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Welcome home (clunk)

It's always nerve-wracking to leave the CrazyStable in foster care while we go on vacation. This is a house that treats its "house-sitters" in much the same manner as Wednesday and Pugsley Addams would have treated a fresh-faced babysitter who suggested a fun game of hide-and-seek. This year, we prevailed upon dear friends who met the key criteria for house- and cat-care duties: huge hearts, sharp wits, resourcefulness, and sufficient familiarity with our "lifestyle" to avoid excessive shock when experiencing it at close range in our absence. And then we prayed to the various domestic gods in charge of kitty health crises, vengeful basement plumbing, burglars and alarm systems, and rabid squirrels to show mercy to these good people for a week.

We spent a week in healthy, happy Fort Collins, Colorado, in Beloved Cousin's peaceful and smooth-running ranch house. (I take back everything bad I've ever said about ranch houses; no stairs to climb equals bliss.) We marveled at Beloved Cousin's lush and productive garden, and at Fort Collins' dazzling sunshine, ample bike paths, and stunning views of the nearby Rocky Mountains. Back in Brooklyn, our friends poured out chow and sifted litter. Good, good friends.

The cats were reported to have behaved excellently, no doubt due to the tender care they received, producing only one hairball and several pounds of hot-weather fluff tumbleweeds on the staircase. (Our friends even shouldered the absurd duty of replacing the pens and markers on my upstairs desk so that Lexi could "steal" them and place them around the house all over again, because I feared the loss of her "hobby" would be stressful for her in our absence. As I said, huge hearts.)

The house...well, it could have been worse, but...Sweet Judas on a stick, the front doorknob fell off. Right in my dutiful friend's hand. She called me in Colorado, guilt-ridden that somehow she had "killed" it. How to explain that our doorknobs fall off? ("Look around!" I exhorted her. "Find one functional doorknob in the entire house! See?") By cell phone, I guided her through the labyrinthine process of entering through the back door, with its maze of cheesy plywood "doors" with rickety latches for various levels of Cat Containment. I also counseled her to simply stick the knob back on by any means necessary, including duct tape, all the while realizing that dear friend, who lives in an immaculate and manageable apartment, did not sign on for duct-taping doorknobs.

When we got home, still stunned by re-entry into the Greater Metropolitan Smog Field, we did the Basil Fawlty dance of doom with the doorknob (metal fatigue had caused a screw to simply fall off), and fixed it, sort of. (It no longer screws back onto the spindle if you use the escutcheon plate, which probably never went with that doorknob, anyway.) I have long yearned after a restored antique entry set in keeping with the age and dignity (splutter, snort) of the CrazyStable, but that dream will have to get on line with the others. We spent the money from our Law & Order shoot on our trip out West, where men ride broncos and doorknobs turn with a smooth, firm click, and it was worth every penny.

Image: The Addams Family

Posted on Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 02:10PM by Registered CommenterBrenda from Brooklyn | Comments3 Comments

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Reader Comments (3)

Being given keys and very appreciated detailed instructions are indeed a very grand act of love and trust. We hope we returned every bit of it in kind, if not with common sense. Brain-cannot-comprhend-duct-tape-on-metal-oh-no-will-self-destruct-now!!!
We love you over there at Crazy Stable, you guys are the best!
July 24, 2008 at 02:50PM | Unregistered Commenter"Huge hearts, not so huge brains"
Hello Crazy Stable!
The merest mention of doorknobs makes my ears prick up. To mention genuine Victorian entry door hardware draws me like a rabid hardware-addicted moth. You say you have a dream, a need for a set of period-appropriate door hardware. Seeing as I troll ebay daily looking for exactly that for my Victorian house, perhaps I could keep an eye out for you also. What style and/or period were you dreaming of?

I myself have just fulfilled a dream by having Husband install on our front door (fully two inches thick of Walnut) a full entry-door set in the shamrock pattern made by F.C.Linde. It's wonderful, and will be more wonderful once I prime and paint all the wood filler required to spackle the set into the doorknob opening.

I'd love to have a legitimate reason to frequent ebay.

August 7, 2008 at 04:18PM | Unregistered CommenterRennie
I loved this post - as a sometime traveler who looks for dearfriends to catsit, I understand the small weirdnesses we encourage them to perpetrate.
September 27, 2008 at 10:59AM | Unregistered CommenterMarie

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