Tag Archives: cats

On Becoming 41

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19 not thinking about 41

19 not thinking about 41

So I have been 41 for a whole 2 days. It feels pretty shitty. But I am chalking that up to having the worst head cold in the history of head colds. Or maybe this is just how 41 feels. Sort of runny and sore and watery and stuffed up.

I’ve got a year of being 40 under my belt…and a little over my belt. In the year I was 40, I dated some very lovely men. I dated an asshole or two but that is sort of the story of my life. I lost only one person whom I love, but I know where she lives now so I guess she isn’t truly lost. That’s a bonus as I have lost a loved one every single year for many years now.

I tried, I failed. I bet I succeeded but I can’t think of how or at what off the top of my head. I made some new friends, made some friends closer friends and lost some close friends to the abyss of mis-communication. I have lost more memories, I have gained more common sense. I have lost patience, tolerance and love. I have gained acceptance for myself and for others.

I think I would very much like to travel but I know I don’t want to continue traveling alone. I put my house up for sale and then took it down. I stayed put. I went to The City more often than I have since I was a teenager and I enjoyed every single second of every single trip…even the trip where I had the stomach bug, the one where I had to drive over a bridge and the one where I drove down and back in one day by myself. I went to Boston which is my new fav place to go. I went to the ocean alot and I want to go alot more.

I have not found my birth family. But I don’t think they are looking for me. And most days I can’t think of what I would say to them anyway. I look at my daughters who are the only people in the whole world I am related to and wonder…besides me, who do they look like, who do they sound like, laugh like…I guess they look and sound exactly like themselves.

But being 41 means thinking in new ways of new things that I didn’t have to consider when I was 39. 41 means growing up. It means stop being silly and start becoming witty. It means dating sophisticated men or not dating at all. It means witnessing my mother turning into HER mother and knowing that despite my very best efforts, turning into my mother is beginning to seem like a very comfortable idea.

I hear my biological clock ticking which was a great surprise…I thought it was going to run out soundlessly and gracefully…then I remembered I’m me. Nothing I do is graceful or soundless. I have had wicked tortured thoughts of another baby…just one more…for what reason? None. For who? I’m not sure. It is a strange and maddening longing that I don’t believe, but it is definitely there. And I know I am not alone in these feelings. Instead, I will concentrate on having a rock solid body or maybe getting a Lifestyle Lift.

Watching my kids turn into teenagers which is interesting and very frustrating. At 41, I am not that far away from 19…or 15 …or 11 for that matter. But they think I am. Officially uncool. Un-consulted. Uninvited. At least they have each other. I would like a parade and a day taken in my honor for giving them each other…but they don’t see it as anything special. I see it as the most incredible thing I have ever done, will ever do. Kids ppfftt…

So, day 3 of being 41 will bring a trip to the mall with the kids to see a movie which is my only form of escape, and dinner out because I still don’t cook. Maybe the dog will get a walk, maybe I will feel well. Maybe I will not think of the people I love and what may happen so that I lose them too, sooner rather than later. Maybe I will figure out a way to keep us afloat financially for one more day. Maybe 41 will be the year? Or not. Regardless, I am no longer sad. I have no expectations which frees me up to appreciate every single little joy that crosses my path.

I don’t think I ever thought about where I would be when I was in my 40’s. It was a pretty unclear forecast. I used to make plans…lists and dreams…but those things seem so trivial and small now. Now I just wait to see what the day will bring because I know that tomorrow is not a guarantee and should never be taken for granted and should always be held in reverence….

I lost all of the people I loved, I lost my home, my child, my family and myself but being 40 has given me new family, new children to love as the ones I lost and a home that makes me feel. And feeling at 41 is not as easy as it sounds. Everything around here is getting older…including me. Now I grow my hair to shocking lengths and get on with learning something new and loving someone new and going somewhere new. Or I will revel in the sameness of my every day existence and find the joy in the children becoming independent people riding out to find their own paths.

Or maybe I will invest in the arm gurtels I saw on tv and stage a comeback of my early 20’s!!! Or maybe I will just get another cat. That sounds alot less exhausting…

41 still thinking about being 19...

41 still thinking about being 19…

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My New Reality

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It's not MY fault I don't have a toy....

Wake Up: 5am to Leo screaming in his crate. Fall out of bed because I am being attacked by Cecelia, who was sleeping at my feet and is cranky if she is awoken. Ever.

5:02am: Trip down the stairs, kicking in the adrenaline rush, Leo still screaming in crate. Try to organize my thoughts….do I put on my coat and boots first…do I get Leo first….where did I leave his leash….why am I always broke….what day is it….who’s life is this….LEO!

5:02 and a half am: I open Leo’s crate door and he bolts out only to run right back into me only to crash his little body into the gate only to run around the coffee table. Me? I am standing there crying.

5:03am: Still crying, I try to attach his leash.

5:15am: Success I have attached his leash. We head for the door. At this point, I have to figure out if I have my boots and coat on or if I need to put them on. If I have to put them on I cry some more because Leo is not yet allowed to roam free in the house. Especially as he has to pee and poop. I strangle myself trying to get my coat on and wipe my nose on my sleeve. I don’t care.

5:16am: Leo poops while walking in a circle. I wonder if that is some sort of instinctual thing…like standing inside of his poop circle will keep him safe from the spirits…? I wait a few more minutes to see if he will pee also, knowing darn well that he peed in his crate, under his bed. Yes, UNDER his bed.

5:17am: Back in the house, I fall over trying to get off my boots. I wouldn’t necessarily take off my boots at this point, but after cleaning up the gobs of dog poop that I unknowingly tracked through the house a few weeks back on more than one occasion, I decide to make the extra effort.

5:18am: I hook Leo’s leash to the gate, fill his bowls with food and water. Spencer is rhythmically barking and Emma is whining. I start crying again. I go get Spencer and Emma. I have to lift Spencer to his feet from his laying down position as he can no longer get up on is own. Once up, he is pretty shaky and falls often. Mostly into the dog poop outside.

5:20am: Spencer, Emma and I walk by Leo. Leo decides we are very mean and starts screaming at us for leaving him alone in the house.

5:21am – 5:32am: Spencer alternately pees, poops and falls down. Emma pees, poops while walking (good trick Emma…no way to pick that up!). I alternately cry, swear and pick Spencer up. We come in.

5:33am: Leo immediately shuts up when we walk through the door and tries to pretend he wasn’t screaming like a B movie star. Spencer heads right for Leo’s food, and falls. Damn it.

5:34am: I pick up Spencer and herd Emma into the kitchen where I feed both of them while Leo is in the other room, watching us and crying quietly so that Spencer won’t make fun of him.

5:35am: I take Leo out for his second walk. He pees a little just to make me feel better.

5:36am: I put Leo into his room, where he immediately starts screaming again because I have to go fetch Em and Spence and put them back in their room. On the way, I give Spencer his old man medications which include a thyroid, an antibiotic and benefiber…he’s fixed so he doesn’t need Viagra….Leo still screaming, somehow louder than before.

5:37am: I go back to Leo, clean up his crate, toss his bed into the other room for washing when the sun comes up, and force him to lay on the couch with me where he proceeds to try to chew the blanket, me and the couch. I get up once again and get him a toy cursing myself for not thinking ahead and making a mental note to always keep a toy of his on the couch there by avoiding the inconvenience of getting up after I had lain down. My next thought is ‘what was the thought I just had?’

6:00am: Leo snuggles down and stops wiggling and chewing and starts snoring.

6:01am: I stop crying and try to dooze off again just for 45 minutes before I have to get up to get the kids ready for school.

6:02am: Spencer decides he needs to poop and have some water. I decide he doesn’t. Ignore.

6:03am: Spencer wins (sometimes…othertimes I think I win, but then Spencer poops on the carpet and that is at least 20 minutes of cleaning…he has had a really hard time training me…I am a very slow learner)

6:04am: Leo screaming. Spencer let out. Leo screaming. Spencer comes in. Leo screaming. Spencer takes an extraordinarily long time getting a drink. Leo screaming. Spencer pauses to contemplate me and my tears, goes back to drinking.

6:15am: Spencer is back in his room. Leo is again on the couch trying to chew the blanket, me and the couch. I get up to get his toy and make a mental note to always keep one of his toys on the couch. I promptly forget my mental note.

6:30am: Leo is snoring. I am laying with him, wide awake, remembering the good old days of no pets, trying to remember all the good things about having these dogs.

6:31am: Cecelia decides she wants to come in and attaches her entire body to the window that is right near my head. Spead eagle. At the same time, Eddie starts yelling at me because I let Cece out and not him so he stands on the other side of the gate and yells until Leo wakes up and jumps down to go throw his body against the gate which makes a lovely crashing noise.

6:32am: I hate my life.

6:33am: I lay down, waiting for the alarm which will signal the start of my day, in total denial that my day started at 5am with dog poop and pee. Leo is trying to chew the furniture and I am rationalizing that with the fact that I don’t like my furniture. I do, but at 6:33am, I don’t really care.

6:45am: Alarm. Leo screaming. Kids up.

Jealous right?

They are cute when they want to be....

 

Cecelia Experiments with Color

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So pretty....

Cecelia, by her own doing, has had a rough life. She is mean and miserable pretty much all of the time. But we love her. That is her character. She’s bad ass. She chewed off her own tail once…she is not a cat you want to mess with.

Today, I was painting in my daughter’s room. I had pink, blue, yellow and green latex paint happening. Eddie tried to come visit and I shooed him away. I have done the “cat walks thru the paint tray” and “dog’s tail knocks over the paint can” and have learned my lesson the hard way. Eddie gave me a look of pure hurt that I would shoo him when all he wanted was to come visit, but he left quietly. I wasn’t worried about Cece as she doesn’t care to visit anyway. It took me 8 hours to paint 6 boxes and 5 steps. I am a horrible painter. I am sloppy and impatience. Awareness, acceptance, action. Today I was trying extra hard to be good.

As I was finishing up on my 3rd coat, I decided to have the 8 year old start cleaning up. I told her to take the three small cans of paint down to the basement very carefully. And away she goes. I am miserable because I am in pain from my head to my toes and I have been huffing paint fumes all day and it was taking me forever to get this done because I wanted to be professional. She was gone for a few minutes when all of the sudden I hear her pounding up the stairs and she runs in the room and says “MOM! I accidentally spilled the yellow paint and…..” “And what????” ” And…..” she stands there on the verge of tears and I was on the verge of the top of my head blowing off…”And WHAT????” “And it spilled all over Cecelia!!” And she bursts into tears. Are you kidding me with this? The meanest cat in the entire world, who just happens to be in on the upswing of a mania and is actually wanting to be around us, is now covered in yellow paint.

I just stood there for a second deciding if I actually needed to take action or if I could just pretend someone else was the mom. Then I thought of the few things of value that I still liked in my house. The things the dogs have not ruined with their “accidents” and I kicked into high gear. I said “ok, stop crying…lets go assess the damage and find the damn cat.” I walk out the back door and the entire deck and stairs are covered in yellow paint, dripping onto my stones and flowers and flower pots, very modernesqe. Yellow was the fullest paint can. The rest were almost empty, yellow was near the top. Oh good.

I sent the kid to scope out Cece. I see yellow paw prints leading into the neighbor’s yard and it occurs to me that if Cece decided to do some sight seeing the neighborhood will be covered in yellow kitty paw prints and I might get in trouble for it. Damn cat…did I say that already? The kid gets a lock on the cat and I follow up while instructing the kid to get the giant old blanket. There is no way I can get near Cece. At this point I see Cecelia is more than half covered in paint. All over her back and side down all four legs. She looks like she is a contestant on You Can’t Do That On TV.

Now things get dicey. I am trying to talk to Cece, stall her, while the kid gets the blanket. The kid can’t find the blanket. WHAT????? Cece is casually trying to make her escape, leaving her marks all over my stone wall, I am sweating, praying that paint in this large a quantity isn’t toxic. I love my mean ass cat. And she’s off. I grab the blanket from the kid and follow Cece into the neighbor’s back yard. Did I mention I am unshowered, hair pulled back, nastiest tee shirt and boxers carrying a gigantic comforter chasing after a sunshine yellow cat talking to her as if she is an escaped convict. “You won’t get away with this Cecelia. If you just let me help you…it’s for your own good…” She escapes into the woods. I give up. I know when I am beat, I know my cat. She will come home eventually. As long as she doesn’t die from paint poisoning.

I shut all the doors and sit and cry because I am worried that my rotten, awful, unkind cat is going to die alone in the woods. I called the vet and they instructed me to call poison control. I do and poison control says that latex paint is harmless. The advise me to wash her off with some Dawn dishwashing soap. That is when I started laughing. They say you always remember exactly where you were the moment you lose your  mind. Now not only will I remember, but so will the poison control lady. I was crying and laughing and explaining how Cecelia is meaner than spit and there is no way I will ever survive trying to bathe her and I don’t have Dawn I have Palmalive cause Madge and soft hands and it’s a pretty color yellow and my back is killing me and the neighbors are going to be mad and my hot water heater died and the roof leaked and…..hello? She hung up. I don’t think that’s legal. Poison control can’t hang up on you in the middle of a break down. That’s downright Un-American.

I call the vet and tell them I will most likely be there at 7:30am with Cecelia to be sedated (her, not me…unless they are willing, I mean, I wouldn’t turn it down at this point) and washed. They don’t sound thrilled at the idea of Painted Cecelia. I don’t blame them. I hang up and grab the kid and as we are walking out the door to get dinner, Cece bolts in and heads for the livingroom. I tell the kid to grab the blanket and we set about trying to catch the yellow cat who is now running around my velvet furniture. I throw the king sized blanket over her and stuff her in the cat carrier. Poor kitty was trapped and crying. I, on the other hand, was laughing hysterically again. What was I going to do with a painted cat in a carrier? The kid is almost crying again because she feels so bad for poor Cecelia. Ofcourse, it is 6:15 and the vet closes at 6. So, I release Cece outside and tell her that we will talk in the morning.

I feel rather defeated and guilty that in my cat’s time of need I can do nothing except leave her to her own devices. Because she is so incredibly terrifyingly mean. So, I’ll say a prayer that I will be able to wrangle her into the carrier tomorrow and that the vet will not call social services on me for cat abuse. It was an accident, and not everyone can pull off yellow…Cece can…cause she says she can and no one argues with Cece.

 

UPDATE: Cecelia almost eluded capture but at exactly 2pm she snuck in the house thinking we had forgotten that she was still covered in paint. After being outside in the rain all night she looked like some sort of club kid from 1993. The chase was on…through the diningroom, kitchen, livingroom and upstairs into the kid’s bedroom where after 20 minutes of sweat and swearing and pure terror (on my part) Cecelia was finally captured and contained and deported to the vets where she was knocked out and shaved. They also gave her a full physical for the first time in her 9 years on this earth. She looks rough but she is stoned out of her face which is kind of nice because I actually was able to pet her for a second. I love my naked cat.

"don't look at me....I'm a monster!!!!"

Here Kitty Kitty Kitty…..

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I can't imagine wanting to eat these.....

I’m sure we have all had a stalker. I have been fortunate enough to have TWO in my lifetime. My first stalker became obsessed with me when I was just 12 years old. That says alot about the pedophile tendencies of my stalker as I was not like some 12 year olds. I was a flat chested, zitty, braceface with really bad hair and no clue about presenting myself in a better light. I was awkward and dorky and I probably should have been wearing deodorant. Apparently, my stalker saw something in me that was attractive to him, as he was obviously a pedophile with really bad taste.

The prank calls began. Many times they were just hang ups. Other times they were peppered with Tourette’s like dirty words. My stalker actually worked his way up to telling me what he wanted to do with my cats. That was distressing. I loved my cats and I did not understand why anyone would want to eat them. Sometimes he would ask if I was alone, other times he seemed to know I was alone. These calls continued for over 6 years. When they began, the phone company was in the middle of a major strike and they didn’t have the power to tap our phone and trace the calls. They suggested that we write down the time of the calls and what the caller was saying. He was mostly threatening to eat my cats….and talking about how much he would enjoy doing that.

Now, I didn’t engage with my stalker and his full-blown obsession with feline consumption. I generally just hung up as soon as I recognized it was him. But he was definitely leaving an impression on my very young naive mind. I was always scared in my own home, I didn’t like answering the phone and I wanted to keep all four of my cats inside at all times. But, despite my well founded fears, I continued to grow up and answer the phone.

I actually had the unfortunate pleasure of meeting my stalker, face to face one night. I know! How often does that happen? I mean, David Letterman, Jodi Foster and me. We are some super special people to attract and keep a stalker for years but then to have them break into our homes and get caught…well, that just speaks to the level of our fame and the depth of our stalker’s illness. There I was, 16 years old, slightly more attractive than I was when I was 12, but only slightly. At 16, I had half a head of bright red hair, black eyeliner and lipstick to match. My usual uniform was Converse with ripped fishnets and my mother’s black slip and my grandpa’s white tee-shirt. Good lookin, but only to a certain segment of the population. And my stalker. He was one of those people who were loyal in the most perverted sense of the word.

I was driving, as I had just passed my permit test. My mother and best friend were with me. I pulled into the driveway, noticing that there was a car parked in front of our house. I didn’t give it too much thought, our development was tiny and it wasn’t uncommon for the neighbor’s friends to park on the street. My best friend and I walked to the door and I grabbed for the door knob, but before I could reach it, the door opened. And there stood my stalker!! Shirt off, pants undone with a look of complete surprise that matched mine. He slammed the door in my face, which was not what I would have expected from my stalker of over 4 years…I mean, he had been trying to get me to let him chow down on my cats (over the phone) and here he was with a face to face opportunity to talk me into his fantasy of  cat dinner and he slams the door in MY face!

My best friend and I screamed a very appropriate, high pitched, girly scream and about knocked each other over trying to escape from the door way area. I jumped back into the car and my best friend was standing at the back car door yanking on the door handle and laughing so hard she was crying. I had to reach over the backseat to unlock the door that she had so conscientiously locked just minutes before… back when we were still goofy teens who had no idea of feline eating stalkers in real life.

My mother, who had been taking her time gathering up her “stuff” into her various bags, was oblivious to what was happening. I started the car and was backing out of the driveway while my friend was still getting in the car and my mother was still attempting to get out. She had assumed that my friend and I were just being our usual silly selves with the screaming and all. I told my mother, at the top of my lungs, that there was a man in the house and we were going to the police. My mother, being very brave and slightly flakey tried to convince me to stop and go back. Her attitude was one of anger, not fear, that there was anyone in HER home that was not invited. I didn’t agree with her idea and proceeded at top speed the three blocks to the police station where I JUMPED from the car and ran to the locked door. I banged until a cop came running and I told them what just happened and they jumped in their cars, sirens blaring and raced back up the same street I had just raced down.

My mother was mad, my friend was in hysterics (laughing because that is what she did when she got nervous, she laughed and got hives) and I was scared for my cats!! Turns out my stalker had fled the scene before the cops got there, although he left me a present on my pillow before he left. Not a very thoughtful present either.  Thanks to my slightly OCD mind, I remembered the first 3 letters of the licence plate of the car that was parked in front of my house!! All those hours of watching tv talk shows about what to do if you have weird situations happen to you paid off!! I was never one of those people who said “Oh THAT will never happen to ME!” I just accepted that someday I may very well need to know how to escape from a trunk, or how to identify a kidnapper or remember the licence plate of my stalker’s car!! The police tracked down his car in minutes and my friend and I had to ride in the back of the cop car to identify it. We did. They arrested the idiot and I have no recollection of what happened after that. For about 6 months the calls stopped and although I was still nervous, I finally understood that it really wasn’t all about my cats. That was both a blessing and a curse.

I left for Texas shortly there after and really never gave much more thought to my stalker. But sure as kittens turn into cats, he called when I was home on Christmas break. Now really, that is some serious stick-to-it-ness don’tcha think? At this point, I was 18 years old and I was surrounded by my friends. Three of my best guy friends took turns passing the phone around and completely messing with my stalker’s mind. This must have coincided with my stalker realizing I had outgrown my fear of him and that I had also outgrown his particular age group of girls he considered fit to stalk. I don’t believe I have heard a peep from him since.

Oh the many lessons that my stalker taught me. I can’t say he was harmless, the damage he did isn’t visible (at least not after we fixed the bathroom window he broke in to and got rid of the “present” he left on my pillow). But I learned alot from having a stalker at such a young age. The different meanings words can have, how not to respond when the phone rings, and that if I can remember every licence plate number I ever see then I will always have a way to identify the bad guys. All of these lessons have served me well later in life believe it or not. And I didn’t even know they would. Be prepared is a good motto if you find yourself in a stalker situation. And for any future stalkers out there, please remember that “I want to eat your pussy” has different meanings to different people.