The morning routine is the most important routine of the day. Our morning routine usually goes a little something like this: we multi-snooze, Becky gets up, turns on the espresso machine, feeds Muffin, and makes me an Americano. She brings me the Americano, turns on the shower, bangs on the wall between bathroom and bedroom, and gets into the shower. Muffin enters the bathroom and hops up onto the toilet and thence to the window sill. I get up, finish the Americano, and get into the shower. Yes, we shower together…but not for any romantic reasons or whatever…we’re just cheap like that. She moves out of the waterflow whilst I rinse, then I step out from under the water and shampoo, then she steps out to soap while I rinse my head, etc., until she gets out of the tub, then I get out. Muffin exits the bathroom. We get dressed, Becky leaves the house first, and I eat a bowl of cereal and leave shortly after she does. Our morning routine.

Muffin

Behold, Muffin. Muffin is rather unique. My sister found her in a dumpster and brought her home, and somehow Muffin ended up living with us. We theorize that Muffin was never properly weaned and trained by her mother since she doesn’t clean herself. This would be why I, though allergic to cats in general, am able to stand Muffin: no dander. This would also be why she often ends up rather filthy; she’s been known to wander the house with chunks of, well, feline fecal material hanging from her butt fur. Go Muffin.

The last couple of days have been spent preparing our house for the Young Couples study which meets in various homes and is meeting here tonight. Yesterday, I cleaned the kitchen and organized the tax papers (I already filed, don’t worry) on the dining room table, and we co-mopped the kitchen floor. The whole house smelled of pine-sol, absolutely spic-n-span. There were still things left to do when we got home last night, but Becky was distracted from all that by our cat.

“She’s hurt!” Becky said, reaching under the coffee table and attempting to coax Muffin out. “Look, when she walks she collapses onto her rear paws.” Probably something bruised or broken, I thought.

But then Becky shook the cat treats in the air, and Muffin came scuttling out and stood up tall on her rear legs…no broken bones there. No, instead we were able to determine that her odd gait was because several streams of dried cat diarrhea were clumping her fur and pulling at her butt when she walked…hence the odd gait and the stopping to sit every few steps. Gross.

So Becky, being a loving mother, carried the nasty animal into the bathroom, gave it a bath, and put it in our bedroom with the heater on so she wouldn’t be cold while she dried. Very caring. So Muffin was asleep in our bedroom with us when I went to bed, the poor bedraggled bespeckled kitty. Sometime during the night, she (mercifully) left our room.

This morning, I upended the morning routine. I awoke naturally (i.e. without noise or music or coffee) at 8, fed Muffin, made Americanos for Becky and me, and brought them to the Becky-in-the-bed. We lay there for a while, sipped our coffee, and talked for a bit. A blissful, peaceful morning. Becky got up first, though, as usual, and headed to the bathroom. Muffin followed her in, as usual, to hop up from toilet lid to window sill.

That’s when I heard Becky call out, “M, come here, quick! Help!”

I rushed into the bathroom in time to see Muffin attempt to leap from the lid to the sill, leaving an off-brown streak on the toilet lid. Muffin’s posterior, not to put too fine a point on it, was slathered with cat runnies. Good times. Muffin sensed a call to action, however, so she jumped onto the edge of the tub (more mess), then jumped to the floor and darted out of the room. We followed her out, and that was when we were hit, no, not with the fresh aroma of Pine-Sol, but with, well, an entirely less pleasant odor. Yes, Muffin had deposited the greater portion of her recent gastrointestinal distress in a puddle in the middle of the living room floor. But as if that were not enough, she jumped up and soiled yet another window sill before I caught up with her.

Hoisting her into the air by her midsection, I took swift action. I turned on the shower, full blast. Becky was somewhere around me yelling, “No, you can’t clean her like that! She won’t like it!” Muffin’s feelings were at this point, I admit, a distant consideration. Gripping her by the shoulders and haunches (her butt aimed to my right and her paws facing away from me), I held her behind under the steady flow from the shower head. It worked. Globs of brown, dirty water fell into the tub and rinsed down the drain…for the approximately 5 seconds I was able to hold onto her.

With an impressive acrobatic spasm, Muffin leapt from my grip, flinging a swift blast of off-brown droplets which landed, machine-gun style, in an arc extending from the lip of the tub, to the wall, to the floor, across my body, and ending just above my right eye. My hands were covered in white-grey-brown fur. I looked like the Shaggy Dog guy mid-transformation, about to get reprimanded. And now I’ve got this half-wet still-filthy and now quite-hacked little furball looking up at me from the floor, grossness still dripping from her hindquarters, giving me this look like I had offended her.

It was on. I grabbed her again, shoulders and haunches, and back under the flow she went, butt-first. This time I made a circular motion under the water to make sure all the nooks and crevices got clean. When I was satisfied, and only then, I set the half-sodden feline mass on the rug and surveyed the damage. It was gross. It was everywhere. It was even on me.

Just then, Becky rushed in. She’d cleaned up the mess in the rest of the house, and she had her own personal bathtowel in her arms. “Oh, poor Muffin!” she cried as she scooped the ex-pooped cat into the towel like a baby and rushed out of the room (still unshowered herself) to apply motherly succor. She would spend the rest of the time until she had to get dressed for work attending to this poor, stupid, but clean animal.

Me? I showered by myself.