My Aunt, the Crazy Feral Cat Lady

feralcatlady
There are dog people.

There are cat people.

And there are people who prefer animals to people. My Great Aunt Fedalma, or Feddy Lorretti, as I called her the last year of her life, fit the last two categories to a tee.

This woman in my genetic pool was so complex an entire book should be dedicated to her and her idiosyncrasies; but I won’t tackle that one. Hopefully, someone in the family will. Lord knows there is a wealth of wacko for them to delve into.

But one of the most interesting aspects about this creative and aloof woman was her deep love of her feral cats.

Yes, my Great Aunt liked it wild!

For those of you dog peeps who might not be familiar with feral cats – they’re freaking crazy banshees from the wild – even though they might resemble cute house cats.

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Fedalma didn’t have lions, or tigers or pumas (insert joke here) in her 500 square foot shack hiding in the small town of Baldwin City, KS. She had too many longhaired cats to count. But each one had a body full of burrs, stickers and tangles. They were the kind of cats that you could scare a small child into thinking it was a guard dog or gargoyle.

I’m not sure they ever cuddled with my aunt, but she called them sweet names like “Peanut” and “Angel.” Like I mentioned…she was a tad off.

We only visited her a few times a year and I don’t remember ever getting a good look at any of her cats. They would run off like Animal Control was chasing them with a net and a cage.

But they had no reason to fear, because Aunt Fedalma cherished those cats with every fiber of her irrational self. Just like our crazy aunt, the rest of our family has always had cats. That doesn’t qualify us to all be crazy, mind you. We all have had to earn that title on our own merit.

When I was young, we had a dog for two weeks, but don’t ask – it’s a touchy subject and my brother and I aren’t sure of the accuracy of the details of his exit. I’m sure Randy has a lovely home now – or did. I don’t think dogs live to be 30 years old.

My hubby, on the other hand, grew up with dogs and much to my dismay prefers the big dog variety. The large, slobbery, faithful dog that leaves heated packages around the neighborhood, which you are required to pick up with your hand in a thin baggie.

Not my bag. I am an ex-poop toucher and plan to remain that way for the remainder of my life.

Unlike the hubby, I enjoy a small dog; but hubby will not hear of it. Something about yipping all the time and not shutting up – so we went with the obvious compromise…

2 kittens.

Once again, my family tree resembles a feline scratching post. The kind with branches, ‘kay! GAH!!

So when I heard that Not Your Mother’s Books was publishing another anthology on cats, I thought, “Hey, I love that show!!!”

Then I wrote an essay, which was just chosen to be in the new book, “NYMB…on Cats,” which will be out in September 2014.

Cats 450_rgb

I’m thrilled to be in another book by Publishing Syndicate. My first one was in NYMB…on being a Parent (September 2013).

I’d love to hear about your cat that pees in the tub or the feline that climbs into the tall cabinets, opens the box of Cheez-its and helps herself or the one that only pooped in the fichus tree. Good times!!

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Stacey

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Drama Queens Crying Over Spilled Yogurt

spilledyogurt

Do you happen to have melodramatic, or as I like to say “passionate,” children in your home? In the medical world, we say these creative kids are predominately using their right-brain more than the analytical or left-side of the brain.

At our house we are a 50-50 brain split. My husband, the engineer has his mini-version of himself (our cute – but girly daughter, Munchkin #1) and this writer/nurse/ex-theatre gal has a “mini-me.” (Prayers are welcomed!)

It works out great during family arguments as long as you don’t mind tie breakers to be implemented with every household vote. Coin tosses or Paper, Rock, Scissors usually do the trick.

A few years ago, when my munchkins were five and six, it was a beautiful day with the normal balance of whining and sweet giggles coming from my children. We had changed activities only 43 times and it was only 10:20am, so basically it was a smooth sailing day!

When out of the blue, a darting figure entered the kitchen, swiped a yogurt out of the refrigerator and without any warning, she took a strawberry yogurt and squirted it all over the hardwood floors. An odd practice for one of our girls, but who am I to judge?

Normally, the next thing you would hear is one of the munchkins hollering for me to come clean up their mess or one tattling on the other; but the strangest string of events occurred. A scream echoed from the other room, followed by soft cries that crescendoed into panicked wails.

“Mom, come quick! Yogurt… (sob, sob) …is…” Munchkin #1′s voice trails off into hysterical tears.

I slide around the corner to find a small yogurt container which has been jimmied open by young fingers. A tiny portion of the contents had dripped onto the floor. And for some reason, a tablespoon of the mixture is rubbed into a pink mitten. Why the children have mittens in May is beyond me, and why they are wearing them to open yogurt containers is something that only a child of mine could justify.

Normally my girls would NOT be crying relentlessly about spilled yogurt; or even notice they made a mess, but drama had ensued in the fullest degree. Without some sort of intervention, these young ones weren’t going to gain control.

After practicing some deep breathing exercises and various yoga poses to calm them down, their breathing returned to a natural pattern. I felt it was safe at this time to begin the interrogation process.

“So you wanted some yogurt for a snack? Good choice!” I smiled.

(They both nodded affirmatively, with lips quivering.)

Praising their efforts, I said, “Those yogurt lids are really hard to open, huh?”

(They repeated with the head nodding.)

I continued, “Boy, I hate it when yogurt spills on the floor, don’t you?”

“WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!” Munchkin #1 started crying uncontrollably again.

Ah, crap! What did I say? It’s freaking yogurt!!

“Please don’t make us get rid of our favorite pink mittens. I don’t want to give them to kids who don’t have any!” wailed the older child.

Sometimes when we lead by example to demonstrate kindness and goodwill, apparently it can backfire. I didn’t know this until that morning.

Perhaps I’ve have been donating too many clothes to good will lately.

Also, it might be a good time to start teaching them about the art of laundry.

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Graduation Video:Sunscreen (Fabu)

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LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL

bright and colorful children toys at poolside (family vacations concept)

So have you crossed over to the other side? To the days of summer? A time when all kids are exhausted from working so hard, that they have morphed into a pile of dirty laundry and returned school art projects.

Perhaps you have older children and finals are done. Since these teens lost so much sleep during the last few weeks studying, their nonexistent immune systems have caused them to come down with a case of the plague. Good luck to you all on that. No fun!

At my humble abode, we have one last week before the summer begins.

Five short days until the “start-of-the-school-year-countdown” begins. And then a part of me wants to curl up in the fetal position in my closet with a flask of something strong.

I know there are some parents who relish summer time with their children. They are the parents who announce on Facebook how they can’t wait to put together their color-coded calendar of exciting events for their family.

Who does that?!

And if they do, what are they giving up in their lives to be able to get it done? Sleep…sex? *gasp* Social Media!!!

These parents have to be afraid to let their negative feelings out or have patience of steel.

Or maybe their kids are a hellava lot better behaved than mine.

Not to say that my girls are juvenile delinquents. That couldn’t be further than the truth.

But they are kids!

Normal kids who bicker and are learning to get along with others. They are constantly working on sharing and trusting – and not beating the whoo-ha out of each other. These are life skills which are developed over time. And no one can claim it’s fun watching them go through this all day long for 90 days! It sucks.

So to most parents out there, who are nearing the last week of school…my prayers are with you.

All you others with perfect lives…

th

good luck not getting your permanent Sharpie marker on your linen blouse.

Here’s a little something I wrote for y’all. It goes a little sumpin like this…

LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL
by Stacey Hatton

One week of school,
One. Week. Of. School!
The kids underfoot
are beginning to drool.

Chaos is starting.
The homework, they’re farting.
Their brain cells are switched
to full on de-smarting.

I’m feeling the hairs on my head turning gray.
Or will I be bald by end of the day?
Because I do know in less than a week,
My house will be LOUD and I’ll start to freak.

The fighting, the WHINING!
The begging for shit.
Three months of torture -
Grab the wine, let’s get lit!

But then there’ll be times when we’ll play at the pool.
When I’ll hear them tell friends that their mom is still cool.
So I’ll try to quit bitching and enjoy the long summer.
We’ll head to the zoo before that is “a bummer.”

They grow up so fast.
Then they’ll move far away.
Will I have my Sunday call with the kids today?

As I pour into bed after all of the fun,
after playing with neighbors – enjoying the sun.
I’ll know that the fighting and whining is fleeting.
‘Cause without my loud kids, life sure would lose meaning.


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Ticked Post Office Customer Goes Postal on Blog

USA - CIRCA 2002: A Stamp printed in USA shows the U.S. Flag, circa 2002

Dear Post-Office-Counter-Jerkface-Disgrace,

I wanted to be the first to congratulate you, Sir, on your nearing retirement!

You look really great for your age because I thought you were closer to 58, and wouldn’t have dreamed with your government job you would be living the life of luxury.

But what do I know? I’m just a lowly customer writer who inconvenienced you at 9:00am by asking for a single PIECE. OF. TAPE!!

Really? You can’t spare a square?

I can see if I had shown up five minutes before closing time, and the line was out the door, and I demanded like a spoiled pretentious brat that you drop what you were doing and give me the tape – which I deserve – then you might be miffed.

Or if I resembled your evil ex-wife or the neighbor who backed over your favorite dog, THEN I might begin to understand your behavior.

Perhaps you thought if you gave me a small piece of tape for the corner of my box, which ripped on the way to the Post Office, I might then take advantage of you and ask you for money, or food, or shelter?

Did you think I was trying to move in with you? Silly man.

Tape dispenser
All I requested was a small piece of tape to fix the torn spot on the corner of my box, which I had – in the lobby at the kiosk – ALREADY paid WAY too much money to ship to a very nice friend, who deserved a gift showing how much I CARE ABOUT PEOPLE!!!

“We don’t have tape here,” was your smug retort.

There was no long line. It was well enough into the morning for you to have had your coffee. Plus, I’m sure I never hurt your dog or took 50% of everything that is yours. I would remember the latter. Oh, YES I would remember the latter.

I kindly asked for a piece of tape. That is all.

Don’t worry about my blood pressure as I stormed out of the lobby announcing, “That’s OK. I know that UPS has tape!” It began to stabilize as those words left my lips and continues as I write this love letter to you.

Anyway, I’m sure you were concerned for my wellbeing when I exited with laughter and small applause. By the way you treat customers, you appear to worry about people.

My suggestion to you, Mr. Post-Office-Traumatic-Stressor-Man, is that you might want to consider wooing customers. If I knew my job lay in jeopardy due to the instability of your company, I think I would be giving out prizes to the nicest person in line.

Stickers to the friendliest face to approach your counter.

A sucker for Mr. Angry Pants who is pissed he had to wait forever to buy his book of stamps, when he could have gotten them at the machine in the lobby.

What ever happened to the days when people were kind and friendly to others? Kill them with kindness. Turn that frown up-side-down. Get more bees with sugar than salt? OK, I’m not remembering that one right, I’m pretty sure.

I’m tired of rude employees. You are setting a bad example for the youth of our country, Mr. Tape Nazi.

“No tape for you. AND no soup!”

No, wait. That would be stooping to your level.

I’m going to go buy you a roll of tape and bring it back to you with a smile – and maybe a lollipop.

Because Damnit! You need to bring joy to others. Take that – and have a nice day!

Sincerely,
Mrs. Hatton

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