Um. Yeah. We found it. The phantom pee smell. It was in the same place where everything I am looking for eventually turns up. Under my butt. This would totally explain the worsening of the whiffs in the afternoon. It wasn't the setting sun warming the windowsill, it was my big old butt, warming the couch crack. Oh, the humanity.
But we've agreed that the offense must've occurred while I was out of town. So I have only been sitting on pee for three weeks. I've only had the power to discover it (my olfactory senses) for one of those three weeks. So I am not that gross, right?
I know. I am gross.
This is why I will now tell you the story of the The Trouble With Birthday Cakes. To distract you. And to put my grossness in perspective.
As you know, the pee wars all started when I went out of town. There were skirmishes before, sure, but you know, the carnage. It's recent. And the reason I went out of town? It was a command performance - a request of my youngest niecelet, G. Cuz she was turning five. Something she'd been planning for at least ten months. And she was going to have her party. At Pump It Up - a bounce house where even grown ups can bounce - and I was invited to the party. Ten months ago. Cuz she was turning five. And we could have a sleepover. With her cousins. At her house. Like we did before. (This is exactly how G invited me. In tiny little sentences. With great enthusiasm. This is when I realized she is a bit of an up talker. But on her it is cute, not annoying. Let's face it, on G everything is cute.)
Clearly, I had no choice. I had to go. So I did. And though I am not mentioned in my sister's accounting of the day(s), I was there - sleeping over, pumping it up, heck, I even got to sing with the Olympia Free Choir (which was a total blast, though I was totally grumpy by the end of the long long day cuz my feet were cold and a dog had farted on me and I am pretty sure this is the night I got infected with the sick...). But my sis is not much for the blathering on, and I strictly forbid her from taking my photo, so I cannot really be hurt that I was left out of the tale. But indeed, all that making of the cakes - I have to say that technically I made the cakes. Sis supervised, documented, set timers, removed hot things, did dishes (lots and lots of dishes), and corralled dogs. But the measuring and mixing and pouring and such. That was me. Which is great. I live to follow directions. And I would way rather make cakes than corral dogs. Besides, I was paid handsomely for my efforts. I got to drink my sister's premixed top shelf margaritas. Just like at home. Only free. That is to say, I got to drink the second half of my sister's margaritas. Her ex helped himself to the first half many moons ago. (At least I admit I may have a drinking problem. He's still in denial, though my sister notices her booze disappears rapidly whenever he's been over to help with the dogs...)
Anyway, I digress. So there was the making of the cakes. Purple cakes. Pink cakes. Green cupcakes. Not so bad. Then there was the making of the icing. Like five batches of icing. I fucked up the purple icing - it kinda broke and was runny. I didn't make enough of the orange icing - so they had to use blue. But anyway, there was icing. Five hours had passed by the time we got to the decorating, I kid you not. Thank god for premixed top shelf margaritas, right?
So the cakes are done. The cousins are playing amongst themselves. The margaritas are making me warm and fuzzy. Life is pretty darned good. But there are still dogs. Big tall bad dogs. Little tiny yappy dogs. One dog that spins in circles and pees. And there are the cats. Everywhere. Not like at my house. Like my house on crack. Cats everywhere. So the cakes, they are not safe. They must go somewhere.
The spare room is not an option. There is a cat in there too. The visiting cat. (And, I discovered later, Ringo, the inside out butt catt, who had snuck in to terrorize the visiting cat and eat her food...)
So this leaves only the garage. Not a bad option, usually. Unless your garage happens to house your collection of nine unscooped litter boxes. In this case your garage smells like cat poo. Only it smells worse than cat poo. Cuz it smells like fermented cat poo.
But really, there are no other options. And besides, these are not my cakes. This is not my house. And the margaritas have made me all warm and fuzzy. So at first I go along with it.
Until I go to the garage to fetch a juice box for one of the niecelets. This is when I remember a funny story from my little brother's childhood. The one where he and I passed a dead and decaying bird. The one where I told him if you can smell something it is because tiny particles of that thing are actually in your nose. And though the dead bird was not particularly pungent, we decided this was really gross and we ran away.
So there I was, fetching juice boxes, with tiny particles of fermented cat poo in my nose. Looking at the cakes that took five hours to make.
It is already too late. I cannot eat this cake. I will eat plenty of things if I have to or want to. In fact, after this trip I have decided I cannot even pretend I am a vegetarian any more. It started as some sort of survival instinct - scarfing down the chicken at my sister's house and later ignoring the pepperoni on the pizza at the water park - but some of it was nothing other than temptation - the bacon my brother made for breakfast, the hot roast beef sandwiches that looked so good - and tomorrow, well, tomorrow we're celebrating our sortaversary - 5 years of wedded bliss - which we always do over big fat steaks...
But again, I digress.
So the cakes. They are ruined. For me. But to little kids, especially the little kids who had just decorated them, they were still magical butterflies and kick ass caterpillar cupcakes. And so I fetched the aluminum foil and covered them. It was too late, but it was better than nothing. Oh, and big time kudos to my sis for stocking the high end heavy duty foil in her cupboards. This way I could cover the cakes without even smudging them. Though the fact that I was drunk made the task a little more challenging than it should have been and I spent more time in the stinky garage than I might've liked.
Anyway, I still had the chrysalides. Yup, I made up my own cool recipe. The rice krispy treat chrysalis. Make a batch of rice krispy treats. Smoosh it into a shallow pan. Take a pint glass or cookie cutter and spray it with spray. Cut out circles. Take gummy worms and cut them in half. (Or don't. See if I care.) Put the worms in the circles and fold over and smoosh down like you are making a pot sticker. Voila. A rice krispy treat chrysalis. They were made in the kitchen and stayed in the kitchen. So at the party I had two.
(Oh, by the way, if you are going to run out and make rice krispy treat chrysalides right away - cuz you know you are going to make them sometime - be sure to buy generic rice krispies since we are still mad at Kellogg's for kicking Michael Phelps off the box...)
Um, so, yeah, I know my sister likes to encourage folks to read my blog so if you happen to be a person who happened to have been at the Pump It Up party and you happened to have eaten some birthday cake, first of all, I am sorry. I debated not telling this story. But this is my blog and it is already way too dull because I am acutely aware of my audience. (Which is why, by the way, I have actually started a secret blog - but I can't tell you where or it wouldn't be a secret. In fact, I shouldn't have even told you that the secret blog exists at all, cuz it is a secret. But I have always sucked at keeping my own secrets. I will tell you this much. My lack of posting here has nothing to do with my shiny new secret blog. In fact, I have only posted there once. Mostly I like to go there and read other people's secret blogs. Cuz people really tell the truth when they know nobody they know is reading. And they don't have all this post / not post guilt cuz they are all posting as regularly as they will elsewhere. And they comment like crazy. I am so happy to know that at least two other strangers out there on the interwebs can identify with my super secret struggles which are seriously nothing you want to read about. You are not missing a thing. You think this is too much information? You don't even want to go there. So don't start looking for secret blogs. Or at least don't start looking for my secret blog. Hell, I really wish I could tell you about the secret blogs, cuz they are wicked fun to read. But that is too bad. You will find them if you need to. In fact, I can't even reconstruct the trail of links I followed to get there. It was fate. And besides, you are not ready. You can't handle the secret blogs. Admit it, you can barely handle The Trouble With Birthday Cakes.)
Yeah, back to the cakes and the people who may have consumed them. I swear, they were only uncovered for a very brief time. I just have a low tolerance for grossness (my own grossness included - oh how slippery is the slope from normalish person to crazy cat lady) and I happen to have a way with words. And tonight I am avoiding writing my scholarship essays and updating my financial aid forms. And I don't have a couch to sit on. So let's just say for argument's sake that perhaps I have exaggerated. Though I will say, in my own defense, that my mother recently reported having spent significant time in the stinky garage (folding laundry while my sister was sick with the replicating virus) and later she noticed the smell of said garage had come home with her on her own clothing. And this is my mother we are talking about. The woman who has been through two generations of pee cats - Missy Moo (aka Pissy Poo, or Beatrix) and now Blackie (aka Pcat, Ginger, or Snickers, depending on who you ask). This is the woman who might hand you a jacket to put on (cuz god forbid my dad runs the heat) and then you may very well soon smell pee and only later will you realize you are wearing the pee smell. And when you announce your discovery she will be amused, not appalled. Yes, this is the woman whose entire house smells like pee. (Sadly, I thought this was only in the summer time when the pee was warmed by the sun, but I swear I smelled ambient pee during my winter time visit...) So you know this garage stinks.
Hm. I'm not making this much better, am I? Alright, I may have told you that you ate fermented cat poo infected cake, and that is not cool. But really, I was not about to ruin my niecelets long awaited fifth (!) birthday party by dissing her lovingly decorated cakes. I couldn't share. Until now. And you're right. I shouldn't have, even now. But see above, how I mentioned the secret blog. I am not good at keeping secrets. More proof. In fact, I think this will be the most difficult part of becoming an attorney. Wearing a bra, and stockings, and heels. Yeah, that sucks. Waking up every day to an alarm clock and working into the wee hours of the night, that sucks. Eye twitching, you know that's coming back. Feeling like I am married to my work and not my husband, super sucky. But keeping attorney-client privilege - my god, it will be required by law. Which is kinda like following directions. Which I am good at. So I am hoping it will all balance out.
Oh, yeah, and to distract you from the distracting story which was meant to distract you from the disgusting story, here's what we are thinking about the never-ending fight. First, a little refresher. He wants to buy a house. Fine enough, right? I want to go to school. Okay, so we are both taking on six figures of debt. Tit for tat. No stress there. Um, but he wants to come with me to school, leaving behind the job he had - the one that helped him qualify to buy his house. But that's not a problem, for him, cuz he can rent the house - to his little brother. And no one but his little brother. Cuz that's his plan. The part of it I trust the least. (No offense to the little brother, but he knows I have this issue. I have told him to his face. And besides, he doesn't have the internets at home. Cuz he is broke like we were when we were his age. Like we are now, really. And he doesn't know about the blog anyway. Either of them. So there...) Um, so we've been fighting. I call his plan the "Stupid Plan." This is disrespectful, I know, but he doesn't disagree. But I think this is cuz my husband is afraid of me. Cuz he thinks I once tried to kill him with a rock. But that was nearly 17 years ago. And the rock was not that big.
But again, I digress. This is what happens when you haven't blogged for a while, I guess. The floodgates open. And tangents are made.
So the compromise. Funny enough, the compromise - which is now being offered by my hubby - was actually my idea in the first place. Ages and ages ago. When I first started taking this law school thing seriously. And, funny enough, the compromise is what many many people have assumed we were doing all along. The compromise is that we do both. I go to school. He buys a house. Only he stays here so he can work to pay for his house.
It's just, now that the compromise is his idea it seems like it sucks. I am not sure if this is cuz my default opinion is to reject his ideas, or if it is because I love him dearly and I cannot imagine living apart from him. I think it is cuz I know I would miss all the foot rubbing. And because I am deathly afraid of infidelity. (Can you say, Daddy Issues?) And because we would probly split up the kitties (he would keep the bad one and the Monkey and OC would go with me to live like a king, albeit an exiled indoor king...) and this is horribly sad to me. Cuz three years may be nothing in a marriage, but it is a lifetime to a kitty.
It also sucks cuz the more we fill in the details, the more it makes sense. He would now live in his own house, a cheaper house. A house which would be very close to his work, since he would give me the car. (We are a one car family since a deer used our truck to commit suicide while I was out of town. Sucks for the deer, but if Erik had been in his own car instead of my truck it might've sucked for Erik too. And it would've sucked for the opossum that tried to commit suicide earlier in his commute, only the truck is nice and tall. The Toaster - our Scion - would've smooshed him for sure. Anyway, we were likely going to sell the aging truck, when we were both still planning to move to the city, so this actually worked out well. In fact, we are well insured so we got top dollar for it from our insurance company. I tried not to sound too excited when they told me how much the settlement would be, especially since this is the second aging car Erik has miraculously totaled right before it would've become a money pit. I swear, he doesn't do it on purpose, but he is really talented apparently. The only thing that sucks is that I had to prematurely part with my beloved rescue net, seeing as how I don't have a vehicle for hauling around seals anymore. I stashed the net in a shed at the site, though, cuz I am still not emotionally ready to let just anybody use her... Oh, crap, I'm off on another tangent, a tangent within a tangent... sorry...) Where was I? Oh yeah, cheaper house, no brother factor, keeping the income, no pee cat in the city. What else? I get a sweet apartment near campus instead of heading out to the boonies (are there boonies in the Bay Area?) where we could rent a house big enough for all of us. Oh, and I get to store all my stuff here with my hubby. No garage sale. Major plus. He presumably makes a profit on the house someday. I presumably have to take out fewer loans since he is still making real money. Shit, we can even save money on cat food since the black cats can eat dry food while OC stays on his life saving Fancy Feast... He swears he would take the train up often, it costs just a little more than gas and he could sleep and I wouldn't have to worry about him crashing cars. (As he does often. Look at me, tying in the tangents. You go, girl...) I think that it won't be as often as either of us would like. And I think that's about it on the pro side.
Cons. I go to school lonely. He lives here lonely. First person to cheat dies. Well, he dies if he cheats. Cuz I kill him. He claims he wouldn't kill me, that he would just let me go on my merry way, cuz he just wants me to be happy. But if I cheated on him, well, I might as well kill myself cuz that would be a horrible thing to do to the sweetest guy I have ever known. Thank goodness I still haven't gotten around to that getting in shape business. I won't even be remotely milfy. I already know I will be the crazy old lady who everyone is nice to only so they can borrow her notes. Then they will all curse me behind my back as I ruin the curve on tests. Muhahahaha. Oh yeah, I plan to kick ass in school.
Um, yeah, back to cons. Other than the sucky lonely part, I don't see any. So that's what sucks the most.
My only out is to fall in love with one of my other choices. The logical sucky compromise plan only works if I go to nearby Berkeley. We aren't even considering the cross country long distance thing. And so I am going to check them out, or at least the ones I could love - NYU (highly ranked), U of Penn (near the cousins), U of Chicago (they offered me $ and have great clerkship placements and heck, Obama taught there), and Northwestern (who should, by all accounts, offer me big $ and if they don't, well, they are still the only school that bothers to train lawyers as business people and not just academics...). I may also visit Columbia - I still have a pretty serious crush on them, but they are "holding" me (not waitlisted, yet, and thus the need to write them a love letter) - but I must confess, I am a wee bit afraid of NYC. I know it will be big and scary and expensive. But that is not what frightens me most. It is the fact that the kitties would surely be indoor kitties there. And the fact that we might fall in love and never leave. Or worse, we will want to leave and be trapped there by my shiny new golden handcuffs. So I will see if visiting NYU makes me feel as if I visited Columbia. Or I will arrange to visit on my own, since I am not (yet) invited to the Admitted Students events (which will be going on all around me). Ugh. Oh, yeah, and everything goes out the door if Law School in the Bush calls. And, whatever, I told you about my secret blog, so I might as well name the School Which Must Not Be Named. It's not really a secret anyway, since I let my dad put it in the Christmas letter. It's fricking Harvard tugging at my heart strings, getting my stupid old lady hopes up. I have decided it's not that I have given up, it's more that I have surrendered to my fate. You know, I wasn't really surprised when I was singled out to be graced with the coveted phone interview. The one you can't get admitted without. But I never really considered that I could be one of the unlucky 20% who get the call and who don't get in. I agree with Meryl Streep, it isn't always nice just to be nominated. It is torturous. Delightful. Then torturous.
Holy moly. I have been blogging non stop for more than three hours now. Sadly, you are now very caught up with the big stuff in my life. I still have fun stories from my visit and months and months of seal stories, so we have places to go from here. Oh, and I didn't even tell you that my beloved chiropractor has breast cancer now. All I can say is WTF? I go out of town for less than two weeks and my doctor gets cancer, my truck gets totaled, my couch gets peed on, and my hubby starts getting all freakishly logical on me. Happily, I ran into her (my chiropractor) this afternoon so I could give her a hug and an update and an empty promise of helpfulness. She still looks good but she's only had her first round of chemo yet. Which reminds me, depending on how you count them, I'm about due for my follow up booby smashing session. More fun with cysts. See, plenty of blogging fodder.
But for now. Bed. Cuz I have no couch. I am gross like that.
And tomorrow. Steaks. Yum.
An Easter Miracle
4 weeks ago