Monday, February 27, 2012

The one where the cats win

Morris at nearly 7 years old

It's funny the thoughts that pass through your mind while you're awaiting rescue.

I don't know how I got under the pile of boxes in the basement, but I do know this: we do not need to save another box. For anything.

The last thing I remember was dialing the phone and leaving MathMan a voicemail that I was having second thoughts about everything in life. That I'd decided that the best way to find my purpose was to become a Rick Santorum groupie.

That may have happened as a result of the cat food eating contest I got into with the monstrous ginger tabby. Oh, I won, but who knows what those cats spiked my food with. You know how cats are. Especially in groups.

I'm getting ahead of myself. The contest happened after I banged my head. When I'm in pain, I don't think straight. I'm all reaction, filterless. The monstrous talking ginger tabby challenged me. You know how I got detention in seventh grade because I couldn't pass up the dare to go into the boys' bathroom before track practice? Well, then how do you expect me to let a challenge from a cat slide right on by?

Wait - more clarification. I banged my head when I fell off the dining room table. See, earlier in the day, I was unloading the dishwasher and noticed how grimy the dining room light fixture's glass globes were. Listen, my job starts in a week and a half. I can't leave a dirty house behind. That's what I was thinking.

Anyway, I stood on the table putting the sparkling clean globes back in place, being extra careful not to drop a screw when the phone rang. As I juggled the glass in my hand the phone shrilled again. Maybe it was someone who wanted to send me on a free cruise if I'd answer three questions about how much I hate government. I stepped back to climb down from the table and tripped over the two gray cats supervising me.

The space between the tabletop and the floor was interminable. I am terrified of heights. We went to the top of the Sears Tower when Nate and Chloe were little and I was pregnant with Sophie. It was actually the day we got our gateway cat Daisy at the Chicago Humane Society. The fact that I even agreed to go to the top of the Tower amazes me still. While my adventurous children leaned over the railing to put their foreheads on the glass, I held on to the backs of their shirts until my palm sweat left marks. I felt faint. My heart palpitated. All I wanted to do was run into the elevator and press myself against the back wall.

So then my head connected with the dining room wall. The glass globe remained intact and in my hand. I knew this because the ginger tabby opened his mouth and announced that my fall was spectacular. I didn't realize he knew that word. I started to tell  him how impressed I was with his vocabulary when it occurred to me that this cat was talking.

"But you're a cat!"

He rolled his golden eyes and yawned, his disinterest palpable. "I'm hungry."

"You're always hungry."

This cat wants to read Living Arrangements by Laura Walter.
I don't remember what happened to trigger the cat food eating contest, but I'm pretty sure the youngest cat, the one who can break your heart with just a look, was involved. An apparent set up, in hindsight. Three of the five cats contested my win. Accusations purred forth.

This was personal for the ginger tabby. He wanted me to know he was still angry about the last time I gave him a haircut and all the other cats laughed at him. As if their bad behavior is my fault.

I was having none of it. My head throbbed and the cat food aftertaste made me feel queasy. "Just wait, buddy, your next haircut is going to be a doozy."

Never have I heard a voice so cold as his when he said, "We'll see about that." His good ear twitched menacingly.

I woke up under a multitude of boxes. My hands were bound together with something that looked like silver twine. As best I could, I searched my pockets. The cats had evidently relieved me of my phone. There was a smell - was that incense? New shoes? No, that was one of the shoeboxes next to my head. Vicks Vap-o-Rub?

I touched my mouth. Tape. I braced myself and pulled the tape away from my lips. Damn. Those hairs would grow back in darker and thicker. I picked one of those silicon packets out of my hair and cried for help, the corners of my mouth still smarting from yanking off the tape. I struggled to get out from under the boxes, but something didn't work right. I shifted around to see what the problem was. My shoes were on the wrong feet and worse, my ankles were duct taped together.

What day was it? How long had I been under this mess? Where was I? The day I fell off the table was maybe Wednesday. Or was it Thursday?

I cried again for help, but no one answered. Where was everyone? My cellphone rang and there was a muffled sound of voices punctuated by meows and growls, but I couldn't identify where my phone was.

I must have fallen asleep again from exhaustion. I was awakened by the sound of a door opening and closing. "I don't know where she is. She said she was going to be a Rick Santorum groupie, but I thought she was joking. But when I got home, she was nowhere to be found. She's been gone for three days and no word. She's not answering her phone either."

"MathMan! Honey! I'm here!" I tried to shout, but my voice came out strangled and weak.

"Hang on a second."

I thrashed around, desperate to get his attention. I tried again to shout.

"There's something under those boxes, Nate. Probably a cat. Go see while I finish this call."

"Dad, all the cats are here. Look, count them. Five."

"Then what's under those boxes?"

"How would I know?"

"Take that broom and poke around. Maybe give it a whack."


You've heard of how adrenaline can give a person in distress superhuman strength? Yeah, well, not this chick apparently. My whole body felt limp. I stayed still hoping that Nate would have the good sense to move the boxes instead of giving them a whack. Or six.

When he got about three layers of boxes into the pile, Nate finally pulled an Ebay box back and stared at me.


"Hang on. What?"

"I found Mom, but...."

I gulped in the fresh air.

MathMan stood next to Nate and peered at me. "Lisa? Are you okay?"

Did I look okay?

Nate leaned in closer. "Mom, where's your hair?"

Your turn. Tell us a story, y'all.

Thursdays with Morris


  1. I couldn't possibly top that one and won't even try. It was purrr-fect! :)

  2. Oh dear! I hope you didn't leave a round mark on the wall with your head. :-)

  3. I'm just worried you traumatized the cat beyond repair.

  4. haha ...i mean i am glad you are okay...haha

  5. Yup. I did shizz like that all the time. Damn Roofis is always trying to get me.

  6. c'mon now, whose going to top that?

    besides, i'm too busy being sick. Rich Santorum makes me want to throw up.

    This is how bad it has gotten: Guess who said this, ""I used to be a conservative and I watch these debates and I'm wondering, I don't think I've changed, but it's a little troubling sometimes when people are appealing to people's fears and emotion rather than trying to get them to look over the horizon for a broader perspective and that's kind of where we are."?

    Jeb Bush.
    I know.
    What is going on when I side with a Bush???

  7. There is NO WAY I can top that story and I wouldn't even want to try. FABULOUSLY FUNNY. Totally-super-awesome!

  8. Oh my god this is hilarious and I agree - there is no way I can top this!

  9. Once upon a time, the end.

    You win this round, Georgia.

  10. Yup, you totally win. Hysterical. Thanks for the morning giggle.

  11. I'm thinking I should have been a court reporter after all:

    Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
    A: No.
    Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
    A: No.
    Q: Did you check for breathing?
    A: No.
    Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
    A: No.
    Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
    A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
    Q: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
    A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law somewhere

    1. Laughed out loud. I can always count on you, susan. xo

  12. That was so damn funny.
    And just to clarify, you CAN start your new job with a dirty house. I do it all the time. Please stay off the tables until your health insurance kicks in though.

  13. I'm with Meleah; I could never top one of your cat stories! And I'm honored that such an evil, fuzzy genius wants to read Living Arrangements.

    As far as my cats are concerned, I don't let them on the internet. I'm too worried they will track down your cats in some kitty chatroom and get detailed instructions on how to plot my destruction.

  14. Yeah, I can haz concern about the cat food you've been ingesting. I take it you inhaled. Send some my way, will ya?

  15. P.S. Are you going to work for the government now? I know you're not going near that Santorum guy, cuz you wouldn't want to end up behind bars after only ten seconds in his presence. I KNOW that much about you!

  16. Ha! That was great! And here I was, thinking you had come to your senses about becoming a Rick Santorum groupie. I mean, duh. Subjugation all the way, baby! I wonder if Bayer stock has gone up with all the meaningful insights he imparts on the world.

    The cats look like gangstas hanging out by the stove.

  17. Oh dear lord, I'm dying. Get that woman a wig!

  18. I love the last photo. I'm convinced my cats gossip about me, even the one we haven't chosen a name for yet. Sometimes my ginger rat-killer climbs up to my window and sees me typing in bed and shakes her head. I know what she is thinking: 'What a loser!'

    Your tumble makes me recall the time I was removing a dumb light fitting and the sideboard kicked over and the metal struts of the lamp hit me in the nose. What a whack! I saw stars that time and thank God there were no cats watching.

    1. Oh my word, Cat! That is hilarious and I feel bad for finding it funny. Yes, they DO gossip and judge us. I'm sure of it.

  19. Hahaha! Wait, don't the cats ALWAYS win?? And speaking of Rick Insanetorum... if that man wins, I'll be counting Downith or Bobbi among my new neighbors.

  20. Lisa,
    This is such a beautiful post. Poor Nate.
    I wish I had something more astute to say, but everytime I see a kid in a hoodie, I freeze. I have no words. And with the news that keeps being trumped up about this poor kid...what is the stage beyond disgust and despair?

  21. I loved the story but I still can't believe you own five cats.


And then you say....

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