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Thursday, April 26, 2018

I AM A HUMAN FUCKIN' BEING! A Winter Ball Ficlet

Okay-- so I have my autism awareness post going live tonight, but I just got home from the Tire Company where I got a flat fixed, and for those of you who follow me on social media, I got... well, a little tiny plot bunny while I was there.

I'm writing Familiar Demon right now, so I'm not sure if I've got a place there for this nose-wiggling nugget. It may show up there, but just in case, I'm going to put it in Skipper and Richie's very capable hands.

For some reason, I could just hear Richie screaming this at the top of his lungs.  For those of you who didn't see my post, I bet you can guess which part it is...


*  *  *

Clang clang clang clang!

"Goddammit!"

From inside the house, Skip looked up from his laptop and grimaced. The sounds coming from the driveway did not bode well.

"Ouch!"

That was enough to get Skip up out of his chair and away from his online class in employee education, and moving toward the front door. "Hey, Richie..." he called before his hand even hit the knob.

"You--" Clang! "Will--" Clang! "Do--" Clang! "What--" Clang! "I'm--" Clang! "Telling you to no no no no no you dumb motherfucker no!"

Skipper screeched to a halt in front of Richie's middle-aged and much abused Toyota, not daring to get any closer in case Richie tagged him on the backswing with the wrench in his hand as he beat the hell out of something in the engine on the downswing.  Richie's face was streaked with grease and his knuckles were bleeding and the car was hissing and dripping fluid and it wobbled uneasily on the blocks Riche had propped under it after he'd pushed it up with two jacks.

"Richie!" Skip barked. "Enough! You're breaking it!"

"I can't break it!" Richie screamed into the engine. "Evil shit things can't be broken--I want this fucker to behave I need a fuckin' exorcist!"

But Richie paused on the backswing and Skipper managed to yank the wrench out of his grasp. Richie whirled around, hands on his hips, face contorted with rage--and almost with tears.

"Dammit, Skipper!"

"You're bleeding," Skip said logically grabbing his hand.

Some of the fight leaked out of Richie's body and he relaxed and let Skipper take a good look at his knuckles.

"You hurt yourself," he said softly. "What did that car ever do to you?"

Richie's lower lip wobbled. "It... it's gonna die, Skip. I mean, I'm a mechanic. This thing should be spinning like a top, but... you know. Got so caught up in the job and the dog and you and... I let the oil get sludgy and my gaskets are wearing and..."  He looked mournfully at the car, an identical twin on the outside to Skipper's, because they'd bought them both right after they'd gotten out of school.

"You never let mine lapse," Skipper said with a little smile.

"You take yours to the oil place," Richie told him, resentment coloring his tone, like Skipper didn't trust him with his car.

"I have better things to do with your time," Skipper told him with a slight smile.

"Like soccer," Richie said dryly.

"Sure."

Richie's mouth quirked up. "Fine. I'll take it to the quick stop place. But first..." He looked behind him and grimaced. "I gotta fix that shit I broke,  Skip. That's just embarrassing."

Skipper kissed him on the forehead. "Yeah. Sure." He looked woefully at Richie's knuckles. "I'll dress that after you come back in and wash, okay?"

Richie nodded glumly and pulled the wrench gently from Skipper's hand. "Don't mind me, Skip. Me and the car will find a way, okay?"

"Course. Just... you know. No more beating an unarmed opponent, kay?"

That got him a real smile. "Deal."

Skip went back to his class and finished his homework assignment, then stood and stretched. Richie was still swearing at the car, but the dispute seemed amicable, so he threw the ball to the dog a couple of times because he was getting bored and lonely in the backyard.

The dog sufficiently exercised--and fed a giant bowl of kibble-- Skip went in and made lunch for both of them, thinking wistfully of other things they could be doing on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

Most of them involved a cleaner, happier Richie, who was not wearing his old mechanic's coveralls. In fact, was not wearing much at all.

He was in the middle of grilling Richie's sandwich when suddenly the timber of Richie's voice went up to worrisome levels again. Skip slid the grilled cheese on a plate, turned off the heat and ran outside just in time to hear Richie crow triumphantly.

"See that you miserable piece of crap? See? I win, because I am a fucking human being!"

Skip had to laugh then, and Richie looked out from under the hood with his face wreathed in smiled. "D'you hear that, Skipper?"

"I did!"

"I won! Oil changed, hoses changed, fluids changed.  I can take her to the Quick Change with pride in my heart, right?"

"Sure, Richie--but come in and get cleaned up first. I made you lunch."

Richie's grin of triumph suddenly turned wicked. "I'm gonna come in and shower," he said. "Then I'm gonna eat wearing a towel. You know why?"

Skip wanted to kiss him so bad, but he held off, because this was a glorious plan. "Because you have better things to do with your weekend?" he asked, eyes sweeping Richie's knotty, muscular little body with greed. "And you are a fucking human being?"

Richie chortled and pulled a rag out of his pocket, wiping his fingers carefully and avoiding his knuckles. "And I wanna be the human you're fuckin'. Gimme five minutes out here, Skipper, then we can have lunch and desert, you think?"

Skipper leaned forward and captured his mouth and only his mouth, because it was the only clean part of him, even when it was saying filthy things.

"I think," he said, tasting his boyfriend and loving it. "Come on in when you're ready."

He was going to shower too, since he hadn't even taken off his sweats since he'd woken up. They'd been the responsible adults this weekend--now it was time to be fun adults.

They were human beings after all.



Wednesday, April 25, 2018

April 25th-- Autism Awareness Blog Hop

Autism Fact: 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on.

Hi all!

I'm participating in  RJ Scott's Blog Hop for Autism Awareness this month--my day is April 25th, and hopefully this goes out then because I still get very fidgety when I push "schedule" and then BOOM the post is up at a magic time.

Anyway...

The autism fact this year is chilling and it makes my heart hurt--but it also reminded me of a moment I was really proud of my own children, and I'm going to share that because I think there is a lesson there.

I've mentioned--many times--that my oldest son has a processing disorder, and is communicatively handicapped. Some of the markers are much like autism-- has difficulty making transitions from one activity to another is one. Fixates on small details that are easy for the neurotypical  to miss is another. And dealing with these quirks is a hard earned skill.

Fortunately, it's also one that makes for a better parent all around. I'm good at giving my kids warnings in increments before their environment changes--all of my kids. I'm good at giving my kids a moment to think and respond to the things I've just said--all of my kids. I'm good a assessing the environment as a whole to see what stimuli a child may be particularly invested in before I go around changing all the things.

All my kids.

These are good practices for all parents, all teachers, all caregivers--period.

But I didn't realize how much these habits of parenthood and kid-wrangling had seeped into my own children, and how much watching me dealing with their big brother would help my own children simply be more understanding human beings until about two years ago.

We were at the pool.

Now I go to the pool for aqua class, and for about an hour, my kids find someone else to play with and simply enjoy a bare spot of water. (Well, then, that's what they did. Now I make them go to aqua class, because they risk becoming inert during the summer months if we don't give them a little nudge.)

Anyway--my kids know how to swim, they're usually civil, and I keep a weather eye out for them as they play. They've yet to even catch the lifeguard's attention--it's all good.

And it was all good this day. I didn't know the little boy they were playing with, but they seemed to be having fun. At the end of the class though, one of the younger women came up to me. (I'm one of the younger women there--this should give you an idea of the aqua demographic.)  I'd seen her around and I smiled, and she said, "Hey, thank you kids today for playing with my son. That was really nice."

I shrugged. "They're decent kids--I'm glad they had fun."

"Yeah, but my son has autism, and it's not always... easy for him to find friends. He had a really good time today. Tell them thank you."

And then she walked away.

And my kids came to me--because we usually play dumb games like simon-says or tag or red-light/green/light after he class--and I said, "Hey, did you have a good time?"

"Yeah. He was nice. I hope we play with him again."

"Good. He enjoyed that. He's sort of like your brother--just keep being nice. You guys are awesome."

They didn't seem to think it was any kind of deal--and for that, I was so proud. Because patience, empathy, checking to make sure the person you're talking to is comfortable--these shouldn't be a big deal, but most of us humans have to work hard at these skills. But it's worth it. Not picking on somebody, not remarking on their differences, treating every human as a complete and perfect being just as they come to us can make such a difference in their lives--and in our own.

Being "aware" of of what it means to be neuroatypical isn't just good for those with autism or Asperger's or a processing disorder. Being "aware" means to be a little more patient, a little more sensitive, a little more empathetic to all human beings, regardless of any label we're aware--or unaware--of.

Being aware is good for us all. It makes us better people. It makes us teach better understanding and model better human behavior.

Being aware of autism is being mindful creatures on a burgeoning planet.

And it has lovely, unforeseen consequences that we should work towards with all our hearts.



Monday, April 23, 2018

Snoozing hounds, yarn books, and fungus

 Not much today--I mean Monday. I got to go to aqua-- yayayay!

But I did get a copy of Yarn, the Display edition, which has a short story I wrote in it. This looks like it might be an issue-wide thing--and the magazine is lovely. Full color, glossy paper, some amazing articles on fibers and technique. I'm in love--I wish we got it here in the states. And I get to have a story in it, and that makes me so excited!  Kyle and Cliff shall have many more adventures to come.

Oh!

And Squish got to read it. Because there was only a kiss.

She thought it was charming.
 And I took the picture below of Mate and the potato shaped hound because the potato shaped hound was dead to the world.

Bless her little heart-- that trashy bitch went through a lot of garbage today! She earned her slumber!

And finally, for dinner I took some chicken that I'd simmered in barbecue sauce last week and heated it up with some cheese and some mushrooms, because the mushrooms were going bad and this was my last chance to throw them in something.  The kids asked me what we were eating today, and I told them, "Sloppy fungus!"

Would you believe nobody batted an eyelash and everybody ate?

It was unexpectedly delicious.

Night everybody!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

That Was Neat

So, Reno is... well, it's Reno. To quote Elliot Gould in Ocean's 11 "You're out in the middle of the fuckin' desert!" and while the quote is about Las Vegas, well, the shoe fits.

The college was lovely though--Mate went on their hiking trail while I was in class and pronounced it good. ("Oh, wow-- that's awesome!" I said. "Are you kidding? It had Pokegyms. I wasn't doing it for my health!")

I enjoyed the presentations during the little writer's conference, and I'm pretty sure mine went okay. My big worry--always--is that I'll remember the stuff that you can't put in an outline that makes a course good, and since I came up with MOAR stuff as I was talking, I think it was a success. (Somehow I open my mouth and stuff comes out... it's weird.)  Anyway--I met a writer from Harlequin who lives in Sacramento--that's awesome, right?

The funny part--and it was sort of hilarious--was the hotel room.

See, originally the kids were supposed to come with us. Mate was going to run them around all day and then we'd find something to do with the family in Reno and go home Sunday morning.  ZoomBoy got sick on Friday-- he was tired and just icky and had a fever of 101.  Chicken was going to spend the night with the dogs anyway so she came and watched ZoomBoy and Squish and Mate and I went up.

Now see, when the kids were supposed to come up, I got a cheap hotel. I just didn't know HOW cheap. I mean, I'd just had a nice experience with a Best Western that took dogs, and I didn't want to get the super nice room for just an extended day trip.  I thought, "How bad can a Motel 6 be?"

OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG... DON'T ANSWER THAT!!!

Now I know.

I mean, wasn't dirty or gross or anything like that. But the floor was cheap laminate and the bed was incredibly uncomfortable and the shower...

The shower was hilarious.

It was a corner unit, designed with the head hooked up on the ceiling, so it could shoot water at the corner, while you dragged a curtain over a semi-circular rail to protect you.

Except I finished my shower and walked into a... well, a lake. It was half-an-inch deep all over the bathroom.

"Oh my God! Mate! Water everywhere!"

Mate came in to look. "What did you do?"

"I swear-ta-dog, nothing! I mean, I closed the curtain and everything."

So Mate got in, and as soon as he turned the shower on--NOT standing in the cubicle--we saw the problem.

A three foot arc or water shooting out of the back of the showered, over the curtain and against the bathroom wall.

We laughed uproariously, because neither of us had gotten a lick of sleep on the highly uncomfortable bed, and both of us decided that we were too old for this shit.  We checked out right then and came home after dinner--it's a two hour drive, we wanted to sleep in our own damned bed.

But the seminar itself was nice, and we ate dinner with a friend (*waves frantically to Jason whom I adore*) and the drive home was pretty. I mean, you pass Truckee and Nyack and all the places that were sort of stand-ins for Colton and Dogwatch and the other places up Northeast in Amy Lane, right?

And we really did learn something important.

We're too old for shitty hotels.

Next time I book us a room, I'm taking the expensive room on the chin and enjoying the fuck out of it, even if I'm not getting a conference rate. Dude. Why not?

What's to lose but a decent night's sleep, right?


Friday, April 20, 2018

The Last Manny Cover Reveal, Bobby Green on Audio, and Amy in Reno!

Okay, folks--I am surprisingly tired considering I sort of hid in a corner and read all day. Not sure why the ol' psyche decided to bail on all the adulting I have to do, but I have to say, I'm feeling far more energized. I think sometimes writers really do need to READ books, and these last two days I've treated myself to Mary Calmes, Annabeth Albert, and Melinda Leigh. I feel like I can write again, and that's pretty splendid, really!

Anyway...

I promised you lots of goodies, and here we go.









First off--

I will be at Truckee Community College on Saturday, along with Gayle Brandeis, Sheree Bryokofsky, and Anna J. Stewart, participating in their writing workshop. I'll be giving a talk about world building --if you've got worlds enough and time, come meet us there!

REGISTER HERE


Second off--

Bobby Green and Red Fish, Dead Fish are both
 out in Audiobook, and I've listened to the sample and it's GORGEOUS. So, you know, anybody who's interested in that should go check it out, right?


I know some of you are audio aficionados--enjoy!

Blurb:

Vern Roberts couldn’t wait to turn eighteen and get the hell out of Dogpatch, California. But city living is expensive, and he’s damned desperate when Dex from Johnnies spots him bussing tables.

As “Bobby,” he’s a natural at gay porn. Soon he’s surrounded by hot guys and sex for the taking, but it’s not just his girlfriend back in Dogpatch—or her blackmailing brother—that keeps him from taking it. It’s the sweet guy who held the lights for his first solo scene, who showed him decency, kindness, and a smile.

Reg Williams likes to think he’s too stupid to realize what a shitty hand life dealt him, but Bobby knows better. What Reg lacks in family, opportunity, education, and money, he makes up for in heart. One fumbling step at a time, they connect, not just in their hearts but in their bodies, where sex that’s not on camera, casual, or meaningless, becomes the most important thing in the world.

But Reg is hampered by an inescapable family burden, and he and Bobby will never fly unless he can find a way to manage it. Can he break the painful link to his unrealized childhood and grow into the love Bobby wants to give?

Buy Audio Book Here



Red Fish, Dead Fish--Blurb

They must work together to stop a psychopath - and save each other.

Two months ago, Jackson Rivers got shot while trying to save Ellery Cramer’s life. Not only is Jackson still suffering from his wounds, the trigger-man remains at large - and the body count is mounting.

Jackson and Ellery have been trying to track down Tim Owens since Jackson got out of the hospital, but Owens' time as a member of the department makes the DA reluctant to turn over any stones. When Owens starts going after people Jackson knows, Ellery’s instincts hit red alert. Hurt in a scuffle with drug-dealing squatters and trying damned hard not to grieve for a childhood spent in hell, Jackson is weak and vulnerable when Owens strikes.

Jackson gets away, but the fallout from the encounter might kill him. It’s not doing Ellery any favors either. When a police detective is abducted - and Jackson and Ellery hold the key to finding her - Ellery finds out exactly what he’s made of. He’s not the corporate shark who believes in winning at all costs; he’s the frightened lover trying to keep the man he cares for from self-destructing in his own valor.


Buy Red Fish, Dead Fish HERE




And last but not least, the cover and blurb for the last Mannies book-- and honestly? This one might be my favorite (although Sammy is coming out in May, and it's hard to say. I mean... SAMMY!!!)  But I've loved this series and it will be hard to say goodbye--but hopefully really sweet and romantic too.


A Fool and His Manny

by Amy Lane


Seeing the truth and falling in love.

Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan's friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.

At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he's never met akinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

OUT JULY 1ST! 




And with that, I'm off to Reno tomorrow night! Have a nice weekend everybody--wish me luck on Saturday!

Amy



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Uh, Birthday wishes?

So, today was my stepmom's birthday, and it was sort of a busy day for me, but I wanted to get her a card since I was going to be up by her house anyway--I had to take Big T to the dentist, and our dentist is about a mile away from my parents' house, so I figured a card, not a text this year, right?

Anyway, I went into the drugstore to find a card.

Can I just say, my stepmom is in good health and she's not Saint Catherine, neither is she Mother Teresa, she's a perfectly wonderful human woman who does not need, nor probably does not want a heartfelt poem in five die-cut pages complete with glitter and ribbons celebrating her amazing otherworldly-quality awesomeness.

Dude. There was nothing--nothing--for a perfectly ordinary birthday for a lovely and yet human woman.

I finally found the Shoebox section--aptly named, it wasn't that big--and managed a rather amusing little card, and when I went up to the register I bought some fun sweet snacky thingies to give her with the card.

Then I picked Big T up and took him to the dentist.

Now, I'd bought some chocolate pretzels with my mom's snacky thingies and munched on those, perfectly content, and offered them to T. He declined, went to his appointment, got out of the car and promptly opened his grandma's snacky thingies! 

I was like, *flail*!!!!!

"Oh my God! We can't give those to her now! That's totally tacky!"

"Sorry, Mom. I totally owe grandma a treat--I'll tell her it's my fault."

Well, my stepmom wasn't home, but my dad was, and we gave him the card to give her, and then I told him the tale of the snacky thingies.

"Out of curiosity, what did you get?"

Well, what I got her was caramel popcorn with chocolate bar bits in it which, you gotta admit, was pretty amazing as far as snacky thingies go.

Anyway--I pulled them out and let my dad see the bag and he tried a handful and took the bag and said, "Don't worry. She'll never know you opened the bag." And then he gathered the bag to himself and took the card inside.

*sigh*

Well, at least they were enjoyed, I guess, and now I totally owe my mom some snacky thingies.

I hope she had a happy birthday, though. She was on a horse ride during a gorgeous spring day--I'm pretty sure she did.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Crocus

Crocus

by Amy Lane

Bonfires: Book Two

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?



I admit--keeping the spark alive is harder than people assume it is. I love my husband--I've loved him for thirty-three years. But the longer you know somebody, the easier it is to only remember their flaws and forget all their virtues. Instead of "This is the man who just did my taxes in order to support my rather flaky business," I think, "This is the man who ditched out on me for a soccer meeting. Again."  Both things are true, and one is actually greater than the other one is irritating.

But after a while, it's easier to see the downside.

At it's heart, Crocus is about remembering that the person we love is still the person we love even if fortune, fate, and overcommitment takes them from our side for a while. The passion is there, the affection is there, the respect is there--it just has to survive under the snow for a while, while the heat of first love sleeps. 

It's not easy. But nothing worth having ever is.

So that's Crocus--I hope you all enjoy it!  And by all means, review it, both on GoodReads and Amazon if you do!

Amy

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Why are boys again?

So, got a lot accomplished this weekend--but oi! So much to do!




*  ZoomBoy's hair has been looking a little... weird over the last week. He had this section on his forehead that stuck straight up--remember the spooge-mousse scene in Something About Mary?  Yes. It was doing that. 

Anyway, ZB and I went to get our hair cut, because his was obviously out of hand, and it wasn't until we were in line at Great Clips that I realized...

"Oh my God. Did you cut your hair?"

"Yup."

"Why..."  I flailed here. "Why just that little chunk."

ZoomBoy shrugged. "It was in my way."

So, picture this. A 14 YO boy who wishes to attract other 14 YO people for various mating rituals A. Cannot seem to remember to brush his teeth or put on deodorant, and B. Just randomly cuts off chunks of his hair because it's in his eyes.

"Why didn't you ask for a haircut?" I demanded.

Another shrug. "Why?"

Ladies and gentleman, my ZoomBoy. He will never kiss another human in a romantic way at this point, and now you know why.

*  Also a ZoomBoy story--

He told us tonight that Let it Go was actually the story of how boys and girls break wind differently.

With girls it's "Conceal don't feel, don't let it show..."

With boys it's, "Let it go! Let it go!"

And that song's popularity makes sense now, right?

*  Squish fell down on the soccer field and sprained her ankle. She's so stoic. She just goes and goes and goes and is fine and suddenly she's crying.  

It was like, "Honey! You should have told us it still hurt, we would have wrapped it this morning!"

*  One of Squish's teammates has a little brother, and we had the following conversation.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm knitting a sock."

"That's neat. Can you make mittens?"

"Uh, yes. Want to see my mittens?"  (I pull out fingerless mitts)

"They're too big."

"Yes, well, they were made for me."

"Can you make some my size?"

"Yes."

"Can you make them green?"

"Yes--but I have my green yarn at home."

"What do you have with you?"

"Uh, this kind and this kind..."

"I like this kind. Can you make me mittens out of this kind of yarn?"

"Sure you don't want to wait until I can get home and get some green?"

"No, this kind is good."

I take the yarn-- a fine sock yarn--and begin to cast on.

"When will my mittens be done?" he asked.

"Not nearly as soon as you think they should be," I told him, and his mother laughed hysterically.

"You really don't have to make him a pair!" she told me.

"Oh no," I told her. "It's not often that you're commanded to knit, and knit now, and knit faster. I'm gonna enjoy this!"

For the record? They're almost done.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

ZoomBoy Wrote Today's Post

So, ZoomBoy is in a drama class, and he had to write a spoken poem.

"Do you want to hear my poem mom?"

"Sure!"

And he said it out loud, and I died, because it's hysterical.

And I asked if I could share, and he said yes.

So today's blog post is written by ZoomBoy--and I hope it makes you laugh too.  (P.S.-- points if you can name all his sci-fi references. Also, I told him that he should wish the guy used the bathroom AFTER the guy with storm trooper accuracy, but for some reason that was unwieldy.)


A Birthday Curse from a Galaxy Far Far Away... 


On the birthday of the scum and villainy who called me a nerd, 
I wish him an arrow in the knee after being arrested for unintentionally hitting a chicken. 
I wish him the prequels without lightsabers, and to be the unlucky stormtrooper who has to break the news to Vader.
I wish him to be just a mediocre hufflepuff that has nothing to do with the boy who lived and his friends. 
I wish him stormtrooper accuracy in the bathroom and to be roasted in three words by a tree. To have a fear of cubes and dented spheres. To have a job in the Enterprise as an engineer.  
And finally, I wish him the honorable death of being killed by teddy bears with sticks.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

And Now You Know

Was a good work day today, and I was working along when I got this text from ZB:

Now I know what TSE is.

Me: ???

ZB: Testicular Self Examination

Me: Uh, good to know

ZB: Taking notes was like writing an adult novel

Me: Lucky you!

ZB: You're supposed to take a bath first so things get loose and saggy

Me: Don't ever do that while the rest of the family is home

ZB: Fine


Which was, well, par for the course in our house, but still. Then this other thing happened:

Chicken texting: Can you pick my cat up from the vet?  She was barfing blood so I dropped her off at the vets but I don't get up until after they close.

Me (groggily, in middle of nap): Sure

Hours later: When?

Chicken: Six. I told them her name was Peanut Butter

Me: Why?

Chicken: Because

Me: Whatever

So I get to the vets and ask for Peanut Butter. For the record? The cat's real name is Mrs. Poopy Butthole, because this cat weighs in excess of 28 lbs and she is too fat to lick her own ass. This is a true story.

"So, Ms. Lane, your cat does NOT have diabetes, not even a little. In fact, from what we can gather, she just has a mild pancreatitis--not food related. Perhaps stress?"

"My daughter is watching her friend's cat. Perhaps the cat got a little upset that she had to share her food?"

"Yes, of course. Here--what you need to do is go out and buy the cat some Pepcid AC and use this depiller to shove it down her throat. It'll calm down her acid and she probably will stop vomiting in a reasonable amount of time."

"That's a relief. They do laundry at my house."

"Ha ha. By the way, we love this cat's name. She's so cute. And she really does look like Peanut Butter."

I look at the GINORMOUS FUCKING CAT rolling obsequiously on the table in front of me, and hug her. She bitches "RUDE!" in my face and we understand each other.

"Yeah, she's adorable."

"Well bring Peanut Butter by any time. We just love her!"

Mrs. Poopy Butthole screams, "I HATE THESE SUCKY PEOPLE!" in my face.

"I'll tell my daughter. Pepcid you say?"

"Should work like a charm."

"Come on, 'Peanut Butter'. Hop in the crate."

"YOU SUCK TOO!"

"She's a doll!"

"Yeah. Adorable. Truly." At this point I am unimpressed--it's seven o'clock, I have to drop the cat off and come home and cook dinner. If this cat wanted to impress me she'd negotiate the two miles to her apartment and ring the doorbell, but it ain't happening.

I call my son and have him wait for me to pull up. "Why?" he asks.

"Twenty-eight pounds NOT in the crate, Big T. I'm not hauling her up the damned stairs."

"Okay, fine. Does she have diabetes?"

"Not even a little sugar in her urine."

"Luckiest cat on the planet."

"I'm saying."

I swear, next time I have to pick up this cat, I'm spray-painting "Mrs. Poopy Butthole" on her bright pink cat carrier. I love that cat, but we both know she ain't no Peanut Butter.