Material Possessions

Whenever I tell my friend a story about the latest annoying thing my cats have done, he usually says, “Cats are dicks.”

This latest little incident makes me say the same thing.

I started off the day after a rough night. I learned the hard way; I’m really too old for greasy burgers, no matter how good they taste. So let’s just say I was running late to a meeting. After the meeting, I was to go straight to a 9 hour tech day with the band. I threw my bassoon and gig bag into the back of the car and started the day.

After the meeting, I got back into the car and wondered why my car smelled like cat pee.

When I got to the rehearsal, I placed my instrument and bag down to help with the sound set up. About an hour later, I got back to my bag to start pulling out reeds and put the bassoon together. That’s when I realized one of the cats had left me a present.

Last week we discovered that the dehumidifier we recently turned on was disturbing their bathroom routine. The motor was too loud and on too much because of the humidity. Their routine was disturbed. A couple of days ago I noticed one of the cats was acting a little more psycho than usual. She was actually panting. I thought she was chasing down a housefly.

I went to work early. Got a text from my husband that he stepped on some cat poop on the way out the door. That’s when we figured out the dehumidifier issue. That was Thursday.

The cats found a way to tell me that they were still upset.

Thankfully, the gig bag rests on top of the bassoon, so nothing seeped through to my instrument. I also have a towel in my bag that caught most of it; but not the heavy duty straps I use for standing. Luckily, I had a second strap for the rehearsal. I put my bag somewhere away from the rest of the cast on concrete, so the smell wouldn’t seep into any other fabrics.

When I got home, I started to pull things out of the bag, thankful to have only put in things I needed for this gig. Things that got hit besides the heavy straps – my reed tool bag full of tools, a pair of black socks I forgot were there, and the towel from the Heidelberg tour in 1995. I took out all the tools. They each passed the sniff test; even the wooden handles – thank God! These tools are expensive. I even saved the memory of a deposit check I wrote to my first symphony audition that I won. This memory was tucked away in a side pocket – just like a memory tucked away in my brain.

I put the bag, the heavy straps, the socks, and the towel in a volcano bath (white vinegar and baking soda, diluted with water) to soak for 30 minutes. After rinsing, I put them in a load of laundry (don’t tell my daughter). Transferred the load to the dryer and went to bed, hoping I didn’t ruin the whole load.

The soak worked. I’m happy to say that the tool bag, the straps and the towel survived. It’s little like Linus’ blanket.

They are just material possessions. But when one starts to age, these things have more memories when you face the possibility of losing them. I felt the pinch of what these things meant; a former life of a professional musician. Not that I regret the decision I made to leave that life when I became a mother. But that these were tangible things that proved that life happened. I feel better knowing that towel is in my bag.

And yes, cats are dicks.



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