Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I'm Developing a Twitch

I dare to blog tonight because I have discovered the anti-cat. It's a color-free, calorie-free, caffeine-free, low-sodium, natural white grape-flavored carbonated beverage containing sucralose that hisses so loudly when you open it that B.C. goes fleeing in terror into the next room, which is currently an obstacle course. Maybe he knows something I don't. I read today on the Internet that my cosmetics are probably toxic, but then, everything is. I had microwaved popcorn for lunch, and that's toxic, too. So is the air I breathe and the sunlight my skin absorbs and the blue liquid fabric softener I can't live without. I wish I could just install an underground tank for it in the yard and spray the house with it twice daily. Anyway, all I have to do to deter B.C. who likes to be on my lap when I'm at my laptop, which makes him a frizzy, 14 lb. hindrance from interrupting my blogging is wave a fizzing tumbler full of the stuff at him and he takes off again.

Last night when I went to bed I could smell smoke coming from Dean's apartment, but it wasn't the usual horrid brand of cheap cigarettes we suspect he gets from someone on a reservation by midnight delivery. It smelled like something burnt, like charred food. As I was contemplating the possibilities, I heard the boy upstairs walk across his living room, out his door, through the vestibule, out the front door, down the steps, around the house, down Dean's staircase, and there he knocked on the door. Through my bathroom wall I could hear Dean growl, "Burned it in the microwave." He sounded agitated. I went to bed knowing the house wasn't on fire.

Something else actually was on fire, though. While we were playing a
birthday game of cards at the Woody family's kitchen table Sunday night, Kindra leaned forward to discard a card and her long hair fell into the apple cinnamon-scented candle she had parked in front of her. As she leaned back and the air hit the sparks in her hair, a tiny blue fireball exploded forward from her shoulder and Kelly and I both lunged at her from either side. It evidently extinguished itself, because the only sign that something odd had occurred was a pile of shriveled ashes on her chest and the unmistakable stench of burnt hair.

I am studying. I am cleaning. I am painting. I am dieting, but not really. I am dogwalking. I am scheming. I am avoiding people. I am invincible.

I am resisting the siren call of the tanning bed just for you, Morgan.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Spare Change

I had a job interview tonight that was probably the easiest, fastest thing of that nature I've ever endured. I wrote my name and cellphone number on a hot pink Post-It and told Rachel I'll be out of town the 18th through the 20th of May. So as of next month, I'll be tending bar at Kate's once a week or so. It's going to take a lot of Febreze- Evanston won't be smoke-free until sometime in September- but as a social experiment I'm sure it will be invaluable.

Monday, April 16, 2007

April Showers

There's a lot going on right now, so we'll have to make do with pictures. I've started- count 'em- eight separate posts for your reading enjoyment, each very compelling and amusing, but as yet unfinished. I have three appointments today (nothing medical yet, never fear) so I probably won't have time to get to them. And then there's that pesky thing called sleep I seem to need so much of. Dang.

Mountain Music's Metal Man

Easter Bun-nies

B.C. being wise (or is he begging?)

Caution: The following images may break your heart.

Molly the Conehead with stitches (and Rose's nose)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Dad's been gone two years today. Sometimes it feels like miles ago, other times just a blink. As if life were a rope and the days- those days, the landmark days: weddings, births, deaths- were knots in that rope. That day I discovered the color black and, finally, that room in my mind where things can be stored indefinitely. I'm terribly selective about what goes in there.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Playing Pictionary

Carrie, correctly guessing from her daughter Kindra's stick-figure illustration: Cheerleader!

Morgan, brandishing pencil: Dang! Mine looks just like that!

A, squinting again at Morgan's drawing: No it doesn't, it looks evil! I thought it was a witch doctor!

Morgan: Skirt! Pom-poms! Pigtails!

A: That's a grass skirt! And the pom-poms look like talismans! And both pigtails are coming out of the same spot on her head! Witch doctor!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Sequestered Metals

Aspen blossoms

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Now With 33% Less Cat!

Upon arriving home from Casper to find the entire house blanketed in a uniformly thin mat of coarse, pale underfur, I decided it was time to begin the process of shedding out my long-haired cats, who will henceforth (in this post, at least) be referred to as Thing One and Thing Two to pacify someone who strongly objects to their real names, which are admittedly very uncreative and pretty much not names at all. (If I've learned anything in this life, it's that naming a cat makes very little sense.)

They shed on their own, of course, but sometimes it behooves a cat "owner"- if she values her sanity and her wardrobe- to accelerate the process just a bit.

Over the years- eight, to be exact- I've purchased a multitude of tools and newfangled appliances in a quest to find the one magical thing that efficiently and painlessly drags the undercoat forth to be gathered into a bag and whisked away before it settles all over the house. I've tried a rubbery sponge- which feels a bit like erasing the cat, and can be very satisfying, but doesn't remove hair too well- and a mitt with rows of rubber nibs that catch the underfur up in a mat but doesn't easily get to those hard-to-reach places without a lot of protest from modest and indignant Thing One.

I've used a flat mitt with a coarse fabric that actually works really well on upholstery and clothing, not so much on the cats. I've used brushes with wire and brushes with bristles, specialty combs and picks with varying densities of teeth, and- as seen on TV!- the ShedEnder, which seems fairly effective but not altogether humane since the blade buried in the comb occasionally clogs and tugs, and when tender-skinned Thing Two strongly objects to something, there's not much you can do to convince him otherwise.

Throughout this trial and error, I always go back to the only thing that really works, despite the fact that it looks like something imported from the Tower of London. It's a shedding blade, inexpensive and compact, a thin circle of steel with crimped teeth on one side and a strap-like leather handle. The teeth aren't sharp, and as you stroke they effectively wrest the underfur from beneath the glossy topcoat in billowing static puffs that can be easily gathered with the free hand.

Luckily, both cats enjoy being groomed- as long as they're separated. Thing One begins a strong vocal protest almost immediately (although she continues to purr, so it's not very convincing), which for some reason brings Thing Two scampering to pounce on her and bite her head. This draws genuine wails of fury and generally causes an uproar, so I usually lock myself in my shoebox-sized bathroom with Thing One where it's just a matter of sitting on the closed lid of the toilet, swiping at her while she pretends to be coy, ducking away and then bobbing back into the strike zone. The long fur on the backs of her legs makes it look like she's wearing little fluffy white pantaloons, and these pants happen to be one of the places she sheds the worst. Coincidentally, it's also the one place she strongly objects to being fondled, so I have to slide my hand under her gut and pin her to my shins to work on those. Thing Two occasionally bites whatever tool is grooming him and always wants to gnaw on the compacted hairball I collect in my fist, but otherwise he's a very obliging fellow, even rolling over to have the woolly curls on his paunch mowed.

Tonight they both look considerably sleeker, and there's enough shed fur in the trash to build a whole new mid-sized cat. If I start early enough and keep on it and shed them every other day for a couple of weeks in the spring, I can usually prevent actual hacked-up hairballs like the giant orange one that met me on the foot of the bed when I got home Friday night. A few hours with the shedding blade and regular doses of petroleum jelly pretty much constitute Indoor Long-Haired Cat Maintenance 101.

Next year I'm going to shave them.