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I was reading Jess Riley’s blog today and she wrote a post that has inspired me. Which is good, because I so need inspiration. Speaking of Jess Riley, I just finished reading her second book, All the Lonely People, the other day and it was fantastic. She’s really an awesome author and is being added to what I call my trifecta authors (great dialogue, amazing descriptions, and out of this world character development. There are only a few authors I’ve found that can manage this – Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Harlan Coben, and Jennifer Crusie are on that list). Anyway, her post was about how working at home leads her to talking to her dog. It’s quite funny and hits a little close to home.

As you know, I have two cats. Edmund Fitzgerald Orange (Eddy) and Kalypso Jean Grey (Kalli). They are both the light of my life and, also, the closest I’m ever going to get to having children. Which, you know, is probably a good thing since I once left Eddy in the apartment hallway overnight.

I do not work from home but I do find myself talking to them quite often.

Conversations with Eddy:

“Hi, pumpkin! Who is my pumpkin boy?”

“Bag licker! Stop it! (He loves to chew on plastic bags. No clue why)”

After hearing a thump from the kitchen: “Edmund! What are you doing? Stop licking the butter!”

“Eddy in a box!” You know, from when he jumps into a box which is what cats do.

“Eddy! Treat time! Treats! Don’t you want your treats? Oh, fine, I guess you can have them in bed.”

“No, you cannot have my pizza.”

“Edmund Fitzgerald Orange, you put that rib bone down right now! (Apparently he’s a fan of BBQ)”

“What time is it?”

“Cat, how come you never cuddle with me?” Even though he is technically my cat, the only time he comes to cuddle with me is when Kim (my roommate) is out of town.

Conversations with Kalli (or the Kitten as she is often called):

Taking her home from the vet after she’s been spayed. She’s in her cat carrier and is letting everyone know that she is not pleased about it while I’m waiting in line to pay. After one especially loud screech, I look down at her and say “Yes, yes, you’re so abused. No one loves you. Your life is so horrible.” Everyone in line started laughing and one woman said “Oh my God, that’s exactly what I say to my teenagers!”

“Kitten! Stop stealing your brother’s treats!”

“Hi, baby! Are you my little girl? Do you love the mama?”

“Stop growling! It’s just the pizza guy.” Shortly before we moved, Kalli discovered that she could growl. Now it’s her new favorite sound. She growls when the neighbors are coming home, when we’re getting delivery, when our sidewalks are being shoveled. Although it is kind of nice to have a kitten alarm clock.

“Seriously? It’s 3:30 AM! You do not need treats!”

“Kitten! Do not bite your brother!”

“Bless the kitten! (She sneezed. Yes. I’m that person.)”

“Kittens do not go into the dishwasher!” This phrase is interchangeable with refrigerator, washing machine, and “Please do not climb on the toaster!”

“Are you talking to your snow friends?” At the apartment, when she was actually a kitten, we discovered that she’s a chatterer. She chatters at snow, birds, the evil red dot from the laser pointer, and her spider friends (for some reason, our apartment building was a spider magnet. The 3rd floor laundry room windows were covered with webs and our 27th floor apartment always had two or three spiders on the windows. It was gross but also amusing watching her watch them).

“Kalli. Do not sit on your brother’s head. That is not very nice.”

“Why are you such a pain in my ass? Oh my God, shut up! You do not need treats!”

“No! Stop it! Dammit, cat! Get your tail out of the glue!” Trying to craft with a cat is quite impossible. Eddy gets fascinated by anything involving string or ribbon but Kalli wants to “help” with everything!

“No. There’s no water in the glass. Stop trying to tip it over. Oh, fine, here.” She insists on drinking out of my water glass. I let her. Because I’m that person.

And, when leaving for work in the morning, there’s this, which I’m sure makes the neighbors think we are insane. “Bye, babies! Have a good day! Make good choices!”

I love my cats. I think they help keep me sane. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

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Every once in awhile, I check WordPress’s spam filter. I love this thing. Usually it’s just a quick delete. No big, right?

But tonight, I saw one that actually made me laugh. Apparently someone was searching for “Kalli gets tucked in with Ollie” on the Google and my post about my cat taking a nap with my newest stuffed animal was not number one. So I should totes purchase some sort of marketing thingy and promote my blog.

Yeah, I see that happening. It’s like Facebook with the promote your post option. Yes, spend $7 to promote a status update. Why? Who knows? But, according to one of my co-workers, all I ever post about is the cats, books, or odd dreams. Sad to say that he knows me so well. I did not come back with “Well, all you post about is your kid and football” but honestly, I don’t pay that much attention.

In other news, Eddy has been freaking me out. About a month ago, he started urinating in unauthorized areas. He’s an older cat so we were worried. Everything online seemed to point to a UTI or worse, kidney stones. So we take him to the vet and pay $186 to find out, nope, not a UTI, he’s afraid of the laundry room where the litter boxes are kept. Which we thought could be the problem because we’ve seen him high tail out of the room whenever we turned on the washer/dryer or the furnace kicked on. One fun part of the experience was when the vet’s assistant asked how old he was just as he jumped from the floor to the counter. I said he was 17 and she said “Well, it’s definitely not arthritis.” Anyway, we moved one of the litter boxes out of the laundry room and into the crafting area in the basement. Problem solved.

Until yesterday. Eddy threw up a couple of times during the night, which is not so odd. We call him our bulimic baby because a couple of times a week, he eats his food so fast that he’ll end up throwing it up. Which is thrilling for me since I’m the one that has to clean it up. Blech. However, throwing up has never affected his appetite before. Kim and I are leaving for work which is magic time for the cats since that’s when the treats are dispensed. But Eddy won’t come for treats.

We get home last night and we can’t find him anywhere, even after shaking the treat buffet (sounds fancier than an old Helluva Dip container that we use to contain the treats). He finally comes out and won’t eat again. Nothing tempts him, not even turkey. This morning, we realize he spent the entire night in Kim’s bathroom in the cat bed we moved in there (he had been laying next to the heat vent) and he wouldn’t eat again. I honestly thought I was going to come home from work tonight and find that he had gone to that big kitty play tower in the sky. It didn’t help that he was letting me hold him and kiss him repeatedly. Typically that is cause for squirming and running away.

But my story has a happy ending. We came home tonight to find him waiting by the stairs. He let out one or two meows to let us know that he was hungry and ate his treats happily. I know that eventually there will come a day where he does leave us but the longer I can put that off, the better. The vet said he was in great shape for his age and they were shocked at how agile he is. So he could live for years, knock on wood.

Long story short (too late), I love my cats. They make me happy. Which is really important when you struggle with depression. I think they’re like Effexor in fur form.

 

Kalli gets tucked in with Ollie

Ollie, in case you haven’t guessed, is the Owl’s name. Every year Kohl’s does a Kohl’s for Kids charity thing that I adore – they have CDs or books or stuffed animals for $5 each and the proceeds go to help children in need. This is where I got Mr. Calitri (Sandra Boynton chicken named after the hottest bad guy ever, Mr. Calitri from Gone in 60 Seconds). Ollie is named Ollie because a) he’s an owl and 2) I told Keem that she had to name her owl Stan so they were named after Laurel and Hardy.

Thing number 1:

My roommate, Keem, has a problem. It’s a disturbing problem and one I have talked to her about in great detail. She tells me she’s going to stop but she doesn’t. So, at all hours of the day, there are strange people in my home and I have to deal with it. I’m so tired of it. The constant drama, the yelling, the drag queens…

Yeah. Keem’s addicted to reality TV. The newest show she started watching? RuPaul’s Drag Queen Race (or something like that). We watched an hour of it until she got bored (because, really, how many times can you listen to a conversation that consists of “Oh, no, she didn’t” and “Watch it, Miss Thing”?). And then we watched 4 episodes of the Cake Boss. The Cake Boss, in case you didn’t know, is an Italian man in New Jersey who took over the family business when his father died. It’s a bakery and all of his family works there, including his sisters and their husbands. There’s a lot of screeching because the sisters like to think they know better than him and will contradict his orders. Like the one sister decided the bakery should be painted pink and Buddy almost had a heart attack. This is three hours of my life that I will never get back! But the cakes are pretty.

I don’t know what to do about this addiction. I can handle Survivor and America’s Next Top Model. I love Project Runway and Top Chef. I will tolerate the Cake Boss and his annoying family. But what’s next? A television show about people kidnapped by aliens? They could call it Project Roswell.

Thing number 2:

You are all probably aware that I’m a bit of a Star Trek junkie. I love Captain Kirk (and think William Shatner is hot and, yes, a pretty decent singer). I want Data to be my very own android boyfriend (actually, I’m partial to Lore because, hello, he’s kind of evil and an android. We all know I love the bad boys). I boldly went to see the newest Star Trek movie 4 times in the theater and have watched it three times on DVD. I am looking forward to introducing Josh to the movie this weekend and hopefully combating his massive exposure to Star Wars (stupid brother-in-law and his “Star Wars rules, Star Trek drools” beliefs (although he probably never exactly phrased it that way)).

Anyway, Keem and I bought the DVD this week. We had the choice between the regular DVD or the Collector’s version at Target. Obviously we went for the Collector’s version. Cool thing about this, the DVD case is actually a replica of the Enterprise. How awesome is that? Pretty awesome.

Keem put it together and it was sitting on the side table the other day. I look over and find myself saying words I never thought would come out of my mouth.

DM: Kitten. Please stop eating the Enterprise.

Here she is. My baby. Scourge of the Universe and Eater of the Enterprise.

I posted this on Facebook and someone left the comment “But Captain, there’s a fang in the warp drive.” Best. Comment. Ever!

Last night, Beth and I went up to karaoke to see Bryan. As we were standing outside, hanging with Annie and Bryan while they had a cigarette (okay, yes, I had one too), I mentioned a problem in my home.

DM: I need to find a eating disorder support group for cats.
Beth: Eddy being bulimic again?

Eddy goes through these stages where he throws up everything he eats. It’s really kind of gross.

DM: Yes. And Kalli’s eating everything in sight.
Bryan: I thought you said you needed to find a support group for people who are eating cats.

He pretends he’s someone who is eating cats who finds himself at a support group for people trying to solve their cats eating disorder.

Bryan: Oh, sorry, I think I’m in the wrong group.

So very wrong but yet, so very funny.

Anyway, the point to this is that a couple of weeks ago, our friend Annette stayed over at the apartment to watch the cats because Keem and I were out of town. Annette took some random pictures of the cats (she loves to kitt-sit, as she calls it).

I thought this one particularly caught the essence of Kalli and her desire to devour everything she can get her little mouth on. Especially if it belongs to Eddy.

kalli swoops in on eddys food

Compare this to the picture at the top of my blog. That sweet little gray, white and tan ball of fur has turned into a monster. A huge monster that has more than doubled in size. Do they make treadmills that are cat sized?

The Plague Continues – just in a new form

I have an ear infection.  It’s so ridiculous.  I’m 42 years old and this is my first ever ear infection.  I don’t like it.  Plus, it just seems so ludicrous.  It’s like wearing bifocals and having a huge acne breakout.

Granted, the horrible, gut-wrenching, “May I please jab a needle in my ear” pain is pretty much gone.  What’s driving me crazy right now is the feeling of liquid sloshing around in there and the fact that I can’t hear very well out of my left ear.  Hey, let’s think.  What do I do for a living again?  I listen to calls.  That’s awesome!

I’m squirting antibiotic drops in my ears four times a day (which might account for the liquid feeling).  It’s very exciting.  I would not wish this on my worst enemy.  Oh, wait.  Yes, I would.  Exactly how do you give someone an ear infection so I can work on inflicting a former friend of mine.

The bronchitis has pretty much cleared up.  That’s good.

The Further Adventures of Kalli, aka Demon Spawn

The other day, we ordered chicken wings from Pizza Hut (Mmm.  Garlic Parmesan.  Yummy).  I went to the door to pay.  Kalli takes this time to run out into the hallway.  The pizza delivery woman tries to stop her and I let her know this is something Kalli does every chance she gets.

Then I watch as Kalli runs up and down a 3 foot space, head held high, tail waving in the wind (okay, there’s not much wind in the apartment hallway but you know what I mean).  Is she trying to be a show kitten or something?  I can just see what is going through that teeny-tiny brain.  “Look at me!  Look at me!  Look!  Look!  Reward me with a treat of some sort because I am just so cute!  Loooooooooook!”

The next day, we decided to order pizza from Domino’s (yes, yes, I know.  Not the best choices but it was Tuesday and you buy one, get one free.  Cold pizza makes an excellent breakfast).  I go to the door to pay.  The pizza delivery man looks at Kalli.

PDM:  You.  I remember you.

The tone in his voice is as though Kalli is his mortal enemy.  My cat is someone’s nemesis.  This is so awesome and weird at the same time.

I think that’s pretty much it.  My life is not the most exciting lately.  Sorry.

And I think it describes our relationship well when I tell you that I looked in the mirror this morning, saw my pink streaks had pretty much faded to a strawberry blonde and thought “Hmm.  I wonder if I have time to get my nose pieced before I see Mom tomorrow night.”

In other words, I love her but I also love annoying the heck out of her.

And now, for an interesting Mom story.  One that just happened last night.  Mom drove up from Arizona to be here for Kari’s birthday (I would be jealous of this but quite frankly, I don’t like celebrating my birthday in March all that much so I can understand why mom would rather come up to Minnesota in the summer) which was yesterday.  My baby sister is now 40 years old.  Wow.  And yes, she’ll always be my baby sister, even when we’re in our seventies.

Things you should know – Mom has a Papillion dog named Lilly and she rescued a pure bred Siamese without a name.  He would respond to her when she would call Lilly and she was thinking of naming him Billy or Willy (which, actually, is a pretty popular name on my mother’s side of the family and it smacks highly of “No.”  Don’t name pets after family members).  I suggested she name him Philadelphia Chicken and she could call him Philly for short.   But Josh saw a picture of the cat and decided his name was Bo.

Anyway, Kari called me today and says “Well, you know Mom, she’s always full of surprises.”

My first thought is “Oh, God, did she pick up another hitchhiker (done it before, some homeless guy – long story) and bring him to Minnesota with her?”

Fortunately, that is not the case. No, Mom brought Bo and Lilly and arrives at home when Kari and Josh are out for lunch. Bo is zipping all over the house, he is full of energy and is apparently even bigger than Sebastian length-wise.

Josh looks in Kari’s room and says “There’s an animal under your bed.”

Kari says “Oh, no, there’s not, honey, it’s okay (because apparently he’s afraid of monsters (smart child)).” Eric decides to go take a look. Then, out of the corner of her eye, Kari sees a cat. She assumes it is Bo but the cat is smaller than Bo. She doesn’t think much of it until Bo comes walking out of the dining room. Wait. What’s going on here? Did she see Bo’s reflection in the stainless steel garbage can?

No. Apparently Mom decided, since Bo is so pretty, maybe Josh would like to have a kitten. So she went and found a female Siamese cat and introduced her to Bo.  Nature took its course, female cat became pregnant and so it turns out that my mother drove from Arizona to Minnesota with a Papillion (Lilly), a large Siamese cat (Bo), a smaller Siamese cat (name unknown) AND two Siamese kittens that were born on Friday. FRIDAY! They are 6 days old.

This is insane. This is my mother.  And people wonder why I’m so eccentric?

So.  How was your weekend?  Mine was…well, eventful comes to mind.

Not the entire weekend, just yesterday.  Keem decided it was my turn to make lunch and I said sure.  We had bought some Market Pantry pizza shells the week before because I had said I was in the mood to make a pizza.  Keem had already cooked the hamburger and I decided I was going to make a garlic butter sauce.

Note to self:  Really, when you’re making a garlic butter sauce for a pizza shell, you only need one stick of butter.  Maybe not even that.

I am sure you may be able to guess where this is going.  I took two sticks of butter.  I microwaved them.  I added minced garlic and garlic powder and some Pampered Chef dipping sauce seasoning (which is very yummy and has garlic in it, if I remember correctly (Yes, I like garlic.  How did you guess?)) and mushed it all together.  I used the pastry brush to brush the garlic butter sauce on the shell.  Hmm.  I still have a lot of garlic butter sauce.  What should I do? 

Oh, I know.  I’ll mix it in with the hamburger and then, after placing the Provolone cheese on the shell, I’ll dump the hamburger on top.  Cover hamburger with cheese and put in oven for 15 minutes.

At about 14.5 minutes, the smoke detector in our apartment started going crazy.  I went and fanned it with a hot pad, as I was taught by my mother when I was younger.  It calmed down, I opened up the oven and was greeted with a disaster.  Apparently the garlic butter sauce decided it wanted to go for a road trip and had dripped all over the stove.

No problem, right?  I can deal with this.  I know, how about I put the oven on self-clean?  Brilliant idea, right?

No.  It is not a brilliant idea.  Do you know what self-cleaning an oven does?  It locks the oven and turns the heat on to 350 degrees.  So the garlic butter sauce that is all over the bottom of the oven starts smoking.  A lot.  And then the smoke detector goes off again.

Only so much waving of the hot pad works after about 10 minutes.  There is an acrid smoke wafting through our apartment, my eyes are burning, Keem’s eyes are burning, the cats are freaking out and my arm hurts from waving it at the smoke alarm.  Keem suggests I go get the fan from her bedroom and lock the cats up in there.  I do so.

The fan works when you set it underneath the smoke detector.  Keem opens the window wide and the smoke starts billowing its way out.  After about 30 minutes, the apartment is fairly clear and we shut the window.  Eddy and Kalli come out of the bedroom, high-tailing it towards Keem (Eddy) and the treat buffet (Kalli).  They are fed and consoled accordingly.

A few minutes later, Keem and I see Kalli sitting underneath the table where the fan is, still directed towards the smoke detector.  Kalli is doing her patented meerkat impression and trying to figure out what the heck is going on.  There is a stool sitting next to the table and Kalli climbs on it.

Apparently she feels the need to protect us and starts using the Paw of Justice on the fan.  Thwack!  Thwack!  Thwackity, thwackity, thwack!  Take that, evil fan!  Keem and I are laughing hysterically.  Eddy is looking at Kalli like she is nuts.  I turn the fan off and Kalli decides to go off and start talking to her spider friends (there’s about three or four spiders that hang out on the windows outside of our apartment.  Kalli chatters at them.  It’s really cute).

The pizza, by the way, was pretty good.  However, I am banned from making pizza ever again.

How was your weekend?

In Which I Mourn the Loss of a Great Cat

Wednesday night is girl’s night in the Keem-Dana household.  My sister Kari came over, bringing a tiny addition to our normal Wednesday activities, my nephew Josh.  Eric is in the Caribbean at his sister’s wedding so boy’s night was postponed.  I was a little worried over how Josh would react to watching two episodes of America’s Next Top Model but, other than a little grumbling, he started playing with Legos and worshipping Keem with every molecule of his body (she’s his girlfriend.  First she steals my cat and then she moves in on my nephew.  Can’t trust her with men at all.  Sheesh).

While we were watching ATNM, Kari broke the news.  My sister’s cat, Sebastian, has left the building.  He had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor on his jaw a few months back and Kari had been told he probably only had a few weeks left.  It was decided that as long as he was still comfortable and not in severe pain, they would make his last weeks enjoyable.  He was fed the finest soft foods and then he rallied.  He entered his 2nd childhood and became Mr. Playful and would frolic around quite like a kitten on crack. 

Unfortunately, on Monday, the tumor had become abcessed (or something.  Apparently there was pus involved.  I may have put my fingers in my ears and said “I can’t hear you!” at that time) and he was in severe pain.  The decision was made to let him go to the big kitty farm in the sky* so he could be at peace.

*Yes.  I do believe that beloved pets do go to Heaven and we get to spend eternity with them.  Also, when I want to annoy Keem (which is often), I tell her we should talk about the farm we’re going to have where we will raise cats.  This will be after we win the lottery, of course, and can rescue many, many cats and let them frolic around the farm.  There will possibly be puppies** as well.  Perhaps a cow for providing the kittens with milk.  Some attractive farm hands.  Okay, many attractive farm hands***.

**All cats and dogs are kittens and puppies to me.  Full grown German Shepherds are “Big puppies!”  I admit to usually being a 4 year old trapped in a 42 year old’s body.  Sometimes I’m 12.  But mainly 4. 

***Okay, sometimes I’m also a 42 year old with a great appreciation for the male form.

Good night, Sweet Sebastian.  Parting is such sweet sorrow.

lego-playing-cat

This is a picture of Kari and Sebastian putting together the Batman Lego set I got for Josh for his birthday.  Josh and Kari are obsessed with Legos and I should seriously look into buying stock in the company.  Keem and my affectionate nickname for Sebastian was demon cat and I have decided that Kalli is Sebastian’s demon spawn since she has many of his annoying habits (meowing loudly in the middle of the night, trying to eat Eddy’s head).  Apparently she got one of his good ones because Wednesday, she was sprawled on the floor next to Josh, watching him play.  So this picture makes me happy in a bittersweet way.  The Lego torch has been passed on. 

Sebastian was a great cat and while I miss him, I am happy for knowing him and knowing that he’s not in pain anymore.

In which I cross the line separating me from somewhat sane cat owner to Crazy Cat Lady

Kalli and Eddy have very specific dining habits.  I should say Eddy does.  I’d term what Kalli wants to be more like specific demands. 

Once we wake up, we are expected to drop everything and race to the living room to provide the monster cat with dry treats.  Then we are allowed to shower and get ready for work.  Once I am done showering, Kalli is hovering around the bathroom, plaintively explaining that the meager treats I gave her were not enough to let a tiny, starving kitten survive and I should really feed her more. 

This continues until I’m dressed and then Kalli makes a beeline to the kitchen, wanting her wet food.   Mew, mew, incessant mew.  Let me climb onto the counter and eat from the can because “Oh my God, you people never feed me!”  Wet food is taken away and placed on the other counter which she rarely climbs on.  If we do not distract Eddy and Kalli with the wet food as we’re leaving, they run out into the hallway and there is chaos.  Utter, complete, extremely chaotic chaos.

I go to my computer, check bloglines, look at a few comics, hit Bacefook and play some Wafia Mars while I wait for Keem to be ready to leave for work.  I also tell Kalli repeatedly to “Shut it!”  This is all normal.  Part of the every day routine.  Sane cat owner.

Until it’s time to leave and Eddy has not come into the kitchen.  Kalli is having a hissy fit, wanting her food right NOW! but Eddy is MIA.  Sometimes he gets a little distracted by whatever deep kitty thoughts he is thinking and doesn’t hear us.  So I go into Keem’s bedroom and he’s lying on her bed, on his pink floofy blanket.  “C’mon, baby, it’s time to eat.”  Nothing.  He stares at me blankly.  I tell Keem to call him, he will typically respond to her.  She does and there is still nothing.  He cannot be persuaded to move.

Finally, as Kalli’s cries reach crescendo pitch, I say “Maybe I should just bring him his breakfast.”  Keem agrees.

And this is where the line was crossed.  I served my cat breakfast in bed.  No one will ever take me seriously again.

So I was going to volunteer this last Saturday but:

  1. I overslept
  2. I woke up with the world’s worst backache and could barely walk, let alone bend over and pick up trash

Then, later on in the day, I had a horrible, horrible headache and decided to take a nap.  You know what doesn’t work when you’re taking a nap?  Having a small gray cat sit on your chest and yowl at you about how no one ever feeds her and she is completely and totally unloved.

I decided to treat myself to an exciting dinner Saturday night and ordered chicken wings from a local pizza place.  Sunday morning I found myself projectile vomiting said chicken wings onto my shower curtain and the floor.  While the Kalli Monster watched avidly.  Eddy, just in case you’re wondering, behaved like a perfect gentlecat the entire weekend.  There was some dejected moaning that Keem was not home but he got over it and came out to spend quality time with me.

Food poisoning?  I think so. 

Keem returned Sunday night and we watched the last two episodes of Lost and the newest episode of Dollhouse.  So much for my theory that Adelle and Dominic might have something going on.  That was blown right out of the water.

Today, of course, I feel absolutely fine.  Except for the gigantic throbbing zit on my forehead that is shouting (in neon) “LOOK!  LOOK at me!”  And I hate my hair.  Other than that, life is good.

How was your weekend?  Better than mine, I hope.

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