Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cuddling Cuties

As far as domesticated household animals are concerned, the American feline (kittius americanus) is about as cute as they come. Sure, ladies drool and ogle over those calendars with pictures of puppies dressed up like firefighters and spacemen, but so do the calendars of kittens in similar garb. There are, without question, in the top two among the list of World’s Cutest Baby Pets.

And, since Amy and I bumped into a feline rescue display at Petco a few weeks ago instead of a bow-wow rescue display, the idea of adopting a cat won over. Their having been cute really helped push the whole transaction along. What can I say? I’m a sucker for cute things, like kittens, tiny dollhouse furniture, and Coleman’s yiddle muscles.

So there we are, eyeballing the seven or so cats up for adoption, looking for (in Amy’s words), “One that really likes to cuddle.” I, on the other hand, preferred something a little more vicious—perhaps a cat that escaped from a high-security jungle prison for viciously devouring his innocuous little animal friends without mercy or regret. Seriously, I want a cat I can watch football with. Cuddling is for chicks. So are Nicholas Sparks books.

In the end, Amy won out and we picked two cuddlers, a rambunctious little lion cub and a sleek black panther, both in their toddler stage (By “lion” and “panther,” I literally mean “orange cat” and “black cat”). By the time we had the animals for a week, however, Amy became dangerously close to returning our boys to the Cat Store for one simple, overlooked reason:

They refused to leave us the hell alone while we slept.

Buddy Guy, our orange cat, is generally so needy for love and affection that he rousts us at 3:30am just about every night. He pounds on our chests, jams his nose lovingly against our mouths, and gets on Amy’s pillow to bite her hair. Throw him off the bed and he hops right back up. He’s a resilient little soldier.

Even worse was when BB King, the black cat, had to go back to the doctor’s house for a week because he got really sick. Buddy went insane due to loneliness and demanded even more attention than usual, resulting in a relentless mopey mewing for days. I haven’t heard anything that sad since the time I stole that candy from that baby. I love gummi bears.

In protest of having had his partner in crime removed from the house, Buddy literally made it impossible for us to move. Cats have this uncanny ability of wrapping their bodies around your legs so that every step you take they seem to be in the perfect position to make you fall over yourself and smash into a door frame. You’re only recourse for this is just stepping on the cat, but no one ever has the heart for that. Would you step on a crawling kid in diapers if he got in your way? Exactly. This is why we make our cats wear diapers, just in case we ever forget that.

The answer to our bedtime problem seems pretty clear to most logical human beings, but “most logical human beings” does not include women who are cat lovers. My wife, for example, can’t stomach the idea of leaving our animals locked in their food and potty room all night so we can grab some shut-eye. She feels bad for them, as if their little walnut-sized brains could maintain the memory of an unthinkable night of horrors amidst food, water, bathroom facilities, toys, a roof, and adequate heating or cooling. Who could possible endure such a nightmare day after horrible day?

No way, says The Wife. They’re staying upstairs. At least that was her philosophy until the time she had to toss Buddy off of the bed thirteen times instead of indulging in some delicious REM sleep. “I can’t take it anymore,” she whined, and I carted our little Garfield down to his safe room and locked him up good.

“Problem solved,” I thought. But then BB came back, and Amy’s humanitarian (animalitarian?) spirit returned fully rejuvenated.

Last night was the first in over a week in which both guys were around for bedtime, and I was sure we were in for twice the trouble since Buddy had gotten used to bothering us all night. But, for whatever reason, they stayed off the bed. Amy’s hair wasn’t chewed and I wasn’t pulled out of another awesome “Prison Break” dream via wet cat nose in mouth. I haven’t slept that well since before the move.

Now, our two cats spend the majority of their time playing kitty-cat grab-ass and engaging in what I’m pretty sure are playful UFC death matches. They enjoy fruitlessly pursuing the laser pointer’s evasive red dot and leaving incredibly stinky #2’s in their litter box.

It’s a fine existence as an owner one of the world’s top two cutest pets, ain’t it? To be truthful, for all I complain about the little goobers I’m pretty attached them. Maybe, if they’re lucky, we can do a little cuddling later tonight.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Man Lessons

Let’s be honest; you really don’t care about the laundry list of things someone has to do when they buy a house, but that doesn’t stop these people from rattling off the following:

“I have to clean everything, paint, shampoo the carpets, buy furniture, replace light fixtures, and then do the actual moving. My goodness, can you believe it?”

The conversation is never as short as this, though. Each one of those points gets several solid support paragraphs providing lots of intimate details. Great, if you’re writing an essay for high school English. Boring, if you’re an adult human being with better things to do.

This is why I’m not going to bore you with the comings and goings of Amy’s and my new house. Just know that we’re currently working on all of the items listed above.

While shopping for furniture today (with a “china cabinet” at the top of our list of priorities), I started to realize exactly how different my life would’ve been had I never met Amy and remained a bachelor.

When I say “different,” I mostly mean, “completely and utterly ignorant to aspects of American life only known about and experienced by women.”

And so, the following is a list of household items I never would’ve known anything about and definitely wouldn’t have owned if Amy hadn’t forced me to live like a civilized human being instead of a single male…

China – The plates, not the country. I know all about China the country. They hosted the Olympics this year. Yao Ming is from there. They invented Chinese Checkers. I’m a veritable expert on China the country, but not the plates.

When Amy and I got married, we picked out a design for our new fancy plates. They were essentially cream colored and each setting included a big plate, a little plate, a coffee cup, and a bowl. “Sweet,” I thought, “New plates!”

But then Amy went all buck-wild, ordering sixteen place settings, even though there are only two of us! Not only that, but we ended up ordering things called “Vegetable Bowls” and “Pasta Serving Platters.” What are all these things for?

Amy’s Justification: “You need that many for family holidays. Maybe you would break one, and sometimes after a while they’ll look dingy or get knife marks in them. Or what if they got discontinued? You’d have to have backups, you know?”

Loofas – For you single men out there, a loofa is like a shower sponge shaped like a jellyfish. They’re went women use instead of just rubbing a bar of soap against their body. They look like colorful, waterproof doilies, and I will never use one without feeling like I’ve compromised my heterosexuality.

Amy’s Justification: “You’re constantly shedding your skin, and sometimes just using a stupid bar of soap won’t pull off all the dead, dry skin. The loofa is a little rougher and it helps to pull all that off of there. Why don’t I just use a washcloth, you ask? Because a loofa works up more suds, so the soap lasts a little longer.”

Accent Pillows – Before Amy, my bed had no more than two pillows on it any time, and both of them were actually used for sleeping purposes. As far as I know, the definition of pillow is, “That comfy, fluffy thing you put your head on when you go to sleep at night,” but women have found a new way to bastardize the original function of this common slumber aid. Now, they’re used for decorating, too.

Every time we make our bed, there are two full-sized pillows used to cover up our sleeping pillows, plus two more pillows that aren’t anything even close to comfortable because the material is rough and they have tassels dangling off the sides. They’re also about 60% too small to be used for sleeping. This is what they call accent pillows, and they serve absolutely zero functional purpose. They’ve even started spreading to the living room sofa. When will it end?

Amy’s Justification: “They make everything pretty. They pull all the colors together in a room. Plain white walls and a quilt are boring, but when you get accent pillows it helps make the room warmer. Actually, it makes the bed look a lot more inviting. Tell your guy friends that. Except not if they live alone. Then it’s just sort of gay.”

About 80% of the Utensils and Small Appliances in our Kitchen – I don’t even know where to begin with this. Bed Bath and Beyond has an entire section devoted to kitchen utensils I’ve only ever seen used on episodes of “Iron Chef.” We’ve got two full drawers of things you use to mix, fold, split, open, crack, drain, sort, sift, separate, stir, and/or decorate. Give me a wooden spoon, a can opener, and a corkscrew and I could survive in the wild for decades.

Amy’s Justification: “They all have a different use. Like the cookie-ballers. Sometimes you want big cookies and sometimes you want small ones. You need lots of spatulas because sometimes they melt, and you need lots of spoons because a lot of times you’re making several things at once. Some items you only use once in a while, but when you need them you’re glad you have them. Like the pineapple corer! They’re just the coolest gifts, and they make you feel like Betty Crocker.”

“Nice” Garbage Cans – For two years I had an entirely functional blue garbage can I purchased at Big Lots for a grand total of $9.99. It was plenty big enough, did it’s job serving as a receptacle for trash, and even had a lid on top to keep trash stank from permeating every room in the house.

After getting married, Amy insisted upon us purchasing a newer, nicer garbage can of stainless steel. These run somewhere in the $79 to $130 range. As our shiny new trash can went over the scanner and I yanked out my credit card, all I kept thinking was, “$9.99, $9.99, $9.99”…

Amy’s Justification: “They’re always sitting out, and you need it to look nice while it’s sitting out. You know that what’s inside of it is disgusting, so you at least you need it to look nice on the outside. The cheap ones are ugly. They look like they belong in a garage, not a kitchen.”

Curtains – I’m not questioning that these serve a functional purpose, because it’s obvious they do a fine job keeping the light out of the room when you’re trying to sleep in on Saturday mornings. I get that.

But what I didn’t get as a resident of an apartment was why Amy wanted me to buy curtains when I already had blinds that did the same job. Curtain rods and curtains together just seemed like unnecessary money to spend, especially when there are some curtains (several of which are in our new house) that look as if they were never intended to be closed. Why the blinds and the curtains?

Amy’s Justification: “Curtains add accents of color, but it’s also an additional blockage of the sun. I understand that blinds block out a lot of sun and provide privacy, but sometimes it’s not dark enough without the curtains.”

Shower “Gel” – I’ve always used just a plain bar of soap when I’m in the shower. For the majority of my life it was just that and a bottle of shampoo. At Amy’s suggestion I started using conditioner, but I declined her request that I use a washrag.

A lot of men use washrags. There’s nothing wrong with that. Shower gels, however, are unequivocally frustrating. It’s great to have your lady smell good, but what’s not great is having half of Bath and Body Works lining the inside shelf of your bathtub. As a bachelor, I could actually see the white walls of my shower’s lower rim. Now, it’s a line of bathtub sentinels that smell like lavender and Swedish kiwi.

Amy’s Justification: “You need your shampoo and conditioner, obviously. Shaving cream, face wash, and sometimes you want two different shampoos in there depending on what smell you want. Then you need your body wash. I’ve got two conditioners in there right now because one of them is really good for shaving my legs if my shaving cream every runs out. Plus, I always get so excited when I buy new shampoo that I bring it into the shower with me before the older one is gone.”

Honorable Mention (These may or may not have come to my attention eventually on my own, with or without Amy) – coasters, matching furniture, name brand laundry detergent, and an appreciation for d├ęcor.

Men, I hope you’ve learned as much during the course of reading this blog as I have in the last four years. I now consider myself civilized, knowing how far I’ve come since I first met my wife. The only problem is she doesn’t think I’m anywhere close to having it all straight. As far as she’s concerned I’m still a Neanderthal, which I find ridiculous.

I aught to just knock her out and drag her by her hair to the bedroom, just to be ironic. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to prove my point to her until I did something with those damned accent pillows.