Self-Intervention

I whispered to myself, “I think it’s time for an intervention.”  I couldn’t argue with that statement.  It was indeed time to cleanse the soul and start new.

And because of that, starting on August 1st – I’m going on a social media sabbatical.  No Facebook, No Twitter (which makes me jump up and down for joy … I try so hard but I can’t find myself loving Twitter), no Pinterest (sorry mom!  I know you love Pinterest), no Google + and no blogging.  I will return on September 1st, unless this causes me to turn into some form of a wild animal, roaming the woods naked and living on snails.  It’s hard to tell.  I can’t remember who we were before we had social media.  We may have very well been climbing trees bare bottomed and wiping our asses with leaves.  I’ll let you know what I find on the other side.

There’s been lots going on this summer.  I’ve been raising baby mockingbirds.

Chuck Wee, seen in the video, is the oldest of my two baby mockingbirds.  For ten days, he sported a bandaged leg in the hopes that his broken ankle would heal.  His fracture did fuse together and he dodged an amputation  He has finally ‘flown the coop’.  When he started staying outside, he’d come in for four meals a day, then three, then two, then one… and then he was gone.  Today marks a week since the last time Chuck Wee stopped by. In eight days, he’d completed his ‘soft release’ and was a real bird.

Then there is Axel, who we mostly call Wee Little or Baby Wee.  He’s finally starting to spend time outside.  A bird that seemed so incredibly healthy and possessed such a strong will to live from the moment I saw him.  I agreed to take him in because I already had one and apparently mockingbirds are like potato chips, you just can’t have one.

A week in and I woke up one morning to find Wee Little paralyzed.  I dug deep into my pigeon notes and found a disease that demonstrated many of the same symptoms.  Two antibiotics and ten days later, our Baby Wee was back to his usual self.  It was ugly, it was emotional, but it was worth it to see him pull through.  He’s been spending his days this past week on our screened in porch.  He seems to enjoy bird watching :)

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This past Thursday, our tiny peninsula made national news.  We are no strangers to hurricanes here, but tornadoes are something that is rarely experienced on the Shore.  A mile north of my hometown of Cape Charles you’ll find Cherrystone Campground.  We heard ambulance after ambulance scream by our work that cloudy morning and thought there must have been a really bad accident.  We had no idea a tornado had ran an eight mile path coming from the Chesapeake Bay and almost making it to the Atlantic Ocean.  There were 1,328 adults and children at the campground and 40 staff members working at the time.


The high school I graduated from was set up as a shelter for the campers.  Word started trickling in that there were lots of dogs and several cats with the campers.  My animal hospital loaded everything we could spare in my Blazer and we headed to the shelter.  Over two hundred pounds of dog food, forty pounds of cat food, twenty pounds of litter and bowls.  After we unloaded our donation we offered to speak to anyone who was concerned about their pets.  I know nothing can change what happened to those people that morning, but I am so proud to see what our small community was able to pull together.  The donations were pouring in.  Local restaurants were donating hot meals.  There were tables set up with clothes, toiletries, non-perishable foods, infant formula and baby food.  Over and over again, campers reported how amazing the emergency response and local support had been.

10391418_10152528153409463_3851509568187498805_nThis Saturday, we hosted a bake sale and raffle at our animal hospital to help raise funds and awareness for Shore WIldlife Rehab.  This dynamic duo of Kathy Cummings and Gay Frazee care for the sick and injured wildlife of our area.  We provide free medical care for the wildlife at our animal hospital, but the operation of wildlife rehabilitation is still costly.  They receive a few donations here and there, but most of the money comes from their own pockets.  I crossed my fingers and began organizing this small fundraising event.  Gay began talking to local businesses and several of them donated gift certificates for raffle.  The morning of the raffle we had a ton of baked goods and lots of beverages including coffee donated to us by Eastern Shore Coast Roasting Company.  The event brought in $1559.50 + donated items!  I still can’t believe it as I type out the sum.  I was hoping to get at least a hundred dollars for my wildlife ladies, two or three hundred would have made me extremely happy.  Two hours in the event and two more hours to go, Gay whispered to me, “I think we are over a thousand.”  I was sure that I had made the discovery that Gay couldn’t count.  There was no way our little event had brought in over a thousand, but it did.  Here they are, Gay on your left and Kathy on your right.

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I’m going to spend the next week getting some blog posts scheduledd to keep things lively on this site.  Please don’t be offended when I don’t respond to comments.  I promise to address each and every one of them when I return.  They say most social media users spend 28 hours a month on those sites.  I need that 28 hours back.  I want to enjoy my summer.  I want to get things accomplished.  I’d like to finish writing Mosquito Fog at some point.

Farewell my blog followers, I’ll see you in September :)

Posted in Humor, Mel's Sappy Side | 1 Comment

You Bought It, You Read It: The Tenderness Of Wolves

As I pulled this book off my shelf, I wondered how long I had owned. The answer appeared almost immediately as I opened it and a Barnes and Noble receipt drifted out.  2008.  This poor book, along with the next one on my list have been patiently waiting to be enjoyed for six long years.  I’m so sorry book.  So sorry.

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The Tenderness Of Wolves by Stef Penney

The Overview:  

The year is 1867. Winter has just tightened its grip on Dove River, a tiny isolated settlement in the Northern Territory, when a man is brutally murdered. Laurent Jammett had been a voyageur for the Hudson Bay Company before an accident lamed him four years earlier. The same accident afforded him the little parcel of land in Dove River, land that the locals called unlucky due to the untimely death of the previous owner. 

A local woman, Mrs. Ross, stumbles upon the crime scene and sees the tracks leading from the dead man’s cabin north toward the forest and the tundra beyond. It is Mrs. Ross’s knock on the door of the largest house in Caulfield that launches the investigation. Within hours she will regret that knock with a mother’s love — for soon she makes another discovery: her seventeen-year-old son Francis has disappeared and is now considered a prime suspect. 

In the wake of such violence, people are drawn to the crime and to the township — Andrew Knox, Dove River’s elder statesman; Thomas Sturrock, a wily American itinerant trader; Donald Moody, the clumsy young Company representative; William Parker, a half-breed Native American and trapper who was briefly detained for Jammett’s murder before becoming Mrs. Ross’s guide. But the question remains: do these men want to solve the crime or exploit it? 

One by one, the searchers set out from Dove River following the tracks across a desolate landscape — home to only wild animals, madmen, and fugitives — variously seeking a murderer, a son, two sisters missing for seventeen years, and a forgotten Native American culture before the snows settle and cover the tracks of the past for good. 

In an astonishingly assured debut, Stef Penney deftly weaves adventure, suspense, revelation, and humor into an exhilarating thriller; a panoramic historical romance; a gripping murder mystery; and, ultimately, with the sheer scope and quality of her storytelling, an epic for the ages.

My Review:

I should have read this book the minute it arrived. 

The Tenderness Of Wolves is a book that I became absorbed in immediately.  There’s a gigantic cast of characters who will intrigue you and drive you to finish the book as soon as possible.  You NEED to know how this is all going to turn out in the end.

Mrs. Ross is the lead character and most of the book is written from her first person perspective.  Some reviewers seemed a little overwhelmed by the flip-flopping between her first person accounts and the author’s narrative.  I hung in there just fine and found it to be agreeable with the flow of the story.  Those people who seemed perturbed by this also had a hard time with the multiple characters and all of the side stories being woven in as you go.  Again, I found this to add to the mystery of the book.  I flipped each page trying to figure out how every detail tied in to the tale.  At times, you may scratch your head and think, is this fact relevant?  Oh, you wait.  It’s all going to tie together by the end.  

That being said, there are some cliff hangers.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again … a good fictional book with leave you a chance to ponder your own closing scenarios.  (Exception:  Gone With The Wind, if you think Rhett doesn’t go back to Scarlett… then you need to check yourself before you wreck yourself.)

It was a wonderful book and I’m quite sad that I had put it off this long.  Once my challenge is over, I may get myself a copy of Stef Penney’s other book, The Invisible Ones.  I hope it will be just as amazing.

Learn more about the author on her website.  

Next on You Bought It, You Read It:  Lottery by Patricia Wood

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DIY SUNDAY: New Kitchen Table

This will be more of a show and tell kind of blog.  I’ll show you why I’m too tired to tell you about it.

I have this amazingly talented coworker who can paint your socks off, or on, she could probably paint socks on you as well.  Her sister is talented, her grandma is talented, everyone in that family is talented.  We are talking the kind of talented that makes you hope and pray that they don’t want to break out a game of hangman, because you know your stick figure is going to embarrass himself in front of their stick figures.

The idea to paint objects on furniture comes from Emmy and her family.  They magically make furniture look like a gallery display.  I was envious.  I was a little crazy.  I was a bit brave.

I decided I wanted to try this myself.

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 For years, I’ve had this piece of paper hanging on my fridge.  In 2001, I was at a family friend’s house in Florida and she had a table that was painted with quotes around the edges.  I really liked the table, but couldn’t figure out how I would get it out of her house and on to a plane with no one noticing.  All I had was a memory.

I want to reemphasize that I have no artistic talents.  Out of my group of siblings, Oktoberfresh is where it’s at when it comes to talent.  Check my sister’s page out and you’ll know why I was afraid I was going to put myself to a horrible shame this weekend.

Hello Farmhouse Table!

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I had been scrolling through our local Trash and Treasures Facebook page looking desperately for a table to either make into a miracle or mess up horribly.  Everything I found was thought by its owner to be an antique and they priced them as such.  Finally, in an act of desperation I posted that I was looking for a dining room table for a DIY project. In no time, a woman named Nancy responded.  She had a farmhouse table she’d sell me for twenty-five dollars.  I near about fainted on the spot!

Days later, I was in her garage pulling out cash.  “You said you wanted twenty-five dollars?”

“Do you think it’s even worth that?”

I could have hugged her.  I wish I had an extra five dollars on me to give her.  This table would be perfect!

Back home on the ranch…

Sunday came quickly.  Holidays always throw me off and this one made my schedule particularly wacky with an upcoming AAHA inspection and the threats of Hurricane Arthur.  There wasn’t a lot of time to create a masterpiece (or even a childish painting, the likely product of this mission).

SAND HER AND PRIME HER UP…

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I’m a cheap-ass and I will admit it any day of the week.  Why buy something brand new when you can make something you have laying around the house work just as well.  The beau hooked me up with his power sander and some 150 grit sandpaper.  After sanding, I used some old paint I’d been hanging on to for touch ups.  A few years ago I painted the spare bedroom a light sky blue.  When buying the paint, I chose the sort that has built-in primer because the previous tenants of my house had painted that room an obnoxious and haunting shade of purple.  It never wanted to go away.  How convenient for me!  I needed primer and I needed to paint the sky.  TADA!  A miracle has occurred!

JUST GET JIGGY WITH IT….

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I am going to make a confession.  I have never really tried to paint anything.  The last thing I remember painting was one of those spiffy coloring books where you get your brush wet and just rub it on the picture in the coloring book and it turned all the right colors for you.  It was probably called “Painting For Your Talentless Child”.  I did what anyone else would do.  I YouTube’d it.  From what I understood that with my base coat, I should keep dipping my brush in the main color and occasionally in another color … plus dip it in a jar of water on and off.  Then, get jiggy with it … and that’s what I did.  I splished and splashed and danced like a mad person.

As I was stepping back to admire my base coat, the beau pulled up.  I looked at our dog and said, “Cody, this is when your father is going to laugh at me.”  He didn’t, but when I asked him what he thought he said, “You know, I can’t see the vision in your head.  I won’t really know until you are finished what it’s supposed to look like.”  Mmmm.. that seemed suspiciously like, “What in the hell has she done?”

GROWING THE GRASS…

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Oh, I’m sure my neighbors could tell that I was doing something with grass out in my front yard.  They were probably certain I was smoking it.

As the video demonstrated, I started off with the large blades of grass first… which looked completely ridiculous.  So ridiculous all by itself that I didn’t even bother taking a picture of that because I was sure I was going to sand this baby back down and paint the whole thing black.  Then I started working on the  blended grass and it really anchored things down.  I took a deep breath to reassure myself and moved on.

POPPIES WILL MAKE THEM SLEEPY…

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Following the video guidelines, I painted my poppies before the stems.  I tried doing the yellow highlights in the flowers, but I got a bit heavy-handed.  I went back over them with some red and it seemed to balance it out.  I proceeded from that and did the stems and black centers.

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Let The Taping Begin…

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Painting The Black Borders…

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The finished product…

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Posted in Humor | 8 Comments

Cake Of The Week: Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

Weeks ago, (and yes, I know that  means I’m admitting that I am way behind on post),  I had a pile of bananas that were drifting out of the land that I refer to as ‘their prime’.  I’m a banana a day girl, but for some reason that week I didn’t feel like eating my regular mid-morning snack.  This is where most people would make banana bread, but I have a history of making the driest banana bread on Earth.

What’s a girl to do with a bunch of over ripened bananas if she’s not going making banana bread?

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The Cake:  I did add an extra banana to the batter.  The reviews led me to believe this was the cool thing to do for a super banana flavor.  Plus, look at all of those damn bananas I had!  Of course I was going to throw in an extra banana!

The Icing:  The picture that you see on the recipe’s page has a frosting that looks incredibly dark.  When flipping through the reviews, someone had mentioned that their frosting did not turn out the same shade as the cake sported in the picture.  Naturally, I assumed that person did something wrong.  Well, if they did, we both did.  My frosting also turned out more of a milk chocolate shade.  That’s okay, no worries!  It was delicious.

The Nuts:  The recipe calls for chopped pistachios to be sprinkled on the cake after frosting.  A sad and unpopular fact about me is that I hate pistachios.  Lucky for me, I had a brand new jar of roasted peanuts.  I threw those babies in my Pampered Chef hand processor and chopped them up.

The beau rated this cake at a nine.  He says he can’t wait for fall to come back around so I can make the only cake he ever gave a 10, the Pumpkin Cake.   I haven’t had the heart to tell him that they sell canned pumpkin in the store year round.

Want to make this amazing cake?  You can find it here on the Taste Of Home page.

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Posted in Humor | 4 Comments

Sweating It Out

Excuse my depression… it’s just that…

Well…

This is the first time in four years that the air conditioners are running in this house before July.

WHY GOD?!?!!?  WHY?!?!?!

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The only reason I agreed to the forfeit is because our older cat, Shamooki, seemed to be tolerating the heat less favorably this year despite the fact I recently shaved her neck and butt.  (Yes, you read that right.)

The first day that it crept into the 90’s here, I stood over the stove checking on the rice and peeking in the oven at the enchiladas.  Needless to say, it was closer to 350 degrees in the kitchen than the cooler 90 degrees outside.  I grabbed the ice pack I had recently used on my injured knees and draped it around my neck.  I could hear the beau in the living room.  “I’m sweating and all I’m doing is sitting on the couch.”

I feel for the beau, I do.  He works in the heat all day long, has a brief and refreshing drive home in his air conditioned vehicle, and then enters our beloved home that respects the changes in seasons.  Back in his bachelor days, he could have made ice in his living room.  Now he melts into our furniture and I know he does this out of love … or maybe insanity … possibly both.

“It’s only natural to experience the change of seasons.  Our ancestors didn’t have air conditioning and they did just fine.  I love hearing the birds singing outside.  With the windows open, we wake up naturally when they start chirping and the sun comes up.  All very natural stuff here.”

I hear a muffled, “This isn’t natural.”  He may have covered his face with a pillow or perhaps a box fan.

As mentioned above, there are the things I love about summer and having the windows open.  Fresh (humid) air, birds singing, jar flies making that crazy buzzing noise all night.  You can see lightening bugs from your window while you drift off to sleep.  Good stuff.  Then there are the other two factors.

Factor One:  Five years ago, my sweet old landlord came to visit.  Her main goal was to see the flowers and trees that she had planted here long ago, but she also wanted to cruise through the house to check if walls needed to be painted and things of that nature.  While inside, she paused in the living and smiled.  “You know, we never had conditioned air when we lived in this house.”

Call me competitive, but I realized that if she could survive a summer without air conditioning so could I.  That following year, Presleigh, Shamooki and I sweated it out until the middle of August.  I frequently wandered around the house in a shirt I’d ran under cold water.  Presleigh willingly took cold baths during the heat of the day.  And Shamooki… well she managed.  God bless the person who would put her under the faucet.  When the beau and I started dating, I’m sure he thought it was weird that I would mention during a meal in a restaurant, “It’s really nice not to sweat while eating dinner.”  That August brought a fierce heat wave and even though we were surviving, I was afraid about my critters during the day when I was at work. If I had been the lone tenant, I would have kept going.  I had to think about the furry kids.

Factor Two:  I had a horrible air conditioner experience once.

Go ahead, laugh.  I hear you.

At the time, I was living in Parksley in the house that was once purple.  (That’s what everyone in Parksley called my house.)  My hell raising cousin lived in the next town up.  Her little froo-froo dog was a client of our grooming department.  On his hair days, she would drop him off so he could ride to and from work with me.  No big deal.

One morning, I woke up with the crud and called out sick.  I was feeling gross enough I forgot all about playing puppy limo until I heard a knock at the door.

“Oh my God, you look like shit.”

“Thank you.  What are you doing here?”

“He has a hair appointment.”

“Ugh.  I’m not going to work.  You’ll have to take him.”

I’m sure it began to look like an ugly battle between separated parents on my stoop as Melissa put her unleashed hand on her hip.  “I’m on my way to work.  I don’t have time to take him.”

Feeling like ca-ca, I was in no mood for this game.  “Well, I guess you’ll have to take him back home.”

“I don’t have time to take him back home either.”

I looked down at her Lhasa who had a history of cocking his leg on my furniture.  “Fine, fine.  He can stay here today.  Call my work and reschedule his appointment.  No peeing in the house, JC.”

“That was an accident!”  Melissa yelled as she marched back to her car.

It sucks being sick.  It really sucks being sick in the summer.  It really, really sucks being sick with no air conditioning and three dogs panting on your bed.  It felt somewhere between those raunchy hotel beds that you pay a quarter to jiggle and a small earthquake.

I looked at my two and our day boarder.  “You know, you guys wouldn’t be so hot if you went out in the living room.   All four of us crammed on this bed is making it twice as hot.”

The dogs continued panting and staring at me.  They wanted me to do something.  They wanted me to put the AC unit in the window.

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“Alright, you win!  I’m putting in the air conditioner but I’m just turning on the one in here.  I’m not cooling the whole house.”

My window unit was a classic hand me down unit.  Much like its early computer cousins, this beast was unnecessarily huge in size.  It was heavy and it was incredibly awkward to carry by yourself.  I dug it out of the closet and headed to the window, briefly depositing it on the bed.  It took some fidgeting, but I managed to get the window’s screen pushed up out of the way.  It was going to take a great deal of maneuvering to get the unit to hang out properly and then to get the window down all by my lonesome.  I began the dangerous mission of shimmying the AC out the window.  It made an awful commotion that caused the dogs to pant faster.  I tried to move quicker to ease their anxiety and discomfort, but as I did the air conditioner went too far and almost fell out the window.  I gasped and luckily caught it.  It was precarious; my arms draped over the top of it and fingers desperately clinging to the very back.  I took a deep breath and exhaled.  How the hell was I going to get it back in the window?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a lot of time to ponder that question.  It must have been when I was fighting with the screen that caused my demise.  Suddenly, the storm window dropped like a meteor from the sky.  It came down on both my arms and pinned them to the top of the air conditioner.

I cried.  The dogs panted.  My hands lost blood circulation.  All I wanted to do was lay in bed and get better.  I never asked to be stuck in my window.  It was a modern day medieval  stocks.  All I needed now was for the townspeople to come throw vegetables at me.  At least the storm window would protect my face.

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I’m not sure how long I was prisoner to the window.  It felt like years and five thousand dog pants later before I got loose.  With more effort than I thought I could afford at that point, I slowly worked one arm out of its pinning.  Since the storm window had locked in place, it wasn’t as easy as just lifting it with the arm that had received the pardon.  With the free hand I was able to painfully rock the AC back and forth enough to get the other one out.

And because I loved those damn dogs, I still went through with getting the air conditioner up and running.  The remainder of the day was spent in a sleepless coma in a bed of snoozing dogs.  I’ll never forget that day or the way I felt standing there with nowhere to go.  The three souls in that room that I would have done anything in the world for could only help by being a moral support group.

A hot breathed, panting moral support group.

 

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YBI, YRI CHEAT: Mennonite In A Little Black Dress

Since beginning of the You Bought It, You Read It challenge, I have been fairly well behaved when it comes to my set guidelines. I did have the yard sale slip up where I walked away with three books in my guilty hands. They were cheap, the people were moving, I was weak.   Then I bought My God’s Mercy, Now That I Think About It. I met the author at her brother’s funeral and couldn’t help myself. My recent slip up, Mennonite In A Little Black Dress.   In my defense, I did not buy this book. It was loaned to me by Chelsea of Books, Booze and Bitchin’. I warned her that it would be a while since I have this astronomical amount of books I have to get under my belt before adding anything else. She waved off my threats of ‘FOREVER’ and ‘A REALLY LONG TIME’ and said that would be fine.

Well, I couldn’t leave it at fine. I hate having something that belongs to someone else.   It eats a hole in my soul until it falls through into the abyss and I find it years later when I’m moving.   Remember my review of Modoc? Oh yeah, loaned to me back in 2006. The original owner moved across the country years before I realized I still had it. Liz, if you come across my blog … SO SORRY!

Without further ado:

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Mennonite In A Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen

The Overview:

A hilarious and moving memoir—in the spirit of Anne Lamott and Nora Ephron—about a woman who returns home to her close-knit Mennonite family after a personal crisis

Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her brilliant husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her with serious injuries. What was a gal to do? Rhoda packed her bags and went home. This wasn’t just any home, though. This was a Mennonite home. While Rhoda had long ventured out on her own spiritual path, the conservative community welcomed her back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she date her first cousin—he owned a tractor, see.) It is in this safe place that Rhoda can come to terms with her failed marriage; her desire, as a young woman, to leave her sheltered world behind; and the choices that both freed and entrapped her.

Written with wry humor and huge personality—and tackling faith, love, family, and aging—Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.

My Review:

This book is a snarky memoir and if you’ve read my books, you know I’m all about this type of writing. I’ve often found myself jealous of this group I’m acquainted with on Facebook. It’s lead by a novelist/blogger. She seems quite pleasant. Frequently she makes post in regards to writers of her genre. “New Adult Weekend Getaway” or “Five Day New Adult Chocolate and Champagne Retreat”.   That’s fine. They can all get together and discuss the new up and coming character that will definitely be hot, freshly enrolled in college despite his lack of IQ, and that has an enormous cock.

I slap myself silly. Not about the drawing board ideas of enormous fictional penises (come on ladies, I have had the non-fiction version)… it’s because I realized that sarcastic, witty memoir writers will never be able to have a weekend together. Can you imagine, ten people coming away from a vacation and all of them writing their smart-ass version of the event? I hate the phrase, but for lack of anything better, that would be a hot mess. (I thought this phrase had sexual roots, but then I hear people using it in contexts that should not be mixed with sensual origins… what the hell does this mean?)

Sorry, so off topic.

I loved this peek into the Mennonite lifestyle. Yes, she pokes fun at her family. Yes, she pokes fun at her childhood religion. Yes, she definitely pokes fun at her ex-husband’s gay lover. There is something there to offend everyone. Yet, I wasn’t offended at all. I laughed and laughed. I wanted to take notes about foods discussed and quirky sayings and songs. I wanted to be Mennonite.

Well, that’s not true… but I have wanted Jewish friends. So if anyone out there is Jewish, hit me up.

The end was a bit open, but again this is something I understand. Life is still going. This isn’t fiction. You can’t make up a happy ending with rainbows and R.E.M. and the B-52’s dancing. She still has the rest of her life ahead of her (though at times you really wonder if she will survive all of this craziness).

I’ve gotten into this nosey habit of reading other reviews before writing my review. I would like to address some of those. Why? Because I’m feeling particularly snarky this afternoon.

Reviewer: Dear writers of memoirs: your books still need to follow a plot arc. It doesn’t matter that you are writing stuff that happened to you.

My response: Bitch, we are cray-cray. We do what the hell we want.

Reviewer: I don’t love memoirs that seem to be the author writing to see the words in print (sort of like people who talk to hear their own voices).

My response: Much like those reviewers who like to see their own reviews…. I see.

Reviewer: She makes snarky comments about almost everyone and everything.

My response: Oh, like you don’t.

I dig it and I found lots of parts to be pretty darn funny. From what I gather, if you aren’t feeling it within the first few chapters … then you probably won’t. If the giggles are rolling and you are having a blast… then keep on truckin’ with this great read.

Now, to return this baby to its owner so I can sleep at night!

Find out more about the author here on her website. 

Next on the You Bought It, You Read It Mission: The Tenderness Of Wolves

Posted in What I'm Reading | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cats = Crazy

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There is a tragic misconception that crazy cat ladies (or men) are people that own ten cats or more.  This is not true.  Take it from me, the craziness starts at lower inventories.

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 Oh, yeah.  They look completely sweet and innocent don’t they?  Don’t believe that portrayal of innocence for one minute.

These two felines are maniacs and they are making me look like a lunatic!

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We have a bizarre combination of personalities in this household.  I would like to believe there is some balance between the two of them, but that belief only causes for stronger suggestion that I am nuts.

Meet The Cats:

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This is my sweet little dear, Poli Poli Shamooki.  I took Shamooki off a coworker’s bloody hands.  At the tender age of four months old, Shamooki had become a blood thirsty beast that was maiming the small children of the household.  No problem, I said!  I have no children, I said!

Owning Shamooki is kind of like owning a junkyard pit bull chained with a ship’s anchor line to a bulldozer, who may or may not have rabies.  I know that if anyone breaks into this house, Shamooki will kill them.  Not kidding, folks.  She has attacked several people on different occasions that she believed did not belong in her household.  Just like a guard dog, Shamooki will protect me and this household at all cost.  Unfortunately, it has the flip side that in times of boredom, kicking my ass will do.

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Shamooki has to be sedated for any and all medical procedures no matter how quick and simple.  I’ve seen her rip the glasses of a vet’s face before because he laughed at her.  Never underestimate the power of this princess.

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Ratchet is our cowardly lion.  My beau found him at his shop when he was a wee little kitten.  We are talking three weeks old little.  His mother was part of a local feral colony and had been hit by a car.  The beau took him home and bottle fed him.  The beau saved his scrawny little life.

Somehow, Ratchet has stuck to his feral roots (all three weeks of them).  He hides when company comes over, when the washer and dryer are running, when we cut grass, when we look at him for longer than five seconds.  My sister house-sat for us she saw him once the whole time.  We bought a new microwave a few years ago.  Same brand, same color, in the same spot as the old one.  He hid for hours!  The opposite of Shamooki, if anyone breaks in and threatens my life, Ratchet will hide behind the piano until the coast is clear.

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Now that you know what I deal with on a regular basis over here, I’m now going to tell you about my crazy existence with these cats over the last two months.  First some back story.

Over a year ago, I tried switching litter brands because Shamooki was having allergy problems.  We did a food trial, we got rid of all the plastic her lips came in contact with, I diluted the vinegar water I used to mop the floors even more.  Nothing made a difference.  My last ditch effort before succumbing to the fact I would have to medicate that devil daily was to try switching the litter.

Big mistake.  At 9:39 pm the night of the switch, I discovered Ratchet peeing on one of our rugs.  Cats, the peculiar creature that they are, can reject litter changes.  I don’t know how many times I have had to discuss this with owners.  Never did I think this could happen to me, but it did.

By 9:50 p, I had tore off my jammies and put on real clothes, screamed for the beau to watch that damn cat and made a mad dash to the store… which was closing in ten minutes.  I ran through the front doors, acknowledging the sighs of the cashiers and apologetically saying, “Just one thing!  So sorry!  Litter emergency!”

While everyone else in my neighborhood was tucking themselves in bed, I was outside dumping out brand new cat litter and scrubbing out the litter boxes.  All was restored to what we call normal.  (Ha! Normal!)

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Two months ago, I was reading about Tidy Cat’s Breeze Litter System used in combination with the Litter Genie.  Everyone commented on the outstanding odor control.  I’m a scooping fool when it comes to litter boxes, but I am constantly paranoid that a non-cat person (also read:  sane person) can smell cats if they come in my house.  Anything I can do to make my house smell less like a cat’s urinal the better.

 

What would I do about that damn Rachet?

Tidy Cat has recommendations when it comes to transitioning your cats to the Breeze system.

1.  Mix the Breeze pellets in with your cats regular litter.

Okay, I didn’t do this.  In my defense I did not see it in the handout.  I probably would have been to afraid to freak Ratchet out anyways.

2.  Don’t cut your cats off cold turkey.  Place the Breeze system beside an existing regular litter box.  

I did this.  They totally ignored it.  I talked to Shamooki, because I know she is open to the idea of new litter options.  If she would set an example for Ratchet, I’m sure everything would be just fine!

3.  Put some clumps of urine and feces in the new litter system.

At first, I refused to do this.  How frickin’ gross is that.  Put soiled litter in a perfectly good box.  After a week of the new box being ignored, I grew desperate.

Yes… I put cat poop in a perfectly clean litter box.  Dammit.

The website also recommends to refrain from cleaning your old box.  It’s true, most cats will gravitate to the cleaner bathroom options.

I think we can all agree though that I do not have ‘most cats’.

 I have not be able to make myself stop scooping the regular box.  Yuck!

Twenty days in, I cleaned our regular box and sadly pulled the urine pad drawer out of the new box.  Why bother at this point, no one is ever going to use the new box.

BUT WAIT!  THERE’S A URINE SPOT ON THE PAD!

If you had seen me, you may have thought I had won the lottery or that I was trying out for The Sound Of Music!  There was litter hope!

Then ten days passed by until there was more urine.

Another ten days again.

“It’s Shamooki.  I know it is.  She’s just doing it to fuck with my mind.  She’s teasing me!”

One day, I heard Shamooki kicking around in the new box and I went to explain to her that she was in fact driving me bonkers.

Imagine the surprise on my face when I saw an orange and white figure squatting in the box!

Is there hope?  Who knows.  I’d love to do a full switch, by I am absolutely terrified of the repercussions we may suffer.

Cats = Crazy.

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Learn more about Tidy Cat’s Breeze System here or the Litter Genie here (which is totally awesome by the way!).

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