So what, praytell, caused my whole month-long, shrouded-in-mystery absence from the blogosphere (PS: I totally hate that word and can’t believe I just used it)?
Some of you might have suspected that I finally got popped by a drug kingpin for all my years of sordid dealings. Some of you might have suspected that I snapped under the pressure of the holidays and am now in jail serving a five-year sentence for committing aggravated assault in a grocery store with a bin of discounted Christmas wrapping paper tubes. (Haha, and how much fun would it be to just whale on unsuspecting patrons with those suckers??)
And some of you might have completely forgotten that I even existed on this blog.
All of which are entirely likely conclusions, but wrong nonetheless.
Turns out, I’ve just been… busy. I know, way less interesting reason, right? Feel free to make up your own, much more exciting tale about what happened to me. I recommend working in UFOs and a secret CIA conspiracy that I cunningly uncover.
Anyhoo, I can’t promise that I’m not going to disappear again ’cause I’m feelin’ squirrely, folks. Squirrely and flaky.
In fact, this might be the only post you get from me for a while because I’ve got job-hunting and apartment-hunting (our lease is up in February so we’re moving… again… frick.) and all sorts of other shenanigans requiring my immediate attention so I’ve got to start paring down my obligations to the bare essentials for the time being.
Rest assured, though–even though I’m too scattered to be clever or dependable or available to entertain you on a semi-weekly basis right now, know that I have mad love for you all.
I’ll try to make it up to you at some point down the road when things settle the eff down, but I’ll totally understand if you decide to get all bitter about it and snub me like the son does to the father in that “Cat’s in the Cradle” song. Stupid, non-catch-playing father. Serves you right, jerk.
Anyhoo, until then, keep your noses clean, bellies full and hearts happy.
And now, I will leave you with some words of wisdom from the famed poet-rapper, Tupac:
“Every other city we go, every other vi-de-o No matter where I go, I see the same hoe.”
Occasionally, whilst surfing the Interwebs for job opportunities, I’ll find myself naïvely drifting into the murky, frothy, danger-filled waters of Craigslist.
Might as well just take a quick peek-a-roo to see if there’s any worthwhile prospects, I think to myself. What’s the harm?
And on these rare occasions I happen to forget why I ever stopped visiting in the first place, Craigslist is always more than happy to refresh my memory.
What the internet would look like if it were an old-timey map.
Because once I’ve started perusing Craigslist, I’m quickly reminded that it is a teaming cesspool of internet goblins, illegitimate business ventures, sad personal ads, kinky-weird (and not kinky-fun) fetishes and a truly preposterous number of letters to strangers who’ve crapped on someone’s personal property.
Here’s the kind of thing you usually find…
Typical Craigslist Post #1:
Dear Person Who Took a Crap on the Hood of My Car While I Was Stopped at a Red Light on 5th and Main,
Why did you do that? Seriously, why??? I mean, honestly, who DOES that?!?
In conclusion, I did not appreciate it and think you are a jerkface.
Guy in the Toyota Celica (a.k.a., the Cleveland Steamer edition)
Typical Craigslist Post #2:
Dear Girl with Brown Hair Wearing Some Sort of Patterned Shirt in Line at Starbucks in the Greater Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area,
I was standing in line behind you and you glanced meaningfully back at me as if to say “I recognize a kindred spirit in you.” Or it might’ve just been because I stepped on the back of your shoe. Either way, I felt a connection. Let’s get married, ok?
I’ll Die Without You,
Guy with the Ironic Glasses and Emo Haircut
Typical Craisglist Post #3:
****LQQK HERE!!!! BUY MY USED CRAP FOR WICKED EXPENSIVE!!!!1 SUPER SWEET DEAL!!! $$$$**8**
I’M SELLING MY **MINT** CONDITION, SLIGHTLY USED TOOTHBRUSH FOR ONLY $199!!!
STILL HAS ALL IT’S ORIGINAL BRISSLES! HANDEL BROKE OFF BUT OTHERWISE IN ***A1 PERFECT CONDITION***!!
LIKE NEW!!!! ONLY BEEN USED FOR A YEAR!!
SERIOUS INQIRIES ONLY!! IF U ASK A QUESTION AND DON’T END UP BUYING IT, ILL COME TO YOUR HOUSE AND STAB U IN UR SLEEP!!!!!!!
CALL ME (FRIBBLEJAB HUMDINGER) BETWEEN 3 AM AND 5 AM MONDAY OR THURSDAY!!!
Typical Craigslist Post #4:
W/M/40 looking for a partner to engage in some sensuous bicyexuality…
Are you a well-maintained 10-speed Schwinn?? If so, I’d like to have sexual relations with you. Meet me at the dumpster behind the elementary school, lover. I’ll be the one in the vinyl bodysuit and clown mask.
And the job board is just as soul-stabbingly sad. For instance, here are the recent gems I came across while searching for jobs today…
(**Note: Sorry about all the random black bars but I decided to do the “ethical thang” and block out any information I thought would likely land me in civil court. So sue me. Or, wait–don’t.**)
Sneaky-sneaky! This ad slipped in the “adult chat” part so deftly, so subtly, that I almost believed that maybe this wasn’t some sleazy operation being conducted out of this guy’s mom’s basement. (Ha! Kidding. I knew all along.)
Please note in the description that “hard-working” is a must. What isn’t required is a sexy phone voice or even the ability to speak English, mind you. Because we here at Bob’s Basement Sexy-Time Phone Factory don’t tolerate any slacker-ass phone sex operators lazing around on their couches, surfing the Web, eating bonbons and living the high life on our generous $10 compensation package.
Nay, we expect you to knock out at least three sets of 25 squat-thrusts and 50 leg lifts during each and every phone call. We’re all about discipline and dedication and, inexplicably, intense physical conditioning here.
The Upside: (1) You and your significant other would have a common interest to bond over. (2) No taxes are deducted from your paycheck. Super-duper hooray!
The Downside: (1) Everybody on the internet gets to watch you bicker over which of you was supposed to pick up paper towels on your way home. (2) While naked. (3) Seriously, paperwork?
It’s always nice to get the verbal abuse thing out in the open early because I hate when jobs wait until after I’m hired to condescend and mock my abilities to perform to their unreasonably high expectations.
What I gather from this ad is that, essentially, this position would require you to run this man’s news business for him while he stands behind you, screaming and heckling you with vaguely misogynistic schoolyard taunts.
For some reason, I get the impression that this guy is into some extreme shit. I imagine he wrote this job description at 3 a.m. in between snorting a variety of narcotics and running to the bathroom mirror to slap himself and yell “BE A WINNER, DAMMIT!” while “The Final Countdown” blared on repeat in the background. When he finished, he high-fived everything in his apartment and then set his coffee table on fire.
I don’t know if you guys have noticed at all, but there’s a lot of pressure on everyone to not act like their normal jerk selves around the holidays.
From the gifts you buy your relatives last-minute at the corner gas station, to the party invites you choose to accept or decline based on the variety and amount of booze being served, to the mall parking spaces you steal from the handicapped, all of these seemingly inconsequential decisions you’d regularly make without second thought any other time of year are now major opportunities to come off looking like a thoughtless, insensitive Christmas jackhole.
Unfortunately, the same also goes for how you greet people during the holiday season. Which is why it’s important—nay, imperative—that you choose your words wisely, because everyone is judging you by them. And by ‘judging’, I mean ‘writing down your license plate number to report you to mall security’.
Lucky for you clueless people, I’ve already taken the time to decode a few of the more common holiday greetings based on my personal experience with humans so that you know what you’re really saying from now on. Granted, not everyone uses a greeting for the same reason, and I acknowledge this delicate intricacy by providing helpful variations. Simply choose the one that applies to you.
So here goes:
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “Merry Christmas–I hope you can appreciate the sentiment even if your cultural or religious beliefs happen to differ from mine!” or (b) “Merry Christmas–Kiss my ass if you don’t celebrate it, sinners!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I hope you enjoy whatever religious and/or cultural traditions you participate in this month!” (b) “I actually have strong religious convictions but would rather not risk facing some sort of makeshift mall Tribunal for crimes against intolerance just because I dared to use a vaguely religious greeting in public.”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “Being that I am politically correct to a crippling extreme, I find ‘Happy Holidays’ far too controversial for my taste. On a side note, I enjoy wearing beige, patternless sweaters, refer to white people as ‘Caucasian-Americans’ and listen only to the jazzy, non-confrontational musical stylings of Kenny Loggins.” (b) “Hi there! I work for Hallmark! Please stop me before I kill again!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I know for a fact that you celebrate Kwanzaa and wish to extend to you your traditional greeting.” (b) “I know for a fact that I celebrate Kwanzaa and wish to extend you my traditional greeting.” (c) “I don’t celebrate Kwanzaa and I’m not sure if you do either, but I’m just going to assume so anyway because of your ethnicity. Feel free to punch me repeatedly in my silly, presumptuous face now.”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) See above, except substitute”Kwanzaa” for “Hanukkah”.
“Happy Al-Hijra (Islamic New Year)!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) See above, except substitute “Hanukkah” for “Al-Hijra”.
“Happy Boxing Day!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m Canadian!” (b) “I’m Australian!” (c) “I’m from one of those other countries that celebrates kooky holidays!” (Kidding, my Canuck/Aussie/other kooky country friends!)
“Festivus for the Rest of Us!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m a sad, aging hipster unable to deal with my grinding progression into adulthood, so I bury myself in the stale witticisms of early 90s TV reruns. By the way, what do you guys think’s going to happen between Ross and Rachel?”
“Yule Greetings!”, “Yuletide Cheer!”, or pretty much anything with the word “yule” in it.
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I’m a character from a Dickens novel who’s somehow been magically teleported into this strange and impossibly modern era. Won’t you please help me return to where I belong?” (b) “I’m a pretentious asshat with a flair for theatrics and a crippling need to appear unique and unconventional, even at the expense of my own dignity.”
“Phyllis Diller is the Pterodactyl Queen! All Hail the Flapjack Revolution!!”
What You’re Really Saying: (a) “I am completely batshit insane and will likely throw feces at you if you come close enough.”
So there you have it, folks.
I recommend you pick one of the above phrases and start practicing now.
Happy Phyllis Diller is the Pterodactyl Queen Day!
Man, do I suck at this whole commitment thing or what?
I just realized that I took off for several days without even telling you guys that I’d be gone or where I’d be going or what you said to make me leave. (Seriously, you guys owe me a huge apology. That shizzle was spiteful.)
Chuckles and I have been in North Carolina since Friday having an early Thanksgiving with the extended family and I’d meant to keep posting all the while but I’ve been gorging mercilessly on the top of the Food Pyramid (Hello? Sugars and fats? Did anyone pay attention in P.E. class?) for three days straight without exerting any physical effort whatsoever and now my fingers are too chubby to operate a normal-sized keyboard.
So there’s that, plus the fact that (a) I forgot my camera cable so I can’t upload any pictures and (b) Chuckles just bought a new laptop and everytime I try to move the cursor using the mousepad, the *$#*?@ thing mocks, literally mocks, my efforts by either scrolling wildly to the very bottom of the screen or somehow shrinking the text size down to, like, microscopic and if I have to deal with this much longer my heart is going to stop busying itself with the task of trying to pump out the lard I’ve been feeding it and start doing the angry warehousedance Kevin Bacon does in Footloose and then I’m going to keel over and die from a bad 80’s flashback and coming in to your living room to find someone on your couch keeled over a greasy laptop with a deep-fat-fried drumstick still hanging halfway out of her mouth is just not a pleasant Thanksgiving Day memory for any host to have, even if it did kind of serve me right because I’m the kind of crappy houseguest who doesn’t replace toilet paper rolls and eats the rest of the sweet potato casserole without asking.
So like I said. It’s hasn’t been the best circumstances to work under here, folks.
And this is just the first Thanksgiving. Chuckles and I will be packing up our stuff Wednesday morning and heading back to Maryland for Thanksgiving: The Sequel at our friends’ house on Thursday.
So, in between traveling and packing/unpacking and stuffing my face, I’ll try to crank out a few posts. Don’t give up on me just yet.
But in the meantime, hope everyone’s getting geared up for their own awesome Thanksgiving plans.
I am confident that I would make a highly-qualified addition to your dynamic team because I have spent the last 29 years being a foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, judgmental shrew who frequently makes fun of strangers and anyone else I deem unlikely or unable to retaliate. I also can’t be left alone with cookies that aren’t mine, I talk loudly on my cell phone in public and I giggle when I see people trip. I believe that all of these qualities prove that I am the unparalleled choice for carrying on your company’s proud name.
Oh, and something about family planning or reproductive health. Or whatever.
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
SO STOP WITH THE PREMATURE DECORATING ALREADY.
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.
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.