Animals In The Bedroom

That sneaky jerk.  He totally knew what he was doing.

It started in the early morning hours, probably 4:30 or 5:00, just a few hours off of when Lance and I would normally wake up.  They weren’t long, drawn out, high-pitched whines, just these little squeaky sighs.

“Aww, Dads,” they would suggest. “Can’t you, uh, just let me sleep in the bed? C’mon.”

Ripley had been sleeping in his crate his house, after a few rambunctious overnight incidents in his youth, which included eating $70 worth of Dolly Parton merchandise.  And due to the petite quality of our apartment, Ripley’s house is in the bedroom (already something of a mood killer.)  For months, he’d been a “good boy,” heading into his house at bedtime and sleeping through until 6:30 in the morning.

Then something must have happened.  It began right around the time that we started allowing him up on the living room furniture (basically because we’re lazy).

He’d start quietly whimpering at 5:00, then 4:00, then 2:00 AM, and since (again) we’re lazy, we’d reach over, unlatch the door to his house, and Ripley’d curl up at the foot of the bed.

“Should we just let him sleep in the bed? He’s over a year old now,” Lance and I would ask aloud, both thinking the same thing but wanting the other to validate it.

So we let Ripley the smelly old dog in the bed.  And he was quick to take advantage of the situation.  Let me diagram this for you:

blog 8.12.13a

Once he was able to sleep in the bed full-time, Ripley sauntered his furry ass up to the head of the bed and plopped down right in between the pillows.  “Aww, cute!” we said at first, until he’d start scratching himself in the middle of the night, or pressing his back paws into the small of your back.

blog 8.12.13bRipley loves to sleep on his side with all legs extended, effectively pushing both of us out of the bed.  His 40-plus pounds of goldendoodle are also effing rock-solid.  Unlike the cat, who’s a malleable ball of fat who just shifts with you as you move throughout the night, Ripley is just a lump who does not budge, weighing down the covers as the same time.

blog 8.12.13cAnd just recently, our bedroom A/C unit has been on the fritz (is this a derogatory term for Germans?), so we’ve had to leave the bedroom door open to get some circulation from the living room.  This means that now both the dog and the cat have free reign over the bed.  Kitty, who’s been on mouse duty in the living room for weeks, just can’t get over being back in the bed: she cries loudly at night while sitting right on top of our chests, then proceeds to launch herself from the bed onto the windowsill.  Repeatedly. “MRORRWWW. MROOW?  MRRROOOWWW ROOW ROOW!”

Last week, I had to basically apologize to my boss for being so worthless at work.  “I’m so sorry,” I’d mumble, the dark circles I inherited from my father just bolder and blacker.  “There aren’t enough K-Cups in the world to wake me up right now.”

Lance and I have given up restful sleeping for two animals. ANIMALS.

I can’t imagine how you people with kids do it.

Mouse Attacks!

blog 8.1.13At this point, I can’t remember why I was sleeping on the sofa, but I was.

I rolled over, the fuzzy promise of a hot cup of coffee emerging from the fog of sleep.

What I got instead was a little brown mouse, just chilling right next to me on the sofa.  Kitty was perched up, front paws batting at the stunned rodent.  Her eyes were wide, as if saying, “Look!  Look what I got you, Dad! You love me more than the dog now, right?”

“What the fuuuu–” I did not scream. I didn’t yelp or jolt.  I was surprised, sure; I’d never seen a mouse inside my, you know, place of residence before.  I guess I was more perplexed than anything.

I wrapped my hand in the blanket and flicked the mouse off the sofa.  It landed on the rug and stayed there; it was alive, but Kitty had either stunned or paralyzed the mouse, because it just lay there, twitching slightly.

I quickly assembled a plastic bag/paper towel disposal device, and took the mouse out to the Dumpster.  Now, before all you PETA (or just generally nice) people get on me about this, I recognize I was not wearing my “humane” hat in this scenario.  I wanted the little rodent out of my house.  Truthfully, I probably should’ve just killed it as Kitty had gotten it halfway there already.  But I couldn’t do that either, because I’m a wuss.

Going back into the apartment, I was shaking.  I don’t usually get worked up about this sort of stuff (mice happen, you know?), but it really bothered me–probably since, instead of waking up next to my husband or recently out Ben Wishaw (don’t worry, folks, Lance and I have an agreement), I woke up next to a half-dead mouse.

I went into the bedroom and woke up Lance, who, I was certain, would freak out just as much (and likely more) than I was.  “Honey, honey,” I whispered.  “I woke up next to a mouse! Eek!”

Lance just grumbled and rolled over.  “Eh.  Why are you bothering me with this…?”

“Because I didn’t want you to be sleeping and have a whole bunch of mice crawl all over your face!!”


So that was that.  Lance, when he finally did wake up, was quite amused by my reaction, though nevertheless required me to go out and buy mouse traps that afternoon while he went on a boating adventure with some friends to which I was not invited (whatever, I’m not mad or anything).  I did buy some humane traps that wouldn’t kill the mice, feeling guilty over my cowardly disposal of Mouse Prime.

Mouse Prime, you ask? We found a hole where we suspected the original mouse squeezed in to the apartment, plugged it up, and we went for weeks without seeing a mouse.

Until I went home to Michigan by myself.  Just a few hours after I landed, Lance called (and he never actually calls me unless he’s been rear-ended (but not by Ben Wishaw)).


“What’s wrong?” I asked.


“It’s okay, it’s not going to hurt you,” I said, hoping my calm, soothing voice would placate Lance a little bit from a thousand miles away.


So.  We have mice.  We live in the city and should’ve expected as much, and should be honestly surprised we haven’t seen any in the past six years we’ve lived here.  We had the exterminator come out and identify possible points of entry, and our building’s maintenance team plugged those up; there haven’t been any mice since.

I suppose one good thing to come out of Mousegate 2013 has been that Lance kinda, you know, likes Kitty now.  Kitty lost Lance’s favor after the compounding effects of 1) shedding, and 2) the dog.  “You fat old lump,” he’d say to her dismissively.  “Maybe I’ll accidentally leave the front door open…”

Now that Kitty has demonstrably contributed to our household as a fearless guardian against rodents, Lance has re-developed a fondness for our feline friend.  I think he even pets her every once and a while now.


Northeast Disney Meet-Up Or Bust

hitchhikingThis past weekend was the Northeast Disney Meet-Up hosted by the Disney Hipster Blog, Mouse on the Mind, and This Happy Place Blog.  I had been super-excited to go, given my recent resurgent love of all things Disney (I may or may not try to hit all the notes in “Out There” while in the shower), and soon after it was announced we made hotel reservations and booked seats on Bolt Bus for the journey up to New York City.

I knew even then that it was going to be a financial stretch for Lance and me to go, since the meet-up was coming at the end of a very expensive month of moving (I get paid monthly, so I measure time in 30-day chunks).  Still, I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know the Hipsters and Estelle and Melissa and Jamie and Keith via Twitter over the last few months, and even though Lance + Jeff is by no means a Disney blog, I was compelled to attend.

But the moving expenses kept mounting (SO MANY CURTAINS!), and my unofficial resolution of 2013 was to not spend money I didn’t have (how novel!), so we made the decision a few days before the meet-up to cancel our trip; while our $12 bus tickets weren’t refundable, the hotel was, so we weren’t out too much money.

GEEZ, though, I was so bummed.

I moped around last Thursday and Friday trying to basically figure out my life.  It was very intense: frustration over being cash-poor, mostly, while still wanting to meet in-person people who’ve provided such goodwill and humor to my Twitter feed over the past six months.  Major internal conflict!  I was scrambling, trying to pull together money from different places in order to get our butts up to New York.

Since we’d already canceled on the dog-sitter, we felt bad un-canceling, and the cost of boarding Ripley would’ve added up fast.  Lance fell on his sword, courageously sacrificing himself to watch the dog so that I could attend the meet-up.  The plan was for me to use our original bus reservations to get up to NYC out of Philly, then book Amtrak back late the same night of the get together.  I’d save on a hotel and splurge just a little for the train ride out of Penn Station.

That, and it turned out that Ripley had some tummy troubles the night before the meet-up, needing to go out every hour or two to release some stank diarrhea.  It just wasn’t meant for Lance to come with me; we couldn’t have left Ripley with somebody else given the state he was in.  Poor little guy!

Aww, Dads! My rumbly tumbly!
Aww, Dads! My rumbly tumbly!

(Now that I think about it, a lot of my weekend revolved around poop…)

So, I went up to NYC solo, bummed around Midtown for awhile buying socks (no, really, the Uniqlo socks are THE BEST. Why doesn’t anybody believe me??) and gorging on some wonderful pizza at Eataly.  It was raining and miserable so I thought I’d hop on the C Train down to Brooklyn early and work on some blog stuff at a Starbucks with a big hot cup of coffee (remember, I was working on about four hours of doggy diarrhea duty sleep), only to find out that those crunchy granola weirdos in Brooklyn don’t believe in chains.  Why are there more Starbucks per square mile in Baghdad than there are in Brooklyn?

I was a hot wet mess by the time I got to the Cornerstone Lounge in Brooklyn for the meet-up.  Lots of soggy hugs were had before the Disney-inspired drinks started flowin’.  You can check out a cute photo re-cap over on the Disney Hipster Blog. Update: Estelle over at This Happy Place Blog also has some wonderful photos!

The meet-up was great, and I got to put a lot of faces to Twitter handles that I’ve been following for weeks or months.  There was some super-hard Disney trivia (do you know what year they added the magnetic strip to Disney World tickets?) and some not-so-hard background music trivia…and then more drinks.

I ended up missing my train as the night grew long, though thankfully New Jersey Transit and SEPTA run pretty frequent service between NYC and Philly.  This also afforded me the opportunity to guest on a couple of episodes of the Disney Hipster Podcast, the first one which is now available on iTunes!  The hipsters and their “co-whores” Jamie and Keith are a lot of fun, and I had a fun time bullshitting about Disney with them…which in the second episode we recorded, is a more literal statement than you’d think.

So thank you for hosting the Northeast Disney Meet-Up, guys.  There was a reason I felt so compelled to get my butt up there: it was really fun, and it was great getting to know new and not-so-new Disney pals.  It’s a great, mostly positive corner of the internet these fans reside and operate within, and I’m glad to be even tangentially a part of it.

25X: Meowy Christmas

Because what’s better than anthropomorphic animals during the holiday season?  I have surprised myself in wanting to dress up our pets in stupid costumes from the first day they came home, sorta like Angela from The Office (hey, I also have a gay husband! Maybe we’re not so different after all…) I mean, check out our gender-bending Santa Claws here:

Express yourself, ’cause you were born this way, baby.

Cute! Though Kitty Boo is now devising a plan for major retaliation.  I fully expect barf all over the sofa when we return from our trip this weekend.

“You will pay. When you least expect it…you will pay.”

If you’ve missed some of our 25X: The Lance+Jeff Advent Calendar posts, catch up here!

Pooed Awakening

Our current morning routine with me waking up about an hour before Lance. This gives me time aplenty to walk the dog, feed the pets, make myself breakfast and catch up on overnight tweets.  When 6:20 rolls around, I head into the bedroom to begin Lance’s De-Slumber Process:

Me: “Honey, it’s 6:20.”


Me: “I’ll come back in 10 minutes?”


Inexplicably, we both think that if we start pulling Lance out of Dreamland 10 minutes before his wake-up time (I should also mention at this juncture that alarm clocks don’t work on Lance), that somehow it will be easier for him to roll out of bed on time at 6:30.  Five years in, we have little evidence to support this claim.  Usually I have to pester Lance repeatedly, often accompanied by the mother of all stink-eyes, until he stumbles, half-awake, into the bathroom.

Thankfully, the dog has been a godsend to me in this regard, since he loves bounding onto the bed and bestowing Lance with lots and lots of kisses.  He’s a good, trained pup, though, and will wait patiently outside the bedroom door until he’s beckoned.

The other day, it’s right around 6:30 and Lance is showing no signs of life. My routine anxiety that we’re not going to get out of the house on time to catch the train starts to simmer.

Me: “Honey, it’s 6:30. Time to wakey wakey, eggs and bacey.”


Ripley then jumps onto the bed, but stays at its foot instead of attacking Lance’s face with kisses.  Since he’s not bothering Lance, I leave the room to go put away the ironing board, giving Lance a few more minutes of rest—heck, its Friday, after all.

Me, upon my return: “Alright, honey, it’s about 6:35 now, we really need—Ripley, what are you eating?”

Ripley’s busy munching on something as he’s lying on the bed, and whatever-it-is is getting all over the duvet cover.  At first, I think it’s charcoal—for whatever reason, in my mind, it looks like the smudging you get when using charcoal in art class.  That couldn’t be it, though, since I haven’t had charcoal in the house in years.  Did he grab a clump of dirt from outside and I just didn’t notice until now….?

As all pet parents grow accustomed to, I pry open his furry mouth and plunge right in with my fingers.

Me: “Ugh, Ripley, what is in your mouth?”

I extract the substance, at first a bit mystified as it rests in my hand.  This is some squishy dirt—


Me:  “It’s poop.  It’s poopit’spoopit’spoop.”

Yep, it’s a soggy log of cat poop sprinkled with litter, just sitting there in my hand.  Initially, my mind is blank.  What the hell am I supposed to do with thing?  I hot-potato it for a few seconds as my conscious mind comes back to me, all the while Lance is half-asleep in a poop-covered bed, accompanied by a dog whose snout is crusted with cat litter and feces.

Ripley looks up at me, tongue lolling out of his mouth.

Once it dawns on Lance what’s going on, he snaps awake like that poop was a shot of espresso into his veins.  He’s had his own fair share of puppy poop stories, and while sure, poop is universal humor, it’s not quite so funny at 6:30 in the morning.

While it was no fun, and I freaked out about Ripley being okay (kitty poop is not good for pups), it did occur to me later that at least now, if I’m worried about getting to the train on time, I have a deuce up my sleeve if I need to get Lance out of bed in the morning.


Friday was a big day in our house: Ripley (also affectionately referred to as “Pippy” or “Pip”) was neutered.  It was like his bar mitzvah, except without the money, food, or…well, it’s basically the opposite of a bar mitzvah, I suppose.

When I was at work on Friday, my boss asked me about how Ripley was when we dropped him off for his surgery.  “Oh, you know, fine, I guess,” I said.  “It was a little alarming, though, when the technician asked us if we wanted Ripley resuscitated if his heart stopped while under anesthesia.”

“Oh yeah. Dogs are much more prone to dying on anesthesia than people are,” my boss replied.

UHH…what?  So, of course, I was sufficiently freaking out the entire day, waiting for a phone call from the vet telling me that Ripley had died on the operating table, and how they’d not only been unsuccessful in the attempt to bring him back from All Dogs Go To Heaven, but how they were going to charge us $10,000 for their efforts to save his life.

Thankfully, though, everything turned out to be just fine.  The poor little guy was so drugged up after we picked him up from the vet, he could barely walk.  His Comfy Cone (we splurged ’cause, well, look at that face!) didn’t help matters either, since it was opaque black and limited his peripheral vision to almost nothing.  It was a little pathetic.

Unfortunately, his little Comfy Cone was just a tad too small, so he was able to reach his little snout back to his nether regions, which is a big neinnein! (I’ve recently been resorting to telling Ripley “no!” in German and/or Russian in order to get his attention, since using English words regularly said in conversation have little effect on furry friends.)  We had to take Ripley back to the vet so he could get re-sized for a collar, and, of course, the next size up in the Comfy Cone series was way to big, making Ripley look like a wilted flower, so we had to resort to a plastic cone:

The problem with this cone is that it is completely transparent, so Ripley is, at times, unaware that it’s even on, so he will just run up behind you and ram you in the legs with it, or flop around while you’re trying to sleep and whack you in the noggin.  It also pushes all of his hair up around his face so that he looks just generally smushed.

Of course, since Ripley was recovering from the loss of his manhood, we didn’t have much to do this weekend other than sit around and Weird Al some current Top 40 hits:

The Ripley Dog & Kitty Boo Variety Show

They act like they’re mortal enemies, bitter rivals in the struggle for which one of them can demand the most attention from their owners.

They squabble, chase after one another, paws flying, growls growled, meows meowed.

But behind this contentious façade lies what might not be a friendship, but at least a mutually agreed-upon collaboration between Ripley and Kitty to drive us crazy.

I imagine they plot during the day, when we’re at work.  Ripley’s in his crate, and Kitty paces nearby, scheming on how to get back at us for bringing Ripley into her life.  Ripley, the Pinky in this Pinky & The Brain relationship, is cool with following Kitty’s direction since, you know, he is a puppy and wreaking havoc is par for the course.

What evidence is there to suggest their coordination?  If it seems like a coincidence… and all that:

  • Kitty knows just where to sit on the sofa to get into Ripley’s eye-line, just taunting him with her pudgy little face until he has NO OTHER CHOICE but to jump on the back of the sofa. Kitty will bat at him, to no effect.  I yell at him to get down, which he does for maybe 10 seconds, then is back up the back of the sofa.  Repeat until I scream.
  • Ripley, like pretty much every dog, would much rather eat discarded plastic from the trashcan than the animal byproducts that compose his food (and really, who are we to blame him?) Ripley routinely gets into the trash, and Kitty has taken full advantage of this fact.  Around dinnertime is the worst, so as we’re about ready to eat, Ripley’s busy tearing open a discarded ice cream carton.  We scramble to get him out of the trash, only to turn around and see Kitty eating from our dinner plates.  I let out a guttural yell of agitation.
  • This last one hurt the most: I was so proud of myself, remember to get cash out early to pay our dog-walker, instead of forgetting until the morning of and having to squeeze in a run to the bank before catching the train.  We usually stick the money in an envelope and leave it on the ledge by the stairwell leading to the front door.  I set the cash (a couple of $20s) up on the ledge and walked into the other room to grab an envelope. Somewhere in those 15 steps, I got distracted and went to do something else, spacing that the cash was still up on that ledge.  This is when Kitty, with the complete heartless disregard of a diabolical mastermind, casually makes her way up on to that same ledge.  I can just imagine what’s going through her little pea-sized mind. “Whoops,” she thinks with a giggle as her back leg just happens to kick loose a bill.   Not long later, I make my way back over there with an envelope, and literally say out loud, “There’s supposed to be two twenties here…OH SHIIIIII—” I begin darting around the apartment, trying to track it down, knowing already, in my heart of hearts, that all is lost.  Then I see it: half of Andrew Jackson’s face.  I snap my head around to the dog, who is sitting there, tail wagging, tongue hanging out in that perpetual “Look at this! You can’t hate this!”  face he has.  “Where’s the other half of his face, Ripley?? Where is it??”  Of course, it was gone, the only other remnant of currency being the opposite end of the bill—the middle was entirely gone, lost to the same digestive track that intakes mulch and carpet.  I let out a silent scream, a mix of disbelief and horror that $20 just—poof, gone.

Who knew that pet ownership involved so much screaming and weeping?