We have one dog—“Joy”—and two cats—“Blitz” and “Sherbert.”
When Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins went to the beach with Garnet’s parents and other family members, I stayed home with the animals. It was the first time I had done that. I thought it would be fun to have the house to myself, and, as long as the house wasn’t a disaster when the family returned, all I had to do was walk Joy and give the animals food and attention, along with some bonus attention to make up for everyone else not being around.
I was so wrong.
Before Day One was out, Joy, Blitz and Sherbert had—each in his or her own way—informed me that they fully expected not only to receive every single smackerel of attention that they routinely receive from the four of us during the course of the day, but also oodles of extra attention to make up for the fact that they were missing Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins.
I enjoyed giving Joy extra attention because she is most definitely Garnet’s dog and it was a luxury to be able to sit and lavish as much attention on her as I wanted. I ended up feeling bad, though, because it wasn’t enough. Joy started following me around the house, something that she normally doesn’t do. I would give her more attention and she would follow me around some more.
Sherbert loves to be rubbed. Normally, after I rub him for a while, he heads off looking for new adventures. This time, though, no matter how much attention I had already given him, whenever I sat down, he would come looking for more. When I sat down at a computer, Sherbert would jump up and walk back and forth across the keyboard demanding more rubs.
I would rub him and put him down. He would jump back up. At one point, I ended up putting him in the basement. Although I felt bad about banishing him, it became clear that was my only hope of getting anything done.
Blitz, who can be maddeningly crafty on any day, thought he could get away with bamboozling me while everyone else was gone. The regular time for the animals’ evening meal is 5 pm. As the time approaches, Blitz and Sherbert come into the kitchen and swirl around their dishes in a way that Garnet once noted looks like sharks swimming. She was right. That’s exactly what it looks like.
At 3 pm. on the first day, Blitz came in and—in the meow he created to give everyone the impression that he is on the verge of starvation—announced that it was time for supper.
I looked at the clock.
“No, it’s not,” I said. “It’s only 3 o’clock.”
“No! No! It’s time for supper,” he informed me in an anguish-filled meow.
He did that every day the family was gone.
We did have fun, of course. Every day, the animals made me smile. I will never tire of starting each day by watching Joy run in a circle when I put down her bowl of food in the morning. For their daily naps, the cats can be counted on to find at least one new entertaining position.
I certainly was glad to see Garnet, Sparkle Girl and Doobins walk through the door, though. And only a little bit of that came from knowing that I would get some help with Joy, Blitz and Sherbert.