Since Sputty died, and Smoky was pronounced cured, my load has lightened a bit, and I've been trying to deal with a bunch of long-neglected issues that have been piling up.
I spent a whole day shredding documents, I've been doing umpteen zillion loads of laundry, packing away extra litter boxes, filing away all of the documents and stuff from my mother's funeral, cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning, and just generally trying to re-claim my life from the land of sickness, death and dying.
For some reason, it's been really important to me to try to spiff up my surroundings a bit. I'm not sure that I exactly understand this phenomenon, but it's like I need some sort of a visual reminder that the difficulties of the past year are in the past, and that life is moving on.
So I got all excited by this post about using old sheets as a couch slipcover over on ANNIENYGMA and thought that perhaps with some combination of what she did and the slipcover I came up with for my recliner, I could craft some sort of slipcovers for my couch and love seat - both of which are suffering from years of cat shredding, and are starting to get holes in the seat cushions.
I dove into the project with wild abandon... which is just never a good sign with me.
The first thing that happened was that I reached into the back of the linen closet for some old sheets, and pulled out a towel that had little brown spots on it from where Sputty had apparently peed on it. I stood there for half an hour sobbing and hugging the towel. Dammit! When is it gonna stop hurting so much?
At any rate, I concluded that I needed sheets that were a different size, so I headed down to the basement where I have a trunk full of old linens from beds-gone-by of various different sizes. Problem was, said trunk is stored in the cluttered closet under the stairs.
So I start pulling stuff out to get to the trunk, and the first thing I come across is a box labeled "Mow." Mow was the first cat of my adult life, who also went through a long, drawn out illness before finally dying in my arms 10 years ago.
I was so torn up about it that I packed all of her special things into a box that I haven't been able to bring myself to open since. So then I had to stand there sobbing and hugging the box for a while. Still couldn't bring myself to open it.
|My Beautiful Little Mow-Mow Girl|
But I was determined to press on with my little project, so I dove deeper into the dark recess beneath the stairs looking for the trunk, and failed to take into consideration that the ceiling of said storage space beneath the stairs gets ever lower the further back you go.
Long story short, I whacked my head on the underside of the steps so hard that I nearly knocked myself out.
At this point, I should have just stopped. But now I was getting mad. Why does everything have to be so f-ing hard? Wait... don't answer that.
So I yank the trunk out and start pulling out linens - only to discover that many of them were either leftover from my childhood, or were things that my mom and I bought when I was going away to college, or were given to me by my mother at various points over the years. More sobbing...
But... determined to finish this project and achieve some sort of mythical feel-better ideal called "closure" I pressed on.
Pretty soon I had the whole living room torn apart, and there were piles of linens everywhere, and it became clear that while the idea of using sheets to make a slipcover could work - I didn't have the right sizes, or colors that could possibly not look ridiculous in my living room, and I was gonna have to go buy some sheets to get anything close to the result I wanted.
I pondered the idea of spending hour after hour perusing the thrift stores, and it all just seemed like more than I could handle.
My head was throbbing, I felt dizzy and nauseous, I felt stupid for hitting my head, I was afraid I might have given myself an actual concussion, I didn't have any linens that were gonna work, I wasn't going to be able to throw together a slipcover in an hour or two, I didn't want to deal with shopping, I was mad as hell, and I just wanted to stop being surrounded by constant reminders of death and dying.
At that point I sorta lost it. I called CatMan in a heap of inconsolable tears. Poor guy. He picks up the phone and I'm on the other end of the line babbling incoherently about cats, and mothers, and sheets, and concussions.
He finally got me to calm down enough to tell him what had happened, walked me through an online concussion test, and then managed to convince me that I was in no condition to be taking on this project right now. Yeah... I probably should have been able to figure that one out on my own...
You know, sometimes I feel like my whole life is a giant tug of war between competing ideals, desires and realities.
I want to be frugal, and green, and not wasteful, and self-reliant, and sustainable, and a whole host of other noble things. But what often gets lost in the mix is that I also need to take care of myself.
I guess this is all my long-winded blathering way of telling you that I'm getting a beautiful new set of slipcovers for my birthday.
They were ridiculously cheap on eBay - and no... they're not organic cotton - not even close. And they were probably made by some sweatshop slave worker somewhere in India or China, and I'm sure they'll be packaged in plastic, and they're not even remotely green (well, actually they're a nice dark olive green color, but you know what I mean.)
And while I was at it, I also ordered a new portable futon mattress to use for when CatMan and I do movie night.
Long story here, but he has back problems and in order to be comfortable for the length of a movie needs to be horizontal - plus, we like to snuggle during the movies.
Anyhow, we have been using an old foam mattress taken from a sleeper couch that someone abandoned 25 years ago, and a feather bed topper that I found in the basement of my house when I moved in - both of which have got to be at least 50 years old by now, have little cushion left in them, leave incredible clouds of dust behind when I haul them out and set them up, and both of which got peed on numerous times during the past year of Sputty urinary problems. Suffice it to say... something needed to be done.
I had grandiose ideas of trying to clean them more thoroughly, or trying to salvage the feathers, or making something wholesome and organic from scratch, or solving the problem in some clever, green, frugal way, but the events of the past few days made me decide that it's just not worth it.
Here's the thing. I just am not capable of single-handedly saving planet - or saving the human race from itself, as might be the more accurate description.
And try as I might to achieve some level of eco-perfectionism, the reality is that there are trade-offs with all decisions.
And in the long run, I think that if I don't take my own mental health into consideration, I'm not really being a help to anyone.
I have to admit that I'm torn between feeling defeated, and feeling utterly relieved about these decisions. But truth be told, there's no shortage of projects in this house, and hopefully having these two big ones dealt with will allow me the time and energy to focus on other ones in a slightly more... umm... healthy manner.
Sooooo.. what do y'all think about all of this? Am I just being a selfish, materialistic, horrible, typical American consumer? How do you deal with the constant balancing act of these sorts of decisions? I'd really love to hear your thoughts.