Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Exploits of Ms. Rouxmeanas Mohern

My cat’s full name is Rouxmeanas Mohern and she is out to ruin my life.  Let me explain.  One humid night during the summer between my Second and Third years of college, my stepdad found Rouxmeanas stashed behind the rear tire of my mom’s car in our driveway.  After he brought her in the house, she quickly took refuge in my room.  I’ve been stuck with her ever since.  It didn’t take long for us to discover that she was a unique cat.  A cat with such a crazy personality deserves a crazy name, right?  Well, that’s how things ended up.  Johnny Depp is my favorite actor and in the movie Chocolat he plays a gypsy named Roux.  So, even though she’s a female feline and not a long-haired, guitar-playing man, that’s what I wanted to name her.  My eight-year-old sister had her own opinion.  She wanted to name the cat “Meana” because she’s mean, and, according to my sister, adding an “a” onto the end of the name clearly makes it feminine.  Eventually we compromised, putting both names together to make “Rouxmeana”.  I took Rouxmeanas back to college with me, and my roommate and I decided to pluralize her name because, for some reason, we thought it sounded better.  Rouxmeanas was born.  Her name had gotten so ridiculous by this point that we just wanted to keep it going.  We decided that she needed a last name, too.  Thus, we combined our last names and came up with Mohern.
The first problem with Rouxmeanas is that we have opposite schedules.  She likes to sleep all day; on my pillow, on the couch, under the coffee table.  Anywhere, really, as long as she is in my visual vicinity.  Even when she’s under my bed she allows a limb to protrude, ensuring its visibility; the tip of her tail, a paw, an ear.  I think she does this to taunt me.  While I’m at class, cleaning the apartment, cooking dinner, slaving over a research paper, or cramming for a test, Rouxmeanas is undoubtedly catching some Zs.  I recently began noticing that Rouxmeanas’ breathing was accompanied by a raspy noise while she was sleeping.  At first I was concerned because I thought she might have a sinus defect or a kitty cold.  But that heavy breathing soon morphed into full-blown snoring, which I’m now sure is all just a part of her plan to rub her laid-back life in my face.
Roux begins her day around 10:30 P.M.  She wants me to pet her, she wants to feast on copious amounts of Meow Mix or Whiskas, and most of all, she wants to play.  She bolts around the apartment as if it’s her own personal jungle.  She gets a running start and jumps onto my desk chair, using her sharp talons to stealthily scale her way to the top, all the while thrashing her head about in every direction and biting the air, never taking a bright yellow eye off of me while I sit petrified on my bed.  I haven’t seen a scene like this since Jurassic Park.  Once she’s championed her way to the top she jumps from my chair to my dresser, where she finds some prize (one of my earrings, a nail file, a hair tie) to bring back down to the ground with her.  She runs laps around the living room, jumping from coffee table to couch to windowsill to other couch to floor.  And repeat.  She’ll sneak up behind me while I’m lying on the couch watching a movie and start biting my head or eating my hair.  All of this would be tolerable if it wasn’t for her “DesirĂ©’s Trying to Sleep Right Now” routine.

Numerous times, I’ve awoken around 4 A.M. to Rouxmeanas gnawing on my leg through the covers like I would a bucket of KFC chicken.  Her front paws pin my leg down and hold it steady while she tries to take a bite.  Needless to say, I was highly disturbed the first time I awoke to find that I was the snack of choice for Cannibalistic Rouxmeanas.  But now I just kick her off and turn over.  As if in retaliation, she decides to play with her favorite toy: a plastic ball that has a bell inside of it.  I don’t know whose idea it was to buy her this ball; perhaps my mother, who gives her all kinds of cat toys in her Christmas stocking that are designed to make the pet owner go certifiably insane.  But I do blame myself for being too weak to take it away from her.  She swats the ball so that it goes flying across the apartment, ricocheting off of walls.  Meanwhile she tramples around after it like a pack of hyenas.  The sound of that bell ringing and smacking every hard surface ensures that I won’t be falling back asleep any time soon.
Eventually, Roux carries the ball onto my bed.  She lies next to me and bats it between her paws as if practicing her dribbling.  Every now and then the ball smacks me in the face.  Yet, I never have the heart to take it away from her.  For some reason, in my zombie stupor, her having fun seems just as important as my getting sleep.  So I compromise and grab my headphones from my nightstand and plug up my ears.  No music, just something to serve as a barrier between the ringing bell and my sound receptors.  I’ve often wondered if Roux’s energy fits are abnormal.  I imagine that the few precious hours of sleep I get without her interruption are due to the fact that she has snuck downstairs to the neighboring cat’s apartment to score some catnip.

When I give in and actually choose to play with her, she means business.  If I swirl my finger in the air in front of her she will catch it, and then it’s game over.  She will scratch and bite whatever she’s taken captive.  Consequently, I now have scars all over my hands and arms, and I constantly have fresh wounds.  I can’t count how many times my friends have asked me if I fell in a bush or the amount of terrified glances I get from strangers who think I cut myself.

The second problem with Rouxmeanas is that she jeopardizes my relationships with just about anyone.  The Fall semester of my Third Year in Undergrad I pledged a co-ed service fraternity.  My pledge class decided to get a pledge class T-Shirt specially made.  Two days after I received my shirt I went home for Christmas break.  I never unpack and often live out of bags whenever I travel.  One afternoon I came home from the mall to find that Rouxmeanas had managed to unzip my duffel bag, pull out my specialty pledge class Tshirt, drag it to her litter box, and poop on it.  She pooped on the shirt in such a way that it was not salvageable.  I couldn’t believe it.  How was I going to go back and face my pledge class and tell them that I wasn’t going to be participating in any unity involving clothing?  How was I going to look the girl who spent time designing and ordering this shirt in the eye and tell her that her hard work was covered in cat poop?  It was poop terrorism!  However, the following summer I engaged in some Rouxmeanas’ poop terrorism of my own.
I was living in my college apartment and had a couple of friends over to watch a movie.  As if on cue, just as my guests arrived, Rouxmeanas decided to stink up the place.  It was so bad that my friends were screaming in disgust, begging me to do something about it.  All I could do was gag.  So I sealed her cat litter in a plastic grocery store bag and ran out the back door onto our tiny wooden fire escape.  Usually there was a huge dumpster right beneath our balcony so we would always throw our trash over the banister.  In keeping with tradition, I chucked the bag of poop over the railing in a frenzy, expecting it to land in the dumpster with ease.  But when I looked down, there was no dumpster.  Instead, there were individual rolling trashcans with lids lined up against the building.  The bag of poop missed those trashcans altogether and instead landed on my neighbor’s windowsill who lives two floors below me!  I panicked.  The windowsill was too high off the ground for me to reach and too far below my own window.  To make matters worse, we’re not allowed to have pets in our building, so what if my neighbors thought it was my poop, instead of cat poop?  I was trying to envision what I would say to them, if ever confronted.  Oh sorry guys, my toilet was broken.  I was doomed.

Rouxmeanas knows that the heart of any modern person lies in their computer.  That’s why, when she’s not using me as a scratching post or using her poop as a weapon, she uses my MacBook Pro as a means of sabotage.  During my Spring Semester of my Third year, I was trying to land an internship in the arts field.  I was emailing back and forth with the Director of a local arts organization about setting up an interview.  After the Director asked me what days and times would be good to meet, I hit the reply button and went to pour a cup of coffee before writing my response.  I returned from the kitchen to find Rouxmeanas sprawled out across my laptop, settling in against the warmth of the keyboard in preparation for one of her naps.  I stared at the computer screen in horror.  My stomach was doing flips, my heart was threatening to beat right out of my chest, and my hands started to shake.  “NOOOO!” I screamed at Roux, who didn’t bother to open her eyes.  Roux had somehow managed to draft and send my email for me.  She had sent the director an email from me that simply said p.  That was all. p.  What kind of response does that warrant?

Dear Desiré, When is a good time for you to come in for an interview?
P sounds perfect! See you then!

I had to fix this somehow.  The way I saw it, I had one of three options.  Either send her a real email acting as if p had never been sent, send her a real email and tell her the truth (that my psycho-pet has it in for me), or send her a real email blaming myself (in which case I may come off as incompetent and unworthy of an internship if I don’t even know how to send an email).  I took my chances and chose the latter.  I apologized and explained that I had accidentally sent the email before I was finished typing.  Then the challenge became starting a sentence with the letter p.  What could I have possibly been typing to her before that required p?  I had to be consistent here and cover all of my tracks.  But all I could think of were phrases like puck Rouxmeanas and please take my cat

            I was about to leave for work this morning when I realized that I hadn’t seen Roux at all since I had woken up.  On my way out the door, my heart stopped when I saw four furry paws emerging from beneath the couch.  They weren’t moving.  This is it, I thought, convinced that Roux had died Wicked Witch of the West style.  I closed my eyes and pulled at the paws.  My breath caught in my chest.  It was a stuffed hippopotamus that belonged to my little sister.  I turned around and there was Rouxmeanas, standing in the corner, with a gray stuffed ear hanging out of her mouth.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Freak of the Week: Round 2

This week's Freak of the Week is a paperclip that I received on a packet of papers from my insurance company.  Now, before I continue, I need to make a clarification: yes, the Freak of the Week CAN be an inanimate object.  As you can see in the picture above, this wasn't just any paperclip...it was shaped like a FOOT.  In order for you to understand why this paperclip was not only an instant freak in my book, but also one of the most outrageous things I've ever seen, you need to know a crucial fact about me: feet are my biggest fear/pet peeve/whatever you want to call it.  Bottom line: they are gross and I hate them.  If anyone's foot gets near me, I automatically scream...it's a reflex.  Shoes are my favorite fashion item (I'm obsessed) and I'm beginning to think it's because shoes cover up these filthy extremities.  So you can imagine my disgust and utter shock when, in an attempt to flip through the pages easily, I removed the paperclip from the packet only to discover that it was a FOOT.  WHY did I receive THIS?!

First of all, paper clips do NOT need to be spiced up.  Trust me, receiving a themed paperclip will not brighten my day in any way, nor will receiving a plain, silver paperclip send me into a frenzy.  Whose bright idea was this?  Body-part paperclips?  Was this some "cute" ploy to get me to remain with this insurance company, since they do, after all, provide medical insurance?  If so, it most definitely did NOT work.  How am I supposed to take this company seriously when it looks like the Jolly Green Giant's miniature counterpart stepped on my papers?  I would have preferred a paperclip shaped like a kidney.

However, this paperclip is tricksy and is obviously trying really hard to suck me in.  It's green, which is my favorite color.  I see this as some sort of bribe.  It is not going to fool me into thinking that it's aesthetically pleasing.  As if its color is enough to completely distract me from its shape!

This paperclip may be just as big of a freak in the realm of paperclips as it is in my world.  I have NEVER seen a themed paperclip, which leads me to believe that this may be the ONLY themed paperclip on the PLANET.  Even if there are other themed paperclips out there, or, more specifically, other foot paperclips (I don't even want to fathom it), this paperclip is STILL a freak.  It seems to me that the last two toes are kind of lumped together, creating a uni-toe of sorts.  What an unfortunate design flaw.

Have you encountered any inanimate object freakz this week??

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Current Thoughts: On Music

View from my seat in Downtown Roanoke right now...the sky looks awesome.

Like many people out there, I'm a music fanatic.  Here's what's been on my mind music-wise this afternoon:

1. The Black Keys are playing at the Charlottesville Pavilion tonight and I'm ridiculously sad that I'm missing it.  The jury's still out on the date of my official move back to Charlottesville, so until then, I'm bopping around Roanoke.  Even if I was in Charlottesville, I would probably have to resort to watching tonight's concert from THE bridge that runs by the Pavilion, in the interest of saving money (this Fall's show lineup in CVille is too good...forcing me to pick and choose what I spend on).  The only time I've seen The Black Keys play live was at Lollapalooza in 2008.  I can't even get started on Lolla, because, like every other festival experience, it was completely amazing and indescribable.  But I will say that watching these two guys rocking harder than most full-band lineups against the backdrop of the Chicago skyline blew me away.  To all of you going to the show tonight, have a blast!  And to The Black Keys, I'll catch ya next time.

2.  I don't mean to be negative, but I HAVE to get this off of my chest.  WHAT is the deal with Kenny Chesney???  Okay, I know I don't have the biggest appreciation for mainstream country music (by which I mean, generally speaking, I can't stand it...there are a few exceptions, but for the most part, let me just say...WOOF).  I love folk and I can get down with some bluegrass, but mainstream country has just never been my thing.  However, my two favorite artists have BOTH collaborated with Kenny Chesney!  It started with Dave Matthews back in 2008 or 2009, doing a song called "I'm Alive," which you can watch/listen to here.  Now, Grace Potter is jumping on the bandwagon and doing a duet with him!!!  The Grace and Kenny combo can be found here (I like to refer to them on a first-name basis, as if we're actually friends).  I'm going to spare everybody the obsessive details about why I worship Dave Matthews ("worship" should be too strong of a word, but if I'm being honest, it's probably not) and aspire to be Grace Potter (her voice, her lyrics, her style, her FLYING V guitar...in my opinion, she is one of the most badass and talented females to hit the music scene in quite some time).  However, I'm starting to question their choices a little bit.  Do they know something I don't?  Should I give Kenny a chance?  I admit that I don't know much of Kenny Chesney's repertoire, but even these duets are kind of, well, ZZZ.

3.  If I'm going to be so harsh and bash one musician, I guess I should be fair and divulge what I AM listening to today.  For the past week, I've been listening to Jenny and Johnny (who I WILL be seeing in Charlottesville) and Ray Lamontagne's  new album.  Jenny Lewis is another one of my favorite female musicians, and this whimsical album is perfect for the summer-to-fall transition that's going on right now (yes, I often match my musical choices to the daily forecast).  And I can't say enough about Ray Lamontagne.  His deep, thoughtful voice and acoustic guitar communicate such honest, beautiful emotion.

4.  I FINALLY have side bangs!  I'm mentioning this now because:
A. All this talk about Grace Potter and Jenny Lewis reminds me of an article I read in a magazine a few months ago (the name of the magazine escapes me at the moment...it was either Marie Claire or Elle, as those are the two that I read religiously...I'm leaning more towards Marie Claire) about the correlation between cool female musicians and bangs.  Basically, having great bangs seems to be one of the keys to rock/indie glory.  Grace Potter and Jenny Lewis are both prime examples of this trend, but apparently Zooey Deschanel's retro-esque bangs are the most requested in hair salons across the nation.
B.  I'm shameless and I really just want to talk about my new hair.  I can be really indecisive, and I've been talking about getting bangs for over two years now but have been too afraid to take the plunge.  I have been known to utter such excuses as "I have a short forehead and no one wants to see burbee (baby) bangs on a 22-year-old" and "I'm too ethnic-looking for that" (not sure why these were legitimate concerns).  Anyways, the snipping is done and I like them!  I've basically opened Pandora's Box because I already want to go shorter!
Side-Note: I was just caught using Mac's Photobooth as a mirror!!! Yes, I was inspecting said bangs, when I saw a girl creeping up behind me in my webcam, giving me a smirk that seemed to say "you are sitting three feet away from a bathroom with a nice-sized mirror...are you that lazy?"  Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I AM that lazy.  Welp, now that I'm properly mortified I think it's time to quit talking about my hair.

I'm always looking for new music, so leave me a link to ya current favorite song!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Lil Sis

I was an only child for 13 short and peaceful years...and then my mom had my little sister, Tela.  All jokes aside, Tela is pretty much the most awesome kid I know.  She's absolutely hysterical and keeps me and my family cracking up.  As a self-proclaimed theatre lover, she has already been in several plays and she's the star of them all (I'm not biased or anything).  She even just got her first email address, and proudly and appropriately picked dramatween9 as her screen name hahaha.  Trust me, she is Little Miss Drama on and off the stage.  Her outgoing nature is great, but doesn't bode so well for me.  She's always trying to play jokes on me or embarrass me because, according to her (and this is a direct quote), it's "her job."  And I don't need any help in this department, because I already embarrass myself enough.  Nevertheless, Tela has performed her "job" so well that she should be named Employee Of The Month...or Employee of the Past 4 Years.  Seriously, to whoever's funding: this girl needs a raise.

Let me give you all a little preview.  She HATES it when I'm not paying attention to her.  AKA: if I'm on the phone or online chatting with friends.  So she does everything in her power to end my conversations or prevent them from even happening.  Once, when my friend Kristen called me and I was in the shower, Tela feverishly searched through my purse until she found my cell phone, and answered it.  "I'm sorry, Desi can't come to the phone right now because she's in the shower shaving her back hair."  (Disclaimer: I DO NOT, nor have I EVER HAD back hair.  Let's get that straight right now.)  If I hadn't have been best friends with Kristen since First Grade, this may have been more embarrassing.

So, one of these instances happened last night when Tela and I were at Mill Mountain Coffee.  I had just picked her up from drama class (of course) and we were grabbing some food before heading home.  A flier for sexy-back panties (as seen below) was conveniently sitting next to me at our table.  I was blissfully unaware that it was there and, in hindsight (pun intended), it probably looked like it belonged to me. 

Tela, however, had apparently noticed it sitting there and decided not to mention it to me.  Instead, she waited until the guy who worked there came over to deliver our food to say anything.  At this point, she waved the flier in my face screaming "I'm so glad you decided to try these panties Des, you really need them!"  He gave me a weird look.  I DIED.  And in case you were wondering, yes, it does indeed say at the bottom of the flier that if you host a sexy-back panties party, you get a pair for free.  You know, like a Tupperware or a Pampered Chef Party, except with butt-enhancing, cellulose-curing panties.

Tela is starting karate lessons next week and has secretly confessed "I can't wait to use these moves on my sister!"  I think I'm going to plan ahead and buy myself one of these:

(credit to Sophie's Space for this found picture)

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Freak of the Week: Round 1

One of mine and my friends' favorite words is freak.  This is a recent development, which I blame on spending the better part of the past two years cooped up in my apartment watching whole seasons of Friends and Will and Grace on DVD.  After all, our favorite episodes make perfect use of the term.   First, Jack brings his coveted Cher doll to lunch with Will and Grace, leading to a hysterical scenario and Grace calling him a freak. Throw in a cameo appearance by the real Cher, and you've got yourself the best Will and Grace clip out there.  Watch it!  Our other source of the word freak comes from the Unagi episode of Friends, where Ross scares Rachel and Phoebe in an attempt to teach them to always be aware of their surroundings (what he calls "unagi"...which is really a type of sushi, you know).  Watch!

Anyways, my friends and I use this term very liberally, as it can describe almost anyone that we come into contact with.  If you were to eavesdrop on any of our conversations, it would not be uncommon for you to hear snippets such as, "I was driving on the interstate and some freak kept riding in my blindspot."  "I'm at the grocery store and this guy in the bread aisle keeps giving me weird looks." "Don't worry about it, he's probably a freak."  You may think we're being a little harsh or dramatic.  But our over-usage is completely justified when you take into account how many actual freaks we meet.  (The ironic thing though, is that we're probably the biggest freaks of them all.)  At the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss (first a rhyming blog name, and now a rhyming feature? I know I know) I've decided to start writing Freak of the Week to discuss all of our weird/absurd encounters.

The first honorary Freak of the Week is Rat Girl.  Last week I was sitting at a table by myself at Mill Mountain Coffee (the local coffee shop in Roanoke), on my laptop with headphones in when two freaks (a guy and a girl) walked in and sat at a nearby table.  They kept staring in my direction and whispering, and it soon became blatantly obvious that they were talking about me.  Suddenly, the female freak was hovering over me.  She proceeded to pull a pet RAT out of her BRA, put it down on my table, and let it run around!  I flipped out.
Me: "Oh my god please get that off right now.  That really freaks me out!!"
She let the rat chill on my laptop for an unnecessary amount of time.
Freak: "Why does it freak you out? Wanna pet him?!! He's really sweet!"
She shoved the rat in my face.  I'm crying by this point.
Me: "I'm sure he's sweet, but I don't do rodents."
Then the guy freak ran over, yelling at the girl freak: "What are you doing?! You're so weird!" He took off and hid in the bathroom.
Girl Freak: "My friend thinks you're cute and he wanted me to put this rat on your table so we could talk to you."
Me: "Oh cool.  What a turn-on."  Because that's normal.  I often throw rats all over people I want to strike up a conversation with.
Freak continues talking to me: "Have you ever heard of the band Blind Melon?  You know that song, No Rain?"
Me: "Yep...love that song."
Freak: "Well right before the lead singer died of a heroine overdose, he named his daughter Neko, which is what I named this rat."  And with that, she put the rat in her shirt and I watched it bulge out from beneath the fabric, crawling down her back.  She asked for my name.
Me: "Jennifer."  Freaks weren't getting my real name.  The guy finally emerged from the bathroom and the two scampered off out the back door.

Weirdest thing of my life.  Will never understand.  I had to go home and shower for 8 years and pour anti-bacterial hand-gel all over my laptop.  Well, not so much the last thing...I've poured enough liquids on my laptop over the past couple of years, but those are stories for another time.

Stay tuned, I have many more Freaks to introduce you all to.  In the mean time, I invite all of you to use the term freak whenever you see fit...which, now that you're paying attention, you're going to realize that it comes in handy...a lot.

If any of you have freak stories to share, please leave me a comment...I'd love to hear!