Monday, August 25, 2008

Sonic youthful exuberance

Today, I am attempting the impossible, going where no man has gone before, and hitching my wagon to that proverbial star. In other words, I am trying to painstakingly and systematically clean every last inch of my house in a brazen effort to finally figure out why everything smells of cat pee.

Ah, the happy times to come. Times when I shall walk through my front door and be greeted by the pleasant scent of Lemon Pledge. Or perhaps Swiffer solution. Windex. Really, just something generally clean and fresh smelling instead of, as has too often been the case of late, the unmistakable smell of lime air freshener vainly attempting to cover over the horrible stench of cat urine coming from God only knows where.

The offending cat is 17 years old now. I think that's somewhere around 189 in cat years. So she is decidedly a senior cat. And she has had kidney failure for the past eight years. She has been maintained with a special diet, a hefty regimen of pills, and rehydrating fluid injections when required. Giving her pills is not a great deal of fun. We have been hissed at, scratched, and have nearly lost digits in the effort. You wouldn't think such a tiny cat could possibly be so feisty, but she just is. Crabby old thing! She makes senior abuse sound like really just a fabulous idea.

Anyway ...

Of late, her regimen is not working as well as it has in the past. She is regularly dehydrated. She is moving slower. She doesn't eat enough, and is losing weight. And she was already really tiny, so doesn't have a lot of wiggle room on that one. When she first got sick, we had to force-feed her to get enough food into her to keep her going. But once she turned the corner, she stopped needing that, and it has been years since we have had to wrap her up in a towel and sit beside her on the bathroom floor, H prying her mouth open and me putting my finger into the viciously stinky, sabre-toothed chasm and sticking wet protein-reduced catfood to the roof of her mouth.

Clearly, we love our cat and have been quite devoted to her through the years. We had thought about putting her down when she appeared to be suffering. But she pulled through, and has been quite comfortable for most of her eight-year illness.

But now, she has a slow, pained gait. She is reluctant to climb stairs. She vomits several times a day - sometimes on our bed, which I must confess that I do not appreciate. And she pees outside of the litter box. I thought it was only in the front entranceway, but after having swept, washed, scrubbed, and all but deep fried the entire front entranceway in a mixture of savoury herbs and seasonings, the house still reeks of cat pee. And I have thus far been unable to locate the offending source.

So today, with a 3-year old on one side and a 3-month old on the other, I search, cleaning as I go, attempting to find out where that blasted cat is peeing. If only I were Toucan Sam, I could just follow my nose. But sadly, I am only human, and the smell permeates everything and cannot be located.

And so I have not yet found today's source. And I wonder if I am going quite mad, and imagining that I smell cat urine everywhere. Seriously. H can never smell it. So maybe it's all in my mind. Maybe I'm about to have a stroke or something, and this is the warning sign. Or maybe it's just a special gift of mine - superhuman sense of smell - because H generally smells it once I have located a spot and have begun to move the furniture so that I can clean it. But that can't be it. Because with superhuman sense of smell, I would be able to just follow the smell to the appropriate spot, where it is at its strongest. To follow my nose, if you will. Like Toucan Sam. And I would then know where she was peeing. Oh, the cleanliness I could unleash upon my house if only I had the powers of the Toucan.

Anyway ...

I decided to clean the toilet. Please don't misunderstand. It's not that I'm insane. And I do not believe that the cat is peeing in the toilet. (But wouldn't it be great if she would?) It's just that, in my wanderings of looking for the source of offending odour, I encountered a bathroom. And since I was methodically cleaning everything in my path, it only made sense to continue. So the toilet needed to be cleaned, polished, and made all nice and lemon-fresh.

Now, throughout my chores, and throughout this post, I have been met with frequent interruptions. Interruptions such as: "I want Cars!"; "I don't want Cars - I want ... this one!" "No, not that one ... I want - Shrek!"; "I think there's pee in me"; "I don't want to go pee-pee"; "They're up like Grandpa-pants - I don't want that"; "I wanna watch Enchanted!"; "No! Not that, not that, not that!!"; and, my personal favourite, "The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show freaks me out". But nothing could have prepared me for what was about to come.

Anyway ...

Proudly brandishing the toilet brush, I marched toward the offending bowl to do battle. And that is when it happened. That is when I heard it. The sound of utmost youthful exuberance, which will most certainly not last into his teen years. (But wouldn't it be great if it would?)

J: What's that? Is that a toilet brush? I want that! I want that thing!! I WANT TO CLEAN THE TOILET!!!

I said no. I tried desperately to keep the toilet brush away from J. I told J that the toilet bowl and toilet brush were both icky, germy things, and that I didn't want him to touch them. I sat him down and talked logically and rationally.


I thought his head would explode as he lay on the floor, kicking and screaming, having an out-and-out tantrum, demanding, sobbing, and pleading for the toilet brush by turn. Seriously? I'd love it if he would clean the toilets for me all the time. But I think that borders on child abuse.

Anyway ...

The toilet is now clean. Wonderfully shiny and polished. I cleaned it. J did not. I am no nearer to finding the source of the cat pee smell. And J is on to a new tantrum. He wants a drink of water. And he wants to drink it out of one of N's baby bottles. A specific baby bottle. Which he has misplaced. And which I am to find. Immediately. And if I don't, he will move his rocking chair into the kitchen and climb on top of it to look over the counter at his dinosaur eggs in their make-shift aquarium - but that's a topic for another time - and probably fall off and crack his head open. And what one of these things has to do with the other, I can't possibly understand. Because it's 3-year old logic, and I am ... well ... not 3.

Must go save child from cracking head open. Must find misplaced baby bottle for 3-year old. And must continue in search of offending cat pee stench.

It's going to be a fabulous day.

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