The Haunted Cat Butt

Sometimes I have to travel for work. It isn’t often, but I try to make the most of it when I go places. My latest trip was to Chicago, IL. We were attending the big National Restaurant Association show and manning our booth. I was so pleased when someone said the hotel we were staying in was haunted. I did my research, but I didn’t find much online about the type of haunting or why —– someone told me a bunch of people died in a fire there, but I couldn’t confirm the information. Still, I was hopeful I might spot a ghost or two.

Blog One

The thing is… I don’t believe in ghosts such as they are portrayed on TV or the movies. However, I have had experience with a couple of spirits passing from this realm to the next. (That is a story for another time.) That withstanding, I try to keep an open mind. So as soon as I got to my room I invited any stray ghosts to come in for a visit. Alas, all was quiet that evening, not a peep from the underworld.

Skell

The next morning, I woke up fairly early so I could jump on a treadmill before a full day of meetings. The workout room was at the very top of the hotel, Floor 25. I think that must have been where the famous now defunct Tip Top Tap Lounge used to be in the 1940’s. The elevator only went up to the 24th floor, so I had to take the stairs to get to the 25th.   I considered the flight of stairs to be a decent warm-up.

I got a little excited when I opened the door to the stairwell and stepped in because I immediately smelled smoke. It got stronger as I moved toward the stairs. I remembered the story about people dying in a hotel fire and thought this might be some sort of supernatural smoke and I might actually see a ghost. As I rounded the corner, I could see tendrils of smoke and the smell was quite strong. Then it happened —I saw them— two people squatting on the steps grabbing a smoke because all the rooms are non-smoking of course.

Blog two

Bummer. No ghosts and no ghost smoke. So I made my way to the workout room quite disappointed, but I was determined not to give up.

The next day I had a bit of hope that the ghost hunt was not lost. I kept hearing someone or something screaming in my bathroom. I thought to myself, “Hmmm, maybe my room isn’t haunted, but perhaps the bathroom is. After all, the toilet is pretty ancient looking.”

After a few flushes, I conceded that it was just the pipes protesting me flushing multiple times. Another disappointment.

So I got dressed and took a photo to text to my husband. He likes to make sure I dress properly. I have a tendency to put my clothes on inside out. When he saw the photo he freaked out, but I’m not sure why. I had everything on the correct way, so off to the show I went.

bed pic

After a long day of working the show, I was pretty tired so I crawled into bed and was asleep before my head hit the pillow. I didn’t have any energy left to commune with the ghosts (except for the one in the bathroom. It screamed again.) I thought I was going to sleep straight through the night, but I didn’t. At about 3:00 AM I heard a weird sound coming from outside my window. I was so out of it, I assumed someone was just walking by on the street. But then my brain chimed in and said that could not be because I was on the 18th floor. Shit! I popped out of bed and pulled back the curtains hoping to see some sort of apparition floating out there. Nope. Just a really weird guy climbing the fire escape. I’m not sure how he got on the fire escape or why he was climbing it, but he was going for it. People in Chicago have some pretty strange workout routines.

Blog 4

Well, I have to say my quest for a haunted hotel is still unsatisfied.   The Warwick was an OKAY hotel and if you have a chance to stay there, the staff is exceptionally nice. I can’t say that about the paranormal entities though because they never made my acquaintance.

staff

Maybe another opportunity will come my way.

Cheers until next time.

Blog 5

 

Losing Zoey

Zoe_brightI’m sitting here nose to nose with my little gray cat.
She breathes in; I breathe in.
She breathes out, I breathe out.
We are breathing the same air, and feeling completely connected.

You may think it is strange to say this about an animal, a little cat. But you have to understand something. Zoey, my tiny kitty, is dying. She is only nine years old, but her small body is betraying her. It is betraying me. I am losing her.

Her little moist nose presses gently against mine.
We breathe. I try to give her my energy. I try to sustain her.
She closes her eyes and offers the tiniest of purrs as thanks.

The tumor compressing her heart and lungs is too big and too complex for the doctors to remove. They tried. Zoey spent six days in the hospital. The surgeon tried to help her, but in the end, he could not do it.

She looks content at she breathes.
I smile even though my heart is breaking.
I bury my face in her fur and inhale deeply. How much of her can I keep? Can I breathe in enough of her to keep her with me forever?

The doctor told me she was terminal. Before her surgery, he asked if I wanted her to be euthanized if the tumor could not be removed. I think I screamed, “No! No! No! Don’t kill my kitty.” I could not let her go, not without a little more time. We need more time.

She is with me now. We are together.
Her fur smells like warm sugar cookies and cinnamon.
Her soft purrs warm the very core of my soul.
I smile. I cry. We breathe.
We breathe together.

The tumor is causing fluid to accumulate in her chest. Eventually, within days, the fluid will either need to be drained, or she will start to struggle for air. The procedure to drain the fluid is not complicated, but it takes a toll on her small, frail body. I can’t put her through that again and again. As much as I want her with me, I want her to be happy, content, comfortable and loved. I know she wants the same thing. No more procedures, just love, warmth, and kisses.

I feel her, as we breathe together. We are bonded, she and I.
Knowing that she will no longer be with me is tearing and shredding my heart.
An emptiness made from pure despair is trying to pull me under.
The world has turned sideways. Everything is colorless. I don’t hear music, I don’t hear laughter.  
I see nothing, nothing at all………until I look at her once more.
And we breathe.

She is asleep now. Her little chest is rising and falling rhythmically. There’s no sign of struggle or distress. She is good for now. Maybe God will hear me. Maybe God will grant a small miracle for a tiny gray cat. Yes, I’m asking. I’m begging. God, please heal my little Zoey. We are so good together.

Cheek to fur and fur to cheek. We breathe. We breathe. We breathe.

Zoey and Cally

 

Those “I’ll Never Tell” Cat Butt Moments


Picture this – You are cleaning out your purse or wallet and you come across a hidden pocket that you rarely use. You dip your fingers into it and pull out two lotto tickets. At first you feel kind of good. You have an extra chance to win buckets of money. Who doesn’t love buckets of money? Then you take a good look at the tickets and realize they are over a year old. Shit. That sucks.
Holy Shit
So what do you do?
Do you:
1. Check them to see if you missed out winning millions of dollars?
2. Do you give them to your spouse and tell him or her to look because you need to know but you can’t bear to look yourself?
3. Do you toss them into the garbage without looking and tell yourself that they weren’t winners because you never win? Besides, you wouldn’t want to know anyway. If they were winners, you would just die of… well… you would just die.

You guessed it; this happened to me. I have a party purse I don’t use very often and I was cleaning it out when I happened upon a small zippered compartment I forgot about. Low and behold, two lotto tickets, one Mega Millions and one PowerBall were tucked inside. Yes, they were very expired. So what do you think I did? Check them? Have my husband check them? Or toss them?Never Tell

First, you’ve got to be smoking some wacky weed if you thought I was even going to tell my husband. He thinks I am a scatterbrain as it is. Nope, not that choice. I didn’t want to check them either. Before I could think about it too much, I tossed them in the garbage. I knew going any further would just cause me grief. After I tossed them, I poured myself a nice tall glass of wine. You know, to celebrate my decision. (It certainly wasn’t to forget about the tickets.)

That was that. The end of the story, right? Ha! No, of course not. At about 3:00 am in the morning, guess who was digging in the trash trying to find the tickets.trash digYep, not knowing was too much for me. I couldn’t sleep until I donned a pair of latex gloves and dug around all the stinky junk in the garbage can. It took me about 10 minutes and a lot of mess, but I found them. They were a little damp and one corner was stained by coffee grounds, but still very legible.

With some hesitation, I pulled up the lotto website. First I checked the Mega Millions. The potential winnings were only $50M, so if the numbers came up as winners, I wouldn’t be too disappointed. Anyone knows that you shouldn’t even bother buying a ticket until it reaches $100M. Still, with one eye closed, I peaked at the readout. It was a loser. Next I looked up the PowerBall. This one was worth well over $120M. I might shed a tear…. and some blood if this one won. I tapped the keys on my keyboard and checked the numbers. I realized I could not see the screen with both eyes closed. I slowly opened one eye and then the other. I read the numbers on my ticket and compared them to the numbers on the screen. Not one single number matched. Yeah! I’m still a big fat loser!
loserIt’s the first time I’m happy about having the big “L” on my forehead. Now don’t get me wrong; I don’t want to stay a loser, but in this instance, losing was just like winning.

So, with a heavy sigh of relief and a quick shower, I climbed back into bed at about 4:00 am. My husband woke up and asked me what I was doing. “Nothing,” I said. “Just a dream. Go back to sleep.”

He still doesn’t know and I am not telling. Shhhhhhhhhhh.secret

Night, night and sweet dreams.
Karen

Trading One Cat Butt For Another

Who doesn’t love side effects from taking medication? Everything, it seems, has some sort of side effect. Have you ever listened to those medication ads on TV? Yikes! side-effects

But sometimes, we have to take the medication so we must deal with the consequences. As it is with me… I got new meds and a slew of new experiences.

My doctor gave me the medicine and a pamphlet of all the possible side effects and said, “You will probably be OK. Most of the side effects are rare.”

“OK,” I said. I took the prescription and had it filled.

I really don’t want to take the medicine, but I know if I don’t, my husband is going to bury me in a box somewhere. Well, maybe that is a little harsh, but I have been difficult to live with. I am not sure which is worse, the nightmares or the headaches. Poor John. I wake him up in the middle of the night with either screaming fits from the nightmares or retching sounds from the headaches. John needs his sleep just as much as I do. In addition to that, I’ve been kind of a downer. You know, kind of disheartened and disconnected.

cat-freud-therapyI saw a therapist for a while because I really didn’t want meds. I thought she might be able to figure out the source of my malaise and head pain. After a few sessions, she had the answer. She said my work was stressing me out and I should either find another job or get meds. So, here we are. On the meds.IMG_0493

I’ve been taking the “Don’t Be a Crazy Person” pills for about two months now. At first I didn’t feel much different, but then the side effects started up. I guess the pills are working because I really don’t care about the side effects at all.

I mean, the horns are barely noticeable if I poof my hair up a little. I have to be careful with hats though. I ruined my Wicked Weed hat last week (kind of ironic, right?) Maybe I can patch it.

I am still getting used to the tail. It’s only about three feet long and has a little furry tip at the end that my cat likes to chase. Just what I always wanted, my own built in cat toy. You have to admit, that is pretty cool.Devil Karen

Even though I am feeling a little bit better, my husband says I should increase my dosage. My nightmares are not completely gone and my stress level is starting to creep back up as are the headaches. I am considering it. Who knows, I might get a pair of leathery wings to go with my horns and tail. Won’t that be a hoot!

If you can’t kick the cat butt, just put horns on it and call it a day.

Karen

 

 

The 50 Year Old Cat Butt

I thought that turning 50 deserved a well-written, well thought-out blog post. My intention was to share 10 pithy nuggets of wisdom I’ve gleaned in my 50 years of life on this earth. I was well on my way to posting these little nuggets of knowledge when I got caught up in a memory – more like an epiphany – from the very distant past that has stuck with me all my life.

Ye Old Cat Butt

Ye Old Cat Butt

I think I might have been around 10 or 11 years old when this thought crept into my head. It was the notion that everyone (every single individual on this earth) has some sort of God-given talent that is unique to them. Some of the talents are very overt and widely appreciated, like singing, dancing, acting, drawing, and so on. Other talents are a little subtler and barely noticed by others, but they still exist and are important. For instance, what sort of talent does an old lady, nearly toothless, with no education to speak of, living in the swamplands of Louisiana have? It is hard to say, but it could be something like being a phenomenal cook who can whip up a water moccasin stew to rival anything Wolfgang Puck can make.

One Bitch'n Cook

One Bitch’n Cook

Ever since I had this thought, I’ve been trying to discover everyone’s talents. Sometimes people’s talents are readily apparent and other times, they are somewhat hidden, but I always manage to figure them out. Well, all except for one – my own.

It isn’t for a lack of trying – I just can’t seem to figure it out. I know it isn’t singing. When I was in choir in grade school, the choir director said, “Karen, just move your lips. You don’t actually need to sing.” This wasn’t a suggestion; it was an order.cat sing

I’ve tried arts, sports, academics, crafts…. You name it, I’ve tried it. Some things I just plain suck at, and others I’m OK with, but never really achieve more than an average level of accomplishment. I think my quest to find my talent might be the reason why I try so many different things. “One of these days, I will find my God-given talent,” said the old lady signing up for classes on woodworking, archery, paddle boarding, and glass blowing.

Bruce has the same agenda. Should I be worried?

Bruce has the same agenda. Should I be worried?

Although, sometimes I wonder if a grand imagination can be a talent. That is something I certainly have, almost to excess. I think I might have to count that as a possibility, because if I don’t, I might be Shit-out-of-Luck in the talent department. Still, trying to find my talent gives me good excuses to keep trying new things. The fun will never end.

Hey. I’m curious. What is your talent? I know you have one. Everyone does.talentcat

What’s life without yet another cat butt?

Opposites Attract – A Cat Butt Valentine’s Day Story

Today is Valentine’s Day and more importantly, a Saturday. This means John and I can enjoy a leisurely morning together reading before we start our day. Here’s how this morning went:

John and I are sitting on the love seat in our sunroom, each with an iPad in hand. Our little gray cat, Zoey, is wedged between us purring like she is extremely pleased with life.

I’m absorbed in the story I’m reading when John starts cussing. He is jabbing his finger on the iPad screen. He yells at the iPad, “I can’t get his goddamned thing to work!”

“What’s wrong?” I ask.

Frustrated, he shoves the iPad in my lap. He says, “I am trying to login so I can finish reading The Bible, but it won’t accept my password.”

bible

The Bible

He harrumphed and continued to poke at the screen. John subscribes to a site that takes him through daily Bible passages and offers insightful tips. He rarely misses a day, and being such a creature of habit, it irks him when something goes awry.

He continued to jab at the screen for a minute or so, muttering intermittent curse words to himself. Finally, he gives up and exclaims, “I can’t get it to work. I guess I won’t read The Bible today. Screw you, Jesus!”

angry

Yes, he makes the hand gestures

At this, I look up and say, “Really?” I pause. “Screw you, Jesus? That seems a bit harsh, don’t you think?”

Most of his anger abates and he smiles. “That is a bit harsh. But I can’t get this website to work.”

I say, “Perhaps it isn’t you, maybe it is the website. They have glitches from time to time. Just try later.”

He thinks about if a second, picks up the iPad and tries again.

A pleased look comes over his face and he declares, “I got in.”

“Good,” I say and return to my book. But a few seconds later, I hear cursing again.

“Son of a Bitch!” I’m 98% through The Bible and I can’t find my place! This is fucked!” he exclaims.

Without missing a beat, I deadpan, “And you don’t think the ‘Screw you, Jesus’ comment had anything to do with you losing your place?”

At this, he burst out laughing. “Perhaps it did,” he agrees. “By the way, what are you reading?”

Limbus, Inc.,” I reply. It is about monsters, demons, serial killers, Satanic cults…. You know, the usual stuff I read.” Then I add, “And my iPad is working just fine.”

Limbus, Inc

Excellent book. You should check it out.

He gives me a kiss on the forehead and says, “This only goes to prove that opposites really attract.”

“Yes they do,” I say.  “Yes they do.”

Happy Cat Butt Valentine’s Day!

Karen

“Supposed To” Cat Butts

I was supposed to post my New Year’s resolutions agenda at the beginning of the year. I was supposed to do a lot of things. Yet, I didn’t. But that isn’t failure; it’s just a change. It seems that I’ve started the past few years with all the best intentions only to get sidetracked by uncontrollable events. Thus, my momentum wanes; I get angry at my imperfections; I beat myself up for not being all I can be. This year was about to start that way again, but SCREW THAT!New Year

No, I am not giving up. I am just going to go about things a little differently. You might ask, “Why the change?” Well, it isn’t anything life altering, or even one of my famous (infamous) epiphanies. It is more of an observation of several events that led to a slow realization. I doubt you would want to read about all of these observations, so I will expand on one such event. Here’s how it went:

I came home to find my husband sitting in his office drinking a very potent vodka martini. When I walked in, he didn’t look up; he just sat there staring off into the corner with a strange look on his face. His handsome brow was crossed with anger, frustration, disappointment, and, dare I say – a faint touch of mirth.

Maybe it wasn't quite like this

Maybe it wasn’t quite like this

“What happened to you?” I asked

“I didn’t get to yoga practice,” he scowled and took a long sip from his drink.

“I can see that,” I replied. After a pause he didn’t continue, so I asked, “So why didn’t you get to yoga?”

I was a little afraid of the answer, but I knew I had to ask (was expected to ask).

He didn’t answer right away. He took another sip from his drink and I saw the anger fade a little as he launched into the past events that led to his vodka martini pity party.

He sighed heavily and said “When I got home, I had plenty of time to change for yoga. I was getting everything together when I noticed that Cally had gotten sick all over the floor.”

Cally is the oldest of our three cats. She has been very ill lately and prone to vomiting and diarrhea. In this particular instance, it had been some pretty fierce projectile vomiting.

My husband continued. “By the time I cleaned it up, I really had to get going. I was loading my yoga gear into the trunk of the car and realized I forgot my towel. I went to run back inside the house, but the door was locked. So I reached into my pocket to get my keys, but they were not there. I figured they must be in the car. I looked in the driver’s seat, the ignition, and inside the trunk, which was still wide open from loading the yoga gear. Nothing!” He paused for another drink. I could tell his anger was dissipating by now and the tone of his voice foretold of his annoyance, not with what happened but his reaction to what had happened.

“Go on,” I prompted.

“Well, I couldn’t find the hidden spare key when I looked the first time. I was cussing so much I missed it. I finally found it and got into the house. My keys were nowhere to be found. I was so @!#$%!#* pissed. I knew I would never make it to yoga, so I went outside to retrieve my stuff. As I shut the trunk door, guess what I found?” he said with a slight upward glance in my direction. I could see a little shame flushing up his neck and his anger was entirely gone, replaced by a little self-loathing mixed with the kind of humor that comes from realizing he was acting irrationally.

“Your keys were in the trunk lock, weren’t they,” I stated rather than asking. Our old Honda is exhibiting some wear and tear; recently the auto locks have been fading in and out of working condition. Sometimes the key fob works, and other times, we have to use the actual key.homer-simpson-doh-400x288

This is a funny story, but it is a good metaphor for the way my New Year’s resolutions tend to work out. I end up throwing my hands up and not doing what I really want to do.

I can’t stop the obstacles, but I can find ways around them. One way is to not make grand declarations at the beginning of the year. Instead, I am approaching this from a side angle. I am just going to improve a little each day. Nothing specific, just improve on one thing each day. In all likelihood, no one will notice except me. It doesn’t matter what it is either. It can be giving an extra effort to listen to someone, or giving the cashier at the grocery store a genuine smile instead of the obligatory one. If I keep improving the little things in my life, I am pretty sure it will transfer to the bigger things, like writing my novel or learning to play the guitar.cat_upsidedown-512

 

So far, it seems to be working out. The best part is, there are so many things to improve upon. I don’t think I will ever run out.

I kind of like this Cat Butt idea.

14522188006_40da90513c_cGo get’m!

Karen