lastmandystanding

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Blogger. Aspiring writer. Smartass. But you'll probably still want to be my friend.

Archive for the tag “humor”

An open letter to all moms

“The two most important days of your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out WHY” – Mark Twain

I first became a mommy a little over twelve years ago. I had “a touch” (<–said with sarcasm) of the baby blues after she was born, and I would just cry at the very sight of my baby girl – of course, I cried when the wind shifted directions, too (post partum nonsense). But mostly, I cried because she was just so amazingly perfect and beautiful, and for the first time in my life, I realized WHY I WAS BORN. This tiny, beautiful, perfect little girl was my purpose. I was born to be HER mother.

Because of life-long female medical problems, I wondered if I would ever be a mother. I had one miscarriage before my first daughter was born, and another miscarriage between my first and second daughter. To say I had rough pregnancies would be an understatement. My second little miracle came three years after my first. She came blazing into my world two months ahead of schedule and spent the first month of her life in the hospital. As I spent every single day, all day, at her side, I kind of had an inner dialogue with myself that perhaps pregnancy is not for me. Motherhood, yes. Pregnancy, not so much. It hated my guts. But I have always been, and always will be, eternally grateful for the two amazing little girls that take up space in my heart and in my arms.

As wonderful and rewarding as it is, this being a mom thing is NOT for wussies. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the weak in spirit. It is not for the selfish. It is not for the weak-stomached. It is not for the weak-minded. It is not something to be taken lightly. It is wearing your heart on the outside of your body, and praying that you just don't screw up. It is being the only one in the house who can clean up puke without puking herself. It is being pooped on, peed on, puked on. It is picking baby boogers out of their nose with your long pinky nail because it's the only thing small enough to get it – screw that booger-sucker thing. It is sneaking into a sleeping baby's room like you're 16 and it's past curfew. It's the legitimate desire to throat-punch anyone who disturbs your sleeping baby. It is the sharp-tongued pre-teen whose words can cut like a knife. It is the same pre-teen who comes crying to you and needs to be hugged because they got in a fight with their best friend. It is going without things for yourself so you can provide things for your kids – and being ok with that. It is rarely getting to eat a warm meal at the same time as everyone else. It is sometimes rarely eating a meal while actually being seated. It is sometimes being the bad guy, the mean parent, the "heavy" to your kids because that is what's best for them. It is pride-swallowing. It is humbling. It is relishing every opportunity to escape for 30 uninterrupted minutes to read a book, take a shower, talk on the phone, hear yourself think. It is giving up your boobs to a baby who wants to be constantly attached to them and when THEY aren't on them, a breast pump is – making you feel less like the sex kitten you used to be, and more like a momma cat nursing her kitten. It is giving up your right to sleep in your own bed with your husband alone. It is being questioned and judged by other parents. Sometimes it means giving up or doing without. It means trying to explain the unexplainable to the little faces looking to you for answers you simply don't have. It means standing in the middle of the store, literally rendered speechless, watching your 9 and 12 year olds act like they've never been in public or have any concept of manners, and only being able to muster up the words very slowly "Have..you…lost…your…minds?". It is leaving your child at their very first apartment and feeling pride and sadness all at once. Sometimes, it is realizing that your child has special needs – different from other children. It is realizing a hundred times exactly what your mother meant when she warned you of certain things 25 years ago. It is beating yourself up for forgetting an important school function. It is being so overwhelmed with love that you feel your heart just might burst. It is realizing that you should've told your mom more often how much you appreciate everything she did for you. Sometimes, it is realizing that there are no more chances to say or do the things you should've. It is realizing that if you have a 9-year-old, they are half-way to being "grown". It is realizing how precious time is. It is realizing that someone always has it worse. It is feeling pain for a friend who has to bear the unthinkable and bury a child. It is feeling hurt (and in a way guilty) for a friend who cannot conceive a child of her own. It is feeling invisible sometimes – like you're just the man behind the scenes who make everything happen but no one really pays attention to. It is constantly questioning the choices you make as a parent. It is facing criticism as a single parent. It is being a model for your showing your son or daughter how to pick the right partner for them — and teaching them to be the right partner for someone else. It is having your children be the first thing you think of when you wake up, and the last thing you think of before you fall asleep. It is realizing that you aren't perfect – and that's ok. You aren't the perfect parent, but you are the best one for your kids — however they became yours — because that is YOUR purpose. No one else can do what YOU can do for them. No one else can take YOUR place.

I will lay my head down tonight, once again grateful for my two little blessings, and grateful for my mom and ALL the wonderful women in my life who have made me who I am today.

No…this being a mother thing is NOT for wussies. I am woman. I AM A MOTHER. Hear me roar.

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Umm…there’s no prize or anything

SAMSUNG

Let me just start this off with a healthy dose of honesty – I am FULL of awesome ideas. But every once in a while, I pull one out of the ol’ bad idea box and run with it. Those are the ones that usually seem like great ideas at the time, and only reveal their crappiness at a later date.

To better understand this particular story, I should give a little bit of a background here. My sister and I are like two peas in a pod. And our dad was the third pea. The three of us were so much alike in our personalities, our sense of humor, the way we would tease each other. So when his last birthday came around – our first without him – we felt we needed to do something together…something special.

I took the day off work, and we started out eating breakfast at a local diner – one that my family has eaten at for years, kind of a family favorite. At breakfast, we talked a little bit about what we thought we should do for the rest of the day. The goal was to just honor our dad on his birthday and try not to start crying.

We thought we’d get some balloons, write messages to dad on them, and release them down by the river. Simple enough, right? WRONG. There was a national shortage of helium (seriously), so finding helium-filled balloons proved to be not such an easy task. On our third trip to a store trying to find helium, we found some pre-filled mylar foil balloons – one that said “happy birthday” and the other was just a smiley face. Alright, fine. That’s just going to have to do.

As we were looking around the store, we stumbled across this package of yellow rubber ducks. One big one, and two smaller ones. GENIUS!! The big one is dad, and the two smaller ones are US! Omigosh, it’s PERFECT! So we got the two balloons, the package of rubber ducks, a black sharpie, party hats and a 2-pack of Butterfinger candy bars – dad’s favorite – and we headed on down to the river.

To help you paint a mental picture, we drove separately down to the river and parked right along the edge and I got into my sister’s car. Lucky us, we pulled up next to some old dude in a truck who didn’t really try to hide the “WTF?” expression on his face as we took turns with the sharpie, writing the messages on our balloons, going back and forth from tears to laughter. We had the windows rolled partially down, and his were completely down, so he really had a front seat to our little freak show.

I decided to have a little fun with things, so I took the rubber ducks out and started drawing on them. I drew broken hearts on the chests of the two little ones (obviously), and wrote my and my sister’s names on the bottom. Then, I drew my dad’s trademark necklace, his two tattoos, an earring, and hair on the big duck. The resemblance was uncanny.

Then – in a stroke of genius – I had the best idea ever. (Me to my sister: “hey – let’s put ‘if found, please call [my phone #]’ on the ducks and the balloons to see how far they go!”) Ok. Fine. Maybe I’ve seen one too many “Message in a Bottle” type movies. Whatever. My thought at the time was that, say…if it traveled an hour away, NEXT year for dad’s birthday, we would do the same thing from wherever that location was, and so on an so forth. Y’know, kinda like a “grief around the world” type thing.

So… On two balloons and one of the ducks (the biggest), I wrote my phone number and “If found, please call”. We released the balloons, and after a very slow start, they were up, up, and away. The ducks, on the other hand, were little bastards. We took turns tossing ours into the water, and watched them float about 20 feet, and then they just kinda hugged and kissed the shoreline for a good ten minutes. We finally left with the notion that the river current would carry them further downstream.

I need to add something here so that you have a better idea of where this is going. I live in the Midwest, and one thing about us Midwesterners is that we LOVE us some festivals. Parades, food, carnival rides and craft shows all centered around some sort of theme – a flower, a gourd, a bird, etc. Some of these festivals kick off with some “treasure hunt” type shenanigans, which involves reading clues and hunting all over the city for this special object. Once found, the finder is given instructions to “call this number” to verify the authenticity of the object. The super sleuth who finds it is awarded with some very nice prizes – a cruise, goods and services from local businesses, etc. It’s a pretty big deal around here. And it just so happens that my dad’s birthday was one week after one of these festivals.

Fast-forward to a few days after my dad’s birthday. My phone rings. It’s a local number, but not one I’m familiar with. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (with TONS of enthusiasm) “Hi, yeah, I’m calling this number because I found this duck!”
Me: (thinking OMG, yay, it worked!) “yeah, where did you find it?”
Caller: (still enthusiastic) “It was floating in the river down by (MyTown) bridge, so I picked it up and called the number!”
Me: (well that SUCKS. That’s freaking EXACTLY where I put the little bastard in the water) <– and that’s actually exactly what I said to her.
….. LONG PAUSE …..
Me: “Uhhmmm…yeah…there’s no prize or anything, I’m sorry. We just—It was— We just wanted to see how far it would go.”
Caller: “Oh. Ok.” <– and it wasn’t cheerful, like “Oh. Ok. No biggie, thanks anyway” It was more like “Oh. Ok. EFF YOU AND YOUR STUPID SCIENCE PROJECT.”
POP! went her bubble. She probably would’ve punched me and spit in my eye if we were face to face.
…… END OF CONVERSATION …

At this point, I was half pissed, and half amused. I was pissed that the stupid rubber duck traveled a whopping ZERO FEET in three days, but super amused that this chick found the duck, bee-lined her ass to a phone and called the rubber ducky prize hotline, only to be met with “Uhhhmm…yeah, there’s no prize or anything.” What a dick move on my part, right?

So I told my sister about it. We laughed and agreed that dad was most certainly getting a kick out of all of this. End of story. –WRONG.

A few more days pass, and again, local phone number unknown to me, is calling my phone. I answer.

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (with TONS of enthusiasm) “Hi, yeah, I’m calling because I found this duck and it said to call this number!”
Me: (thinking to myself – you have GOT to be shitting me) “Yeah, I’m sorry about that. There’s actually not a prize or anything. It was something we did for my dad’s birthd—just never mind. I’m sorry. But, since you called, can I ask where you found it?”
Caller: “It was floating in the river down by (MyTown) bridge.”
Me: “Of course it was. Thanks for calling.”
She hung up on me.

Again – half pissed, half amused. PISSED because this meant that the first caller, probably in a fit of rage over not winning anything on the rubber ducky prize hotline, just launched that sucker right back into the river, probably cussing me the whole time….which set Caller #2 up for HER letdown. AMUSED because – well… for the very same reason.

I figured that this last chick – since she hung up on me – would just throw the duck in the garbage. Then again, I thought the first woman would have done the same thing. I was wrong on both counts.

So another several days pass. By this time, it’s been about two weeks since my dad’s birthday, and over a week since I heard from the last would-be rubber duck millionaire. So imagine my surprise when I received a call from a MAN that went a little something like this:

Me: “Hello?”
Caller: (again with the enthusiasm right outta the gate) “Hey there, I found this duck floatin’ in the river and it had this phone number on it!”
Me: (Sigh with head-shaking)“Can I ask where you found it?”
Caller: “I found it in (MyTown) down at the (MyTown) bridge.”
Me: “Yeah…it’s been there for two weeks. It was just something we did to see how far it would go, but apparently it’s broken. I’m sorry…there’s not a prize or anything.”
Caller: “oh…” – Mr. Happy Pants has left the building and has been replaced with Mr. Pissy Pants.
Me: “Would you mind doing me a favor and just throw the thing in the garbage for me. Don’t throw it back in the river.”
Caller: “yeah.” —dial tone.

I have to believe he actually did throw it away, because I never heard from anyone else.

This whole thing had me so perturbed. I mean REALLY – can’t a girl just try out an awesome idea without it backfiring in her face by getting three total strangers pissed off at her? Can people not be so greedy? They call up all nice-y nice sweetie pie, and then one “I’m sorry, but there’s no prize or anything” and they turn into a-holes. I mean, these people were seriously…pissed…off. I’m sorry, but did someone sneak some writing onto the duck that said “If found please call this number TO CLAIM YOUR PRIZE???” I think not. I didn’t promise anything. I just said “If found, please call”. I mean, it’s not like it was a briefcase or a bag of money floating. It was A RUBBER DUCK FLOATING IN WATER. That’s pretty much their sole purpose. And while I’m on that subject, can someone find me a damn rubber duck that might actually FLOAT? Is THAT too much to ask? Well, technically, I guess “floating” wasn’t really the issue. He actually really excelled at that particular area. But how about one that might actually flow with a current or something? I mean it was very early fall, so I know boats were still traveling through. You’d think some wake action might move the damn thing along. Nope. Not my duck. Mine was a stubborn little $h!t that apparently came with an anchor.

You had ONE JOB, rubber duck. ONE JOB.

But then I just couldn’t stop thinking of how awesome it would’ve been to actually SEE all of this. And the more I told about these people calling me thinking they’d won something and me shooting them down when I tried to explain what I thought was a great idea, the more I realized it really just needed to be told on a broader spectrum…because it’s just absolutely typical of things that only happen to me.

I think we can all take away a valuable lesson from all of this. Well, maybe two lessons. #1 – I’m putting my sister’s phone number on things from now on. #2 – Nicholas Sparks and Sting are both full of CRAP and they can just knock it off with their “Message in a Bottle” crappery that puts such stupid ideas and CRAP in the heads of sentimental fools like me. And again I say CRAP.

But all in all, I got exactly what I wanted – something that brought honor to my dad, and did so in a way that he would have LOVED. With each phone call when I was having to explain myself, hearing the “whammy” sounder in my head as I let these greedy bastards down, feeling dumber and dumber about my idea, I could hear his cackling laughter. I have no doubt that he orchestrated the whole thing. I don’t know what we’ll do for his next birthday, but I’m not sure anything else could have quite the “bite me in the ass” backfire effect that this did. But if it does…I’m sure you’ll hear about it.

Could you help me with this thing here? Yes, you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP37RQ7pmW0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I absolutely LOVE the Golden Girls. My twin cousins and I would spend every Saturday night with our Grandma, and we would all watch it together. Watching old episodes brings me almost as much comfort as my grandma’s hugs used to, or a comfy sweatshirt, or wearing my favorite faded black velvet pants with paint stains. They’re just plain comfortable.

If this linked correctly, it’s a clip from an episode where the ever-so-over-dramatic Blanche decides to write the world’s greatest novel. She comes dramatically out onto the “lenai” and professes to have writer’s block – something she claims to be the worst feeling in the world. I love Sophia’s banter about 10 days without a bowel movement being worse than that, but this clip leaves out the best part. Right after where this cuts off, Dorothy asks Blanche: “Well how much have you written?”
Blanche: “That’s just IT, I haven’t written A THING!”
Dorothy: “That’s not writer’s block, Blanche…otherwise WE ALL HAVE IT.”

I can’t explain it…but that episode just kills me. The sarcasm of Dorothy. The drama of Blanche. The outspoken Sophia. Rose just being…Rose. The truth in all of it. I love it.

In a roundabout way, I guess I’m trying to say that I have writer’s block, but not exactly like Blanche. I’ve got lots to write about, to talk about, to cry about, to smile about, to laugh about, to be mad and hurt about, to joke about, etc. –but I can’t just sit and do it. I want to. I need to. And I love to…but I just…(ahh…i hate saying it)….can’t.

I’ve stated in my few blogs since my father’s death, that I fear if I start writing, I may not be able to stop. So I don’t know if that is what’s keeping me from it, or something else.

Do you ever feel like you’re on the verge of something…you don’t know what it is, good or bad, big or small…but you feel it…and you don’t know whether to jump and shout and leap tall buildings in a single bound, or go sit in the corner in your faded black velvet paint-stained pants and just sit quietly until someone comes and picks you up and says “hey, snap out of it”??

Yeah. Me too. I’m stuck somewhere in the middle of all that.

I need your help, reader(s). (If there are any of you left.) Since I can’t get the words from my brain to the keyboard very well (or often), help me out. Whether you know me or not, new reader or followed since blog #1 – what would YOU like me to write about? I’m serious… Please comment and I will pick something from the comments to write about. If you know me, it should be easy for you. If you’re a complete stranger, better yet. Read some of my other stuff and ask questions. I need something to get my creative juices flowing again. (My REAL creative juices…not the pretend ones I keep boldly “pinning” like it’s my job.)

Help a sister out. I know I can write. Just help me through my version of writer’s block. I promise it’ll be honest and entertaining if nothing else.

Readers’ Choice.  Let’s do this.

Oh, and if my sister-in-law happens to read this, I’m still waiting on the Xanax casserole that was promised last Christmas. I’m starting to think that was just a bunch of talk.

Catman Don’t

Another online dating tragedy of mine has literally become a party favorite. I’m asked to tell this story repeatedly. It’s also probably the only dating story of mine that comes with a “P.S.”

I started chatting with Catman through an online dating pond from which I am proudly no longer fishing. He. Was. A. Charmer. He was a musician and “small business owner”. And an animal lover. And a vegetarian. Each of those things are perfectly fine. All of them together…should’ve been a red flag.

We did the typical cycle of online chats, then texts, then phone calls. There was always plenty to talk about, and we flirted a bit. This went on for the better part of two to three weeks. We decided to meet in person.

Call me foolish (I was), but I had developed a sense of trust with Catman after talking regularly for a few weeks. I’m a pretty good vibe-catcher, and he hadn’t thrown any psycho ones, so we decided that I would drive to his place, leave my car there, and we would go to dinner. Unless I know him (ie. an old classmate, etc.), I never have a man come to my house, or even know approximately where it is. And I called my sister to tell her his name, where he lived and what he drove, in the event he chopped me into kitty kibbles.

I arrived to his house, which seemed nice enough from the curb, parked and walked up to the door. A bit nervous, I knocked, and was rather pleasantly surprised by the face (and body) that greeted me.

Until I stepped into the foyer.

In hindsight, I should’ve just gone with my immediate desire to puke, and just ended the evening there. But, no. I was invested in this, dammit. That, plus I tend to be overly cautious not to hurt someone’s feelings, and I thought ‘oh, what the hell. He’s a nice guy, and it’s just dinner, right?’ Yeah. Right.

Now…I’ll do my best to paint a multi-sensory picture for you of what I encountered when I stepped inside:

*Sight: (aside from an attractive man) layers of dust and cat hair. And boxes upon boxes upon more boxes of his “small business owner” stuff, which loosely translates into “I sell crap on the internet.” …up the creepiness factor here by him handing me a tiny little blue box with a white bow on it (picture a Tiffany-esque attempt) that had pierced, dangle-y “emerald” earrings in it (one of the hodge-podge assortment of items he sold online). I tried to refuse, but he insisted. Yes, I still have them. No, I have not/will not wear them. Ever.

*Smell: While HE smelled very nice (which is shocking, considering it all), I was slapped in the face by the smell of cat. Cat everything. Cat pee. Cat poop. Cat…i don’t know…saliva? Just…cat-ness. And lots of it. (Ever the optimist, I thought ‘welllll… maybe the cat, like, JUST took a dump and a whiz, like two seconds ago. It’s possible, right?’) No. If he had a jungle cat and it took a dump on my upper lip and I dabbed feline urine behind my ears – it wouldn’t smell much worse.

*Sound: Nothing. No meows. No purring. No kitty-sounds whatsoever.

(Side note: I seriously wanna know how his house stunk so bad and yet HE smelled so good. Because I can’t fry a piece of freaking bacon without me and everything in my house smelling like it for 3 days)

But anyway…

Catman: “Where would you like to go for dinner?”

Me: “I don’t care…whatever you’d like.” (standard chick answer)

Well…that was like, mistake #87 on my part. I should’ve suggested a place. I should’ve definitely CARED. Because where we ended up for Friday night, first-date DINNER…was IHOP. Yep. The International House of Freaking Pancakes. (IHOFP…it’s a midwest thing) Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a breakfast-all-day kind of girl. It’s my favorite meal, favorite food. But it’s not a first-date Friday night dinner. I ordered a breakfast with two types of sausage (sausage gravy and sausage links) and had to listen to him make a little squealing sound representative of my obvious murdering of an innocent pig for the sake of my appetite, while he enjoyed these freaking tater tot things with cheese on them. Wussy.

The conversation was flowing as much as it could on a first date at IHOP on a Friday night between two people. Topics drifted to his animal-loving…specifically, CATS and how he liked to rescue them.

 What’s this? A redeeming quality?

Then, the more I listened, the more it became clear that he wasn’t a “rescue, rehab, release” kind of guy, but rather…a collector. So I asked. “So how many cats do you have?” I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had said “five”. That’s a reasonable degree of kooky for a guy like him. I was, however, surprised when he replied “thirteen” – very proudly, I might add.

I know ME. And I know that I should NEVER play poker because of my inability to hide facial expression in the face of, well…anything. So I can only imagine what my facial expression must’ve looked like if it matched my inner thoughts.

Me: “wow…that’s a lot of cats. Are they outside cats, or…?”

Catman: (boastfully) “Nope! All inside…they’re like my kids”

Me: “hmmm”

I survived our breakfast-dinner, and we made our way back to his house where I intended to run like a scaredy-cat (pun intended). When we got there, he asked if I wanted to come infor a drink and keep him company while he “fed all the cats”.

Well now… here’s a little conundrum for a girl like me. I’m beyond convinced that there is no love connection here. But this night has been such a damn train wreck, I’m in it for the long haul, because this is one of those things that only happens to yours truly. There is some comedic gold here. I’m sure of it.

Me: “sure, I’ll come in for one drink” (and to see exactly how one goes about feeding thirteen cats)

I sat, with hesitation, on his couch – only because it was leather and I felt the disease risk was minimal. Still not a kitty in sight.

He was making all kinds of racket in the kitchen, while I just sat on the edge of the couch taking about 16GB worth of mental pictures and notes.

He came out with four styrofoam plates with cat food on them. Still no cats. Then he went to door #1, and out trotted four little kitties. Awww…. Wait, what the hell is he doing…?

He proceeded to talk…literally CHAT…with each and every feline on a more personal level than some humans will ever experience. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. And yes, I’ve talked to my pets….but not like this. It was as if he was getting responses that only he could hear. Trust me, I tried to hear them. Nothing.

This group of kitties finished their dinner and conversation, and were escorted back to their room. Repeat this process three more times until all thirteen of them had been satiated. (One cat had to dine at a table for one, as it seems he was a bit of a troublemaker.) Yes, I got a personal introduction and bio on each of them. I fully believe that I was the topic of conversation at their next meal. (“so what did you guys think of her?”)

The timeline for this whole process? One hour, thirty-seven minutes. You might think I would’ve downed a 6-pack while viewing this, but I didn’t even finish my one beer. I was literally stunned most of the time, unable to drink, speak, or take my eyes off this fantastic display of a freakshow.

I quickly hopped up after the last feline foursome had gone back to their living quarters, and thanked him and got the hell out of dodge. I went home and thought about just deleting his number from my phone. But then I thought “no…this guy isn’t going away…and I want to know if it’s him on the other end”, so I kept his number, but changed his name…to CATMAN DON’T.

As good as I am at picking up vibes, I’m even better at throwing them out there. So imagine my surprise when he called me the next day wanting to meet up, which I declined. I didn’t contact him anymore, and didn’t hear from him either. About a month later, I got a Saturday night text from him asking how I’d been. I contemplated whether or not to reply. I wanted to reply with “who is this?” I mean, it was totally feasible that I would’ve deleted his number. But I pegged him as a “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” kind of fellow, so I just ignored it…something I personally despise, but felt the situation called for it. His profile disappeared from the dating site.

The P.S. to this story:
Fast forward about a year and a half. I reopened my dating profile in attempt #382 to find someone. I was getting several messages a day and would read each of them. And there in my inbox was a message from Catman Don’t…same profile picture, different profile name. Mind you, MY profile name was the same, although I did change my picture, but it was still ME. I was almost afraid to open it, for fear of a verbal assault for my disappearance and lack of response.

But what I got was even better. It was something like this: “wow, that’s some profile you have there! I think we would have a lot in common, what do you like to do, wanna chat?, etc.” Whaaaatttt??? He had NO CLUE who I was, or the fact that we went on one of MY most memorable dates that has been talked about more times than he’s had fleas. My inner comedian toyed with the idea of replying also as if I had no clue who he was, but I chickened out in fears that my inability to be anything other than myself would throw a memory back to him and my cover would be blown. I fancy myself a fairly memorable chick, so my ego has blamed his lack of memory on some sort of amnesia associated with feline fecal poisoning. Yep. That’s definitely it.

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