Times When I Cannot.

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Fluffy kitten all clean and snuggly and . . . clean. Really clean. So clean–Oh gods those were happier times.

Mortimer Kitten woke me at 6:15 this fine (or so I thought) Sunday morning. That’s practically late, and so I was not particularly perturbed as I threw on a sweater and headed downstairs to breakfast the cats.

As I made the switchback on the stairs, my peace was–well, we’ll just say it was wobbled, but not broken. I smelled cat poop. If you’ve read this blog more than twice, you’ll know that poop whiff is a thing that happens with alarming frequency and so is not, in and of itself, cause for much more than a groan and the unpleasant anticipation of having to clean something. And that’s exactly what I did: I groaned, and felt momentarily irritated.

And then I hit the first floor.

It dawned on me then that the poop whiff was strong. Much stronger than usual. And my irritation turned into trepidation which then quickly gave way to absolute dumbstruck horror as I made the corner into the dining room to discover the floors absolutely painted (in an unexpectedly symmetrical–dare I say rhythmic–pattern) with cat diarrhea.

And then Nigel walked past, his llama pants caked from asshole to . . . knees? . . . in said cat diarrhea.

And he led me into the kitchen, which had also been turned into a midnight poop canvas.

And more poop in the living room.

And everywhere I walked, Nigel followed, looking like a semi-melted Hershey Kiss that had been rolled in orange fur. And he kept sitting. Everywhere, poop and sitting and deposition of more poop and poop and poop and poop.

I had two immediate thoughts:

1. Call Tim, the real estate agent and tell him to list the house because there is nothing to be done and moving is the only viable option.

2. This is not a thing I deal with alone.

I quickly dismissed option 1 because we’d obviously have to burn the house down, which seemed imprudent, and hiked the stairs to fetch Schmoop, whom I roused from slumber by flicking on the lights and announcing that Nigel had painted the house in cat shit and the B team was required.

I told him what had happened. It wasn’t enough–words aren’t enough. He wasn’t prepared when he finally saw. You can’t prepare for something like that. You just can’t.

After a pregnant pause for hand-wringing and gaping and me wandering around with antibacterial spray and paper towels trying to figure out a starting point that didn’t involve arson, we decided to tackle Nigel first.

Literally. We tackled him. Schmoop held him down and I soaked his ass end as he angrily flopped his tail around in a puddle of poop water, flinging it everywhere. Once he was reasonably clean, we moved on to the rest of the house, hitting it first with antibac, and then going over it with the Swiffer.

As I was putting away the cleaning supplies, I heard a series of thumps from the second floor, followed soon after by the telltale whine of the steam cleaner that I purchased at 7am several years ago after Nigel turned the living room into a vomitorium.

There was stair poop.

And also puke. You know. For good measure.

At this point, dear reader, I am sure you are concerned for the welfare of the kitten that produced such copious and creatively-delivered emesis.

Nigel, grumpy and very soggy and still sitting all over the place was in the kitchen. Begging for breakfast. Which is to say, he’s totally fine and probably feeling a hell of a lot better than he was about 30 seconds before all the carnage started.

And so, merry fracking Christmas: the lovely smell of our tree has been displaced by the reek of cat poo, and in addition to the immediate trauma of discovering and then cleaning up after The Incident I have what I can only assume to be a permanent paranoia about hidden poop streaks on furniture, presents, unspotted floor areas, dog beds, cat beds–ALL THE THINGS COULD HAVE POOP ON THEM. NOTHING IS SAFE.

Cards and well wishes can be sent to me, care of whatever sanitarium this lands me in. I’ll update as I can.

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Yesterday I . . .

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Pooping everywhere is exhausting

– Had a tour, for which I was getting ready assuming that Schmoop would be taking the pups out while I did so.

– Did NOT adhere to my standard Calvin Anxiety Mitigating Routine because see above.

– Discovered Schmoop had NOT taken the pups out, but rather decided to go get bagels.

– Departed the bathroom to discover stoop poop.

– Proceeded downstairs for cleanup materials and discovered hallway pee.

– Suspended personal preparations in order to clean up two anxiety-related accidents, worked up a sweat, cursed Schmoopie and his damn bagels, became grumpy.

– Ate a bagel after initially refusing bagel out of spite because if it weren’t for the damn bagels I’d have had a lot more than 15 minutes in which to eat a bagel.

– Went to work while contemplating bagel-related Möbius strip of suck.

– Came back eight hours later and began critter feeding preparations.

– Opened kitchen door to take puppies their food and was whacked in the face with poop stench.

– Discovered dining room poop.

– Cleaned up dining room poop and fed puppies.

– Enroute to living room, noticed hallway had dreadful smell, still.

– Discovered stoop poop AND pee.

– Questioned, deeply and profoundly, what my life had become.

– Cleaned the third batch of inappropriate excrement OF THE DAY.

Today I . . .

– Went for a ten mile run having only eaten a spite bagel, 2 meatballs, Cheeze-Its, and a bacon burger the preceding day.

– Spent 7 miles wishing for death.

– Sat passively on the couch while Schmoopie cleaned up YET MORE STOOP POOP WHAT EVEN IS HAPPENING HERE????????

* * *

An epilogue for anyone who may be thinking: House train your freaking dogs, lady!

They actually are.

They were? I don’t even know what to think anymore.

Both pups were fabulously house-trained. But we moved out of the south last summer, and apparently if my dogs had cars they would have those stupid “G.R.I.T.S.” and “American by birth, southern by the grace of god” bumperstickers. Since they are bumperless, they lodge their cultural dissatisfaction through wanton household elimination. This explanation is also known as THE SOUTH WILL HAUNT ME FOREVER, DAMMIT.

Thats one explanation.

The other is that the move caused some stress, which coincided with Karmann developing arthritis, which led to some mobility-related accidents on the stoop, which led to more stress, which caused some anxiety-related accidents on the established-as-potty-zone stoop. All of which coincided with the traditional layout of the new-old house (i.e. not the Househunters preferred “open floor plan perfect for entertaining” type of soul-sucking new construction that we lived in while in Georgia, where asking a perfectly able-bodied Augustan to walk upstairs to the master bedroom is–PERISH THE THOUGHT, but I digress.)

All that basically means that we can’t see the front door, where the pups were trained to sit for potty notification purposes, from any other room in the house. More importantly, I think, they cannot see us. I believe this has caused a notification crisis. If we happen to be present in the front hallway (unlikely) or kitchen when the mood strikes them, they will sit at a door. If we are not, I think they just think, “oh well hey, we have that section of carpet on the landing so . . . ”

We’ve been trying since the fall to teach them to ring a bell on the door, but for reasons I cannot fathom they don’t seem particularly interested in learning this new skill. Probably because the stoop is so much less work.

And that is why I bitch incessantly about the out-of-control indoor elimination. I am not used to it, it is not normal (though it is frequently hilarious, because if I didn’t laugh I’d cry) and my dogs are not just totally untrained ruffians.

At least, not in this specific situation.

Schmoopie’s Critterful Moment

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So, not infrequently, my critters get up to shit. And by shit I literally mean they usually do so in some inappropriate place, at some particularly inconvenient time, and the household devolves into madness as humans scramble for cleaning products/cats/dog/etc. Mercifully, this usually happens when we are both around, though I think I can claim without a martyr’s complex that when it happens with one person present that person is usually me. It’s just statistics: I’m with the critters all day, so I’m more likely to be the lucky one. This should not be a surprise, since I basically started this blog to record all the daily and apupcalyptic weirdness in which the critters are perpetually ensconced.

Yesterday, I went for a run while Schmoop hung with critters. The general mood, at the point I left, was increasingly bizarre, so I skipped out the door (and into the rain) gleefully, knowing that I would have a bit of a reprieve. Tra la la!

When I returned, a scant half hour later, the smoke alarm was blaring, a beagle was tearing through the house, and Schmoop was in the kitchen yelling at Karmann to move. From the strained timbre of his directive, she was noncompliant. I froze, wondering if my entrance had been heard above all the excitement, and calculating the likelihood that I could slip back out silently for “another run” by which I mean a trip up to the bar for “a beer” by which I mean many beers.

Just as I was slowly backing away, Schmoop came dashing out of the kitchen and up the stairs, grumbling as he passed that Cal had shat on the stoop and he’d just come in from a doggy potty break wherein Karmann had pooped and then, upon returning to the warm, dry indoors, parked herself right at the top of the basement stairs, indicating that she, you know, needed to go out, and could I deal with at least one situation. Apparently this all went down while he was in the middle of making me dinner.

I took the dogs out while Schmoop dealt with the smoke detector, which had no good reason for going off save that Calvin had pooped right beneath it. So either our smoke detector is a poop alarm, a sentient and malevolent device that seized upon a moment of human frailty, or the batteries died. WE MAY NEVER KNOW.

This episode came at the end of a very nutty few days of twice-daily prednisone for Karmann’s Addison’s. Said therapy clearly helped her, with the super added bonus of turning her into a kinetic pee machine, and thus the household hominids were especially delicate.

Nutter is feeling boatloads better on the once-daily dose, and is finally capable of doing something other than staring at us, pacing, and peeing–she can now rest comfortably AND ALSO be frisky when the situation demands it. And she’s convinced that most situations demand it. Going to the kitchen? PLAY! Going to the bathroom? PLAY! Going upstairs? PLAY! Brushing teeth? PLAYPLAYPLAY! Which leaves me to wonder about how long she’s been feeling under the weather. Because the dog I have now is the Karmann of two years ago: high energy, insanely affectionate, ready to go in .005 seconds. For those of you who have only spent time with Karmann in the past year, and are inevitably thinking, “but that describes the Karmann I know, so what could have changed . . . ?” I can say only that you have seen nothing. NOTHING. This Karmann–2 years ago Karmann–is nuttier than you could possibly imagine. She is indefatigable. She actually bounces. She is made of such raw energy that you can almost see her molecules vibrating. Come see her now. Better yet, come take her for a weekend. I’m exhausted.

Her improvement has also had a, um, wonderful (?) effect on Cal, who was so stupendously happy last weekend that he spent Sunday leaping for kisses and wagging his butt and dancing for grandma before all the amazing excitement made its way to his colon, where it was transformed into another round of frantic liquishitting. Even bouncing, kissing happiness causes systemic skepticism in the beagle. I have no idea how to maintain a perfectly unexciting yet casually pleasant household, which seems to be the only state in which he can function normally.

This past week we also (finally) managed to feed whole, bone-in pieces without initiating doggie world war. Usually, feeding whole chicken wings or thighs–the pieces we’ve previously tried–results in World’s Sweetest Puppy Karmann turning into a crazed and evil hellhound who resource guards THE WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE from Calvin. So we stopped trying. Goddess knows we have plenty of inherent crazy in this house without having to bring it in from outside. And then, this week, we found the answer: duck necks. Karmann likes duck well enough to eat it, but not well enough to commit beaglecide. Score! The only downside is that Mort patently refuses to eat duck in any form, and we have to cut them into large chunks for Karmann, lest she redecorate the living room with duck necks. I will roll with these challenges if it means I have a non-murderous form of zoobie cleaning available to the puppies.

In Running for Critters news, I ran 9 miles last Sunday and I ran in the rain yesterday–and probably will have to do so again today. I don’t want to brag but that pretty much makes me a super heroine.

Beagle, Interrupted

Freshly laundered beagle-ish

Freshly laundered beagle-ish

We have all been very busy of late, staring at Karmann and obsessing over her rapidly fluctuating bowel health. And apparently the stress of it all has been getting to Calvin, because I have written and re-written this post at least a half dozen times since late February, when Karmann initially blew up like a large-ish floofy balloon. Sometimes it’s written as “Oh my dog, y’all Cal has been MAGICALLY AWESOME!!!” And other times it’s been, “Cal has made another ridiculous suicide attempt!”

And finally, it dawned on me.

I’ve mentioned before that Cal is the super skinny friend who whines endlessly that they just cannot. put. on. weight. while stuffing their face with chili cheese fries and creme-filled donuts. But really, it’s a fine line between that friend, and the stereotypical lithe, chain-smoking adolescent female psychiatric patient that I don’t think exists outside of mediocre fiction, Hollywood, and . . . CALVIN.

Attractive? Check.
Anti-depressants? Check.
Relatable–and ultimately justified–“bad” attitude? Check.
Situational anxiety meds? Check.
Skinny? Check.
Occasional outbursts of impotent frustration? Check.
Endearing character flaws? Check.
Existence seems mostly average and mundane for a perpetually-incarcerated being, punctuated only at entertaining intervals with mildly aberrant behavior which, in the real world, probably wouldn’t get anyone locked up in a shabbily chic mental facility for extended periods of their turbulent youth? Check, check, checkcheckcheck.

All that’s missing is his pack of Marlboro Reds and a beautiful–if misunderstood–“friend” of the opposite sex to supply them. Karmann herself is a non-smoker.

So my written-and-deleted posts, in a round-up:

1. YAY!!! Calvin saw a dog at the park and was easily redirected.

2. YAY!!! Calvin seems to have learned how to deal with the snow–bravely soldiering on as a tripod, without fuss or freakout, when snow balls up in his toes!

3. BOO!!! Cal peed all over the house when he realized I was getting ready to leave for the morning.

4. YAY!!! The weather is lovely and Cal had a very non-reactive walk, despite seeing people! Happy beagle in the near-Spring!

5. BOO!!! It snowed again and Cal has apparently forgotten how to deal with snow because it’s right back to being the worst substance ever invented and to compensate he must BARK AT ALL THE THINGS.

6. YAY!!! No more scaredy-pooping in the crate! It has been three weeks without an accident!

7. BOO!!! Reset the counter on the scaredy-crate-pooping.

8. BOO!!! Calvin has attempted suicide again, first by trying to eat a wrapped fortune cookie and, when thwarted, pursuing the consumption of a large ball of foil.

9. YAY!!! He puked up the foil shards pretty much immediately! My beagle shall not die today!!

10. YAY!!! Cal has survived not only a manicure, but also 1/2 day of Karmann-less doggie daycare where, if the attendant is to be believed, he MAY HAVE EVEN ENJOYED HIMSELF!!!

11. YAY!!! Doggie daycare has totally fixed the Beaglemonster! He can gaze benignly on other canines from the confines of the car!!

12. YAY!!! Cal has been on a walk and admirably dealt with children playing basketball, passing pups on leashes, and a roving hoarde of hyperactive children on bicycles!! HE IS HEALED.

13. BOO!!! Cal dream-peed on the bed, which scared him into bolting from the pee-covered cushion–WHILE PEEING–and running across the room where he paused to collect himself. Living room appears to have been soaked by small, pee-filled fire hose. Beagle fearful and licking his elbow to self-soothe.

By my count, that is 8 YAY!!!s to 5 BOO!!!s and that, my non-specific internet friends, is resounding success. Pee-soaked living room be damned.

You has brought smokes for me?

You has brought smokes for me?