Category Archives: Misc

Woman Disappears During Road Trip with Cats. Cats Wanted for Questioning.

Hear ye, hear ye! It has come to pass! NICOLE SHALL ESCAPE THE DESERT AT LONG LAST!

Arizona house is sold, Virginia house procured, school year finished, movers scheduled, resignation submitted, and all finer details busily attended to. The girls will fly to my mom’s for Nanapalooza ‘16, Scottie will prep our new home for my arrival – i.e. remove his action figures from all the ridiculous places they currently reside (last FaceTime session I noted some lining the mantle of the fireplace, YAY), and with a heavy sigh I’ll lock up an empty house, effectively bidding farewell to the backdrop of my 30s. I’ll then hop in my new-ish vehicle and embark on a five day road trip across our great nation.
With CATS!

‘Cause nothin’ screams road trip like the unholy, guttural chorus of two seriously pissed off cats!

But first, let’s take a side trip down Cat Lady Lane and become better acquainted with Dr. Pickles and his little brother, Buddha, aged 5 and 2.

This is Dr. Pickles. He has trust issues.


Took 2 years, but he finally trusts us. Mostly.

His first family dropped him off at a kitty orphanage when he was only five months old. He spent the next three months of kittenhood confined to a cage, until the day we arrived with a toddler who wanted “a REAL cat, one that I can pet, and name Pickles!” Our handsome black prince spent the first nine months of his life being called “Doc.” And so it was in this manner Dr. Pickles earned his PHD.

In time we learned he was also a colossal diva. I used to think he didn’t cover his poo because he’d been ripped from his mother too young. I’m now sure he doesn’t cover his poo because poo covering is for peasants! As for affection, such is meted out on very strict terms. The majority of petting is allowed between the hours of 5 and 8 AM. But not regular old petting. Oh no (‘Tis for peasants!). These sanctioned petting hours are more akin to a ritual worshiping a deity. During the hours of sunrise Pickles throws himself to the floor, directly in your path, stretching to his full, impressive length, and lays before you, prone. One gleaming yellow eye in your direction signals that, at this time, and this time only, peasants may approach, to vigorously rub his soft, wonderful belly –  in thanks, and humility, and prayers for a good harvest.

He’s fond of ritual. Like, OCD-fond. Like the precise and repetitive paw swiping (scent marking) of the floor surrounding  his food dish after we’ve filled it, but before he eats. We call it the Pickles Dance. And then, after feasting, he will fetch a toy mouse and plop it in his dish. As if to say, “It could have used more flavor. Peasants.”
He likes things just so.
And he pees on change.

Buddha, on the other hand…


He Speshul

True to his namesake, Buddha is waaaaaay more chill! He shares none his brother’s stranger anxiety or “shittin’ particulars.” If Buddha had a Tinder profile, it would read: “Easygoing, HWP, likes parkour and kneading softy blankies, catnip friendly, open to dogs.” He also shares none of his brother’s intelligence. We adopted him at 8 weeks, and he seemed to cease growing soon thereafter. He’s a petite thing, with his dainty orange paws and the world’s tiniest orange head – that houses an even tinier knucklehead brain. He’s mentally a teenager right now, so he’s as much sweet and adorable as he is a shithead and an idiot.

And they’re both very, VERY good boys!

Truly they are. I love them with all my heart! So much so, I’m committed to making their impending transition the least traumatic experience possible. Especially considering how their trauma won’t begin on travel day one. It will start the day the movers come in and dismantle their entire indoor cativerse!

I considered flying them, of course. One terrifying day in the belly of a plane (no sedatives allowed) vs. five days of home deconstruction and five more days trapped within the terror vortex known as CAR (with a once trusted human who’s now clearly out to destroy them)! A few years back my friend Rose made the drive from this corner of the desert to Chicago, IL with her own finicky felines in tow. I consulted her immediately, and she just as immediately informed me that cargo-shipping pets when temps run above 85 is a no-go. Arizona in June = Fahrenheit 100. She recommended I call the vet and talk sedatives.

So I did.
Here’s how that five minute car ride went:


Good news is, they’re healthy. Aside from Pickles’ Periodontal Disease. He needs to have two teeth extracted, to the tune of 500 dollars, because his body white-blood-cell-ninja attacks his tartar buildup so hard it inadvertently destroys his teeth in the process. And that process is FAST; two years ago his teeth were exemplary! They told me I could wait until we’re settled with a vet in VA, that his situation isn’t urgent, but that it’s also likely causing him pain.

I scheduled his oral surgery for this Tuesday. I’d rather he be pain-free and convalesce in the home he knows (and pull $500 out of my asssss—-stounding magical money tree) before the Klan of Mover Demonoids commeth and tear his everything all to shit.

Their cat carriers have been out and open in the living room for weeks. I’m armed with sedatives, Feliway, and treats. I’ve got harnesses, comforts of home, a road-time game plan of 8-hours-a-day-tops, and pet-friendly hotels galore. All tips from the brave fur-parent souls who’ve come before me, and have graciously shared their wisdom.

But, since I’m currently competing with Dr. P on the anxiety front..…


End of an Era

With every Halloween there comes the inevitable question, “What are you guys dressing up as this year?”

Ween 2014

Ween 2014

Asked by friends and family with utmost enthusiasm; genuinely excited to learn what fun costume ensemble my husband, my girls and yours truest plan to reveal that year. We’re assured just how much they look forward to it, every year.  Last Friday, Oct 30th, my ex-husband texted, “By the way…..what’s the family theme this year?” Even he’s into it!  But perhaps our last minute group effort in 2014 should have served as an omen of things to come – or to not.  Yet I still didn’t see it coming when Maddy came to me and stated, “I don’t want to dress up this year. I just want to stay at home with my best friend and pass out candy.”

And so it goes, inside just a few short words, another teenage daughter plunges a knife RIGHT THROUGH HER MOTHER’S HEART!

Except that, of course I saw it coming; the rational portion of me, anyhow. After all, I’d quit dressing up at her age. Not all together, of course. I participated in whatever half-assed grease paint and/or wearing of cheap, plastic, gum-slicing fangs that my friends and I had lamely agreed upon. It’s not that I was in denial about her growing up, or that I had no idea teenagers, as they progressively teen, prefer to hang less with family and more with friends. I’ve never forgotten what it is to be her age, and I knew she’d one day outgrow our annual spooktastic fam fest– the very one she was responsible for creating at age 5. It’s merely that I thought she knew this particular holiday was IMPORTANT!

I thought she knew that the complete Halloween happiness of as many as a dozen whole people relied upon whether or not our family chose an inspired theme, costumed ourselves accordingly, and then posted photographic evidence of our glory for all to see.
I just… I just thought I’d raised her better.

It was during this crisis-of-the-mothering-soul that she attempted  to sooth me, “It’s okay, mom. Just let Lily pick the theme. That’s how it all started anyway, when I was little. There were only three of us then. Just pretend it’s like back then.” And, even though it’s not like then, because it’s all very much NOW, her effort to comfort me actually worked.

Ween 2015

Ween 2015

But unlike 5 year old “I wanna be a devil” Maddy, and 6 year old “I wanna be Wednesday Addams” Maddy, our littlest Lily is deathly afraid of all things scary this year (more than half our usual Halloween decor went undisplayed) and she told us she wanted to be a banana.
And daddy would be a monkey. And I would be Carmen Miranda.
And so it was.

On that most sacred night of thrillsome nights, Maddy and her best friend (wearing high-waisted jean

IMG_20151106_174925shorts and turtleneck sweaters) dressed as Monica and Rachel from “Friends,” stayed behind at our house and passed out candy.

Lily trick-or-treated as the cutest 1st grade banana of all time, and thoroughly enjoyed her parents serving as her supporting cast. 

All of it working out splendidly. All of it marking the end of an era.

“End of an era.” As far as family themes go, those four words depict a fitting one for 2016 – and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout Halloween.
But that, my friends, is another story for another time.

Cat Van-GO

Last winter my friend Mike was commissioned to deliver his soon-to-be ex-wife her household goods and a couple of cats. When he returned, and told me the tale, my reaction was, “You did WHAT with the cats??!!!”
Then I begged him to blog it. And he did.

Note to cat lovers: he (generally) means well.

the grumpy blogger

Cat VanGo

I apologize in advance, this post is very long. But worth the read:

Back in January of 2015 I needed to take care of some loose ends. I had a storage unit full of furniture and two cats that did not belong to me, in Arizona. I had to deliver both to a condominium in Utah that I had just purchased for someone else – as a condition of my future freedom.

I will admit that I occasionally make questionable choices, but I was pretty sure that I had developed a plan above reproach. I would rent a truck, load it full of furnishings, and drive 14 hours to deliver the load to its new home. I spent less time considering the cats, I have to admit. Ok, NO time. I had calculated the space taken up by all of the items and determined the best size truck to transport…

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