Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Warning: Cat Pee & Philosophical Musings Ahead

Note: Every so often I get the urge to do a "soap box" style, picture-less post so consider yourself warned. Feel free to click away at any point the following becomes tiresome. This blog helps me hear my voice and so I'll commence mumbling to myself...aloud...for the whole internet to hear. You are free to listen...or not.

I've spent these first few days of my Presidents' Week vacation refeathering my nest with some long overdue DIY art studio projects. I'm planning an open studio the first weekend in April and I've been thinking about how I want my space, my personal sanctuary, to appear to other people.

And then this morning, when I went to do my usual duty of cleaning the litterbox, I discovered that one of the cats had peed on the floor. This has happened before and it is not a deliberate act but rather the consequence of a kitty bottom not quite hovering in the box as peeing commenced. It is an accident I despise dealing with as any cat owner will tell you there are few things as foul as cat pee. (Hairball vomit is a close second.) There's a "catch-all" mat under the box which fails to catch anything; in fact, most often, the pee just wicks under the mat, concealing a huge pee disaster which gives me shivers of "ick" when I lift it up to clean.

Invariably, Marley (my big marmalade boy) suddenly needs to use the box right as it is in the middle of maintenance so he paces back and forth outside the bathroom, looking all the world like a little boy in serious need of a restroom. Tuscany (the self-absorbed, manipulative, tempermental but secretly-sweet calico) just sits imperiously beyond the site of the offense, blinking slowly and staring as if to say "About time the janitor got to her business." Completely grossed out and irritated beyond measure, I was grumpily going about the business of mopping up the cat pee disaster when for some strange reason (Low blood sugar perhaps? Ammonia fumes maybe?) the whole situation began to strike me as funny. As in a can't-stop-giggling-make-a-weird-snorting-sound" funny.

Here I had been all worried about what strangers would think of my studio and in reality, it was just an everyday apartment, full of the usual everyday stuff, including cat pee. And yet, it is also a strange and wonderful place where magic happens. In a cozy, inspirational, supply-stuffed space, I get to create whatever my beautiful, crazy mind can think up. It is my sandbox and apparently, on some days, my cats' sandbox as well.

I've always shaken my head at the gauzy studio photos that frequent some popular art & design blogs. Even more everyday blogs are sometimes stricken by this syndrome: piles of pretty, perfectly lit and posed pictures of plants, idyllic scenes of pastoral bliss, the ubiquitous duo of painty hands and shoe-gazing photos. Just once, I wish someone would show - or hell, just talk about - the possibility of cat pee and ugly art and dirty dishes and carpet in need of a good vacuuming. I can be knee deep in housecleaning and beauty at the same time. I am not a lesser artist because my studio furniture is from the thrift store or gleaned from the supermarket across the street as it changes displays. No, I don't have flat files or vintage oak card catalog cabinets or perfect lighting or fresh flowers in every corner. Painty hands...yep...got those but also paint flecks in my hair, my eyebrows, that long-suffering indoor/outdoor carpet, on every decent shirt I own, and even the cats. Yes, I gaze at my shoes but sometimes, this very morning in fact, I am standing in cat pee. And then, I turn around and go make something.

I guess my point is: don't wait for perfection. Don't linger in the artistic Edens of others. Create in your Now, no matter how messy that might be. Do just what has to be done for hygiene's sake and then get to work. No one ever lies on their death bed and moans about all the lost opportunities to clean house.

8 comments:

Özge Başağaç said...

Count me in on the cat pee :) Well, i don't have a perfect life, either. But instead of waiting for it to be perfect one day, i do art and it becomes perfect instantly :)Art for myself. Art for the sake of art. Here is to days full of paint, color and cat pee...

Emie58 said...

Life. It's good, and not so good sometimes. We're all human. It seems it's become normal to only share the good stuff while ignoring the not so good stuff. Kudos to you for being willing to share all life sends your way. Personally, I can relate much better to someone more like me.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just roll my eyes at the perfection people post in social media. How wonderful to embrace what makes our lives really alive - cat pee and all!
-Ellie

Jennifer Shelby said...

"Don't linger in the artistic Edens of others" - best advice ever!

Heidi Orndorff said...

Yes, yes, yes... to it all. and yes I have two cats so I do know cat pee!

Jenny Petricek said...

I can totally relate to this post! My Boston Terrier's favorite place to have "accidents" (usually poo) is in my art studio. She likes to lie in the sun that comes through the window because it keeps her warm, and is occasionally too lazy to get up and let someone know she needs to go outside. So...I get a lovely "gift" on the carpet when I walk in later. :-)

Kris said...

Bravo! Why are some people so excited by gazing at their feet anyway? I don't understand the trend at all.

Kimkarlene said...

I love your blog & artwork. I have a suggestion about the cat missing the litter box. This idea came to me via another friend. I am not sure how much room you have available ...so this might be doable ..and maybe not for you. I purchased a small baby swimming pool which sits in my basement ....I place two litter boxes in the center of the empty pool. This arrangement catches kitty misses and also the loose bits of litter on their paws as they leap out of the litter box. Hope this is a helpful idea for you. Have a Great Day!

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