We've finally found a solution for our little problem with Charlie and his fondness for cat crunchies. A friend of mine from work is letting me borrow her automated self-cleaning cat box. Apparently the self-cleaning mechanism waits 10 minutes before activating, in order to avoid scaring the you-know-what out of the cat... but as long as it freaks Charlie out just once with the noise and keeps the temptation away from him, it will be well worth the trouble. Patty (the friend from work) had to upgrade to a larger box when she acquired more cats, but she swears by the self-cleaning box and says her dog avoids hers. If we like the smaller box, we can take it off her hands for a much-reduced price.
(Thanks to the kind person who suggested a baby gate -- it's simple and makes sense, and like most people who have raised puppies, we have multiples. We might try them anyway; Charlie is a sensitive and suggestible dog, and he doesn't tend to argue with barriers. Most of my Beardies have either figured out ways around or over them or just pushed through.)
Bach for Breakfast
When Greg was growing up, it was a Sunday-morning tradition in his family to play old vinyl direct-to-disc German recordings of Bach cantatas during breakfast. His great-aunt or his mother would make Danish pancakes and strong coffee, and then they'd enjoy a banquet for all the senses. Greg has since inherited all his mother's old vinyl Bach cantatas, and we just dug out my old turntable and installed it into the living room stereo. Even when we've skipped the effort and calories of making Danish pancakes in favor of Raisin Bran, we can still enjoy Sundays with Bach.