A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

The Latest “Mews”

Yeah, been a while. No good reason other than trying to minimize the amount of time I have to spend at the computer, and most of that time is taken up by work activities. I’m trying to lessen computer-based work in the coming year, so we’ll see how that goes. Maybe my blogging will increase a little but no promises.

We continue to make progress on the bungalow, but seemingly at a much slower pace. I’m going to attempt to post about all the updates we’ve made over the past year or so, at least just to remind myself that we ARE making progress even though it doesn’t always seem like it.

But first…I’m going to start out with introducing our newest additions to the family:

Yes, I resisted as long as I could in getting new pets but as the vet told me when I had to put Günter to sleep, “Sometimes they pick you.” This was in response to my telling her that I didn’t know if I could do it anymore (have pets) because it tears me to pieces to have to say goodbye to them.

I was definitely getting used to a pet-free existence and even dog-sat a few times for friends. It was nice to spoil them and then send them back home to their owners.

Then in mid-October I had to go to my father’s hometown in southern Illinois for a relative’s funeral. It was a sad and unexpected death but it was nice to hang out with my cousins and aunts. As we all gathered at the farm for a post-funeral cookout, one of the main topics of conversation was about the four kittens who resided in the machine shed. It went like this all evening:

“Someone’s got to take these kittens!…Once the cows are sold no one will be around to feed them!…They’ll either get run over or eaten by the coyotes!…I wish I could take them but [insert excuse here]…”

You get the idea. Since my only excuse was “I really don’t want to have pets right now,” I found myself feeling guilty and selfish about not wanting to give a good home to helpless kittens in need. So after several phone calls to Pete, who was surprised that I lasted over 10 months without a pet, I finally relented.

I couldn’t manage to get them that night so two of my cousins and I met at the farm early the next morning to herd some kittens after a quick stop at Wal-Mart for a cat carrier. (I refuse to shop there normally but I had no other choice in rural Illinois at 7 a.m. on a Sunday.)

Initially I planned to take the gray kitten and the mother, who was a tortoise-shell and still a kitten herself, as they seemed to be the most tame and sociable. The orange kitten seemed a little wild and uncatchable the night before and the fourth, a male tabby, was definitely more feral and wouldn’t let anyone near him. When we arrived the next morning with a bag of kitten chow, the tortoise-shell was nowhere to be found. We were there a good 45 minutes and couldn’t find her anywhere. The tabby (which is the type of cat I usually gravitate toward) was still uncatchable even with kitten chow, but the gray kitten went easily into the carrier and the orange kitten was much friendlier that morning, so he won the lottery and found himself in the carrier with his sister. Perhaps his mama was sacrificing herself for him.

Except for a few small “mews” from the orange kitten, they were perfect angels during the 4-hour ride home plus a stop to meet friends for brunch in Champaign-Urbana. My mom even made us stop along the way to make sure they were still alive—she couldn’t believe they were just sleeping.

As for names, I decided that: since it was because of my cousins that these little kittens came into our lives; since they came from my dad’s hometown; and since neither my cousins nor my sister and I would have existed without my grandparents, they would be named in honor of them: Henry (orange) and Ella (gray). While some people may think it’s disrespectful to name a cat after a dead relative, my grandparents have been gone since I was a teenager, so I like the fact that I think of them often this way.

And on that note, I hope you and your families had a safe and happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Linda on November 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    They are beautiful! Every bungalow needs a couple cats.

  2. denise on November 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Thanks Linda, I think they’re beautiful too! And you’re right, bungalows feel even cozier with a couple of kitties around.

  3. Rene on November 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    Denise, it’s great to see you posting again, and congratulations on bringing home two cute kittens!

  4. denise on November 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Thanks Rene–glad to see I still have a couple of readers! 🙂

  5. Kathy from NJ on December 1, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I’m so happy that you’re back, too. Congrats on the new additions. My grandmother was also named Ella, Ella Mae (Nellie) Skelton born 9-24-1890. The kitchen looks great, I’m now tempted to paint my oak cabinets.

  6. Kathy on December 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

    Glad you’re posting again! Can’t believe how quickly they’re growing!

  7. Gayle on October 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Oh YAY!!!!!!

    • denise on November 1, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Gayle–I loved reading your comments as you made your way through my blog after Axel and Günter’s deaths and now with the addition of Henry and Ella. 🙂 Life IS better with kitties around!

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