That's Grace the cat.
Grace and I don't get along. Well, I don't get along with Grace; my wife likes to tell me how much the cat (apparently) loves me.
The feeling is not reciprocated - so much so that my wife once, while talking to the cat, told her to go see her "daddy". Uh, no.
At best - at very best - I'm the cat's stepdad. She was part of the package when I moved in with my wife, so as long as I'm married, I'm stuck with the cat, too.
That look of innocence is precious, isn't it? Don't let her fool you. If you drop by the house, she'll act like you're evil incarnate. It's come to the point where she'll come out and roll around the floor, trying her best to be cute. But we just tell everyone to leave her alone, because it's not worth her getting pissy.
I can think of three people that have ever come here that Grace has tolerated, and just one - my wife's aunt from Oregon - that Grace allowed to pet her on the first visit.
And that's part of the reason I'm not Grace's biggest fan. Like we're going to let cat abusers into the house. These people that come in the door are our friends and family, and they will treat you with respect and love!
That look of innocence is funny in a different sense, because Grace makes Mariah Carey and Diana Ross look like diva amateurs. Grace wants what she wants when she wants it - and that can change second by second. I can see the thought bubble above her head that reads, "Yes ... love me, love me ... OK, stop. You're done."
She's a big fan of roaming onto our balcony and peering into the woods. She makes no bones about her intentions when she walks to the sliding door and reaches up in an apparent attempt to unlatch the door herself.
Most of the time, if she doesn't get her way, she gets pissy and beats the crap out of her scratching post.
Dear Grace: Life ain't always fair. I wish we were pulling down a million-six and living on the banks of the Potomac, but we can't always get what we want, can we?
The third of my gripes with Grace is an offshoot of the second. She's happy when we come home - which I do appreciate - but doesn't realize that groceries can be heavy. So she meanders about the pathway leading from the door to the kitchen.
Or, if she's in a needy mood, I walk down the hallway with her zig-zagging in front of each step - at her own slow pace of course. Either situation results in me bellowing, "Grace, get the hell out of the way!"
(I should note that I'm not mean to Grace. If she needs food or water, I'll gladly give her either. Beyond that, I tolerate her.)
How silly is it that I try to reason with a cat? I never grew up with them; instead, I grew up with my dad and uncles making jokes about cats being a good practice tool for punters. Grace is quite puntable, a point which even my wife acknowledges.
Hopefully, not every cat is like this, with the divaness and territoriality. If they are, then I might re-think my strategy of adopting a cat that I help pick out, one where I wouldn't mind being called the daddy.
I've been promised a dog one day (our apartment complex prohibits them), and I can't wait for that day. By then, I might have Grace figured out. Either that or I'll still be yelling a lot.