Given the blessing of structuring my own time for the most part, I suppose it satisfies my sense of order and need for self-discipline to maintain a routine, with particular household tasks assigned to particular days of the week. My task assignment logic accommodates my limited energy. So far, I have kept my current routine ever since we completed the remodeling and organization of our current home, six months after moving in five years ago.
Tuesdays I clean the inside glass and tracks and inside frames of all the windows in our house, and wipe down all upholstered chairs and the kitty hammock. The window-mounted hammock was Coolidge’s perch of choice for 13 of his 17 years. It replaced the custom bay window we made for him when we replaced all the windows in the house where we were living when we adopted Coolidge as a kitten. When we moved four years later, I saw the hammock in a catalogue for about $500 less than a custom bay window. Its fleece cradle was also softer.
For the final weeks of his life, Coolidge was too weak to jump into his hammock, and I didn’t lift him into it because I was afraid he would hurt himself trying to jump out. He no longer jumped onto window sills, or anything off the floor at all. He preferred a blanket or towel on the floor. I continued to wipe down the windows every Tuesday, even though there were no longer nose prints to wipe off.
Coolidge lived and died with his sense of autonomy for the most part intact. In his final days, I had to syringe food, and finally only water, into his mouth. I still feel the presence of crushed heart shards that seem beyond repair.
The hammock is now Effie’s. Effie is young and active, outgoing and playful; she has boundless energy and loves the outdoors that Coolidge emphatically shunned. She monitors the grounds from every window sill in the house, as well as her hammock.
A sense of purpose is restored to my Tuesday windows routine. Not only do I share play time with Effie as she pursues her white mouse toy suspended about my wrist as I clean, but once again, nose prints present themselves for wiping from the glass, and tiny toe prints for wiping from the sills, because she muddied her dainty paws a bit when I took her out in the garden. Effie is also an ace fly assassin, adding organic residue to routine nose and paw prints. Fly matter is removed upon first appearance; some things don’t wait for the Tuesday routine.
The seemingly trivial is not always trivial. A sense of purpose elevates the trivial to the purposeful. Since purpose is a human imperative, and life can too easily be trivialized, I find Effie’s nose prints on our windows at least as significant, for instance, as Descartes’ Causal Adequacy Principle.