Monday, March 4, 2013

Animal House

These are not easy times. 

Here's a fun game.  See if you can match up the correct noun with the adjectives that most accurately describes it:

1. The U.S. government                          a) lost and confused
2. The Catholic church                            b) leaderless and confused
3. Cleveland, Ohio                                  c) depressed and confused
4. My brain                                              d) just really, really confused
5. My house                                             e) overrun by knuckleheads

It's Monday, and I'm not in the mood to deal with a lot of, let's focus our attention on number 5 ... my house ... which is, in fact, overrun by knuckleheads.  I include myself in that group, because ever since Mom died in January, I have come to realize that I've gone completely out of my mind and now I'm really, really confused.  I wake up confused.  I go to bed confused. I'm really thrilled when I get to go to work because it's the one thing in my life that seems to make sense.*
But then I get to come home to a house that used to have my Mom in it and now it doesn't, and the confusion starts all over again. 

And somewhere  ... in the middle of all this confusion ... two cougars moved into my house. 

It began shortly after my Mom passed.  My nephew decided to move to another house, and asked me to temporarily take care of his two kittens.  They were little gray tabbies, very sweet-natured, and I was assured they wouldn't be much trouble.  Billy told me their names - which I promptly forgot ten minutes after he left - so I decided to name them Sheldon and Leonard (given that the networks re-run episodes of "The Big Bang Theory" almost constantly, I thought it would be helpful if the boys heard their names every five minutes.) 

S and L have been living with me for several weeks now, and I don't know when they're leaving.  Frankly, I will be sorry when they do leave, because they're wonderful boys and I love them dearly (although my cat, Miss Kitty, wishes they would run outside and get hit by cars).  But, you know what happens with kittens?  They grow into cats ... and, in this case, these two are BIG cats.  Huge.  Mountain lions. When these brothers chase each other up and down the stairs, it sounds like the buffalo have returned to the Great Plains.  Even now, as I type this blog entry, I can hear them knocking each other senseless upstairs and it sounds like we're having a thunderstorm. As long as I don't hear glass breaking, I figure everybody's okay and hopefully today my house insurance premiums won't go up. 

You have to understand ... I grew up as a DOG person.  My folks always had dogs, I loved dogs, I still love dogs.  I have never EVER chosen to have a cat.  Years ago, when I lived in Chicago, I thought it would be nice to volunteer at my local animal shelter, and I wasn't there more than 48 hours before some nice lady with a very sad face asked me to "foster" an abandoned calico cat and her kittens.  I didn't know what I was doing.  I bought a litter box, some litter, some food, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  I never gave any of them real names because I didn't want to get too attached to some cats I knew I wouldn't keep. So, I sort of got into the habit of calling the momma cat "Miss Kitty" and each of her three babies, "Stop That You Idiot." The kittens were all eventually put up for adoption, and were - happily - adopted the same day, but the momma cat had litter box issues...mainly, she occasionally forgot to poop in it, and I'd find her tootsie rolls outside the box. When I mentioned her toilet lapses to the Person In Charge at the Shelter, I was told she would not be put up for adoption and would likely be put down.  This was not about to happen in Brenda's Universe, so Miss Kitty (it was too late to give her a better name) came to live with me permanently.  That was 16 years ago.

She is, of course, the darling of my life.  She's sweet and petite (two qualities I highly admire, being neither) and she's turned out to be an excellent companion.  Never weighing more than six pounds, she's often invisible and never a disruption.  She's very affectionate and loves kisses.

"Miss Kitty"  aka:  Cat.  Very Cute.

Once "the boys" moved in, however, Miss Kitty Congeniality turned into The Saber-Toothed Vampire Cat From Hell.  Not only am I now living with three cats, it also sounds like I'm living with a psychotic python, because whenever "the boys" invade her territory,** her incessant hissing starts.  The boys don't hiss.  They're huge, they're happy, and they believe that everyone in the world must love them unconditionally because they're just so darned cute and all.  They do not understand that Miss Kitty does not want to play... today or any other day.  They do not understand she is old and f***ed up. And they do not understand that when she hisses at them from the couch, it means they should leave her alone and drop dead.  These knuckleheads are also not extremely bright.  Leonard has absolutely no grace, and can't figure out how to jump up on furniture without promptly skidding off the other end... and I've seen him eat at least three things off my carpet, none of which I've been able to identify and none of which, so far, has sent us to the emergency room. Sheldon, on the other hand, has a passion for water.  His favorite recreational activity is to shove his heavy ceramic water bowl across the bedroom floor until all the water splashes out.  I have patiently tried to explain to him that he's not going to have anything to drink if he keep it up, but he has a tiny kitty brain that has the attention span of dirt.  I know I'm not getting through ... but, being the biggest knucklehead living here, I keep trying. 

"The Boys"  aka: "Pumas."
(Note:  See the rocking chair?  You should never ever have one of these if you have cats.)

And they never - EVER - stop pooping.  I clean litter boxes constantly.  At the rate these boys are eating, they will soon be the size of Great Danes. 

So, here we are.  It's Monday and I have to go to work.  My brain is insane, my house is insane, our government is insane, my future seems hopeless and my church is Popeless.  The animals have completely taken over.  I am looking out my bedroom window and see a herd of deer stealing birdseed out of my bird feeder.   There is a flock of sparrows sitting on the bush outside my window screaming at me about all this.  I am very, very confused about it all.

But ... I think ... maybe, just maybe ... it's okay, because I think this means Somebody Up There is still in charge.  And whoever He is, He's making sure that although I might be very confused, I'm never truly alone. 

*And then I remember that I work for the U.S. government. 

**Uh, that would be the ENTIRE house.  All of it.  Every last inch, it's hers, all hers, get out.

***These don't indicate a footnote.  These take the place of actual letters so I'm not guilty of writing a bad word. 

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