Sunday, August 26, 2012

Home Alone...Kinda Creepy

Saturday, the 25th of August 2012 may go down as the quietest day of my life. First of all, practically nothing happened, and second of all, no one but me was here to see nothing happening. See, Pam and Kaitlin left yesterday morning to drive down to Winston-Salem to get Kaitlin moved back into her rental house for her last year of Grad school. They thought it would be fun to bring Paula along and make it a girl's weekend since she has never seen the place. This left me alone in my house over night for the first time in I can't remember how long. Well, I wasn't really alone, since Molly was here, who decided that the rainiest Saturday of the year would be a great time to develop diarrhea.

So, amidst frequent heavy downpours, occasional thunder and ominous low lying black clouds, I spent the day constantly letting Molly outside for fear that she would have an accident on the new shag carpet. She would saunter out there in the pouring rain, oblivious to the elements, as if she were on a casual summer stroll. She would walk in one direction, sniffing the ground, then circle back over the same ground two or three times before deciding that this particular piece of real estate was not worthy of one of her bowel movements. No, perhaps she needed to circumvent the entire back yard and wind up at the exact same spot she had rejected 5 minutes earlier. After the deed was done she would suddenly realize that it was raining, and sprint back to the deck where I was waiting with a huge beach towel to dry her off. This I did maybe 10 times, which meant that Molly spent all day smelling like wet dog. Lovely.

The project of the day concerned cleaning out what has become the dumping ground for everything we don't know what to do with at our house, what used to be my study. A few months ago, when we bought new furniture for the downstairs, Pam had come up with the marvelous idea of removing the leaf from our old kitchen table, and putting it in the corner upstairs next to the palladian window. There, she reasoned, I could sit with a cup of coffee in the morning and look out over the neighborhood and write my blog posts. She bought a couple of handsome chairs, and before you knew it, I was hooked on my new perch, and my old, cramped and dark study was allowed to go to seed. Well, as often is the case in parenthood, sacrifices had to be made. Kaitlin needed a kitchen table to replace the one her old roommate took with her when she graduated. If I was to have a decent place to blog, I was going to have to tackle the daunting task of cleaning out the scariest room in the house...by myself.

I do not throw the word "scary" out casually. See, even though when I look at the piles of junk in that room, I see junk in dire need of a master, Pam sees something else entirely. She sees a mountain of clutter that she may one day desperately need. She hates it when I clean up anything, accuses me of being a "bull in a china shop", throwing away the good along with the bad. So, if I'm going to clean this mess without her, I better be careful. I spent a couple of hours constructing several contingency piles...one for eventual transfer to the attic, another for possibly relocation to the movie room, yet another pile with no name and for no discernible purpose and finally a tiny little pile to at least consider for the trash. After two hours, and many bouts of indecision, it was finished. The place actually looks pretty nice. It's been polished and vacuumed and I'm actually proud of myself.

When evening finally came, I took dinner over to Dad's. I had been there maybe 15 minutes when I developed an allergy from his cat. When I got back home I took a Benedryl and settled in to watch the Nationals game. What a strange thing it is to feel like a stranger in your own house. I have lived here for 15 years but when there are no kids and my wife is away, it seems an abstract collection of barren, unfriendly rooms. I turned off the TV and decided to read instead...an Odd Thomas book by Dean Koontz. Quiet..deadly quiet. Koontz, clearly a bad idea. Maybe some Shakespeare. Macbeth...er, no way. Makes Koontz look like Doctor Seuse. Then, suddenly a peal of thunder, and I hear Molly at the bottom of the stairs whining. She can't stand the thunder. I let her upstairs and she immediately jumps up on the bed, as close to me as she can get...one of the many reasons I love dogs. Instead of allergies, they give you...reassurance.

Pam will be back late this afternoon. She will bring back the "home" part of this house she took with her when she left.