We’re back from our vacation, but I accidentally shut one of our two cats in our bedroom for the entire week we were gone. He’s fine, but our bedroom is not. Imagine what a cat can do, over and over, in seven days. We’ve hauled the mattress into the yard just to get the smell out of our house.
That awful odor speaks more eloquently of squalor and general, personal failure than anything else I know.
Quite a contrast with the borrowed place we stayed in Oregon: a large, airy home with spotless floors and everything perfectly in place. An enormous, fully-equipped kitchen. A triple garage, no oil stains, holding neat rows of sporting equipment: cross country and downhill skis, bicycles, golf gear, a nice boat.
Photos of a happy, athletic family pose on nightstands next to large beds in huge bedrooms, each room decorated according to a theme – golfing. Skiing. Black bears. Pine trees.
Not a single cat, though.
No fluffs of cat hair, either. Also, no random piles of stuff, no old kitchen with chipped counters and divots in the floor. No junk in the laundry room, and certainly no actual laundry — just an expanse of gleaming, maple cabinets holding a very clean box of detergent, a box of trash bags, and one neat little paper bag with crisp-folded cuff to catch the non-existent dryer lint.
Even more amazing was the discovery, in the kitchen, of several half-consumed chocolate bars, foil wrapping neatly folded over the uneaten portions, as well a HALF-EATEN box of expensive chocolates in one of the perfectly-organized kitchen drawers. Which finally proved, of course, that the homeowners are actually ALIENS.
We can’t afford a new mattress. We’ve already over-extended ourselves this summer, assuming I’d have a job by now. And to think I used to teach financial planning.
Today I called a friend, needing to confess that I have a foul mattress in my yard and no, we didn’t get to the dump with it this morning as planned, so we will have a mattress in our yard forEVER now, probably. Inevitably to be joined, soon, by a nasty old couch. Yes, she agreed gravely, but your need to add a couple of dirty, barefoot children running around in diapers and snotty noses.
We both suffer from severe middle-class anxiety, you see. Certain that we’re each about to slip down to an Unacceptable Class of Human at any minute — if we haven’t already – we expect the news to arrive shortly in some horrible letter.
My friend bravely concluded that tenement living really isn’t that bad.
Another dear friend, feeling a bit more constructive, said she wishes she could fly here from Michigan and help me clean the stinky room and set the contents on fire in the backyard, but
Is your neighborhood zoned for cat pee bonfires?
Therapy for three, please. Preferably with some chocolate-abstaining, wealthy athletes in Oregon.