We've lived in Utah, Nebraska, upper Michigan and now we've settled in Colorado...at least for now! Marley is 10, Isi is 6 and Enzo is 4.

Life is great!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Confession, Some History and Cat Lady

I hate cats! Actually I hate dogs too. And I pretty much can't stand anything that has fur. There's the confession. Now before you get all huffy and think I secretly want to be an animal serial killer, it's mostly because I'm allergic to anything with fur.

Some history...

These allergies have been acquired over the years. When we lived in Montana many Saturdays in the summer I would go to my friend's grandma's ranch. It was called the Parade Rest Ranch (cool ranch name huh?) and their branding symbol was a backwards P with a forward R connected to it. Does that make sense? Read it again and picture it! I would show you a picture but when you do an image search for PR everything has to do with Puerto Rico and Public Relations and nothing to do with ranch symbols. I coulda seen that comin' but, oh well.

Anyway, I remember their branding symbol because I remember seeing the brands scorched into the animals flesh. Not the actual process just the after tattoo. I was fascinated and yet disgusted. In my head, "Wow, what a great idea! That way you know what animals are yours and if anyone tries to pass one off as theirs....BAM! check their permanent brand! I should probably do that to my Kimberly Doll, so Liz doesn't color red streaks into it's hair with a crayola marker and grease it up with Vaseline. (same thought sequence) They BURN that into their skin!?!?! How sad and GROSS!"

One summer my friend and I joined one of the short horse back riding tours and I started sneezing and wheezing. Soon the sneezing escalated into coughing and LOTS of sneezing. My eyes were terribly itchy and watery and I think they started to swell, probably because I was scratching and rubbing them. Andy the tour guide (who I had a crush on and who was probably around 23 and I was probably 9) was worried about me and kept making stops to walk back three or more horses and check on me. He eventually moved my horse to directly follow the butt of his horse so he could just look back every couple of seconds. I'm sure he thought that one of those big sneezes was going to blow me right off that horse. Or maybe he thought my eyes would swell shut and I would become so exhausted from all the sneezing, I would fall asleep and slide-drop off the side of the horse. Sneezing is exhausting!

We made it back safely to the ranch. Andy took me and my friend directly to my friend's grandma, Shirley. Funny how I can remember Andy and Shirley's name but I can't remember my friend's name. I think it was something really common like Jessica or Jennifer. Anyway, by this time I had a fever and a rash all over my belly. Shirley made me change my shirt and she gave me a light weight, white undershirt. She called my parents to come pick me up. And I don't remember what happened next but there was no rush to the emergency. The closest one was probably at LEAST and hour away. My mom probably just took me home and had me sleep it off.

I don't recall ever returning to The Parade Rest Ranch but we didn't blame the horses right away. At first we thought I was allergic to the cotton wood trees. After subsequent close encounters with horses and my body's violent reaction, we knew it was the horses.

And that is when I first became allergic to animals. To this day my most violent allergic reactions are directly linked to close proximity to horses...or horse hair.

Cats are number two:

Liz's friend Amber Wilhelm's cat was about to have a litter of kittens. I remember Amber Whilhelms first and last name because their family lived in the old LDS church! It was COOL! And anytime I could finagle my way into a trip to the Whilhelm's house I did! Anyway, Liz asked my dad if we could have one of the kittens once the Wilhelm cat had her babies. Our dad said that it had to match the rest of the family, so only IF one of them had strawberry blond fur. I'm pretty sure he didn't think their cat would have a red kitten but it DID! ONE! so we got a cat. We named him Walter Cronkitty but we called him Wally.

When we moved to California Wally moved with us. He died soon after the move though. He wasn't used to the heat or fleas. He never had fleas in Montana. He got sick and nearly died at the feet of my mother. He did have pride though and slugged his way to the garage and died there. My parents didn't want us to see him but I snuck a peek and he looked gross! He was laying on his side and he had ooze coming out of his mouth. Wally never gave me any allergy problems just as the horses didn't at first.

So this leads me to explain a little more about Cat Lady. And know that I loathe cats, but think it's hilarious when they turn on their unsuspecting owners. Ha!

We have a perfect view of the back of the building to our south. We can see what is happening on every body's balcony, which on most, isn't much! Cat lady had a bench and a chair on her cozy nook. She would often leave her balcony door open and let her cat wonder in and out of the apartment. That's how she became named Cat Lady.

One day I saw cat lady bring kitty out to the balcony and she proceeded to try to brush kitty. Kitty wouldn't have it and he fought and squirmed and scratched. Despite Cat lady's shocked and pained face every time kitty got a chunk of flesh with her claws, Cat lady was persistent and she continued to wrestle and attempt to brush kitty for a good ten minutes. Needless to say I had a good hysterical 10 minute laugh that day.

The climax was when Cat lady finally gave up and how she gave up. I think the violent defeat was inspired by some deep claws to her legs. She wrenched kitty from her leg, pained look on her face and threw kitty with avengence to the ground. I nearly peed my pants! It was SO funny.

Though I never met Cat Lady, my visual surveillance told me she was a mean and onery old lady (so much for not judging, right?). I imagined her apartment being immaculate, except for the cat dander that was probably everywhere.

Cat Lady also had a large man friend that would occasionally take up the whole bench on the balcony. He was really gross because he often had no shirt on or just had on a flimsy old t-shirt that had been made into a tank top. Ick! I gathered he was a friend because he was younger than cat lady...but, he I guess he could have been her son and he probably lived there with her, since he was so comfortable being shirtless. That would explain the computer that faced the window. At night we would see this computer from our window and the screen saver was a slide show of the most unsavory pictures. We never used to look out the window at night for fear the screen saver was on. But, I guess now we can. Yipee!

I hope they moved to a house with a private enclosed back yard. They need their privacy!

This post was inspired by your curiosity about Cat Lady and the book I just read, "A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small In Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. It's a memior of her childhood and it's hilarious! I LOVE THIS BOOK! You should read it!


Corn Husker said...

I'm feeling allergic just reading about it. Holy cow. Weird how allergies can develop like that. I'm glad you at least know your limits.

Melissa Bond said...

#1 sorry to hear you are allergic to fur, bummer!

#2 ZIPPY IS MY FAVORITE BOOK!!! Every book club I'm in I try to get them to read it (to no avail!). I found out there was a second book, but it made me a little sad, so I wouldn't recommend it. BUT ZIPPY IS THE BEST!!

Thanks for sharing!

The Wells said...

Just because I am the oldest, does not mean that every thing we did was instigated by me. Kimberly wanted her hair done. We used what we had at the time.

The Hungry said...

I'm allergic too..

I love Zippy! One of my favorites as well.