November 11th: A Harrowing Experience
I often have extra tasks and calendared items. There just seem to always
be extra chores--things beyond the making of beds, feeding of animals,
making of breakfast, packing school lunches, and doing laundry. Today
was no exception.
I yelled out the normal reminders: “Brush your teeth! Comb your hair!
Wear deodorant!” I also banged on my daughter’s door, something else
I have to do every morning. Despite being in college, she seemed unable
to get out the door on time. I never dared enter her room. To do so was
to put myself in harm’s way; she flailed and kicked at anyone who got
too near her bed.
I needed to work in extra time to help our youngest child finish some
papers for school. He’d fallen asleep during our homework session the
night before. His little head had slumped to his chest, one hand still
loosely holding his pencil. He was fighting allergies again, and the
four prescriptions had simply been too much. I’d had no choice but to
put him to bed early, leaving me to correct spelling and math as I ran
by the breakfast table, doing a myriad of morning chores.
All three children, the dog and I were either scurrying or shuffling
every which direction, and time was of the essence. The buses were going
to arrive soon and there were many last minute things to do. The
middle-schooler needed help finding his wallet. The damn thing seemed to
mysteriously walk out of his jeans pocket every afternoon after school.
I fished it out of the hamper and tossed to him as his bus driver honked
his insistence at the end of the driveway. A half hour later, the
youngest churned his way to the bus; his jacket buttoned wrong and book
bag flapping. I waved goodbye and blew kisses, even though I knew he was
embarrassed by such behavior. I nearly collided with my daughter, who
was flying out the door right behind him. I shouted out warnings to her
about driving safely and called out, “Love you!” to empty space.
Whew. We made it through another morning…almost.
I was moving through things quickly because our cat, Fat Chance, was
scheduled for his annual veterinarian appointment in less than thirty
minutes. A piece of cake for a stay-at-home mom used to juggling and
shifting, right? Wrong. I skimmed through the last of my emails and
began to scout around for the cat. Everything seemed to be going along
fine up until then--chaotic, but fine. I can only assume Fat Chance read
the appointment calendar, because I finally found him under my bed, not
a normal hide-out for him.
Retrieving a full-sized cat out from under a queen-sized bed is no easy
feat. Regardless of which side I chose, the cat simply maneuvered an
inch or two out of my reach until I finally gave up and climbed under
there with him. Not appreciating the invasion, he frowned and complained
about the crowded conditions by hissing in my face. No matter how long
you’ve owned a cat, lavished them with love, and stroked their ego, a
direct hiss in the face is to be taken very seriously. Even more serious
when trapped together in close quarters. I scooted out quickly. I
cajoled, I begged, I offered treats, all to no avail.
“Enough!” I finally yelled, bared my own teeth and informed him, in
no uncertain terms, he was vacating the damn bed cave! With time
ticking, we were down to twenty minutes. I crawled back under, grabbed
Chance around the belly, and began to drag him and me backwards toward
freedom. I don’t know how he managed it, not having front claws and
all, but his feet were completely and fully embedded in the carpet. He
also seemed to have gained seventy or eighty pounds.
Running down the stairs, I juggled the cat and shot worried glances at
the clock. Despite the outside temperatures stubbornly holding at
forty-five degrees, I didn’t bother with a jacket. I was late and
still had to find the baggie containing Chance’s fecal stool sample.
I’m not sure which was worse: me agreeing to recover said sample from
the litter box or the doctor’s office needing to smash it on a slide
and look for…something. It was disgusting no matter the angle of
I jammed the two of us into the front seat and opted to take a back road
and avoid stop signs and traffic, a.k.a. a short cut. Chance, completely
terrified of the car, chose to forgive me for dragging him out from
under the bed, and was instead buried in my lap. Unfortunately, my high
speed trip down curvy and bumpy roads was more than Chance could take.
He threw up his salmon-flavored breakfast on my left leg. Perhaps I
hadn’t been forgiven after all. Trying to drive, hold an unhappy cat,
locate napkins and roll down my window, all while gagging, didn’t make
for very safe driving techniques. I was just happy my daughter wasn’t
there to see, or all my warnings about safe driving would be for naught.
We skidded into the parking lot, late but in one piece……….
(What happens next? It gets worse, I assure you...)
Excerpted from "These Animals Are Killing Me" by Katrina Morgan. Copyright © 2016 by Katrina Morgan. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.