FACT: You can have children AND be the crazy cat lady.

I love cats, a lot.  I love them more than cheese fries and brownies and fried pickles and all the other things I secretly eat then feel guilty about later.  I love cats so much that as a young child I not only subscribed to “Cat Fancy” magazine, but I also had one of those t-shirts with a chorus line of cats coming and going (you know, whiskers on the front and poopers on the back). 
You wish you had one.

You wish you had one.

With total disregard for my lameness (not lame, totally cool, no one else got it) I proudly displayed my feline affection.  Oh cats, how I love thee…let me count the enormous stuffed animal (all cats) collection in my childhood bedroom to number the ways.  CATS ARE THE BEST.
 
We always had a small herd of cats growing up, and all of them were rescues.  When you’re raised in a small farming town, and a pet passes on to Pet Heaven, they get buried in the backyard (this is not weird, stop looking at me that way).  So when I tell you we had a multitude of cats through my childhood and teen years, realize that also equates to your furry best friends growing old and passing on to that great cat tree in the sky.  I have always imagined that if the current owners of my childhood home ever decided to put in a pool, and they dug up a certain corner of our backyard, they would be deeply concerned and/or horrified at the number of cat skeletons.  Maybe they’ve read Pet Sematary by the great and powerful Stephen King.  And maybe they moved out instead of putting in a pool.  That would make for a great novella one day, right?  Poltergeist meets Pet Sematary meets Cat Fancy.
 
Anyway.  Rescuing cats.  It’s a genetic trait for some of my family members, me especially.  I want to save all the cats.  In May of 2003, I moved into my first apartment.  Less than a month later, and with total disregard for my then-roommate’s cat allergy, I adopted a fat tabby cat.  His name, proudly displayed on the tag of his kennel, was Binky.  In my 19-year-old brain, I decided that Mai Tai was a much more suitable name.  He is most often called Pookie, because I’m one of those really awesome people who gives a pet a name, only to call them exclusively by a series of nicknames.  Pookie will be fourteen years old in May.  He has guaranteed he will live to be at least 30 years old, though.
MY FIRST LOVE.

MY FIRST LOVE.

 I am in the 90th percentile for Crazy Cat Lady potential.  People will tell you that this can be avoided by getting married.  WRONG.  People will also tell you this can be avoided by having children.  DOUBLE WRONG.  If you have the potential, it never leaves you.  Maybe that tiny, crazy voice is quieter at certain times (or being drowned out by the sound of your toddler sliding the dining room chairs all over the house) but the voice is there, lying in wait.
 
Three years ago, a sad looking  tortoiseshell cat started hanging out on our front porch.  Pookie was not amused, as he sat near the living room window, peering out at this ragamuffin.  I was intrigued.  We began feeding her (did you know all tri-color cats are female?  THANK YOU, CAT FANCY MAGAZINE).  A few days later, a gray and white ragamuffin showed up.  A week later, a black and white super sketch ragamuffin showed up.  I recall texting my husband after work one day with, “WE ARE SURROUNDED GET HOME NOW BEFORE THEY EAT MY FACE.”
 
After months of feeding them, getting them to accept my overwhelming love and then giving them names, we knew we had reached a crucial point: they needed to be spayed and neutered, and they need to be adopted.  Watching them out the front door window, all three snuggled up together on the giant dog bed we’d given them, I realized that these three siblings couldn’t be separated…and in my heart of hearts, I just knew that no one would adopt three cats (which we had affectionately dubbed “The Wild Bunch”).  And so, the decision was made for us by the furballs on the front porch.  We crated them (that is an awesomely insane story for another day) and took them to our local PAWS to have them all snipped, clipped, chipped and vaccinated.  WELCOME HOME, KITTIES.
Three fatties.

Three fatties: Blueberry, Patches and Frankie.

 Pookie adapted pretty well for an old dude.  We agreed that four cats was plenty, and we would adopt no more.  I avoid adoption days at PetsMart like the plague.  I will cry for the kitties waiting to find forever homes.  When those stupid ASPCA commercial with Sara McLaughlin singing come on, the channel cannot be changed fast enough.  I love the ASPCA and all they do, but my fragile emotional state and internal Crazy Cat Lady cannot handle the sads.
 
AND NOW…For the past week, two cats have been hanging out in the preserve across the street from our house.  Like the Wild Bunch we adopted three years ago, these two new cats have been sleeping in the culvert.  They are beautiful, obviously cared for, and clearly abandoned based on the length of time they’ve been here.  I cannot fathom abandoning a pet (okay, maybe my husband’s parrot, but Kiwi is the Winged Apocalypse) and I cannot believe that a person would leave two pretty babies to fend for themselves.  Heaven forbid I find the person who left them.  I hope they died peacefully in their sleep, and the cats escaped the house in search of food.  If they did not die peacefully in their sleep, the will die unpeacefully in their awakeness.  TRUTH.
 
I contacted a local no-kill shelter, only to find they only accept owner surrenders.  This breaks my heart, even though I understand situations arise in which pets cannot go with you.  And I am thankful a shelter exists that will take the pets.  And I am filled with rage that the owner of these two cats did not do a little research and take the cats to this shelter; now these babies aren’t eligible.  I then contacted our county’s animal services division, and was told that their hold time for abandoned pets has been reduced to one day.  This means that in 24 hours, if the owners haven’t claimed the pet, they are evaluated to either be euthanized or put up for adoption.  That’s not a lot of time; I would pray that the cats are put up for adoption, but the reality is that they’re cats, not kittens, and the likelihood of them being adopted is reduced, with the likelihood of them being euthanized is increased.  My head and heart cannot handle the guilt of that possibility.
 
Now what?  We have four cats.  Did I think having Miles would reduce or eliminate my affinity for saving the world?  Absolutely not.  Do I think six cats would be too much for our tiny home?  Well, for our tiny home, yes…but for our enormous hearts, there is plenty of room.
 
I have posted on Craigslist, hoping to find the owners.  But for now, we’re sneaking plates of turkey and cat food across the street (my kind and lovely neighbors, who take care of our own herd of cats when we’re out of town, have assured me we do not need more cats) in the cover of darkness to avoid any backlash.  They are friendly.  I will provide a photo as this relationship progresses.
 
Place your bets now on whether I enter the 95th percentile of Crazy Cat Lady potential.
If you buy me this shirt, I will wear it.

If you buy me this shirt, I will wear it.

Home delivery available.

Home delivery available.

WANT.

WANT.

We can google image search all night long,

K

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Friday Round-Up

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
WE HAVE NEW NEIGHBORS!  Eek, I am so excited.  Wanna know why?  Because not only are they our age, but they’re pregnant with their first child, and guess what?  IT’S A BOY!  This means instant best friend for Miles.  Also, because they bought the house, that means they’re locked in for a long term commitment with us as neighbors.  It’ll be just like a TV sitcom!  Yay!
My current concern is how long to wait before I begin the stalking.  Also, what’s an appropriate food item to welcome them to the ‘hood?  What if they have a food allergy?  Or can’t eat chicken on Saturdays because of some religious belief?  What if they only eat organic apples washed by the tears of happy apple picking children?  I thought about baking banana nut bread.  Or maybe something pumpkin, since the calendar tells me it’s Fall (although the weather does not).  Does it need to be gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly, kosher and smell good?
Help me out here, people.  I don’t want to offend the parents of Miles’ future BFF.
Side note: Evan has met Cameron (the husband) and says he’s super nice.  They have two dogs.  Last night, one of the dogs came into our yard (TO POOP!!!) while they were probably lugging boxes inside.  Evan advised me of the dog’s (POOPING) presence by saying, “HONEY THERE’S AN ANIMAL IN THE YARD!”  This is not how you tell me there’s a dog (POOPING) in the yard.  If you tell me there’s an animal, my mind sees a grizzly bear or a sixteen foot alligator or a sharktopus (Google it).  I have a legitimate fear of zombies coming to my front door.  Ask my husband.  So the best way to tell me there’s a dog in the yard is to say, “Hey, there’s a cute, sweet, harmless looking dog in the front yard.”
I went to the window and peeked through the blinds.  The dog looked up (FROM HIS POOPING, IN MY YARD!!!) and we made eye contact.  And we both stood there, frozen.  I did what any rational adult would do: I stuck my tongue out at the dog.
The dog proceeded to bark hysterically at me.  I closed the blinds.  Right now I’m iffy about the new dogs next door. 
Reduce, Reuse…
Most of you know I am big on taking care of Mother Earth.  After all, what we do today is the legacy we’ll live our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren…and I would like to make sure there are still some trees, estuaries, wildlife, and other cool stuff left for them to enjoy.  I don’t drive a Prius (yet) and we haven’t gone totally organic (yet) but I do enjoy hugging trees, picking up garbage, cutting the plastic rings from six-packs so ducks don’t get stuck, and recycling.  I have always been quietly proud of my recycling efforts, until my husband jumped on board.
There are a few things I refuse to reduce, reuse, recycle:
–          Cat food cans
–          Jelly jars
–          Salad dressing bottles
The effort to clean these things is more than I can muster.  Also, cat food cans are smelly…I freak out if any of the cat food juice gets on my fingers (like, flailing because I touched a spider web freak out).  I am darn sure not washing the turkey giblets out of it.  Ick.
If Evan catches me discarding any of these items, he will remove them from the garbage (no matter how deep I’ve buried them) and proceed to wash them.  It’s not unusual to find a jelly jar soaking by the sink when I get home from work.  Even if I try to sneak said item into the garbage can, his Captain America senses tingle and he runs to the rescue.  If I try to beat him to the garbage can, he foils my attempt in QB sack fashion.
In 2009, we took a 4,000 miles road trip from FL to WashingtonDC, New Jersey, NYC, Niagara Falls, and then west to Kentucky for my brother’s graduation from basic training.  Side note: Does it count as cross-country if it was mostly north to south traveling?  I mean, we did go to Kentucky, which could really just secede and become its own country (sorry, Kentuckians…) so cross country it is.  We traveled for 15 days.  Evan kept every single water bottle, napkin, newspaper, coffee cup, flyer, take-out container and plastic utensil we used.  When we arrived back in Florida, we had two black garbage bags full of recycling.  Evan would have left luggage in Ohio if it meant we could squeeze more recyclable goods in our truck.
We’ve been to parties and cook-outs where folks weren’t recycling their bottles and cans.  People: don’t do this around my husband.  Do you know what he’ll do?  Turn into a raccoon and start rummaging through your garbage cans to remove all of the recyclables.  Then we have to take them all home.
Please, for my sanity, recycle.

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring…
Floridians, what is up with this weather?!  It’s like the clouds have us confused with Seattle, and have sent all the grungy, depressed, flannel wearing rain to our neck of the woods.  Not cool.
This week alone, I’ve seen three accidents (minor) on my way to or from work.  The weather has brought the following to my attention:
–          Leaving adequate space between my car and the car ahead of me is something I view as a safety precaution.  Everyone else on the road believes I’m just leaving enough space to let six cars cut me off.
–          No one uses their headlights when it’s a monsoon; however, if it’s a light drizzle, at least two people will turn on their hazard lights and drive 25mph.
–          I never need to replace my wiper blades until it’s raining.
–          I never need to pump gas until it’s raining.
–          Umbrellas are stupid.  I am positive I get more water on me, in the car, in my purse, down my shirt and on Miles if I try to use an umbrella.  Is there some magical umbrella trick you can use to get in your car without soaking yourself?  Because it if you look at me after I’ve used an umbrella, you’d think I’m just standing outside, holding it upside down.  UMBRELLAS ARE STUPID.
–          No one remembers they needed to turn righthererightnowohmygoshhereicome until the very last minuteAt least I’ve given you plenty of space in front of me to attempt vehicular homicide.
–          The reduction of driving skills exhibited by the motorists on Del Prado is directly proportionate to the increase in precipitation.

Rain…please GTFO.  Thanks.
Happy Weekend!