litter pans down there.  We've used a combination of baby gates (both leftover and purchased) and it's all been a pain.  Plus I'm over having baby gates around the house with an 11 year old, you know?

So I thought about looking for a dutch door, or cutting our existing interior door in half.  Then I would have to install a cat door in that door, and it would block sight to the basement.  I really just wanted a more open look, so I kept looking. 

I really didn't find any good options.  My DIY brain immediately goes to "just build it" but my working more brain goes to "just buy one".  But when buying one doesn't pan out, you go  back to building. 

I had the plan in my head of course (as I always do) and went off to buy lumber.  I think that happened back in April or May.  My plan was to build a frame from 2x4's, miter the corners and  screw them together.  I think I had the wrong screws (leftovers, no box) and they just wouldn't cooperate, and I got frustrated.  The gate and I broke up, and I left it in time out in the garage for three months. 

Here's comes July, and the door sat, and we still had the same dog/cat/litter pan issues.  And we were falling over the baby gate most days and it would go clanking across the floor and be a pain. 

So I went back to make up with the gate.  

With the right screws and some good clamps, I was able to secure the four corners.  The next step was the vertical slats, which I made to the same size as an opening in the basement to the litter pans: cats can go in, dog can't. 

Then the test: The dog walked right through.  #failnumber1

Horizontal slats came next: Hooray!  The dog was contained!!  She wasn't happy, but I was thrilled with myself and dancing the happy dance.

Test #2: A cat.  Mardi walked right through, got the deal, and had no issues.  Yay!!  Cat through, dog not, happy dance around the kitchen.  And if Mardi can do it, Raleigh would have no issues either.

Test #3:  Chocky.  OK, Chocky is a bit on the *heavy* side.  Honestly, at 18 pounds, she's downright fat.  I put her on the opposite side of the gate to make sure she would be able to push through (since it is the same opening size at the litter room opening, right?). 

#failnumber2.   And yes, I do think she was trying to melt me with her eye lasers.

But I get ahead of myself.  The gate is attached to the frame with great little magnetized latches.  I wanted something that would close easily and without any extra steps involved for the human members of the household. 

OK...back to the Chocky test.  She knew the deal: she approached, she started through, it was going well.  Then the back half of fat kitty got stuck.  As she pulled herself through, the awesome magnetic latches gave way and the door started opening and the more she walked the door just went with her.  She started hissing....at the door, the air, at me trying to help.  Hiss hiss hiss.


And she was mad.  I needed to try it again so I could get a feel for how much larger the opening could be to let her pass.....#failnumber3

And there she sat.  No way was she getting close to that gate. 

So I have a cat that either needs to stay in the basement where the litter pans are (not acceptable to her), or a cat on the wrong side of the litter pan access (not acceptable in any way to anyone).

So at 7:30 last night I headed back to Lowe's.  They didn't carry the  stronger magnetized latches I saw online.   They didn't know how a latch rated for 12 pounds force converted to 18 pound cat-force anyway.  (Really Lowe's...your people should be better trained. I need a magnetic latch rated for 18 pounds of fat-cat force....how does that compute?) 

After I talked to the Lowe's guy (he was really helpful) and showed him my pictures and explained to him the dog and the cat and fat kitty issues and latches not rated strong enough for 18 pounds of cat force, we just decided on a regular old boring latch for the top. 

Four screws and a hole in the wall, and it worked.

Dog out, cats through, no hissing. 

I'm exhausted.

Friday, July 11

5 Things Friday

  1. It's taken me three years to figure out our puppy's eating preferences.  I've always said she prefers cat food to the expensive dog food I've tried to give her.  Well, I was wrong.  I had her bowl separated from the cat bowls (to keep the peace), but finally moved her bowl beside the cat bowls.  She has eaten dog food ever since.  She just didn't like to eat alone.  We're still in training.
  2. The puppy screen door is working great! I'm hoping to get a video of her going in and out soon to share. 
  3. This has been the first week it's really felt like summer here....no schedule, no baseball, more pool time and playdates.  Working with nerf battles going on around you is challenging, but happy.
  4. Snakes...I hate them.  Stood outside talking to a friend the other day and about 6 feet beyond the puppy (who was oblivious) was a nice little garden snake just hanging out, pretty well camouflaged.  That puts my gardening fun on hold for a bit until I get over the willies.
  5. I've decrapified my hall closet.  It feels awesome.
Happy Weekend!

Monday, July 7

Easy summer jewelry: Stretch bracelets

Making bracelets with stretch cording is a fun and easy way to make some jewelry.  These four little cuties are headed to my great-niece today.  She loved the one that she wore in a wedding recently, so I decided to add to her collection.

Stretch bracelets are so easy and inexpensive to make: you are looking at less than $5.00 worth of beads (and I have leftovers that could easily make six more), and the stretch cord is just a few dollars.
This one is mine.  These beads were less than $5.  Will they last ad infinitum? Nope....but neither does my taste in jewelry! 

 These beads had holes in each side, and you just string them twice.  I use a gossamer stretch floss (.5mm) and a collapsible needle.
 Put a drop of glue on the knots to secure them...although I did wear this one a few times before I did that. 
I have a small wrist, so bracelets bought off the rack just fall off.  Making your own stretch bracelets gets rid of this issue! I love being able to make one that is just the right size and snug, which is the way I prefer them. 
I plan to make more...it's quick and fun!  And....it also detracts from the age spots on my hands!  #fiftyandfabulous

 If you don't have a beading store locally, here is a source list for your reference: (AMWN is an Amazon affiliate)
gossamer floss       collapsible needles     hypo cement

Tuesday, July 1


I started blogging in 2004 as a way to share pictures of my son with family that was out of town and out of state, mostly his grandparents.  It was an easy way to get pictures online that they could see him as he grew, and I could add stories of our adventures and his accomplishments as they happened.  It helped them feel connected, and was a great option. 

I joined Facebook way before most people in my generation did.  I joined to stalk my high school and college aged nieces and nephews (and yes, I told them!) and keep in touch with family.  Then the boy came along and of course I shared the cuteness that he is there....doesn't every mom want to do that?

But we're entering a new season.  He's 11...headed to middle school. 

Last week I posted a picture of him with a new catcher's mitt and something probably about starting All Stars.  All public, non-intrusive information I thought. 

But he came home from church and said "You know mom, it's a little weird that people know so much about me before I tell them". 

Stop.  My heart just stopped. 

I asked him if he wanted me to completely stop posted about him on Facebook, and he said no, that it was just "weird".

But I've stopped.  If that wasn't a clear message that I should stop, I don't know what is.  It's weird.  Would I want other people to post stuff that I did (however surface) before I got the chance to share it? No. 

Of course he's not old enough to have a Facebook page, and he won't have one for a long time.  In the meantime there won't be updates about him on mine.  Or here.  I'm respecting his privacy. 

But I can give him the gift of sharing his own life, his accomplishments, his excitement over getting a great new glove.  I can also give him the gift of not sharing what he doesn't want shared.  As much as I've been careful to not share personal info, I haven't been 11 in a long time, so what is personal or important in my eyes may not be the same as his at that age.


We can't teach it if we don't give it.

Friday, June 27

5 Things Friday

  1. It's baseball week.  After a great spring season, a fun group of boys is playing in the All Stars tournament for the next week.  
  2. My new favorite word is "decrapify".  It is a computer term I learned with two dying/irritating computers, but I'm using it now to describe my summer organizing projects.  Decrapify.  And it's something you really need to do if you buy a computer off the shelf. Decrapify your new computer
  3. My current decrapify-ing project is the hall closet.  Coats? Nope.  Rarely does a coat or o any other article of clothing hang there, so the hanging part is gone.  Enter all sorts of new shelves......but I only have the "before" to share at this point...  
  4. My new jewelry obsession is stretchy bracelets: so easy to make and fun to wear. My current "client" has a wrist about 4.75 inches around.  I can't wait to send these to her!  And yes, you see one in there for me.  I have a really small wrist, and normal bracelets are really too large to keep on.
  5. If you need me, look in the concession stand at the baseball field (see #1). 
Have a great weekend!

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