Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Smash

The only thing worse than hearing the phone ring at 3:30 am is awakening at that hour to an enormous crash.

We had this very tall, cut-glass apothecary jar, which I filled with seashells, candy, or Christmas ornaments, depending on the season:

As seen in a 2012 Pottery Barn catalog.

Last night, it turned into this:

The sound of shattering glass seemed extra loud in the dead of night — it freaked out the cats (except for one) for several minutes afterward. It roused us instantly and we came tearing into the living room, barely awake. I thought maybe our "gasolier" ceiling light had fallen, or our two handsome art-glass vases on the mantel. But it was the apothecary jar, missing from its spot on bookcase. Where Toffee was now sprawling comfortably.

I know that we have runaway bath tissue and suicidal candelabra,* but I also happen to know that the apothecary jar was sound of mind and body, and had been looking forward to receiving a big bag of Lindt truffles (mixed flavors) come fall. 

I also know that Toffee is a Bad Cat; he just is. It's written in his face — there's a devilish glint in his eyes — and his actions continually prove it. I'm not suggesting that a Bad Cat is automatically an unwelcome or unpleasant cat; far from it. We adore Toffee. He is interesting and challenging company, and affectionate and adorable when he isn't wrecking the place or himself. I just wish he'd try to be a little less accident-prone, or destructive. Or both, actually. A Bad Cat is an expensive cat.

Our first task was to scoop up all of the cats before they stepped on glass, which was everywhere. It's best to approach cats calmly and slowly but we were panicking and not fully functioning, so we tried to hurry and it didn't go too well. Harris was more panicked than we were, and struggled as I tried to pick him up. But I told him it was all right and he instantly relaxed and let me hold him. I was amazed: cats usually pay little attention when you try to soothe them with words. But Harris listened and trusted me. Whoa.

We shut him, Toffee (aka Mr. Bad and M. Mauvais), and a startled Possum in the bedroom. We put on flip flops and began dealing with shards and seashells. We found Wendy under the sofa. She was upset enough to let me pull her out, curled in her usual, defensive "Ball of Wendy" pose. 

We spent an hour sweeping up glass, vacuuming, and moving furniture. Then I spent an hour trolling unsuccessfully for a similar jar on eBay. (I never learn.) Then I went to bed to lie awake until 7 or so, reading Rupert Everett's memoirs.

I don't feel sad about losing the apothecary jar, although I loved it. I'll find another eventually. When I saw the mess, I suddenly remembered photos of people looking at their destroyed homes after Hurricane Sandy and the tornado in Oklahoma. It was impossible to feel the loss after that. It's nothing.

And, besides, we have to learn to expect such things around here; we have a Bad Cat.  

Toffee and the jar in better days. See that look?

*One of the pewter candelabra on our bedroom mantel took the plunge a few hours after we went back to bed last night. Unlike our silverplated one, it survived its fall intact; even its five candles remained in their holders, undamaged. 


  1. I can relate all too well. At first I thought perhaps you were telling a tale of Harris and I thought it must run in the family. Yesterday Buttons broke a very similar piece. He also broke a mirror, and managed to get a screen out of a window. I heard him crying in a panic as if to say 'hey, I'm outside and I know I'm not allowed to be out here!' Windows can only be opened from the top now, something I have always done on the second floor for this very reason. The jar can be replaced, but I am worried he will have 7 years bad luck. Buttons wants to be sure you say hello to his favorite brother Harris. Kelly

  2. Hi Kelly,
    I don't think cats can have nine lives and seven years back luck at the same time, so I don't think you need to worry about Buttons. He's lucky to have you and so he'll always be lucky! Harris loathes taper candles and is always attacking them but he hasn't broken anything else... yet. I put my homeless seashells in a bowl and Harris found it in minutes and started taking them out with his mouth... we are running out of room on top of the tallest piece of furniture in the apartment!


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