cat sitting live blog

So here's a fun thing that's happening today. I'm cat sitting for Ross and Kerry, not because they're out of town, but because there's a shoot happening in the apartment next door to theirs. When that happens, the film crew needs an overflow space - another apartment, typically, where they can store furniture, props, etc. during the shoot. Production companies pay a lot of money to residents willing to be temporarily displaced for this. And normally, my friends would stash their cats in boarding for the day, collect a check for their trouble, and head to work. Today, however, they were unable to board the cats (long story). And rather than decline the opportunity and miss out on a very nice compensation check, they called me to duty.

I'm pretty sure I'm one of the highest earning cat sitters in the country today. And I know I'm the only one being paid to live blog it.

My job is to make sure the cats stay safe and out of the way and none of my friends' property is damaged in the chaos. And oh wow is it chaotic. And loud. So chaotic and loud I'm not exactly sure what I could get done other than just watch. I brought a book but concentrating on Faulkner would be impossible. So I'm gonna live blog this shit. I've never done a live blog and I'm not really sure how it works other than hitting refresh when I add to the post, but we'll wing it. Yes yes?

8:00 am - The crew is moving, hauling, taping, putting down mats, setting up tables. Ross is getting ready for work and I'm settling into the sofa for the day. Angled to see all the action and keep an eye on the staircase. The cats, Jumper and Gutch, have been shooed upstairs. Gutch is cowering terrified in the closet but Jumper is basically like a dog and will want to mingle with the crew and wander onto the set next door. I meet the location manager, Stacy, who briefs me and invites me to eat lunch with the crew later today. Fun!

8:45 am - Ross leaves for work. I take over.

9:00 am - "Ready to go," I hear someone say into a walkie talkie. A woman grabs a silver tumbler filled with plastic holly berries from a pile of props and heads back next door. It's a Christmas-themed shoot. A promo for The Walking Dead. Apparently there will be zombies on set. Fuck yeah.

9:04 am - Jumper tries to make a break for it down the stairs. Here we go.

9:08 am - There are a lot of men in flannels and puffy vests stomping around this loft. Like, more stomping men in flannels and puffy vests than exist anywhere outside of Alaska, I'd wager.

9:10 am - Oh yeah, Jumper is going to make me earn every cent today. I have to sit on the stairs to block her descent.

9:18 am - Everyone is talking about burritos downstairs. "Did you get a burrito downstairs?" "I had a burrito downstairs. I'm good." No burritos up here, though. I am intrigued by the Myth of the Downstairs Burrito.

9:42 am - A man with an Australian accent is separating threads of tinsel from Christmas ornaments with great frustration. Oi, I feel your pain, mate. Gaffers are wheeling in load after load of equipment. The loft is crammed full of crap. I'd be having an anxiety attack if it was my place. No wonder they pay so much. I'm back to the couch, since even Jumper seems overwhelmed.

9:57 am - I just met Dan, the director. He's like a younger, hipper Bob Balaban. Craft services is setting up a table right in front of where I'm sitting. Location manager Stacy jokes that this is good news. "All kinds of snacks right within reach! Or maybe it's bad news, if you're like me and will eat all day." I don't know what to say to this. The apartment is filled with the smell of pastries. Maybe I should retreat upstairs with my Faulkner. I'm probably creeping the crew out, lol.

10:12 am - I've moved upstairs and am chillin' with Jumps on the bed. A reader just emailed, slightly alarmed by the content of my previous post. Worried I'm going to get myself arrested. It's all good, I wrote back. I'm not going to jail, I promise. And if I do I'll demand wifi so I can keep everyone entertained. A couple of guys downstairs are having a very enthusiastic discussion about tape. "It's the most incredible double stick tape you've ever seen. It's called Killer Red." Ten more hours to go. I wonder if I can take a nap.

10:34 am - I peer over the railing and this is what I see on the tables below. Creepy masks, cupcakes, and enough munchies to feed a zombie army. Lurching around and groaning is apparently hungry work.

10:51 am - People everywhere. I hear snippets of a dozen conversations.

"Someone’s running to Target for it.”

"We should really use the polka dots instead.”

"I understand your point.”

“My mom used to make dinner for us. It was a can of tomato soup, white toast, and Welsh rarebit.”

“Don’t turn it on! Don’t turn it on!”

“Wardrobe might wanna look at his socks."

Every free square inch of space in this home is being used. I can barely get to the bathroom without climbing over stuff. A stocky, mustached security guard ambles in, his thumbs hooked on his waistband. He looks around approvingly. I can’t look around without cringing. Back upstairs I can hear a glass being filled from a water cooler. They brought a water cooler in here??

11:09 am -

11:35 am - Okay yeah the novelty of this experience has about run out. They've propped the doors open so it's freezing in here, I'm too shy to take any food even though I'm starving, and everyone's whispering is making me sleepy.

12:01 pm - The propmaster is doctoring zombie masks according to direction getting relayed from next door. Aussie guy is explaining to her in detail what they want. "Yeah, and if you could just make it hanging askew, with the blood, right? So the skin folds back like this? Gonna take a while though so you'd better get crackin'."

12:19 pm - Director to propmaster: "I wanted to show you that. That is the trajectory we're going for. So my question is, how far can we go with this? Can we have more blood splatter? Again, as far as the blood matching up, my only concern was that I didn't want to be gratuitous about it. But I sort of feel like there should be some blood on the cake. So just a little bit more hair, and we can go further with the airbrushing, okay?"

12:33 pm - "WILL SOMEONE PLEASE PUT SOME SHOES ON THE ACTOR?!? THANK YOUUU!" Sounds like somebody needs a cupcake.

12: 45 pm - Confidential to Tricia: I apologize for the misleading title but does this face look like it could handle Chaucer right now:

"The fuck is happening out here??"

I briefly considered bringing him since film crews always adore him, but he would have been stressed out and in everyone's way. Plus I think he's too big to even go up the spiral staircase, though we've never tried...

1:09 pm - Everyone went to have lunch in the lot downstairs. Doors are still propped open and people are in and out though, so I can't leave the cats. But that's okay because I brought pine nut couscous, which someone just caught me shoveling into my face just now when they crept up the stairs to check out the bedroom and patio above. "Cmmm ahp," I garbled. Gutch was emboldened enough by the relative quiet to go sun herself on the top stair where the light comes in. Jumper is snoozing beside me. I think I'm gonna swipe a cinnamon roll and then start The Reivers.

1:54 pm -


3:58 pm - Text to Terence: I just realized that whenever I want you to stop talking and shut up immediately all I have to do is yell "Rolling!" Him: LOLOL

6:45 pm - Oh hai. Preceding hours were just more of the same. I got tired of eavesdropping and listened to music, sneezing every thirty-five seconds or so. Cats: my only allergy. Anyway. Gutch is over it. Jumper is over it. Ellie is over it.  Zombieland live blog is over and outttt.