Captain Asshole & The Character of a Cat

Due to a ongoing change in attitude my cat has taken on the title Captain Asshole.

Since March 2020 I’ve more or less been home. Yes, the world has changed for all of us. This means the world has changed for cats. It used to be that they, and by they I mean cats, used to spend a lot of time alone. Now that I’m around more my cat Oscar expects a lot more of me, and he is, well, basically an asshole.

Oscar goes by many names. Baby Boy. Boo Boo Kitty. Idiot Boy. Sweetie Pie. Captain Asshole.

There is also another asshole named Gloria the Calico Cat aka Itty Bitty Kitty. She is the reason why I can’t have nice things. Every bit of furniture in my house has to be covered or she’ll claw it up. We heard getting another cat would help. She’d have a buddy after her beloved Angus the Manx went over the Rainbow Bridge. We got her a buddy ten years ago and she still hates him. But this isn’t about her.

Oscar has always been a talker. Recently he talks non-stop about just about everything that pops into his head. He has also become extremely demanding. Come up stairs. I want to go out. I want to come in. I want to go out. I want to come in. I want to go out. I want to come in. I want to go out. I want to go in. Give me treats. Give me treats NOW. Are you asleep? Are you asleep? I need to wake you up. I need to sing you the songs of my people.

A few weeks ago we got new hardwood floors in the downstairs of our home. That meant ripping up old carpet that smelled like every dog and cat that ever lived in our house. It also means that Oscar now has permission to take over the downstairs, previously the territory of Gloria, as his own.

Hardwood also means that Oscar and Alice the 90 pound German Shepard are playing slip and slide all over the place.

Oscar has also taken over the red couch, once the domain of Gloria and only Gloria, and he has taken over Alice’s dog bed.

By the way, when we were painting the walls Oscar peed on the drop cloths, the dog bed, and the dining room table. He might go a year without doing something like that. He won’t tell me why he does it. Maybe he is marking his territory, but maybe he is just being an asshole.

Sometimes I wonder if I should build Oscar his own fort.

I’m not really complaining. I love my pets. I adore them. They’re destructive and fill my house with fur but I can live with that.

A cat might be angry. A cat might be an asshole. What a cat will not be is someone who engulfs themselves in a contrived veil of negativity. A cat might lie to you, but you will always get an honest opinion from a cat.

Despite their contempt for each other Oscar and Gloria often hand out together on the front porch as they defend their property from other cats, and the unseen forces of the universe. They greet guests together with a shower of unabashed cuteness. Sometimes, shock of all shocks, they’ll even share a meal together.

Today it is raining so the cats have been inside all day. One habitually misses the litter box. The other is thinking about scratching up more furniture. Right now they’re both sleeping. Without children in the house I have my cats, and one solo dog who are missing the attention, even though they get more attention now than they ever did.

Stay safe.

Wear a mask.

Be kind.

Hug a cat (if it will let you)

And of course, kiss a Vampire. You’ll thank me for it later.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Poop

Yesterday my 21 year old daughter shoveled up an entire big brown grocery bag full of dog poop. I didn’t have to ask. She offered.

Our dog is huge. Our yard is fairly large with a lot of oak and citrus trees, no lawn, and some raised beds for a garden. It is a fairly wild undeveloped space that backs up to even a wilder undeveloped space. Between the garden and the compost bin way out back the dog crapped everywhere.

The point of this story is to say how proud I am of my child, and to be snarky, on my biggest snark subject of 2020. It isn’t political shit (pun intended.) It isn’t about shitty people who won’t wear masks and social distance. It isn’t even about toilet paper. It is about shitty people who raise shitty kids then expect to have the right to shit all over everyone else.

Yes, I’m talking about the school admission scandals.

Entitled, and frankly stupid idiot kids like the fashion/beauty influencer Olivia Jade, were getting spots in universities (private and public) because their parents cheated they system. The parents took fake sports photos, bribed coaches, paid people to take tests for their brats, and assorted other lies and pay-offs.

This is nothing new. A lot of famous people, including well known public officials have been known to have cheated their way through school admissions and straight through to graduation.

Cheating is not cool. It is a crappy thing to do. It might help the cheater but it hurts everyone, including hard working kids, and I specifically mean middle class kids who work their asses off to get into good schools. I’m talking about the kids who don’t get into the schools and programs they deserve to be in because a cheater took their place.

My daughter got into a top university on her own. She did the research. She filled out the applications. She took the tests. She wrote the essays. Her school was not involved in the recent admission scandals. If she goes to a university that was involved in a scandal for graduate school I’m going to have a shirt made that says, “My child is going to _______ and I didn’t have to go to prison for it.”

I guess the real point to my snark today is that an entitled brat like Olivia Jade, or so many more like her, would never volunteer to pick up poop so her mom wouldn’t step in it every time she went out to her garden. And after that we talked about fellowships, school, the environment, making a difference in the world, favorite movies, and dogs.

The point of this isn’t to be negative about the children of the rich and famous. Many successful, hard working, smart, and compassionate, young people have rich and famous parents. But the point is that their parents actually parented. Their parents gave them the skills and values so they wouldn’t even consider cheating to be ok in any universe.

In this world nobody is entitled to anything. Add that to your list of parenting things to do. Your child is not entitled to anything.

But, all young people are entitled to the opportunity to try, and to dream, and to take a chance. It is their opportunity, not something the parents should do for them.

Sooooooo that is the shit for today. The poop is scooped.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Be kind. Don’t cheat. Check in on those who might be sick, old, alone, fragile, or just need extra help. And as always, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Special Kind of Magic – Parenting in the Pandemic – Empty Nest Version

When I started writing this blog in 2012 one of my kids was in high school, and the other was in middle school. This was more or less a middle school parenting blog. Then the rest of my family crept into it. The old folks, my brothers, and even my parents. Then friends started to slip in through the cracks. No matter what parenting was always at the core of it all.

On of my kids finished up graduate school at the beginning of the pandemic. Now in the middle of the pandemic my daughter sent in her graduate school applications today. I read some of the letters of recommendation from several esteemed professors and people in her field. I was blown over.

This is the child I took to Black Veil Brides concerts. This is the girl who shocked the horrible middle school PE Bitch teacher with her stylish outfits that DID NOT break the dress code rules. This is the kid who struggled with algebra and ended up taking a series of upper division statistics and economics classes at a top university and getting almost all A’s. Yes, this is the kid who never got below a B in college. This is the kid who inspired me to write about glitter, glue slugs, and Emo music, and growing pains.

These are the kids had tough conversations with about school shootings, and death, and losing, and caring, and unconditional love, and failure, and reputation, and about being an asshole.

My daughter hasn’t been in a classroom since last March. She’ll graduate and never meet most of her upper division professors or classmates in person. She has asked for and received letters of recommendation from professors, and a boss she has never met in person. She has impressed others with her presentations and discussion points but never in person.

Both of my young adults would love to live life in person. Wouldn’t we all. Sure we go to the post office, and the grocery store, but not to schools, or museums, or coffee houses with friends. I guess we could sit outside the coffee houses, sometimes, if there is seating and not too many people are there.

My dog misses the days we’d spend outside at the local coffee house. At our usual table I’d write or read. My giant do would stretch out over the walk way and thump her tail at anyone walking by. I’d have water and treats for her. I’d pretend she was as smart and well behaved as she looks.

Now Garrett, who is 24 is living in the Hollywood Hills, housesitting until the middle of next year, working from home, and working on starting his own business with his best buddy Randy. Neither one of them has a girlfriend right now which is weird but a nice break for Randy’s mom and me. We’ve seen a lot of broken hearts with our sons. I’ve found a lot of love letters in the laundry.

Clara and her boyfriend (both 21) will be getting their own place in January. They’re both seniors in college, but will never set foot in an undergraduate classroom as students again. Their roommates are getting weird. Everyone is getting weird. They’ll save money and time. It just makes sense. Yes, if you’d told me this would be what we’re talking about today in 2012 I would have said NO WAY.

I’m serious about parenting but I’m pretty chill too. It isn’t just a Vampire thing. It is a parenting thing. Seriously, you have to be chill. You have to listen. You have to change with the times as a parent. As parents we are leading the way and we can’t do it blindly using rules from the 1970’s.

My kids are stressed. I’m chill on the outside but going nuts inside.

Clara, her boyfriend of four years, and his orange kitten all came up this week. It was a surprise. It was a 450 mile drive. They’ll go back on Thursday and return before Christmas. They just needed a quiet safe place to finish their finals and graduate school applications. Their homes didn’t provide that right now. Maybe two years ago it wouldn’t have been a problem but right now it is. I just want them to be able to finish school without any additional stress.

Yesterday Clara and I went out. I had on a red jacket and a red mask with a cat print on it. She wore a black sweater with a black mask with a cat print on it. That wasn’t planned. We just do that – always dressing almost the same or in the same colors. It has been going on since before middle school. It just happens. It is a special kind of mother/daughter magic.

So yes, I write about Vampires, but it is really all about my kids and everyone else I love.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Social distance. Be kind. Hug your dogs and cats. Talk to your kids. Check in on those who might need extra help or those who are alone. And of course, if you get a chance, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

What We Believe

Beliefs that seemed so important to me when I was young don’t seem so important to me now.

I think that applies to most people. We are influenced by our small world of parents and school. Then we go out into the wide world and do stupid things based on our young narrow views. We reject experiences, including love, friendship, career opportunities, education, adventure, fashion, creativity, and so many other things because we’re only twenty years old and set in our ways.

As we get older we start to loosen up and realize that maybe those hard held beliefs don’t fit us. We realize there exceptions to the rules. We realize that we can change those rules and traditions and make them better.

I’ve written about this a lot on my blog, mostly though stories about my friends and family, and my own somewhat crazy experiences. Yes, we learn from our experiences, and from the experiences of others. Heaven help the person (and we all have “that person” in our lives) who never learns from experience and is doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and over.

A lesson for children is to not let others squash their desire to question what they know. And others will try. As a parent you shouldn’t fear this – if you give your child a good foundation, and most of all TALK WITH YOUR CHILD. Discuss these things. Keep the lines of communication open.

Just from talking to my children I’ve changed my mind and beliefs about some things. Yes, we can, and do learn from our own kids if we are willing to keep our hearts and minds open. It is a wonderful thing.

We move away and retreat from the old ways. At the same time so often, too often, we wonder “what if?”

That said, life does not stop when one grows up. You can keep exploring and having those adventures. You’re grown, not dead. And until you’re dead you can keep living, and changing, and looking at your options.

I’ve posted this before but it seemed fitting for today. I’ll have a new short story for you later today, and a lot of well loved Christmas stories in the next week or two or three.

Stay safe. Wear a mask. Talk with your kids. Be kind. Don’t be a dick. Check in on those who might be alone or need extra help. Take a deep breath. And most of all, kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Appreciation

Kids don’t always appreciate what you do, or what you have, or what others do for them because they don’t have the life experience to appreciate anything. They don’t know a world where they don’t have their parents or others doing things for them. They don’t know a life without the nice home or community they live in. They’ll appreciate it all when they get older – often with a big helping of guilt. Yes, as a parent that is frustrating as hell, but just keep drilling in the the appreciation message and eventually they’ll understand and appreciate.

Yes, one day they will appreciate all of the time you spent with them, just being you, and letting them just be themselves. Believe me, they will.

That does not mean to allow your children to be selfish brats. Keep drilling into their little brains that they must be polite, be kind, appreciate what others do for them, say thank you, do nice things for other, and be a decent human being. Nobody likes a brat – tell your kids that. They’ll listen to them when you tell them people don’t like selfish brats, or general stupidity. Seriously, it works. It might take a bit to sink in but it works. Like I always say TALK to your kids. Don’t just say NO. Really talk to them and have those conversations about appreciation and behavior.

This, of course, brings us around to talking about 2020. Yes, it is a weird year. It is an exceptionally weird year. There have been a lot of weird years but this one takes the cake/pie or whatever for most people.

So appreciate that cake or pie. Appreciate everything good in your life. Right, easy for you to say you might be thinking right now. No it isn’t easy for me to say. But I’ve lived a long time and know what it is to be down in dark places where, well, believe me, it was bad.

Another thing to teach your kids (children and adult children) is to learn from their mistakes. If they can learn then they’ll appreciate their own actions and what they can do for themselves. Allow them to know they can be empowered to do the right thing and change bad situations.

Covid-19 lockdowns are hard for everyone, but especially young people. They’re so social and being cut off from friends and from meeting new friends is hard. They’re in college, or trade school, or working and now that is all up in the air from one day to the next, with them never knowing if they’ll have any good prospects or opportunities. Now is an easy time to just want to give up.

Keep up the encouragement. Not hollow “hopes and prayers” kind of encouragement, but real encouragement. Be there for them to talk about it. LISTEN to their fears. Don’t discount their fears and concerns. This is real. This is their reality. Yet, it is still a time to look for appreciation for what is going right. It is also time for hope and love.

It is also a time for winter walks and a lot of mind clearing. Speaking of winter walks, there were wild turkeys in my driveway this morning and it was so cold we could see their breath. Take a walk. See their birds, or the city streets, or even just the sky.

Later today I’ll have more holiday/Christmas stuff. Keep checking back for more new posts and favorites from the past.

And as always… Wear a mask. Stay safe. Social distance. Talk to your kids. Listen to your kids. Check in on those who might be alone or need extra help. Be kind. Appreciate the good things and good people in your life. And kiss a Vampire.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Over the river and through the woods to nowhere.

This year Thanksgiving will be small. Yes, even Vampires have holidays. Even Vampires have things to be thankful for.

The children, despite being adults, are going through a period of angst that they skipped when they were teens. Thank you Covid-19. Or should I thank all of the people who refused to take this thing seriously and said wearing masks had anything to do with their rights. Oh cut the crap. When Vampires start to complain about it then you know it is bad. When Vampires start to feel nervous and unsettled you know regular people are starting to become extra stupid.

So back to my kids. Only one will be here for Thanksgiving but that is alright. We’ll have some sort of Facetime or Zoom call. We’ll have good wine and a small gathering of four or five.

Sometimes I believe it comes down to this: Humans are the only monsters. The most dangerous disease they have is ignorance. There is a cure but those who have it are bound and determined to say it isn’t real.

Like my friend Randolpho says, “Anti vaxers and Covid deniers cut into our food supply.”

The fog finally arrived for the Thanksgiving season. Cold mornings mean a dog walk by the lake. It will be like going over the river and through the woods this morning but not to grandmother’s house. My dog is waiting. I must go. With any luck the walk will bring more positive thoughts…even Vampires need positive thoughts.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman