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.

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Oh, dear reader, do not assume this joyful event came without struggle; it did not. There were countless unexpected delays, parts that needed to be ordered and then did not arrive when expected, messages that were not relayed as requested, and internet connections that failed to cooperate. All told, there were three trips to and from Birmingham in pursuit of the blessed reunion. All monetary proceeds from eighteen hours of house cleanings went to secure my precious laptop in a repaired condition. Dear reader, it has been a two-and-a-half week-long nightmare, each lonely moment separating me from my beloved computer complete misery.

But I am a survivor. I cut corners by checking only one of my email addresses regularly when I borrowed Hubby’s computer for an hour each day. I declined to visit my favorite industry blogs. I was almost thankful for the Olympics for interrupting regularly scheduled television so I could safely avoid Hulu. I sated my need for TV by watching my half-hour soap opera as frequently as I could.

Instead of my usual computer-driven life, I found other occupations for my time. I wrote blog entries by hand (Oh, the dedication!), I read eleven books (six of which are decidedly children’s books, two were non-fiction – though one of them was less than 100 pages long – and at least one was quite demanding and took several days to read), I cleaned the main living areas in my home four times. I made fourteen lunches for Hubby. I lost six pounds. I washed ten loads of laundry and three loads of dishes. I went grocery shopping four times, two of which were to get items I forgot in preparation for cake baking. It snowed twice. I hand painted (okay, spray painted mostly) my dining room table and chairs (which look awesome, by the way!). I survived life without constant access to Facebook, Outlook, Pandora, AIM and Hulu, as difficult as it seemed at the time.

This afternoon has had a subtle glow about it. I caught up with Nathan, Eric, and Le R (ie, my favorite publishing bloggers). I had surprisingly little television to entertain myself with, but that was okay because I listened to all of the “teen pop” I could possibly handle on Pandora. I chatted on AIM. I stalked on Facebook. I pressed the addictive “send/receive” button in my Outlook about ten thousand times. I sent and responded to emails. I listened to a commencement speech given by J.K. Rowling at Harvard in 2008 (highly recommended). I composed this blog entry without hand writing a single word. I edited my resume and wrote a cover letter (though I admit I did this out of necessity rather than for the enjoyment of it).

Tomorrow, though, I hope to strike a balance. In my two-and-a-half weeks of laptop withdrawal, I’ve come to realize that perhaps I, when left to my own devices, spend rather more time than I should staring at a computer screen. Quite a lot can be accomplished when one’s lap isn’t being constantly occupied by a computer. So tomorrow, when the glow of the reunion has faded, I plan to do things that require moving. Don’t get me wrong, much can be done with the use of my beloved laptop as well, but I’ve become sort of accustomed to a clean house and proper conversations with people. Here’s to the attempt, at least!

I take it back! I take it all back. Well, except the baby parts. I definitely still want the baby. But there is really nothing else that could bring me more joy than being unemployed. Only now, at 5:30 pm, am I feeling a twinge of boredom,and though my computer is currently powerless (stupid cord), my cable package consists of Hulu (ie, I don’t have cable), my iPod (shuffle) ran out of battery weeks ago and I can’t charge it now my computer doesn’t work, I am still managing to avoid a nap or any real sense of boredom. How? I’m writing this blog entry.

With a pen and paper.

Yes, unorthodox, I know, but this was the only way to write for so long that I’m certain the ability is within me, somewhere.

Today has been blissful. Just before 10am,my computer died on me, but not before a quick check of the email and a read through of my favorite industry blogs. I’d just finished composing a lengthy response to a friend – a response I’m glad I now I didn’t put off because my power cord (only three weeks old) stopped transmitting power to my computer. I’m fully convinced the problem is not with the cord but with  my computer. Sucks.

Anyway. At first, I was devastated by the loss of my computer. Truly, everything I have grown accustomed to in my unemployment takes place on  my computer. Television. Web surfing. Reading and writing blogs. Chatting, Facebook stalking, obsessively checking my email, and, oh yeah, job hunting. What would I do  without access to my beloved computer?

I said yesterday that my house was clean. This true, with three exceptions: the two guest bedrooms and the guest bathroom. The larger of the two guest rooms is jammed with samples and crap I am for some reason unable/unwilling to part with.  The  second guest room is attached to the guest bath, where my three cat litterboxes live, and is therefore a large extension of  said litterboxes. Cats are tragically unable to keep their littler inside the box.  Super disgusting.

And so, today I tackled the guest bathroom. Those litterboxes are so clean you could almost  touch them without vomiting. I was aiming for ‘so-clean-I-could-serve-soup-from-them,’ but I think that was a goal that is just beyond reality. After that forty-five minute project, I committed myself to laundry, dishes, vacuuming, sweeping and wiping down countertops, and changing the air filter and hosing down the cat hair laden grate. In my already clean home. So this is how people keep their homes perpetually spotless! They clean something that’s already clean! Genius!

In between these feats, I read about eight chapters of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince while my cats dozed beside me on the sofa. I finished four loads of laundry. In general, I was more productive than I’ve ever been.

Clearly, the real problem in my life is the computer. I’m not going to lie…two days of this computer-free lifestyle may have me so crazy I actually CALL someone, but I’m afraid my computer is unwilling to cooperate until I get it to a repair shop. Very sad news.

So until then, I wait until Hubby gets home with his laptop to type this up and post it, and do a lot of praying that  God gives me the strength to tackle the main guest room tomorrow. Yeah, I know. Unlikely.

In the event that I fail tragically in my attempts at productivity tomorrow, be prepared. I may start ‘bored-dialing’ sometime around noon. Just send me to voicemail.  I’ll  forgive you.

There’s this one problem with working from home: you work at home.

This explains why I spent the majority of daylight hours today running errands, eating, cleaning, chatting with friends, typing blog posts, working on my novel… in general doing anything besides working.

And then comes 6pm and all of a sudden I’m in work mode. It’s now 11:30 and though I’ve done a few things unrelated to work since 6, I have mostly spent the last five hours typing up and submitting orders, working on my weekly reports and doing research for my appointments tomorrow. I was getting sleepy around 9:30 when I realized I’d spent the last three hours doing necessary but not urgent tasks and I had about two more hours worth of urgent work to do before I went on my calls tomorrow. That’s a sad feeling.

Even sadder is that now I’m not at all sleepy. I’m wide awake. I’ve got Pandora blaring and I actually feel like exercising. I have become a freak I don’t even recognize. I never want to exercise!?! Why now do I feel the need to get up and do jumping jacks?

Okay well that got old pretty fast (yes, I did actually just get up and do about 20 jumping jacks… seriously). But I’m still not sleepy. Normally in this circumstance I’d take a benadryl and hop in bed with a good book (which, by the way, is currently Roxannaby Defoe — sure to put anyone to sleep in minutes), but Hubby took our benadryl stash back with him to Birmingham and I’m not due to arrive in Birmingham until 3 tomorrow. So that plan is out. Warm milk might work but I have no milk to warm. Nor do I have any other food, actually.

So… I’ve now opened up my “Sleep Station” on Pandora to play me some lovely sleepy music. This is something Dear Friend and I used to do when we lived together in Cullen Daniel 323… We had what we called a “sleep mix” and we loved to put it on late at night before bed. What a lovely little tradition I’m carrying on!

Hopefully this will be the very thing that puts me to sleep. G’night, folks!

Y’all, I’m having a  yard sale. Or a garage sale. Or whatever you want to call it. And I’m working a pretty stressful job at the same time. I’m thrilled that my sale is happening this weekend because I’m sick of it. It’s making me nuts.

Have a priced everything? Have I priced things so they’ll sell? Have I organized it prettily? Can I actually afford to have enough change on hand so I can properly run the sale? Does anyone want any of this stuff?

I’m actually having dreams about it. Nightmares, more precisely. There I am, standing in my garage with fifty strangers browsing through my stuff. All of a sudden, I realize there’s a giant spider in the hair of lady standing next to me. Oh. No. And then I realize that this spider is about to actually kill the only person who will ever be interested in buying all that NutriSystem food we bought and couldn’t force ourselves to eat. She screams. She runs. Thirty people follow her, sprinting down my gravel driveway. A child falls and his head falls off. People gasp in horror. Without even realizing what’s happening, the remaining five people have come up to me and reach into my fanny-pack o’ money and stealing everything I’m worth, which, sadly, isn’t much.

Thank goodness, I wake up. And then I realize all this madness is only days away and I’ve got waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much to do before then. Oh crap. Gotta go, guys. I’ll be back when this madness is over!!

Spiders and Roaches and Ticks, Oh My!

Today Hubby and I tackled the garage. We’ve lived in our current home for almost exactly 2 years now, meaning that the build up of detritus hadn’t quite reached the overflow point yet. But we’re having a garage sale. And those sorts of things generally take place in a garage. Or so I’m told.

Anyway, Hubby and I are not known for our cleaning stamina, so all should be sufficiently amazed at our ability to get from the house out to the garage with our willpower intact. This being a feat in and of itself, I expect some shock and awe at the fact that we actually went through (with varying degrees of diligence) every box in the garage. This takes on even more special significance in that every box housed not just our stuff, but a family of creepy crawly things. And I really hate insects. And arachnids.

Most prevalent were the spiders. They (and their icky icky webs) were everywhere. Crawling on everything. Hanging from the ceiling. Crawling up my legs. There was one moment right in the middle of a conversation with Hubby where I responded (seemingly) to him with, “Get. It. OFF OF ME!” There was (I SWEAR) a black-widow/brown-recluse/tarantula/camel spider cross breed crawling right up my leg and I was dancing around like a kid in line for a porta-potty. It was terrifying. I still shudder just remembering it. Of course, it fell off in my frenzy and ran away…pretty harmless after all. But terrifying nonetheless.

Now, the roaches were not much less terrifying, as it turns out they are quite proficient flyers and monstrously huge… corn-fed on whatever they eat that we must have plenty of in our garage. Hubby found a nest. A nest of roaches. The roach spray was helpful…needless to say I was safely indoors while all the spraying was going on. Half an hour later, though, they were still quite agitated. Flying everywhere, wanting to land on my head…ugh. I smashed at least ten roaches in as many minutes. Disgusting. But at this point we’d cleared out all the boxes and I was sweeping up the dust and dirt and roach carcasses. I couldn’t see anymore roaches at this point, thankfully, because this was the point when Hubby decided to tell me that roaches sometimes bite. BITE!!! This is beyond revolting. But I was too close to getting things all wrapped up in the garage to give up then.

It was at this point that I had to start organizing for the garage sale. We got our dining table and deck table out into the now semi-sparkling (okay, still fairly buggy and dusty) garage and arranged what basically amounts to a bunch of junk (unless you are interested in buying – in that case, it’s all priceless, I swear) on them.

Then came the tick. I can’t tell you how happy I am that the tick wasn’t on me, but on Hubby. I love Hubby dearly and hate that he had a tick on him, but he handled the situation a lot more stoically than I would have been capable of doing under the same conditions. He was scratching what he thought was a bug bite on his leg when he felt something “squishy” which he quickly determined was a tick. It fell off his leg and onto the floor (we were back inside for the evening) so, brilliantly, he vacuumed the entire carpet since he couldn’t find it. Then he dug the “mouth” out of his leg. And I hid in the bathroom. Yuck.

But hoorah! The garage is half-way ready for our garage sale at the end of July! OMG guys! After a year of planning, I think this time it MIGHT actually happen!

You know you’re on the path to becoming a crazy cat lady if:

  • You don’t mind the smell of ammonia.
  • You can always find a cat hair among your possessions, no matter how long you’ve been away from home.
  • You have a rug, but you can’t see the pattern on it anymore.
  • You are most relaxed when all your kitties are sleeping around you, particularly when at least one of them is sleeping on your cold toes.
  • You spend more on cat food and litter than you do on yourself.
  • You have a recliner for the specific purpose of nail sharpening and cat napping by the window, which has, of course,  the shades drawn up for optimum window stalking.
  • You don’t see a problem leaving the bathtub faucet dripping for that finicky kitty who won’t drink water from a bowl.
  • Your guest bathroom is so full of litterboxes, your guests have to go home to shower.
  • You once had an allergy to cats, but you’re strangely desensitized now…
  • You’ve adopted cats and have named them after the children you once thought you’d have one day.
  • You bathe your cats every two weeks, or really, ever.
  • You prefer having one-sided conversations with your cats to having two-sided conversations with almost anyone else.
  • You actually get your feelings hurt when your cat won’t stay in your lap.
  • You can’t stand to deprive them so you feed them until their bellies bulge far beyond what their bone structure can sensibly support.
  • You think your cats have sibling bonds (particularly the ones who came from the same litter) and feel extreme guilt at the idea of splitting anyone of them from the others.

It frightens me excessively that I exhibit most of these qualities (except bathing my cats every two weeks…I’m fairly content to let them clean themselves… except Kiki who can’t bathe herself anymore because she’s just too fat — and naming my cats after future/non-existent children… I’m still holding out hope there). Crazy Cat Lady-dom, here I come!