every disembodied tuft of hair
Friday, December 26 2014
I had a moderate hangover today after last night's extended celebration, though it wasn't quite as bad as I expected. I think it helps that Gretchen has me taking a B multivitamin and that I drank about a quart of water before going to bed.
Gretchen has been sleeping very badly of late, and so again this morning she didn't have enough time to walk the dogs. It was warm enough for me to walk without a jacket, and as I went through the patch of scrubby forest between the Farm Road and the Stick Trail, I gathered the dead lower limbs of trees (mostly White Pines, but also Hemlocks and various hardwoods) for use as kindling. We'd be having a house sitter soon, and I always like to make fire starting as easy as possible for people who are clueless about how to do anything except perhaps liking something on Facebook.
The thing about house sitters is that I hope for the best and expect the worst. Though we have a relatively short list of things that need doing in our upcoming absence, there are a great many ways for a house sitter to fail, and many small fiascos have befallen them over the years. We've had our car be run into deer, we've had a house sitter imagine she could compress a piece of firewood with the glass door of the woodstove, we've had multiple occasions when people smoked cigarettes in our house despite knowing the rules, we've had a neurological Lyme disease scare about a dog, and we've even had our dogs feel so abandoned that they decided to hang out on the front stoop of a neighbor.
In winter, I'm particularly neurotic about the state of the front door. On one occasion last winter, it failed to latch and stood wide open all night long. Being the one who physically gathers and carries home our heat on my back, every time that door is open, I feel like someone is wasting my time. I especially hate it when someone holds open the door as form of social signalling, that (for example) they are still connected and will remain connected to someone on the other side. My feeling is that if you need to maintain that connection, go to the other side of that door, close it, and maintain your fucking connection. There's nothing I can do to micromanage the opening and closing of that door when I'm away, but at least I can make sure it has a propensity to close. So today I installed a spring-loaded door closer, the kind normally attached to a screen door. Since the front door opens inward and the closer has to be on the side of the door to which it goes when it closes, I had to install it on the outside of the door, where its presence was surprisingly unobtrusive. Once installed, it actually failed to close the door to the point of latching; to get that to happen reliably, I had to squirt some lithium grease into the latching mechanism.
This evening Oscar and Julius (aka "Stripey") had a terrible fight in the laboratory (their mutual favorite territory). They knocked over tanks of propane, flung tufts of hair every which way, and completely freaked out Celeste the Kitten. After a similar such fight several weeks ago, Stripey had a bad injury on his right ear that required antibiotic salve. This time, though, neither appeared to have been injured. But Celeste was still freaked out hours later, creeping slowly through the site of the battle, sniffing every disembodied tuft of hair.
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