Punk Rock Kitty Cat

Our not-so-little furball is two years old today. We actually are not sure about his real birthday since he was a rescue, but the vet picked early August as an approximate time and he was given this day to celebrate. I bought him a new harness and longer tether so he could roam the yard. Within three minutes he had choked himself twice and wiggled out of the harness, going completely free-range. This cat is an escape artist. He can open every door in our house, including the front door where he proceeds to let himself out for a walk every now and then. It was locked last week and he somehow barged his way through the bottom of the storm door and pranced out onto the front porch. We have taken to keeping the garage closed since he can open the inside door which swings inward. My husband watched as the cat pulled the handle down with his front paws and pushed his back legs off the wall, pulling the door inward. You would think we torture him by how badly he wants to get free.

We are no strangers to quirky cats. Our last kitty, Mommy’s Little Monster was downright insane. She was the type of cat that would let you pet her for a minutes, nuzzle up like she loved you and then rip your face off. She was always getting into things like the Christmas tree, lit candles, behind the refrigerator, and the basement ceiling. She once got herself caught in a plastic shopping bag and literally scared the shit out of herself. She then proceeded to run all over the house with her entire body stuck in a giant bag of feces. I had to corner her in the basement and cut the bag off her in the washtub. I thought that cat prepared us for anything, but alas, she did not.

Brody is a totally different kind of neurotic. He has separation anxiety and meows at length when anyone leaves the house. He literally stands at the door and cries when I drive my daughter to school in the morning. He also cries when we go to bed without him, standing at the bottom of the stairs like a little orphan crying for his lost family. He has a kind-of imaginary friend to help with his attachment issues, which is a stuffed cat who we believe is a little like the Velveteen Rabbit. Brody carries this toy around the house like a security blanket and plays with it for ages while screaming loudly. He does this every single night without fail. I think he’s lonely and needs another cat to keep him company. My husband thinks he’s spoiled and thinks getting a pet for our pet sounds like something a crazy person would do. I’m wondering if he has been paying attention for the last eighteen years because that sounds exactly like something I would do. He winning this battle for now, especially since I know you can never know what to expect with an animal. I’ll just keep telling Brody the same thing I told my kid as a toddler, he’s not mature enough for a pet, and maybe next year…

Running Up That Hill

My daughter started watching Stranger Things last month and has become completely obsessed with it. I can’t say I’m mad about this, as I usually get pretty stoked about her liking the same things I do. The scary part, however, is realizing that she is closer to being a teenager than I thought. When she was first introduced to the bad boy of season two she declared him her favorite character. Every time he came on screen her eyes got big and she became riveted to the TV. She giggled uncontrollably when his shirt came off at the pool. I can’t say that I didn’t have a similar reaction when I saw his car, but watching my tween drool over a teenage boy was a little unsettling. My husband, horrified by her interest in Mr. Danger had to point out that she may have a thing for bad boys like her mother. This was further reinforced when she met the dungeons and dragons freak making his third attempt at senior year in season 4. She was instantly smitten. It could have been worse, she could have named the stoner pizza boy as her number one crush, and I would have planned the intervention right then and there.

I am happy to see that her taste has improved since last year. On more than one occasion she told me that she only liked bald guys with hair growing out of their ears. I was a little concerned that she had a very specific type, one that might lock her in his basement or a box in the woods, and then I realized she was talking about her grandpa. I often forget that every man is measured against him. This either sets the bar really high or really low, depending on how you look at it. He is kind of a superman in some respects but he also ate a piece of plastic off the floor last week because he thought it was cheese. So my daughter is going to hold off on dating until she finds a guy who will let her paint his face and nails and eat floor cheese. Great! 

Luckily my kid still felt awkward watching any of the affection between the teenage characters during the first few seasons. Even more lucky that I remembered where these scenes were so I could fast forward through the parts that made us both squirm. Somehow in our house watching a demon dog rip a man’s intestines out makes us less squeamish than a couple of fourteen year olds making out with the door cracked three inches. I had already been traumatized during the first season when my kid asked what a douchebag was after hearing it 100 times in the first three episodes. I told her it was a feminine hygiene product and was the equivalent of calling someone a tampon. I’m happy to say she accepted that explanation with no further questions.

She also didn’t ask me what it meant anytime someone said “bang”, “nail” or “screw” and when the creepy middle-aged man asked the teenage boy how the pull-out was, she didn’t question if he meant the couch or something else. I have recognized that she is at an age that I can no longer make sex jokes with her Dad and get away without a look, but when they fly out in the middle of a movie, I am usually caught speechless, which is an unusual place for me. I did get to explain to my kid how valuable both a bike and a walkman were to a kid in the 80s and spent what felt like an eternity in a second hand music store digging through cassette tapes so she could have the full experience. Apparently my generation’s version of walking uphill both ways to and from school in a blizzard is having to rewind a cassette tape to get to right part. Who knew we had it so good.

**Feeing a little 80s so I listened to my favorite band in the 80s. The Clash of course!

Let’s Go To The Mall

Apparently I have not been out of the house in too long and life has changed quite a bit while I was taking this self-isolation thing to a whole new level. My daughter dragged me to not one, but two malls in 48 hours and I have discovered many new and horrifying things.

First, there are vending machines that sell false eyelashes. I shit you not. Vending machines stocked full of spidery looking little beasts in plastic cases. The first thing my daughter asked was “where is the glue?” I thought she meant what people must be sniffing to make them shove a credit card into a machine and wait for it to spit out some eyelashes at them. My first question was who is walking through the mall thinking “you know what would make this experience better…. giant fake eyelashes!” I mean, are that many people experiencing the loss of lashes while shopping that they need vending machines? I would have thought this was a joke but there were multiple machines at this mall containing thousands of eyelashes. If they are going to be dispensing beauty supplies in the same fashion teenagers buy chips and soda, I would prefer it be something useful like a nail file. I broke two nails carting around my kids’ bags and couldn’t find a file to save my life. You would think I was in a prison, not a mall. Although the similarities of the experiences are strikingly similar.

The second thing I learned is that there are no actual stores at the mall. All I wanted was a new pair of Chucks and the Converse store is apparently only open half the week. Most of the clothing stores I was planning on shopping at had signs on their closed gates stating their limited open times. Strangely, the store that sells wedding and prom dresses straight from the 80s was booming. I guess big lashes and big dresses are all the rage. The pretzel place that smells like barf was closed which was the only saving grace. The stores that were open were only about half stocked. We went into at least three stores that had nothing in my daughter’s size and about half of the selection that I saw online the week before.

Somehow, in the last two days of putting in 20,000 steps at the mall I managed to schlep home a carload of bags full of landfill and sugar. My kid now has enough fidget toys to keep her hands busy for the next 10 years and I am going to have to walk around the planet to burn the calories packed into the multiple bags of candy we picked up. No wonder all of the stores are closed. They are busy widening all of the waistbands after we sit on our fat asses eating truffles and playing with stress balls.

**While driving from mall to mall, this is the album my kid wanted to hear over and over and over… 

Miss Communication

They need some form of parental warning on television that reads “Warning – may induce uncomfortable conversations.” Forget about sex, violence and swearing, I need a warning to leave the room before a subject like puberty comes up. My child has asked me about the female anatomy more than I cared to discuss in the past week.

The first time she was watching The Babysitters Club. In one episode the girls talk relentlessly about getting their periods. When my daughter asked me what that meant I told her we’ll talk about it next year but it’s something that happens to all girls and she doesn’t need to worry about it at the moment. Luckily when one of the characters mentioned that a sculpture she created was themed menstruation it went right over her 9 year old head. Thank sweet baby Jesus the sculpture wasn’t actually constructed out of tampons and maxi pads. She was later watching a show with teenage girls where they discussed underarm hair. I found my kid with her head shoved into her pits an hour later. She has already asked me when she can start shaving her legs after she noticed she has more leg hair than the boys in the neighborhood.

YouTube can be problematic because there are a lot of channels with a variety of content, so it’s hard to keep track of what is appropriate. Even when she searches for “water fails” or “funny videos” sometimes she gets videos with people dropping F-bombs. One would think after spending the last nine years as a passenger in my car, cursing wouldn’t affect her, but she reacts to swear words like she is being physically assaulted in the ear. She hears someone yell “oh shit” as they fall off a trampoline and she immediately changes the channel. I am left wondering if “oh shit” actually happened or if they bounced right back.

I have banned more “kid friendly” channels than I can name. She used to love watching this baking lady named Rosanna until she went and changed her face to look like a Kardashian. When a little girl says “why did she make her face look like that?” you may have a problem. I had to have a chat with my kid about the sad and stupid reasons people get plastic surgery. Watching this “entertainer” has led to conversations about how many women play dumb to get more viewers and how she probably spends more time in hair and makeup than actually filming. It’s annoying that every time I turn on YouTube I feel compelled to explain to my daughter how pathetic people are and why it’s scary to me that half of the kids her age want to become internet stars. I would rather talk about menstruation!

An uncomfortable conversation warning would have been most helpful this morning when my daughter was scanning through channels like a remote control ninja. She was watching 30 seconds of the scariest amusement parks then 20 seconds of a Harley Quinn makeup tutorial when she stumbled upon a video about the most shocking people in the world. Of course she had to see the video when the cover shot was of conjoined twins. The video started with “Meet Sarah, the woman who has up to 1,000 orgasms a day!” Thanks YouTube. My daughter immediately turned to me and said “Mom, what’s an orgasm?” and it took every ounce of my being not to make some joke like “a myth according to most men” or “something your sex ed teacher will tell you is unnecessary.” If my brain was not currently melting from the question, I could have responded with something like “I think they said organism honey” and gone into a detailed explanation. Instead I blurted “this is kind of adult content. Let’s watch something else” and hoped she didn’t notice that I was about to pass out. Now I am searching her school’s website to determine when she will have a sex education class in school.

I pretty much ignore ratings on television and the internet so a warning probably wouldn’t help me anyway. I allow my child to watch a lot of content that would not be deemed suitable by those placing warnings all over the internet, but I also don’t plop her in front a screen unattended. We have countless conversations about fairly heavy topics and she asks questions like “why are most of the parents in movies divorced?” These are questions I am equipped to answer. Why Sarah is ultra-orgasmic is not a topic I am ready to tackle just yet. YouTube has a rating system that covers violence, nudity, drug use and even strobe lights. What they really need is a warning that states “Content may cause your child to ask when she will grow pubic hair or what a dominatrix does.” That would be helpful. It would have been REALLY helpful yesterday.

**I wrote this while listening to the very first lyrics I had to explain to my kid. Thanks Glenn Danzig.

 

 

 

Elf on a Shelf

It snowed a few days ago, and buckets of that white stuffed poured on us for a full day. While my daughter was home for a snow day, she decided that it was the perfect time to decorate for Christmas. In theory, it wasn’t a horrible time, but I had literally just taken down our Halloween decorations the day before and we still have pumpkins and cobwebs on the porch. My house is like a holiday mullet with pumpkins in the front and santa in the back. Plus, all day I had been laughing at memes on social media saying things like “Snow in November happens because people decorate for Christmas prematurely. You know who you are. Stop it.” Now all I can think is clearly these people are spying on me. Somehow I don’t think I’ll get any credit for hot days in April when I decorate early for the Fourth of July. Then again, my Christmas decorations may very well still be up well into spring.

Normally when I decorate, I put the same pieces in the same places, but apparently I am getting senile as well as acquiring more decor because I stood there looking at half empty bins strewn across my house, unable to remember where anything went. Meanwhile, mini me ran through the house randomly placing ornament stands and two foot tall sparkly trees on the piano bench and next to the toilets. Apparently she likes to feel festive when she pees. I found her and a half decorated tree by following the trail of glitter. At one point I even joined in, trying to set up a snowman in our guest bathroom, but my husband promptly put a stop to that by reminding me that my mother has literally close to 50 snowmen in her guest bathroom. It is so packed in there that it’s hard to even find the toilet, let alone the sink. I don’t know if it was my fear of becoming a hoarder or the idea that someone could potentially pee all over Frosty, but I cleared out the bathroom pretty quickly.

I eventually figured out what normally goes where and then moved things around for another two hours before I finally gave up and started dragging empty bins downstairs. When my little elf pranced in suggesting we get started on the tree I laughed right out loud. Magically, I have two shelves with no decorations and I somehow acquired a bag containing 150 ornaments that had a $4 price tag on it. Apparently I couldn’t pass up an after Christmas sale even though our tree is already at maximum ornament capacity. Luckily we just bought a new coffee table with a glass top and a shelf below that holds exactly 150 sparkly globes. I would normally try to convince my husband I had bought the bag of bulbs for this exact spot and I am clearly a genius, but he had just redirected me from placing a fluffy white snowman six inches from the urine zone, so I kept my mouth closed.

So once again, it looks like someone ran through my house with a fire hose shooting glitter, and I am in heaven. Everything is sparkly and shiny and I even found spaces for hundreds of ornaments. It’s finally time to light the balsam scented candles, although I feel like fall lasted about three and a half minutes. Maybe I’ll keep the multi-holiday theme going and light some leaves scented candles in the front rooms and balsam in the back. Tis the season!

*I wrote this while listening to The Interrupters

 

All In a Row

Life would be easier if everyone would just do what I tell them to. When my family and friends are acting exactly as I want them to, things run smoothly. It’s when my cast goes off script that the wheels come off the wagon.

I am a recovering control freak. It’s a condition I have been afflicted with my entire life. I think everyone is born with it. I mean babies are the biggest control freaks on the planet. They want what they want, when they want it and they are going to scream and cry until they get it. Some of us just never outgrow that phase of life I guess. I am one of those people. Although now I don’t scream and cry to get my way – I usually just give a stern look or manipulate the crap out of the situation. I can also argue my point for hours and wear my opponent down if need be.

I didn’t even realize what a control freak I was until a few years ago. People just always kind of did what I asked of them for most of my life. I think this is the way with a lot of control freaks. I knew I was a pain in the ass, I just wasn’t sure why. Now that I know I have an issue, I try to step away from the controls. The problem is it’s like having your hands on a marionette and then expecting the strings to move by themselves when you let go.

My first family vacation in control freak recovery was a tough one. Instead of getting prime seats by the pool, we sat a few rows back. We ended up eating lunch at a restaurant that I didn’t have the menu memorized so I had no idea what to order and a storm blew through while we were still outside. I blamed that storm on my letting go of the wheel – like I could control nature! Things just didn’t move as quickly because everyone was standing around waiting for me to bark orders. If the rest of my family had known I was trying to step away from the wheel, it would have been fine.

Things have become easier now that my family knows I am trying to let go a little. Sure my kid goes grocery shopping in a costume and we show up late to almost everything, but nobody has lost a limb yet and I haven’t given myself high blood pressure. I do still pick the restaurants most of the time, organize events and do most of the driving – even other people’s cars. But believe me when I say I am A LOT better than I used to be. What can I say, I’m a work in progress.

 

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