“Why the windows are full west!”
– Jane Austen
J.’s nickname for me, despite my legendary Small Dog Syndrome personality condition, is Kitty. Not from any simliarity to my real name, but because apparently I have a cat-like tendancy to hide things. Not consciously, but it would seem that after I use certain things they have the obnoxious habit of vanishing into the ether. I also do admit to tucking somethings away in their “designated place,” the geographic location I immediately forget. This means that our marriage is a constant smorgasbord of rediscovered treasure.
Hairpins turn up in the oddest places, especially considering I almost never use them, but we find bushels of them every time we vacuum or dust. Pens! Everywhere! They breed in my pockets, purses, and cup holders. Despite practically never carrying cash, coins (of mutiple currencies!) rain from me like I’m some fairytale maiden who got on a witch’s good side. I lose my glasses at least once a day. They have been found, variously, in my jewelry case, under the couch, in the shower, beneath my pillow, and in my purse which both of us had searched thouroughly four times previous only to finding them smugly nestled besides my wallet. The possibilities truly are endless. And without fail, whever something turns up from somewhere it doesn’t belong, J. rounds on me with a pointed finger and an accusatory voice. “Kitty!”
Just so we’re clear, and so my mother doesn’t wring her hands and ask where she went wrong, our house is not dirty. That’s the amazing part. We’re minimalistic in our decor, specifically because neither of us like clutter. We deep clean once a week. There is absolutely nothing to attract the wildlife. People comment on its cleanlines when they come over. And yet, when I go to plump the pillows – voila! That book I misplaced a week ago.
And apparently the way to really unearth all the things I’ve “mislaid” is to install new windows.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful. Our old windows were nearly a half century old, leaked heat out, let cold seep in, and were generally a source of larger than necessary utility bills. The largest one in our flat faces west and made summers in the desert a misery! It got so hot during summer that our blinds would melt – or at least warp to a fantastic and almost unuseable degree. So, new windows equalled better utility costs, temperatures human beings can survive at, and less destruction of our abode. Plus someone else was installing them. Terrific!
Saturday morning at 8:30am (who does that? On a weekend!) my phone shattered the tranquility. The landlords told us the contractors wou!d be by in an hour to rip massive holes in our walls.
“J.! Get up! Clean everything! Move move move!”
Despicably undomestic as I am, I’ve got enough feminine pride/residual 1950s guilt to not want total strangers see my house a “shambles.” Poor J. was dragged from his bed and forced to dismantle window blinds while I made the bed, dusted (before a bunch of workman came to chip away my windows…yeah…) and fell to scrubbing even the bathroom with religious fervor.
It was when we invaded the office/storage space/Room of Requirement that things started turning up. Piles of papers neither of us could identify. Chords to appliances we have never owned. Boxes for things we never ordered. A couple of cups we never missed. Ribbons, Christmas gifts bought months ago, a couple of paintings… J. was laughing uproariously by the time we finished. We’d thrown out masses of stuff and I’d taken to sulking from his teasing. “Kitty!”
Then we headed back to the front room to move the couches. And found sweet, sweet justice.
Beneath the sofa I found an external hard drive, a leather business folder, two textbooks, and a pile of notes. All J.’s. The dumbfounded look on his face was priceless. I danced in a circle around him crowing, “You’re a kitty! You’re a kitty!”
Naturally ten minutes later, he found my glasses. Again. The status quo resumed.
*Second picture from Hyperbole and a Half.