Halloween Hostility

Pumpkin Emoticon

Look, I don’t try to hide it: I’m not a fan of Halloween. If I had children, I would probably have a lot of fun with it (if nothing else, I would make it fun for them), but Halloween and I have never jived. I think I was in second grade when I told my mother that I didn’t want to trick-or-treat anymore. I wish I could pinpoint what it is that spurs this massive abhorrence…maybe I’m just a killjoy.

Fall is my favorite season. There’s not much to dislike: hearing rustling leaves, seeing beautiful colors, feeling stillness, breathing crisp air, smelling spicy cinnamon, appreciating the coziness of home…such a delicious season. The only real mar is this silly Halloween thing. (Well, I am kind of charmed by really little kids in adorable costumes, but that’s it.) I don’t care for spiders, bats, ghouls, or vampires. Is this what people aspire to be!? Why can’t everyone just be sweet little kitty cats!?

I’ve spent the day with a fake smile plastered on my face…now I’m off to sit in the dark until I’m sure the candy-beggars are all gone. I am a killjoy, aren’t I? This is really my only scroogy holiday…aren’t I allowed one?

Boo. For real.

Sophie Sunday

Laundry: it’s what weekends were built in for, sadly.

Laundry PestWhen Nick is doing laundry, he takes the clean clothes up to our bedroom to fold them in piles on the bed. When I do laundry, I fold the clean clothes on the living room floor and then repack the basket to take upstairs. I’m not quite sure why I do it this way—except that it’s the way I’ve always done it, and I like patterns.

I think of Mufasa telling Simba that everything the light touches is his kingdom. To Sophie, everything that touches the floor becomes hers by default. She’s a territorial mongrel, but she’s like Attilla the Hun with rosy little cheeks that you just have to squeeze: possessive, but distractingly cute.

Even though I knew she was going to bug me with the laundry, I held out hope that this time would be different…that she wouldn’t look at my neat piles like pins that her bowling ball body will take care of. Not the case. I kept shoving her away. She kept coming back. Nick laughed from the couch, and I threw a pair of his boxers for Sophie to chase down (she loves playing fetch).

Once I was done and reclaimed the diversionary boxers, I noted that they were coated with bits of catnip. I brushed off what I saw, shrugged, and folded them to add to his pile. Nick is going to be a very popular human with the feline population one day this week…

It’s in the Blood

Everybody has quirks. The trick to living with someone else without turning into a monster is either finding someone with the same quirks or who doesn’t mind yours all that much (and vice versa, naturally).

Well, Nick’s had it in his head for years now that he is going to be able to reform me of a few of mine. I think he’s getting a little frustrated that I’m not the malleable ball of clay he thought I was. I can be just as stubborn as anybody, I just store the cement wall behind behind an acquiescing smile. (It’s very effective in the business world.)

I have been spending a lot of time with my cousin Michelle over the past year. At first I was awed by how quickly we reconnected and how deeply we bonded. Now that I’ve had time to think about it, the connection is obvious. We were raised with the same role models, our heartstrings are played to the same tune, and our logic speeds along the same zip line. Even with ten years of little communication, we recognized a part of ourselves in each other.

Nick has grown close to Michelle over the last year when he really didn’t know her very well before. He’s been trying to get her to contradict me on something just to feel like he’s got someone on his side (the side that believes my quirks to be stupid). Her uncoached answers to his questions always tickle me because they are almost verbatim what I have already answered.

  • Months ago, on a date weekend out of town, he wanted to go see a stand-up comedian. This doesn’t particularly interest me because I have zero desire (probably even negative desire) to be heckled. Michelle was going to hang out at the condo while we were away to Sophie-sit. He was worn out trying to convince me to go, so he tried to reenforce his reserves by asking Michelle her opinion. She replied with the same immediate distaste, asking, “Why the hell would you pay someone to pick on you!?”
  • He likes the sensation of falling. He loves roller coasters and wants to go skydiving one day. I would prefer not to fall, ever. I don’t need to mimic the feeling of plunging to my death to know that it wouldn’t be a pleasant way to go. We were all in the car together when Nick asked Michelle if she would go to Great America with him. She choked on her Diet Coke and told him, “I’m patient. I’ll wait until my number is up to feel like I’m going to die.”
  • As the season began to change, Nick went on an on about doing a corn maze this year. He goes on and on about this every year. If there’s anything worse than falling, it’s being lost and too small to see your way out. My anxiety begins to rise just thinking of that, so no thanks. Michelle and I have gotten unintentially lost in actual corn fields before, and we didn’t find it entertaining. He asked Michelle if she’d go with him through a corn maze. She looked at him for a long while before asking, “What is WRONG with you!?”
  • Now, there are several types of quirks other than rational fears, and this last one is more habit-based. Nick does most of the driving, and he tends to get distracted looking every which way but forward at traffic lights. For the longest time I tried to be helpful and let him know when the light had changed. After enough of his diva tantrums, I’ve learned to curb the urge. Let him irritate the cars behind him; I’m sure road rage is a myth anyway.

    Yesterday, the three of us were in the car together, stopped at a light. Nick was looking out to the left when the light changed. Michelle, completely innocent and unaware, piped up, “It’s green.” He whipped around to glare at her and she looked at me like, “What the hell!? He wasn’t looking!” I tried to hide my smile. In talking later, she found it absurd that he wouldn’t prefer a friend prodding him along instead of a honking car.

    Dude, I know.

Madison Mud Run (2011)

I think Nick needs to seek an ally elsewhere.

Creatures of Habit

There is a certain flow to my routines. Since they flow rhythmically and unfettered, I subconsciously repeat the same sequences every day…over and over again…forever. I catch myself sometimes and have a little chat with my reflection on the proper way for sane people to behave. Inevitably, my reflection sasses back during my exhaustive speech that I should shut up because sane people don’t talk to themselves, either.

When I arrive home from work, I…

  1. Walk to the iPod charging base to plug in my iPod
  2. Walk back toward the entrance and place my car keys in the key basket
  3. Pull my cell phone out of my bag, take it out of silent mode, and place it on the Power Mat to charge
  4. Hang my bag on the door knob of the front door
  5. Slip off my shoes on my walk back the other direction
  6. Remove my coat and hang it in the closet
  7. Feed Sophie

I am sure that if I inked my feet, I would be quite humored at the jumble of steps I would leave. It’s probably not the most efficient sequence, but it gets the job done, and I can do it in auto pilot (that last bit is vastly important…can’t rely on me to remember anything!).

As you’ll note, my little routine involves the cat. My sequence is a Rube Goldberg machine, and feeding Sophie is the marble rolling into the little cup to raise the flag at the end. I did not fully appreciation my routine until today.

I came home, and Sophie was waiting for me at the iPod charger. She was underfoot as she raced to get ahead of me in front of the key basket, then the Power Mat. I hung my bag on the door knob and she pranced over to the closet while I removed my shoes. As soon as my coat was on the hanger, she ran to the kitchen like the devil was on her heels. She looked at me with eager eyes, sitting where I always set her bowl on the floor, and waiting for me to raise that glorious flag.

She was having a lot of fun, I could tell from her eyes. This was a game to her, this figuring out that the Food Giver is crazy—but who cares because it ends with food. At what point did the tides turn? I thought the cat was supposed to entertain me, not the other way around. Maybe it will all make sense after I talk it out with the mirror tomorrow morning.

Sophie Perches

Sophie Monday?

Soph and I were a bit frazzled with the thunderstorm last night, and blogging was the last thing on our minds.

Nick loves thunderstorms…a lot of people seem to. I hate them, and I always have. I hate that they are loud (I don’t like loud things as a rule). I hate that the hard rains make me feel like our fort is under attack. Most of all, I hate that there is electricity randomly missiling through the air (I don’t think that “missiling” is actually a word, but it’s the best I’ve got). Electricity should stay corralled in outlets, end of story.

Sophie feels the same…she told me so in her way. When the skies open up, she either hides in a dark corner or becomes excessively loving on my lap. She definitely takes my mind off the madness outside because I worry that she’s going to work herself up into a full anxiety attack.

Lighting blares through the window and she looks sharply right to see what’s going on. Then thunder crashes and sounds like it’s coming from the window at her left. She throws herself dramatically into the blanket in a way that looks as though she would have also sighed “Fiddle-dee-dee!” Oh, our little southern belle.

Lazing the day away...