Goals are funny things. They can provide a compass to simplicity, but they can also introduce an undesired complexity. Here’s the problem:
I am married, and one of my personal affirmations/goals is: I love and nurture my wife.
Nothing wrong with that. I heard Josh McDowell recently say one of the best gifts a father can give his children is to love and nurture their mom. I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, I remember distinctly my dad saying to me, “Son, if it comes down to a choice between you or your mom, I’m choosing her… every time.” That seemed a bit unfair at the time, but he knew what he was talking about. (Zen marriage?)
I am a home owner. Another personal affirmation/goal is: My house and cars are well maintained and cared for.
Because I own stuff, I need to take care of it. Sometimes you can own so much stuff that it seems to own you, but with me, I think I’ve found a good balance. Some time back I replaced my cat demolished sofas for some “gently used” leather sofas. Lovely. I traded up. I got a good deal on Craig’s list. But…
I own cats. Nothing wrong with that either. I own a dog too, but she doesn’t claw sofas. My cats do. I have an affirmation/goal for my pets: I care for my pets.
You begin to see the complexities. I love my wife. She loves the cats, and so do I. We like our stuff, including our new sofas, unfortunately, so do the cats. What is one person to do? (I have an affirmation/goal that ties it all together: My goals are meaningful and in keeping with my core beliefs and values.)
I’ve got core beliefs and values, and they provide me with both direction and challenges. They provoke me to find solutions that don’t violate my myriad of complementary and harmonic inner schemas.
So what to do about the cats slowing poking holes in the new sofa?
What’s a guy gonna do? Research! What have others done?
I found ways to train cats, ways to protect furniture, and most of them aren’t cheap. But I am. So…
I invented a “sticky moat.” Invention is a creative art. Being creative is not creating something out of nothing, only God does that. The rest of us create by mixing up existing stuff in new ways.
I took some old file folders, trimmed off the tab, and stapled seven-inch strips of contact paper face up. I peeled off the non-stick portion of the contact paper, cut some notches in the folders, and built a sticky moat around the chairs and sofas. (The uncovered part of the folders go under the sofa.)
But cats are complex animals. They have needs. A few years ago I bought them a nice three-story cat house that provides a view into the front yard and an appropriate clawing spot. They use it, sometimes. Because my cats are indoor cats, they love the smell of the outdoors. So I took some outside plants and rubbed them on their cat house in order to make it more appealing, even "new." (I also trimmed the cats' nails.)
Cats don’t like citrus smelling things, so I gently rubbed some lemon-scented Pledge on the sofas and chairs.
A three-pronged plan to solve a problem in keeping with my core beliefs! My wife and the cats are happy. My sofas are safe. (I hope.) And my wallet was barely impacted.
Score one for Don!? (I’ll tell you in a few weeks.)