Monthly Archives: September 2010

The House is Haunted or the Cats are Insane

Can someone please explain to me why my cats have all of a sudden gone batshit insane?

Seriously. I mean, they’ve never been what one would call “normal.” I attribute this to our poor naming/parenting skills. Ramon is female and decidedly not Spanish, and is named after a squirrel that used to terrorize our place in Palos Hills. The picture of her on this site of her in the beer box? We started posing her in those after one Friday night when I went to get a beer and found her, comfortably nestled in a half full 18 pack of Lite, INSIDE the refrigerator. Luckily, we drink fast, so she didn’t freeze her little kitty rear end off, but still. Who lets that happen?

Potato is named that because Tony, inexplicably, one night when we were first dating created an elaborate crown that I believe was originally supposed to be for Pocahontas, but somehow morphed into “Squanto of the High Plains.” So that was his original name, but that seemed irrationally long for a six pound terrified kitten, so we shortened it to Squanto, which got switched to Squan-tater, which got shortened to Tater, which logically led to Potato. Logically. Yeah, we’re normal.

So it makes sense that the animals aren’t normal, sleep 23 hours a day cats. They never have been. They both bite and hiss and scratch and mostly only like people that either don’t like or are violently allergic to them. Ramon bites you as she’s purring on your lap or next to me in bed. She bit my mom so hard once she had to seek medical attention, simply because she picked her up. Potato, skittish to begin with, (you’d think we beat the poor thing the way he flies out of a room when he hears a noise or sees a dust mote) has pretty much been terrified of everything, including his shadow and excluding Ramon, since his journey into the wilds of Chicago Ridge last fall; also known as the great Potato hunt of 2009, or “Hey, want to see Courtney cry for a week?” I still wonder what my crazy neighbors thought, watching this poor girl with a beer and shaking cat treats, crying, “Potato???!!!! POTATO!!!” up and down the streets at all hours of the night. A friend of mine at work commented, “They were probably like, Jesus, someone give that girl some french fries so she’ll shut up, already.”

Since the day we moved in and found Potato curled up underneath the lone towel in the closet of the room we’d locked them in, we’ve seen him for approximately two hours. He hides under the dresser, in the closet of our bedroom, where he prefers to “make potty,” as it were, and recently, the closet in the extra bedroom. He was a big fan of sleeping inside the boxspring until the bed collapsed and I nearly had a grabber thinking we’d killed him for sure. He comes out occasionally to beg for treats with his little meow that sounds like he’s trying to scream at you, but other than that, we mostly only see him after he’s relieved himself on our laundry.

Ramon, however, has always been more social, more, “I want to sit RIGHT BY YOU RIGHT BY YOU ON YOUR FACE IF POSSIBLE.” In our last place, even if we were outside, she was right at the screen door, yowling to get out. Here, however, where we’ve spent nearly every waking moment outside, she’s separated by an enclosed porch and two doors. So I get she’s kind of lonely, but hello? Aren’t you a cat? That’s the main reason we have cats and not dogs ~ because they do not require the amount of lavish attention and responsibility a dog does. Oh, well, and because Tony hates dogs. But still. Cats are, by definition, self sufficient, are they not?

Anyhow, in the past few weeks, they seem to have gone even more crazy than usual. While it’s no big surprise that one of them would find the dice we were playing three man with (worst. idea. ever.) the night before, to find them both batting them around the wood floors at 3AM was disconcerting. They’ve also begun to sleep with us all the time. Which sounds cute in theory, but A) I believe I mentioned Ramon bites, and she is especially fond of the sensitive skin on the underside of your forearm and B) Potato, for such a small thing, has the determination of a pit bull and the consistency of a wet blanket when he has decided to sleep in between your scissored legs. Which means I woke up the other night literally with a cat on my chest, teeth in my arm, and another cat on my legs. One would think the sum total of 14 pounds wouldn’t render me helpless, but one would be wrong. Add to that the creepy shadows and extreme QUIETNESS of our neighborhood (No 18 wheelers and bright lights here!) and the fact that I’m apparently four years old and afraid of the dark, and it was a very scary moment, indeed.

In addition, the other day, I was sitting at the computer desk, trying to write something, and Ramon decided this was unacceptable and sat directly in front of me. Not unusual. I pushed her off the desk (also not unusual) but this time, instead of either jumping right back up or biting me or both, her eyes got wide and she ran out of the room. I followed her to investigate and found her literally trying to climb up the doorjamb of the extra bedroom, wild eyed, tail puffed up to extraordinary size, and yowling a tune I’ve never heard before. Now, she’s not in heat (took care of that little problem nice and early) but she’s been doing this every few days or so since then. Sometimes Potato does a flying leap from his hiding spot in the closet, which sends her trying to scramble even higher and makes it slightly funnier.

So, who do you think is haunting our house?? I’m not a huge believer in ghosts and such, but this house was built in 1880 something, so the idea of it being haunted is intriguing to me. Who would want to haunt US?? I could see maybe wanting to watch us, as we fall down and slam into things with alarming propensity, but to scare my cats? I’d welcome any thoughts as to who/what you think may be haunting the Drobicks. Until then, I’ll be closely monitoring the cats for any changes in behavior (and hoping that one of them is NOT peeing in my purses, for a change,) and trying to hide from them when they’re being crazy.

Luckily, they’re cute. (And GOD am I glad we don’t live there anymore. Is that a glowstick on the table? WTF?)

“Life is What You Make of It” and other Words of Wisdom

Hmm, apparently when your computer explodes in a puff of smoke and your brother in law tells you it’s a quick, $30.00 fix, you should listen to him instead of only using the internet on your phone for the entire summer. That was much easier than expected.
Anyhow, life’s good. We are loving the city so very, very much ~ enough that the nightmares of drunk neighbors and Beavis and his dad are nearly erased. While my sense of direction will never be as good as my father’s, I now have a solid concept of where I am at any given time and can navigate us to ANYWHERE via public transportation and the help of We have made some great friends already, and any stories posted about them will be of the funny variety, not the hate filled assaults you have become accustomed to. In addition, due to the fact that we are enjoying our new place so very much, this will also be known as “The Summer of Beer,” which tends to make things more interesting.
So much has happened in the past few months that is blog worthy. For instance, the fact that every time Tony gets drunk now he finds it absolutely necessary to climb the towering, three story Norwegian spruce in our backyard. Or perhaps the party we had and the seventeen increasingly alarmed emails from my mother regarding my (lack of) preparation for it. But those are nice long stories on their own, to be told at a later date.
But I’ve missed my computer and writing, and I need to put some of this on paper before my brain takes over this space with other useful information like junior high friends’ phone numbers and middle names. In looking for some inspiration, I came across a website with a bunch of famous quotes. There’s happy quotes, there’s inspirational quotes, there’s motivational quotes. I’m a sucker for that shit, so I read through a bunch of them thinking I would maybe tape one or two to my monitor at work, so the next time I find myself presented with a 5,000 page print job, I may smile through it instead of hoping that someone will come kidnap me. I found some great stuff, and thought to myself, hmm, I should try and apply these to my life. What I came up with wasn’t exactly Socrates type material, but it’s probably funnier. Please note I’m taking these quotes directly from this website, and am assuming they are accurate because I’m lazy.

“Life is what you make of it. Always has been, always will be.” Grandma Moses

Yes, it is. A few weekends ago, I checked Facebook on a Saturday afternoon. An old high school friend had posted a a cute story about her son not wanting to put his tooth under his pillow because he didn’t want the Tooth Fairy, a stranger, in his room. (Smart kid.) And I thought, hmm, I bet she didn’t wake up to Marzilli standing over her saying, “Why the hell are you sleeping in the dog bed?” While I could have pondered the fact that friends my age have children losing teeth while I’m still bumbling around, I instead concentrated on the fact that I had one damn fun Friday and wow, am I glad I don’t have to change a diaper today.

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Robert Frost

True. For instance, some people might get upset when they walk out to their car on a Monday morning to find a flat tire. And a flat spare. And then get even more upset when they come back home and find no parking signs posted up and down the street said car is on. But the bonus of having the most ridiculous luck on the planet is that you don’t get very surprised anymore. Instead, you think, hmm, good thing there’s a bus that will take us to work and you enjoy the ride. (The monkey wrench here is I didn’t realize there was a 49B bus that will take you only to the Brown Line, which is four blocks away. The fact that the bus driver, who watched us basically run two of those blocks to catch said bus, didn’t mention that, makes him an asshole. A big one. But other than that, we didn’t sweat it. Simply devised ways to end his career.)

“It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice.” Ron Burgundy

Yes. It was the hottest summer on record in Chicago in 17 years. The only people unsurprised by this were me and Tony. In fact, I called it when we moved in. Why, you say? Because we didn’t have air conditioning. So it logically follows that of course the temperature would hover around 90 degrees for 45 days. Going to bed became an Olympic event similar to the “Cooking dinner without setting off the fire alarm” extravaganza in Chicago Ridge. Take a freezing cold shower, put the box fan directly next to our heads, and pray to fall asleep before you dried off. Also, close the blinds as the apartment building next door looks directly into our bedroom. Add to that the fact that Tony tried to put in the window units one night and I made him him take them out (yes, I did. I still maintain that putting them in at midnight after we’d been drinking a solid portion of the day would not have been smart and they WOULD HAVE FALLEN OUT) and there was a Crips/Bloods level of animosity building on the days it reached 100 degrees.

“>”Challenges make life interesting; however, overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Mark Twain

I should have this one taped to my forehead. Or to Tony’s, where I could see it all the time. I wonder if Mr. Twain ever had a bed collapse at 2AM while he was in it?? Because that? Was a challenge. About a month ago, I was planning on executing the simple task of leaving my bed to use the bathroom when the entire bed, whoomph, crashed to the ground. After a quick “WHAT THE FUCK?” from Tony, we jumped up and immediately pulled the whole thing up, as poor Potato is not adjusting well and spent roughly 99.5 percent of his time sleeping underneath it. Once we ascertained that we had not flattened our pet, I continuted on to the bathroom, only to return to my husband, blissfully back asleep on a mattress half on, half off of the broken frame. After a half hour of swearing (at each other) we had placed the entire thing on the floor and Tony once again fell into a deep slumber while I lied awake in a panic sweat, convinced the cat was inside the boxspring and suffocating as he comfortably slept, despite having checked it multiple times.

“To us, family means putting your arms around each other and being there.” Barbara Bush

We just got back from a family vacation, which was awesome. However, this quote makes me think, “Hmm, I wonder if Babs ever got into her cups a bit and uttered anything along the lines of ‘Dear, if you’re going to be that close to the fire, take your feet off!!!’” My guess is no. But I’ll also guess that if Jenna had to pee, Barbara’s husband would nicely pull the boat over instead of suggesting she drop trough and moon the senior citizen’s home on the lake.

“If you yell at a cat, you’re the one who is making a fool of yourself.” Unknown

I wish I could find the person who first said this. I would like to ask him/her if, when they moved, they ever encountered a cat that manifested his unhappiness by peeing inside every purse in the house, no matter where they’re hidden. Or if their other cat reacted to moving the litterbox three inches by peeing all over the bathroom floor, as though the box was now impossible to find. Or if their cats discovered the joys of playing dice at three in the morning on hardwood floors. Or if they’ve ever been scratched in the eardrum in the middle of the night when something, likely a mote of dust or slight breeze, scared the bejesus out of the cat. Or if their cat figured out how to turn on a remote control light, rendering its owner mute, terrified, and unable to get out of bad at 3AM. (Because, you know, the first thing a robber/rapist/murderer is going to do is find the light for my shelves and illuminate the house.) And then I would like to ask them if they ever yelled at their cat.

So there’s my life lessons. They’re likely not going to be published next to Einstein and Thoreau, but hey, you get what you get. Life really is what you make of it. And I have a damn good one. In the words of my good buddy Charlie Brown, “In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.” Enjoy, smile, love your life.