Thursday, August 27, 2009

Another Reason to Change Careers

If my cat ever decided to post an online profile, his "hobbies and interests" would be, in order of importance, eating, sleeping, and grooming. I'm glad cleanliness is important to him, although I wish he'd understand that it's a rare human who cares to have his anus thrust into the face, no matter how clean that anus might be. At any rate, his propensity for grooming leads to hairballs. No amount of brushing and no "hairball control" treats can stem the nighttime tide of hairballs thrown up onto my carpet.

I suppose I should be thankful that he throws up on the carpet rather than on the bed or the couch. His process is to jump down and wander around retching until he finds a perfect, unspoiled section of the carpet to spoil. He never vomits in the same place twice, and no matter what I've tried nothing will get up the stain that's left. Things sometimes creep up on you, so that I woke up last week and noticed stains all around me, in the bedroom, in the office, down the entire length of the hallway. It was time to call in the professionals.

Carpets obviously get gross and it's better not to ever think about it. Better not to think about the dander, sweat, dead skin, germs, crumbs, and god knows what else that lodges there. Better, in other words, not to look at what comes up the steam cleaner. Let me put it this way: I thought the base color of my carpeting was much more tan than it turns out to be.

The point of this post isn't to be disgusting, however, but instead to marvel at what a racket carpet cleaning can be. Before I called the guys in the truck, I tried both Resolve and a consumer steamer, neither of which did anything but leave their own bleach stains all over the place. I rented one of those larger steamers from the grocery store, which succeeded only in leaving the carpets soggy and smelling like a wet dog. Unless you want to own some unwieldy and ridiculously expensive machine you have no choice but to pay someone with the proper equipment.

Once the carpet cleaners realized pet stains were involved, I was instructed that simple steam cleaning wouldn't be enough, because moisture would only release germs and odor. My experience with the grocery store machine bore that out. The result was that I had to spend an extra $60 for an antibacterial/antimicrobial pretreatment, on top of the hundred bucks for the cleaning of the two rooms and hallway. So, OK, it's not as if I had any other options, save ripping out the carpets or tearing down the house. I had to pay whatever it was I had to pay.

But here's the thing: the whole process, pretreatment and steam cleaning, took exactly 10 minutes. I paid $160 for 10 minutes of work. Yes, they had to drive here in the truck, but my appointment was scheduled for a day when they were already in my neighborhood, and yes, the two guys were in the house more like 20 minutes and their labor was part of the cost. But come on, $960 an hour? To clean carpets? I am so in the wrong line of work.

1 comment:

LVCI said...

All this makes me wonder what it's looks like in Siegfried & Roy's joint!

That aside, we removed are carpets and polyurethaned the hardwood floors. Save for some throw rugs and the basement carpet, we've pretty much felt we've saved the kind of money you spent.

AH, but he who laughs last laughs best... I'd love to take your $160 hit for the carpets over the $1,100 vet bill we just paid last month to have Salem's furball surgically removed that was lodged in his lower intestine!!!!!

So if there's a bright spot, at least yours chuck them up.

Moral of the story:
I cried because I had no shoes, 'till I met a man who had no feet....
So I said, 'You got any shoes you're not using'?
~Steven Wright~