Shannon Dittemore



Years ago–before I was married, before I had kids–I had a job that paid me money. Actual money. It was green and everything.

Of course, jobs that pay the good stuff come with bosses. And sometimes, just sometimes, the green stuff isn’t worth it.

It was actually a pretty good job. The Boss worked out of his home somewhere in the Midwest and I took care of things at the corporate office. He visited every now and then, but since I made his plane reservations, I knew in advance when I needed to dress the part. Like I said. It was a good job. And I wanted to keep it.

Most of the time.

I think I can now admit that The Boss was also dating the head of Loss Prevention. Since the company no longer exists in its original form, this should be a safe admission. In any case, Loss Prevention Lady was a pretty cool gal. Intelligent. Attractive. Savvy. Her offices were just downstairs, and in a move I’m not sure was company sanctioned, I became her assistant as well. I didn’t mind. Like I said, she was cool. And since The Boss thought she deserved an assistant, I was happy to oblige.

She also lived just down the street from the office. Whenever The Boss would come into town, he’d stay with her, so really, they shared the place. Morals aside, it wasn’t a problem for me until The Boss decided Loss Prevention Lady needed a cat to keep her company while he was away. And THIS IS WHY sometimes money just isn’t worth it.

Did I mention The Boss and LP Lady traveled from time to time? Did I mention that I was occasionally asked to house sit? And did I mention that instead of buying a fully grown, immensely capable cat, The Boss brought home an itty bitty, adorably ridiculous kitty to keep his lady company?

How sweet of him!

So, here it is. The executives are whisked away to Vegas for the yearly convention and I’m left to oversee the administration of the two departments and the stupid kitty cat. At first, things go all right. I stop by their condo before and after work to feed the thing and clean up his misappropriated poo. Not fun, but perfectly simple.

Three days in, catastrophe strikes. The executives will be back tonight and I have lots to do at the office to prepare. Figuring I’ll have time on my lunch break, I decide to forgo the morning stop-over at the love nest. The day is busy and lunch gets pushed back, but eventually I make it to the condo.

The minute I open the door, I know something has gone awry. It’s the feathers that give it away. Yeah, I said it. Feathers. They’re everywhere. This isn’t a good thing for me, because I have two phobias and the most dominant one is ornithophobia: an irrational fear of birds. Still, I’m calm enough to realize that with this many feathers on the floor, the bird is probably in pretty bad shape. I cross my fingers to that effect, in any case.

How in the world did the bird get into the condo? And where is the stupid kitty?

“Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” I call pathetically. I don’t find him, but I do end up in the laundry room where the birdie remains seem to be concentrated. That stupid little cat demolished a bird nearly twice his size.

Talk about animal instincts! Neither the two executives nor myself could convince the stupid kitty to do his business in the litter box, but a rogue bird? That business he handles like a pro. Still, where is the little monster?

And that’s when it happens.

Another bird, black and menacing, flies through the dryer vent and attacks me.

I don’t know if the black bird was best pals with the dead bird and is bent on revenge, or if he sensed my fear from outside the building. All I know is that I’m trapped in the laundry room, flapping my arms, in a futile effort to get away from the abominable beast. That’s when my second phobia–claustrophobia–rears its ugly head. In a panic, I reach for the mop handle. Maybe it’s a broom handle. Who knows? Doesn’t really matter cause I stumble and knock it over. But the black bird is persistent and likes my hair. And that’s when I know.

Some things are just not worth it.

Screaming and flailing, I run from the condo, slam the door behind me, and lock the dead bird, the black bird, and the missing kitty inside. Let them duke it out. I don’t like cats. I don’t like birds. I don’t even care who wins.

And me, I never return to the love nest. I skip the after work kitty feeding. (He’s eaten half a bird, people. He isn’t going to starve.) The Boss and LP Lady return and you know what? They don’t say a thing to me about the birds or the cat! Maybe they think it happened after my evening check. Maybe they felt guilty for leaving me with demon-kitty. Or maybe demon-kitty cleared up the remains and killed the new bird all on his own. I don’t know. And I don’t care.

Some things are just not worth it.

Life moves along, kitty-free for me. And then, one day, I get a mass email from LP Lady. She’s trying to find a new home for demon-kitty. So, I get brave. I ask her why. And this is what she says, “Yeah, he’s a little tyrant. Did you know he’s an expert bird killer?”

I smile stupidly.

“The Boss thought he’d be good company, but he’s more work than compensation. He’s just not worth it, you know?”

Yes, LP Lady, I know. And, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

You ever have one of these moments? A “just not worth it” moment? Share with me, friends. Laughter is good for the soul.



  • Comment by Meredith — May 11, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    Shannon I have too say I laughed at this posting I could picture the whole thing as you are telling it but also could relate, we have not only had a demon-kitty but also a demon-dog (a gift from Teena). The demon-kitty used to hide from me outside and every time I went outside it would attack me and bite my ankles…don’t know what happened to him, one day he was gone and needless to say I did not go looking for him was just glad that demon was out of my life.:D

  • Comment by Michael K. Reynolds — May 12, 2010 @ 11:26 am

    Oh my goodness. What good fun. I hope you don’t mind us laughing out loud at this.

  • Comment by Shan — May 12, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    Laugh away, Michael! Laugh away! And Meredith, you’re beyond awesome for putting up with more than one demon-animal. The kitty and the birds did me in.

  • Comment by Karen — May 13, 2010 @ 10:10 pm

    LOL>>>LOL>>>LOL… wonder where you get your love of birds?

  • Comment by Lacey — May 18, 2010 @ 10:20 am

    Lol…I cannot stop laughing! I know how you feel about birds so I can only imagine how tramatic this event was. Devil kitties are something that I know well. I own one! Lol

  • Comment by jocuri — January 5, 2012 @ 1:29 pm

    Just Not Worth It – Shannon Dittemore was stored like a favorite :), I like your blog!

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