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.


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.


Maybe another opportunity will come my way.

Cheers until next time.

Blog 5


Sometimes, They Get You

When I started this cat butt kicking lifestyle, I knew there would be days when the butt would win. This particular cat butt wasn’t an especially big one, or an important one, but it really irked me that I succumbed.


Look out. They are everywhere

How it all started
Let me start out by saying that last week was really tough.  I was physically and mentally exhausted.  I did a little traveling for work, but that wasn’t the reason I was so tired.  My nightmares were keeping me up. It isn’t uncommon for me to have nightmares. Most of them are actually quite fun. I am usually in some alternate reality fighting vampires, zombies, and other creepy things. Sure, it is a bloody, sticky mess and my heart beats out of my chest, but these kinds of dreams are the best and I get the biggest kick out of running from a giant squid monster or getting stuck inside some amorphous jelly-like blob. The real nightmares happen when I dream about work.  You know the kind; you are asked about a project you haven’t even started; you catch a error in your PowerPoint presentation in the middle of the meeting and someone calls you out on it (usually with big, bad words); or the wrong things keep coming out of your mouth and you can’t shut up and things just spiral out of control. Yep, those are the things that have been keeping me up at night.

When the Cat Butt Got Me
On Wednesday, I was dead on my feet. My mind was fuzzed from sleep deprivation, and I was doing my best not to fall face first into a pile of notes with handwriting I couldn’t even read. (My penmanship sucks.) I was chugging coffee cup after cup, slinging back 5-hour energy drinks every couple of hours, and giving myself hard slaps on the face so I would at least remember to breathe.  Yes, I was that tired and my concentration skills were shot. If I saw a picture of a beach, I would think how nice it would be to take a nap on the soft, warm sand. If someone were talking about snow, I would think how nice it would be to build an igloo and hibernate in it for a good six months. I had it bad. The end of the workday was finally coming to a close and I headed home with visions of bed and pillows. However, I had one more thing to do before I could sink into my soft, oh-so-soft bed. I’ve got a half-marathon road race coming up in a few weeks and I needed to log some training miles. This was the last thing I wanted to do; still, I put on the running gear, trying desperately not to even lean on my bed. By this time, the bed seemed to have super gravitational powers and if I touched it, I would be doomed.  I got out of the house as quickly as I could and started jogging down the street. I hadn’t been running for more than five minutes when my feet just stopped. They turned me around and made me look at my house. It looked really nice, warm and inviting. I even think I heard it say, “I miss you. Please come back and take a nap with me.” But like the stubborn ass I can sometimes be, I turned my iPod on full break-your-eardrums high and pushed onward. You might think this was a victory, and not a defeat. Perhaps it was, but it was short lived.Very Tired

I was about two miles out and I was feeling every step; every footfall on the concrete seemed to pull my legs downward. My legs felt like they were sinking into the pavement as if it were sticky, gooey clay; every step just got heavier and heavier until I felt like I was dragging along the road.  All I could think about was sleeping in my nice soft bed with a cat purring at my feet. I rounded a corner and saw my route was somewhat blocked. I was running in an area where new home construction was going up, and several trucks and workmen were loading and unloading equipment on both sides of the street. My mind, as slow as it was, quickly rationalized that I should avoid this by taking a shortcut. My cat butt kicking self said there was no reason to avoid this route; there was plenty of room. Guess who won.  The cat butt got me. I turned and took the short cut. My mind was smiling at how much closer and sooner the finish would be.  My cat butt kicking self was scolding the crud out of me. How could I succumb so fast? The speed and ease in which I let the butt win was scary. Yet, I was too tired to beat myself up too much, which was concerning too.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep very well that night either. Not only was I having work nightmares, now I was having running nightmares. In those, I would try to run, but I couldn’t.  I would be stuck in place and people would just run passed me laughing. Ahhhh! What I wouldn’t give for a bloody toothed vampire right about then.

Coming to terms with the butt in your way

Coming to terms with the butt in your way

Moving Past the Cat Butt Debacle
I wasn’t happy with myself.  It happened and I couldn’t go back a fix it. I wanted to blame it on my lack of sleep, my need to be rendered unconscious for many days, but really, I’ve used that tired old cat butt of an excuse for so many things for so long; it is time to change. Before I started this quest, I would have thrown up my hands and declared myself a failure and start letting any old cat butt stop me because I just wasn’t cut out for any kind of success. Not this time though. I had to prove I was changing into a better, more determined person.

When Saturday finally rolled around, I had an 8 mile run planned in my training schedule. And it was raining. It wasn’t a thunderstorm, just a cold, wet, annoying rain. I didn’t even bat an eye at the wet stuff.  I put on my running gear plus a little rain gear and headed out. Most of the time, the rain was fairly light, but there were times when it really poured. Those were the times when I was kicking some butts. Those stinky poop holes were telling me to stop under shelters, loop back around and go home, and even hitch a ride from a neighbor (who was kind enough to offer a wet mess like me into her car). I left all those butts sloshing around in the mud as I trudged forward. I was finishing what I started.  And I did finish.

Whatever it takes (photo by

Whatever it takes (image by


This may seem like a super small victory to some, but it is more than that to me. It proves to me that I can keep going and trying even after a failure. It also shows me that I can fail and probably will again, but failure doesn’t have to get the last meow.

I’m still pretty tired. The nightmares about work haven’t let up, so it might be time to start kicking cat butt in the dream world too. I wonder if I can manifest a few vampires, werewolves, and maybe a ghoul or two into these work dreams of mine. I’ll give it a shot; what is the worst that can happen? Maybe a mindless PowerPoint shape will swallow me up? Yikes! Terrifying.


Kicking more cat butt every day!

karengray butt