Tag Archives: pets

Sleeping with drag queens

images[2]If my calculations are correct, W and I have been sleeping in the same bed for about seven years. Not continuously like we are in the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Although that idea always seemed appealing when I was younger and depressed.

On Friday, the kid will have been in the hospital for three weeks, save the three days he spent at home. W has stayed with him every night, which means our bed is empty when I turn in.

I pile clean laundry and things to take to the hospital on W’s side of the bed to keep it from seeming so empty.

IMG_0190I look at our pillowcases that say “Big Spoon” and “Little Spoon” and wonder when the Big Spoon will be coming home. Yes, folks, I’m butch enough to admit that I’m usually the little spoon.

One of our cats is so distraught over W’s absence that he cries and deposits random items in a pile in the middle of the bed — socks, a cloth to polish shoes, cat toys. I’m not sure where he’s finding these items. I’m pretty sure some of them aren’t even ours.

At night, I stay up way too late and watch mindless TV shows — Shark Tank, Teen Mom 2, Bar Rescue, Catfish — until I am so tired I pass out.

imagesSWB6O19BFor some strange reason, I find RuPaul’s Drag Race especially soothing and often find myself falling asleep to “I’m Every Woman” or some other disco tune and instructions to “sashay away.” Because drag queens always make me feel better. The are like a Band-Aid — a sequined Band-Aid with rhinestones and wigs and high heels.

This new habit has made for some very weird dreams.

When I was a kid and my grandmother visited, she always slept in my double bed with me.

This was weird and annoying for a variety of reasons but mostly because my grandmother slept with a transistor radio that she kept on until she fell asleep.

It was an old radio, one of my grandfather’s, and seemed unable to broadcast anything but static.

My grandmother loved music but always listened to the news on her handheld radio.

I used to think she was an old lady way too interested in what was happening in the world.

But when I got older, I realized she missed my grandfather, who had passed away years before, and it was impossible for her to fall asleep without some kind of distraction.

I wonder what it was about the sound of the radio that soothed her. If the buzz reminded her of his rhythmic breathing or snoring or if she just needed noise, any noise, to fill the void he had left behind.

So with that, I’m going to sashay to bed. Just me and the cats and a gaggle of drag queens. That’s what you call a group of drag queens, right?

* * *

What about you? How do you sleep when your significant other is away?

 

Advertisements

Silent partners

One of our kids was in a serious bicycle crash almost two weeks ago. He spent a week in the hospital. W stayed with him around the clock.

“You make him feel safe,” I told her.

I visited each day.

He was home for a few days but had a setback and is back in the hospital for at least another week. W is by his side.

Once again, I am making a daily trek to the hospital.

W sends me a list of what to bring that day: nail clippers, a travel-size bottle of shampoo from the top of her dresser, Advil.

I usually visit late afternoon and stay until it starts to get dark outside. I run out for whatever the kid wants. It is always sweet tea and something else. Today it was a single glazed donut. I tell him I am going to buy him a Smashburger with cheese and bacon and a Nutter Butter milkshake when he feels better.

W and I sit on the couch in his room.

“What’s new?” I ask.

She gives me the update.

“What’s new with you?” she asks.

I tell her what’s happening at home.

We eat take-out for dinner.

We watch silly videos about Prince beating Jimmy Fallon at ping pong and cats doing silly cat things.

We stare at our phones.

Sometimes I bring the newspaper or a magazine to read.

But mostly we sit without speaking. I might squeeze her hand or rub her back to remind her I am here. That I will always be here, especially in times like these.

I think of our cats at home. The two brothers who silently sit on the pink blanket on top of the washer to watch the birds or on the bed to take a nap or in the window to warm in the sun …

And I remember how lucky I am to have W by my side as life storms by.

 

Cat of the Month

“Good man, Bodhi,” I say, petting him on the head. “You, sir, are changing the world one sock at a time.”

Give a big Flannel Files welcome to Bodhi, Cat of the Month.

For the better part of today, he carried this dirty gym sock up and down the stairs. Now, that’s dedication, folks.

IMG_0279

Actually, it was a slow day. Here’s the haul he delivered to our bed a few weeks ago like some weird scene from the movie Carol. If Therese were, perhaps, a cat.

IMG_0128

In the meantime, this cat posed for kitty porn.

IMG_0178

And this cat napped in typical cat fashion.

IMG_0186

Congratulations, Bodhi. You are a superhero! Whether you know it or not.

Remember that time when you got caught in a plastic bag and ran real fast all over the house like a maniac every time you moved and the bag rustled wore this cool handmade plastic cape?

IMG_0231

You rocked then, and you rock now!

IMG_0117

Bodhi: Cat of the Month

* * *

Who’s your pet of the month and why?

 

 

Cat sandwich

Cat

My son says our cat Magic is purebred.

W says she’s inbred.

A rainy day lesson from my cat

It’s raining cats and dogs outside.

Which is weird because my cat is right here next to me.  It’s probably because she’s lazy and not always up for outdoor adventures.

Anyway, Magic is curled up on a chair that I’ve positioned alongside  my work desk.  Every few minutes, I look over at her and smile.

Magic the Cat

I remember to be grateful for the little things in life:

  • I have a roof over my head that provides shelter from the rain, which is actually a big thing on rainy days like today.
  • I have food in my belly, even though I’m dieting.
  • I have a partner who wraps her arms around me at night and kisses me goodnight.
  • I have a furry companion to keep me company.

I am grateful that Magic allows me to care for her.  She sleeps on the Snuggie that I carefully fluff up for her.  She eats the food that I put out for and laps up the water.  She plays when I crinkle up a small piece of paper into a ball or fetch one of her cat toys.

She rewards me with sandpaper kisses and her company.  Sometimes she crawls up my chest, hooks her front paws over my shoulder and falls fast asleep.  Other times, like today, she is content to sleep near me.

Magic

I wonder if she realizes how lucky she is to have such luxuries like a soft Snuggie to curl up on, an endless supply of food, and shelter from the rain, especially on days like today.  After all, she is a shelter cat who spent her first few weeks on the city streets of Philadelphia.

photo1

And then I remember how lucky I am to have such a magic creature who reminds me of all of my blessings.

How a about you, Flannel readers?  What have you learned from your pet?

Cat burglar

We were robbed over the weekend.

Before you worry your pretty little heads, know that no one was hurt.  We’re all safe — me, W, the kids and the cats.

It was the strangest thing.  Perhaps that’s they very nature of a senseless crime.  Strange.  After all, it’s an not an everyday occurrence.  Unless you’re a cop.  Or a criminal, for that matter.

So, what did they take?  I use the word “they,” because I have a sense that there was more than one of them.  A pair, or criminal duo.  Or more likely three or four, which would translate into a full-blown crime team.  I’m fairly certain they had a ringleader, several lackeys, maybe even a couple of thugs.  We can’t be sure.  I mean, who can really say.

They took our Purina Tender Moments Whisker Lickin’s (chicken flavor).  I use the word “took” in an attempt to mitigate the violent nature of this heinous crime.  The scofflaws viciously tore through the vacuum-sealed Whisker Lickin’s package and helped themselves to the tender morsels nestled inside.  The brutal manner in which they violated the package indicates that they were sorely in need of a poultry fix.

WARNING … ACTUAL CRIME SCENE PHOTOS FOLLOW …

 

Whisker Licken's

After closer examination of the evidence, it seems that the perpetrators might have used their teeth to actually tear through the foil-lined package just like some sort of wild animal.  In fact, pieces of the package were missing from the crime scene.  I wonder if the scoundrels took the fragments with them to cover their tracks or actually ingested pieces of the wrapper in their chicken-crazed haste.

Whisker Lickin's

The crime occurred while we were out of the house for the day.  Thank God.

The cats were home, though.

We asked them about it.  Did you see anything?  Did you hear anything?  Did you notice anything unusual?

Moon just turned his head and stared blankly out the window.

Magic jumped inside a laundry basket.

It was a terrible case of PTCD (post-traumatic cat disorder).  Perhaps the worst I’ve ever seen.

“Curse you villains!” I shouted, shaking my closed fist wildly at the unidentified assailants.  “What cruel folly is this!”

Moon turned his head the other way.

Magic sat in the laundry basket.

I opened a new pack of Whisker Lickin’s and fed them each three soft, tender pieces to calm their nerves.

Of mice and lesbians (a re-post)

With all of the cat-mouse excitement this weekend (see here), I thought I would re-post one of all my all-time favorite posts, which details a more successful mouse rescue and contains a similar scream from your favorite butch blogger.  Look for it.   

* * *

“Honey, I need a box or a container or something,” W says.

It’s 6:00 in the morning.

The urgency in her voice suggests that she needs to dispose of a body part.  That’s the first thing that pops into my mind at 6 a.m.  I am Italian after all.

Me: What’s the matter?

W: There’s a mouse in the bathtub.

Me: Is it alive or dead?

W: I don’t know.  His eyes are open.  I’m scared.

She gives me that please-protect-me look, which gets this butch’s motor running every time.

Me: Ok, give me a second.

I go downstairs and assemble a makeshift mouse-catching kit.  I grab a plastic shopping bag, a small plastic tub, a plastic cup and an empty granola bar box.

W: Don’t worry about the blood.  I’ll get that later.

Me: Blood?

W: There’s two drops of blood on the bathroom floor.

Me: But you don’t know whether the mouse is alive or dead?

W: No.

This from a nurse.

Me: Well, where did the blood come from?

We don’t live here

It’s not like we live in that hotel from The Shining where blood seeps in through the walls.

W: I don’t know.  I have to get to work.

Me: Ok, ok, ok.

I walk to the tub, stepping over the drops of blood.  There’s a dark gray mouse sitting on top of the drain.  His eyes are open.  He’s not moving.

I steel myself over the tub preparing to grab a mouse — who may be alive or dead or in a cat-induced coma for all I know — with a plastic shopping bag.

W: Come on, I have to take a shower.

Me: Alright, alright.  If this thing moves, I’m going to scream.

I approach the mouse, hand wrapped in plastic bag.  It moves.  I scream.

I am nothing if not predictable.

Me: Oh God, oh God, oh God.

W impatiently leaves the bathroom.

I chase the mouse all over the tub with the plastic cup.  Finally, I get him to scoot inside and cover the top with the plastic bag.

Mouse in cup

He looks fine.  The clear plastic cup allows for a complete medical inspection.

Me: He’s so cute.  Can we keep him?

W: No.

She’s really grumpy in the morning.

Me: I dub you Mordecai.  Where do you think the blood came from?

W: I don’t know.  There’s only two drops.

Me: Only two drops?  That’s a lot of blood.  Have you seen how tiny this mouse is?  The blood is either from Magic …

Magic is our cat who routinely catches, maims and kills mice.  We have assumed that Magic caught Mordecai in some other part of the house, put him in her mouth and then carried him upstairs to her bathtub of horror where she could bat him around and he’d have no way to escape.  She’s like a feline version of Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.

Buffalo Bill

Magic

W: I doubt it.

Me: Or, another mouse that’s dead.  Or, Mordecai, and he looks ok.

That’s when W notices that Mordecai is missing his tail.

Me: Maybe, he didn’t have one.

Maybe Mordecai is some exotic tailless mouse like a Manx cat, I think.

W: I think all mice have tails.

She starts singing Three Blind Mice.

W: They all ran after the farmer’s wife, who cut off their tails with a carving knife.

Because this is the definitive source when it comes to rodent anatomy.

Me: Don’t worry, Mordecai, I think it’s a vestigial appendage.

I ask W what I should do with Mordecai.

W: I don’t know.  Put him in the yard.

I worry that Mordecai will find his way back inside and into Magic/Buffalo Bill’s torture chamber again.

W: Either put him in the yard or kill him.

Me: These are his two options?  Either release him in the yard or kill him?

This thing has mob movie written all over it.

Me: So, I can’t drive him to the park?  Mordecai, how would you like to live in a park?

I end up walking Mordecai, who is safely ensconced in his plastic cup, to an old industrial park a block down the street.

Mordecai’s new digs

I decide he will become a hobo mouse.  Mordecai the hobo mouse.  I dump him out of the cup and place a Fruit Loop at his feet.  Mordecai sniffs around and then darts under an abandoned trailer.

I tell W.

W: Did you gave him a bandana and a stick?

Me: No.  Just a Fruit Loop.

W: Did you really?

Me: Yes.  I figured that it was the least that we could do after he survived Magic’s tub of terror.

So much excitement and it’s not even 7 a.m.  I try to calm myself, but adrenaline is coursing through my body.  It’s been a big morning.  A big, bloody, horrific morning.

I kiss W goodbye and tell her to have a good day.

“Keep an eye out for the tail,” she tells me before she leaves.

Good God, will the horror never end?

This is Magic in front of the tub all curled up and smiling post-torture session

Middle-age butch screams like a little girl

There was a lot of commotion in our house early this morning.  Our crackerjack mouser, Magic the Cat, had captured a mouse and carried it upstairs to the bathtub for further torture play.

W woke me up so that I could fetch a large plastic cup to trap the mouse and then set him free.  We’ve got this mouse rescue thing down to a science.

I handed the cup off to W, and she pulled back the shower curtain.

“Oh my God, he’s so big!” I said.

According to W, this gave the mouse the courage to scale the walls of the tub and make a break for freedom.

imagesCA3Q04LXWhen the mouse raced up and out of the tub, I screamed.  Loudly.  Shrilly.  Like a 13-year-old girl watching The Blair Witch Project at a sleepover.

Magic stared up at me from the steps.  “You dumb ass.  I had that mouse all caught,” she said.  “Were you waiting for me to gift wrap it for you?”

She can be a total asshole sometimes.

With the mouse on the loose, W and I decided to go back to bed and pretend that nothing had happened.

In bed, W couldn’t resist pointing out the girlish — and very unbutch — nature of my shriek.

“You just handed me a plastic cup and started screaming like a girl,” she said.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know that you wanted to play by rigid gender roles,” I replied.  “Next time, I’ll try to scream in a more manly fashion, ” I added.

And that’s how we started our Saturday.  It wasn’t even 7:00 a.m., and we were having a heady discussion about gender and roles and expectations and whether it is beyond the realm of butchdom to scream in a girlish fashion when a rodent — imagine a ginormous, fanged rodent the size of a micro-wolf — unexpectantly lunges from a tub inches from one’s body.

So, dear readers, please chime in.

If a butch screams at 6:00 a.m. in a bathroom while dodging a giant mouse and no one hears but her femme, is she any less a butch?

What’s the most unbutch thing you’ve done recently?

Why I don’t need a pet pig to write a book

W and I took the kids to a Pet Expo today.

We go every year.  We’re all big animal lovers.

The expo features all kinds of neat stuff like rescues trying to adopt out animals, a small petting zoo, vendors and various animal shows.  Plus, most attendees come with their pets, so it’s a lot of fun to people and pet watch.

I knew alpacas can knit!

I knew I was right!

I bought W a pair of alpaca gloves.  They are so soft.  W said they are made from alpaca wool.  I insisted that they were knit by alpacas.

The expo was heavy on dog stuff.  As cat lovers, we found that racist.

We saw the cutest baby turtles for sale.  They must have been about the size of a half dollar.  Other highlights: A pair of Jack Russell puppies that we oohed and ahhed over, beautiful Egyptian Mau kittens and a tiny Chihuahua sporting a sparkly tutu who looked like she had come straight from Dance Moms.

But it was two baby potbelly pigs who caught my attention.

They were in adjoining runs.  A black one and a white one with brown spots.  Both about the size of toaster ovens, I’d say.  “They’re available for adoption,” the woman in charge told us.

I turned to W.

“This is my book,” I said excitedly.  “We adopt a pig.  I write about our adventures.  With the pig.  It’s brilliant.”

I’m thinking that this will be huge.  Bigger than Marley and Me.  Or Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.  Bigger and better because it’s a pig for crying out loud.  Not a stupid dog.  How boring.  Or a cat.  So cliche.

I have the writing talent.  All I need is a pig.  It was all so clear.

And here’s the best part.

“If you really want a pig, you can get one, baby,” W says.

And she means it.

I love that she indulges me and my crazy ideas.  I love that I have someone by my side who says sure, get a pig or another kitten or whatever it is that you think you need to be happy.

Oh, Lily Tomlin.

Oh, Lily Tomlin.

It would be cool to be able to say that we came home from the Pet Expo with a baby potbelly big.  We named her Lily Tomlin.  She got into a bag of flour that was on the bottom shelf of the pantry.  You should see the mess!  Right now, she’s curled up on the floor with one of the cats.  I’m not sure which one is snoring.  Maybe both of them!  It just goes to show you that animals don’t see color, or race or species — only another worthy soul.  We are learning so much from Lily Tomlin, and it’s only been three hours.  Imagine how much richer our lives will be in three days!

The truth is that potbelly pigs are big.  And some of them might not like cats.  Well, maybe for breakfast.  You can train them to use a litter box.  But it would have to be a large litter box.  (The experts recommend a metal liner used for hot water heaters.)

While the pig lady was trying to sell us on adopting a pig, I was doing the math: Our cats are small, about 8 pounds or so on average.  A potbelly pig will get to be 90 to 150 pounds.  So, one small potbelly equals about 12 cats, give or take.

We have room for another cat right now.  But probably not 12, unless we want to get serious about an appearance on Hoarders next season.

Right now, I complain if one of the cats goes outside the litter box or throws up on the furniture.  Imagine cleaning up after a pig?

So, the Pet Expo was fun, even though we didn’t come home with a pig or any other pet for that matter.  Right now, we have enough animals to take care of and to love.

And certainly plenty to write about.

Night of the living pets

Our pet bearded dragon, Artemis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every night before I go to bed, I check on all of our animals and make sure they have everything they need before I turn in.  Clean litter, food, water, that kind of stuff.

I went to turn off the light on the bearded dragon’s tank and saw her in her hiding spot.

She didn’t look good.  Not like Lindsay Lohan not good or Nick Nolte not good.  But more like Jim Morrison not good.  Which is really code for d-e-a-d.

Oh, God.

My immediate thought was that I’d need to dispose of her lizard carcass immediately.  Like now.  Definitely before the kids get up the next morning and have to see their beloved pet hard and stiff and dead.

The very thought of picking up a dead lizard using a plastic shopping bag started to gross me out.  I know, so very un-butch.  Like lip gloss and glitter.

I slid off the top of the cage and lifted up the hollowed out log under which the dragon was resting.

Her eyes opened slightly.  This is how I knew she wasn’t dead.

I cleaned out the tank and put in some fresh kale and went upstairs to give W a report.

“The dragon doesn’t look very good,” I said.

W raised an eyebrow.  Then told me not to worry so much.

Last year, when the weather started getting colder and the days shorter, the dragon went into some kind of state of hibernation.  She stopped eating and just kind of laid around.  It was like me when I’m depressed, only change “stopped eating” to “more, please.”

W thought the dragon was going through something like that again.

“I’m not worried at all,” she said confidently.

I was still worrying.  I could medal in worrying in Rio in 2016.  I’m that good.  I am the Michael Phelps of hand wringing.

“Do you want to know what I saw?” I asked.

“Sure.”

“Well, she looks like she has dark circles under her eyes.”

Honestly, that bearded dragon looked like she had been up the previous night snorting lines of cocaine and drinking bottles of Cristal like some scaly hip-hop artist with a brand new record deal.

W laughed.

“And, imagine if you had a bicycle pump and stuck it in her.  But then instead of pumping air in, you sucked it out.  That’s how she looks.  Flat.”

W laughed again.

For some reason, she found my medical in-take humorous.  Nurses.

Personally, I don’t see what’s so funny about a strung-out, flat bearded dragon.

Anyway, I felt better when W reminded me of the hibernation thing.  And, I always feel better when W’s not as worried and freaked out like me.  Which is almost always.  It’s calming.

After we had settled into bed and watched some TV, I felt compelled to share another observation.

“I don’t think the cat looks very good.”