Nothing Here Has Changed…Just the Beat

It takes two to tango……..this song was running through my head this morning, as I slipped and slid through my morning hike.  The fallen leaves, combined with the morning rain, had made the bridges treacherous, and my golden retriever waited with great anticipation-if not impatience, as I crawled along at a snail’s pace.

Jesse sees something, immediately slows down, turns around to look at me.  So accustomed to being alone at this early hour, I never considered his eyes were on a human being.  Finding myself at the slipperiest slope, wet rocks crowding the trail, I look up:  there is indeed a man at the top of the hill.  I cannot see his hair, but I do see his metal detector.  I stop dead in my tracks.  Put down my back pack, and get out my mace.  I remember, instantly, that the man  who stalked me whilst half naked last Summer had one, and that the cops told me that this was against the law at MiddleCreek.  I thought, ‘OK, here’s where I faint, fall apart, run…….’  But the real shocker was this:  I had no fear.

I had just fallen, whilst trying to pee in the woods.  It surprised me how many leaves one can pull out of their naked ass cheeks, but they kept coming, my dog mildly alarmed, came over to aid in my getting it together, so I wasn’t operating at my full potential.  I decided to walk right up to him, hiding my mace in my pocket.  If he had red hair (as my stalker did) I would shoot him straight in the face….if not?  I would tell him that he was breaking the law.

Finally able to see the  man had dark brown locks, I stepped up to the plate.

“Excuse me sir, but watch yourself, those are illegal in this park,” I gently roared.

He reaches in his pocket.  I reach into mine.

“No Englais, por favor.”

With that he pulls out his treasure of the day.  One shell casing and two pennies.

I need to get a day job.

 

The Bravest Cat in the History of Cats….

DSCF8737This man right here?  His name is Hank, Jr.  He came to my cat shelter last Spring, actually born here on the farmette.  Hank had a twin brother who died a horrible death inside this house-four times.  Literally.  My poor husband went out, dead cat in hand.  The ensuing shot gun blasts were a clear indication that she had come back to life once more, and my husband confirmed my fears as he walked inside and out of the blizzard in progress.

From day one?  Head over heels in love.  He was so sweet, so loving and bold-he couldn’t care less what anybody thought of him, and the other cats adored him.  My Golden Retriever took Hank in, and we called him “Jesse’s baby,” after that.  I loved it when he came at me, head held high, bow legged and proud of it, feeling his oats and somehow knowing that he was the cooliest kitty kat in town.

On Friday I was horrified to discover that his bravery had served a cold dish of “severed leg at the hands of local farm machinery,” and drove to the vet before he returned my emergency call.  I remember driving like this in many, many animal emergencies over the last 25 years-but I know the back roads of Myerstown like my own bathroom, and at least I’m usually the only person around.  This trip was so traumatizing, that I am still recovering from a stress migraine, which I suffered once the cat was at the vet.

I asked for prayers on my Facebook page.  I woke up this morning with such a sense of dread.  I phoned my dear friend and left a weepy voicemail, “………and I can’t deal with rehabbing a cat for six weeks.  Oh my word I am so overwhelmed, (sob, sniff, belch)  You have to understand, I don’t reach out to my friends when I should.  This morning I knew I had to talk to a friend who really loved me.  This friend/angel is going through some pretty crappy stuff right now, but she stopped everything to offer an encouraging visit, moral support for bringing Hank home.  Kind.  Compassionate.  Friend.  Confidante.  Sidekick.  Beloved.  Those are just a few of the words I would use to describe her.

I strode into the vet’s office, and after paying a $701 vet bill (not bad for 3 nights stay and an amputation) sat in the little room and waited nervously for the Dr.  He sat and spoke to me, answering all of my questions.  He told me he was not in pain, and that he was the model patient, never even a hiss.  I had read online how to prepare for this transition.  I was bringing home a disabled cat, and I wasn’t handling it well, not at all.

His nurse brought in my furry friend.  Shaking like a leaf, I approached my poor little dude.  And then I was put instantaneously at ease as I looked at him, freshly bathed, eyes as big as fifty cent pieces.  I was such a nervous wreck that I babbled on about coyote traps, and cracking bad jokes a mile a minute.  But Hank, Jr. looked, well, amazing.  He ran, ran to his food dish.  After I had him settled in the comfy bed I had made him, I went off to the store.  When we returned I could hear his cry coming from the upstairs.  I picked him up and brought him down to the bed I had so lovingly prepared.  He went to his dish, then the miracle happened-he used the litter box, and ran up the stairs once more.  He is purring and mewing.  He is so happy to be home.  To those of you who prayed, thought of our plight, or sent positive vibes…..I felt your prayers.  You gave me the strength I needed.

I can do all things in Christ, who strengthens me.~

“Cat-Shit Boots”……(and other inhumanities)

 

My husband happens to be the funniest man I know.  Depending upon my mood o’ the day, he can have me bent over with laughter, or bent…..period.  This morning, while getting ready to hike, he passed by me in the kitchen:

You can tell Miss CatShit Boots that she’s walking on thin ice……her days are numbered…..,” he (half jokingly) announced.

My poor husband has been a beleaguered victim of felines for 26 years.  He loves cats, don’t get me wrong…he loves animals, period.  But he has no patience for their loud roars of protest over not being fed for five minutes.  His feelings are hurt when they snub him and run like they have seen the Tasmanian Devil himself……..and they have their reasons, about a million of them.

Shortly after we were first married, I snuck a cat into our pet-free home.  I decided to tell him about Tajia when he was sleeping, just in case…..knowing he told me NO INDOOR ANIMALS, I was caught up in a struggle between the adorable kitten at the Humane Society, and, well, my marriage.  Dwain was smitten, and we both loved her beyond reason.  She was fur and myrrh and everything cat-and Dwain had a questionable habit of scaring the life force out of her.  I remember one time, he lay in wait for more than fifteen minutes- Tajia had no idea he was behind her, waiting for the perfect time to pounce.  Just as I began walking away from the crime scene, he made his move-that poor cat jumped ten feet into the air, and whilst up there did a complete 360 and ran for the laundry room.  If you were a cat, you would have run too.  He laughed for hours……….but the cat never forgot this, and she had a few tricks up her own paws…….just for Dwain.

It was about ten in the evening, whilst watching ‘In Living Color’ and eating an ice cream sandwich (don’t ask me how I remember these details, as I can’t remember things like, say-my car being in reverse after backing up for an 18 wheeler, and the ensuing nightmare that followed when I backed into a crazy lady in a pink Cadillac) I must preface this tale by telling you that Tajia was pure black, with a white freckle on her nose.  My husband is Pennsylvania Dutch, and very, very thrifty when it comes to electricity.  This is what I heard from the living room:

“Ho-ohah!!!! What the F***, and then, thump, thump, thump, thump…….thump, followed by REOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW and finally, silence.

I knew only that my husband had fallen down the stairs.  Because I have the Elkins blood, I am prone to laughing at others’ calamities….and I remember falling off the couch, sideways, ice cream in hand-and laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.  My poor man, my boobelai…….he could be seriously hurt.  And it turns out, he was.  The following is my husband’s version of the incident:

I turned the hallway light off (peculiar habit, as we have steep farmhouse stairs, at the time covered in shag carpet-I myself would have turned the light ON, but hey, whatever floats your boat) and when I took my first step I felt fur, so, to avoid hurting the cat, I overstepped.  Honey, I rode that cat the whole way down the stairs…….is she okay?

Tajia was, indeed, no worse for the wear.  Her tail was fluffed up like a skunk’s, and her eyes as big as saucers.  Dwain walked like a duck for weeks, brush burns and bruises…and every time I saw him I broke into hysterics-for months.  I told this story around a camp fire in Potter County one Fall, to eager ears and felonious hysteria.  But this time, Dwain gave me the icing on the cupcake……

“That poor cat thinks I tried to shove her up my ass on purpose.  She won’t even look at me.”

And with that line, we roasted my husband……don’t ever change Charlie……..Don’t you dare.

 

 

Nothing Here Has Changed…Just the Beat

It takes two to tango……..this song was running through my head this morning, as I slipped and slid through my morning hike.  The fallen leaves, combined with the morning rain, had made the bridges treacherous, and my golden retriever waited with great anticipation-if not impatience, as I crawled along at a snail’s pace.

Jesse sees something, immediately slows down, turns around to look at me.  So accustomed to being alone at this early hour, I never considered his eyes were on a human being.  Finding myself at the slipperiest slope, wet rocks crowding the trail, I look up:  there is indeed a man at the top of the hill.  I cannot see his hair, but I do see his metal detector.  I stop dead in my tracks.  Put down my back pack, and get out my mace.  I remember, instantly, that the man  who stalked me whilst half naked last Summer had one, and that the cops told me that this was against the law at MiddleCreek.  I thought, ‘OK, here’s where I faint, fall apart, run…….’  But the real shocker was this:  I had no fear.

I had just fallen, whilst trying to pee in the woods.  It surprised me how many leaves one can pull out of their naked ass cheeks, but they kept coming, my dog mildly alarmed, came over to aid in my getting it together, so I wasn’t operating at my full potential.  I decided to walk right up to him, hiding my mace in my pocket.  If he had red hair (as my stalker did) I would shoot him straight in the face….if not?  I would tell him that he was breaking the law.

Finally able to see the  man had dark brown locks, I stepped up to the plate.

“Excuse me sir, but watch yourself, those are illegal in this park,” I gently roared.

He reaches in his pocket.  I reach into mine.

“No Englais, por favor.”

With that he pulls out his treasure of the day.  One shell casing and two pennies.

I need to get a day job.

 

Home….

cropped-15095550_1812089809073862_3374301090125037312_n.jpgWe are finally here.  Up in the Adirondack Mountains, near lake Pleasant, in the sleepy little town of Wells, New York.  If there are two people who need a vacation, it is my husband and myself.   We began the trip with an argument, which stemmed from my hysteria about leaving my home.  I like to take my time and make sure I have everything.  Dwain likes to leave in such a hurry, that I fear he may spontaneously combust.

Aside from the fact that we were pulled over for a speeding (my weed was right there, in the front seat, my pipe in my purse.  I don’t think I took a breath for ten minutes straight- and after reviewing my husband’s driver’s license, the state trooper asked us this question:

“Can you two tell me what that white powdery substance is in that bag?”

I kid you not.  We looked at one another, completely oblivious to what he possibly could have meant, and we both turned our gaze to the silverware, wrapped in a white napkin, that my husband mistakenly took from a restaurant and has planned on returning since.

After receiving a $250 fine, plus points, we were told to have a great vacation.  The trooper followed us for twenty miles, and it wasn’t until he took an exit ramp that we both screamed- OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN HOW SCARY WAS THAT?????????

I am not a pot head by any stretch of the imagination, I only use it for my CPTSD, but because my career in donating to the Columbian drug cartels only began a few years ago.  I am patiently awaiting availability, as it has been legal in the state for a year, but very little progress has been made.  Hey, it’s Pennsylvania…

So I am sitting here, underneath the amazing pines, on a deck in the forest.  I was born in New York, and I have had the distinct feeling that I am home again, for the first time in way too long.  I brought my father’s ashes, as I couldn’t spread them when my siblings did; fifteen years ago in nearby Lake George.  I knew if I had gone on that trip that my drinking would have led to a very tense, if not tragic melee.  I feel grounded and at peace, and today I saw my very first waterfall-I cried for twenty minutes, the beauty too much for me to contain in my heart.

I won’t be on social media.  I refuse to look at my phone.  No checking of emails.  God is speaking to me and this is what he wants: for me to start concentrating on the good, the pure, the lovely, the laughter-no more tears for now.  I feel as if I am at the precipice of hope, and I know more clearly than ever that Jesus takes such great care to give us these incomprehensible blessings~and I want you to know, He loves you more than you could ever dream, or imagine.

My husband told me this morning that our neighbors were gone for the day.  He has been cavorting whilst naked, fell off the deck (long story) and thrown caution to the wind.  He just approached me with the news that the women have, in fact, been home the entire day.  I have to go, I’m in hysterics……….chow.

No Woman No Cry……

My poor, beleaguered husband…….I know it’s not nice to laugh at his expense, but this day will go down in the Hoffman archives as one of the most bizarre, criminally funny days of our life together.  I’m only laughing because he now knows deep in his bones not to laugh at my expense; because he was limping in my shoes today, and hey, if the shoe fits-  I am sure he will run to work tomorrow with joy and abandon,

“Guys, you know, I can’t say this with enough sincerity….(a tear or two sliding down his cheeks) it’s good to be back……”

This morning, while putting our dining room back together, Dwain (I don’t even know how to describe the supernatural phenomena that has plagued our weary souls and ass cheeks) slipped on an Outdoor Life magazine on our now bare, hardwood floor.  What happened next was so strange, so bizarro world-I am still shaking my head.  He hopped around in agony, and I didn’t understand how it was possible to hurt himself in this way-but his big toenail was somehow sliced away from the skin, and he bled profusely.  I told him to put pressure on it, and headed for the garage to feed the cats.  Cup in hand, I go to turn, but I am literally stuck in place, unable to move my head even a centimeter to the left or right.

“What the %$#*%@?”  I am stuck in a frenzy of fishing wire, perplexed and nonplussed at the same time.  This has become our way of living as of late.  Dwain doesn’t want to talk about it, but today he relented:

“I just don’t understand….(he’s talking about the fleas, the wipeout, his really crappy luck) I just don’t get it………what the hell just happened?”  I laugh and tell him, welcome to my world, this is my daily life, so glad you were here to experience this…….it’s spiritual warfare…….I am laughing my fool head off at this point.  Crying-laughing in all actuality.  I head for the garage to retrieve a lace runner from Aunt Betty’s estate boxes.  I can’t find them anywhere, and I begin to panic…….I go from cupboard to cupboard, searching, they were expensive and heirloom…….did HE THROW THEM OUT?????  I scream in my head.  Mood now serious it turns downright dour when I step…..on bubble wrap unknowingly and hear a flat out gun shot.  I am not laughing when I pick myself up from the cold cement floor.

Is it Tuesday yet?

Trying To Make a Fool Out of Me……

Well folks, we made it through the holiday weekend, but not without irreversible psychological scarring and emotional turmoil.  I woke up Sunday morning with a feeling of dread……like I have most mornings for over a week.  My husband pulled up with the dog after their morning hike, and judging by the look on Dwain’s face, I seriously wanted to turn around and run back inside, get under the covers, make it all go away.

“There are hundreds of fleas on the dog.  I don’t know what to do.”

This after we have tried EVERYTHING.  Dwain headed for Walmart in search of something we hadn’t tried.  He came back with oral meds and a flea collar, and before you say, That was EASY, no, no nothing has been easy.  Flea collars, diatomaceous earth, Frontline (I know you shouldn’t mix the products, and I told my husband this but let’s face it, he was a withered nub of nothing and a nervous wreck-I quietly explained to him that this has been my daily experience, but having no sympathy at that moment, we were caught up in the blame game, and I wasn’t having any of it.

We had ripped the carpet out of the dining room on Saturday.  Trying to think of what could possibly be causing this unholy war, I find a paper clip holder in the living room.  The paperclips had spilled all over the floor, and I couldn’t bring myself to pick them up…..but the mess caught my eye, about 267 times total.  I finally snapped out of it and read the lid of said container:

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength……….

Then I began thinking, always a dangerous diversionary tactic……but it hit me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks……Earlier in the week, alone and screaming at Satan, (hey, my dog is my child, I don’t take kindly to anyone or anything that tries to come in between him and his well being) and I remember a coffee mug fell and broke open.

IS THAT THE BEST YOU GOT?  HA!!!!  JOKE’S ON YOU, YA BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!”

This explains the snake betwixt my frig and stove.  It explains why my dog was covered in creepy crawlies……..it explains my angst and return of  PTSD symptoms.   You see, the enemy knows he has done all he can to try and stop me-and he knows that I can handle just about anything he throws at me-but not any attempts to harm my fur baby…..no way, no how.

I am up in the back room.  I am FURIOUS.  I flip out:

“OK, LISTEN UP!!!!!  THIS IS WAR, OFFICIALLY.  I WILL NOT TOLERATE YOUR PRESENCE IN MY HOME!!!!  YOU HAVE NO AUTHORITY OR DOMINION OVER ME AND I REBUKE YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST.  DON’T YOU KNOW WHO I AM?”

Aside from terrifying a neighbor or two, I wasn’t sure it made a difference until I crept down the stairs, singing the above song and noticed that Jesse was still, no itching, no harbingers of evil, just a Big Bang Theory rerun and, if only temporary, a respite from the unholy war we find ourselves fighting.