Cat lady strikes again.

As is standard with your average cat lady, one of my favorite things to do after a day at work is come home, throw on the standard pajamas of sweats and a t-shirt, grab a blanket, affix myself to the couch and chill the hell out. As of late, it's been in front of episode after episode of "Sex and the City," as I made my way through the series for the nineteenth time, but last night I took it upon myself to pull out a book and dive in. Perhaps this sounds like you, too. Perhaps you don't have a cat. Krista, you say, this isn't the behavior of a cat lady, this is the behavior of everyone ever. It's called 'Tuesday Night.'

THEN YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Because here is how shit goes down in my apartment:

As I'm preparing to take my place on the couch, I'm met by Harley, who's already taken her place on the couch, which, funnily enough, is Wherever It Was I Wanted To Sit. Every time. You want it? She's already there. I carefully assemble my hands around her, doing my best to keep from actually forcing her to move or be inconvenienced in any way possible, and move her.

The low grumble that arises from deep within her soul is unmistakable and enough to let me know, "I AM NOT PLEASED, HUMAN."

However, I am now pleased because my ass is on the couch. Harley hastily jumps from couch to floor, walks across the room, turns around, and stares. I open my book. Meanwhile, Chicken sits atop the back of the couch, resting comfortably, noticeably not in my way (see also: Mama Loves Her Best. No Not Really. Just Kidding Harley. Oh My God What Have I Done?)

I'm in the midst of turning pages when suddenly there's a tail in my face. Harley. Having jumped from the floor to my chest, directly in the line of sight of my book. Before I have a chance to set my book down, she's spinning circles, pawing at various places on my midsection to find the most comfortable spot, then curled up and asleep.

IN 12 SECONDS, FLAT.

To avoid the hassle, I simply adjust slightly, bring my book OVER the cat and closer to my face, and continue reading. Until Harley gets up, moves between my face and the book, and lays on my throat.

HARLEY!

*scream*

Zzzzzz...

Bitch.

I have no choice now but to completely sit up, sliding Harley, who's less than enthused, from my throat, down my midsection and onto my lap. It's really the best of both worlds, I'll admit. She can curl up comfortably, I still have access to my book, and I'm able to move my legs at will. Knees up, knees down. Legs crossed, legs uncrossed.

Everybody's happy for a solid 20 minutes. My books is good, Harley hasn't moved. Until I hear the familiar jingle of Chicken's jingle bell collar and the sudden heft of 10 extra pounds on my knees.

CHICKEN.

Chicken!

She of no interest in cuddling, not ever. She who comes just close enough to feel my presence, but never actually comes into contact with said presence. She does her own thing. She doesn't like people. She is just fine hanging out on the back of the couch. She is antisocial. She is me.

Now she is LAYING ON MY LEGS. Chicken!

Harley is hardly interested in sharing her human space, so she stands up, spins around, readjusts, and heaves herself back into my lap, as if doing so firmly declares her piece of real estate. Chicken, of course, lays with her back toward both of us, hardly interested, period. But definitely interested in inhibiting my ability to get off the couch.

So there we are. Me, uncomfortable. Harley, asleep. Chicken, standing guard. All from the comfort of me. It's a very precarious position to be in. To all you mommies out there who tell me in your very condescending way, "Oh, you'll understand when you have kids," I say this, "You'd understand if you had animals instead of kids, and also, MAYBE I'M PERFECTLY OK WITHOUT KIDS. YEAH."

YOU CANNOT REMOVE THE CATS FROM YOUR LAP.

They're just so cozy. Harley, gripping my thigh like it's the last thing she'll ever rest upon. Chicken, who you really just have to appreciate every time she makes contact with you because it never happens. So for them, I sacrifice. And for them, I'm on the couch an hour longer than I intended, reading less pages than I intended because I simply cannot keep my eyes open another minute. Yet there I lie, on the couch. And there they lie, on me.

I am perfectly acceptable having kitties in my lap instead of children because they're precious. And because I can go away for a weekend, leave them home alone, and no one calls social services.