The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

August 15, 2013

It was a dark and stormy morning

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — It was a placid, quiet morning, serene almost.

It was the day I turned over a new leaf. Gone were the nervous days, when I would stress about everything, when every annoyance, no matter how slight, would escalate into a full-fledged crisis.

“My socks don’t match! Why does everything have to happen to me?” Such outbursts were normally accompanied by uncontrollable weeping and wailing.

Then the same thing would happen the next day. What are the odds of having two identical pairs of socks, one brown and one black?

But on this day I decided I would take everything in stride.

Nothing would put me off my game, no news could send me into paroxysms of despair, I would greet every one of life’s challenges with a smile and a stiff upper lip. Of course, smiling with a stiff upper lip looks more like a sneer, but that’s a topic for another day.

Then I got out of bed, and surprisingly, my newfound sense of calm didn’t fade. The world seemed different, brighter somehow, more filled with wonder and promise.

On my morning walk the birds were singing, even the Mississippi Kites wheeling ominously overhead. The dogs were barking, friendly barks, to my way of thinking, not the kind that seem to say “Just let me get off this chain and I will have me a big helping of old guy tartare.”

I arrived home and enjoyed my breakfast and morning newspaper, then got ready for work.

 My step was lively, not my normal morning trudge out the door, my shuffle that of a condemned man being led to the gallows. I was in a great mood, this was going to be a beautiful, glorious, marvelous ... wait a minute, what the heck is that?

At this moment I must pause to warn those of you with delicate constitutions to avert your eyes, to turn your attention to today’s editorial or another of this edition’s many fine offerings.

Parents of small children may want them to leave the room right now, or they may even decide to leave the room themselves.

There, on the carpet, was a pile of one of the most toxic, most noxious, most offensive substances in the known universe. Yes, I am talking about cat vomit.

So I ran to the kitchen for a sponge and some paper towels, hoping against hope my bride would take pity on me and volunteer to handle the cleanup duties. No such luck.

As I passed through the casa I quickly discovered why. There wasn’t just one pile, but several. Our little black butterball, it seemed, was racing through the house, spitting up as he went, leaving vomit in his wake.

It was barfmageddon, a regular heaving hullabaloo.

I seem to remember cat vomit being one of the plagues God brought against Egypt to get Pharaoh to free the Israelites. There were gnats, flies, boils and pussycat puke, I’m sure of it.

At any rate, it was a protracted battle, man vs. barfing beastie.

Every time I turned a corner, every time I walked into another room, there was another pile of semi-digested kibble. I came to doubt my own eyes. How could so much stuff be in the stomach of one little cat?

Finally the onslaught ceased. The flood subsided. The poor little guy curled up looking thoroughly miserable. I began to fear he was under the spell of some horrible disease, but then I noticed something odd as I disarmed yet another weapon of mess destruction.

Intermingled among the little morsels of cat food were something that looked for all the world like Cheerios. Come to find out my bride had poured herself a bowl of the healthy, nutritious cereal, complete with milk and sweetener, which she left on the dining room table while taking a phone call from our nephew.

And you know what they say, when the cereal eater’s away, the cat will chow down.

Evidently the stuff didn’t agree with him and, well, heave-ho, so to speak.

Finally I had cleaned up the last pile, the long ordeal was over. Or so I thought. My bride informed me that the other cat, a gray tabby, had eaten some of his sibling’s spit up and begun his own reign of regurgitation. And he’s the smart one.

I am happy to report both are fine, their yack-fest short-lived. My nephew is out of the will, my bride is on double secret cereal probation and Cheerios are off our shopping list, but everything else is fine.

And as for the cats, they are available for $10 each. Not enough? OK, I’ll give you $20.

In terms of my newfound sense of calm, forget about it. And my socks still don’t match.

Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at