Monday, January 5, 2009


No, for once this is not about me. (You the back row...I heard you sniggering! Cut that out!) One of the perks of island life is close proximity to the ocean. 'Cause, you know, it's all around you.  But one of the downsides is that life can be very damp.  My little shabby not-so-chic cottage by the sea is a fine example. 

Even when it hasn't rained during the night, in the morning the exterior is sopping wet, the balcony railings dripping, and the wood saturated.  If it's sunny, the morning light hits the roof and you can see the steam rising.  If it's breezy, the wind strips away some of the liquid.  But if neither of these occur, it just stays wet all day. Bleh.

Inside isn't much better.  I learned after the first year to keep my bed several inches away from the wall (about one cat width, as we measure it here), allowing airflow prevents mold from building up between the bed and the wall.  Yes, I realize how disgusting that sounds, thankyouverymuch. I invest heavily in all sorts of products to try and battle mold & mildew, the kind with the little crystals seems to work best. I run fans, open windows, leave lights on, you name it.

I looked into buying one of those electric dehumidifiers and you know what I found?  They are kinda pricey!  I've used a humidifier before, years ago when I lived in a completely different climate (obviously), and somehow I thought it would be much the same in price.  Apparently not.  I know, I know, there are practical reasons why it costs more, the device works differently, I get that.  But just take a minute and think about it - it actually costs more to suck water out of the air than it does to put it in! Interesting, eh? (Or maybe that's just me.)

This year there seems to be a new twist.  Suddenly, closet and cabinet doors are not closing properly.  I can only guess that the damp has swelled the wood a bit, because the latches are working, they just don't line up quite as precisely as they used to.  They're just a little bit off. ( in the back row...quit your sniggering!)

I first discovered this when I walked into the bathroom and found the cat nestled comfortably in a stack of (formerly) clean white towels inside the linen cabinet.  The shelf below bore further evidence of her explorations.  At the time, I assumed I had left the cabinet open, kicked myself, and then kicked the cat out of the cabinet. Kitties are not allowed inside cabinets and most definitely not in closets.  My closets are scary places, and as much as an adventurous feline might like to go in there, the chances of getting it back out are not so good.  My bedroom closet is bad enough, but the one in my living room has been likened to Fibber McGee's closet.

However, I am not THAT absent-minded (okay, back row, this is your last warning! Don't make me pull this car over!) and repeat occurrences led me to investigate further.  I noticed that when I closed the cabinet door as usual, the interior latch didn't quite "catch" and left that way, would pop open shortly after.  Mystery solved.  Thus far, applying a little more force to the cabinet door seems to ensure that it stays closed, and the contents safe from curious kitties.

Then the other night I was tossing and turning, trying to get to sleep. I had a lot on my mind and it was one of those nights when every little sound catches your attention. I could hear the bedside clock ticking, a bathroom washcloth dripping, the kitchen refrigerator humming, and all of it drove me nuts.  I could also hear my cat, mooching around the living room, playing with this toy and that. (Or so I thought.) Not uncommon and not objectionable, experience has taught me that unless she is within sight, it's when she gets really quiet that something really bad is about to happen.  The really bad is usually made evident by a sudden really loud noise, and this time was no exception.  Just as I was finally drifting off....CRASH!

When a creature that small makes that big of a ruckus, it must be investigated immediately.  However, the investigation will go much more smoothly if lights are turned on and eyeglasses are located. I'm just sayin'. Having done that and gathered my wits about me I ventured into the living room to discover that the door to my living room closet was open, and while I lay in bed a certain fluffy feline had boldly gone where none had gone before.  Her foray into the mysterious depths of my living room closet could have gone on all night, had she been able to leap from the upper shelf without bringing the contents of the shelf down with her.  I'm sure she will learn from her mistake, and future stealth missions will be attempted.

For that night, I placed a heavy object in front of the door. One that was too much for even a determined little critter like mine to budge.  And in the morning I could see that the problem with this closet is the same as the cabinet, and I'll need to shove it closed just a little harder. Okay I can handle that.  But here's the thing - I've lived here for several years now, and this is the first winter that this phenomenon has taken place.  And this particular winter has not been any more wet than any other, in fact, we have not even started the rainy season yet.  Traditionally the bulk of our rainy days occur in February and March.  So I have to wonder, will this get worse?

Living alone as I do, there is no one to question the placing of a brick in front of a closet door, or bungee cords on cabinet handles.  It's purely up to me to decide if I wish to endure these minor inconveniences in order to keep Destruct-O-Kitty from wreaking havoc inside these places. Because I can only think of one other thing I could do, and I'm not sure I want to go there, but if there's no other latches.

As I've said so many times before, this is a really, really, microscopically small town. Even if I walk into the hardware store wearing a skin tight top and jeans, the purchase of just one such item could have me preggers throughout the community by nightfall. So if I do this, I shall have to either buy them online, or pick some up when I'm overtown.

The irony of a child-free person like me shopping for and installing devices intended to prevent babies from getting into places they shouldn't does not escape me.  Yes, thank you I get it. But would it be too much to ask for a dry winter this year?

Oh yeah, that would mean water rationing this summer...
Dammit, I just cannot win.


AmyPinSeattle said...

This winter has been really weird on the West coast. Seattle getting 2 feet of snow and it lasting two weeks...same with Portland. I can't imagine the shift in jet streams that caused this mess didn't effect CA too...maybe that's what's causing it.

I mean if 1-2 degrees can cause an ice age, a little moisture can certainly stick a door or two!

I have child locks on my cabinets too...for dogs though instead of cats!

Mia said...

"Destruct-O'Kitty" ::snicker:::

Pat said...

Destruct-O- Kitty, LOL.
The cat sleeping on the clean towels is not nearly as bad as one who sleeps on the plates- trust me, I have first hand experience.

Sheepish Annie said...

I feel your pain. Not only do I have horrible humidity in my condo, but the AGK has returned to his cupboard explorations. Last night, he started removing small appliances...

You do what you have to. I have duct taped the cupboards. The stupid child locks went in crooked and wouldn't latch...

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

I feel for you. You have the wet and we have the dry. It gets so dry here that my skin feels like it's cracking. I use almost a handful of vaseline nightly on arms and legs.

Poor kitty ... probably lost one life with all the noise that spooked it off the shelf. xxoo