The Queen Cat That Did

Because, I’m sleepy and because I don’t have the wherewithal…

originally written 2 weeks ago
Yesterday, at 8:45pm, my family discovered that the infamous Amelie was no where to be found.  I remembered her being inside in the morning because she fell asleep on my feet making me excessively hot. In turn, this caused me to haphazardly boot her off the bed when freeing my feet from the sweltering hell that is a tucked in sheet.

She also accompanied me in the bathroom, sat close by in my office while I ironed, and stared at me in the kitchen while I made my toast.  She’s a sneaky little gray cat with a heart of gold sharply accented with little razor talons (which she uses to torment our three dogs).  Almost nightly, she sneaks behind me on the couch, sits down, and proceeds to bathe my shaved head with her sandpaper tongue. As much as I find it disgusting, it perplexes the dogs and makes the girls laugh with shocked disgust..so I let her continue until I can’t handle dealing with my skin becoming raw.

So upon realizing that she wasn’t in any of her normal hiding places, I began to scour the places she shouldn’t be… The dryer, the bath tub, the toilet, the ceiling fan, the oven, the refrigerator…I could go on, but I’m sure you get the point. All four people in my household were running from room to room calling her name, throwing around her toys, and doing everything we could think of to attract her attention.

It took some time for the panic to set in, but I could feel it in my hands and feet in the way they tingled and hummed. I could feel my head start to swim like I was under water and couldn’t figure out which way was up. I looked at Laura and firmly stated “I’ll be f*****g damned if I let my cat push me into a panic attack.”

I promptly spent the next hour traipsing through every person’s yard in a 100 yard radius.  Tay had cat food and a spoon, Laura pointed her flashlight at every thing from gravel under cars to the stars in the sky. I went from crying to laughing to cursing to crying again.

No cat in her right mind would have came out of hiding to all the racket we were making. No wonder she stayed incognito.

I didn’t sleep that night. Every dream I had I’m sure had Sarah McLaughlin music playing behind it flashing pictures of abused abandoned animals. In my mind she was either dead, hurt, trapped, or scarred for life. She better thank her nine lives that my overactive bladder and angry kidneys woke me up at the “crack of dawn” (thanks for that phrase, Mom!) I used the bathroom and before heading back into the warmth of my cave like room, I ambled to the front door hoping she would be there.

That little hell cat. She just sat there perched on the porch and slowly turned around to me and meowed in a way that sounded like “hey crazy, fancy meeting you here!” I opened the door and she stood there and stared. Obviously this crazed feline heard me yelling, crying, begging her to come inside earlier in the night?  Yet now she was taking her sweet time coming in like it was the middle of a summer day and I didn’t need sleep to teach children the next day.

I scooped her up and proceeded to parade her around the house chanting “Guess who’s home?” Luckily for me, waking the girls in the wee hours of the morning for our prodigal cat daughter had come didn’t warrant the usual barrage of grumpiness accompanying other early morning wake ups. I tossed her on the bed and she was met with dog swats, human kisses, and the permission to sleep in the bed wherever she chose.

Why the hell did she choose my head as a nice place to rest?

High fives and fist bumps

After two years of teaching under the reign of the Culture of Terror, you would think that the good days at my new place of employment would get etched into my overactive mind. Even more, I can honestly say that I’ve only had one bad day working there thus far. It had nothing to do with bad behavior from my children – it was a direct result of a physician faux pas which had left me 5 days and counting of no medication to help with my racing thoughts and forgetfulness. Five days off feels like a panic attack sneaking up on you and I was so frazzled that I truly believe my soft smushy brain might have been playing rugby with my skull.

Then it hit me… This is how I used to feel all the time

Prior to being medicated for all this loveliness, I was unaware of what normal…wait, I’m not normal even now…I was unaware of what it was like to focus fully, concentrate, finish my work in a timely fashion, to remember things that needed remembering. This five days off made me realize the stark difference between now and then.

I am embarrassed to remember that bad day but I do, so I’ll share. I only remember bits and pieces so cut me some slack -its Friday (which I call Friday Night Teacher Sleepy Time) and that day was pretty all over the place. Imagine a squirrel stuck in a burlap sack, and if you don’t know what that is (because you weren’t raised in the beautiful south like me) then think of another bag of some sort.

What I easily remember is walking into first period, where I teach math with an intelligent, determined, and on-top-of-all-her-shit type of girl, to realize that I was clueless. Clueless as in I had forgotten to look through our lesson plan for the day. I’d forgotten to perform my normal routine of working through the classwork so I can perform whatever magic I use to mold the minds of these small children. I had no idea what I needed to teach.

This is really embarrassing for many reasons…

  1. I hate when others are unprepared.
  2. I am a control freak.
  3. It’s just unacceptable as a teacher.

Thank god for competent co-teachers who always have your back, especially when you show up off your game.  Thank the gods also because you can always count on students to either say something memorable and sweet OR something memorable and heinous.  I’ve been graced with angels so far (I’m sure there are some little antics they’ve yet to pull).  I’ve heard the following in the past three weeks:

“Mrs. Taylor, YOU….ARE….A….GOD!” Obviously, someone is stuck on Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief from Math Class.

“WHAAAAT? YES! MY FAVORITE TEACHER FOR FIRST PERIOD!” -a kiddo after learning that today was a B-afternoon schedule day.

“I don’t want to go to my next class, can’t I just stay with you?”

“Mom, can you just come back here and teach?” -a favorite from last years school

The best compliment of all came from my homeroom… It wasn’t words, persay, it’s the fact that they begged and pleaded for me to order them t-shirts.  As soon as I get one, I’ll post a pic on here. It’s epic.

I digress… Let me just leave with this…I have bad days and I have good days. I have days where I panic off and on, worry a lot, feel down, but it’s been those kids (and my kids from the last two years) put a smile on my face and remind me to just keep pushing forward. I owe them so much.

Look at me, I’m not untitled anymore!

“I find I am distracted! I am stark raving mad!” – Henry Fielding in The Intriguing Chambermaid (1734) 

I appreciate your initial use of this phrase, Mr. Fielding. I don’t know who you are, but I now know that google knows you as a pioneer of this phrase (that seems to sum up part of my not-so-interesting life.)

I’m not stark, raving mad – I prefer to own up to the phrase stark raving PLAID, as in I’m so gay I must be wearing plaid…because ya know, us lesbians like our plaid, our tools, and our subarus.  Actually, I don’t drive a subaru; I drive a truck. Soooo, maybe I’m a little more gay than I thought. And please, before you lesbians that don’t identify with my cargo short hammer wielding genre of gayness, realize that I am being purposefully ridiculous in labeling and stereotyping.

I’m also not just stark raving mad about plaid, I’m stark raving something or other for a lot of things. Maybe a little unhinged, a smidge quirky, a lot of opinions rolled into a nice little southern belle without the hair and makeup and that scary looking dress. No thank you, I don’t do lace and such. Ask my mom…she knows.

I mold minds (by teaching, not brainwashing of course). I’m an atheist and simultaneously obsessed with Catholicism and its mysticism. I’m the trupe that feels bad when an automatic door opens and I don’t go through it. Seriously. I sometimes whisper “I’m sorry” or if I feel real guilty, I go in the door and back out. I don’t split poles when walking with friends. I’m easily distracted – my psychiatrist diagnosed me with adult ADD (among a plethora of other fun things), and my therapist and physician both whole heartedly agree. This is lovely, because I’m much more focused, much more productive, and much less irritable anxious and stressed now that I take medication.

Among all my quirks and oddities, I’m just me. I’m learning to love myself despite my downfalls because at least I’m passionate. I love my job. I love my home and the people in it. I love the lifestyle I lead and the people that make me proud to identify as a member in the lgbtq community. I’m a big mouth piece for taking away the stigma of mental illness.  I’m a supporter of equality for all, no matter your sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, zip code, religion, etc.

Most of all, I’m just stark raving about this life I walk through. I’m grateful to the mother who loves me, cares for me, and normally realizes that something is up with me despite our 9 hours apart. I’m thankful for my father, who forged a relationship with me after my parents divorced and who has always stood beside me even when I’m wrong.

Enough of the sap, I’m getting teary eyed and smiling at the same time while sitting here waiting for L & T so I can go home… People will think I’m real unsteady if I’m crying and smiling at myselt in a hospital atrium. That would be just so stark raving mad.