Tag Archives: Cat

Friday Dance Party: A Birthday Dance For Dad

For as long as I can remember, my father has sent me a birthday limerick. These poems are never naughty (because that would be creepy), but they definitely rhyme – and I always get a kick out of them.

My father’s birthday falls just a few weeks after mine.

This year I’ve decided I’m tired of giving him pajamas.

This year I’m feeling more creative.

So I’m giving him a dance.

(Not that kind of dance. That would be creepy.)

Let me explain.

Growing up, I remember my father singing two songs. The first is called “A Song of Safety.” Actually, I don’t know what the song is called. That’s just what I call it. Somebody must’ve created a public service announcement for children back in the day to make sure they weren’t crushed by cars. You know, “Always use the crosswalk and look from left to right” that kind of stuff. Because my father used to sing this wacky song me, I know all the words in the first stanza.  I don’t even know if there is a second stanza.

Anyhoo, I scoured the Internet in an effort to find this song, but absolutely nothing came up.

And we all know if it’s not on the Internet, it isn’t real.

The second song I remember my father singing to is the one I’m featuring today.

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 11.01.15 AM

Click on my nose to see me dance.

Happy B’day, Dad.

Hope you enjoy the song and my dance of appreciation and adoration.

And my big ole mane of hair.

What are some of your favorite birthday traditions? 

tweet me @rasjacobson

Teacher’s Pets: It’s Not What You Think

The dog formerly known as Mojo, 2009

Last year, at exactly this same time, we got a dog. The world was white and unbearably cold, and getting a pet seemed like a wonderful idea. We were dogless and surrounded on all sides by barky-barkers. We figured, how hard could it be, if everyone has them? Hubby researched carefully, making sure to find a breed that would be a good fit for our family.

Meanwhile I went to the breeder with my friend Cindy to meet “Lloyd,” a yellow Labrador puppy who was soon to become part of her family. They don’t make ’em cuter than that, folks. He was freakin’ adorable. But I also remembered how two summers before she’d brought home these two freaky Wheatland terriers, and she hated them. Hated. Them.

“Do they smell? I feel like they smell,” she kept asking.

I swear Cindy lost 10 pounds in the few days she had those dogs, and they quickly went back to the breeder.

Around the same time, I’d been following the trials with another friend’s new puppy for nearly four months — and it sounded like hell. All his Facebook status updates sounded like misery. Eventually, he returned his Labradoodle to the breeder. I had recently read Marley and Me, so I was nervous about lineage and more than a little anxious about making sure to pick the right dog from the litter.

I expressed my concerns to my husband who reminded me that I had successfully babysat my sister-in-law’s adorable shih tzu, Roxie, for two days.

“And I enjoy Brian — the cartoon dog on The Family Guy.” I quipped, “Can we find a witty, talking dog?”

Anyway, I told my family I was really nervous about this decision. I told them I’d never had a dog, that I didn’t really want a dog, but my husband kind of wore me down, promising that he would help with everything. He would pick up the dog poo every day. He would feed the dog. He would change the water. He would play with the dog. I wouldn’t have to do anything except enjoy him.

I know people love their doggies like family, but I kept thinking of them as eternal babies and I couldn’t figure out how we would ever be able to take a spontaneous day trip ever again. Everyone kept telling me I was just nervous about the unknown. I don’t think that was it at all. In fact, I think I knew too much. For example, while discussing the whole concept of getting a dog, I was at a friend’s house, when her Maltese got the “Hershey squirts” all over her rug.

Her. Good. Oriental. Rug.

And when Noah (a good-natured yellow Lab) came to live with my friend Betsy, he promptly swallowed a hair accessory and it was barfity-barfity-barf all the way to the vet. Another friend’s dog compulsively ate socks and had to have several emergency surgeries. Another friend’s dog kept getting foot infections. One of my brother’s dogs had weird phobias and tore through doors during thunderstorms. And, of course, we had all these barky dogs surrounding us – which could be a little unpleasant. Did I really want to own a dog?

I decided if Hubby wanted a puppy so badly, he would need to make the action steps, so I took one giant step back.

Big mistake.

Because the next thing I knew, we had a 4-month-old shih tzu. And while Hubby had said he would “do everything,” he simultaneously decided that first weekend home with the dog would be the perfect time to take a long weekend to go golfing with some buddies in Florida. So Hubby left me at home alone for four days with our brand new puppy — Mojo — who, to be fair — was a quick study about doing his business outside. But it should be noted, he didn’t seem to mind peeing or pooping inside, and he especially liked chewing on his feces after the big dump, so one had to be quick to catch him in the act.

After two weeks, I couldn’t take it anymore. Our son had stopped coming in the kitchen to avoid Mojo, who liked biting Monkey’s toes. So I asked my son, point-blank, if he would be sad if I brought the dog back to the breeder.

“Well,” he said cautiously, aware that he was operating between the clashing wills of his two parents. “I wouldn’t be particularly unhappy about it.”

This was not the voice of a child who loved his dog. There was no crying, no begging, no bargaining.  I told Hubby I would no longer be picking up “poopsicles” in sub-zero temperatures, informed him that I had called the breeder and was more than 100% prepared to lose my Mojo.

There are several good parts to this story and this is where they start: First, I did not have to bring the dog back to the breeder. My husband’s brother and my sister-in-law, who live less than 1/2 mile away, said they would love to have a second shih tzu, and I was delighted to give them everything. That. Very. Minute. So Mojo was renamed Rubie, and their dog, Roxie, got a sister, and Hubby still gets visitation rights. The dog still eats his poop, but they are way more mellow about that than I was.

Fast forward one year. Almost to the day. Hubby calls me and tells me to come to Petco.

Hubby: “I think you should come to look at some aquariums for Monkey’s room.”

Me: “Who cares. Fish is fish. Just pick one.”

Hubby: “Meet me at Petco.”

Hemingway in my coat – 4 months

When I walked in, I saw Hubby holding not one but two gray kittens. I almost died. I have wanted a cat for my entire life. In fact, right before I met Hubby, I was about to get a cat, but when I mentioned my plans, Hubby said he thought he was allergic, so I never followed through. I figured the whole cat thing was never going to happen.

Somehow we wound up with Hemingway, an all gray, short-haired, polydactyl cat, which means he had nine million pads on his paws. (Really, he had seven pads on each of his front paws — fourteen big fat pads, which he kneaded softly against my chest or leg or arm.) He was purr-fectly purr-fect in every way. To me, he was better than a dog because he loved to be cuddled and held and hugged — and he always went in his litter box, so none of us had to go outside in the bitter chill of winter. Hemi loved to chase ping-pong balls and wadded up balls of paper and string. He seemed to love us, and we all fell in love with him. He greeted us every morning for two weeks with a happy “meow,” and I was content to sit and read with him on my lap, his mutant paws draped lazily over my arms, the constant purr of his “motor” was always turned on.

Then on day 14, it happened.

Hubby started scratching. Initially, he complained about his eyes feeling like there were pebbles underneath his lids. But by the end of the day, the pebbles had become boulders and — much as we tried to deny it — it was obvious: Hubby was, in fact, allergic to cats. And, of course, we were all devastated when Hubby had to bring Hemi back to Habitat for Cats, as we’d all become very attached to the little guy.

They say some folks are dog people and some are cat people.

Sadly, I guess we are the people who can’t be either.

“Maybe we can get some cool fish,” I said trying to cheer my rather glum Monkey.

“I’m tired of the pet drama,” said Monkey, “Knowing us, our heater would accidentally boil the fish.”

So, for now, we are back to our former petless status.

But it is a little sad.

Maybe by winter 2011, we’ll be emotionally ready to consider a goldfish.

Somebody, tell me your own pet drama to make me feel better.

Cat Fight

photo by steelheadwill @ flickr.com

Back in April, hubby and I went outside to play a nice light game of tennis, just to bat a few balls around – no need for keeping score, no problem with hitting a ball that had bounced three even four times.

In the middle of our friendly little game, a cat jumped from the top of the fence surrounding the court into a nearby tree. Squawks ensued and shplat! — a whole nest of baby birds fell onto the court, right at hubby’s feet. One was critically injured. Its neck appeared broken and its legs were spread out in odd angles. Two others hopped off into the nearby bushes to take cover, trying to escape impending doom. Meanwhile, the mama bird screeched loudly. Shrieking, I imagined she was frantically calling, “My babies! My babies!

Looking up, we heard the cat mewing. He appeared to be stuck way up in the tree. I felt sympathy for the cat. Hubby was for the birds. (Pardon the pun.) “Maybe we should help the cat down,” I suggested.

Hubby shook his head. “This whole scene has made me sick. Let’s go home.” He packed up his racquet while I sat down on the concrete and decided to wait for the drama to unfold. I was thrilled. I think I even licked my lips. (Meow.)

Finally the cat made his way down from the tree and stared intently into the tennis courts, trying to figure out how to get inside so he might enjoy his new feathered playmates. Meanwhile, hubby was begging me (now, from outside the fence – saying things like, “C’mon,” and “Let’s go!”).

I knew what I had to do.

I walked outside the fenced-in area, assumed a squatting position, and cooed towards the cat. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty. C’mere kitten . . .” I sang as I opened the gate leading to the court. The cat cautiously stepped onto the green cement, then turned back, looked at me with gratitude, and went on to find the maimed bird with the splayed legs.

It wasn’t a vicious or bloody attack. The cat simply pounced lightly on the little, dying bird and after a few smacks of his kitty-lips, the wee-winged fellow was gone and the cat strutted off the court, disappearing behind some trees.

I left the court feeling I had done the right thing in helping the cat to put the bird out of its misery. I figured if I were dying, I’d rather have someone snuff out my breath than let me gasp and twitch and suffer needlessly.

Obviously, that’s just me.

On the way back home, my husband would not look at me, let alone hold my hand. He fumed, “Why did you help the fucking cat?”

When death is inevitable, would you prefer to let nature run its course or would you rather help things along?