Danger Kitty

I’m pretty sure my youngest cat is trying to off himself. Although I have to wonder if cats possess the cognitive ability to have suicidal ideation, the drama queen in me says I need to immediately search for a kitten therapist. I think he might low-key hate himself for what an asshole he is to his big brother on a daily basis. Or maybe he is just like a little teenager running at full speed without a thought about where he’ll end up. I feel like every week I have to save this little daredevil from himself. Between untangling him from various cords and twine, and literally talking him off ledges, my hands are full babysitting a one year old cat.

This all started a few months ago when I found him hanging off his cat tree with the cord for the blinds wrapped around his neck. I thought it may have been an accident but when i untangled him, he immediately dove back in and tightened the make-shift noose. This continued for days until I wrapped the cord around the curtain rod, taking it out of his reach.

Shortly after his first hanging attempt, psycho kitty began walking on the outside of the banisters on the staircase and the hallway above the family room. Daily, he stands above us meowing and lunging toward the edge. I have had to pull him back from the edge by his tail on more than one occasion and I am fairly certain it is only a matter of time before he takes a leap onto the couch. He has been testing his jumping skills as well by flinging himself from the top of his cat tree to a curtain rod that is nine feet above the ground. The first time he did this, I tried to rescue him from falling, but he dove over me back into a cat bed five feet below him. He has continued to practice his tight rope walking skills while meowing for me to come watch like a toddler.

After hanging and jumping failed, he moved on to choking and poisoning. This cat doesn’t sniff and lick things before swallowing them whole, he just goes for it. A week ago I heard him barfing up something in the kitchen and ended up having to chase him to yank a giant piece of twine that was hanging from his mouth. As I pulled, a knotted ball of black twine came straight out of his throat followed by a puddle of saliva. A foot away was a tangle of beige twine the size of a peach. I don’t even know where he would have found twine, but he gets into cabinets and drawers by himself with ease. In between trying to strangle his own intestines, he is scarfing down the two plants in the house that could kill him. He literally leaves every other plant other than the two poisonous ones alone. He’s like a moth to a flame with lilies. Even when I move the plants out of his reach, ninja cat finds a way to get to them.

I was trying not to read too much into these behaviors, but this cat is either suicidal or stupid, and he has proven to be far too clever to be stupid. In fact, he is so clever that he stares right at me while doing something he knows he shouldn’t be. Maybe he is like a little teenager, believing he is invincible. Just in case he does have suicidal tendencies, I have been whispering positive affirmations in his ear in the morning and cuddling him. Every morning he hears “you are loved and lovable, you are worthy of your perch, you are impeccably groomed, you are worthy of all the treats…” If Brody hadn’t already turned e into a crazy cat lady, Rollins most certainly has.

*I wrote this mostly while listening to Sinead O’Connor after reading her memoir over the weekend.

Better Things

It’s been a year. We’ve had a little good, a little bad, and everything in between. It’s been a year of change overall. Our address changed, my husband’s job changed, my daughter’s health changed, and even the pets in our home changed. We started new traditions, created new habits and set new goals. I will probably feel differently when I actually have time to reflect but I feel like I just fell out of the washing machine most days after a long tumble. I think I remember the highlights, but it could have mostly been a dream.

January – I spent the month learning how to keep the books for a basketball team which was all kinds of ridiculous for someone who doesn’t even know how many players are supposed to be on the court at once.

February – I spent the month driving my kid to rehearsals for a play, doing tax returns and sitting in a sauna while feeling sick all month.

March – I took my first girls’ trip with three tweens for my mini-me’s birthday. And holy shit, my kid turned 12.

April – We rediscovered the Wi after my parents’ basement flooded and learned to play video games all over again. Saw David Sedaris, Bikini Kill and my kid playing tennis for the first time on a team.

May – I’m fairly certain I spent the entre month talking to teenagers before going to Las Vegas to watch punk rock bands for three days. It may have been the best month of the year!

June – If May was the best month, June was the worst. We lost our little baby boy Brody. I think he was the best cat I have ever had in my life. We also gained a kitten since Milo was heartbroken and needed a companion to help him heal. I think I have been cleaning up messes since Rollins appeared. He is much like having a toddler… on crack. We also saw Paramore, The Circle Jerks and Descendents live, so maybe not the absolute worst month.

July – We spent a lot of the month out at the lake watching the kitten destroy the screens and attacking his big brother. Fireworks are always better on the lake! I also got a new record player for my birthday and have since spent a small fortune on vinyl.

August – We became homeless after selling our house without being able to find a new one after visiting 30 and making offers on half a dozen properties. I think my parents’ pool was finally re-opened after waiting 4 months for their inept contractor to wrap things up.

September – We bought a house! My kid started the 7th grade with her uniforms in boxes and was diagnosed with a neuropathic disorder after months of symptoms that I chalked up to anxiety. I feel a lot like my mom must have when she sent me to school with a broken rib because she thought I was faking (with good reason). 

October – My work schedule skyrocketed while my husband started spending more time at home. I feel like I came home one day and my house was full of artwork after my husband got to work in his new studio. We learned that we don’t get any kids trick-or-treating on our street after I bought a literal pallet of candy bars so I stress ate all of them by myself.

November – Every day was Groundhog’s Day… and I’m pretty sure my kid was in a play.

December – I brought out my firehose of glitter and decorated the new house. We had a party, opened too many Christmas gifts and planned for a handful of concerts next year. December has always been one of my favorite months and I spend most of it planning family activities and ways to give back to the world. This year was no exception, but I may have half-assed it a little. Such is life.

It’s hard to believe that the year is over. If 2023 was the year of change, I hope 2024 is the year of peace. 

**I bought some vinyl in August that arrived at our old house in December. Maybe I’ll have time to listen to it by February. In the meantime I streamed it while writing this recap of the year.

Brody (The Young Crazed Peeling)

My cat died this week and I’m fairly certain there is a hole in my heart that will never be healed. I think I had forgotten how much you could love an animal until he came into my life. Maybe it’s because I had been wanting a kitten for five years before my husband finally agreed to let another animal in the house after the last psycho kitty we had. Or maybe it’s because all of the girls at our vet’s office got all googly-eyed when he came in because he was just so handsome and lovable. Whatever it was about that cat, he was one in a million and it’s hard to sit on the couch writing this without him in between my knees.

From the minute Brody came into our house, he ruled it. He jumped up to drink water out of my fountain, so I filled it with purified water and disinfected it every week knowing that would be where he chose to hydrate. I even bought him a fancy pet fountain to put by his food dish, which he half-heartedly drank from when he was too lazy to walk in the other room. He wanted to go outside, so we bought him a harness and tent. He was able to explore most of our backyard, dragging me behind him through pine trees and rose bushes tethered by a little green leash. The kids in the neighborhood came over to watch him roll around on a blanket in his tent and soak in the sunshine while he watched his favorite human play lacrosse with her dad. If we didn’t take him outside often enough, he let us know he was displeased by running into the garage and hiding under one of our cars for an hour while we tried to coax him out with treats. He knew what he wanted and did not like to be told no.

Brody was such a spoiled boy that he had his own pet and carried it around like a baby. I had been gifted a stuffed cat that made an angry face when you squeezed it’s head by my husband. I had been asking for a pet for so long that it was actually a joke and he bought me this stuffed animal as a birthday gift a year before Brody came to us. Sometime when he was still a kitten, he decided Fido was his pet and took him away from me. He carried that thing around the house late at night after everyone went to sleep roaring like a lion with an antelope. Sometimes we would catch him rolling around with it on the floor, alternating between fighting it and licking it’s face. After a year of this, I convinced my husband that he was asking for a brother and we got him a real live cat of his own, but he never really let go of his pet Fido. His little brother even found the behavior strange and ran away when Brody brought Fido out to play at night.

Five days after we took Brody into our home I brought him to the vet for the first time and learned he had a heart defect that would probably be the thing that would kill him at some point. He was the most expensive free cat ever, getting his own kitty cardiologist. Our vet was almost unable to neuter him due to the risk of sedation, but they were able to perform the surgery in a matter of minutes and bring him back when his heart started failing mid-snip. He was given a beta blocker for his heart twice a day mixed in with gravy like a little old man in a nursing home. Up until the the day he died, I could tell time by when he started to get needy and demanding, meowing for his medicine at 8pm every night. 

The two times we went on vacation my parents had to pet-sit, giving him his meds twice a day and keeping his fountain full of filtered water. It was like handing over Little Lord Fauntleroy each time we left. I may as well have taken him over to their house in a carriage. They loved him like we did though and he even snuggled with my Dad a few times while we were gone. He sat next to Grandma on the couch and cuddled up in her chair at the lake like they belonged to him just as much as we did.

A few months before Brody died he had gone to the vet for a check up and it was discovered that he had a growth under his jaw. It felt like bone, but they could not tell without an x-ray which they couldn’t get without sedating him. They also had a hard time drawing blood from him and we had to wait a week and try again due to his increased heart rate. He had his nails trimmed a few weeks before he died, so at least the girls at the vet got to see him before he left us all. From the time the lump under his chin appeared he started to look like an old cat. His eyes were getting more soulful and his energy was not the same as it had been. He had moments where it looked like he saw something in the room that nobody else could see and I kept wondering if he was seeing little angel kittens coming for him. He just started up and down a wall or pounced on nothing in a corner. At one point my husband thought he was injured because he limped around like his back leg wasn’t working, but then shook it off and pranced away when I examined it. I had begin to wonder if he had some kind of brain cancer or neurological problem. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get any answers without tests that he couldn’t have without sedation.

The night before Brody died he stretched himself out on top of me from right under my chin to below my knees. He never lounged on me this way, only my daughter, and he did this at 3 am. He woke me up out of a dead sleep as he stretched out and snuggled into me and I pet him until I fell back asleep. I don’t know if this was him saying goodbye or if it was just one of the many little strange things he did that made him so mythical, but I’m holding onto that feeling for as long as I can.

Brody Logan – 8/1/2020 – 6/4/2023

*Brody was named after Brody Dalle from the Distillers, and this song will always remind me of my favorite little boy.

Beat My Head Against the Wall

My last computer was a Dell and it lasted me almost 10 years. Recently, my husband decided he was sick of hearing me whine about how bulky it was and how my camera was fuzzy, so he bought me a brand spanking new HP. It lasted not quite five months. Last month, the machine revolted and started operating on it’s own. The mouse took over and started randomly opening windows and menus. I couldn’t even check my e-mail without the window resizing and task bars popping open all over the screen. The thing was possessed.

My husband repeatedly made adjustments, installed updates and did whatever other techy things he does to my devices when I complain. But a few weeks later, the computer was still acting like a rebellious teenager. He finally contacted HP support for assistance and this is where the wheels completely fell off the bus.

The “support specialist” informed him that he would need to jump through approximately 843 hoops before they would take over and fix their defective computer. He proceeded to jump through every hoop, including a factory reset of the computer, at which point the computer was worse than it was prior to him contacting support. He couldn’t even get to a start screen after the “support specialist’s” expert assistance. When my husband asked if he could drop it off at one of their many authorized repair centers near us he was informed that he would need to ship the computer to Texas for repair (because that makes sense). He was told that a box would be shipped to us and it would take about 3 weeks to complete the repair. A day later I received an e-mail that a box was being shipped via FedEx to:

11500-11598 JENNY DR

That is not even an address. The middle line is part of my address, but two cities are listed and apparently HP expected FedEx to knock on a lot of doors on Jenny Dr. to find the right house. They may as well have listed my address as the blue house on the corner in a suburb north of Detroit. I received a call from FedEx 4 days later (HP guaranteed overnight delivery) stating that the package could not be delivered as addressed. No shit. When I spoke with someone at FedEx he actually said “that’s not an address, there are two cities listed”. I think the range of street numbers looked more like a sign in a hotel than a home address.

After finding out that they tried to ship an empty box to the wrong address even though I corrected them in two separate e-mails, I was finally fed up enough to call HP myself. And when I did, I understood why this was such a nightmare. Their customer service department is run by idiots. Not just run of the mill idiots, but full-fledged morons. It’s almost impossible to get an answer and when you do, it completely contradicts what the last person said. I talked to three people and each one had a different answer for why the unit had to be shipped to Texas. I was finally instructed to take it to a local repair center by Idiot #3 and given a repair ticket number. When I talked to Idiot #3’s supervisor, I was informed that I should wait for the box to ship it to Texas and that I should call FedEx to find the missing box myself. He said there were no authorized repair centers in my area.

The best conversation I had was with “John” from the Complaint Escalation Department, apparently located somewhere close to New Dehli. His title was pretty appropriate since he certainly escalated my complaints. He told me that the guy who gave me the local repair shop information told me where to bring it but that didn’t mean HP would be paying for it. He sounded like a con man trying to find the loophole to get out of taking responsibility as he told me I didn’t ask if I would have to pay for the repair myself if I used one of the authorized repair centers listed on their own website. He said for them to cover the cost I would have to get a quote and call him back to request a payment from HP that only he could approve. That is the worst pick up line I have ever had used on me. He actually said “we can’t just give you an unlimited budget!” as if he was doing me a favor. I could hear his smile through the phone when he said that of course his colleague could give me the name of a repair shop but that didn’t mean it would be covered under the warranty and that only repairs made in Texas were covered. I’ll bet he was wearing a cowboy hat when he said it too. When I finally asked for his supervisor I was put on hold while he ate lunch and went to the bathroom before being told that his supervisor would call me back. When I asked for the supervisor’s contact number he said he would love to give it to me but he didn’t have it. I’m not sure if this was another pick up line or not…

Since the time I got off the phone with “John” I have talked to two FedEx employees and the repair shop and all of these people have been helpful and friendly. The repair company seemed to have a lot of experience with HP and knew they were dealing with morons. They even said that the parts would take a little longer to arrive since they were dealing with HP. At first I thought maybe I was just being a Karen about the situation asking to talk to the manager repeatedly, until I talked to actual customer service representatives who understood that the title of their job meant to assist customers. I’m fairly certain every person we talked to at HP was under the impression they had no obligation or inclination to help us resolve an issue that was due to them selling us a defective computer. It was like dealing with the government.

When “John’s” supervisor finally called me back she immediately tried to place the blame for the delivery on FedEx. I explained that I had an e-mail from HP which listed the wonky address. She tried making excuses for why I got different information from different customer service representatives. I asked if their policies changed hourly or why their employees did not know their own policies. She tried to disregard “John’s” rudeness as a communication problem. I told her that it was clear that he did not like my tone and was attempting to put me in my place. She made excuses for all of their mistakes and justified their abysmal customer service while telling me it was “my right” to have repairs performed on their defective merchandise at my own cost. At the end of the call she thanked me for my loyalty and I asked what the hell script she was reading from because I was not a loyal customer in any way. I also told her that I really didn’t need to hear her say she was sorry that I was experiencing this issue repeatedly. I needed her to do her job and resolve my problem. At the end of the call she said as a one time courtesy she would do me a favor and extend my warranty for one year. At that I laughed and said it was not a courtesy or a favor and that I would be selling the computer as soon as it was repaired.

I also informed her that my husband ran right out and bought me a brand new Dell the minute he heard this repair would take a lifetime to complete. You may fool us once, but never again. While waiting on hold multiple times to speak with several “supervisors” I came up with the real meaning of HP…. Highly Problematic. I have to say, I love my new computer and it is everything my HP was not. Most importantly, it works!

*I wrote this piece while listening to the angriest man in punk rock – Mr. Henry Rollins. Thanks for keeping me focused Hank. It’s been a week!

I Want Candy

I have a serious sweet tooth. Anyone who knows me, knows I cannot pass up anything sprinkled, drizzled or dipped. I also am known for doing everything a little bigger than necessary. I earned the nickname “double scoop” when my entire family went out for ice cream and instead of getting one scoop the size of my head, like everyone else, I opted for two scoops and proceeded to consume both quicker than anyone else finished their single serving. I should probably be ashamed, but it takes more than one of the seven deadly sins to instill that feeling in me.

One of the areas where I have always been a little extra is gifting sweets to others. For several years I gave boxes of Godiva chocolate to everyone for Christmas from our cleaning lady to my family. I bought so many little gold boxes that Godiva started sending me a corporate catalog. When I finally moved on to another obsession for gifting, Godiva customer service began calling me about my “corporate” account. It took several phone calls for them to understand that I was not in fact a business purchasing for multiple locations, but a married mom from the Midwest with a serious sweet tooth. I told them I had developed diabetes and requested they close my account. I still buy quite a bit of chocolate, but now mostly from local shops.

Imagine my surprise when I opened the mail yesterday to find a check from Godiva. Apparently there was a class action lawsuit at some point and I was in said class. I have received a few checks over the years like this, normally in the range of a few bucks. Imagine my surprise to find a check for close to $50. My first thought was now I had a reason to buy the sixth pair of Vans that arrived along with the check in today’s mail. My second thought was how much chocolate had I had to have bought over the years to earn such a substantial piece of the class action suit. I wish I could say that this thought brought about a little embarrassment, but alas, it did not. Sometimes Double Scoop just has to have a few thousand boxes of truffles apparently.

*Some good Halloween music to eat all my kid’s candy before she gets home from school today…


Riders on the Storm

About a month ago my dad soaked the inside of his car when he left the windows open in the rain. My parents had left the house and when they returned, my dad saw his car window open and immediately thought someone had broken his window. I love that his first reaction was that someone else must have damaged his car, not that he left his own windows down. What is most comical about this is that my dad never has the windows up while driving, so him leaving the windows down while parked is not all that unusual. It can be sweater weather and he has at least the moonroof open. Once he saw the open window, he walked out to his car to find all of his windows down and the moonroof wide open. It had been pouring rain for an hour, so needless to say, his seats were a little waterlogged. I’m not going to lie, that car needed a good detailing anyway.

Since my mom told us this story, my child has double checked the Old Man’s windows every time a cloud passes over. She has asked about the status of his windows at least a dozen times and takes every available opportunity to give him a hard time about it. I understand this though, because the man does not learn. A few weeks after he drenched his car, he left me sitting in the same car while he returned to the house to get something. The windows were all open, including the moonroof and within 10 seconds of him walking away, the rain started to pour in on me. He turned around and laughed instead of throwing the keys back to me. Typical. I am now thoroughly convinced that an actual dark cloud is following him.

One would think that maybe the third time is a charm, but one would be mistaken. Yesterday he picked me up to go retrieve one of the wave runners that was being serviced. Rain was expected, but we went anyway. As we were driving to the dealership I mentioned that I did not have a life jacket and we would need to stop at the lake house to grab one. He proceeded to drive right by our turn off and when I told him he responded “you can swim, right?” I agreed that a life jacket was not really necessary and we continued along, with the clouds following. When we got to the dealership, he immediately got out of the car and took the keys, leaving me sitting with the windows down and no radio. When he returned a few minutes later it had already started to sprinkle. He sat in the car talking to me for a full minute before I could prompt him to close the moonroof. He was just carrying on about the Olympics, while we got a shower until I finally said “you might want to close this….” while sticking my hand through the open roof.

As we headed back to the boat launch, the rain started to come down a little harder, and by the time we got to the dock it was the kind of rain that required an umbrella. I would like to say we turned around and headed to a garage until the rain subsided, but we are no quitters. And we are not all that bright either. I got on the wave runner and started it up right about the time a full on monsoon started. But by that time, there was no turning back. I took off and was halfway around the bend before my dad even left the boat launch, where he probably immediately opened the moon roof. I wanted to make sure everything was in working order but I couldn’t bring myself to drive more than 33 mph since the rain felt like pins going into my face. Although I usually like being the only vehicle on the lake, it was not an ideal time since I was not wearing a life jacket, it felt like pebbles were being thrown at me from the sky and a few neighbors were actually pointing and laughing. I managed to make it back to the dock in about 10 minutes. After getting the wave runner up on the lift, covering it and returning the key to the house, I finally grabbed a towel and headed to the garage as the rain completely stopped. I found my dad holding a leaf blower, cleaning the garage floor before backing in the trailer. Although he didn’t mention I looked like a drowned rat my mom later told me she saw me on the doorbell cam and that was exactly what I looked like. We moved the trailer into the garage and when I jumped back into the car I was shocked to see that all of the windows were actually closed for once, and the only sopping wet thing in the car was me.

**I just noticed I haven’t posted anything in over a month. It’s because I have been listening to new music (new to me at least) like this little gem.