August 2010

Nothing is as motivating as having parenthood on the horizon. It’s like part of us is dying, but in the most pleasant way possible.  My associate and I are crossing things off a “to do before baby” list, and although pleasant, a lot of these things are taking place of Sunday naps.

Recent accomplishments include:

–  A trip to the Ukrainian meat market in Lower Manhattan.  The butcher has another name, but all I remember is the MEAT MARKET sign and piles of sausage.  Richard didn’t get 32 lbs of kielbasa, but only because they didn’t have that much.  I spent the entire visit trying to think of good Ukrainian jokes, but all I really know about them as a people is that they appear to have a great selection of mustard and like Swiss chocolate, and I learned that just by waiting in the store.

– My pants have been unbuttoned for four months.

– Visited pals in Brooklyn.  Thanks A & B!  You’re excellent hosts and your home is beautiful.  I hadn’t been to Brooklyn before.  The neighborhoods we stomped around were really nice.  And people offered me seats on the Subway.* I immediately bought a fedora and a romper upon return to Richmond so that people can admire my Brooklyn style (just kidding — but I did immediately eat an entire bag of Temptation trail mix from Trader Joe’s as we drove away from the place we were staying).

-We’re in the process of watching Bunk slowly eat a tiny painting.  It’s weird that I made that a goal of things to do before I had a baby, but I guess I have done so much with my life that I don’t have much else to do.

– Discussions are ongoing, but we’re also in the process of figuring out how the most popular child’s toy (according to is not actually a dog toy.

Babies = dogs.

Still so many things to accomplish before November, including:

– Finish first draft of my novel.  This is a real thing!  And I’m so close!

– DC, Baltimore visits.  One is already planned and involves Superchunk.  The other is unplanned but would involve  Bergers and crab cakes, of course.

– Have the people over for dinner that we have been saying we’ll invite but still haven’t (I’m looking at you, uh, everyone).

But, honestly, at this stage, just a Sunday nap looks pretty good to me.

*I feel like I’m saying everything wrong — is it called a subway?  Is is called lower Manhattan?  Is New York Pizza really just pizza that you can get anywhere but just say it’s like what you get in New York?  Did New York-style pizza marketing happen before a New York-style of pizza was invented?  I DON’T KNOW.

It’s no secret that I’m not passionate about being a cat owner.  In fact, you might call my attitude “indifferent” or “hateful.”  But they are our problem, and I could not in good conscience pass them on, unless it’s to someone who hates his/her house.  It’s unlikely that we will ever turf them.  So, in another “anything but setting up the baby’s room” project, I am attempting to get Ely from sitting on the dining room table.

Since our newish couch is already fried from scratching, I feel like the dining room table is the last stand before just giving up the house completely to the animals and living in the shed.  My previous efforts of screaming, crying, throwing things, and using a spray bottle didn’t work, so I finally consulted what should have been my first stop,  I get tips for the dog from there that are generally very helpful.  It never occurred to me to check the site for cat training because I didn’t know that was a thing.  Of course, its list of what not to do for table and counter jumpers is exactly everything I had been doing.

Plan A of Operation No Cat Hair On My Dinner Plate is:  “You can dissuade your cat from entering banned areas by using ‘environmental punishers,’ which punish her remotely, without you being present. Cats are sensitive animals, so it’s never a good idea to shoo a cat away with your hands or threaten her with a spray bottle. Too often, your cat just learns to be afraid of you. Instead, arrange for the environment to punish your cat directly. For instance, if your cat likes to jump from the floor onto the kitchen counter, balance some lightweight cookie sheets on the edge of the counter. When your cat jumps up, she’ll land on the sheets. They’ll move and possibly topple over, making some unpleasant noise while she leaps back onto the floor. Your cat shouldn’t be harmed by this experience, but she’ll be unlikely to risk jumping on the counter again.”

The table is now covered in baking sheets.  I only have so many things that I can put on the table that could make a loud noise and not break and/or end up in the dog’s mouth.  It’s laid out poorly, so although he hasn’t been on it much, he does manage to hover over the muffin tin and nestle in between all the clutter.  Also it looks stupid.

Plan B is this:

Snappy Trainer

It’s the Snappy Trainer, which is the same idea as above but doesn’t involve cookie sheets, and he can’t see it until he gets on the table.  It doesn’t harm cats, just causes a shock when it collapses on itself.

If those two things fail (which, let’s face it, they will), the final plan is that I hope the baby scares the shit out of the cats and causes them to lay low at least until one of us has time to pay attention to them again.

Disclaimer: Do not feel bad for our cats.  We’re not cruel to them.  They get fed and live in clean quarters (or, in their own filth, which we will clean).  I have had Milhouse for 10 years and she’s my girl.  And what she lacks in energy Ely makes up for her.  When I’m good enough to want to play with him he’s the best for that.  However, the moment I learned I was pregnant I could feel my love/interest in Ely and This Old Milhouse drop.

I had been reading on different websites, like Ohdeedoh and babycenter about cats and new babies, and it’s been both encouraging and outrageous.  Most people say that their cats are afraid of the baby and will just stay away from it, but I’m not so worried about the baby as I am about the baby’s things.  Tips on getting the cats used to the baby are an exact match to my list of “ways to get your cat to pee on a baby blanket left on the ground.”  Also, the poor pregnant woman who wrote about how she wants to get rid of her husband’s cats was e-shot and e-killed for suggesting it.  Guys, cats are assholes.  Their purpose is to kill household pests.  After that they either just sleep or try to see what the inside of your mattress looks like.

Plus, my dad made this desk for me:

Although I’ve only had it for a week it’s already my most-prized possession.  If Milhouse sleeps on it or the cats throw up on it I will set them free.