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Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Consequences of our Actions

Today's harvest, but potatoes were planted last spring

I posted in the past about my delightful winter potatoes.  I last planted potatoes in the spring, but apparently missed a few when harvesting, which then generated more potatoes in a fantastic perpetual potato cycle.  Seems as if the consequence of being a poorly-skilled potato harvester leads to nice consequences of new potatoes.

As I performed my other Saturday chores today, however, I thought about how my big project of the day resulted from a different set of consequences, which can also be tracked back to my actions.

About four years ago, we drove to a shelter with the intention of bringing home a kitten, only to find out on arrival that there were no kittens.  Apparently, kittens follow some kind of a semiannual birthing cycle, and we were off cycle.  In a cage, however, there was a friendly cat, estimated to be less than a year old, with big eyes and a hopeful look who was, according to a tag on her cage, on some kind of medical hold.

We asked the shelter personnel about her, and learned that she was found abandoned with a broken pelvis, probably a victim of a car accident.  The shelter personnel were pleased that we were interested in her, and offered her for immediate release if we wanted her.  We, of course, took her home.

Top 'O the morning to ya
The first few months were great.  Tansy adapted to our house quickly, and won favor in my wife's heart as her amenable disposition permitted such awesome things as donning leprechaun hats at St. Patrick's Day (Wife's unmarried name is Murphy, incidentally.)

Maybe 18 months after the adoption, however, trouble struck.  Our house needed some painting and some other improvements, and we connected with another soul with a friendly disposition and a hopeful look.  A man named Jose Morales was doing some other work in the neighborhood.  We were quickly won over by his confidence and willingness to please, and struck a deal for painting the house, and then laying flooring, and then redoing the stair treads and landing (shown below).

Working with Jose was a bit trying.  His "crew" consisting of himself and two others would regularly not show up for work, his workmanship was a little off, and he'd often have to borrow a tool from me.  Jose's charm, honesty, and passion to please made up for his organizational shortcomings, however, and the work did managed to progress on a good although unsteady pace.

Jose also tended to underbid all of the work.  As we progressed into different phases of the project, he'd provide a quotation, I'd say I need competing quote, and he'd steadily knock his price down until I'd just give up and let him do the work.  He'd conclude these sessions with, "I'll make you very happy, Mr. Ryan", and he'd really mean it.

One of these pricing sessions included the baseboard, and as it turns out he bid the cheapest baseboard type, which is prefinished pressboard.  I wasn't all that happy with the choice, and could have renegotiated, but in the end, I agreed to go with the pressboard even though it is cheap and definitely not intended for areas that can get wet.  "How could it get wet?", I thought.

Well, guess what...the disturbance in the household set off some psychotic reaction in the cat, and, next thing you know (as the house is finished and looking brand-new), she's peeing on the baseboards.

For a couple of years now, we're in another perpetual cycle like the potato cycle, but it's perpetual pee.  Cat's favorite place is the corner of the landing below.

Landing after baseboard was removed

What happens when pressboard sits in a pool of cat pee and cleaner

After just two years of this, I have to replace the molding, and do so today, and I think about consequences.  We brought a traumatized cat home, then remodeled the house while including cheap baseboard, which traumatized the cat, which ruined the baseboards, wrapping up everything in a neat little cat-bow (of a pet costume).  Even though she really doesn't look traumatized.

She's really not that fat!

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