The Ultimate Thief (#298)

Both our dogs were rescues. Our second dog, Fey, was rescued from the streets of South Central Los Angeles and never forgot it. She was loyal, well-behaved, and obedient.

And then there was Woofie. Our first dog ran away repeatedly. He went to science class at the local school. He created bizarre insurance claims. He dug up the yard. He snuck up on the furniture, curling up in Andy’s preferred recliner.

But worst of all? He was an unrepentant thief. Woofie stole socks. He gobbled up pot stickers cooling on the counter. Cookies could not be left unsupervised. Guests holding beers had to be warned that Woofie would try and knock over their drinks so he could lap up a cold one.

Woofie’s destruction decreased slightly after we adopted Fey. He stopped stealing socks. Toys lasted longer. Before Fey, he used to eviscerate even “indestructible” dog toys in under two minutes. After Fey, some lasted an hour—partly because Fey was quicker and got the toys first (even though Woofie always stole them in the end). We once gave Fey a special stuffed toy in the shape of a cake with candles that played “Happy Birthday;” she gently tossed it in the air and played with it for days, knocking Woofie down (and NOT gently) every time he tried to steal “her” toy. That cake toy lasted for almost 3 weeks before Woofie got it alone for thirty seconds and tore off the candles.

Woofie’s thievery evolved when our son was born. Baby D acquired stuffed animals by the bucketload. We’d have been grateful if Woofie had destroyed any of them, and so of course he ignored all of them. Instead, he lived to steal and eat Bob the Builder AND Thomas the Tank Engine, which sent Baby D into a towering toddler rages.

Here’s Woofie, visibly distraught that Baby D has stolen both his dog beds.

Baby D retaliated by trying to steal Woofie’s dog beds. Since Woofie outweighed Baby D by 60 pounds and could lower his center of gravity twenty feet below the earth, Baby D was unsuccessful in anything but getting his face licked.

Karma for our canine thief arrived in the shape of a cat. Boss Cat liked dogs; she especially liked smacking them in the face. While Woofie outweighed Boss Cat by even more than he outweighed Baby D, he respected Boss Cat’s formidable right hook.

We thought Woofie was the ultimate counter surfer…until we put Boss Cat on a diet. Nothing was safe. She stole cheese. She ate the yolks out of mooncakes. She ate the middle out of Thanksgiving pies. Cooling cookie carnage was constant during pre-Christmas baking. She stole rice, tofu, and even broccoli.

Screams of, “Ahhhh! CAT!” were common in the kitchen. So were yells such as: “I need to pee! Can someone guard the food?!”

We got a stainless steel breadbox. We had two squirt bottles to repel feline raids. Boss Cat’s onslaughts continued.

If food hit the floor, Boss Cat always got to it before Woofie. (Often she was the one who threw it on the floor.)

Woofie was left with no food to steal. But cat karma wasn’t done with him yet.

Boss Cat took the recliner that Woofie had rightfully stolen from Andy. He whined and poked her with his nose. She whacked his muzzle. Woofie was left to sit and stare at her with big, sad, puppy dog eyes. Unlike soft-hearted humans, Boss Cat was unmoved. She cleaned her butt and went to sleep.

Woofie retreated to his dog bed with a sigh.

Andy, who was firmly Team Dog, reclaimed his recliner from the cat. Boss Cat went to Woofie’s bed and curled up behind the dog.

“Aw, look, they’re buddies,” Andy said.

“Give it a minute,” I replied.

Boss Cat gradually uncurled, extended her claws, and pushed Woofie off of his bed.

Hard as Woofie tried, Boss Cat was the ultimate thief.

Or perhaps she thought everything simply belonged to her.

Boss Cat in mid-shove.

The Extortionist (#281)

Our new cat didn’t just come with attitude. She also came with a serious weight problem. Boss Cat was big for a female cat, with large feet, a long body, and a very long tail. But you couldn’t say she was merely “big boned.” Like Garfield, her belly bulged over her feet. She could only play with a string for about 2 minutes before she got winded, even though she was only 2 years old.

We promised the rescue group we would put her on a diet. We bought  special “Fat Cat” food and doled it out by an eighth of a cup.  At the time, I wondered why her foster dad had let Boss get so fat.

After 2 days, I no longer wondered. Continue reading The Extortionist (#281)

New Cat (#278)

When my husband mellowed on the subject of a new cat, I contacted the group that had rescued our dog Fey from the streets of Los Angeles.

“We have a big dog who tries to play with everyone and everything,” I explained. “We mostly trained him out of chasing our old cats, but Woofie’s not totally reliable. Do you have a cat that’s okay with dogs?”

The volunteer said, “Oh, do we have a cat for you!” Continue reading New Cat (#278)

Valentine’s Day: BC vs. AD (#276)

I titled this post “Valentine’s Day” because it’s the season, but really? Valentine’s Day is a euphemism for sex. Romance, too, but mainly sex.

In our house, BC stands for “Before Children.” Back during Valentine’s Day BC, my husband snuck home from work for “nooners.” We had sex whenever we wanted, but there was always guaranteed sex on Valentine’s Day, his birthday, and our anniversary.

AD stands for “After Dalton,” our son.  Valentine’s Day AD? Bahahahaha.

I learned from sisters and mom friends that’s normal. If you’re a halfway decent mom, sex and romance disappear after kids.

It’s not because you didn’t try. Wait, let me rephrase. It’s not because you didn’t want to try.

Okay, maybe it is because you didn’t want to try. Continue reading Valentine’s Day: BC vs. AD (#276)

The Ballad of No Baby Brother (#274)

I have a lot of relatives with Asperger’s and Adult Residual Asperger’s. Same for my Chinese-American husband. I was prepared for our child to be, at the very least, a little introverted.

Baby D was not. Baby D craved human interaction. He never liked playing with toys by himself. He was fascinated by other children. Once he was mobile, he enjoyed swim classes with other kids, playdates, and even Childwatch at the local YMCA.

When I hovered while dropping him off at his first day of preschool, my three-year-old waved a dismissive hand and said, “You go now, Mommy.” Continue reading The Ballad of No Baby Brother (#274)

Felines & Persuasion (#273)

My child was always fascinated by cats.

My cats were only fascinated by my child when he was an immobile source of warmth. The minute he developed enough motor control to grab their fur, the cats were out.

Bat Cat and Commando Cat had been my pampered bachelorette cats. They grudgingly adapted to both husband and rescue dogs. But small fingers pulling fur? Hell no. They hid up in their scratching posts or heated cat bed.

Baby D had a boy-loving rescue dog who would have happily played chase or keep away with him for hours. But Baby D was contrary. He scorned the in-your-face, I-love-you-so-much creatures. He wanted the ones that were hard to get.

“This,” I told my husband, “does not bode well for his future dating life.” Continue reading Felines & Persuasion (#273)

Dirty Baby, Healthy Baby (#270)

Unless it’s in his garden, my Chinese-American husband doesn’t notice dirt. I’m the one who notices when there’s pet hair piling up and hauls out the vacuum—usually every few days. I like my house neat, especially if we have company coming over.

But once our high maintenance, non-napping Baby D arrived, the vacuum disappeared into the hall closet, sometimes for weeks.

We soon had two dozen dust bunnies to go with our two dogs and two cats. Continue reading Dirty Baby, Healthy Baby (#270)

Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)

There were two great things about being taller than my older sister by age five.

  • She couldn’t beat me up anymore.
  • I didn’t have to wear her hand-me-downs.

Instead, I got a new dress for the first day of kindergarten. My parents actually asked what color I wanted. I wore that dress at least twice a week until my growth spurts made it into a crop top. Continue reading Hand-Me-Downs & Halloween (#266)

Fun Dad (#264)

I was primary caregiver to our son. This meant that I was also primary disciplinarian, Sayer of “No,” Destroyer of Fun.

It’s no picnic parenting a headstrong, contrary child. Ideally a parent can redirect a toddler to a non-destructive activity. But sometimes, you just gotta say no. Then you have to back it up with consequences. Otherwise, you’re raising a privileged monster who flouts the rule of law and does whatever the hell he wants. (You know, your basic born affluent white man.) Continue reading Fun Dad (#264)

Autumn on the Edge (#262)

Nursing moms never sleep in. Not on holidays, and not on weekends. Even if you could sleep through a crying baby, you probably can’t sleep through aching, leaking boobs. So up you get at 4:30 AM, changing the baby, feeding the baby, and then maybe entertaining the baby if baby is suddenly wide awake.

After all, your poor partner works hard all week, providing for you and the child. There’s probably a stressful project at work, or maybe he had to travel. And since you’re already up, you take a last, wistful look at your comfy bed before closing the door and letting your husband sleep in.

You don’t know it, but you’ve taken the first step to divorce.

Or murder. Continue reading Autumn on the Edge (#262)