Overnight was cold and blustery and this morning both kids slept until 7 am. There is something about a grey day that makes you sleep, or at least feel like sleeping. None of that bright sunlight assaulting your eyes I guess.
They went to play with Neighbour Friend at 9 am and I puttered around the house. I found a box upstairs that has been sitting in the same spot for so long I wasn’t even seeing it any more, except to move it away from the cupboard door, and back again, as needed.
I brought the box downstairs to be examined (and now I DO notice the space upstairs where it used to be). It was an old paper box full of Things to Be Given Away. The nursing bra that was still in really good shape (I don’t know..is that gross? I wouldn’t personally buy a bra at Value Village but I think people should have the opportunity) and an old black taper candle, still wrapped in plastic that I decided I didn’t want and a white pillar candle and holder that I decided I did want, after I looked at it again. Several puzzles, none of which had all their pieces. One puzzle which did have all its pieces. A pair of snow boots, size 9.
I sat down on the floor and sorted the puzzles. I found myself at the same crossroad I’d apparently reached the last time I tried to get rid of this stuff. The puzzles are incomplete, so I don’t want to give them away to charity. But they’re still puzzles, so I don’t want to throw them in the garbage. But they’re incomplete. But they’re puzzles!
Five years later, here we are.
Yes. I threw them out. Except for the complete one, which I put in a plastic bag and sealed with an elastic band so that it will still be complete by the time it makes it through the sorting process at the donation plant factory warehouse place.
Candle, snow boots, nursing bra: in a giveaway bag.
Garbage: to the garbage.
Box: flattened and put in recycling.
Bookshelf: examined for books the children have hoarded but plan never to read.
Books: put in giveaway bag, under nursing bra, so’s not to be pulled out by curious children and replaced on the shelf.
Satisfied, I prepared to stand up. There’s that smell again, I thought. The pee smell.
Now, in a house with two small children and a cat, it could be anything that smells like pee. It would be more accurate, in fact, to ask “what DOESN’T smell like pee.” However, this particular pee smell has been haunting us for a few days. We suspected the couch but it was not the couch. The other day I even sniffed the carpet but the carpet did not smell of pee (hoorah!) It (the smell) almost seemed to be coming in through the window on the breeze. How was this possible? we wondered. Are raccoons arcing their legs and aiming their pee at our window? Maybe.
Ghost pee. Ooooooohhhhhh.
Turns out the pee smell was coming from the blue bathmat we were using as a buffer between our giant bookshelf and the wood floor. Turns out the cat has been peeing on it. Probably for some time, I realized as I took a big sniff of the bathmat and then was in a coma for three hours.
To get the soiled blue bathmat out from under the bookshelf, of course, I had to move the bookshelf. To move the bookshelf I had to first remove all the books and DVDs and VHS tapes and my squirrel snowglobe and a bunch of Lego and you get the idea. Then I had to unbolt the bookshelf from the wall.
At some point, Eli came in the house and said, “Oooooh! RenoVAtions!” That kind of made it worthwhile.
Then: washing of the floor with Murphy’s Oil Soap, the re-bolting of the bookshelf and the reapplication of four hundred books.
Ah well, it’s good to dust every once in a while.
At noon-thirty the kids came running in STARVING HUNGRY for lunch so I fed them.
“This day is odd,” Eli said as he ate his fourteenth bowl of cereal.
“How so?” I asked.
“Whenever you move the couch or other stuff, like the bookshelf…it makes the day odd.”
I don’t know. Seemed like a pretty normal day to me.