FORT POLK, La. — Hi. My name is Chuck and I’m a procrastinator. It’s been five days since I put off doing something my spouse asked me to do.
Those words — or something similar — are probably spoken more often than we guys care to admit. But on May 9, I decided to do something about it — I took on chores that Susan had been after me to do for months.
When I first made the list, it was with good intentions: I duly created an entry on my cell phone’s notepad app. There were 12 items listed and I thought that maybe if I were to knock out two or three each week, within a month I would be through.
That was six months ago and on the aforementioned date there were still 12 items on the list.
I woke up that Saturday morning raring to go and confident in my ability to complete a few of the items on the list. They weren’t that difficult: Rehang the shade in the front bedroom (because I had put it on backwards the first time); replace the curtains and sheers in the dining room; hang a few oriental fans in the master bedroom; hang an old garden tool on our back porch wall; and replace a support pole on our back deck. The rest of the list dealt with going out into the community and purchasing items for our home or yard. COVID-19 got me a pass on those — for now.
Before I go into the day’s activities, let me remind those who might not have read the earlier commentaries from yours truly that mentioned the four cats that share our humble abode. Lurlene, Mini Me, Pinkie and my favorite, Mouse, are an inquisitive quartet that feel it is their duty to either assist or make themselves a nuisance in everything we do.
Mini Me can usually be found lying in the middle of the floor, doing his best to trip whomever walks by. He has a penchant for trying to ingest any piece of plastic that he finds. And if a box is brought into the house — no matter how large or small — he’s going to try and sit in it.
Lurlene is the matriarch of the kitten clan and rules with an iron paw. She doesn’t usually cause many problems, but if she hasn’t had her catnip, she sometimes tends to want to wrestle the other cats into submission, proving her rightful position as Head Cat.
Pinkie wants to be in the middle of anything that is going on in the house. Whether it’s following us to the bathroom, sitting in the laundry basket or trying to climb into the dishwasher, she seems to feel it’s her duty to “help” in any way she can.
Last, but certainly not least, Mouse is the smallest of the brood, but don’t tell her — she thinks she’s the toughest. She is my favorite and knows it, hence every time I go near a door she literally flies through the air and lands on my shoulder — like a parrot on a pirate — expecting a trip to the mailbox or just a walk around the yard. And, like the others, she’s willing to assist me with anything I’m doing.
So, back to my Saturday morning chores: I knocked out the shade in nothing flat. I took it down, unrolled it, rolled it back up, and it works perfectly. With husbandly pride I called for Susan to examine my work and that’s when the adventure began.
It took my lovely wife five minutes to get into the room while we tried to keep two of the cats out — Mouse and Mini Me apparently felt their help was needed. Picture if you will the closing scene in the Flintstones when Fred puts out the cat, but it runs back in before he can enter the house, and slams the door on him. That’s basically what it looked like for us — times two.
We finally got the cats out and Susan was happy with my work, so I moved on to the next project — the curtains in the dining room. This 10-minute job took about an hour and a half between the cats getting into everything: Curtains, curtain rods, tools, you name it and they were in it.
As I climbed the ladder to take down the old curtains and valance, Mini Me jumped up beside me nearly knocking me off. As I moved the old curtains out of the way, Pinkie jumped on board and rode them out to the garage. I guess she thought it was a taxi. As I neared the door, the Amazing Mouse used the kitchen counter for a launch pad and landed on my shoulder, using her tiny sharp claws to gain a hold and keep from falling.
I removed Pinkie from the curtains and Mouse from my shoulder, and then sat on the couch to take a break and calm down a little — by this time I was considering catacide. I finally calmed down and got up to finish the job. Susan asked, “Are you bleeding?” I looked at the couch and saw a streak of blood. I looked down at my arm and found where Mouse had grabbed me to keep from falling.
I secured a bandage and Susan cleaned off the blood. I sat back on the couch to regain my composure. Mini Me chose this time to dive over my shoulder and land on my right big toe, slicing it and sending me back to the bathroom for another bandage.
Susan and I finally made it back to the dining room to finish that job. We installed the new curtain rod, and after doing so, placed the new curtains on them. As we stepped back to admire our handiwork, Susan announced, “The curtains are on backward.”
We removed the curtains, put them back on, and finally, that job was complete.
I hung the items in the bedroom with no problem, then headed outside and took care of that work. As we finished up and headed back in, Mouse darted out the door and we had a chase scene that would have rivaled Steve McQueen’s famous car chase in Bullitt.
We finally caught the little beast — I mean angel — and decided we had done enough work for the day.
We sat down on the couch and contemplated what we had accomplished. Susan complimented me on not killing any of the cats and maintaining my dignity. She said I had done plenty for the day.
I was feeling pretty proud of myself. I decided I would do one more thing: There were a couple of dishes in the sink and I figured I’d knock them out and make Susan really proud of me. After all, the next day was Mother’s Day and it just seemed like something a grateful husband — and I’m certainly one to gain favor with my spouse — would do. One of the pans had a few green beans in it and as I went to dump them in the trashcan, Mini Me ran between my legs and — yep, you guessed it — I missed the trashcan completely, spilling green beans across the floor.
In case you weren’t aware, cats will eat green beans if they know they have been forbidden from eating people food.
Once that battle was done, I went back to the couch, sat down and told Susan, “That’s it. I’m done.” Although I had accomplished quite a bit, it turned out to be pretty frustrating at times. My advice to those who are going to do some honey-do chores around the house: If you’ve got cats, lock them up, preferable away from where you’re going to be.