“Why Landlords Should Have Child Policies Instead of Pet Policies”

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While I was married, the one animal my husband REFUSED to allow in the house (well, he refused all of them, but truly only won this one) was a cat. I’d been allergic to them in a previous life, so I never really pushed the issue. Our daughter begged for one. Our son begged for one. Nope, nope. As you can imagine, my children were ecstatic when their father and I divorced, because this meant we could have a cat! I’m kidding, of course. We never did get a cat. Alright, alright, I mean I’m kidding that the children were excited about the divorce. However, to make the best of a bad situation, and first in a continuing series of poor decisions on how to make a bad situation “better”, I allowed them to get a kitten.

We ventured out to the nearest pet shop (25 miles away) and found the most adorable calico kitten! Suuuure, there were 98 farms along the way with FREE kittens; but why take something for FREE when you can pay to have it poop in your house and claw apart your furniture? And all you people on the SPCA bandwagon – STUFF A SOCK IN IT! I tried. Not only is it a freaking act of Congress, it also priced out at $165.00 at the time. Yes, I wanted to pay for the animal, but at that price it’d better be pooping Godiva truffles.

Cat ($25)– check! Litter box – check! Food – check! Kitty litter – check! Expensive toys the fussy feline would never play with – check! Happy kidlets – check!

“Mittens” provided us with hours of entertainment, as only a kitten can. Chasing laser lights, pouncing on her own tail, squeezing through the crack under the bathroom door in a way that made her eyeballs nearly pop out of her skull. The kids were thrilled, I had seemingly outgrown my allergy, and life as a cat owner was good.

All good things must come to an end.

Everyone in the house was asleep – everyone except my adorable, conniving, trouble-seems-to-find-him Max. He was 3-years-old at the time, and to this day my heart skips 5 beats when I realize he’s been awake before me. This particular morning he came running in my room out of breath, “MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! You’ve GOTTA see what’s in the toilet!”

“No, Max. Really, I don’t. I’m so proud of you for using the potty, but please flush and wash.”

“MOMMY! MOMMY! MOMMY! YOU’VE GOTTA SEEEEEEEEEEEE!”

By now I’ve awoke enough to realize it’s panic, not excitement, I’m hearing in his urgency. Thinking he ate too many Fruit Loops and found a rainbow in the toilet, I fumble out of bed. It is then I realize I hear water. Lots and lots of water. I run down the hall to find the carpet outside the bathroom sopping wet, two inches of water rushing into my heating vent, and an over-flowing toilet. I slosh through the flood to turn off the water to the toilet (disgusting) and realize the entire bottom of the toilet is black. (WHAT THE HELL?!)

I turn to the door to see my little cherub, proud as he can be, beaming ear to ear, bouncing with anticipation of my (not-gonna-be-seen-in-this-story) excitement – “See, Mommy? I scooped them poops for you!” The black in the bottom of the toilet was (thankfully, not Mittens) 5 pounds of kitty litter and all its worldly contents. As I gathered my wits, I noticed the entirely empty kitty litter and its scoop bobbing in the water nearby.

Water was still rushing into the heating vent. There weren’t enough towels in my house to contain the water, and I was panicking. I’m a single Mom. RENTING. Trying to do a quick calculation of new plumbing AND a new heating system all while keeping Max at bay to avoid possible drowning…or E-coli. Simultaneously, I was trying to determine how to avoid eviction while reinforcing to Max that he should never…ever…”scoop poops” for me again, yet remain gracious because he was trying to be a good helper.

If I ever hear anyone say I can’t multi-task, I’ll bitch slap them into next week. I use this story as an example in interviews for cripe’s sake.

Ah, how’d I clean up “The Great Flood of 2009” you ask? There’s nothing a Pampered Chef serving spoon and a Shop-Vac can’t handle. Every woman should have them 😉

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