Monday, April 25, 2011

The office cat....

I have another cat.  My penchant for taking care of strays - the one I held down quite ruthlessly for years - has finally been allowed out and I was privileged to "rescue" a small treasure for my very own.  It was just luck that had my niece "E" sending me a message as a last ditch to find a home for her little cat, Bella.  After a couple of messages back and forth, "E" and her roommate stopped by with a frightened little kitty in a cat carrier.  I tucked her into the bathroom on her own and shut the door.

Before the end of the night "Bella Meow" had decided that the cabinet under the sink was a good place to hide, so she opened the cupboard and crawled in behind the epsom salts and the paper cups.  It was two days before I was sure she had eaten something or had any water, and she was terrified of the other cats, the dogs, loud noises, the carpet cleaner, or anything else that seemed different I suppose.  The rotten dogs decided to gang up on her and would bark aggressively until I picked each one up and presented them - butt first - to Bella's face!  A couple of sniffs later and I had peace of a sort for a little while, but had to repeat THAT fairly often!  Daisy was always submissive, and still tries to steal Bella's canned food.  Folly barks like a lunatic, but when Penny gets into the mix, WATCH OUT!  Full dog assault corps have cornered the cat again!

After two weeks of Bella in the bathroom, adding one cat at a time for company and so they could sort out the pecking order, I decided the dogs would have to bunk with me at night to allow Bella to venture out on her own.  I had been told Bella was an "outside" cat and she had "accidents" so I made sure the catbox was clean and hoped for the best.

Bella made a decision to move into my craproom/office on the first night the bathroom door was left open.  She has been in here ever since.  There has not been a single accident on the carpet, although one of the dogs and evil Xena have made messes since then!  Thank goodness for my new carpet cleaner!  The room smells like freshly opened cat food, occasional happy kitty farts, and computer paper.  Nothing else.  She hasn't had a problem living inside, and I am proud of her.  I decided to install a cat door in the office window, with the "kitty tree" underneath it as a jumping up point.  Although it has not been installed yet I have everything here now to get that job done.  I just need to clear the stuff to make room!

Having to change the use of the room has finally given me a chance to think outside the box for the rest of my living space.  The closet next to the bathroom (which had been housing cleaning supplies and pet stuff) has been taken over by the portable countertop dishwasher on a rolling caddy.  The cleaning supplies store underneath it and my towels and TP fit in the two remaining shelves above it.  The power cord and the water lines fit neatly around the door frame and I can still use my kitchen sink while the dishwasher is operating.  It also stores the dirty (rinsed) dishes between washings!  With the "kitty tree" and pet supplies moving into the "office" it leaves more room for me!  I am seriously thinking about removing the cat box from the bathroom as well so I have one less mess in there!  If I can get all three cats to use the cat door instead of the cat box my place will be a much fresher one!

I like sitting in my soft leather chair in the evening, tooling around on facebook or checking messages... Bella comes over and cuddles up in my lap or watches me from the pile of comforters folded on the dresser... she stays here in the office with the baby gate in place, always out of sight of the dogs.  Her water is fresh, she gets a can of food to herself once in a while, and sometimes I hear the contented "crunchcrunchcrunch" of her nibbling the kibble she likes.  It's a "win/win" as far as both of us are concerned.  I have another warm body to love, and she has a safe place to be.  And really, isn't that what we all want?  A safe place to just be?

Having so many pets makes me feel a little like the "crazy cat lady" sometimes.  But I can't help feeling lifted when they offer me their trust.  I'm looking forward to a summer of having active cats and dogs sharing space with me, trusting me to care for them, and having the peace that comes with knowing where I am in the world.  I'm right here.  And as far as I'm concerned it feels just right!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Stuck in a pile again....

Well, the next level of moving has finally happened.  I had to get myself out of my storage locker and found myself with my "pants down" having put things off waiting for something else to happen.  It's funny how old patterns are so hard to break!  Oddly enough, I managed to drag all my important things out of the storage unit, lug them to my mini van, drag them home, and started loading them into what is now dubbed the "crap room" with grandiose plans to organize, prioritize, junk out, sort out and make everything fit.  Well, it fits... just barely!  At the last moment it was a mad dash, loading the last items of Christmas lights and ornaments, refitting the back seat into the van, and tying the Ikea chairs onto the roof rack so I could take the lock off the door and drive home the two blocks to the house.  I'm sort of proud to say I did it all by myself!

It was just dumb luck that had me moving shelving and tools into the proper storage to make room.  There was barely an area to place the still-packed tea pots and future projects.  I have all my quilting stuff neatly stacked in one area, but everything else got rushed into place. 

I moved the computer from the living room into the smaller bedroom.  All the paper files are moved into the room, but the filing cabinet is still empty!  I have a designated "office" area now, but I have a little problem in that my Penny (the 12 lb. Shih Tzu) has decided that her half-chewed "bouncy balls" MUST be rolled under the filing cabinet so I can retrieve them for her... and the little "rhouw... rhouw...." as she tries to get my attention is cute at first, but starts to wear on my nerves like a toddler who asks "why????"....   That's when I take a deep breath, find her toy and toss it into the other room... sometimes over and over... until she finds something else to do.  I'm happy to say that the rage that used to fill me and I once allowed to control me is ... not there...  and it feels strange.

I really think it's funny - not "haha" funny - that I am learning patience now when I really needed to have it so many years before.  There is lots of time to reflect on where I am, and I realize that I am doing in the middle of my adult years what should have been done in the beginning;  finding that center of myself, learning the difference between giving and taking, and understanding that it's not about the kindness and grace you receive from others so much as the kindness and grace you show.  I'm learning to let things go, and that's hard sometimes.  It gets easier as the pain fades and the rage subsides.  The medication helps, and I know that I will need to keep taking it to keep the anxiety and rage from ever taking hold again. And I also understand that part of the chaos around me was really just a reflection of my inner clutter.  Too much going on and no way to slow it down and keep it from spilling over.  Life is not so technicolour... now it's just simple and has enough going on to show the small beauties one at a time, instead of overwhelming my senses in a constant stream.   Think of a mixer turned on too high, with too much pudding in a small bowl!  Of course everything gets spattered with goo!  And that was me!  Too much, too high speed, too small of a container...

So is this what it feels like to be "ordinary"?  This quiet, peaceful time?  Simple pleasures, like a clean floor under my bare feet, fresh air, folded laundry, and a lack of the constant jangle of sound from electronic gadgets?  A bowl of soup, a bran muffin, a call from a friend so I can laugh with someone?  Working and coming home to play with little dogs, buying something if I can use it and have room for it... and not worrying any more about the next day or next week or next drama...  I love being able to say "not mine to rescue, not my lesson to teach"...  and really letting it just... go...

And now I need to contain this clutter that slows me down and get myself "unstuck" from waiting.  The waiting is finally over, and I can really start to move forward for the first time in my life;  unhampered by those who wanted what they didn't deserve, unslowed by those who would have taken what wasn't theirs, unstoppable, unsinkable...  but no longer unhappy.  Like I said, the chaos around me is just a reflection of the clutter within me.  Since I'm the only one who can take charge and straighten this up, then I think it's high time I started... one pile at a time.