When One Door Closes, Another One Opens

Today’s post comes to us from Crystal Bay.

A little over one week ago, I shared the story of Peanut’s taking leave of this world. Little did I know that an ordeal a few hours later would completely distract me from grieving the old guy.

Peanut’s Last Day

I have what I refer to as a ghost cat; a 10-year old calico rescue named Izzy. Peanut was her best and only friend. It took several years before she’d even approach me for affection and it was unrequited.  Everything spooked this cat, even seeing headlights coming down the driveway. She spent 18 hours a day hiding behind the furnace, only emerging after dark to be with her friend, Peanut.

Peanut died on a Friday. Izzy was suddenly on my lap and behaved the role he’d played all of these years, as though she’d been waiting for her opportunity and only been an intern who learned how to be a companion from observing him for a decade. I loved it. We soaked each other up with mutual affection for hours.  I think she knew all along how to do it, but Peanut stood in the way because all of her affection was used up on him.

About 2AM, I went to use the bathroom and smelled gas. My furnace and water heater are behind louvers in the bathroom because there’s no basement here. I called the gas company and they sent out an emergency tech.  He found carbon monoxide coming from the 50-year old water heater and shut it down.  While standing there, I noticed a 5” hole in the floor, below which the dungeon exists.  This is a crawl space beneath the cottage made up of a maze of tunnels with a rocky dirt floor and about a 20” clearance to the studs above which hold the place up.  I knew at that moment that she’d gone down the hole.

I called and called her name, put tuna in a baggy with a string to tease her up, and opened up the trap door to the dungeon below. In the dark with a flashlight, swiping away a hundred years’ worth of cobwebs, I crawled through the scary tunnel looking for her. My mind went to thinking the gas tech’s commotion scared her into the vast duct system snaking throughout the underworld.

The next morning, the guy who used my dock walked by. I ran to him, hysterical, and asked for his help to find her. He then entered the dungeon and came out empty-handed. This tunnel is so tight that it can only be exited by crawling out of it backwards. An hour later, one of his friends went into the dungeon and found a collar she’d lost many months ago.

The light went on. I realized in that moment that she had not been hiding behind the furnace all of these years; she’d taken up residence in the vast dark underbelly beneath the cottage!  She’d been leading a double life all along. Still, I clung to the vision of her being so spooked that she’d dived into and gotten stuck in the venting system, so I called an HVAC guy to come and dissemble the entire network of ducts. He said he’d be glad to for only $200 an hour.  I told him I’d hold off until the next day. Next, I called Animal Rescue, Pest Control, and ultimately the police.

Two officers showed up, full of empathy for the little old lady who’d just put down one cat and now lost the other. One of them was hefty in size but insisted on crawling through the dungeon anyway. I truly worried that this brave cop would get stuck.

Every minute she was gone felt like I was letting her die down there. Later that night, Mary texted that she’d probably breathed in carbon monoxide and peacefully died. This seemed like a plausible reason that she hadn’t emerged from the hole she’d dived into, so I crawled the dark tunnel one more time, only this time looking for a body, then went outside to break a small window to peer into the dungeon. I’d resigned myself that she’d died down there. The thought that I’d forever live on the floor above my deceased cat was very unpleasant. I even posted her obituary on my Facebook wall right above Peanut’s obituary.

On Sunday, I decided to force myself to go dancing because my favorite band was playing. I got home around 1AM, went into the bedroom, and there she sat on the window box right outside my window. She obviously had exited through the broken window. Shocked but indescribably relieved, I popped open the pull-down screen and she flew in right past me to the second floor. My heart sank recalling that I’d removed a panel up there which allows access to the plumbing behind the wall. Sure enough, she dived into it.  I gave up at this point.

Another 12 hours passed, then, out of nowhere, she sauntered into my bedroom, acting as though none of this had even happened and took up residence on my lap. Now I am the one living a double life because my generous son paid for two purebred Ragdolls last Thursday. I knew that these exotic cats would not only heal my heart, but would be the best companions for what remains of my life. I’ll be 88 by the time of the average lifespan of these kittens. That’s why I wanted two: so they have each other if I die first.  It’s also mesmerizing to just sit and watch these fur balls rolling around and chasing each other.  The name “Ragdoll” comes from the fact that when picked up, they go limp in your arms.  They look like giant, long-haired Siamese and can grow to 20lbs.  Years ago, I owned three of this breed and have longed for more ever since. They’re rated as the most affectionate breed there is.

Rag Dolls


My double life resembles Izzy’s, only hers was below the cottage, and mine is splitting the days/nights between my little Ragdolls blocked into my downstairs bedroom, and my all-nighters sleeping upstairs to comfort Izzy. I don’t know if she’ll ever meet the downstairs cats, but she knows they’re here and will not come down.

And so, one door has been shut, and another one has opened, bringing with it new life, peace, and soul-healing.

When has one door opened for you as one door shut?

33 thoughts on “When One Door Closes, Another One Opens”

  1. Two weeks ago they closed the High Bridge down for redecking, but at the same time a narrow path appeared through the construction zone leading to the Wabasha Street Bridge. It’s only one lane so far, but traffic is squeezing through.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So glad you ooened up your heart to more kitties, CB. Years ago I worked at the local hospital. I didn’t know what I would do after they closed down mental health services at the hospital, but the local Human Service Center, where I now work, took us all on as employees.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    Ohh, so many examples of doors closing, then opening. TLGMS was shut down and the Trail Baboon with new friends and a new book group opened up. I sold my practice and landed in a different practice that I like a lot. And on and on. Cute kitties CB

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Just after reading this and having no immediate response…a cardinal landed on one of my bird feeders.

    I’d lamented not seeing any birds of excitement since arriving here…’tho the cactus wren and finches have daily splashed in the bird bath giving me entertainment and smiles. I’d seen an unidentifiable larger bird and decided it was s grsckle as well as thinking I’d sighted a female cardinal but only once and before the purchase of binoculars.

    Today the binoculars gave a clear view of the cardinal….at the feeder…sitting in the Oleander and foraging the ground..

    I’m delighted…not having seen one in over 17 years. Not since my parents died-they had many backyard cardinals.

    Don’t know as this is a door opening but seems a bit of one as I’ve gone through a period of mourning for my MN cabin home…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. This has nothing to do with doors, opened or closed, but I’m taking a class at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art, which is housed in the Longfellow House on the edge of Minnehaha Park. Yesterday I parked on the hill above the house and walked through the garden there. It was absolutely abuzz (humming?) with hummingbirds. In my simple stroll though on my way to my class, I think I saw a dozen—more than I’ve seen cumulatively in years.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. So far so good.
        I took Robin up to the garden this morning. For some reason (time of day, different weather) the hummingbirds, while still present, aren’t as plentiful as yesterday.


        1. The hydrangeas in front of my porch are covered in blooms at the moment, and they’re attracting hummingbirds. I love to sit on the porch and watch them. I still have to pinch myself to really believe that they live in the wild here.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. The only live hummingbird I’d ever seen before arriving in the US was in the Copenhagen zoo. I knew, of course, that lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants, bears, and hummingbirds lived in the wild somewhere, but it still seems magical to me that I now live in the place where hummingbirds do, and bears, too.

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Interesting! When I think of zoo animals, I never think of hummingbirds. Do you think people who live where there are zebras and giraffes find it odd that we have them in zoos over here?

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I delight in hummingbirds who live “here” because most of my life I’ve lived in places they only frequented seasonally on the way to places where they stayed. I learned in Happy Valley that they not only lived close to me but also stayed there all winter. What a delight to be able to feed them in January and February. It always seemed to me that the presence of hummingbirds in winter was a sort of validation of the local environment, an unexpected endorsement that was thrilling.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Any move to a new town involves a lot of closing doors and opening ones. I’ve tried to keep some doors from the former town (Robbinsdale/Mpls) ajar… but am still mourning (as slilyss mentioned above) some of the things and people I cannot see on a regular basis. More new doors keep presenting themselves here in Winona, and I may have to let up on opening them for a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sometimes a door closes but another opens. Sometimes I open a door but another closes. I see no pattern here. I end up feeling it is up to me to do the best job I can of moving forward, trying always to smile as I go.


    1. And now I don’t like my comment. It pleases me when people think closed doors are followed by other doors opening. I don’t think that is demonstrably true, but if that is your attitude it surely will lead to more doors being open for you.

      A better analogy might be the faith that God doesn’t give us more sorrow than we can handle. I’m afraid I can’t agree with that, but I’m sure that people who have that faith have a nicer path through life.


        1. And I think that, if someone finds they have a burden bigger than they can handle, that platitude implies that it’s because their faith is inadequate and that they shouldn’t look for actual help.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. Maybe some, but so far not me. I tend to find that idea strengthening, along the lines of the Mary Ellen Carter it Scarlett O’Hara.

          But then maybe I have yet to encounter a big enough burden.

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Back when I had some faith in God, I hated that saying, “God won’t give you more [more sorrow, more burdens, more difficulties..] than what you can handle.” Because the implication seemed that if I couldn’t handle what I was given (which sometimes happened), then it was because I lacked faith. Or something. As Bill said, it was my fault. And when I studied things like the Holocaust, it seemed so…shallow… to say something like that to a survivor of a concentration camp.

        Now that my faith in God is pretty much gone, it all seems random to me. Some have faith and they can handle a lot of s*** that God gives them; some have faith and yet they break down under what is given them. Others don’t have faith, yet they seem to dance blithely through life no matter what and others without faith stumble over difficulties, big or small. It’s a mystery to me. And maybe there’s some method or reason to it all, but I don’t see it from where I am.

        Please don’t think this is some angry rant against religion. I’m just telling my own thoughts and experiences and I’m not writing from anger at all – I’m just thinking about what is, to me, an impenetrable mystery. From what I’ve read here on the trail, those baboons who have faith seem to have it sincerely and I like that.

        Liked by 4 people

    1. Same here. Doors removed from my little bungalow went to the attic (which must have been amazing to see, given their great weight and the narrowness of the attic stairway). Bill and I can agree that doors “opened” by being removed always results in an opening. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m trying hard to think of a door closed-a door open example. Not coming up with anything. Today I had a closed door – I planned to head up to Duluth this afternoon, but my sister got sick, so I’m delaying the trip to tomorrow. I haven’t found an open door yet, but the day’s not over yet, maybe one will show up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well…now the door to go to duluth tomorrow or even this week has closed. I better start looking for another door to try to open…


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