Door In Face not responsible for hurt feelings, cry babies or the intellectually challenged.

 
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Cat Got Your Back?

I couldn’t move.

A dead weight held me immobile and refused to let me out of a supine position. I wriggled, desperate to break free. Though I could shift my own weight from side to side, I could not dislodge the mass that imprisoned me.

I poked my husband Brian in the ribs.

“Would you get the cat off my leg?” I asked him. “I can’t get out of bed.”

“He’s eight pounds,” my pre-coffee husband grumbled.

“Yeah, but watch.”

Brian sat up, annoyed but cooperative.

I shifted my left leg rapidly from side to side. Seti, who was plastered to my thigh, hunkered lower. His center of gravity shifted with mine. We moved as one despite my best efforts to render us two.

“If he gets any closer to me, we’re going to fuse at the molecular level,” I said. “He’s like a cat-shaped tumor.”

Brian reached across me and shoved at the cat. The little black feline didn’t budge. I tried bouncing up and down. The only emotion Seti betrayed was the slightest flick of his tail.

“It’s like gravity works differently,” Brian said half in awe, half in jest.

Driven by the need we all have upon first rising in the mornings, a certain growing pressure was making me desperate.

With a mighty heave, I shoved my hand under the cat’s belly. (It was harder than you might think since we were nearly fused.)

Seti stood abruptly, jumped off the bed and shot a feline curse word my direction. Years of living with cats has rendered me immune to their snarky vocabulary.

I turned on my side and tried to rise. A sudden, sharp stab in my low back made me gasp in pain.

“What’s wrong?” Brian moved toward me in alarm.

“Something touched a nerve in my low back,” I interrupted myself with a sudden new horror. “Oh, God! No, no, no!”

“What?” Brian was more alarmed.

“I’m going to sneeze!”

I could feel the sneeze building. When it arrived, it would rush to my low back and leap on the errant nerve with golf cleats. I figured that if I was lucky, I had just enough time to die before the sneeze impaled me.

I pinched my nose and the sneeze subsided. Relief on behalf of my back mingled with annoyance at an unsatisfied sneeze.

Cranky, I gingerly tried to rise, and found that though cat-free, I was still unable to stand.

I sighed.

“What now?” Brian asked.

“I finally got the oppressive little cat off me, and thanks to my back, I still can’t move,” I told him.

He grinned. “You went from having a dead weight to being a dead weight?”

I swore my best feline swear word.

 

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Nora Blithe reads Roach Cooties

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A Dieter’s Prayer

23rd Carb

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Nora Blithe reads Puppy Bombs

I’m trying something new. Please share your thoughts with me in the comments section or on Facebook.com/norablithe. I hope you enjoy this!

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Unwarranted Criticism

My husband Brian stomped through the front door, flung his attaché on the couch and slumped past me toward his computer – his bastion of solace.

“Good day, sweetie?” I asked knowing perfectly well it wasn’t.

A muffled growl was his only response.

“Do you want to talk about it, or do you want to eat cookie dough ice cream and listen to Wilson Phillips?”

My sarcasm had its intended effect, and he rolled his eyes.

“I had a rough day at work,” he confided.

“I gathered.”

Rough days for him are unusual. As an optical lab manager, he is responsible for cutting lenses for eyeglasses, maintaining equipment and managing staff. He loves his job, and he’s very good at it. Like everyone, he sometimes comes home tired or annoyed, but rarely angry.

“I was filling in at our other store today,” he began. “They have a joke that every time I come in, a piece of equipment breaks.”

“You?” I asked aghast. “The man who can fix anything?”

He once repaired a piece of equipment that the manufacturer had given up for dead. He’s brilliant with machines and he isn’t used to being criticized.

“Yeah,” he snorted derisively. “Right when I came on my shift, the edger went down. I literally put my hand on the outside of it, and it shut off. The store manager came in and said, ‘What did you break this time?’”

Putting your hand on the outside of and edger can break it like putting your hand on the hood of a car can change the oil. It isn’t possible.

“It broke because they hadn’t been doing the regular maintenance,” he groaned.

That’s what you’re mad about?” It seemed like a puny thing to me.

“You wouldn’t understand,” he sulked.

I nearly collapsed. “I wouldn’t understand?! I’m a writer. Half of my job is to take criticism! ‘This is too long. This is too short.’ I got an email last week that said ‘You’re grammer isn’t good.’ Or the worst insult of them all: ‘I don’t think your writing is funny!’ Then don’t read it!”

He stared at me with renewed respect.

“How do you handle the criticism,” he asked.

“Simple,” I replied. “I close my eyes and imagine the person criticizing me has bad hair.”

“Bad hair? That’s it?”

“I’m not done. I imagine them with bad hair. Then, I imagine they’re being eaten by a manatee.”

“Manatees are vegetarians,” he replied.

“Which is what makes it funny,” I retorted. I stared at him hard for a moment and imagined a sea cow chewing on his head. Then, I smiled.

“What’s so funny?” he asked. Realization hit. “You’re imagining I’m being eaten by a manatee aren’t you?”

“No,” I said unconvincingly.

He laughed.

“See,” I said triumphantly. “It worked. Now the man who knows how to fix machines knows how to fix bad days caused by critics.”

 

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No Fun New Year

My New Year’s Eves are never fun. No rollicking parties, no ball drops at midnight, no eating cookie dough ice cream straight from the container and going to bed at 8:30.

Nope! I was foolish enough to marry a man whose birthday is December 31; and we have to do what he wants to do, and he never wants to eat cookie dough ice cream straight from the container.

Well, he does; but he doesn’t want to share it with me.

My husband Brian went through a period in his twenties when he lamented that his birthday and a major party holiday coincided. This was about the same time that New Year’s Eve stopped being fun.

“Everyone’s celebrating, but it isn’t for me,” he would moan morosely sounding a bit like Eeyore the depressed donkey.

I would roll my eyes.

“Oh please.” I’d retort unsympathetically. “No one’s birthday is celebrated on that grand of a scale, unless you count Christmas as the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. I guess that is a big birthday party.”

“But that’s happened for like one guy in all of history! One! If you want a party that big celebrating you, you’re going to have to change some things,” I’d say.

“Like what?” He’d show some interest here.

“You probably should start a following. Get a few disciples. Die a horrific death…”

“Very funny.”

“What are you complaining about?” I’d press him. “There are countless events and parties on your birthday. Every band we like is playing at any number of our favorite bars. Just pick one!” I’d beg him.

“Besides,” I’d point out, “it doesn’t even matter if your birthday falls on a Wednesday, there’s always something to do. When my birthday falls on a Wednesday, there’s nothing to do!”

My birthday is in late September when people are readjusting to the school grind and don’t go out much. It’s not a great time for a birthday if you want to attend roof-raising events.

“When my birthday comes around no one’s celebrating, and if they were, it wouldn’t be because it’s my birthday,” I’d tell him.

“You should probably start a following,” he’d quip.

This sums up every unsympathetic conversation in my family. I’d shrug and ignore him.

At least in late September, when no one is partying, I have an excellent excuse to eat a carton of cookie dough ice cream and go to bed at 8:30.

 

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Holiday Incarceration

I was trapped at my husband Brian’s work Christmas party with no obvious means of escape. I know because I’d spent the last thirty minutes trying to squeeze out through an undersized bathroom window.

Brian busted me when I wasn’t back before snacks were served. It’s unlike me to miss snacks. He told me he figured I had either died or made a break for it, and that if I snuck out without him, I would die, rather literally, when he caught up to me.

“Fine,” I snapped at him in a hushed whisper. “I’ll come back to the stupid ‘party,’ (I object to the use of that word) but you’re going to owe me.”

“You’re missing snacks,” he tempted me.

I rolled my eyes and climbed off the toilet.

“Here,” he said as he handed me my boots. I’d taken them off when I crawled onto the toilet to access the window because I was afraid their hard soles would make noise on the ceramic and my escape would be thwarted.

Turns out the narrow window and my not-so-narrow hips prevented my escape anyway. I eat too many stupid snacks.

I put my boots back on and followed him out of the bathroom. I made a genuine effort not to pout. I’m not sure I managed it, but I gave myself points for effort.

The other guests were seated in my husband’s boss’ living room sipping “holiday punch” (fruit punch sans adult beverage) and munching slices of American cheese and Saltines.

I shot Brian a nasty look. These were the snacks I’d traded my freedom for? Even my five-year-old niece would know I’d gotten a bad deal.

The guests munched like cows. No one dared move from their chair for fear they would draw attention to themselves. No one spoke, possibly for the same reason, or more likely it was that they had nothing meaningful to say.

To pass the time, I nibbled a cracker and eyed each of Brian’s coworkers trying to decide who would snap from boredom first.

I was afraid it would be me.

Why are actual work holiday parties nothing like the parties on TV? Just once in my life, I want to chug a bottle of champagne and dare a coworker to photocopy his bare bottom. Is that too much to ask?

When our sentence ended and we were released from the party, Brian and I fled to our car.

“You’re a free woman,” he teased. “Want to stop and buy a bottle of bourbon?”

“Nope,” I replied. “Champagne.”

“Really,” he asked surprised. I rarely drink champagne.

“Yup, really.” If I couldn’t chug the stuff at a party, I’d chug it after a “party.” Besides, Brian doesn’t drink champagne so I wouldn’t have to share it with him.

To be fair, I did warn him that he would owe me.

 

 

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