Mike Holmes, Eat Your Heart Out


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Gill informed me that she is living in the middle of a construction zone at the moment. After living with Catlady for three years (and enduring  intermittent hot water, patchy internet service and having gale force winds tearing through ill-fitting single-glazed windows), she now has to cower in her room, breathe the dust and listen to the hammering while things are upgraded. For the new tenant. Not Gill.

Gill has not taken kindly to this final ‘statement’ from Catlady. If it’s any consolation, however, I think Catlady’s actual cat is even less impressed. I understand that Gill has turned down the cat’s plea for asylum in her suitcase when she leaves. Gill and the cat are now’ squamping’ together in one room. Squamping is the term Gill came up with — instead of the trendy new ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping), this is squatting and camping combined.

My sympathy for Gill’s predicament is somewhat muted, however, since I myself am in a construction zone — although it is of my own making. I am having my popcorn ceiling scraped and repainted, minus the lumps. I love how trends go from ‘must haves’ to ‘passé’ to ‘what were they thinking?’ in the space of a few short years. I’m waiting for the now ‘in’ tray ceilings to die a horrible death. Now, as anybody who knows me will agree, I’m not an ‘on trend’ person. The only reason I am doing this is that the popcorn has water stains, the result of a hundred year rainstorm during which the rain blew sideways and up through the attic and onto the ceiling. It can’t be repaired without getting rid of the lumps. So here we are. The Pig is displaced, she doesn’t know where to go, she has to skirt the piled-up furniture and looks longingly at her favourite couch that is now unavailable for her mid-morning and mid-afternoon siesta because it is squeezed into the kitchen and has a coffee table turned upside down on it.

Crazy D was warned yesterday that access to the upper floor would be curtailed for a couple of hours. Plastic sheeting was taped up. He managed to make it down from his room just as the painter yelled, “Last call! Everyone out!” Crazy D came flying down, his athletic bag in hand, to hide out at the gym. I strapped The Pig’s leash on her and took her for her second long walk of the morning. We walked, she yelled at and chased several bunnies, we meandered along the paths and then when we got home, I lashed her to a tree while I raked leaves. It was, for The Pig, a delightful day. I hadn’t felt this displaced since the bedbug infestation.

I really should arrange a Skype chat between Catlady’s cat and The Pig.The Pig needs to hear — firsthand, from someone who knows –how much worse her life could be right now. At least she isn’t trapped in a small room with ‘her person’ nowhere to be found. Gill isn’t overly fond of the cat and despite its pathetic overtures of friendship, its fur brings out the worst of Gill’s allergies. So the cat must fend for itself during construction. The Pig, however, has made a new friend in the painter (I can tell since she sits by him as he eats lunch and tries to mooch his food) and she has Crazy D for backup as well as me in the role of primary entertainer. The fact that she is limited, on the main floor, to the kitchen area should be The Pig’s idea of paradise. Not only does she want to be there, she pretty much HAS to be. And when the mess is truly messing, she is being treated to more outdoor time than ever to keep her out of the house. Today, if she plays her cards right, I might take her to the pet store to find her a Hallowe’en costume.

The only consolation Gill will get from seeing all the improvements at Catlady’s is that she will not have to pay the increased rent that will be charged. I think she should present Catlady with a bill for her time waiting in for tradespeople, emotional trauma and increased allergy meds cost(from the needy cat cozying up to her).

In an addendum to the above, I must note that I spoke too soon.The Pig has now figured out that, if she hits it at just the right angle, she can jump up on her sofa and settle in for her morning nap in the kitchen. In the most nonchalant look ever, she is glancing up to see the coffee table looming over her. She seems to be saying, “What??? I’m now in my rightful spot, on my favourite sofa in my favourite room next to the refrigerator. You got a problem with that?” Actually, I don’t. In fact, I rather like this new configuration…it eliminates any unnecessary steps. I can toss food right into her mouth from the ‘fridge without her having to disturb her nap by getting off the sofa. I’m all about efficiency.


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