Friday, September 16, 2016

Death by Dander

So I decided to commit murder this week.

Sure, admitting it outright on the Internet seems like a poor way to set up an alibi, but in my defense, I don’t actually think anyone is really going to die. The victim may be a bit stuffy, and maybe get a bit wheezy, but in general, a handful of over-the-counter meds and a strong door lock will probably be all the protection necessary to survive and live a long and healthy life.  

Whom am I trying to kill? My husband.

Why am I trying to kill him? My children asked me too. My son has spent years asking me in more roundabout ways and then actually spent quite a bit of time online researching the different ways in which my husband could be killed. My daughter doubled down and said that if her brother could kill Daddy, then she wanted to do it too.  

How am I trying to kill him? Slowly. Very slowly. One day at a time, a little bit by little bit so that he barely even notices.

Where will the crime take place? At home. Less fuss and muss and much easier to clean up in the quiet of the night.

What is the murder weapon? Cats.

Yes, my friends, I am killing my husband with cats. Two of them. And yes, getting pets when you have a family member who is allergic may seem like cruel and unusual punishment – but it’s not like I slipped them in through the back door when he wasn’t looking. There were multiple conversations about why we were getting pets, who was going to look after the pets, and what we were going to name the pets. I was firm that there would be two of them because I think it is mean to have a singular pet. Everyone should have someone to cuddle with and pets are no exception. Plus, I have two kids, so one for each.

Honestly, the names took the longest time. My husband wanted Starsky and Hutch. I wanted Statler and Waldorf. My son wanted Luke and Leia and my daughter wanted Xander and Willow. Multiple Hamilton characters were paired together. Peanut Butter and Jelly was rejected outright but Chewie and Han had some legs. For a short period of time, I was convinced Sparks McGee and Fluffer Nutter were the winning combo. Farty McFartFace was considered, but no one could come up with comparable joke for the second cat. Finally, one day on vacation in the Pocono mountains, while riding a boat around Lake Wallenpaupak, my brother-in-law had enough. “What about Kipp and Epply?” he asked. For those unfamiliar that would be two out of the three islands on the very lake on which we rocked. “Humph.” My entire family sat, stunned with the ease at which the answer had been presented. Winner!

So, one hot Saturday, I took Bubbles with me to the local Petco, where they present shelter animals for adoption. We were going to preview the selection so that the kids didn’t fall in love with something that bit or spit or had an extra tail or a gunshot wound. (You laugh, but my mother has brought home animals that fit those descriptions not once but three times.) And there, just waiting for us, were the atrociously named Mother Hen and Love Chicken. Some people really don’t take naming seriously. I dutifully filled out a questionnaire with such suspicious questions as “How do you discipline a cat?” and “Where will your cat sleep?” I wrote my best guesses (You don’t and wherever it wants), paid the nominal fee, and within an hour was the new servant of two cat masters.

My mother was prouder of the cat adoptions than she was the birth of her grandchildren. She has already given me cat beds, cat blankets, cat food, cat litter, cat magazines, cat books, cat calendars, and cat grooming supplies. The kids argued over who got to sleep with the cats until they realized cats are nocturnal and “sleep” was an adjective that does not describe listening to two kamikaze kittens race around the room knocking everything over, jumping up and down all night long and essentially behaving like crack addicts. My husband has already been spotting trying to get the damn things to sleep on his chest and I have amused myself by getting them bags of Halloween toys from the dollar store. There really is nothing like watching a cat roll blood-shot eyeballs around the floor to get into the holiday spirit.

The cats seem to appreciate their new home. There was little to no period of adjustment. From the moment we let them out of the cat carrier, they have followed us around the house happily. While they aren’t quite lap cats, they are lap-adjacent. Kipp, the three-month old kitten enjoys the rocket approach to locomotion and is already being referred to as the Sniper, as he is able to silently smack right into your ankles like a furry bullet when you least expect it. He’s a fast little beast and as he is too young for a collar, enjoys stealth maneuvers. Epply has a bell on her collar, which makes her easy to hear, but she also is the more vocal of the two and likes to meow or purr for attention. They also seem to be able to either pick locks or walk through walls because we keep closing bedroom doors at night and keep finding them inside the closed rooms come morning. Last night, I awoke to find a cat purring happily three inches from my face. The marital bedroom was supposed to be cat-free. No fur. No dander. No middle of the night barfing or coughing up of hairballs. An allergen-free space where my husband could breathe freely. But no, there was Eppily taking a bath right between the two of us while her son kept falling off the windowsills with loud crashes.

So yes, technically, getting cats with an allergic husband is probably not the best way to show my love for him. But it could be worse. I could have gotten a dog.