One Year…A de-cluttering tail (tale).

This week marks the end of year one with three cats in the house.

I am surprised we all survived. Seriously. I almost hesitate to mention it, as we have gone something like seven weeks without an accident. I feel we are overdue.

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(GANDOLF. 8.5 years old.)

We adopted Rory and Gandolf last October, after our Hamish died suddenly. To say it’s been an adjustment is something of an understatement. Tatiana was left alone, and Timmy was missing his good buddy. He found Gandolf, and Rory came with him (or the other way around.) Whatever, they came as a set, and we agreed, considering their past history. Gandolf settled in rather easily. It was HIS house, right? Tatiana moped and hissed. (Perfectly in character.) Rory decided under the couch was a lovely home for the first few weeks. Beyond that, nothing major. They shared food. (Well, to a degree. All food belonged to Gandolf—and three bowls made it VERY hard for him, as he couldn’t eat out of them ALL at once.) They shared a litter box. They didn’t destroy the Christmas tree. Life was good.

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(RORY 3.5 years old)

Something happened come spring. Suddenly, Tatiana was being stalked at the litter box. We got a second, removed the lid from the first, and have ultimately moved both to locations I would prefer they weren’t in. Gandolf spends his days lying in the doorway to the studio, or in the studio itself, always in view of Tatiana. Tatiana spends hers under the cutting table in the studio, or on the ironing board. Rory is off somewhere. Is Gandolf jailing Tatiana? Or, is he guarding Tatiana from Rory? We still can’t say exactly. Rory wants to play– he is a baby, a clown,  and these two sulky adult cats don’t like it. There is a LOT of hissing. There is a lot of fur flying. (Literally.) I spend my days thinking I am the mother of three toddlers, hearing in their hisses and growls, “Mommy, he’s looking at me; make him stop LOOKING at me!”

(What exactly, you are asking, may this possibly have to do with de-cluttering? Unless I am flinging a cat or three? Patience, young grasshopper. I am building to the climax.)

This, I could tolerate. Hey, who doesn’t want to be mommy’s favorite? However, suddenly our noses were getting a workout. Someone was not using the litter box. Was it Tati, because she couldn’t get to them without assault? Was it Gandolf, aggravated that Tati gets first dibs on my lap? Was it Rory for reasons un-guessed? Number 1 and number 2, but not every day, indeed, not every week. Just often enough. Gandolf had the nerve one night to go right in front of us in an empty cardboard box. The couch, the table, the floor….Someone decided since we abandoned them on vacation they should go on a pile of quilting fabric.

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(TATIANA  11 or so years old)

Yes, FABRIC. Nervy, I tell you. It’s not a happy house. They are segregated for feeding, they are examined by the vet. They all get lap time. There is no proof of it being one or the other or the third, (with three exceptions), so they are ALL to blame. I spend copious amounts of time and money cleaning, washing, deodorizing, disinfecting, and then discovering some other place someone went, unnoticed.

And can I just on the side mention Rory never learned to groom himself? I don’t know if he was taken from his mother too early, but the boy knows nothing about cleaning his own backside, or coat. It’s not a good thing when you are a long-haired cat. It’s not something I have ever dealt with before. Cats like to groom!

Ok, ok. The de-cluttering part of the post. I ordered new carpeting for the house. A risky move with pee-ers, I know. But if you could see the carpet the house has now, well… circa 1980 and gross. It is time.  Anyway, they will be installing in about two weeks, and so I have a drop-dead deadline. A good thing for me. I am trying to do this the smart way, and not end up with boxes of things I don’t need getting boxed and then having to be unboxed. (Or worse, left boxed for months afterward.) So, slowly I am working on things in the studio, because it has the most “stuff”.

I discovered a plastic tray, with sheets of sleeved negatives in it, with a layer of dried out pee. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH, I was SO aggravated, you just don’t know. This container was apparently once in a location they could aim at. (Where I just pulled it from it was impossible, even for a cat.) That means that months back they did this, I didn’t notice and moved it after it had dried. I can’t get mad at them– they don’t know why I get mad at them WHILE they have a knocked over house plant between their teeth– months is out of their scope.

The sleeves seem to have made things better than they could have been. The de-cluttering part of the story? Last week, I was up in the attic, and opening one of the totes during my flinging, discovered I still had a bunch of darkroom supplies.  (I haven’t had access to a darkroom since 2002.) I put the lid back on it to deal with it another day. Classic procrastinators move, don’t you think?

I am now slowly removing negatives from sleeves, and rinsing in Photo-Flo–which helps dry without water spots–(circa B& H Photo back when they were still a hole-in-the wall on 17th Street, NYC) and hanging them to dry. Its a long, slow process. The moral of the story?

When “flinging” I suggested you think about:

  • whether you need the object,
  • do you use the object,
  • and if you needed to replace the object, how hard to come by and how expensive would the object be to replace.

Two potato peelers? If you have two cooks, I guess you could keep two. Six potato peelers? Can you FIND that many people to put to work, let alone fit them all in your kitchen?

Photo-Flo is definitely worth not flinging, as to get a new bottle when I needed it would have been somewhat less than simple.

It’s a VERY good thing the cats are cute.

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2 thoughts on “One Year…A de-cluttering tail (tale).

  1. The new cats have made me realize a couple of things. 1.) Cats are still as dumb as I always suspected they were…and they keep proving my theory correct. 2.) Hamish was not nearly as bad as we accused him of being. 3.) I wonder if “cute and cuddly” would stand up as a defense for stay of execution in any court in the land…because its the only thing that has saved them here. Now I truly realize how difficult it is to adopt an adult cat. My hat is off to the people that provide foster care for these creatures, they are tougher and more tolerant than I can ever be.

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  2. Cats do have a way of letting you know they are not happy… I know it took a while for my husband’s adult cat to accept me when he and I married. She was definitely jealous and it was a good year before she decided I could stay. Hang in there, hopefully it will soon level out.

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