Sep 17, 2006

I'm NOT Jealous of My Cat!

It's the little foxes that spoil the grapes, so the proverb goes. It's the little negligible things that can sneak up and steal the joy out of the big things in life.

Like the fact I am at my second café in one morning searching for good coffee, wi-fi and peace to write. The first café had good coffee, and it was peaceful. Because they have NO wi-fi whatsoever. I was the only person in the place. I give them six months before they get wi-fi or go out of business.

So I went down the street to Synergy. Where they offer "free" wi-fi, but they just posted a sign asking you to purchase $7 of food each hour. Hey, even at the stingy Circus Circus hotel, they gave you a full 24 hours for $10. And now they're playing the radio REALLY LOUD. So loud I can't think. And they're on Satellite radio, which specializes in crazy niche markets. Today the radio is turned to Cubano dance music. Cut rate Buena Vista Social Club stuff. Over and over. They did throw in one Mark Anthony song, which was meant to be a relief, and then went back to the Desilu maramba.

The women working behind the counter are two Latinas in their forties. They're wearing thick makeup and pencil thin eyebrows. Maybe they're related to Tito Puente. I should feel OK asking them to turn the music down un poquito solamente, por favor. But I only bought a $4 latte, not a $7 one. But, wait. That gives me 40 minutes of a say around here. I look up at their delicate pencil-thin eyebrows, and it gives them anything but an approachable demeanor.

I cut my losses and leave. One coffee with no wi-fi, a second with Tito Puente gone to 11, means I just spent $8 and got no writing done.

Yeah, Larry and I haven't blogged in goodness almost a week. Which would make an avid reader worry: either things are really BAD chez Wilsons, or really REALLY good.

It's neither/nor. Don't get me wrong, we are REALLY enjoying our newfound connubial state. Everything from the great sex to the automatic coffee maker (thanks, Julie and Paul!), and the mini barbecue grill (thank you Bonnie! Larry passed out with joy). And the fact I've got a 24/7 conversation partner and lover and friend and leader whom I admire and enjoy. I love being married. Thank GOD I married the right guy.

But it is a huge adjustment. Much harder for Larry I am sure, because he's the one who left his neighborhood and moved into my place. And my place is small. This is temporary, but you only live in the moment. we're doing really well, but we've had some challenges too. Ones I would never have expected. Take, for example ...

My Cat

Larry's not a cat person. And I have one. I love my cat. The last man I dated hated cats. He hated everyone and everything, that should have been my first clue. But that jerk bullied me into considering giving my cat away. I vowed I would never date someone who didn't like cats. And like I said, Larry's not a cat person.

But Larry liked Honey almost immediately. And now that he's moved in, Honey has transferred all her affections to Larry. She goes to Larry for everything. If we are on the couch, she'll choose his lap over mine. When she jumps up on the bed, she goes to his side of the bed. And he loves it. Oh sure, he mock-complains when she weasels her way onto his lap. But he doesn't move her. He takes her in under his arm, remarking at her flexibility, her cute poses. Her manipulative meows she does just to get her to like him. She'll milk it for all it's worth, then cuddle up into his lap and purr and smirk at me as if to say, "Larry loves me more than you do." Or worse: maybe she's saying, "Larry loves me more than he loves you."

I've been officially replaced by my cat. Maybe by my husband.

Honey does come to me for one thing: Food. Larry gets the love, and I'm the dispenser of food. And discipline. By discipline I mean I move her out of the room when she's grooming. I can't stand it when she grooms with me in the room. Okay you're thinking I deserve to be rejected by my own cat. But honey doesn't just groom. she licks and picks and spits into her fur to chew it. And she does it ALL THE TIME. I've even watched her try to groom herself while she's dozing. And right now she's got some flea bites so she's been incessantly licking and picking, spitting and chewing. If she wants to chew her skin raw, okay. But please, I'd like to be able to talk to someone or watch a movie or relax without the image of her head bobbing up and down like a bungee jump, licking and picking and spitting and chewing. Of course a cat needs to groom. But please, in the other room, HOney.

So I move her. I lovingly move her into the other room, set her on the bed or the couch, pet her and tell her I love her. She usually defies me, comes right back and jumps on Larry's lap. and he doesn't move her.

Even Larry said it "It's the Good Cop/Bad Cop thing."
"Well, you try being the bad cop," I countered.

No, I am NOT jealous of my own cat. I just don't think this is cool.

Earlier this week, after Larry and I got into bed later than either of us liked, Honey jumped up on the bed. Larry's side of course. Parked her ass on his corner. After a few failed attempts to bungee jump groom, I stopped her and she lay down. Larry reached down to pet her.

I sighed: "You realize if she stays there, there ain't gonna be no action tonight. This is a small bed and there ain't enough room for the three of us."

Larry laughed. But he didn't move her. We fell asleep mumbling about the stresses of adjusting to a life together.

At four in the morning I was awakened by the sound of a motorcycle. Or so I thought until I gained full consciousness. I realized I was gripping the far edge of the bed, Larry was lying down the middle, and Honey was leisurely stretched out under the crook of his right arm. Larry was awake petting her, and Honey was purring like a Harley.

I sat up, grabbed the cat and croaked, "Okay Larry. It's either her or me."

I took Honey to the front door and put her outside. I think I heard Larry behind me, "is it the purring or cuz the bed is too small?

I think I answered, "that's part of it."

That next morning I fired off an email to him:

Larry, I can't go on sleeping like this! The bed is too small, it's too soft, I'm gripping the edge, the cat is grooming herself and causing a tsunami. I know we wanted to wait to buy our bed after we move but if I don't get a good night's sleep, we won't be moving anywhere! Not together! Well, maybe YOU AND HONEY WILL ..."

No, I didn't write that last line. But I could have. No way, I am NOT JEALOUS OF MY CAT! It was the stress of a new life, a tiny apartment, a tiny old bed. And of course a fickle hearted cat.

Larry went out and looked at beds that afternoon. That's beccause he's a guy, he's a problem solver. He doesn't quite fully grasp the female need to vent. In fact, I slept fine the next night. For one, there was no cat on the bed.

The problem wasn't quite solved. For one thing, it wasn't quite out in the open. But then Friday came. We went to a party, and there were cat lovers there. Our recent restless night came up in conversation. I tattled on Larry for petting Honey in the middle of the night.

Larry laughed, "Well you don't sleep under the crook of my arm."
"You never put me there!" I countered.
We chuckled a little.

And when we got home, I had to admit it to myself: I'm jealous. Jealous of my own cat! For years it's been just me and her. Now there's someone else. And she has in part, for now, transferred her affections to him. And maybe he deserves them. Maybe I don't give her enough time or attention. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten used to how cute she is when she sneaks onto my lap. Maybe I need to improve my cat mothering.

Then I had to admit it to Larry. He smiled and nodded. He didn't try to psychoanalyze it. Maybe he moved the cat off his lap to hug me, I don't remember. But he understood. And maybe he's getting the hang of it that when women talk, men don't necessarily have to go out and solve it (like buy a new bed NOW!) Just listen.

That night Honey jumped up, Larry kindly moved her off. The next day Larry fed her. Uh, after I showed him where the food was and how to feed her. (That would have been a good idea right from the start). The next morning when Honey jumped up to greet us (and ask for food) I wasn't threatened.

The great thing about problems is, I can talk to Larry about it. And the hugeness of the problem kinda goes away.

We're adjusting, and getting back into the things we liked doing together. This weekend we went swimming, biking, mastered the barbecue, and Larry finally took a yoga class with me.

Larry and I got back into reading out loud together. We started in on The Gospel of Mark, and Brian McLaren's book, The Secret Message of Jesus. Honey jumped up on Larry's lap, but later she parked herself between us, sure to have her back touching one of us and her paw touching the other.

Yeah, I can feel jealous of my cat. But there are some thigns she'll never get from Larry.

I sneer at her and say, "hey you can love your master, just don't LOOOOVE your master."


Doug Perkins said...

This is hilarious - you have the makings of a book on your blogs, but you probably already knew that, didn't you! I'm glad I have new things to give Larry crap about - now he's a cat woosie, that's prefect, he's dead meat now!

Susan Kitchens said...

great story!!

I just blogged a NYTimes story on a study of sleeping together... originally saw it from another Susan... with a view toward you (and this post), Susan. :)

Acer Incendia said...

Susan... if you can get pictures, I would be EVER greatful.

Heh, heh, heh...

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