Retro Post: I Hope You Have A Strong Stomach

Andy mentions sometimes that I should have had this blog when we moved in, because so much has been missed. The man speaks truth. There is so much we have done to our home and land that I’m not even sure where to start—nor do I have pictures of everything. Except this photo of me when we first bought the house and we were moving things in. I think I peaked at 23.

Anyway, Andy suggested I write a few retro posts to catch you guys up to what we did, at least the bigger stuff like our garage, tearing off the deck to the house which I briefly grazed on when discussing the new foundation we put in last year, for the addition we’re building this year, as well as our septic system Andy built.

But me being me, I want to get to the heart of single handed the absolutely most disgusting thing ever. I mean ever that we have encountered in our house. This makes the half eaten pear I found yesterday morning from the resident mouse (I will catch you) seem like a Christmas gift. Why am I about to show you this? Because I want you to be as grossed out as me. Because Andy told me it was too gross to share. Because my husband has a serious aversion to anything fake apple scented and this is the reasoning behind it. Because it is hilarious now that it’s approximately 4 1/2 years out. I’m almost positive Andy still does not find this hilarious, and if I think about it too much I’ll gag but it still makes me laugh in an “oh my god I can’t believe that was real” kind of way. Sure I have more current posts I could share with you, like barn updates, landscaping updates or even better retro posts.

But no. Today.

Just today.

Because you’re special.

Because I’m gross.

We’re talking cat shit.

When I say cat shit, I mean cat shit.

Once we started looking for a home, we looked into what kind of dog we wanted. While I on the side kept going on Uncle Henry’s and Craigs List looking at “free to a good home” cats going “oh, she’s so cute!”. To keep a long story short I got a cat about a week after we moved in despite the fact my man strongly dislikes cats. We had a cat for about 6 days before she ran away. We’ll call her Zelda for purposes of this story. I was told a few things about Zelda. Mainly that she loved people, wasn’t nervous and didn’t mind loud noises. Perfect. In reality, I found out she hated loud noises and had been feral her entire life. I was willing to take her as she came. I had made a commitment to her. At least she might eat the mice if she was going to live in the barn. After a few days she hid in the basement in our crawl space. We had only lived in the house for a little over a month, and the basement had always had a weird smell to it, but nothing distinctly identifiable. I called the former owner and agreed to follow her advice so I opened the door so she could stay in the old barn, with her food left outside for her. Why I believed the owner she would ever come back, I don’t know. But I did. Unfortunately after searching and calling around Zelda was gone. Even though I was sad, I still like to think Zelda either made her way home or found a nice quiet old couple. The cat was clearly used to being on her own.

Andy asked me if I was ready for a dog.

The point of the story is that Zelda tipped us off to something by hiding in the crawl space. Because see, here’s the thing, when we came back that day and she was gone the basement smelled a little more than normal. Andy figured she had shit in the crawl space. The space under the old deck that I’m sitting on in the first photo. The space that is just about 3 feet tall—maybe.

The conversation went a little something like this.

Andy: “I think she shit in the crawl space” *Andy looks in the crawl space* “Oh my God”

“What?”

“Oh my God.”

“What?!”

“There’s shit. Everywhere”

“From Zelda? She was in there for a few hours?!”

“No. Everywhere”

And when he said everywhere. He meant everywhere. The previous owners cats, and maybe the previous-previous owners cats had used it as a giant litter box. Under our crawl space was a few inches of sand. Sand that was filled with one fresh load from Zelda, and I wish I was exaggerating over 2 inches of petrified cat shit. Throughout almost the entire space. This photo does literally no justice to what it actually looked like, and is the only photo documentation we have of the fact his happened.  I even left it full size so you can click on it and make it super big. Also, you aren’t seeing all the shit in layers underneath of that top one.

Fantastic.

Do you know who got in their in full gear, mask, gloves to clean it? Do you know who fashioned a sled attached to our older tractor that could fit through the access that led to outside and, in a three foot high space, shovel full by shovel full excavated the entire crawl space from cat shit while Tom Cruise pulled the sled out each time to dump it?

My husband.

Everyone – round of applause.

During this time, I used copious amounts of apple febreeze in the basement. This is why my wonderful husband cannot smell fake apple scented items. Especially apple febreeze. Which worked great by the way, but it’s just way too much of a smell aversion. Two years after this incident I brought an apple candle home and burned it. The ensuing nausea from my husband made me return it.

So there you go. Retro post one, and by far the most disgusting thing ever, complete. I’m just nauseated looked at that photo again. Maybe it’s not funny. Quite yet. At least when I have to see the visual.

Gross.

I need to go take a shower.

Heather

P.S. If you’re curious about the soil underneath of the sand, it was not contaminated thanks to a barrier that was originally placed down before the sand went on top. This allowed us to roll up the barrier once enough sand was excavated, leaving clean soil underneath.

12 Comments

  • April 17, 2012 - 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Just clicked over from Young House Love. All I can say is “OMG” and at least Zelda did you a favor by tipping you off before she took off.

    PS Your husband is a Saint.

    • Heather
      April 17, 2012 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Haha I know! Thank God for Zelda “The Shit Cat” as she is referred to sometimes, or “that time we had a cat”. Oh, and I’ll make sure to pass the Saint comment off to Andy!

      -Heath

  • April 17, 2012 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Ewww! I can’t imagine having the stomach to clean all of that up!

    We had a similar issue in our basement but not nearly as bad. We have two cats that tend to tear up our furniture while we’re gone so we keep them in the basement whenever we leave the house. They use both of the litter boxes we keep down there for them but we still noticed a nasty poop smell even after cleaning them out. Just last week my husband realized that they had been getting behind one of the walls an pooping in there! He proceeded to remove the drywall that was put up only to hide the foundation and cleaned a barrel full of cat poop from the narrow space! He also realized that the cats were pooping in the small area of our basement where the ground is just dirt – and it’s in a far corner so we didn’t think the cats even went over to that side. Now we’re brainstorming a way to cover that dirt so they don’t continue to use it! (…and i’m secretly crossing my fingers that someone comes along and wants to adopt two adult cats!)

    • Heather
      April 17, 2012 - 1:19 pm | Permalink

      Hahahah eeewwww! I knew we weren’t the only ones with cat shit issues. Groossss. By the way, I’m cracking up laughing at I write this. I hope you get it solved! I like my dogs more and more each day.

      xo,
      Heather

    • April 17, 2012 - 1:50 pm | Permalink

      Uhhh yeh…I’m a total dog person yet have two cats. I’m still trying to figure that out.

  • April 17, 2012 - 2:08 pm | Permalink

    That’s just gross. I can’t find any other words for that. I knew there was a reason I don’t like cats! We’re dog people for sure. Right now we have a family of Yorkshire Terriers. Five of them to be exact. We inherited three when my husband’s grandmother passed away.

    • Heather
      April 17, 2012 - 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Bahahah you hit the nail on the head, Jennie. There are no other words for it (yet somehow I made a whole post about it). It. Is. Just. Gross. Also, high-five for taking three dogs in. That’s incredible.

      -Heather

  • April 17, 2012 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

    That is a great story! You had me laughing out loud. (I clicked over from YHL)

    Now I have to say:

    Y’all can love your dogs all day long. My cats have NEVER eaten their own shit, or anyone else’s! Every dog I’ve ever known has eaten poop like it was the finest delicacy on the planet.

    • Heather
      April 18, 2012 - 6:48 am | Permalink

      Hahaha – it’s true, pica is disgusting. We have two girls and one dog does, one doesn’t.

      -Heath

  • Bianca
    April 19, 2012 - 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Thankfully I’ve never gone through this, you and andy are definitely troopers! Now I have to say I adore animals, cats ad dogs, but everyday I come to realize how some can be a lot of work, I’d really have to be careful and invest in gettingth trained well, and myself too, it’s definitely an investment I’d you don’t want this cat shit problem for yourself and other owners! :) I did find this story humorous, probably because no rancid smell memory comes to mind, although I have to say one time I helped my grandpa fix their septic system, and that was pretty gross to say the least, not to mention the clog he found, someone, (I was too young at the time so it wasn’t me ;) had flushed tampons and PADS down the toilet, and their septic was old anyways, Juat use your imagination haha.
    And still time to time you might find a half degraded tampon or pad in the backyard…

    • Heather
      April 19, 2012 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

      Hahahahah pads and tampons. For whatever reason it just made me laugh super hard. That’s so gross! I still have to do a retro-post on our septic system overhaul, which might be the second grossest thing we came across but most certainly not pads and tampons. Ours wasn’t even up to code, let’s just say it at that. Thankfully it’s all super duper awesome now (can septic ever be super duper awesome?). My husband is definitely a trooper – I just go along for the ride. Oh, and animals – lots of work. Dogs are like perpetual (awesome) toddlers and we’ve been careful about getting into any livestock yet. I think even though I want livestock, first up will be our Christmas Tree farm. Wait for it, it’s happening. :)

      xo,
      Heather

    • Bianca
      April 21, 2012 - 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Most people who I tell the story thinks its hilarious, even now I still think back and laugh out of no where, it’s was unexpected, and skeptics absolutely can be super duper awesome, because that means you don’t have to relive your ordeal, fingers crossed of course.

      And I can’t deny, I love animals, they give so much to you, it’s worth to take care of them, nothing like having a pet to cheer you up ( a well trained pet of course) ;)

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