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Three slices of cheese and 18 crackers.  (Too bad that phrase doesn’t scan any better than that, else it would make a great first line for the chorus of a country song.)  Two slices of Sargento muenster cheese and one slice of Sargento sharp cheddar cheese and 18 of the sea salt and olive oil flavor Keebler Town House Flatbread Crisp crackers.  The cheese slices are stacked and cut into equal thirds lengthwise and the thirds cut into equal haves.  A predictable taste – one sixth of a slice of cheese laid atop one cracker.   A known taste. An expected taste.  A dependable taste.  Comfort food.  No surprises.

America Grand-Canyon-Walls-HDMy wallpaper program shows a photograph of white water rapids down a narrow canyon with steep, perpendicular walls.  That is how my life is right now.  Focus narrowed onto doing what is next, putting one foot in front of the other.  Attention sharply focused on getting through the tricky bit that lies just ahead.  Sufficient unto the day . . .

Before I put my newly washed, now thoroughly dry bath mats back down, I got the kitty vacuum — a Eureka cannister vacuum I’ve had since the apartment on 21st street, which was 14 years ago, and had it there at least 5 years, so a nearly 20-year old vacuum (there’s a testimonial for you!) which has been the vacuum next to the litter box for at least 10 years — and vacuumed the bathroom floors.  In addition to a dusting brush, an upholstery brush, and a crevice tool, the vacuum has an extension wand attachment and a floor brush.  La voilá.

Parts of my bath matting strategy baffle my mom.  In the bathroom that has the tub, I have a mat in the prescribed location beside the tub, for stepping out of onto same.  No surprises there.  Owing to the configuration of the full bath (the one with the tub), the tub-side mat also does double duty as the mat around the base of the toilet.  In the half bath (the one that only has a sink and a toilet), I have an actual toilet mat in place.  Again, no surprises. Its the mats in front of the respective sinks that baffle her.  She thinks of bath mattage in terms of floors — protecting wood floors from water and the slip hazard of wet feet on ceramic or vinyl tile.  She does not go barefoot in the house.  (The only places she goes barefoot are in the shower/tub and in bed.) Not me.  I go barefooted or sock footed as soon as I can conveniently shed shoes upon entry indoors. (Don’t need shoes inside.  Inside got floors.  Outside’s where you need shoes.  No floors outside.  That’s why you have to take them with you when you go.  Portable floors.  What a concept!)  To bare feet, a mat in front of a sink, a place to stand where the floor is not cold, makes sense.  Also she washes with a washrag — oddly enough — in the bath and at the sink, but  I don’t use washrags.  I use a nylon net puff in the bath, but for washing my face, I use bare hands and soap.  This makes a difference.  With a washrag, water doesn’t run down your forearms and drip off your elbow onto the floor like it does with bare hands.  So again, even in terms of her water-on-bare-floors mattage strategy, a mat in front of the sink makes sense.  So, both my bathroom sinks have mats in front of them.

(parenthetical question:  Orthographically, would the result of root “mat” plus suffix “-age,”  meaning “act of, state of, result of,” have one “t” or two? — two,  because of the short versus long vowel/silent “e” rule – double the final consonant before adding a suffix that begins with a vowel — which is the reason “mate+age” would only have one “t.”)

(I almost put “kitties’ vacuum” above Only, it’s “kitty’s” now. I’ve had kitties for 18 years, and this is the first time ever I’ve only had just the one. ) (Aftermaths.  They’re everywhere.)

Habit patterns.   Over 15 years of “Don’t leave the cupboard door open, the white one will get in there and . . . ,”  but there isn’t any white one any more.  Over ten years of  “check around before you close the bathroom door to make sure you don’t shut the grey one up inside . . . but there isn’t any grey one any more.   A dozen times a day I catch myself almost doing something I don’t have to worry about doing any more.  Leaving a piece of paper unattended where a certain white kitty could chew on it.  Watching where I step  (As long as we’re talking about hapit patterns, it’s coming on seven months since I don’t have to stick-shift any more and I’m still catching myself reaching for a stick shift when I stop at a light or stop sign, but then I stick-shifted for twenty seven years, and old habits die hard.  Yes, they do.)  Then I think of my mom and 68 years of habit patterns.  Grief is having to live in an emotional mine field of old habit patterns that no longer apply.  Because. (Aftermaths.  They’re everywhere.)

I thought I’d gotten used to the quiet of the white one not being here any more, but the house is even quieter now that the Littermaid has only one cat to cope with.  It doesn’t cycle for hours and hours and hours.  I keep thinking I need to get up and check it to see if it’s blocked.  Then I remember.  Maybe I can keep a Littermaid for longer than a year now before the motor just flat wears out.

A while ago, i noticed how dark the room was, looked up and saw it was only 6 o’clock,  looked out the window and saw the yellow cast to the light.  I really didn’t need to look through the blinds to see the darkly lowering clouds.    “A yellow darkness sinister of rain.”

Sinister of rain indeed.  All of a sudden, we’re having a good old fashioned thundershower, and it’s bucketing down.  Big booms of thunder, and tick-tocks of small hail against the window.  The grassy area in among the buildings is a lake.

I think tomorrow I’m going to clean out under the bed, take the folding doors down from in front of the washer and hang that shower curtain my BFF got me of the Eiffel tower.   I have to clean out under the bed so I’ll have a place to store the doors to put back up when I eventually move out.  The doors are really inconvenient.  If the left one is open, you have to close it to open the front door.  It’s tricky to get out my clothes drying rack which I keep between the dryer and the wall.  They don’t completely cover the opening — there are half inch gaps on both ends between the door and the casing and between the doors, which looks really makeshift.   Maybe if I deal with those stupid folding doors, that will segue really nicely into cleaning and sorting out the closet in the office, and the closet in the hallway.

I’ve been plotting a pasta salad.  I have some elbow macaroni, some chicken fajita meat, and some cherry tomoatoes, celery, black olives and green onions.  I may go do that here directly.

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