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Up, Up and Away!

Since Chuckles has his private pilot’s license, one of the perks of being married to him is that sometimes, if you’re a good girl and eat all your vegetables and don’t throw a tantrum in public that day, he’ll take you flying.

And yesterday was just such a day.  He’d come back home Saturday night after spending the last three weeks in California for work, so we decided to take advantage of a perfect blue-sky, 60-degree Sunday afternoon to head out to Frederick Municipal Airport and take the Cessna Skyhawk for a spin.

To me, it’s always a great opportunity to sing flying-themed songs and make totally hilarious Airplane! references.

Which is probably why I don’t get to go flying more often.

Anyhoo, this is how it usually goes:  First, Chuckles does a pre-flight inspection to make sure nothing important like the wings or prop fall off mid-flight.  ‘Cause how embarrassing would that be, right?

Keep up the good work there, buddy.

“Hmm, the passenger door latch appears to be broken.  Good thing that’s not my side.  Heh-heh.”

Next, Chuckles puts on his Serious Pilot Face and commences to fiddlin’ with lots of knobs and switches and button, all while trying to explain to me what each one does.  You know, just in case we’re ever in an emergency situation where I have to land the plane by myself.

Riiight.  Appreciate the effort, but I’m thinking “Scream bloody murder until we crash broadside into a barn” is going to be my go-to emergency landing strategy.

And away we go!

And it’s usually at this point that I realize I really have to pee.

“Seriously?  Now? You’re just going to have to hold it, sister.”

And then I make a mental note to invest in a Shenis.  [Warning: Link slightly NSFW, unless your boss is cool with you scoping out pics of giant gold phalluses (phalli?) on company time when you’re supposed to be filing TPS reports or whatever.]

And we’re off!

Views of Frederick…

From this distance, I bet I could totally spit on that silo.

“Can you fly this plane, and land it?”
“Surely you can’t be serious.”
“I am serious… and don’t call me Shirley.”

Hah, I slay myself.

Is This How the Grown-Ups Do It?

Last night a girlfriend of mine took me to a Festival of Trees.

The wha?

Festival of Trees.  It was an event located in the haughty-taughty area of North Carolina known as Pinehurst.  If you know anything at all about golf, you might’ve heard of it.  If you don’t know anything about golf, all you need to know about Pinehurst is that it’s home to several über prestigious golf clubs and even über-er prestigious-ier multi-million dollar homes.

Needless to say, I don’t find myself frequenting this part of the state very often.  But Christie, my girlfriend (that is – friend-who-is-a-girl – not lesbian lover), really wanted to see the Festival of Trees at the Pinehurst Resort, an event that raises money for the Sandhills Children’s Center by displaying and auctioning a multitude of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, wreaths, and other holiday-type décor.

My social activity list hasn’t exactly been bursting as of late, and although I (needless to say) don’t feel like an “insider” in Pinehurst, I was already jumping at the chance to go out.  Plus I heard there’d be wine.  So I put on my bestest pair of jeans (the dark-ish ones that only have a few frays along the bottom but fit so perfectly that no one really cares about a couple of love frays anyway, right?), a white button-up shirt, black boots with heels, my gaudy-but-beloved Ganesh necklace, and a pair of diamond stud earrings – it IS Pinehurst, afterall.  People there dress up.

When we arrived at the resort, I felt… um… a little out of place.

Pinehurst Resort

Photo courtesy of

After wandering down an immaculate hallway with no less than what I estimate to be 5,837 white columns and 432 gold and crystal chandeliers, we stumbled into a bar area full of women in ball gowns and men in tuxedos.  Dear God, this can’t be the right place.

Moving on.

We ambled down another hallway and a set of stairs, and there, finally, was the Festival of Trees.  We still might have been the only people wearing jeans, but at least we were no longer in Tuxedo Ally.  Like any good friend of mine would, Christie steered us immediately towards the cash bar so we could each get a glass of wine.  While we knew we wouldn’t be able to afford any of the $300-$6,000 auction packages, a glass of cabernet was certainly not beyond our budget.  Even in Pinehurst.  And hey – it was for the children.

I’m not the type of person to spend a lot of money on holiday décor – hell, I don’t spend a lot of money on regular décor since I prefer to surround myself with photos or art that I love and acquire over time.  But I did enjoy looking at all of the creative tree ideas.  They had everything from under-the-sea themed trees to trees made entirely of wine bottles (my kind of tree).

Wine Tree

Blurry photo courtesy of my phone’s camera.

I also came away with an interesting ornament idea that I could easily make myself – and let’s face it – already have the major component on-hand:

Cork Ornaments

Blurry photo courtesy of my phone’s camera and 1.4 glasses of wine on an empty stomach.

After an hour of counting the number of Mr. Rodgers sweaters that crossed our path looking at decorations and well into our second glass of wine, Christie asked me to hold her glass while she used the ladies’ room.  So there I was, in a semi-buzzed happy place and double-fisting some ruby red while hoping no one noticed the button dangling from one precarious string off the sleeve of my peacoat, when a guy in a suit and tie approached me with a big smile and a jovial, “Where do I know you from?!”

“Um… maybe around Fayetteville?”  He seemed nice, late 20’s, and it was entirely possible we’d met somewhere, though I seriously doubted we swam in the same social pools.

“No, that’s impossible.  I never go out.”


“Or, if I do go out,” he continued, “I usually get way too plastered to remember anyone I meet.”


I gave the appropriate on-cue laugh and tried to figure out where we possibly could have met.  Eventually he asked if my husband and I lived in the area, and I explained that we lived in a town about 45 minutes away.  He seemed flustered for a second, but quickly recovered and mumbled something to the effect of, “Well, I’m still not going to pass this up.  Here’s my card.  Call me if you ever want to get together.”  And with a smile, he was off.

I was stunned.

Was I just hit on?  By a person in a suit with a grown-up business card?

I know, I know.  I should have realized this from the very beginning, but the approach, while completely cliché, was so convincing!  Is my cluelessness a result of the fact that I’ve been off the market for almost 8 years, or is it simply because I’m used to the forward, abrasive drunk guy at a bar asking my boobs if they want to go home with him tonight – not the guy with a suit and a business card, for crying out loud.

And here I thought the fact that I almost never get carded anymore was the only major indicator that I am, in fact, getting older.

For what it’s worth, I have the number for an apparently-eligible Assistant Golf Professional with an airtight approach if any of you single ladies out there are interested.

Any takers?

I Dip, You Dip, We Dip*

I know what you’re thinking right now.

“Say what?”  you’re asking yourself.  “Erin’s writing this post?  I didn’t even think she had a kitchen.”

And I know, right?  Everything about this seems to fly in the face of conventional logic.  It’s like we’ve suddenly been thrust into some crazy alternate universe where plants eat people and cats chase dogs and I know anything about food preparation beyond how to read the instructions for microwaving.

Yet here I am, about to give you folks a recipe.

Ok, it probably doesn’t hurt that this is just about the easiest, most foolproof recipe on the face of the planet and requires absolutely no use of the oven, which is good, because that’s where we keep our board games.

Katie introduced me to these dessert balls when she brought them in for a work potluck and a fistfight almost broke out over them (okay, so I started it–but I can’t help that I get territorial about food).  And since I’m going to an honest-to-goodness slumber party tonight, I decided that it would be the perfect occasion to share the disgustingly decadent wealth.

The original recipe can be found on Tasty Kitchen.  But my version comes with witty commentary.  So there.

Anyhoo, hang onto your panties, people, cause away we go…

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

You’ll need to somehow procure the following ingredients.  Go to the grocery store, steal ‘em from your neighbor’s house, whatevs.  I’m not here to judge:

  • 2-½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup Butter (at room temperature)
  • ¾ cups White Sugar
  • ¾ cups Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk (or Soy Milk, if you’re feeling funky)
  • 1 cup Mini Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 14 ounces (weight) Dark Chocolate Candy Coating
  • Waxed Paper and a Baking Sheet or two (this recipe makes about 70 truffles)
  • A few Toothpicks, or some other stabby device

Got everything?  Ok, let’s do this.

1. Dump your butter, sugar and brown sugar into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until everything’s well blended.

It should look like this:

By the way, this is an egg-less recipe so feel free to eat all the dough you want while you’re making it.  Not that the threat of salmonella has ever stopped anyone before, amiright?

2. Add in the milk and vanilla.

3. Then stir in the baking soda, flour and salt.

Expert Tip:  If your bag of flour still doesn’t open after the third attempt, feel free to go all Hulk Mania on it and accidentally punch a hole in the side of the bag.  It won’t help anything, but it’ll relieve some stress.

4. Put your bowl in the kitchen sink to contain the mess and mix all that nonsense on low speed until it looks like this:

I get to lick the beater now, right?

5.  Dump in the chocolate chips and spoon-stir until they’re well mixed.

6.  Here’s where you’re going to get a little ‘handsy’ (in a good baking way, not a creepy-stranger-on-the-bus kind of way).  Form one-inch balls of dough and place them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.   It may help to lightly coat your hands in flour before trying this.

7.  Now stick those suckers in the freezer for 30 minutes and take some time to contemplate the crazy world we live in where I’m doling out useful recipe advice.  Hah!  Insanity, right??

8.  Also during this downtime, gets to melting your Dark Chocolate Candy Coating according to the instructions on the package.  I used Log House Chocolate CandiQuick Coating, which just so happened to come in its own microwaveable tray.  Um, fewer dishes to wash?  Holla’!

9.  Once the chocolate is nice and gooey and thoroughly melted, resist the urge to plow face-first into it, pull your balls out (huh huh) of the freezer and get to dipping!  I used a toothpick because, well, I’m just fancy like that.  But you can use a fondue stick, fork or whatever sharp, stabby utensil works best for you.

**A Word of Caution:  If you’re anything like me, this part will get extremely messy so I recommend treating your kitchen like a murder scene.  Put a heavy-duty tarp down on the floor, cover everything on your counter in saran wrap and put on a shower cap.  Go naked if you must.  (Just don’t tell anyone you did until after they’ve already tried them.)**

10.  Dip each cookie dough ball  individually, tap the excess chocolate off, and return it to the lined baking sheet.

My balls started getting soft (huh huh) and unmanageable halfway through, so I just popped them back into the freezer for another 15 minutes and reheated the chocolate a bit.

11. Once they’re all done, put the tray in the fridge and chill them until the chocolate coating’s nice and firm.  Transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to one week.

And I shall call you “Breakfast”.


Now go forth and make as many ball-dipping jokes as you can.

* By the way, I had a way nastier title for this post but it made even me blush so I decided to keep it to a clean Old Skool rap reference.

To all the impressionable children reading this blog:  You’re welcome.

And: Where the heck are your parents?

When You Wish Upon a Tree

Yesterday I lost everything.  Well not everything, everything.  I still have my health, my family and friends, and all of my material possessions.  Except one.  My external hard drive.  Actually, I still have the hard drive – or rather, the piece of plastic shell with an attached USB cord that you would look at and say, “Yep, that’s a hard drive.”  Except it’s  not.  Because yesterday it decided to eat my life.

It had things on there – important things, at least to me, that I will never be able to replace.  Photos from my trip to Costa Rica and paragraphs I added to my 9-page novel in bouts of drunken inspiration.  Those kinds of things.

Before you say anything, I realize the perils of using a backup system as my primary means of storage.  Now, more than ever.  So that’s fine.  Blame me.  But do we ever get to question – just every once in a while – why a $100 piece of electronic equipment can’t even last AN ENTIRE F*CKING YEAR WITHOUT GOING TO SHIT?!??!??!?$!*#&(!*!*&@^!(@&*~)

I’m just wondering.

But I’m actually not as upset as I feel like I should be.  I’m freakishly numb about the whole thing.  Maybe it’s because I’m still holding out hope that the  information can be saved.  Maybe Justin’s stick-it-in-the-freezer trick will work on the 8th try or my mom’s super computer-savvy boyfriend can figure it out.  If not, I can just defrost it and boil it up for dinner tonight – the makings of my soul served up on my favorite white platter from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It’s low-cal, too.

In reality, there are many worse things that could happen.  And punching my fist through a wall – which is what I’d like to do but its such a guy thing to do and I kind of like my knuckles anyway – just isn’t going to fix it.  I was reminded of this when I wandered into a sculpture garden off to the side of the pedestrian mall in front of the capitol building in D.C. last Tuesday.

It mostly had strange statues…

Hirshhorn Museum Statue

And one I wouldn’t mind being for a day…

(I only still have these pictures, by the way, because I’m about as neglectful at deleting things off my memory card as I am about backing up my hard drive.  Maybe if I’d spent as much money on memory cards as I did on the hard drive, I’d still have my Costa Rica pictures.)

But the garden also had a tree.  A wish tree.  (I’m willing to overlook the fact that this tree is an art installation by Yoko Ono, the woman who could arguably be blamed for the breakup of the Beatles.  Because the tree is cool.)

Theoretically, spectators are supposed to whisper their wishes to the tree.  The sign didn’t say whether the wishes were supposed to come true – it just said to whisper them.  Apparently some people didn’t feel that was enough, so they scribbled their wishes on pieces of scrap paper and stuck them on the branches of the tree.

Some wishes were straightforward, general pleas for survival.

National Wish Tree

Some were a little more specific, a little less necessary for survival.

Some were simply a sign of the times.

And others were hauntingly cryptic.

But the point is, not one of the scraps, as far as I could tell, asked for a magically repaired hard drive.  I suppose it is a little shallow.  And definitely not worth the paper.

But if I were there right now, I still might whisper a little wish to the tree.  Nothing as ridiculous as asking it to magically repair my hard drive, of course:

Dear wish tree,

Please help me rewind time and have the sense to back up all of my data like everyone always said I should before my hard drive inevitably crashes, effectively destroying months of hard work and memories.  Thank you.

National Wish Tree, Yoko Ono

Sounds reasonable, no?

The Bigger, the Better. Right?

Several days ago we packed up the in-laws and my cold germs and struck out on the road for our nation’s capital.  Not one of us had ever been, and considering Justin and I live a ridiculously-close 6 hour drive from D.C., we decided that now, while the air is brisk-not-cold and the leaves are golden-not-gone and the sky is blue-not-gray, would be the perfect time to lay eyes on the sites that until recently I’d only recognized from high school history books, the occasional news story, and rerun episodes of the Simpsons.

We took a night tour of many, many of the landmarks for which D.C. is known.  Here are my gut reactions to a just few of our Capitol’s most famous monuments:

Abraham Lincoln – Cold, intimidating, foreboding.  This is the guy who was supposed to be the chummy, honest Abe?  I realize that many people – especially Americans – especially male Americans – equate size with grandeur, but really.  This nod to our nation’s 16th president strikes me as almost… overcompensating.  You know, like the 52-year-old man with a comb-over driving the cherry red T-bird through rush hour traffic.  I mean, he abolished slavery, for crying out loud.  He doesn’t need a T-bird to prove his accomplishments.  It just seems to me that the Abe I knew – the one I learned about in elementary school – would’ve wanted to be more… I don’t know… approachable?

Lincoln Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Lincoln Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

World War II – Beautiful, peaceful, symbolic.  Fifty-six pillars stand in 2 semi-circles surrounding a large fountain.  It represents the 16 million people who served in the military during the war, as well as the 400,000 lives lost.  I’d like to have lunch there.  You just have to see it.

WWII Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

FDR – Touching, quiet, understated.  This was my favorite memorial.  It’s like walking through a timeline strewn with his quotes and different symbology and statues representing the tough times through which he led our country.  It was a truly moving display, and I’d like to see it again in the daylight.

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

FDR Memorial

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Washington Monument – Phallic.  Need I say more?

Washington Monument

If you’ve never been to D.C., I highly recommend a visit.  It helped me appreciate some of the things I learned in my history classes so long ago.  I just have 2 pieces of advice if you do decide to go:

1.  Don’t visit the Holocaust museum first thing in the morning.  It will definitely bring you down.

2.  Do ride the Metro – it’s public transportation at its finest, and the best way to study the locals in their natural element.

D.C. Metro

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.

Taken with my phone’s camera.  Sorry.


Serenity NOW!

Even a jobless drain on decent working-class society like me requires some sort of daily diversion to keep myself from turning feral or buying every infomercial product ever made, including the weird ones that run on the late-night foreign public access channels where I’m never entirely sure whether I’m buying a set of knives or the somewhat frightened-looking underage model holding them.

Although if an indentured child-bride came as a bonus gift with purchase, then maybe we could talk.  ‘Cause those small hands could be really useful when cleaning under the fridge.

Kidding, of course.  That would be wrong.

Delightfully handy, but wrong.

And since I’m already caught up on all the TV shows I’d missed while in Costa Rica (**Spoiler Alert**:  Pam and Jim have a baby now and Michael’s still a moron; Phil’s still clueless, Claire’s still a shrew and their kids are still completely disposable characters; Neil Patrick Harris is still playing a womanizer despite the fact that there’s no one left on Earth who doesn’t know he’s gay in real life; Dexter’s still a serial killer, minus one naggy wife; Peg Bundy’s still in that show where we’re not supposed to think of her as Peg Bundy and Ron Pearlman still looks like a caveman) I figure I should use all this free time to work on bettering myself as a person.  You know, become a kinder, gentler Erin.

Make fun of me and I will go nuts all over your ass like a rabid spider monkey.

Ahem.  Where was I?

Ah, yes.  As I was saying:  The first step in this quest has been to start taking yoga classes two to three times a week.

Considering the fact that (a) as a general rule of thumb, I generally tend to avoid things I suck at and (b) I’m about as flexible as a Popsicle stick, this is huge news, people.  Like, Go Tell It On the Mountain kind of news.

Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t compare my taking a yoga class to the birth of Jesus, but still.  Epic.

So far, I’ve been going for about two weeks and the overall experience has been at times peaceful, at times uncomfortable, at times energizing, but always humiliating.

Apart from the whole issue of trying not to fart–which, believe me, is a serious exercise in discipline that warrants an entire post of its own (but I’ll spare you… for now)–I’m doing the Downward Dog and Boat and Triangle and all these other innocuous-named poses that do not, in my opinion, even come close to accurately describing the unholy torture my tendons are about to undergo.

I guarantee you that every single one of these people in this photo is trying not to fart.

And I’m doing this weekdays at noon at the local city gym, which means I’m surrounded by a roomful of 60-year-olds with bum knees and hip replacements and bursitis (not that I have any clue what that is, but it sounds pretty gross and contagious) who are positively spanking me in the flexibility department.

And I’m not proud to admit that, sometimes, while I’m struggling frustratedly through yet another pose that Grandma Blue Hair next to me is just nailing, I get the urge to flip out all Frank Costanza-style and start shrieking, “You know what, smug old people?  You can take your inner peace and years of practice and shove it up your bony, freakishly limber asses!”

But I don’t, of course.

Because this is the new kinder, gentler Erin.

So I just knock over all their walkers and then run like hell.

Namaste, suckers.

Dear Christmas: Screw You.

Dear Christmas,

Stop being a massive asshat to Thanksgiving just because it’s a laidback holiday.

You and I both know that Thanksgiving doesn’t ask for much.  It doesn’t want to make a big scene or bum anybody out.  It’s content to just hang out at your house all day with you and your folks, watching football and eating all your food.

I suspect Thanksgiving smokes a lot of pot.

I mean, c’mon, it has to, right?

But even though Thanksgiving’s too mellow to stick up for itself I, for one, can no longer sit idly by and watch you shove it around and treat it like one of those minor holidays no one really cares about.  Thanksgiving is not Flag Day, dammit.

You do this every year:  Steamrolling over one of the chillest, most unpretentious holidays so that you can barf out festive lights and candy canes and holly wreaths and manger displays (and seriously, how is it not illegal for people to have those gaudy-ass inflatable snow globes out on their lawn already??) all over every store window display and front lawn in America.

Look, I’ll get into your stupid spirit in due time.  I’ll tolerate extended jazz versions of “The Little Drummer Boy” playing on the Muzak system of every business establishment I enter.  I’ll watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” for the twenty-ninth year in a row like it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it.  I’ll listen to the incessant bell-ringing of that Salvation Army Santa squatting on every street corner–and I probably won’t even flip my sh*t and smack a bitch.  I’ll wait my turn to spend a half-hour elbowing strangers in line so that I can spend all my money on gifts that I’m pretty sure no one’s going to like anyway.  I’ll send out Christmas cards.  Ok, that’s a lie, but I’ll feel guilty about not sending out Christmas cards.

What I’m saying is, I’ll play your stupid reindeer games.  But I am not going to start playing them in early November and you know what?  I sure as shizzle wasn’t going to start in friggin’ October.


You are still over a month away.  That is plenty of time to stress everyone out and make the populace miserable in proper yuletide fashion.

So here’s the deal I’m going to make you, Christmas:  You hold off on cramming yourself down everyone’s throats until–I don’t know, say, December?–and I hold off cramming my foot up your ass in a fit of festive rage.


In closing, leave us to enjoy Thanksgiving in peace.  Also, leave Halloween alone.

I’m watching you, biznatch.

Love Fiery burning hatred,


Saved by the Cold

I feel terrible because… well… I feel terrible.  For the past 4 days I’ve played host to not only my in-laws, but also to the mother of all cold germs.  Seriously.  She’s made herself quite comfortable in my sinuses with the occasional weekend trip to my lungs, and I don’t think she has any intention of leaving anytime soon.

So aside from emerging from the warm cocoon of my bedcovers every so often to take a soothing, steamy shower or make much-needed football food (while donning plastic gloves and a grade-a surgical mask, of course), I’ve behaved much like an antisocial hermit, my days revolving around bouts of coma-like sleep interspersed with 30-60 minute increments of Flip this House and The Property Ladder watched through a semi-drunken haze as I take nips from a bottle of cough syrup.

But I have to (sheepishly) admit that there’s at least one good thing that’s come from having this cold while Justin’s parents are in town.  Right now, this very minute, Justin is driving them up to Sanford to go to church.  And while I wasn’t planning on going anyway, which I’m pretty sure they all knew, this cold has given me the ability to stay in bed while they got ready to leave, thus avoiding the entire awkward send-off:

(still in pajamas, hair
tousled, sips her coffee)

Well, you kids have fun at church…

(dressed in Sunday
Best, fiddle with keys)


(picks a piece of
lint off her t-shirt)

Umm… I hear it’s supposed to be
a great sermon today.  Or is it a
Homily?  The thing the guy gives?
I mean the priest.  Or is it Pastor?



(smiles meekly)

Have a great time.

(exiting STAGE LEFT)

We’ll pray for you.


Okay, I’m exaggerating.  Obviously.  I mean, I wouldn’t make coffee until after they left because they’re not allowed to eat or drink an hour before receiving Communion, which is what they do every week in Catholic church, and I wouldn’t want to rub it in.

But if I were going with them, maybe I would make coffee first since it’s okay for me to drink it since I’m not Catholic and therefore not allowed to receive Communion and therefore more likely to fall asleep during mass (or is it a sermon? shit.) since I’m forced to sit on the bench like some unruly student while all of the good boys and girls stand in line to get a cookie and stare at me with sympathy because I’m going to Hell and there’s not a damn thing anyone can do about it.

But really.  I think Justin’s parents are fairly okay with the fact that I don’t go to church.  I’ve attended with them before, and I’ve always felt like someone shoved me onto stage in the middle of the play and no one gave me the lines.  I mean, everyone else knows when to stand, when to sit, when to sing, what to say, while I stumble around a haphazard half-a-second behind everyone else trying not to embarrass them more than absolutely necessary.

So maybe this cold thing is all for the best.  I don’t need to embarrass my in-laws with my church ignorance, and I can blame this entire post on my consumption of excessive amounts of cough syrup should it fall into the wrong hands.  And that’s all I can really ask for, anyway.


The Domestiphobic’s Guide to Cat Ownership

Let me start off by stating that, technically, the above title is incorrect because ownership implies some measure of control or ability to exert your will over the subject in question.

When it comes to cat ownership, in reality you’re just signing up to share your home and all your stuff with it until either (a) it dies of old age, (b) you die of old age, or (c) one of you decides to run away and go live in the dumpster behind Subway.

Hey, is that Parmesan Oregano loaf down there??

So, now that we’ve got those pesky semantics out of the way, there are several reasons why you might be tempted to own a cat.  Much like a Volkswagen Jetta, they’re practical, affordable, space-saving, long-lasting and generally require very little maintenance (this is especially true if the cat is a newer model or a mint-condition used one).

Of course, you think!  A cat!  Something I can love freely without all the requisite responsibility or criminal neglect charges of owning kids!  What an entirely obvious and intelligent decision!

Now, I’m no “cat expert” mind you—mainly because that sounds like the kind of title someone with a wide assortment of nasal sprays and appliquéd cardigans would have—but it’s been my experience that cats will generally live forever with relatively little effort on your part as long as you do the following three things:

1. Feed it.  If you don’t happen to have any foie gras or festering rodent corpses on hand, cat food will do just fine.

2. Water it.  And, contrary to how this sounds, you do not water it as you would a plant.  The water should go in a container of some sort.  Don’t feel embarrassed, it took us a while to figure out that humdinger, too.

3. Scoop it.  This is perhaps the most degrading of cat ownership tasks as your cat will stand there, smugly watching you try not to gag as you dig, hunched over with a scooper in one hand and bread bag in the other, through the crapbox to collect its disgusting little nuggets like you’re on some sort of seriously lame treasure hunt.

Or you can just build a rocket ship and launch its poop into outer space.  That’s also an option.

4.  Adhere to the service plan.  Make sure it gets regularly scheduled maintenance and take it to the dealership if it starts leaking, oozing, sputtering, stalling, or making weird knocking noises.  And definitely don’t attempt to check its fluid levels yourself.

Easy enough, right?

But what you don’t factor in are the emotional, psychological and olfactory (means your nose, people) costs of cat ownership.  As a former and current owner, I can attest that to own a cat is to:

1. Resign yourself to a perpetual two-inch thick layer of hair and litter grit covering everything you own.  Tumbleweeds of cat hair will collect in the corners of every room and any fleece apparel you own will take on a mohair quality.  This is one thing you’re just going to have to get used to unless you want to pop uppers and spend all day vacuuming and re-vacuuming until you’ve worn wheel groves into your floorboards.  Best to just go for a retro vibe and get shag carpeting.  And maybe a lava lamp.  You know, for atmosphere.

2. Never again be able to take the shortest route from point A to point B.  Cats are diametrically opposed to efficiency and directness, which is why they will devote their time to weaving  around your legs, darting into your path and stretching out in major household intersections so that you either step over them or smash your face on the linoleum.  Either outcome is fine.

3. Be constantly judged by something smaller, weaker and even less useful than you.  Because it has nothing better to do all day, it will take every opportunity to wordlessly point out your flaws and shortcomings and silently revel in your personal failures.  It will glare at you when you fail to pet it.  It will smirk at you when burn yourself or stub your toe.  It will glower at you when you raise your voice.  And it will literally incinerate you with its laser beams eyes when you forget to feed it.

4.  Never have surplus hairbands.  Or paperclips.  Or twist ties.  Or any other small, swallowable and temporarily unsupervised object.

5.  Repulse your houseguests.  Cats are “clean creatures” in the sense that they clean themselves.  Contrary to how that phrase sounds, they will not help you dust, wash dishes or sort the laundry.  And considering you’re already too busy devoting the majority of your day to cleaning up after them and maneuvering around them, it’s inevitable that your house will deteriorate into a den of filth and madness.  Just stop inviting people over and let it all hang out, baby.

6.  Live in a house that always smells like something.  Whether it’s that weird perfume-y scent of fresh cat litter or the eye-watering, nasal-passage-burning ammonia stench of old cat piss is up to you.  Bon appétit.

7.  Have your emotions toyed with.  The only time a cat will ever willfully show you affection is when it wants something from you.  It’s like a manipulative ex-boyfriend and you should handle it as such.  Look it straight in the eye and in a firm, yet even, tone tell it that you will not submit to its ridiculous mind games any longer.  If it helps you to get your point across, get a little sassy with your monologue like you’re an audience member on The Montel Williams Show.  Put your hand on your hip and and start pumping your index finger.  Roll that neck.  You go, girlfriend.

8.  Come to terms with the fact that you now live with the worst roommate ever.  Make no mistake, cats are thoughtless a-holes and have no desire to change.  They will use your stuff without asking and then hide it from you, they will dirty up something you just spent an hour cleaning, they will hang around the house all day long and ignore you until they need a favor.  And good luck getting them to pay their share of the utilities.

9.  Look insane to the normal public.  Case in point:  Chuckles and I don’t want our cats jumping up on the futon and getting hair and god-knows-what-else all over it–which they do anyway because, hey, screw us, right?  I read somewhere online that aluminum foil repels cats because they don’t like the feel of it under their paws.  So, as a last-ditch effort, we decided to cover our futon in tinfoil until the cats were trained to stay off it.  Except one day I forgot to remove the tinfoil before I left the house and the landlord let herself in to the apartment to drop off a spare set of keys.  And she has not answered my phone calls since.  The end.

In fact, contrary to popular belief, the only thing that is simple about owning a cat is figuring out what it wants.  Its wants are simple: food, water, toys, and for you to leave it the hell alone.

That isn’t to say that on the rare occasion it won’t demand to be pet to reassure itself that it still wears the pants in this unhealthy trainwreck of a relationship.  But, typically:  see above.  And as far as your wants go, it does not care about them.  So stop bothering it with your pathetic neediness.

Now, here is the part where other cat owners reading this will interject and insist that their cats are friendly and their cats are well-behaved and their cats bring them thoughtful presents and do long-division.  But that’s probably because their cats are outdoor cats, which means they’re independent and self-sufficient and out of your face long enough for you to actually miss them.

This post, however, specifically pertains to the indoor cat experience since that’s what I’m qualified to talk about.  Our two cats, Roxy and Talula, are strictly indoor beings because we live in a city full of citizens who range on the crazy scale from Charmingly Kooky to Full-On Batsh*t Insane, and we never know when someone might decide to flatten them under their car tires just for kicks and giggles.  And it doesn’t help that our cats have all the survival instinct and outdoor savvy of a bath loofah.

Ok, moment of honesty here:  I’ll admit that, despite all their annoying habits and lunatic behavior, I have developed a begrudging fondness for our two little buggers.  Especially now that I’m sans (that means without, people) employment, they fill what would otherwise be an endless, yawning void of thumb-twiddling, nose-picking downtime with their quirky, madcap antics.

So take whatever moral you will from this post.  Just remember that you were warned.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some poop to scoop.

Turning Point

It’s about this time of year when my body starts convincing me I need to acquire an extra layer of fat to prevent me from freezing to death, so I’m inevitably compelled to eat lots of this:

White Chili

And plenty of these:


And before long, I find I need to buy larger pairs of these:

Because sometimes this happens.

So yesterday, in a half-assed attempt to prevent nature from taking its course, I made this.

And ate it this morning like this:

Granola with yogurt and raspberries

And while it definitely wasn’t my usual piece toast smeared with perfectly proportioned layers of peanut butter and maple honey, I have to say it wasn’t bad.

Not bad at all.