I hardly call a nose bump a fair trade in this situation…

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Mornin’ all.

Who told me cats are fun? Because as I sit here brooding and sulking WAY too early over my morning cup-o’-swill, I’ve got a few choice words I’d like to say to the fella that convinced me to get a mewling, whining, sadistic little fur ball.

Since 3:30 this morning, she has been meowing her head off at me. If she was a dog, I’d think to myself, “Hm. She’s making so much racket that Timmy MUST have fallen in the well. I should get up and throw the kid a rope or some shit.”

She is not, however, a dog. I knew, folks. I *knew* there was absolutely nothing amiss. And yet, when she persisted, over and over and over and over and…

I got up. She jumped on the bed, then raced to the door. Perhaps I was wrong, I thought to myself as I donned my robe and grabbed my glasses. “Okay, kitty. I’m coming. Relax. What’s wrong?”

The beastie tore down the stairs and waited in the kitchen doorway, looking eager and anxious. I got down there as quick as I dared with my half-opened eyes and clumsy bed legs that only partly worked, expecting to see the worst.

As soon as I entered the kitchen and looked around, Demon Cat purred, gave me two leg brushes, and then promptly curled up in her current favorite box, closed her eyes, and pretended to go to sleep, a smug, self-satisfied look on her fuzzy little face.

She just wanted me to be up. There was nothing wrong. Not a damn thing had run afoul in the night. No Timmies were in any wells, and she didn’t even want to show off a mousey kill. She just wanted to rend asunder my peaceful slumber.

That bitch.

So now here I sit way too early, brooding and grumbling, sucking down a fairly tame cup of coffee flavored milk, when all I really want to be doing is sleeping. It was a good sleep, folks. One of those pleasant nights where you wake up here and there, glance at the clock, see that you’ve still got four more hours, and fall back asleep with that comforting high buzzing through you. It’s not even like she interrupted a nightmare night. Or a tossy-turny night of self-reproach and regrets.

It was a good sleep. And now it is gone. *sniff*

I could have used those Zs, too. I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger in a…

“Bethie!”

…what?

“You can’t say things like that anymore. It’s insensitive.”

You’re kidding, right?

“It’s offensive.”

*rolly eyes* Fine. I’m too tired to argue so I’ll rephrase. I’ve been busier than a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest who…

“NO!! That’s even worse!”

Hogwash. I’d argue that if I was a one-legged man, I’d definitely join an ass-kicking contest to prove…

“Do you want me to die from an apoplectic fit brought about by righteous indignation over here? You can’t use uni-limbed people as the butt of a joke.”

First: uni-limbed?

“Using the number one focuses on singularity, not inclusiveness.”

*blink**blink*…I…I can’t even…. *sigh* Second: it wasn’t a joke, it was an expression. Nobody was the butt of anything.

“Doesn’t matter. You can’t quantify your own mild discomforts with the struggles of the uni-limbed.”

*grinds teeth* O….kay. Let’s try this again. I’m busier than…than…a bee?

“DEAR LORD BETHIE!!! Don’t you know about the struggles bees are having now with colony collapse?? We’re going to starve within ten years and you use their plight for your comedic whims?! YOU MONSTER. Maybe YOU planted the fungus in the bee hives!”

*tic* *tic* *spasm*

I bought a few craft supplies the other day. The local cheap store was having a sale, and my youngest and I eagerly pawed through the carts to see if there was something we could find to break the hazy, humid malaise that clung to us that afternoon. Sadly, there was no glitter. But we did find some really cool neon gel pens. Score! And then in the bottom of the cart, we saw pipe cleaners.

Have you ever played with pipe cleaners? Who hasn’t, right? They used to be far more popular than they are now. When we were kids, it seemed like we had a never ending supply of the brightly colored fuzzy wires. Of course, we also had tons of pom poms to use with the pipe cleaners. To my chagrin, the sale cart contained no pom poms. Once home, we had to make do with buttons. Not the same, but still fun.

We took our bounty home and while the kiddo tested out the gel pens, I went to open the pipe cleaners and noticed that they are no longer called “pipe cleaners.” What are pipe cleaners now called, you ask?

Chenille stems.

CHENILLE. STEMS.

WHY?

“Because any reference to smoking or smoking related materials could lead to…”

Stop it. Just stop it right now. I guarantee that no kindergartener in the history of ever has thought, “Gee, these pipe cleaners sure are fun. Anyone got a light?”

Pipe cleaners have never been a gateway to anything. Your child did not become a stoner because he made a pipe cleaner and pom pom caterpillar in Miss Skidova’s class.

What’s happening to us, people? What are we even doing anymore?

We have to start drawing lines and stop being offended or scared by every little thing. Calling people racist words? Bad. Stereotypes? Bad. Sayings that put one group on a higher level than another? Unless the group is on a higher level because they build ladders, stair cases, or elevators, also bad.

But, there are really harmless things in the world that are only offensive and dangerous if you start out looking for them to be. If you look for something, you’ll find it. That’s the pisser in being human. We have imaginations that make our minds find proof of our beliefs instead of seeing the truth. We’re programmed to think we’re right, and to find evidence of our rightness so we can log on to the internet and show everyone just how right we are…no matter how wrong we might be.

Not a single one-armed, one-legged, ass kicking paper hanger ever got hooked on cigs because of pipe cleaners, so stop it. Stop looking for an excuse to be angry, folks. The world has enough shit in it without you trying to drum up more. You want to be angry? Get angry at real, tangible problems.

Like cats.

Grr.

Cats.

Thus concludes a Musing for Tuesday, July 21, 2015. If I’ve offended you with my offensive offense, I apologize. It’s not your fault I’m on edge. I’ve just been jonesin’ for a smoke since I made that pipe cleaner and button flower…

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I saw a shiny and I want it. I WANT IT…

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Mornin’ all.

Any of you have a cat?

I’m sure there are a few hands raised and nodding heads, so some of you can commiserate. Last night my cat decided she would get in touch with her inner kitten and pounce on everything. This was fine, albeit slightly annoying, when she wanted to pounce on things like a book, or an empty water bottle, or my bathrobe. This was not so fine when she noticed my toes peeking out of the blanket at two a.m.

It got less fine when the gnawing and pawing woke me up, and the jerking motion of me yanking my toes from the grip of claws scared her. Thinking the tables had turned in a bad direction, she decided play time was over and that she should most definitely attack for real.

I’d like to say I was awake and coherent enough to assess the situation and calmly draw my feet back under the covers, thus eliminating the threat. I’d like to say that, but alas, ’twas not so.

Now I have scratched tootsies and my cat has trust issues. We keep shooting each other wary glances. It’s awkward.

When I was in the first grade, my teacher decided that for the class Halloween party it would be fun to shut the classroom lights off and read us scary stories.

One of the stories she told has stuck with me to this day. It was about a weird, psychotic little creature that got its tail chopped off by a farmer. In fairness, the farmer didn’t mean to cut off the tail. He was trying to ax the whole creature. The farmer, seeing he didn’t kill the whole animal, decided to keep the tail as a souvenir, ‘cus that’s how the farmer rolled. Of course the satanic little critter couldn’t leave things well enough alone. He decided the farmer would pay, and began to haunt the man, demanding his tail back. When the farmer wouldn’t give it up, the hellcat rose up from under the bed and gnawed off the farmer’s feet before burning the whole place down around them both.

And there were pictures.

Maybe I’m just getting old and forgetful, but I don’t remember this one on Reading Rainbow.

Did I mention that said teacher was also wearing a witch hat? And using scary voices as she read??

Poor kitty. It’s not her fault that my childhood was tortured by a first grade teacher who, in hindsight, probably should never have been a first grade teacher. Yelping and flinging her was the visceral reaction of my foggy mind that honestly believed in the moment that the hellcat demon creature from another dimension was back for it’s “tally pole”.

…did I mention the critter in the story had red, glowing eyes? What the hell, Mrs. F? What. The. Hell.

Today my eldest turns 16. I asked if he wanted a Sweet 16 party and even offered to buy him a ball gown and tiara. He just gave me a look, so I canceled the hall and ice sculptures. Sheesh. You’d think he never watched Pretty in Pink or something.

…oh. Wait.

I grew up in a household with four girls. Now I have a household of four boys. I am constantly struck by all the differences between raising boys and girls, even after sixteen years. He’s got no demands for his birthday. I was an easy teen, by a lot of standards, and even I had certain things I wanted for my sixteenth birthday. He doesn’t. He wants to hang out with friends after school. And…

That’s it! How easy is that? Done and done! In that respect, boys are so much easier.

Their feet still stink, though. And if they don’t clean their room, the funky miasma that wafts from the pile of dirty laundry is nasty. They also pick their noses and scratch their asses and say “balls” and “fart” a lot. But, they’re easy about their birthdays.

He’s going to be at his dad’s after school. While initially bummed that I wouldn’t get to pester him with intentionally obnoxious and annoying baby stories, I came up with a good surprise for when he comes back on Sunday.

…which will also be another birthday in this household, his younger brother. Yes, they will share a cake. Yes, they are used to it by now. No, they don’t mind. There. That covers the standard questions I get when I tell people I have two kids whose birthdays are two days apart. I don’t know why that’s so fascinating for some, or why it elicits a barrage of questions. If they had giant horns growing out of their heads, yeah, okay, I can see why people would be interested in peppering me with questions. But it’s just two close birthdays, people. I doubt Barnum & Bailey will be knocking on the door offering them a spot in the sideshow. Let it go.

They’re growing up so fast and getting so big.

Which will be great if we get the house we saw last night. It’s a scientific fact that moving becomes easier the bigger your kids get. Not only will they stay out of the way when you tell them to, but they are amazingly adept pack animals who can haul things your aged back simply can’t. And they rarely spit on you like alpacas or llamas.

“Bethie! Children are NOT pack animals!”

If you think that, then you’re doing it wrong. Didn’t you read the instruction manual?

KIDDING.

…it’s not in the instruction manual. You’ve got to purchase the supplemental insert, “101 Other Handy Things Your Child Can Do”. You should be able to pick it up on ebay.

Yes, the house hunt is officially on! We’ve seen two this week, and we think we’ve actually seen enough. The one last night is perfect. It’s broken enough to put it in our price range, but not so broken we can’t fix it. It’s the right size, in a good location, with a yard and a garage and a workshop. And it just felt good walking in there.

I’ve just told you as much as I know about the real estate process. You look for a home, find one you want, and…and then…next you…hm. I don’t really know. I’ve never done this before. I suppose we’ll find out.

I wish I had a Real Estate Guru. The realtor is great, but she peppers us with so much info so fast that it’s overwhelming. I think I should stop paying my life coach for the time being and shift those funds to a real estate coach. The job pays cookies if you live near me and digital high fives if you don’t, with Facebook smiley faces posted on your wall as a bonus for anything above and beyond the call of duty.

Think about it. You don’t get perks like that in any other job.

I want this house, and I’m trying very hard not to get too excited too soon. I don’t know much about the process, but I do know the deal can fall through at pretty much every turn. Our credit might not be good enough for the bank to take a chance, the house might not pass muster, the buyer may get cold feet and decide she simply can’t sell it after all. I know this, so I’m really trying hard to temper my excitement.

But it’s got a garage. With an attached carport. AND a separate workshop just for me!

The best parts, though, are the huge rooms upstairs for the boys. Right now we’re crammed into what I’m really starting to understand is a very tiny house. I’ve always known it was small. However, I moved into this one from a trailer. In comparison…

Ah, that’s the problem. I felt like the house we saw last night was enormous. My guy laughed and said, “No, this is a normal sized house. We just live in a matchbox.” It’s all relative.

The boys will get elbow room. They’ll have space for all their stuff without tripping over it every day. I really think they’ll get a kick out of the funky and bizarrely shaped closets, too. There’s one that’s got a door that is as tall as a regular door, but is only one foot wide. It’s the weirdest thing. Why bother with a one foot wide door? What am I going to put in there? Cue sticks. Yard sticks. Anything in the “stick” category, really. Golf clubs, as long as they aren’t in a bag. Baseball bats. Um… swords?

There’s another little closet, a cubby really, that’s about two square feet. It’s got a door and all, and it’s about six inches deep with three shelves. If it was in the kitchen, I’d say it was a spice cabinet and find it incredibly useful. But, it’s not in the kitchen. It’s just there, in the middle of the den wall, saying, “Yep. I’m completely unnecessary. WHATCHOO GOT TO SAY ABOUT THAT?” Another one is a weird domed doorway under the staircase that looks like someone tried to get fancy and failed. It’s lumpy and lopsided, like a bad boob job. It’s fantastic.

In the upstairs, there are two huge bedrooms and weird closets. But there was also another door. I asked the realtor if it was another closet, but she didn’t know, so I made my man open it while the realtor and I stood a safe distance back.

Hey, I love my guy, but if a rotting corpse is going to fall on anyone, I think between the two of us he’s the one who’s better equipped to handle it.

Eerie music began to play as he stepped forward. A board squeaked underfoot when he shifted his weight towards the door, extending his hand to the cold brass knob. The realtor and I stood closer to each other, breaths held in terrified anticipation. Slowly he turned his hand, the squeal of the old knob’s age echoing through the empty room. With one final deep breath, he gave the old door a tug and the realtor and I screamed as the door burst open to reveal…

Another room! A huge one, with high, attic ceilings. I think it was an attic, in fact, but with a few new floor boards and some drywall, it could easily be another large bedroom. None of the info provided about the house even mentioned there was a whole extra room up there. It was so cool!

…wait. You’re disappointed? You actually WANTED a rotting body to fall on us?

You have issues, my friend.

There are no neighbors. That’s perhaps one of the greatest bonuses about the place. It’s not in a Desirable Neighborhood because it’s not really in any neighborhood. It’s a house right on the main highway tucked into a little alcove cut into the forest. Nice and private and secluded. Which is weird, since it’s on the highway. But somehow, it feels all by itself.

No neighbors. Ah.

Did I mention the workshop? It’s attached to the house, and also was not mentioned in any of the realtor’s information. It’s huge and goes down into the ground a fair bit. In fact, if we do get this place, the first thing I’d probably build in the workshop is a set of stairs. It’s got one cinder block to step down on, and even that is a scary distance from the floor.

It needs the old ucky wall paper pulled and the walls plastered and painted. There’s some wiring upstairs that’s from the 40’s and probably should be addressed *cough* Grandpa *cough*. The roof has a few places where it needs new flashing, and there are some clapboards on one side of the house that need to be replaced. It’s not perfect. But it IS perfect for US. I told you, I’m shooting for a piece of crap we can own to get out of the piece of crap we rent. Trust me, it’s a significant upgrade.

Now, we just have to figure out how to get it.

I tell you what. I’ll sweeten the pot for any potential Real Estate Gurus out there willing to guide me on this journey. I’ll also pen an ode in your honor. A ballad, a legacy to be sung by bards through the ages. Does any other employer offer to immortalize your name in song?

I didn’t think so.

Thus concludes a rambly Muse for Friday, September 5, 2014. Since I expect a veritable influx of job applications for the Real Estate Guru position, please allow up to five business days for a reply…