I love my cats. I really do. They are special animals with unique personalities and glorious BLAH BLAH BLAH. I hate them.

They need food all the time, and fresh water and their litter, OH their litter. And the hair is always everywhere- I probably have cat fur-lined lungs, not to mention my poor wardrobe. I have to carry a lint roller everywhere I go.  My house is disgusting. I can’t blame them for everything but I can blame them for a lot.

I’ve given up hope of ever convincing anyone to take one of them (much less all three) so I’m going to share a story that, if I had any hope, I would keep to myself. But since I don’t!

I work long days. At the very least, I’m out of the house for nine and a half hours. Many days, it’s closer to twelve. Recently, I had one of these over-long days and was greeted joyously by only two of my delightful dumpling kitties.

Not that Kiki (my slightly neurotic and anti-social cat) ever gets up to greet me at the door, but I became concerned for her safety when she was not perched on the back of my navy blue lounge chair as usual. Nor was did she dart into the bathroom to get water from the faucet when I went to wash my hands. Nor did she come running when I refilled their food bowl.

By this time I knew exactly where she was. A few times a week, Kiki is allowed to stay in my room overnight. This is a special treat for her as she detests the other cats and loves only me. I put her out when I get up in the morning, but this particular morning she’d obviously managed to sneak into my bedroom while I was getting ready and, because I leave my door shut to avoid as much cat fur in the air as possible, got shut in. For eleven and a half hours.

One cannot have the realization that one has locked a cat in their room for eleven and a half hours and not be fully aware that accidents may have occurred. I predicted that my laundry basket was probably her makeshift litterbox. And sure enough, when I walked into the bedroom, my dinner in hand, I noticed an odd smell. It smelled rather like the peach and pear cobbler dish I’d left sitting on my bedside table from the night before. But stronger.

Since the smell wasn’t overwhelmingly awful, I figured I’d go ahead and eat before I determined the home of Kiki’s new litterbox. Kiki, by the way, was curled up peacefully at the foot of the bed, looking perfectly pleased with her current state of affairs. Clearly starvation had not yet set in. Needless to say, that cat was out on her ass in no time flat. And by out on her ass, I mean I threw her out into the living room while cursing vehemently.

Anyway, I decided to sit on the bed and eat my food.

Mistake. RIGHT where I sit and eat and sleep and spend a vast majority of my time at home, Kiki had peed. I was up almost instantly, but that did not salvage my khaki pants from a pretty serious soaking. Being that I’d just worked for eleven hours, I was both tired and my usual lazy self. So I stripped off the pants, grabbed some towels, layered them over the pee puddle and sat at the other end of the bed while I ate my dinner. Y’all, I realize this is disgusting. But I hadn’t eaten in quite some time and I already knew I had a long night ahead of me in repairing this situation.

It wasn’t until after I’d eaten that I discovered the poop.

She’d kindly taken my blanket and burried the feces within it. And because part of me had sat in this region upon entering the room, it was nicely smushed into the fibers of the blanket. And it no longer smelled like peach and pear cobbler. FML.

You can only imagine the words that flew forth from my lips at this discovery. I was wildly furious and further disgusted.

But when one lives without a man, one must do things one would otherwise make her husband do. So I cleaned up the poop. Stripped the sheets and started them washing. Rolled up the eggcrate mattress and deposited it in the garbage can outside. Felt to see if the mattress was wet (thankfully, it was not). Sprayed febreeze on the mattress anyway. Washed the sheets a second time. Dried them. Put them back on the bed. Collapsed.

I’m sure it will surprise no one to hear that Kiki has not been allowed anywhere near my bedroom since, and my resolve is firm about continuing that trend.

As they say,  ‘A man who lies down with dogs will get up with fleas.’ Or in my case, a woman who lets her cat sleep in her bed will soon be sleeping in a makeshift litterbox.

About a month ago, I agreed to cat-sit my parents lovely, fluffy gray cat Willow while they were in Louisiana visiting my little sister. There were perks. A huge house all to myself for two days, plenty of bottles of wine in the basement, permission to ‘throw a party’ Saturday night, and for all this, I would get paid. All I had to do was let the cat in and out of the house during the day, make sure she was inside at night, and keep her fed and watered. Couldn’t ask for a better set-up!

The bad news was, I had to close the store the Friday night before, and Birmingham is a two-hour drive away. I made it to my house after midnight sometime. Read and wrote for too long, fell asleep around 2 am, woke up at 6:30, packed and headed out the door because, oh, there was one other draw back to the situation – I had to be in Birmingham by 9 to let the cat out because she’d spent the entire day before cooped up inside. For that, I got a cash bonus. Of course I would sacrifice sleep for cash. So I got in my pathetic little car at 7am, freezing my…umm…nose? off, feeling perhaps more physically uncomfortable than I’ve felt in some time, and drove for two hours.

My activities for the day consisted of boring things no one cares to hear about, letting the cat in and out of the house, watching a football game and taking a nap. That night, Dear and Funky friends came over to my parents’ house for pizza and beer, which actually started as pizza and a bottle and a half of wine, then beer, and for me, more beer, to top off the margarita wine cooler I’d had before the girls had even arrived. Knowing as you do from a previous post, I have a very low tolerance for alcohol and sometimes I get carried away.

Also, alcohol has this uncanny ability to make one need to pee. Obviously, I ended up on the toilet. With my phone. Drunk.

Anyone who knows me also knows I am highly ungraceful, and that’s when I’m sober. When I’ve had too much, I’m a walking disaster. Needless to say, my phone ended up in the toilet.

Have I mentioned that I just purchased this phone the day before? Right. I’d just purchased the phone the day before. And it was in the toilet. Effing hell.

Funky friend offered some sage advice. A bag of uncooked rice. Otherwise, she and Dear Friend just made fun of me. I, however, was inconsolable. My phone! My life-line! I do not do well without it. I had to have a replacement. Immediately. I was no longer a happy silly drunk, I was a belligerent and devastated drunk no one wanted to be around. Funky Friend excused herself shortly thereafter. As I was letting her out the door, out also went Willow. You know, the cat who wasn’t supposed to go outside after dark? Yeah. That one.

Gah.

Obviously the only solution was to run around the wet yard in my sock feet screaming after little Willow in the hopes that she would for some reason come back to me. The raving lunatic. Cats just love raving lunatics running around in wet socks. Of course, she ran.

As frustrated as I was by Willow getting away, I had more important things to deal with after Funky’s departure. I  needed another phone. Stat.

The continuing problem was that I was drunk and could not drive. The solution: Dear Friend is also Perfectly Responsible Friend and had consumed far, far less alcohol than I had, and nothing in the last hour of our gathering.

I didn’t have to do much begging before I was in her SUV’s passenger seat being chauffeured to the nearest Wal-Mart.

Which was closed.

Wal-Marts CLOSE?!?!? Who knew.

Anyway, there is another Wal-Mart not far down the road and Dear Friend is quite dear, so she drove me to that one. Where I drunkenly questioned the only electronics worker on duty after midnight on a  Saturday night. He was unhelpful. Apparently some Wal-Marts close and not all Wal-Marts carry the same product. I’d purchased my phone the day before at the Wal-Mart where I live.

Blast and bother.

Dear Friend drove a sullen LizHarrell back to her parents’ home, then left. LizHarrell stood out in the cold and called for Willow for two solid minutes on both the front and back porches. LizHarrell was ignored, or was else the cat was incapable of hearing from the gut of a coyote.

I then got on AIM with Dear Friend who volunteered her spare cell phone. By this time, I was so sober it wasn’t even funny, so I drove over to her house, got the spare phone, and drove back to my parents’.

Called for Willow again.

She ignored me, again.

Quietly, I made up a little bed on the sofa between the front and back doors. I had a cell phone again, and had high hopes for the bag of uncooked rice restoring my brand new phone to its brand new state. But I had failed at my only charge for the weekend. Willow was out in the freezing night, being pursued by large scary animals, and I was to blame.

I huddled into a ball on the sofa and waited with as much optimism as I could muster for Willow to return home. I fell asleep.

And at 7am, Willow came prancing up to the back door as if nothing at all was wrong. Apparently the rule about her staying inside at night was unnecessary. As was my night on the sofa.

As always (knock on wood), I avoided a hangover. My parents returned home to a clean home and were not too annoyed by the missing alcohol. I never told them about the phone… but it didn’t matter. The bag of rice actually worked!

As it turns out, not all mistakes are irreversible or disastrous. Cats come home and phones dry out. Knowing that certain mistakes can be undone is really very comforting. If only it were always so easy as a night on the sofa and a bag of uncooked rice!

For the first time ever, I live alone. Nobody freak out, Hubby and I are on excellent terms. He just happens to be working in Birmingham this summer, while I am working in Auburn. It’s not the optimal situation in terms of the level of togetherness we prefer, but I can’t say I’m not excessively pleased by the level of funds in our bank account. For the time being, it’s worth the distance.

Also, if you live in my ‘hood and are thrilled (for nefarious reasons) by the prospect of a lady living alone, think again. I have a weapon, I’m trained to use it, and you won’t get what you came for 🙂

Anyway, back to my observations of the single life.

  • It’s boring.
  • Cats really aren’t much company.
  • Cleaning for one is SO much easier.
  • Cooking for one is SO much harder.
  • Chores look more appealing when you really don’t have anything better to do or anyone to hang out with.
  • Making friends becomes a necessity for maintained sanity.
  • There isn’t anyone there to save you when you get into a potentially awkward social situation.
  • You can easily watch five episodes of Law & Order on Netflix in one evening if you get carried away.
  • Yard work sucks (even when your significant other comes around to mow the grass occasionally).
  • Trash cans get HEAVY when you’re only willing/needing to take it down to the street every other week.
  • You have to find ways to feel safe (see aforementioned weapon) in a house that has previously been broken into. Or any house, really, but the break-in situation really doesn’t ease comfort levels.
  • This may be more of a “having a real job” realization than a “single lady” realization, but a set schedule seems to be of vast importance.
  • Getting ready in the morning is a breeze with no one else hogging the (ridiculously small) mirror.
  • You only have to make/unmake half of the bed every day.
  • There’s no need to feel lame about going to sleep at 9:45 every night.
  • You feel oddly compelled to act like a grownup and take care of your own problems. You have to get up to get your own glass of water. You have to check the mail yourself. You have to order your own pizzas (terrifying – thank God for the internet).
  • There is a true sense of having one’s own schedule. No need to keep someone else’s plans in mind.
  • You have no one else to blame when the cats don’t have food in their bowl.

Living alone isn’t as bad or lonely or upsetting as I assumed it would be, though I guess it helps that I get to see my Hubby most weekends, I finally have a job with some super fun people, and I do know one or two folks to hang out with when I’m dying for a friend fix. If I’d had to do this right out of high school, I’d have been lost. I would have missed out on some amazing friendships because Dear, Funky and Fabulous Friends and I never had any classes together and weren’t in the same sorority. We’d have missed each other completely. What a horrifying thought! And I don’t now who would have told me when I was wearing a wildly inappropriate or weird outfit (ie, various shades of red, socks with flip flops, or a princess tiara). I probably would have had better grades, though.

Also, I would never have eaten any pizza. Darned phone pizza ordering.

Y’all, I’m in cover letter hell. I am vastly over-capable of performing most any job listed on Monster.com (aside, of course, from anything technical or programming related – though if I had to, I could learn how to do it, I’m sure), but what’s holding me up from getting any offers is that I have not actually submitted any applications as yet.

Here’s why: I hate (HATE) cover letters. I may be uniquely qualified for a position, but when I try to describe these qualifications in succinct paragraph form, I feel like the only thing I’m emphasizing is that I’ve held about a million jobs and hated them all (with one notable exception – life guarding and swim team coaching). And I think the reader of my cover letter will clearly see that I have no idea what I want to do and am likely to quit working for them in approximately 18 months. It isn’t necessarily true – this could be the exact job for me… but it probably isn’t.

Here’s what I need to happen: unexpected pregnancy accompanied by the publication of my novel and concurrent lottery winning. It doesn’t help that I’m currently taking precautions against pregnancy, my novel isn’t out with any agents at the moment, and I’ve not purchased any lottery tickets.

Which highlights my point, actually. I need all these things to happen, but I’m actively working against or simply not taking the necessary steps to ensure that there’s even a chance of these wonderful things occurring. I need a new job, but I’ve not applied for a new job. I need to lose weight but I’m not doing much about it. I need to work harder but I just took a five day vacation… I am actively sabotaging myself.

Do I like being stressed and depressed? Well, no. Of course not. So why the heck am I doing this to myself?

Here’s what I think: I’m currently so overwhelmed that I believe it will take an act of God to remedy all of my problems and I am clearly not God. So why should I have to act at all? One step at a time doesn’t really factor into my thinking. Fixing one thing just for something else to fall apart seems pointless – I am comfortable with the current crappy aspects of my life. I’d rather not venture into that realm of unknown crappiness. So, I’ll just wallow here for a while until God decides to act. And, for the record, I’m not being flippant or sacrilegious. I honestly believe God has a plan for my life and he’s gonna make it happen. And I’m just lazy enough to really enjoy the idea of God being able to work in spite of me. It’s gonna be in spite of me either way, no matter how hard I’m working, so I might as well just let it happen.

Here’s my final thought (is this getting annoying yet?): I’m not exactly to the “feral child” state yet where I’ll pitch my tent in Mom and Dad’s back yard and eat squirrels and bathe in creeks, but every day, I find the idea more and more appealing, for the following reasons:

  1. I don’t need a job, as long as I can bum off of my parents’ internet.
  2. It’s been done for millenia, long before the advent of health insurance.
  3. I don’t have to exercise because I plan to eat squirrels caught by my front claw-less cats. I’m clearly going to get skinny without much effort.
  4. I will become immune to mosquito bites. I’m sure it works that way.

Son of a bitch! Can a lady get a break? I don’t think so.

I returned to my house in Opelika this morning to find that the back door had been crow-barred open. WTF? What on earth do I have that is worth breaking and entering?

Apparently, only three things: a gun, a GameCube, and cash.

Except out in my garage is a whole bunch of stuff that might actually have been worth something – and it was unlocked. Ah, the idiocy of teenagers. Cause some pretty severe damage to a door to steal three things when you could have just lifted the garage door and found a plethora of theft-worthy junk. Well now I’m too freaked out to leave my garage doors (this garage is, of course, completely separate from our house) unlocked anymore, so you definitely missed out.

And as much as I love my cats, the burden they’re causing me right now is so great that my second thought upon entering the house was, “Well, darnit, they could have at least left the door open so the cats could run away!”

I am seriously heartless. An appeal for the sake of the poor kitties – PLEASE someone offer to take them from me before I leave the door open myself!!

Now, for some reason when I got home and saw that my back door easily swung open I wasn’t scared. I hadn’t been home in a week and I really didn’t think any burglar would still be in residence inside. My first thought, in case you were curious from my comment above, was: “Dammit, how can I tell what’s been stolen? This house was a wreck before anyone broke in!”

So it took me awhile to sort through what was just messy and what had been rifled through, which I probably could have just saved until the police arrived because I pretty much destroyed any evidence still in existence before I even dialed 911. But dial I did and two lovely policemen, who likely couldn’t wait to get outside and breathe cat-smell-free air, arrived about half an hour after I got home. I got the distinct impression that the OPD doesn’t get a lot of action (which, to be fair, they really should — there are some scary thugs in the vicinity of my house alone) because I think they actually thought they could solve the case and find the “perp.”

The more seasoned cop even once made the comment, “I wish there’d been some blood or something…” As if the OPD is going to spend the likely thousands of dollars it costs to do DNA analysis to recover the five hundred dollars of property stolen from my home. I doubt it. But I do appreciate their enthusiasm! They even called out a detective who came with his camera and took some pictures to document the state in which the Felon (yes, I said FELON! 2 counts of felony, actually, I found out) left my house. Disturbingly, the only major difference to be found from before and after the burglary was a couple of drawers open on our sofa table and the broken door frame. Oh, and they apparently thought we were Bubba enough to store money between our mattress and box-springs because they did have the mattress slid off to the side.

No, we were just Bubba enough to leave a fair amount of cash in a lockbox on the living room floor. Only, the lockbox wasn’t locked. Brilliance!

Seriously, though, I’m in a remarkably good mood for having just been robbed. Either I’ve just finally gone over the deep end or I’m getting my funny-mojo back!! Let’s hope it’s the second 🙂

Brutus here, lovely people. I’m perhaps the most perfect cat in existence, so get a load of this:

Me, Submitting to a Photo Shoot

Me, Submitting to a Photo Shoot

My black and white markings are almost perfectly symmetrical and I am a very sleek cat. My belly wobbles a bit, but if I find a home with some stairs and a bit more space to roam, perhaps I can pace off this flab. Trust me, the flab suits me fine, but I’m slightly obsessed with perfecting catdom. I’m close.

Not only am I handsome, I’m also incredibly intelligent. I respond to my name practically every time (unless I’m just enjoying my cat nap too much) and if you neglect to scratch my neck long enough, I’ll make sure to remind you of my presence by rubbing your back for a bit too! It’s a perfect give and take, really.

My slightly dimmer brother is my constant companion. We’ve not left one another’s sides since birth and we’d like to stay together if possible. If I have to give up swapping back rubs with Father, then I suppose I can be consoled by my brother’s presence and a loving home. And by loving, I mean one where my perfection is understood and appreciated. Don’t pretend you don’t notice — I might as well be cat royalty!

Relaxing in Father's Lap

Relaxing in Father's Lap

Holla! My name is Rambo and I’m one heck of a cat. I’m pretty sure my Pops was a Mancoon cat (meaning huge and fluffy) and I’ve inherited some of that awesomeness:

Word! It's Me!

Word! It's Me!

But seriously, I am awesome. I love to be loved. I mean, I can’t get enough. Other than that, I’m not real picky. My Bro Brutus (literally, we’re from the same litter – adopt us together if you can!!) says I’m not real smart either. Sometimes I chase shadows or light reflecting off of something shiny. I mean, I know I’m not gonna catch it, but it’s FUN! Once I accidentally jumped off a porch three stories up because some blowing leaves freaked me out, but I blame that on the catnip. I can’t touch the stuff, I lose it, man.

Anyway there’s not much weird about me aside from the fluff. Mom and Dad are crazy to get rid of me and they know it. I hear they’d like to get me back once they get settled somewhere, but if Brutus and I find a good home together, they’ll consider letting us stay. They are losers! But seriously, dudes, how can you not love this??

Even I Know I'm Adorable!

Even I Know I'm Adorable!