In our own backyard....Welcome to the real world

The only thing bad about taking a vacation is transitioning back into the "real world" at the end of it. After days of playing and lolling around, removed from any type of work or responsibility, it all hits...


The only thing bad about taking a vacation is transitioning back into the "real world" at the end of it. After days of playing and lolling around, removed from any type of work or responsibility, it all hits

you smack in the face as you walk back through your own front door.

For one brief instant, your heart swells with happiness at the sight of "home sweet home," but then you discover there's piles of mail and volumes of e-mails, the half-full garbage can under the sink that you forgot to empty is starting to smell, the plants on the front porch that you've babied along all summer have started to wilt, and the cat is missing.

Those of you who are cat owners will know and understand the usual scenario that often occurs when you return home after a few days out of town. As soon as you jiggle your keys in the lock of the front door, the frantic feline sprints for the front door and is sitting there waiting for you by the time you walk in. But instead of the warm, leg rubbing, purring welcome that one might expect, the usual reception is considerably chillier. Most self respecting cats will

immediately turn tail and walk stiff-leggedly in the opposite direction, dripping with disdain over the fact that you left them alone. It generally takes several minutes - as well as a clean litter pan, a full food bowl, and considerable bribery with a catnip mouse - before the slighted creature decides at last to forgive you.


This was the first time we'd been away since we adopted our big yellow cat, Mufasa, from the animal shelter, and we had lined up a friend to come to our house every other day to feed and play with him. But when we walked in the front door last week, there was no sign of the cat in sight. Thinking he might be playing the role of long-suffering victim to the hilt, the two of us walked around calling for him. Suddenly we heard a distant cry and a quick process of elimination revealed that he was shut in the bedroom closet!

As soon we opened the door, Mufasa leaped out and sprinted for his litter pan. I guess we could have expected what came next - the usually affable cat gave us the cold shoulder, as only a cat can do, walking around with his tail held straight in the air, refusing to maintain eye contact and "meOWing" constantly. Of course, no one felt any worse about the entire episode than we did.

A quick call to the cat sitter yielded the information that he'd been sitting in the front entryway watching her go when she last departed. He's since forgiven us, but I don't suppose we'll ever know just how he managed to shut himself into that closet!

By then, our vacation from stress and responsibility had most decidedly come to a screeching halt. We unpacked our bags, started a load of laundry and the two of us hefted our kayaks off the top of the pickup and hauled the first of them down to the lake. As Ken started back up the path, he suddenly howled in pain and began to run. I looked up to discover he was surrounded by a swarm of hornets. He zoomed past me swatting and yelling, and it took no time at all for the enraged hornets to discover me as well. As one stung me on the back of the leg and another on my arm, a couple more flew down my shirt and began to sting me on my neck and torso.

I ripped off my shirt and ran through the yard in my bra, slapping and squealing! If anyone was out

on the lake fishing about that time, I'm certain they thought the two of us had gone stark, raving mad, but at that point, I simply didn't care.

Later, as we sat nursing our welts, I looked thoughtfully up at Ken.

"I just have to ask you one thing," I remarked. "When those hornets started to swarm around you, why in the world did you run straight at ME?"

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