Monday, April 24, 2017


(Okay, not my house. It didn't hail anything like this. But it sounded like it did.)

Here's a fun game to play. Let's see how many times Shane drifts asleep while writing this column. At this point, I'll be lucky to make it to the end of this sentence before waking up to a blank Notepad screen and a pool of drool on my keyboard. I'm so tired that it just took me a couple seconds to think of the word for tired.

Have you ever been so full you couldn't sleep? Spending a lazy Super Bowl Sunday with friends was great, until I realized my blood-queso level was such that I could be declared legally cheese-toxicated. I ended up spending half the night digesting away my fat-shame while watching reruns of "Finding Bigfoot" until I THINK I finally fell asleep. I can't say for certain, because the next thing I knew, my house was being rattled by pulsating thumps and flashing lights beaming in through the blinds.

Great. For years, I've talked about how cool it would be to see a UFO. And now, on a night when the only thing I craved was sleep, THAT'S when the aliens show up to abduct me. I peeked out the window to see what my close encounter of the annoying kind was. No aliens, but instead it was a techno-spewing party bus, dropping off drunken neighbors from some kind of Super Bowl shindig.

I can't say for certain how I even made it into work the next morning other than it involved a wing, a prayer, and a LOT of coffee. My only plan that night was to come home and fall asleep nice and early. In the meantime, time for more "Finding Bigfoot."

One episode turned into two... which became three... and then four. Eventually, I looked at the clock and noticed it was midnight. Oh man, I'm an idiot. I needed to shut the TV off and go to bed.

"But," said a little voice in the back of my head, "What if they find Bigfoot?"

If there's one thing you can be sure of about the TV show "Finding Bigfoot," it's that they NEVER FIND BIGFOOT, because Bigfoot doesn't exist. Also keep in mind I was watching a three-year-old rerun. Had the intrepid investigators of "Finding Bigfoot" found a Bigfoot three years ago, it probably would have made the news. But instead of listening to logic, I kept watching until the "Finding Bigfoot" team failed yet again to find Bigfoot.

Finally, I could shut the TV off and get to...

MEOW. MEOW. MEOW. Nooooo. And it was coming from my bathtub. This could only mean one thing: storm's a-brewin'.

One of my cats is terrified of thunderstorms. She's lived through dozens of storms, and the big scary thunder has yet to harm a hair on her head. This doesn't stop her from spending even the gentlest of rainstorms in the bathtub, shaking and meowing like it's the end of the world.

I suppose it's nice to have such an advance weather alert system in the house. She's usually meowing a good fifteen minutes before I even hear any thunder. And the poor thing's terrified, so I feel bad for her when it happens. But as the meows continue unabated, compassion gives way to annoyance which gives way to a seething white-hot rage where I dream of drop-kicking kitties across the room -- if only I could dream, which I can't, because the cat won't shut up.

But just when I was rethinking my love of felines, the rain gave way to hail, and suddenly I was the one shaking. My house has skylights, and when hail starts up, it sounds not unlike the Apocalypse.

"This isn't so bad," I tried to tell myself. "It only SOUNDS like every one of my skylights is about to shatter. They wouldn't ACTUALLY shatter, right? Oh, God. What would I do if a skylight shattered? I'd need a tarp of some kind, right? I don't own a tarp. How do you affix a tarp to a roof? Have I even climbed a ladder in my life? Tomorrow I need to go to Lowe's to buy both a tarp and a tarp-to-shingle affixing device of some kind. Does Lowe's have a tarpaulin department?"

These are the things that keep me up all night. Well, that and hail and meows. Eventually, I drifted off to a relaxing dream in which I lived in a house with a solid glass roof. Well, solid until Bigfoot crashed through it, hungry for the blood of an overweight nerd in dire need of a tarpaulin.

This went on until exactly 6:32 a.m. That's when the jackhammering started.

I can only imagine what kind of hell I looked like stepping out on my porch to a sea of concrete dust and the loudest noise I can imagine (and I've seen My Bloody Valentine live in concert, people.) Bad enough, apparently, for the construction guy to stop what he was doing and come over.

It turns out the creepy house across the street is even creepier than I thought. It's now been condemned and scheduled for demolition. Step one of this process is to disconnect the sewer, which is conveniently located underneath the pavement of my street. This will likely be the first of many loud noises in my immediate future.

"Is the place really that bad?" I asked the construction guy.

"Oh yeah," he replied. "It's falling apart and the whole house is overrun with cats."

In the past two days, I've gone from worrying about Bigfoot to aliens to hail to tarpaulins and now the only thing keeping me up late is the thought of scared homeless kitties. I may be a sleep-deprived walking ghoul, but I'm a ghoul with tuna who's a sucker for a sad-eyed meow. Here, kitty kitty...

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