I guess they don’t call it “Labor Day” for nothin’.

Happy Labor Day!

It’s my usual Labor Day tradition to spend the weekend getting some cleaning done. Usually this means cleaning my house, but we’ve actually been doing a pretty decent job lately of keeping the “public” areas presentable.

However, there is one room that I have put off tackling for far too long, because just thinking about having to clean it makes me feel so anxious and overwhelmed that I literally become nauseous. That is the room formerly known as my office/craft room, but in the past year and a half or so has come to be known as “the cat room.”

I think the devolution of this room really started when our kitty, Sasha, became sick last year. We already used that room to shut the cats up at night, and I’d been able to stay on top of their messes, but dealing with a loved one’s cancer, even when said loved one is a pet, takes a lot out of you, and I didn’t have the energy to keep battling our other two cats’ destructiveness. That only got worse after Sasha passed away — both their acting out and my inability to care what they were destroying — and shortly afterward I moved my desk into my husband’s office and pretty much gave that room over entirely to the remaining cats.

To know what we’re dealing with here, you should know that our oldest cat, Nibblet, is psychotic, and compulsively destructive. She has pica and eats or chews everything, and when she’s angry — which is pretty much her constant state — she deliberately knocks things off of shelves and breaks things. Our other cat, Boudica, isn’t so intentionally malevolent so much as just really clumsy, although she does have some chewing tendencies of her own.

So other than cleaning up their frequent bodily emissions, scooping their litter and occasionally vacuuming the small amount of carpet not taken up by stuff we’ve dumped in there because at some point we also started using that room as a big junk closet, we haven’t cleaned in there in well over a year, and it has become kind of a scary place.

So yesterday I decided to gird up my loins and finally start the long process of taking back my craft room from the cats.

Once I got started, it actually wasn’t quite as bad as I’d anticipated. One of the things that kept putting me off from tackling that room is that we’ve got a pretty bad brown recluse spider problem, and there are plenty of places in there for those things to hide. Generally, I have no problem with spiders, but as a rule I do have a huge problem with anything that can cause your flesh to rot. The good news is, while I did run into a few spiders, only one of them was a dreaded brown recluse.

The bad news, however, is that I discovered that one of the cats (or maybe both, but I suspect it was probably just Nibblet) peed all over both my yarn stash and my sewing fabric. So that’s going to be fun, detangling and re-winding all of that yarn after I’m forced to wash it.

At any rate, after a couple of hours in there yesterday, I got all of my knitting supplies safely cat-proofed inside my old TV cabinet turned craft cabinet, restored order to one of my book cases, removed a lot of things to the garage that can either be sold or given to charity, and threw away a lot of trash. And that was just one corner of the room. Still, it already looks a lot better in there. Y’know, if you stand at a certain angle and only look at that one corner.

My weekend wasn’t entirely about spiders and cat pee, thankfully. I did manage to make a little progress on my new novel outline, albeit not as much as I would have liked. I figured out the main character arc progressions for both of my protagonists, which is a good thing, but I’m still having a hard time envisioning more than a handful of scenes and figuring out the main story beats. I may just have to start writing and do an exploratory draft, but I need to focus on getting my short story collection ready for release before I start writing the new book in earnest.

Today, as predicted, I still have to write those short pieces for Fiverr. After those are done I’ll probably spend some more time working on the cat room until Matt’s ready to cook up some brats and break out the holiday beer.

So how are you guys spending the unofficial end of summer?