Tag Archives: OCD

In case you’re looking for extra work. Or a cat.

24 Oct
Unless you want this cat in a box to become a dick in a box, you better feed it.

Unless you want this cat in a box to become a dick in a box, you better feed it.

Alan and I are getting ready to venture to California for vacation. It’s the first time we will both have been out of town together, so we need to get a cat sitter for Miss Moneypenny. Sure, I have friends who would probably help me out, but I don’t want to saddle someone with kitty care for a full week, so I decided to bring in a professional.

Specifically, the professional is a woman named Mike who lives a mile from me and seems to love cats. (Actually, I wrote that sentence before she came over for the intro visit, so I was making a few assumptions, not least of which was that she loves cats. And also that Mike is a woman. As it turns out, Mike confessed to being somewhat allergic to cats, but I remain optimistic that Miss Moneypenny will charm her into some snuggles.)

So at this point, she has come and met Miss Moneypenny, and I think they’ll get along well enough. I mean, Miss Moneypenny is a cat and Mike will be feeding her. For most cats, that’s enough, right? Cross your fingers, because I don’t want to come home to any revenge pee.

Anyway, I jotted down some notes from my conversation with Mike, in case YOU ever want to catsit Miss Moneypenny. Here are the highlights:

So this is Miss Moneypenny. But you can call her whatever you want because she doesn’t really respond to her name. 

She likes to play with this rainbow toy, and this feather toy – but don’t tug too hard when she has it in her mouth because I’m scared you might rip her tooth out. 

Here’s her litterbox. I scoop it in the morning and the evening so that my place doesn’t smell like cat shit. And please go straight to the garbage chute down the hall and throw it away so it doesn’t sit in my trash can.  Also – this Swiffer duster is so you can sweep any random dots of litter back to the box so it doesn’t get tracked around my place.

And here’s her food area. She gets this hairball control dry food, with a bit of this protein kibble sprinkled on top for kicks. And this dish here is for her wet food, which she gets twice each day. A few things on that – and this probably sounds OCD, but it’s why I’m paying you instead of just leaving a pile of food out for her…

Please recover the tin of food using this piece of saranwrap and rubberband between meals rather than using a new piece of saranwrap each day. When you finish a tin, please rinse it out so I can recycle it. And you’ll need to add water to the food, stirring it until it’s the texture of runny refried beans. She likes it that way. Oh – and please only use THESE forks. I don’t like anything that touches human food to touch cat food. 

When you get here, she’ll probably be excited to see you, so if she runs toward my bedroom, it means she’s going to flop down on the rug and roll around so you can pet her.

And I forgot to tell you… she is very talkative, so be sure to ask her lots of questions. She’ll answer you, but her response always sounds like she’s saying, “No,” or, “Now,” so you’ll probably want to come up with questions that work with those responses. Unless you want to sound crazy. 

Image Source: https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/863968512/h1B9DBF01/

PS: When I just spell-checked this, here’s what WordPress accused me of misspelling: rubberband, refried, kibble and chute. I’ll admit, chute made my scratch my head. But then I remembered “Chutes & Ladders” and knew that I was still smarter than my computer. For now.

Advertisements

Row, row your boat.

4 Aug
Don't be too eager to seek out a power position.

Don’t be too eager to seek out a power position.

Last weekend my friend Margaret and I went kayaking on the Potomac. We rented a two-seater, and Margaret took the front seat. Or rather, she let me have the back seat.

You might think this doesn’t matter, but it does.

We had originally planned to canoe – something we’re both familiar with – and had debated who would get to take the rear seat, since we’re both control freaks and that person gets to steer. However, the boathouse was out of canoes, and – when they issued us a double kayak – we didn’t realize that the rules of our control-freakery had changed.

So Margaret (in a move that later would seem reminiscent of Tom Sawyer and the white-washed fence) conceded the rear seat, saying she thought I was probably more controlling than her. I took that as a compliment.

As it turns out? The rear seat doesn’t actually steer in a kayak. I was busy trying to match Margaret’s stroke patterns so our paddles wouldn’t hit. And every time the breeze blew, the water from her paddles landed squarely on my lap.

When we finished our hour-long adventure, we climbed out of the boat – Margaret as dry as a bone, and me? My skirt was drenched and I was sitting in a pool of water. It looked like I’d soiled myself. (Entirely possible, but I actually hadn’t – this time.)

Anyway, about half-way through our jaunt, as we passed under the Key Bridge, I realized that my thumb was burning. And I looked, only to establish that I’d developed – and popped – a pretty wicked blister from holding the paddle incorrectly. To prevent any further damage, I started holding my thumb like I was hitchhiking, which seemed to work.

When we got home, I wrapped a bandaid around my thumb, using it to cover the blister so it didn’t burn every time wind or water hit it. Apparently I applied the bandaid too tightly, however, because when I removed it three days later, I had a white band of wrinkled skin around my thumb.

I stared at it, thinking, “Is it possible that I screwed this up so badly I’ve picked up an infection and my thumb is going to fall off?” Of course not. But that’s where my head goes.

In fact, when Margaret and I had been on the river, I said, “What if we capsize?” She shook her head dismissively.

Then I said, “I think my mind naturally goes to far-fetched, worst-case scenarios. For example, the other day I was biking along the Potomac, and I thought, “Could I outrun a bobcat if one jumped out of the bushes?”

Margaret said, “Does DC even have bobcats?”

Me, “I have no idea. But that’s not the point. I like to be prepared and know what my odds are, in case it DOES happen.”

She shook her head again.

And I decided it was probably not the best time to ask how fast she thought she could paddle in the event that we had to outrun a large boat. Next time I’m going to let her take the back seat so I don’t see her head shaking.

How I pictured our kayaking experience...

How I pictured our kayaking experience…

You say tomato, I say messy.

25 Mar

I had some friends over for brunch the other weekend. Before they arrived, I asked Alan to perform a final walk-through to pick up any of his stuff that was within eye-shot. He hollered from the second bedroom, “Do you want me to move these ties?”

I knew exactly what he was talking about. In recent weeks, when he changed clothes after work, he’d taken to draping his tie “du jour” over the door. There was quite a collection.

“Yes,” I said. “That’s exactly the type of thing I’d like you to put away.”

He came walking out, gesturing back down the hall. “You don’t think they look good there?”

I was speechless. Random clothing hanging on a door? Was this a trick question? I shook my head.

“I kind of like them,” he explained. “It’s a nice pop of color.”

I shook my head. “Um, no.”

Then he paused and looked thoughtful. “Just understand, every time you think I’m cluttering, I think I’m actually decorating.”

Nice try, Alan.

At least I come by it honestly.

5 Feb

Image Source: funnycoolstuff.com » 2008 » November

On the weekends, a van drives around to the parks in DC and serves warm meals to homeless people. Yesterday when I was out for a walk, I passed a group of people ladling out soup just as the line finished. I didn’t stop to ask for confirmation, but I’m pretty sure that the woman with the ladle was starting to dish me up a bowl until she gave me a full once-over.

And I’m pretty sure the only reason she decided I wasn’t homeless was because my fleece had a NorthFace logo.

It was a smack-my-head moment, when I realized I had just been assessed as homeless. In my defense: It was FREEZING out so I was wearing two pairs of pants and two hoodies. And I had a ski hat pulled down to my eyebrows. And I was wearing an old, stained backpack that smelled like wet sneakers. (Don’t ask.) And I hadn’t  showered after yoga, so I probably didn’t smell exactly like a rose.

But really? My eyes were focused, I wasn’t talking to myself, and I was moving at a pretty quick clip. C’mon!

This case of mistaken identity forced me to realize four things:

  1. I can totally relate to celebrities who get unflattering photos snapped when they run to 7-Eleven for a soda.
  2. I now feel better about the time I kept trying to hand my left-overs to people who were not actually homeless.
  3. Alan is a saint for never saying, “You’re going to leave the house in that?”
  4. I’m now the second member of my family to be mistaken for homeless.

Yes – you heard correctly. I’m not even the first person in my family to have this happen.

My dad and I share the compulsion of walking (and tracking) a set number of miles. He targets 100 miles per month. I shoot for 25 miles per week. Since (as I mentioned), we’re somewhat compulsive about it, we often find that we’re walking in less than ideal weather. In DC, that’s still pretty mild, but in Michigan – where my parents live – it can be sub-zero and hailing and he’ll still head out to hit his mileage.

Another thing you need to know for this story to make sense: my dad is an ardent environmentalist. As a result, instead of outfitting himself with a snowmobile suit to make walking more comfortable  when the weather turns, he simply layers on old clothes to give himself many layers.  Also, he often picks up trash as he walks. And he has a full beard, which I suppose could be interpreted as not having access to a razor.

Image Source: Zazzle.comMy parents live in a small town, and since my dad taught there for many decades, almost everyone in town knows him. I won’t say he’s a celebrity, but he’s definitely a character. (Pause for a moment and think about it: which would you rather be? My vote goes to character.) People usually just honk and wave when they see him scrambling down a ditch to grab an errant soda can – nothing to see here folks.

In recent years, however, the town’s population has grown, so not everyone is a former student who immediately recognizes him. So it was that on a particularly cold day, his route took him down the alley behind the town’s main grocery store. As he passed the dumpsters, an employee dragging out a sack of garbage spotted him and called out, “Well now! Today’s your lucky day!”

My dad, thinking she was just being friendly, hollered back, “Really? And why’s that?”

Her answer? “This bag has a whole slew of pastries in it that are practically untouched!”

Yes. She. Did.

I have no idea how he responded, because I was laughing too hard by this point in the story. But if I had to wager a guess, I’m thinking my parents enjoyed a windfall of donuts that week. Waste not, want not, after all!

Making friends in confined spaces.

30 Jan

Last week I committed two faux pas while riding the rails from Boston to DC. The first occurred on the Boston to NYC leg. The timing worked out so that I needed to eat dinner on the train, so before sitting down, I went to the Café Car. If you’ve never taken the train, let me assure you: the Café Car on Acela is not like what you see in movies.

NOT the Acela.

There’s no white tablecloth, and definitely no silver. While it’s not fine dining, there are still some decent options, which is how I came to order Legal Seafoods’ Clam Chowder. Since we were departing Boston, it seemed fitting.

That’s about as much thought as I gave it – until I sat down back on the Quiet Car and removed the lid. At which point, the seafood smell of it rose up like a fist and punched me in the face. Yes, I was that person. The one who buys a tuna sandwich and opens it up on a plane right after take-off, ensuring the entire cabin smells like fish.

Horrified, I channeled my embarrassment back at Amtrak in the form of outrage: Why on Earth would they offer this on their menu? This should only be served at establishments with open-air patios! Fortunately, since I was on the Quiet Car, I knew no one would actually confront me, so I just kept my eyes on the bowl so I wouldn’t have to endure any angry glances.

Not wanting to make the same mistake on the NYC to DC leg the next day, I picked up a quesadilla at Penn Station for the ride. Once I was settled into my seat on the train, I began producing the items for my meal: quesadilla, salsa, napkins, soft drink, fork, Purell.

That’s right: Purell. Have I mentioned that I’m slightly OCD? And that I get sick almost every time I travel? Those two factors have combined to make me a religious user of  liquid hand sanitizer. I have a refillable dispenser that looks like a highlighter and sprays the Purell almost like a squirt gun.

So as I tucked into my meal, I pulled out my Purell highlighter, gave it a few pumps and rubbed my hands together. And — nothing. There was no Purell on my hands. I looked at the dispenser to see if it had run dry, and then I realized: the spray hole hadn’t been lined up with my hands.

No. It had sprayed out fine. Just not on my hands. With a sense of dread, I started looking around to see where it might have landed. And that’s when I saw two quarter-sized blobs running down the laptop screen of the man seated next to me. Gah!

Fortunately, he was standing up at the time, placing his coat in the overhead bin, so he hadn’t seen me spray down his MacBook Pro. Hoping to eliminate the evidence, I leaned over with my napkin and started trying to wipe his screen discreetly. About this time, I noticed the man across the aisle scowling at me, clearly thinking I was tampering with a stranger’s laptop. Which, in fairness, I suppose I was.

I gave him my most disarming smile (which, I believe, looks I’m channeling Amelie from the French movie, but actually probably more accurately looks like a baby filling its diaper) and abandoned Operation Wipedown, turning to stare out the window. At just this moment, my seatmate sat back down and began typing.

I continued to face the window, my shoulders shaking as I silently giggled, praying that he wouldn’t ask me why his laptop had a clear schmear across the screen. And I could not stop laughing. To say it tickled my funny bone would be an understatement. I sat there, silently shaking, until I had tears running down my cheeks.

At one point, I thought I had composed myself well enough to apologize, but I turned around saw the schmeary outline of the gel on his screen and just lost it. He gave me an odd look and returned to his work, no doubt wondering what kind of nutjob he was sharing a seat with.

Ultimately, I wasn’t busted. But I can’t exactly say I got away with it. Because I’m pretty sure he was sitting there writing a blog about the freakshow next to him who alternately sprayed Purell and convulsed for the duration of the ride.

Actually, now that I think about it, he probably should’ve thanked me for the material. Or at least for disinfecting his screen. You’re welcome, Amtrak Stranger! Now pay it forward…