My boyfriend and I are shacking up. (And we are not even married! Please don't tell Baby Jesus.) In many ways, the transition has been pretty seamless. And it's also cool: he's really going to be here, every night. No more G-train-and-littered-ugly-street commutes! No more roommates! Well, one more roommate (more on that later). But in one big cartoonish way, the transition has not been seamless: the classic clash of cat versus dog.
I have a big old grumpy calico cat, Gypsy, who has mellowed with age but is still one of those cats who mostly just likes me and will tolerate other people until it's time to swat them away. She has no tolerance for other animals, as I learned in a few previous living situations. We knew Gyp was going to be decidedly not pleased about her new housemate, Cooper the exuberant yellow labrador, but figured she'd just have to get used to it.
When Coop first entered my apartment to officially live here, their first encounter went so badly that Gyp's world is scarred to this day--but all witnesses had to admit it was also hilarious. Gyp happened to get cornered by Coop in the kitchen. Startled by her presence, Cooper barked his head off at her, causing her to try scrambling up the radiator (which was on), then launch airborne and finally land on the windowsill, where she remained behind the curtain for hours.
Here is a reenactment of the incident. Note: The role of Gypsy will be played by a Photoshopped amalgam of two less pretty cats, since Gypsy was unavailable to pose.
After this fiasco, there was one standoff where Gyp was being tuff, and she has left at least one claw and multiple clawmarks in Coop's curious schnozzle, but unfortunately this has not encouraged her to remain in the open. She has taken up dual residences behind the futon and atop my roommate Hannah's loft bed, only timidly emerging for our special "morning Mommy/cat time" when Cooper is locked in the bedroom, and sometimes to use her litter box. Even the litter box, not so much; she has adopted a liberal attitude about appropriate sites for doing her business. Apparently one of them is now Hannah's bed, where Gyp tried to cover up her dump with a pillow.
Speaking of Hannah, who is moving out next week and heading to Portland, Coop quickly tried to establish dominance over at least one member of our apartment's pack. This meant anytime he encountered her, it was time for him to do the humpty dance and for the red rocket to come out. Especially if she did something enticing like bending over. Fortunately, he abandoned this notion after terrorizing her a while, so we didnt' have to get him the sex doll for dogs
I also had to change over from a relatively spoiled cat lady to become one of those city dwellers I never wanted to be: a dog-walker. Walking a dog in the city means you have to pick up their fresh hot dumps in a plastic bag. I have to say, it is
disgusting, it does
smell horrible, but you know what? It really isn't all that bad and has raised my threshold of disgust. Like, now I'm not as bothered anymore when the dog keeps licking me. I also came up with a few poop pickup tricks. If there's dirt handy, sprinkle that on for added fiber, creating a more solid mass to pick up. What's that, you say? You weren't too smooth with the pickup and got some poo on your hand? Curse vigorously, and then make use of some nearby moist leaves--nature's napkins.
And now whenever I'm home I have a new buddy, whether I'm in the mood to have one or not, following me everywhere I go, putting his head in my lap or a slobbery ball on my keyboard, so I have named him Obsesso. Other alternate names for Cooper: Pigpen (he frequently shakes his whole body, releasing hundreds of hairs to the wilds of our apartment each time), Enthusiasmo, Pooper, Blooper. Sometimes I think hangin' with Mr. Cooper is pretty similar to hanging out with President Bush. (Only Coop's smarter, of course! Wocka wocka!)
I am wary of writing one of those blogs that is like, "Look at our perfect Brooklyn brownstone life." "Look at these perfect vegan meals I make for my guaranteed-to-be-bullied child every day." (It's defiance of both of those sentiments that inspired my other dead blogs, Stoop to Our Level
.) But I also have to be mindful of another pitfall of blogland, which is rampant cynicism.
I want to be reeeeaaaal, maaaaan, without heading too far into TMI-land or disclosing any ATM secret passwords. So here it is: It's great to be so comfortable with someone. In under a year, we've gone from complete strangers to reentering a room greeting the other one with, "...still scratchin' that, huh?"
We do spar a bit, but nearly all in good fun. The boyfriend will correct my pronuciation of vase, which brings us to a favorite topic of ours (fancy Connecticut mouse versus down-home New Jersey mouse), then later I'll correct his pronunciation of Moog. He can make fun of my Bon Jovi days, but watch out when I bring up his Grateful-Dead-following past! I love making up names for his former "on tour" cronies, like Hobo Johnny, Bojangles McGee, and Heroin Jack. That really gets him fired up, and he professes to hate me. But I know that "I hate you so much" really means "you are hilarious."
And so, hoping not to be fakey-braggy or corny or cynical, I present you: a fambly portrait, taken by the beleaguered Ms. Hannah.
Isn't it gross that we kind of look alike? We're like brother and sister, no? Special
brother and sister.
Mommy is so sorry, Gyp. Here, maybe these free-range chicken treats will make it all better. Despite all appearances, no animals were harmed in the taking/making of these photographs.
Labels: beasties, coop overload, nyc tomfoolery