I was up late working, so I slept in until after 2 p.m. Once I awoke, I decided I would have a leisurely lunch, do a bit of reading, and then turn on the computer. I got up and went into the en suite half bath off my bedroom to start getting dressed. Now, my white cat is my self-appointed shadow. He follows me everywhere, especially into the bathroom because while I’m in there, I might wash my hands, or brush my teeth, or do some other incomprehensible thumby thing at the sink which requires running water, and he lives to drink from the sink tap.
Let me set the stage for you: The white cat is up on the cabinet whining for me to turn the tap on, and heartless persecutrix that I am, I’m ignoring him. At this point in my toilette, I am wearing precisely nothing. I washed my hair yesterday evening but didn’t comb it out after I air dried it. When I was done admiring my dreads, such as they are, I flushed the toilet — and all of a sudden, water comes spraying out from under the toilet tank lid all over everywhere – it’s gushing onto the floor, running all down the wall, pouring into the wastebasket, spurting all over me! And guess which white cat is going to want to get right down in the middle of it and try to drink it!– I grab him and make a dash for towels to try to staunch the flow and mop up all this water. I can’t put the white cat down because the minute I do, he’ll make a beeline for the mess on the bathroom floor, which I have no other way to keep him out of because the bathroom door won’t stay shut (The strike plate on the door jam that the latch on the doorknob mechanism is supposed to go into to hold the door shut is about half an inch higher than the latch — and has been that way since I moved in), — and the bedroom door has a cat flap in it.
In the meantime, the other two cats are trying to find out what all the brouhaha in the bathroom is about. With one arm, I’m struggling to hold onto a cat who doesn’t like to be picked up in the first place, never mind carted about, I’m fending the other two off in the doorway with my foot, and with the other hand, I’m throwing one towel over the top of the toilet to stop the water spraying all over the world, and dropping the other one into the big puddle of water on the floor. I shoo the other two cats away, try to get a better grip on the white cat, make a dash for the phone and call the managers office — and it rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings while I go dashing back to the bathroom.
By now the white cat has had quite enough of this barging about and is struggling in earnest. I get a better grip on him and hit “redial” and it rings, and rings, and rings, and the water suddenly stops! Halleluiah! I pitch the white cat and the phone onto the bed, barricade the bathroom door with the laundry hamper, and start sopping up all this water on the floor with my brand new bath towels. Both the mat in front of the sink cabinet and the little mat that goes around the base of the toilet are thoroughly soaked, there’s water puddled on the floor, there’s standing water in the trash can (which fortunately I’d just emptied), water is dripping down the wall beside the toilet. . .
Of course, by then I’d realized what the problem was. I took the top off the toilet tank and sure enough. The little hose that refills the toilet tank had somehow jumped out of the little hole it’s supposed to go down into. The hose is only about the diameter of a pencil, and in order to refill the tank quickly, the water comes out with considerable force. With the hose unfettered, it was spraying water at full throttle at the underside of the tank lid which, on that toilet, only has the tiniest ridge of a lip to keep it from sliding off the edge of the toilet tank and the lid was slightly askew (again) because this 13-pound white cat keeps jumping up on it to get to the sink counter. I got the water cleaned up, put the wet towels and mats into the washer, and put some clothes on, but I was still in crisis mode when I called the manager’s office a third time. The apartment manager finally answered. (Apparently crises were on sale today, and she’d been getting one phone call after another.) There was really nothing wrong with the toilet, and what she got from my babbling was that the bathroom door wouldn’t shut. (Bless her heart! I wrote her an email with a less garbled explanation of what had happened, and apologized for being so excited about basically what was just a minor toilet malfunction.)
About half an hour later, here came the maintenance guy and fixed the bathroom door so it will now stay closed, which I’m delighted about, but the white cat isn’t. I washed the bath towels and mats in hot water. The towels are dry and folded, the bath mats are drying in the air (I never put them in the dryer. It ruins the rubber non-skid backing.) I’m back to a state of equanimity (and a blood pressure of 111/72) again. But there for about half an hour this afternoon, I was having an unscheduled three-ring circus – in my birthday suit! Not what I’d planned to do this afternoon!
To apologize to the white cat for hauling him all over the house so unceremoniously, I turned on the sink tap and went off to see about rustling up some lunch while he and the grey cat drank their fill. Then, while I was nuking my lunch, he was creating a sizable clump in the litter box. I hadn’t any more sat down to my long awaited and much anticipated chili cheese hot dog, than there went the Littermaid, whining and grinding and trying to roll away this big clump of cat litter. After three attempts it gave up and, — you guessed it. I had to get up and go attend to it.
That sorted, my hands washed (for a third time within an hour), my chili cheese dog retrieved from the microwave where I had stashed it for safe keeping, I sat down to tuck back into it, and the phone rang. It was my BFF, all excited.
A bit of backstory here: The dress shop where my BFF had worked for the past 10 years went out of business at the end of June. (There’s a lot more to it that, but it’s a long, convoluted tale, and more than slightly soap-operatic. We’ll just say “They lost their lease” and leave it at that.) So, she’s been frantically looking for a job for over a month now, a process which, in her case, involves wailing, gnashing of teeth, and a goodly dollop of sturm und drang. If you can imagine a short, round, drab and rather plain owl walking sedately along holding in its beak the lead of an elaborately feathered and brilliantly-colored heron-like bird that is flapping energetically and somewhat erratically along about ten feet off the ground, you have a perfect picture of our friendship. My particular role in getting her through this very real financial crisis has been to act as a combination cheer leader and sea anchor.
Last Friday afternoon, I threatened to go get her if she didn’t come over and bring some of her laundry with her. She has her own “apartment sized” washer and dryer, but the movers/apartment handymen have said there was some problem getting a dryer hose for her dryer, and so she hasn’t been using them, but it’s so much trouble to schlep laundry to the laundromat and back. . . and she’s got bags and bags of it by now. She brought her computer, too, and we filled out job applications while her clothes got washed and dried. She told me about a job interview she had gone on and was really excited about. It was for a sales position in a clothing shop, a job at which she’s had a good deal of experience.
Now, my BFF is a real people person. She’s like my mom. She can talk to you for five minutes and find out all about you — your name, your spouse’s and kids’ names, where you live, what kind of pets you have and their names, what you do for a living, what you don’t like about your mother-in-law, what your favorite food is, how you broke your arm in third grade, — you get the idea. She also has an artist’s sense of color and design, and she’s a clotheshorse herself, so selling women’s clothing is a great fit for her skills. While she was at my house doing laundry, the people from the clothes shop left her a message to come in for a second interview.
She went on her second interview today, and the reason she called this afternoon in the middle of my chili cheese dog was to tell me she’d gotten the job and she starts next Monday. She’ll be working 21 hours a week, which is about all she can manage at this stage in her life. She’s going to come over either tomorrow or Thursday and we’re going to celebrate — and she’s going to bring more laundry. (The goal is to get her laundry caught up so I can get her dryer away from the wall and look to see what size hose it needs. Then we can get one and I’ll put it on for her.) I’ve got more hot dogs, buns and chili, and a choice of beer, wine (white and rosé) and ginger ale, and we going to have us a little party to celebrate.