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

Cat Drool, In-laws, Airports and Cannibals

Finally, a moment to myself after a hectic few days. My cat is even playing along and sitting beside me on her makeshift perch instead of traipsing all over me. I put a small square pet bed on top of my rolling file holder so she would have someplace other than my keyboard to lounge. If she isn’t on my keyboard, she is on my lap, which gets really uncomfortable after a while. It isn’t the constant kneading with her little claws that does it; her drooling is the kicker. She sits contently in my lap and purrs and drools all over my leg. Cat drool is just plain yucky and that is all there is to it, thus the invention of the file-holding cat bed next to my desk. Ingenuity is one way to kick a cat butt and keep your leg dry. You can quote me on that.

Cally Cat

Cally on her “stay-off-the-keyboard” bed

So, what kept me so busy? I took a trip to see my in-laws. If you are expecting to hear horrible in-law stories, this is going to be really disappointing for you. I don’t have any killer cousins in-law or loosey-goosey sisters in-law ; no, none of that here. I actually hit the jackpot when it comes to my husband’s family. They are the most fun loving group of people I have ever been around. Having in-laws you love and love to be around really makes things easier. I know lots of folks that have all kinds of extended family troubles and sure, it makes for great stories, but I would rather hear those stories than live them.

I don’t know if other writers do this or not, but when I am around people, I often wonder if they would make interesting characters in a story. Certainly there are some who I could base an entire book around. (Those folks are in MY family.) Sometimes, I like to pull out character traits from a few different people and mash them up into a completely new person. This person would most certainly have issues, lots and lots of issues.funny-crazy-people

Here’s the problem; I like to write stories that have a mix of horror, suspense, sci-fi, and humor. My in-laws gave me lots of humor, but not much of the other stuff (for which I am very grateful). Luckily, at least for my imagination, we got stranded in the airport for a while because of storms. Thus, I had lots of time in the airport to play with strangers. OK, that sounds a little odd. What I meant was I would pick a person at random and make up stories about them. Everybody does this, right?

For instance, when we finally boarded the plane, a middle-aged man caught my eye. He was about 5’ 10” and had brown hair. His hair was what made me first notice him. His meager strands of hair looked like they were made of wax. Although there wasn’t much of it, he had found a way to plaster down to his scalp in straight, chunky lines. The hair didn’t move and it had a dull sheen to it, not greasy, but almost tacky. He had a round doughboy face and wore little spectacles that were so tight, they cut into the tops of his cheeks and always seemed foggy. Maybe that is why he kept squinting. I call them spectacles instead of glasses because his eyewear had a sense of nostalgia to them; it just didn’t feel right calling them glasses. He wasn’t fat, but he wasn’t fit either. He was just sort of soft. His clothes didn’t help either. Beige corduroy pants, an off-brand beige polo-style shirt, and a faded old blue sweater didn’t do much for his image at all. I didn’t see his shoes because of my vantage point, but they were probably beige too.

Anyway, he had a Chick-fil-A bag with him. I assumed he picked up a chicken sandwich in the concourse before boarding. A lot of people pick up food to take on the plane with them to eat later, ever since the airlines started charging for cookies and chips. (Those bastards.)chick-fil-a

It wasn’t the bag that was unusual; it was what he did with it during the flight. The first time he opened the bag, I expected him to pull out a couple of those waffle fries that Chick-fil-A is so famous for, just for a taste. But he didn’t. He just looked into the bag for a few seconds, rolled it up, and set it on his lap with both hands on each side of it. I thought maybe he was not hungry yet. About 15 minutes later, he opened the bag again, looked inside, then reached his hand in, but didn’t immediately pull anything out. He fumbled for something and then stopped when he seemingly found what he was looking for, but he still didn’t pull it out. He just sort of fondled it inside the bag. OK, that was strange enough, but then he did it three more times! By now I am coming up with all kinds of stories about this guy and his bag. Perhaps he did have a Deluxe Spicy Chicken Sandwich and a large order of waffle fries in the white and red bag, but he could also have severed fingers in there too.

Finger Food

Finger Food (no fingers were truly harmed in the writing of this blog)

Yep, in my boredom, I came up with a story that this guy had killed and tortured some random soul back in the terminal restroom and taken his fingers as souvenirs. He hid the body in one of those giant trashcans the janitorial staff always leaves at the entrance to the restroom. I don’t know why they do that; maybe it gives the impression the restroom has been freshly cleaned. The dead guy, most likely a guy since it is a men’s restroom, won’t be found for hours because those cans sit there forever. Perhaps it will start leaking blood or producing a foul oder (eau de toilette of decomp) before someone will notice. Then I started thinking about it a little more; Doughboy could actually be a Dr. Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter want-to-be and is savoring the moment when he can eat the fingers with his sandwich. Fingers instead of fries? Hmmmm. He might be debating if he can sneak one into his mouth without being noticed. This must be sheer agony for him, being able to touch the savory little digits, but not being able to chow down.

I was having a lot of fun while Doughboy fiddled with his bag, but alas, I guess I will never truly know what was really in there, because once the plane landed and everyone shuffled out, I lost sight of him. Maybe he went straight to the men’s room, perhaps for an entrée to go with his fingerling appetizer.  (Sigh) Those are the breaks.

I am not going to ask you if you think this is normal or not. I am pretty sure it isn’t. Still, I can’t turn off my imagination. It just goes and goes, usually in dark and creepy directions. Yep, my imagination is the next best thing to reading books by Stephen King, Jim Butcher, Mark Tufo, and Jonathan Maberry. Perhaps reading these types of books perpetuates my somewhat sinister thought patterns, or maybe it is just natural.

One day, I will pen a book of short stories about the people I ‘enhance’. Maybe some of them might turn out to be actually true. (Cue the ominous music.)

Cat Wink

Cat butts are taking a beating this week, at least in my imagination.

Karen.

Cat Butts of My Own Creation

Nope, I did not disappear. Perhaps you thought I forgot about my blog. That isn’t the case. I actually wrote a couple of entries, but didn’t post them because I didn’t think they were very interesting. Yep, I did a bad thing and critiqued myself to the point of obliteration. Nothing got posted and that is not supposed to happen. (A slap on the hand and a kick in the ass for me, from me.)

Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes

To make it up to you, I am going to recap the past few weeks very quickly.

Part One: I attended a phenomenal trade show for work, SCAA 2014. It was all about specialty coffee and the people who live for coffee. My biggest takeaway from the show wasn’t all the knowledge I gained about the industry; it was how passionate these people are about coffee. Their passion gave them the courage and belief in themselves to overcome tremendous obstacles in their lives. Learning about these people gave me a new perspective. Here I am, trying to write out a blog entry a week, and here they are, traveling half a world away to embrace their passion. It made me ask, “Where is my passion? Why don’t I have that kind of drive?” I will tell you, I think I let it get covered up by random cat butts, all of my own making. Saying that I am going to kick all those butts is easier said than done. I am truly having some challenges. Every time I kick one, I just invent more.

Cat Butt Mug

This is my kind of mug (www.zazzle.com)

Part Two of my hiatus from writing: I attended a second trade show, The National Restaurant Association (NRA), in Chicago. The show was a lot of work, but also a lot of fun. I ate so much food; I won’t need to eat until Christmas. NRA was different from the first show I attended a few weeks prior. This show was all about the innovation of stuff (food, beverages, services, equipment, etc.) for restaurants. All the exhibitors were showing their products, as were we. I met lots of people who were very excited about seeing everything; but I also noticed this show had more of a business atmosphere and not as much passion as the previous show. I am not saying that is bad; it was just different.

As I said, I am truly struggling with getting my life on track. In my first blog entry, I listed a few things I wanted to do, but felt like there were too many outside influences keeping me from them. I have come to realize that the only obstacle in my way is me. Yes, I am the biggest cat butt in my life and I need a kick in the ass. If I have learned anything these past few weeks, it is that people can accomplish amazing things if they want it badly enough and are willing to give it some effort. I’ve been working really hard at creating reasons why I can’t do something. Well, to hell with that. I am going to find reasons why I can do what I love.

This means starting with the small things as well as the big things. For instance, right now I am sitting here, writing this blog entry while fending off two cats that want my attention. (Yes, real cats). If I let Cally get her way, she will jump in my lap, making it impossible for me to type. I also know that if I don’t let her in my lap, she will get angry and shred something, like a shoe or the sofa. Oh well, I am still typing; let the clawing begin.

This isn't my cat, but it might as well be.

This isn’t my cat, but it might as well be.

I don’t know if this new approach will work yet, at least in my personal life. Setting goals and meeting deadlines at work is easy. I feel pretty confident I can do what needs to be done to satisfy my job responsibilities. Yet, when it comes to setting deadlines for my own personal goals, I am scared to death of failure. I think this is because I am embarking into the unknown. If I fail, I will have to face the fact that I am not who I think I am. It isn’t that I expect to be a success; although that would be nice. No, I am afraid that I will fail to finish. I am afraid I will fail to see my dream through to the end. That would mean that I don’t have what it takes to be a novelist. That is worse that rejection. I can take someone telling me my writing is crap. What I can’t take is starting this and not seeing it through to the end.

I’ve been here before, feeling the power and pull of a dream. As determined as I am now, I know self-doubt can suck the life out of passion like hungry orphaned calf can decimate a 1/2 gallon bottle of milk. How can I keep the passion alive, day in and day out? I think I need to change my routine up a bit.  One little thing is that I’ve started following some of my favorite authors through their social media outlets. Jonathan Maberry is a hoot and full of great inspiration. Hopefully, some of his enthusiasm and passion will infiltrate my butt filled mind.

Kicking my own butt this time,

Karen