Friday, May 23, 2008

Somebody, please tell me they're kidding

From the latest New Yorker. Really.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Who Said You Could Grow Up??

It's official. My son no longer says "Yeyyo". Sad mommy. I've had so much fun singing The E-Man's greatest hits including "We all live in a yeyyo submarine", and the line from Coldplay (I think) that goes: "and it was all yeyyo-o".

Happily, the following vocabulary is still in full effect:

Bofe - (there's TWO of 'em!)

Benember - as in "benember to look bofe ways before you cross the street"

Disposedto - as in "benember you're disposedto eat your vegetables"

Paff - as in "We ourselves must walk the paff.” (Buddha, through the mouth of The E-Man)

The Lizard Abazz - is it a new black power character from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series?? No! It's a cult movie starring Judy Garland!

Muncheekins - the little guys who sing "the lollipop man" song from The Lizard Abazz

There are more, many more, which I plan to document obsessively before they become "estink" (like the dinosaurs).

Tell me, Fooplets, what are your favorite kid words??

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


My mom and her husband are coming to visit. My mom, being of the same ineffable (read, "often confounding and occasionally intolerable") stock as me, equivocated until the last minute and then announced, yesterday, that, yes indeed, they were going to arrive Thursday evening. Well, maybe Wednesday, but probably Thursday.

Oh my oh my.

1) My house is SO not where I want it to be to receive visitors, and B) as I have previously mentioned, I'm a bit anal.

I made A List.

It was an ambitious list. It was a comprehensive list. It was the list of someone who has no idea how long it takes to shampoo a carpet or finish painting a bedroom.

It was a list that was doomed from the beginning. The rug that was going to be shampooed was Carpet Fresh-ed. Mop the hallway? Please.

At approximately 10:52 on Wednesday evening, the list was wadded up and tossed in a trash can.

Ooh - I need to empty all the trash cans...

Monday, May 12, 2008

A Moment for Mister Kitty

Almost exactly twenty years ago, my roommate’s cat went trampin’ around and turned up pregnant. She had four very sickly little kittens and the residents of a ramshackle rental house suddenly found themselves on round-the-clock nursing duty.

The kittens were impossibly small and delicate. For a pack of slacker college students, we were remarkably diligent about the almost hourly bottle feedings. Neil, the wonderfully weird roommate, would carry the tiny things around his shirt pocket to keep them warm – and, well, because he could.

I fell in love with one of the more pathetic ones, a little buff-orange boy I named Opie.

Around that same time, the cat-owning roommate (also my boyfriend) and I were at the tail end of a seriously bad relationship - the worst of my life, without question. One of my earliest memories of Opie was of him sleeping peacefully on my shoulder as Crazy Boyfriend pounded on the bedroom door and shouted death threats at me. I ended up hiding tiny little Opie in a dresser drawer when it sounded like the door was getting ready to give in, just in case I had to go out the window.

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

In his early years, he was known as “Opie Commando”, named for his habit of gamely attacking my much larger but very neurotic cat, Norman (“Come on, old man, you know you ain’t got no BLADES!”). Opie Commando’s main pastime – no, his mission in life - was Knocking Things Off Of Other Things. Seriously. He would look you flat in the eye as he stretched out on the coffee table and oh-so-deliberately knocked your water glass on the floor.

He was a holy terror and the inspiration for
Pony Girl’s poem – ostensibly written for a class – titled “That Furry Piece of Shit,” which included this passage: “I mandated the painful removal of his claws and nads, and he will have his revenge!”

In the words of Bette Davis, Byron couldn’t have said it better.

Opie saw me through the aftermath of Crazy Boyfriend, my transition from college life to adulthood, at least 5 cities, and more apartments than I care to name. He has known many of my friends and aggravated many of my roommates. He terrorized a lot of dates too. He once pooped in a boyfriend’s coat the first time he spent the night. (That’s kitty for “Dis’s MAH house”)

I met one of my best friends in New York one day when I came home from work and found her stuffing food under the door to my apartment. Opie had a habit of howling when he was bored, hungry, cranky, or, well, awake, and she thought maybe someone had died in there and the poor cat was starving. Hardly, the fat bastard.

Opie has been with me for the last twenty years, literally half of my life. I have obsessed about his well being as if I had pushed him out of my own loins. I wrote poetry about this cat (in quite a different vein as the previously mentioned piece). This cat outlasted my marriage.

By now, Opie is ancient; a feline Methuselah. I can’t comprehend how his little body keeps going. He has wicked arthritis and is in advanced renal failure. My friend Lisa described his coat as looking like “buffalo fur”. I give him shots and subcutaneous fluids on a regular basis (someone should really make me an honorary vet tech). Mostly he sleeps on his little heating pad and follows me into the kitchen to grouse at me until I give him chicken baby food. Then he goes and poops it out on the basement floor right next to the litter box.

This past weekend, on the day between my birthday and Mother’s day, I was taking in some much-needed girlfriend time with one my favoritest favorite girlz,
OTJ. We were on the way to the little Vietnamese nail place for mani-pedi’s when my cell phone rang. It was XS. Before he even said a word, I could tell by his panicked breathing that something was terribly wrong.

I... I was… well… Feeney… we were…

XS was watching the animals for me. This is no small job. My first thought was that my foster dog, who is such a terrier, had gotten away from him and blithely run off into the the big world. I was half right. She is a lovely, silly thing who adores people, but cats are a different matter. I should say right now that I love her and I don't blame her a bit for being what she is.

Somehow she got away from XS as he was taking her outside. She ran back into the house and got a hold of Opie.

When XS called he was on the way to the vet. Opie didn’t look good. His eyes were glazed. His tongue was hanging out. There was blood. XS would call me back when he knew more. Finally, he called again and put the vet on the phone. She was very kind. She described his injuries, the worst of which was a broken jaw, and proceeded to explain how they could wire the jaw up until they could do the first surgery and

I stopped her.

I think we need to let him go.

I could actually hear the doctor’s posture change. She exhaled. Yes, that would probably be best.

I wanted to know if there was any way that they could keep him comfortable until I could get home (I was three states away) to say goodbye. He’s in a lot of pain. she replied.

In recent months, I have been coming to terms with the fact that Opie was going to die, probably sometime soon. But it never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be with him when it was time for him to go.

Alright then.

XS, for all his faults, loved Opie too. He held Opie’s little body and cried for a long, long time after his heart stopped beating.

I recounted a kid-friendly version of all of this to my son as we were driving home on Sunday. He took it well. He wanted to know if we were going to get Opie back in a box, like the class hamster who died a couple of weeks ago and was solemnly buried in the preschool flower garden. Then he said
Mommy, it’s OK to be sad. Tell me if you need a hug.

When we got home, Opie’s heating pad was still warm and his medicine was sitting on the counter next to the jars of baby food. Who would have thought that a house with six animals and two people in it could feel so empty?

My heart has a big cat-shaped hole in it.

(he of the pooped-on jacket, after achieving security clearance):

E-man's picture of mommy's garden and Opie in his box, with flowers on top:

Goodnight, Mister Kitty. And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Hillary the Stalker, The Big Kid Haircut, and A New Rule

No, for real real. In the last two weeks, I have gotten over a dozen phone calls from her. I pick up, she starts talking and I can't get a word in edgewise. "When I'm president, blah blah blah."

Come on, Hil, aren't you going to ask me about my dogs? My son? Do you want to see some pictures? Hil??

Chelsea even called me today for the love of God.

Can't she see that I'm just not that into her?


My little baby boy finally got a big kid haircut. Mommy has been a little attached to his golden baby curls, and I was quite sure that if we cut his hair short, I would have to go straight into grief counseling.

The kid has XS's thick, wavy good hair. But it tangles like mommy's at the drop of a hat and he's even more tender-headed. The wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanied the daily comb-out were wearing on both of us.

XS's many unmarketable skills include being handy with a set of clippers, so he did The Deed when the E-Man was staying at his place over the weekend. When E came back and hopped out of the car, newly shorn, I was frozen to the spot. I waited for a second and didn't feel my heart drop into my shoes. In fact, I was amazed. He is so HANDSOME!

Of course, I'm still following him around wondering where this big kid came from.


New Rule: Foop is not allowed anywhere near the greeting card display at Target - EX-PECIALLY around holidays.

I foolishly went shopping for Mother's Day cards for my own momz, my grandfather's widow, and my soon to be ex-mothers in law, AKA The Nana's, who have babysat my son, held my hand, made me dinner, and taken me out to see the blues since XS walked out. God bless them.

All the "thanks for being there, Mom" cards were threatening to turn me into a puddle and then I got into looking for a card for Eileen. My maternal grandma died when I was in my 20's, and some years later, Gramps ran into, fell in love (again) with and married his high school sweetheart. They were very happy together. Gramps died last May. Eileen was holding his hand and I was looking into his eyes.

I miss my Gramps. He was a Viking and a scholar, the Great Sequoia of the family, a true Pater Familias. He was The Dude in Charge and the universe seems a little less substantial now that he's gone. As my very odd, very funny, and very cynical Uncle Eric said, in his typical dry tone, "One less generation standing between me and the abyss." I wouldn't have put it quite that way, but I get what he means.

So there I am in the Target, missing the world the way it was last year, thinking about my broken family, the beautiful women in my life, my dear old Gramps, the grandmother I never met, and a dog named Kona that I will be writing about soon. I was trying to play it off, but tears were streaming down my cheeks.

Damn you greeting card companies! Damn you all to hell!!


Bonus pic: (when life gets you down, go see Balloon Boy)