Home Alone

Can I share a secret?

I really hate summer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fresh vegetables and blooming flowers, but that’s about it. I don’t like heat, humidity, or blaring sun. I hate the disrupted schedules, packing and planning for a vacation that rarely leaves me rested, and long days with no regular routine. I don’t like to travel much and in the summer there’s a pressure to get out there and get on the road, but I’d rather stay home, tinker in my garden and stick to my regular running schedule.

I am tired even before the last bell rings of kids home all day doing nothing unless I prod them into it. I take away the screens to get their attention and then they spend the hours growling at me and resentfully picking up a book or drumsticks, and sometimes even a bicycle. Dishes grow on the counter like mushrooms in the dark corners of our barn. No one knows where they come from. Food disappears from cabinets, laundry multiplies, the recliner is left forever in the open position. Even when it’s quiet, it’s never really quiet. It’s hard for a person to think (or write). The rhythms are more disjointed jazz and less marching band.

DSC_8464Carla senses this. Her routine has been disrupted. We haven’t gotten out for our regular walk/run 3 out of the last 7 days. Thanks summer. She’s barking more. I know she’s saying, “Hey, we had a good thing going, what happened?” I’d ask the same thing if I didn’t have to be the adult.

She missed her run this morning so that I could meet with the horse/house sitter and now it is HOT. I don’t run in the heat, which means summer runs happen at 6am or not at all. So she’s on the back deck barking at my son and his pack of teenage friends who are huddled over a strategy game of some sort, oblivious to her barking. Finally, she is quiet, but a moment later the pizza delivery guy roars up the driveway. Who ordered pizza at 2pm?

If I had a genie in a bottle, I would wish that Carla’s forever family would show up TODAY and claim her. It will be a tough week for her while we are gone. She will be one more worry for me while I attempt to relax on the vacation that seemed like such a good idea six months ago. I love to camp and I love the beach, why not do both? And then why not invite any kids who want to come? It’ll be fun.

It will be fun. Once I’m there. It’s getting there that’s tricky. So I’m packing and Carla is underfoot. Like all dogs, she senses the impending vacation. She knows something’s up. Gracie is my constant shadow. She’s seen this show before. She knows what’s about to happen. I wish we could take them with us, but that would probably be more stressful for them than leaving them here. They’ll survive. I will, too.

DSC_8463So Carla will have seven lonesome days lying on the porch (or under it if it’s hot) with only Gracie for company and a young adult to care for her who will have her own schedule to keep. There will be no long walks or runs. No snuggles on the lounger. I’m certain she will bark. A lot. Sorry neighbors. (Luckily, the house next door is empty. Let’s hope no potential buyers are turned off by the constant calling of the next-door coonhound.)

Hopefully, she’ll win over her caretaker. After all, who can resist those huge velvety ears? And she’s such solid company on the couch, even allowing herself to be an excellent pillow or arm rest. I don’t know this young person who’ll be looking after the place well enough to know if she’ll take Carla out for a walk as I mentioned she might enjoy. She’ll be busy enough with the horses, chickens, and other chores, but maybe Carla will be able to finagle a long walk down our shady road, even a dip in the creek. She’s nothing if not persistent.

DSC_8983 - CopyMy husband listens to my stress and reminds me that the dogs are not people in little furry suits (or big furry suits as the case may be). They aren’t, but sometimes that’s hard to remember.

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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