The first to notice was Mr. Park. He was helping me clean up the kitchen one night and he asked where the paper towels were. I told him to just use a rag. That wasn't hard for me because I don't usually clean up my kitchen with paper towels. I'm a dishrag kind of girl. I like to have lots of them on hand and I like a clean one every day. Sometimes twice a day if someone else has been in my kitchen. He rolled his eyes and got a rag out of the drawer.
A few nights later, we had friends over for dinner and one of them asked if I had a paper towel to wipe her daughter's mouth. I sheepishly told her we were sort of trying to go paperless in the kitchen and sorry but I don't have any and here's a clean dishrag. That one was a little harder, but I'd say I was still feeling pretty confident with my new lifestyle decision. Until last night.
Here's the list of events that took place. I assure you, none of this was made up.
- I awoke at 2:45 am to go to the bathroom.
- I went into the living room to check on my daughter who had asked if she could fall asleep to a movie on the couch.
- She was out cold and the Highschool Musical menu page was still playing that familiar Wildcat anthem for the one hundredth time so I turned it and the tv off.
- I turned off all the lights she had left on because she doesn't like to sleep in the dark.
- I heard a noise near the back door that I couldn't put my finger on so I went to check it out.
- But first, I turned all the lights back on. (I know you're not supposed to turn on all the lights when you think you hear a noise, but I'm a girl and I forget things my husband has told me when I get scared.)
- On my way, our cat came around the corner and I realized it was just her using the litter box.
- I picked her up.
- I smelled something awful.
- I felt something moist on my side where I had held her on my hip.
- I immediately dropped the cat and looked at my night shirt. Stained. With cat poop.
- I know that's not normal so I go over to the litter box and simultaneously discover the source of the horrific smell and that my cat has diarrhea AND had unknowingly backed her rear up over the edge of the litter box and missed it completely.
- At that point I asked myself, "Where are those !@#$% paper towels?"
- I tore my kitchen apart until I found a stack of napkins from Subway and cleaned up the mess before it had a chance to harden on the floor.
- Changed my shirt.
- Crawled back in bed.
I think I'm going to "half cross-off" item #15. I will still purchase paper towels, BUT I will stash them in a place that I alone know about. While you're hiding Christmas presents, I'll be hiding paper towels. That way, in emergencies, like the one mentioned above, I'll have access to them, but for everyday things like wiping sticky hands and cleaning kitchen counters, we'll stick to rags.
Then I'll feel better about being a little less wasteful, but in the event that I need to clean up cat diarrhea, or vomit or anything else where I want to clean it up, toss it in the trash and be done with it, I'll have a stash of paper towels for that purpose.
Baby steps, Bob. It's all about the baby steps.
Note: This post is dedicated to my hardcore, cat-loving friend, Leilani. I'm sure her highly intelligent cat-children would never misjudge the edge of the litter box and make a mess for their momma. You can read more about them here.