“When I had cats growing up, they were always able to go outside,” said Bill Hilgendorf, 30, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Maria Cristina Rueda, also 30. “We felt a little guilty having our cats confined to a relatively small apartment space.”
A late-night cat food commercial inspired the couple, who are furniture and graphic designers, to build a bright yellow staircase that runs along one wall, over a doorway and above the stove, where it meets the kitchen cabinets. The piece — made from a four-by-eight-foot panel of fiberboard, cut into seven-inch-wide strips with remnants of industrial carpeting on top — took a weekend to build.
“We wanted to make something that was a design element, but didn’t take over the space,” Mr. Hilgendorf said. “We painted it yellow, because we wanted it to be an architectural element. But it’s also very narrow, so it doesn’t encroach on the room too much.”
They weren’t sure if their cats, Miles and Attila, would actually use it, he said, but it didn’t take long for them to turn the addition into their own personal jungle gym. “At night they do this loop,” he said. “They run up and then jump down onto the refrigerator and chase each other around.”
From the Toronto Star: “All but lost in the controversy over the Conservatives’ impending elimination of the mandatory long-form census is how, in the proposed $30 million dollar replacement — the voluntary National Household Survey — Question 33 from the long form has been cut. Question 33 (let’s call it Q.33) is a three-part query that has been in place since Canada made commitments at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. The question gathered data on how much time people spent on unpaid work: domestic chores, child care and attending to the needs of elderly relatives and friends. It helped make Canada a world leader in “time-use” data. The results have also been showing how women are faring, socially and economically. For example, the results indicate that despite a higher volume and percentage of women in the workforce over the past 20 years, changes between men and women in respective unpaid workloads have merely been “marginal.”
Based on information gathered in the 2006 census, StatsCan reports that, on average, “Women spend about an hour a day more on basic housework chores than their male counterparts. In 2005, women aged 25 to 54 averaged 2.4 hours daily cooking, cleaning and doing other basic unpaid household chores, compared with 1.4 hours per day for men in this age range.”
Two-thirds of Canada’s unpaid work is being performed by women. No matter how the value of that is evaluated —anywhere between 30 to 45 per cent of Canada’s $1.5 trillion GDP. That’s a heck of a lot of productivity that is being completely discounted.”