An Ode to My Front Door

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I was at the front door when I realized we had library books that needed to go back today. A lot of them. I’d taken out my usual tower, and Mancandy had borrowed several for the mini candy’s recent visit. Children’s books are oddly shaped and one was massively wide. I refuse to do the multiple trips to the car thing. Instead I threw my purse on my arm, got my keys ready in one hand, grabbed all 30 books (not that many but it felt like that many and like they were multiplying) in an awkward hug with giant kid book kicked into my ribs (they should be padded enough not to notice that but alas).

Our front door does not have the normal knob turny thing. It only closes securely when you flip the deadbolt. So if you are trying to say, lock the house with an armload of books, you have to try to pull on the key hard enough to keep the door flush with the frame yet not hard enough for the key to come out. You must also maintain constant pressure while convincing the key to turn.

I live in the south. It’s beyond hot and muggy right now, and our front porch is in the full sun with the heat reflecting off of all nearby surfaces. As soon as I stepped out with my huge load and turn back the dog is trying to come with me. A stern “NofortheloveofgodIdonothavetimetodealwithyourightnowit’ssounbelieveablyhotrightnowjesusdrippingchristIammelting!!!!!” made her tilt her head and start singing the song of her people. I was already sweating. Ergo, I was already angry. I ignored the screech-yowls, pulled the door and then had to throw my knee up to stop the dog from a new rush toward freedom when the rug that Mancandy has at the front door wadded up and blocked the door.  It does this every time I’m carrying something. And every time I swear I’m setting it on fire when I get back, but by then I’ve forgotten. After readjusting the stack of books so they’d stab a new place and stop slipping in my sweaty grip, I shoved the dog back and re-entered the house. Strange dance moves got the rug flattened back down. The dog had moved back, laid down, and instead of screeching was now making a very quiet yet astonishingly annoying high pitch whine. One foot on the rug, I balanced solely on that foot to take a step like a normal flipping human, and the rug started shooting out from under me at an unnatural velocity. I spent what felt like 10 minutes fighting to stay upright. Books went everywhere. The dog was dancing around me barking. The normal cat screeched as it ran away expressing its displeasure loudly. The not at all normal cat puffed up and started spinning in circles. I said all the bad words I knew and then made up some new ones.

 

Derp cat

This was derp cats expression.

 

I gathered books up again, made sure the rug was flat and spun around the door as I pulled it behind me so the dog and I didn’t have to fight again. Unfortunately, with the momentum I had going and the fact the outside of the door was approximately 89 billion degrees when my hand came into contact with it means I slammed into the storm door which slammed into the entryway and the books went flying again and the dog came bouncing out anyway. I would not have handled this gracefully on a cool day. I had negative patience for this type of shenanigan foolishness while sweating bullets.

I was so angry I don’t really know what I screamed at the dog. Something about sucking her soul out through her eyes before drinking it down if she did not get back into the house immediately. And there was a LOT more inappropriate language in that but I’ll spare your delicate eyeballs.

I was watching my fuzzy potato in cat form spin closer to me and make trilling noises. The dog bounded over as best able with her old self and scrambled inside to avoid my wrath. The spinning derp hadn’t gotten to me yet so I pulled the door closed. The rug tried to stop me but I screamed in primal rage and shoved it back into the spinning derp and the derp thinking this was a hilaaaaarious game and I might let her out again. There was the sound of scrambling but I don’t know what happened because the door was finally shut. And yet the first 20 times I tried to lock the bolt, the key would start to come out of the lock before it turned. I had sweat running down my back, down my face, and into my eyes. My side is permanently indented from the billion books that, at this point, weighed 3 metric tons shoved into my ribcage. Eventually, I got the stupid lock turned in the stupid door and got the stupid books into the stupid truck. I was drenched in sweat and hadn’t even gotten out to the public part of being out in public.

My first stop was the liquor store. It hadn’t originally been my mission, Mancandy had requested something, but it became my goal as I knew the house had no rum and after that adventure it NEEDED rum. I stomped into the store and asked the man to direct me to the rum. Keep in mind, the liquor store is at most a 5-minute drive. I was still sweaty and obviously furious. He saw the raging Italian and stammered directions before disappearing. I gathered up my booze and stomped to the register. A man popped up from behind it and asked if I’d be interested in champagne on sale. I glared at him until he took my money and went away.

I stomped outside clutching my bottles and saw someone parked beside my truck. We were the only vehicles in the lot. The problem with that is the fact there were people in the vehicle, windows down, and if he’d stuck his face even with his window he could have kissed my truck. I moved their way slowly, giving them time to realize they were in my trucks touch bubble.

A man got out of the car and made much too much eye contact from so far away. He was going to ask me for money or one of my bottles or something. I usually try to be quick and pleasant while telling those sorts of folks no. Today I had no fear. No stress. No social anxiety. I was full of sweat and rage. I started stomping. He began walking to me and the spiel started. I didn’t let him get past “Hey lady, can you…” before I drowned him out with my “It has been a pretty crap start to this day so I’m going to need you to not ask me for anything and move that car because I’m about to get in that truck and if I have to open the door into your car and climb in through your window I will do so. Do not test me today!”

His mouth hung open and as I got close enough for him to see the sweat fueled insanity in my eyes he backpedaled. He vaulted into his car, slammed it into reverse, and left the lot with hustle. It made me no less sweaty, but it did bring me much satisfaction.

It’s Opposite World

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My dog and I have never really been around children. We find them to be loud and sticky and they do not respect touch bubbles. Any time a child puts a sticky hand anywhere near me I immediately respond as most folks do when a wasp tries to sting them: jelly legs and gasping half screams. Plus when they learn to talk they start being difficult vocally as well as physically. I just don’t see the appeal. My dog has an even worse reaction to kids than I do, she is obviously terrified but her way of showing it is to growl and try to eat them. Parents tend to get uppity when your dog wants to eat their little bambino.

This is my fault, of course. I never socialized Bell with children (I didn’t socialize with anyone who had any). So moving in with a man who has a small army of clones that are often here for extended periods of time terrified me. He, however, couldn’t have been less concerned. He loves him some Bell, she’s in love with him, and love will conquer all. Except for kids. I told him I didn’t like kids. He laughed as if I was joking. I wasn’t. Yet here we are. And there are so so so many children.

The eldest of the Mancandy offspring is now 14. He’s caught in that awkward not really a kid but not yet an adult age and is the calmest of the little ones. Bella likes him. He pets her, talk’s sweet to her, and doesn’t jet around everywhere like a hummingbird on crack.

The twins are now 12, and they are still in the child stage of a druggie bird. Everything they do is in fast forward. They run into and out of rooms, instead of walking around they jump over, they throw things instead of handing them, and the noise is always at an insane decibel. There’s confusion about how sound travels because they can be 4 inches apart and they will scream everything they say to each other rather than talk in a normal tone.

Bella hated them. She wanted to like them, but as soon as they went from sleeping children to awake children she wanted no part of it. She would wait until my attention was elsewhere and she’d show them teeth if they came too close. She began guarding furniture. Then she guarded entire rooms. They finally came clean about her behavior and she was banished from the room if she acted like a donkey. She was never left with them unsupervised. She figured out that if she wanted to be where everyone else was (and like most dogs she very much wants to be in the middle of it) she had to mind her manners. I do not trust her with them alone, but she’s gotten much easier with them.

This past visit from Mancandy’s family was a big one. One of the mini-candies lives across the country so her visits are few and far between. She flew in, we scooped up her brothers, and Mancandy Parental Units came down. There were Candies of various ages everywhere. The youngest slept in our room on an air mattress. The boys kept their usual room. The parental unit inhabited the guest room. The house that seems pretty big most of the time became much too small. There were people everywhere. And children have a need to move things to places that make no sense. The house looked like a gaggle of raccoons had spent a couple hours gleefully tearing the house apart and had eaten everything in the house while deconstructing it. I took to locking myself in the water closet of the master bathroom with the outer door locked as well so I could pretend I didn’t hear anyone knocking. Two doors are sound proof you know. Often Bell came in to hang out with me.

I had no idea how my dog would handle this, and I was even more concerned about Weebles. His reactions are rarely predictable, and he doesn’t really know how to run away or defend himself. A gaggle of loud children plus my anti-kid dog and my confused potato cat seemed like a recipe for disaster. I was, fortunately, mistaken.

Bella figured out quickly the kids dropped food constantly. Especially the 9-year-old. Bell’s love of food (she’s definitely my dog) overrode her fear of the kids. She didn’t necessarily want to cuddle with them, but she was MUCH more at ease.  I could relax and not be on high alert for a launch to maul a child’s face.

Weebs, however, was the star of the show. He is the perfect cat for children. He’s fascinated by movement, so he would play with feet, toys, fingers, etc., for hours. He will grab but doesn’t scratch or bite. He’s too confused to object to being hauled around (the 9-year-old loved to carry him around). He doesn’t care if there are loud noises or fast movements. He’s not overwhelmed by 4 children crowded around him. He was absolute perfection. He got so much attention he’s been sleeping hardcore for 3 days straight and I don’t blame him a bit. Between trying to keep up with the other cats, be nosy and follow adults around, and trying to catch quick little fingers, toes, and dangled toys Weebs has never worked this hard in his life. His days were packed to the brim! He even got in on game night.

He’s the perfect cat for a huge family, which is exceedingly bizarre to me as I never wanted any children and somehow found myself in this big collection of people that make up a modern family (including the ex’s and their current relationships and all the insanity that brings) without any preparation. The dog and I (generally considered of normal intelligence if not considered normal in personality) may stumble, but my sweet little spud kitty sails through with ease. He’s a champ. The rest of us just live in his world.

 

Turkey toes

Plus he does stuff like this. We call this particular position turkey toes. He will sit sniffing his toes for a while, and then spend a little longer sitting in the same position while blinking slowly.