Home alone… with pets

Whatever you do, don’t compliment dads on their parenting skills. I’ve read a couple of moms who have been outraged – outraged, I tell you! – because their menfolk were publicly commended for parenting tasks such as tying their daughters’ braids or attending their kids’ school events or not driving away with the baby on top of the car, basic stuff like that.

These moms were indignant that they never get credit for these same duties even though they do them every single day. Obviously they’ve never seen a dad with big, oafish fingers making a ponytail, because that is pure adorable! I mean, look at him sticking his tongue out in concentration. Come on!

Deb used to get irked that, whenever she went away and left me with the kids, I was likely to get nightly supper invites, whereas if I went out of town, she was likely to get an extra neighbour kid or two because nature hates a vacuum.

This past weekend, I was completely on my own from Friday afternoon until Monday, not a kid in sight, just me and the pets.

Sunday evening, I spoke to my Mom on the phone. “How are you making out?” she asked, using the same tone one might use to say “I’m sorry for your loss” or “I’m afraid we’ll have to cut it off.”

First of all, I’m a big boy. Secondly, are you kidding me? I had the house to myself for a full weekend!

Here’s what I did:

I played loud music.

I danced in a style best described as “conniption” because it was Miles Davis and I was overcome with grooviness.

I drank all the coffee.

I wrote and I wrote and I wrote until I got a headache from writing, but that might have been from the coffee.

I left my beard clippings in the bathroom sink.

I cleaned my beard clippings out of the bathroom sink because that’s just gross.

I took the dog for a walk every day, and not the super-hyper-extended walk my wife likes but a sensible loop down the bike path and back. I know the dog appreciated it as well from the contented way she slept on the sofa the entire rest of the day.

I snagged those iPod headphones that have been dangling for months from a tree branch on the bike path because there was no one to tell me “Those might belong to someone” or “You have no idea whose ears those have been in.”

I took my laptop into the bathroom with me, which is also gross but there was no one to tell me that either.

I made a grilled cheese sandwich with medium cheddar and nine-grain bread and added leftover fried onions and mushrooms; it may very well be my life’s crowning achievement. I also ate most of a bag of Chipits. I regret nothing.

I look one minute and I see this....

I look one minute and I see this….

I became acutely aware that we have a lot of pets. Everywhere I turned, there was the dog or one of four cats, sitting, staring, and they seemed to sense that they outnumbered me and that they could probably take me, if only they could organize! And I tell you it freaked me out. Plus, when it’s just you and the pets, you can really hear the dog licking herself.

...I turn around a minute later and it's this. You see why I'm freaking out?

…I turn around a minute later and it’s this. You see why I’m freaking out?

I pushed a cat off the bed at 3:30 a.m. because it snores and hogs the room, which is the same as most nights.

I talked to myself, which made the dog come up to me and wag its tail in case there might be another (better) person in the house or on the off chance that my words might include “treat” or “walk” instead of the more likely “stop barking” and “that’s my chair.”

I scooped a LOT of cat litter.

I watched March Madness basketball while exchanging texts with my son who was watching the games miles and miles away. And when I finished watching basketball, MORE BASKETBALL!

I exchanged Facebook texts with my other children, which was wonderful because there were moments, out of the blue, when I became overwhelmed by a suffocating loneliness, the kind that a mom probably would have just sucked up and then carried on, likely while defending the homestead from rabid raccoons and lifting a car off a child and then gotten no credit for any of it, because moms and wives are awesome and tough and resourceful and deserve all the applause they can get.

I may have hugged a cat.

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About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
This entry was posted in Family - whadya gonna do?, It Really Did Happen! and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Home alone… with pets

  1. markbialczak says:

    You caught the time-honored Changing of the Cat on the stair bannister. Great camera work, Ross. Does your wife get that one daily? I think not.

  2. Scott says:

    Really enjoyed this piece…..(: Scott

  3. christawojo says:

    Wait, did you write this post from ‘the throne’?

  4. This was awesome! My poor hubby NEVER gets the house to himself…perhaps that’s a little something I should keep in mind for the future. He’ll need a cat to hug though…we only have pooches and they are most interested in treats and walks and squirrels.
    The more I read, the more hooked I become. I hope you don’t mind another gushing fan!

  5. byebyebeer says:

    That cat in the blue chair clearly wants nothing to do with you. I would kill to have the house to myself to listen to music and write uninterrupted and take long walks with a dog, which we don’t have but I would go out and get one because I’ve always wanted one and this is my time, afterall. Though, now I think about it and I would get terribly lonely and bored at night and now I’m not even sure I would make a sandwich at all (certainly not as remarkable as your cheddar/onion/mushroom number) or just eat questionable leftovers, and not even heated up. And our one cat has taken to hiding underneath rugs like a troll, so he would be like your blue chair, only odder. I’d still take a weekend alone, but it’s not happening anyway. But back to this post — as always, this was a fun read, especially the visual of the oafish-thumbed braider with his tongue sticking out. Adorable!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Thanks. That cat — The Dude — is surely aloof. He will come up to me, though, when I’m sitting at the table, sit on the floor and look up and chirp. I’ll give him a head pat. That’s all he wants. That’s enough.
      Glad you liked the piece. Your time will come.

  6. momopolize says:

    The cat banister magic photos are hysterical! Did anyone award you sainthood for keeping all the pets alive all by yourself all weekend?? Glad I came across your blog – new follower.

  7. The recently departed David Brenner said it best: Kids dramatically change your life…they RUIN it. Call me a calloused cow but I think that’s funny because it’s partially true. They put the breaks on your freedom of movement, that’s for sure.

    Cats rock. Dogs are needy, smelly, stupid beasts, imho.

    You shudda tru some bacon on dat grilled cheese sammich. Some tomata, too. Too late.

  8. 1kaur says:

    The best line- “I also ate most of a bag of Chipits. I regret nothing.”
    I can also say that I have sometimes felt my lunch was so delicious I almost left some for my husband to realize how incredible it was. Almost.
    If I could insert photos here you would see our 2 cats sleeping 10am, I go for a walk, 11am more sleeping, 12, still sleeping, on until 3 or 4pm they are unmoving. Sometimes I have to check for breathing.

  9. goldfish says:

    I know that creeped out feeling you get sometimes when you notice there are once-wild animals that live in your house whose entire purpose seems to be staring and silently judging you, while possibly plotting your murder. Then they start licking their privates.

  10. Jennie Saia says:

    Conniption dancing is the VERY BEST KIND. 🙂

  11. ksbeth says:

    stay strong and prosper ross. hope you enjoyed every minute. and have gotten the cat hair out of the hard to reach places.

  12. I hate when my beard clippings stick to the side of the sink, Rosemary.

  13. Ned's Blog says:

    Sounds like the perfect weekend. Not only because having the house to yourself probably doesn’t happen often (Mine was sometime in the late 90s), but also because of that sandwich! Sounds fantastic! I’d like to try it with aged white cheddar. I have to say though, the part about making that sandwich came perilously close to sitting in the bathroom with your laptop.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Everything had a good wipe-down with Javex, including the sandwich.
      It did make me think about what it would be like to live alone (which I sort of still am; my son is back but off with school/basketball/girlfriend much of the day). I think my habits, especially eating habits, would quickly degenerate to savagery. Lord of the fruit flies.

      • Ned's Blog says:

        Ha! Living here on the coast, there’s at least a chance I’ll run across a conch shell. If I do, I’ll send it along. Just in case. (One of my very favorite books, by the way. Minus the fruit. Although a fruit fly interpretation starring Nathan Lane sounds entertaining…)

  14. Lily says:

    Being home alone is the best feeling in the world. I see you made good use of your time. Nice work!

  15. Amanda Fox says:

    I put this post aside to read when all was quiet, so I could really enjoy it. You know how I feel about pets. Problem is, it’s never quiet around here, and so I read it now at 12:10 a.m. with Mick Jagger and David Bowie singing “Dancing in the Streets” right behind me – on Youtube, of course – and someone singing scales at the same damn time. Seriously, it’s after midnight. Doesn’t anyone sleep?

    You still make me laugh, even with the madness happening all around. And you are right – if your pets could organize, the could SO take you LOL. Love the pics. Cats are such a mind trip. I knew you’d hug one.

  16. jillscene says:

    Mr Ross Murray, I shared this post with my husband. It raised the hint of a smile, quickly gone. His comment? “The poor wife.”
    My husband, you see, is at best an ambivalent fan. It’s to do with the dreadlocks …

  17. This sounds like a truly splendid weekend and OMG I need that grilled cheese like NOW. Immediately.

  18. Paul says:

    Ha! Great post Ross! It’s like the lost sheep in the Bible – how all will rejoice when the lost sheep is found. Except it’s about domesticity, in your case – all the world will rejoice when Ross is domesticated (even though your wife has always been that way) – women will never understand that: it’s the change in behaviour that is important, not the behaviour itself.You deserve a medal for being on your own all weekend Ross. Ha! I knew a huge black police detective here in Ottawa. I always felt a bit intimidated by him (that’s unusual for me as I’m about 6’3″ an 250 lbs and can talk my way out of pretty much anything) or at least by his gun. We were having a conversation about being alone in the house one day and he offered (in a semi whisper) that he loves to turn the rap up really loud and dance around the house naked. This was an image I’ve never been able to get out of my head – I wonder if he wears his gun while doing that? Ha!
    And, in conclusion, you know you’re losing it when you’re all alone in the house, you go to get some ice cubes for a drink and all the ice cube trays are empty. You curse out those lazy kids until you realize they are gone and it was you who failed to refill the ice cube trays.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      There is a certain freedom, not to mention clarity, in having no one to blame but yourself.
      And, for the record, the clothes stayed on in all unsanctioned rooms.

  19. Timely…I am about to leave for a week with the kids and the man of the house, 2 cats and 1 dog to fend for themselves. I am sure his parents will be over with steaks day one.

  20. Sounds like a great weekend!! 🙂 And yeah, kudos to the great Dad’s who braid hair! And kudos to those ladies, myself included, who can change a tire and knowing my way around power tools!

  21. cat9984 says:

    Wow – you hugged a cat – that is a major accomplishment for you – good job!

  22. natashag2014 says:

    I love being left alone in the home and doing what I want.

  23. benzeknees says:

    I am introvert, with an unemployed extrovert husband, who longs for the peace of an empty house.

  24. nobsj says:

    For next time: building forts out of empty takeout containers

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