“Do you know why high pressure cleaner has rifle-like long handle, instead of the usual short gun-shaped garden sprayer?”

I grabbed the nozzle off my cleaner guy. I had asked him if he knows how to operate high pressure cleaner. He smiled and nods. I told him how to connect it and turn it on, and he had fun with it spattering lint, debris and dust all over the place. The white walls of our cattery now has speckles and hair.

It was spectacular.

“I saw people use it for their cars”, he said that the first time, and he repeat it again just then. “They hold it like gas hose and spray up and down”

Down here, high pressure cleaner is used to clean cars, fancy ones. like BMW or Mercedes or sports motorcycle; the one with bright orange color and the letters “Repsol” written across in blue and which the rider had to lay down on missionary position to steer it. Obviously people who use it is too holy to ask how to use the sprayer properly and show the human shop assistant how stupid they are.

I am human, so I asked.

“That is, so you can control which way to spray the rubbish down without spattering it everywhere. What is the use of high pressure cleaner if you just use it to spray water all over the place and scrub the floor with bleach on all four and splat on the wall like Spiderman?”

Heck, they even use it to spray aphids off my lemon tree.

I showed them the right way, and I use a fraction of the water, no chemicals, less electricity, and quarter the speed.

“Oh wow, it’s great working for you, we won’t be tired at all!”, said the young one. Starting Tuesday he will be working for The Whiskers’ Syndicate every day except Monday and Thursday.

Oh, don’t be so quick sweetie.

“You won’t use them everyday. Everyday you use broom and mop”

I definitely kill his dream.

But I don’t want him to spray on the cats and broke them in two. 70 bars of water pressure can break human knuckles, high pressure cleaner is 90 bars of pressure, go figure; and I am not into continuing the legendary fix one thing and break the other saga. Not in my house, not anymore.

So I played it safe. When they cleaned the front yard, I give the cats their breakfast and lock them up where the cages used to be. We only have one big cage now, so there is enough for everyone. When the welder came back for the window trellis, I asked him to cut the good parts of the broken cages, he can have the rest.

I have the (good) remains of the cage mounted on the wall, or tied onto shelves made of PVC pipes, and we have cat play room now, where the cats can lounge and play.

With the hallway clean and empty, it’s time for another crash course on DIY.
We used to have horizontal blinds installed to break the wind and keep the rain from blowing in and shower everyone (including electricity sockets), but over the years, it dried out and broke, or became stuck and unusable. It’s USD 1,000 getting the whole new set from end to end, but we have fewer people donating now, and we even never reach our weekly goal for our food, so I have to think of something else before some drop of rain went into electrical equipment and zap some cat.

We use tarp then. It’s not classy, nor beautiful, but it works. It’s durable and versatile, and it cost USD 100 to cover one end of the hallway to the other.

It’s just that the tarps are heavy; and that’s why I need the guys to help me mount it up.

I told them my ideas. Rope going this way and that way, and this point will roll up when that side got pulled…

And off they go, chattering and laughing as I hang the cats’ towel to dry. I can’t always hear what they said, but I know they are excited because they have never thought it can be done before. They are curious and amused how I got the idea, and how they said to each other that they can replicate my idea for their home improvement, because it’s cheap yet working well.

The two guys took a break at four p.m., make themselves some coffee, and sit for the wind and cigarette on the front yard. They said, they will be back in half an hour.

Forty five minutes later I found them squatting by my fence, nudging something on the floor with their fingers.

They nudge what remains of the omelette I bought them for lunch into a growling filthy kitten.

“Whose kitten is that?”

They were shocked to see me towering on top of them.

“I don’t know” said the young guy again. “We were sitting here and smoking, and the little kitten slipped inside from under the fence and asked us for food. We have some omelette left over so we gave it to the kitten”

The other guy picked the kitten up and give it to me.

I don’t want them to get the idea that I will pick up just about anything, but I didn’t want to discourage them from helping animals in need, even if only with what little they have.

They went back inside and continued hanging the tarps. I gave the screaming kitten revolution and all-wormer, then joined the guys at the back.

We finished just in time for dusk.

Then they bid their farewell, and I gave them their money.

“Do you think you can handle the work here?” I am still not sure. I am not the kind of boss people would expect (the builders know first hand)

“I will like it here because I can learn many new ideas that I can apply for my own house, at the end of the day it’s no longer the money but the fun of doing new things” one said.

“The kitten felt right at home here, so why shouldn’t I”, said the other, “One of my kids likes cats very much”

“What kitten?” I asked. Maybe he meant Malaya’s baby, who slept splayed, tummy up on the bathroom mat.

“That one looking at you”, he replied.

I ducked down and see the new kitten.

“See you Tuesday then”

~ Josie


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Josie And The Whiskers' Syndicate

The first and only cat refuge in Bandung (West Java - Indonesia) a capital breeder of a nation without animal welfare law. We care for Bandung's unwanted animals, operate a TNR as much as our budget allows, and continue to educate people about compassion to animals

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