The Big Move Part III: Resignation

Part I and Part II if you’re interested.

Cat wrangling, much like ballet, is simultaneously an art and a sport. It leaves you breathless as well as creatively drained. On the morning we were to finally leave, the Thursday after Valentine’s Day and a day behind schedule, our furry children had to be put in cat carriers to be transported for the long drive. This is that story.

We rose on moving day at about 4am. There was, of course, more work to do because moving is interminable. In fact, I believe a shadow of myself still haunts my old house, forever carrying boxes from one room to another, lingering in doorways and sighing mournfully over dust. We loaded the bed, frame, and headboard into the truck, Husband packed away what little food we had left, and I did a final sweep for things we may have missed. I attempted to ignore the fact that this was likely the last time I would ever be in that house. You see, I loved that house. I knew it was to be our home based on pictures alone. I frequently hugged the house, I loved it so much. So I focused on just getting the work done, powering through, but then I broke the seal.

Let me take you on a little side journey, Dear Reader. Husband and I used to have two cars, one of which was a Dodge Stratus. It was a little, navy, two-door, rusted, low-riding piece of shit that we acquired after my Chevy Tracker was totaled (notice the very purposeful passive voice here) back in 2010. I resented the Stratus for two reasons: it replaced the car that had been the love of my life up until then, and it was so goddamned low to the ground that me and my broken pelvis could barely get in and out of it. Also, I had zero say in picking it out which was pretty fucking annoying, but that was eight years ago, so maybe I should get the fuck over that.

Anyway, that car took Husband, when he was still just Boyfriend, Bart and Di, and me all the way from Ohio to Florida with all our belongings crammed into it. Despite the ire I held for it, I came to love that car so much that when we donated it because it wasn’t even worth selling in 2016, I cried big, fat tears on multiple occasions. You might be noticing a pattern here, but I actually felt bad for the car. Guilty for abandoning it. Why do I tell you about that car? Because I hung from the rear-view mirror a little sachet for good luck and safe travels (side note: I’m a witch, don’t worry about it), and when we got rid of the car, I removed the sachet with those big, fat tears pouring down my face, and instead hung it around the house’s door handle for the same purpose: to protect us whenever we crossed the threshold.

So as you can imagine, removing the sachet from the handle not only made me sad to leave the house, but brought up all the sad memories of abandoning the car. And now I was abandoning the house. The sink had been right for breaking all along. Blubbering notwithstanding, I tried to just hold it in and move on. I asked Husband to get my wooden turtle wind chime down from the front entryway, but my voice cracked with the question, and all I could do was point and sob. So this wasn’t a great set up for what we has to do next which was the aforementioned cat wrangling.

Rutherford, the baby, was first. I threw a toy into the car carrier and he bounded in after it. The mistake here was choosing a jingly ball as that toy that I would then have to listen to for the next eight hours. Next, we got Bart. Bart is an old soul, and I’m pretty convinced he understands human speak in the way that dogs do: he doesn’t know what you’re saying, but he knows you’re trying to convey something, and he desperately wants to make you happy. I asked him to get in the carrier and though he hesitated, when we made eye contact, and I said “Please?” he could read the exhaustion and brokenness in my soul, and instead of using it against me like his brother would, he relented and climbed inside and laid down because he is forever the goodest boy.

Then came Di. Unlike Rutherford who is evil but stupid, I’m pretty sure Di means well, but unlike Bart who wants to please you, Di is significantly more interested in his own security. Throughout the moving process Rutherford wanted to play and Bart just wanted attention, but Di, the smartest of the bunch, knew the horrors that were to come, and immediately holed himself up under the kitchen sink. After 48 hours of packing, moving, loading, bruising, worrying, complaining, barely eating, and crying, it’s hard to have patience with a dumb beast who doesn’t know what’s best for it. Like, seriously, bud, who’s going to feed you if you stay here alone? Who’s going to snuggle you? Who’s going to give you chicken? The ghost of me will be too busy feeling sorry for herself to do any of those things.

Husband tried first since Di loves him the most. He gently called to him, spoke in a quiet “it’s okay” voice, but to no avail. He looked at me and simply said, “I can’t do it.”

But I had this, mostly because I’m the one small enough to fit under the counter. I slid him out, all 19 of his nails (one is missing, that’s its own story) scraping across the wood, and put my body between him and where he had been. The carrier was waiting for him, and he howled “nooooo” in that horrifying way that only cats do. Once he was in the carrier, after a lot of heaving and reorganizing of limbs, my black leggings were white, and I was picking fur out of my teeth the next day, but I’d be damned if we were going to leave one of these fuckos behind.

I decided to have Di ride beside me in the car since Husband was driving the UHaul, and Bart and Rutherford filled up the backseat. This turned out to be the best decision possible for two reasons: Di does a lot better when he can see you, and when Di inevitably shits himself in the first hour of any car ride, you can easily access the cage to clean it up. Because that’s exactly what he does, Dear Reader. He gets car sick, but from the other end.

So I drove about eight hours in the car with naught but meows and Billy Joel to keep me company. The cats were surprisingly well behaved, especially Bart who answered when I called to him to see if he was still alive, but otherwise just chilled. Rutherford had one attack of the crazies, but when he discovered he couldn’t rip open the cage to run circles around the interior of the car, he gave up, and Di cried on and off while looking balefully up at me to let me know he was blaming this discomfort on me forever which, honestly, that’s nothing new.

And, Dear Reader, we made it. We’re all in our new apartment and we’re all alive. The cats are still very uncomfortable, but most of our things are unpacked and save for a package containing a Costco-sized soy sauce and maple syrup busting in the back of the UHaul (a placement Husband now admits was a terrible idea, obviously brought on by the mania of moving), we made it mostly intact. Here’s to a happy future and great things! Oh, and regularly scheduled blogging.

 

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Writing Nest

I’ve heard tell that people who work from home need to cultivate a work-specific space to keep themselves on task. This may not apply to everyone, but in my experience I like to feel “in the zone” in order to do serious writing. When I was in high school, I had a desk in my room and a desktop, no laptop, so my work (including terrible, terrible fiction) was done at that desk. When my butt hit the chair, a switch flipped, and I turned into an author. (I also turned into a monkey because there was a spot on the wall I used to prop my foot up on, equal with my shoulder (I don’t fucking know) and I eventually wore the paint away. Gross.) Over a decade later, I realized this might be exactly what I need now.

So I made myself a writing nest. See, before, I used to go “OK I’m going to do some serious writing today, but first I need to gather all this nonsense and get comfortable!” But now I just have all that nonsense right there in an already comfortable (but not too comfortable) space, so I just need to plant my ass and go.

My writing nest is currently a corner of our living room. Husband and I inhabit an open concept bungalow which, as I’ve mentioned, gives shape to a weird living room, but the desk nook I’ve carved out fits perfectly. I wanted to not face a wall with my back on an open space (always be vigilant!) This allows me to survey the whole house at one time which leads to a simultaneous pro/con: I can see everything. If the house is messy, it’s distracting, but it’s also motivation to keep things clean. But if I can see everything, I’m not concerned with what I’m potentially missing like if I were locked away in a room or even just turned away. That’s only a vague concept, but it works for me. Mostly I just don’t want some ghost sneaking up behind me.

So here’s the set up:

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Cat included.

The desk was a cheap Amazon purchase. I originally wanted white because I got carried away with the aesthetic I see all over YouTube, but the fact is I’m a messy bitch and black matches the color of my soul anyway, so here we are. The side table is one of, if not the first table Husband and I purchased when we moved to Florida. It provides space for animals, stuffed and real. I wanted to forgo a traditional desk chair for a couple reasons. I don’t really care for arms on chairs as I like to sit cross-legged, and since I knew the nook would be in the living room, I thought a living room chair would be more elegant. I was fucking spot on.

I know what you’re thinking: “Is she really so extra that she needs a laptop and a Chromebook at the same time?” The answer is yes, so let’s just move on from that.

The whiteboard came from Costco, and is for to-do lists and plotting. I like to plot with sticky notes so scenes can be moved around, and the whiteboard provides a nice corral for that. Added LED string lights because the internet told me I have to. Thanks, Target! The large calendar is obviously for a desk, but I need it on the wall. It’s staying in this photo, but it keeps falling down, so I’m not utilizing it to its full potential. My life is hard, you guys.

I know I have a lot of stuffed animals. It’s a problem.

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A few details:

And finally my view out over my realm:

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Dining table COVERED in nonsense, thankfully shadowed in the back.

So there you have it. A space where, when my butt hits the chair, I’m in writing mode. Or The Sims mode. Wait…did I…did I do this right?

Blogmas: Christmas Eve!

Look, I’m not one to brag about the things I have. Thing are inconsequential in this life. We should appreciate the natural and what has been given to us by the universe. We should love life, a cool breeze, a warm smile, a good hug. But when you get a present as AWESOME as I got last night, you have to shout about it!

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Rutherford, Bart, Di

Lovely couple gifted us with some extraordinary things, but these portraits of our kitties took the cake (and the cheese, and the ice cubes, and the treats, and all the things our hellspawn love). There is probably no more appropriate gift for me and Husband than this. First, it’s of the cats who we love very much and are a great source of entertainment for us. Also, they’ve been cartoon-ized which really speaks to our preference for things to never be too serious, but they’re just so well done and we have high standards for stuff (or art-stuff at least!) Finally, they were done by an independent artist on the web, Keekers, and we are both really into helping out indie brands and startups.

AND THEY’RE HILARIOUS OMG LOOK AT THEM!

If Husband and I ever have a human child, we’ll have to commission another hahaha.

So here we are, Dear Reader, on the eve of Christmas. There is nothing and yet so much left to do! I braved the Xmas Eve crowds to go to Walgreens and pick up some soda for Husband because 1) I am the world’s best wife, and 2) I wanted to put something other than water in the wine glasses I intend on using tomorrow. On my plate for the rest of the day is:

Cleaning (I need this place to be photo op ready)
Menu planning (timing of oven use)
Simming (yeah this has to be scheduled in so it gets done)
Christmas Eve lunch/dinner (I’m not doing a big cook two days in a row)
A nap? (???)
And an end of the day visit to spread a little holiday cheer!

It’s already almost noon, so I fear I’m behind, but I did get in some working out and a little cleaning this morning, and Husband is up and showered, so he can contribute to the goings on. Guys, are you ready? It’s almost here!

Blogmas: 5 Last Minute Gift Ideas

I’ve thankfully finished all of my Christmas shopping with four days to spare, but I know not everybody is quite so lucky. To help out those poor, unfortunate souls with no idea what to get their spouse, coworkers, or other obligatory gift recipient, I’ve put together a list of five gifts you already have in your own home just waiting to be given to that lucky someone in your life. How convenient is that?

IMG_20171220_195406069Festive Diamond Sphere Decor

Imagine gifting a loved one with a beautiful globe of precious, shining gems they can place upon their Christmas tree. They may not even be able to discern that this fancy-shmancy looking ornament is nothing more than a ball of tinfoil, tightly packed by your own hands and impaled on one of the hooks you found unceremoniously one night with your bare feet while trudging to the bathroom, wondering how the fuck you didn’t find it two weeks ago when you packed away the unused decorations. Bonus if you’ve wrapped something up inside. Doesn’t matter what, everyone enjoys a surprise. I’ve put an old baby carrot in mine. It’s symbolic of the baby Jesus. Bonus to the bonus, this can be used as a cat toy!

IMG_20171220_195039887_BURST000_COVER_TOPHair Ribbons

We’ve all got a girly-girl to bequeath with a gift this season, but why get her the same old pink things she probably already owns when you can give her a hand-crafted, upcycled, laundry-chic accessory? Two used dryer sheets and a little knotting skill, and you’ve got an A+ gift that will have the whole world asking “Who is she?” and “Why does she smell so good?” (A valid question when someone’s wearing trash in their hair.) As a plus, your gift receiver can use this to play with her cats too!

 

IMG_20171220_195223877Best Friend Forever

Every child wants to wake up to a puppy under the tree on Christmas morning, but not every parent wants to wake up to a puppy piddle puddle where the tree used to be every morning after that. A good alternative is gifting the child in your life a pet that requires next to no responsibilities: a pet rock. Check your front or backyards, your giftee’s new best friend is certainly already out there, just waiting to be adopted. And if the giftee already has a cat, it won’t feel intimidated or bullied by Rocky.

IMG_20171220_195625029Sportball 5000 XG Turbo Pain Reliever

Active people. We’ve all got one in our lives, running from here to there, wearing tight clothes, eating a salad like they’re some kind of fucking rabbit. But they’re actually people, and you can probably hand off a gift to them as they jog on by. The Sportball 5000 XG Turbo Pain Reliever utilizes revolutionary crystalline hydrogen dioxide technology enwrapped in a patented malleable containment field. Applied directly to any spot of discomfort instantly relieves inflammation and pain, and will leave your gift receiver with a smile of pure satisfaction. This gift is also transformative! Sometimes you’re just lifting too heavy to take a break, and before you know it you need to hydrate and do it now! Drink up on demand with the S5XGTPR as it converts into an emergency hydration packet. Your cat can also utilize the Turbo Pain Reliever, albeit not for very long.

IMG_20171220_195817925A World of Possibilities

Chances are, you managed to actually purchase a gift for someone, at the very least you snagged something for yourself on black Friday, and you probably have the empty box from that purchase lying around. Well, wrap that baby up and hand it off! No, don’t put anything inside it, trust me. This can go one of three ways:

  1. They open the box, find nothing inside, then you tell them you’ve given them the most precious gift of all: time. When they don’t understand that right away, explain that the time they would have spent utilizing a gift from you can now be spent on something else–whatever they want, in fact. Tell them they are so very welcome as they will be too astounded at your genius to remember to thank you.
  2. They open the box, find nothing inside, then you scream “Oh my _insert_diety_here_! Where is…how did…what in the world? It was there! Right there, I tell you!” The receiver will undoubtedly get caught up in your flabbergastment, most likely to the point they will forget to even ask what it was you had boxed up, but in the unlikely event that they do question you, insist it was the absolute most perfect gift, specifics are unnecessary and, in fact, would only sadden them since they don’t have the gift now. If they give you any kind of skeptical look, immediately go on the defensive, “What? You think I just wrapped up an empty box and gave it to you? What kind of monster do you think I am? How very dare you!”
  3. They open the box, find nothing inside, then thank you profusely for getting them the perfect gift for their cat.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of last minute gifts. You are so very welcome.

Edit: Omigosh I forgot the music! I am so sorry, Dear Reader. To make up for it, please enjoy The Boss sliding down your chimney:

Blogmas: Tannenbaum Part Deux

We bought more lights and finished decorating the tree a couple days ago. When purchasing the original lights, we found that Target had some simple stockings that would work really well for our needs, our needs being he and I both needed one, and of course all three of our cats need their own as well.

I haven’t really talked about the cats much on this blog which is an actual disservice to you, Dear Reader, as they really are the three true Christmas gifts. Perhaps I will rename them Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

For almost eight years, Husband and I just had two cats, brothers from the same litter. My friend who had the cats (well, whose cat had the cats–if it were her, you would have seen that on the news) already picked out one of the kittens, a tiny tuxedo, from the litter for us which might sound weird, but it was actually perfect. They were young, but they had personalities and she knew this one kitten NEEDED to live with me. She was right. The other kitten was up to Husband. He was trying to choose between two with almost identical tabby markings, and it was a whole ordeal. He hand-weighed them (they were the same), he tried to get them to come to him (they just ran into each other), he cuddled each in turn to see which felt right (that was just adorable). I am very surprised we didn’t end up with both of them, but he eventually picked one and that cat has been grateful to him, and only him, ever since. We’ve had them almost the entirety of our relationship, and when we made our wedding invitations, they were signed “by” the cats. So, you see, they are important.

Two cats were enough, but then a couple months ago Husband and I were out walking along the river, and the thing I have been preparing for my whole life happened. It was right after Hurricane Harvey which only caused a pretty bad storm here in our part of Florida. From somewhere near us, we heard a mew. Well, not a mew so much as a screeching. “Is that a kitten?” I asked Husband, suddenly on high alert, my ovaries taking over: Mom Mode activated! “It’s a bird,” he tried to assure me to no avail, and I started lifting up the fallen palm fronds on the river’s bank until I found a soaked, shivering, itty bitty ball of black fur. Obviously he has lived with us ever since.

So they have stockings as well, hung above the fireplace with care and command strips. (Oh, idea for…not a band name, but for the Christmas album of the imaginary band.)

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A better order would have been “BRAAD” or RABAD” but it is what it is.

And I guess you may as well meet the cats too:

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Left: Diocletian, Top Right: Bartholomew, Bottom Right: Rutherford

I got some remote activated, flame-less LED candles to put in our non-working fireplace, but I need SO MANY batteries for them and I have none, so that will have to wait. I’m just missing something for the wall itself above everything as the painting that was there is now above the couch. Probably a wreath which I’ll DIY this weekend. (Ah, ghosts of Christmas blogs yet to be!)

So the balls and stars (another band name!) are on the tree as well as a very small handful of personal ornaments. It’s missing a topper (man, getting this Christmas thing together is hard!) but so far so good.

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My mom sent us Spiderman and Ariel. Actually, she sent us most of these.

Now please enjoy this video of Cher being a fucking badass just by existing:

Questions Only A Cat Can Answer

Why are you so obsessed with the toilet?

Even after the great plunge of two ought seventeen, you still insist on challenging a one-handed me to keep you at bay.

How can you differentiate the toilet from, say, the couch? Both are sat upon, both are read upon. How do you know this seat is special?

Why do you want to lick the edge of the toilet bowl? Just…why?

Do you think that you pitiful whining when the seat cover goes down will actually change my mind? Oh, of course, kitten, let me just leave this up for you. That’s a great idea.

Why don’t you have enough self preservation to NOT jump onto a surface that is sometimes actually a hole?

How is the sound of a urine stream so mesmerizing?

Where do you think the hole goes? Are you convinced we’re keeping something from you? A magical fun-time world that is, for some reason, at the end of tiny tube filled with water that makes horrifying noises?

Is this obsession going to end? Should I enroll you in some sort of 12 step program?

Kitten, are you okay?