Autumn, anyone?

I’ve been reading a lot of posts about autumn lately, one of which was even Freshly Pressed today, and left me desirous of a warm apple-cinnamon scone with my tea.

For some in the right place at this time (meaning latitudes higher/lower than the Tropics) the air is getting nippier, days are getting shorter…..and trees are beginning to get more colourful.

How lucky are you people of the Temperate zones…..you get to witness and FEEL the change of seasons.

I’m sure it must be glorious….despite getting back into school routine for mommies and children alike. In that sense autumn really is the beginning of a new year. Some even redefine it as a  time for rejuvenation…..of rebirth….and I think I can relate to that if the last two days are anything to go by.

You see, dear readers, I have been spring-cleaning at a time of year normally associated with the autumnal months, though Karachi seems to have registered this time of the year of all times, as the monsoon season.

So while dark clouds gathered overhead and burst their breaches, and as it rained non-stop for 24 hours, turning the poorly-drained streets and lanes of Karachi into rivers and lakes, and as yours truly deemed it wise not to venture out of her bubble for fear of the car stalling while navigating a particularly large lake which is actually her link to the rest of the world, the sponges, dusters and wash-cloths were brought out and the house got a thorough clean-up.

The night it started raining was the same night that I decided to take my allergies more seriously.

I have been waking up in the morning, my lungs choked, unable to breathe, despite the antihistamine pill I have been taking every night for the last month, until I take a few puffs of Aerolin. My bronchioles expand and I relax, and sink back into my pillow with relief.

For the last few years, these symptoms have usually arisen in October……so I’m taken by surprise this year as it started much earlier, and lately I have been thinking maybe it’s not just dust I’m allergic to. Perhaps I have been in denial about my cat allergies, I don’t know, maybe it is time for me to go to an allergy specialist and get myself tested.

I stayed up till 3 am the other night, sitting next to my balcony door, listening to the rumbling thunder, ominously loud at times, and the flashes of lightning periodically illuminating the sky. As the rain lashed against the door, and Fuzzy sat nearby, his ears twitching, looking worried, I read through six different articles that told me similar things about how to deal with cat allergies. I bookmarked this one, and am considering printing it out and sticking it to my bathroom door so I can read it every day and be more motivated and less likely to slack off in terms of safely and effectively minimising my allergic reaction to whatever it is in my house that’s triggering it.

Apparently, there are many allergens that can cause the same symptoms as cat allergens, some of which can be more serious than those that can be caused by a cat alone.

Whatever the case may be, there can be no harm in cleaning the house from top to bottom (with a bandanna wrapped around my face) and it can only benefit my fellow inhabitants and I.

The first thing I did was to remove my work table from a closed, carpeted room into a more airy area right next to the balcony. As many of you know, I spend an unhealthy amount of time on my laptop! Therefore, it was imperative that I balance the unhealthiness with a healthier environment, and I think It will make a big difference. Fingers crossed.

I realise that my house is probably smothered in cat allergens because Fuzzy, as his name indicates, has been endowed with very fine, downy fur. He is also, unfortunately, a black cat. Cats with dark fur are more allergy-inducing than cats with light fur.

I wish I had known this when we adopted him. Sigh. But it’s too late now, I love the little critter.

Here’s a little known fact. I am the only person in my family that has a humungusly soft spot for animals. I mean, my Mom does too, but I was always the one who imposed pets on her, she never had any when she was growing up. I do know for a fact that she adored my neighbour’s dog (i think his name was Silver…..he was sadly hit by a car…) and didn’t object to her rabbits roaming our house, munching uncooked lasagne sheets and pooping on the sofa….but I am straying from the topic at hand….

So I started with the space which I shall now inhabit as my primary work area, and armed with a ladder, soapy water and a sponge, I proceeded to systematically wash all the walls, from ceiling to floor. I dusted everything thoroughly with a damp cloth, vacuumed the furniture, the blinds, cleaned the fans of all the accumulated dirt and cat hair (which we do every 10 days or so) and washed the curtains in hot water to kill all the allergens on them.

Needless to say, I have been passing out, exhausted from the hard work, my arms aching, but feeling great that I’m working towards making the house healthier. I smile with happiness as I sing wheezily while going about my work, puffing my inhaler when need be.

Too bad Zahooran wasn’t around to see her employer doing a better job of housework than her that first day :P

The biggest change for poor little Fuzzy is going to be the fact that I must train him not to sleep under the bed in my room…..which is his favourite place in the whole house for most of the day, emerging only in the evening, stretching out his limbs and meandering his way to one of us for some love, or over to his water bowl if he’s thirsty.

He runs into my room and under the bed, first chance he gets! Especially when the doorbell rings……he is terrified of visitors :)

Giving him up is just not an option, friends.

I know I just have to work a little harder, that’s all.

But since we’re on the theme of the art work around my house, and autumn brings to mind dead leaves, here’s some I painted several years ago when I picked them up from somewhere because I thought they were beautiful.

browny

olive-y

Here’s to rebirth…..and rejuvenation. And cleaner air and less allergens. And hopefully more watercolours some day.

My heart goes out to the people of Badin and all the other waterlogged, flooded areas of Sindh, where people’s homes and livelihoods have once again been ruthlessly washed away. I know better now than to wish for rain in a country with governments that do nothing to improve or spend more money on building and maintaining crucial infrastructure.

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16 responses to “Autumn, anyone?

  1. i can almost breathe the cleaner fresher air…:D
    …and on a sombre note….we are a country with no governance…..we suffer….floods or no floods….

  2. Gosh, I’m sorrry to hear you might have cat allergies. You wouldn’t have survived with the cat I had for 17 years, who loved to sleep on my pillow.

    Sorry your housekeeper still isn’t back to help you clean. I’m afraid that’s one of the things I miss most about Haitil. There we had someone clean twice a week. Here we do it ourselves. Not so fun.

    I love the paintings, Munira! I too think dead leaves are lovely. You have done these so beautifully! You have a great gift, my friend!

    Kathy

    • No way could I survive with so much cat hair around my head!
      As for Zahooran, she didn’t report for duty yesterday because of the rains, otherwise she’s coming in every day, thank heavens! Though her daily chores don’t always leave her much time to deal with too many extras. Plus, being rather obsessive-compulsive, I prefer doing detailed cleaning myself….you know what they say about getting a job done right….
      Once in a while, it can be fun, though I will have to do things more regularly. Like bathe Fuzzy. I don’t know who will take over cleaning out the litter tray though…
      Dead leaves are so interesting to paint, and so much fun to draw. I love details. Should have studied the art of miniature in college…
      Thanks Kathy!

  3. Don’t get rid of the cat, get rid of your allergies!
    That used to be a sign in our clinic. Allergies aren’t something you have to live with And you do need to live with that little ball of fuzz! He’s adorable.

    One of the reasons we’re in Canada when we are (besides that it is horribly hot and humid at home, with the occasional hurricane or tropical storm) is BECAUSE it is the change of seasons, and it is magnificently beautiful. I hope to show you some of that soon!

    • I need to carry that sign around my neck! Been hearing too many people (family) telling me to get rid of Fuzzy. How could I?? They just don’t understand that the welfare of one’s pet is one of those commitments that you keep…..like marriage!
      Can’t really blame them though, Fuzzy doesn’t let anyone know exactly how lovable he is…I’m afraid he’s rather aloof and suspicious around anyone other than his immediate family :)
      I have a cousin who moved to Canada a couple of years ago, and he posted pictures of where he lives now (Mississauga) in autumn….those maple trees are simply gorgeous!!
      Look forward to your pics too Patty!

  4. Get rid of Fuzzy??!! NEVER!!! Not unless we’re allowed to get rid of people we’re allergic too as well ;-)

    All this talk of cleaning is making me so J! I look around my parents house and all I can see is a home falling apart. But I’m afraid no amount of cleaning will help here. What we need is a full on ‘Reno’, the thought of which gives me goose flesh…sigh :(

    I love the olivey leaves M :) They are utterly Me! As for Governments in our countries…the less said the better…no point starting off my day in a rage!

    • Thank you! I welcome all the support I can get!

      And I feel the same way about my parents place, so I hear you sistah! *double sigh*

      Olive-y leaves are totally Me too H! But I think I treated the browny ones better…

      And yeah. Let’s not talk about our governments :(

  5. Sorry to hear you have a problem with the snuffles….and you know I’m going to say that the cat has to stay (lovely photo). Lucy would never forgive me. I was just thinking about one of the saddest sounds of the year as I was out watering our greenhouse just now, and that is the sound of the geese flying south for the winter. Yup, overhead they went, squawking away “See you next year, sucker”.

    I know how important the rains are to you and I know that our friends in India will be overjoyed at a particularly wet monsoon. But to see peoples lives destroyed is awful.

    There’s a great irony here, for me. I’m a Vitamin D freak. I love and crave sunshine and heat and I envy your opportunity to sit on a balcony on a warm balmy night watching the rain.

    I’ll trade you our green and brown trees, nippy days and already frosting nights for your sunshine and heat.

    Don’t let the Govt get to you – live a happy life and believe in better. Ripples in ponds.

    • The cat is definitely staying Al, please assure Lucy for me!
      And I bet you wish you were flying south for the summer too, considering your penchant for Vitamin D (what was E for again?)

      We should definitely swap!

      And yes, we love rain like nobody’s business and enjoy it thoroughly when we get it…but never for long. It brings with it a host of problems….though these floods are proving to be extremely disastrous…

      Trying our darndest to believe in better. Ripples in ponds……I like that.

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