The featured photo holds the books, some of which were my dad’s when he was a kid, that are a major reason the cats were not allowed in my room. Another reason was my ultimately futile desire for work clothes not covered in cat hair.

But this morning I went downstairs for tea and breakfast and to catch up on ELI goings-on before I started my work day at my desktop, and then found myself deeply reluctant to leave. Not because I didn’t want to start work – the emails I needed to look at for work were piling up, and I try very hard to start my day as close to inbox zero as I can manage, otherwise it stresses me out. I didn’t want to go back upstairs because I’d be alone.

As someone who worked from home for years, doesn’t much like a bunch of noise from other people, and is slightly maddened by living with the most people I’ve ever lived with, this was a deeply weird realization. But knowing there’s another person working near me is something I’ve gotten used to, whether it’s the inevitability of Alexis answering work emails at all hours of the day or everyone else in the grad room working and periodically stopping to chat.

Alexis is the one who suggested the solution: leave my door open, and cats would eventually come.

So I gathered up the books I didn’t want the cats touching and put them in my bedside table, which closes securely. I dusted everything, picking up an amount of cat hair that really shouldn’t be surprising. The yarn that had been stored in the bedside table (not the main yarn stash: this is the stash to be taken to Stitch ‘n’ Bitches to teach people to knit or crochet with because we can just give them the whole skein) went onto the shelf at the end of my bed, because the cats have shown no interest in yarn in general. I put all my clean clothes away rather than just on the chairdrobe, because I still harbor hopes about minimizing cat hair, and left the door open.

This is Jo. She’s not quite sure about this room that she thinks just magically appeared.

Sure enough, Jo, the youngest of Alexis’ three cats, wandered in. She’s curious, exploring, and startled whenever I reach out to pet her, because this is not a room I usually pet her in. But she’s hard at work sniffing things and exploring corners, so I think this is going to work out great.

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