Photo 101, Day Two: Street & Establishing Shots

roadhomelowshotThe Road-Like Path to Home

In the two months since I’ve moved in with my sister, I estimate I’ve lost twenty pounds. I don’t know the exact amount, but saying “I’ve lost twenty pounds” is more satisfying than saying “My fat clothes actually fit.” The main reason for this weight loss is that getting food delivered is not an option. In NYC, I relied on Seamless/GrubHub for the vast majority of my meals.

Now there’s no way anything’s getting delivered. My sister lives on a street that doesn’t exist. There’s a street sign of sorts, but it only lists addresses you cannot find on the actual street in the actual address. Basically, it’s a glorified alley. The city doesn’t even bother paving it properly; every few years a truck throws fresh gravel down.

When the moving truck from Brooklyn finally arrived with all my stuff, I received a frantic call from the driver: “I’m at the spot where the GPS said to go, and all I see is a steep hill. My men can’t do this!” I had to guide him through the five twists and turns it would take to get to the top of the hill and the “front” of the house, which is really the “back.” When the house was built in 1918, it was a summer home, built overlooking a bucolic ravine by a doctor from Bexley who wanted to escape the heat of the city.

Columbus has long since leap-frogged over this little cottage. All the cottages that once faced along the ravine have since turned around to face this little alley, leading to a street where backyards are front yards.

I love this street. It’s a little slice of country smack in the middle of the 15th largest city in the USA. When I have a car service drop me off after a night out, I don’t let them enter the street. Nothing is more magical than strolling down it in the middle of the night with a few drinks in you, smelling the lilacs and listening to rustling in the bushes.

The cat also loves it, even though she will never step foot upon it. When I lived in NYC, the only beasts that tormented my cat were the squirrels. Now she has nemeses not only among the squirrels, but also the chipmunks, the possums, the coyotes, the groundhogs, the foxes, and the deer.

Kim The Cat meets a deer for the first time.

Kim The Cat meets a deer for the first time.

Photo 101, Day One: “Home”

[For WordPress’ ‘Photo 101’ course, I will be posting an assignment a day for the next thirty days. This is the first]

kimottomanKim’s Ottoman

When I first got Kim eight and half years ago, it was to solve a problem. My previous companion, Sam The AIDS Cat, had finally succumbed to his condition. He may have been a very sick cat, but he was a good mouser. You need a good mouser when you live next to a large construction site in Manhattan. Guy would lay out five for me on a good night in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room. When he passed, I told myself I would mourn for a couple months. But the mice kept coming.

The last straw was when two scampered up onto the above ottoman AND IGNORED ME. Being ignored by a mouse is a soul-crushing experience. I needed something to wipe those smug arrogant grins off their faces.

The next day I poked my head into the vet’s office that occupied the ground floor of my building, and I saw this beautiful Tortie with the most ethereal green eyes in the adoption cages. I went over and offered two fingers for her to sniff.

Bitch bit me.

“Don’t worry,” said the vet tech. “She’s a sweetheart… just makes a lousy first impression. All Torties have something slightly off about them. Has something to do with that mutation on X-chromosome that gives them their coloring.”

A paw came out from between the bars to swat me. “I don’t know.”

“Please consider her. She doesn’t have many more chances left. She’s been in a cage her whole life.”

The cat looked at me with murder in her eyes. “What’s her name?”


“Well, that’s sucks.” I put my finger back in. She nuzzled for a microsecond then chomped down. But there was a purr in the chomp, not a hiss. “I’ll take her, but I’m not calling her Felicity.”

After filling out the requisite forms, the tech told me I could pick her up in a couple hours. I went back upstairs. I had the satellite radio on, and Dirty Boots by Sonic Youth came on. And who’s cooler than Sonic Youth’s queen bee, Kim Gordon? No one. Felicity would now be Kim.

It was lonely with Kim at first. She hid under my bed for the first several weeks, but at least the mice stayed away because of her scent or maybe her bad attitude. Then one night I was watching a special on Chernobyl twenty years later. Apparently the place is overrun by radioactive feral cats. There was a lot of cat noises coming from the speakers. This piqued Kim’s interest, and she ventured out from the bedroom to see what the fuss was about. Without paying me a lick of attention, she hopped up on the ottoman. After about five minutes of me sitting in absolute silence she turned around and meowed at me.

She has been one with the ottoman ever since. It is her scratching post and her throne. It is were she demands spankings –a friend into the leather lifestyle opined that we had a classic S&M relationship. It is where she relaxes enough to show her belly. It is where she bites the shit out of my arm.

The ottoman is now in the guest bedroom of my sister’s home in Columbus. Things got tough towards the end of my time in NYC, and Kim was what kept me tethered to this earth. Only one piece of furniture was special enough to ride in the car out to Ohio, not in the moving van.

Her home marks my home.