As we gather our belongings, test our oxygen tanks, and start along the soft, mossy foothills of Mt. Bloppington, we begin the upward march with a post about ... turds.
Life was easy, once. Robert was in training pants, TwoBert was a fetus, and we had a tiny, elderly cat that ate about five ounces of food per month. Our Poop Quotient was nice and low, and our little apartment smelled mostly like feet or Tide, depending on how recently we'd done laundry.
Then TwoBert emerged, in all his pants-filling glory, but we were ready. We'd ridden through Diaper Junction before, and we knew what the return trip would entail. Besides, soon after TwoBert arrived the cat died, apparently convinced there was no way it could compete with a second little human.
But then, about a year ago, we started seeing mice. Apartment buildings are fragile ecosystems housing many species that usually keep to themselves, unless something cataclysmic -- say, the replacement of a sewer pipe -- upsets the tenuous balance. So after the building's poop chute got a reno job, the mice fled upstairs and found lots of furniture to scurry behind, laying billions of little mini-turds in their wakes.
I caught a few of them, and swept up all their little caraway seeds of excrement. But we didn't see the last of them until the arrival of new kittens, Alex Rodriguez and Princess Blossom Pepper Doodle Von Yum-Yum, who now patrol our place vigilantly.
The side effect of all this mouse-freedom, however, is that these two cats are pooping machines. And the stuff they poop puts off a vile stink that assaults your nose like a right cross. Head toward the catbox at an inopportune time, and it's lights out, amigo.
I get home two hours before my wife every day, and when I walk in the door it's my job to make a beeline for the crudbunker and unearth all the day's poo. And I'm sick to death of it. Seriously. It's infected my brain. There's this bulletin board at work with pictures of new employees on it. The sign above says "NEW FACES," and I swear I walked past it yesterday and thought it said "NEW FECES."
I've always had trouble comprehending how anyone could keep a dog in a city apartment. All those "walkies" at inopportune times and in inclement weather just never registered as worth the effort. But I have to tell you, as our Poop Quotient spirals out of control (yes, TwoBert, I'm looking at you), the idea of keeping the poo out there, instead of in here, looks awfully appealing.