the kitten in the ceiling

a riff on chaos and change

Loopholes and shortcuts?

I love them. When I built our family's cabin on my parents land,I built it as large as I could without needing to get a building permit from the city.

It is exactly 448 square feet, a mere two square feet under the maximum allowable size for an additional, building on this land. In the eyes of our municipality, it's just a really big shed.

It's a really big shed that over the last 12 years I have been slowly improving. One such improvement came eight years ago.

We decided that though we loved the look and feel of having open trusses, that it would be a good idea to install a ceiling. A ceiling would help trap the heat when it was cold. A ceiling would keep it cooler when it was warm. Most importantly, the ceiling would help prevent another bat incident.

A bat incident occurs when a poor lovely little bat would find its way into the cabin, and terrorize the family at night.

My memories of the last bat incident are unclear. I remember the screaming. I remember hiding under blankets. I remember a rapid series of ideas, deployed frantically, in an attempt to get the bat out of the cabin. We didn't want to hurt it. Bats eat mosquitoes. We like bats. We didn't want it in the cabin either.

Most of all, I remember the aftermath. We were unwilling to have another sleep interrupted by 10 grams of flying furry terror.

Typically when you build a ceiling these days it's made from drywall. I hate drywall. It's heavy. It creates a lot of dust. It's bland and difficult to work with. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing good about drywall is that it's cheap.

At this time, given our budget, drywall wasn't cheap enough. Instead, I chose to go with white styrofoam. The panels were an inch and a half thick and thick. I friction fitted between the trusses. No nails. little mess. Zero weight bearing capacity.

For years, it looked great, and was insulating. Then came the kitten. Suki. Suki inspired “How to cook a kitten.” Suki works on behalf of the forces of entropy. For those of you who speak the geek of Dungeons and Dragons. Suki can be best described as chaotically neutral. Her curiosity score is 11 out of 10. Her fear quotient, does not register. Suki has an almost honeybadger like ability to give zero shits. Suki really wears me out. I love her anyway. and she loves me, anyway to.

Yesterday while sleeping, were stirred by the sound of squeaking Styrofoam. Black fly corpses, dust and other attic debris - likely mouse turds cascaded down upon us.


Suki was in the ceiling. Meowling and running about without any regard for the tensile strength of the styrofoam that supported her, she was having a grand old time.

The rest of us?We had a problem. The rest of us needed to get the cat out of the ceiling. We called and cajoled. We offered treats and popped up pieces of Styrofoam near her. This only inspired more chaos. With the kitten in a furry fury. I finally gave up and found a ladder. I removed a section of ceiling and climbed into the attic. With her hackles up claws fully extended, and a tail the size of a very large overgrown zucchini. I eventually managed to get her down.

Today, I've been putting boards up sealing the holes on the ceiling and building something more permanent.

Sometimes we change by design, by plan and by intentionality. And sometimes the forces of chaos compel us. How does chaos function in your approach to change?

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