Obsessy Clean

1) Muse’s directive: “Write about a less-than-remarkable aspect of your life.”

This is for all you cat lovers out there whose feline friend resides in the comfort of your abode. I believe we share this superlative: the most inglorious aspect of your life. There’s nothing remarkable about the obligatory grooming of the litterbox. I dare say though, there is something just a touch more amusing than average about my critter’s disposition on the subject.

You see, Hershey (or Caliegh to some of her admirers) did not begin life as a house cat. In fact, she lived out kittenhood through much of her adulthood outside in that wooded acreage in east TN which I call home. I was 12 when I first brought her home, packaged in a tired brown box with her Mom, Jade, and two sisters, KitKat and Jewel. Jade and Jewel were wild things and disappeared almost immediately, returning only for Meow Mix morsels when the hunt went foul. (I might have known my fortune as foretold by the loyalty of my cats–after precious stones abscond, you are left to comfort yourself with chocolates.)

Approximately 8 years later in my junior year of college,  Hershey made the pilgrimage with me to CT. She made sure to make 2 things clear to me along the way: she did not approve of the car, and she absolutely abhorred George Washington Bridge.

Today, she is discomfited by my dealings with her litterbox. By nature and upbringing, she’s very discreet about her ablutions. However, if she was merely disquieted by my involvement in this part of her private life, she is further distressed by the frenzy of cleaning that is precipitated by it.

It begins with my disatisfaction with the carpets and accoutrements that keep stray litter from Hershey’s paws from being deposited through the rest of my apartment. These get shaken like a maddening brat, then tossed outside the bathroom in a pile so that I can sweep up. The clean floor then makes a mockery of the tub, so of course I have to scrub that down. But then the toilet looks at me with disdain as if to say, “Some call me a throne, you know,” and since it’s been clever, I oblige. I go to wash my hands of the whole obsessive scrubbing thing, and I see the faucet squinting up at me from under a layer of scuzz. So, I shiney that up, and the counter as well because it has the capacity to be so very white. I’m about to leave the bathroom for the first time in an hour, when I catch sight of myself in the mirror. It’s sheepishly hanging there, its face helplessly displaying toothpaste constellations amid the reflection of those newly-sparkling denizens in the room. So i squeegee that mess until the mirror is proud again.

All the while, Hershey has been purring nervously, crouched in the doorway next to the listless heap of rugs. Under normal circumstances, she sticks close to me because that’s the sort of cat she is: a magnificent example of her kind who followed my barefoot adventures tirelessly, be there good dogs or bad dogs, in fair weather or driving rain. But I think in this, my frenetic cleaning, she’s not just my companion. I’m convinced she’s a sort of chaperone. She’s watching in order to ensure that I make it out of there before I take a toothbrush to the cracks int he floor.

2) My current word count for my novel is: 16,721/30,000.

3) Muse’s next directive: “Use the following verbs in any way you wish: racket, snug, green, spoon, boggle, snake. Not all verbs, you say?…Verbs are sometimes a matter of opinion.”

4 thoughts on “Obsessy Clean

  1. Victor F

    Your timezone seems to be set to Greenwich Mean Time (or other “ahead of yourself” time zone), which will make the posting dates of your entries incorrect. Just a blog comment, not a writing comment. Sorry!

  2. Bob

    Had me laughing in my cube! …err, home office. I’m definitely not at work right now… I’ve been away for a few and was pleased to find a subject I can relate to on at least two levels (that’s a long discussion). Writing style was spirited and creative as always. “…and since it’s been clever, I oblige.” stuck with me. I caught one typo, but it’s forgiven. The flow of this musing felt…easier?…than some others. I was done reading once I started: it was natural. Great stuff.

  3. bethy

    This sounds a lot like work to me….but no worries, i think i can help. Firstly they have really great litter accessories out there now, like mats that help contain the litter, or specialty litter boxes. I suggest just browsing the cat isles the next time you are in a pet store. Second, I’m quite curious as to why the bathroom is the designated spot for the rug droppings (if i understood the text correctly). Perhaps it would save you some trouble if you could shake out a rug outside, but again i could be mistaking the set up for lack of having a visual to go by. And while i am so proud of you for keeping your bathroom clean, a dry or VERY slightly damp microfiber (always followed by a dry microfiber) rag is the BEST thing for cleaning mirrors and takes most of the work out of it. I am so sorry dear friend if i come off as a know it all, but I’m afraid after all the bathrooms I’ve cleaned in all the houses as a house cleaner, i feel that i should give people cleaning tips to help. When i come up to visit i can go over my work routine (because everything in life becomes less of a challenge when routine) and hopefully make cleaning less of a hassle for you. it does feel weird to offer to visit and clean my friend’s and relative’s homes, but I’m trying to assist and make it easier is all. (Lastly to tell you the truth, i don’t really like cleaning, i mean i do it, but i like cooking….).

  4. Andrej Dukalev

    I like how you have to differentiate between East and West TN. It is kind of interesting that the two cats named after precious stones disappeared, but the two candy related cats stuck around. Maybe it is a metaphor for gaining holiday weight.
    When you have the “it begins” paragraph it seems like I am in a toss up between a frenzy of cleaning or a slow and loathing going about the process. There are superb visuals on how things look dirty and clean, but it seems like you could have done more with your actions on the process. I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing as the reader can put their own spin on it and is free to imagine.
    As one that knows how Hershey purrs when she is nervous, I again can imagine the act. It is a very short and rhythmic purr, if I am correct. I feel like you missed an opportunity to use your amazing similes to describe that rhythm.


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