The Real Story: Elrond Hubby and Cat Hair

My husband is obsessed with hair.  Cat hair.  Dog hair.  Even my hair, when it’s long, which it is these days. Not in an “ooh, I love long hair” obsessed way, but an “I vacuumed and had to clean out the beater bar, and all I found was long hair! Your hair!!”

Speaking of vacuums, we have been through about 5 in 15 years. The only ones that last are the expensive wind-tunnel ones advertised by the British guy who invented them. We are on our second one of those. I’m pretty sure I broke the first one, though Elrond Hubby swears I didn’t (he’s really sweet). We go through vacuums primarily because we have long-haired cats.

I didn’t realize that Elrond is OBSESSED with hair until fairly recently. It was one of those things that he was going on and on about for years, and I just rolled my eyes at, because honestly, cat hair doesn’t bother me. It cleans up fairly easily, and it’s just a sometimes annoying by-product of having these small, wonderful beings in the house that bring me immense joy.

First, I thought he was just obsessed with cleanliness, which he is, and thank goodness one of us is. But the hair thing has become the symbol of all cleanliness in our existence. He has bought MANY kinds of tools:  rubber scrapers, brushes, all “lint masters” to deal with the hair; each time he vacuums or cleans off the cats’ end of the couch or the bed or that spot on the floor where one of them always lies, he shows me how much hair he got from that ONE SPOT.

“Do you see this?” he says.  “Look at how much hair I got from this ONE SPOT!”

“Wow!” I say, but then go back to what I’m doing.

“No, seriously.  How can a cat produce this much hair?”

“Um, he’s covered in it?”

“We have to do something about this.”

“OK,” I say, then shrug my shoulders, which kind of fuels the fire. I know he will scheme to find a way to reduce the cat hair in that ONE SPOT, the same way that I try to find ways to play with the cats so that they shed more hair (that’s not really what I do, but I think he sees it that way).

Recently, he started putting a towel on the place on the bed where the biggest, hairiest cat usually sleeps, because he will find the spot nearly black with hair after only a week or two. The idea behind the towel is that he can pick it up and brush it off, or  wash it, leaving the bed clean. However, he now also avoids washing towels and sheets together, because the towels shed cat hair onto the sheets, and the hair congregates into little balls on the sheets. He is sure there is a magic ball to put in the washer that draws the hair in off the clothes. I have never seen such a device myself, so I remind him that the hair mostly gets caught in the dryer lint collector thingy. That isn’t enough! There has got to be a better way!

I think it began to dawn on me that hair is the real “problem” when I started talking about getting a dog. This kind of dog:

Copyright to HeartSpoon, found at
Copyright to HeartSpoon, found at

It’s a Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog!!!  Beautiful, right?  These are big, teddy bear dogs, bred to protect flocks and livestock, as opposed to shepherding dogs that herd the flocks. I have met several Great Pyrenees, and they were all wonderful creatures. I’ve loved the idea of getting one for a long time, but only started thinking seriously about it when one of our cats died in 2010. Not long after, in my grief, I was searching the internet for other animals with the same name, and came upon a Pyrenees on the national rescue site with the same name AND SAME characteristics of our cat.  (Our cat was like a dog in many ways:  loved everybody, stayed with us wherever we were, played fetch, and so on.)  Anyway, at that point, I started researching Pyrenees more and now I think they would be the perfect dog for us (me).

Except for the hair.

Take another look at the picture. Pyrenees have thick fur, with downy undercoats to keep them warm in mountain climates. Plus, they are white. Anyone who has lived with a white cat knows what I’m talking about.  I had a white calico cat from 1991-1995 and I found her hair on things for nearly ten years after she was gone.  Not that I really cared about having the hair on things, since as I said, you can clean it off.  It was just an interesting phenomenon from my point of view. And she was a sweet cat, so it reminded me of her.

Back to the Pyrenees.  Ever since I fell in love with this kind of dog, Elrond Hubby has found ways of justifying NOT getting a dog, especially this dog. We live in an apartment, yes, I get that. We live in a hot climate, yes, yes. Both of these are real concerns.  I will not get a dog until we have a house, so he’s safe on that front for a while; and the heat just means taking good care of the dog, which of course I would do. But the hair is another issue entirely.

“Look at the hair!” he says. “It would be EVERYWHERE!”

“I **know**!” I reply.  “Wouldn’t it be great?”

He shakes his head.  Schemes privately.

I know he’s been scheming privately when we see commercials with other dogs, short-haired dogs, smaller dogs.  A couple of times, he remarked on the adorable beagle in this commercial.

“Look at that cute dog! What kind of dog is that?”

“A beagle, I think. He’s really cute. Do you know they bark a lot?”

“But they have short hair!”

I roll my eyes, shake my head.

Elrond Hubby does not give up easily. He learned from the beagle experience not to bring up the hair thing. Like when this ad came out.

“Look at that dog!” he says. “Wouldn’t you love to have a dog like that? He’s sooo cute!  And we could train it to find the remote control. Or he could look for our keys when we lose them.” Then, he pretends to ask the dog to find the remote, and mimes the dog pointing at the lost remote.

That’s pretty funny, so we spend some time pretending to have a pointer dog find odd things for us and laughing about it.  Also, I know it’s nearly every guy’s dream to have a remote control always within reach. So I entertain the idea of those kinds of dogs for a few minutes, then I say, “It’s because it has short hair, isn’t it.”  Not a question.  Matter of factly.  He knows I’m right.  Dammit.

Finally, after years and years of these conversations, it finally dawned on me. The next time cat hair became a subject of conversation, I started laughing uncontrollably.

“What? What is it? What’s so funny?”

“I think you’re obsessed with hair!!!”

Now we just laugh about it.  He doesn’t give up.  And I don’t stop laughing.  And that’s marriage.




Funny Things From an Intercultural Marriage #1: Ice Cream…SANDWICH?

My husband was born and brought up in another country.  He came to the US at about the age of 30 and is now a US citizen.   We are about the same age (I hate the idea of dating older men, see previous post), so we share many of the same cultural references.  For instance, when he and his friends first saw Michael Jackson moonwalk on tv, they all went crazy just like we did and practiced it for hours on end.

[I can’t believe tv is the first thing I thought of when it comes to cultural references.  Sigh.  But I was raised on Sesame Street and watched a lot of tv as a kid and teen.  Can’t help that now.]

Back to the story:  However, people in his country didn’t always see the same tv shows in the same years we did in the US, so sometimes, he remembers seeing a show in his early teens, when I remember seeing it as a younger child.  The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman are two examples. They were on in the late 70s here, but on in the early 80s where he is from, so he relates to them in different ways than I do.

Anyway, sometimes I forget that he didn’t grow up here, and this often shows up in funny ways.  One example that always makes me laugh happened when we were visiting my mom and the drunken asshole stepdad in Florida, I think during the year we got married.  We’d been together about 2 years by then.  After dinner, my mom was offering us some dessert and detailing what she had in the fridge.  Her sentence went something like, “Would you like a piece of pie, or an ice cream sandwich?”

He waited a second, looking confused.  Then, his eyes got really big, and he repeated back, incredulously, “Ice cream…SANDWICH?”  At the same moment he uttered SANDWICH? he looked at me, as if to say, “Why have you never told me that such a wonderful thing exists in this magical world of the USA?”  Now, this is a guy who loves sandwiches as much as Joey on Friends.  I couldn’t believe he’d never heard of an ice cream sandwich, and he couldn’t believe it either.  Needless to say, he tried one, and then another, hehehe.

We bought an automatic ice cream maker this summer, and he keeps bugging me to make ice cream and put it in sandwiches.   : )