50 Things

I smoked for 25 years before I quit this year.  My sister is to blame.  For the smoking, not the quitting.

I lived in the South for 13 years before coming back home to Illinois at the end of 2014.  I should’ve come back MUCH SOONER.

I believe the biggest lie ever told by any human ever is “people are nicer in the South.”  No, people just don’t tell you to your face in the South.  You can bet your ass Continue reading “50 Things”

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Kindle catastrophes

A year or so ago, after Amazon had already come out with both the Voyage and the Oasis, I bought a Paperwhite.  I already had one, but Hubby needed one that had some miles on it to take to work.  I hopped online and bought a new one for myself, in white this time.  She’s very pretty and she seems to play a little nicer with Calibre, a program I use to manage the hundreds of ebooks and converted fanfiction files I’ve amassed Continue reading “Kindle catastrophes”

It’s the four-time-supplier-of-genetic-material’s birthday tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my dad’s birthday, and I’ll tell you the truth:  sometimes, it really pisses me off that I’m the kind of person who can’t refrain from remembering shit like that.  Not that I hate the man, because really, I don’t.  There’s just sort of a void in the place where he should be.  Like…you know how people are always talking about the father-daughter bond?  Well, if it weren’t for my husband’s relationship with his Continue reading “It’s the four-time-supplier-of-genetic-material’s birthday tomorrow.”

Partners

Mama used to say that if only she would’ve had someone to help her pull her wagon, things would’ve been a lot easier for all of us.  She meant another adult, of course, but what she got was a couple of kids.  We weren’t very good pullers, my oldest brother and I, but our hearts were in the right place.  We tried.

Since I starting “dating” my sweet husband in 2015, I’ve thought a lot about that “pulling the wagon” image of Mama’s.  It’s apt, actually.  Those little red wagons aren’t at all easy to pull, particularly if the terrain is rough or if you get it too heavily loaded.  When we were growing up, there were very few patches of smooth ground.  And there were four of us, so the wagon’s burden was never light.  Some of us fell out sometimes.  We got hurt or lost or both.

When Hubby and I got together, his wagon had been stuck in the mud for so long that he’d given up trying to move it.  The kids had taken it over and made a useless mess of it; it was no longer fit to move anything anywhere or to keep anyone out of harm’s way. Indeed, they all had cuts and scrapes from the wagon’s rusty edges, and we worried (and still worry) about infections that never fully go away, that could be life-threatening.

My husband is a hard worker and he brings home a decent paycheck.  He is also a wonderful man with a huge heart, and for several years before I arrived on the scene, he was dad, mom, and sole breadwinner for his three children.  Unfortunately, it was just him trying to do all those things (aside from occasional help from his visiting mom).  Like Mama, he needed serious, permanent help to pull his wagon, and the oldest boy (no matter how good his intentions) wasn’t getting the job done.

When I talk to Hubby about that time, he says there was no opportunity for anything except triage, trying desperately to prioritize on the fly and decide who most needed help.  I can’t imagine how horrific it must’ve been for him to see all his babies in trouble and to only be able to offer temporary help to the one who was bleeding out the fastest. I’m sure his persistent worrying (over a situation he had no power to fix) is to blame for most of his current wrinkles and health problems.

I knew my husband for 25 years before we ever got together, and I think every day about how much different both of our lives would’ve been if it hadn’t taken so long, if we both hadn’t taken so much damage beforehand.  I came in to our relationship with a feeling of worthlessness that was directly tied to how much money I was making.  He came in with the persistent and nagging feeling that he was solely responsible for getting these three little people he’d made into adulthood alive.

I’ve said it before, but I think I was born to be a mother.  As soon as I walked through the door, I started trying to make a safe home for these kids that I really didn’t know at all except through occasional pictures and stories my sister (in-law) told.  At the beginning, hubby gave me $400 a week to buy groceries and the stuff the kids needed.  They had to come to me with their requests instead of to their dad.  I cleaned, went grocery shopping, cooked actual food, and enforced a go-home time for the oldest’s friends.  (Hubby was working midnights, and five days a week, I had to make sure nobody ended up injured, traumatized or dead.)  I bought clothes and school supplies, toiletries and tampons.  I discouraged Hamburger Helper and fast food wherever possible because none of them needed to continue to live that way now that I was there.  Hubby seemed to drop 50 pounds overnight.

My very presence was enough to ensure that within a few months, the kids had new beds and we lived in a nicer house in a better neighborhood.  There was also a new school for the youngest two (the oldest moved away when he hit 18) and car insurance for my husband, who hadn’t been able to round up the extra money to start it while he was busy putting out fires.  This fall he’s going back to school to pursue a dream and to work toward getting the hell out of the factory.

The point of all this is, the experience of marrying my sweet husband and becoming step-mom to these awesome (if occasionally irksome) kids has shown me once and for all what it truly means to be and to have a partner, how it feels to help someone pull their wagon and to know that they are there to help you pull yours, and how sometimes you can help without bringing a single dime of your own to the table.  I would never have guessed.  Seriously.  That was not at all the lesson I’d spent the preceding years of my adulthood learning.

Even more than a year later, it still blows me away when my husband (or my mom or my sister) points out all the ways that the lives of these three people have changed and improved in the time I’ve known them.  I say “I didn’t do anything.  I just showed up.”

My husband says “Baby.  I love you.  You’re so silly.”

*Inspired by The Daily Post prompt Partner.

Inspired to nap

Sometimes, I feel a little less than inspired.  Granted, I haven’t let the lack of inspiration stop me in the past couple weeks, but before that, I went months without writing at all.  I’d feel bad about my inaction when I remembered — which was usually about the time I looked in the direction of my bookshelf and caught a glimpse of the beautiful, empty notebooks stashed there — but usually, I really didn’t think about it.  Obviously, my urge to write has not always been so easily forgotten or dismissed.

In high school, for example, I carried a mid-size, spiral Mead notebook wherever I went. I wrote in class and at home, at band rehearsal and play practice.  I didn’t bother to hide what I was doing, and I took more than my share of flak for doing it.  Truth be told, somewhere in the back of my head, I’ve always felt a bit like Harriet the Spy when I carry around my notebooks.  I can write whatever I want and it’s true and no one can debate me on it.  I can think what I want to think and how I want to think it.

Writing in this forum has been an adjustment.

Nowadays, of course, my fallback excuse when I don’t get the writing done is the children, the chores, the cats, Donald Trump, The West Wing, and/or the insurmountable and all important READING LIST.  Naturally, I’m only making these excuses in my own head; I set these arbitrary deadlines and quotas for myself.  No one else is asking for my word count.  But for some reason, it feels important that I (figuratively) get off my ass and do something, in some area of my life.  There’s no two ways about it:  our current political situation (which is also very personal and immediate to me and so many of the people I love) has got me down.  I end up saying “fuck the diet” every day, regardless of how honorably I begin.  I also say “fuck the cleaning,” “fuck the reading,” and “fuck everything else,” because even seven months later, sometimes it’s still difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

Writing makes me move.  It makes me get other things done first before I can allow myself time to do it.

Today, while I was staring at the blank screen and fishing for a sentence with which to start, my sweet husband managed to convince me that instead, I should really come lay down with him and take a short nap.  I never take naps, but Step-son was gone to a friend’s house, and even the cat looked exhausted.  I had nothing in my head to write, so I decided to take the hand of the man I had to wait half my life to marry.  Sometimes, it seems like I don’t choose him often enough or well enough, even though I try to be grateful for and mindful of every moment I get to spend with him.  I slept draped over his chest like I haven’t since we were dating.

When we got up, I cooked supper and ran a load of dishes.  My husband went to the store for a Coke and ended up with a pack of cigarettes and a pair of lottery tickets.  We hope the lottery tickets win us enough change to send us to the Netherlands for the rest of our lives.  The cigarettes are because they won’t.

Don’t worry, Mom.  We’ll quit again tomorrow.

I still don’t know what to write.

Dear Step-son…

First of all, I love you.  You need to know that.  You need to see it written down and really take it to heart and believe it, because I don’t say it very often and you tend not to hear schmaltz (You are 13, after all.)  I also think that you are reluctant to admit that you share my feelings of affection, most likely owing to the very existence of your biological mother. Please know that — contrary to what you probably believe — I understand that you feel pressure to love your mother…both from her and from the universe at large.  I also understand that you’re a teenager, and therefore you automatically want to do that which will annoy your father and me.  You think loving your mother will accomplish that, but it’s not true.  She’s your mother and of course you love her.  What you don’t know yet is that some people don’t get the best moms, and they spend their whole lives wishing they could un-love their mother and undo all the damage she did to them.  I’m so afraid that’s where you’ll end up.  Please believe me when I say that this is my only feeling on the subject.  If you could love her without danger to yourself, all I would have to say is “that’s terrific!” (and to be honest, there are times I could use a break from all your teenageryness).  But you choose to love her up close, to spend more time with her than you should, and in so doing, to put yourself repeatedly and needlessly in harm’s way.  When you come home from there — after several days of bar food, not sleeping at night, and only seeing her drunk if at all — you’re a total shit to us.  I’m sure this is because you imagine yourself greatly inconvenienced to be back again in a house where you are actually looked after and parented.  Regardless of how misunderstood you might feel at these moments, your father and I understand a lot more than we let on.  We try not to pick up the horrible things you say to us, or even all the ways you act out.  We make these allowances (for a little while) because we figure this behavior won’t last forever.  Also because we love you. Both of us, not just the one you’re cloned from.

Have you got it?  Great.

stepson ocean

Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, here’s one of the many reasons I’m writing: Your Axe products are slowly killing me.  Yes, I breathe better now that I quit smoking, but I also breathe better now that I quit smoking, if you see what I mean.  Where I used to only react to about half of the smells in my environment, I am now subject to all of them, at full potency.  When you take a shower and a bath a day and use far more than the required amount of product for both, it makes me think you want me dead and you’ve grown tired of waiting for nature to take its course (or the cat to take his revenge). In retaliation for this everyday attempt to end my life, I have started to rather passive/aggressively do a few things I never did before where you are concerned. First, I no longer go looking for the missing socks and underwear that are not in your laundry basket. This means you run out of both items a few days earlier than usual, and you are forced to make that pouty face because you can’t change two or three times a day.   I am secretly amused by this to such an extent that I find it extremely difficult not to laugh like Renfield and wallow joyfully in your misfortune like Kitty Boy in catnip.  In addition to vowing never again to search for your missing laundry, I have also gleefully stopped making tea.  Admittedly, this used to bother you a lot more than it does now.  But be on your guard, kid; I’m looking for something new and innovative with which to torture you as we speak.

Second, I know you don’t share my opinion on this, but Jesus, Spaghettios stink.  Granted, this is another one of those smells that I notice more because of the non-smoking thing, but they reeked even when my sense of smell was compromised.  But the actuality of the stench is not why I’m bringing this up; please, for the love of god PLEASE, stop making Spaghettios at 3AM.  They wake me up out of a dead sleep, and I have to fight the dry heaves.  The same goes for eggs, although I love those — when you’re sleeping, happily cocooned inside a fluffy cloud of blankets that smell good, anything being cooked is undesirable.  Stop it.  Eat when we eat.  Sleep when we sleep.  You are not a vampire or a drunk, you’re not on mood or behavior altering drugs, and there’s no reason for you to be awake and eating at that time of day.

Third, stop distracting me with stupid YouTube videos.  More to the point, stop distracting me with endless and pointless chatter about stupid YouTube videos.  There’s nothing for me to learn there, and engaging in “conversations” with you about something that took ten seconds to watch and was virtually incomprehensible does not make me feel as though I’m spending quality time with you.  Remarkably, I also don’t find the endless videos of commentary about video games at all interesting.  In fact, I’m not particularly interested in the video games themselves.  Unless you’re talking to me about Final Fantasy or old school Mario Bros., count on getting nothing but a blank look back from me.  Now, if you want to talk to me about the books you read in school or even about South Park and American Dad, I’m there.  Unfortunately, it seems like you stopped watching quality, inappropriate television shows a couple years ago, and the truth is, I am still kind of reeling from the loss of my favorite kid’s perspective on the subject.  Come back.  At least sit on the couch with me for the Trump Show (formerly known as the news) and help me yell obscenities at the screen.  I miss you.

Fourth: boy, I will cut you if you don’t start lifting the lid and hitting the bowl.  Please note that this is a two-part statement.  Both pieces are necessary to prevent my screaming my head off when I enter the bathroom after you.  Now, I understand (from my brief time living in the house with your older brother) that this is some kind of a natural teenage boy thing, but come on.  I knew you two years ago, and at that time, you were perfectly capable of putting your bodily fluids where they belong.  If anything, my presence in your life has made you more civilized, so I seriously don’t understand this recent turn of events.  You are not living in a barnyard, boy.  Get it together.  Otherwise, cleaning the bathroom will become a daily chore that moves over to your list.  Heh….you think it’s hard to get your allowance now.

Fifth: if you’re trying to irritate me with your love of sub-par rap music (when I can barely stomach the really good stuff), you’ve succeeded.  But you should know that if I keep hearing it playing on a loop at a steady and monotonous drone while you’re otherwise engaged with playing a game and chatting online, then I cannot be responsible for my actions.  Your phone (from which the music streams) might just up and disappear. My little brother needs an iPhone, and I know for certain that I can trust him to use it to play decent music.

Finally, please PLEASE make an effort to be the boy I know you can be this year.  Last year, you lied to us about homework, you didn’t study until you had nearly flunked out, and you hung around with the only thug in our corn-fed, miniscule town.  I know you’re smart.  I’ve talked to you.  I’ve nearly fallen out of my chair a hundred times from laughing at some hilarious and undeniably smart thing you’ve said or done.  I damn near have a master’s degree, I’ve read a shit-ton of books, and I have more life experience than I can stomach; you couldn’t possibly crack me up like you do if you weren’t above average.  Please, show your teachers that side of yourself this year.  You’re handsome and you’re charming, and nothing in the world could stop you if you stopped trying to stop yourself.

I love you, step-son.  Get your shit together.
~Step-mom

Rich

There are times — few and much too far between — when Step-son, Step-daughter, and I are on our own all day and we actually enjoy one another’s company the whole time.  In the months before I married their dad (when they’d been without a mom for a startlingly long stretch), those days seemed to occur more often; now, I’m lucky if I get two or three a year.  Last night, I had one.

I’ve been spending a ludicrous amount of time on the computer lately, and they’ve both been undeniably teenager-y.  Plus, it’s summer, and it’s been kind of a stretch to get us all in one place at the same time.  But last night was nice.  I made a real supper, and we sat around the table visiting while we ate it.  Step-son just returned from a trip upstate working with his grandpa, and he brought back a healthy sum of money for a kid; we were looking forward to making a nighttime trip to the local Wal-Mart so he could spend some of it.

I remember fondly that oh-my-god-we-have-a-shit-ton-of-money giddiness when I was a kid.  I think I’ve written about it here before.  But it’s almost as much fun, almost as awesome and hopeful and huge — to be party to it as an adult.  Of course, our little family isn’t poor, and we’re a two parent household, even if one of us is only here by marriage.  But in the past, the kids have seen some shitty days, and I’m sure they’re a lot like every other person on the planet who’s lived through crap:  whether you want to or not, you carry some of it around with you for the rest of your life.  If you’re lucky, the bad days behind you only serve to make you appreciate the good ones more.

More than anything, I hope one day that’s how they feel about their lives.

So we’re not in dire financial straits at the moment, but they remember pretty clearly what that was like.  And despite their ages, I think they also have enough of the little kid mentality remaining that they see a small amount of money and imagine a thousand amazing things that it could buy.  Frankly, I’m pretty surprised we didn’t head straight for the candy aisle (or the ice cream), but the kids went in with a mission.  We took our time wandering around and dreaming a bit while we shopped, but we left with an entirely reasonable haul.

After we spent a little of our money on shoes, school supplies, bananas, and the 750th fidget spinner of the summer, we got in the car to head for home.  I was just beginning to wonder about a possible trip to Dairy Queen, when Step-daughter spotted the bright pink remains of the sunset half-hiding behind Wal-Mart.  I hurriedly turned right out of the parking lot instead of left and whipped the car behind the building.  We pulled over and all of us leaped out with our cell phones, each determined to get the best picture.  (We do that sometimes — it’s all about the bragging rights.)

IMG_2764.JPG

Step-son managed to get the most contrast-y and hot pink tones with his camera, but I’d like to think I got more variety.  Regardless, as we drove home, they were both resetting their phone’s wallpapers, talking about editing tools, and enjoying the company.

No one even mentioned it when we drove past the ten stinky cow and pig farms on our way back to the house.  I’d like to believe that it was a night so perfect they didn’t even notice.

Stereo dreams

When I was ten years old, Mama bought me a stereo for Christmas.  It was creamy white with a detachable speaker on each side, and it sported a radio, dual cassette decks, and a phonograph that could only occasionally be coerced into working. For a few years after I got the stereo (which was the best gift ever), I had only a couple of pre-recorded cassettes. They weren’t nearly enough, so during this time, I did a lot of waiting for something musical to happen in the world so that I could record it. Mostly, the recordings were confined to what the radio played (e.g., the weekend Top 40 countdown, and most anything between 3-5 pm); however, I also “dubbed” several of my best friend Julie’s records and tapes (she was decidedly rich according to the standards of our hometown).

yorx

But even 30 years later, there remain a few sad little tapes — remnants that (for me) are like walking back in time, sitting on the edge of my lumpy, pink-sheeted twin bed, and staring longingly at the magazine-creased posters of Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, and Kirk Cameron on my wall.  The barely-teenaged dreams that were in those posters and that are musically transcribed on those tapes speak volumes about a girl who wanted more and better and lovelier things, but who truly had no idea what those things might look like or where they might be found.

But it wasn’t just my life that was changed.  It wasn’t just my teenage self that was preserved by the radio.  When my brother, N, talks about knowing way too many Amy Grant songs for a guy who likes Guns ‘N’ Roses, or my brother, T, sings along with “I Huckleberry Me” in the middle of a mostly rap mix CD while he’s driving down the road, it’s solely attributable to the presence of my little white stereo in all our lives. Occasionally, when I clean out boxes or Mom sends me home with accumulations of stuff she’s found that I don’t remember ever having, I’ll discover yet another of the hundreds of tapes I made on that stereo.  The songs are always a little crackly under the surface.  The beginnings are missing the first three or four seconds, and the ends are sometimes reduced in volume so the voice of the radio announcer can be heard.

Life is almost never perfect, but it’s probably even less so when you have to work with so little money and so many unknowns.

I remember laying on the bed reading, waiting for the song I wanted to come on the radio.  I’d be up in an instant — leaping over the rag rug next to the bed (so as to avoid breaking my neck during its inevitable slide), and hitting play and record together with the most practiced and expert maneuver you can possibly imagine.  And the whole complicated feat usually took less than five notes to perform.  (To this day, you’d play hell trying to beat me at “Name That Tune.”)  I wasn’t missing a song if I could help it.  And oh the joy if they played a couple tunes I wanted back-to-back; I usually ended up dubbing these more complete copies onto new tapes…why settle for missing notes when you can have perfection?  To this day, the five or so tapes I managed to cobble together without static or missing pieces still make me think the Universe was on my side.  At least sometimes.  At least for a little while.

I don’t know how much Mama paid for the stereo, but I’m sure it was too much.  Everything was too much back then.  But unlike all the fad gifts I got (and didn’t get) over the years, the stereo stood the test of time.  Without it, I would’ve had no background noise for the composition of thousands of journal entries, at least a couple hundred of which were written in a purple, lockable diary that my little brother had no problem opening without a key and that I still have to this day.  There would’ve been no Beatles soundtrack for the hundreds of times I cleaned my room (which was my only refuge in the world and which never really got messy except when the cat moved her kittens to the bottom drawer of my dresser, and my room temporarily became the hub of activity in the house).  Without the stereo — and my little brother’s purchase of Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet — I might never have decided that rock ‘n’ roll wasn’t the music of Satan after all (no matter what they told me at the Methodist church camp).

I don’t remember Mama ever telling me to turn the stereo down, not in all the years I had it.  And I’m sure I played it loud because — no kidding — I come from loud-music-lovin’ stock.  I think Mom must’ve trusted my musical tastes to give us all what we needed during our time at home, and I have to figure I did okay if Bon Jovi, Amy Grant, The Beatles, and various showtunes are the worst things my little brothers came away singing.  Somehow, the fact that there was an assumption that everything I listened to was all right makes me feel like it must’ve been “a simpler time,” but it also causes me to wonder if (in some ways) I was more privileged than my own present-day step-kids, whose stereos are forever being shushed to a volume that is conducive to TV watching in the rest of the house.

I hate their music.  Their dad hates their music.  They even hate each other’s music.

It breaks my heart that years from now, Step-son will never amuse us, his wife, or his kids with the singing of showtunes or teenage girl music that he heard hundreds of times blaring from his sister’s stereo, entirely against his will.  It makes me think that we’ve come too far, that we’re too comfortable, that our family could use a little less money and lot more forced closeness.  Mainly, it’s just that I’d like to pull them all back in time with me, and make them appreciate the little things so much more than they do.  They don’t know what their futures or dreams look like any more than I did at their age, but I’d like them to be able to look back at this time in their lives and remember — if nothing else — that there was so much possibility around them and inside of them that it lived in the very notes playing on the radio.

Booze, broccoli, and babies

It’s Saturday afternoon, and my house is peaceful enough that I’m actually enjoying the cats weaving between my feet in the kitchen while I’m trying to cook.  Usually, even the people in the house can’t get by with that kind of proximity.  But cooking just now is striking me as a leisurely activity — I’m steaming my broccoli, zucchini, and carrots for the week, and it’s become such a rote thing that I can now actually blog while I do it.  And ignore cats, apparently.  I’m freakin’ zen, y’all.

It’s five o’clock nowhere, but I’m standing here seriously pondering the virtues of getting liquored up while I cook.  I’m supposed to go to a meet-up at 6:00 with about twenty people I barely know and my sister (in-law), who (as you may or may not know) I love.  Truth be told, I’m going for her, though I also (kind of) know a few of these people from high school.  I’m figuring that my sweet sister will get busy visiting with folks (many of whom she considers family) and I’ll be left wondering what the hell to do with myself.  Thus the early contemplation of booze.  My dear husband was initially planning to go with me to this shindig so I’d have a fallback person (I’m pretty sure this is why people get married), but he’s asleep after working all night, and I’m not inclined to get him up early.  He had eye surgery this week, and it literally looks like he was punched in the face.  I’m sure he’s in pain, plus, I don’t really want to spend the evening occupied with assuring people I barely know that I did not punch my husband in the eyeball for smarting off.  I mean, if he was normal, I wouldn’t have to ever say these kinds of things, but he isn’t (not at all), and I’m forced to grin stupidly and shake my head in the direction of my towering giant of a spouse in some kind of mocking gesture that I hope says as if! or see this dumbass?  I married him because I loved him beyond reason.  

My youngest brother became a first-time father last night.  The baby will be my fourth nephew; I also have two nieces.  All of us kids are step-parents, but until last night, J and I were the only ones who didn’t also have biological children.  Now I’m alone in that, and at 43, my biological clock has long been sounding a lot like pounding, overwhelming, disgusting death metal.  I’m unbelievably happy for my brother, but beneath the surface, I’m also pretty sad.  Since I was 12 years old, I only ever wanted to be a mom; I guess it just wasn’t in the cards.  I’m a killer aunt though.  Seriously.  And my sister (in-law) has always been great about sharing her kid with me.  (She calls her “our girl.”  As in, “you’re not going to believe what our girl did yesterday.”  She’s now 13, and though she almost entirely grew up with me six-hundred-and-some miles away, my sister swears the kid acts more like me than her.)

Anyway.  When shit gets a little real, I fantasize about getting sloshed while I’m steaming my broccoli.  It makes me feel better even though I’m too old to drink much anymore. Plus, I’m the child of an alcoholic so I really shouldn’t, and I’m trying to watch my calories, which means that all the really tasty drinks are now way out of my league anyway.  The best I could do and still stay within the budget is eat nothing but vegetables for supper; then at least I’d have room for two or three shots.  Not that I’d want to take them…that shit’s nasty without a mixer.

Sonny

My cat has kitty breath.  I know this because he’s sitting on the arm of the couch leaning against my arm, periodically meowing in his beseeching little kitten voice. He’s not a kitten anymore.  In fact, he’s five years old and freakin’ huge.  But when he addresses his mother (me), he uses a different voice — the same one he used when he was little and afraid something was going to get him.  Nothing ever did.

He doesn’t like it when I sit the computer in my lap and type.  In fact, he pretty much hates the computer on principle.  Although it is equipped with rubber feet, he tries diligently to push it off the counter when I put it on the charger at night.  And when he finally gives up on attempting to move it, he lays down on it, determined that if it will not die, then at least I won’t have access to it.

I like his smarts.  When I’m not paying attention to him, he walks around doing all the things he’s not supposed to until I get up with the water bottle and chase him around the house.  Once I’ve sprayed him, he follows me back to my chair and gets on my lap before I have the chance to put anything else there.  Sonny is better at recognizing the worried tone in my voice than any dog I’ve ever had.  If I’m looking for him and can’t find him, he comes to my side as soon as I call, sometimes still yawning and stretching from his nap.  When we see one another, I say “there you are,” and he meows in response as if to say “hell yes I am, crazy woman.” Sometimes I think he just talks to hear himself talk, much like his mother.  We spend an inordinate amount of time meowing back and forth at one another, a pastime that my husband finds more amusing than he probably should.

Sonny, I think, is a lot of the reason why I ended up married to Hubby.  Aside from me, there is no one else on the planet besides him that my smart and evil kitty can stand.  Sonny moves from one of our laps to the other while we sit in front of the television; he greets us both when we come home; and he walks across both of our chests at night when we’re going to sleep.  Sonny and I agreed on Hubby, otherwise I’d probably still be single.

Kitty Boy might be evil (and unlikable as far as other people are concerned), but he has undeniable good taste.