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Only a Flesh Wound

You know that feeling when you love someone like crazy, but you’re embarrassed to be seen with him/her in public?

Don’t tell me you don’t.  ‘Cause I know you do.

Hell, I’ve been that person to someone else on many, many occasions.

And I realized today I feel that way about my dogs.  Remember these monsters?

I had to take them to the vet today to get some shots.


The problem is not that my dogs were scared to see the vet.  Nor were they scared to get their shots.

Oh no.

The problem is that going to the vet is their absolute favorite thing in the world, along with going for walks, going for car rides, getting treats, getting baths, going to bed, going to the kennel, eating food, eating bugs, sniffing butts… get my point?

I could be like, “Hey guys, do you want to go get a colonoscopy today?”

And they’d be like, “OMG, hellz yah we do!  That’s our favorite thing!”

Knowing the vet visit was upon us, I tried to tire them out in the yard this morning.  But it was useless.  When I brought them in and pulled out their car harnesses so they wouldn’t be bouncing off the walls of the Tracker while I was trying to drive, the excitement ensued.

They tried so hard to be good and sit still while I put on the harnesses.  But their little bodies wiggled uncontrollably as adrenaline coursed through their systems.  The ride itself was fairly uneventful, thanks to these godsend harnesses.  You can see them here (although when they wear them, my dogs don’t look quite so… stoned.)

But when we got to the vet’s office… wow. Let’s just say that when I finally managed to get them across the parking lot, into the building, and safely to a seat in the waiting area, I had no less than 3 new bruises and what felt uncomfortably close to a broken finger (turns out it’s not – I’m just a baby).  And I’m sure it was hilarious to the uniformed military guys standing outside the military police dog training area right next door.  Hil-frickin’-arious.

They were so bad that when one of the receptionists started to call me to the front desk to fill out some paperwork, she took one look at me and said, “You know what?  You just stay sitting right there.”  She did not say it with a smile.

I was that person.  That horrible person who can’t control her pets.  And that receptionist was judging me, dammit!

But here’s the thing.  My dogs are wicked smart.  When we’re alone, just hanging out, shooting the breeze, it’s nothing but this:

And this:

And I can’t handle the cuteness.  And they know I can’t handle the cuteness.

And then we go out.  And the cuteness is gone.  And other people don’t see what I see when we’re home.  Oh no.

All they see is this:

And this:

And OMG this:

Running Dog

And so they judge.  And I guess I can’t blame them.  Because I’m never going to be a “dog whispering” type of person.  I’m always going to be more of a “let-them-drag-me-across-the-gravel-and-hope-it’s-no-more-than-a-flesh-wound-so-I-can-laugh-it-off” type of person.

That’s just the kind of girl I am.

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.

There’s No Place Like (a guilt-ridden) Home

I wanted to have a post ready for you about what I do during many of my waking hours here in Costa Rica (and no, contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t about this).  But as I was going through some of the pictures on my hard drive, I ran across some that slapped me with my first real dose of homesickness.

I snapped these just before we left for Costa Rica.

I think they knew I was leaving.

And their very demeanor made me feel bad about it.

You’d think they were raised Catholic or something.

The guilt was palpable.

Clearly, my mistake was taking photos of the moment.  Because now I have to admit how much I miss Mara’s mitten paws.

And Capone’s curly tail.

Looking at these now, I have to ask myself, were they trying to make me feel guilty on purpose?

Obviously I can’t be sure, but…

Yes, I do believe they were.

It’s Kitty Video Time…

Why, you ask?

Because it’s been a long week.*

And because it’s raining out.

And because it’s 4:38 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas.

And because my brain is mush from the last three chaotic days spent rescheduling the trip to Costa Rica** since the airline we were going to be flying out on Monday decided to — how shall I put this delicately? — sh*t the bed.

And because I think we all could appreciate somethin’ cute n’ fluffy right now.  Or maybe it’s just me.  Either way, we’re all gettin’ somethin’ cute n’ fluffy.

And because the only productive thing I’ve done all day is brush my teeth and I intend to keep it that way.

A few notes about the video:

1.  That’s Roxy.  We have two cats, but she’s the only one we like.  The other one shrieks at us and hides a lot.

2.  The clip ends rather abruptly because, a millisecond later, I say something to the camera and my morning voice is  not cute.  I sound like a transsexual undergoing hormone replacement therapy.  And if you’re at all familiar with that, you know it’s not a good sound.

2.  This video was taken at our old house.  Please do not gaze upon the abject horror of our living conditions and pity us.  We did this to ourselves.  Those shoes and boxes by the couch?  Stayed that way for four months.

3.  I promise I will not dredge up an old cat video from the archives for my next post.  At least, I’m pretty sure I won’t.  I mean, I’ll try my hardest not to but being lazy is feeling pret-ty good right now…

* Oh, and, by the way, we’re happy to announce that the Costa Rica trip is back on track with only a week-long delay.  In the words of Chuckles: Boo -yah!   Details to follow when I feel like rejoining the human race.  Thank you and goodnight.

** Ok, Katie did most of the calling and negotiating.  But it was really tiring hearing about it.

Our Family’s Newest Addition

(Warning:  This post contains pictures that may not be suitable for readers who are easily grossed out by filthy kitchens.  And if you are one of those easily grossed-out readers… well…  mayhaps this blog is not for you.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to announce the newest addition to our family!

I came home from work yesterday evening and imagine my surprise to find this little guy waiting for me…

Well, hi there, lil’ fella! 

Apparently, while I was hard at work earning money to feed their chubby, slacker faces, the cats spent the day working like West Virginia coalminers to excavate what might possibly be the world’s largest dust bunny from under our fridge.

This is all extremely fascinating, I’m hearing you say.  But, tell us, exactly how big is it?

Allow me to defer to the fine folks at Centrum Multivitamins to put “the sitch” into perspective for you, gentle reader.

That is a 100-count bottle, by the way.

For your further elucidation, here are a few other random nearby objects I scrounged up for comparison, so that you may truly appreciate the beastly magnitude of what we are dealing with here.

I keep my high school combination lock handy for just such an occasion.

I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed at first since we hadn’t really even talked about getting another pet.

But, after spending a little time getting to know each other, the little guy’s just so fluffy and well-behaved that I’ve really come to view it as part of the family.  And, hopefully, in time, the hubs will learn to love it as much as I do.

For the record, I’ve decided on the name McFluffin’ (shout out to Superbad!) and have already made an appointment for next week to get all the necessary shots.

On a side note: Perhaps I should clean under the fridge more often.

I’m going to go scrub myself vigorously with a wire brush now.

I’m a Model, You Know What I Mean?

For some, striking the perfect pose just comes naturally.

You want some of this?

I’m a sexy beast.

I do my little turn on the catwalk.

But others… others need a little help.

It’s not like she doesn’t try…

She’s just not that into herself.

And that’s okay, because I’m all about letting her be express herself…

…in whatever way she chooses.