09 December 2009

An Open Letter to the Makers of LitterMaid

Dear LitterMaid,

I thought I'd write today to tell you how enthusiastic I was the day I brought home the special edition LitterMaid I purchased at PetCo about a year ago. I bought an extra package of waste receptacles and the litter to go along with them. I simply knew that upon the recommendation of a friend, and the marketing propaganda I'd read in the past, that this automated cat litter box was a magical device. It was going to change our lives, both mine and Edith's (the cat).

As soon as I arrived at home I began making the transition from the Booda Clean Step (which up until then had been the best covered litter box I'd owned in more than twenty years in spite of the fact that it was a big, cumbersome bitch to clean) to the new LitterMaid. Following the sometimes tedious instructions, it was relatively easy to assemble. I set the digital clock but not a "sleep" time because I knew my cat would use the thing while the rest of the house was asleep.

The next morning, I immediately began to find cat litter strewn all about the house. Vacuuming constantly I vowed to change the litter to something that wouldn't track as badly. When it came time to purchase more litter, I cleaned out the box and started all over again with Fresh Step clumping litter. It didn't track as badly, but clumps adhered to the box like superglue, rendering the rake and the box itself useless. The motor would cycle continually in an attempt to rid itself of clumps to no avail before finally shutting down.

That noise you hear isn't the box running constantly. It's me groaning with aggravation in another room because that means I have to drop whatever I'm doing and remove the offending obstruction. The promise of having to deal with the cat box 1 or 2 times a week had been dashed at this point. Hell, I was cleaning the catbox more times per day than I ever had. It seemingly had become my reason to wake up every morning. Otherwise, the stupid thing would run constantly and clean nothing.

So again, I was faced with looking for another litter choice. I've tried corn. I've switched between two different clays. I've tried wheat. I've even tried using Fresh Step crystals. I thought I'd had a "Eureka!" moment until the first fill of these magic chunks reached their saturation point a day or so later. And, when they're done absorbing, they're done. Period. The LitterMaid became a disgusting smelly mess within hours that needed to be emptied completely and cleaned with Nature's Miracle and dried before it could be refilled, starting the ordeal all over again.

We've been using Arm & Hammer Essentials for about two weeks now. It's wrought with it's own set of problems, but it's livable until I decide I've just had enough and throw the whole damned mess in the trash. I have decided that the money I spent on the LitterMaid was the biggest waste ever. I will make sure I let anyone who is considering a LitterMaid purchase about the problems I've had and encourage them to get a Booda Clean Step.

Yours very truly,


02 December 2009

Finally, A Post

I received a SiteMeter report in email yesterday that showed that my few reader numbers were just about flat. Lately, I've been thinking often about what I might write and have just been coming up blank. I had three unfinished posts started.

One draft began: "The Queen" is finally in the DVD player after it sat on the shelf for more than a month. I'm not getting my money's worth out of Netflix if I don't watch it and send it back, or just send it back without watching it. Sitting on the shelf just as long is some lesbian flick, "All Over Me." I must've been interested in seeing it at some point or I wouldn't have put it on my queue. Supposedly, tonight, I watch them. Regardless, they're hitting the mailbox tomorrow.

I ended up watching "The Queen." It was ok. Helen Mirren was great. I didn't watch "All Over Me." They were both mailed back the next day.

Another draft began: "My last post was October 1, if you can call it a post. It was more like parroting. Or regurgitating." Or in another case, assumption that "the writing was on the wall." I am freelancing again after leaving my 10 year position at CS2 advertising. October 15 was my last day there. I have my Federal tax identification number and have posted a website: I have been working on logos for various companies and am working on plans for some other things. It's been very exciting, sometimes overwhelming, but always empowering.

Yet another draft was titled, "Accidental Conspicuous Omission." It began, "More than a year has passed since I committed to quit drinking." During that year I spent much of my time reading, researching, seeing a therapist and learning about the challenges of growing as an adult child of an alcoholic. I have been amazed, surprised and ultimately changed by the experience and will continue to work toward being a better person. The biggest revelation, though is dealing with this thing called self-loathing. I have always been told that I'm too hard on myself, but I just didn't understand the implications of such thinking. I'm learning to give myself a break.

As I ponder how my life has changed I consider the people I have chosen to leave behind. I no longer have time for the dishonest, deceitful, or self-absorbed. Some friendships have been exposed as the toxic situations they have been and I can't be pulled down by them anymore. For this I'm grateful, but very often I think of these people and wish the situation were different. Because in spite of the bad I really have cared for them. My motivation may have been warped, seeking approval from people I admired for one reason or another, but I can't afford to give up my well-being in order to be liked by someone who's not worthy of my care, affection or love.

There are others in my life who deserve more of my attention. Because Cameron was going to be flying over the holidays, I planned to spend Thanksgiving with my sister who is house-bound, recovering from back surgery. I left here around 9 AM, Tuesday morning, with my favorite cooking utensils packed, TripTik in hand, and Billie and Georgia comfortably positioned on their cedar-filled bed atop the folded down back seat.

As I drove south on MS-49 toward Hattiesburg, listening to the Martha Stewart Thanksgiving call-in shows, I witnessed a horrible accident. As I approached the car that had been impaled by pine timbers on a flat-bed truck, I dialed 911. I found a young man unconscious at the wheel. Others stopped and helped. A man with leather work gloves was able to break out what was left of the windshield, switch off the car and get the door open. We put the boy on the grass, elevated his feet and head, covered him with a blanket from my first aid kit. A woman kept direct pressure on the gash on his right cheekbone while an off-duty Air Force medic asked him questions to determine how badly in shock he was. The young man was lucky to be alive. Another responder got the boy's family phone number and called his mother. We reassured him that he was going to be fine. His mother sent instructions to take him to Forrest General and asked that he be told "your mother says she loves you." As the paramedics put him in the ambulance, I realized I had witnessed a miracle.

It wasn't a miracle in the way Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside burst into Mame Dennis' apartment, phone book in hand, exclaiming "it's a Christmas miracle" upon finding the right Dennis. It was a real miracle, one that I believe I was meant to witness. It made the the thought of how our lives can change in the blink of an eye very real to me.

So, it's with faith I sit at this desk contemplating my next move. I pray that my mind stays open to possibilities and that I remember that what's meant to happen will. The Christmas holidays are upon us and that, in and of itself, is reason to celebrate. With that, it's back to work because I have a lot to accomplish today.