My mother is not a feminine woman. She doesn’t worry about clothes, keeps her hair cut short, and the only make-up I’ve ever seen her wear is lipstick. When I was a child, I knew it was a special night when she added a touch of pink to her lips.
As a narcissistic teenager (a redundant phrase if there ever was one) I resented this. All I wanted to do was blend in with everyone else. I craved a mother who would teach me how to wax my legs and pluck my eyebrows and apply eyeliner.* My mother doesn’t even use conditioner herself, there was no way she was going to help me add highlights to my hair. We never went bra shopping. It was my father who went with me to find my high school graduation gown. I wanted a mother who would do all the things my friends’ mothers did. Motherly things. Girly things.
Things I had to teach myself.
Now that I am older than my mother was when she gave birth to me, I have a bit more wisdom to my credit. She may never admit it, but in many ways my mother is a feminist. Growing up, I received only a handful of compliments on how I looked. The focus was always on my brain or my performance. I was enrolled in sports, not dance, and all of my hand-me-downs were from my male cousins. I played with cars as much as I played with dolls. I was given a large amount of physical and emotional freedom and was encouraged to pursue science. My parents were always equals in everything. My father still does the majority of cooking and cleaning. Friendship has been a key component of their marriage’s success and I am so lucky to have such excellent role models in that regard.
My mother’s lack of concern for appearance and apparent disregard for gender roles should have been a revelation. Instead I was angered by her unwillingness to follow the patriarchal path. I wanted my mother to want to be like everyone else. But she refused. I wish I had let this self-possession guide me as I made my own decisions and battled my own dragons.
My mother’s adolescence was much more difficult than mine, not that one would ever guess at the trauma she endured by speaking with her. It makes me proud. I hope that kind of resilience lies within me. Most women my age live in fear of turning into their mothers and, if I am being honest, I have worried about this as well. Every time I catch myself doing things the way my mother does them – a certain phrase or smile or gesture – I wince. I don’t want to be like her and yet, when I think about it, most of my best qualities are those I inherited from her.
I’ve always felt my personality more closely resembles that of my father. My constant worrying, my extreme dedication to my work, my shyness, and my private nature all come from him. As does my love of history and my enjoyment of classic Hollywood. I never felt like I had anything in common with my mother. She is too outgoing. She likes to craft and watch Ladyhawke over and over again. Regardless of her odd taste in entertainment, my mother has made me more easygoing. I rarely take offence and I like to think I am at least as approachable. Her ability to brush things off and move on, I hope, lives in me too. As does her loyalty and her kindness.
This isn’t to say my mother is perfect or my father is a wreck. I am pleased to have acquired his sarcasm and his ability to make fun of himself. But I am finally gaining appreciation for a woman I used to begrudge. We had our battles, however, I now acknowledge my role in them and appreciate all she tried to impart.
My mother is a stronger woman than I used to believe. She is smart and warm and capable of standing up for herself. She was a feminist role model for a girl who’d desperately needed it. I wish I’d crawled out of my critical hole long enough to notice that before now. If I sometimes sound like her, I guess I could do a lot worse.
*Yes, I am still harping on this eyeliner thing. It is this gap in my knowledge I can’t ignore! Why can’t I do it without stabbing myself in the eye?
I love this dog. It is that easy. She isn’t super smart and she ate all of my shoes, but I love her just the same.
Only love gets me up at five-thirty every morning. Only love prevents me from crying when the thing I just pulled from her mouth smells ranker than a teenaged boy’s hockey gear. Only love has me sighing and washing my hands in the snow before carrying on with our walk.
She is crazy and annoying and destructive. She makes me worry and she keeps me up at night and she gets peanut butter on my clean work pants.
She changed my life. She helped me discover a new passion. She gave me more confidence than I’ve ever felt and she taught me patience, something my mother never thought possible. She makes me a better person. She isn’t my “heart dog”, whatever that even means, but she is my first dog, and she always will be.
I feel sorry for all those people who don’t get it, who have never been lucky enough to love a dog, who treat them like disposable toys. Or worse. Dogs aren’t easy to understand and they often cause trouble. But they have so much to give. It is only our loss if we choose to ignore or shove them aside.
I love this dog. It doesn’t even matter if she loves me.
My decision to turn down my acceptance to law school was complicated and fraught with indecision. For a long time I comforted myself with the knowledge that I would never be the kind of person capable of falling in love with a job. Even as a dedicated student who would rather study than party, I hoarded my spare time with extreme jealousy. While I dedicated all-nighters to perfecting research papers, it wasn’t out of passion. So often my reward for finishing 1,000 words was joining my sister in video game session. For me, work is the thing I do to justify and afford all of the things I actually enjoy. I do it because as much as I dislike the slogging, I hate failing even much more.
As an obliger, motivation is a hard thing to rally. On energetic days, I make goals and believe I will achieve them. Plans seem so simple, so probable. “I will do this,” I tell myself with a fist in the air. “Tomorrow. After I finish this novel.” On passive days, I tell myself the goals don’t really matter. It isn’t as if anyone is keeping track. Without something to earn or something to prove, it is easier to pretend I never expected anything in the first place.
Today is a passive day. I am not very motivated to write or to blog at all, ever again. What difference would it make? I’d only be letting down myself, and myself is accustomed to being let down. I am tired. Work is long. It is cold outside and I don’t want to get up in the morning to freeze with the dog for half an hour. Only to freeze again when I return home. I live for the weekends but they are too short. And I never accomplish as much as I desire. What is wrong with placating myself with television and cookies? Why work harder than necessary?
In a logical sense I know even the most comfortable luxuries must be leavened with industry in order to be gratifying. It could be the weather or the lack of activity. It could be the lure of the comparison game, always dangerous ground for someone who can write an ordered list of all the things she is not but finds it impossible to say what she is.
I am not an athlete or a dancer or an artist. I am not a dog trainer or a skier or a scientist. I am not a lawyer or a teacher or a singer. I am not a woman who can apply eyeliner or decorate a house or cook a meal without a recipe. I am not crafty. I am not good at math. I am not patient. I am not magic.
I am an almost-wife. I am a sister and I am a daughter, though I don’t think I am a very good version of the latter. I try to be a friend. Other than that?
I don’t know.
I am reading a book filled with assignments meant to teach me how to write better. When I opened the book, I meant to read one chapter, complete the task, and then move on to the next. The tasks aren’t difficult and should be entertaining. I am eight chapters in and I haven’t started my homework from the first. The exercise in front of me involves writing 750 words about the kind of writing I like to read in order to set the standard for my own endeavours. Although I know what I wish to say, I cannot force myself to get the words down.
I wonder if I have become intimidated by the rules. Perhaps by desiring to learn how to write well, I have lost the little confidence I had that enabled me to write at all. A bit of knowledge in the wrong hands can be disastrous. The words don’t flow any more, if they ever did. I am obsessed with concept nouns. I question every tense. This constant editing doesn’t make my writing better, it inhibits. I have lost the desire to write for the sake of writing.
Another assignment, from the book, is to keep a notebook or journal. This is not something I have ever been able to undertake with regularity. All of my high school attempts were dotted with embellishments, for no one’s benefit but my own, and ended in pure fiction. For something that no one was ever going to read but me, I spent a great deal of time making it entertaining.
This blog, while not a diary, contains more personal truth than any of my previous writing. And it couldn’t be more public. It is interesting that I have no difficulty lying to myself but balk at embroidering my life online. If I ever discover the reasons for this, I hope they will also permit me to be as vulnerable in my real life as I can be in this space.
For now, I will keep trying. Especially when it’s hard. I don’t want to disappoint myself any more. I am worth more than that.
I attribute my success to this – I never gave nor took any excuse ~ Florence Nightingale
When the month began I was full of plans. I said an official farewell to 2013 and all of its days of aggravation. Nothing was going to get in my way of deepening my neglected relationship with Shiva. Not the office, not the new season of Community, not even my winter ennui. This time we were going to get things done. I vowed.
Only, in all my swearing and promising I forgot one fairly vital aspect to my scheme. In order to meet my goal, I would need the committed participation of a partner, a canine partner with ambitions and desires of her own. I could be as motivated as I wanted but it wouldn’t make one bit of difference if I couldn’t convince Shiva to join in on the fun.
I’ve written the well-known agility phrase on this blog many a time before – “great dog, shame about the handler” – but in some, limited cases it can go the other way. Even if I am over-the-top enthused about something, if Shiva is more interested in napping on the chair, there isn’t much I can do. This is a lesson my former trainer used to try to drill in my head every time I complained that all the other dogs appeared smarter, saner, sharper. It only took me four years to learn it.
I have to work with the dog I have.
And she has to work with me. Don’t worry, I know all too well who has the shadier end of this deal.
This realization doesn’t mean this month was a failure. I didn’t give or take any excuses. The primary goal of Train Your Dog Month is to spend more quality time with your dog. I do think I have accomplished that.
Before I get to the exciting results of The Great Challenge of Getting Shiva to Hold an Item in Her Mouth, I first want to share a small, but important, victory.
Due to a lot of patience I have been able to re-teach Shiva that the camera is not a scary Gorgon who will turn her into stone if she looks it in the eye.
I don’t know where she got this notion. She used to pose so well. All I’d have to do was pull out the black box and she would leap into action, presenting her best side for all the world to admire. Somehow, though, something altered. Was it the time I posted the picture of her with her tongue sticking out? Was she upset that I would share such an unflattering image? Or perhaps The Cat has been telling her about the time I captured his fur-less behind for all the world to see.
For the record, I never posted any of those pictures online.
Whatever the reason, it was getting a bit annoying. She has such a pretty face. This is – mostly – a dog blog. It should feature photos of said dog, and not just the back of her head. I don’t think the world needs to be inundated with Shiva butt pictures, as cute as they may be.
So we got to work. A few handfuls of well-placed treats, multiple withheld sighs, and my best squeaky cartoon voice, and she forgot all about the mythical creature in the camera. The most vital part of this formula was the withheld sighs. I had to remind myself that Shiva is not inclined to respond to frustration. Instead of growling at her to pay attention to me and not the birds flying overhead, I had to force myself to relax and wait. And wait. And wait. And sometimes, I had to call it a day and try again another time.
I had to work with the dog I have.
It paid off. Just look at these puppy eyes.
I even managed to get a picture of her in which she doesn’t look freaked out.
My Shiva model is back. I am going to try not to lose her again.
Now, I guess, I need to own up to this whole retrieving business. I wish I had a wicked video to show you. I mean, I have a video but it isn’t the one I wanted to make.
My clever PH realized that the trick to getting Shiva to return with the toy is to have another one in the wings. Since her favourite ball is this orange and blue wonder, he purchased a second. The results were solid. He had some pretty decent success getting Shiva to run back with the ball in her mouth, drop it on the floor in front of him, and then chase it across the room once again.
He had success. I did not.
Is it because I approach her at the wrong time of day? Do I just not throw as well? I try to match my energy to his and I spend a few minutes beforehand revving her up. But after the ball is thrown, she’ll pick it up, run around with it, and then come back to me with an empty mouth. I am beginning to think that ball games are just not going to be part of our relationship. It is not easy to admit defeat.
This doesn’t mean I am giving up on the challenge entirely. Even if Shiva won’t properly fetch for me, I am still determined to teach her to hold items in her mouth for photographic purposes. It. Will. Happen. Just not yet.
I’ll let this video speak for itself:
Not quite the trick I was hoping to show off at the end of this month.
Sure, I could say that Shiva has done much better with this behaviour than it appears. I am also much better with my timing when the camera is not running. I wish I could show you all of the other training sessions in which Shiva held that stuffed snake for five whole seconds. But I can’t. All I have in any given moment is the dog in front of me. Not the Shiva of yesterday who was a bit more interested in the game, or even the Shiva of tomorrow who might have benefited from a bit of latent learning. Shiva is a dog with emotions as important to her as mine are to me. It doesn’t matter how well she performs in a video. What matters is that we tried to do something together and we are going to keep trying. Because it isn’t about the results.
This is what I tell myself, anyway.
Now it is your turn.
I want to hear all about the fun things you have done with your pets this month. Have you learned any lessons that will help you in the future? Did your pet surprise you? Add a link with your story to the tool below and brag about all of your hard work. Every entry has a chance to win a $25 donation to your favourite pet charity and a prize pack for you and your dog!
The linky will be open for one week. While you are there, make sure to read about the challenges faced by my talented co-hosts at Something Wagging This Way Comes and Alfie’s Blog, as well as by all the other participants. You may be newly inspired to join me in my Year of Training!
What is one thing making you proud of your pet this month?
My mobile phone is in the midst of an identity crisis. It sounds like a joke but I couldn’t be more serious. It is stuck in cellular purgatory. Not quite a Blackberry, not quite an Android, it doesn’t know where it belongs. Half the time, it doesn’t even know it is a phone. Frankly, it is a mess. I don’t know how much longer we can co-exist.
It used to be so cool. When we first met, I felt proud to have it in my pocket. We were pals. I loved to talk up its full keyboard with its wicked email functionality. And if you have never used Blackberry Messenger, you are missing out on one of the smoothest communication systems ever implemented on a smart phone. The messaging system of a generation. And the emoticons? Don’t even get me started.
Alas, due to extenuating circumstances, we are going to have to part ways. It isn’t something I ever foresaw. Despite all of the naysayers, I have been true to my dear little phone. Applications and photography meant nothing to me. I didn’t flinch when friends went the way of Instagram and Evernote. Loyalty, that is what mattered to me. They could keep their Angry Birds and their high-speed Internet. My Blackberry and I were just fine with our app-less realm filled with blurry photos.
But, something unfortunate occurred and I was forced to make a difficult decision: my camera lost its zoom. And I mean this quite literally. The zoom button on my camera is broken. Thus, all of my photos require serious editing before they can be published online. Otherwise they look like this:
Do you know what the subject of the above photo was supposed to be? Me neither. Anymore. Ugh. Pretty unforgivable for a blogger who spends the majority of her time posting pictures of her dog.
So maybe zoom isn’t as big of an issue as my impatience and utter lack of skill. Whatevs.
Something had to be done. As much as it pained me, and it hurt a lot, I knew I had to make a change. The world cannot be deprived of Shiva photos. It is my sworn duty, after all. It has gotten to the point that I either spend money on a new camera or upgrade my cellular plan. A greater dilemma one has never faced.
I loved my little black phone. It was the first mobile device to give me access to email on the fly. We had a great time together, chuckling over Facebook feeds, making snarky remarks on Twitter. Unlike all of my other phones, this one understood me. It knew my distaste for personal calls and responded by having almost no calling ability whatsoever. Never once did it make me feel guilty for not answering a ring. Never once did it store a voicemail message for me not to return later. In gratitude, the only time I forced it to make a call was in the midst of a dire emergency. Even then, I made sure to keep it under a minute. I could always tell when my phone was overwhelmed by the heat in my palm. I will miss that heat. We were united in our anti-social inclinations. It never expected me to be who I wasn’t. I never demanded anything more than it was capable of providing.
This isn’t to say our relationship was perfect. There were times I took my phone for granted, neglecting it enough so as to let it fall in a puddle. Unforgivable, I know. But did it forsake me? Perish the thought! As soon as I realized my mistake and gave my phone it’s due, all was well again. My phone never held a grudge.
Sadly, things changed. My wireless company was displeased with the lack of modernization within my account. They told me I could not update my phone number from a Nova Scotia line unless I upgraded my calling plan. They didn’t understand the link between my phone and I. They especially didn’t understand my lack of calling features. They wanted to separate us forever.
For a long time, I refused. Faithful to my stocky pal, I weathered their threats and clung to the past. They couldn’t make me change. I would never let go! They would have to pry my Blackberry from my cold, dead hands.
And then my camera lost its zoom and my priorities shifted. With a new job forcing me to hustle from one meeting to the next, having a phone that could be used as a phone started to make more and more sense. I couldn’t keep paying long distance charges every time I needed to call a taxi. It was time to say goodbye.
Now, as I wait for my new phone to arrive, scared to discover uncharted land, my Blackberry isn’t what it used to be. It has forgotten how to and has all but lost connection to the outside world. The only communication we have these days is via text message. It just isn’t the same. It knows the end is coming. I wish there was something I could do to ease its transition to the next world. I wish I knew what to say or how to prepare.
The thing is, I am not as afraid as I expected I would be. The time has come to discover my next mobile relationship. It won’t be the same, it couldn’t be. I will never forget my Blackberry. It was my first glimpse of a new technological world, my first real experience of mobile freedom, of breaking out on my own without being tied down by cords and dying laptop batteries. Nevertheless, if there is anything this week has taught me, as I say farewell to my fading smart phone, it is that I am nothing if not resilient. Just as I learned how to type on my Blackberry’s keyboard, I will conquer the touch screen. I am ready to move on.
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll even set up my voice mail this time. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Finally! Dog blogs are legitimized! They aren’t just for odd women who get up far too early every morning and need someone to whom they can vent all of life’s frustrations.* Pet bloggers are cool people too!
At least, that’s what I thought after my first, second, and even third viewing of the below commercial. Now that I have come down from the high of temporary credibility, I am realizing this adorable television ad is not what I’d hoped. It turns out, the lyrics aren’t what I thought they were. I hate when that happens. Sometimes actually paying attention to the real words being said is such a bummer.
Before I say any more, I’ll give you a chance to understand what I am talking about.
Cute, right? I mean, she has a dog blog and everything! This is my life! I can relate!
Except for the fact that I can’t. Not really. Those bothersome things called “sexism” and “diet industrial complex” and “grammar” make it very hard to enjoy what could have been an endearing little commercial. If this is the world’s idea of a “morning win” I am worried for the future of the world. Frankly, a morning where all I eat for breakfast is a thin cookie is not one for the record books.
To ease some of my pain, I thought it would be fun to come up with my own sunrise song. I haven’t filmed a video – I am too much of a perfectionist for that – but maybe a company will hear my cry and give me the cash to do it right.
It’s worth a shot.
Here is my idea of a morning win:
I had a shower, ran the dog, took some photos for my blog, didn’t get hit on during my commute.
Bought a muffin, scored free coffee, pet a kitten, lamented hockey, impressed the boss with an argument she could not refute.
Deadlines chased, projects aced, dressed with taste, mistakes erased, and I even wrote this song!
What do you think? Sure, my version doesn’t have a fluffy poodle but it is a morning that would make me proud.
I know, I think far too much about commercials. These things are not meant to be analyzed with half as much effort as I put in. But humour me, will you? What is your idea of a morning win?
*Please note, I describe only myself with this sentence. Most dog bloggers I know have active social lives and are not even slightly strange. In fact, they are so normal, it’s creepy.
In an effort to practice writing for writing’s sake, I am trying something a little new. The Daily Post has issued an intriguing challenge that I must accept. We shall see where it takes me.
When I stop in at the grocery store across from my office it is a half-entertaining, half-frustrating experience. There are no aisles in the traditional sense. The shelves are all arranged at strange angles, running perpendicular to each other and the walls. There are no signs to orient me and nothing is where I expect. The cheese and yogurt are off in a foreign land, next to the tiny unit housing mismatched bottles of shampoo. It once took me twenty minutes to find dish soap. I found it in the snack food section, beside the granola bars.
It is also the only grocery store I have ever seen that features a full-service bar. That’s right. In between scavengers hunts for frozen vegetables and bagels, I can take a break with a glass of wine. It is all very odd.
The other customers are also diverting. Because the store sits on a university campus and across from a hospital, I have observed timid exchange students struggling to read English labels while a young jock assists an elderly patient with her hand cart. It is a place where I can lose my faith in humanity in one moment and then gain it back in another.
I once made the mistake of hauling more than eight items to the till. It was my first visit to the store and I didn’t know any better. You see, there is no conveyor belt to make scanning easier. There is just a short counter on which customers must heap all of their items and hand them to the cashier one by one. The lack of wheeled grocery carts should have tipped me off. No one goes to this store to do any heavy shopping. Every check-out is an express check-out, unless you are willing to put up with the glares from fellow customers. When I realized my mistake, after my bag of apples had tumbled to the floor, it was too late to return the items to the shelf. I was the awkward girl in junior high all over again, the loser who doesn’t know how things are done. I couldn’t return to the store for a week out of shame.
Now that I think about it, the bar makes perfect sense.
Shiva the dog is a dog. She makes a lot of mistakes. I am a human. I make a lot of mistakes when I am handling her. I am happy to own up to these gaffes. In fact, I have been happy to take the blame for every misstep ever made by a human since the beginning of time. Ones that included dogs and ones that did not.
For thirty-two years I have retracted, I have repented, and I have redressed things that happened under my supervision and things that happened when I wasn’t in the area code. It is always my fault.
But there are straws and there are camels and there are backs.* After all of this time I am drawing a line. There are now certain things, dog-related things, for which I will no longer apologize. I vow:
1. I will not apologize when my dog reacts to another dog who invades her space when the other dog’s owner is disobeying city bylaws. These bylaws include not being off-leash outside of designated areas and not being on a leash that exceeds two metres in length. So to the man walking the dog on the extendable leash in Old Strathcona tonight? I am not sorry Shiva snapped and otherwise flipped out at your dog. Your dog, while perfectly lovely I am sure, should not have been able to cross the road to get in her face. This was your fault, kind sir, not mine. You should apologize to me.
2. I will not apologize when I break the bylaws and annoy someone else who is also breaking the bylaws, especially when my flouting of the rules does less harm. So to the man walking the dog on the extendable leash – this seems to be a common law-breaking habit – in the ravine Wednesday morning? I am not sorry I failed to re-leash my dog in an on-leash area. It was dark and your dog was trotting so far away from you I assumed her or she was off-leash as well. My dog obviously did too which is why she was clotheslined on your illegal leash’s cord. I am not sorry we irritated you. I am sorry your leash almost hurt my dog.
3. I will not apologize when my dog slips her collar and gets an illegally off-leash dog riled up to the extent he or she cannot be recalled. This is not my fault. If your dog does not have a solid recall with all distractions, including nutty on-leash dogs, he or she should not be off-leash in an on-leash area. So to everyone who walks their dogs off-leash in the clearing of the ravine every weekend morning? You have been warned. The next time, I might just let her go on purpose.
4. I will not apologize when my dog lunges at people who stand behind trees and then leap out in front of me. Especially when it is dark. You are lucky all she does is bark.
I’m just a dog in the world. That’s all that I wanna beeeee.
5. I will not apologize when my dog sets off dogs whose handlers are walking them in groups of five down the middle of the road on extendable leashes. The size of the dogs is irrelevant. My dog deserves to walk in peace as much as those belonging to other people. If I can walk on the sidewalk and keep my dog in her own space, other people can too. If my dog’s presence is so arousing that your dogs just can’t take it? You need to do some training. I recommend starting by walking one at a time on a shorter leash.
Am I being unfair? Is there anything for which you refuse to apologize?
*Line shamelessly stolen from one of my favourite Canadian films. Betcha can’t guess which one.
In an effort to practice writing for writing’s sake, I am trying something a little new. The Daily Post has issued an intriguing challenge that I must accept. We shall see where it takes me.
The worst part about sitting at the bar is the constant feeling of being in the way. When seated, I am incapable of pushing in the stool and am all too conscious of my body jutting out. In order to pass behind me, a fellow diner must excuse themselves to side-step between my back and the back of another person in a proper chair. At least this other can draw themselves in. I am forced into a clumsy shuffle, inching my stool forward leg by leg and moving maybe half a centimetre.
I could stand, of course, and push the tall chair in. But that seems even more awkward. I picture myself this way, still chewing on my turkey and avocado sandwich, blouse disheveled, hair flying in a static mess, leaping into an upright position and dropping my book on the floor and the mental image is enough to make me cringe.
It is far nicer to sit at a table or a booth. There is room for all my things and if I sit with my back to the wall I never have to worry about acknowledging strangers. Yet, as I am almost always alone, this seems an even worse breach of etiquette. How rude of me to take up so much space during a busy lunch hour. The dirty looks and annoyed comments – which exist only in my mind – are enough to cause distress.
And so I remain at the uncomfortable bar on the awkward stool, hoping no one will need to get by before I leave.
On a typical evening, I am accosted at the interior door by flailing limbs and peanut butter breath. This evening was different. Someone else had taken over Shiva’s greeting duties and I was instead faced with this:
If the look on His Excellency’s face means anything, I had messed up, big time.
Desperate to make amends, the first thing I did was check his food bowl. To my surprise, it was almost as full as it was this morning. Then I checked the three water dishes, all placed in strategic locations around the house. But they were all full as well. So what was his damage?
Deciding to ignore his glare, I took the dog outside and then collapsed on the couch to fire up Facebook. After scrolling my newsfeed, still giggling over the latest George Takei photo, I finally realized the cause of the Kitty Meister’s impatience.
Today is January 22nd, the most important day on the feline calendar – National Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day.
Since I forgot this holiest of cat holidays, I am a jerk. The only way to make it up to him is to sit down and hear what he has to say. The problem with that is, after last year’s debacle when all he did was demand I feed him our pet fish, I am really not interested in pandering to his selfish demands. Heck, I feed him expensive food, brush his glorious fur, and furnish him with cozy places to sleep. Yet no matter how much I do for him, he blows me off every time I want a smidgen of affection. He nigh taunts me with his disinterest, rubbing his body around my legs and then dashing away the instant I lean down for a pet. If anyone should be making requests around here, it is me.
Alas, I am a sucker. One look at those inscrutable eyes and I find myself giving in. It is the day for it, and all. One question wouldn’t hurt. Right?
Me: Okay, Kitty. You win. You get one question. Go.
The Cat: I am The Cat, you are my human servant; I will have as many questions as I please.
Me: Is that your question?
The Cat: I believe I am the one doing the asking here, not you.
Me: Is that a yes? There is wine that needs drinking, I don’t have all night.
The Cat: Fine. Ugh. No wonder you humans are such wretched hunters. No patience.
Me: Hey, if you’re willing to sit in my lap, I will answer your questions all night. Until then…
The Cat: Gag me.
Me: Still waiting, Cat.
The Cat: This is a two-part question.
Me: Of course it is.
The Cat: One: when are you getting rid of the dog? Two: do you know how much you drool in your sleep?
Me: One, never and two… That is not a question! That’s it. Interview over!
The Cat: No, really, because it’s quite disgusting… Wait, where are you going? I didn’t give you permission to leave. Oh, what is that I smell? Is that ambrosia? Is that the most delectable treat in all the world? I must have it!
So much for that. At least it is easy to shut him up.
Does your cat have any questions today? If so, I sincerely hope they are less insulting.