Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I'm not one of those people who doesn't dare cut the tags from their mattresses and pillows, even though the tag says, "Do not remove this tag under penalty of death..." I bought the pillow; I will do as I please with it. No one will break down my door to take me away.

I'm not one of those people who refuses to share my prescription drugs with people who take the same prescription drugs and have temporarily run out. Duh.

I was not one of the people my physical therapist was telling me about: she had a couple of patients who used full-strength bleach to wash their dishes and clean during the "aquapocalypse" last week. And they took baths in bottled water. "Do they have compromised immune systems? Are they on chemo? Were they bathing a new baby?" I asked. They were not. They were merely insane.

I'm not one of those people who always has to trot back to the house to double-check, and triple-check that they really, truly remembered to lock the door.

But I do have some weird domestic fears. I know they're irrational, but they won't go away.

1. When I'm pulling a lemon rind or something out of the garbage disposal, I always worry that I'll accidentally forget my hand is down there and turn the thing on with my other hand. I actually stick my free hand in my pocket when I'm doing this. I should stop putting the wrong things down the disposal.
     I should never have read that Globe story, years ago, about members of the Whitey Bulger gang shredding some poor ex-girlfriend's hand in her disposal before they showed mercy and killed her. I've been traumatized since then. And stupid me: now you're going to be afraid of the disposal, too.

2. After I turn on our little front-loading washing machine, there's always a moment of panic: Is there a cat in there? The cats have never shown any interest in the washer. I just loaded it with clothes 20 seconds ago, punching them around just in case.
     The kittens are so big now that they could hardly fit in there. And I always do a head count before I put anything in the washer. Call this normal, paranoid-cat-owner behavior. Fine. But yesterday, I leaped out of the shower to turn off the washer  because I heard strange noises that could have been a cat in a washing machine. Instead it was the cleaners vacuuming the hallway. And that's not the first time I've done this very thing.

3.  I worry about our toaster. I read a story once in Real Simple magazine about a woman who drove her kids to school, not realizing she'd left a piece of bread in the toaster. She came back home to flames and ashes, and her family lost everything. So I don't trust my toaster, either.
     For one thing, it doesn't really toast, but that's an issue the toaster and I are discussing privately. What worries me is that it sometimes doesn't fully pop up, so after we've removed the (untoasty) toast, its pathetic little heating coils stay red until we manually pull up the bread-release knob, or whatever that's called. So we're paranoid about always unplugging the toaster as soon as we're done non-toasting the bread. If one of us forgets, the other one freaks out.
     We could get a new toaster. But they don't make 'em like they used to. Sure, they may actually toast things. But ours is exceptionally good-looking and slim enough to fit on our tiny counter. If the house burns down, I'm sure I'll change my mind.


  1. I am the person who checks and triple checks things. My favorite is that the stove and coffee pot are off. And I'm always happy when I come home from a day away and the house is still standing (and not the pile of ash you mentioned). I don't know what it is about fire.

    I used to live on the third floor in Cambridge, and one day as I cooked dinner, I heard a sound I did not recognize. Instinct kicked in, I threw the cat into the cat carrier, ran down three flights of stairs (still not knowing what the sound was), only to look back up and see that there was a fire on the first floor. So the fears aren't always nuts.

    But anyway, you mentioned cats in the washer and it reminded me of a cat painting I did called "Fluff & Fold".


    Just scroll down a bit and you'll see it. :-)

  2. Leave those lemon rinds in the disposal - running them through will freshen up the drain. I used to have those fears as well. I've since moved to a rural property on septic so I can't have one anymore. I traded it for a compost pile.


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