The Microbe-Phobe

This morning, instead of my usual slapdash tidying of breakfast things, I launched into a full-scale, nuclear warfare cleaning blitz of my dining-living room. Why? For days I had been sniffing around like a police dog with a marijuana leaf up its nose, on the scent of my peculiar hygiene demon: cat wee.
And with astonishing synchronicity, at the exact moment I write these shiver-inducing words, the culprit of the last spraying comes padding up to the open French windows where I sit typing. The tabby tufted scoundrel! As if I have a hard enough time keeping the cave reasonably free from bodily secretions with a small child being half-heartedly potty trained tearing about the place.
Caveman, on seeing me maniacally mopping the floor, pulling out guitar cases and leather pouffes and baby sheepkins for rigorous sniff testing, asked if I was about to go into labour. Playfully stepping on the floor where I was trying to mop, he got an earful along the lines of ‘If you’re not going to help then GET OUT OF THE WAY!’
The nesting impulse, well known in the more elephantine stages of pregnancy, can make a woman with a usually quite healthy level of personal bacteria suddenly become a raving microbe-phobe. Shelves which have never seen the light of day are subjected to brutal disinfection. Spotless towels are ruthlessly bleached. All furniture has to be moved to allow for a thorough and fascistic floor scrubbing.
It might have been a harbinger of childbirth, or simply that the spring cleaning bug has crawled underneath my skin and started laying eggs there. (See what I mean? My paranoia of uncleaniliness is reaching insane proportions! Somebody help me please!)
After Caveman had retreated to his vegetable patch, Cavechild in tow, I set about one last, to-the-death survey of the place I thought might be hosting the smell. I finally discovered it: on the carpet, underneath the chair we sit in at the computer table, there was a smudge of something disgusting, a trodden-in glob of indistinguishable wholesome muck that had most likely involved squash, lentils, or at the very least, soya sauce.
Aha! Now I remembered. A month or so ago, Caveman had been tranquilly eating a bowl of stew while checking the updates on the current Chelsea game. (Not a good combination, I warn my fellow computer users.) Shamsie tried to clamber up onto his lap, and the bowl of food went flying. Despite our efforts to remove the offending sludge, evidently some of it had hidden under the chair, perhaps eager to hear the results of the Chelsea game before being scooped up in a piece of kitchen roll and callously discarded.
The tomcat has been vindicated. Sitting at the computer is no longer an olfactory torment for my nine-month pregnant senses. Now I just have to find some poor neglected cupboard, its insides coated with grease and crumbs or even – yes! – a nice bit of mould, that I can roll up my sleeves and gleefully assault.

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