A day in the life

1745/26th August 2022

“Ralph, you are a contraption!”

Sometimes I think my Roomba was programed by a naughty little boy.

The moment I set it down, it makes a beeline for the first object under which it can get stuck. The impetus of its little motor propels it through narrow spaces.

When it comes to steps, Roomba jams on its brakes. At the speed it moves, you expect it to hurtle into the air and crash, but no. It always stops.

However, like the truck that gets wedged under a low bridge, Roomba has no judgment of height and once it gets itself stuck, it has insufficient force to get unstuck.

Its favourite place is beneath a wooden storage chest. Wise to its tricks, I place barriers. But Roomba is programmed to misbehave. By-passing my barriers, the other day, Roomba found its way in, which generated a robotic wail.

It was laughing at me, I swear.

It’s pretty bad when you start talking to your appliances.

Calling them rude names is one thing…

Still, I do not have, nor will I ever have an Alexa.

Those things are creepy.

Once a month I get the house properly cleaned. In-between, I like to maintain some semblance of order, despite all the cats.

Which is what Ralph is for, and I must say, despite having to rescue him regularly, he does a good job. It is astonishing how much he picks up.

Apart from cat hair, where does so much lint come from?

More often than not, when I do laundry, the filter gives me a fistful of the stuff. I roll it in my hands creating lint balls which the cats like to play with.

(Note :We use animal-friendly detergent)

The amount of lint I have collected over the years, I could have constructed a small house. I considered the idea of making things with it, but my creative abilities appear to have dried up, along with the rest of me.

Some years ago, before I gave up television altogether, I used to crochet blankets for the dear kitty-cats, using chenille yarn. I could never sit still watching TV.

After several hundred miles of crochet, my hands protested, so I gave it up about the same time I ditched my television. 2018, to be precise, when I moved to Cambridge. I don’t miss it.

As well as wanting to re-purpose lint, I am the sort of person who looks at a container I have just emptied and wonder what it could be used for. It’s not a matter of hoarding. Perhaps it’s a carry-over from my childhood when not much was wasted.

Grant is the same way. We always picture small kids in Africa or Asia that would delight in the many items we have to throw out.

Boxes and bags of course, are always popular with cats. They much prefer a cardboard box to those fancy carpeted, over-priced trees.

Maybe because we had little trash when I was a child, I never thought much about it. It went into a bin that once a week got emptied and it went away. I never stopped to consider where it went.

Admittedly, I had more pressing matters to think about for much of my life, but it wasn’t until I saw a news report about barges of rubbish being rejected, by some Asian country, that the scales fell from my eyes.

From that day, I have been very aware of everything I discard which seems to increase in adverse proportion to my worrying.

At one time, in the late 90’s, I went to Utah to volunteer at the Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary. It is a brilliant enterprise and their work with animals is inspiring.

On any given day, there are some 1,600 animals in residence at the sanctuary. I never did discover what happens to the considerable amounts of waste.

But I have no doubt that it is responsible and I began worrying about the waste created by my own small gang. It seemed wrong to be putting it in plastic bags to go into a landfill for thousands of years.

Compostable bags still ended up in the trash. So now Grant collects the solids and they go into my own land.

Which leaves me in charge of liquids. Ah, cat pee.

Very many years ago, in Morocco Tim and I saw a sign that advertised “Plastification du Monde”. (It was that time when it was cool to get all your important paper documents “plastificated”.) How I wish they had a branch in Cambridge. Plastificating the house would solve many of my problems.

The other day I discovered that even my dustpan and brush had been anointed.

My parents would have said indignantly:

“Well that’s intolerable!”

But they were not animal lovers. They did have a budgie and it could be said, that small bird made a considerable mess non bird-lovers would have shaken their heads at.

So it is all relative.

Apart from the over-shoots and behavioral issues, quite a bit of pee ends up where it should. Observation of lots of cats, over many years, suggested to me that many of them prefer not peeing in litter.

So half of the cat boxes are lined with paper. I began using re-cycled paper, but then became aware of bamboo paper that can be washed and re-used.

Well, why not? It’s no different to washing “nappies” and it is certainly better for the environment.

So that’s one of my new duties.

In case you were wondering how I spend my day.

8 thoughts on “A day in the life

  1. The day I get a robotic vacuum cleaner will be the day I completely give up on life. For me, that is the thin end of the wedge. (Sorry!)
    Best wishes, Pete.

      1. Could Grant not use a ‘normal’ vacuum? I think robotic devices like those, and lawn-mowers, are really a ‘last resort’. I do not mean to cause offence. x

  2. I think you have to have all wood, or stone, floors for those robotic cleaners to be effective. We have fitted carpets throughout so I can’t see that it would work for us!

    1. My floors are 50/50 and the carpets always look a lot better when Ralph has done his thing. Possibly it helps that my eyes are also 50/50, but those devices have come a long way since I first had one. Rosemary wipes the floor!

  3. I am the Alexa in our home 😁 … and I talk to our appliances ALL the time (it is however, most of the time, a one-way conversation)! We also ditched our TV in 2018 – and we’re not missing it!

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