Having spent a significant portion of my formative years in the 1980s, a lot of my pop culture references are considerably dated.
Most are still more or less apropos of any given situation.
Similarly, a disproportionate number of the songs that get stuck in my head are also from the 1980s. Most are still more or less apt, at least in name if not content, to any given situation.
Take Don Henley’s song Dirty Laundry, for example. It’s a great song that sometimes gets into my head on Fridays during my volunteer shift at Tabby’s Place, but the title is figurative. The song has nothing at all to do with clothing or detergent or fabric softener or bleach. It is all about people’s private, less than savory, business, sometimes called baggage, sometimes the skeletons in closets, but we’re also not talking about a 1981 song by Alice Cooper here. Nor is this topic metaphorical.
We are talking about actual, for real, dirty laundry. Really dirty laundry. Lots of it.
Because of the sheer quantities, unlike the imagined Prime Directive in Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe, cleaning dirty laundry is literally the Prime Directive at Tabby’s Place: A Cat Sanctuary.
This Prime Directive is the order of the first order. It is that which above all else takes primacy. It comes first. When the Prime Directive is not followed, aimed for, adhered to, well, things can get pretty messy. With over 100 cats in residence and that number about to increase with the addition of Quinn’s Corner, Tabby’s Place will need all hands on deck to Keep the Laundry Going.
Keep the Laundry Going is a required task for every single individual who does absolutely anything at Tabby’s Place, with only the rarest exception. (Keep the Laundry Going conveniently doubles as a mantra.) From the newest volunteer all the way up the chain of command to the admiral of this illustrious ship, one Jonathan Rosenberg, turning dirty laundry into clean linens is essential to the heart of the business of taking care of the Tabby’s Place cats.
As I’ve noted before, almost every space within Tabby’s Place houses cats. In the medical suite, Angelo and Luna supervise care. Every office comes complete with supervisory cats, like Reese, Perseus, and Marcia. Lobby greeters include newcomer Hips and Tabby’s Place veteran Olive.
There are too many residents to list and wax poetic about here, but each cat — large, small, young, old, quiet, vocal, ridiculously silly, unfathomably sweet — requires some amount of towels, blankets, cozies, and cat beds for their daily care, in addition to the ubiquitous blue cloths that suffer unspeakable indignities; mopheads; and more towels used for everything you can imagine towels can be used for.
In our holding rooms, depending on the situation and the day, the amount of laundry generated can vary by quite a lot. The same goes, as can be expected, in every other Tabby’s Place space too.
Needless to say, falling too far behind on wash and dry cycles can interfere with the real Supreme Objective at Tabby’s Place. That Supreme Objective is to care for the maximum possible number of cats, in the precisely optimal manner achievable, with the ultimate amount of love that the Tabby’s Place community can provide.
Happily for everyone who spends time working in the laundry room, machine capacity will increase before the number of residents increases. So, there will be a brief opportunity to get ahead of the game before the FeLV+ cats and neonatal kittens arrive in force.
And arrive they will.
Even now, as Quinn’s Corner construction enters its final stage, outreach is underway to increase our troops of volunteers to match the needs of the army of cats that will soon be marching through the updated entrance and filling each new suite to capacity. Each new person will learn how to run the machines, fold the towels, and keep the balance of laundry leaning toward “clean.”
Despite all of our best efforts, there will always be some dirty laundry. The battalion of cats — new friends and old favorites alike — will do their absolute best to generate as much litter-al dirty laundry as possible (they pride themselves on keeping us humans busy and in our appropriate places serving them to the fullest).
The newcomers may even bring along some less litter-al dirty laundry with them, but they will never, ever tell.