The Glitz, the Glamour!

It is time — again — to talk of the glitzy, glamorous life of a working writer.

I think I’ve done a couple of posts on the fact that whenever I get an award, or this blog gets mentioned by someone bigger, and my phone starts ringing off the hook with congratulations, it’s always on a particularly blah day.

So, the last time Rush mentioned me, I was scrubbing the kitchen floor on my hands and knees when the phone started ringing.

The Prometheus award call? I was in the middle of a Piss-war with the cats, who had peed on the sofas so much they mildewed. So I’d just dragged the sofas to the curb, to be hauled away by trash, and bought cheap used sofas, for which I was making impermeable covers, because I do learn. And yep, Euclid had just peed on the covers I was sewing. (Euclid was actually the issue, since he’d never been box-trained. In fact, he’d been inverse-trained since the elderly person who owned him before apparently put down towels and newspapers for him to pee on. BUT once he started the other cats all assumed that was the place to pee. The only good thing about his dying is that the p*ssing out of place has stopped.)

When I won the Dragon we a) didn’t have the money to attend. (I will add that my preference is not to do the massive cons. I am too introverted for them) b) we were on an unavoidable trip in a tiny town (less than 3k people) staying in a shady motel. We’d just eaten at one of two restaurants — Mexican. The other was Italian. And they only opened on weekends, for the tourists — when Kevin texted me the image of himself holding the award. I texted back “Is this for real?” and then the phone started ringing with other people. That’s when I went back in, broke the low carb rule and had the fried ice-cream.

Those, ladies and gentlemen, are the HIGHLIGHT of the Hollywood glamour that’s my life.

But there’s also a rule that if someone recognizes me while out in public (not often) I’m invariably wearing my painting clothes, with my hair a complete mess, and frazzled in the extreme. Once, I was in my robe, had just locked myself out of the house, and couldn’t get the guys (all of them asleep) to wake and open the door. We lived at the corner of Weber and Columbia in downtown Colorado Springs. Weber is kind of busy. So I’m standing in front, trying to figure out what to do, and a car skids to a stop and someone I remember vaguely from a con in Denver comes running out. “You’re Sarah A. Hoyt. I know you are.” (Turned out useful. He let me use his phone to call Dan’s until Dan woke up and came to open the door. But we had to give him breakfast. Completely worth it.)

Anyway, the reason I was thinking about this: as you know, I wash my bed clothes, and Havey has diarreah. It’s a fact of nature. Havey is also super fluffy:

And his mommy might not have been around to teach him to clean himself.

So, yesterday was devoted to washing all the bed clothes. But I must have had a premonition, because I put an old quilt on the bed, rather than the eiderdown. wouldn’t you know it? Last night he jumps on the bed, and we caught a wiff.

I immediately jump up and grab the shaver.

There ensues a mad chase all over the house, because he caught on he was about to have his butt at a minimum shaved, and perhaps washed. He’s hilarious in these circumstances, because he runs while making a sound like “nope, nope, nope”.

Meanwhile Dan and I chase behind like silent-movie comedy. Only not silent at all, as often there are instructions and swearing in various languages. (To get an idea of how not silent, our previous house was in a not-that-close suburban development. During one of these chases, a neighbor knocked on the door to see if everything was okay, and did we need the police/ambulance.)

Fortunately Havey (besides being a filthy beast and running like a cartoon animal — he does, I swear his legs go binka binka binka) is also…. simple. So eventually he TRUSTED DAN and went to him. At which point — curse Dan’s sudden but inevitable betrayal — Dan grabbed him and proceeded to hold his legs, while I scruffed him and shaved the mess off him (Washing would have been easier, but then he’d get on the bed with a wet butt, and his fur is like a sponge.) Meanwhile he tried to pump his little backlegs and made sounds much like “nooooo” and “Squeak” in an attempt to escape by being pathetic.

He finally forgave me this morning, but the entire scene was both pathetic and roll on the floor laughing funny, in retrospect.

Yes, I’m sure Heinlein and Pratchett had moments like this. (For sure Pratchett because we got to talk about our cats more than once.)

BUT fortunately I mostly got into this job to get the stories out of my head and — if possible — help feed and clothe the family. If I’d got in it by the glamour I’d be seriously disappointed.

So, when you meet me, don’t be overwhelmed. Just imagine me in my nightgown and bunny slippers chasing Havey all over the house, while he meeps and nopes and his legs go binka binka binka.

It’s how I want to be remembered. 🙂

108 thoughts on “The Glitz, the Glamour!

            1. These days “Diverse” writers with main-stream publishers. VIBRANT diversity. Which normally means they claim to tan or be gay, and have an ivy league English degree and a surfeit of Marxism.

      1. Speaking of, you have a friend request on other site.

        Kind of a two-factor identification, here. Acceptance not required. 😀

  1. *snrk*

    Cat’s are God’s ( or $Deity of your choice)’s way of keeping us humble.
    Non-cat owners do not have this luxury, and are more likely to lose touch with reality.

    1. Spoken like someone who hasn’t tried to raise a border collie puppy.

      $SPOUSE: “We played in the kennel for an hour. Kat (the dog) didn’t go potty. When she went back in the house, she pooped in the kitchen within 10 minutes. Arggh!” (I was in town doing the weekly shopping. Honest! I have witnesses!)

      1. Just Border Collie Puppies? ANY Puppy!

        I’m surprised Harvey doesn’t properly clean himself. We’ve bottle raised 2 kittens and raised a number of others from 3 weeks to 5 weeks. All self groomed. Worse we had with two of the 5 long hair cats, were bad matting of the fur, starting about cat middle age (they had very thick under fur). Not just on hind quarters. Lucky enough that we never had to save or wash butts. If how clipping their nails went, I am glad that wasn’t needed.

        We didn’t start any of or first 10 cats nail clipping when they were kittens. Not a problem until they got older and their nails HAD to be clipped or the nails curled into pads (requiring a Veterinarian to get involved, we tried groomers). Took two, and sometimes 3 of us, all armored up, to get nails clipped, at least quarterly, and should have been monthly. You’d had thought they were dying, and fighting for their lives!

        The current 4 we can brush, comb, and clip nails. Started as soon as they entered the household. Brushing and combing, they love. Only one has long hair. If not careful she will get mats, but regular combing means we catch them when small. Nail clipping happens every 5 weeks. Clip and Revolution application. I am sooooo not everyone’s favorite person right now (yesterday was THE day). But I can do this by myself, without armoring up.

        Note with tiny, tiny, kittens, never really “clipped” those tiny needles until almost 6 months old. But went through the process. Hold kitten, splay toes, clip near nails. Now they complain, and wiggle (especially hind feet). But I can clip their nails. In fact Tj, or big male, is hilarious. He does the spread feet to try to block the door into the bathroom, where the procedure occurs, or grabs the door frame. Screaming “Nooooo. Mommmm, Nooooo.” He “knows”.

        What is weird is on the Nextdoor app someone had asked how to go about clipping cats nails. More than a few people were appalled that cats nails were being clipped. That it was cruel. Cat trees were the answer. Someone finally pointed out that “Clipping Nails” were not the cruel practice of removing them permanently. And NOT clipping nails often resulted in expensive veterinarian visits with nails embedded in pads.

  2. Glamour indeed! Hilarious. As to how you want to be remembered, my tombstone is already engraved, “Who cares for a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward,” is my part of the tombstone.

  3. IIRC, Wodehouse described a writer’s life as quietly staring at a typewriter, with the occasional bit of mild cursing. My mother raised Himalayans and Persians- I grew up in a houseful of cats, and often assisted in such matters.

    1. Or as the author of “Shoe,” put it, to write you stare at the page in the typewriter until beads of blood appear on your forehead.

      1. It’s much older than Shoe. The version I know is from about 1945:

        Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at the blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead. — Gene Fowler (1890-1960)

  4. So….. I was a broadcast engineer in Houston back years ago. We hired a ‘for sure’ recording engineer from Chicago. I wound up being his gopher / understudy (gofer this, gofer that, I wish I was a rabbit). He told me we were in show business. I was dirty from pulling cables in Jones Hall and just looked at him…. He told me this story: “Seems a kid was watching the circus tent entrance, and this old guy was standing there with a long stick. As the elephants passed by, he would poke their poo holes and suddenly, they would unload just before they entered. Kept them from doing it in the tent during their performance. The kid asked him, “Hey mister! How long have you been doing that??” “Forty years, son!” “You’ve been poking elephant butts for forty years?!?!?!? Couldn’t you find something else to do?” “WHAAAT!?!??! And leave show business???!?!?!?”

    1. I worked in a theater in my twenties. One night, a show was on the stage, but we were running around putting out metaphorical fires. In a momentary pause, the manager looked at me with a wry grin and asked, “Ain’t rock-and-roll glamorous?”

  5. Sorry Sarah. If I ever meet you I will be tongue-tied and grateful for the chance. Near the end of C.S.Lewis’s =The Great Divorce= we are shown the difference between humble circumstance and greatness. And maybe that difference is what elevates the greatness.

  6. At least you didn’t try to blow-dry him. Been there, observed that. No t-shirt, but most of thr participants went home with elbow to wrist scratches.

  7. I needed that.
    Thinking of awards, my future beloved was hauled out of the kitchen at an SCA event to get his Award of Arms. (Generally given for service, so being hauled out of a kitchen clean-up crew is considered totally appropriate).

  8. I’m crying laughing.
    My Jimmy is a gray version of Havey, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the wet poo butt in the face and had to do the middle of the night run around with the shaver routine. Jimmy makes sounds like “There! There! There!” and kicks his back legs.
    This makes me laugh so hard.

  9. Somebody on the Catholicism subreddit was talking about how he had a dream that the Virgin Mary came to his house, and that after she said her piece in his dream, she immediately went to the kitchen and started doing dishes.

    Heh, heh, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of cat butt in the path to holiness….

  10. Oh, I know what I was going to say. There are a lot of waterproof or easily washable blankets these days, either for outdoor picnics and lawn furniture, or for human accidents around the house. They look and feel like regular cloth, so maybe that would be helpful for preventing cat-cidents?

    1. I think it’s in the same place as the glamor of teaching, and the cool sexiness of being a pilot (harbor OR aircraft). That being, in an unmarked box next to the Ark of the Covenant.

      1. “Oh, wow. It must be so cool to be a university faculty member!” Um, yeah. And listen to the guy who can’t understand why, if the university is worried about the budget, we don’t just fire the landscaping guys (I am dead serious, he said that)…or pretty much ANY faculty committee. Or read the tortured prose of students. Or have a student explain quite earnestly that the classes she failed should be removed from her transcript since they weren’t in her major anyway…

        Yeah. Glamour. That’s the word.

        1. Grass is greener on the other side.

          Occupations you think are cool when you haven’t done them, and only know them abstractly, are less cool when when you start to learn the nitty gritty of actually doing them.

          Sometimes they prove to still have what pulled you in, early on.

          1. Hey, now, engineering is cool. Designing stuff that never existed before and making it work. Getting to say ‘I laid out the main PCB for that’.

            1. “I spent the better part of a month trying to understand the flaky results only to find that the calibration parts weren’t calibrated correctly!” (Then, the client went bankrupt, taking down the consulting gig. Ain’t nothing more frustrating than dealing with a problem like that, only to find it was unpaid…)

        2. “But my parents paid my tuition, you have to give me an A!” That one won the “best line of the week” at Ye Faculty Watering Hole one week.

          1. I had an office in the Dean’s suite for a few years. One memorable afternoon a student came to talk to the dean because student was upset that professor made them read the books outside of class and wanted dean to get prof to change grade and teaching method. I have never heard so many ways of saying “no” as dean employed in that half hour or so conversation. Student left and those of us with offices in suite *all* popped out like prairie dogs. “What the hell?” “Oh my God!” We then spent another half an hour talking about that.

        3. I got on an elevator at a hotel a put my concierge card into the slot. A woman on the elevator remarked how lucky I was to be on the elite floor until I asked her to consider what, exactly, a Marriott Black Card signified. She said, “oh”.

          I don’t do that anymore, I semi-retired about 15 years ago when the wife said there was more to life than money. I still love the business, but I don’t miss the life

        4. if the university is worried about the budget, we don’t just fire the landscaping guys

          Yeah, you don’t balance a university budget by going after the people who keep the place presentable.

          It’d be nice if the Administration didn’t interpret “reduce administrative overhead” as “get rid of the secretaries that actually know how to do everything.”

          1. Better way to cut costs without firing groundskeepers: stop it with the huge beds of nothing but annuals that get ripped out after two months. Buy bulbs for the early spring flowers–bulbs come back again and again. Buy things like roses that take less upkeep, take up a lot of room, and provide a beautiful backdrop for an edging of the annuals, if you insist on the annuals.

            (One of the reasons I knew the university I used to work at was going down: they ripped out the forever-plants and went back to the massive beds of constantly changing annuals, and started firing the part-timers that had been the most loyal and stuck around because they were paid more–by the time I was gone, there was only one other adjunct in the English department that had been there long enough for the five year pay bump…and they were gone the following semester.)

            1. Climbing roses, can even go all fancy and get… what’s it, Harrison’s Yellow, plus some of the “wild” little pink single-level roses, they smell AMAZING and aren’t prone to most of the diseases that make roses hard to keep going.

              Depending on climate, put periwinkles (or other vinca minor in various colors) so there’s green of reasonable strength that flowers.

              Marigolds, too, they also drive off bugs.

        5. I had fun in Dragonfire and Time. My character is a wizard and after some years of work — you know, she doesn’t find magic very magical any more.

      2. Met a guy worked as a service tech for something or other, who on occasion was flown to the site. He said one of the best pick lines or such he ever had was, “…and meet Jim, my pilot.”

      1. I was about to say “What could be more festive than glittery cat turds?” — but then I realized, the dog could eat them.

        Reminds me of somebody saying their dog habitually ate crayons. Kids would come from blocks around to check out the rainbow turds.

  11. Most of ours were well-trained, er well-behaved. One as a kitten tried everything including playing hockey in the bathtub with the metal drain filter. Christmas was a thing for him. He got drunk on tree water. (Some idiot told us to put sugar in the tree water to help the tree last a little longer.) The real trick was when he ate tinsel. Oh the tinsel came out the other end undamaged with a long piece of shit wrapped around it. The worst part was it only came out halfway, so it was my job to pull it out. Not one of my favorite moments.

    1. Was never fond of applying tinsel to trees as a kid anyway. Having a multiple cat household, along with an infant, when we started getting Christmas trees, was an excuse to NOT use tinsel. But the tree water was definitely an issue.

      One of our cats is currently pulling the metal drain filter from one of the sinks and carting it off. We keep finding it all over the house.

  12. Oh come now! You expect us to believe that a writer’s life isn’t all caviar and Caribbean vacations and hordes of sycophants ready and willing to do ANYTHING (and I mean *ANYTHING*) for their writer god??

    I think you’re just trying to keep the newbies out! 😀

    Also, so glad all our cats are short-hairs, we don’t have to deal with poo-butt…

    1. C’mon Sarah, having some random drive-by recognize you standing in your robe locked out of your house in the early morning, then go fan-boy over you and help you get back in the house? Dem’s quite the perks! The lady dost protest too much methinks. Well, there is the embarrassment factor, but otherwise, really cool.

  13. Poor Havey! Poor Hostess!!! We used to have a cat Mac who had similar (but not quite so severe issues). One would invariably be sleeping (either my wife and I in our queen bed or more likely elder daughter in her twin) when the fragrance of unclean cat would float by. At this point the slow chase (referred to as the OJ chase, girls didn’t get the reference) would begin. We’d wander up and down the house with Mac staying just out of reach, until at some point he’d just give up and go to my elder daughter (he really was her cat). Usually he’d have tagged at least the upstairs carpet as well as bedding. He would then be unceremoniously washed in the kitchen sink, dried with a towel and the sink cleaned with comet with bleach.

    He wasn’t a medium hair like Havey appears to be but was fluffy/plushy (like a really nice stuffed toy). However he was such a portly gentleman and so large that the cleaning task was apparently more than one cat tongue could provide. His sibling cat would sometimes try to clean him, but that always ended in a bit of a tiff. As annoying as this whole situation was he is deeply missed by all in the house (except perhaps the upstairs carpet). My deepest sympathies for the situation.

      1. From the image he looked sort of intermediate, but yeah a turkish angora is an out and out long hair like a Persian or a Maine Coon. That just makes it 10 times worse and if he is prone to less solid stool a nightmare. I am familiar with the process of unplugging a cat gently. For any that care mix UNSWEETENED pumpkin with wet cat food and feed to cat. Mac would get this treatment from time to time and ended up liking the pumpkin straight. He was a very odd boy. Replugging I have no idea on, and with feline digestive systems one always needs massive caution as their intestinal tract is far simpler (and less efficient) than we Omnivores or even carnivores like dogs that can cope with a little more fiber

        1. Most cat food, being rebadged low-quality dog food, is WAAAAY too high in fiber. 3% is plenty, more than 4% is begging for trouble. Stay away from barley, sorghum, beet pulp, and potatoes. Price is NOT an indicator of quality.

          My cats (anywhere from 3 to 16, sometimes plus kittens) have been eating dry dog food for almost 50 years (if puppies do well on it, so will cats), and get zero special care, and I’ve NEVER had this chronic-loose-stool problem. And when I have a cat box, it doesn’t stink.

          1. Most dog food lacks in the levels of taurine, alanine, and protein that cats require; that first one is what makes them go blind, and makes them obligate carnivores. Even some foods made with animal byproducts won’t have enough.

            1. Well, that’s one reason I don’t get too upset if the cat eats most of the mouse. I do get a bit annoyed when she drops what’s left of the butt, feet and tail under my chair at the kitchen table. Especially if I sit down before coffee.
              “What the! Arrrgh!”

            2. Actually, “meat byproducts” (which means organ meats, ie. any edible part that’s not skeletal muscle) are more nutritious and more digestible than “meat meal”. And taurine is present in all red meats, quite sufficient to cats’ needs. (As it happens dogs also need taurine in the diet.) If the animal protein comes only from lamb or milk, then you’ll be deficient.

              Most cat food is too high in fiber, too low in fat, and sneaks in quite a lot more plant protein sources than does the comparable dog food. And then people wonder why the litter box reeks and the cat regularly has the shits.

              1. Meat byproducts includes organ meat, it does not MEAN organ meat.

                That is why I pointed out that even that category couldn’t be depended on it– fat and joint-tissue won’t work.

        2. Pumpkin also works for re-plugging. And he likes it.
          BUT mostly he has a bad habit of getting into things like pans that are left soaking, so I need to make sure I don’t leave those out and uncovered.

          1. One of our current cats (Stoic the Vast) was getting a bit TOO vast, so we put he and his sibling (Hiccup, they had those names when we got them 🙂 ) on a diet. His response was to become a scrounge stealing anything left out and even raiding the garbage if the door to it is not well closed. Needless to say this has led to stomach issues as he only steals the richest best stuff, no stealing dry boring breast meat chicken (alright he will steal that too its just not his first choice 🙂 ). Some creatures are far too smart.

  14. Knowing both you and Dan is a pleasure. We’re all in this mess together, and there isn’t anything approaching glitz and glamour, at least no where that I’ve seen it…

  15. That is too funny! Mike and ended up moving to the sofa bed in the middle of the night several times. Zonker used to get mad at us and pee on the bed or throw up. We got a mattress cover for kids who wet the bed. That was a loooong couple of months until he forgave us for whatever it was.

    1. I worked a Renaissance faire while my home was supervised by the late, lamented Fat Cat. Six weekends, which was apparently 12 days too many for me to be away from home. End of the season, I washed, prepped and folded my gear into the suitcase where I stashed it between shows.

      He staaaaaaared at me, jumped into the suitcase, and let fly, maintaining eye contact the whole time.

      1. Our latest rescue pup, Sugar, does that sort of thing on occasion. And we know damn well it’s retaliation based on where and when she does it.

        1. That seems to be the source of indoor pooping from Kat. If she’s mad, the kitchen floor is going to be a mine field. (She’s also unhappy with having to squat where the kennel is damp from snowmelt. Sigh.)

          1. Sugar doesn’t poop; instead she pees with absolute precision…. Even more remarkable because she doesn’t have “male marking mania”.

  16. You only needed “Turned and slapped and nipped while the cleaning was happening.” and “I was yelling ‘Do you think I’m ENJOYING this?'” to match an experience with my Mom’s cat.

    Also, you got to chat with Sir Pterry about cats. My jealousy makes me hate you. Just a little.

  17. Well, the odds of you and I ever meeting in meat space are pretty remote. Even before recent events I wasn’t much for traveling unless there was a specific purpose. I did go to a con once but I never did figure out why so many folks are drawn to them. Nevertheless I promise to imagine you running about in your nightgown and bunny slippers so that, should I outlive you, I will remember you as you wish to be remembered.

    Perhaps the story will be good for a few free drinks at the Dead Man’s Chest.

  18. I’m just imagining you in a dress like you posted at the top doing all the scrubbing, polishing, refinishing, washing, shaving, chasing, etc.

  19. I needed the laugh! I have a boy cat just like that the vet calls chunky kitty, that I have to put in the laundry room sink to clean every once in a while because he is so embarrassed by his poopy butt. He is usually the best groomed cat but when he gets loose poop he can’t get it all off his behind…🤣

  20. I clean the litter box every morning, and Zelda immediately uses it. Freshly clumped litter tends to fall apart when you try to scoop it out right away. I’ve been lucky as far as poop issues.

  21. Ooh! Cat panic this morning over a turd stuck to butt fuzz! She ran ALL OVER the house, trying to get it off, with it bouncing along behind her until she finally jarred it loose…in the living room. And then there was cat panic because she couldn’t bury it. She didn’t calm down until I’d gotten up and picked it up in a used tissue out of the trash, and got rid of it for her. She’s now passed out asleep, recovering.

    It was not my dickface cat.

    And now, I’m trying to get my headspace for writing pulled up…and I can’t.

    Glamour. Such glamour.

  22. I believe Mr. Heinlein put it something like: For a writer, the high point of the day is the breathless thrill of waiting for the mail. The low point of the day is usually immediately thereafter.

  23. I’m still surprised I don’t have to do that more often with C! And that the only cat that ever needs shaving is H, my only shorthair, but that’s because of her being a megachonk. Anyway, it was a fun read, and if I ever shake off enough work and other mess to try writing for profit I have no illusions about either the work or the lifestyle from what you, ILOH, MA Rothman, and Brad Torgersen have all said on the subject, which frequently makes me think I should just stick to the find a better day job plan and not complicate my taxes further.

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