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Things you never wanted to know about your neighbors

I now know that my neighbors use clumping clay cat litter. The kind that’s grey with little blue flecks in it. I also happen to know that this stuff stains beige carpet.

It all started out innocently enough. Wednesday, I stopped at the end of the driveway on my way home from work to pick up the mail. This time of year it’s dark when I leave for work and dark when I come home, so pulling into the driveway and walking along the semi-slimy side of the gravel driveway is always a challenge. There’s no sidewalk and the grassy/muddy edge along the driveway is full of potholes and giant rocks. Normally I don’t drive far enough down the driveway for this to be a problem; pop out of the car, walk 10 steps, grab the mail, and jump back in. A minute tops.

However, this Wednesday was special. I was stomping around in the dark, trying to avoid the puddles and the big ankle-twisting rocks when I stepped in something squishy. At the time I assumed I’d hit a nasty mud puddle, but since I didn’t slide too much or twist any ankles, I didn’t worry about it. I just grabbed the mail and got back in the car. I arrived at the house in the dark and climbed the stairs to take off my shoes and crash for a bit. I paid no attention to the weird sticking of my right foot on the carpeted stairs, I saw nothing unusual. Not until the next morning.

On my way out Thursday morning, my husband noted that there was a weird stain on the carpet. I vaguely remembered stepping in something odd and figured that I should check my shoes. Why yes, the arch under my foot had trapped some foreign substance that required removing. And man was there a lot of it. I cleaned off my shoe with about a dozen tissues, washed my hands and trundled off to work.

When I got home that night, my husband told  me that he’d discovered the cause of the problem. He was cleaning up the stains on the stairs and the smell got him thinking. So he went down to the street and discovered that his hunch was right. The trash collectors had managed to drop a bag of one of the neighbors cat litter cleaning out of their trash can, and just left it where it fell. This sat in the rain for a day before I stepped in it, thus the slimy texture. So I’d been tracking some other cats pee around the house.

At this point, I’m just thankful that our cats haven’t decided that this is cause for a  pee-war on the stairs.


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