Bad Habits

I finally changed the kitty litter. We put up a chore chart on a small dry-erase board in our kitchen, and I have three small boxes a week to check off for sifting Lola’s turds and pee clumps out of the clay sand in her box. I’ve yet to manage to do it regularly. So far, the little unchecked boxes serve only to create a space in my mind that nags at me. 

Every few days the image of that unchecked box pops into my head, and with it comes a picture of Lola’s litter box; what should be a smooth, grey desert is turned into a craggy landscape of petrified poo logs and piss promontories. I imagine our dogs stalking down into the basement, their heads held low as they prowl around the corner and through the bathroom. I imagine them pushing their sniffing snouts past the curtain separating the tiled laundry room from Lola’s unfinished lavatory. They take a couple big whiffs and open their mouths. I hear the scritch-scratching of sand disturbed, and I shudder at the sound of their delighted crunching. They bound up the stairs to the living room and find us there unaware of their depraved delicacy. None the wiser, we pet them and laugh as they joyfully lick our infant son’s face. I wretch a little. 

Yes, my dogs eat lincoln logs, as my stepdad used to call them. You would think the nagging reminder of this unsettling consequence of a dirty litter box would be enough to spur me into regular action. Worse yet, the longer I let the chore slide, the more imagined repercussions start to pile up. How much further can I push it before my cat decides she is going to pee elsewhere? An acrid note stings my nostrils. Has it happened already?

Indeed, compared to other chores changing the cat litter seems like a pressing priority, yet still I let it slide. How is it that despite all this, I can’t seem to find 3 minutes to do it?

Time is funny that way. If you don’t make a habit of these things they go undone as the day whirs past. With 24 hours to work with, you’d think there would be ample opportunity to perform this quick task, but without routine it slips away. It’s not glamorous. It’s easily put out of mind in the moment, but if you don’t do it you’ll regret the result.

Writing is the same way. I remind myself that without making it a habit god knows what the consequences could be. So, as I strive to keep a regular routine of journaling, sometimes I have to accept that all I’m going to end up with is a piece about cat shit, but it’s worth it. 

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