Tag Archives: pet sitting

Little housesitter on the prairie

I’m fortunate to live in a beautiful area, at the base of mountains with pine forests all around with both cities and plains just a short drive away. I always think I prefer the mountains and forests to the prairie mostly because I forget how pretty the prairie can be, especially if it’s allowed to just be grasslands. I guess I’m too used to seeing the blank, weedy, non-grasslands that surround so many of our Suburbias On the Plains; the developers come in, dig their holes, tear everything up and leave. They don’t bother to reintroduce grasses so weeds grow – scratchy, itchy things jutting up out of pebbly dirt, looking mean and stunted. It makes my brain think prairie land is ugly.
But it’s not. It’s full of life. There are gajillions of birds, bugs, and other critters. When it rains, everything blooms. When it doesn’t rain, sages and other chamisa thrive because they know how to live without water. The landscape becomes a soft, silvery bluegreen.
Sunsets are amazing in the flatlands, especially with the mountains to the west. You can see everything for miles. I’ve been watching the rainstorms gather in the north and west each afternoon, I follow their progress as they travel down the range flicking lightning through their dark blue blottiness and I feel like a little bit of magic is thrown my way when the sun breaks through the upper clouds. The people under the rainstorm can’t see it but I’m far enough out that I can. It’s a heavy, yellow beam, the color of the sunflowers that dot the landscape.




When those storms come out here, it’s not quiet and romantic; it’s violent. There is lightning, rolling thunder that growls for tens of seconds, wind whipping raindrops into the windows, into the few trees, onto the ground. It’s dark and loud. Then early the next morning, there’s a low-hanging mist over everything and suddenly you can’t tell that the horizon goes on for miles. You’re socked in, all sounds are kept close, everything feels damp and heavy. It’s a good time to pull up a lawn chair, grab a hot drink, and watch the fog dissipate while the dogs lie quietly at your feet.

That blur in the foreground is not a ghost. It's piece of wheat blowing in the slight breeze.

That’s how I remembered that our plains are anything but plain.


Filed under Adventures, In someone else's backyard

Morning conversation with animals

I’m all out of fresh and wonderful topics on which to post so…I’m cheating and taking a story from the Notes section on my Facebook page. It’s a true story, one that delights Little B every time she reads it. It’s a tale of my petsitting adventures and as housesitting season is upon us, I think this will be timely.

Transcript from early morning hours of August 2, 2011
All participants are in the bedroom with three participants on the bed

3:00 am

Doug: I am Douglas the Great Explorer and I hereby claim this land mass as my own!

Me: Doug! What are you DOING?

Doug: I am exploring and I name this land mass – which I found all by myself – after me. It will heretofore be called DougLandia!

Me: Doug, that’s my chest. Get off! You’re leaving dents in my sternum with your pointy little cat feet. OFF!
I feebly shove Doug off my chest because it’s 3 in the damn morning and I have no strength after being rudely woken from a sound sleep

Max (using a terrible French accent): Oh ho ho, Doog-lass! Zees eez my prop-pair-tee and has been so seence long before you came heer as an eensolent whelp, you eensolent whelp!

Doug: Have you claimed it as your own? Have you named it? Huh? Well, have you?

Max (with same terrible French accent): Zees eez not for you to qwest-ee-on! Eet eez time for us to duel!

Doug: I will fight you!
Doug reclaims his territory and Max, who has claimed the head and shoulders portion of my person, readies for combat. They both open their mouths and begin to slap at each other’s faces. The open mouths attempt to bite the incoming batting paws.

Me: What THE HELL?? Stop fighting on top of me! I am TRYING to SLEEP! Get…OFF!
Both cats are tossed off the bed. Silence resumes.

3:15 am

Maya: *slurp sluuuurp schlrrp gnawgnawgnawgnawgnaw sluuuurp slrp sllluuuuurrrp*

Me (so tired. so not amused): Maya. What are you doing?

Maya: Taking a bath.

Me: It’s 3:15 in the morning. It’s still dark out. Why are you taking a bath NOW?

Maya: Because I got dirty.

Me: When? When did you get dirty? Was the landing too dirty for your liking? Is your pillow making your fur all gross?

Maya: No. I got dirty when we went for a walk.

Me: Yeah, because you roll in gross things all the time! Every time we go for a walk, you find something to roll in. You’re a dog! Of course you’re dirty! But is 3:15 in the morning really the time for taking care of the consequences of your rolling addiction?

Maya: Yes. *sllluuurp slrp ssschlooooorp gnawgnawgnawgnawgnaw*

Me: Ohmygod, just stop. You will have all day tomorrow to clean your pretty little paws. Just…be quiet for now and let me sleep.

Maya: …..*slurp sluuuurp schlrrp gnawgnawgnawgnawgnaw sluuuurp slrp sllluuuuurrrp sllluuurp slrp ssschlooooorp gnawgnawgnawgnawgnaw* This continues for fifteen minutes

3:30 am


Me: Are you done?

Maya: Yes.

Me: Are you sure? You’re clean?

Maya: Yes.

Me: Good. Goodnight.

4:00 am

Something lands on the bed

Doug: HI! Hey. Hey! Are you awake? HEY! Hey, are you awake?

Me: Yes, I am, Doug, because apparently, I am not allowed to sleep anymore. What do you want?

Doug: Hi.

Me: Hi. What do you want?

Doug: Do you want to pet me?

Me: No. I want to sleep.

Doug: Do you want to pet me before you sleep? Listen, I’m purring!

Me: No. I don’t want to pet you and I don’t want to listen to you. Get off my chest! Why do you keep denting my chest?

Max: Hello. I have returned.

Me: Oh, yay.

Max: Doog-lass! I see you are trying to stake your claim upon my territory yet again! We must fight.

Me: You already fought, you idiots! Doug, get off me! Max, lie down and shut up!

Maya (appearing at the side of the bed, tail hitting the mattress): *thump thump thump thump* Hey! Are we getting up now? Because I need to go to the bathroom! Let’s get up, ok?

Me: Maya, you do not have to go to the bathroom, yet! Lie down and go to sleep.

Maya: Yes, I do. I need to go right now. And you have to get up because I can’t go downstairs in the dark by myself.

Me: So take Doug.

Maya: But neither of us can open the door.

Me: I hate you. I. Hate. ALL. Of. You.
Everyone goes downstairs. Maya goes outside. I feed the cats their Fancy Feast; may as well since everyone’s up anyhow.

4:30 am

Everyone is back in bed. Doug and Max start fighting again. Doug and Max get thrown off the bed again. Something big lands on the bed.

Maya: There were cats landing on me. I’m going to sleep here. Move over.

Me: I’m not moving over! You have your own bed!

Maya (lies down and shoves me): THIS is my bed. Move over.

Me: Ohmygod, I so hate you all! If you three don’t knock it off, I am going to drive you all over to the Chinese restaurant! DO YOU UNDERSTAND??

Maya (taking up way more space than she needs on the bed): Shhh. I’m trying to sleep. And you’re being racist.


5:00 am

Maya is hogging the bed and Max is back on his head/shoulders perch

Doug: HEY! It’s morning time! It’s time for you to feed us!

Me (so very groggy): I already fed you.

Doug: But it’s morning and you can give us our food now.

Me: I already gave you your food!

Doug: But, now it’s time for food!

Me: So go downstairs and lick the Fancy Feast crumbs out of your stupid bowl!

Doug: Will you come with?

Me: NO! And get off my chest, you freakin’ psychopath!

6:00 am

Maya: It’s time to get up. I have to go find all the bunnies in town.

Me (whining): I can’t get up. I am too tired.

Maya: Stop being lazy! You have to get up, now. The sun is up and we have to find bunnies. Get up.

Me: Make me, you giant oaf.

Maya: (shifting over and pinning my arm under her paws) *lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Me (trying to get my arm back): STOP LICKING MY ARM! What is WRONG with you!!

Maya: *lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick*

Me: ARGH! That’s so GROSS! STOP IT!!!
I manage to get my arm free and then dive under the covers to hide from my assailant

Maya (pawing the lump under the cover with her Paws of Death): Hey! I know you’re in there. Get up! We have to go for a walk! It’s time to walk!

Me: No it’s not! I have until 6:30! Let me sleep!
Starts to cry

Maya flumps her whole freakin’ self on top of the lump under the covers

Me (muffled): Get off! You’re suffocating me!!!!

6:20 am

Me: FINE! FINE! I’m getting up! Are you all happy?

Max: I’m not. I was busy sleeping on your pillow, on your hair.

Me: You are all on my list. I am going to make duct tape restraints for each of you.

Maya: Hurry up! There are bunnies and they’re getting away! Get dressed faster!

Me: Move out of my way faster, you obnoxious lump!

Doug: Hey! What are you doing? Why aren’t you in bed? I need to stand on your chest!
Everyone tumbles down the stairs while I finish tying my shoes.

Doug: I want to go for a walk, too.

Me: Well, you can’t. Maya, come here so I can put your harness on you.

Maya (all full of spirit and fun): Come get me!

Me: Oh, hell, no. I am NOT playing “chase” with you. You will come here and put your harness on or I am going to go back to bed for the next half hour and you can suffer without your morning walk.

Maya: You’re so mean!
Lies down in front of me, just out of reach

Me: Seriously? This is what you do? SERIOUSLY?

Maya: Yes.

Me: So help me, if you don’t get your furry butt over here and put your harness on, I really will leave you all walkless this morning and you WILL be SORRY!

Maya: Fine. Put my stupid harness on.

Me: Come over here.

Maya: No. YOU come over HERE.

Me: You are horrible. I walk over to Maya and manage to get the harness on her, even though Maya is lying down Ok. Let’s go.

Doug: I want to come, too.

Me and Maya: NO!

Doug is shoved back into the house by my foot as Maya pulls toward the street. My arm is nearly ripped off and Doug nearly gets a door slammed on his head. Maya and I leave the house, Doug stays in. We walk down the stairs into the lovely, new and fresh summer morning. One bunny was found. Several chickens were stalked. Friends were greeted on the trail and calling cards were left all over the place.

Everyone managed to survive…but just barely.

The end of the beginning of the day.

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Filed under Adventures, In someone else's backyard