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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Carry On flinging…

  • Linen closet
  • Cat toys/supplies
  • Shoes

Does it feel like we should be DONE already???  I chose three categories this week….Some easy, some difficult?

Shoes, for ME, aren’t difficult. I may WANT a lot of pretty, impractical ones, but my feet don’t. I listen to my feet.

If you are going to judge me (for a job, promotion, friendship or what-have-you) based on the fact my shoes aren’t the to-die-for perfect pair for my outfit, rather than appreciate that I know my limitations and work within my abilities, so be it.

My horribly flat, bunion-ed feet need to be comfortable …free and barefoot if possible, but otherwise not forced into something that resembles the shape of my foot not one bit.

The linen closet in my home resembles an ironing board cubby, so I am somewhat forced into obedience here as well. (In my childhood home we actually HAD an ironing board cubby in the kitchen. Ours had shelving added and it was a nifty spice rack…)

A general rule might be:

One bath towel and wash cloth, per person, per day. (Do the math. That seems quite generous. Make it less if you know it works for you!!)  One set for every extra sleeping accommodation. (Couch, guest room, inflatable bed…) That isn’t to say you only use the things once and wash, but it seems more than a reasonable number to allow for laundry issues.

BIG HINT: They do not need to match the bathroom perfectly. They should be more than threadbare. If they are threadbare, move them to car-washing or pet-cleaning status.

If you remember to put them out, then seasonal linens are acceptable to keep. Think about storing them WITH the appropriate holiday decorations, however.

Sheets, pillowcases, etc. One set per bed ON the bed, two back ups. Again, you can allow for seasonal adjustments.

Really, do you need 6 or 7 sets for one bed? Save the nicest sets. (Highest thread count, not stained, still have all the matching pieces…) Maybe store the extra set for the guest room IN the guest room.

Blankets, comforters, quilts. Ok, quilter here. Do not ever fling a quilt. Not one that was made for you, or by someone personally. Find someone to give it to if you must, but it doesn’t go to Goodwill! The bed-in-a-bag $79.99 special, sure. But not one made by hand (By hand, I mean individually created and made by one person to give to anther person,  one at a time.) It can be made on a machine.

If your grandmother made it and you don’t want it anymore, and can’t find someone of your family or friends to take and appreciate  it, email me for my address. (Seriously.)

Blankets with holes–cut them up for pets, or turn into lap blankets or put in the trunk for emergencies.

Tablecloths. If you own them, do you use them? Is there a cabinet in the dining room where they fit and actually get pulled out to use? Otherwise, they seem like prime flinging material.

Pet supplies.

 

 IMG_5455 Rory.

 IMG_5599 4x6 GandolfIMG_3801 Miss Tatiana.

We have three (not short-haired) cats, seven cat brushes, four lint rollers and STILL have cat hair everywhere. Gonna have to fling the brushes that don’t work, and that they don’t like. Examine their toys and fling the ones that have had the stuffing pulled out of them. (Literally in our case. Hamish had a habit of disemboweling  little fuzzy mice. We would come home and find a flat green mouse and snowy white ‘innards’ of poly filling everywhere!) A crinkly bag (complete with fuzzy tail) houses all their toys, until they pull them out again.

I have a basket on the bookshelf in the den with the brushes and such, which I need to sort and fling. The bath and kitchen cabinets have their meds and vitamins and soaps, gloves and hose for bathing, but they were flung back when I did those rooms.

I think we may have come to just about the end of the easy stuff. Stay tuned, and start your spring cleaning in a spot you’ve already flung. It will be….well, not a joy….but far easier!

Things that go bump in the night…

(It’s Halloween week, so it seemed appropriate)… Halloween hasn’t been very much of a big deal in this neighborhood. This year it’s on a Saturday, and I HOPE that means that trick-or-treaters will be coming on the 31st. It’s odd here, in that they MOVE the trick-or-treat day…don’t get it at all….the 31st is All Hallows Eve…not a different day.

(And who knows, maybe this year I will even have trick-or-treaters in COSTUME, not just a bunch of teens in messy t-shirts with rumpled Ukrops bags…)

What DOES go bump in the night around here are the acorns…acorns It sounds like gunfire, a steady machine-gunning of the house; a good stiff wind in the deep dark night can be incredibly disorienting when you think you are alone in the house!

We removed some oak trees two years ago, and left others, but pruned them. Apparently the gentle pin-balling action of the acorns from the branch down, leaf by leaf till they gently and quietly plopped onto the roof has given over to a rapid-fire falling and smashing against the roof! And they fall. Fast. The squirrels can’t keep up with the feasting (…although they try, really, they try.)

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(The remains of a squirrel feast on the corner shelf of our gazebo, also known to the local bushy-tailed as “The Squirrel Day Spa”)

I’m expecting other things to go bump in the night, as well.

Our two new kitties (Rory and Thaddeus, maybe? Sebastian and Delos? Dale and Squirrel for the moment) are here …somewhere. They managed on arrival to fit their fuzzy Maine Coon butts under the trundle part of the bed in the guest room. I’m being generous when I say its 5 inches of clearance, but they had to climb thru the bars to even gain that much. And yet they pulled their 11 and 14 lb bodies down there!

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Since then, they have moved to the bottom shelf of the CD case and behind the living room couch. Where they are now, I couldn’t tell you.

But something tells me that in the middle of the night, they will come out to explore the house under cover of darkness…(and they may find Miss Tatiana doesn’t approve…) Things could certainly go bumping around tonight!

Christmas is coming…

…and I am aware that I’ve been slacking… Did you know almost 40% of your holiday prep time is GONE gone gone… and here I am, neglecting the posting of my “Christmas is coming, the sky is falling!” blogs…

My excuses, such as they are, are as follows:

  • I’ve been hanging out with friends.
  • I’ve been traveling.
  • I’ve been taking photos (Almost 600 images that I have shot over the past few weeks are grinding around in the computer waiting for processing so you can buy them!)
  • I’ve been fondling my quilting fabrics, thinking, planning, plotting….
  • I’ve been buying out the book section at Goodwill, so I have many more excuses not to do housework.
  • Oh, and housework.
  • And work-work.

Yet, time waits for no woman to prepare for the holidays. I DO have my Christmas cards already. They aren’t signed or addressed or stamped, mind you, but they are HERE!

I have the gifts for that list of ‘just a little something’ people almost completed, and I do have a ‘short-list’ of gifts for the majority of the family. Which is really a SHORT list this year (No, not the family–I haven’t off’ed anyone! Just the quantity of gift$ per person…)

The biggie is always Timmy. As I usually get one REALLY GOOD IDEA. And then, his birthday occurs on December 2 and I end up giving him the REALLY GOOD gift then, and have to hit the drawing board again….

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Of course, since these two beauties will be joining our family on Sunday, I may just buy him stock in lint rollers—meet …well, Nameless and Nameless Jr.- (25 combined pounds of FUR)

I posted a poll last month. You responded that you feel that handmade is better. You preferred to give and receive thoughtful (and possibly handmade) gifts.

So, share with me, and the thousands (lol) of other dedicated readers…What are some of your favorite gifts you’ve received –and why?

And, one last thing…if you are looking for a bit of spiritual whimsy to add to your holiday stocking, check these out…my brother’s newest cool venture!