Tag Archives: cats

The Island of Misfit Pets

6 Jul
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photo cred: tao lin on Flickr

 

I did it guys. I finally got a new cat. I know you were worried.

That’s why I sent out last week’s blog post as a silent cry for help on the wind rather than written words. Because I was preoccupied with forcing two distinct members of an incredibly territorial species to work through determining who the Alpha between them will be without losing fur or blood in the process. It’s hard work, being a cat lady. I know it looks like we just lay around with our cats all the time but that’s our reward for having spent several months to a year with no sleep while we try to bait and lure and feed our companions into coexisting in the same room with us.

As those of you who have been following along will remember, I recently lost one of the best cats to ever live. Top ten, she was. And when she passed, I got super sad and my remaining cat – a kitten – was confused and weird about it. My plan was for him to learn from her super cool ways and for him to grow up to be totally great. But she was sick and he kept running his head directly into hard objects – seemingly on purpose – so he couldn’t have remembered anything anyway.

As the weeks and months went on and Monk was left to his own concussive devices, it became clear to me that he needed more than just me in order to get by. He followed me into absolutely every room. He would wake up from a dead damn sleep because I needed to go grab a tissue or a drink, follow me sleepdrunkenly into the next room, follow me back, and lie down again. While that’s endearing and all, it can translate to moments like when I’m trying to relieve myself and he’s staring at me, directly in front of the toilet. Or when I’m trying to take a shower and he’s screaming outside it because he can’t get in and then screaming inside it because I let him and now he’s wet. These, along with a host of other adorably awful habits, have led to a sincere decline in hours of sleep, because cats are nocturnal and I’m asleep at night and he absolutely hates that.

So I got another cat.

Here she is: her name is Lil.

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Lil is her preferred name. Lily if you must. Pippalily if we’re being fancy, and sometimes we are.

I got Lil from Animal Friends after help from a few volunteers and an adoption counselor who listened to my plight and tried to help me find the right personality to put in my Monk blender. My hope was that I would find a friend to balance him out a bit and give him something that would occupy him, thereby cutting down on a slew of terrible habits we had developed. Hopefully including his tendency to charge walls with his head.

In some ways it worked. In others, it became far worse.

You never know what you’re going to get with a cat. There’s just no way to know what they’re made of until you get them home and comfortable, and that takes time. It’s then, when you’ve worked for weeks to help them achieve optimum comfort – after you’ve put cat trees all over your house, matted your clothes with their fur, tripped over and stepped on toys around every corner, and begun to let them eat your breakfast yogurt with you– that you realize you have, in fact, fallen in love with an asshole.

Sometimes they’re not assholes – they’re just broken – and I get broken ones. Ones that squawk, ones that suddenly jump up and clutch the middle of the window screen with all four paws in the dead of night.

My parents have one who wants you to spank his ass. I’m not even kidding. He loves it. I’ve spent many a visit to my parents’ when dad and I will be up late watching a movie and an action scene will be underscored by the spanking of the cat’s ass by my father while it squeals with joy.

Maybe it’s us, though, now that I think about it. Our family is like an island of misfit pets. 

Lil likes to make biscuits. That’s when they knead your skin and fat to make a bed (usually on your belly); it’s super great for your self image. I’ve only known her for about a week, and man: she loves to get pastries moving. She does it all the time, everywhere she goes. She’s obsessive. There was no way to know in the shelter.

This is only week one. Imagine what I’ll find when she gets settled in the rest of the way.

Anyway now that I have two of them again, certain Monk behaviors have already been curbed. Others have gotten significantly worse because Lil does them too. Which makes me think that my love of cats might be the largest negative contributor to my emotional and physical wellbeing. Here’s how things are shaping up on my Monk habit-ridding list, one week in:

  • Wailing at the top of his kitten lungs when he suspects I might be within a mile of the house but not inside it.
  • Suddenly and without warning breaking into a dead sprint from one end of the apartment to the other, often across my chest as I sleep – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Obsessively eating garbage that can legit kill him
  • Getting on the table, fighting the human for food – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Punching me directly in the eyeball to wake up in the morning – DOUBLED DOWN
  • Waiting until I round a corner and grabbing my legs like a razor-clawed koala
  • Staring directly into the depths of my soul while I relieve myself – DOUBLED DOWN (It’s a little like the twin moment in The Shining. And sure, I can close the door – but they yell. Loudly.)
  • Eating my hair
  • Spontaneously splatting one’s self onto the middle of the window screen and holding on with all four paws until I pull them all out

So, it’s going kind of okay? I guess? Except I’ve picked up a host of other, 2-cat-specific scenarios, such as:

  • Allowing them to be in the same room momentarily only to find Monk putting Lil in a sleeper hold within 60 seconds
  • Play fighting with me directly in the middle. If I move, they move – and start from the top
  • Yelling at the top of their lungs because they’re not in the same room; being totally asinine when they are

At the moment, for example, I’m going about my day out in the world, while I’m quite certain Monk is boring a hole through my bedroom door so he can go strangle Lil for funsies. It can take up to a year or sometimes more to get cats to play nice – and sometimes they just never do.

Wish me luck, y’all. Remember that the species I’m dealing with here is incredibly territorial. If I’m too successful, it’s possible for them to join forces and push me out altogether.

If that happens, I’ll try to grab my laptop in the frenzy so I can tell you about how it went down. 

PS – Adopt a pet. There’s nothing quite as heartwarming as a punch or two to the face every morning because you’ve been missed in the past 8 hours. Really.

I Need Your Dog Real Quick

10 Jun

I’ve been in Portland for a few days for a work thing and I’m wondering if I’ll bother to jump the plane back home. Portland, Oregon – not Portland, Maine – just in case you were wondering. I’ve been told no one but me ever does, but hey: just in case.

I think the hotel I’m staying at is built specifically to keep me here. There’s a button on my phone that I can push that says “get it now” and if I push it, I can have them deliver a pint of locally made ice cream to my door. On-demand ice cream. The new world is a marvel.

They also have something called a dog spiritual menu. At first I thought this meant that I could steal a random dog from the street and pamper him with a hot stone massage or get its chakras balanced, but it turns out it’s just a library of books available to me on pet psychology and whatnot. However, the front desk is also happy to help refer me to a pet psychic if it will make my stay more memorable, so I’m currently on the hunt for a dog with an owner who isn’t paying much attention to them. 

pet psychic

I know, pup. I have a lot of questions too. (photo cred: Joseph Morris)

There’s also a pillow menu. In case I’m not content with the 6 pillows on my bed already, I can call someone and custom order the type of pillow I would prefer. I’m not sure how to do that without sounding like a total and complete A-hole, but the curiosity is killing me. Do they bring sample pillows for me to choose from? Do they wheel a cart into my room with little fancy placards labeling their firmness? Why aren’t the pillows they bring up already represented among the several pillows already on my bed? WHY ARE THEY WITHHOLDING SECRET PILLOWS. WHY DO I HAVE TO CALL TO UNLOCK THEM?

In spite of these luxuries, this boutique hotel is lacking the only amenity worth booking for: the good old fashioned continental breakfast. I gotta say, I’m getting pretty tired of classy-claiming hotels that don’t give me free breakfast. In what world do I shell out more money than it takes to stay at a Holiday Inn to have my morning made-to-order omelet replaced with nothing but a pitcher of fresh cucumber water? Why can I rent a book from a dog wellness library and not get some free morning toast?

Maybe I’d feel differently if the amenities were geared toward cats instead of dogs. I’d swap out my free daily breakfast in exchange for someone getting inside Monk’s head. That cat is in dire need of some psychoanalysis. Really. I should have put him on a leash and stowed him in the plane. I could distract him with a damp sponge bath at the hotel while I have someone get to the bottom of what makes him punch me in the eyeball with his furpaw at 4am.

Even if they offered a cat spiritual menu, I’d still need to work up the chutzpah to pick up the phone and request it. I have yet to work up enough to request the pillow menu and ice cream. I don’t mean that from a lazy perspective (although – yes.), but just from a phone-hating perspective. I don’t even like to talk to my friends on the phone. I have a longstanding friend (15 years now?) with whom I have only exclusively chatted online. I credit it as the reason we’ve been able to hang in there so long. Still – the curiosity is killing me. I should call.

I really have to continually work at to getting over these sorts of little hangups in my quest to not become a bitter old shut-in. So, it’s decided: tomorrow is the big day: I’m going to pick up the phone, dammit. I want a firmer pillow. And a body pillow. All of the secret pillows. I should also grab a dog real quick just to get my full money’s worth from my stay. If I can just work up the courage to commit a tiny bit of random dog theft and pick up the phone, I can celebrate my wins in a pile of pillow with a $12 pint of hand-delivered ice cream.

Maybe I can even manage to save half of it for breakfast.

Cats and KonMari

11 May

I just want you to know that after my last blog post, Monk was really lovely for about three straight days. I started to feel a little bad for publicly shaming him. Then one day I was washing my face and as I bent over to rinse, all soapy-eyed and disoriented, suddenly he launched from the back of the bathroom toilet to the back of my body. I stood up and yelped and he got so scared that he dragged his claws down my back to hang on for dear life.

So. I have to get a second cat now.

cat face

Illustration by The Gross Uncle. Check him out on Twitter!

I can’t do this anymore. I’ve been thinking for a while that I’m starting to look older than I feel, and while a portion of that is just the reality of aging, a serious part of it is that I wake up at least 3 times that I can remember the next morning from Monk just pushing shit off of shelves and onto the floor. All night long. I can play with him, feed him, let him sleep on my face, open windows for him, let him push through all the blinds and break every single set in the house – doesn’t matter. He thrives in chaos. He wants to watch the world burn.

I feel bad for whichever future cat has to put up with him. I’m just hoping it helps him chill out. Probably best if it’s a really fat one with a strong batting arm. And maybe an unnerving stare. It’ll be super weird and change the vibe of my apartment, but I’ll probably be able to do something about these bags under my eyes.

Partially because of Monk’s inability to allow things to be on open, horizontal surfaces, and partially because I recently read Spark Joy: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I’ve developed a sort of obsessive habit of organization and systemization in my house.

One would think that with all my office jobs, I would have employed approaches to organization in my own home, but it really hasn’t worked that way for me. You might recall this from my frequent posts about the disgusting filth that is my apartment. If you need to get caught up, I think this shining diamond where I admit to hanging fly tape around my apartment and lived in filth until two flies mated on me will do the trick.

Apparently that’s the final straw for me: flies fornicating and turning my limbs into their love den.

Anyway I read this book on the life changing magic of cleaning up your crap, and it really flipped a switch for me. And like anything good in my life, I’ll just way overdo it until it’s actually kind of harmful.

If you’re not familiar, Spark Joy is a book about the KonMari method. You might be familiar with some jokes about it. They boil down the KonMari philosophy to hugging all of your possessions to feel whether or not they bring you joy and then ditching them if they don’t. It’s quite a bit more complex than that, but I have to admit: she does tell you to hug things. I skipped that part. I can get a sense of my level of joy from just looking at something. It comes along with my knack for being distant and judgy.

The more complex elements of the book involve proper use of containers, assigning everything a place, and giving everything you own enough room to breathe. Clutter is actively sought out and destroyed. Boxes begin to form systems that then run the regular functions of your life almost automatically.

This might not be true for everyone, but it’s true for me.

I took a note from the KonMari method that I needed to arrange my life in a way that best suited the things I do every day. Why, oh why do I get my makeup out of the bag every day, use it, and put it back in the bag? I should just keep it out and find a way to  present it so that looks all right while it’s out so and I won’t feel like the place is a mess. Also: why do I put the things I often need in hard-to-reach, ridiculous places? Why do I let a cupboard in my house be continually overflowing so that every time I open the door I get upset?

Of course, this sort of life-changing magic is what I probably need on my quest for super humanism, so I’ve basically gone section by section through my house and eliminated these occurrences. I know where almost everything is, I have implemented quick and easy systems, and my whole apartment is almost entirely customized to me.  

I think it’s beginning to be a problem.

I have a lot of systems now, and I really don’t like things to be out in the open. If I have clutter in an area because I’m working on a project, the materials all need to be in a basket or a bowl. All the cheese in my fridge goes in its own basket. Things I have to do are organized by section and type. I now have a To Do List template that breaks up my to-dos into correspondences, errands, tasks, and notes. Yesterday I asked our graphic designer at work if she could make me a desktop screen for my computer that was separated into labeled sections for my desktop icons to be visually filed.

I started to really wonder if I was having an issue when I insisted that my dirty silverware sit in a bowl in the sink because the look of them scattered all over the bottom of the sink made me kind of crazy.

At least I’m not hugging them all?

Admittedly, I think things are getting a bit out of hand. I was meal prepping for the week (putting lunches together for work) and decided to overhaul my kitchen cupboard with boxes for each type of lunch item: grains, bars, spreads…I just think it’s gone too far.

Of course I can’t just go back to letting things go; I have a monster cat on the prowl and if I leave my craft supplies out mid-project he will knock them to the ground. I can’t leave a ponytail holder out without him putting it in his teeth and carrying it to a hidden nest he’s made somewhere in the underbelly of my living room couch (THAT’S WHERE THEY ALL GO).  He has some strange obsession with seltzer water that means I can’t even put my drink on a table and walk way. If I do, he’ll knock the entire thing over and act like it was that way when he found it. Like I said: he just wants to watch the world burn.

So I guess I need to start searching the cat adoption sites again. Actually, a cat café just opened up near me (this is real. This is not a test). It’s a place where you can get coffee and hang out on the bottom floor or go play with adoptable cats on the second floor. Maybe I’ll just go take a look real quick – you know, just to see what’s there.

If I find a 20 pound one with a real mean stare, I’ve got a winner. 

foot eater

Illustration by The Gross Uncle. Check him out on Twitter!

My Cat is the Spawn of Satan

1 May

I need to book an exorcism for my cat.

No, not my beloved Lola. This is a new one.

Unfortunately, my near and dear Lola Bear recently got very ill and slowly passed away. It hurt so very badly and my parents tried to help make it better by bringing me a seemingly innocent-looking spawn of Satan to help with the pain. Meet the hellchild with which they’ve cursed my life:

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Now, I know that your first impression of Monk (The Monkfish, Monkey, Monk) might be to trust him. Or to assume his innocence. It’s okay, I understand: he does look so cute that you just want to squeeze all the life juice out of him – but it’s just a tool to lure you in so that he can badger-jab you in the face.

As Monk grew up, I tried to remember that things he does as a tiny kitten may be charming, but when he does them as a cat, they will hurt. So I tried to remain vigilant in his training: no table tops, no eating out of the garbage or from my leftover food, no flying from all dimensions of space toward my head, etc. Basically, the things I never had to worry about with Lola – but I was at least twelve years out of practice in my cat training, and honestly guys I don’t think I did a very good job. Because though I did try to back off the number of times I would let him play with my hands instead of a toy, I did also simultaneously encourage regular Ninja Training Courses with Dave.

Dave is a forest child and in his heart, he can speak to animals. (He frequently scolds me for talking down to cats or talking about them where they can hear me.) Because of this hypersensitivity, when it comes to animal training, Dave’s skills really shine and I wanted Monk to benefit from it. And has he.

Monk can do flips in the air, scale the most difficult of mountains (fire places), and is generally a badass. He can lurk in the tiniest of corner spaces, hunt down even the best hidden cat toy, and keep up with a laser pointer with no sweat. When he was little, these skills were pretty darn exciting. Now that he’s older, they’re terrifying.

Three separate times during this post, I looked at him and thought: what a cute kitty! and pet him. And then he full-body hooked around my arm and rabbit kicked the bejeezus out of me. Three separate times.

Oh, and he’s bigger now:

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He’s up there at the top. See him? And yeah, I know – he still looks pretty cute. But then ask yourself: …how did he even get up there? I do love this cat, but he is no Lola. He was born straight from Satan’s fire.  How did he get up there, you ask? With the power of Lucifer.

Now, I understand that lots of cats are assholes and that’s just the way it is. But you have to believe me: this is something unnatural. The list of grievances is quite large, and means that when someone is catsitting for me, I have to prepare ample notes in advance. They include:

  • Sometimes he’ll climb up your legs or back and begin to eat your hair
  • Sometimes he’ll hop on your face in bed and…eat your hair.
  • He is a master ninja and it won’t take long for him to learn how to dart out your door the moment it opens. Be prepared with some sort of Monkblocker when you enter. 
  • He’ll frequently weave in and out of your legs as you walk. Stopping and letting him go first won’t make a difference – he walks when you walk. You’re going to hit him in the face; it’s okay – it’s just a fact.
  • He doesn’t like to be left out, so he meows when you close a door on him. Even the bathroom.
  • If you don’t play with him enough during the day, he’ll be batshit crazy while you try to sleep. 
  • He eats plants and climbs on things and does every other imaginable terrible cat thing.
  • He’ll attack your hands if you let him.
  • He love, love, loves a good laser pointer session. Be careful – he’ll run directly into things if you let him. He already suffers from a few minor concussions.
  • He’s obsessed with seltzer water. If you leave a container of unfinished seltzer water out, he will immediately come knock it over. Please don’t leave it unattended.

It goes on. Just like this. For a long time.

Now, I have read at least the first forty available articles on what to do about a hypercrazy cat, but they haven’t worked. I’ve talked to the vet, who suggested scaring the bejeezus out of him when he’s doing something wrong by crashing something loud near him (Monk couldn’t care less). I’ve played directly before dinner (nope), played at least two hours a day (nope), moved eating times around (nope), ignored him (nope), paid too much attention to him (nope), yelled at him (nope), took things away from him (nope), moved my entire apartment around to accommodate for him (nope)– I’m simply out of ideas. I think he’s possessed.

I’ve been cranking down my social calendar in the hopes that spending even more time with him will help his issues. So I’m officially moving into a deeply unhealthy relationship. I’ve thought about getting another cat to help him cope with whatever his internal struggle is, but I’m worried he’ll take it out on me that I show affection for another. Or worse: that the demon in him will move from being to being, and I will double the horror of my plight. So there may be only one option left: an exorcism.

I think I read somewhere in those forty articles I googled that it takes a level 35 cat lady mage to conduct a proper exorcism – but that’s a pretty high level cat lady and no doubt the path I must go on to seek her out is dark and full of terrors. Still – this is no way to live and I have no real choice. I must go into the unknown – to trace the untraceable. 

Wish me luck. 

cat lady

 

A Christmas Gift for You

25 Dec

Merry Christmas, dearies. Here’s the best yule log ever. Use it wisely and often.

Oh, and make sure you turn up the sound. 

Kittens and sprinkles,

Jackie

 

My Cat’s an Asshole

23 Jan

Man, I’m in a sour mood.  Usually when I’m in a bad mood, I just eat something delicious.  Works every time.  Unfortunately, I’ve committed to a 365 Project where I work out for at least 20 minutes every day and as a result, I’m starting to kind of like not being fat and miserable and so I don’t have any junk food in the house anymore.  The idea is that if I want junk food, I have to go to the store and get some, which isn’t going to happen because I’m innately lazy.  I’ve outfoxed my fat self.

Even if I did want to solve my bad mood by going to get a pepperoni roll or a belgian waffle with ice cream or a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, it’s too darn cold outside.  I don’t know about you folks in warm, happy climates but I’m here on the three rivers in Pittsburgh and yesterday my walk to the bus stop was so tear-inducing that I genuinely wondered why people haven’t made ski masks more fashionable by now. Because I bloody well need one. It is face-shattering cold.

This cold has accumulated on the outside of my rear bedroom in the form of a colony of man-sized icicles that are melting and refreezing and saturating my crappily-crafted walls with water.  Thus, the wall is leaking.  It’s crying large tears of cold sadness along with me.  And though I called my landlord and two maintenance guys stopped by, I’ve been assured there’s nothing they can (read: want to) do. Since the ceiling in my bathroom fell on my head two years ago for similar wall-crying-related reasons, I’m going to go ahead and guess that the bedroom ceiling will also fall on my head shortly.

Also, a commercial offering litigation for problems related to vaginal mesh transplants just came on television and I’m not really a fan of the terms “vaginal” and “mesh” squished beside each other like that.  It’s uncomfortable.

So I’m a little grumpy.  And I’d like to take a moment to share my grump with you in the hopes that it will suck the devil out of me like The Exorcist and I will no longer crave happiness or cake.  You know, before the ceiling falls on my head and I die and I’ve missed my chance.  I’d hate to be lying in my grave, thinking about how I could have died happy if I would have only publicly ranted about my case of the grumples.

Actually, I feel significantly better already. Maybe I should just start blogging when I want junk food.

On second thought, that would get real spammy real fast.

So I guess I’m due for an update on the 365 Project.  As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts (and at the beginning of this one), I’m in the midst of a project I’ve lovingly dubbed Project Fat Ass 365, wherein I have resolved to do one health/exercise related activity every single day for at least twenty minutes.  I’ve begun with the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and have already hit the 160’s.

To understand how monumental that is, you should know that I’ve only been in the 160’s two times in my life: when I was a vegetarian and when I had a terrible case of mono. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to live my life without cheeseburgers or a balanced amount of white blood cells ever since and have been hovering in the 180’s forever.

Now, that’s not to say that I’ve gone from the 180’s to the 160’s since just the beginning of January.  As long time jackieblog subscribers know, I began trying to get super cereal about my health back in October of 2011 when my vagina doctor told me I needed to lose weight.  Apparently for the health of my vagina.  That’s right: my BMI was so high that my lady bits doctor told me to lose weight.  If that doesn’t get you moving, I don’t know what will.   I’ve been working to slowly improve my diet and exercise habits ever since.  So that 20 pounds has been a long and somewhat yo-yo-like journey. Luckily I’ve set myself for absolute success (or absolute embarrassment) this year by attempting this 365 and announcing that I’ll be running a 10K in the fall.

I only have to announce it, right?  I don’t actually have to do it.

Sometimes when I'm cold and grumpy and don't want to exercise, my cat (Hobbes) blatantly displays his comfortable state of fat in front of me. Like an asshole.

Sometimes when I’m cold and grumpy and don’t want to exercise, my cat (Hobbes) blatantly displays his comfortable state of fat in front of me. Like an asshole.

Just kidding. I’ve already invited my family to come heckle and loudly mock me from the sidelines to ensure I finish.  And they shall.  I was pretty tempted to invite my readers to form a team with me to help raise money for the dwindling populations of honeybees but as you all know by now, that’s a panic attack waiting to happen.  I can’t handle meeting that many new people.  I would stay in my apartment the morning of the race, perpetually projectile vomiting my anxiety into my toilet.

Which, on second thought, would probably help me shed as many pounds as a 10K.

At any rate, things are going quite well on the fat front, thanks for asking.  It’s still not too late to join in on a 365 (you can start any time, y’all).  All you have to do is think of the kind of person you would like to be in a year and then pick one thing related to that goal that you can do every single day that will get you closer to that person in a year. And then, you know, do it. Like I am.  Listen: if I can blog instead of eating when I’m grumpy and if I can exercise for 20 minutes every day instead of cracking jokes about how I’m not the kind of person who can exercise every day, you can do whatever it is that you’re actively avoiding as well.  And then in a year we can all celebrate our new, improved selves.

But not together in the same place, because that will make me projectile vomit.

All right, that’s my last plug for 365s.  I’ll stop badgering you for a while.  But only a while.

To our faces not cracking, our walls not weeping, and our fat mitts not reaching for cake. 

Puppies and Sprinkles,

Jackie 

My End-of-the-World Sweater

12 Dec

Guys, there’s a lot on all our plates right now.  It’s the end of the year.  It’s the week The Hobbit gets released. It’s right before the week when we may or may not see the world end again.  

What I’m saying is, it’s a big time.  A big deal.  Feel the power.

Also, I just found this:

It's a thing of beauty.

It’s a thing of beauty.

Is that a sweatshirt with a digital print of a cat wearing a crown and cloak as king of the galaxy, you ask? Why, yes it is.  And it could be mine on eBay for about thirty American dollars.  At a time when everyone is focused on hauling out their ugly Christmas sweaters for prizes, I must beg the question: shouldn’t we all be more concerned about locating an appropriate sweater for the end of the world?  It may or may not be swiftly approaching.

Well anyway, I found mine.  

I’m going to want to have this sweatshirt on so that if any part of me is preserved by future races, they believe it’s an artifact proving ancient Americans worshiped space cats.   And if the world doesn’t end, I might want to consider going in to 2013 in style.  After all, Stacy London was just co-host on Anderson Live, and she said cat sweaters are in.

No really, she did.  Here is proof:

cat sweaters

Those are cat sweaters on national television, people.  They’re in.

So now I have to add this ‘to get the cat sweater or not to get the cat sweater’ to my list of to-do’s, which is already stacked to the brim with Christmas-related activities.  And then once I finish the Christmas-related activities, it will be time to reflect on 2012 and figure out what I want to do in 2013. 

Unless the world ends before Christmas, which would be great because then I wouldn’t have to pay my credit card bill. Or try to figure out if I’m destined to be a cat sweater owner in 2013.

Best of luck to all of you as we enter the Christmas home stretch/the beginning of a cat sweater fashion era/the end of the world.  

May the holy royal space cats be with us. 

Hey! I adopted another blog pet.  It’s okay; you’ll always be my favorite.  But this week I wrote my first article as a contributor over at the freshly made VStheUniverse, which is a group of folks who are dedicated to celebrating all that is nerdalicious.  I argued for why everyone should go see The Hobbit in 48fps format instead of the standard 24fps. Hey, like I said – it’s nerdy.  Go check it out here if you’d like.  End transmission.

Jackie the Housewife

25 Jul

This is our fridge magnet. True story.

Today Dave suggested that we move the cat food bowls around the house every once in a while so that we can force them to scavenge for food and thereby “prepare them for the oncoming apocalypse”.

I complied.  I didn’t really have a choice; he was very serious about it.  It felt like a dealbreaker.  And I really don’t want to be the girl that he left because she wouldn’t get over a little Apocalypse Training for the cats.  However, I’m also a little worried that now that I’ve opened the door to the beginning stages of this, he’ll start to get even more serious about their training program. 

First it’s hiding food dishes around the house, next it’s cats knifing me when I come home from work. 

Maybe I don’t have anything to worry about though – I tried to rouse Hobbes with the laser pointer today and he gave me the finger.   I don’t think even the fear of the apocalypse could get him to stop sleeping in the tub all day.  I’ve been meaning to talk to him about his attitude lately.

Anyway, I’m off work this week and I’m trying to spend some of the time teaching the cats  a lesson in productivity.  The theme of my workshop is that just because you’re not employed, doesn’t mean you can’t contribute.  I’m demonstrating a myriad of behaviors I’m hoping they’ll mimic in my absence when I go back to work.   Today, for example, I cleaned the house and did the dishes and made cookies and deviled eggs. 

What I wouldn’t give to have my cat hand me a deviled egg when I get home instead of knifing me. 

They aren’t really taking to my demonstrations, but I’m hoping that soon my messages will get through. I’m like the Jane Goodall of cats.  They’ll come around.

As it turns out I really like being home, aside from Hobbes’ foul behavior.  I really don’t mind dropping things off to be dry cleaned or getting the cats appointments (health pre-screenings for the training), or putting together furniture, cleaning the house, and making dinner.  I think I might really be cut out for this domestic thing.  Hell, I’d start a garden if I had a lawn.

It makes sense, I guess – I’ve always preferred staying indoors in the evening; now that I can be indoors in the morning too, I’m at my peak. It’s only been three days and Dave’s got this look in his eye like he’s afraid I’ve taken to it so much that will never return to work again.   And that could be entirely possible because I feel fantastic.  So to help him agree that it’s a good idea, I’m making him delicious dinners and keeping him from lifting a finger around the apartment.   I think if I can fit in a puppy and a garden, I’ve got myself a good hard sell.

It’s so wonderful to be able to get things done that have been on the back burner forever as low-priority items.  After a while, those things nag at me for so long that they become part of the baggage I carry around all the time.  And this week has been dedicated to ticking those off the list one by one.   I am infinite.

I started to feel so great this week that I realized I should be spending this time doing *all* the things I’ve ever wanted to do and recalled my curiosity for hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Then I remembered that I still have rehearsal at night and every weekend until November is booked (Note to self: add Appalachian Trail to back burner.  Also Note to self: why are you always so busy?).

I also have quite a bit of Lollipop Tuesday hunting to do, as it’s been quite some time since I’ve tried some newfangled adventure.  I’m afraid it’s been so long that if I don’t do one soon I’ll revert back into a cranky old coot.   Of course, finding new ventures is difficult when I get to be home all day in heels and a housedress, showing Dave how good of an idea it is for me to not work. 

Perhaps tomorrow my only goal should be to go outside.  It will hurt, but it will be good for me.  I’ll report back next week.  

Pray for me out there.  I hear the Apocalypse is coming. 

Therapeutic Cat-Washing

27 Jun

Yesterday I was so upset at the world that I washed my cat.

I think it had something to do with working a ten hour day and having my boss call me the moment I left the office.  Twice in a row.  And then text me seven times.  Right in a row.

There is something about the beeping that my phone makes upon a new text delivery that I am unable to check that feels like a hamster is nibbling at my insides.  When I know it’s my boss and I’m behind the wheel and helpless to know what the emergency is that inspires her to plague me so, that hamster gets upgraded to a gerbil.  And by the time I got to the grocery store, called her, handled said emergency, drove home, unpacked everything, changed my clothes, and saw that the house was a mess beyond livability, I would have had a more relaxing evening had I just set myself on fire and run out of my office building before it all started.

But I didn’t.  So instead, I took my cat for a walk.

Hobbes is an interesting creature of habit.  Once upon a time, Dave had a pang of guilt about man’s domestication of felines and their tendency to remove their manhood once domesticated.  And so to give Hobbes a taste of loveliness, he took him to the park, where I sang him a lively rendition of “A Whole New World”.   Ever since, when Dave gets home from work, Hobbes paws and meows at the front door until we either let him out or shoot him.

We don’t have a gun.

So since I was at my wit’s end and wanted a breath of fresh air anyway, I decided to kill two cats with one walk and bring Hobbes into the great wide open.  He doesn’t require a leash because all he does is roll around on the concrete like he’s on ecstasy and the concrete is neon silk.  The neighbors tend to stare.

And while Hobbes was relishing the highlights of neon and softness in the sidewalk, I sat beside him stewing about all the work I had to do that evening and how I really just wanted to play video games and eat cookies.   I imagined the carpet that needed to be vacuumed several days ago and the cat litter that I just scooped this morning that already needed to be scooped and the dusting, dishwashing, counter-cleaning and general exhaustion that was about to ensue.  It burned like a fiery pit of filth in my stomach, right beside the once-gnawing gerbil.

That’s when Hobbes’ ecstasy binge led him to a soft pile of dirt and he began to roll in a frenzy, overtaken by the spirit of a chinchilla.

He rolled and rolled.  I’d venture to say it was the happiest moment of his life to date.  It may have even made up for the fact that his ancestors had been torn from the tundra and domesticated into prissy little eunuchs.  

But I was not happy.  My mind was chock full of filthy things needing to be cleaned and even if I did every single one of them, my E-crazed chinchilla was just going to deposit a sack of black dust all over my living room anyway.  And since I had nothing inanimate near me on which to take out my sometimes compulsive cleaning habit, I instead grabbed the offender by the scruff of his neck and the tub of his tummy and carted him to the bathroom.

I think this is where I did the most harm.  Hobbes loves the bathroom.  He loves the sink and the tub and the perfectly Hobbes-sized carpet I apparently bought for him.  He loves the shower curtain and the occasional drip from the tub’s faucet.  He lives like a king in that sacred room.  But he doesn’t like water.  I know this because when, in my fury, I splattered the water all over his dirty behind, his eyes turned to saucers, his tail went stick straight, and he engaged every fiber of his being into actively escaping the porcelain death trap I had set for him.

But I’m a human.  And humans trump cats.  Hence the domesticated nutsack-stealing.

I rinsed about a half pound of black dust and dander down my tub before I started to worry I’d genuinely give him a heart attack so I turned off the water and convinced myself he was clean enough. I smothered him in a towel and then made a note to do a load of laundry because I had just used my last clean towel on my cat.

Freshly toweled cats are hilarious, angry little things.  I highly recommend it on a rough day.

I followed up the traumatic session with a gentle brushing, which was actually in my favor more than his but he’s too stupid to know the difference between a proper petting and a wire brush.  Another point for the humans.  I then nursed the wounds he’d inflicted that, due to my nerdy cat allergies, had swollen to look like boils all over my skin.  Point for the cats.

But I felt better.  I had cleaned something.  Not just that – I had cleaned something that fought back – and I had won.  I mean, I tend to take out my stress on my dirty apartment from time to time, but that’s just a hurricane of cleaning that ends in my sweat and tears.  This! This was fantastic.  Five minutes of cat cleaning and I’m good to go.  I can dust a little, vacuum a little, pick up a few cups and be done.  The filthiest thing in my apartment had already been conquered and it was now so upset at the violation that it was cleaning itself. Perfection.

Therapeutic Cat-washing, folks: I highly recommend it. 

Am I the Next Eleanor Abernathy?

9 May

Eleanor Abernathy, better known as the Crazy Cat Lady, is a mentally-ill woman who always surrounds herself with a large number of cats. She usually screams gibberish and/or throws her cats at passersby. – Simpsons Wiki

I think I’m approaching my limit for feline adoration.

Look, I love cats.  I’m pretty sure every fifth post on here is about them.  I also love dogs, and cows and baby seals and unicorns.  Animals are wonderful and I’m delighted when it’s socially acceptable to domesticate them.  Even more so when we breed miniature versions of them.

The celebrity teacup pig trend was a beautiful thing.

I am currently the proud owner of two cats.  I say currently because it’s only a matter of time before I collect more. I promised Dave I would stop bringing them home but honestly, the first time I see an all-white fluffball wandering the streets without a collar, I’ll be three cats deep in a two person apartment.

I believe that’s called an infestation.

But for now, just two. One is dressed in a permanent tuxedo and the other is always sporting white tube socks.  They’re both fluffy and quirky and adorably overweight.  And lately they’ve been really pissing me off.

I don’t know if this is a temporary thing or not.  I’d like to think that my love for them is eternal and that my frustration is fleeting because it gives me hope that someday I can still make a decent mother.  The idea that I can just wake up one day and decide I’ve had enough of cleaning up after helpless, chronically needy creatures doesn’t exactly bode well for my motherly aspirations.

The good thing about kids is that at least they grow up to contribute.  I know this because my father made good use of me as soon as I could walk.  If I could hold a crayon and I could wobble about the living room, I was well equipped enough to fetch him a Pepsi.  And you know what? That used to really get on my nerves.  But now that I’m grown and working and generally tired and not smitten with the monotony of everyday life, I think I could really get into having a fleet of little servants.  And since it seems manufacturing humans from the fruit of your loins is the only socially acceptable way to get a few manservants these days, I’m probably going to  hop on that wagon sooner or later.

I’m tired.  And sometimes I don’t want to get my own Pepsis. That’s what I’ll tell my children when I regale them with the tale of their births.

But neither of my cats can get me a Pepsi.  And seeing as how neither of them has realized that the purpose of cat litter is to cover up their foulness and not for recess time, it’s unlikely we’re going to be able to progress to human capabilities any time soon.  In fact, my cats contribute absolutely nothing to my life.  I’ve asked H0bbes (the one with the socks) repeatedly to get a job but he never responds.

Adolescents, amirite?

I guess that’s not entirely fair. There are plenty of studies that show pets lower your blood pressure and increase your life expectancy and quality of life.  But then again, I’m pretty certain those numbers are in counterbalance to how often said pets throw up all over your belongings, hide hairballs in pockets and rarely-utilized compartments, and lie directly on whatever you’re going to wear in five minutes, thus rendering your outfit plan null and void.

I kid you not, last week Dave was relaxing on the couch after work and found a lone, semi-dry cat turd wrapped in the blanket on the couch.  But it had a little bit of litter on it.  Which suggests that it was once in the litter box, was dragged out by one of them, and carefully placed in the blanket for our discovery later in the day. I’m not even sure how that’s possible without opposable thumbs or a highly developed cerebrum.

Surprise turds in blankets tend to raise my blood pressure, not lower it.  I don’t see that in the studies.

I’m also incredibly allergic to them both and convince myself that their cuteness and overwhelming need for me should take priority over my itchy throat, watery eyes, and constant sneezing. So that probably undoes the whole ‘increase my life expectancy bit’.

The only real, semi-tangible plus my cats bring to my life is the inspiration to nap.  Since they don’t have jobs, don’t bother to clean themselves, and just yak up wherever they’d like, they don’t have much need for mobility.   When I go to work in the morning, Lola (in the tux) is always asleep on the corner of my bed.   And when I come home from work, she’s in the same exact place.  Don’t tell me she gets up and moves around and just lies back down before I come home because it’s not true.

And when I come home and I see how perfectly curled up they are and how their chin rests ever so gently on their paws and how the sun is coming through the window and keeping them warm and cuddly, I, too, am inspired to take an epic nap.  It doesn’t matter how paralyzing my to do list is or how full of anxiety I am that I’ll never amount to anything in life; when I see a comfortable, perfectly positioned cat in the middle of a deep, sunny sleep, I curl up beside them and pass out.

Technically, inspiring me to also be a non contributor is not a mark on the pro side of this argument.  But it’s all they’ve got going for them so I’m going to let it slide.

After all, they’re just so stinkin’ cute.  And fluffy.  And warm. And those permanent socks… 

Oh for the love of Hilary Duff on a stick, just throw another cat on the pile and call me Eleanor.

I’m weak. So weak. 

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