Tag Archives: humor

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.

20160311_190223

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…

20160501_195348

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..…
FURTHER ADVICE WELCOME!

Baby Pit

  1. My pal Mike doesn’t have children (just a pug, cats need not apply) nor does he want them. He doesn’t hate them, he’s just not interested. So it goes that a lot of kid-affiliated subject matter is foreign to him. Like the time he was trying to describe an infant in a playpen and said, “You know, it was in one of those things …..one of those baby cages.”
    He’s yet to live that one down.
  2. I’ve never been Johnny-on-the-spot with my cell phone, and at this late date I doubt I ever will be. Most of the time I misplace it, and don’t care – and then I can’t find it because, due to neglect, the battery died. I don’t realize this until I need it, of course. But whenever it is on my person and fully charged, I DON’T need it, and no one else seems to need me to have it. It’s not until the damn thing is lying lifeless at the bottom of the laundry hamper, or under the passenger seat of my car, that there’s some emergent situation where someone needs to get ahold of me RIGHT NOW, or vise versa.
    Point is, it means I’m not a prompt texter-backer person. But my friends text me anyway, and thank the heavens for it! Because later, whenever I eventually re-tether my electronic leash, hilarity awaits me. And that’s a very wonderful thing!

Screenshot_2015-09-17-13-20-17 Screenshot_2015-09-17-13-21-16
Screenshot_2015-09-17-13-21-32 Screenshot_2015-09-17-13-21-46 Screenshot_2015-09-17-13-22-00

The Title is Title

The following are titles of blog posts I’ve intended to write for years but probably never will:

  • McDonalds’ Playhell: Lord of the Fries
  • South American Donald Trump Wants You to Buy a Classy Thong
  • I Just Gave You Melanoma
  • Return of the Working Mother (Demise of the Magic Fucking Laundry Fairy)
  • The Korean Cab Hustle
  • My life with PMDD: Premenstrual Dysphoric DEATHtoALL
  • Kid-Free, Clothing Optional
  • Soju Blackout
  • If There’s Lipstick on Her Teeth, It’s a Vicodin Day
  • Hello Ultra-size Tampon, Goodbye Hymen
  • Damnit Niki: And Other Tales of Assholery

Then again, my failure to share these gentle, heartwarming tales might just be for the best.

A Confident Walk (of Shame)

Several times a week I leave my office and trek a few blocks to the convenience store for an iced coffee – or, on zombie afternoons, 5 hour energy. Recently, the girl working the morning shift remarked, “You have such a confident walk! I always watch you when you come down the street. Some women are all [bows her head, slumps her shoulders]….but not you. It looks good!” Taken aback, I thanked her, then quickly explained…it’s all an act.

I’ve always felt that a woman walking alone should hold her chin up, her shoulders back, keep her face no-nonsense and her eyes peeled. But it doesn’t mean I’m a badass, it’s simply my preferred brand of asshole repellent. And that determined stride isn’t always the attribute it appears – like, for example, when I fuck up. Badly. In front of everyone. In front of the live studio audience known as the whole ruthless world. Nobody but nobody can embarrass me, with utmost conspicuous grandeur, the way my own fool-ass-foolery can. For instance…….

Not too long ago my boss retired, and since he was the best boss I’d ever had I went out of my way to arrange for a proper gift and send-off luncheon. The service at our chosen venue turned out to be insanely slow. So slow that, after two hours, I deemed it necessary to return to the office. I stood up, hugged my former boss and his wife, received praise from many for the efforts I’d made, bid my individual and collective farewells and confidently strode toward the door.

Upon exit I felt for my cars keys, found them, and froze.
I hadn’t driven there.
Laura had driven me there.
Laura was still inside, eating – alongside everyone I’d just said goodbye to.
I didn’t have a car.
I DID NOT HAVE A CAR!!!

The restaurant was housed inside a hotel lobby. I spotted a restroom across the way and, all of the sudden, I desperately needed to use it. What I really needed was time to think. What was I going to do? How was I going to play this off? How was I going to go back to work without going back in THERE first? Because I could NOT go back in there. EVER. A fate worse than death awaited me in there: fate, thy name is humiliation.

I sat in the bathroom racking my brain for a way out, any way at all; any way that didn’t involve a public walk of shame. Did I mention the members of our party were the restaurant’s only patrons that day?  Oh yeah. 20+ colleagues seated at one long table, smack dab in the center of the place, with an open, positively grand view of the entrance. Right stinking there. No sneaking back in, unnoticed. No sir. And no way around my predicament, either. No ma’am.

So, with my chin held high, my shoulders rolled back, my face set firm and my eyes avoiding direct contact with any other human being, I glided back into the dining room as swiftly as possible. At the sight of me, my boss raised a curious eyebrow and a few heads turned my way, but most were engaged in conversation, and I thought I might just come out of this unscathed. That’s when Laura greeted me….with a clap. A slow clap.
Joined by others. Including my husband.
“I’m surprised you didn’t call a cab,” she said.

OH MY GOD! WHY DIDN’T I CALL A CAB!!!!
My brain is so (blonde) fired.

Only the Unlonely

It happened just the way I’d pictured it. We waved goodbye to our girls; one tall, one small, hand-in-hand, backpack-strapped, escorted by a flight attendant aboard a plane headed for Nana’s house. And, as anticipated, tears were spilled. We sat at the gate long after it had emptied, awaiting departure, and, an extremely somber 30 minutes later, they were gone.

A few blocks from the airport we dined at our favorite sushi place and gradually I felt the mood begin to lift. Clouds rolled backward, heavens opened up, and to our mutual amazement, something like a choir of joyous angels descended unto earth, banishing sorrow in a sweet falsetto, “Ah, sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found theeeeeeee,” and all at once it hit us: we were FREE!

Two seconds after arriving home the mister was naked. Simply to be naked. And, unless forced to be in public, he ceased wearing clothes altogether. At some point I found him standing in the backyard, basking in the setting sun, a warm breeze blowing through his…chest hair. We giggled like loons. We agreed to have naked breakfast on the patio that weekend, because….what neighbors? Neighbors who? We’re a childless couple now. We’re naked old people in our backyard now; top o’ the morning to ya!

Nudey-dudey breakfast time never came to pass, however, for we did something far greater with our mornings; we slept in. We stayed out late, we woke late, we lounged in bed, snuggled like it was an Olympic sport, made each other laugh, made each other smile, made out, napped, watched t.v., ventured outdoors only for food, came home and did it all over it again. We stocked the refrigerator with kale, fish, coconut Thai tomato soup and stinky cheese. We hatched a plan to scope out recipes; alternating nights in which one would surprise the other with an exciting new dish. We didn’t purchase a single frozen toaster pastry, shitty chemical-flavored cheese cracker, or any product with a character from Frozen on it. It was like living in a dream.

By Sunday I, too, had kicked the habit of wearing clothes. Had we ever gotten along so well? Ever been more in love? Was it as magical back when we were dating? I didn’t think so. And the house! We’d cleaned it just after our daughters left, and days later…it was still clean! I turned to my beloved, bald, giant, hairy nudist and cried, “It’s THEM! It’s always been THEM!”

But at the close of our refreshing weekend, around 10 PM, he learned his father had been hospitalized in Michigan. He spent Monday morning gathering info, Monday afternoon making travel arrangements, and by Tuesday morning I was once more at the airport waving farewell (though I’m relieved to report, his pops is presently on the mend and recovering well).

My 37th birthday followed, the very next day, and every member of my household was in a different state; one in Florida, one in Washington, one in Michigan. I was a little bummed out by this, until I reminded myself how I’d kicked them all out, on purpose, just three weeks prior – for Mother’s Day. That was my gift request: GET. OUT. I only wanted time to myself, without having to go anywhere to get it. I sent my little family out to dinner and just kicked back in silence, soaking in the stillness, and ignoring texts like, “If you change your mind, we’d love for you to join us” and “I wish you were with us mama.” Perhaps the opposite of leaving me in peace, but I didn’t mind. I also didn’t feel bad. I told my preteen, “Someday, you’ll be all grown up and out on your own. Someday you might live a zillion miles away and I will miss you like a crazy person. And someday I’ll thrill to get a phone call from you, I’ll ache to spend time with you, and I’ll count the minutes until I see you again. But NOT today.”

And thus, Life, being funny the way Life insists it’s very funny, said, “Happy Birthday, Niki! Here’s some of that mega-extended ‘me time’ you value so much. We left the cat. Cheers.”

But joke’s on Life, for once, since I’ve been enjoying myself. Between my husband making surprise birthday arrangements before he left town and my co-workers/friends rallying around me, I’ve been quite content. In the week and a half since the fam deserted, I’ve discovered this weird, yet incredible thing called “do whatever you want.” I make whatever I want for dinner, rent whichever movie I please, go to bed at any ungodly hour suitable to my fancy, and I leave the house without announcing where I’m going, or when I’ll be back. I answer to no one! Except the cat.

Dr. Pickles disapproves, but he’s not the boss of me.

Dr. Pickles

The entire scenario has caused me to reflect on the fact that I’ve never lived alone. I talk a lot about growing up alone in the woods – and minus a pack of wolves raising me, it’s mostly true. Between the ages of five and twelve I lived smack-dab in the middle of 17 acres of forest, and because my stepfather hated children (and being that I was a child, sucked to be me) I was forbidden to have friends over. I spent A LOT of time alone. With a cat.

As an adult woman, though, not so much. I’ve lived with my mother, a roommate, a significant other, or, later on, my first born – but never alone. Good thing I got so much practice at solitude when I was small, it made the last several days doable. Pleasant, even. Definitely an interesting and introspective journey, but I’m done now. All done. All caught up on the “me time.” If this is some “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of shit, go ahead and hook Clarence up with those wings, Universe, because I got the message. I’d like my family back now, please.
Posthaste, tout de suite, and hurry the lonesome hell up.
They are my life, and my God am I a lucky woman for it.

Easter: Terrifying Children with the Resurrection Story Since Zero A.D.

**************************************************************************************
Disclaimer: If you’re a devout Christian who takes offense when folks poke a little fun at Jesus (and baby Jesus, and the zombie Jesus), please skip this post. I don’t seek to offend or upset anyone in any way. I do not delight in your discomfort. But I’m possessed (
**************************************************************************************

My soon-to-be-kindergartner currently attends a Christian preschool. It came highly recommended and more attractive secular options did not present themselves when I went searching. Prior to enrollment, I’d explained that my family was non-religious (not to be confused with anti-religious, just not subscribing to, or practicing, any particular faith) and they assured me that was fine; they welcomed all faiths, beliefs and non-beliefs. And because our daughter was known to have a temper – and had once thrown a tantrum so colossal that, after 20 minutes, my husband wearily addressed her with, “The power of Christ compels you!” – we joked that maybe she could use a little Jesus. Just a little.

Over the course of her school year, however, staff changed, procedure changed, direction changed, and things got progressively more and more churchy. By Halloween we were told the children could dress up for a “fall festival” in the classroom, but only superhero, princess or animal costumes would be allowed. When I asked a staff member if it was okay for a child to dress as a bat, or a spider, so long as they didn’t cry “Hail Satan!” (which they did not think was funny), I was told, “That’s fine. Just as long as it’s not demonic or anything.”

Now, by this time my daughter was firmly engrossed in her pre-K curriculum, enjoying the hell out of her friends and teachers, and absolutely thriving. And considering I’ve been relatively happy with the staff overall, I couldn’t justify pulling her out of school just because, from time to time, a couple people said something that caused my eyes to roll heavenward (with a “Sweet Jesus, are you kidding me?”). We live in Arizona. Someone says something stupid and/or intolerant every 27 seconds. You learn to not sweat the small, silly stuff. And I didn’t. But that was before Dead Bloody Jesus.

Happy Bloody Easter! Where my eggs at?

Happy Bloody Easter! Where my eggs at?

Every day for the last several weeks my sweet five year old daughter has been coming home talking about “dead bloody Jesus.” She’s obsessed. The way all kids are obsessed with things dead and bloody; because it’s scary. “You know how Jesus got the blood on him and died? We watched two movies about it.” And, “Jesus was dead and bloody with a cross. Isn’t that sad? But we’re supposed to be happy.” And, “dead bloody Jesus” this, and “dead bloody Jesus” that. Yay Easter! Terrifying children with the resurrection story since zero A.D.

So, the other night she had a dream about Dead Bloody Jesus (of course she did) but, “It was okay! Me and my friends gave him a shot and he was all better!” And that, good sirs and madams, is indeed great news! Because I have to take this child in for immunization shots next week, and you know the old saying…….if it’s good enough for Dead Bloody Jesus…..

Happy Easter.

Dumb Deer Diary

Around 7:20 AM, going 65 mph, heading west on Arizona Highway 90, with the sun – having just finished its dawn-makin’ business in New Mexico – rising in my rear-view, I saw an impressively large male deer leap across the pavement before me.
And stop.
In my lane.

There were no other cars, though traffic was quickly rounding the bend behind me. And while I had my headlights on, he didn’t appear mesmerized by them. He came to a halt  (this breathtaking buck; this absolutely magnificent creature, with his enormous antlers, his soulful eyes) about ten feet from the hood of my car (my car…. the one with the awesome brakes) and he slowly turned his massive head my way. Nonchalant. If I spoke deer, I bet he would’ve said,”‘sup.”

My hurtling black death machine was purely an afterthought to him. And when I try to understand the reason behind his sudden, dangerous pit stop, I try to imagine his thought-process…and it sounds like this (…and he’s very fancy): “Alas, weary am I from all this graceful jaunting, to and fro, in forest-like peace and tranquility. Hark! Tis civilization, yonder! Me thinks I shall rest these weary antlers… but where?  Hmmm, I see a fast approaching contraption of certain death. What luck! I shall stop right in front of it. Splendid!”

My oh my, he was GORGEOUS. His gaze was the gaze of the ages.
And he was very stupid. And he is very, very lucky to be alive.

As traffic caught up to us, I held my right hand high over the passenger seat; Jedi-forcing the oncoming traffic to slow their mornin’ roll – which they did. And after that beautiful buck had properly assessed me, with all the interest his fairy-tail ass could muster, he bounded the remaining lanes of the highway, toward safety.

Actually, he headed toward a suburban development. So, probably not safety. But that’s okay because, as we all know, you don’t have to be smart when you’re that pretty.

I drove away from the encounter awe-struck; nearly convinced of it’s spiritual import.  A random AM eye-lock with the glorious divine. But the rest of the day proved far less enigmatic. In fact, the overwhelming theme of the office that day ( and I’m working again….but we’ll talk about that later) seemed to be that of rampant stupidity. Not by way of my co-workers, but rather their overall report of the active corporate world at large. Shocker, I know.

So was my handsome buck a celestial totem, or just the universe presenting me with its official Ambassador of Dumbass; warning me of the day ahead. Or, of course, he could just have been a deer, doing what deer have done since the dawn of motorized vehicles. But, my goodness, he was a joy to behold!
And magical. And I’m going with that.

Gary Larson's The Far Side®Gary Larson’s The Far Side®