I’ve had a drapery hanging ordeal at my house this week. You see, I have these wonderful draperies that are loosely woven. They have a separate lining that can be drawn to let the light though in day or can be closed at night for privacy. They were made for another house that I lived in and when I moved, I kept them.
Of course, draperies made for one house never work in another, so they have been stored in my attic for years, waiting for the day when I would take down the cheap tiebacks in the living room and hang them. Though the curtains on the windows were cheap, they had one great advantage — they were already hung.
Eventually, I redecorated the living room and decided to wash the tiebacks. Sun and age had done their job, and what came out of the washing machine was a bunch of strings. When something is that old, it is best just to leave it alone, I found.
But wait, I have other drapes! They were in their plastic wrap, covered with dust in the attic. Though old, they had not been subjected to wear and were almost like new. Since couldn’t find a rod long enough to hang them, I ordered one off the net, and finally did the detested task of putting them up.
End of story? Hardly.
My new kitten took an instant liking to the drapes — or should I say to climbing them with little claws digging. After saving the drapes all these years, now they were being destroyed by a kitten.
No one had much advice other than to take the drapes down until she was older. Take them down? I had just put them up. The idea was to not buy more cheap drapes, and I could not leave my windows bare with all the world looking in.
Meanwhile, the kitten learned to climb to the top of the drapes and sat on the rod, looking down at the me. I must admit it would have been amusing if we were not talking about my best drapes.
As soon as the cat was fully grown and much stronger, she simply by-passed the climbing part and leapt from the back of the chair to the top of the curtain rod. Old habits are hard to break, and cats apparently can walk a tightrope — or a curtain rod.
The size and weight of the animal eventually took their toll, and the curtain rod broke. The beautiful draperies hung sadly, dragging the floor and refusing to open. Each time the cat decided to play king of the world, things got worse.
Nothing to do but buy a new rod and rehang them.
Every time I hang curtain rods, I think of the classic story by Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilych. You probably read it in college lit. Ilych died a prolonged and painful death during which people became alienated to his suffering and eventual death. It’s a terrible story, but just as terrible is that the injury that led to his fatal condition was a fall while hanging draperies.
So here I am jumping from lamp table to chair hanging draperies and hoping I don’t end up like Ivan Ilych.
As it turned out, the rod was not broken — naturally — since I had already bought a new one. The rod had just somehow slipped out at a joint. I could have fixed it months ago instead of putting up with sagging drapes due to my fear of hanging curtain rods.
I’m not sure who to blame this particular ordeal on, myself, the cat, or Leo Tolstoy.
Copyright 2008 Sheila Moss