Tag Archives: tricks

Cat pee on my shoulders…makes me stinky

Here’s a sad thing: It’s December and we have absolutely no holiday spirit in our house. It’s like we can’t feel Christmas or Yuletide or Feastmas or anything. We are numb. Is this the result of having Christmas shoved down our throats since the end of August? Are we becoming even more curmudgeonly? Are we really pod people from the planet Mars and have no actual emotions? I don’t know. All I know is that I do not have the vim or vigor required to create fabulous holiday posts, not like last year.

Instead, I’m going to talk about our cat, Evie.

EV3

So small, so precious. Such a sweet baby.
Or IS she?

Evie has a thing about peeing. It’s a fetish, really. And, apparently, I do it wrong.

Here’s what happened:

Sometime this past summer, Evie realized that as soon as I get home from work, I run upstairs to the bathroom. She’s been with us since 2008 but only just now noticed this habit of mine. Anyhow, one day, curiosity got the best of her (she is a cat, after all) and as I headed toward the tinkletorium, she raced me up the stairs and into the bathroom to see what I do in there. The moment I sat down, she scurried over, sat in front of me and watched me, watched me pee. It was weird. But it got weirder. She started rubbing against my legs and then she checked my progress, poking her nose between the seat and the bowl. Was she sniffing what I’d had for lunch? Was she making sure it was my pee coming out and I wasn’t faking it? She purred and…well, encouraged me, rubbing against and looking up at me like she was letting me know I was doing a good job.

EV2

“How’s it going in the potty? Are you doing this right? Let me see. I need to see if you are peeing the right way.”

Evie, I’ve been peeing for 41 years and 39 of those peeing years were done on toilets. Mostly. I think I’ve got this down by now.

As I finished, she hopped up on my lap and gave me nose kisses. “Good job, Mommy! You peed correctly! You are so smart!” Then she hopped back down and waited for me to clean up, stand up, and flush the toilet.

OHMYGOD, the toilet flushing. It’s so magical.

She stood, little cat hands on the seat, and watched everything swoosh down the hole with an intensity usually reserved for dogs and food or children and candy. When the flush finished, she leapt upon the seat and stuck her entire front half into the bowl where she started playing with the potty water, splishing it and splashing it and even drinking a bit. Because she is a classy lady.

This has become a ritual.  Every. Damn. Workday. And it’s not like I can just evade her or shut her out or pick her up and toss her down the stairs violently. You try catching a cat on a mission when your bladder is full-up and ready to burst.

Since she’s so fussy over peeing, you’d think she’d confine hers to the litterbox, right?

She doesn’t.

Her poop, yes. She’ll come racing in from whatever she was doing outside to run downstairs and into the bathroom where she shuts the door and poops in her box. But pee? Oh, her nasty cat pee is the ultimate weapon.

Should we forget to clean her box one day, she’ll pee on the couch.

If Gabe is too unloving throughout the morning, she’ll find his important papers and pee all over them.

This started when we got her. I took her to the vet for the very first time, it was a bad experience for us both, and that night, she squirmed her cute little kitten self up onto the bed, walked right up my legs, glared at me, squatted, and peed all over the comforter while staring straight at me. And then she took off. I was stunned.

She’s used this weapon against us ever since.

The worst, though, was the one time we angered her beyond measure. I don’t recall what it was we’d done, but I remember telling Gabe, “Oh, we’re going to pay for this!” hoping she’d get something that could be cleaned and wouldn’t have to be tossed. We were on the lookout for days but found nothing. During that time, we cleaned the house, folded the laundry, dusted, all that jazz…and no pee. I thought maybe our little girl was growing up and finding better ways to express her anger.

EV1

Evie dreams of getting us back. That’s what she does all day long.

I was wrong.

One day, maybe a few weeks after The Angering Incident, whatever it was, I got dressed for work, ran downstairs, put my jacket on and left the house. When I got to work, I removed my jacket and sat down and…smelled cat pee. I sniffed around. It wasn’t on my chair. It wasn’t on my jacket. Not my shoes. Not anything else nearby, not that anything else could have been peed upon; I was at work. But the longer I sat there, the stronger it became.

Finally, I got fed up and went to the bathroom. I took off my shirt and examined it with my nose. Guess what? Evie sprinkled little bits of pee on the back shoulder of the shirt when it was in the clean laundry basket. She did it in such a way that it dried quickly and was not smellable when we folded our clothes. It was sleeper agent pee, activated when the shirt was on the body. The more the shirt warmed up, the stronger the scent became. Of course, this wasn’t a shirt that I could go without for the day as I wasn’t wearing anything else underneath or over the top.  And I was super poor at the time so couldn’t run to Target or the thrift shop to buy another shirt. Also, I live 20 minutes from work so it’s not like running home to change was an option. And it had gotten onto my bra strap, anyhow, so I was all peed up no matter what.

I did what anyone would do in this situation. I put my shirt back on, found some Lysol, returned to the bathroom, sprayed myself down, waited for that smell to dissipate a little, returned to my desk and put on a sweater, hoping to mask the odor of urine du chat. When anyone came near me, I yelled at her to stand back and hold her breath; we’d communicate via sign language and she’d better be obvious since I don’t actually know ASL.

It was a long day. I was so angry when I got home. I lectured Evie. She smirked at me, amused at her wicked clever ways.

You know what? Now that I’m remembering all this, I think when I get home tonight, I will miss the toilet and pee on her. We’ll see how she likes it.

EV4

How can something that started out this sweet be so very evil? How??

10 Comments

Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, Tales from Toiletopia

‘Tis the season to be scary

The spiced cider is burbling away in the kitchen, candles are flickering, and there’s a strong wind rattling the windows. Have a seat in my little cabin and let me tell you a story, a mild tale intended more for wonder than fright.

Years ago, I worked with a delightful woman. Her name was Karen (I say “was” because she is no longer with us, though maybe she is with us right now, listening to this tale) She was awesome. And crazy. And hilarious. We worked late together, alone in our office, long past the time when streetlights came on. We would sit at our desks, cackling and carrying on, sometimes to the point that people from other departments had to walk over and tell us to shush.

Karen was one of those good souls, the type of person everybody should be blessed with as a friend. She would call me when I was home sick to give me the day’s work-related news; she always remembered my birthday; she did recon on one of my ex-boyfriends and we said horrid things about him and his post-me lifestyle; she gave me her unwise shoe purchases (she couldn’t wear heels above 2 inches but bought them anyhow. Then she’d try to wear them but would fail and end up giving them to me because they were “just too cute to go to waste”) When I was looking for a new place to live, she just happened to be looking for a tenant for her parents’ house, a place that had been rented-out since her parents had died years before.

It was a wonderful house – split level on a corner with a landscaped yard. My friend and I, we moved in right away and later, Noelle and Little B joined us later. I loved living there, some of my favorite memories come from our time in that little home we’d made for ourselves. Except for the downstairs bathroom. I didn’t love it so much. It was an eyesore – small and rectangular, covered in a ghastly wallpaper that made a person dizzy. It wasn’t much different from this, actually, just smaller print in a much smaller space:

The color scheme was the same – red on cream – and the busy-ness was there. Our wallpaper, though, was made of a bunch of small, red diamonds that were actually made of four dots. It really did make a person dizzy to be locked in such a tiny room with such dotty/diamondy wallpaper.

So one day, I asked Karen if I could re-do the bathroom. She told me to have at it and I did. Only, here’s the thing: The wallpaper, the monstrous, eye-hurting wallpaper, had been glued directly to the drywall. That meant that even with steaming, removing the wallpaper brought giant chunks of plasterboard with it. It was horrible. I had friends come over and help and every single one left crying. My roomie and I spent two weeks denuding the walls and every single day, I cursed the moron who stuck wallpaper glue directly to drywall and didn’t think of future house-dwellers who might need to remove said wallpaper.

Around that same time, Karen started looking worn down. She said she wasn’t sleeping well at night. She felt jittery all day. One evening, quite a way into my renovation project, she said, “I’ve been having terrible dreams.” She looked awful, bags under the eyes, bruisey skin.

I asked, “Dreams about what?”

She said, “About my mother. In my dreams, my mother is terribly upset because she’s misplaced her purse and I’m trying to help her find it but I don’t know where it is and she’s so angry.”

She mentioned a similar dream a couple of days later. A little bell chimed in the back of my brain. I said, “Hey, Karen, the bathroom downstairs, who put up the wallpaper?”

She said, “My mom. She’d been so proud of it. She hung it all by herself, decorated that room all by herself.” I nodded, put my head down, and got back to work.

The minute I got home that night, I ran downstairs, stood in the bathroom with its pockmarked, crumbling walls from whence wallpaper had been ripped violently away, and yelled,

I AM SORRY! I DIDN’T KNOW! I AM SURE IT WAS BEAUTIFUL AT THE TIME. I NOW UNDERSTAND THAT YOU LOVED THIS ROOM BECAUSE YOU MADE IT YOURSELF! I DIDN’T KNOW AND I SHOULD HAVE ASKED BEFORE CHANGING IT. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR DAUGHTER ALONE! I AM SO SORRY FOR EVERYTHING I SAID!

Then I sat down and explained my vision – grayblue wainscotting with sky blue wall and ceiling, clouds dotted up top. I’d paint a tranquil sea along the trim and my roommate would decorate the room with seashells and lighthouses. I mentioned that it would be a peaceful place in an otherwise dark corner of the basement, just as she’d originally intended. Then I got to work. The rest of the wallpaper came off like I was peeling skin from a sunburn.

I was sitting at my desk the next day when Karen walked in. She looked great! No more dark circles or saggy skin. I asked how she’d slept and she said, “I haven’t slept that well in I don’t know how long.”

“So, no dreams about your mother?”

She thought about it and said, “No. She’s fine now.”

I apologized to Karen for causing her such trouble and when she asked what I was talking about, I told her, “Your mother knows.”

For Karen: I hope the afterlife is everything you wished it to be. I miss laughing with you.

And for Dana since you got to share this adventure with me. We had some good times there, didn’t we?

2 Comments

Filed under Adventures, For my short story collection, In my backyard, My journey to writerhood

Shaving cream and toilet paper: Recipe for disastrous fun

Remember when Noelle and I got together and talked about our White Trash Childhood? Well, I recorded the whole thing, only not really because I erased the first half. But I have the second half and I’ve begun to transcribe some of the stories. This one struck me as something that should be illustrated so that everyone could see what we were talking about.

I am pleased to present to you my illustrated version of our memory regarding shaving cream and toilet paper, featuring Noelle and me and guest-starring Little B.

Noelle: Do you remember when we used to take Dad’s shaving cream and fill up the toilet paper and then pop it? Ohmygawd, that was SO MUCH FUN!
Erica: That was the BEST FUN EVER!

IMG_20130624_230314[1]

Noelle: Because it came out gel and then you put it in the toilet paper and if you touched it the right way, it got bigger and bigger…

 At this point in the story, Gabe was snickering and I had to tell him to shut up.

Noelle: …and then you squish it and alllll the…white shaving cream all over!
[What Noelle’s saying here is that you put the shaving cream in the toilet paper, wrap the toilet paper around the gel, then massage it all gently until you have a foam-filled toilet paper balloon]

Then Gabe was full on making fun of us so we both told him to shut up. He’s a perv, trying to insinuate his creepy old man ways into our pristine and sparkly memories of funtime for sisters in the bathroom.

Erica: it would just be like KABLOOIE! with the shaving cream…
Noelle: …and [it] was so fun to play with!”

Erica: …and it smelled really good!
Noelle: …yeah. Yeah, it didn’t taste good, though. It looked like whipped cream, like Cool-Whip, but it didn’t TASTE like Cool-Whip. It had a sour, horrible, gag-inducing taste.

Little B: …Why were you eating shaving cream?

Erica & Noelle: BECAUSE IT LOOKED LIKE COOL-WHIP!

Note: If you heard Cool Whip while reading, then please join us. You belong in our family.

10 Comments

Filed under Adventures, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

Plastic teepees, they’re all the rage

Tomato cages may be the most useful invention since the wheel. They are so versatile. For instance, I’ve used them for Halloween decorations: Witches and the invisible body that holds the floating skull to name a couple. In May, I used them to make teepees and I’ve also put 2 cages in the garden for the snow peas to climb. See? Versatile.

Let me talk a bit about those teepees. Even though it was too early, I bought some adorable baby tomato plants – one Siberian and one Czechloslavakian…you know, because Colorado is just like Siberia or the Czech Republic – and put them in pots. Then I thought, “Well, while it’s probably not going to frost again for real, it could still get pretty cold at night. Cold nights are bad for tomatoes. And they’ve been living in a greenhouse all this time. I should use the plastic from the hoophouse and cover them somehow. But how? I need to keep the plastic where it is in case of hail but I don’t want to put the tomatoes over by the straw bale garden because they need all sun all day.” These are the types of conversations I have in my head. I thought about it a bit and remembered I’d inherited a few tomato cages last year. Now, a normal person would plant the tomato cage in the pot like it’s supposed to be. But I’m an abnormal person and I upended the cages so the legs were sticking up in the air and the top was circling the tomato plant. Then I retrieved the leftover roll of plastic and cut off two strips which I wound around each cage and pot essentially making teepees. I mean, think about it- an upside down tomato cage is nothing but a teepee frame, right?

Because I’m white trash, I had to do it the white trash way, not the Better Homes and Gardens way. Lest you think less of me, I’d like to remind you that I’m classy white trash. I did NOT use duct tape. No. I used electrical tape to secure the plastic to the frame and also to the rest of the plastic and that will keep it from blowing away and becoming litter. Success! Tiny plastic teepees wrap the tomatoes in warmth and love. But I didn’t stop there. It started getting cold out and as we all know, heat rises. I was worried that the heat that had accumulated in the little teepees would rise and escape out through the open tops. I cut another two pieces of plastic, this time little rectangles, and I jammed them down the legs until they covered the openings and thus a vent was made. I can pull the rectangles all the way down and cover the top hole or I can raise them a bit to let the heat out. I am some sort of redneck genius. The neat thing is while they looked like garbage (literally) before the vents, now they look like little ghost nuns floating around my yard. It’s actually pretty cool. I might have to keep them after harvest season and use them in the yard for Halloween props.

See what you can do with a little plastic and a tomato cage? Instant teepee!

See what you can do with a little plastic and a tomato cage? Instant teepee!

I like electrical tape because it's black and goes with everything.

I like electrical tape because it’s black and goes with everything.

After only 15 minutes, it was already noticably warmer in this teepee. Also, it smelled really good in here, all earthy and tomatoey.

After only 15 minutes, it was already noticably warmer in this teepee. Also, it smelled really good in here, all earthy and tomatoey.

So, here’s what happened next: the teepees blew off in a wind/hailstorm but Gabe got them back on. I secured them and let the babies sit in their new homes for another week, or so, then hardened them off. Now they’re livin’ in the wild, sans protection, but they’re covered in flowers and are already beginning to produce. They’re way ahead of other tomato plants in the hood so I believe that, though they were…ahem…not artistic or beautiful, the plastic teepees worked, thanks be to tomato cages, plastic, and tape.

Our first Czechoslovakian tomato. There are blossoms all over this plant! The teepee worked!

Our first Czechoslovakian tomato. There are blossoms all over this plant! The teepee worked!

Here's the Siberian tomato. It has fewer blossoms but does have a baby tomato growing, too. Hooray!

Here’s the Siberian tomato. It has fewer blossoms but does have a baby tomato growing, too. Hooray!

6 Comments

Filed under Adventures, In my backyard

An unexpected guest

I haven’t been getting much sleep lately for a variety of reasons, some of them unknown even to me. I had a plan, though: Gabe was away, I was going to go home, do my chores, then relax and get to sleep early. That’s how I came to be sitting in bed at 9:30 on a Tuesday night, reading a book and winding down for the day when something flew up the stairs, into my room, past my head, followed closely by two speeding cats. I looked over to see Toki and Evie attentively staring at the window next to me. I followed their Serious gazes to a wild bird that was perched on the sill, watching me, looking worried.

It was like this. I'm reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.

It was like this. I’m reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.

WTH?

Sighing, I crept out of bed, told the cats their game was over, then calmly walked to the laundry basket, dumped out the dirty clothes and tried to trap the bird. It sort of worked but I couldn’t get a seal around both the window frame and the blinds so the bird squirmed out and flew to the shelves.

This is not as easy as I'd hoped.

This is not as easy as I’d hoped.

The cats, their eyes still large and psychotic, leapt to the bed and watched our feathered new friend with malice-aforethought. I quickly got the basket around the bird again and slid it from the shelf to the wall but didn’t have anything big enough to create a sixth side for this make-do cage. I could, however, get the bird to the bathroom door, which I did via more soft sliding.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

I opened the door, kicked at the cats to keep them out, then did this amazing magic trick that resulted with me-n-the-bird in the bathroom (it’s like “Clue” only I’m no General Mustard) and the cats stuck in the bedroom.
T&E were yowling and reaching under the door, begging for their toy back, the one they’d undoubtedly brought in sometime during the afternoon and left for dead which actually means it was Evie because Toki would have eaten its brains. I planned to use Door #2 to make our escape but, first, I had to catch the bird.

Now...to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Now…to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Situation: I’ve got a outdoor bird flying around the bathroom at 9:45 pm. 

It fluttered around for awhile then landed on top of the linen closet. Of course. Because that’s what birds do. That meant I needed to fetch the stepstool and even that didn’t help because I couldn’t really see up there, but I could point my camera, which I’d also retrieved.

Meet Towhee. Towhee likes to hang out with the birds which are sometimes rubber duckies. Also, Towhee likes to pose for the camera because he’s kind of a ham.

The camera is shiny and the bird was intrigued so started hamming it up. Seriously, bird? You’re beat-up and tail-busted and you’re posing for pictures? This is how you’re going to spend your evening in captivity?

Towhee on rubber duck

Wow. Towhee’s got a good sense of humor. This is actually pretty funny.
And, yes, I know it’s dusty up there. That’s 6+ feet off the ground. I can’t reach up there and I don’t care if it’s clean or not. Don’t judge me or, if you do, come over and clean it for me and then shut up about it.

I shooed it off the linen closet and it fluttered to the ground then ran to the corner between the door and the tub and BAM! There’s Toki’s little paw, groping and hoping. I smacked his hand, put the laundry basket gently over the fugitive and urged it onto the rug, then slowly turned the basket right side up so that the bird had to walk from the rug to the basket side to the basket bottom and the rug became a lid.

Problem solved. Except for Toki who is trying to grab the rug and pull Towhee back out under the door to play with. And eat.

Towhee is not worried…much.

Once the bird was secure, I opened Door #2, ran downstairs to open the back door then ran back upstairs and grabbed the basket and we all – the bird in the basket,  Daisy, and I – walked out into the night. I uncovered the basket and the bird…it did nothing. It wasn’t stunned any more but it also wasn’t leaving. It just sat in my laundry basket, staring at me. I said kind things to it, told it I hope it had learned a valuable lesson, gently encouraged it to try its wings and then finally gave the basket a small shake and yelled, “GO, ALREADY!” The bird hopped, skipped, and flew away from me and out into the night air where it promptly smacked into the side of the shed then slid down into the raspberry canes. I rolled my eyes, hoped the skunk wasn’t around, and watched it hop around the side of the shed, climb a tree and sit there. I bid it farewell, wished it luck, and went back inside.
Poor bird.
Poor me.
Poor cats.
Daisy thought it was all good fun, though.

All's well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.

All’s well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.

6 Comments

Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds