The pollen and trees have been brutal this year. I am survived by Zyrtec, Flonase, Singulair and a gigantic box of tissues. Between the sinus infections and strep throat, I am one miserable day away from begging the ENT to rip it all out and break my nose. In light of the use and abuse of social welfare programs, I can probably find a doctor who would label me disabled, taking my teaching career to the grave. Don’t you worry, I won’t. The worst thing in the world is a hypocrite.
It’s been a tough allergy season for many, including Misha. After her diagnosis of asthma this past Christmas, we’ve been particularly careful about keeping the house clean and free of irritants. Thanks to a 75 minute lunch break during a PD day, I spent the lunch hour at home with the cats. Really, I came home to fold laundry and clean the kitchen… I am pretty boring. While I was home, the lil’ Misher has an asthma attack again today. It’s her first one (that we know of) since the bad ones back over Christmastime. After a quick call to the vet, it’s back onto steroids for the little girl.
We love all six pounds of her, despite the rising price tag per ounce the older she gets. I suppose pets are really no different than children. Since Alex and I both have grown up with asthma, we can relate to the little one. Watching her work through an attack, you feel absolutely helpless. Cleaning up my camera, I found these pictures of her from a few months back. All things considered, the cat’s got a pretty sweet life.
*Filed under Cat’s Life*
Tonight, I had some friends help me clean out my closet.
They didn’t really help much.
In fact, I’m pretty sure they thought I was getting in their way.
*Filed under Cat’s Life, Home Life*
Confession. As I sit here, tucked under layers of white thread count and cotton quilting, propped up by more pillows that I could ever need, there is only one thing I care about: this little bundle of rabbit-soft fur that’s curled up next to me.
I think I might be a crazy cat lady.
Growing up I had Woody, my red doberman pinscher. We got along like great pals. You know, the way kids do when the dog is a puppy while the kid is a little tike. He used to knock me over with his tail. We’d run in the yard together. He’d destroy my snowmen and the anger would last less than an hour. I like dogs. I just can’t handle the responsibility right now.
We also had Ivan, my mom’s orange tabby cat. One time I pulled his tail and he hissed at me. My dad grabbed the video camera in time to catch me on a stool in the corner of the playroom, giving myself a time-out. Why? “Because I pulled Ivan’s tail and he didn’t like it.” I believe I was crying. I just wanted to play.
I wanted a cat as soon as I graduated from college. In fact, to top off living together for the first time ever, I may have pushed Alex a little too hard for a kitten that first Christmas. Spoiled little Baci. Misha soon followed. Baci needed a pet of his own. I mean, ahem, a little sister. As you can see in the following images, Baci wasn’t always so morbidly fat.
Since then, we bought a house and the cats have made it clear that we are merely guests in their dwelling place. They are spoiled rotten and they stay to themselves when company visits. Yet, our house wouldn’t be a home without them.
Which leads me to my point. I am not ashamed. Baci and I may talk to each other and he may wait at the door for me every afternoon when I come home, but I love him for that. Misha sleeps under the covers with me every night, her little paws gently pressed on top of my hand. She is my comfort and security.
These cats are my stress relief. They are my comedy show. They are my daily dose of innocence and a much needed reminder of what is truly important. It doesn’t matter if I had a horrible day at work, or if I’m feeling particularly sluggish and fat, or if I made a big mistake leaving me walking around in guilt and shame. When Baci and Misha crawl into my lap, their eyes tell the whole story. They accept me regardless. They love me when it’s been 2 days and 3 workouts since my last shower (the shame, I know). They love me when I don’t care to do the dishes and when I leave the laundry wrinkled in the dryer.
So call me a crazy cat lady. I’m just happy to say I’ve been able to share a part of my life with these little catfinks.
*Filed under Cat’s life*
Scraps of paper and dried up crumbs litter the floor. Solicited mail and a variety of catalogs heap over the trash bag, a telltale sign that we neglected the wastebasket by the door one week too many. The console table is neat and tidy, the kitchen counter tops are free of clutter and the house is just beginning to come back to life. Pandora shouts loud through the speakers song after song and the cats’ watchful eyes follow my hands step by step as I pick up, clean and rearrange. This is what I do when Alex is away.
At the change of the track, Pandora chooses the super long jam-out live version of my absolute favorite “makes me happy” song= our song. Scooping Baci up into my arms, we sway and rock to the ukulele. His rotund belly flattens out over the sides of my arm as I cradle his heavy body. Arms dangling limp and lifeless, paws bouncing over his white gut as we sway, we dance. My raspy, allergy attacked voice sings and hums off key in between gentle kisses I place strategically on Baci’s head. His eyes remain wide as we swirl and dip across the dirty wood planks, over the thick threads of the rug and up and over the scratched, aged leather of the ottoman.
Five minutes later, the song drawing to a close, I remember the blinds have been removed to be replaced by our fabulous wooden “upgrade” blinds and I’ve neglected to shut the curtains. I probably looked ridiculous to any passersby, dancing across my living room floor while carrying an overweight, gray cat like a newborn baby, kissing his head and serenading him with music and smiles.
Being alone suits me well. That particular volume of quiet that happens when you turn the music off, where the fan buzzes gently, the breeze drifts in one window and out the other, and the shuffling of my weary, exhausted feet as they drag over the floor is the type of quiet I love most. This quiet is the quiet that stirs my thoughts, riles up old ideas and been-meaning-to’s, and focuses my lungs on just breathing. I do my best work in this lonely quiet. It may just be menial chores I’ve imposed on myself or it may just be my own, unconscious musings. Regardless, dropping the remote back on the ottoman, killing the buzz of the TV instantaneously, I settle into myself, into my crazy cat loving, productive, introverted self, with not a care in the world because I am alone. And so they say, this is what character is…..
He’s a good cat. Baci, doing what he does best… dreaming of a life on the other side of that window. Poor boy.
*Filed under Cat’s Life*
Ingrid Michaelson sang from the corner of the room. The wine cooler kinked as Alex set the half empty bottle back in it’s place. Baci purred, wrapped in his favorite blanket, eyes shutting slowly in a rhythm of content. Misha slept peacefully in a tight ball next to me on the velvet of the parsons chair, head covered by her tail, uninterrupted by anything or anyone. I bit my lip and pierced my eyes, rearranging the tiles yet again, counting points in my head. Next to my tiles, I could see the sand falling slow and steady through the curves of the hourglass.
Recently, this scene has been nothing but a faint memory. I tell you shamefully that we have found ourselves stuck in the “sitcom reruns and surfing the Internet” rut each night. Our bodies brushed against each other, feet tangled, shoulders rubbed together, we quietly ignore one another. There’s the occasional, subconscious “I love you” and the shuffling to the kitchen for a refill. But, in general, the night passes like a terrible bad habit.
Routines can become a curse. We blame our horrible routine on year after year of working full time, coming home late from second jobs, taking evening classes and just needing to decompress. It doesn’t make it any better. New year, new excuses. The evil of two overachievers falling in love is that they can forget to leave something for their own romance. Accidentally, we give each other our leftover selves.
I placed dinner in the oven and set the timer. “Let’s play Scrabble,” he says. “Perfect. I’ll set it up on the ottoman.” “No, let’s do it in the dining room. Otherwise I’ll just get sucked into the TV and the night will disappear.” The honesty. The unspoken truth. The elephant in the room. I agree and we move our weeknight lives to the dining room.
So there we are, half drunk on indie music and Tuesday night’s poison-of-choice. We flirt and we laugh. We can’t help but talk about Baci and Misha. We discuss our plans. We lie to each other, bending the rules, making up words and cursing our tiles. We look in each others eyes and we see each other.
It didn’t happen over dinner downtown, sushi in the dim light of Tsunami or tiramasu in the back corner of Piccola Roma. It didn’t happen on a vacation, away from the dust and messy piles of our home. The wine was whatever was forgotten in the fridge months ago and the Fat Tire was leftover from the weekend. Dinner came from the freezer, topped with barbecue sauce and ketchup. The music was just Pandora. It was us, surrendering to our daily lives and giving each other a chance. And for that, I am thankful that Alex suggested the dining room last night.