Saturday, June 21, 2014

When the Cat's Away....

The Kitten/Kittens left yesterday for a few weeks of vacation, with me dropping them off at the airport after a wee early in the morning wakeup, something with which these particular ladies are not well-acquainted. They have headed to the Caribbean, site of The Kitten's early adulthood employment and the place where she met the girls' Dad.  The kittens will be going to the same sailing camp where their parents were instructors lo those many years ago, 25 of them this summer. The kids go to camp, the Kitten heads for a little R and R, and I join her next Thursday.  We will collect the kittens in a couple of weeks and then spend a handful of days together, sailing on a bareboat charter in the British Virgin Islands.  All praise to the Kitten who set this whole thing up.  I haven't had a proper vacation in some time now, and I find myself very much excited about this one--largely because of its lack of excitement.

In the meantime, I have six days to myself here at home, except for two labs and two cats.  With a colossal amount of work to do before I check out for two weeks, today's overcast/rain provide a good atmosphere for getting the jump on it.

No doubt you have suspected, I landed in a pretty nice situation here with the Kittens.  Not much to complain about, and if I did, you wouldn't give a crap anyway.  But I've learned a lot about myself in the past seven years, and the biggest lesson is that I'm a hell of a lot more introverted than I thought I was.  I am a Myers Brigs ENTJ , with the "NTJ" attributes being very strong.  The "E" however is always ...just over the line from I.  Sure, I run a blog and write about the most mundane things in my life. And I am a Facebook exhibitionist.  But when it comes right down to it, I really, really like occasional alone time.  Just me.  Eating what I want.  Watching when I want.  Sleeping when I want.  Working when I want.  This was coincidentally, the way I generally lived my life as a single man, and while the benefits of familial living are manifest, the absolute selfishness of singleness doesn't play well within that context. And so, like a bear riding a bike in the circus (h/t Garrison Keillor, who said a monogamous man is like a bear riding a bike in the circus--you can teach him to do it, but he'd rather be in the woods doing things that bears do), I have come to enjoy my family life.  Seriously.  I definitely prefer this--but these little interludes of solitude really are good for my soul.

I have decamped from the ManCave to the kitchen, having lugged my all-in-one computer over here to take advantage of the views, the air conditioning and the company of the dogs.  No family meals will occur here for a few days, so I have untrammeled access to the kitchen table.  The refrigerator is gleaming, having been denuded of the accumulated excess of vegetation and other kitten related overages.  My single guy refrigerator was a monument to efficient living.  All the right condiments, with their expiration dates, and just the minimums necessary to accomplish my eating goals.  The freezer tends to explode with the tasty flesh of various quadrupeds, winged creatures and denizens of the sea, but the refer always appears half full, the way I like it.

We have a heated pool, but the water temperature sensor went bad, according to the Kitten (whose technical skills vastly outstrip mine).  My well-earned reputation for both a distaste for and ineptness with home repairs led to her deciding to put off the repair until after we return.  On a whim yesterday, I searched YouTube for any hints on this issue and there it was....a whole video dedicated to pulling off this exact repair!  What a chance to prove my manhood!  To contest my father's famous declaration that I " not know the business end of a screwdriver."  I called the local pool supply store and indeed, they had the right part.  Having purchased it, I next needed to wrestle with the whole "electrical safety" issue, which meant isolating the pool equipment.  I'd never actually seen the breakers, but there they were, on the panel in the basement.  Once isolated, the repair took about twenty minutes and I now have a fully functioning pool heater.  The spa blower and its gas heater are down though....and I'll need a real electrician for help with that.  But little victories accumulate, friends!

After a pretty long day of non-handy-man related paying work, I purchased a nice ribeye from Acme and grilled it for dinner. Perfect.  I've come to decide that the ribeye is indeed, the tastiest cut.  Don't get me wrong, I like a filet every now and then, and a NY strip can be devine...but for consistent taste?  The ribeye is king.  All that fat, I think.  After dinner, I began my periodic re-watching of the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Blue-Ray, Special Extended Edition), something I take on EVERY time I get extended periods of solitude.  I once watched all three back to back to back while gorging myself with chicken wings.  Heaven.  But I was more moderate last night, enjoying only two heaping tablespoons of peanut butter washed down by a few cups of coffee.

At 10PM, I decided to go to bed.  This in and of itself is uninteresting; what is worth recounting is that I estimate being asleep at 10:05PM!  My Kitten is a bit of a night owl, you see, and going to bed generally begins a period of conversation, much of which sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher to me after I begin to lose consciousness.  This is primarily my fault, as I generally tend to go out to the ManCave after dinner to work, so that pre-sleep time is necessary to work out the issues of our life.  But last night!  Right to sleep.  No CPAP machine.  No conversation.  Eye mask on.  Earplugs in.  And sleep straight through to 0900.  Glorious.

Today is mostly work, though I did slip out and buy a couple of obscene crab cakes for dinner, along with my pampered dog's food.  We have some friends coming to stay in our house when I leave (next time, Hammer) , and taking care of the cats won't be an issue.  The dogs are a bit different though.  They get into everything, they are awesome but only modestly trained, and they mostly respect their electric fence.  I decided to put them up in a local well-regarded kennel, but I'm pretty sure I'll worry about them most every day I'm gone.  Needed to make sure I had plenty of food for them.

The whole "should we get a dog" and then "should we get another dog" always boiled down to me to the "what will we do with them when we go away?" Question.  It really bothered me...and I'm not entirely sure it doesn't still.  Part of me was of the opinion that getting dogs would slow us down, keep us from traveling/doing stuff.  I know that's selfish, but that's the way it is.  Now that I have them, wouldn't trade them for the world, but....

With the posting of this piece, you may be saying, "hey, what happened to the eSabbath".  The eSabbath was entirely designed to ensure that I gave my family my attention during that time.  Since they're gone, no need for an eSabbath.  Around 3pm today, I'll turn on the TV with the sound off to watch the rain-interrupted UVA/Ole Miss College World Series game.  If UVA wins, they go to the championship to face the winner of today's Texas/Vandy game.  If they lose, they play Ole-Miss again, as this round is double elimination.  They've had awesome pitching lately, but their bats have been a little quiet.  Hopefully that ends today.

Ok, back to work.


Tom de Plume said...

Looks like my neighborhood pool, 'crept for the absence of the tattooed moms.

"The Hammer" said...

So you're one of those helpless men who have trouble changing a light bulb (or as we say down South a "lat-bub).
God you sicken me. A real man should be able to do any household chore/repair up to changing out the compressor on the heat-pump or laying concrete (at least something will get laid at Chateau CW). If my significant other had to tell ME there was a sensor bad I'd turn in my man-card and start wearing a bra and panties under my clothes!

The Conservative Wahoo said...

Keep in mind Hammer, if it weren't for guys like me, you'd be out of a job.

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