Now For Something A Little Off-Topic…
So I got home a couple nights ago and noticed an awful cat poop smell in our master bedroom. Not that big a deal because the master bath is right there and we have two litter boxes for four cats. Typically there are little litter pieces all over the floor, but sometimes one of them makes a Golgothan in the box. The standard action for a Golgothan is to get it out of the litter box as soon as it’s smelled, or risk contaminating the entire upstairs (and sometimes downstairs) with its stink. So I went ahead and scooped out both boxes and sprayed some air freshener in the area.
The smell didn’t disappear, but I kind of expected that. Sometimes it takes a little bit for the smell to go away. A quick inspection of the upstairs suggested that there wasn’t a wayward cat poop laying around unclaimed on any of the floors.
When my wife Emily got home I asked her about it. She said “Oh, I was running the Dee-Bot (an automated vacuum – like a Roomba) up there and it caught a piece of cat poop.” I took a breath. I didn’t like where this was going already. Roombas and Dee-Bots shouldn’t be used in places that are going to have chemicals or pieces of things like litter that can significantly damage the device. It’s not an industrial vacuum – it’s a fragile piece of electronic hardware with many gears and springs and… it’s like the physical representation of a very thin-skinned, overly-dramatic teenager going through the first phases of puberty. Pretty fragile. I personally had thought I would never run the Dee-Bot in that bathroom but it was nothing I’d ever said out loud not to do.
The point I’m trying to make is I’m not blaming Emily for running the Dee-Bot in there. In truth – cat poop has been known to appear anywhere in our house, so this really could have happened to anyone.
In any event, she said it was okay – she had wiped it off. But I was thinking to myself… depending on how long the Dee-Bot had a hold of this turd, it could be all through its system. Mangled cat poop. That’s what was going through my mind right now. Mangled cat poop squished throughout brushes and gears and wheels… the stuff of complete meltdowns. Mine and the Dee-Bot’s.
I Insisted that I take a look at it.
So we went down stairs and I picked up the Dee-Bot and it was cat. Poop. Everywhere.
In. On. Under. Orbiting nearby. Just atrocious.
Needless to say I spent the next two and a half hours tearing that thing apart and cleaning it out.
Sidebar: the most fun you can have with a toothpick. I highly recommend you try it.
The good news is that I was able to pretty much remove all the cat poop. I had some trouble with the treads and I didn’t want to poke at them too much – any time dried flecks of cat poop came off, some of it made its way back into the vacuum and into the gears and wires – and that was if it wasn’t jumping into my mouth or flying into my eye. I wasn’t having that.
I made sure it ran for a bit afterward and parked it on the charger. The air it was pushing out the back vent still smelled terrible, but I concluded that I can rig some kind of air freshener for the back of that.
Still, at night, it smelled godawful in the master bedroom. So I asked Emily when she realized the Dee-Bot had picked up the poop. She said she actually hadn’t noticed it until she was done using it up there, when she picked it up. I was a little confused by that. If the Dee-Bot had picked up the poop and then come back into the bedroom, then surely (based on the mess I had just cleaned – and this was after she had wiped it) it would have brought some of the poop out onto our floor. But there was no sign of this having happened. Emily had concluded the same thing.
Had it maybe gotten a hold of the poop in the bedroom, and Emily finished with it soon thereafter? Had it pulled enough of the cat poop into itself that it didn’t have much to leave anywhere else?
We didn’t know.
Nonetheless, out of curiosity, I looked under the bed.
Folks, I’m going to tell you right now: monsters do exist. And this is where they hide.
Basically, of all the places the Dee-Bot could have decided to smear cat poop all over the floor, and anything else in the nearby vicinity (coax cables, power cables, power strips, another cat), it decided it would be best to do that under the bed. You know, the place we can’t reach easily. The place that is right under our sleeping noses.
I don’t know how to explain what I saw. To put it mildly, it’s where the dead are likely to someday rise again. I could have drawn a chalk outline around it and it would pretty much have been the shape and size of Shaquille O’Neal. Of course, then I’d have chalk to clean up too.
As it was late, we didn’t pull the bed back and try and clean it up. It was pretty clear I’d need some industrial strength cleaner to take care of this anyway. Instead, we closed our eyes, breathed through our mouths and somehow fell asleep.
And lived to fight another day.