Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Cleaning the Litterboxes - The Art of the Deal

The litter boxes

Donald Trump, I am not.  But I have learned a few things about negotiating after two years of sharing responsibility for so many cats with Nik.  Luckily, the number of chores over which negotiation is needed is but one, but the chore itself is tremedous: cleaning the litter boxes. 

Until we reached a mutually satisfying deal, our conversations went something like this - (the players are interchangeable):

"Have you done the litter boxes yet?"

"No.  Has Muji been walked?" (Muji is our dog - notice the passive verb usage here)

"No.  OK, I'll walk Muji if you do the litter boxes."

"OK. Or, I can walk Muji and clean the water bowls, if you do the litter boxes."

"Or, I can walk Muji, clean the waterbowls, give X his medicine, and vaccuum, if you will do the litter boxes."

"I will vacuum the floors, mop, walk Muji, do the dishes, change the waterbowls, give X and Y their medicine, if you will do the litter boxes."

"I will go to the grocery store, clean the windows, walk Muji, vaccum the floors, mop, change the water bowls, give X, Y, and Z their medicine, sweep outside, do the dishes, and clean the bathrooms if you will do the litter boxes."

And in my mind I am thinking:

"I will plow the field, build the pyramids, prune the olive trees, climb Mt. Everest, and do all those others things if you will do the litter boxes."

So it goes, so uncoveted a job is cleaning the litter boxes! 

Butting Heads, 2012

Since we have moved, we have made a deal.  In exchange for Nik taking the litter boxes outside and, using the hose, giving them the full cleaning, disinfecting, and refreshing of cat litter when needed, (no small job since we have seven covered litterboxes), I alone scoop them now.  I am the sole scooper!  Nik's job, emptying them, washing them, drying them, refilling them, and passing them through the window can take anywhere from two to four hours, depending on if there are traps, carriers, and food bins to be washed, too, and there usually are.

other stuff needs to be washed, too

Nik cleaning the litter boxes, carriers, and food bins

I now have one bedroom of the house dedicated solely to litter boxes. This has made the task easier and more pleasant.

Scooping is an art form to me.  We use a fine clumping cat litter and I use two scoopers to clean it, one big scoop, and one finer scoop for the tiny clumps.  I have a mop center set up in the ensuite bathroom, and a vaccum that permanently stays in that room.  I have paper towels, disinfectant, air freshioner, baking soda, and a broom and dustpan.  I have a garden pad for my knees, which are getting old.

the scoop drawer

extra mophead and other stuff

 the cat litter

the mop station

My knee pad

What I have learned about cleaning the litter boxes is it can be enjoyable if you make it an art, and this requires having everything you need easily at hand and setting up your own challenging, but comfortable routine. 

What I have learned about the art of the the deal is if you can find something the other person really wants or doesn't want, and something you really want or don't want, you can make a mutually beneficial deal...

...even if it means scooping the litter boxes.


There is still something yuckier to you, that you won't have to do. 


Thanks, Nik!

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