Last night I came home to what is arguably a beautiful sight -- my sister-in-law's boyfriend, who is a superb handyman, finishing up the paint on the new walls and closet downstairs and on the ceiling upstairs. After what feels like years of us talking about how we wanted to put these walls up, it is now 95% finished and it looks amazing. If our house does not sell within the next 8 weeks, it will be really wonderful to live with that extra room for however long we stick around. We've set the eight-week deadline so that, no matter what, we will not be moving and closing on anything new when I could conceivably be giving birth at any moment. Eight weeks is incredibly optimistic but we are being very realistic about the chances of it happening (insert mad laughter here) and are making contingency plans just in case.
So the painting and walls are lovely and the cats, all three of them, are so freaked out at this point that they are keeping each other company on the couch with minimal brattiness and taking turns giving us looks that seem to say, "WTF is going on here?????????? What are you keeping from us?????" They know something is afoot.
Given the dust that was everywhere and the concentrated paint fumes, which I could just picture doing some unearthly damage to the baby, we packed a quick bag and ended up spending the night at a Hampton Inn near Lechmere. We brought take-out from our favorite Thai place and ate on the bed while watching The Office. While I was getting ready for bed, Lunchboy flipped the channel to Comedy Central and in the middle of South Park this horrible commercial by the ASPCA came on. It was a full minute of pictures of abused animals who were clearly lonely, sad, and scared, a few of them with that heartbreaking look of desperation and resignation that comes when you know life is going to end soon and it will not be pretty. I have always been a gigantic soft-touch and an animal lover (my parents say that I was inconsolable for two hours after seeing Bambi. I say that that movie is not something any two-year-old should be subjected to. Also, there was an incident in elementary school where I had to be escorted from the auditorium during a wildlife movie in which a mother cheetah refused to let her cub back into the den. And those were just the early years). Watching this ASPCA commercial, which clearly had exactly the impact it was supposed to, my hormones and all the stress of the last few weeks took over and I burst into mad tears. I cried and cried and cried and cried. I will never understand people who abuse, neglect, or hurt animals and I hate that there is only so much one person can do in the face of thousands of animals in need of love and care. Maternal instincts, what? Even after the commercial ended and the tears stopped, I was haunted by the image of this one cat that had been found in the floorboards of a closet. A CLOSET, people. The only way I could get to sleep was to imagine how I would have nurtured and cared for that one cat and tried to make it all better.
Needless to say, Lunchboy and I are now members of the ASPCA. Who knows--if we end up buying a house in the burbs, we may have more space for other animals but do not tell him I said that. I've always wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter and the only thing that's held me back is the knowledge that I would have ended up adopting every creature that came through the door. Puppy eyes = sucker.