Delmore the Unforgiving Cat

My local library had a book sale this past weekend – I went there with the intention of picking up a couple of used books and left with a box of books.

Hi, my name is Becky, and I’m a book-a-holic.

I suppose I should be embarrassed at not having any self-control, but I picked up a literal BOX of books for $21.50 and supported my library, so, you know, win-win. My favorite of the bunch was one I tossed in the basket after only a quick flip-through….

And it turned out to be the best of the bunch.


I’m not usually one for non-fiction books.  I mean, I want to like them, but I read to escape and I usually can’t fall into non-fiction books the same way I can Hunger Games, or Lonesome Dove, or whatever.

That said… if you can find a copy of this book, buy it.  It’s had me in stitches all weekend. I’d explain what the book is about, but the title kind of says it all.

Also, I don’t know if it’s… legal?  Moral? Non-piracy?  to share a letter out of the book, but I figure if I point out that the whole book is this funny and if I recommend buying it, it’s not a bad thing? Seriously – the whole book is this awesome.

For reals though – of we ever get another cat, I want to name it Delmore, provided it’s not prophetical.

And now, without further adieu… I present to you: Delmore the Cat

In 1961 John Cheever and his wife, Mary, were asked by their friend, writer Josephine Herbst, to take care of her cat. Cheever and the cat hated each other.  

The cat was a male whom Cheever named Delmore for the lugubrious poet Delmore Schwartz, and when the day came that Delmore began spraying the walls, Cheever promptly took him to the vet to be neutered.  After two years with Delmore, Cheever decided it was time to write Herbst an update.  

Dear Josie,

It’s been years since we had anything but the most sketchy communication….I’ve long since owed you an account of the destiny of your cat and here we go.

The cat, after your leaving him, seemed not certain of his character of his place and we changed his name to Delmore which immediately made him more vivid.  The first sign of his vividness came when he dumped a load in a Kleenex box while I was suffering from a cold.  During a paroxysm of sneezing I grabbed for some kleenex.  I shall not overlook my own failures in this tale but when I got the cat shit off my face and the ceiling I took Delmore to the kitchen door and drop-kicked him into the clothesyard.  This was an intolerable cruelty and I have not yet been forgiven.  He is not a forgiving cat.  Indeed he is proud.  Spring came on then and as I was about to remove [one of] the clear glass storm window[s] from Fred’s room, Delmore, thinking the window to be open, hurled himself against the glass.  This hurt his nose and his psyche badly.  Mary and the children then went to the Mountains and I spent a reasonably happy summer cooking for Delmore.

The next eventfulness came on Thanksgiving when the family had gathered for dinner and I was about to carve the turkey there came a strangling noise from the bathroom. I ran there and found Delmore sitting in the toilet, neck-deep in cold water and very sore. I got him out and dried him with towels but there was no forgiveness.  Shortly after Christmas a Hollywood writer and his wife came to lunch.  My usual salutation to Delmore is: Up Yours, and when the lady heard me say this she scorned me and gathered Delmore to her breasts.  Delmore, in a flash, started to unscrew her right eyeball and the lady, trying to separate herself from Delmore, lost a big piece of an Italian dress she was wearing which mary said cost $250.00.  This was not held against Delmore and a few days later when we had a skating party I urged Delmore to come to the pond with us.  He seemed pleased and frisked along like a family-loving cat but at that moment a little wind came from the northeast and spilled the snow off a hemlock onto Delmore. He gave me a dirty look, went back to the house and dumped another load in the kleenex box.  This time he got the cleaning-woman and they remain unfriendly.

This is not meant at all to be a rancorous account and I think Delmore enjoys himself. I have been accused of cruelty and a woman named Ruth Hershberger keeps writing Elizabeth Pollet, telling her to take the cat away from me, but Delmore contributes a dynamic to all our relationships.  People who dislike me go directly to his side and he is, thus, a peace-maker.  He loves to play with toilet paper.  he does not like catnip mice.  He does not kill song birds.  In the spring the rabbits chase him around the lawn but they leave after the lettuce has been eaten and he has the terrace pretty much to himself.  He is very fat these days and his step, Carl Sandburg not withstanding, sounds more like that of a barefoot middle-aged man on his way to the toilet than the settling in of a winter fog but he has his role and we all respect it and here endeth my report on Delmore the cat.




Thank you for calling our clinic!  Before you schedule your first appointment, please follow this link and create your Patient Portal Account.  We request you finish all steps before calling our clinic.

Step 1:  Fill out your name

Step 2:  Fill out your date of birth

Step 3:  Fill out all of your insurance information from the card you keep in your wallet – of course you totally know where your wallet is and you haven’t misplaced it, right?  You have?  Well, go find it. We’ll wait thirty minutes while you ransack the house and car.  Okay, do you have it?  Well, fill it in.

Step 4:  Fill out more information about…. about something.

Step 5:  No, for reals, go back and finish step 4.  You can’t skip it.

Step 6:  Do you have any new email?  You should check.

Step 7:  That’s not what Step 6 said.  Go back and check it again.  Speaking of checks, did that one check clear your bank yet?  Better go check it out before you bounce a check. Heh.  CHECK it out before you bounce a CHECK… was that a pun?   Is it a pun if you use the word “check” twice? No?  I wonder what that’s called?  Wait, follow through on the bank thing.  You really need to see if you have to transfer money.  If your account overdrafts The Bean’s gonna be mad.

Step 8:  Stupid.  You  were thinking of The Bean and accidentally logged into his account.  Log out and log back in to your own account.

Step 9:  We didn’t say log into Facebook – log into Wells Fargo.

Step 10:  Why are you logged into Wells Fargo?  Was there a reason? Man, the browser is slow – how long has it been since you closed it out and restarted it?  A day?  Two days?  And why do you have 19 tabs open at the same time?  Better close all tabs and restart it.

Step 11:  Wait!  Wait!  What happened to that thingie you were filling out?  CRAP.  It didn’t save.

Step 12:  Thank you for logging in to your Patient Portal Account.  We request you finish all steps before scheduling your first appointment.  Please fill out your name.

Step 13:  Fill out your date of birth.

Step 14:  Fill out your insurance informa—Wait… where did you put your wallet?  It was just here.

[Twenty-five minutes later]

Hooray!  Thank you for creating your Patient Portal Account!  Please click on the following link and answer some important questions before your appointment!

Step 1:  Please complete the ASRS-V1.1

Step 2:  What the heck is an ASRS-V1.1?  Better Google that.

Step 3.  Wow, cool.  Better Google that further.

Step 4:  Why do you have 17 tabs open already?  Close some of them.

Step 5:  CRAP – NOT THAT ONE….. too late.

Step 6:  Log in.  AGAIN.

Step 7:  Holy crap – how many survey/test thingies do they want you take?  There’s, like, 9 or 10 of these things.  Never mind, just click on one of them.  It doesn’t matter how many there are – just do one at a time.

  • Question 1: How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • Question 2: How often do you have difficulty getting things in order when you have to do a task that requires organization?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often do you make careless mistakes when you have to work on a boring or difficult project?  Never?  Rarely? Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often do you have difficulty keeping your attention when you are doing boring or repetitive work?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?

Step 8:  OMG, can you just focus?  For like 5 minutes?  Please?

  • How often do you have difficulty waiting your turn in situations when turn taking is required?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often do you have difficulty concentrating on what people say to you, even when they are speaking to you directly?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often are you distracted by activity or noise around you?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?
  • How often do you misplace or have difficulty finding things at home or at work?  Never?  Rarely?  Sometimes? Often? Very Often?

And now you know why I’ve never seen anyone for help with my ADHD.

Yay! Knott’s Berry Farm Again!

I opened up my Gmail, saw the email that was waiting for me, and did a little happy dance.

On behalf of Knott’s Berry Farm, we are inviting a few “mom & family bloggers” and social media addicts, and their families, to enjoy the opening day of Knott’s Soak City on Sunday, May 20, 2012.  Be one of the first families that begin Summer of 2012 with great waterpark fun…

Yaaaay!  More free fun!

I immediately clicked open Gmail calendar, created the event, blocked out the whole day, and sent an invite to The Bean’s email address.

Twenty minutes later, I got a response:


What the heck?

MAYBE?!  “MAYBE” to my free, all-expenses paid trip to Knott’s Soak City that I earned through the sweat of my blogging?  “MAYBE” to a fun-filled day at a water park that had a lazy river and a wave pool?  MAYBE to letting the boys enjoy a kiddy splash zone?  They were even going to prepare and serve us a free lunch a lunch—food, that I didn’t have to cook OR pay for!  MAYBE?

I immediately created another event and sent him the invitation:

“Becky is mean ALL day long to The Bean for not agreeing to go with her to Soak City”

Fifteen minutes later after I invited him to the new event, I received this notice:

Thaaaaat was more like it.

Everything seemed to be going perfectly until I realized:

Oh.  Crap.

I have to wear a bathing suit, don’t I?

Oh, double crap.

I have to go bathing suit shopping.

Seriously, is there any female over the age of 11 who actually likes to go bathing suit shopping?  If she says yes, she’s lying.  I’m still crossing my fingers that those 19th century head-to-toe bathing suits come back into style. 

I would totally rock one of those cotton, full-length babies.

Also, I like the fact that it would hide my mayonnaise-white legs.  You know, as a half-Mexican you would think I would have dusky, tawny gold skin, but nooooooo.  Apparently “absurdly pale” is a dominant gene.

By the way—Portland?  I can’t wait to meet you.  Rumor has it that you are full of people who are just as white as I am.  Do you have any idea how exciting this is to me? 

Anyways.  Moving on.

As dumb as it sounds, trying to find time to go bathing suit shopping is actually taking a bit of scheduling.  In addition to The Bean being in finals this week, we have a vaguely-realistic goal of trying to get the entire house packed up by Friday.  The moving trailer is dropped off this upcoming Tuesday the 22nd, The Bean graduates on Wednesday 23rd, and the trailer is picked up and shipped off to Portland on Thursday the 24th.

It is very, very busy in our house right now.

Earlier this afternoon, while driving down Pacific Coast Highway in the middle of Newport Beach, The Bean and I played juggle-the-schedule over the phone. 

As I crawled my way homeward in the slow traffic, I saw something that caught my eye.

Actually, it wasn’t something – it was someone.

This someone was a she, and she was GORGEOUS.

Seriously, Orange County, the scale is from 1to 10, not 1 to 15.

She was so perfect it was hard to peg her age – 20s?  Early 30s?

It wasn’t so much that she had the perfect body (which she did), it was the fact that she looked like she just stepped straight out of a commercial, or a movie, or some kind of high-class photoshoot.  Her outfit, her hair, her incredible mile-long legs balanced elegantly on high wedge heels… As she bent through the window of her spotless Mercedes convertible, reaching for something for something on the passenger seat, the soft, elegant folds of her skirt blew playfully in the wind.

Dude, I definitely don’t bat for the other team, but even I was craning my neck over my shoulder to get a second look.

As traffic pulled me past I happened to glance down and took stock of myself:

  • Size 14 Kohl’s skirt – slightly wrinkled.  Still covered in a small amount of cat hair from this morning.
  • Strangely-colored neon blouse that emphasized the pudgy tops of my arms.  Hey, what can I say… it was the first thing that jumped out at me when I raided my mom’s closet this morning (Note to self:  PLEASE, for the sake of your self esteem, PLEASE do some laundry tonight.)
  • Walmart “shoes” – I use the term “shoes” loosely.  They are sensible, unattractive, and were the cheapest shoes they had on sale at Walmart.  When you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel at Walmart, you know you’re sporting high fashion.

Feeling fat, frumpy, and vaguely overwhelmed, I heaved a heavy sigh into the phone.

“What’s wrong?” asked The Bean.

“You know,” I said bitterly.  “If you would just make tons of money, let me stay at home, and hire a nanny for the boys, I could spend all day at the gym, hire a professional trainer, and look absolutely smokin’ all the time.”

There was a brief pause, and I could tell The Bean was trying to figure out the proper response.  I’m sure between my tone,  the subject matter, and my absolutely ridiculous complaining, his little internal warning system was on full-scale alert.  DANGER, WILL ROBINSON!  DANGER, DANGER! Anything you say will probably be the wrong thing!

“Well, yeah.  But then again, if I were to go to prison and pump iron for two years, I’d probably come out all ripped,” he quipped.

I laughed out loud, and felt my tension ease.  +10 husband points for the perfect answer.

“Yeah, you’re probably right, Bean.”  I gave another laugh, then continued, thinking out loud.  “You know, I’ve never understood why they do that.  Why feed them healthy food, and give them work out equipment?

“Exactly, Becky.  After two years pumping iron, I’d probably look like that hamster off of Family Guy.”

I laughed again, and felt the last of my pity party melt away.  “You know, what they really ought to do is feed prisoners really fattening foods – like, every Tuesday is Twinkies Tuesday…. or Thursday is Thirsty Thursday – all you can drink weight-gainer ice cream shakes, with endless sodas – none of the diet ones, either.  Think about it – when they got out, if they decided to act out, they’d be so fat they really wouldn’t have the cardio capacity to do anything that bad, or run very far from the cops.”

I could feel myself getting on a roll – I was really onto something here.

“Think about it, Bean.  Instead of giving stocking the prisons with weight rooms and dumbbells, we could give install big TVs and order all the good shows.  Then we could get them all hooked on shows like Prison Break or Dexter.  They’d only have the weekends to do criminal activity – when  their buddies tried to get them to go out and rob a liquor store on Thursday nights, they’d be all, “Nooo!  I can’t!  I’ll miss Grey’s Anatomy!

“Forget TV, Becky.  If you really want to solve the problem, get them all addicted to World of Warcraft.  You’d never seem them out of the house again.:

And that, dear readers, is why I still have no idea when I’m going to squeeze in bathing suit shopping before Sunday. 

It’s because The Bean and I single-handedly solved the  problem of repeat offenders, thus solving the issue of overcrowding in prisons.

You’re welcome.

Worst. Advice. Ever

I just stumbled across a website with the worst “how-to” advice I’ve ever come across when it comes to horses. I’m pretty sure it’s just one of those weird ad-directed sites, but still.

It starts off decently enough…. although it’s kind of obvious English isn’t the writer’s first language:

Eventually it is the dream of all horse owners to ride on them but if you have aggressive horse, it becomes a frustrating problem for you to ride on it. Here in this site I am going to share some valuable tips and tricks for successful horse riding with you. These tips can be a part of your horse riding training as well. You have done your best to ride on your horse but you failed? Don’t worry! I am here to guide you in the best way to make your horse cooperative with you.

Oh, PHEW. They’re here to help me with my aggressive horse. Let’s dig into the handy advice!

“Friendship is All You Need.”

Say wha-aa–a-at? You know, my old thoroughbred Jubilee and I were great friends. Fantastic friends, even. But you know what? That didn’t stop him from spooking and trying to fling himself backwards off of drop offs every time he freaked out. Maybe we weren’t as good of friends as I thought…

“Friendship is all you need. First of all you and your horse must be compatible and comfortable with each other. Having horse is not enough. For this you will have to be a pet lover. This is the way you can have your horse ears picked, bright eyes and working well with you while you are thinking of horse riding. It is also necessary that your horse feel safe and comfort when you ride, stays calm in other animals and is bombproof.”

I love how they emphasize the pricked ears…. and then just kind of gloss over the rest, and throw “Have a horse who is bombproof” in there. Well, yeah, I guess that would help, wouldn’t it? And wait… where did this bombproof horse come from? Weren’t we dealing with an aggressive horse, just last paragraph?  Does anyone else feel like someone skipped a few pertinent steps somewhere?

Moving on.
“Be comfortable: Avoid wearing jeans or tight clothes while you are on riding because you can slip from the horse back.”

Well, duh. I mean, everyone knows that you wear loose yoga pants while riding, right? I have to admit, this bit of advice was kind of helpful. To think, the only thing that stands between me and Olympic rider status is the fact that I have been wearing jeans while riding.

“Squeeze your thighs to start riding and your horse will move on. You can scoot in the saddle to tell your horse that you want to move now.”

I’m getting a great mental image of someone “scooting in saddle” to try to urge a balky horse forward. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay good money to see that.

“Just know about leg or rein guide of your horse and have some practice with it to know whether your horse can follow leg commands or slow or turn with the rein.”

I can’t decide if this is the most down-to-earth or the least helpful advice I’ve ever read.

“Stop riding is not a hard task. Just pull on the rein to stop the horse. Pat the horse on neck and shows your happy feeling after it stops.”

I find it’s kind of helpful to break out into song after “pull on rein” to stop my horse. It helps me display “happy feeling” a little better.

And last but not least:

“Remember, your relationship with horse is most important to enjoy successful riding on it. You must trust it to make it obey you.”

It’s kind of like pixie dust, but with horses… just think trustful thoughts, and you and your horse are just seconds away from being the next Stacy Westfall!

I’d send you guys the link, but this is probably one of those sites that fills your computer with adware and viruses, just for clicking on it.

In other news……

Did you all see what Mugs mentioned in the comments of today’s post?  A Mugwump Bloggers Clinic with her and The Big K, some time in 2013?  In Montana?!  A whole weekend spent learning how to scoot in the saddle and helping me to display my happy feeling to my horse…all of this, packed in with getting to meet other bloggers and hanging around in freakin’ MONTANA?  (Yeah, sorry, I am kind of obsessed with Montana.)   I don’t know about the rest of you, but I kind of want to start packing my best “non-tight, non-jeans” clothes into a suitcase right now.

Dear Oregon/Washington peeps:  Hi.  I don’t know you guys that well yet… and I don’t even have a horse yet…. in fact, I don’t even live there yet.  That said… who wants to buddy up and trailer together?  Anybody?  

Bugs, Beer, and Lizards: Part Two

Hey Becky,

I was just reading the comments again and I would really like to answer some of them, but my lack of computer skills won’t let me. Translation: I don’t know how.

First:  the small lizards here in thailand are over populated, to say the least. I have had them fall on my head from opening doors. I have found them in the refrigerator, dead from the cold. How did they get through the air tight seal? I know they chew their way through the screens in the windows – I see the holes they make, so I imagine they are ruining the seal to the refrigerator.

I agree –  it is very nice and helpful of them to eat the bugs I have in the house….  however, after eating the bugs they digest them….. and you can imagine the step after digestion. Well, they have not had a decent upbringing as far as I can tell –  they just let it go anywhere they feel like. It’s kind of like having a herd of mini horses living all over your walls and ceiling.

Lizards, I believe, also like water, and since there are two rooms that are known to have water in the house that is where they mostly live. The bathroom I can take.  I don’t really like the fact that little ‘wall-horses” are staring at me while I do my business but I can live with it.

Then there is the kitchen, where the food and the clean dishes are kept. If the dishes aren’t washed and put away this will cause the local bug population to congregate in the kitchen…and what likes to eat bugs?  We’re back to lizards again –  and the eating, and the digesting, and…. I think you get the picture. 

There are three permanent lizard-residents in my bathroom (known residents) and another four in the kitchen.  There are at least two in the living room.  The light is left on all night in the carport, for security reasons. This attracts at least nine lizards, so if you total the known lizards inside and outside, they number eighteen. When scared the outside lizards run to the eaves and into the attic.  I can only guess there are more there.

So to round off how many lizards I have, a very conservative guess would be thirty. On the block where I live there are only four houses, so that makes at least 120 known lizards. In a one mile radius I am going to guess there are approximately 128 houses.  With four houses per block and eight blocks per mile, in all four directions this is 3,840 lizards per square mile.  Keep in mind these are only the known or seen lizards.

Now, without wanting to step on anyone’s toes, every lizard within 20 miles would be 76,800 lizards. Now, I do have a cat that helps me control the population, but these are only the seen lizards. I think the number can be at least doubled, because only one other cat lives near by. I know this because of the mating season, but that is a whole other story I don’t want to get into.

Okay,  back to the little digesting machines.  We are now at about 153,000 of them, if you want invite every lizard (seen and unseen) from a 20 mile radius into your house. I honestly think this would chase the cat away – there would be just too many. They would be everywhere. With the mess and (as I have mentioned) the midnight chirping, it would drive you insane.  I am not sure a human could endure this.

Now, what would follow the little lizards here?  Well, bigger lizards for the food, and also, I believe snakes like an occasional lizard or two. Since I have already had to kill a snake in my living room and, while lying on the couch watching t.v., I watched one raise its head to look in,  and the before mentioned king cobra encounter (Becky in:  I’ll post this story later), I am just not ready for that much nature in my yard or house.

As for the one commenter who lectures her cats, maybe she could teach my lizards to use the bathroom in a designated area. I would be more than happy to have a lizard bathroom installed.   Until then I will treat them just like I would a human. If a house guest was seen pooping in my kitchen or if they roamed the house in the middle of the night yelling very loud “I WANT SEX” then they too would have to go  If they refused, then I would probably look for another pointed stick.

Anyway, life here is a little more interesting. I am looking forward to seeing the DragonMonkey again and teaching him some more tricks. To paraphrase an old saying, revenge is a dish best served after your kid grows up and has kids of her own.