Sometimes you just get the urge to clip your toenails.
Now usually this is done in the bathroom or bedroom, but my husband insists on cutting his while we watch television. Normally it’s not that big of a deal: he sits on his side of the couch, foot propped up and snipping away in the corner while I ignore him sipping on tea and focused on the murder mystery or whatever we happen to be watching.
But a few weeks ago, the scales tipped towards chaotic: he lost his grip on the clippers and they fell into the nether regions of the couch.
I see him sticking his hands in the sides and underneath the cushion. Finally pausing the movie I asked what’s the issue. “I can’t find my toenail clippers!” He states it as if it’s the last pair in the world.
He starts taking all the cushions off and feeling deep into the crevices of the faux leather. I pull away the coffee table so he doesn’t bump it and spill my drink.
“Can you just order another pair online or stop by the store tomorrow?” I ask, wanting to get back to the relaxing evening. I’d been pulling ten-hour days and looked forward to shutting down in the evenings and basically being mush on the couch.
But his mind was focused on one thing: the item taken from him, snatched from his presence by the couch void.
He tilted the couch a little forward. There was a hole in the fabric underneath the cats had clawed many years ago; thinking this would allow him to reach the clippers, he stuck his hand inside. No joy—his hand was too big.
Next he took a screwdriver to pop the fabric staples surrounding the hole. I immediately admonished him for further destroying our beat-up couch, but he promised me it would be a quick fix of more staples to put back together.
Now he could get his hand through and reach into the front of the couch. Still nothing. Undeterred, he decided to lift up the couch on its end to lean against the wall.
That’s when we saw the treasure trove of cat toys.
There were soooo many belled balls wrapped in dog fur. Socks must have batted all the balls underneath the couch over the years and been sad when he couldn’t get them back out. Elsa was a mouse toy kind of feline; Socks loved chasing balls. He especially loved keeping Stephen up at night.
I threw them out into the living area and Socks bounded after them, his little heart filled with more love than catnip at that moment.
But my husband was still fixated on his lost clippers. He shook the couch. Something rattled inside near the hole. “It’s there, I just can’t get to it. Get me a flashlight.”
He shined that beam of hope into the couch, and lo and behold a metallic glint smiled back at him from the depths of the darkness.
“Where’s your magnetic stick that you use for screws and such?” I said.
“Where’s that claw handle you used to grab things when you had back surgery?”
I was out of ideas. Then his eyes lit up and he disappeared for a moment into the bedroom. He returned with the backscratcher. Stretching it all the way out, those metal bear claws reached into the darkness and attempted to pull the clippers closer towards the light. After a tense minute or two my husband had his prize.
I vacuumed underneath the couch before we set it back down and put the cushions back. Then I returned the coffee table and we resumed watching the rest of our show.
All in all, about fifty minutes worth of drama. All because he didn’t want to spend the money on another pair.
That’s perseverance. I haven’t been as successful this summer as my husband was with his clippers. I took on a part-time job along with building classes for the upcoming semester. I also took on the task of finishing my cat poetry book and working on my art project with the cat shelter. And also all the house projects that took up most weekends I wasn’t working. Plus some other moving parts in the background, like the prospect of a new teaching job on the horizon.
I had a lot of balls in the air. Some of those balls got dropped. Because I was spending most of my time on my jobs, my cat poetry fell by the wayside. I did finish it but I haven’t finished my editing passes of it yet. I was able to do a little of the cat art but that’s been somewhat slow as well just because there hasn’t been time.
Now with the semester starting up, my part-time job is ending and my new teaching duties are set to take up more of my time (as I got the job). I don’t know how much more time the job will require, but the plan is to eventually get back on track with everything. So I ask for a little patience as I figure things out and develop a plan to get everything up and running and hopefully accomplished by the end of the year.
Here’s to hard work, new endeavors, perseverance, old couches, and a second life for toenail clippers.