Category Archives: rotten cats

Well, This Could Be Fun

In the back of my head, I had a whole post planned about the GOP and the orange man with the small hands for today.  But then today was super irritating and then Kasich dropped out and the orange man is likely going to be an actual Presidential candidate and I’m too scared and angry and plus, I just saw a GIF of Cruz’s face morphing into Grandpa Munster and I’m still too disturbed by the whole thing to write anything productive.  (Seriously, look it up.  It will haunt you.)

I was recently talking to some co-workers about online dating and it got me thinking about how much more difficult dating has to be now than it was back in the days when I was single and there was (thank you baby Jesus) no internet or Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat.  I wouldn’t have been a good internet dater.  For one, I am an anxious person.  If you don’t immediately respond to my text, please know that my brain has decided you have finally remembered some minor transgression from two years ago that in reality, wasn’t a transgression at all but just something I’ve obsessed over for twenty four months like an offhand comment about a dress.  For two, I would have been a stalker.  There’s no sugar-coating it.  Oh, you wanted to stay home and watch your favorite movie, “The Godfather,” did you?  I would have been the asshole combing through your social media, trying to find any reference to said movie, looking for any proof that you had ever referenced said movie.  I would have been “that girl.”  I’m not proud of this, mind you, just telling it like it is.  (Also, the fact that the first movie that came to mind was Godfather should tell you that I’m also old and have only been to a movie theater five times in the past ten years.)

Anyhow, I did some Googling – I love that this has become a verb in our lexicon – and came up with a list of questions that might be on dating sites, a getting to know you type quiz, if you will.  Which brought me back to my favorite MySpace pastime, (I told you I was old) which was answering a bunch of questions about myself.  Let’s have some fun and forget about the fact that a sexist megalomaniac is about to be a formidable nomination for the PRESIDENT, shall we?

Do you have any pets?
Yes.  I have two cats.  Ramon recently scratched a hole out of my face and Potato peed on my shoulder while I was on the phone.  They’re super cute, if you’re a masochist.
Name three things that are physically close to you?
My phone, because it is physically attached to my right hand, a vodka seltzer because I saw a meme that said it has less calories than a banana and I’m nothing if not health conscious, and a solid bronze statue of a monkey holding a bucket that I put a votive candle in.
What’s the weather like right now ?
Well, it’s Chicago and it’s May, so it’s forty degrees and stupid.
Do you drive ? If so, have you crashed?
No.  The last couple of years we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great aunt Sylvia whenever it snowed, there was traffic, it was wet, or it was too sunny.  It’s better for everyone that I’m no longer in charge of anything on wheels other than my bike.  Which, incidentally, I almost got killed on yesterday when an aggressive John Hancock Shuttle Bus driver broke many laws on Wacker Dr.
What time did you wake up this morning ?
Well, I woke up perfectly rested at 7:30.  But because I am bad at being an adult, I forced myself back to sleep until my alarm went off at 8:30 so I could rush around like a crazy person and have to run to the bus.
When was the last time you showered ?
8:42 – 8:44 AM.
What was the last movie that you saw ?
I think we rented the Minions a couple of months ago after many drinks.  It took us WAY too long to be sure that they weren’t actually speaking English.
What does you last text message say?
“A pop if it’s not too late!  My RC is nothing but ice water…”  From Tony, in response to me asking if he needed anything from the store.  He had left a two liter of RC in the freezer overnight because he is also awesome at adulting.
What is your ringtone ?
I have no idea.  My Fitbit vibrates when I get a call and I am incapable of not answering immediately.
Have you ever been to a different country?
I went to Canada once on a choir trip?  My friend Steve fell in Niagara Falls and lost his bandanna.  (Yes, that’s my main memory of Canada.  Other than that they have black squirrels.)
Do you like sushi?
I wouldn’t know.  I hate fish cooked and the idea of it raw makes me want to never stop vomiting.
Where do you buy your groceries?
Well, I finally discovered Aldi and was enthralled, but – as things tend to go in my life – it immediately closed for renovations for eight months.  So I’m back at good old Cermak produce, where I have to frantically count in Spanish while at the deli counter trying to figure out my number because no one speaks English there.  As I can only count to ten and the numbers are usually in the seventies, I spend a lot of time smiling and holding my ticket up.
Have you ever taken any medication to help you fall asleep faster?
Does whiskey count?  If so, then yes.  If I have a cold, whiskey and Theraflu is my jam.
How many siblings do you have ?
One younger sister who did me the massive favor of being awesome and having a gorgeous child so I don’t have to.
Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop?
A tablet.  (See?  This wouldn’t have even BEEN a question in the nineties.)
How old will you be turning on your next birthday?
38.  Apparently my 20 year high school reunion is this year, but that’s impossible because only old people have 20 year high school reunions.
Do you wear contacts or glasses ?
I have both.  But I’m lazy and like to tempt fate, so I wear my contacts 24/7 until I get an eye infection.
Do you colour your hair ?
Oh yes.  I’m pretty sure the phrase, “Dirty/dishwater blond,” was invented to describe my natural color.
Tell me something you are planning to do today:
Well, I’m going to finish this vodka seltzer and eat an entire head of cauliflower for dinner.  Because I like to party.
When was the last time you cried?
A couple of weeks ago when I saw a picture of a German shepard puppy on his first day on the job as a police dog with the caption, “It’s my first day!  I hope I do great!”  Seriously – he looked so excited and proud!  (Side note, I may have been pre-menstrual.) (Side side note, apparently that doesn’t matter because I just teared up again thinking about it.  If this were a dating site, I would for sure be gone by now.)
What is your perfect pizza topping?
Doesn’t really matter.  Pizza is just a vehicle to get bread into my mouth hole.
Which do you prefer, hamburger or cheeseburger ?
Cheeseburger.  Because there’s when there is an option for cheese, you should always take it.
Have you ever had an all-nighter ?
This is where one would assume that I’d have some crazy college story – or not, because I probably come off as pretty fucking boring, but I did have some all-nighters in college, being a professional procrastinator and all – but my most recent all-nighter was at my niece’s second birthday party.  Because that’s what one does at a toddler party.
What is your eye colour ?
Green?  Hazel?  I never really thought about it.  That’s something I should know, right?
Can you taste the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
What kind of terrorist can’t tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi?  That’s madness.


So yeah, I think we can all safely assume it’s a good thing I stopped dating in 1999, because otherwise it would for sure be just me and these stupid cats until one of them killed me.

How to Host Easter Like an Actual Adult. (Sort of.)

In my family, holidays are a big deal.  I’ve written about this before, detailing the extraordinary lengths my grandparents and later my parents, sister, aunt, and cousins go to to set a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  As we have always lived in an apartment, we haven’t really been in a position to host any holidays, and I always kind of wished we could. (I suspect no one in my family has been too heartbroken about this, as I’m not really known for my organizational or homemaking skills, plus, my cats keep sending them to the hospital.)  But while we do still live in an apartment, it’s now a very nice one with space and a pretty kitchen and lots of countertops and places to lock cats and their sharp, angry teeth away and room to sit down.

So I thought this year, Hey, you know what?  You should offer to host Easter!  You have room!  People don’t hate coming over anymore, especially if the cats aren’t allowed in the room.  Even you can’t fuck up a ham!  (I started drinking wine in the past few months.  Thus far, all of my brilliant ideas have come after a couple glasses of Walgreen’s finest Pinot Grigio.) So when my mom brought it up, I tentatively said, “Well, I thought maybe I could do it?  Since we have space?”  I suspect she was surprised, but gamely said, “Sure!  If you want to do it, that’s fine!”

Yay!  I’m hosting!  Look at me, all grown up style!  Wahoo!  I shall make baby girl Violet a beautiful Easter basket and we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and she will love it and everyone will talk for years about how fun Easter was that year and she’ll always remember how Auntie Coco hid eggs with candy in them for her.I told Tony and Tony, and was met with just a bit of resistance in the form of, “WHAT?  Where the hell are we going to put everyone?”  Whatever.  They’re pessimists.  I got this.  I told my sister, who responded with a “Heh.  Okay!  Have fun!” Again, whatever. I’ll be FINE.  I emailed my friend Autumn the next day at work to tell her, and she responded with, “OMG!  Can I please come and bring popcorn to see how this goes?!” 

I faltered a bit here.  Autumn is my champion. She’s my cheerleader.  If she was questioning my abilities, I may just have bitten off more than I can chew.  Oh well, too late now – I have lists to make and hams to buy!  Except, hmm, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy or, now that I think about it, whether my Puerto Rican grocery store even carries ham.  Moving on.

T Minus Two Weeks:
Phone calls with my mother.  “Okay, you need to plan a menu, and we’ll bring a table and chairs, and you need a tablecloth, and do you have enough plates and cups and silverware?”  “Um.well, I thought ham?  And yeah, I for sure have enough plates and stuff.”  (SHIT!  Mental note, go buy all new plates, silverware, and glassware.)  Mom, “Okay, I have little dessert plates and pastel napkins.  I’ll bring you a roasting pan, table, chairs, plates, napkins, and I’ll bring a vegetable and appetizer.  And I’ll send you a recipe for a glaze.”  Me, “Sounds good!  Did I tell you I’m going to do Easter eggs for baby girl?!”  Do you see a theme here?  I am awesome at ideas, poor at execution.

T Minus One Week:
Tables, chairs, roasting pan, Easter baskets, dessert plates, and napkins have been delivered. Me, Oh, well, this is great!  Realistically, all I need to do is buy the ham – SHIT find out if Cermak has ham – and get the Easter eggs for the fun hunt!
Tony, “Hey, my parents are coming too!”  Okay!  More the merrier!  What a fun party we will host!
Phone call with mother, “Okay, well, you’re going to need more food.  I’ll get some fried chicken too.  Did you get a tablecloth?  Did you get a ham?  Did you tell your sister what to bring?   You’re going to lock the cats up, right?  What about dessert?  Do you have brown sugar and whiskey for the glaze?”  Me.  No, no, yes, I don’t know, no, and I’m drinking the whiskey.  “I got rolls?”  “Okay.  You realize Easter is over a week away, right?  Bread won’t keep that long.”  Me.  “Duh.  I put them in the freezer.  I’m not stupid.”  (This is where I suspect my mother began drinking.)

T Minus Six Days:
My mother in law, Sharon, sends my brother in law with a new kitchen table and chairs that seats five.  (Because ours only sat two.  Hey, when you move four times in four years, shit breaks.)  My sister in law also sent him with sturdy plastic plates, silverware, and servingware.  Score! Sharon also comes with two Easter tablecloths, a myriad of Easter napkins and an Easter bunny placemat for Violet.  So really, all I need are the Easter eggs for the hunt.  Dammit!  And the ham.

T Minus Five Days:
“Hey, mom?  So I’m at the store and I know you said get the biggest ham, but I just realized I have no point of reference here.  What’s a big ham?  Three pounds?  Twenty two pounds?  Should the bone be in?” 
Hmm.  I wonder if my grandma ever had to carry a ten pound ham home in her purse? 

T Minus Four Days:
“Okay, Court, so I’m bringing the chicken, a vegetable, a cheese platter, stuff for mimosas – do you have champagne glasses? – and another appetizer.  What else do you need?”  Me, “Oh, I’m all good!  I think we’re ready!  Didn’t you see, I posted the picture of the ham on Facebook??”  Still have no glaze, glasses, Easter eggs, candy, or ingredients for potatoes.  But that’s nothing!

T Minus Three Days:
Tony, “Can we have corn?  So I can eat something?”  Sure!  Let me just put that on my list that I haven’t written out because it’s all up in my head.  “Okay, well you have to work tomorrow, so me and Tony Marzilli will clean and go grocery shopping and we’ll be all ready by the time you get home, and then all we’ll have to do is make the potatoes and set up the tables on Sunday.  We’re good!”

T Minus Two Days:
I should probably get on this shopping list.  I still need to get Easter eggs for the big hunt!  Oh, and glasses.  I know!  I’ll head to the busiest Target on Earth at State St. at four pm on Good Friday.  It’ll probably be empty.  Spend the next two hours growling at tourists, aggressively pushing my cart through the Easter aisle, buying two bottles of wine, an Easter bunny because seriously I am not spending fifteen dollars on a basket, twelve fillable Easter eggs, candy, and rationalize that small plastic glasses are totally acceptable for Easter dinner.  Go home and drink one of the bottles of wine, because really?  There’s nothing left to do.

T Minus One Day:

Two hours, a hundred dollars, and a very grumpy Tony Marzilli later, we’re ready to begin cleaning.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Tony Drobick walks in the door after a full eight hour day, quite dismayed to find me scrubbing the vents with a toothbrush on the floor and Tony Marzilli covered in bleach, yelling, “I swear to God, if I see an Easter bunny I’m punching it square in the mouth.”  I throw paper towels and windex at him, saying, “Here.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just dust the entertainment center, wipe off all of the books and everything in it, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.”  He complies – seriously, once I hit this level of crazy there’s no reasoning – muttering, “Have Easter, they said.  It will be fun, they said,” whilst rolling his eyes.  Finish all the cleaning, and my beaming, “Hey, look, we’re all ready!” exclamation is met with hostile stares. 

Okay!  All we have to do is set up the tables and stuff the Easter eggs, and then it’s time to cook! 

Hmm.  This tablecloth is really big for this table.  Let me just tape it up with the flourescent green duct tape.  That’ll work, right?

WHO THE FUCK SEALS PLASTIC, FILLABLE EASTER EGGS WITH TAPE?!  Terrorists, that’s who.  The next forty minutes are spent stabbing at them with scissors, swearing at each other and sneaking far too many M & M’s. 

Okay, let’s hide these eggs!  (Brief yet extraordinarily heated argument questioning the timing of cleaning out the fish tank.)

Another, increasingly hostile argument regarding my festive idea of putting colorful napkins on the bathroom sink for guests to wipe their hands on.  Physical struggle ensues as Tony Marzilli wants to fold up actual hand towels instead.  Culminates in me yelling, “I DON’T LIKE THE TOWELS THEY DON’T LOOK PRETTY PUT THE FUCKING NAPKINS IN THE GODDAMN EASTER BASKET!!”

I should probably have a glass of wine.

No, Courtney, no one wants to stick their hands in salt cellars, I don’t care if they were your grandma’s.  I passive-aggressively leave them on the duct taped covered table anyhow.


My family shows up, complete with carrots, crackers and cheese, an antipasto platter, a seven layer salad, champagne glasses, two bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine because they know I get my wine from the drugstore, orange juice, an Easter basket for the baby full of chalk,  a gift for my new nephew, and a bag full of toys. 

My glaze is not thickening as the Pioneer Woman had promised.

Violet is pointedly disinterested in her Easter egg hunt and is much more interested in the fish.

My oven grates are upside down, apparently.

An hour later, my in laws show up with Tony straight from work, also carrying another chair, a leaf for the table, two pies, and a gift for Violet.

You know what? We had a great time.  I didn’t drop the ham, the cats didn’t escape and attack anyone, the baby had way too much candy and enjoyed bossing the boys around, and everyone liked my potatoes.  My mom took a picture of my napkins in the bathroom to send to my aunt Sheila, who is basically Martha Stewart, so it was pretty much the highest of praise.  My cousin showed up around dessert, and we finished the night watching old home movies – during which I was mercilessly mocked, I might add – happy for a great end to a fun day.  Everyone ate, we laughed, we drank, we enjoyed our company and I looked around and felt very grateful for this family of mine.

Everyone praised me for doing a great job hosting my first holiday.  This is my thank you to all of the people that basically did it for me.


Martha's got nothing on me and my Easter basket napkins

You Pay Someone for That??

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some weird amateur expose on prostitution or how sex sells.  Mostly because even if I wanted to, I don’t have the money to buy it nor the body to sell it, so it wouldn’t be all that interesting or factual.  Also because the last time I had a conversation about that subject, it devolved into an extremely stupid argument about whether Hooters girls are being exploited and sexualized or simply using the good looks they were born with to increase their earning potential while having to work as a waitress.  I’ve waited tables, and I can say with complete authority if I’d had the body for it, I promise I would have happily donned the fluorescent short shorts and a push up bra faster than you could say, “Excuse me, miss?”  with nary a qualm.   For all of you shouting, “Oh, but it’s so degrading for those poor girls,”  you know what else is degrading?  Wearing a vest and bow tie while trying to fish a lobster out of a tank in front of a cheering crowd for a four dollar tip.  Trust.

Anyhow, the other day, I got some random email from a site I must have registered for during my desperate days of unemployment.  It was advertising some degree and certification programs when one of them caught my eye and I thought, “Wait – the fuck?  There’s a certification program for organizing your house?  What is happening here?”  And thus came up with a list of jobs that are apparently born from the realization that we are so lazy and stupid that we are willing to pay someone to do almost anything so we don’t have to deal with it.  Here we go.

Life Coach.

Sure, it sounds good in theory.  Pay someone to help realize your untapped potential, uncover your hidden talents, discover what you were really meant to do in life.  Are you really SUCCEEDING as an accountant?  Should you follow your dream to become a world-famous sculptor instead?  Your life coach will help you find your inner happiness, your true calling in life.  Here’s the thing.  There’s a good chance that this life coach that you’re paying to help you realize your true calling in life?  Doesn’t have any fucking idea what theirs is.  Instead, they have some drive and ambition, a decent head for marketing, and a thousand bucks to pay for the course.  Do you know what that means?  That means I could be a life coach, folks.   I am fucking fabulous at taking tests – I promise you I could ace this class.   Sure, my husband decided to have popsicles for dinner and my cats are sitting on the kitchen table, but hey, your life?  I can totally fix thatI got this certificate to prove it.

Animal Behaviorist/Psychologist.

Nope.  Just fucking no.  Of course you want your pet happy.  I want my pets happy.  You know how I make that happen?  I feed them, clean up their poop, and give them a warm place to live.  I give them love and attention, I let them sleep on my head, scratch my furniture, and buy them toys and treats that are good for their well-being.  And if they’re not happy after that?  Fuck em.  I’ll still love them, I’ll still take care of them, but yeah, I’m going to resent them a little bit.  In much of my research as to why my small cat finds it necessary to occasionally relieve himself in places other than the litterbox, I found several articles from these professionals explaining that my pet is stressed, and is “voicing his displeasure,” by acting out.  You know what, doctor?  I’m stressed too.  You know what adds to my stress?  Waking up in the middle of the night and having to change my sheets.  You don’t see me taking a shit in the cat bed, do you?  No.  That cat is clean, well fed, and safe.  If he feels “threatened,” by the different noises in the new apartment, too fucking bad.  Adjust.  If I don’t get Prozac, he certainly doesn’t.  You know why?  He’s a CAT. He’ll be fine.  Promise.

Professional Organizer.

At work, I’m pretty organized.  My job often requires keeping a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and for the most part, I’m relatively good at keeping them all in the air.  At home, however, I kind of fall off the wagon.  In the past couple of years, the list of things I have lost (and found again) is simply ridiculous for a grown adult to misplace.  They include: my crockpot, winter boots, an entire set of tools, my good knife, a garbage can, winter coat, my Kindle, my husband’s wallet, two phones, a set of cutlery, the remote control, my neighbor’s favorite sweatshirt, a significant amount of Halloween decorations, and the glass shelves to my china cabinet.  Things I have never lost sight of include a random collection of forty dice, a solid brass monkey that holds a hackey sack, a singing stuffed chicken, four candles that I’ve had since 2005 and never lit despite having zero personal significance, and a box of collected rocks that neither of us can recall ever gathering.  One might argue that I could benefit from a professional organizer.  If you can believe it, there is a entire association of professional organizers, and you have to have been practicing in the industry for 1,500 hours before you can even become ELIGIBLE to take the test required to become certified.  So maybe they could help me.  Or, instead of giving them money, maybe I could use a combination of common sense – stop being so lazy and throw out the goddamn box of rocks, dummy – and my mother’s advice, “Get a goddamn calendar and put shit back where it goes,” and voila!  I’ve saved a couple hundred bucks and I can find my silverware.

Then again, all of these people are managing to make money completing basic, everyday tasks, while I go to work every day, so who the hell am I to judge?

Hi!  For thirty dollars a month, I'll organize your spices!  Interested?

Hi! For thirty dollars a month, I’ll organize your spices! Interested?




Well, Color Me Hurt and Confused

I’m not even sure how I came across this article; one minute I was reading about Tori Spelling’s money problems (that post almost writes itself, but I have to take a step back before writing it so as not to be a hate-filled obscenity spewing rant about how she should be ASHAMED of herself even saying such a thing as how she lost a million dollars in her efforts to scale down,) (Seriously?!  Many other notes aside, you had to make some money of your own playing that unbearable Donna character, lording your virginity over poor David Silver for so long,) and the next thing I knew I saw this article by one Abigail Geer entitled, “10 Signs Your Kitty Actually Loves You.”  Well, I thought to myself, I could use that!  Perhaps there’s some signs here I was unaware of that will help me understand why I keep feeding and cleaning out boxes of shit for two animals who – at least on the surface – would eat me if I stayed still long enough.

Ms. Geer’s article gives, as advertised, ten cat behaviors that supposedly prove their love.  For her reasoning, please feel free to read the article linked above.  Here’s what I thought.

1. Head butting. Right. Because very few things say “I love you,” more than face-to-face combat, especially if one opponent is wide awake while the other is in a blissful slumber.

2. Powerful purrs.  My stupid small cat sounds like a motorboat when he purrs.  It’s actually cute – he only weighs like six pounds and it’s unbelievable what a loud sound he makes when he’s purring.  Unfortunately, he purrs the loudest and most frequently while he is licking the (surely lead-based painted) walls.  Try to pick him up or pet him and he recoils as though you’re trying to throw him in a vat of boiling acid.  The other one?  See sign number three below.

3. Love bites.  Apparently there is a difference between a “love bite,” and a “cat bite.”  Hmm.  Tell me, Ms. Geer, when the cat is chomping about your ankles while you’re making dinner, is that a love bite?  When the cat curls up all sweet right next to you while you rest and then sinks her teeth into the tender flesh on the underside of your arm when you pet her, is that a love bite?  How about when she tries to take a chunk out of your knuckles while you attempt to eat a popsicle?  Which type of bite is that?  Cause I’m pretty sure it’s the “my cat is simply a complete asshole,” bite.  Does yours have one for that designation?

4. Tail twitching. You know what my cat is getting ready to do when his tail twitches?  Pee in my shoe.

5. Tummy up. Ms. Geer says it shows trust.  I say it shows a grim determination to trip me to my death while trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, as that’s the only time either of these jerks ever flops down in front of me.

6. Licking your hair or ears.  Hmm.  Have you ever woken up to a cat trying to pull your hair out of your head via her teeth in the middle of the night?  Do you know what that sounds like when it wakes you out of a sound sleep?  It sounds like the murderer you’ve known has been coming TRYING TO SAW THROUGH YOUR HEAD, that’s what.  To your other point about the ears, I refer you to my husband who suffered an (undiagnosed) punctured ear drum when the cat resting on his melon got scared and clawed his way to the ceiling via his head.

7. Kneading.  Nope.  This does not make me feel good.  This reminds me I really, really need to go to the gym and stop eating so much damn macaroni and cheese.

8. Slow blinking. You call it “kiss with their eyes,” all you want, you weirdo.  I call it the creepiest staring contest ever because my cats?  Don’t fucking blink.

9. Nap time. Apparently cats crave a safe place when they sleep, so if they pick you to be their naptime spot, you should feel honored.  Sure. Recently, Potato fell asleep with his head and front paws hanging off of the top of the refrigerator.  Ramon once got trapped INSIDE the refrigerator (not a good day,) and when I opened it she blinked repeatedly, jumped out, and took a swing at me; apparently I’d ruined her nap.

10. Gifting.  This was geared towards a cat leaving a mouse they’ve killed at your doorstep, showing their prowess and bounty to you.  If that’s true, when that baby possum got on the porch and I was chasing it down the stairs with a broom – CRYING, mind you – where the fuck were these cats then?  Cowering under the blanket, that’s where.

I’m starting to think maybe I should have a dog.  Or a pet rock.

Thought I was kidding?  Tell me these aren't faces of evil.

Thought I was kidding? Tell me these aren’t faces of evil.

Try and Whisper to My Cat

I’ve been hearing quite a bit lately about this show, “My Cat from Hell.”   Well-meaning friends and family trying to tell me about this man who is an expert on cats and will come into your home to diagnose whatever emotional problems your cat apparently picked up somewhere between the litter box and the water dish.   Sure, they act like they’re just mentioning it in passing, but the intention is clear: Your cats are assholes and all of you obviously need professional help and possibly some strong narcotics.  While I appreciate the thought, I’ve seen this guy, and there is no way on God’s green earth or Satan’s hell that I am letting someone named Jackson Galaxy in my home.  I don’t care WHAT he promises.

However, part of me wants to challenge him.  Because I firmly believe that while dogs are trainable, cats are not.  A dog, no matter how stupid, will eventually learn that sit = treat.  A dog will learn that “NO!” is often followed by something undesirable, whether it be a lack of treat or a swat on the rear.  A dog will hear his leash jangle and immediately associate it with “Walk.”  A dog will almost always accept her fate when it’s time to go in a cage for the night, or in the tub for a bath, or in the car for a vet trip.  This is why dogs are man’s best friend.  Even the ones that are dumb as fuck will eventually learn basic commands.

Cats will do none of these things.  Cats think that they are smarter than you, and will spend every minute of their ten-pound existence trying to prove it to you.  I’m pretty sure if my cats could talk, their stream of consciousness would go something like this.

  • “Hurry, she looks comfortable.  Start barfing or something.”
  • “What do you mean, what am I doing on the counter?  I’m clearly licking the plates you left out.  Are you blind? Do you need a doctor?”
  • “Oooh, oooh, ooh!!!  Clean laundry!  Ima curl up on it and molt like a snake!”
  • “It’s three in the morning?  Shit, where did I hide that golf ball?  I need to start pouncing it across the wood floors.  It’s funny to watch the blonde one wake up in a panic.”
  • “Stop bringing people in the house, I’ll stop biting them.  Problem solved.”
  • “Go ahead and keep buying discount food.  I can throw up like literally anywhere.  It’s a lot harder for you to get underneath the dresser than me.”
  • “Excuse me.  EXCUSE ME.  I was sleeping on this pillow and there’s no room for your giant head.  If you insist on trying, I’ll have to keep pawing you in the face.  And since I won’t sit still long enough for anyone to clip my nails, it’s probably going to be more uncomfortable for you than me.”
  • “You think you were worried when that stupid small cat took off?  Watch me streak out onto the porch and nearly fall out the third story window.  You don’t even know panic, lady.”
  • “You need to go to the bathroom?  We’ll come hang out!”
  • “Are you seriously telling me to stop meowing?  I’m a cat, dumbass.  You’d be just as successful reasoning with your toothbrush.”
  • “Hey, asshole.  I’m stuck to the window screen.  Would you prefer I yowl like someone’s pulling my teeth out or tear a giant hole in it?”
  • “What?  I can only throw up properly when I’m walking around the bed while you’re sleeping in it.  Stop acting all crazy.”
  • “I wasn’t trying to trip you.  I just like to hang out under your feet.”
  • “Good morning!  I’m going to stand on your head now.”
  • “Please.  Stop threatening to ‘Set me free.’  You don’t have the balls and you know it.  You’re really just embarrassing us all here.”

Your move, Cat Whisperer.  I’m sure as hell out of them.

See?  As soon as I stop typing, they're all, "What?  We didn't want to hang out on the computer.  Leave us alone."

See? As soon as I stop typing, they’re all, “What? We didn’t want to hang out on the computer. Leave us alone.”

Common Courtesy for Ducks. (And People.)

Not long ago, I was standing in my kitchen, cutting some plastic rings from an empty six-pack in half, when a friend asked me, “Um, what in the fuck are you doing?”  Surprised at his surprise, I answered, “Well, I’m cutting these so the baby ducks don’t get strangled by them!  Don’t you do that?”  In response to his blank stare, I continued, “Seriously?  Didn’t you ever see that horrible commercial where those poor ducks had these wrapped around their necks because they get in lakes and stuff from the garbage?  They get stuck and DIE!  It’s horrible!  I always cut them.”  After a longer, blanker, but markedly more concerned stare, I was all, “What?  Why would you want baby ducks to die?  It’s not hard.  It only takes a minute and hey, I’ve saved a duck.”

After the above exchange – in which I learned everyone I know apparently doesn’t give a SHIT about baby ducks – I started thinking about other common courtesies I engage in that others apparently don’t.  My conclusion?  Either I’m too nice or everyone else is an asshole.

Holding a Door for the Person Behind Me.

As long as I can remember, this has pretty much been de riguer for any situation.  If you open a door and someone is following, unless it’s a mugger, you hold the door. You don’t have to roll out a red carpet and bugle, but giving that person the option to not have a door slammed in their surprised face really is the polite thing to do.

Apologizing After Accidentally Injuring Someone.

I’m one of those idiots that will apologize to a door if I accidentally bump into it.  If you body check me into a post trying to get on the train, the words “I’m sorry!” will jump out of my mouth faster than my brain can reconcile that I was not the one at fault.  I do realize not everyone is like this.  However, if the situation ever arises in which you accidentally (I hope) knock a can of Spaghettios onto someone’s head at the grocery store, I have to believe it should be the norm to apologize.  (Yes, that happened to me.  Yes, it really fucking hurt.  And yes, I called the lady that did and then sauntered off a whole lot of bad, bad names.  In my head.)

Be Responsible for Your Pets’ Behavior.

Yes, my cats are assholes.  Yes, they’ve sent a few folks to the hospital.  However, I warn people that they are assholes.  “Oh, cute kitties!  Hi Kitty!” by newcomers receives the response of, “Yeah, she’s cute.  But she bites.  Hard.  And scratches.  Until she draws blood.  Please don’t touch her.”  If your dog gallumphs up to me, delightfully sniffing at my crotch, I’m going to assume he’s friendly.  A simple, “He’s not really a people person!” or the like would be a fabulous warning that the cuteness my brain thinks is a nice doggy actually wants to eat my head should I try to pet him.

Letting Someone Cross the Street in a Torrential Downpour While You Are Cozy in your Vehicle.

I am perhaps a bit biased on this one, as Mother Nature is having some sort of bitchfit that she’s taking out on Chicago.  There is simply no dressing appropriately for this bipolar attack of weather.  Yesterday, I wore my big heavy rainboots and rain jacket and by the time I got home I was sweating like a whore in church and cursing everything I could think of.  Today, I refused to be tricked and 45 seconds after I got off the bus, my toes were frozen and I was slip-sliding my way on a sheet of ice across the intersection.  An intersection at which I had the right of way, I might add.  So the multiple cars – at a stop sign – who honked at me as I skidded across the street were just being mean.  You’re in a car, you jackhole.  You think I wouldn’t rather be in a car than ice skating across Chicago Avenue?  I bet it’s warm in there.  I bet you wore socks.  I bet snow didn’t just get in your contact and blind you midstep.  (Bad, bad moment.  I’ve feared for my life only a few times.  This was one of them.)  Long story short – your moment right now is MUCH BETTER than mine.  No need to add insult to near-certain injury.

Thoughts?  Am I naive to expect such things?  It seems basic to me, but sometimes I wonder if there’s people out there all, “Look at this idiot who keeps smiling at everyone!  Hey, Corky!  Not everyone’s your friend!”

I guess it doesn’t matter.  I’m probably not changing this late in the game.  And to those that do think that – start being nicer.  STOP KILLING BABY DUCKS.

What?  Why do you want me to DIE??

What? Why do you want me to DIE??

Just Stop It, Facebook Friends.

ImageI love the Facebook.  Love. It.  It’s where I get a disproportionate amount of my news, catch up with old friends, find out what my peeps are having for lunch, and find the best videos of cats.  I am, without question, guilty of checking in most places I go as though no one can get through their day without knowing I’m at the Fifty/50 Club, overstating my cats’ importance in the universe, and occasionally posting pictures of my dinner.  (Which I will defend.  I challenge you to not see a picture of my fabulous pot roast without wanting some for yourself.)

That being said, waking up this morning to 57 updates about how cold it was kind of made me want to punch things.  I know it’s cold.  I live here too.  So do 97% of your friends.  They all woke up to the same weather outlook on their phones – hardly any need to post a picture reminding everyone how everything on your body is going to freeze immediately upon stepping outdoors.  Yes, it’s zero degrees.  If it were July, or perhaps we lived in Texas, this would be news.  Being that we live in Chicago and it’s January, I feel as though telling everyone it’s cold is akin to posting, “Hey, it’s morning!  The sun came up again.”

Those aren’t the posts that make me crazy though.  (Mostly because it’s entirely possible I’ve done it in the past.  But no more!)  These are the ones that make me want to turn off the internet forever.

:(  So Sad Right Now.

  • Said status is usually followed by multiple inquiries as to the poster’s mental health and wellness, which is then followed by the original poster responding with something super cryptic that gives zero information.  What??  What’s wrong?  First of all, you’ve piqued my interest, which I have to believe was your intent.  Now I want to know how to proceed.  Do you need consolation?  A hug?  Thoughts and prayers?  A swift kick in the ass?  Do I need to send flowers? And most of all – WHAT HAPPENED, DAMMIT???

Great news!!!  Can’t Tell Anyone Yet but Yay!!!

  • You dick.  Everyone thinks you’re pregnant, FYI.  And when you aren’t, and you follow up with something like, “We’re moving!” we are disappointed.  If you can’t tell your good news, it isn’t good news yet.

And Then I’m Going Here, and Then Here, and Then Here, and Finishing Up Here.

  • My life is boring enough, thanks.  I don’t need to follow along with your mundane-ass errands, each of which you will check in from.  You made it to Whole Foods?  Awesome!  And here I was sitting on pins and needles wondering if the traffic was going to put a dent in your timeframe.

If This Page Gets 10,000 Likes, This Child Will Get to Ride a Unicorn.  TO THE MOON.

  • There is plenty of good that can come from Facebook viral campaigns and I do not mean to detract from that; I have surely been known to post something on the long shot it will make a difference.  But exists for a reason, folks.  That girl Penny has been missing for like four years.  It’s not an Amber Alert anymore.  “Post this if you want to erase cancer!  ABC Company will donate $1 for every like!”  No, they won’t.  But they now have 200,000 people following their page.  Is there a word for slimy marketing?  Because that’s what this is.  Stop feeding the bear.  Please.

Have I ever been guilty of irritating, irrelevant posts?  Absolutely.  I’m not excluding myself from the above criterion.  But I’m relatively sure we can all agree that if you don’t care that I am on my way to grocery shop, chances are I don’t give a fuck that you are either.  Let’s make a conscious effort, shall we?  Saw someone tightrope walking an electrical wire across the street at 8AM?  Pictures, please.  On your way to the gym?  Not interested.

What status updates make you want to quit the internet?

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

There’s some people on the planet who shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time.  Apparently,  I am one of them.  I went from my parents’ house to college, (and sure, one semester I technically lived alone.  But living alone in a dorm room is basically just like having your own room growing up, if you substitute “having your own room,” with, “not having to share ten square feet of space with another individual,” and add a lot of booze and bad decisions.) After college, I moved back in with the parents and then to my first apartment with Tony, and since then I have spent approximate three nights by myself.  As someone who has more than once considered peeing the bed rather than getting up to face the night monsters that haunt my apartment, this is probably a good thing.  (No.  I haven’t done it.  But I have considered it much longer than most rational people would.)

So the announcement that my husband would be sporadically working a late shift, leaving me to fend for myself IN THE DARK was not met enthusiastically.  However, he’s got a good job and it far outweighs my desperate fear of, well, everything, so I’m told, and apparently I need to put on my big girl pants and be some sort of adult that isn’t terrified of shadows.

Today I gave myself a good talking to; I was going to come home like a normal person, clean up, make dinner, and relax for a few hours before going to bed at a reasonable hour.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  I’m behind approximately four locked doors and am five flights of stairs up.  No one wants to come here.  We have to bribe friends to come here because they hate the stairs so much.  Plus – we don’t even have windows on the back porch.  If criminals are looking up to this and thinking that there’s anything of value behind the plastic covered frames, they are sadly, sadly mistaken and probably stupid enough that even I could outsmart them.

That being said – here’s how tonight went so far.

  • Arrive home to completely dark apartment.  Vow to be sitting on the porch in the dark with a weapon if husband ever forgets to turn on kitchen light before he leaves again.
  • Turn on every single light in apartment, including scary extra bedrooms that no one goes in as well as bathroom light.  (Scary monsters can’t sneak up on you when it’s light inside.  They’re like gremlins.)
  • Turn on music with well-adjusted person’s intentions to cook dinner like a normal human.
  • Begin arduous attempts at lighting stove, Laura Ingalls Wilder-style, because THAT’S WHEN THIS STOVE WAS MADE.
  • Alternate between swearing at stove and surreptiously looking out the window for scary monsters that are surely levitating to the third floor for the sole purpose of terrifying me.
  • Successfully get first stove ever invented started.  Begin chopping vegetables.
  • Whirl around with knife every 32 seconds to surprise the murderer I know is lurking on my porch.
  • Attempt to interest the cats in conversation and/or a dance party to distract me from scary monsters.
  • Pout a bit when realize cats would much prefer scary monsters come get me to this ridiculous attempt at normalcy.
  • Have a small heart attack after closing the door to pee and realize I now have to reopen the door with no weapon.
  • Successfully exit bathroom, making myself feel better by shouting, “Ah-HAH!” whilst opening door.  (Scary monsters are also frightened by loud noises.)
  • Decide to check the internets for a distraction.
  • Spend approximately 15 minutes finding the least horrifying angle – must either face the back door and see intruder coming, giving me 15 extra seconds of terror before being murdered or sit with my back to it, which anyone who’s ever seen a gangster movie knows is a terrible idea.  (So I’m told.  I can’t watch them due to the nightmares.)
  • Decide against calling my sister, who, upon coming home alone to a broken sliding glass door, stalked around her condo with a knife instead of keeling over dead from a heart attack.  I don’t need another “Stop being such a pansy,” lecture.  Well, I probably do, but until they start working I don’t want one.

I’ve been told I’ll get used to it.  Being that it’s 10PM and this place is brighter than the Empire State Building, in addition to the fact that the idea of turning off one of the lights fills me with dread, I’m assuming that’s not going to be anytime soon.

So.  Anyone want to come over??  I made dinner….. I’m just too afraid to go back in the kitchen to get it.

This?  Is what disdain looks like.

This? Is what disdain looks like.

Apparently My Cats are Anomalies.

In doing some research as to how to make my cats suck less and smell better, I came across this encouraging article, written by the managing editor of The Daily Cat, one Jennifer Viegas.  In it, she describes how pets, and cats in particular, can have a positive impact on a person’s health and well-being.  After snorting with laughter throughout most of it, trying to compare the sweet housepets she describes with the two rotten animals I live with and finding nothing in common, I decided to counterpoint her hypotheses with my own experience.

**Disclaimer  – I love these stupid cats more than I like most people I know.  They are treated extremely well and I would never actually do anything to harm them, no matter what I say.***

Cats as Pets Have Direct Health Benefits, such as Lower Blood Pressure.

Apparently Ms. Viega’s cats are well trained and have never used her clean laundry as a litterbox.  My small cat, Potato, despite all working parts and no health issues other than being a complete and utter asshole, has a real affection for us.  So much is his affection that he feels it necessary to mark his territory on our clothes, shoes, purses, coats, and occasionally bed.  If you don’t have high blood pressure yet, I challenge you to get up for work in the morning, step out of a clean shower, and put on a shirt, happily going about your morning routine until you realize that the smell you’re noticing is actually you, and you now need another shower immediately.  And now?  You’re late.  Imagine spending hours setting up a Christmas tree, lovingly putting up each ornament, only to wake up to a cat-sized hole in the middle of it, the tree on the ground, and your ornament from Disney World busted into gazillions of very sharp pieces.  Or imagine exhaustedly climbing into bed late one night, sleepily pulling your blanket riiiiight up to your face only to shriek and throw it at the other cat – Ramon, who is helpfully standing on your head – in horror.  Take said blanket down five flights of stairs and sleep with a nothing but a sheet in the dead of winter and then talk to me about lowered blood pressure.  The above scenarios, no matter how calm you are, WILL make you want to set your cat free and get the blood pumping right to your head, I promise.

Cats Improve Psychological Health.

Bullshit.  Have you ever wandered up and down a dark street, in the dead of night, shaking cat treats and yelling, “Potato!!  POTATO!!!” while your neighbors look on with a mix of interest, pity, terror, and curiosity as to why a fat blond girl would need more carbohydrates?  Have you ever had to apologize to two separate family members, trying to explain that  their hospital-requiring bite marks are because Ramon “really doesn’t like to be touched?”  Have you ever woken up to the sound of a cat joyfully rolling a golf ball around your house while you lie, terror-stricken, convinced that not only are you being robbed, but it’s by a completely crazy person who is trying to make as much noise as possible?  Have you ever tried to reason with an eight-pound ball of fur, to the point of tears, when said ball of fur scratches your hands and hisses at you while you’re trying to work?  Because nothing makes you question your own mental health more than when you actually say to an animal, WHILE CRYING, “Please, please, just leave me alone!  I’ll do anything!”

Cats are Forever Friends.

My ass, Ms. Viega.  MY ASS.  Maybe your cats are forever friends.  Mine?  Are forever trying to escape and murder me.  I bet your cat doesn’t curl up against you, purring, right before sinking her teeth into your arm.  I bet your cats don’t knock open the bathroom door in the middle of the night just in time to trip you in the dark.  I bet your cats never hid in a basement for four days, eating the food you hauled down five flights of stairs but staying hidden from view, forcing you to crawl around said creepy basement with a flashlight, looking inside old refrigerators and trying not to get tetanus from the rusty nails and lumber stored down there.  I bet your cats haven’t hidden inside your boxspring so many times that it’s now ruined from all the time you’ve taken a knife to the fabric, trying to set it free.  I bet your cat never hauled ass into the basement late one Friday night after you’d had too many beers, causing you to fall down the stairs and bruise your tailbone.

Cats Help When No One Else Can.

I’m starting to hate you, Ms. Viega.  Where are these animals?  Where are these happy cats that do things other than make you spew made-up profanity?  Are they helping you have less houseguests?  Because that’s what mine do.    One time, Ramon helpfully ruined Valentine’s Day when she tried to eat some roses and then got her leg caught in the chair when I pushed her off the table.  Another time, Potato ruined my entire day when I realized he’d peed in my purse far, far too late.  Oh, and another time, Ramon ruined my tremulous hold at being a good pet owner when the vet said, “Oh, yes.  She’s a difficult one, isn’t she?” after looking at her chart while she was trying to climb inside my shirt, claws first.

Then again, they’re not on Prozac like my sister’s cat, so maybe we’re doing okay?  Probably not?  All right.  I give.  The cats suck, Ms. Viega.  There’s no getting around it.  I’ll send you the medical bills to prove it.


How (Not) To Sleep Through The Night.

Does anyone actually put their head down on the pillow in the evening and wake, rested and ready to face the day, the next morning at an appropriate time?  Because I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened to me – save the occasional anomaly and the slightly more frequent “whiskey makes everything better!” nights – in approximately 20 years.  I have a nice bed, I have a nice pillow.  I’m lucky that I live comfortably enough to have heat in winter, and while central air would be far preferable to my (free) wheezy window units, a cold shower and a fan will keep me cool enough in the summer.

So why can’t I sleep through the night, you ask?  After the past several nights found me lying wide awake staring at the moon and pondering such important topics as “I wonder if I have all of the ingredients to make mashed potatoes tomorrow?” and “Tomorrow if elevator 12 is the only one open, I’m totally not getting on.  It’s way too slow and makes a funny noise.  I’m just waiting for the next one,” I put together a few things that may be interrupting my REM cycle.


If you want to sleep through the night – don’t have pets.  Or, more specifically, don’t have my cats.  No one likes my cats.  One of them bites, one of them pees, both of them are kind of horrible but for some reason I love them anyway.  Well, I love them most of the time.  Excluded times would be pulling a sweatshirt off the shelf only to discover it’s been used as a litterbox, apologizing to family members whilst offering to pay their hospital bills for penicillin, and trying to sleep.  The first night we brought our older cat, Ramon, home, she was an adorable little kitten bouncing all over the down comforter through the night.  Ten years later, she’s not happy unless she’s sitting on your face with her extended claws resting on that sensitive skin under your arm.  Try and move her and she squeaks and hisses and meows like you’re trying to pull her teeth out.  Try to push her off the bed and she becomes a stubborn, horrible being much like one of those inflatable punching bags that just keeps popping back at your face despite your strongest pleas and efforts.  (Side note.  When you find yourself trying to bargain with the cat to get off the bed, you’ve already lost.)  As for Potato?  My sweet, terrified    insane cat?  Let’s put it this way.  A few nights ago, he found a golf ball which we had (because we’re assholes) stolen from mini-golf at Navy Pier.  Somehow, he managed to transport it from a table in the kitchen to a chair in the dining room and was having a cat PARTY playing with it.  If you’ve never heard the sound of a joyful cat playing with a golf ball, let me just say that the only thing you’re missing is a “What the FUCK is that?” in the middle of the night.

Crippling, Childish Fear of Monsters and Murderers in the Dark.

Okay, I’ll put it out there.  I am a big, giant, ridiculous baby when it comes to getting up in the middle of the night.  I am the first to admit that I cannot watch a scary movie – to the point that the mere thought of seeing Paranormal Activity last year gave me palpitations every time I went in my basement – and have been known to walk out of a room when Criminal Minds is on because I know it WILL keep me up.  During the day, I am a (mostly) fully functioning adult, with a job and a college degree and a full set of pots and pans.  In the wee hours of the night?  I turn into a toddler who has, on more than one occasion, considered waking up my husband just to sit up and make sure there were no scary men with hatchets waiting for me in the bathroom.  (I haven’t done it because the chances of him cracking me with the baseball bat under the bed is far more likely than hatchet man lurking behind the door.)

Pea-Sized Bladder

I’ll never forget, when my sister first started working and was a floor nurse, talking to her one evening when she mentioned, “You know, I don’t think I’ve gone to the bathroom since I left the house this morning!”  It was six o’clock in the evening.  I had peed twice since we’d been on the phone.  I cannot make it through a movie, a car drive further than 30 miles, or a long commercial without having to pee.  Incidentally, everyone HATES going places with me and any time we go anywhere, I am asked no less than three times by no less than two people, “Did you go to the bathroom?”   I’ve been tested and there’s nothing wrong with me, I just simply cannot retain liquid for more than four minutes.  So unfortunately, I rarely make it through a night without having to get up at least twice to use the bathroom.   Combine that with my paralyzing terror of leaving my bed in the middle of the night, and  I spend a lot of time with a racing heart clumsily running from the bedroom to the bathroom, turning on all of the lights in my path.  Which, incidentally, wakes up the cats on the off chance they were asleep.

The culmination of the above three things, plus the addition of a husband who apparently enjoys making my heart stop, is what makes up the situation in my apartment at 3:45AM yesterday morning.  I woke up and had my usual immediate thoughts, which generally consist of, “What in the actual fuck was that dream about?” “I wonder which cat this is that is currently paralyzing my foot?” and “DAMMIT I have to pee.”  I tried to hold myself off a little longer, which did nothing other than to feed my fear that the vague shadow in the kitchen was a vicious intruder, and then finally gave in to my stupid bladder to get up.  As quick as I could, I tiptoed through the hallway to the bathroom, did my business, then took a deep breath for the scary, shadowy journey back across the hall.  Upon entering my bedroom, I saw that my husband was sitting straight up in bed.  (Which. Is. Fucking.  Creepy.  I don’t care who you are.)  My heart in my throat, I croaked, “What are you doing???”  No answer.  Making the miraculously brave move of walking toward the bed, I ask, a little louder, (and likely MUCH more panicky,) “Why are you sitting up?”  Because he hates me, (or according to him, “Didn’t hear you, you f*ing psycho,”) he didn’t answer again.  So, again being brave, I decided to crawl into bed, because even though in my terrified little heart I knew he was obviously murdered, I couldn’t just leave him there.

And then I landed on the cat and completely lost my shit.

The cat yowled and tried to escape, but was momentarily stunned and halted as I fell face first onto the bed, letting out a bloodcurdling scream that would rival that of any horror movie actress.  Which set about a chain of events that went something like, “What in the FUCK is wrong with you???”  “WHY ARE YOU SITTING STRAIGHT UP??”  Followed by some relative nonsense (because really, after that, there’s no intelligent conversation to be had,) and then some more hissing and repositioning of the cats, who were extremely distressed about the whole thing, which was then followed by another half hour of no sleep because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

And that’s why I don’t sleep.  Whiskey, anyone??