Well it was just me and the dogs having some down time yesterday, although it was rudely interrupted by work.
Normally my husband gets home halfway through the afternoon so they are not left alone too long, but he had to be away for work last night.
Lucy knew something was up. She is a smart dog and can pick up on small changes in routine that indicate something is happening. As it happens, the extensive preparations my husband goes through to stay away just one night would rival the staging production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle so it is not hard to notice.
A suitcase is wheeled out and flung open in the middle of the floor, an extensive collection of bathroom products is assembled, decanted, sealed in ziplock plastic bags and stacked into a wet pack (I think that is the trendy term for toilet bag these days) clothes are ironed, folded and placed in a case. Then the food preparation begins.
My husband is a slim man. He is slim because he rarely eats more than once a day, if that. He has always had a small appetite and actually will be put off food if too much is put in front of him at once. Nothing distresses his appetite quite so much as a heaped dinner plate. However, is is also weirdly perverse and so despite his total disdain for eating, if there is any chance that he will not be able to refuse food for extended periods, because he is on a coach, or in a hotel room, then he will pack a picnic that would feed the Von Trapp family quite comfortably.
So after all the clothes got packed, the food prep began. Eggs were boiled, as were potatoes. a bit of fish was cooked and a white sauce prepared. The Kimberley chocolate biscuits that were brought over from Ireland and have survived so long because they are individually wrapped were taken from the shelf. A family bag of soft sweet jellies was removed from its place in the cupboard. I had made some muesli biscuits with dark chocolate chips and they were collected, and of course what kind of trip would it be without a tub of muesli, lovingly soaked in Apple juice and covered with freshly chopped fruit from the bowl and yoghurt?
I think he managed to squeeze 20 000 calories or thereabouts into his soft-sided cooler bag, bought especially for these coach trips, presumably so that he does not have to poo over potatoes like Matt Damon in The Martian. This for a trip where he would depart Perth at 6am, and return the next afternoon at 2 pm.
So yeah, Lucy did pick up that something was going on and tried to make her displeasure known as I got ready to go to work two hours later. She always registers her protest by not allowing me to get ready without following me into whichever room I am in, taking a seat in a spot which my eyeline cannot fail to cross, and striking a mournful pose and sighing occasionally while her big almond-shaped brown eyes look up at me.
Archie had no idea what was going on. He is a dog that very much takes life one minute at at time and can be on his way to the food bowl when the need to lick himself takes over and he stops in his tracks. He may have been vaguely aware that we went on a longer walk in the morning, in a different park but I doubt it. It was just a slightly different view while barking at bikes, that’s all.
I got home a little early and walked the dogs again, then bought Season 5 of Girls, which I noticed was available the other day. The dogs and I sat on the couch, with total sovereignty over the TV, then later headed to the middle of the bed where we would have remained the entire night, had Archie, who is used to the luxury of going outside during the night because my husband gets up, decided that this night was no exception and sat at the door, threatening to ‘do a Matt Damon’ until I slid the door open and waited for him to come back a few minutes later. Still, not a bad night’s sleep, considering – and still five episodes of the season to watch when I have the TV to myself again.