Bus Ride to Eugene, Littermaid Elite, and Points After Repair

Saturday was a hell of a day.

We got up at around 7:00a and got out of the house basically ASAP so we could get to Jenn’s parents’ house in time to get in their motorhome and head down to Eugene for Jenn’s grandma’s 79th birthday party. That’s like an hour and a half drive, which isn’t as bad when you’re riding in the Adamson Bus, but it’s still a long trip.

We got there and Jenn’s grandma was very pleased to see us. It was a surprise party and the entire family was there.

Now, when I say “the entire family,” I mean like 40 or 50 people. The rockin’ part was that it was raining and we had planned to have the party outside, but instead we had it indoors in a space that was, oh, maybe 500 square feet. You can imagine the chaos - not enough chairs (or enough room for chairs) ended up meaning people sitting on the floor, sitting on laps, standing in the hallway… and it got hot.

So that lasted for about four hours. And the thing is, I like Jenn’s family and all, but I don’t really know anyone and every time we get together it’s like this whirlwind of faces that only look mostly familiar and only results in me being confused and claustrophobic. I don’t really have anything to talk about with them because none of them are tech people and I really don’t follow sports or family gossip. So it’s nice to see them, but I won’t lie, it’s not super duper fun.

After that, we hopped back on the bus and headed home. We got back somewhere around the 6:30p timeframe and on the way home we planned on stopping at my parents’ house because it was my dad’s birthday, too. We got there sometime around quarter to seven, but they weren’t home so I planned on calling him later in the evening. I actually feel bad I didn’t get in touch with him earlier, but he’s going to have to throw me a bone on this one because I was sort of predisposed.

Sunday was errand day so we ran around and did the shopping and so on. Groceries ran far more than I anticipated because we ended up picking up a lot of high-ticket items (cleaning supplies and so on) that we had been putting off. Not great on the pocketbook, but had to be done.

We also picked up one of those automatic cat boxes. We like to occasionally go away for the weekend and the new cat generates a looooot of poop so we want to make sure the box is always clean and doesn’t need to be dealt with for a couple of days at least. We went with the Littermaid Elite after looking at a lot of these things because not only did it seem to be the most popular model, but it also didn’t lock us into proprietary refills or materials beyond the little litter receptacle (which runs about $0.30 each and last around five days - so maybe $2/month, which is better than some of the ongoing costs of the other boxes). The only thing we were afraid of was whether they’d use it.

As I was putting it together, I got to about step seven of ten and had to put the clean litter in the box. I poured it in, turned around, put the litter box down, picked up the instruction manual and turned around to do step eight… but the cat was already in the box taking a fresh crap - even before I got the box put together - so I’m no longer afraid they won’t use it. I couldn’t even finish putting it together before it was used.

Jury’s still out on whether I like it or not. It works great on the clumped-up pee balls, but if the cat poop is… well, soft… it sort of attaches to the rake that cleans the box. I cleaned it off the rake manually the first time, but I left it when I saw it again this morning. I’m going to see if the situation somehow rectifies itself.

I also checked on my sick Xbox, which is on its way home from Xbox Hospital. They are sending me another refurbished machine - it has a different serial number than the one I sent in - so I’m going to end up going through the Xbox DRM problems again. Support actually has a name for this process now - “Points After Repair.” I called them and said I noticed that the serial number was different and that I was disappointed I’d have to go through this again and they were all, “Well, just set up [yet another] Xbox silver account before you call, then when you call in give us your repair number and ask about ‘Points After Repair.’ We’ll hook you up.” Ridiculous. Because that didn’t cause all nature of pain in my ass last time.

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