04 June 2015

Even If . . . .

We live on a mountain. Can I make it any more clear? Not a hill . . . not a hilltop, but a true, steep-cliff mountain. And Nut-Meg Davis is pressing her luck and our patience by venturing down this mountain. Nut-Meg has always been the weatherproof model: an indoor-outdoor variety. She’s never had a cat box, and for most of her nearly-seventeen years has controlled her environment with a pet door. At our Texas home she would announce loudly (really loudly) in the night that she would be exiting the home for nature’s call. Alright, already, go outside, Nut-Meg.

Nut-Meg is still losing her Texas winter coat. White fur randomly blasts forth like tufts shot from a cannon. These tufts are snagged by our cross-breeze and roll into cigar-shaped fur logs that accumulate near the south screen doors. It’s truly astounding . . . a feat of nature; but it’s not filth (merely fluff); and there is a finite end when she finally sheds that coat and becomes a tropical pet.

Meg lives sin pet door at Mil Colinas, and even if she didn’t, even if we could install a pet door in the screen door, it would be locked at night to prevent the ingress of unwanted animals. The mapache, the pizote, the porcupine, lizards.


In the process of moving to Samara, we purchased for Nut-Meg three disposable litter boxes: one for our stay at Chez Walters, one for the stay in San Jose, and one for the anticipated week-plus that Meg would remain indoors at Mil Colinas . . . in our foolish belief that Meg would be far too timid to leave the bathroom for days, much less venture onto the terrace. Well, wrong we were. Nut-Meg demanded to see the terrace on her first day, and soon she was venturing across the road onto the hillside. Quickly her box moved from inside the screen door, to just outside within sight, and then to the far end of the terrace near the newly-planted lawn. So she gets the idea. She knows that grass, gravel, earth is far preferable than cat litter. But she also knows that scratching the rim of a plastic tray has been the norm for nigh three weeks.

I need a housekeeper. It’s not that I’m spoiled, it’s not that I’m above difficult housework, it’s that I’m genuinely incapable of mopping our floor without making mud. I experienced this same phenomenon in The B.F., and Sada rescued me after months of laughing at my sad attempts to mop. I did everything else. In Pô I never asked anyone to change sheets, dust, remove cobwebs and animal poo, catch mice . . . even if I wanted to.

Yesterday we met Richard and Linda, who graciously opened their lovely home for luncheon. What a view. Richard and Linda are neighbors in the academic sense – they live in the same development, though through another gate and way, way up the mountain. They have the penthouse, if you will, on an entirely separate mountain; but we all live in Montaña Samara Estates . . . though in all candor, they have the estate, we live in the serf’s home. In any event, Linda does her own housekeeping . . . says so what if there’s mud on the floor? Well even if I could tolerate muddy pet prints, even if I could tolerate the fluff produced by the fur-cannon that is our cat, I can’t handle what Nut-Meg left us this morning. Now brace yourselves – this will reverse anyone’s plans to visit us, ever.

Monday through Friday Rusty takes his place at the laptop on the dining table. I say, Are you off to work? Have a nice day at the office, honey . . . and then I begin my day. I was going to mop today, as I do every day. I’m really diggin’ the large service sink in the laundry room (it really is more than a dog-washing station). But before the mopping must come the sweeping. Lubos was kind enough to leave us with several cleaning implements: a broom, a long-handled-dust-bin, a telescoping broom/cob-web-remover, and a mop whose thick cotton strands weigh about 80 pounds when wet. I snagged the broom from the laundry room, together with the long-handled-dust-bin (sounds like a species of flora, no?); and that’s when it happened. Something wet sloshed out of the dust bin onto my Teva’ed foot and all over the tile. How did water travel from the laundry sink all the way over to the dust-bin in the corner? You see where this is going, right?

Now it’s difficult to be angry with a cat who is smart enough to recognize a plastic area as the proper place to go in the night. And even if Nut-Meg had loudly announced in the night her desire to step outdoors, we wouldn’t have heard her because we sleep with a terrier behind a closed door in an air-conditioned bedroom. Now in the past 12 nights we’ve raised the thermostat on the mini-split from 17 to 25; but even if the compressor was in its I’m-not-blowing-freezing-air mode, Meg’s cries would have been in vain due to the ceiling fan whir. [We truly are acclimating to this humidity, as evidenced by the rise in A/C temp; yet I know that our pool workers laugh every morning at the great amount of condensation on our bedroom windows.]

And thus today we recognized an entirely new challenge to life at Mil Colinas. Nut-Meg (shown here killing the world's largest locust) would love nothing more than to sleep outdoors. But even if we were to allow that, I’d not catch a wink of sleep for fear that she’d venture down to the river and be carried away some feline-loving carnivore.

We’ve acknowledged the fact that one day we’ll lose Nut-Meg to that great mousing field in the sky. But not today, and not this week, and not this year. So will we be forced to live with a night-time cat box? I think not. It’s just too disgusting – though hardly as disgusting as this morning’s work to remove the world’s worst odor . . . not to mention the amount of vinegar and detergent I used to clean tile, Tevas, feet, a dust-bin, and finally that 80-pound mop.

Linda doesn’t live with a fur-cannon of a cat; and even if she did, she are Richard are probably clever enough to devise an in-out-door for kitties-only. With a cat door, Meg would have hauled indoors that enormous, now-dead-and-she's-bored-with-it locust. So what is the answer?

Wait a moment. I have a husband with 1200 pounds of tools . . . the man who promised Kathy, you'll be so glad when those tools arrive.

Down goes the gauntlet, honey-pie. 'Cause today is the first and last day I'm going to struggle with a cat mess. And you know precisely how lucky you are . . . that you were at work and didn't participate in the clean-up, and that your small, first-to-arrive tool chest wasn't sitting in a puddle along with the dust-bin.

So to the man who can construct anything, do so, quickly, por favor, because this is not lo que hay!