Rare is the day I’m home alone.
The last time it happened, I was charged with taking care of a fluffy Yorkie belonging to Cheryl’s firstborn.
Knowing nothing about dogs, I was on edge the whole time. But things worked out. Pawblo survived. I did too.
This time there was no dog in the mix. Just me and Jack the cat.
I can handle cats, particularly ones that sleep a lot.
Cheryl hit the road at the crack of dawn, not to return for 14 hours. This created staggering possibilities.
Do I line up coffee with the gals, beers with the guys? Fuss around with scissors and cut my hair? Maybe go hiking, devour a book, binge on movies? Or more realistically, I could just sit there and listen to Jack snore.
People are also reading…
Cheryl had uttered some disturbing words as she sailed out the door. The pool is looking a little green, she declared yet again.
Right off my day was tarnished. She might as well have called our pool a swamp … with croaking frogs.
I devoted the first hour of my day of freedom to pool scrubbing and crude adjustments to water chemistry.
Maybe that would cure the problem. Maybe it wouldn’t. In either case, I checked “pool care” off my list.
Next, I devoted several hours to consuming news. Ukraine, blah, blah. COVID, blah, blah. Congressional stalemate, blah blah. Thank heavens for fresh crime.
At mid-morning I retreated to Cheryl’s office. With Jack sleeping nearby, I wrote a brilliant first draft of my next column. (As is always the case, it had turned to sludge when I returned for a second draft a day later.).
Finally, lunchtime. I crafted a peanut butter sandwich with a layer of banana. Once fortified, I headed out. First the pool store, where I discovered that one of my diagnostic chemicals had expired three years ago. Did that explain the greening?
Next, Peet’s for a cappuccino. I intended to live large for an entire hour and hopefully see blackbirds swoop down on unsuspecting Bel Aire Plaza shoppers.
The Register had written about these nest-defending birds a month earlier. The video by Jennifer Huffman was hysterically entertaining. I wanted to be dive-bombed too.
Sadly, the dive-bombing had ended. The baby birds must have left the nest.
I nursed my coffee inside while staring outside where the diving action had been. I’d just missed it!
Returning home, I found Jack in a state. Momma was gone. I was proving to be an erratic substitute.
Hang in there, cat. We only have to suck it up for a few more hours.
But not to worry. There’s dinner!
I reached for Stagg Steak House Reserve Chili, a meaty concoction in a 15-ounce can.
I love Stagg as much as Cheryl deplores it. I keep a supply deep in the pantry for my bachelor moments.
While zapping the chili in the micro, I popped the cap on my first beer of 2022, a Lagunitas IPA. I was transformed by the first sip. No more husband at loose ends. I was Mr. Cool Beer Chili Guy.
While feasting, I listened to songs on Pandora’s Bill Callahan station. Singer-songwriter stuff, much of it meditative and sad. Guys singing for guys. I felt part of a global fraternity of men sitting in dark bars, nursing beers, spooning chili, awash with guy feelings.
Cheryl returned as I was cleaning up after my transcendental guy moment.
Her first question was about Jack. How had things gone?
Just fine, I said. Neurotic cats are tougher than you think.
And my Stagg?
Perfection, I said. Absolute perfection.
Kevin Courtney's Fave 5 of 2019
2019 is ending with a flurry of good stories. These are some of my favorite. They capture the flavor of life in Napa.
Napa wineries have turned to Instagram to sell themselves to a new demographic.
Reporter Brian Eberling braves the commute that thousands endure each work day.
People take the loss of a long-time Napa business personally. Attention must be paid.
Viewing sections of the AIDS Memorial Quilt created an upswell of emotions among viewers in Yountville.
Kevin can be reached at email@example.com.