Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Who IS this new Roommate of Ours and What IS She Feeding Me?"

Last night I came home from my hour-long boxing class at the gym totally exhausted and looking forward to a nice hot shower and a couple hours of complete relaxation in my apartment. The minute I walked in I noticed an immediate look of disappointment on Oreo’s face. Almost as if to say, “Oh, it’s you…you don’t feed me, Danielle feeds me…Well, I’ll come over and you can pet me anyway.” My first reaction was, “I’m sorry Oreo! It’s just me coming home…not Danielle. I’m sorry Buddy.” (Why was I apologizing?…I pay my portion of the rent). Oreo began his meowing which doesn’t sound like a meow at all, more like maaahhh! (Trust me, it’s a weird sound.) It was 9:30 p.m and he hadn’t eaten since this morning. Poor soul. And now he’s stuck here with me. I immediately called my all-knowing mother, whose advice was the obvious. “Feed him something!” Oreo began pacing the apartment, rolled himself on the rug, got up, and then headed to the pantry door which he then proceeded to stand up and open with his two front paws. He was trying to tell me, “Moron, my food is in here!” I looked in the pantry and his box of food was empty! Thinking dry food is dry food, I offered him some of my Kashi Go Lean cereal. Hey, I was desperate. He chewed a little (as if it were concrete, which it is) and then looked at me as if to say, “Lady, this sucks!” My mother then recommended pouring Oreo a little milk into his bowl. So I poured a little skim milk for him thinking that this should hold him over until Danielle comes home. He lasted about 10 seconds with the milk and headed back over to me to “maaahhh” at me and rubbed up against me. I said, “I’m sorry buddy, I don’t know what else to do”. Inexperienced with animal needs, I texted Danielle and told her Oreo is hungry and there’s no food for him. She responded that she would be home with his food in a couple minutes. I found myself stroking Oreo’s head and lovingly assuring him, “It’s ok, Fatty, your food will be here soon”. The cat is probably saying to himself in a voice like Stewie from Family Guy, “Finally, it’s about time, dumb ass!” Thinking that to myself, I turned away and headed for my much needed shower. My muscles were beginning to feel sore so I figured with Danielle coming through the door any minute, I could sneak away into my bathroom.

Twenty minutes later, clean, naked and toweling off, I suddenly see my bathroom door knob slowly turning to open. Remembering that I had locked the door I called, “Who’s there?” The response, “Maaahhh!” It was as if the deprivation of food was ALL that cat was going to be deprived of for the night. I grabbed my towel and yelled “Go away Oreo!…Pervert!”

Monday, January 21, 2008


A couple of weeks ago I moved to another apartment in Hoboken. I have a new roommate who owns a cat. Yes, as you can imagine, this is a major milestone for me. I am sharing quarters with an animal. He’s cute though…all 18 pounds of him. Oreo is my roommate’s very overweight black and white cat. He’s what they call a lap cat or because of his color and markings - a tuxedo cat. Sometimes I look at him and want to break out into a song from Phantom of the Opera since his face is half black and half white. Get it? Oreo spends all day alone in the apartment but as soon as either Danielle or I come home he’s both ready to (1) eat and (2) receive our utmost attention and adoration. Don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t jump up and down when we walk in the door…he’s too fat to get all hyper about it. His approach to showing utter happiness that someone is home is to just kind of rub up against you for 10 minutes straight and then follow you wherever you go. He’ll watch everything you do and is, of course, very curious by nature. Last night with my roommate gone, Oreo and I nestled up on the couch and watched a movie together. Oreo situated his huge self on my lap as if it was his rightly place and then quickly fell sound asleep. Total contentment! And right about now you’re thinking, “Tara, you are so sadly pathetic!” Me - “neat-obsessor” partnered with a “somewhat-shedding, horribly obese” cat.…on the couch…together. Yeah, I know…it’s crazy, but I call him “my buddy” and we’ve bonded. At least I’ll have company for Valentine’s Day this year. I’ll pop open a nice bottle of wine for myself ….then fill his bowl with “dry food”. What a night! Spending Valentines Day on the couch with Oreo watching…um…The Adventures of Milo and Otis! Actually, we could watch a total chick flick and Oreo wouldn’t care! I don’t know, maybe I should contact E-Harmony and try dating again. My roommate isn’t dating anyone and when I suggested we join a speed dating club she just said she wasn’t interested in dating right now. Great! We’re like two spinsters with a cat!...(my ultimate nightmare!)

Since Oreo needs exercise, I do attempt to play with him. He has a line up of toys but playtime only lasts about two minutes per session. He gets tired and loses interest. What? Cats don’t fetch? Oh, that’s right…dogs fetch. Cats like to attack anything that is dangling by a string…kind of like fish! Poor Oreo. My roommate cannot say “no” to him, so she feeds him more than she should.

For as cute and quiet as he is nonetheless, Oreo is band from my bedroom. I actually purchased a child lock so that he can’t open my bedroom door. Don’t laugh…he opens doors. No silly, not the door to the apartment, just the inside doors. No intruders and no cats allowed in my room. My room is my sanctuary…my nest…my sacred perch. I’m kind of like Tweety bird in her cage! Yep that’s me… “I taught I taw a puddy cat!” I did! I did! Yes, he’s outside my door, dying to come in.

Oreo is terrified of the vacuum cleaner, however, vacuuming is one of those cleaning routines I faithfully keep up with. One afternoon Oreo snuck into my room and ran directly under my bed. He knew he was in the forbidden zone. With quick thinking, I immediately turned on the vacuum and he bolted out of my room - fastest I’ve ever seen that cat move!

How many lives do cats have again?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Watch Your Expiration Date

Whether it’s considered a fun night with a new acquaintance and the evening ends with an unexpected but highly anticipated farewell kiss or includes a couple of dinner dates that later evaporate into thin air, do not expect a girl to respond to your text message or phone call after a two to six months mysterious lapse in communication. You see, every respectable female comes with an expiration date (kind of like a quart of milk or metered parking space). Just this past week, I received both a text and a drunk dial call from two different guys that had been (according to my personal parking meter) fined and towed a long time ago. Both calls will go unreturned. I don’t care what major company you run or how cute that picture in your wallet is of you holding your newborn niece. She’s already graduating from nursery school by now!

Ok, here are the rules, men: If you meet a woman and insist on getting her phone number, the meter begins running from that time on. That’s right, from the minute her 10-digit phone number is stored in your cell; you will have up to two weeks maximum time to call her. The lack of a phone call (or heaven forbid, that much hated non-personal, non-committing text message) at anytime after the initial two-week period is considered…well, let’s just say, you’ve gone sour, my friend; sour like the milk in that bachelor pad refrigerator of yours. So call me old fashioned but please, man, refrain from texting me random messages out of nowhere, like “Hey, what’s up?” It ranks right up there with the communication skills of a male gorilla that will pound on his chest looking for female companionship and attention. (At least gorillas are well aware of watching out for a female’s expiration date).

Tell me, are men just:
Preoccupied by work?

Or are they just building some bizarre little black book of female names in their cell phones in order to make them look like they are some form of babe magnet? Is that true? I really want to know.

My brother has repeatedly griped at me remarking, “No wonder you don’t have a boyfriend!” Well guess what…The older and wiser I get, the more self-respect I gain for myself; hence the more respect I demand from others. Therefore, it’s true, the longer I’m alone, the harder it will be for me to allow a man to be lucky enough to have me. So there! Yes, the standards ARE high with a woman like me and that is how it will stay.

For New Jersey guys, I’ll make this simple. Play by the rules, just like in football. The clock is running, and if you’re not swift on your feet, you just might lose the precious ball to someone else. This is an analogy, guys; I didn’t just change the subject to talk about the NY Giants. Ok?

As a closing to this bit of informal yet much needed advice, always remember check your expiration dates at time of purchase. If you don’t, you might as well plan on that cereal of yours tasting a bit dry for a very long time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Get Me to the Church On Time

I’ll just come out and say it….I miss going to church. I have not been to church in so long that I can’t remember the last time I attended. Raised by Christian parents who brought my brother and me to church every week, I stopped regularly attending when I went to College. Like many college students, Saturday nights were spent at the local bars in Bloomington making it near impossible for me to lift my head Sunday mornings till…well, Sunday afternoon. I did attend some evening services in Bloomington and also attended some Campus Crusade meetings during the week, but I never felt welcomed into the “Christian Clique”. My faith has always been about what I believe in my heart and my personal relationship with Christ, rather than seeking the social non-hospitality of Christian youth groups. Now, that I work 6 days per week, my only excuses are (1) I work on Sundays and (2) Hoboken is 30% Roman Catholic, and the other 70% belong to the Church of St. Mattress. It doesn’t leave me much of a choice. If I wanted to find an Evangelical or Baptist church, I would have to travel into Manhattan for a Saturday night Service. My pastor back home sent me a list of recommended churches to visit in Manhattan. I have them saved onto my computer.

Here is the good news…I recently moved again within Hoboken so now I am sharing an apartment with a roommate. My expenses will be cut dramatically to the point where I will be able to quit my part-time spa job. This allows my weekends to free up. I’ll be free to attend church on Sunday mornings. Maybe I’ll be able to join a church choir again too. I have truly missed singing in choir and to have this back in my life would be really important to me. Now, I just need to figure out what church on my pastor’s list I should try first.