Sentinel Damascus Collins 2004–2023

I like most all cats, but there are two I’ve met who were the best cats in the world. One was my friend’s dad’s cat that I met in high school. The other was Sentinel.

Sentinel was probably four years old when he came to live with us. We adopted him from the Oregon Humane Society where he was known as Admiral Jones. He had recently had his front leg amputated. He was found in a trailer park in Damascus (the source of his middle name) and his leg had been dislocated for too long; it needed to be removed. He’d been in foster care long enough for the fur to grow back and was pretty steady.

From the beginning, he was a cat who wanted to hang out. Matt picked him out—I had my eye on a big fella called King Ralph—and Matt suggested Sentinel as his name, and it fit him perfectly.

I have a lot of picture of him supervising whatever project was going on. Sentinel was always social, both with people and cats. When people came to visit, it wasn’t long before Sentinel appeared and made the rounds. He was interested in hanging out with any neighbor cats, especially upstairs kitty, who would come by to check up on him.

Sentinel liked attention. Though he wasn’t a lap sitter (probably because of his missing leg) he would jump on the couch and sit next to you, and he was a great fan of lying on my chest when I read or napped. He really liked to groom humans–I suspect he was weaned too early.

Matt liked how Sentinel advocated for his needs and remained determined to fulfill those needs. If Sentinel wanted something from Matt when he was sitting on the couch, he would sit on the back of the couch close enough so he could flick his tail in Matt’s face, which was funny enough to overcome the annoyance factor.

Sentinel had a very quiet meow most of the time. More of a mouth opening sound than a meow. His loud meow would appear when he was in distress, usually because he wanted attention, or felt that it was time to eat. But even then it was a one-and-done meow and didn’t come very often.

Sentinel had a very good sense of how much time had passed. If it was time for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch) it was time for dinner (or breakfast, or lunch). He would stand by and headbutt my leg if I was sitting. Sometimes he even nipped my leg. If it was time for breakfast and I was still in bed, he would sometimes put his one front leg under my neck, claw the bed to gain purchase, and then burrow his nose under my neck and push my head in an attempt to turn me on my side and get me out of bed. It’s a good thing he was so charming because his persistence around food was really annoying. (Though silent.)

Matt picked out Sentinel because he thought that with only one front leg, he wouldn’t jump up on tables or counters. That was a miscalculation. He was a good jumper and, though he knew he wasn’t supposed to, he would jump on the counters to see what there was for him to scavenge. He also would sit on the arm of the couch and make a giant leap from the couch to the table under the windows. That one always made me nervous, especially when he was in his mid-teens. But he never missed.

One weekend afternoon, I was taking a nap in my bedroom to rest up from a baking failure. I had attempted chocolate chip cookies, but something had gone wrong, and there was nothing left to do but throw the cookies in the compost bin I kept on the counter. While attempting to rest, I heard a quiet ka-thunk from the kitchen. I ignored the noise a few times, then hauled myself out of bed to investigate. I found Sentinel on the kitchen counter using his nose to lift up the compost bin’s lid, biting a cookie and dragging it out, leaving the lid to ka-thump shut. He then ate the cookie part and spit out the chocolate chips. I laughed because it was so very wrong and also hilarious.

Names I called Sentinel: Big kitty, handsome fella, snaggle tooth, Elvis.

Antares came to live with us because Sentinel seemed to want a live-in friend. Sentinel accepted him into the household and showed him how to be a good indoor cat. I have a lot of pictures of the two of them sleeping, Sentinel’s red-black fur contrasting with Antares’s black-black fur.

As the resident at the Orange Door with the third-longest tenure, he really made his mark. It will be hard to not have Sentinel with us after fifteen years.

For five pages of blog posts tagged Sentinel, click here.

For 72 more posts tagged Sentinel, click here.

One of the posts in that last link reminded me to mention how much he loved feet. He was all about feet smells. So weird.

February 22, 2023 SNOW

Surprise snow too, which is my favorite kind. I find the various permutations of “Will it snow” exhausting. (Though there are many fewer permutations now that I mostly work from home.)

I enjoyed how the snow coated the catio.

And you can see that there was a lot of it!

Matt and I made ice cream snow to celebrate. Matt says he’s not had ice cream snow before. I’m not sure if that’s true. But we both enjoyed it.

Young Americans at Portland Center Stage

Matt and I really enjoyed the world premiere of Young Americans by Lauren Yee and directed by Desdemona Chiang.

The then-and-now road trips were engaging. The first was with Joe (Danny Bernardo) and Jenny (Marielle Young). Jenny has flown to Washington D.C. to meet with Joe as part of an arranged marriage. When she finds out how far away their home in Portland, Oregon, is from Washington D.C., she’s annoyed that Joe had her fly to the other side of the country. Joe wanted her to see as much of her new home as he could show here in a cross country trip.

The second trip took place a few decades later with Joe surprising his daughter Lucy in Washington D.C. as she returned from visiting the country where she was born.

As these two trips alternated, it was interesting to see the conversations the young (as in new) Americans and young (as in not-old) Americans had.

I also really enjoyed the car that the cast drove as they made there way across the landscape. It swiveled and turned so the audience had differing views.

This play was enjoyable and left me with a lot to think about.

Christmas Decorations

Here’s one. Mike Bennett had a popup shop near the Living Room Theaters and I bought this cute little ornament that has the old PDX airport carpet on it.

And the card holder has filled up nicely, though I know more are to come. When your card senders are teachers, often the cards aren’t dealt with until winter break begins.

And that’s it. Perhaps next year the decorations can start to appear again.

New Dishwasher and Microwave with Range Hood

Here is our new dishwasher. I don’t love that we’ve been buying during a period of stainless steel popularity. It’s hard to keep up with the fingerprints and I find the industrial look to not be very homey. But still, I’m excited to have a functional appliance.

I’m also excited for this separate silverware rack. No more forks getting tangled in the basket.

The old dishwasher was indeed leaking. I had to remove things from the under-sink cabinet for this install, and I could see where the wood warped due to water exposure. It also warped the cabinet wood in the next cabinet over, too.

Aside from a new dishwasher, we also welcomed a new microwave and range hood. I’ve long wanted a better range hood. The one that came with the house never seemed to work, and the handywoman who installed the cat door told me it was probably too far away to do any good. By filling the space with the microwave that was probably always intended, we can lower the fan much closer to the burners.

Less exciting (and super frustrating) is the fact that when we bought this unit in August, the salesperson neglected to tell us that we would need to have an outlet to plug the unit into. Had we been told in August, we could have gotten on the electrician’s list and it would have been installed by delivery time. Instead, we have this workaround. And an electrician appointment in March.

Last Day of the Dishwasher

In August, when the stove died, we also bought a dishwasher because ours was making a lot of concerning sounds and we learned with the stove that if you need to buy something today your choices are limited. So we have waited nearly four months for the arrival of said dishwasher, but the day has nearly arrived and the new dishwasher will be delivered tomorrow!

In late September, the floorboards in the front room started to warp. I thought about it for about a week or so before I put together the small amount of water that sometime appeared at the foot of the dishwasher with the fact that perhaps even more water was coming from the dishwasher and getting under the floorboards. So we stopped using the dishwasher for a two-week trial.

And the floors went down a little, so we just kept hand washing the dishes. Talk about a chore that is thankless! I remembered why, in my pre-dishwasher days, I only kept four forks available.

This was the dishwasher that came with the house and it’s showing its age. Matt got tired of having to carefully place the silverware in the basket to avoid the holes and he bought us a new basked a few years ago. But the rest has done hard work getting our dishes clean for 15 years. You can see how some of the prongs on the racks have broken off and become rusty.

While I think 15 years is a bit on the low side…[pause for googling]…No, and Consumer Reports says 10 years is how long many dishwasher last. So we got an extra 5 years out of ours. Thanks dishwasher, for all your cleaning power!