I have to give one of my cats pills for the next two weeks. He had an abscess, and the antibiotics will cure it. Easy for the veterinarian to say. The first pill went down with ease. Cats, however, learn very fast, and from that point since, he has avoided me like the plague.

Cats are creatures of habit, however, and Salami’s (named by my husband; I have no idea) favorite hiding place is his only hiding place. He runs under the bed when he sees me coming. This is handy for me, but also depressing, because the following is a list of the things that are also under there with him:

  • A dog bone. My dog died five years ago.
  • Assorted Kleenexes. I can’t even.
  • That ladder thing that my kids made me buy after having the school assembly on fire safety and home disaster drills. We had no drills; the ladder has never been out of the box.
  • Mounds of cat hair. I have no guilt, because I am certain that only one in every one thousand Americans ever says, “You know, I think today I will vacuum under the bed.”
  • Catnip mice.
  • One tattered paperback entitled “Finnegan’s Wake.” Leaving it right there, folks.
  • Yahtzee dice. We have been wondering where those went.
  • A golf sock.
  • A pedometer. I took it out and threw it away.
  • Forty twist ties. Apparently, cats think these are worth something.
  • So much dust.
  • Oh, and one leery cat.

This is a sort of rude awakening. My house is only peripherally clean. I can only imagine what lurks in the netherworld behind my refrigerator. I don’t dare consider what is under all the sofas.

I feel a passing pang of guilt. My mother would be ashamed of me. What this house needs is a complete, once-every-twenty-years deep cleaning. My breast surges with a new sense of resolve.

Then I go downstairs and have a snack.

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