Sunday, June 20, 2004

Rise of the Machines, Part 4: Attack of the Poop Bins


We have to be quiet, it could be listening.

Boy was right about bringing robots into the house.

It must have heard me talking about it. Maybe the computer told it. Damn computer with its shifty eyes, I knew I shouldn't have trusted it.
Oh, hi! Hi, iBook, old friend. I love you!

Even though I gave a relatively favorable (or at least hopeful) review to the LitterMaid, it decided today to get its revenge on me for daring to criticize it.

I went to change the very full and stinky poop bin today (opting to just dump it, which really is quite easy, despite Jasmine's suggestion in the comments the other day to empty and reuse it), and I realized that the main box was decidedly lumpy and missing that zen garden look. It was full of tiny clumps of litter too small for the rake, and some poking with the scooper revealed a bottom layer of damp and solidifying litter and baking soda. These are perfectly normal cat box physics, but I thought the point of the RoboBox was to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Because emptying the thing is a royal pain in the ass. You can't use a liner in it, and to dump it you need to lift off the entire top half, including the whole rake, motor, ramp, etc.

But I went through the whole annoying process, pouring the sand into the full kitchen trash bag into which I had just put the waste receptacle. The square waste receptacle. The waste receptacle with pointy corners. The waste receptacle that had poked two holes in the trash bag, through which the litter now slowly trickled onto the kitchen floor. Lovely.

As if this wasn't bad enough, the box of litter I thought had enough to at least lightly cover the bottom of the box, in fact had about a tablespoon in it. So I had to run and buy more, but was already running late for work and so couldn't go hunting around for the right brand, which of course they didn't have at the market across the street. Radish is pretty adaptive, but I still worry that changing the way things smell suddenly might confuse him. I had to risk it.

I came back home, filled the box, and Radish jumped right in. Though he sniffed around and didn't seem to actually use it. It was still unplugged, so I went off and did something else, and when the kitten seemed occupied in another room, I came back to turn the LitterMaid on. I didn't realize that Radish had followed me, and he hopped up on top of the waste receptacle while the rake was running. This didn't concern me; it's happened before and it's actually kind of cute the way he falls off when the lid tilts back. But then he jumped over the rake, so that he was behind it. And he showed no sign of moving when it started making its way back! I know it's supposed to stop if it hits anything, but that's a feature I really didn't feel like testing at this particular moment, so I picked the kitten up and put him on the floor.

I had to leave for work, and therefore spent the last eight hours worried that I'd come home to find that Radish either no longer knows where to do his business, or no longer wants to do it in the Tank. (He's fine, all poop in the right place, but it was stressful.)

Oh, LitterMaid, I was willing to stick it out with you for a while longer, until Radish's bladder got bigger and his food got less stinky. I wanted to give you a fair shot, but you had to go and throw my trust and faith back in my face, didn't you? You attacked my clean kitchen and my baby, and I'm afraid it's time for you to go.

No more household robots for me.

Okay, maybe a Roomba.

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