I have been purging my life lately. I came to a point where the feng shui of the house wasn’t working anymore. Okay, I don’t know what feng shui is, but it sounded better than “I need to relieve myself of a lot of guilt.” It’s just plain old, life-sucking, weighing-heavily-on-my-mind guilt.
Let’s start with our 8-year old lab. She deserved better than us. She deserved a family who would exercise her and enjoy her exuberant personality. I listed her with Seattle Purebred Rescue and after several months and many interviews, I found her a better home. She lives by a lake now. I think I did well; guilt diminished.
A couple weeks ago, I was cold-called by a tree company soliciting work. “As a matter of fact,” I said, “I have a cherry tree in my back yard that needs to be cut down and some branches from the neighbor’s trees that needed to be trimmed back.” We also need to rebuild the shed the tree was hanging over, so it was a convenient, well-timed phone call.
The tree was gasping its last breath as the original owners of our house put a tire around the base of the tree. By the time we moved in 22 years ago, the tree was too big to pull the tire off. We tried to cut it off, but the steel belt of the tire was too tough to cut through. The tire was choking the life out of the tree, not to mention the huge branch that was dying a slow, painful death.
A week after that call, the tree is down, the branches trimmed back, just a few trunk rounds to remind me of the last tree of my daughters’ childhood backyard. Another item off my mind.
Next on the list was the cat we rescued five months ago. I thought it would be a no-brainer to introduce another cat into our home. We have a nine-year old cat that has been on the other end of the spectrum; she’s been the cat we introduced into our home when another cat already lived with us.
It started out typically, lots of growling and hissing, but once I put them together in the back of the house, they seemed to be figuring out how to get along. Then it all went bad. Apparently, our rescue cat decided that since she wasn’t going outside anymore, everything inside was under her management; including the food.
Our older cat stopped eating and lost weight. I had to separate them again. But my home is small and although the cats calmed down and our older cat started eating again, it couldn’t go on forever. Once summer hit and we started going on vacation it would be a logistical nightmare. Plus the drama of it all was stressing me out; I’m the one home alone with them all day.
I didn’t want to just drop her off at the pound and none of my friends could take her, because it was obvious she needed to be an only cat. So I listed her on craigslist, where I could interview people for the right, forever home for her. I found a lovely family with a 14-year old son who knew everything about cats because he used to volunteer in a shelter. I scored once again. The guilt isn’t totally gone by giving her away. I spent a lot of money rescuing that cat, but I did the right thing and my stress level has dropped significantly.
The last thing on my list is the piano no one has played for two years. Craigslist hasn’t worked for that, but now my neighbor wants it. Another one down!
Anyone else? Funny that the people living with me are so quiet these days.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is assuaging her guilt one thing at a time. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com or on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Lifestyles section.