Tuesday, August 20, 2013

in which Rosie departs from us and Grassy joins company

Snowball didn't last a day.

I mean: really, that cat did not stick around 24 solid hours. Perhaps he didn't like having his name changed to Rosie. Perhaps he had no appreciation for the Welcoming Party who dressed to the nines for his arrival:

Whatever the reason, that cat left and I can't say I cried. Still, we continued to put out food in his dish because whether we believe in preserving our children's feelings [when said children don't realize THE CAT IS ACTUALLY COMPLETELY GONE] or we believe in feeding wild animals who make their way up to the porch is beside the point. If you keep putting food in a dish and it keeps being eaten during the night, you can really affix the conversation of "Where did Rosie go, anyway?" to a far-off point in time indeterminate.

One day I asked Lumberjack: "So. The cat food bag is empty. How long are we going to keep buying cat food for a cat who isn't there?"

He paused. "Let's go through one more bag."

Let me tell you. Preserving your children's feelings is worth a few bucks on a bag of cat food you're really feeding to raccoons. Also something you don't always find out about parenthood until you're actually doing it without thinking.

The very next day, a stray wandered up. I have very strong feelings about strays. They go like this:

I don't like them.

The thing about strays is that if you go out to pet them, you end up being compelled to feed them. If you feed them, you end up naming them. And if you name them, you end up keeping them.

This particular stray had a flea collar wound around his neck and one of his legs, rubbing it painfully raw; another leg was puffy and he limped. Great. Diseased little wretch. Lumberjack, of course, having a heart of golden baby angel wings, cut the collar off the cat and had a nice little chat with him. The cat sat on our porch and stared at us. The next morning, the cat was still there. I sighed. Why wouldn't he go away? I had a moment of conflicted insanity and I checked for a single can of tuna I knew we had sitting in our pantry. Couldn't find it. I did, however, find a can of chicken gravy that I had NO idea how THAT got there since I make my own gravy. Whatever. Stalwartly believing that beggars canNOT be choosers, I figured a stray cat could not possibly object to chicken gravy even if it weren't homemade, after all. I wondered how I was going to confess this act of charity to Lumberjack. I decided to barf it all out in one messy puddle of a sentence.


Lumberjack stared at me. He slowly responded in a sentence that didn't come out as a barfy puddle in the least.

"I gave him the can of tuna earlier this morning. That cat's not going anywhere."

I fully believe that some animals have the capacity to express, in some form, a level of gratitude or affection after being rescued. I've never known cats to exhibit this level of decency or indebtedness. That is, until this cat. He's friendly; he's affectionate; he doesn't pee on our outside stuff.

Our girls, by the way, were flat out overjoyed a new cat had joined our company. It was then and only then they asked, "So, do you think he'll get along with Rosie?"

Sometimes you just have to sit and stare at your kid and HOPE TO HEAVEN that somebody asks again for the eighteenth time in an hour how old they're going to be on their next birthday and if you can rent an elephant and a circus tent. Those things are so much easier to answer.

Freckles commenced to naming the cat immediately, suggesting Rosalie as the new moniker. I'm telling you, my kids are NO GOOD at naming things. They are imaginative little minions in all sorts of things but this is a chief failure. If it starts with Ros- ...that's it. Rose. Rosie. Rosalie. Rosetta. Roosevelt. (Yes. Roosevelt.) RoseannE. RoseannA. Rosemarie. Rosalinde. Rosabelle. I'm sure there are about a dozen other variations I've missed.

In a moment of sheer brilliance, Scout overthrew the Rose Empire and pronounced this new cat to be named Grassy.


Grassy it is. And Grassy he's stayed, no longer limping, no longer puffy-legged, no longer raw-necked from a poorly placed flea collar. And now a permanent fixture on our porch, irritatingly affectionate. Of course, I have a second name for him and that's Dusty Miller because my life is no good if I can't have a literary tie to basically everything. Go and pick up Anne of Windy Poplars and read all about Rebecca Dew the housekeeper and her treatment of Dusty Miller, or "That Cat," as she calls him. Let's just say I put out some leftover chicken scraps earlier for him but I made sure he didn't see it was I who did it. I wouldn't want him to get the wrong idea or anything. I believe one day soon he may make a bold dart for the kitchen while the door is open and he will meet a swift boot right back outside if he does. After all, I really don't like cats, and he is no exception.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Man Crush

First of all, I am terrible at consistent blogging. There are a lot of things I am better at being consistent about. I am good at feeding my kids on a regular basis. I am the best laundress I know and consistently have no stray socks. And I frequently and consistently take harmless remarks as insults. (I get that trait from my mom. No doubt when she reads this parenthetical statement, she will be offended.) But when it comes to electronics and plants, I usually leave them to die and then wonder what happened. One of these days maybe I'll be better, but who knows. Honestly, why do plants require SO MUCH WATERING?

Tonight's topic is The Man Crush. First, I'll lead in with talking about Irrational Crushes. An old slave-driver of mine - actually, he was sort of an employer but somehow I got sucked into giving nine weeks of my life away for free so that's kind of like being in slavery except it really was such a terrific summer - once talked about Irrational Crushes and what exactly those are. He considered it a good ice-breaker topic in getting to know strangers by asking, "So, who's your Irrational?"  For instance, he's a happily married, heterosexual man and his Irrational is Ellen DeGeneres. Another friend of mine claims her Irrational is (or used to be, anyway) Martin Luther. Obviously, your Irrational can be somebody dead. (That's one reason it might be Irrational.) When I was 17, I fully admit to professing an undying love for Steve from Blue's Clues. I cried during the episode he left for college, and that's a true story. I may or may not have written him a letter asking him to marry me. I never sent it, and I'm glad I didn't. (So much for undying. I was 17. What did I know of love?) I like my guy now, and he doesn't even wear a green striped shirt.

Along the scope of the Irrational Crush is the Man Crush. A Man Crush is a crush that's on a man from a man who isn't gay. Lumberjack is the frequent, unwilling victim target of being the Man Crush in our circles of friends. I've taken it upon myself to determine why, and I think I've got some pretty good reasons. He believes it's all hogwash and wants to go live in a hole.

Reason #1. He's a guy's guy. He does manly things. See Reason #3.

Reason #2. One time he almost cut off his finger when splitting some wood and he splinted it with another piece of wood and didn't go to the hospital. See Reason #1.

Reason #3. He doesn't play video games. He does rugged things like fix stuff, build stuff, and explore stuff. When he builds things, he draws his own blueprints. When he fixes stuff, sometimes he consults youtube videos first and sometimes he doesn't. Like the time he was out in a john boat and the motor died completely super-far-away from the shore. He MacGyver'd a metal clip from one of his stringers (I barely even know what a stringer is) to rig the motor and get back to land. No time to consult youtube for that, and I highly doubt an arsenal of video game experience would've helped much.

Reason #4. He's the strong, silent type. He kind of believes he doesn't need a lot of friends, or maybe any at all except for me. He's unaware that this comes off as an elusive, hard-to-get personality, and that in not needing a social life he actually attracts clingy people. He'd probably throw up if he knew.

Reason #5. He's ruggedly handsome. And if you're wearing black socks with your sandals, well, you sort of need someone ruggedly handsome to stand next to.

Reason #5a. He looks like Ben Affleck in Argo wearing Kramer's lobster shirt and looks just right in that combination. If he's not wearing that combination he's probably wearing flannel and dirt.

ben affleck

kramer's lobster shirt
lumberjack's lobster shirt
Reason #6. Most of what he does is effortless. He's effortlessly funny. He's effortlessly helpful. And he has no desire EVER to try to be in the limelight and in fact dies a little when anybody makes a big deal of something he has said or done. Being the subject of a blog post like this is enough to make him go into hiding for a good eight years or so. He loves me a whole lot, so he has consented to the blog post even though it's very painful for him. Case in point: when you come off as effortless, people flock to you.

He's also effortlessly kind to those guys who stand close enough to wrap their arms around him or nuzzle his neck even if that's not really his cup of tea. Please don't take advantage of this point. And please don't ask him to play video games with you. He would sooner hold hands and sing Kum Ba Yah.