October 31, 2012

I’m all zen until the first cat pees

After a weekend retreat at a monastery, I always come home with all kinds of new resolutions. I’m going to be nicer to everyone. I’m going to make more time for writing. I’m going to eat more kale and be less sarcastic and stop whining about how long it takes me to grade papers.

On Sunday night, I tried hard to stay in monking mode. I greeted my family with the kind of loving cheerfulness that would make Carol Brady look like a grouch. I didn’t make a single sarcastic comment about the dried cat barf in the hallway and how I seem to be the only person in the house with the necessary skill to clean something like that up. Clicking onto my computer to see that a hurricane was heading towards the northeast did not snap me out of my zen mood. “I can’t do anything about that,” I told myself calmly as I looked at the storm tracker.

But then Gretel, our old grey-striped cat, wandered into my home office. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of her sniffing the lowest shelf of the bookcase by the door. I’ve got about thirty journals shoved into that shelf. This pile of spiral-bound books, filled with scribbled phrases and messy paragraphs, represents years of my life.

I had just risen from my chair when I heard an unmistakable sound, which broke me out of my peaceful mood. The damned cat was peeing right with what seemed like deliberate aim – right at my journals.

I think the whole household heard me screaming. And ranting. And using choice phrases that I didn’t learn at the monastery.

 At least I didn’t kill the cat. I guess she can thank the monks for that.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear jo(e), I have been reading you for years, admiring your calm, your tolerance of chaos and teenage boys, and your ability to not ever complain on your blog. Thanks for letting us know that you are human.

jo(e) said...

Anon: Ha! My family can attest to the fact that I'm quite human. Thanks for the comment. And for reading all these years.

Val said...

I read the title and thought you'd put your handmade train track village under a Christmas tree already. ;)

jo(e) said...

Val: Ha! I'd almost forgotten about that incident. I wonder how many times I've blogged about cat pee.

merrytait said...

This is hilarious except that it isn't!

But it's all so TRUE!

liz said...

Sounds like those journals need to go on the top shelf fee you've aired them out

mommo4.5 said...

I have a music book stained with cat pee. I didn't want to lose it so I just let it air out - for a looooong time. It's been about 12 years now and the yellow stains remain, but no lingering scent. I've loaned it out a couple of times and have chuckled to myself that the borrowers have no idea!

In this case, perhaps you can scan all the pages when they are dry. (Maybe I should do that with my music book, hmmmm.)

jo(e) said...

Right now a bunch of the journals are out in the garage. I don't know if I'll ever be able to bring them back in.

Phil said...

Female cats can direct their pee? (Can males, for that matter?) If I were any kind of writer, I'd have learned this by now.

jo(e) said...

Phil: I've seen both male and female cats do it. I've always assumed it was universal cat behavior and not some special skill that my cats possess. (Really, it would be just my luck to live with the family of cats that have some kind of Direct Pee Super Power.)

Sass said...

LOL! I cannot tell you just how much I can relate to this post - with the exception of the weekend getaways at the monastery. This isn't something I was aware a non-monk could do. How very cool...

Rana said...

Man, cat pee. That stuff is toxic, and can literally strip paint.

That said, I can recommend Urine-Off as a cat pee remover. It actually got years of dried up, caked on cat pee out of some furniture I inherited. I don't know how it would work on paper, but it might be worth a shot...

(My dad once had a cat pee on the paperwork for his taxes. He used to hope that if he ever got audited, it would be for that year.)

jo(e) said...

Rana: I've used Urine-off on carpet and furniture ( based on your recommendation tears ago). I'm not quite sure how to use it on pages of paper ....

jo(e) said...

Sass: Benedictine monasteries pretty much all have guesthouses. The monks take vows of hospitality. And most monasteries nowadays have webpages so you can plan a visit online.

angelfeet said...

It can be hard to hang on to inner peace in such circumstances :)

Donna Peters said...

I can so relate.. I have the male version of your girl cat.. and I really question my sanity in keeping ole Pika for the last 14 years.. but other than the deliberate peeing.. he is the sweetest and most loving cat.. and great company... its just the peeing.. ugh... why do they do it?

Annette said...

Someday I will tell you the story about the cat peeing in my shoe. My monastary buddy was there too, so it should be around the table. It is priceless. I hope your journals survived. Remember, God wants you "as is."