We should have known better, daring to leave town for a few days. The cats were the first ones to display their displeasure with us as soon as we walked in the door. They had apparently both target vomited on the floor mat, so as soon as I stepped inside, I was ankle deep in warm, half-chewed Kit-n-Kaboodle. I had clearly chosen the wrong moment to peel off my flip flops and go barefoot. To further emphasize her displeasure, Wednesday immediately jumped up on the table in the hallway where I'd dropped my purse and yakked a hairball up on my car keys.
When I threatened to trade the cat in for a nice ficus, this reminded me to check on the plants out on the side deck. We'd had a heat wave while on vacation, and I found the foxglove in a strangled, withered heap. It had apparently put up more of a fight than the morning glories, which had wrapped their yellowed vines around a post on the deck and hung themselves from their pot. Apparently, when I'd asked my sister to check on the cats while we were gone, I'd forgotten to request that she water the plants, too.
I decided to check on the back lawn, which was supposed to be mowed and watered by a service while we were away. Walking in the yard, I noticed that the grass seemed really uneven in parts. Our lawn guy is usually excellent, so I went inside to give him a call and make sure he hadn't had a stroke while on the lawnmower. While standing at the kitchen sink, listening to his voice mail message and looking over the whole of the yard, I realized we'd probably forgotten to pay him before going away. He'd left us a lovely two-word message, mowed right in to the lawn, indicating how he felt about this oversight. It hadn't been easy to read while I was actually walking across the grass, but it came across loud and clear from the window (and, I'm assuming, to low-flying planes.) I realized that not only was I not going to be able to have company with small children over for the next week, but that vacationing itself had been a bad idea.
The cats are still not speaking to us, I found a piece of fish in the garbage that I'd forgotten to dump before we'd left, and we'd accidentally left the air conditioning on upstairs, which means our next electric bill will be about $800 - just about the cost of the writers' conference fee for both of us.
I think I'm finally starting to understand the appeal of staycations.