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Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim

Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on the everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays which you can find in their latest collection, Have a Nice Guilt Trip. With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of the honesty they bring to their stories and by the time you turn the last page you will feel like you just found two new best girlfriends. Earlier collections include Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies.

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Chick Wit: It’s a Miracle!
Lisa Scottoline | September 28, 2014

I'm a mystery writer, but now I have a real-life mystery to solve:

There are three cats in my house.

Which one is peeing in my bedroom?

Where is Nancy Drew when you need her?

By the way, if you don't want to hear about wee-wee in your weekly column, read no further.

But if you, like me, are plagued by the problems of the pets that purport to love you, come along for the ride.

Bring your own blue roadster, like the Girl Detective.

You won't need a magnifying glass, but a roll of paper towels and a jug of Nature’s Miracle would come in handy.

If you don't know what Nature's Miracle is, you've come to the right place.

If you ask me, Nature's Miracle is Chocolate Cake.

But that's not the kind of Nature's Miracle to which I'm referring.

It's not as if I'm capitalizing things for fun, though capitalizing things is fun for writers.

Ours is a quiet life.

By way of background, I own three cats, all of which lead complicated lives.

Vivi is a gray cat who is adorable, but has intimacy issues, and as such, has nothing to do with me.  She lives in the dining room, which I never use, so it's blocked off by a gate, which prevents the dogs from bothering her.

Mimi is a friendly black-and-white tuxedo cat, who has since moved with Daughter Francesca to Manhattan, because that's where you live if you're wearing a permanent tuxedo.

Spunky is a tan, long-haired cat, whom I adopted after my beloved next-door neighbor Harry died, and there was no one to take in his cat.  I will admit to you now, in print, that I took the cat, thinking that it was going to die any second.

That was five years ago.

No one knows exactly how old Spunky is, and I thought he was sixteen.

I think he’s three.

I will be dead before this cat dies.

Be that as it may, because I thought Spunky was in his dotage and deserved a quiet life, maybe even quieter than mine, I put him and his litter box in Francesca's room, so that he would be completely out of the way and could sail off into the sunset.

Like, yesterday.

Tick-tock, Spunky.

So anyway, last week, Francesca came home to visit, bringing Mimi, and the three cats who had the run of the second floor.

In short order, I began to notice puddles in the corner of my bedroom,  then in the corner of Francesca's bedroom, and finally in the corner of my office.

In short, this is disgusting.

So I cleaned up the cat pee, then started pouring Nature’s Miracle on top of the stain, because Nature's Miracle is something that is supposed to remove the smell of urine.

But the thing is, Nature's Miracle smells like urine.

Either that, or it doesn't work.

This would be a distinction without a difference.

In the end, I'm guessing that the shame is on me.  I might be the only person in the world who buys a product that bills itself as a miracle and expects it to work.

Do miracles exist?

In my life, the only miracle I’ve ever experienced is divorce.

But to stay on point, maybe this isn't the fault of Nature's Miracle, a thought which leads me, by my powers of deduction, to a darker truth:

When a cat pees somewhere, it’s going to stink to high heaven no matter what you spray it with, including Febreeze, Lysol, or Chanel No. 5, all of which I tried, in that order.

Then, after I cleaned all the cat pee and doused it with an allegedly miraculous product, I tried to figure out which cat was the culprit.

They weren't talking.

I tried closing various doors and putting up different gates, then observing which cat did its business in which corner, but they outsmarted me.

Because I sleep at night, and they don't.

Next, I bought new litter boxes and put them in the corners of my bedroom, Francesca's bedroom, and my office, trying to beat them at their own game.

But one of them, or all of them, peed beside the litter boxes.

So I cleaned up the mess again, doused it with you-know-what again, and closed the doors to my bedroom, Francesca's bedroom, and my office.

Now I walk around my house as if I live in a hotel, with all the doors shut.

Who dun it?

© Lisa Scottoline 2014

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