During the course of my second marriage we decided it would be a good idea to get out of the rental market and build a house. To do so we needed to save every cent we earned so we thought to rent somewhere small & cheap for the 3 months construction term advised by the builder. With 2 cats, Baddy & Jack, and dog Bo, finding such a place proved impossible so we took up a generous offer to live with my husband’s daughter, her 2 kids and new partner.
We 4 adults, 2 kids, 2 cats and a minimum of 3 dogs shared an old, compact 3 bedroom brick clad house 3 blocks from the beach. In the main it was a satisfactory arrangement with logistical and financial benefits for everyone. The dogs and the kids thrived, happy because they always had company. The cats were confined to our bedroom as the household was chaotic and I couldn’t risk them bolting.
There was one flaw. My husband’s daughter was a vet nurse, and she brought her work home in the form of numerous & varied rescued animals and birds. I’m fond of the furred and feathered but you simply never knew what you’d encounter where.
When the budgie died, it lay in state legs up in the cage for a day or two, so when I saw it had been removed; I who have a horror of dead things was relieved I could now go out the back past its cage. My relief was short-lived when I opened the freezer door to deposit a packet of peas, and found it in a plastic bag shroud next to the icecream.
Getting to work entailed a long drive on the freeway to the city, so my morning shower occurred at 4.30 am. Ordinarily it would have been a drowsy non-event but bathtubs are a handy repository for sick rescued animals like the quarantined 7 puppies whose mother died from a mystery illness that was threatening them. It was the only bathroom in the house.
After the puppies were re-homed the bathroom wasn’t vacant for long. This time it was a ferret, which thought the shower a much better toilet option than a litter tray, and didn’t take kindly to intrusion. I spent a month showering nervously, one eye on its twitchy demeanour until it bit one of the kids and came to a sad but swift end courtesy of the daughter’s partner. It was unfortunate and reactive, but a somewhat of a relief.
I look back now and think why? how? but when you have a goal and few options, do-able has a broader scope.
“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing at this moment, all you have is all you need.” Sarah Ban Breathnach