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November 10, 2004

About the humans in the household.

Or, at least, about us and animals, and that sort of thing. Seems like those on the left side of the political spectrum tend to be the most cat-fascinated, though some conservatives somehow manage to have cats, even though cats don't give a fat biscuit if you're happy with them or not and won't follow directions. I used to kid Tony that it was that one of the cruelest jokes to play on someone who was somewhat obsessive/compulsive, to bring a cat into their household, since cats seldom mind anything but their stomachs. I guess having four cats, we qualify as cat-fascinated, though sometimes it feels more like cat-burdened, or cat-possessed.

I was married before, Tony was not. No really nasty stories -- it was a decade ago, now, and I still correspond with him occasionally. Most of the hard feelings are over, I guess. Mine are, anyway -- I never venture to speak for anyone else.

First hubby and I had a cat, Norman Bates, who earned his name by jumping into the shower the first day he was in our apartment and refusing to be removed until the shower was turned off. He was never that fascinated by water again, but it earned him a hell of a nickname!

He was one of the great house cats, was Bates. Very sweet tempered except, for some reason, with dark-haired men. Unfortunately for one of our roommates, who happened to be a tall, dark-haired man. Bates used to stalk him just so he could crouch and hiss. Fortunately, he generally restrained himself from doing anything else. Unfortunately, the roommate liked cats, and I imagine having a cat in the household who couldn't stand him drove him bonkers.

When I lived alone, I was financially tight enough I chose not to get a pet, though I could have had one in the apartment I lived in. It didn't seem right to take chances on having a pet whose care I couldn't afford, so I simply waited. I suppose if things hadn't worked out the way they did, and Tony come along at the time he did, I might have gone ahead and gotten a cat. I was tired of catching sight of Bates out of the corner of my eye when I knew damned well he wasn't there.

Tony and I had met, years before my first marriage ended, actually. Way, way back in the fog of time, when there was a club called Shipley's on the Corryville strip in Clifton, down by the University of Cincinnati, there was a local band called The Raisins. They did a sort of angry pogo dance pop that drew a fairly reliable wall-squeezing crowd for many years in the area and region. Somewhere along the line, the first hubby and I started going to see them play on the weekends. Fairly religiously, after the first few times, in fact, for a couple of years.

Tony picked up on them around that time, and started going to see them. The first hubby shortly thereafter went into the Air Force, and he and I left southern Ohio for a few years. A couple of months before that, I remember seeing Tony at a few shows -- mostly, I remember that he wore tie-dyes a lot, which I later found out he made himself. The Air Force gig started in late '84, and was over due to military outsourcing by early '88.

So we returned to Cincinnati, got an apartment a county over, and made our peace with the fact that, while we'd been out of town, The Raisins had split up. We made friends with a guy who worked at a used record store (I'll call him Bongo), who told us a few months later some of the former members of The Raisins were getting together again, under another name -- psychodots.

We hung around with Bongo, who -- along with his job in the used record store -- had a community radio show (Bongo was the pseudonym he used on the radio show, where he played obscure old and new power pop and Shel Silverstein tracks, among other things, both sublime and absurd, sometimes both), and occasionally went out and did things with him and his significant others. One of the things we did was go bowling, and Tony was at those bowling outings. He and Bongo had shared an apartment at some point in time, and he also had lived in the other half of the bottom floor of the subdivided old house near UC. By the time he and I started dating, several years later, he was back on the same side of the building and Bongo was living in Manhattan, then Brooklyn, playing in a band called Fake Brain.

Life does funny things. I (voluntarily) found myself on my own, about ten years ago. I seldom had the guts to go out by myself to see a band play, however much I enjoyed it -- but I didn't really know anybody who wasn't a 'friend of the marriage,' and most of them were musicians who, by virtue of one of the first hubby's methods of making cash (live sound engineer) he inherited by default. Wouldn't have been much fun anyway -- they were all working musicians, usually playing out on the weekends, and being 'some local guitarist's chick' wasn't something I was hot to do in my early thirties. I'd dealt with enough musicians' lives by virtue of being 'some local sound guy's wife' to know I probably wouldn't be able to hack hanging around bars most weekends drinking cheap bear or bar-brand whiskey.

The band that had formed when The Raisins had broken up announced, after I'd been on my own a while, that it was also splitting up. I had seen Tony's name at the bottom of their e-newsletter for all the months I'd been reading it, and finally thought, 'eh -- what do I have to lose? Maybe if nothing else, I can go hang out and see bands with the guy, if he's single.' So I e-mailed him and asked him if he was single.

He was. And with a little prodding, we started going out to see bands together.

And then we started doing more than that.

And then we moved in together, got Tink, and got married. Yes, in that order. Sue me -- I was over thirty, I was determined I wasn't marrying anybody I couldn't live with.

I didn't.

Not a great picture of me, in all honesty -- I've returned to that great river in Egypt that has me dyeing my hair brown again, this photo was taken during a self-flagellating phase about my premature grayness that I definitely got over shortly thereafter. There are few decent pictures of me, simply because I usually have the camera and I avoid having 'candid' shots taken of me like the plague. I always look either pissed off or half in the bag.

Tony and a little box-o-Squeek. Like Doodle, she likes to get in things, like empty soda cartons, paper bags, boxes and Tony's suitcase, which he discovered last time he carried it upstairs to empty the clothes and thought it was 'just a wee bit heavy.' It contained Squeek, of course, and I'm sure she was heartbroken to have yet another keen hiding place removed from her universe for the nonce.

Posted by Melinda at November 10, 2004 11:52 PM


Saw your comment about Shipley's. My uncle, Bill Powell, owned that place until 1969...I am guessing that was a bunch of time before your time.
And from the For Whatever It's Worth Department...
Shipley's (and I believe it's now the Top Cat...is that right?) got its name from a book by Rudyard Kipling.
Happy 2006 to all.
Bill E.

Posted by: Bill at January 4, 2006 09:54 PM

Hey, Bill -- thanks for the comment!

My experiences with Shipley's were, indeed, just a hair over a decade later than you say. My sister may well have hung out there, though -- she lived downtown in the late sixties and early seventies, lived at the Ann-Louise Inn down by Fountain Square, and knew the guy who, at the time, owned Bogart's -- I think she worked with him, either at Ohio National or Western-Southern.

Posted by: Melinda at January 7, 2006 12:58 AM

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