Routine is Important: Just ask my Mother

As we age, we’re told to mix up our routine. Keep our brain challenged and break out of our day-to-day pattern. It’s healthy for us, or so we’re told.

And to some degree, I think there’s some merit to the medical studies that espouse such recommendations, but I think there’s also something to be said for sticking to a routine.

Routine is important. Just ask my mother. Disturb her before she has her first cup of coffee and visits the loo in the morning and she’s not a happy camper. God forbid, if you should bother her before her favorite television show, “The Price is Right”, is over. Not a pleasant experience to have with her.

Every morning, my cat and I dance. She whines. I feed her. She jumps up on my desk, starts chewing on my paper work and walking across my computer key board. Then she wants to go outside. Of course, she can’t simply walk out when I open my patio door. She has to walk around the perimeter of the living room first, then around the overstuffed lazy boy rocker and finally she’s ready to exit. I have to patiently wait while she does this little two-step of hers, and then I can close the door and go back to whatever I was doing.

There are days that I’d like to choke the little twit as she slowly prances by me and looks up as if to say, “Humans are so clueless.”

Maybe Boo’s trying to teach me patience, or maybe this little tango is something that keeps her safe and she depends on it. I don’t know. I’m no cat whisperer, and I certainly haven’t a clue as to what makes a cat tick.

I do know, though, there are days in my life when everything is crazy and life is one crisis after another. Having a routine and sticking to it keeps me secure: Taking daily walks. Going to exercise class on Wednesdays. Seeing my yoga buddies on Fridays. Reading a good book and falling asleep on a rainy afternoon with our other cat, Molly, spread-eagle on my belly. All routines I relish and enjoy.

And when the sump pump breaks, the IRS notifies me that I owe them $5,500, the inspector says my house has termites and my doctor tells me that I have pneumonia; I remember to get up, wash my face, put on a little lipstick and face the day, ‘cuz that’s what Mom taught me to do.

I’m not so much into the lipstick, like my Mom, but I definitely understand and appreciate the need for a consistent schedule to keep me going. There are days when I need the safety and comfort of knowing that I have certain things planned. So, when life comes along and messes with those plans, I still have the comfort of knowing that my daily regimen is still intact and it can be restarted with the dawning of a new day.

I keenly remembered how my special needs kids depended on a routine. They vociferously complained about it on a regular basis, but change it on them once in a blue moon, and they let you know they weren’t pleased. For many of them, their day to day home life was chaotic and their only source of reliability and sanity was my classroom and the safety of its expectations and schedule.

As I slowly age, I realize that I need to keep my mind challenged and continue to learn new skills and stretch my imagination, but I also realize that there are days that I need to feel stable and safe and having some structure and routine in my life is ok and actually beneficial to me in a number of ways, both physically and emotionally. So, I give myself permission to throw caution to the wind, and on those days I need to have a miniature snicker’s bar after I eat lunch, I go for it and sometimes even have two!

In the meantime, I need to feed Boo Boo, again, and wait at the patio door while she sashays around the border of our living room furniture. Have a great week, People, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes!

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A Mouse in the House

After living in Northern Ca.  for over 34 years, technology and the entitlement that goes along with the money and privilege associated with that technology, has forced me to re-evaluate my opinion of my once thought of paradise that I call home and pack it in and go north to cooler temperatures and less people.  A friend of mine who moved out of the area herself a year ago volunteered to help me in my pursuit of such a formidable task, and I gratefully accepted and spent a week on the road looking at various cities for the Princess and I to call home after her retirement.

 

On the evening before I was to fly home after my house-hunting expedition, I got 2 back-to-back phone calls. One from my older brother, Anthony, telling me that his wife’s Dad was not doing well, and that they were disappointed and apologetic, but that our plan to get together and head to Mendocino for some camping and relaxing when I returned home was not doable for them and that it was unfortunate, but they’d have to cancel. The other phone call came from my distraught, out-of-breath partner, who animatedly informed me that my bedroom had been turned upside down and that there was an F-ing mouse somewhere in the house.

 

Accustomed to my cat’s mouse-gifting behavior from previous adventures, I tried to calm her down and assured her that the chances of a small mouse surviving the evening with two cats in a tiny house were slim to none and asked her, “Where are the cats right now?”

 

“Boo’s chowing-down and Molly’s spread-eagle on the couch,” she answered while gasping for breath. “And I’m not feeling so protected by these fur balls right now. If the truth be told, I’m feeling kinda freaked-out and that lump on the side of my head is totally throbbing. I’m not looking forward to going to bed with a mouse in the house, Lucie, and these cats aren’t making me or my throbbing head feel any better.”

 

Concerned with the fact that she said she had a sizable knot on her head, I asked, “Hun, how in God’s name did you get a bump on your head?”

 

“Well, she began, “Do you want the short version or the long version?”

 

“I just want the version that tells me if the mouse was involved,” I answered, while taking in a deep, cleansing breath. “Just give me the abbreviated version, please. I’m already on emotional over-load right now with my phone calls tonight, so please be succinct.”

 

“Well,” she again started. “The mouse ran. I chased it. Boo chased me and after the three of us were thoroughly pooped-out, Boo cornered it between the back of the desk and the front room closet, and then pinned it in the corner with her paw. I figured I could grab its tail and capture it and crawled under the desk to do just that; and when I did, Boo released the mouse and it jumped, scaring the hell outta me, and I smashed my head on the underbelly of the desk, losing the mouse for good.”

 

“I don’t know where the hell that flippin’ mouse is right now, Lucie,” she continued, “and I’m exhausted and my head hurts. I don’t know where it went, and it’s freaking me out. I need to go to bed, but I’m afraid the damn thing will end up curled up snoring next to me, and it’s making me crazy just thinking about it.”

 

“Listen to me,” I said to her aware of her fragile state of mind. “The fact is: you have TWO cats in a very tiny house with you tonight. You’ll be fine,” I said trying to assure her, but wondering where the hell the mouse went and praying that it wasn’t establishing residence in my thoroughly messed-up closet.

 

“Keep Boo hungry and go to bed. I guarantee you, Hun, you’ll be fine,” I continued all the while thinking to myself, “With her luck, the damn thing is gonna end up sleeping with her, and I’m not feeling too keen about putting our house on the market with a resident mouse.”

 

“Cazzo!”

 

So, we hung up and each went on with our evenings, and I eventually went to bed. The next time I heard from her was via a cryptic text at 12:45 a.m.: “Everything under control. Woke up to blood-curdling squeak. Turned on light. Saw mouse belly-up under kitchen table. Think it died from fright. Had startled look on face. Both cats with me when we heard last squeak. Oh well… Have a good flight home!”

 

Yep. Just another day in our crazy, wacky lives.

 

Have a great day, People, and I’ll catch ya the next time, looking at life from my shoes!

 

 

 

 

 

Lucie’s Day from Hell!

The Princess knew when she saw me crawl outta bed this morning, with bags under my eyes and hair looking like one of Methuselah’s daughters, that I needed to head straight back to bed, not pass go and definitely not collect my two hundred dollars.

Yep.

Well, being the little over-achiever that I am and not wanting to waste the day lollygagging, I got my walking clothes on, took a hearty walk and came home to start my day.

Uh-Hun.

Decided that my writing skills definitely needed some tweaking and that maybe a trip to the library to pick up a couple of books that author Dani Shapiro recommended would be the way to go.

Got my water bottle, checked my wallet for my library card, put my books to return in my book bag; and out the door I headed with the feeling that I was gonna do something good today.

I’m driving and singing Christmas songs with the radio and I arrive at the library, take a swig of my water (God forbid I get parched hunting for books at the library), grab my book bag and go to pick up my purse and lo and behold, there’s no purse.

Yep.

Drove all the way to the library and don’t have a stitch of i.d. on me.

Okeydokey.

So back home I drive and the storm that was supposed to hit us at 1 p.m. has arrived 2 hours early and is now wind-whipping the hell outta my Petey the Penguin Christmas decoration and other ornaments that I just put up 2 days before.

No big deal. I have all kinds of time to put them up, again.

I’m retired, don’t cha know?

In the house I go and think, OK, let’s put up the Christmas crèche. The storm will pass and you can pick up the books later.

Good idea.

Yep.

I’m carefully taking out my very old (very dear) crèche pieces and I noticed that one of my little donkey’s ears has broken off.

No big deal.

I found the piece. I can glue it. I just bought a brand new bottle of glue, so I’m good to go.

Hm…

Can’t get the glue outta the nozzle.

No big deal.

I take the nozzle off and get a little glue with a tooth pick.

Perfect.

Little Eeyore’s surgery was a success and we’re good to go.

Yep.

Well, have I mentioned how my cat, Boo, loves to jump up on our kitchen counters?

Yep.

Nasty habit that we’ve been unsuccessful in breaking with her.

So, while I’m busily setting up the crèche, Boo is on the counter searching for food and unbeknownst to me, tips over the uncapped glue bottle that slowly empties into my kitchen drawer that I left opened when I got out the tooth picks.

Have I mentioned that I have a nasty habit of leaving drawers and kitchen cupboard doors opened?

Yep.

The Princess has tried all kinds of reinforcement strategies to break me of this habit.

Doesn’t work.

She’s threatening to use Boo’s squirt gun on me  soon, if I don’t straighten up and fly right.

Yep.

Little did I know today that I’d be using Elmer’s All Purpose Glue for everything from Eeyore’s ear to all the little odds and ends in our junk drawer.

No big deal.

As a retired person, I’ve got all kinds of “extra time” to clean up messes like this.

Yep.

The mess gets cleaned-up, the storm dies down, my crèche is successfully laid out and I decide to tackle a trip to the library, again.

And this time, I remember everything – water bottle, book bag AND purse!

I’m nobody’s fool.

No siree, Bob!

So, I find the 3 books that I want on the library’s catalog system, but none of them are at my home library. One of the books has 76 copies of it in our library system, but not one of them is in my home library.

No big deal.

I’ll get an e-copy of it.

Yep.

I’m a county library person, don’t ‘cha know, and the county hasn’t purchased the e-versions of these books.

No sweat.

I don’t wanna improve my writing skills anyways.

Maybe Donald Hall’s, “Christmas at Eagle Creek” will be a better read for me during this season.

Bingo!

The library has Hall’s, 76 page, “Christmas at Eagle Creek”.

I’m good to go, People.

Got my Christmas music softly playing, my hot cocoa next to me and I’m settling in for the evening to tackle my 76 pages of labored reading when the Princess walks in the door and says, “I hope to hell you’ve had a better day than me! I’ve been walking around all day at work with my fly unzipped!”

Is it a wonder why our friends call us “Lucie and Ethel”?

Have a good one, People, and I’ll catch ya next adventure, looking at life from my shoes.

Boo’s a Pig! (or Maybe a Turkey! YOU Decide!)

Alrighty.

Boo slept through the night.

No yowling, hissing, growling, crying, chirps or caterwauling every 2 hours last night, so she can get fed.

No playing soccer with the pens, forks, plastic tape dispensers and other noisy items that we inadvertently forget to put away, and she knocks to the wooden floors to play with most nights.

And more importantly – no “jimmy legs” (a.k.a. “restless leg syndrome”) keeping me thrashing about in bed last night.

The Princess and I actually got to sleep like babies last night, and are feeling grand this morning; feeling just grand, don’t ‘cha know?

Uh-Hun.

“Right,” I’m suspiciously mumbling to myself.

Usually, I’m greeted by a yowling, tenacious, hungry Boo-Boo Kitty, as soon as she hears my feet hit the floor.

Today, though, I notice she’s nowhere near me and is actually quite contently sitting on the couch smugly licking her fat belly and paws.

I’m not  totally awake yet, but awake enough to know that “something’s not copasetic” with this cat, when I notice a slice of turkey meat, surreptitiously sticking out from the side of her cat dish.

Cazzo! (WTS!)

I look on the counter, and notice that when I went to bed last night, I inadvertently left-out the pound of sliced turkey, that I bought for the Princess’s lunches.

Cavola! (Holy crap!)

No wonder we slept through the night.

She fed herself!

Boo was chowing down on the expensive sliced turkey that I bought special for the Princess and we slept through her entire feast.

Madonna!

There’s only 4 slices left and the Princess already had her lunch made before she went to bed.

So, either the Princess made a sandwich with a pound of sliced turkey  in it, or this little bugger of a cat, licking her belly and paws, ate it!

Che Cazzo!

Oh well, at least she quietly took the slices out of the package and left 4 for the Princess.

What can I say? She’s a considerate cat!

Looks to me like she even used her cat dish to eat it in.

Who says cats aren’t discerning??

My little Boo Boo Kitty has class, which is more than I can say for her sister, Molly, who drinks with her PAWS!

It disgusts Boo and me, but like my 99 year old Aunt Molly always likes to say, “Cazzo! What ‘cha gonna do?”

I’ve got to go shopping, again, and stock up on more turkey meat, so I don’t hear any caterwauling or yowling from the Princess, when she sees she’s out of sandwich meat.

Have a grand day today, People!

Catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes.

 

Boo gets the Gun and Lucie gets Snubbed!

Alrighty.

 

For those of you that are “regular readers of my silliness”, you know the Princess and I have two certifiably wacked cats, named Molly and Boo.

Both cats have various “health issues,” which unfortunately, on more occasions than I care to admit, have indirectly caused  us to prematurely gray and acquire fluffy midriffs.

(Work with me here, People! You don’t expect me to blame the chocolate chip cookies for our fluffy midriffs, do you?! Stress can cause a myriad of health maladies! Among them, fluffy midriffs.)

Boo has a condition called “malabsorption syndrome” that causes her to constantly be hungry and “on the prowl for food.”

Like a newborn baby, my Siamese needs to eat regularly and howls (quite loudly) when she feels underfed – no matter what time of the day or night it is!

What drives me even more bonkers, though, is the fact that she jumps up onto our kitchen counter to prowl for food.

We’ve read all the latest info on what to do for this behavior, and have purchased more damn gizmos, than I care to admit, to try to change her behavior.

Ultimately, the cat deterrents caused us a great deal of pain and sent Boo merrily on her way with a smirk on her little face that basically said, “You dumb broads don’t have a clue what to do. Just meet my demands and everyone will be a happy camper.”

 

Uh-Hun.

 

Last summer, we started using a squirt gun on her and discovered that the little bugger doesn’t like the squirt gun.

 

Great, me thinks!

 

We’ll just use the gun from now on and we’ll be good to go.

 

Yeah, right!

 

If you know anything about Siamese, they’re smart.

 

Some smarter than their owners, and Boo is no exception to that rule.

 

On the other hand, Molly is cute, but a few fries short of a happy meal, as my Uncle Tony likes to say.

 

At least, though, with Molly, you know if you frequently feed her, periodically pat her head, and methodically make sure she has fresh water every day to dunk her paws into (so she can drink), she’ll leave you alone.

 

As long as you let her sleep wherever (and whenever)  she wants to, and leave her to hell alone for most of the day, she’ll let you share her air space.

 

God forbid, though, you pet her when she’s lookin’ cute and approachable, and DOESN’T want to be petted!

 

She bites.

 

Leaves your hand intact and doesn’t draw blood, mind you, but damn well lets you know to get to hell away from her!

 

Molly’s the Princess’s cat.

 

They totally “get each other” and eerily have the same disposition.

 

Boo, on the other hand, is my cat.

 

High maintenance, but a love-bug.

 

You can grab her by her tail and hold her upside down and she’ll just stare at you like, “Seriously? WTS are you doing?”

 

Doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, but can drive a sober person to drink, when she’s hungry.

 

Kind of like me when my Buddha belly is hungry and my BP drops.

 

So, the “squirt gun solution” seemed just the answer to our little problem, except “the gun”, as we now refer to it, always seems to be missing or inevitably someplace not easily accessible when Boo is being a naughty girl.

 

One day, when the gun was missing and we were yelling to each other, “Where’s the gun? Where’s the gun? Get the gun!” we coincidently noticed Boo’s slight interest in what we were yelling and happened to observe that she jumped OFF the counter onto the floor, saving us the trouble of finding the “blasted gun”.

 

Being the discerning cat owners that we are, we aptly decided that we’d start yelling this question/command on those many occasions that we couldn’t easily locate it, and have done so now, for quite some time, with a moderate rate of success.

 

By pure happenstance this week, I mentioned to my Tuesday Tea Ladies Group, that I’d noticed our new neighbors scooting themselves and their baby carriage to the other side of the street, when they spotted me out walking in the morning, and that it was a tad disconcerting to me.

I was relatively confident that I was free of lotion goobers, nose drool, face zits, ratty sweatshirts, and not sporting any odd looking blue rubber rain suits.

And I was definitely feeling unsettled by their perceived snubbing, and didn’t have a clue as to why they’d intentionally try to avoid me.

So, Ada, one of my more direct friends, flippantly comments, “WTF! You and the Princess yell, ‘Where’s the gun? Where’s the gun? Get the gun!’, on a regular basis, and you wonder why your new neighbors are trying to avoid you?!”

“I KNOW you (very well, I might add) and I’d run like hell if I heard you saying that every night!”

Uh-Hun.

Well, guess that little mystery is solved.

Be kind to each other, People! And if you’ve got a neighbor who’s a bit of a character and a “little different”, remember: Different is just different.

We’re all a bit odd, at times – some of us just a tad more than others.

I’ll catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes.