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Adventures in Cat Litter

I am sorry I have not written anything sooner. My life has been sucking pretty consistently. I plan on going to the doctor this week and maybe he can give me something for anxiety or just something that makes me sleep 24/7 for about a month.

Now on to our story, boys and girls.

Adventures in Cat Litter

My ex-husband, who I love dearly but do not want to live with, has been kind enough to not only take care of the four cats we had together, but to begin to take care of The Big Guy’s and my two cats. First he watched them just when we went to Florida, but he has them all the time now. I buy the food, medicine and litter and take them to the vets to assuage my guilt. Three of the other cats passed away, so he now has Blue, and my two cats Annie and Doodles.

He is a rugby fanatic. At least once a year he flies off to England to see the rugby internationals.

He calls me this past Tuesday, and tells me he is leaving the following day for England vs. Scotland. One day notice.  I am still on the road driving up from Florida at that point.

I go to his house, get his mail and his papers and in I go. The overwhelming scent of dirty cat litter is the first thing I am aware of. It makes my eyes water.

The cats are all miffed that Daddy isn’t there, and they are mad that they don’t live with me, so they slink off to punish me. Fine, be that way.

The next day, I decide to buy the best cat litter money can buy. It’s Arm & Hammer Clump and Seal. It’s $1,000,000 a box. I don’t care how much it costs as long as the house does not smell like the monkey house at the zoo. It’s guaranteed not to smell for one week. Sounds good to me. I lug the 80 pounds (no joke) of cat litter into the house and up a flight of stairs. The entire time, Annie flirts with me by lying down on the stair in front of me. I was literally dragging the litter up.

I decide in my infinite wisdom to dump the dirty litter in a double kitchen bag. Then I lose my wisdom I decide to wash the box in his kitchen sink (no my house anymore). The sink immediately clogs.

I bring the box downstairs to clean in the laundry tub. There is calcium residue all over the box. It’s like cement so I decide to soak it in hot water. I squirt in some bleach, and destroy my red shirt. Ok. I get it all dry, and do the same to box 2, but this time I spill some litter on the floor in the kitchen. I am smart this time and wash the box downstairs, bleaching my jeans this time.

Today was the winner. Last box. I thought the box was smaller than the other two, so I use a single bag. I pour the litter in, and it’s obviously twice as much litter as the other boxes. At this point, I am unaware of the first hole that is quietly trickling out litter and god knows what with it.

I stand up; make it to the front door with the extremely heavy bag of cat treasures, and just before I hit the front door suddenly the bag starts to leak. Like a sieve. Litter and everything else spills onto the floor. I grab another bag and try stuffing the leaking bag into the second bag. At this point the bag starts to hemmorage cat litter on the rug and his front porch. I must have cleaned up cat litter for 20 minutes. The new cat litter by the way, works like a dream.

Patty

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It’s Amazing I Survived Childhood Part 3

jump out of window

Here’s another episode about why it’s amazing I am still alive. I am not sure when I became aware of consequences, but I certainly knew it by the time I was seven and in the second grade. We lived on base at the Armed Force Staff College in Norfolk, VA. If you are not familiar with military life, imagine packing up all your stuff and moving every two years. If you had too much stuff to have in your apartment or house, you either stored it or threw it out. My dad enjoyed the latter. I found my Patty Play Pal in the trash room, and I reacted as though she was murdered.

Back to our story. I did not make deep personal friendships at the age of seven. I doubt anyone does. I played with the kids who lived in our stairwell building (think skuzzy apartment building). I am sure I did not pick my friends for their brains, but then again, this this story shows I wasn’t firing all my synapses, either.

Living on an Army base in the 60s was pretty ideal. The fort was gated, and parents kept an eye on each others kids. My dad was in charge of our building, and he took his job very seriously. There were storage rooms on the second floor of every building, and no children were ever, EVER allowed in them. The doors were always locked. When I walked by them, I always felt nervous. I always wondered what on earth was in there that had to be locked up. Treasure, monsters, what?

Life went on happily until one day my little posse and I were on the second floor and found one of the storage rooms unlocked and opened! I was the oldest of the group at seven. I remember April, May and June were there. I thought that their names were beautiful. Jeeze, who does that to their kids??? Their evil two year old brother Adam was there, too.

We decided to take a look. We all trouped in, each of us very nervous and excited to be in the forbidden room. It was just luggage! That’s all that was in there!!! I told everyone not to shut the door because it had a deadbolt that I would not be able to reach, and wouldn’t know how to open. Naturally, the stupid two year old slammed that f*cking door with an evil grin.

You would have thought my father was going to beat me to death for being in that room. I absolutely freaked out. If I had been paying attention, I would have seen all the other kids were pretty calm.

I yanked on the door, tried the knob and the door would not open. It must have automatically locked and needed a key for someone to get in. In my infinite wisdom, I decided I needed to leave the room to avoid being caught by my dad. I don’t know what I thought he would do to me, but it certainly wouldn’t warrant what I decided for my plan of action.

I was panic stricken. I decided the only thing to do was to JUMP OUT OF THE SECOND STORY WINDOW. Really. The old window opened very easily. I remember the paint was very chipped. By now the other kids were saying they didn’t think this was a very good idea. I thought this was an excellent idea. Every child for themself. I crawled through the window, and hung onto the windowsill. I remember Taps was playing (this is played when flags go down on bases). I knew that I would be ok, because Superman could fly, so I could, too. Oh my God!!!! I must have been so incredibly stupid! Really, really stupid. I let go, it took about a second to hit the ground.

God, it hurt. I lay there stunned. I had all the air knocked out of me, and I was gasping for breath. As soon as I landed, I realized I had made an error in judgement. By now I could hear the kids screaming and banging on the locked door, trying to tell someone I had jumped out the window. I dragged myself into the bushes and hid. That seems logical, right?

The kids must have been rescued immediately, because I could hear my family calling for me. Once again, I decided I was in trouble, so I just stayed in the bushes, quietly going into shock.

I started dragging myself from the back of the building to the side where our backdoor was. My brother saw me, picked me up and brought me in. I remember bits and pieces after that: driving to Richmond to the hospital, getting lots and lots of xrays, and happily watching The Flintstones in the ER. Everyone was saying it was a miracle that I survived. When we got home, all the parents came over to see me. I felt like Polly Anna, or Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz.

I cracked my skull. About 2 weeks later, I broke out in these funny bruises. I missed three days of school, and then went on to more high spirited adventures. My mom always told people I fell out of the window.

I say, I am crazy, but In a good way.

Adios muchachos!  

Patty

Once Again, I Fell Off The Face of the Earth

Hi Again,

I bet you forgot about this blog even existed. It’s ok; I almost did, too.

I’ve been back in Florida for three days. I know I whine about Florida a lot, but today was absolutely beautiful. We went to the Treasure Island Kite Fest, and it was perfect. It started out as a cloudy day, and later when the clouds blew away it was just beautiful.

Patty

Seahorses Kite Festival

Patty and the Nun and First Grade

tracing-number-2Alphabet Tracing
Raise you hand if you went to Catholic Elementary School. No, don’t I can’t see you! I don’t remember much about school until eighth grade which was hands down the worst school year of my then 13 years on earth.

I went to school on the first day of first grade wearing my little maroon uniform and matching beanie. Things went well until recess when I asked this girl if I could play with her and her little clique. Her name was Stella Mack, which I thought was perfectly ugly name. She said no! I sobbed like there was no tomorrow. Three little girls came over and said they would play with me. I don’t remember their names, but one I called Flat Top because her hair was quite flat on the top of her head. I went home, promptly fainted, and did not go back until after Thanksgiving vacation. By that time, I was reading my sister’s 5th grade reader with ease.

On the first day back to school that nun tripped me up. The nun (who we all called Sr. Mary Tissue Paper) asked me to spell the word “two”. I had no idea. I could read a 5th grade book, but I cracked under the pressure. I had to stand at by my desk while everyone else spelled various words. Luckily, there were few other illiterate children standing with me by the end of the lesson.

I went flying across the street to my house. Yes, I was one of those lucky kids that simply rolled out of bed and across the street. I also ate lunch at home most days.
So here I am, with one day of school under my belt, and it’s already December. I hysterically told my mom and aunt I HAD to learn how to spell numbers one through ten or I would be shot by a firing squad of nuns. I believe this was when my fear of nuns and organized religion began to rear it’s ugly head.

My mom and aunt drilled those words into my brain. I went back thinking I would ace spelling nine or ten, when that nun said it was time for the next subject. Arggh! I was not happy.

The other less traumatic things I remember from first grade were singing America the Beautiful and receiving a construction paper Christmas tree and gluing pictures from magazines on the tree. I remember tracing pictures of letters and numbers on mimeographed paper, and circling the word that started with a certain letter.

I also remember The Blizzard of First Grade. I walked over to school while it was snowing, and it continued to snow all morning. The nuns said walkers had to wait for a sibling to take them home, so while I waited for my sister, I made one of those construction paper place mats that we all know so well. Mine was red and green.

I went to school some more until one day my mom said that school was over. FOREVER I asked??? Just for the summer??? Damn it!

Patty Grade 1

This Old Trailer, Now On PBS

No, not really, unless PBS stands for Patty’s Best Sh*t. I don’t curse out loud, so I’m not sure why I do it here. Probably a little cathartic.

For those of you who are new to our program, we own a house in Delaware and a mobile home in Clearwater, FL. The Florida house was only $8,000. There was a reason for that. It was missing quite a lot of floor in the master bath, and the entire house was decorated in early 1970s schlock. The walls were fake grey paneling. The white wall to wall carpeting was black in many areas. The homeowner enjoyed cooking with massive quantities of grease while smoking stogies constantly. The walls weren’t really grey, they were brown. The house was disgusting, but it had good bones.

We basically have treated this house as a resto-mod, if you are a car enthusiast. We ripped out several walls, got rid of the kitchen door, and put in really nice kitchen cabinets.  I bought a lot of really nice designer furniture from a Vietnamese family that was moving from their beautiful home to Seattle. We lucked out.

The Big Guy (known as TBG for you Newbies) got his electrician’s license while studying to become an engineer. Very handy. He’s rewired the entire kitchen and living room. We are still trying to figure out why two circuit breakers in the box actually melted before we moved in. Gah. We have put up insulation and getting ready to button it up with dry wall.

One thing we did last year was paint the outside of the house beachy colors: aqual and coral. After we had it painted, people would drive by the house really slowly. People happily came up to us and told us how much they hated the colors. Our 80 year old neighbor didn’t talk to us for a month.

Time does heal; our neighbors love us again. We’re always doing something bizarre outside, and everyone here does enjoy good gossip. We make good fodder for the rumor mill. That’s ok. If you are going to live in a mobile home community, you’re going to be living with some really OLD people. Really old. I am one of the youngest ones living here. The park takes 40 year olds, but the percentage of Really Old has to be 75%.

So that is the back ground on This Old Trailer. I think in between talking about my wonderful traveling childhood and anything else I can think of writing, I’ll bring this up from time to time. Remember, if you want to experience the pleasure of restoring a house without the work, do this: stand in your shower with the cold water running, now start shoving $100 bills down the drain. Oh wait, that happened when we owned the sailboat. Yet another story.

Ah… the carport. The stairs on the middle left is gone along with that door. The ceiling is painted plain white and those awful shutters are gone. That’s it for now. Managed to stab myself in the eye with an oleander leaf. If I write later, you’ll know it didn’t kill me.

wcarport 201214123561921001412356220731d.  rug view from front door1412356140359  1412356210343