Friday, October 16, 2009

Bug in the Cat Flap

Cat doors should not mysteriously lock themselves. Especially when it is the door to the litterbox and all people have vacated for the weekend. The cheesy plastic lock mechanism that leads the cat to think "Oooh look -- there's a toy to paw at!" is definitely NOT a feature, especially when the cat is not smart enough to reverse the process.

The cat's satellite bathroom: Nimue's room. Great. Welcome home humans.

Many things around the house are a pain to clean up. I thought projectile carrot barf from the top bunk was bad. Mixed vegetable carnage in the kitchen is bad. Ancient dry-erase marker on the whiteboard is just annoying. Dead rats in the garden that then reek in the garbage can are bad. But a long weekend's worth of cat pee that couldn't make it into the litterbox because the cat was locked out of the room is BAAAAAAAD.

Fortunately, the poop was easy to clean up -- it was dry and solid and I got it up and taken care of before Nimue had even made it out of the car. Kids-n-Pets is a wonder substance for the minor surface cleaning and odor removal needed. (we have Nim's preschool teacher Miss Angeline to thank for pointing out that particular wonder substance) However, after cleaning that up, the room was still.... well... fragrant, and I knew that the liquid waste had to have been deposited somewhere. By then, I had the odor up my nose and couldn't really tell where it was strongest. Since I had a vague suspicion it was worst in or around the closet and there were no obvious wet spots on the carpet, I pulled out everything on the closet floor and threw it in the garage to evaluate in the morning.

For those of you with urchins of your own, you will be quite familiar with the litany of objects filling every square inch of a kid's closet -- especially when said kid can't really reach most of the shelves very well: A big hamper full of dress-up items spilling out everywhere, several small blankets, miscellaneous craft supplies, plastic building toys, stray legos, old crumpled-up artwork, workbooks, books, pinecones, feathers, missing puzzle pieces, musical instruments, et al. I don't normally object to the state of the closet as the alternative seems to be constantly having everything out in the main body of the room, but it's just a lot of stuff when you have to completely clear out the floor.

The next morning brought a full carpet shampooingand I was reminded of how disgusting carpet really can get. I just cleaned it about a month ago, and the water coming out of the machine on this current cleaning was still black. If one were a suspicious type, one would think the evil marketing geniuses involved in carpet shampooers insidiously coerced the engineers into introducing some substance that makes the water black after it goes through the machine, just so users feel like the machine and soap are doing something. The simpler explanation, of course, is that carpet in my house just gets gross.

While the carpet was drying and I still had the smell of soap in my nose, I headed out to the garage to tackle the smelly pile from the closet. Sniff legos: clean. Pinecone: clean. Bells: fine. Dulcimer: clean. Books and papers: no evidence of wetness. Craft supplies: good. Basket full of dress-up clothes and blankets/capes: EEEEEEEEEWWWWWW! Apparently the cat decided the semi-enclosed basket full of nice soft things was the location that most resembled her litterbox. Fortunately, the basket was plastic, and everything in it could go in the wash. Three loads of laundry, done first with vinegar and then with soap. There will be an energy use spike for us this month for sure.

Of course, once one starts smelling things, one finds all sorts of other items that need to be fumigated. Never, ever smell a beloved stuffed animal acquired at a garage sale. You just don't want to know. The giant stuffed tiger showed no evidence of having been sullied by this most recent episode, but turns out to reek of old (other person's) kid emanations and cleaning attempts. I would have been much happier just not knowing. Into washing machine with tiger too.

Hopefully this full closet fumigation will also take care of whatever was causing the intermittent rotting tuna fish smell that periodically wafts out...

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