SH was out of town. When SH is out of town, my life gets easier in many ways but a little more complicated in others.
Easier because I go to bed when I want to, ie, earlier than midnight, but of course it's when SH is gone that I usually get insomnia or make the stupid mistake of having a sip of diet Dr Pepper at 1:30 p.m. in an attempt to rid myself of an incipient migraine (caffeine giveth, caffeine taketh away) or drink a cup of decaf at book club at 8:00 p.m. so the going to bed early is all a big fat waste because all I do is lie in bed and think, "I can't sleep. I can't sleep. Why can't I sleep?"
And then I remember that decaf coffee still has some caffeine in it and I remember the diet Dr Pepper and my heart sinks because there is nothing I can do to make my princess and the pea body process the caffeine any faster.
It's easier because I don't have to pull all my work clothes out of the closet and put them in the bathroom the night before. It's easier because when I get up, I can make noise. I can listen to the radio. I can clomp around the kitchen. I put the dishes away wet. I leave dirty dishes in the sink overnight. I am free, free, free!
It's harder because I am the only person in charge of the cats.
Usually, SH feeds the cats their breakfast. But when he's gone, I have to do it.
You might think, "Why is feeding the cats a big deal? All you do is pour food into the bowl and voila! They're fed!"
It's not that simple.
We have two cats. One eats like a vacuum cleaner and the other is the pickiest, slowest, most maddeningly dainty eater you have ever seen.
Laverne has finished her food before Shirley has picked up, examined, and eaten her first five kibbles. Shirley has to think about every bite. Shirley is annoying as heck.
The problem is that if Shirley steps away from her food for a second or takes too long thinking about her next bite, Laverne swoops in and takes over and Shirley just watches. Sometimes, she'll take action and pull the dish away - the sound of the cat dish moving across the floor means I have to get up and referee - but sometimes, she'll let Laverne, who is getting chubby, eat it all.
And then she'll be ticked later because she's hungry and she'll knock everything off the kitchen counter to get our attention. (And no, I do not know how to keep her off the counter. If you do, please tell me.)
All of this means it takes a while to feed the cats because they must be supervised and any leftover food has to be put away or put back in front of Shirley with the impatient hiss, "Would you eat already?" etc etc.
So SH was gone. I was stuck feeding the cats. I was in a hurry. I fed them. Put my lunchbag in my gym bag. Realized I needed a jacket because hello it was August in Wisconsin and if you don't need your A/C, you need a coat, grabbed a coat from the closet, then closed the closet, which had been open because that's where the radio is (don't ask) and I had been listening to the morning news. Because we wouldn't want a cat getting into a closet while I was away from the house for 11 hours, would we? The cats are not allowed in the closets. They like being in the closets, but they are not allowed there.
NOT ALLOWED. They know that.
So I closed the closet and left the house.
For 11 hours.
When I got home eleven hours later, Laverne was not waiting by the door for me as she usually is.
Don't be thinking she's all sweet and missing me - when I get home from work is when they get fed supper. She knows she is about to eat when she hears that key in the lock.
I opened the door.
I called out. "Laverne! Where are you, kitty?" (As if she spoke English. She's Siamese.)
I heard a muffled meow.
Shirley just looked at me, then looked up at the cupboard where the food is kept, then looked at me again. I could tell what she was thinking: "Aren't you going to feed me? Hurry it up."
No Laverne. "Laverne? Where are you?"
Was she in the basement? I put my purse, my coat, and my gym bag on the counter and walked downstairs. "Laverne?"
Meows got more distant.
I came back up. I called - got a meow. I walked closer to the meow. Called again. Louder meow. Called again. I was in the hall. The meowing was inside the house.
I called - and realized. I opened the closet door.
Out ran Laverne.
Who had been in the closet for 11 hours. Eleven. Eleven hours without a litter box.
I closed my eyes and shook my head. Then I turned on the light and looked and sniffed.
One coat had been pulled off its hanger, but everything else was still intact.
There was not one whiff of kitty pee or kitty poop. Not one.
Poor Laverne had been stuck in that closet for 11 hours and had held everything.
She's such a good girl. But this is the cat who will cry to come inside to use the litter box. I have never seen her go outside. I think she thinks that's gross and uncivilized.
She ran out of the closet and ran straight to the water. She was thirsty. Then she ran downstairs to the litter box and did the necessary.
She did better than I would have done stuck in a closet for 11 hours, I tell you.