I love making people happy. Since it comes naturally to Pekingese, I suppose I’m lucky. I also love giving presents to people (you might ask my mother about her Mother’s Day present). What makes a good present? Something that’s meaningful, something that lasts, and something that can be enjoyed when it’s received. While it seems trivial, finding the “gift that keeps on giving” isn’t so easy.
Cats, as we all know, are evil, stinky, and generally vile. Why anyone would keep company with one is beyond me; you know that my sister and I will chase off any one that comes near us. That said, cats have discovered the ultimate gift that keeps on giving: cat pee.
The people who lived in our house before us had cats, and they apparently left us a few such presents. There are three main components to this unique gift that are keys to understanding our situation:
- urea is what makes urine sticky once it begins to dry
- urochrome is the pigment that makes the urine yellow (and stains the affected materials)
- uric acid is what produces this gift’s bouquet
Before we moved in, all of the carpets in the house were professionally cleaned. Since then, my poor mother has cleaned our dining room carpet time after time after time. However, the nature of the uric acid has, until now, thwarted all of our attempts to live in a pee-free house. After the cats left each of their gifts (and there were apparently many), the urine passed through the carpet and into the carpet pad. That would be bad enough, but it actually went through the pad and soaked into the wood subfloor. Some parts of the urine are insoluble, and every time my poor mother cleans the carpet, the water effectively reactivates them – releasing odor (yuck) and increasing bacterial growth. The bacteria decompose the urea and give off a smell like ammonia, and in later stages of decomposition, the bacteria emit thiols that are even worse (sulfury skunk smell). This means that every time my mother cleans the carpets, the stains look like they go away, but always return with a vengeance (generally larger) a few days later (it takes a while for the bacteria to be reactivated and do their thing).
My beloved and sainted father (glory be unto his name) has decided to save the day – we’re going to replace the offending areas of floor, replace the pad, and hope that we can live in a pee-free home. There have, however, been some doubters — people who have no faith in my beloved and sainted father. In fact, there are some who might accuse him of hiring someone to fix the problem and then lie about it (claiming to have done the work himself – I’m talking to YOU, Omi). Why anyone would even think something so offensive is beyond me, but I wanted to show that these things are being done. LET THE WILD RUMPUS BEGIN!!
The vacuumed room before the work begins:
My mother indicating some of the offending areas (I’m supervising):
My beloved and sainted father (glory be unto his name) showing off the new vertical blinds that my parents installed:
Daddy begins removing the carpet (with supervision):
Carpet pulled back, showing the nasty pad:
Back side of the carpet – clearly stained (the supervisor is standing well away from the “stink zone”):
Highly scientific testing showing that the stain is indeed cat pee (my sister is in the background mocking me):
Carpet rolled back, ready for step #2:
My beloved and sainted father (glory be unto his name) finishing up the removal of the pad:
Mommy took all the tack strips up:
Mommy working to take up one of the floor boards that stink:
Daddy sanding the bits left over and taking the glue off of the beams:
Some of the nails used to join the subfloor to the joists wouldn’t come out – enter the rotary tool and watch the sparks fly!
Mommy helped with the sanding (nice use of her dust mask, don’t you think?):
One of the pieces of subfloor needed additional support from below. My beloved and sainted father (glory be unto his name) went down into the crawlspace to install the new board:
Cutting the new subfloor. Notice the ultimately sexy saw (YEAH, BABY!):
Sexy saw in action (this shot is for you, Papi):
Mommy holding the new subfloor ready for installation:
Mommy standing on the new floor with the victory smile:
The piece of wood Mommy is holding is 58 inches long and 1/4 inch wide – just one quick sweep with the new saw!
For tonight, we’ll clean up the area and get ready to replace the other pieces that stink. Once they are replaced, the new pad (behind Mommy in the picture above) goes down, and we should be good to go! Stay tuned for more pictures….