Saturday, January 21, 2012

Of beeps and cats, slipcovers and courtesy

Oh dear God, save me from beeping things!

Have you seen that commercial on TV? I think it is about a car battery or a car, but it shows a guy on a ladder caught between beeping smoke alarms. Well, that was my night. I awoke about 1 a.m. to a kind of weak beeping noise (does that sound like the old lady in Christmas Vacation 'What's that squeaking sound?').

Could it be the door alarm?

Earlier in the evening, yesterday, a young man had come to the house after dark and knocked (rather forcefully) on our front door. I'm a rural Midwesterner by birth and my Mama raised me to answer doors, phones, and questions with dispatch and courtesy. My instincts kicked in and I arose, but it was after dark. For some perverse reason I turned on the porch light and then peeked out of the window. When I saw a stranger, I turned off the light and went back to my chair. It was rude. He could have hurt himself in the dark (although he made his way up to the door by the street light's glow). Still it bothered me. It was discourteous and I could have made him angry. Maybe he returned.... And those are the thoughts that sprang to mind when I heard the beeping sound.

It could be the door alarms. It could be the security system. It could be my husband's breathing machine telling me he was in distress. It could be the smoke detector.... At 1:15 a.m. I prowled through the house. Nope, nope, nope. Nope. None of the usual suspects. Back to bed and up again at 2:15 a.m. By 3:15 the beeping was getting stronger and seemed more like a whistle. And then I realized it was the low battery warning on an overhead lift contraption we have in our bedroom. Since my husband has ALS and since the disease will eventually make his body totally turn on him, not allowing him to move even a toe, the system will eventually be my best friend. Right now it stands guard over us from a far wall until it is needed. And as I remember this happening once before with the only solution to buy and replace the batteries, I knew it would be a long beeping night. And no my dear husband didn't awake. He slept blissfully through it all. 

I certainly didn't need the beeping sound nor the sleepless night. My pillow turned hard as a rock and I couldn't get comfortable. The blankets were too few or too many. I flipped them on and off. I rolled to the left, rolled to the right, sat up and then flopped on my stomach. I finally flipped back, giving up and staring at the dark ceiling.

Marcel and Bernie in happier times

Except while waiting for the next beep, I started redecorating the living room and came to the conclusion now that our last pet -- dear Marcel -- has died, I can have furniture with upholstery unsnagged by cat claws! Its been more than 30 years since I've lived in a cat-less house and the concept is new to me and dare I say engaging. I'll miss furry hugs, whisker tickles, and his body snuggled next to mine on the couch, but maybe a house without cat hair might be novel.

Marcel died peacefully after a stroke and several weeks (maybe months) of feeding him with a spoon and straw and cleaning up after him as he lay motionless on a towel. I carried him from room to room, and we watched movies together (I think he got quite addicted to Downton Abbey). His final moments were on our porch, soaking up the warmth of a sunbeam. His struggles are over and he looked quite peaceful and free of pain.

But back to my beeping night of redecorating thoughts. I had seen a house on an episode of Foyle's War. Doesn't everyone get their inspiration from old British movies?

It was a cheerful yellow, white trim and bright touches of color from the orange family -- burnt orange, I think. I'm thinking I would like to live in a house with those colors. It seems cheerful and soothing at the same time. Bright. Maybe kind of traditional in flavor? It would work well with my beloved Jacobean designs? So this morning I saw this wonderful little chair in this cheerful bright room and all of my genes that are looking for home are shouting at me "This is it, this is home...." (See photo above).

So, now that I have never made slipcovers or reupholstered furniture, I am contemplating jumping in with both feet. I've made pillows of course. And the back and seat of my chair and loveseat are loose pillows. But I'm not sure about the frame.... Any tips or suggestions?

Wait, wait! I hear that beeping sound again. That damn lift! No wait. There's a chorus of beeps. A harmony of chirps. Listen. Ahhhhh a good beeping sound. The coffemaker is telling me that the morning elixer is prepared.

Happy Saturday everyone and may all of your beeps be happy ones.


darcey said...

Good Morning! You've had a very productive night...solving a mystery, redecorating, posting a blog entry....after your cup of coffee, you'll probably continue. Good luck to you. I see an extraordinary day shaping up!
...and thanks for a morning smile....

Dawn said...

Thanks Darcey! Your comments brightened my day!

Anonymous said...

OMG, Dawn! I had no idea we had so much in common. I quilt & I had cat just like Marcel, except fluffy. He was a Maine Coon named Charley, aka Garfield in a Grey Flannel Suit. Carol Kean has one, too. He's named Merlin. What a wonderful blog. I'm subscribing today!
Karen M. Rice
Author, Quilter, Friend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn,
Next time pull out the weak batteries so the beeping stops. Nope it isn't a cure (you still have to get new batteries) but at least with the beeping ceased you can get some sleep.

Ann Hite said...

I do believe this is one of the most beautiful pieces I read of yours. You must post the photo of the finished product. Happy beeping. ;)


Dawn said...

Thanks for your comments. Welcome to Subversive Stitchers, Karen. I hope you continue to enjoy it. Your cat sounds beautiful! Happy writing and quilting!

Susan, I need to 'operate' on the thing to get the batteries out and they are a special kind of (get this) 'no fail' battery that is quite expensive (according to the guy who sells them) and I'd need tools to get to them. I haven't tried to extricate them myself, but I can perhaps unhook the housing from the assemblage and hide it in a closet, under my fabric stash, on the other side of the house?

And thank you Ann! That's high praise from you, my dear friend and author!

A little blatant promo here: Ann Hite is the author of "Ghost on Black Mountain"

Bluebethley said...

Hello, Dawn. My beeps were not so intriguing. I kept hearing this buzzing sound, like maybe mice were in the kitchen. Surprise. After several hours of hunting for the 'mouse,' I found my cell phone left on vibrate. May all your beeps be little beeps and during the sunshine hours! Beth

Dawn said...

Oh Beth, I had to laugh -- you have buzzing mice?

Vibrating cell phones always remind me of a dear friend -- Linda. It was back when cell phones were new and she had, for the first time, set hers to vibrate. She tucked it into her pocket while we ate lunch. Suddenly she jumped to her feet while grabbing at her ummm crotch area. You guessed it, her phone was vibrating. When she came to her senses she admitted that this vibrating phone idea had alot of merit. [evil grin.]

Dolores said...

Our smoke detector beeps when the battery gets low and since we have several, it always takes a long time to find out which one it is. One time the beeping went off and on for a couple of days until my husband found a smoke detector that was put in a box under the treadle. Weird but at least there's no more beeping. It's one of those sounds that I can hear with or without my hearing aid.

Dawn said...

Oh Delores! Smoke alarms are the best of the worst! They save lives and drive us nuts! We have one that the dear house builder put up near the peak of the cathedral ceiling and if the bagel gets overdone in the toaster, that's the smoke alarm that goes off. We cannot get to it and I just want to throw something at it! (I watch my bagels carefully!)

Susan said...

Hi Dawn! I agree with Ann! This blog post is a wonderful read. I think everyone can relate! I'm hard of hearing and can rarely tell from which direction a beeping sound is coming. It generally takes three or four depressions on the cordless phone's "call button" before I can even find the device. Had I been in your place, I'd likely still be looking for the beeping's source!

I hope you are up for a brief visit late next month. Steve is working on my travel arrangements to The Studios at Key West. I'll be in your area around "tea time" on the very last day of February!

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Thanks for a wonderful read, Dawn. And blessings on little Marcel ... I just lost my little Baby Cat yesterday.

Dawn said...

Oh Linda -- I am so sorry. So very sorry! Glad you enjoyed the read. {{{hugs}}}

Fabric Bee said...

Hello, Lovely blog. I am a sewer and have made numerous slip covers over the years learning from the Sunset series. They provide plenty of direction, but I have found it easier to drape and cut wrong side out since all of my pieces have been symmetrical. A good slipcover will appear like upholstery until looking closely, but I love the flexibility of washing and seasonal changes. Ps so sorry about losing your feline friends. There is another reason for my slip covers-- kitty clawing.