With a week-and-a-half of vacation behind us, we drove from southern Maine back to our home in New York State. It was an eight or nine hour trip that stretched to eleven, thanks to a lack of distinct road signs.
Relieved to be home, we hobbled stiffly out of the car and onto the back porch, fumbling for the house key.
I glanced in the back door window to our kitchen, and then looked again.
The trash can was overturned. Strewn around it was an array of cat food tins, lids, and the remains of the trash bag, now ripped to shreds. Some unidentifiable sort of internal cat waste (it turned out to be a hair ball) was visible among the wreckage. As if on cue, Juniper sauntered up and sat down with great dignity next to the mess, staring at us placidly as we gawked and struggled to open the back door.
Once inside, we stepped gingerly over the trash as Juniper minced out on to the back porch, hardly giving us a second glance. I headed for the bathroom, which is just off the kitchen, and was again brought up short.
The cat food bin was overturned and the lid was off. There was cat kibble all across the bathroom floor. I bent to right the bin and noticed pieces of dry egg noodle mixed in with the cat food. I followed the trail of egg noodles to the pantry shelf where I keep dry and canned goods. About a half-dozen cans and boxes had been knocked off the shelf. The bag of egg noodles was ripped open neatly from top to bottom, spilling its contents over the shelf and onto the floor.
I called to Shaun and showed him the mess. “I’m afraid to venture any further into the house!”
He assured me that the only other damage was that the cats had pulled down a curtain hanging on a tension rod and slept on it. “It could have been a lot worse.”
“Oh, I know!” I said, and got to work cleaning up trash and cat kibble and egg noodles and hair ball while Shaun unloaded the car.
Juniper pointedly ignored me for the rest of the evening, making a show of preferring Shaun instead. Only after I fed her that night did she come twine happily about my ankles. I took this to mean that I was finally forgiven.
–Just as long as I never go on vacation ever again.