“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.




Fresh off the phone with my gal pal and partner in crime, Tracy.  I told her I had found what appeared to be a snake skin between my oven and refrigerator.  I glimpsed it last evening, but not having my glasses on I assumed some kind of coil had dropped from my husband’s “closet” on top of our refrigerator.  I dismissed it entirely, and headed up for bed.  I have OCD, and while my house might not be the cleanest in America, it is definitely the tidiest.  I spend my days doing laundry, picking up invisible lint on the carpet, and organizing each and every item in my home.  Everything has to be just so-if not you can bet on me sitting on the couch and staring at crooked paintings or brick-a brac-until my husband screams Just end it!  Fix it before you drive ME crazy too.

Friends, I have had a couple of days in which I actually began questioning my will to live, or at the very least my will to fight the bugs and vermin of this county-I give.  Literally.  Of course, when I found the skin, I did what I always do-sounded the red alert and ran screaming from the house towards my brother in law, who-miracle of miracles!!!!-happened to be cutting wood for my husband on his day off.

“Yep.  Probably a snake.”  (At this point, after having sized up my level of hysteria, he damn well knew it was a snake, just didn’t want me completely off my rocker)  I think of jumping on his back when we walk back inside.  No.  Did the next best thing and jumped onto the chair in the kitchen.

“What are you doing up there?,” he laughed.

I tell him, nicely-or as nice as you can be in the middle of a nervous breakdown, to get back to work.  Find this snake or else………..we were laughing, but my laugh had that tinny ring of madness-the kind you hear in horror flicks.

He rattles under the stove, under the frig, he shakes these two appliances with stunning strength, but makes no progress in detection.  Heading outside, he smiles when I tell him I’ll scream if I need him.  My scream is the stuff rural legends are made of-and not one person in my family, including my husband and in-laws (who by the way live across the street) has a history of actually acknowledging my fright.  I once ran from the house when a small mouse jumped into my refrigerator.  I was freaking out, and imagine it must have been hilarious seeing me, my long hair blown back-Medusa style, my then strong and lean legs carrying me right down to the pond, as fast as they would carry me, screams emerging from my throat every two or three seconds.  My in-laws?  They sat perfectly still, reading their evening newspaper, unmoved by my obvious terror.  My husband?  I found him drawing back his cross bow, target shooting.

“Jesus, honey.  I thought you were being chased by a terrorist.” 

Why didn’t you stop what you were doing, or, at least ask me if I am okay?????  Is it normal in this town to see women fleeing from their homes like their hair is on fire?  What the Harry?  Belafonte?  Oh the humanity.

SO, anyhooser, I awaken from my nap.  I am up and vacuuming and then I see it.   The two other feet of skin underneath my ice box. 

“Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph!!!!!!!   Holy spiritual warfare!  Why have you forsaken me, God.  Snake I rebuke you in the name of Jesus!!!!!!!”

So now, I’m back on the chair.  Then down again.  Every step I take is like walking through a mine field.  My husband is home!  Hallelujah!!!!  Dwain will take care of this absurdity…….he will help his harried wife!

“Honey, I am not ripping the house apart for a snake that may or may not be in this house.  I am sure it’s gone by now.”

Yes.  It let itself out this morning, I’m sure.  Just like the bat we had in the house for three weeks.  And his response is even more horrifying when I realize that instant karma’s gonna get him.  And it will be at two o’clock this morning, and surely at my own expense…….when I scream Hare Kari on my way to the bathroom.

Middle Aged, Angry Ninja Housewife

This is a scene from Kill Bill, actually a medley from Kill Bill I and II.  This is one of my favorite movies of all time, which is shocking because I hate violence.  Speaking of violence, I am on a mission to seek, maim and destroy every mother effing tick in the tristate area.  The following is a true story, and names have been changed-you know, to protect the homicidal.

I have been after mon amour to rip our hideous, pet-destroyed, smelly, eyesore of a carpet for 3 years.  There were many excuses, (we’ll steam clean it, it’s your fault-let another cat in why don’t you, and my personal favorite:  there is a dip in the middle of the dining room, it will show) and it came right down to it last Sunday evening when, in the midst of a flea war, we lost our collective minds and raised a white flag.  Well, the white flag wasn’t raised until the next day, ’cause….you know, I am stubborn and chit.  So, I am vacuuming like my mother in law is coming over to take pictures.  It is hot.  I am bothered.  And then it began.

“Honey, don’t put any more diatomaceous earth down.  It’s all over the place and you are causing yourself more work.”

I stopped the vacuum.  (I was all tangled up in the chord, not a good look when you’re trying to win an argument) I look at him, long and hard before I speak.

“I have been asking you for 3 years to pull out this piece of shit, and as God as my witness-if I have to take it out one square foot at a time, I will do it myself.”

In all actuality, I have been doing it myself.  Literally cutting, exacto knifing and ripping out the carpet, one miserable day at a time.  So, Dwain insinuated that we have a flea infestation because of the cats.  As all of my cats, with the sole exception of Maya Angelou-who is not fixed-are living on the streets.  Yes, I cried.  THOSE POOR CATS ARE ALREADY LIVING OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (OK, so they are fed twice a day and have seven acres of gardens, pond and trails to meander)  They aren’t inside and that was my point.  I grabbed my bible and books, I pounded up the stairs.  I went to bed at 6 p.m.

I have become a silent killer.  I will stalk you down and mutilate you by way of cedar chip, flea powder, teasel oil and any other ingredients I can find.  I will vacuum you up and spit on your grave.  I will crush you in my puny little hands and make you wish you had never messed with the likes of this mad woman.  Oh, I forgot about the argument.  You are wondering why I haven’t bombed the house?

“Honey, I’m going to rip out the carpet tonight.  Then I’ll grab a few bombs from Good’s and we’ve got this.”

I run to Target.  I buy flea bombs like I am purchasing the Hope diamond for crying out loud.  I come home to battle, I take up my cross and before I can even take the merchandise out of the bag, I hear:

Honey, about those bombs………..

Color me hysterical.  Bang bang.

The Dave Matthews Debacle……..

About 16 years ago, cringe, that long ago? my husband bought me three Dave Matthews tickets, well, after I told him that I wanted my sister to come with us.  Back then, this was my favorite band, and the headliner?  Santana.  I was literally jumping out of my skin for joy.

We had those tickets for months.  If I haven’t mentioned it before, I am a neat freak by outward appearances.  But for the love of Jesus, don’t look in my jeep, or open a cabinet door-the former is a pig sty, and as for the latter?  You could meet an untimely death and/or spill approximately 6,582 pieces of macaroni-you spill it, you fill it.  I am always in a hurry, mostly to sit down, but that is besides the point.  The way I figure it?  I battle a million and one demons a day, be it my strong desire for a freaking beer, or my absolute obsessive compulsive disorder-the house must be clean, and if that means “hiding” stuff, well, so be it.  The problem at hand?  If I hide it, I will never, ever, ever find it again.  I went through garbage in the heat of the Summer….one word….maggots people. 

Finally, my poor husband calls the Hershey ticket master, and we were told that ours would be waiting at will call, with no extra charge.  So, after eating and a drinking, we proceed down the road to the carnage, ummm, concert.  First thing we see?  Hordes of teenagers and twenty-somethings hand cuffed to gates.  We run like crazy people to will call, tickets?  What tickets?  We don’t know what you’re talking about.  Dwain pulls out his credit card (blerg) and as we look at the line behind us, we realize that we are holding up approximately 2, 482 concert goers, and they are having NONE OF IT.

So, Dwain goes for the seats, we run for the beers.  Tripping over myself to see Santana, I turn and am assaulted by a very drunk, very rude college kid.  He spills all three beers as I stare incredulously at him.  Mind you, I am 5 feet tall in stocking feet, this clown was about 6 feet at least.

I grab him by his shirt collar.  “You owe me ten bucks buddy.”  At this point I am shaking I am so angry….he is too drunk to understand what I am saying.  I lose my sister in the crowd, as I go back for more beer.  Now I am running and dodging people.  Hyperventilating, I look for my husband and sister.  I find my seat and panting, I sit down. 

“Santana was a no show,” my husband announces to the two of us.

Craptastic.  In a sullen mood I was lulled out of my angst by one of the sweetest voices I have heard and that was my boy Dave.  He sang for hours, leaving us hoarse, happily exhausted and not looking forward to the corn maze back to the car.  More kids handcuffed to cars, fence, security……..we get to the truck.  Now, it was midnight and we are grumpy, WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG FOR THIS LINE TO MOVE?  I scream at no one in particular.  And then I see them.  Three young girls having a high school reunion, laughing it up-nary a care in the world.  And the reason we weren’t moving is because they stopped and left their vehicles in front of ours.

What happened next was a melee of me melting down in the middle of a field, yelling at said girls, turning to the truck, I get in.  Twenty minutes later and I am out of that truck like a ninja. 

“Are you freaking serious?  Get your asses in your vehicles…..NOW!”  The girls scram in different directions, apparently realizing the blonde haired Medusa will wring their necks if they don’t move.

Back in the truck.  I have to pee.  I need a beer.  I want to be home….

“Wait a minute! Why isn’t that cop on a bike letting any cars from our lane in?  What the….?”  And as I exit said vehicle for the fifth time, I head straight for the dude on his bike.

“Hey, Doogie Houser….what the F*** man?” my voice echoing through all of Hershey park.

And like a slow motion nightmare, of the horror movie variety, the security moves in on me…….and I run.  I run like a cartoon character.

Son of a Bitch…………….

There was one thing you did not do at 282 Riverview Road in the seventies; or should I say there was something you had better do and that was fill my father’s ice cube trays.  When Steve came home from his travels as a sales engineer for a paper company, he went directly to the freezer, in search of the frozen pearls that would help keep his alcoholic beverage of choice as cold as the Northern Hemisphere.

Of course, as kids and then teenagers, we had absolutely no respect for his wishes, and this would never end well.

“Son of a B I T C H,” was all he had to say and us kids would run in thirty different directions.

“Jesus, Christ, Mary and JOSEPH, what the hell happens to my ice cubes???????  Is it THAT HARD TO FILL A G.D. TRAY WITH WATER AND PUT IT BACK IN THE FREEZER? Mary Lou!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The kids screwed me again……son of a B I T C H!”

For some reason, (pretty sure my dad had laser vision goggles, which he would don as soon as he pulled into the driveway)….he would go from the kitchen, directly upstairs to unpack-and there he would once again become the victim of unspeakable foul play, for he would immediately notice that I, his very own daughter, had borrowed a pair of his socks!!!!!!  This would only serve to further provoke him, and for the life of me I can’t remember why I didn’t wear my own tightie whities.  Were daddy’s tube socks that big of a temptation?  Apparently so, because that scenario wreaked havoc on my weekend plans, ears, and self esteem in general.

Don’t get me wrong, that poor man never bought a thing for himself.  If it weren’t for my mother, he would have walked around in holey shoes, tattered shirts, or, God FORBID, stretched out stockings.  Steve had another quirk, and that was his propensity to find something, anything wrong when we cleaned up the kitchen.  I will never forget the hours I spent in a Bennigan’s, preaching to my sister that dad was not a monster, he loved her and there was absolutely nothing to fear but fear itself.

And so it was, that drunken evening, when my dad said goodnight on the way through the kitchen,   I gave her the nod, like, okay, now tell him you love him.

“I love you dad.”

That’s nice honey.  Don’t forget to load the dishwasher.”


In My System……………

Ladies and gentleman, I am in loveeeee……………………and I owe it all to my brand new, Shark Rocket Ultra-Light Upright.  Sweet baby Jesus I am over the moon and I doubt if I’ll come down from the clouds any time soon.

We are country mice, and we have no squares to spare for things like vacuum cleaners.  However, I have had the same burber carpet for 15 years-and as I’ve been using my in-laws twenty year old Oreck vacuum, complete with holes in the outer bag-for longer than I care to admit-well, I grabbed that Kohl’s 30% off coupon and ran for the jeep before anyone could stop me.  I was a woman on a mission, and nothing, NOTHING I TELL YOU, WOULD GET IN MY WAY.

You want to know about pure hell on earth?  Try living in a small farm house with 6 cats and a golden retriever without a workable vacuum.  If you’re lucky, you won’t lose your freaking mind, and if you’re really lucky?  Well, you won’t be seen cursing a blue streak whilst kicking the shit out of said crap vacuum on your front porch in your skivvies.  True story.  I hate that piece of shit like I hate poison, and I can finally say adios!!!!!!!! you mother effer, you are banned to the land of failed household appliances, forever.

My husband just laid mouse traps, that’s right, mouse traps under my settee and behind my wood stove, as the cats were so afraid of that monstrosity?  They would literally crap their pants-or, crap my floor is more like it.

I have become such a germ phobe that I wear flip flops in my own shower, for crying out loud, after I have scoured it with Clorox.  And God forbid the shower curtain touches me, I wince in disbelief each and every time it happens.

Did I tell you my brother, mon frere, my amigo is coming tomorrow?  I may be a withered nub of nothing when he arrives, but you can bet your sweet ass my house will be clean.


Let’s get this song out of the way, shall we?  I have been reading about Elijah in the book of Kings-and that was supposed to be my “Elijah” song.  So, after realizing that I have been singing my heart out to the wrong lyrics for twenty years, I just said, screw it, use it.

I have been doing quite a bit of bible-dipping (a technique I picked up from the book Running With Scissors-a book I highly recommend) in which you pray about an issue in your life, or, like me-pray for what Jesus wants me to know this day.  I flip through the pages of my bible, and let’s just say-99.9 percent of the time, he gives me the exact wisdom I need at that exact moment in time.

So, anyway, I was reading about Elijah, and I came upon a bio on his life and ministry.  The words that caught my breath were these:  Elijah was sent to confront, not comfort.  Elijah spoke God’s words to a king who often rejected his message because of the messenger.

Elijah chose to carry out his ministry to God by himself, and as a result he was often misunderstood by his peers.  His one mistake was not to trust others.  This is where it gets good peeps, after the miracle of Elijah defeating the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him.  He felt afraid, depressed and abandoned.

Holy crap on a cracker that spoke to me.  Goosebumps when the aha moment struck.  I have been in situations (stories to come) that no one finds themselves in, mostly jobs, sometimes churches….where I am left burning bridges for opening my mouth.  I have been fired for standing up for some injustice or another, more than twenty times.  No exaggeration.   And each and every time I found myself in an unholy war?  It never sunk in.  God was working in those scenarios, mostly at my expense, (I totally get his sense of humor) by using me to open my huge mug and cause absolute chaos (was never a small thing, and always involved a major life transformation.  I can look back now and laugh, but some of the crap I went through?  Jesus mighty it was a three ring circus….for twenty plus years.

Everything makes sense now.  It truly does.  I am a modern day Elijah.  Who would have thunk?