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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interlude #01: Score One for Originality

     I asked my Boss if I could go home early and she asked why.  So I told her my cat had gas, was constipated and I was afraid it might explode.  She let me go home on account of originality.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We interrupt this program…

    Recently I received the Kreativ Blogger award from La Jenno. With it, I am supposed to thank the person who gave it to me so La Jenno at The Life and Times of La Jenno, thank you so much. Also, I am supposed to tell 7 things you may not know about me. I have had a tough time the last few days grappling with how to do this in my blog. Did I want to go 7 serious things or 7 fun things. I wasn't sure. I decided to go with 7 serious things. I originally didn't feel it was appropriate to post this in my blog as I try to keep it more a story blog then a blog about me but in the end I decided to post it because after all, I am technically the Innocent Owner of the title and I am truly honored by the award coming from La Jenno. Keep in mind, this was a very long time ago but was huge factor in shaping who I am today. So here are 7 things you did not know about me.
  1. I was a junkie in my early years. Sharing needles and all.
  2. I was homeless for awhile (see above) living under an overpass near Angel's Stadium in the Santa Ana River bed
  3. I was arrested for trying to purchase drugs, turned out to be a police officer
  4. I was on all the local news for trying to purchase the illegal drugs from an officer during a big sting operation. Must have had 100 phone calls on my machine the next day.
  5. I got Hepatitis C from sharing needles with a person who ended up dying of AIDS. I didn't get AIDS but the version of Hepatitis C I got was the worst possible version.
  6. Two years ago I went through a treatment for a year to attempt to get rid of the Hepatitis C. It was rough and very little chance it would work on my version of the disease. It nearly killed me, literally, but I refused to stop the treatment. Finally, they had to stop treatment a month early fearing I might not make it through due to the complications I was having from all the side effects. I won the war. I beat all odds and have been clear of the disease for two years and my liver is coming back quite nicely.

  7. I am neither regretful nor embarrassed of my past. It made me who I am and I am proud of myself.

    Finally, I am supposed to pass this award on to someone else. Without further ado, I pass this on to one of my favorite story tellers by far, Hunter, who's blog The Time Crook is a fantastic mix of stories. Fiction, poetry, crookery, his imagination seems limitless.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Close, But No Cigar

    As we drive down the road with our pristine print out of MapQuest sitting beside us unlooked at, we wonder "where am I?" Our second thought is usually, "how did I get here?" It never occurs to us to actually READ the thing we printed out. We briefly think to ourselves, should we ask for directions, but that thought disappears as quickly as the life of the bug that just hit our windshield. We are lost and we will never admit it. We would rather drive around 45 minutes to get to a place 15 minutes away before asking for direction. After all, if a butterfly can find its way from North America to its home thousands of miles away in South America, we certainly can find our destination only 10 miles away. I'm willing to bet the butterfly asked for directions.

    I grew up hearing fantastic stories about how pets were lost miles away and found their way home. A cat with three legs lost in the desert hundreds of miles away was found meowing at the grief stricken owner's door two weeks later. A dog in the middle of a bitter break up was taking by the ex who moved out of state only to find its way home to the side he really loved. Then there's my pet, the indoor cat that escaped and couldn't find his way out of a box if I drew it on the floor.

    With two weeks of food and a water supply to support a small community, we left the cats for their first weekend alone. Out the drive way and down the street is as far as we got before we made our u-turn back home to open a couple of windows so the animals could have fresh air over the weekend. I just didn't know how much fresh air one of them was actually going to get. With windows open we head back to the fully packed car, my one bag and the other ten that are not, and we head off to Vegas baby.

    After a great weekend and a  long exhausting drive, we pull up back home and find the front window open as we left it and the screen with a big hole not as we left it. A quick search of the house and one cat, Bull, was located. The other cat, Rock, was nowhere to be found. With bags left on the porch and treat cans in hand we head off to search for the missing cat.

    We lived on 3rd street inside a mobile home park. Rock couldn't have gotten far. A plan was drawn to choose who will search where and off to 2nd and 1st street I went. Four mobile homes in on the left side of 1st street Rock is found lying on the porch of an unoccupied mobile home, it's the same location as our home just two streets over. I called out his name, gave the treat can a shake and the cat followed me home like a dog. I explained that the cat was found in the same lot we were in, just two streets over, and I'm quickly told the cat takes after me. I'm sure it was a complement.

    Another year goes by before the cats are left alone again for the weekend. No windows were left open this time. Upon returning home we find the front window open about half a foot, the replaced screen with a big hole in it and one missing cat. The window he escaped through wouldn't latch and he figured out how to slide it open, too bad he couldn't figure out how to get home. With battle plans drawn I head off to 2nd and 1st street again. There's Rock, same place as before.

    Eventually someone moved into the place on 1st street and every time we left for 2 days I would go and warn them they may be visited…and a couple of times they were.

    I'll never understand how salmon can find the correct stream to swim up or how migrating birds know where to go. I ask myself why do some people know distinctly were to go and others couldn't find their neighbors house. Why can a cat lost in the desert find its way home and if mine blinks he's lost. I don't know. Until then though, I will continue to add an extra hour to my travel time.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Are You Insane?!

    Through out our lives we pass by many people. We pass each other at work, in the grocery store, in our own neighborhood. Some we stop and talk to and others we pass up. Some we downright run away from. In a split second we make a decision based on their looks, the way they walk, their mannerism. We know nothing about them yet we make our choice. We don't do this with anything else; we don't choose our cars, our homes or even the clothes that we are wearing that fast. First impressions can make or break a great thing in our lives.

    Way too soon after a special pet passed away, I was handed a piece of paper. On this piece of paper where two pictures of two flame pt. Siamese kittens at the local animal shelter. The two kittens, brothers, were scrunched up, eyes wide and looked ready to attack or run from the camera man. They looked mean and grungy. I wasn't in the mood for more animals at the time. I declined. After hours and hours of debate I was talked into "at least going to look".

    At the shelter we looked at the dogs, rabbits, ducks and finally the cat house. The cat house had rows and rows of cages filled with cute, lovable little kittens and cats, any of which would make a great pet. I was directed to two cages off in the corner. In the first cage was the first flame pt. Siamese that was in the picture and in the second cage was his brother. There they were, both of them, hunched in the back and eyes wide. I stuck my fingers up to the bars of the first cage and was awarded with ears pulled back and a hiss. I stuck my fingers up to the bars of the second cage and was awarded with the same thing. Yep, they were brothers alright.

    There is a little glass room at the end of the cat house that you can have an animal taken to interact with. I declined. I don't want a mean grungy cat. We debate again. I lose. As the shelter employee is taking the first cat to the room, she remarks that if the cat bites or scratches us, it will be put down immediately. I comment on how nice her big leather gloves are she is wearing. We get to the room and she places the kitten on a chair and leaves. At one end of the room is a little kitten sitting on a chair with it ears pulled back and all hunched up looking ready to eat me, at the other end are two grown people afraid of a little kitten. Worried that it will be put down if it scratches us I say it's time to leave. The reply I got back was "let's get them". Are you INSANE?! I think to myself, except the words actually came out of my mouth. I look over and I see I'm getting the stink eye and it's not from the kitten. We debate yet once more. I only half loose, as we decide to just take one of the brothers.

    After the paperwork is done we are told they will call in about two days for us to pick up the kitten. Two days go by and we are off to the shelter. Sitting in the waiting area a lady comes out with an animal box in her hands and a horrible screeching sound emitting from it. The box hissed and growled at me the whole way home.

    When we got home, I sat the box in the middle of the living room. There it sat making the meanest noises I've heard in a long time. "Ready" I asked. I sat on the couch with the box on the floor facing away from me and opened the lid. Out sprang this mad kitten that ran around the coffee table two or three times, stopped, looked up at me, and jumped in my lap. He purred. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen.

    Two days later we went and picked up his brother. Worried that lightning wasn't going to strike twice I sat down on the couch in our living room again with another box growling at me. I faced the box away from me so as not to be attacked when the brother was released. I opened the new box. Out sprang the second mad kitten who ran around the coffee table two or three times, sniffed his brother's butt, looked up at me and jumped on the couch right next to me and fell asleep. My jaw fell. We named them Fuego and Toby and as I write this it's been two years of pure entertainment and love.

    First impressions and quick decisions are not always a good thing. Sometimes, it's important to get to know someone. I don't know why Fuego and Toby were like the way they were at the shelter, bad day maybe. We all have those. I think about all the things I would have missed out on had I not gotten to know these two cats. Imagine all the people we passed up throughout our lives and never said hello to because we didn't like their clothes or their ears were pulled back and their eyes wide. Could they be a Fuego or a Toby? Next time you pass up someone, ask yourself, did you just pass up someone who could have become your greatest friend?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who Ate The Bread?!

    When it comes to food, we all have are dislikes and likes. Some of us will eat anything and others are picky. We starve ourselves all day because nothing looks good or we gourd ourselves to the point of exploding because it all looks delicious. We make more decisions about food everyday than anything else, do we eat out or do we cook at home, do we eat healthy and light or go for some indulgence. Wouldn't it be nice to just find a plate of food magically in the same spot every day, always there and ready to eat? We would be in heaven. I've explained this over and over till I'm blue in the face but my cats just don't get it.

    I was surprised one day when going to make a sandwich. The back end of the wrapper had been ripped apart and the bread was all chewed and scratched. I tossed the bread in the trash and ate something else. An hour later, the bread was found on the floor, the wrapper ripped a little more, the bread chewed a lot more. A week later and a new loaf of bread was found lying on the kitchen floor. It was obviously, hunted down and attacked. It was mauled pretty bad and couldn't be saved so I put it to rest. I was starting to get flashbacks of the last time I had a cat who was obsessed with food. I was starting to sweat.

    Canned food has been banned from my house for a few years now. Thanks, to Rock and Bull back in the mid 90's and my aversion to constantly picking up trash that was thrown around the house. Those two were fed canned food every night between 5:30 and 6pm. If you missed the deadline, well, let's just say it wasn't a pretty site. It would start slowly. There would be a small crash as the kitchen trash would be knocked over. It was 6:01. There would be some rustling and crinkling as the trash started being removed from the can. It was 6:02. There would be the sound of feet running and cupboards opening, that would be me rushing to get the food out. It was 6:03.

    At 5:45 one evening I realized I was out of food. I jumped into some shoes, grabbed the car keys and sped off to the store like a mad, crazy person. I made my purchase and peeled off to home. With food in hand I swung open the front door and stepped in. The entire floor was covered in tiny little pieces of trash. The living room, the dining room and the hallway looked like a ticker tape parade had just caravanned right through. I could see no cats. I ventured down the hallway passing the bathroom. Ticker taped. The bedroom door stood before me, ajar. I pushed it all the way open and there sat two cats, both staring at me, on the bed in the middle of tiny little pieces of trash. It was 6:05. It wasn't that they just strung trash all over, it was the fact that they chewed it into tiny little pieces first. Canned food was now banned.

    The bread in my house is no longer left out. It has to be locked up and secured. For awhile, there were no senseless bread murders, that was until one grocery shopping day. I put down the first round of grocery bags on the kitchen floor and went to get the rest. One minute, that's all it took. With bags in hand I rounded into the kitchen. On the floor was a plastic grocery back. Sticking out of the plastic grocery back was a white, fuzzy butt. Flying past the white, fuzzy butt were little pieces of bread. One minute, that's all it took.

   With so many decisions we make on a daily basis, it would be nice to find a plate of food that just magically appears in the same spot every day. No more trying to figure out what to make or where to eat. It would just be there, the same thing every day, all year. Yes I would eat out of the trash too.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Cat Farts!

    Let's cut to the chase, everyone farts. We spend our entire life coming up with unique ways to blame it on anything and everything. We are embarrassed by it yet we all do it. Fill a room with 30 people and an all too familiar smell and you would get 30 comments along the lines of "I didn't do it", "I don't smell anything", "did something just die?" It's in our nature, we can't help it.

    Opening the front door one cold, late October afternoon, I entered the house only to be hit with an over bearing smell. I called out to my roommate, "I think the pumpkin went bad, it stinks". He responded from the other room "it's fine, it was the cat". How sad, I thought, we've come to blaming the cats. I hollered in response, "The cat's 2 years old, you mean to tell me he chose today to start blowing air poo?" And then the familiar response, "wasn't me".

    The following day as I sat at the computer doing what I'm sure was extremely important things, the familiar smell of rotten pumpkin came bellowing up. I looked across at my roommate who had a big smile on his face and was trying not to laugh, "wasn't me, I swear". "Go outside", I begged. It was too cold to open all the windows. "Better yet", I said, "go down the street". Yes, that bad. Laughing now, he says "I swear, it's the cat"

    For a week this went on and every time, he blamed the cat. I pointed out that it only happened when he was around. I pointed out that before I could smell anything, he started laughing. I pointed out the cat was only 10 pounds and 10 pounds of cat could not produce that.

    At the end of the week as I sat at the computer doing what I'm sure was extremely important things, I was enveloped by rotten pumpkin once again. Just as I was about to say something, I realized, I was alone. Almost alone I should say. At my feet lay 10 pounds of cat looking up at me. Although he couldn't speak, I could read his eyes and they simply said, "Wasn't me".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Oh, You’ll Notice Me Alright! (Part 2)

    Some cats are fat, some are skinny. Some run around like crazy while others lie around all day. Some cats are perpetually happy while others have wild mood swings. Some are smart while others, well, not so much. They come in all different colors and sizes but they all have one thing in common. They want to be noticed. They crave love and attention just as we do. The next time you're in the same room with a cat and you see it looking at you, don't turn away. If you do, prepare yourself for battle. It wants your attention and it's going to get it one way or the other.

    After the "it's not sleeping" incident, the two cats Frankie and Oreo, were to be kept inside. It was quite obvious this was not to their liking when I was informed that my cats were not potty trained. My two year old cats that never had an accident before had started having them right in front of the door they used to go in and out of. After a couple of days "accidents" it was decided to put the cat box in front of the door for awhile. This was the back door to the yard and no one really used the door except to let the cats out. This didn't work. Every day I would come in to clean the box and there it would be, clean. And every day, there next to the box, on the floor, would be "an accident". This went on for a couple more days and soon to be mother-in-law broke. It was decided that Frankie and Oreo could go outside. They could roam and frolic around all they wanted but only when supervised. So every day, soon to be mother-in-law took them outside.

    One morning soon after Frankie and Oreo had been re-potty trained, I walked into the living room where I found my then fiancĂ©e standing in the center of the room with my soon to be mother-in-law and my soon to be father-in-law. They were all staring at the floor where there used to be a six foot circular throw rug now mysteriously missing. None of us claimed any knowledge to its whereabouts. After a quick search around, the rug was found in my soon to be in-laws bedroom scrunched up at the end of their bed across from the bathroom door. Again, none of us claimed any knowledge to how it got there. The last person to see it in the living room was the soon to be mother-in-law just before she hopped in to the tub for an afternoon soak. The rug was immediately picked up and put back into its place. Nothing in this house was ever out of place.

    It was a big throw rug and weighed about five pounds. I had a feeling Oreo was involved. Ever since the bunny/snail incident, Oreo had been on a quest to get soon to be mother-in-laws attention. And he was doing it. He slept on her bed. She threw him out. He'd hop back up. She put him out to the family room and shut her bedroom door. He'd run across the room full tilt, jump up and hit the door with all four and walla, open door. He'd hop up on her bed, she'd sigh, and they both would nap. This was a daily occurrence.

    One evening while watching TV, Oreo comes sauntering across the family room to the infamous door of soon to be mother-in-law's bedroom. Standing on his hind legs he stretches up the side of the door and with both paws on the door lever pulls down. Click. He turns and saunters back the way he came. Less than a minute later I hear the sound of claws tearing up the carpet as this cat goes flying by like a NASCAR driver from hell. Straight across the leaving room and headed towards the infamous door, he jumps, he shoots, and he scores. Door open. Oreo heads back to the center of the family room and begins to pull this throw rug that weighs almost as much as he does. He jerks, pulls, and shakes this rug all the way to the room, to the foot of the bed across from the bathroom. The bathroom that a particular person just happened to be in, taken an early evening soak.

    Eventually a compromise was agreed upon. A fresh laundered towel was placed on the foot of the bed every day and every day whenever she was in the room you could find two cats lying on a towel at the foot of the bed. Yes, two cats. Eventually Frankie caught on and started riding the coat tails of Oreo for that attention high they both looked for in life.

    We were there for awhile but eventually it came time to move on. Out of a war between a person and two cats, a bond was created, a strong bond. The cats stayed…as requested by soon to be mother-in-law.