Sued51's Blog











{October 26, 2013}   I Love My Landlady

Peter Pan and WendyHer name is Wendy. Not Wendy, as in caretaker of the Lost Boys, but Wendy as in caretaker of the Lonely Middle-Aged Cat Ladies.

She is a widow, a 5-ft tall dynamo who does the hands-on maintenance for her three Victorian apartment buildings. She implements a lot of rules, so she’s certainly not for those with a problem with authority or those who like to “buck the system.” But underneath her Type A exterior, she’s a compassionate nurturer. She’s like that teacher you had in school who was so tough on you…you grumbled about her at the time, but you knew she cared about you and wanted you to succeed. Although she was annoyed at having to totally rehab the apartment upstairs when the woman moved out, she spoke with compassion and understanding about the depression and hoarding issues that dumped that problem in her lap. And she helped the overwhelmed woman with her titanic task by taking some of her discards to a local donation center.

Knowing that I have very little money to live on right now, she has given me clothes (we are close to the same size) and she has left vegetables at my door (grown in the backyard by her and one of the other renters).

I have met two of the other renters in my building, both middle-aged ladies with two cats. (For those who don’t know, it is difficult to find a decent apartment that allows pets, let alone one that doesn’t charge you a fortune to have them.) For Wendy, who has done her share of cat-rescuing, her decision to rent to us is doubly satisfying…she is rescuing cats AND their owners. (I’ll grant you that quiet, middle-aged women probably cause her less trouble than other types of renters, but I really don’t think that is uppermost in her mind.)

This weekend, the aforementioned two ladies are having a yard sale, and they have invited me to contribute and hangout with them. I will likely do that. I have had conversations with both of these caring ladies and we have some similar life-experiences. If nothing else, we can talk about our cats!

But more than likely we will talk about what it is like to have lost your parents or to not have siblings or grown children to depend on; what it is like to be middle-aged women trying to make our way alone and invisible in a difficult world. But thanks to Wendy, we now have each other.

It’s never too late for a new family.



{September 23, 2013}   Is Living Small More Work or Less?

I’m not going to surprise you with my answer: more immediate chores that take less time. Does it equate to the same thing? I don’t know; I’m still in the discovery phase. I’m discovering that the chores are different, but are still there none-the-less. In a small place the chores are more immediate and cannot be ignored. This is what I’ve learned so far:

1. There’s a reason for that old saying: “A place for everything and everything in its place.”  Right now, I feel like I live in a thrift shop. It feels like my place looks messy, even when it is clean (still too much stuff), but if there is anything left carelessly on any surface, it seems to scream, “Put me away!”

And the corollary to #1:

1a.  You have to clean up immediately. I have always kept up with scooping the cat litter, even in a big place. But in a small space, the chore is immediate, or it smells BAD! Not only do I have to scoop immediately, but I have to get it outside to the dumpster right away. Also, although the number of dishes involved in the preparation and consumption of a meal for one person (and two cats) is a quick clean-up, I don’t have the space or the number of dishes to allow them to sit around dirty. I’m phobic about bugs so I want everything clean, clean, clean!

2. You have to go out of your way to recycle. Though my carbon footprint is smaller, it is less convenient to recycle when you are in a small place with no place to store up the recyclable bottles and cans. At my house, I could store them in the garage or under the porch until I could take them to redemption. As an apartment dweller, if I decide to go for a “can walk,” my route has to include a walk to the redemption machines at the local grocery store. When I first moved, I had noticed all the recyclable cans in my apartment dumpster and was amazed at people throwing out money! When I first saw them, I wished I could climb in to collect them, but now I understand why they are there. Too bad.

3. You can’t fit every gadget into a small space so you have to be creative and simple. I have a basic sink; there’s no vanity top for putting things down on (like putting on make-up, mixing up dye for my hair, etc.). Instead of putting the stuff on the toilet, I discovered the tray system. I take it out when I need it and put it away. Similarly, I don’t have a clothes drying rack, I have a small expandable curtain rod for my tiny shower. No big vacuum…a corn broom has to do.

small sink

Sink without vanity

small sink with tray

Sink with Tray

And under the bed, behind every piece of furniture and door, lurk the things you need, but don’t use often…but at least you don’t have to see them.

You can deal with anything with ingenuity, creativity and good cheer!



{July 19, 2013}   Home is Where the Cats Are…

My cats and I are country girls, used to quiet and beautiful window views. We are trying to settle into our small new space, which is located in a much noisier and busier area (the trade-off is that it is much more convenient to everything). The heat wave is dictating that we keep our blinds closed; we’re now surrounded by blacktop on the outside, surrounded by boxes on the inside. It feels stifling in more ways than one. I make use of the empty boxes as toys for the cats.

I play the stereo a lot to diminish the “city” noises of traffic and trains and keep the girls (and me) calmer. We all react to every sound…the upstairs neighbor coming down the stairs to leave for work in the morning; the maintenance man going about his business outside; cars passing within feet of our window on the way to the parking lot. But it is cozy and clean, and I can afford it.

It is still a small town, but we’re on a busy street, and the commuter train runs close behind our building. I try not to miss where I came from; I know I must embrace change and learn to love it. I know that though at times I feel like I’m in a big city, that is not reality. It is only when I compare it with the sleepy suburb surrounded by farms where we came from; it’s all relative. Mindset is everything.

We will all get used to it, given time. We’re together…that’s what matters.

cat lying on the floor

Zoee relaxing in her new space…

PS. There is no picture of Aimee because she is still spending most of her time hiding beneath the covers in the bed…but she did that at the old place too. Tabbies don’t change their stripes!!

PPS. It’s weird that I posted this yesterday and the daily prompt for today was about what makes home for you…



et cetera
%d bloggers like this: