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My daughter and son in law are on the road. They’re taking a long-delayed trip to foreign lands, so my wife is babysitting.

Cat sitting.

She’s a competent woman; I’m sure she can handle a couple of cats, although one of them is under the weather and needs a pill stuffed down his throat every day. So, she’s taking some thick leather gloves along, just in case.

Never needed those with the grandchildren, I’ll say that.

The young people were married two years ago. In case your memory has dimmed, there wasn’t much honeymoon traveling going on then. They barely had any guests for the wedding and if the ceremony hadn’t been outside at our farm, even the judge wouldn’t have been able to attend. But that whole thing is a little way in the rear-view mirror, and they’ve been planning a trip for some time now. Everything else has fallen into place, except for, you know, the cats. So, like grandmas everywhere, she saddled up, packed a bag and prepared herself to bond with the cats.

We spend a lot of time with our grandchildren, but the last time we had extended care responsibilities was when our other daughter and her husband went to Ethiopia to bring home One and Three. Two was about three years old and we had her at our house for a week or so. She was a little suspicious at first, even though we had spent a lot of time together, but I tried not to be loud and annoying, and my wife and her cats won her over. She was clearly ready to go home when her folks and new siblings came back but didn’t appear to suffer any real damage – not from her stay at our place OR going from being the queen of the universe to the middle child in one fell swoop.

We were on our own turf then, which gave us a certain home field advantage. This time, after a little discussion, it was agreed that our expansive menagerie would be way too stressful for a pair of city cats. My wife decided that a week in an apartment in the dining and cultural center of the Twin Cities with the boredom broken up by lunches with old friends would be a task she could take on.

This is, oddly enough, the longest we’ve been apart since 1974. I’m a little concerned, because the veneer of civilization sits lightly on my shoulders. I know it’s only going to be a couple of days and I’ll be living on half-cooked bacon and Wonder Bread. If the trip lasted a month, my wife would come home to find me crouching in the corner of a cave, scratching the skeletons of small animals out of my beard. Her dog and two of the cats tried to talk her out of leaving, but they’re stuck with me now. Even though I have written instructions on what and when they should be fed, I could see them looking out the picture window with stricken expressions as my wife went down the road.

I’m on my own. I’m not quite sure what my wife is doing right now, but I think I’m going to go have some bacon.

Copyright 2022 Brent Olson


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