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Shin the Homeowner (Prior)

Yeah, I own a house in the San Francisco Bay area.  I just missed the anniversary of the date I purchased it, Nov. 1, 1981, and I hope it isn't too upset with me.  Perhaps having a section of my website dedicated to this fine bit of paradise will make it feel better. Probably not as much as if I cleaned it up real nice, but it's a start.  


This section has grown to include the house, the yard, the garage, the car and environs.

Reconverting the house back to the way it was hasn’t been as easy as I would have thought. Several towels that were being used for other than their intended purposes (the afore-mentioned door closers, surface coverings and the like) had to be washed and returned to storage. My kitchen storage containers were moved back to their more functional locations. The couch, moved away from the front door to make escape just a bit harder, was moved back to a more reasonable location. And the shelves that had displayed so many family reminders, some of perhaps tangible value, but most with value only to me at this point, were put back in their viewable and aesthetically pleasing order. Most troublesome has been the meticulous sweeping of the litter that had been tracked through the house. Some got into a shag rug in the bathroom and has been particularly bothersome and difficult to remove.


Now I have the matter of all the cat things I bought. Unused food and litter are easy. CCA has an ongoing need. The litter box itself along with its associated mat will also go that route. I bought three scratching objects (for which Buddy and Monty found no use) and a few other things that I thought I’d need but didn’t. CCA may use them too. I bought some small bowls which I used for their food and water (I was always surprised how little they drank) which I can repurpose for my own use. The biggest problem may well be the climbing tower. CCA said they’d take it, but I’m not sure they knew what it is! It’s currently in two pieces in the garage. If it turns out they don’t have use for it, it will likely be part of the next Kensington Cleanup.


I bought some toys for the cats. Monty liked one, Buddy liked a different one, and there were a couple that neither much cared for. One of this last category is a blue fuzz ball that rattled when shook. About three inches in diameter, it has found a place on one of the display shelves, a reminder of two wonderful critters who for three weeks tried to brighten my life.

Dismantling the Cat Cave

Last month I told y’all about preparing my house for the arrival of two cats, Buddy and Monty. Actually, just one room of it, my spare bedroom which I rechristened the “Cat Cave,” my homage to Batman’s headquarters. My overall experience with the felines is chronicled in my writing section’s “A Tale of Two Kitties.” In short, the attempt didn’t work. This month, my homeowner focuses on other things I did to the house and how it’s all being undone. 


One instruction I received from the Community Cat Advocates (CCA, the shelter that provided the cats) was that I was to keep them in one room for a week, then open the house gradually, so as not to overwhelm them. As it turned out, it also served to not overwhelm me. After the arrival of Buddy and Monty arrived, I realized that the door to their room didn’t latch shut. I had to rig a system in which I placed a weight on a towel inside the room, and extended the towel under the door into the hallway so I could prop the door shut by pulling on it from the outside. Klugey, but it worked. I found I had the same issue with the laundry room. Fortunately, I didn’t need to keep the little beasts either in or out of these rooms for long, but what a pain, and what a foreshadowing of things to come.


There were two features of cats that I hadn’t really noticed before. Both necessitated changes to my house I hadn’t anticipated. First was the amount of really smelly poop two cats can generate. Even though my kitchen wastebasket has a lid, it couldn’t keep the smell inside, especially when I had to open it up! I eventually bought a waterproof (smell proof) box to keep the little poop-bags in until they filled up to the point I didn’t feel I was wasting plastic… then they would go outside. I had to go outside to open the box outside… it became a whole routine in itself. Supposedly there is litter one can flush down the toilet, but read the fine print. I wouldn’t trust it long-term.


The other surprising feature is jumping ability. You can read the details in my writing section, but suffice it to say, I had to make some substantial changes to the house to keep them (especially Monty) from going places I didn’t think they could get to, especially in the kitchen and the living room. The 3-1/2 foot jump to the kitchen countertop is easy-peasy for a cat. It was my first tough-love venture with a loud “no” and a shove. Hopefully training would work where physical rearranging of objects wouldn’t.


I couldn’t trust my living room to such a scheme. Too many valuables on display Some were rearranged, and the most valuable removed entirely. I was suddenly realizing that my house was no longer mine. Perhaps it was the stodginess of my advancing years (I’d just turned 72) but I needed it back and before Buddy and Monty totally won me over. So, as specified on the contract I signed, I returned them to CCA, whence they came.

Last Update: April 4, 2023

The John Shinnick Web Site

This is a toy I got for Buddy and Monty. About three inches across, it rattles. It wasn't their favorite, but it's a good size to keep on a living room shelf to remember them by.

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