Performing His and Hers Toilettes

Wow. Another week gone already? Silken Sands Writers Conference is coming up fast! March 16-18 will be here before you know it. So just in case you haven’t registered, here’s the link again: .

It’s been an adventurous week here in Runere Land. (That moniker was granted by Jeff Salter, a blog buddy, who has his first book—“The Overnighter’s Secrets”— coming out in April from Astraea Press. Go, Jeff!) Hubby and I have been getting things together for my conference workshop, while having a herd of the grandchildren over. And I use the term ‘herd’ politely. It’s fun, but when they head home I’m left feeling trampled! lol

For starters, instead of echo location, the four year old has candy location radar. Seems I’d dropped a few little wisps of foil while peeling Hershey’s Kisses in my office. And I do mean wisps, because when she said “There’s all kind of candy wrappers over there” (which with her New Orleans accent sounded like “Theah’s awl kinda cyandy wrappahs ovah deah”, and yes, it was so cute I made her repeat it), I looked. Carefully. Nothing. She promptly laid three minute foil flakes in the palm of her hand and shoved them under my nose. Well, huh. They did come from candy wrappers. And I hid the rest of the bag.

Meal time rolled around and I fixed them all plates so they could eat in the living room. Radar Girl looked it over, fixed me with a cool stare, and asked, “What’s for dessert?” I told her, and she immediately pointed to everything on her plate in quick succession, saying, “That’s nasty. That’s nasty. That’s nasty. And that’s nasty. I can’t eat it. Can I have my dessert now?” We butted heads for a few seconds there, me lecturing that dessert does not qualify as a nutritious meal, and she had to empty her plate before she could have any. Tried the ‘you hurt Mawmaw’s feelings’ routine, but got nowhere with it. Finally told her point blank that Mawmaw does not cook nasty food. Had her look around at the others plowing their way through their heaped plates. The only thing that ended our prolonged standoff was her brother trying to stab and steal the pork roast on her plate. I learned defensiveness must improve the flavor of food, because she cleaned her plate!

We shared stories too. Mine was about a friend who’s a rocket scientist. Literally. He and his wife had come for a visit one afternoon, and he went to the bathroom. It wasn’t the length of time he spent in there that was odd; it was the muffled bursts of laughter at twenty second intervals that got to me. He finally poked his head out the door, grinning.

“Hey, it started out I was just trying to be polite,” he began, “but when I nudged the seat down, it drifted down in slow motion. I’ve never seen a toilet seat with a braking system before!” He raised it, and started it on its downward trip, avidly following its turtle mode progress to ‘female usage position’, another burst of hysterical laughter rolling out of him. I was forced to explain we have grandsons in the majority, and when a little guy stumbles in half asleep and forgets to keep a grip on the seat to hold it up, I end up shuddering through a blood-curdling screech an instant after being woken by a loud bang. I’ll admit I’ve gotten pretty good at handing off ice packs one handed, the other covering my eyes so the poor little guy can maintain the illusion of privacy as he ices his whacked weenie. Dignity went out the window with his hopping around howling with ‘things’ in a two-handed hold. (I keep telling those boys to retain full possession of the thing and don’t drape it over the porcelain edge, but do they listen? Nooo.)

Anyway, after one too many icepacks, I went in search of something safer for them and found it in Tylertown at a bath specialty shop. It’s better for me too. All my consideration when I don’t turn on a light so I won’t disturb anyone is for naught; particularly if I’m half asleep. There’s that millisecond of time that extends forever in the sleep-fuzzed brain. You know the one. It’s that twinkling instant between knowing you should have landed, realizing you haven’t, and falling in. But physics rule, gravity is all-powerful, and there’s nothing you can do to stop the splash landing.

I end up yelling loud enough from the pure shock of ending folded in half in cold porcelain and icy water to drown out almost everything else, but I’m pretty sure it’s the older boys who booby trapped the thing. There’s way too much muffled hooting and snorting into pillows, and laughing shouts of “Hey, Poppa, does Maw know how to swim?” Or “Quick! Somebody find the shoehorn!” Or “Should we fish her out now? She sounds pretty mad; maybe we should just leave her there to cool off  ‘til we need her to cook breakfast.”

Yes, I had a lengthy, invigorating 3AM bath to remedy the aftermath. Didn’t even try to be quiet about it. But it wasn’t all bad. Since I was already awake, I did get some writing in!

Good writing! I’ll be looking for you at the beach! Pensacola style!

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Badurday- December 4, 2010- Guest Blogger: Jeff Salter

SFCATTY/Jillian: I “met” Jeff Salter on the Pro-Org loop of the Romance Writer’s of America. We hit it off and have been teasing and harassing each other since then. He’s a very, very funny dude and God help us if we ever got him and our own Runere in a room together. We would have to all find a box of Depends to to share. It would be a laugh fest extraordinaire! Jeff takes my good natured ribbing on this blog when I post my Bad Boys and so I offered him a chance to post some girls and being the gentleman he is, he chose to tell us a crazy, wild story about Point of View instead.  He was a librarian for many years but I have to tell  you, I can’t see him walking around shushing people. By the way, Jeff,  oh master librarian, is shushing even a word?

Without further ado, here’s Jeff:

JEFF SALTER: Writers hear a lot about POV — often in critiques from contest judges.  < whine > So each of us can probably use a short refresher in the ways POV can affect a story.  We’ll use this true story about King Sipper the Cat, shortly after he joined our household exactly eight years ago.]

Alley Cat Flashback

            My wife brought home that raggedy alley cat again this weekend.  It keeps drinking from my water glass, tried last night to eat my vitamins, climbs on top of the keyboard and monitor, clinks dishes in the middle of the night, opens and slams the cabinet doors, and now BITES our hands, wrists, and ankles!

            Well, last evening King Sipper reached new depths of gato gross-out:  immediately after departing the litter box (and with that aroma freshly pungent throughout the house), Sipper raced over to the couch and landed in my lap.

            The penetrating stench of cat feces was exponentially greater than the stink in the room in general, so I figured Sip had tracked some in on his paws.  I couldn’t see the bottoms of his feet, but he was twirling or twisting or otherwise gyrating, so I got a thorough view of his rear end.  Draped from his butt-hole – and from his upper hindquarters – was what resembled bubble gum or silly string … in LOOPS no less!

            At first I figured the smell and the ‘loops’ could not possibly be related (you now, maybe he ran through some really sturdy cobwebs or something).  WRONG!  The loops WERE the smell!  That cat had ‘SHIT STRINGS’ of poop … which had somehow clung to his butt-fur!  He started shaking his hind legs, trying to fling off the loops of poop!  And he kept turning around, the better to rub some of it onto the couch … or onto ME!

            About this time, I start screeching to Denise, “Come get this cat!  He’s got loops of poop all over his ASS!”  Well, she saunters over, acting like I’m exaggerating.  Finally arriving at the couch, after I’ve tried holding a cat with poop loops at arm’s length for several minutes, Denise realizes my assessment is accurate.

            She grabs the cat in one hand and goes to retrieve a ROLL of toilet paper.  Does she tend to the cat in the bathroom?  No … she returns to the couch.  She takes a few ineffectual swipes at Sipper’s butt with several tissue squares, but all that really does is tangle poop loops in her FINGERS!

            Finally Denise flees to the bathroom, with the cat in one hand and her other hand stretched out as far away as possible.  So now she’s calling on ME for help!  Do I saunter?  Do I delay?  Well, I want to … but I don’t.  I grab the front end of the pooper cat and Denise starts running water in the lavatory.

            So I’m holding Sipper and Denise keeps testing the temperature of the water.  I’m saying, “Denise, he’s not going to care whether it’s cold or warm … he’s gonna HATE the water — PERIOD!  Just get it over with!”  She ignores me, of course, and gets the temperature just right.  Then she tells me to hold the cat tighter.  Tighter?

            Remember that old Internet story about giving pills to cats?  Well bathing feline butts is just about as problematic.  Ole Sip squirms and twists and tries to claw out my eyeballs – only slight exaggeration – while Denise soaks and swabs his butt.  Well, take it from me:  cats do NOT like being second-guessed about their rear-end hygiene!  The old Sip-meister was majorly twitterpated!

            Finally, Denise gets the remnants of the poop loops off Sipper’s butt, then sets about to RINSE him.  Well, rinsing a cat is not a bit easier than washing one.  Sipper evidently had figured the process was complete and was definitely ready to depart.

            Well, to make a long story a bit shorter:  Sip got his butt washed, rinsed, and blow-DRIED … all while I frantically clutched the biting and scratching end of the gato machine.

            If I went to the E.R. with all these scratches and bites on my hands and wrists, they’d probably have that woman arrested for spouse abuse.  [And they’d never believe we tried to wash, rinse, and dry a cat’s butt in the lavatory — because of poop loops!]  So, she’d need a really good lawyer.  Know any attorneys specializing in cat injuries?  Jillian?  Bueller?

            Gotta go change my band-aids.

            Okay.  Obviously that was from my POV. 

            But how would this same tale be told from my wife’s perspective?  What would be different?  pacing?  content?  [After all she missed the beginning].  Wonder what she was thinking when she decided to address the problem in the living room with a ROLL of toilet paper?  And remember, she experienced the BACK end of the cat during the washing / rinsing / drying sequence.

            Exercise # 2:  Now how would the same story sound from Sipper’s POV?  How much would the cat understand?  What would he be thinking?  Who would he scratch / bite the hardest:  the one holding him … or the one washing his keester?

            Point of view.  Judges love to pounce on it.  How thoroughly do you write it?

SFCATTY/Jillian:  Here’s a selection of photos to illustrate Jeff’s tale or would that be tail??

SFCATTY/Jillian: And just because I can, I’m also showing you three he sent me as a joke. There is one more but I’ll keep it to myself unless people ask me to post it. I told him our only rule was no full frontal nudity and he respected that! LOL!

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