Monday, December 31, 2012

oh boy oh boy oh boy

The Syfy channel is airing a Twilight Zone marathon today and tomorrow.

New Year's Eve plans:  All set!

Jeez, I'm a dork.

A very happy dork. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snowmageddon It

Oh, dear lord, it just keeps snowing and snowing and SNOWING.

Here's my backyard:

What ...what is the wild creature tearing down the path from the shed?

Oh, it's Sodapop!

Here he is in a calmer moment, checking out all the snow:

Here's Ponyboy:

And here's Tinks:

The only one of us with any damn sense. obviously.

What's the weather like where you are today?

Friday, December 28, 2012

How many, How many, I wonder ...

A little over a year ago, I started fostering again.

And I got to wondering the other day how many I'd taken care of.

Let's see.  There was Sammy and Delilah and Dumplin'.

Then came the brothers, Mouse and Romeo. I cared for Itty Bitty, and then Molly. I had Betty Sue, briefly. Then came Tinks!  Who ended up becoming part of the crew here.  After Tinks was the Biblical Five (Leah, Jacob, Rachel, Zilpah and Bilpah) (I DO NOT NAME THESE CATS), although I don't know if they count because it was only for a few days. And then it was the Japanese Litter (Panko, Ponza, Chobani, Kikko and Kamiko), and then Leo and Lilly, and then Wanders.  Most recently, Aaron, Hobo and Moses.

If I'm counting right, that's twenty-five cats. 

Twenty-one of whom have found new homes.  Four are still in foster care (Itty Bitty, Kikko, Wanders and Moses). 

Twenty-five cats!  That's a lotta cats.  I think I'll take a little break.  After Virginia, Violet and Vinnie are done with their visit, that is.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

Actually, no.  It's gorgeous.

The snow started around three-thirty this afternoon, and it's supposed to come down right until morning.

The first winter I was here, I took this photo out my front door during a snowstorm one night.  The scene is much the same tonight:

Right now, the cats are pissed off and fighting amongst themselves because I won't let them outside.  Tough titty, kitties.  I'm  not letting any of you out into a snowstorm.  Use the litterboxes; that's what they're there for.  Tomorrow morning, as I shovel and shovel and SHOVEL, and then shower, get dressed, and drive on slippery roads to work, I'll be cursing this snow.

But this moment, it's beautiful.


On Monday, I finally made it to the twenty-nine-cent sale at the Sal.

Every Monday, the Salvation Army thrift store puts all clothing with sale tags of a certain color on sale for twenty-nine cents.  Twenty-nine cents!

Usually, by the time I can get there after work on Monday night, the sale stuff is all gone.  But on Monday morning, I was doing some last-minute errand running, and I thought I'd stop by the sale.


One summer dress, five layering t-shirts, one patterned t-shirt, two long-sleeved shirts, and a cardigan.

For three dollars and two cents.

That's it.  I win at shopping.  It's time to retire the crown and rest on my laurels.  I. WIN.

In other news, the post office STINKS.  I mailed a package to my sister Texas on December 11, and she still hasn't gotten it.  What the f*ck, post office?  What the hell is wrong with you? 

and to the neighborhood dirtbag who rummaged through my car in the company parking lot and stole five bucks' worth of quarters out of the center console this morning:  Really?  REALLY?!  The day after Christmas, and you're rummaging through people's cars STEALING?!  Oh, f*ck you. Dick.  Jeezus CHRIST the office neighborhood sucks.
and in OTHER other news, the three Vs are still with me.  I was supposed to take them to the FC's house this morning, but she called and said she was ill, and asked if I could keep them for another day.

Another day of kitten-y goodness?  I guess so.  *sigh*  HA.

And tonight?  SNOWMAGEDDON.  Eight to twelve inches of crap I'll have to shovel out of my driveway.   On the bright side, it may get me a day off work tomorrow, or at least a morning, so there's that. 

What's up with you?

Monday, December 24, 2012

And so this is Christmas ....

 ... and what have you done?

another year over

and a new one just begun

and so this is Christmas

I hope you have fun

The near and the dear ones

the old and the young

A very Merry Christmas

and a happy New Year

Let's hope it's a good one

Now bring me a beer!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

From the foster kitties ...

the permanent residents ...

and me!

Now where's that beer?!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meet Virginia

and Vinnie, and Violet.

Ginnie and Vinnie are toward the rear left, playing on the cat scratcher.  Violet is to the right, eating her breakfast.  "Ha!", she thought.  "I'll have the food all to myself while they're distracted!"

The three Vs are here for the holidays.  Welcome, guys!  Enjoy your stay.

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's all about the food. Duh.

To me, the holidays are all about the food.  I'm not religious, so they're not about God.  I'm not real close to most of my family, so it's not about them.

It's about the food.  The glorious, glorious food.

It started a couple of weeks ago, with a fundraising bake sale.

I have never in the history of the world managed to get my butt out of bed early enough on a Saturday morning to have breakfast before one of our rescue group's events, so volunteering to work a bake sale is a win-win.  I get to contribute AND have cookies for breakfast.

And one of our volunteers is a fanTAStic baker, so there's linzer cookies and chocolate-dipped oreos and those Italian waffle-iron cookies and hoo boy do I eat. 

The following weekend, there was ANOTHER bake sale.

And as we packed up the tables and chairs from THAT one, the fantastic baker volunteer presented me with a giant PLATTER of cookies.  Like, a MOUNTAIN of cookies.  Just for ME.

That afternoon, I realized that not even *I* was going to be able to eat that many cookies, so the following morning, I packed some into gift bags and gave them to my neighbors.

Yes, the re-gifting has already begun.  Say it with food!

But it's not all about the cookies.

This Christmas, I am going to be having shrimp.  And nachos.  And pizza.  And those little hot dogs in barbecue sauce.  And something called "sausage balls", which I have never had before (SHUT UP), but I saw them in Walmart and was powerless to resist.  Oh, and I'm pretty sure Velveeta will be involved at some point.  It's just not Christmas without Velveeta in there somewhere.

How about you?  What's your favorite holiday food?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why, Walmart, Why?

Why are stuffing and boxed potatoes in the "condiments" aisle?  And why is gravy in the "baking needs" aisle?

Who bakes with gravy?

In their favor, they do not even make the pretense of putting Velveeta in the refrigerated section.  It's on a shelf with all the other processed foods with a storage life of a billion years.  So there's that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Was it something I said?

One of the rescue group's new volunteers recently told the FC that she would no longer be helping out.  The reason she gave?  "I can't afford it right now."


Our group is basically the only one in the area that DOESN'T actively solicit funds from its volunteers.  Sure, if you've got some extra cash, we'll be glad to use it (FOR THE KITTIES), but what we're really looking for is people's time.

Time to do foster care.
Time to help out at adoption events.
Time to list cats and events on craigslist and on local community websites.
Time to bake cookies for one of our fundraising bake sales.
If you can't AFFORD to bake cookies, just help out at the sale.  Okay?  Thanks.  We'll even give you a ride there.

So, okay, this lady's excuse is total bullsh*t.  Which is fine, I mean, whatever, if you don't wanna help, that's okay, but it's left the rest of us volunteers wondering what was so awful about us that she quit our group after three events.

Was it when I grabbed a pair of scissors off the Agway shelf and asked J to cut my hair?  (Thanks, J, I needed a trim!)

Was it when J and I got bored and put harnesses and leashes on the cats and paraded them around the store?  (The cats loved it, I SWEAR.  Well, some of them did.) 

Was it when J and I got into a (very) lively discussion about what, EXACTLY, a "Bully Stick" dog treat is?

Hmmm ... I'm starting to see a pattern here ... It's J and I, isn't it?  We scared her away.

Come back, volunteer!  We'll tone it down! 

Oh, who am I kidding?  Hey, when you're sitting at an adoption event/bake sale/whatever for FOUR HOURS at stretch, things can get ... odd.  Leave a woman who wears men's underwear and collects deer skulls and a lady with purple hair to their own devices, and things can get interesting.

So here's a question.  Did you ever start volunteering for a group and then suddenly quit?  If so, why?

Was it me?

Because now I'm wondering.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The list

This list is taped under a light switch in my kitchen.  It's Little Girl's list from the summer before last; the summer of 2011.  I can't quite bring myself to take it down.

After The Runt died in April of 2011, Little Girl mourned.  And then she tested positive for a bum heart, the same thing that The Runt succumbed to.  And she went on heart meds.  And she kept right on hunting; she always loved to hunt.  I think I started the tally to remind myself that while I was trying to prepare myself for the possible loss of her, she was still very much alive.  And hunting.  And not concerned one whit about her stupid ol' bum heart.

And she lived until November of 2011.  Over a year ago now.  You can see how many conquests she had between May 16, when I started the list, and November.  And those were only the ones she brought to me!  I still think of her; maybe that's why I can't take the list down.  I still think of her, and she still matters.  As The Runt matters, and Rocky, and Ghost and Spooky and Elbows and all of the other cats I've had over the years.  They still matter.

So sometimes when I get down, when I start to worry about how I'm not making a real difference in the world, when I start to fret over how I'm not making my mark, I try to remind myself that we all leave our marks.  It might be a tally taped to a light switch, or it might be fond memories thought by someone we ourselves only thought of briefly, but we all were here.  We all left marks.

And we all matter.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Too cute

That's Fuzzy on the left, and Hansel on the right, at an adoption event on Saturday.

Fuzzy is the one we're holding out for a better home for.  Hansel was found, along with his sister Gretel, under somebody's front porch.   I think you can see Gretel, there, peeking out between the other two. 

And there's good news.  We had two adoptions on Saturday - Fred (yet another black cat (I think we've cornered the market on those)), and Sidwell, a big tabby boy.  Both of them have been in foster care for months, so it was great to see them get homes right before Christmas.

And it's a good thing I decided against a tree, because as it turns out, it looks like I'll have three (or possibly four) eight-week-olds for Christmas ... Deck the halls!  And fill up the spare litterboxes. Ha.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gene ValGene

Hell, French class was a long time ago. 

I've been thinking about going to see the movie version of Les Miserables on Christmas day.  The LAST time I went to the movies on Christmas I saw "I am Legend", which, yeah, not so great a holiday choice.

So anyway, last night, TCM was showing the 1935 version, which I thought I'd watch, because I wanted to get myself caught up since it's been a while since I read the book, and may I say, the 1935 version does an admirable job of boiling down a long-ass, confusing book into the essentials, which I do appreciate. Two thumbs up.

I assume that Anne (I see London I see France I see you ain't got no underpants) Hathaway, who has been featured prominently at all of the premieres,  is playing Cosette.  Whyyyyyyy can't movie stars wear undies?  Don't they get tired of the updrafts in their evening gowns?

But wait!  According to IMDB, Anne Hathaway is playing ... Fantine?  And Amanda somebody is playing Cosette?  But aren't those actresses, like ... the same age?  And isn't Fantine Cosette's MOTHER? 

Okay, now I'm just confused. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Two weeks ago, one of the crazy cat ladies with whom I volunteer had one of her cats go missing.

The cat, Tucker, was always an indoor-outdoor cat, but on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, he went outside and didn't come back in.

She asked for advice on finding him and I offered some, having been through a few heart-pounding missing-cat episodes of my own.  Search the area, calling and shaking a bag of cat food.  Look down under shrubs and up into trees.  Immediately plaster the area with posters, because SOMEONE has seen him.   Have your neighbors check their sheds and garages.  Bribe the neighborhood kids with a cash reward for any sightings.  Talk to the mailman.  Check the shoulders of local roads, and call the highway department (don't make me go into detail on that one). Call the shelters.  Put it on Craigslist.  The typical stuff.

I told her about The Runt, who was once up a tree for three days.  About another volunteer whose cat came home after eight days.  About yet another volunteer whose cat wandered home after three MONTHS.

And we all waited for news.  As the weather got colder and the days got shorter and that one night we got an absolutely soaking rain, we waited for news of Tucker.  Hoping for the best, but wondering in the back of our minds if the worst hadn't already happened.

Yesterday on Facebook, after fifteen days, there was news.

"Tucker Kitty CAME HOME!"

Goddamit, I LOVE a happy ending.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Official

The doctor just called.   The results of the bloodwork I had done last week are in.

I'm in menopause.

Um ... hooray?  Boo-hoo?

Not sure what I'm supposed to feel, here.

Or do.

Does this mean I have to starting wearing red hats and purple clothes?  Because those are my two least favorite colors.

Do I need to get more cats?  Because my house is pretty full right now.

Am I supposed to throw a party?  Like those awful parties some weird people throw when their daughters begin menstruating?  Because that sh*t ain't happening.  This is no one's business but mine.  (and yours. ha.)

F*ck, I can't even throw my condom stash away - still gotta protect against disease, doncha know.  Although honestly, those condoms have been gathering dust for quite some time.

I dunno.  Maybe I'll go shopping.  That sounds like a good idea. 

Shopping for support hose and Werther's candies.  SH*T.

I am old.  My body says so.

I don't FEEL old.  So I think I'll file this little tidbit away, as informative but not necessarily relevant.

There.  NOW I feel better.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hahaha okay, car gods, cut the crap

Last Friday, one of my headlights cut out.  Forty dollars later, I was good to go.

On Saturday, I got rear-ended in traffic.

CUT IT OUT, car gods.  I'm not in the mood for this right now.

I have a leaky water heater.  My front door needs to be replaced.  When my washing machine drains, so does my toilet.  There are about NINE MILLION THINGS that need fixing around my place.  I do not need car problems right now.

Car gods, I JUST SPENT four hundred bucks to fix the radiator hoses.  Followed by three hundred bucks to fix the brakes. 

I HAVE PAID MY CAR GOD DUES.  Leave me alone now.

Please?  Thank you.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Year Without a Christmas Tree

Okay, so, on an earlier post I hinted about how this was gonna be The Year Without a Christmas Tree and nobody bit, but guess what? I'm gonna tell ya anyway.

Every year I do a tree. A couple of weeks before Christmas, I go buy a tree (live, OF COURSE) and haul it home and set it up and spend the whole afternoon decorating it and at some point disaster ensues but it doesn't matter because it's beautiful.

 A couple of weeks ago, I realized I was going to have SIX CATS in the house this December. My three boys, and three kitten fosters. And I decided not to do a tree. And honestly? I was RELIEVED. It's kind of a pain in the ass, to tell you the truth. And I started thinking about that old SNL skit where Mary Catherine Gallagher (who I couldn't STAND, honestly) does that soliloquy from some old ABC AfterSchool Special, "The House Without a Christmas Tree", and that cracked me up. 

Jason Robards was in that movie. Is he still around?

Anyway. No tree. And then two of the kittens were adopted, and the third moved on to another foster home, and all of a sudden I was back down to the three permanent cat residents. Hey! I thought. I could do a tree!


Tinks is a climber, and Pony's favorite place to hang out is on the window bookshelf which would have to be moved to make room for the tree, and

Nope. No tree this year. Call me Scrooge.

I DID put up the outside lights. And the wreaths. And the mailbox decorations. And I've got my mom's ceramic Christmas tree which she made, like, forty years ago, displayed in the living room, so my house is not totally devoid of Christmas. Keepin' the spirit alive, right here.  Ha.

Do you decorate for Christmas?  If so, how much?  Have your decorations lessened or expanded over the years.  Just curious ...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

What would you do?

I ran an adoption event today.  The star of the show was Fuzzy, an eight-week-old, long-haired, buff-colored kitten.  He came from a stray litter of four; the other three kittens passed away of unknown causes (possibly something congenital), leaving adorable Fuzzy as the sole survivor.

A woman filled out an application for him, and we started chatting, and she said that two years ago, she had a ten-year-old cat who started peeing outside his litterbox.

She did not take him to the vet to see if there was a medical reason.  She did not try adding more litterboxes, or changing the type of litter, or trying a different type of food, or spending more time with him.

She took him to the local SPCA and gave him up.

"Well," she said, "He was an old cat anyway.  And he was really my boyfriend's cat, not mine.  And I can't stand the smell of cat pee."

No Fuzzy for her.

Maaaaan, it can be a judgement  call on these things, and my decision is not the one that counts (I'm not the one who makes the final call), but I strongly recommended to the FC that her application be denied.  I explained the situation; it wasn't so much that she gave the cat up (OKAY YES IT WAS), as it was that she didn't even TRY to solve the problem first.  And she expressed absolutely no remorse about the decision she had made. 

Fuzzy is a kitten.  He is eight weeks old.  The odds that he is going to pee outside the litterbox occasionally for a few more weeks is virtually guaranteed.

No Fuzzy for her.

I don't know, you guys.  What do you think?  Did I make the right call?

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Yeahhhhh ... I didn't need to see that

Okay, so, first off, I found out at the doctor's yesterday that I had lost a few pounds, so I celebrated by eating a bunch of cookies.  Hey, it made perfect sense to ME.  And this, my friends, is why I'm not a brain surgeon.

Now.  There was an article in my local paper today (Yes.  I still read the print edition of the paper.  I subscribe, even.  They deliver it to my home.  I AM OLD.  IT IS OFFICIAL.) about the outcry over the NYC photog who snapped a pic of a man about to get run over by a subway train.  There is, of course, also outcry over the fact that the N.Y. Post PUBLISHED the photo.  And then, my local paper, for good measure, published the photo to accompany the article.

Now.  Given the amount of media I peruse, I was going to see that picture at some point.  It was inevitable.  But maybe it shouldn't be.

Maybe I'm just a delicate flower, but maaaaan, I don't need to see shit like that.  True confession:  I was once at a local swamp and came upon a giant snake eating a giant bullhead.  IT WAS AWESOME.  And I had my camera.  But I didn't take a picture.  I couldn't.  It would have been ... disrespecting the bullhead, somehow.

So yeah, maybe I'm just insane.  But I don't think it's necessary to widely publish photos of people (or fish, for that matter) who are about to die.  Did it happen?  Yes.  Do we have to SEE it?  I would contend not.

Then again, I can see bringing up the whole Holocaust argument.  Then again, there are people who STILL deny the Holocaust occurred, photos notwithstanding.

Should such pics be available for viewing?  Maybe.  Should they be available for viewing on the front page of a newspaper, where we are exposed to them whether or not we want to be?  Maybe not.  Maybe there are some things we don't need to see. 

And maybe it needs to be taken in context.  "Pics or it didn't happen" may be applicable and even valuable in some cases, but in this case?  In the case of one man about to lose his life to a subway train?  What is served by publishing that?  Besides selling more papers, that is.

I don't know.  I feel like I'm all over the place with this.  What do you guys think?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The M Word, Part Two

Okay, so, LAST year around this time I wrote about going to the doctor for my annual lady-parts exam and finding out that I may be entering menopause.

This morning, I had to go back for another annual exam (funny how that happens), and, well, the doctor wanted to run some more detailed tests.  To find out how CLOSE, exactly, I am to the M word.  She'll have the results in a few days.

I will tell you what.  Turning fifty one week and having to discuss menopause the next?  Makes me feel damn old.

Hey!  Kids!  GET OFF MY LAWN!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Poop. and Puke. and more Poop.

yeah, it was that kind of a weekend.

On Saturday morning, I had to take my three fosters to a rabies vaccination clinic.  The FC was taking four of HER fosters, so there we stood in line, the crazy cat ladies, two people with SEVEN kittens between us.

On the way to the clinic, Moses pooped in his crate.  Super.  On the way back home, he threw up in his crate.  Great.

Although actually, one of the FC's fosters, Miriam, managed to outdo him.  She pooped once and threw up TWICE.  Way to be an overachiever, Miriam.

So!  Moses came home.  Briefly.  You see, my other two fosters, Aaron and Hobo, were adopted on Saturday.  They went with the FC straight from the rabies clinic to their new home.  Where they are doing GREAT.  Go Aaron and Hobo!  The plan was that once Aaron and Hobo were adopted, Moses would go to another foster home, one that had kittens his age, because kittens need to be with kittens.  But there was a respiratory illness making its way through that household, so the FC asked if I could keep Moses for a week, until he could be transported to another foster home with kittens, one further away. Sure, I said.

So Moses came home alone.  And once he discovered that his playmates were no longer there, he was BEREFT.  HEARTBROKEN.  He wandered from room to room, calling out.  He ran excitedly up to my cats, only to sadly discover that they didn't want to play.  He cried.  He howled. 

Oh, it was awful.   He could not be consoled.  So I did the only thing I could think of; I called the foster home where he was supposed to go this next weekend.  "Is there any way," I asked, explaining the situation, "that you could take him a week early?"

"Of course!," the foster mom said.  "Can you bring him here in the morning?"

So I did it. Road trip. And Moses only pooped in the carrier once on the way there.  And now he is with other kittens, not at my lousy house where the only cats are BIG cats.  Have fun with your new playmates, Moses!

I hope he gets better with the car rides as he gets older.  Kitten poop SMELLS.

Friday, November 30, 2012

The tradition continues

As some of you may know, I always buy myself gifts for my birthday and Christmas.  Hell, SOMEbody's gotta do it.  I buy them all year long, and stash them in a birthday box and a Christmas box, and when the occasion arises?  Gift time!  Surprise!  It helps that my short-term memory is shot, and a week after a gift goes in a box, I've forgotten all about it.

This year for my birthday, it turns out that I bought myself:

Tons of cheap-ass, straight-from-China costume jewelry, purchased on Ebay.  So sue me.

An awesome Indonesian rain stick.  Straight outta the local Christmas Tree Shops outlet. Ha.

Two kids' wristwatches, one with monkeys and one with frogs.  It's a good thing I have small wrists.

A stained-glass light bulb. I cannot WAIT to try it out.

And - the best part - an entire BOX of Better World Books.  I'm set until at LEAST spring, reading-wise.

I can't wait to find out what I got myself for Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Happy birthday to me, Happy birthday to me,

Happy birthday, Happy birthday ...
Happy birthday to me!

Yep.  Here it is.  The big 5-0.

I guess I'm officially old now. 

I will take this as permission to now yell at the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn.

Oh, wait, I was already doing that ...

Hmmm.  Maybe this means I have to start watching "Murder, She Wrote"?  Wait, I think that went off the air ... Is Angela Lansbury even still alive?

Am I supposed to start eating prunes now?  Eating dinner at four o'clock?  Wearing sweatshirts that say, "Ask me about my grandkids"?  I DON'T KNOW.

I guess somebody forgot to give me the manual - What the hell DO old people do, anyway?

Besides bitch at the neighborhood kids, that is.  I'm already QUITE good at that.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Really, Macy's?

So, I went to Macy's the other day, and I got the deal of the century.  Go me.

When I went to check out, I handed the cashier a credit card.

"Would you like to use your Macy's card instead?," she asked.  "Do you have a Macy's card?  Because if you do, you'll get an additional fifteen percent off your purchases today."

"Erm," I said, "I'm not sure if I have a Macy's card or not."  Because I have approximately nine billion customer-loyalty store cards in my wallet.  I'm not sure WHAT-all is rattling around in there.

"Oh!," she said.  "That's okay!  I can check the system for you!  I'll just need your driver's license, please."

I forked it over.  Hell, I get proofed half the time I buy beer.  No biggie.  Most stores can tell if I have a loyalty card just by entering my phone number into the system, but whatever.

"Now," she said, "I'll need you to enter your social security number into the keypad.  Don't worry, I can't see  it."

You know, I went ahead and did it.  And the system determined that I did not, indeed, have a Macy's card, I declined to apply for one right then, and blahblahblah.

And then I got back home and started thinking.

The cashier had had access to one of my credit cards.  (The one I used to pay.)  She had access to my driver's license.  And while she SAID she couldn't see my social when I typed it in, how did I know for sure?  Those stores have mirrors all over the damn place.  And for all I knew, it could have shown up in neon-green on her checkout screen as I entered it.

Talk about the perfect opportunity for identity theft.

I stewed about it for a little bit, then I called the store and talked to a manager.  Who reassured me that, yes, indeed, they needed both a driver's license and my social when checking to see if I have a store card.

WTF, Macy's?  Really?  You need to see more info than my bank required when I applied for a flippin' MORTGAGE?  To see if I have a stupid store card?
That sh*t ain't right.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Stuff it, Lands' End - Weekend in Review

So!  Thursday was a nice long walk and then Thanksgiving, which was mercifully short on drama this year.  New to the table was my firefighter nephew J.'s new girlfriend. 

Friday I was at the adoption center, where disaster was narrowly averted.  Then I made my annual trip to JoAnn Fabrics.  Every year, they hold a FABulous Black Friday sale.  I picked up a BUNCH of different fabrics for a buck seventy-four a yard, which makes my cheap little heart go all warm.  And I picked up some clear heavy plastic sheeting at half price, which I stapled-gunned to the bottom half of the foster room screen door, as the screen was in imminent danger of destruction due to KITTENS climbing on it all the time.  Sheesh.  Crazy kids.

On Saturday morning, I saw the pheasant again.   So did the cats, who were all, "What the hell is THAT?"  And I FINALLY got the bathtub scrubbed.  And did laundry.  And generally did all the other home-stuff I've been putting off for way too long.  And then I went to an antiques store, where I ALMOST bought a tiffany-style table lamp.  The fact that it was brand-new and not vintage (the Made in China sticker was a dead giveaway (ha)) did not bother me, but just as I was getting ready to take it down from the shelf, I tapped on the shade, and ... plastic.  The shade was made of PLASTIC.  Whew.  Disaster narrowly averted.  But THEN, I went to ANOTHER antiques store, and, you guys know Mr. Z, right?  The thrift store had a Mr. Z-sized, ride-on ELEPHANT.  Oh snap, you guys, I might have to go back for that.  AN ELEPHANT. 

Sunday was check the you-know-what day, followed by more time at the adoption center.  A young hipster dude came in and wanted to know why his cat was pooping all on the floor instead of in her litterbox.  Um, because she has to live with a young hipster dude?  Ha.  No, seriously, I did give him some advice, starting with take her to the vet to make sure there's not something physical going on.  "Oh yeah!," the hipster said.  "She DID have bowel surgery a couple of months ago!"  Yeah, that could be the problem.

And then!  And then!  I had the shopping score of the century.  All I can say is, Lands' End can STUFF IT, because I was looking for one particular item, and first I went on line and  I checked several web sites, including Lands' End, where they wanted an outRAGEous price for the object I needed, and THEN I went to the mall and found the EXACT same thing in Macy's for, like, a TENTH of what Lands' End was charging.  PLUS, Land's Sucky End wanted NINE BUCKS to ship something that weighed, like, three ounces, so SHOVE IT, Lands' Bite Me End.

Oh!  And on Sunday, I had a few awful minutes when I thought I had somehow lost thirty bucks at the gas station, but then I found the money tucked into a different part of my wallet.  When I thought the money was gone, I kept trying to talk myself down, all, "Maybe somebody who really needs it will find it", and "It's only thirty bucks", and yeah, no, I was heartsick.  So I was very RELIEVED when I found it.

And Ponyboy would like everybody to know that HE CAUGHT A MOUSE.  Completely unassisted by either of his brothers, Ponyboy GOT ONE.  Go, Pony!

And then it was Monday and I was late to work because going into the kitten-filled spare bedroom is a total timesuck.  Yeah, it's all the kittens' fault.

Coming soon:  The Year Without a Christmas Tree.  I KNOW.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Check you-know-what


That was on my to-do list for this past weekend - "Check you-know-what".  "You-know-what" being the car's antifreeze.

I got the car back a couple of weeks ago, after the THIRD trip to the garage (or was it the fourth?) to try to stop the antifreeze leak.  It wasn't dripping on the garage floor anymore, and I wasn't SMELLING antifreeze anymore, but I knew it was time to check the level in the reservoir, just to make sure, and to tell you the truth?

I was afraid to do it.

Because I knew that if that fluid level was low, AGAIN, I was going to lose my ever-lovin' mind.  AGAIN.  And while I was trying to steel myself for bad news, maaaaaaan, I did not want to pop that hood.

Sh*t, I couldn't even write the words on my to-do list.  "Check you-know-what".  Oh dear lord.

So it was with GREAT TREPIDATION that I went out to the garage yesterday morning, flipped on the overhead lights, popped ... the ... hood ..., and

the fluid level was FINE.  Right where it's supposed to be.

WHEW.  The mysterious case of the drippy antifreeze is finally OVER.

Thank goodness.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ho-lee Sh*t, one got away

This afternoon, I was at the adoption center, cleaning out litterboxes.  There was a kitten out of her cage, which was okay, because while the interior adoption door (the one that leads to the back of the cages) was open, the exterior door, the one that  leads out into the pet store, was shut.

So I'm all, la la la, digging for poop, digging for poop, when I noted that I hadn't seen the kitten for a few minutes.  I rounded the corner through the open interior door, and the exterior door ... was wide open.

Oh  sh*t oh sh*t oh shi*t I'm F*CKED. 

I quickly scanned the outside of the adoption area, grateful that it's far away from the doors to the outside.  No kitten.  I started scanning down the aisles.  No kitten.  I was heading off to grab a manager to put out an alert when a nearby shopper, evidently seeing me tearing around wild-eyed, said, "I think one of your cats is under this display of cat litter."

Oh thank GOD.

I immediately hit the floor, scanning under the raised display.  No kitten.  Next display.  No kitten.  Next was the - oh, CRAP, the doors to the warehouse area.  Had she escaped into the warehouse area?  Because there's a loading dock to the outside there.

Oh SH*T.

"Oops!  Here it is!", said the shopper, as the kitten emerged from under yet ANOTHER display, about fifteen yards away.

"Grab it!"  I yelled.  "PLEASE!"

Oh bless her heart, she reached down and scooped that kitten up, as I just about collapsed.  I ran over, collected the cat, and thanked the shopper profusely.

Oh sweet Jeezus my heart was in my throat. 

One (almost) got away.  Thankfully, she is safe and sound at the adoption center tonight, right where she's supposed to be.

Her name is Dodger.  Ha.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sand trap

This morning, I decided I'd walk off my turkey dinner before I ate it (shut up!  The logic TOTALLY works!), so I went to a local state park, where some of the trails abut a golf course.

Sand trap.  Yawnnnnn.

But wait! What's that?  Is that ... writing in the sand?


Ponyboy, Sodapop and Tinks were here.

Man, I just cannot resist an end-of-season sand trap.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am a good Doo-Bee

Yesterday, I went to the DMV and renewed my driver's license.  This morning, I got my flu shot. And it hurt like hell.  And I will tell you what, always bring a book with you to the doctor's office, because is there anything more typhoid-laden than waiting-room magazines?  I doubt it.  But anyway, I am checking sh*t off my to-do list like a MACHINE, I tell ya.

I'll let you know when I finally get around to scrubbing the bathtub.  It's starting to skeeve even ME out.

In other random news, I had a dream (I KNOW, I KNOW) the other night that I was an investigative journalist embedded in the Duggar clan.  Haaaaaaaaaaaaaa.  My big scoop was that Michelle Duggar is able to get a good night's sleep because she puts the littles into their car seats and then flips them upside down so they sleep upside down, like bats.  Evidently it works like a charm.  In my dreams.  Oh! And last night I had a dream (SHUT IT) that Little Girl came back!  It was awesome.

Tonight, I have to prepare a pickle-and-olive tray (EWW EWW I know it's GROSS but that's what was requested of me EWW) to take to Thanksgiving Dinner.  I plan on also taking some deviled eggs (YUM) to counteract the olive nastiness.

Oh!  And for the first time ever, I will visit a retail establishment on Black Friday. I will be volunteering at the adoption center (which is inside a retail establishment, so it totally counts) for a few hours.   I'll get to see the madness close up.  While being able to retreat into the adoption center if sh*t starts hitting the fan.  Although I'll be at a pet store, not the electronics aisle of Walmart, so things probably won't get too crazy.  Damn it.

This morning I saw a pheasant - a PHEASANT! - in the backyard.  Coooooooool.
Let's see.  Thanksgiving.  Hmmm, looking back, LAST Thanksgiving weekend, I had a tooth go south on me, which ended up needing a two-grand root canal.  (*sob*)  Yeah, Thanksgiving's not as much fun when you can't CHEW.  I will tell you what, when I called the dentist's office the following Monday morning and they said they could fit me right in, I practically SOBBED, I was so thankful.  Ha!  Giving thanks.  So THIS Thanksgiving, I am thankful that I am not in pain.  I am thankful for my three boys, and for the three little fosters in the spare room.  I am thankful to be here.

Okay, guys, spill it.  What are your Thanksgiving plans?  What are you thankful for, this Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Car Songs

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in the car.  The family had a cottage two hours away where we went every weekend in the summer, and one summer, we went all the way out to Wyoming and back.

It was my parents up front, and my sister Ditzy and me in the back.  The other kids were "too old" to do the road trips.  We always had a station wagon.  And Dad always drove like a bat out of hell.

Bored spitless and uncomfortable in the non-air-conditioned back seat, Ditzy and I would sing.  And sing and sing and SIIIIIIIINNNNNNG.

"Almost there ... we're almost there ... a paaaaaaaaradise, paaaaaaaaaaradise for two ... close your eyes ... close your eyes ... CLOOOOOOOOOSE your eyes, 'cause we're almost there ..."

Evidently an old Andy Williams song, although not with those particular lyrics.  I still remember 'em, though.

"Bury my heart, on the lone prairie, and the rest of me, at Wounded Knee ..." yeah.  We were fond of changing the lyrics.

See also:  Every flippin' John Denver song ever, in particular, "Almost Heaven, West Virginia".  I think my Mom would have lost her damn mind if we sang that one more time.

Oh lord, we would sing and sing and crack each other up and sing and sing some more.

"Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue Ridge mountains, Shenandoah River ... Life is old there, older than the trees,  younger than the mountains, blowin' like the breeze ..."

I still got it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meet the new guys

I don't think Moses is too fond of Tinks.  (They were on either side of a screen door - no kittens were harmed in the taking of this photo.)

Here is Moses in a calmer (i.e., EATING) moment:

His shy brother, Aaron:

And then there's Hobo, the hellraiser of the group.  Hobo was found on a volunteer's back porch, eating out of a garbage can.  He was six weeks old at the time.  Meet Hobo:

Welcome, dudes.  Relax and stay a spell.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Company's coming

I've cleaned out the spare bedroom.  I moved the houseplants into another room; I bought more baby wipes to replace the ones that had dried out since my last young visitors were here.

Tonight, I'll re-hang the spare room screen door.  I'll spend some quality time with my boys, possibly the last quiet time we'll have for a little bit, because tomorrow?

Kittens are coming.


My last foster experience, Wanders, did not go so well.  She was unhappy, and my boys were unhappy, probably because she was very aggressive toward them.  They don't like getting beat up; go figure.  I think some little kittens, full of energy but not malice, will be more their speed.  Lord knows my boys love to play.

For whatever reason, our rescue is experiencing a late-season kitten boom.  In addition to several teenagers, we also have some teeny-tinies, and four MORE wee ones came into care over the past weekend.

One foster home currently has waaaaay too many kittens in it, and so? I caved.

Kittens are coming!

Pony, Soda and Tinks, I'm counting on YOU to teach the new kids some manners.  And to play with them, of course.  I'll handle the food and litter end of things. 

Kittens are coming!  Time to batten down the hatches.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I don't even know who I am anymore

Last night, I had to stop at the store on the way home from work.

To buy boil salve and cat food.

ahahahahahaha it'd be funny if it wasn't so pathetic.  What the f*ck happened to me?!

I need to, like, start skydiving or something.  Put a little zing in the old life.

Boil salve.  *shudder*.  Jeezus Christ.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A better class of beater

I called the garage this morning.  I did not swear, or rant, or rave.  I laughed.

I think they've driven me insane.

I am currently tooling around in a 2007 Saturn, which is better than the old Malibu I had last time, and MUCH better than the 1992 Buick I was originally given.  Although honestly I didn't know they were even still MAKING Saturns in 2007.

Eventually, I will have driven every car they have.

I spent a good deal of time with a mechanic this morning, explaining, IN GREAT DETAIL, where the car was dripping fluid and how much it was going through and how I could SMELL the antifreeze whenever I stopped the car and blahblahblah and I did not react with FURIOUS ANGER even though I really wanted to.

I save that for here.

And I promise there will be no more car talk.  I am starting to lose sleep over this whole thing, and while there are a lot of things that are worth losing sleep over, a 2008 Kia is not one of them.  I told the garage that I'll buy a case of beer for whoever finds the leak, and I'm leaving it at that.

So!  Seen any good movies lately?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Don't p*ss on my leg and tell me it's raining.

So!  Back in September, my car started spewing antifreeze everywhere.  I went to my neighborhood garage and paid them four hundred bucks (!) to replace some hoses.  Problem solved.

Except the car was STILL leaking antifreeze.  Not as much as the original antifreeze blowout, but still leaking.  And antifreeze is poisonous.  And I have pets.  I took the car back to the garage.  "Oh!," they said.  "Must be a bad hose clamp.  We'll replace 'em all.  No charge."  Problem solved.

Except the car was STILL leaking antifreeze.  I called the garage, explaining how I was STILL finding splots of antifreeze on the garage floor, and I was still having to top off the reservoir.  Last night I took the car back to the garage again.  They gave me a loaner and called this afternoon.  "Your car's all ready!  You can come pick it up!"  I get to the garage.  "We couldn't find any leaks.  The antifreeze on  your garage floor must be some that was overfilled when you had it in last time."

hahahah oh boys I AM NOT THE VILLAGE F*CKING IDIOT.  Fuming, I grabbed the keys, drove home, pulled into the garage, got out of the car, and

smelled antifreeze.  It's still leaking.

I will tell you what, I am about to get medieval on these a**holes.  Sh*t is about to hit the fan.  YOU DON'T MESS WITH ME, YOU F*CKS.  I WILL WIPE THE FLOOR WITH YOU.

I'm good at it.  It's kind of my specialty.  If you try to f*ck me over, with something automotive or electronic or HVAC-related or anything else that I don't know much about, I CAN TELL.   And you are about to be really, really sorry that you tried to play me for a fool.

I can read the antifreeze on the garage floor, after all.


At the adoption event last weekend, we were situated near the entrance to the store, which was also near the checkout aisles.  And when you're posted right near the checkout aisles, you can't help but overhear the conversations of people waiting in line.

An older woman was standing in line, and then a man got in line behind her, and they recognized each other as friends who hadn't seen each other in a while, and they got to chatting.

"So!,"  the woman said.  "How's your family?"

The man hesitated for a moment, then smiled and said, "You know what?  That's not a really great question for me right now.  How's YOUR family?"

I love that answer.  I plan to use it in the future.  "That's not a really great question for me right now."  Perfect.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Am I a racist?

So, the other day, I was chatting with someone, and somehow my cats came up in the conversation; specifically, my black cat, who is named Sodapop.

"Isn't that racist?," the person I was chatting with asked.

"Um ....," I said, "is WHAT racist?"

"Well," she said, "You named a black cat Sodapop, like Coca-Cola, which is black."

And I mean, she was just honestly curious.  And I was mortified to think that I might have given one of my cats a name that would imply I was a racist.

"Oh!," I said.  "I've never thought of it that way!"  Because I hadn't.  "Well, um ... Coke is actually brown, right?  And Sodapop was named after a character in a book - The Outsiders.  I have another cat named Ponyboy, which is also a name from that same book."

"Oh," she said.  "I get it. That's okay, then."

I mean ... really?  What if I'd named him "Blackie"?  Hoo boy.  I dunno.  I think she's overthinking this stuff.

Hmmm.  Maybe I should re-name Tinks, my white cat, "Cracker".  Just to even it out. *ducks*

And speaking of white cats, a lot of people who adopt white cats name them "Snowball", which,  ha!  All I can think of when I hear "Snowball" is the movie Clerks.  And then I snicker.  Yeesh.  I'm pretty sure Clerks ruined the name Snowball for pets.

Okay.  Let's talk cat names.  What's the funniest/weirdest/best cat name you've got?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Two! Two! Two!

We adopted out two! cats! at our adoption event today.

Which may not sound like much, but I am jazzed, because despite the presence of a cage full of teeny-tinys, the two who were adopted were teenagers, i.e., in the six-month age range. 

And!  One was a tabby and one was a black cat, the two "color schemes" who are slowest to get adopted.

Fastest?  White.  Followed by orange.  Followed by calico.

So!  Two cats, going to their loving homes tomorrow. (We don't do "same-day" or "drive-thru" adoptions.  We do a one-day wait and a home visit, just to make sure, dontcha know.)

Lilly and Wilma, I am excited for you both.  Have great lives!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Forty-six? FORTY-SIX?!

Okay, so I was sitting at home the other night switching back and forth between hurricane coverage and Nineteen Kids and Totally Insane, because frankly,  I can only watch so much devastation before I have to switch my mind to something it can actually process.  Like batsh*t crazy religious fanatics.

And Nineteen Kids and Totally Insane was all about Michelle Duggar's forty-sixth birthday.

Forty-six?!  Does that woman look forty-six years old?! 

Hell, no!  I mean, if I had to guess her age, I woulda put it in the mid-thirties.

But I guess that explains the problems she's had with carrying kids to term lately.

Honey, you're forty-six years old.  You've got NINETEEN kids.  Give it a rest, already.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

A few months ago ...

Hey, guys, whatcha doing?

They were perfecting their act.

Evidently, I have circus cats.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Recently Read

Skip it if you wanna.

1.  Flower Children by Maxine Swann - Novel about ex-hippies raising kids.  Started out interesting and then got meh - I didn't finish it.

2.  The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb - If you can't say anything nice ... Okay, I'll say something anyway.  It was seven hundred and forty pages of BO-RING.  Jesus.  That's several months of work lunchtimes that I'll never get back.  None of the main characters were particularly sympathetic, which made it a long, tough, slog.  I liked his book "She's Come Undone", but this one?  No way.  Waste of my time.

3.  The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin - Novel about a girl growing up in 1960s Mississippi - good.

4.  Movie Review!  "Hey, Boo - Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird" - Doc about, well, you guessed it.  And I will tell you what, the people who made this doc managed to talk a great book into the damn ground.  What a snooze-fest, especially since Harper Lee was (of course) absent.  (When the subject of your doc refuses interviews, you might have a problem.)  Although I did learn that the neighbor boy in the book was based on a young Truman Capote.  The more you know!  And I have since learned that there are rumors that Tru actually ghost-wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, which I don't believe.  He's not that good a writer.

5.  The Drifters by James Michener - Great big honking novel about young people in Spain in the 60s.  I read this as a teenager and was fascinated with it.  I just picked it up again, and, like a lot of books I first read as a teen, it just doesn't have the same resonance with me today.  Still, a good read. 

6.  The Gift of Pets by Bruce Coston - Memoir of a veterinarian - Goes into WAY too much technical detail - Eww.

7.  Angie, I Says by Avra Wing - Think "Working Girl", the movie, and then throw in a pregnancy that derails the career plans. Interesting.  Oh! And evidently they made a movie out of this book, too, with Geena Davis.

8.  The Lost Saints of Tennessee by Amy Franklin-Willis - Novel about a man who can't get over the death of his brother.  Eh.

9.  An Irish Country Doctor by Patrick Taylor - Self-explanatory title.  Fiction.  Good.

So!  That's what I got.  How about you?

Monday, November 05, 2012

Why do I always buy the WRONG CAR?

I used to drive a Saturn wagon, which was the biggest piece-of-sh*t ever made.  Sweet Jeezus, that car would break down if you LOOKED at it funny.

So when it finally broke down one more time than I was willing to repair, I traded it in.  On a Kia Rondo.  Which they stopped making shortly after I bought mine.  *cue ominous music*.

And it HAD been a pretty good car, cheap-car-wise, until a couple of months ago when it started spewing antifreeze everywhere, and it cost me FOUR HUNDRED BUCKS to replace the hoses.

Saturday?  It started leaking antifreeze AGAIN.

And yes, I know that antifreeze is poisonous and yes, steps have been taken to keep the cats from getting into the leaking antifreeze.

And this afternoon the car goes BACK to the damn garage and holy Mary mother of F*CK I am going to be pissed if I have to buy a new flipping RADIATOR and God only knows what THAT will cost when the damn HOSES cost four hundred bucks and

and I keep thinking of those people in Jersey.  Who have no heat and no food and they're on the news BEGGING for someone to help them.

I'll shut up about the damn car now.

In other news, I was at the adoption center yesterday.  And it was crazy, crazy busy.  Thankfully, there was another volunteer there, so we were able to tag-team the job.  There is one cat there who is ABSOLUTELY not socialized enough yet to be there and should really be in a foster home, but all of the foster homes are full right now.  God, I feel bad for her - I can't even comfort her because if I put a hand near her cage she starts to hiss and spit and swipe. 

And in OTHER sad cat news, on Saturday I was out at the FC's house, where there were nine billion teeny-tiny kittens running around, and I got to cuddle with ALL of them.  Including one very friendly teeny-tiny-weeny orange bit of fluff, who unexpectedly passed away the next day.

It ain't EASY, this rescue business. 

And Wanders?  The foster?  She moved to another foster home.  After five weeks at my place, she was still making no progress in learning to tolerate (or at least ignore) my cats.  And she was obviously unhappy, and I was getting stressed, and poor Ponyboy (the brunt of her ire) STOPPED EATING, and that was when I called the FC and said that Wanders needed to move on.  It's really the best for all of us.  At least that's what I keep telling myself.  And no, I am NOT taking the adoption center hisser and spitter in.  The LAST thing my boys need right now is another angry foster cat.

And let's see, I went to a rummage sale and ran nine billion errands and did not rake the lawn because holy SH*T it was dark out at four o'clock yesterday and why does that surprise me?  It happens every year.

At least it's light out when I get up now.  Ha!  Always look on the bright side, that's me.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Well, sure, relax; take a load off

(Sorry; the pic was taken through a screen)

In my backyard this morning:

It's the deer's world; I  just live in it.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Wanders the foster

Sometimes she looks like this:

... but SOMETIMES she looks like THIS (she is hissing at me in this pic.  HISSING):

Which is why sometimes she looks like this:

 Good girl.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

What the (&*$ is THAT #$&!?

So!  In the comments on the last post, Birdie and Kate stated their love for Whoppers.  So out of scientific curiosity, I decided to TRY a Whopper. It seemed that I remembered from my childhood that Whoppers were similar to Milk Duds, the most disgusting candy known to man, but maybe I was wrong.  I mean, after all, they were still being sold in stores, right?

Oh HELL no. Holy *&@#, Whoppers are NASTY. Crappy-ass chocolate on the outside, and some kind of rock-hard styrofoam on the inside. What the (^$)*?!  Why would anyone voluntarily EAT that?!  You could break a TOOTH on that crap!  (And having already spent an hour and a half in the dentist's chair this morning, I am NOT INCLINED to break any teeth right now, thankyouverymuch.)

Someone who hates children invented Whoppers. That's the only explanation.  They're like a bad joke.  Like nightmare candy.  All those trick-or-treaters last night were RIGHT!  I'm lucky my house didn't get egged, after trying to hand out Whoppers.  Holy CRAP.

I'm currently doing an experiment to see how long a Whopper will float in my coffee. It's five minutes so far. That's just not right.  You can't even DROWN the damn things.  They're like (*&ing ZOMBIES or something.

But Birdie and Kate, don't feel too bad. I think candy corn is disgusting as well. And don't even get me started on black licorice. *shudder*

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

They're heeeeeeere ....

Best costumes so far?  Thing 1 and Thing 2.  Followed closely by a really well-done mummy.

Almost all of the costumes so far have been homemade, which is awesome. 

And of all the different kinds of candy I've been passing out (I bought several "variety" bags), the Whoppers get an almost visceral reaction.  As in, "Ewwwww!  Can I have something else?"  Ha. Props for honesty, kiddos.

I finally picked them all out of the bowl.  Evidently Whoppers are a Halloween candy faux pas.

Happy Halloween!

Waiting for the trick-or-treaters:

Happy Halloween!

The Haunting

In honor of Halloween, here is my true haunted house story:

I grew up in a haunted house in upstate New York. My family moved into the house in 1963 when I was 10 months old. They bought the house from the original owners, who had built the house a few years before, so the house wasn’t very old. It was a two story house built on a sloping lot, so the finished basement was partially below ground. There was a storage room in the basement that was maybe 10’ x 15’; there was something very, very wrong about that room. When you walked in there, the hair would stand up on the back of your neck. None of us ever actually saw a “ghost”, and frankly I don't really believe in ghosts,  but there was a bad, bad vibe in that basement.  Something was there.

There was a bedroom next to the storage room that was traditionally the bedroom of the oldest sibling in the house at the time. (In a family of six kids, having your own room was a huge privilege!) Staying in that bedroom could be a scary experience. Sometimes I would be in that bedroom and just have the strongest feeling that I had to get out right that second; the worst part was, you had to pass the door of the storage room to get from the bedroom into the main part of the basement and up the stairs to the main living area. We always kept the door to the storage room closed, but it would often be open when someone would walk by.

Lots of times I would leave my stereo on a particular radio station before I went to bed; when I got up in the morning, the radio would be on a totally different station at the other end of the dial. The living room was upstairs and there was a "rec room" in the basement, and many, many nights we would be sitting in the living room watching TV while we listened to the furniture re-arranging itself downstairs. The floor downstairs was linoleum and the furniture was wooden “camp-style”, so it would make a very distinctive sound scraping across that floor. But when we would go down to check, the furniture would always be where it was supposed to be. Other times the downstairs stereo would come blasting on in the middle of the night; as soon as you got to the top of the basement stairs, it would stop. If we were in the basement, we could hear people walking around upstairs, even when no one was up there.

After I grew up and moved out, I would house-sit for my parents when they went out of town; I always stayed upstairs and made sure the door to the basement was shut and locked; when I would get up in the morning, that door would be standing wide open. That happened a lot and almost gave me a heart attack every time.

It wasn’t just our family who experienced this; in-laws and friends were privy to these experiences as well.

It has been over twenty years since I lived there, and I still have nightmares about it. Especially the door to the storage room.

Happy Halloween!  Got any good scary stories?