Friday, July 24, 2015

Top 10 Reasons Why I Have Recently Become a Crazy Cat Lady

Among those considered dog people and cat people, I’ve always found myself comfortably and firmly positioned in Camp Dog, waving that Greenie flag proudly and drinking from the fountain of eternal, unquestionable devotion. I’d roll my eyes at the contempt that cats seemed to carry for their very owners. Their sharp claws and ruthless hunting for sport.

I once watched a friend’s cat carry a live, injured bird into the house, release it under the dining room table, and then toy with it – swatting it to watch it erupt into an attempt at broken-winged flight – only to pounce on it again. Naturally, I screamed, throwing back the chairs to break apart the depravity but the cat was always faster than I could lunge. Cats, man, stone cold. And kinda scary.

 Throughout my lifetime dogs have been my running buddies, my fellow couch potatoes, my saving grace in heavy times. They are tail wags and wet kisses and hours of fetch on the beach. Cats are … cats.

Until recently. I’ve been domestically companionless for over two years now. Every time I saw a puppy on the street, I stop with increasing desperation to pet it. I’d linger at the rescue dog tent at the farmer’s market, asking questions and gauging temperaments of 100-pounds of pit bull muscle. I’d browse, just to see.

I am in no position to own a dog of any kind right now. Not even that giant blue Great Dane I admire in my neighborhood who I stop to watch lounge on his front porch. Not even the placid greyhound who meanders in the small, shaded backyard that abuts mine. And certainly not the rescue pit bull who would require hours of manic energy dispelled each day.

I barely have enough time to take care of myself right now. I’m away for the house for 10-15 hours at a time each day. I’m constantly on the go in my city and constantly daydreaming about other cities and countries to be on the go in too.

So then it occurred to me: maybe a cat. Sure, it’s a cat, but also it’s a warm body at night, right? It’s something to hang out with me on the couch when gasping over Game of Thrones and binging on Orange is the New Black. It’s something that will let me pet it. Probably.

Cats are totally low maintenance! They’re fine on their own for a day! A weekend, even! So what if they don’t come running to the door with an excitement so frenzied I worry that it’s having a seizure when I get home at the end of the day. It’s ok if I can’t take it running. Or even outside at all for that matter.

Cats: They’re there!

So my mind was (kind of) made up. I would get a cat. An orange one. I could afford to be picky until I found the perfect one because I was still a little unsure of the whole venture to begin with. A cat? Yes, I had to reassure myself. A CAT.

Months went by and save for one highly unsuccessful trip to the animal shelter – that came to a close with me circling the saddest looking dogs I ever did see in their little stalls over and over again in near tears – I remained feline-less.

And then it happened. My friend’s cat had kittens. Each kitten was a different shade of black. Except for one. Yes, a little orange boy. And he shall be mine, I declared. Actually it was more like, “OH, ORANGE, DIBS, MINE.”

And after an eight-week waiting period, it was time to pick him up. But oh shit, I don’t have a single thing needed to take care of a kitten. So on my way, I pulled into a PetCo and unsteadily scanned the aisles. What might a kitten need? Food? Yes, food let’s do that. Umm … a litter box, yes definitely! Oh, and kitty litter. Umm … this kind? No, that logo looks weird. This kind? That looks fresh. Ok. What else? Toys for fetch? No wrong. Collar? Meh. This feather thing on a string? Sure! Oh, scratchy things!

I loaded my cart in the same way I imagine first time parents wandering through the aisles of Babies-R-Us would. Is this for your nipples? They make pee guards? Wait, babies do that? How do you even put that on? And by that I mean slightly terrified, wholly unconvinced in my abilities to care for this thing, and somewhat amazed at all the options that people have invented for doing so in the first place.

“So … getting a cat?” the checkout guy asked as he scanned my items.

“Yes … today … right now, actually … IhavenoideawhatI’mdoing.”

“Oh … do you have someone to help you care for it?”

I stared at the items in my cart and then at the man as I handed him my credit card. Was this PetCo employee hitting on me? Or was he confirming that he too clearly doubted my ability to keep a kitten alive for 10 to 20 years? Or was he a murderer gauging how easily he could follow me home to an empty apartment and kill me in front of my new kitten?

“YES. I have … one. He doesn’t know I’m doing this today …” I trailed off. “I’LL BE FINE THANKS. AND I DON’T LIVE ALONE FYI IT’S ALL GOOD BUSY NEIGHBORHOOD AND ALL.”

Because at that moment it occurred to me that my boyfriend did not, in fact, have any idea that I was picking up a kitten today. He was in the middle of a two-week work trip in the U.K. and our communication had been slightly spotty over the past few days owing to the time difference and our busy schedules.

When I got to my friends’ office – the kittens had been born to the warehouse cat – I eyed them all cautiously. This will be great this will be great this will be great this will be great, I assured myself.

After an hour or so of catching up, my friend had to get back to work and I was left standing … with a kitten. My kitten. My tiny orange kitten. Who I had named Taco. Because tacos fucking rule.

“Say goodbye to your family,” I said as I scooped up Taco and carried him to the car. “Forever. Oh god, I’m so sorry I’m a monster.” Which is exactly how he made me feel for the hour-long drive back to the city as he cried – nay yowled – while alternating between climbing the seats, hiding under the seats, and pissing on the car rugs out of what I assume was pure terror and/or rage.

This will be great this will be great this will be great this will be great.

And now about a month later, I can say with confidence that this is totally great. Cats are so easy, you guys! They don’t pee in the house no matter how long you leave them (except for that time boyfriend found him swatting his own poop around the dining room). They sleep all the time (except for at 3 a.m. when he’s biting my ass and pulling my hair and clawing up my legs to try to get me to play with him). They’re so calm (except for when he’s running around the apartment ricocheting off the furniture and clawing up the window screens). He even comes running when I call him (except for when he’s in the back of my closet climbing up my dresses with his sharp little claws).

Just try and tell me there's a cuter damn family photo than this. Oh, you and your husband and your baby? Please that is so basic.

Not to mention, he’s just so damn cute. If you follow me on instragram you know this because I post pictures of him every day. I’m sorry. Taco loves belly rubs and sleeping in laps and following you from room to room just to see what you’re doing. He comes running the instant he hears my keys in the door when I get home at the end of the day. He literally climbs up my legs and into my arms when he wants to be held and I’m standing still. When boyfriend opens his computer at the dining room table, Taco climbs onto his shoulders to see what’s going on. I can’t even, you guys. I just can’t.

So now here I stand before you today to admit: My name is Bridget and I love cats. Well, mine anyway. My friends, however, can barely believe I’m now a newly minted cat lady person, so to explain, I will now share with you the top 10 reasons why Taco and I are perfect companions.

  1. Taco demands love and attention, but in a slightly passive-aggressive way. If you leave him for too long or fail to lavish enough attention on him, he will shit under the dining room table and then act like it’s a game. Same.
  2. We both love cilantro. Taco loves it so much that he will pull the entire fucking window box of cilantro sitting on my kitchen windowsill to the ground so he can love it up close and personally.
  3. Our energy levels swing from manic excitement to sleep within seconds.
  4. Speaking of sleep, we both think sleeping is the fucking best thing. We can do it anywhere. On the couch, on the bed, on the hardwood floor, on top of boyfriend Doug (bow chicka), on my computer keyboard.
  5. We’re both so fucking adorable.
  6. We dig tall, bearded men. Especially the one that lives with us.
  7. We love head rubs and cuddling.
  8. We never talk about Crossfit or paleo.
  9. We love being outside. Taco technically isn’t allowed outside, but if I’m sitting on the porch he does this really cute thing where he climbs up the window screen with his claws and hangs there yowling until you’re so distracted from whatever it is you were reading that you go inside to calm him the hell down. So yeah, I’d consider him “outdoorsy.”
  10. If we’re hungry, we’re hangry. God help you if you cross my path if my blood sugar drops below a certain level. I can’t think, my stomach begins to eat itself, I get lightheaded, and the rage is real. This is what I imagine Taco is experiencing at 4 a.m. when he is clawing up and down my body and biting me from head to toe on the occasion that I did not fill his food bowl enough the night before. I don’t blame him. I do the same thing to Doug on the regular. Every time a bitchy word comes out of my mouth and my claws are bared, before he fights back he firsts asks me if I’m hungry. 99% of the time, yes I am.
Cats, man. Mine rules. You want to join the Taco party? @yellaphant on instragram for delicious Taco treats on the reg.

Until next time, just hang in there.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

So this is 30

A few months into my 30s -- a mere toe dip into the collective pool of what 10 years ago I would have told you was "scary old" -- I'd like to say I've done some grand philosophical thinking and have come to you today rich with life lessons for all. Like one of those internet memes that crop up on Facebook like the Ebola in the news. "20 Things to Stop Doing in Your 30s," "30 Things Only 30-Somethings Will Understand," "10 Ways to Love Yourself More in Your 30s." All of which I think essentially boil down to one single life lesson for us all: Give less fucks. And stop posting those stupid internet memes on Facebook.

1. Give less fucks: For about a week in the beginning of this new period of my 30s, I somehow got it into my head that I was probably a highly functioning alcoholic. I'd like to tell you that I've since figured out when to say enough is enough (this can also be applied to cookies, burritos, and stopping strangers on the street to pet their puppies) but that would be a lie. I have, however, figured out that hangovers in your 30s fucking suck. C'est la vie.

2. Give less fucks: Did your friend hurt your feelings? Give me a break and give less fucks. Friends are really important and if you've held on to them for this long, you should put in the effort into keeping it that way. Friends are the bomb. I'd be nowhere without my friends. Be a good friend yourself and put a lid on the drama. Be someone others can trust. Know when to keep your damn mouth shut. If you haven't figured out what it means to be a good friend at this age, then you're an asshole. If you're holding on to grudges, you're an asshole. If you're selfish, you're a selfish asshole. Spazz less, love more.

3. Give less fucks: Same goes to your boyfriend/girlfriend/lover/spouse/F buddy. Compromise often. Communicate clearly. Think of them first. Love the shit out of them. Sometimes it's hard. But it's almost always worth it. Some things just aren't worth giving the fucks over. Also you should give them sweet, sweet loving as often as possible because if you are reading this you're probably my mom really bored skewed towards crazy and they might love you anyway.

4. Give less fucks: And for those people who don't fit the above criteria? Give less fucks. Don't waste your energy. You're 30 now, you don't have any energy to spare. You need it for nursing your monstrous hangovers.

5. Give less fucks: Don't worry about the past. Your 20s are tough. They're a time of transition and emotional upheaval and mistakes and years of trying to figure out what the fuck you're supposed to be doing because you're pretty sure it's not THIS but what is this anyway and who are you really and what is your greater calling and why aren't you making any money and where are you supposed to be and how come suddenly your Facebook newsfeed is filled with weddings and babies and houses and dogs? Whatever, dude. You survived that shit. Pat yourself on the back because 30s are here and now you can relax and give less fucks. I experienced more near-death experiences, bodily trauma, and heartbreak in my 20s than many people do in all the decades that follow. But you know what? I learned so much about myself and other people from all that. And I really like the me that was borne from it all. But you better believe that every day I wake up thankful that that shit is behind me. I'm sitting here in my 30s overflowing with so much goddamn love for the people that are surrounding me now because these people rock.

6. Give less fucks: I'm pretty sure I had more super sage advice to give here but I'm so chill right now and giving so few fucks I can't even remember what I was going to say.

7. Oh yeah: Do good by your body. This can mean different things for different people. For me, it usually means getting a lot of exercise. Running, yoga, spinning, anything I can throw myself into fully and work up an awesome sweat. Why? Because it feels awesome when I'm done. I'm able to love myself a little more and give less fucks about all other things. It keeps me sane. It helps me make friends in a city that has become my home. You don't need to be a health nut or exercise freak. I'm just saying you're 30, do something every day that makes you proud of yourself or helps you blow off steam. Keep your body healthy so you can keep that heart ticking for another 60 years or so. I promise you will give so many less fucks. And then you can have the cheeseburger.

8. Give less fucks: That said, your body is your body. If you haven't made peace with it yet, you better pull out the ole' peace pipe and just accept to give less fucks. And if the peace pipe gives you the munchies, have the fucking nachos. Be kind to yourself.

9. Give less fucks: You don't want to go out to the club? Me neither! Having a hard time motivating yourself to leave the house because it's currently 7 degrees with a real feel of -14? Me too! Want to go to bed at 9 p.m.? I'm way ahead of you, sistah! We can give less fucks now. If you want to spend a Saturday night at home journaling about all of your 30-year-old feelings, that's a totally cool thing to do. This time of my life has brought a lot of new self awareness because of the time I've taken for myself. And I think that helps me be a better person to everyone else around me. So go ahead and nap.

10. Give less fucks: Turns out your parents were right all along. Time to give mad props.

I'm not saying I've perfected all of the above points of giving less fucks. Some days I wake up and I'm a real asshole anyway. Sometimes I'm selfish. Sometimes I send myself on a downward emotional spiral that often ends with me panicked over dying alone and childless with no real accomplishments to my name save for the fact that it seems like people love it when I write about my #vaginaproblems on the internet. Less vagina talk. That shit was for my 20s. I've matured and moved on to butt jokes.

So yeah, I guess I have done some thinking. I do that sometimes.

This decade is going to fucking rock. Party on, Wayne!


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