Curiouser & Curiouser

Life’s short. Get curious.

In Which We Try to do Good. And Fail Miserably. September 25, 2009

Filed under: pets,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 8:20 pm
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SoSadFully aware that certain combinations can lead to regrets (drinking+texting, lamenting+ice cream), I try not to speak or write when furious. At least not at first, and not anything the  public will ever see. In the past, such actions have only led to the firm implantation of my foot in my mouth.


Here’s today’s story anyway. Hopefully coherently written and not overly cruel.

For quite some time now, J and I have been contemplating adopting a little friend for us and Sophie. We were hoping to bring a male kitten into Sophie’s world before she’s old and bitter and hates everything new. Today, for some reason (okay, yes, we were scouring the “pet” category on Craig’s List which leaves nothing to blame but our own compassion), we were both overcome by the desire to get out and see some of the candidates in person. We looked at each other, we looked at the clock. We said, “Let’s do it.” And, giddy and excited, we grabbed Sophie’s old cat carrier (just in case, we told ourselves) and ran out the door.

The Humane Society is not far from where we live, and after a short drive, we pulled into their parking lot, promised ourselves to try to remain level headed, and in we went. I was surprised at how few cats were currently housed there. A few adults wandered the great cat enclosure they provide… and then there was Harpo. This 3-month-old black and white male kitten was playful and lively, and I liked him even though he was a little older than what we’d had in mind. Then, I picked him up. Harpo cuddled against my shoulder and placed his tiny soft paw against my cheek, then my lips. And I was ensnared. Hook. Line. Sinker.

Just in case (again), we decided to think on it, and drove down the road to the Animal Control center to look as well. There we found more adult cats and one tiny, tiny black kitten. Who was psychotic. We’re talking demonic possession. J found it entertaining to attempt to play with her without losing any blood. I was ready to go back and see Harpo again.

So we jump back in the car, drive back to the Humane Society, and revisit our little guy there. Everyone behind the adoption desk is excited to see us again. Harpo’s little brother had been adopted the day before, and the staff was rooting for him to find a new home, too. We filled out some paperwork, and one of the women was gathering together some toys and food to get Harpo started in his new home.

Then. The worst.

They called out apartment management office to check on the pet policies where we live. Which would have been fine. Our place allows 2 cats in one apartment. But then this woman goes on to ask if we needs to pay a deposit, and if so how much, and if so, do we need to pay it before we bring home a new animal. The answers: yes, $200 and yes. $200 for EACH ANIMAL. Whether it’s a 10 lb cat or a 150 lb lab. $200.

We’d already put down the $200 nonrefundable for Sophie. We thought THAT was insane. We also thought that this fee would cover another pet, and that we’d only need to tack on additional pet rent (also b.s. if you ask me). Not so, apparently.

The woman at the Humane Society told us we should just go get that “squared away” and that we could come back for Harpo the next day. We said “sure,” and walked out as if everything would be fine, knowing fully that we could not afford another $200 we’d never see again.

Fuming and dejected, the drive home was quiet and sullen.

Had that woman not called our property management and asked specifically if WE had paid for another cat to live here,  no one would’ve known the difference. He woud’ve had an amazing home and loving parents, and isn’t that what the Humane Society really wants for their animals? Was it not enough for them to see that animals are allowed in our homes? I know they don’t want to see adopted animals come right back to them. I get that. But there was no opportunity to defend ourselves, no chance to say, “Look. He’s going to be fine with us. Better than fine. Why the EFF are you ratting us out, you paranoid witch?!?”

(Remember how I said I don’t speak or write when I’m really angry?)

Needless to say, we’re still a one-cat household.



Sophie’s Choice September 12, 2009

Filed under: humor,photography — curiouserx2 @ 7:07 pm
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I told her the life of a model was no life for her… being the adolescent she was, she threw me an icy glare as the flashbulbs exploded. The rest – was history.

SophieCat 023

SophieCat 001

SophieCat 027


Bon Voyage… May 21, 2009

Filed under: Gabe,life,pets — curiouserx2 @ 2:33 pm
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gabexmasJust finished penning my hokey invite for our pirate themed going-away party. I’m not sure how much more official it can get.

We are moving.

In ten days.

I’ve been avoiding writing about it, but the most stressful part of the move preparation has not been packing, or reserving a truck, or forwarding the mail. The worst part was coming to the realization that Gabe could not come with us.

My ownership of Gabe was on the doomed side from the start. I am in no way, shape or form in a place in my life to own ANY dog, let alone THIS dog. But I wanted to help him so badly when we found him, I wanted to save him from potential putting down at the Humane Society. I thought I could find a way to make it work, at least until I could find him the perfect home. Two years later, he was still burrowing under my covers at night and terrorizing the other dogs in my neighborhood.

Gabe is… special.

He’s in no way a bad, or even aggressive pup. But, he’s got serious anxiety issues and often feels threatened by certain people and most dogs. In the two years I’ve had him, he’s learned to take the back seat to his owner – to sit for his food or before going in and out of doors and cars, to walk next to or behind me, to sleep in his own bed unless invited up to the big bed, to let go of the rope when I say so and to leave the cat alone (although, to be fair, she taught him that one). But the anxiety occasionally strikes and cannot be quelled regardless of what I do or don’t do, leading to shakes, whining or uncontrollable barking.

Gabe needs more help than I can give him. He needs more space to run his long legs. He needs heartworm meds, flee and tick repellant, annual vaccinations. He needs attention from someone who will be home more than a few hours a day. I’m struggling with all of these, and the move will only make it worse.

So, in one week, we’re taking Gabe to a new home.

Two years with Gabe only heightened my fear of the Humane Society. We’ve had time to bond. I’ve had time to see him as more than just a stray – as a little guy with a big personality and love to give if he can just chillax. So, as the move approached, I shifted into high gear in the search for a better place for him. E-mail after e-mail came back to me, either flatly rejecting us because our case was not dire enough or referring us to another resource that had already rejected us. A Facebook campaign turned up lots of desire to help, but no one able to take in a dog.

Finally, an e-mail popped into my inbox as I was about to leave work one afternoon. “Does he get along with other dogs? Is he house trained”

To which I replied, “Well, sort of, yes. And definitely yes.”

Roxanne, one of the board members of an organization called HART Animal Rescue, was willing to meet me in Jeffersonville (about 45 minutes south of Columbus) to pick up Gabe and take him to an animal care shelter in Cincinnati. From there, he’ll be placed with a foster family until a permanent home can be found for him. “No chance of euthanization,” she said. “We’re no-kill…. unless they kill us!”

And with that, Gabe was saved. My chest still aches a little when I think of Gabe’s fear and confusion as he takes this journey. But if, in the end, it saves his life and finds him a better home, then this is what must be done.

In the meantime, I’ve got a long weekend of QT with the Gabe monster, and we’re going to do it up right.

Even if it means marathon tug-o-war and naps on the bed.



Brought to You by the Letter ‘S’ April 23, 2009

picture-12Today’s subject:


I have to call it a subject and not a lesson, because anyone who knows me realizes I’m the LAST person to espouse on the wonders of a simple life. No, I’m the girl who’s dug herself into one of the most complicated situations you can imagine:

-I live with a musician/friend and her boyfriend in a little house that, until yesterday, has been under construction since the day I moved in (and I knew it would be this way going into it, but somehow thought that band saws running at odd hours and having to plug the microwave in on the couch would be okay??)

-I inherited a dog. Not just ANY dog, mind you. A little powerhouse jack russell with anxiety issues and a Napoleon complex. Thus, serious, continual training ensued.

-I work an 8-5 job that involves little of what I love to do (i.e. being creative, writing, editing, interacting with people), and leaves me with even less time to pursue those things outside of work.

-And still… I managed to get into some extracurricular activities. Namely the musical, which, as we near the show dates, takes up increasing chunks of my post-work time so that my days go something like this: Up at 7, at work around 8, use lunch break to run errands and take Gabe out, actually eat lunch at work, leave work at 5, go home and feed Gabe and take him out, grab something that resembles dinner, get to rehearsal by 6, rehearse until 10, home by 10:15, tend to Gabe, in bed by 11 (or 12). Repeat. 4 days in a row.

-Granted, I only live a couple of miles from J, but we still live in separate house, which means packing night bags, running home before work in the morning to let Gabe out, constantly shuttling between the two locations and perpetually leaving things at his house. (My forgetfulness rivals that of someone fifty years my senior).

-I move, on average, once a year. This does not help the situation any. Being in and out of boxes and in and out of spaces, the constant address changes, the job switching (if the move is out of town), the process of moving itself. And yet, I love a change of scene. I start to itch when I’ve remained still for too long in one place. (Masochism?)

As you can see, life is not exactly streamlined. I’ve been taking a long, hard look at things lately and have realized that changes need to be made or my sanity will pay the price. J apparently must have realized this as well, because one of my birthday gifts from him this year was a subscription to Real Simple magazine. I’ve read this publication from time to time, and for someone who lives in mass chaos, I sure do have a fetish for organization and simplification that Real Simple seems to satisfy. The problem is, until now, I’ve been doping on the doctrine without actually living it.

Suddenly, however, the idea of simplification has become a new mantra. Granted, it will take some time before I can jump on the wagon, but at least I’ve started chasing it. While it will involve not one, but TWO moves, J and I will finally be consolidating our resources and living under one roof. Our aim is to rent a house where we’ll be the only tenants, thus taking control of our living situation. I’ve just started a profile on a money management website to conquer my spending and credit card debt. I’m working towards a job that either involves my talents more earnestly or offers me enough free time to pursue writing and other creative work on the side. Also, in the new place, we’ll be able to control use of space and organization. We’re both interested in growing herbs and vegetables and learning to cook at home more.

And that’s just for starters. I never believed it whole-heartedly before, but they may have been on to something with the “Gift to be Simple” thing, because with increased simplicity comes increased serenity. It’s not to say we shouldn’t be driven in our pursuits, which sometimes can be stressful, but we do need to choose our battles wisely and streamline everything else.

That’s where I’m at. The chaos will necessarily continue until the summer, but at least I have a light at the end of the tunnel.

And Real Simple in the meantime.


(Need more inspriation to get simple? Check out this story: Yes it’s from Oprah’s magazine; whatever. I feel better having read it.)


Girl’s Best Friend (and Worst Enemy) March 8, 2009

Filed under: Gabe,humor,life,pets,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 2:54 am
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For the past couple of months – ok, let’s be honest, for the past year and a half since Gabe bounded into my mom’s car (and somehow into my life), our relationship has been a fairly constant struggle. The struggle goes like this: we get past one bad habit, he comes up with a new one. For example – we recently managed to make our bed off limits to him. We’d made the mistake of letting this little alpha jack russell burrow under the covers each night, when, the more we’ve read, dogs like this should not be allowed to sleep in the best spot in the house. That’s our place. So we got him his own bed, and, after a few nights (and some swift shoves off the end of our bed), he decided his new spot wasn’t so bad. Problem solved, right?


Now he has decided that in his less comfortable spot, he has trouble sleeping through the night and so is much more apt to wake up three or four times each night pretending he desperately needs to do his business, when, in fact, he needs no such thing.

I teach him to walk next to or behind me, he learns to get into the kitchen trash can. At the beginning of last week, he plucked two containers of leftover Indian food and a slice of birthday cake from the trash and devoured it all without any of us (there were 4 people in the house) hearing a thing. The only evidence was the remnant empty styrofoam. And that was some spicy food. Which explains why he spent the entire night expelling it – one way or another.

We found Gabe when he was already nearly a year old, and it’s hard to say what the first year of his life was like (although, a safe bet would have something to do with a double wide, several monster children and a couple of parents who thought Jacks were just adorable).What we do know is that he’s terrified of the wind (I opened the windows today to let the oddly warm air in and later found him smashed into one corner of the kitchen, trembling uncontrollably), he loves his rope more than anything in the world (yes, I think even me), he’s horribly antisocial (we’re getting better with people, dogs are still pretty rough) and he has the indefatigable energy of a ten-year-old boy afflicted with both ADHD and a crack addiction.

But he’s really effing cute when he’s asleep. (Which is about 5% of the time).

Seriously, though, as frustrating and even maddening as it can be to try to raise this little guy right, the moments of triumph remind me that I’m doing the best thing anyone could do (or did do) for Gabe.  Today on our walk, I stopped and said nothing. He stopped and sat down next to me. We’d worked on this ALL week. Of course, he never did it again without prompting, but that one little win made it all worth it. I’m serious, I think I almost cried outside of Byrne’s Pub. We have SO much work to do still, but when I read about how Jack Russels are one of the top breeds returned to shelters and pounds because their owners felt they were in over their heads (ie, “Wow. He was so cute as a puppy. We didn’t know he’d be so much work.”), and that, as “problem dogs” they are rarely re-adopted and therefore eventually put to sleep, there’s no question in my mind that the work isn’t “worth it.”

Lately I’ve been kind of hooked on Post Secret (, and I caught one at work the other afternoon that grabbed my heart and squeezed so unexpectedly that I was momentarily breathless (I swear to god I’m not as emotional as this post would indicate): “I’ve heard once you die, every dog you ever knew or loved comes running toward you to say, ‘Hi.’ That though makes me incredibly happy.”

Yep. Just let it soak in…..

You’re crying, too, now, aren’t you? My work here is finished. I guess my entire point is just that Gabe is showing me that I’m capable of a kind of responsibility and love I wasn’t sure I had in me. And it has been (and will continue to be) so effing HARD. And so be it.




“So… Cat Walks into a House, Right?” December 12, 2008

Filed under: guys,humor,nanowrimo,pets — curiouserx2 @ 7:06 pm
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…And the rest is history. emerson

Last night, I was lying across the bed, Gabe sleeping soundly next to me (who is MUCH improved – thanks to everyone who asked), trying to work up the gumption to go to the gym by way of reading my book (A Secret History by Donna Tartt – interesting, but the writing unravels a bit as you go; I don’t see it making the list). Anyway, my mind is going something like this:

ME: I really should go. Dinner was great, but it was huge, AND we had dessert AND I’m going out tomorrow night.

ME ALSO: Yes, but it’s like 14 degrees outside (it was, in fact, 35 degrees outside, my conscience exaggerates) and it’s been a very long day.

ME: But the holidays are coming and I should head them off at the pass, you know? Get the upper hand.

ME ALSO: Yes, but you’ll be wasting gas taking the extra trip out there, and if you move you’ll wake up Gabe and LOOK HOW ADORABLE HE IS WHEN HE SLEEPS.

ME: But I’ve put on a couple pounds due to a certain medication, and I really should do what I can to counteract its effects.

ME ALSO: Yes, but now you’ve got that pin-up girl thing going for you, which is both undeniably attractive AND you don’t have to work out as much to maintain it.

ME: Ok, now you’re just buttering me up.

ME ALSO: No. Really. I’d do you.

ME: That’s gross. I should go.

At this point, thankfully, the phone rings. It’s J, and he is speaking in hushed tones and being very mysterious, but eventually the story comes out:

Earlier in the evening, a door-to-door salesman came by. J sat with the front door open, chatting politely enough with the man, but also doing his best to get rid of him. As he feels he’s on the verge of wrapping up the conversation (AT LAST!), a tiny, gray blur whizzes past him and into the house. The salesman just keeps yapping on and on about lawn care or gutter cleaning or something, but J is distractedly looking into the house to see what has just invaded. He convinces the guy that he REALLY must go, and goes searching through the house for the wild animal.

In the kitchen, he finds it. Or him, to be more accurate. A diminutive, stormy-colored kitten, attacking the fringe on the Christmas tree skirt. J catches the little guy and gets him back outside, but the damage has been done: J has been chosen. The kitten remains on the porch, huddles himself in a little ball by the front door and cries his hoarsey, little squeak intermittently until J has no choice but to let him in the house to warm up. It’s getting colder out as night falls.

J feeds him some pieces of ham (granted maybe not the best kitten food, but whatever). By the time I show up, the kitten is following J wherever he goes – along the porch, over to the neighbor’s, up and down the street. Finally, we decided he must stay in the house overnight. No kittens perish on our watch. Fascinated by the house, the kitten’s a little skittish at first, but after J’s friend K brings over some food and litter, he begins to make himself right at home. The plan was to leave him downstairs on the couch with a blanket while we slept upstairs, but he curled up with us as we sat on the couch with him, and soon all three of us were asleep there.

J hasn’t named him yet, as there is still some question as to whether his two roommates are down with having a cat for a while. D is fine with it. He wouldn’t bring it inside himself, but as soon as J did, he was all about the little guy. B, however, feels it necessary to put up the Grinch front, refusing to show it affection and make an exaggerated show of his distaste for the thing, when clearly we can all see he actually thinks it’s as adorable as the rest of us do. (Why, by the way, must so many men do this? Both my brother and dad act this way with Gabe. Hmph.)

So, there you have it. Feline determination trumps my night at the gym.

And J gets a new friend.



One Sick Puppy December 11, 2008

Filed under: Gabe,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 3:27 pm
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pup11The Gabe Monster has fallen ill 😦

He awoke with standard pep (read: burrowing through the covers, stepping on J in an unfortunate spot, nuzzling his damp, little snout in my hair until I got up to take him out), but as I was getting ready for work, he suddenly became the victim of some… gastrointestinal unpleasantries. Having lost all his breakfast, the worst appeared over, but when I left he had curled himself on the floor against the couch in the living room (not a typical spot for the little guy) and was looking mightily dejected. We covered him up with a blanket, as he did not appear to want to move, and I had to leave. I wouldn’t write an entire post about my dog if I weren’t sincerely worried about him. If he were my child, I surely would’ve stayed home with him (the thought did, in fact, cross my mind). But he is, in the end, a pet, and although I may have a special place in my heart for this particular canine hellion, there’s only so much I can do.

At any rate, J will be checking up on him during the day for me, and I think my roommate will be home.

I just hate to think of him feeling so bad.

This girl is a softy. Afterall.

Who knew?