This Dog

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I let the dog off leash probation and he had a day of doing the right thing and a day of doing the wrong thing and now he’s back on leash probation.

Last night, he apparently didn’t go pee when I put him out for the evening. I was suspicious because new kitty was on the steps and I know how afraid he is of her, but… well, he peed on the floor and then mopped it all up with his dog bed. Which I guess I appreciate.

But then! He almost bit me trying to get a can of wet cat food out of my hand! Like, not deliberately, more just “I’m being a doofus and not being careful and I really want that cat food.”

Can you put a dog on whole-life probation? I need to take him for a long, long walk tomorrow, I think.

In happier news, I finished my afghan. I went with a non-fancy border. The only tweak I made was to make the second round of it–even though it’s just a regular old granny square stitch–going the other way. That’s the one thing about these two-color granny squares–you don’t just work them in the round. You flip them over and go the other way. So, many of the squares have front and back sides of stitches visible. So, I did the same with the border.

Also, the whole house smells like cat piss and I can’t locate a source. It’s one of those cases where I can’t tell if I’m just not finding it, if maybe a change in the weather has caused old smells to reemerge, or if the cat may be just leaking a little bit, which, god, I hope not, because that would indicate the end of him.

I really, really want that cat to just go in his sleep one fine sunny afternoon. Or in a knife fight. Something that would be sad, but I could live with.

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Paella

The guys came over last night and I made paella for them. They were a little dubious at first. And then they went back for seconds. Huge piles of seconds.

It made me feel like I had powerful magic.

It also made me a little sad because I was planning on leftovers for dinner tonight.

New kitty has taken to pooping in the bathroom (on the floor, not any place useful) when there are fireworks. The litter boxes are clean but she doesn’t seem to care. She must register her displeasure, though there’s nothing I can do about it.

Mouse Wars

I was so busy this weekend that I don’t feel like I really had much of a weekend. I went to war with the mice in the kitchen, which involved emptying three cabinets, washing most of my dishes, washing said cabinets, and then stuffing the holes I think the mice are coming through with steel wool. I also had to run to Target and the grocery store and do a bunch of research at Special Collections and then, as you know, I’m also trying to get a very rough draft of this story together so that I can see where holes are and where I need more research. Plus some out of town friends were in town and I got to see them.

Also, the stupid orange cat bit me on Friday and I yelled so loud that he exploded off my bed and hid from me for two days. Then, on Sunday, when he finally did come out–though let me also be clear that his “hiding” still involved sleeping with me. He just left my bed when he realized I was awake.–and he seemed kind of stiff and sore and wobbly and I was like, Christ, if that dumbass cat hurt himself leaping off the bed, I’m going to feel so damn terrible.

But he wouldn’t let me touch him to feel if he was in any pain.

So, I sent a text to the Butcher asking him to come by when he got off work. That damn cat was fine. “Oh, hi, The Butcher. You want to give me some head rubs? You want to see me scampering across the house? You want I should leap up on your lap?”

And then, after the Butcher left, the cat came and sat on my lap, like now that I saw how things were, we could be friends again.

I’m like, dude, I’m the one who texted the Butcher! You didn’t bring your big mean man over here to put me in my place and teach me a thing or two about loud yelling. I brought my soft-hearted brother here for a second opinion about your squirrelly behavior.

But you can’t convince him of that.

Singing

Lord, last night in the middle of the night, I was awoken by new kitty just singing and singing. I tried halfway waking up and saying “Good kitty,” but then she got a tone in her voice so hurt that it caused the orange cat to leap off my bed. So, I was concerned that this wasn’t a loud victory song, but a song of pain and her own death.

I also then leap out of bed.

She’s fine.

She’s brought a rabbit in the house to kill and eat. It wasn’t dead, but it wasn’t going to recover. I considered what to do and as I was trying to wake up enough to formulate a plan, she killed it.

I went back to bed.

I wondered if it makes me a bad person that I let my cats outside. I also wondered why a cat who can catch a motherfucking rabbit can’t ever seem to catch the mice when they’re in the house.

There’s Only So Much Poop in Your Dog’s Ear You Can Live With

On Friday, I met with my therapist, which went well, but still took a lot out of me. I’ve only seen her three times, but I now know to kind of expect that I will sleep a lot after it.

So, Saturday, I wake up at 7:30. I take Sonnyboy for our normal walk. He somehow manages to get so tangled up in his harness that he can’t walk–and remember, he got out of the house, so it was on right when we were in the garage and yet, by the time we got to the AT&T yard, he was a mess. So, I had to wrestle him out of his harness and try to get him back into it, which he “aided” by repeatedly sitting down in the most convoluted way. But eventually, I got it.

We got up to the road and he almost immediately rolled in poop. Not on his back, which would be gross enough, but all up in his head and his ears and down his front legs and I tried to drag him out of it, but I am not stronger than him and that poop was, apparently, awesome.

He smelled so bad. It was like a mixture of regular poop smell with like rotting raw beef. I shudder to even remember it.

Then he went full-steam after a bird and got tangled in some barbed wire. Not terribly. But then he was limping and I tried to get him to show me his paw and he was like “And now I’ll just lay down in the middle of the road! Please do not look at my paw, I am busy licking it.” But then he got up on his own and it seemed to be tender but not terrible.

But so here we are, coming down the home stretch and who is standing by the tree but the little old lady he terrorized the other week and her dog who he tried to force to play with him?! But she sees he’s kind of limping so we exchange greetings and she asks what’s wrong and, of course, I’m trying to hold him back from her dog and her tiny little dog is like “Son, I will eat your face off.” And I believed him.

So, I tell her the barbed wire story and just as you would hope from any grandma-looking type, she starts to coo over him and she clearly wants to come over and pet him and comfort him.

But I have to warn her off because he’s covered in poop.

So, so much for making a friend of an enemy yesterday.

We get home and I am just like, I can’t deal with the dog yet. Oh, right, also because I notice on our walk that he is riddled with fleas. I mean, just riddled. Like that motherfucker looked to be hosting the flea circus family reunion. And I’m like “You have a quadrillion dollar flea collar and I pet you all the time. Where did these come from?!”

So, it’s not just a matter of poopy-head. It’s also fleamaggedon.

I eat my breakfast. I go into the bathroom to get it set up for bathing him, because normally the trick is to have everything for Sonnyboy’s bath ready to go and then you have to cajole him into getting in the tub and it takes half your life.

And I’m supposed to meet S. for coffee at 10:15.

But I wasn’t even to the point of getting the dog shampoo opened when I first said, “How’s about a bath?” and Sonnyboy came in and deposited himself right in the bathtub. From out of nowhere! Or, you know, somewhere in the house, but not in the bathroom.

But he doesn’t like to have his head in the tub when he’s getting a bath and his head was where all of the poop was, so, dear reader, I just washed his head outside of the tub and said, “Fuck it, I’ll just towel up the floor.”

And a lot of fleas came off in the wash, though not as many as I’d feared.

But I am disgusting now, so I text S. to let her know I’m going to be a tiny bit late because of Walkpocalypse 2017 and I get in the shower myself.

Problem 1 settled. Walkpocalypse dealt with.

But what about Fleamaggedon? So, I got him a new collar. I got him two new dog beds and his two old dog beds went in the trash. I sprayed down the couch and the Butcher’s bed with flea spray. And though I had been using Frontline on the cats, I picked up some Advantix.

Reader, I defleaed that mean old orange cat by myself. And he is still pissed at me. He spent all morning hiding under my dresser making mean meows at me. He did come out for breakfast, of course, but he was snitty about it.

New kitty, of course, didn’t care. Except for all the fighting and the killing, I’ve never owned an easier cat.

I ended my day thinking, “Okay, problem solved.”

But, like Jason rising from Crystal Lake, I sat down to poop before going to bed (yes, that’s TMI, but it also brings the day full circle, so I’m leaving it) and there I am, stuck on the toilet, and something(s) starts biting my legs. The fleas from the bath, who got caught up in the hair and thrown in the trash can are out for revenge.

It sucked, but I laughed. And sprayed down the trash can.

Yesterday Was the Day

I figured a day would come when the animals might have the idea that the Butcher was not coming home. I was afraid of that day.

Yesterday, it rained in the morning, so I couldn’t walk the dog. Mistake. I came home from work and the front curtain was open, the cat food plate was on the ground and, when I tried to feed the dog, he got impatient and spilled his bowl all over the floor. Then the orange cat peed in my room. Looked straight at me while I was washing my hands and peed and then meowed at me like “fuck you, lady.” (Same cat who has been barfing hairballs on my bed for fun all week. Well, I assume. I haven’t caught the hairball barfer in action, but he’s who’s been sleeping in my bed.)

And then, and then, I turned off all the lights and went to put the dog out for the last time and barefooted I stepped in the largest pile of dog poop that has ever been pooped by a dog. It squished between my toes.

At the beginning of the evening, I was ready to ship them all up to live with the Butcher. By the end, I was ready to ship myself up to live with the Butcher and let these fools have Chaos House to themselves.

New Things

The Butcher’s wedding looms. They’re trying to do a low-key thing, like afternoon wedding with cake and punch afterwards. It’s like they’ve never met our family, which should make the wedding super awkward, with all these opinionated strangers standing around.

I told the kids this weekend that I was going to be their step-aunt. They were more excited about having step-cats. Which, you know, fair enough.

I’m really happy for the Butcher and kind of excited to have the house to myself. And I’m sure it will also be lonely, but man, the dryer will be empty whenever I go to use it.

I think I’m going to win the cat argument, but it’s kind of a bummer because I think the reason I’m going to win it is that it’s sinking in to the Butcher how old the cat is. He didn’t get up to walk with us this morning and didn’t get up to get breakfast. He’s still asleep in the Butcher’s room as we speak.

Oh, god, I hope he’s not dead. Ha ha. I mean, I’m sure the Butcher checked before he left.

Senor Don Gato

This cat, the one who fashions himself as a four-legged Clint Eastwood, is driving me crazy. For some reason, he’s put himself in competition with the dog. If the dog gets head scratches, he needs head scratches. If you’re eating something and he thinks you might let the dog lick your plate, he’s going to need to lick your plate first. Are you trying to do anything the dog can see? The orange cat will need to sit in your lap then. Last weekend I sang a song to the dog and the cat harassed me for like twenty minutes before I figured out that he expected a song, too.

I don’t even think he likes this shit. It doesn’t seem to improve his mood. I think he just wants what the dog gets and so, if he gets it, that’s good enough for him.

But the worst part is that, at breakfast, he really wants to lick the last of the milk out of your cereal bowl and so he sits right up next to you, not quite touching, but close enough that no dog can butt in, and rests the very tips of his whiskers on your arm, as if to monitor the situation for any changes in arm motion that might indicate you are done with your cereal.

It feels like a army of Daddy-long-legs standing on my arm. It’s so weird.

 

Logistics

The Butcher is moving out soon. Soon-ish. They need to make some space for him up at The Butcher’s Soon-to-be-Wife’s house. But then he’ll be up there. I thought I would be sadder, but it’s just up in Gallatin and I like seeing him happy.

I don’t know. I guess as it becomes more real, it might be a bummer. But for right now, I’m kind of looking forward to it.

I did broach the subject of him leaving his cat here. He was not happy with my suggestion, but the cat is seventeen years old. He likes it here and he knows here. We’ll see. I just think you shouldn’t uproot an ancient cat unless you have to.

These Cats Disgust Me

Man, I had a busy weekend. Went to the TSLA. Wrote a piece. Ran out of time to write another piece. Did a buttload of dishes. Played with the kids. Walked the dog. Worked on these afghans.

Did I mention “did a buttload of dishes”?

Okay, so I know there was no mouse poop in the silverware drawer on Saturday because the silverware drawer was nearly empty until I filled it with all the silverware I washed.

So, it was with great alarm that I learned the Butcher found a ton, literally a metric ton, of mouse poop in the drawer Sunday morning. Was there a mouse orgy in the drawer? Could they not have done that late Friday night when the drawer was mostly empty instead of pooping on all my clean silverware?

But that’s not the only thing that pisses me off. I have two cats, both of whom regularly catch and kill things outside. One of whom likes to bring in the things she’s killed, sing about her kill, and then eat everything but the guts and heads, which she then leaves for me to step on in the middle of the night.

How in the fuck do I have two mousers and mice in the kitchen?

Butcher Appreciation Day

Ha ha ha. He hasn’t been a butcher in a million years. But what kind of nickname would “Guy Who Does Some Crap I Don’t Quite Understand And Goes on Trips” be? Nicknames, once given, shall not be updated.

Anyway, while he’s out of town, I’m coming to appreciate all he does, like keep the cats entertained, the dishes, filling the dog’s water bowl every evening, going to the grocery store, getting the mail, rolling out the garbage, bringing the cans back in.

I’m just like, my god, there’s another basic thing that needs doing in this house all the fucking time. And I’m not doing the litter box. Those jerks can just poop outside like regular animals.

I haven’t been doing something for the book every day he’s been gone, but I have gotten a lot more done for the book than I have most of the summer. That feels good. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again–writing is one skill. It is hard but, if you read a lot and know what you like, you can flounder toward writing something you’d like to read and, eventually, write something that you enjoy reading. You can share it with your friends. They may also like it.

The submission process is a whole other equally as difficult skill set. I mean this for both short stories and this damn novel. They’re often conflated into one thing–like if you just write well enough, the submission process is a minor technicality, nothing to worry about. But folks, no. It, too, is hard and requires skills you don’t know you need until you’re crying because you don’t have the skill and you’re not sure how to cultivate it on such short notice.

So, I guess what I want to say is that I was a little fucking snobby about people not being real writers if they’re not submitting. But I also want to acknowledge somehow that this second part means something, too, and has weight and leaves scars. And for most of us, it’s an ordinary, tough, part of being a writer that is mostly invisible to outsiders.

Also, last night, in the dark, I stepped on mouse entrails. I heard the new kitty singing. I knew what it meant. I still did not tread carefully.

The Glamorous Life

This morning the cat was pestering me while I was trying to wake up and go to the bathroom. Finally, I realize she had an enormous, I mean, Enormous, I mean, people of Kentucky, if you looked south and asked yourselves, “Is that a poop mountain rising over Nashville?” I wouldn’t be surprised, sized dingleberry.

Because she’s a tough cat, I grabbed it and pulled it out of her tail fur. (Some cats you can’t do this with and then you have to bathe them. Weep for the owners of those cats.)

She then purred at me in a way I have never heard before, kind of a series of low short rumbles. I felt like a hero, like the kind of person a cat writes a song about.

I Did Some Stuff!

I sent the Metallica story off someplace. If they don’t want it, I’ll send it someplace else!

I worked a little on my October stories.

I wrestled with this afghan, for which there’s never enough yarn. But I’m loving it. I love how the white circle looks. I like the bright colors. I’m excited about my idea for how to connect the squares in an interesting way. I think I have a neat border to try.

I didn’t, however, do any weeding. I’m just not feeling like gardening and I’m not sure why.

The new kitty brought a rabbit in the house last night and ate it. She must be so fast and patient. And tired of our crappy cat food?

But why doesn’t she use her hunting skills on the mice that get into the kitchen? I don’t understand.

Words

she who knocks

I’m pretty excited for this week. Tomorrow you’ll get to read my new Apex story. On Thursday, I’ve got the cover story for the Scene. I’m working on a review of a book for Chapter 16 (So far I have “He rites gud,” so that’s going well.) and I’m up to something which I hope will blossom into something, though I’m still in the “me rite gud” stage of it, too.

Anyway, here’s a picture of New Kitty casting a spell to be let back in the house.

I would ask her to cast a spell to make me an awesome writer, but you know how cats are.

Singing in the Shower?

The thing about the orange cat is that he often approaches living with us as if he is an anthropologist from an advanced culture sent back to make sure this flock of morons doesn’t kill itself. After Sadie died, he began going on walks with me in the morning, as if he thought I was too stupid to find my way back unaccompanied. Before Sadie died, when she would be standing in the yard, having forgotten why she went out there or where she might go if she didn’t want to be there any more, he would go out and herd her back inside. If the Butcher is not here, he sits in the Butcher’s spot on the couch, not sure why so much couch sitting is necessary, but determined to make sure the ritual is kept up, even in the Butcher’s absence.

Last night, he went into the TV cabinet, proceeded to sing loudly in a way I’ve never heard him do before, and then emerge. And, all I could think is that, sometimes, we go into the smallest place we’ll fit, close the door, sing loudly, and then emerge. So, I think he was trying it to see if it would do anything for him.

I didn’t notice any appreciable difference.

Mean Cat

The Red-Headed Kid was sitting here watching 22 Jump Street–I laughed, but was embarrassed for laughing, since it’s really stupid; on the other hand, Channing Tatum’s having a good time being a movie star and it’s hard not to find that endearing–when New Kitty walked in from the other room, came up to the Red-Headed Kid, and bit him.

Not even in a mean way.

Just like “I wonder if you’re edible. No? Okay, well, cool.”

The Red-Headed Kid was not even surprised, which is also a testament to how mean she is.

Tired

The visiting dog was a barking mess all night. I’m tired today. I’m also kind of pissed that the dog is going to be here for “a couple of weeks” and the cats are hiding in the garage. I know, last time, the cats eventually were like “fuck it” and came in the house and made their peace with the dog. And I know that will happen again.

But I still don’t like this part.

This Cat

You all know how this new kitty caused my realization that Garfield isn’t a vaguely funny fictional comic strip, but a hard-hitting documentary? Finding her face-down in a pan of enchiladas. Having to fight to keep her from eating off the other end of your cheeseburger while you’re on the front end. How she will eat your spaghetti if you leave it for a second to go to the restroom. And on and on.

Last night she tried to eat a cookie! Which I was also trying to eat.

So, this morning, I encouraged the orange cat to eat her breakfast.

The trouble with cats is that they don’t understand getting even. Because now the new kitty is moping around on the back of the couch because the world is unfair.

Damn straight, kitty. The world was unfair when you were eating off my plate when you thought I wasn’t looking.

The New Kitty

I swear, sometimes I feel like she’s got her own narrative going on in her head. Something is happening here. Maybe she’s a pirate or going to outer space or… I don’t know. But I love watching her when she’s in her weird moods. I feel like I’m watching some kind of foreign art piece–like I know something is going on and that makes sense to probably someone but not to me.

cat 1 cat 2 cat 3 cat 4

This Cat is a Killer

Twice yesterday she attacked my yarn and tried to attack the knitted acorns. Here she is looking all Lydia Deetz, because she’s so alone and misunderstood.

I’m just saying, this is a cat who will call Beetlejuice on you three times and think nothing of it.

cat

The Curious Case of the Roasted Chicken in the Night

We had a roasted chicken for dinner Monday. I told the Butcher to put the carcass in the outside garbage or in the fridge.

Obviously, he did neither, or we wouldn’t be having this post. Yesterday morning, half the carcass was missing. Bones and all. I blamed the dog. I still do put some of the blame on the dog. And I worried all yesterday that the dog might die from eating those chicken bones. And I also figured, well, he would die doing what he loved–living inside and eating garbage.

But, dear Reader, when the Butcher and I got home from his celebratory senate-campaign dinner, there was a pile of poop between the toilet and the wall so enormous that you could have seen it from space. I have no doubt that some of you probably saw it in your peripheral vision, and just mistook it for another hill in the landscape. It was almost like a pooping horse amount of poop.

It was the kind of poop–when you look at the butts in our house who were present: the dog, the cats, however many mice–you would assume could only come out of a dog. But the dog cannot fit his butt between the toilet and the wall. The dog was also not the one languishing on the bathroom sink.

No, that was new kitty who apparently ate her weight in chicken and then, when her body was done with it, left it in the bathroom, because she didn’t want 8 lbs of poop in her litter box. (In fairness, I have no idea how, if she had pooped it in the litter box, she would have ever been able to cover it. She’d have been in their all day trying to bury it.)

I was disgusted. But, man, I laughed, too, because that cat has always been kind of a ridiculous bad ass. This just seems like par for the course. Of course she’s not going to let some silly dog have all the chicken. She’ll eat chicken until she can’t eat chicken no more and then she’ll leave the rest to the dog. And the dog, though ten times her size (if not more) will respect that.