Summer Sneezing…Not Having a Blast

Once upon a time, there was a Little Blind Girl.  She loved her family, her job, fine wine, and summer.  Every winter, she longed for the end of the ice; long days, warm weather, green leaves on the wide awake trees.  No more hibernation.  Everything vibrant, flourishing.  She counted the months, weeks, days, and finally…. allergy season came.

Oh, yeah.  Forgot about that.

imageI sit here before you a miserable hostage to hay-fever.  I don’t know what I did in a past life to deserve this.  Did Past Little Blind Girl harvest a rainforest?  Plant sun-loving flowers in the shade?  Systematically step on every blade of grass that dared to grow between the cracks in the pavement?  I don’t know.  But since I came home from work, I’ve blown my nose nineteen times, including once since I started typing this entry.  And this is after I started allergy medication.  Why?  Why?  Hang on, running low on tissues….

Even my poor cat is suffering.  The Chloe Cat sneezed ten times in a row the other day.  Don’t get me wrong, that was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, and if I’d had my camera phone on me, it would have gone viral in about 7 seconds, but the poor thing is genuinely miserable.  Oh Gods of Hayfever, why punishest mine cat for thy grudge against me?  Though I did laugh myself silly when she couldn’t walk straight for a couple of minutes.  Drunk kitty!  Hilariousness.

The problem with seasonal allergies is that, when I sneeze, it isn’t like a little piddly cold-type sneeze.  It starts from somewhere a little below my stomach, travels up through my lungs and causes a whole body seizure, then forces itself out of my nose so hard that my feet leave the ground.  No joke, no exaggeration.  I achieve flight.  I think, if I sneezed often enough, I could probably levitate.  And there’s no sense of discretion.  I nearly sneezed all over a colleague today.  I turned away just in time, thank goodness, or I probably would have caused some damage, and I don’t think my insurance covers that.

I’ve been a faithful acolyte to the Church of Summer ever since I was a kid and summer meant I didn’t have to wear a uniform and saddle shoes for three months.  My God, why hast thou forsaken me?  And my kitty? Hang on…gah.  Yes.  The tissue count is up to twenty.

Whatever I did to deserve this, I apologize unreservedly.  Oh God of Summer, please expiate my sin and allow me to breathe through my nose once more.  Also, if you could see fit to allowing the Chloe Cat to drink from her water fountain without violently sneezing in the process, my bamboo floors would thank you.  I humbly sacrifice my pride by posting my travails on the Interweb.  Please have mercy on my nose.  Amen. Gah!  Tissue count:  twenty-one…

Oh my God, I ate a sock!

This post is dedicated to Jane, who wanted a post about cats and socks:

Once upon a time, I had a cat named Beatrice.  Beatrice, from the time she was a tiny kitten who could climb up the legs of my pants, liked to chew on clothing.  It was mildly exasperating, but nothing more than that until I came home to find her sitting on the floor with a peculiarly unsettled expression on her face.  It was a mix of extreme discomfort, desire for relief, and unwillingness to admit what she’d done.  I came to know this expression as “Oh my God, I just ate a sock.”

I took her to the vet who found that, yes, Beatrice had eaten an entire sock and it had gotten lodged in her digestive tract.  In order to avoid a lingering and painful death, she had to have small animal surgery that cost more than six months’ rent at the time.  As it happened, I’d panicked a few months earlier over what turned out to be nothing and had gotten pet insurance that covered most of the surgery.  Still, when Beatrice came home, I sat her down to have a Talk with her while she was too dopey from the painkillers to run away.  It went a little something like this:

Little Blind Girl:  Beatrice, you know I love you.  You know I’d give you anything to make you happy.  But you can’t go around eating socks.  They’re not good for you.  Why did you want to eat a sock, anyway?

Beatrice P. Cat:

LBG:  Well, if you say so.   I can’t say I’ve ever found them very appetizing, myself.  But the point is that they’re off limits.  How did you even get to the socks?  I put them away in a drawer specifically so that you couldn’t reach them.


LBG:  Not buying it.  Try again.


LBG:  Nope.  One more time?


LBG:  All right, clearly you’re not giving up the trick.  Level with me, kittenface, what’s it gonna take to keep your mouth out of the sock drawer?


LBG:  Too late, I pretty much exchanged all my cash to get the half-digested sock out of your intestines.  And no, before you ask, you can’t have it back.  I don’t know, Beatrice.  Are you mad at me?  Were you trying to get back at me for something?


LBG:  Geez, kitten, that was a joke!  I didn’t actually suck out your brain, I just told you I did.  I’m pretty sure, anyway.  You’re such a talented cat.  Can’t you find a hobby other than snarfing my hosiery?


LBG:  Perfect!  I’ll sign you up for some lessons, maybe you can get an agent, show some paintings in a gallery…this has to qualify for a talk show or two.  All right, promise me no more socks, and I’ll give you a free pass on the next three non-litterbox urinations.  Deal?


Should have seen that one coming.  You can’t tell a cat anything.  That was the last time Beatrice ate a sock, thank goodness.  The ‘P’ in Beatrice P. Cat stands for ‘Pest’, by the way, something dreamed up by my Sainted Mother.  All cats share this middle name.  So, Jane, I hope you enjoyed the post.  I’m trying not to turn this into a cat blog, of which there are many many excellent examples already, as you can tell from the pictures, but this post was fun.  Let it impart the lesson:  Be careful what your cat eats!  You never know what it’s going to end up costing you.

The cat vs. the Hair

CC Image by red.dalia on Flickr

A friend of mine, who is beautiful and awesome and brilliant and all sorts of good things, is also the proud possessor of a head of very, very curly hair.  It’s the kind of hair that has so much body that you sort of suspect it of also having an independent mind–you know, working in tandem with the brain under her scalp, but occasionally going off and doing its own thing on, for example, rainy days.  Another couple of friends of mine are the proud owners of two cats with very defined personalities and certain ideas about the hierarchy in the household.  Our theory is that they’re only putting up with us until they figure out how to work the can opener.  In the meantime, though, they like to make sure they can jump on everything in the household in some sort of bizarre, repetitive exhibition of feline dominance.  I’ve given you all the pieces; can you figure out where this is going?

My Curly-Haired Friend was at the cat-owned apartment hanging out one night.  We were just kicking back, practicing Latin (no, seriously, that’s what we were doing.  That’s not at all code for something else).  Curly-Haired Friend was sitting on the floor, yelling Latin declensions; cats were prowling the furniture.  I looked away for a second and then I heard this almighty yowling, and then an extremely Anglo-Saxon shriek.  I looked back, and one of the cats had jumped onto my friend’s head and was attacking her hair!  Just jumped from whatever piece of furniture and seemed to be fighting the hair from six different angles at once.  I think he saw it as an enemy and was trying to subdue it.  My friends and I could have told him that was a hopeless battle, having watched our Curly-Haired Friend fight with her hair for years, but the cats never consult us when they make their plans.

Now, this is not just any hair.  This is Hair with experience, possibly with combat training. The Hair started fighting back.  Poor Curly-Haired Friend was letting out ungodly shrieks from underneath while the cat and the Hair battled it out on her head.  Eventually, the Hair forced the cat to jump off onto the floor, partly assisted by the mere mortals who were weakened by uncontrollable laughter, but mostly it was the Hair.  The cat immediately scooted off to some dark recess of the kind where cats go and licked his wounds, and I swear, I swear, the Hair started purring.  Neither of the cats has ever challenged the Hair’s dominance again.  We had to finish the Latin another night, though.  The Hair told us to.  And you do not mess with the Hair.