The tale of my living room rug brings forth too many emotions

chrissycsmith October 12, 2014 Comments Off on The tale of my living room rug brings forth too many emotions
The tale of my living room rug brings forth too many emotions

I’m about to share with you an epic tale of loss and redemption, of triumph and defeat, of rage and annoyance and really irritating behavior. At the center of this tale: my living room rug. The flooring in our home is mostly stained concrete, and this is great because, four kids. Double fist-bump to the chest for the concrete floors, even if I have to wear orthopedic Crocs at home because the hard floor hurts my flat feet hurt. Did I mention I am 75 years old? Not really, but I think that might be the age minimum for wearing orthopedic Crocs. Regardless, I care not for the rules of fashion because I know what’s really important in this life, and also, I never wear them out of the house. Except once when I wore them to the drugstore, and my daughter said to me, “Mom, you forgot to change out of your Crocs.” I then ran into everyone I know, because that is how life works. Nobody noticed my Old Man Shoes because nobody notices what anybody else is doing or wearing (this may or may not be a Chinese proverb), and the sooner we all accept that fact, the sooner we could get over ourselves. Obviously, I am not entirely over myself. (Disclaimer:  There is nothing wrong with being an old man or wearing Old Man Shoes, that is, unless you are a woman in her 30s. Which I am.) So nobody noticed the shoes until I called their attention to them, because I don’t even know why.  “Just doing some shopping in my awesome orthopedic Crocs!” “Forgot to change shoes before I left the house, but you know you wish you were wearing these orthopedic Crocs!” Maybe I do this for the same reason I apologize to visitors when my house is messy. I want them to know: hey, this–what you see here–this isn’t the real me. My standards are way higher, and really, I’m not the person who wears orthopedic Crocs around town.  Except, I am that person. And my standards really aren’t that high because if they were, maybe my sofa wouldn’t be swallowed by an enormous pile of laundry. Or maybe I’d wash my hair in the morning instead of wearing a baseball cap.  What happened to my standards? I once had a few. Oh, right. Kids. Which brings me back to the rug. It really does tie together. (Sort of.) So our 10-year-old cat Macey, forever on my bad side for meowing at sleeping babies, started peeing on our living room rug. This did not endear her to me. It started when we took in a sweet foster kitty with the intention of adopting her should she fit in at our house. Well, she didn’t fit in. It wasn’t her fault; the poor cat was constantly pursued by my gigantic toddler who wanted to love the life out of her, and then Macey the cat lost her ever-loving mind about the whole thing. The cats never got along, and by “never got along,” I mean Macey would fight the poor foster cat through our closed bedroom door. It is baffling to watch two cats fight one another while separated by a door.  Still, we had grown fond of the kitty (not Macey) and wanted to continue the foster until we found a good home for her. Which is when Macey pulled out the big guns. For cats, that means pee. I don’t know if I can say “pee” in the newspaper. My mother probably won’t like it, but “urinate” is on my list of Words I Do Not Like (along with “nasty” and “stink”), and I just can’t say “tinkle” and expect to be treated as a professional person.  Call it what you want, but it was happening on my rug, and the smell was AWFUL. It’s a blessedly forgiving rug in dark brown, and I ask very little of it, except that it hides stains (check), cushions the baby’s head when he dive-bombs off the couch (check), and does not smell (fail).  Pouring hydrogen peroxide on the offending spots didn’t help, so in desperation I dragged the rug outside and sprayed it down with the garden hose. I’m pretty sure if you Google “how to clean an area rug,” you will not find this method, and you will especially not find a method that involves a trampoline. Right, maybe I should move the wet rug onto our trampoline, I thought, where it would surely aerate and drip dry quickly, and my rug cleaning would be a success. Pulling a soaked 8×10 rug onto a trampoline requires the strength of 17 men, but they weren’t available, so I did it on my own. And after all that work, I realized there was no aeration on the trampoline, nor dripping. Instead there was mold and mildew and children rolling around on a smelly, water-logged rug because OH MY GOSH THERE IS A SLOSHY AND GROSS RUG ON THE TRAMPOLINE WE HAVE TO JUMP ON IT!!!! Children love sloshy and gross. It sat on the trampoline for a day, marinating in it’s not-dry ickiness, until I pulled it back down to the grass where it would surely fare better, I thought. And then the rains came Of course it rained on the rug. Of course it did. For two days it rained on the rug. I was horrified, but what could I do? “You could have brought it inside,” offered my ever-helpful husband when I called him at work to let him know IT IS RAINING ON THE RUG OUTSIDE. (I have no idea why I called to tell him this.)  I do not have a garage, so i’ve no clue where in our home he expected me to deposit an 8×10 rug that was dripping wet and smelled really gross . I’m just grateful I was the one home and not him, because who knows where he would have put the thing. (“I thought laying it over our bed would allow it to dry more quickly.” I’m just saying. It could have happened.) I chalked the thing up as a loss. “There’s no way we can save it,” I said to my husband. “It’s been in the rain! For two days!” I apologized for wrecking the rug, even though it was actually the cat who wrecked the rug, but whatever.  “I did the best I could with the knowledge I had at the time!” I told him, channeling Maya Angelou. He was determined, though–we were going to save that rug. Once the sun came out, he draped it over the fence to dry, and two days later, that rug was back in our house. It smelled not-so-fresh, but thanks to the magic of Google, I’ve discovered rubbing alcohol will take a musty smell out of a rug. It only took a bazillion applications, but it worked.. Thanks to Google, I discovered that rubbing alcohol will take a musty smell out of a rug. It only took a bazillion applications, but it worked.  At some point along the way, we found a wonderful home for the foster kitty, and as sad as we were to see her go, we were glad for our cat to stop attacking our bedroom door in a maniacal rage. In the end, there was victory. A cat with a new home. A rug redeemed. No longer a symbol of defeat, that rug is my triumph. Yes, I at one time (yesterday) wanted to throw it away and buy a new one,  but I was the one who sprayed the alcohol that killed the wet dog smell. I was the one who dragged that thing around the yard and onto the trampoline and watched, dejected, as the rains came. Macey might have ruined the rug, but I ruined it even more, and then I (sort of) fixed it, and if that isn’t an epic tale of inspiration, I don’t know what is. Now go out and do great things.    (Betsy Swenson can be reached at sliindelife@gmail.com.)

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