(photo by me)
Hoarding. An issue many of us have personal experience with or know of through reality TV shows like Hoarders or Confessions: Animal Hoarders.
Books have been written and films have been made about famous hoarders like Homer and Langley Collyer and Long Island socialites Edith Bouvier Beale (“Little Edie”) and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier (“Big Edie”) .
(The Collyer Brothers home, 1947 – http://www.nydailynews.com)
(“Little Edie” – http://www.collegefashion.net)
He might not be rich or famous, but Bernie the Cat may have succumbed to their ranks as well. He is neither a compulsive shopper (so we have not gone bankrupt, thank goodness), nor does he save reams of old newspapers and other paraphernalia, but does like things.
At first we noticed the shoes. He would lay his head on my sneakers or put his nose inside them, often falling asleep this way.
Then it was my purse and duffel bag.
Next came the red blanket, which he talks to and drags around the floor in his teeth and kneads with his claws.
Once I found his scratch mat, toy alligator and toy bird wrapped inside the blanket as he was dragging it. Alarming!
Last week we found him laying on Lorin’s computer apparatus and extension cords in the basement, seemingly taking possession of them.
He likes to build a fort consisting of my purse, duffel bag and the red blanket. He is not happy when one of his objects is taken away.
Is it time for an intervention?
Hopefully, with love, support and patience, we will get through this as a family, and not have to seek professional help.
Have any of you experienced hoarding with your non-human companions?
I don’t mind if you put stuff on me
if it makes you happy.
Fat Mousie, fuzzy ball,
squeaky bird and bottle cap
are my friends
They can always sit on me
I also don’t mind when
you lay your head on my tummy
like a pillow
It gives me a chance to nip you
What I don’t like is
the ironing board–
it makes me hiss and run
I also don’t like Roomba–
I don’t know what he
wants from me
This cat is very brave to ride the Roomba,
but he looks absurd in that shark costume.
How could he allow himself to be so demeaned?
To each his own.
That’s all my news for today.
Oh, one last thing.
I saw this picture, but I’m not sure what it means.
I’m not crazy about the hair. Are you?
Samson (left), Karl (right)
Samson: Let’s take a break.
Samson: I think I see it.
Karl: I think I see my shadow.
Samson: Pay attention, Karl!
Karl: Sorry. I wonder if this means we’ll have 6 more weeks of summer.
Samson: We’ll have six more weeks of summer anyway. It’s only July.
Karl: Oh, I didn’t think about that. Never mind.
(photo: Daily Mail)
All that you really need to know about last night is that Melania wore a beautiful dress by London-based Serbian designer Roksanda Ilinic that cost $2,190. It sold out minutes after she gave her campaign speech at the Republican National Convention. Way to go, Melania! Get Americans shopping again so the terrorists don’t win. Let’s not talk about her speech, that may have been plagiarized, echoing passages from Michelle Obama’s speech before the DNC in 2008. Fashion trumps substance!
Speaking of fashion and substance, did you catch former Calvin Klein underwear model and soap opera actor Antonio Sabato Jr.’s speech? He moved from Rome to the U.S. in 1985 and became a naturalized citizen in 2006. He believes that Obama is a Muslim and told ABC News that Obama is “with the bad guys.” At least he looks good in underwear.
I’ll admit to only having watched Antonio Sabato Jr. (kept hoping he would strip down to those undershorts) and the guy who came after him who was rather dour. Last night’s theme was “Make America Safe Again”–neither as catchy nor as bold as “Make America Great Again.” I wonder what tonight’s theme / motto will be.
I missed out on purchasing Melania’s dress like so many other women had the fortune to do. To be truthful, it’s more than I can afford to pay for a dress. Not sure I’d ever spend that much on a dress, but never say never. Isn’t it more important that we have the privilege to emulate celebrities, models (including underwear models) and those above our station, and imagine ourselves as rich and glamorous as they are? Ah, we can dream. Can’t we?
Last night while watching TV, Lorin and I heard what sounded like someone snoring. First, I thought it was the sleeping character in the show we were watching (Aquarius, on Netflix), but after the scene with the sleeping person had ended, the sound continued. Was someone sleeping on our porch or outside? What could it be?
I wandered into the dining room and discovered Bernie lying on top of the red hippo blanket (has hippos on it) and purring like a steam engine. The blanket normally sits on the chair in the back right corner of the dining room, but someone had moved it. A few days ago, Bernie started sleeping on the corner chair, which used to be Tisch’s (our deceased kitty) favorite chair.
I put the red blanket back on the chair, much to Bernie’s chagrin, and he quickly dragged it onto the floor again. Then he commenced kneading it and purring loudly.
When I went upstairs to bed, I heard him making strange vocalizations. Perhaps he was talking to the blanket?
This morning I discovered Bernie lying on the floor on top of the blanket. When I approached to him to ask what he was doing, he moved to the head of the dining room table (photo below), as if ashamed or not wanting to take responsibility for his actions.
I assured him that he was not in trouble, but it didn’t seem to matter. I put the blanket back on the chair.
I wonder where I’ll find it tonight.
Update as of July 14: Last night Bernie was dragging the blanket around in his teeth and kneaded it while it was still in his jaws. It seems he was humping it as well.
(Venus of Urbino by Titian)
I am a humble pussy cat
my fur is red and white
I’m not a Renaissance painter’s dream
or a swordsman of great might
I lived with my owner till she died
then they put me in a cage
I lived there forever, it seemed
I wondered if I’d be saved
Now I have lots of furry friends
and good (diet) food to eat
scratch posts and mouse toys to play with
my world is quite complete
So don’t forget–it’s never too late
for good things to happen to you
don’t ever give up, be steadfast
and your dreams can come true
“Who did your hair?” she said.
“My hair stylist,” I said.
“I don’t like it. The girls are wearing it long these days.”
I removed my headband, as if that would make a difference.
“You’ve gained so much weight,” she said, scrunching up her face.
“I’m sorry my appearance offends you,” I said.
“Oh, everything’s all wrong. Where are my clothes? The clothes in the closet don’t belong to me!” she said, hyperventilating. “What happened to Grandpa’s house?”
“What do you mean? Grandpa in Wisconsin?”
“No, when he lived with Rony.”
“Mom, Grandpa’s been dead for years,” I said.
“But what about my sister? Can’t I go there?”
“Mom, Rony is dead.”
“What?” she said, her face terrified in disbelief.
“She died several years ago. She had a heart condition.”
“I know she had a heart condition, but I didn’t know she died,” she said.
“Yes, she died.”
“Where have you been? You’ve been gone for so long!”
“Mom, I was here two weeks ago.”
“No, you weren’t!”
“Yes, I was. I brought you the bras you asked for.” I pulled them out of a tote bag.
“No, these are all wrong—they’re too big.”
“I got them too big because you said the other ones shrunk in the wash.”
“Oh, they’re all wrong.”
“Okay, Mom, I think I’ll go now. I don’t need this.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll try to be quiet,” she said.
“You don’t have to be quiet. Just don’t yell at me.”
“But why were you gone so long?”
“I was here two weeks ago. My office moved—I get home at 7:30 at night. I can only see you on weekends.”
She made a face.
“Where have you been? I’m being poisoned here. The air, the fumes,” she said.
“Is it hot in here?” I said.
“Yes, I think so.”
I asked James the nurse if he could turn on the air conditioning in her room.
“I’m so confused. I didn’t think I’d be here forever. Where did I used to live? They’re killing me here.”
“At Schuyler House, in the Bronx.”
“I don’t remember that place. I didn’t think I’d be here forever.”
“I’m sorry,” I said.
“What will become of me? Where will I go?”
“I don’t know, Mom. Rick has the house in Elmira. You’ve seen it.”
“I know that. Stop humoring me,” she said, ramming her wheelchair into the side of her bed frame.
“Dan still lives in the house, and he lives near Greg.”
Dan is my Aunt Rony’s husband; Greg is my cousin.
“Oh, that’s good. He always took care of himself,” Mom said.
“He just turned 90, I think. He goes swimming at the YMCA every day.”
“Yes, he always took care of himself. I’m happy to hear this.”
“Make sure you tell him about my performances at the Actors Home. I want them to know where I am.”
“I’m doing Anastasia,” she said.
“Okay, I’ll tell him.”
“Do you want to go for a spin?” I said.
“Yes,” she said, hyperventilating.
“Do you want something to calm you down?”
“Yes, I have some valium somewhere.”
“In the medicine cabinet?” I said.
“Yes, I think so.”
“You can take some after dinner,” I said.
I told the nurse James* that Mom was having a hard time.
“Can Mom get a sedative?” I asked.
“It’s sundowning,” James said. “It happens around this time.”
It was about 4:30 p.m.
“Let’s go into the garden,” James said. “Come on, Katherine.”
I wheeled her out into the garden, James opening the door to the outside world.
“Mom, do you want your coffee?” I said.
“I’ll bring it,” James said.
“And can you bring me a glass of water?” I said.
“Sure,” he said.
“It was about time I had a nervous breakdown,” Mom said, laughing. “Why don’t they show Lust for Life? They keep having it up on the bill.”
“I don’t know, Mom.”
“Would you lay out some clothes for me for tomorrow? I can’t find the polka dot dress I love so much.”
“What color was it?” I said.
“Green polka dots and white background.”
“I’ll try to find it or I’ll get you another,” I said.
I’m watching Terms of Endearment. I never liked it when I was younger, but I do now. I never appreciated the relationship between the mother (Shirley MacLaine) and daughter (Debra Winger), the closeness between them.
I guess I didn’t have that type of relationship with my mom, but it was still a relationship. So much of the time I felt like I was her mother, her nurse, her therapist. Sometimes I think she resented me for it. But it’s who I was schooled to be—the caretaker.
I know I can’t fix Mom. I can’t make her not have Alzheimer’s. I can’t make her remember her sister died or she no longer has a house to live in. I do what I can.
*Note: pseudonym used.
Twelve years and $4 billion of public funds (Port Authority) later, the Oculus has reared its lovely (?) head and stegosaurus body for the world to see. Why commuters need such a monstrosity as a transportation hub seems to be a moot point, as it will be housing multiple high-end retail shops and is surely benefiting someone. Why the $4 billion wasn’t earmarked to rejuvenate the decrepit Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street which has not been rehauled in 40 years and filter-feeds about 250,000 commuters daily, never ceases to amaze me. Having spent the last nine years commuting in and out of this bus station from New Jersey, I can tell you that it leaves much to be desired both aesthetically and otherwise.
(all photos by E. Herd)
I guess it all comes down to perception. Now that my office has moved to the Financial District, I have been blessed with the opportunity to behold, I mean, worship, the Oculus on a daily basis. I have yet to step within its glistening turkey carcass chambers. I am waiting for the right moment. Not sure when that will be.
As John Keats said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Remember in 2001: A Space Odyssey how the monkeys went wild over the monolith? Well, now we have our modern-day monolith. I haven’t seen any monkeys banging at it yet.
This is Bernie, whom many of you have already heard about. He is the latest member of our “pride.” We adopted him through S.T.A.R.T. (Save the Animals Rescue Team) in New Jersey. He was at a pound in Paterson–apparently his owner had died–and brought to PetSmart in Paramus for adoption. He resided there for about two months: everyone loved him but they were concerned about his weight–24 pounds. I guess that made him hard to adopt, and the fact he wasn’t a kitten; he’s five years old. We are keeping him on the lower calorie food he was accustomed to eating, Hill Science Diet “Perfect Weight.” He seems to have lost some weight, mainly from being uncaged and playing with the other cats and going up and down the stairs. I also think he was depressed, but he isn’t showing any signs of that now. All good!
As you can see he is quite the looker and loves to pose for a photograph. This song is in honor of Bernie. He’s too sexy for his fur, wouldn’t you agree?