Midnight, the demented cat

the perils of doing laundry

midnight 2022I have written before about our demented cat, Midnight. In some ways, this is not a great photo. On the other hand, it’s rather representative of his demeanor. His arm – OK, front leg – hangs off his loft as though he were Hugh Hefner holding a cigarette at the Playboy Mansion.

Notice the deformed window treatment? That’s the result of Midnight either chewing on the curtains or kneading them. And there are three or four of them in similar conditions. My wife has talked about replacing the curtains, but I said that there’s no point unless we get something made of stainless steel.

When we have people over, he goes to the basement. There are only a handful of people who he won’t harass. And when something I can’t quite ascertain sets him off, the target of his wrath is me.

Domestic chores terrorist

Back in October, I was taking a basket of laundry down to the basement. There was a bottle of TIDE detergent that was next to the doorway, so I grabbed it to take it downstairs. Midnight, sitting on a chair ten feet away, suddenly started yowling and hissing at me. I don’t know if it was the basket or the TIDE that ticked him off, but someone dubbed him a male chauvinist feline because he never bothered my wife or daughter when they transported the laundry.

For the next three days, I was his enemy. I avoided him when I could. My wife would feed him. And I started carrying around a tambourine. Why a tambourine, you may ask? Because carrying around a vacuum cleaner was too heavy. I tried to talk to him, but when he got too close and too scary, I’d rattle the instrument, and he’d run off.

Where’s the feeder guy?

But then, a few days later, he started missing me. “Where’s the one who usually feeds me?” First, he’d get proximate to me, then a little closer. I’d go downstairs to feed him, percussion in hand, and he’d be okay. Then he became desperate for my affection. “Pet me!” And “pick me up and scratch me under my chin.” He needs to be near me and hates it when I close the office door, but I can’t write and tend to him simultaneously.

And it’s all good. Well, except for the time I was walking toward the sofa, and he ran in front of me. He’s ALWAYS getting underfoot, but I usually anticipate it. This time, I must have stepped on him, although I didn’t feel him underneath. He yowled and dug his claw into my foot. But this was a short-lived irritation for him.

Still, when he’s on the sofa and someone is petting him, he’ll suddenly bite them. He did this to my wife and tried to do the same to me. He is a demented cat.

Lydster: not her parents’ college search

the college tour

college searchAs I’ve noted, my daughter has been on the college search. My, but has this process changed in the past few decades. For one thing, they send a TON of emails, multiple messages per school.

Some of them extoll their particular schools and why my daughter would obviously fit in, hinting at financial incentives. But some involve how to engage in the process of applying for college generally. Most schools accept the Common Application, and some even prefer it.

Having gone on a few college tours this summer, it’s difficult not to judge the schools based on this important aspect. Some of them have way too many people in the group. It’s very difficult to hear what’s being said upfront when you’re in the back. That, unfortunately, was just one of the failings of my undergraduate alma mater’s tour.

Some of the tour guides have these portable mics and speakers that they were wearing. That was MUCH better except in one case, where there were actually too MANY guides in a relatively small space and the sound of one group bled into another cluster.

Some of the walks were mostly flat, although a few seemed to go up and downstairs a lot. My left knee became particularly sore on those treks. Generally speaking, travel is exhausting mentally and physically. I’m SO glad we went to NYC BEFORE the subways were flooded by the former hurricane, Ida!

The issues

Most of the colleges are SAT/ACT-optional. While some of these places initiated the policy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, others were proudly ahead of the curve.

Other than academics and social life, one of the most common questions by potential students were safety and security, especially getting from the nearby towns back to campus. One school, in particular, sounded quite impressive, even at 2 a.m.

I was truly surprised that one of the topics that came up often was laundry! At least three of the school folks mentioned the fact that the college offered free washing machines and dryers, though one has to provide detergent. Another complained that the students there had to cough up $1.50 per load.

It’s possible, I suppose, that my daughter will go to a college she has not visited in person, only virtually. But I’d be very surprised. As she noted, some schools were enhanced in her mind by seeing the physical location, while others suffered IRL.

Bright College Days – Tom Lehrer

L is for me doing the laundry

If the washer is on the left and the dryer is right in countries that read left to right, is different in countries where one reads right to left?

During my wife’s recuperation from foot surgery this summer, I had done the vast majority of the laundry. She sorts, I take them down to the basement to wash, I put them in the dryer, and then haul them up so she can fold them.

What I hate is going down the basement stairs. Like many houses of its vintage, nearly a century, the steps are high and the space going down is narrow. It gives me a case of vertigo. Usually, I just toss the basket from the landing to the basement floor, then gather up the clothes. Going up is MUCH easier.

Being unmarried for many years, I got to the point where I didn’t have to wash the clothes for three weeks. That’s because I had at least a couple dozen shirts and sets of undergarments, an amount my wife thought was crazy when we got married. Conversely, I think she has far too few.

Hey, who had a San Diego Padres tee for her school’s sports day? It wasn’t her. I have T-shirts from several movies, from the Coverville music podcast, and from various other occasions, to wear, depending on my mood. Only this year did I buy some solid color (not white) tees.

So I don’t mind running the machines, but doing it every other day or more is boring. In the past, I had gotten used to schlepping clothes to the laundromat. I ran into my friend Alberta recently, and she told me her washing machine died. But instead of buying a new one, she opted to relish the quietude of reading while the laundromat machines chugged along.

This is certainly true of me: it’s difficult to traverse the “mental load” part of household maintenance and the importance of figuring out how to share it.

On Facebook recently, someone said if the washer is on the left and the dryer is right in countries that read left to right, is different in countries where one reads right to left? But almost no one – not us – have a washer on the left. I wish it were so.

For ABC Wednesday

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