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Friday, Oct. 31, 2003 @ 8:43 pm

My previous post might have been pre-mature. While the week of bacheloring has been a task requiring certain adjustments, I’m happy to report that I can indeed endure for a week in the house without my wife. Not something I’d like to do often, but it’s not impossible.

The most notable of the hurdles comes in the form of furry critters. Managing two indoor/outdoor cats is not a one-man job, please believe me. By nature of mathematics, with Joy out of town these little love nuggets are receiving one-half of the attention they’ve come to expect. Actual figures may put her love-giving figures closer to 60 or 70 percent, as I’m known to spend lots of time in the basement. So here alone, the poor beasts are certainly suffering.

It’s no secret, of course, that animals run households. I joined that club of sorry pet owners years ago, and there’s really no turning back. Boomer, that svelte and fearful feline, stays in a good chunk of the time. With an intense fear of anything that a) moves and b) makes noise, he can’t be out in that jungle neighborhood of Broadview for more than twenty minutes tops. Hours are strung together with a comic “In-or-Out!” routine, Boomer intent on reaching safety inside as the mailman drives by, as a baby squirrel runs along a power line, as the wind blows a blade of grass nearby. There are constant scratches at the door or window nearest to where I sit or sleep. “Boomer wants to come in!”

Murphy, that orange and saggy rebel, stays outside for long hours. He spent years living on the streets before we moved to the neighborhood as rescuers; put a roof over his head and extra food and water bowls in the kitchen. But he still likes to prowl and bask in the long lawns of his outdoor kingdom, a kitty-terrorist merged with neighborhood whore. We catch him accepting dishes with water and handfuls of treats on the porches of the houses around us. “Murphy! You slut!” He does the “In-Or-Out” less frequently, but his schedule includes exits/entrances at 1:00am, 4:00am, and 6:30am on the nose. Loud meows, drowsy slippers through the house, cursing little puffballs, love and hate merging for the temporarily wifeless man in the bathrobe.

Tonight, however, the cats stay in. Halloween: My last night of bacheloring. There have been a few anxious knocks and bell ringings upstairs, pudgy kids with pillowcases full of chocolate and various cheese flavored treats. I’ve got a bowl of candy up there on the kitchen table, and I accidentally left the porch light on, but the obnoxious pile of smoked butts scattered all over the front porch is too much an embarrassment to actually open the door. I forgot to prepare for the kids, unsure if parents still let the children out for this most dangerous of celebrations. The cats will stay in, safe from the thoughts of pissed-off pre-teens devising plans for the candy-less houses. Their last year on the circuit, maybe, and this year they’ve vowed to take shit seriously. So the cats stay in. Should the house be covered with toilet paper tomorrow morning, I’ll accept my punishment, my trick, with no complaints.

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