Local Schmocal by Zoe Abel: Despite the additions to the household I'm still the only one who does laundry, washes the dishes or flushes the toilet (it's not that hard!).
Apparently not content with just living with my son, Silas, I invited two more boys to move in with us. I'm not quite sure what possessed me to get a couple more roommates: loneliness, pity or a burning desire to open my home up to the otherwise homeless? Probably a little bit of all three. Despite the additions to the household I'm still the only one who does laundry, washes the dishes or flushes the toilet (it's not that hard!). Between flushing and folding I am now the proud owner of two cats. Two is the perfect number, enough to keep each other busy, but not so many that my family makes "cat lady" jokes.
Nothing against the animal shelter, but next time I get a pet I'm going to get one of those monkeys I've seen on the internet who vacuums and dusts and roller skates. Instead of a troop of cleaning primates I have kittens, Plato and Socrates. I have yet to witness them contribute to household chores, even though I offer a generous allowance of $1 a week. Mostly, they simply jump on the furniture and demand to be fed, just like my son.
While I am no longer lonely, the kittens also have the effect of making me feel unsafe in my own home. Silas used to be afraid of monsters in the closet, now I am afraid of walking down any hallway, past any door or pausing too long beside a piece of furniture. The police should seriously consider letting a pack of kittens loose on suspects. The scratches and bites would be one thing, but the psychological fear the kittens would instill would be a whole new frontier in the world of non-lethal force. "Put your hands down, or I'll fill your house with catnip!" "Please, all I want to do is tie my shoes without terror-instilling kittens watching my every move!"
I've had cats before, but never kittens. I'm glad that I chose to wait to get a couple until after I was a parent. After finally emerging from Silas' toddler years I feel fully prepared for another couple years of being scratched and bitten. I tell Silas, when he complains about the kittens, that he also used to fly at people in a fit of rage and bite them in the leg. He also sometimes scratches me with his toenails in bed, but I'm hoping that's an accident rather than faking sleep to inflict injuries in an extreme case of passive aggressiveness.
When people at my work think I'm crazy for bringing more live creatures into the chaos that is my life I simply inform them that cats are the greatest of God's inventions. I can play with them, feed them, snuggle them and it's still legal to sell them on the internet if I want. Silas has grown smart enough to know that my threats of selling him to the circus are empty. Guess I have to come up with a couple new parenting methods.
Kittens make life an adventure. Every day is a little game of, "What have you monsters destroyed now?" They sleep in the middle of the dining room table, go through more toilet paper than someone suffering with Montezuma's Revenge and bite my toes when I'm in bed. We also argue over who's the boss in the great game of "time to get in the carrier and go to the vet." But despite their impish ways, they also unexpectedly jump into my lap, purr at the first sign of affection, allow Silas to carry them around the house and eat with the kind of fervor a girl like me can admire.
Plato and Socrates are sweet and wild and fun and a little crazy. Guess they're on their way to fitting right in with the rest of the family.
Zoë Abel is putting on extra socks to protect her toes and researching how to buy a chimpanzee online — she already has the roller skates ready. Between sneak attacks and meal times you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.