the IT city, the I.T. Baby


Holy crap! 5 days of lessons in pet ownerships and nonstop poop.

So, our youngest’s class has guinea pigs. They have guinea pigs, and I know guinea pigs better than a nearly 50 yo man has a right to. I had them growing up as pets, I wrote comics about them, and the idea here is that kids get to take the pigs home on the weekends and learn to take care of them. Something I could help with.

Cut to the teacher being out quite a bit due to health issues involving surgery and being out for the next week or two.

The not sick guinea pig
Herr Poops here showed me she wasn’t the crapstormer and was healthy

I go in on Friday to pick up the pigs that were supposed to be at the office. They’re not. The substitute hadn’t gotten the memo and as such I spend the next 30 minutes waiting to get an escort to the classroom because they’re all out because it’s lunch time and play time. Finally escorted I get into what looks like a hurricane hit and a smell coming from the classroom of rodent pee.

There’re three guinea pigs in a cage built for one. There are black plastic trash bags lining the thing which have been being eaten by the guinea pigs. There’s a smell of sick animal. This I can smell from the door. By the time I get to the cage we’re looking at damp urine soaked feces laden pigs.

I was furious at the level they’d gotten and all thoughts of my 7yo taking care and cleaning this cage went out the window as they needed immediate cleaning and bathing and not something done approx 6 hours later. I would have had words with the sub, but as noted nobody was there in the disaster. The person escorting me said she hoped they found a home because they were not being taken care of here and I mentioned they certainly weren’t, and that the classroom needed to be looked at by the principal and I was pretty freaking furious at how bad a shape these critters were in.

Drove them home where Kim was working from home and we started cleaning – she got to trying to get some of the feces and urine off of them, I started attempting to clean the cage. It was bad. Week+ not cleaning 3 inches of poop on each corner (I did not know guinea pigs piled poop up like this because I never had a cage this dirty in my life) Plus everything was wet. Everything.

Kim put them in the bathtub and lightly washed them, I sprayed the cage down and got it ready as fast as possible because these pigs were not in great health judging by plastic-filled diarrhea. I mean the smell was of sick. I didn’t know which one(s) were sick but I did know which one wasn’t because she pooped normally the instant I picked her up. So we classified the two other urine soaked guinea pigs as potentially ill and treated them with “don’t bug that pig” warnings.

Meat potato and oldest

A day of feeding and not being in urine and poop did wonders. The smell of sick pig left. I told the teacher we were going to keep them until she got back or a qualified adult was back in that class because this was over a week’s worth of neglect and putting plastic trash bags in a guinea pig cage was asking for them to choke and die.

Monday rolls around, three pigs in a cage built for one (maybe 2) we’ve been taking them out and giving them a little exercise by letting them take over a room we can mop. I tell the kids they’re tasked with cleaning the guinea pigs cage when they get home from school. They agree.

I got home from work for a project around noon and the cage stanks… stanks… I’m working in the same room, decide I cannot take the smell and decide I’m cleaning the cage and the kids can do some random cleanup.

Take the cage out front, dump shavings into a bag, scrape out the bottom, hose it down, hit it with some cleaner, wash it well and get it back assembled for three happy pigs. I forgot about the bag of pig garbage sitting in my front lawn until I’m pretty much 5+ miles away and think that I’ll have the girls handle it.

At this point I’ve cleaned the cage twice – this was entirely due to pig health and timing, I’m not actively annoyed with the kids because both times it had to be done and wasn’t expected… I’ve never had 3 pigs in a cage built for 1 or 2, cleaning timeframe was not what I expected. Since we’ve got them until another adult or the teacher comes back, I plan to get the kids that pet ownership is not just playing and feeding them, it’s poop cleaning. It’s figuring out how to do things. It’s a lot of things.

We get back from class. It’s dark. Daylight savings time ended and it’s like 6pm and looks like midnight. I spot the bag of trash and ask the kids to just take it around back and dump it. 37 second long task. I should have known.

Oldest walks back, youngest screams “what’s that smell?” but she’s been saying something stank since we were at a park earlier and she’s been the only one smelling anything… I see they’re standing near where I cleaned the cage and I say that there’s probably some rodent urine smell and they both run in.

It takes me a minute to get in – forget if I was getting the mail or what but I walk in and Kim is saying that something near the pigs smells like crap. I put my nose around the pigs, nothing horrible, stand up and suddenly it hits. Smell of human or dog shit hits me. I mean it hits. Smell is everywhere.

I about take the guinea pigs out but it’s not them. This is certified sick human or dog shit smell. I look at my oldest. There is crap from her ankle to almost her knee (it’s not her crap as a note.) There is shit on her shoes and it’s at least half an inch thick. In the 37 seconds she’d walked out back she stepped in a huge crap, then marched it right into the house, across the living room carpet, crossed her legs in such a way that the shit streaked up her calf, and now it was “OMG!” time.

I got her shoes, she was freaking out, we got her into the bathtub and I threw in a shit-covered entry rug in on sanitize. Pulled the carpet vac out from the basement, and proceeded to clean the carpet in the living room, mop the entry way, and oldest had calmed down now that she wasn’t covered in someone else’s shit.

I go to sit down. The youngest comes out and tells me the toilet is clogged and there’s been an accident because … well… she just had a bad butt minute. She had nothing to do with the previous crapstorm, but there’s a new smell from an extremely rare accident. OK, plunger, mop, quick lesson on how to not fill the toilet with toilet paper and that you can flush if you think you’ve used too much. Quick lesson on what a bidet is and that it’s just for that and there is one there. Move on. 7 years, maybe 3 poop incidents, this happened to be the perfect butt storm.

Two pigs in a pigloo and one out roaming

Hallway smells like crap, I get the third load of laundry for the night down and put on psyco clean. Little later I’m back up from our basement/laundry room, something doesn’t feel right, I think I’ve stepped on a slug after… nope… it’s shit. There are four little turd imprints on the hallway carpet that I either didn’t catch or they’re from the human pooping incident. I don’t think they’re human pooping incident, I think somehow oldest had crap on the inside of her shoe or had walked back there with the shoes on and we just didn’t see, or it was dropping off her pants leg.

Carpet cleaning starts again an hour after the kid’s bedtime. I don’t have a quiet carpet cleaner. Somehow they sleep through it. At this point I’ve been cleaning on and off since 6ish… I can smell the stench of rodent cage in my shirt and feel the feel of poop on my feet… it’s shower time….

Jump into the shower, there’s water backing up. It’s up to my ankles before I manage to get the hair clog in the tub extracted. It’s the size of a guinea pig. Unrelated, but that was my day.

Besides the kids having hysterical floor blindness and not being able to see guinea pig poop, food, shavings, etc outside of a cage, it turns out they’re incapable of determining where a horrible smell is coming from and stopping smearing poop all around. I guess new rule is no more than 3 steps into the house without shoes off.

Pet lessons so far are negative value because nothing whatsoever can get accomplished.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.