Friday, March 15, 2013

Curmudgeon crabs about untimely guests

Not unwanted guests -- let's make that clear at the outset -- but untimely.

The Curmudgeon household is more topsy-turvy than usual this morning because Older Daughter, her husband Hank, and their hyperactive golden retriever, Cork, have come to visit for the weekend.

You'll glance to the top of this post now and reassure yourself that this is indeed posted on a Friday. You didn't miss a day somehow. Thus, it's not yet the weekend.

It's just that Older Daughter didn't have to work this weekend and Hank could get Friday off -- but he has to be back in Indianapolis early Sunday to sing at church. He gets paid for that, you'll recall. Older Daughter would prefer to linger long into Sunday afternoon when she visits, but she'll be lucky to hold out until after the crack of dawn on Sunday.

Well, sure, you say, but they could have driven up this morning. That would still leave most of today and all of tomorrow to visit. Younger Daughter and the Baby-to-be-Named-Later would be at home and Olaf will be there, too (he doesn't work on Fridays usually) until he goes to his one remaining class on Friday afternoon. And Long Suffering Spouse has a half day at school today -- it's report card day -- so she'd be home early, too, possibly with disgruntled parents waving torches and pitchforks in hot (and pointed) pursuit, but that's a different story.

But Older Daughter counted up the hours 'at home' under this scenario and found them insufficient. Thus, she decided, they must come up on Thursday night. "Hank likes to drive at night," she insisted (and perhaps he does, too). But we don't want you on Thursday night, I wanted to scream, but did not. I tried reason instead: We have to work Friday. "Oh, you needn't worry about us," Older Daughter said, "we'll let ourselves in whenever we get there."

And, in the event, they did. Long Suffering Spouse and I hadn't yet made it upstairs. We'd fallen asleep in our chairs watching the news -- after trying, as much as we could, to quickly put all the breakables above the dog's lethal tail level. In fact, that's what brought me back to semi-consciousness somewhere around 11:30; I heard Long Suffering Spouse say something like, "There's the dog," and the next thing I knew an 80-pound lap dog was leaping on top of me, licking my face. His aim was unerring; it's a good thing I've had my children.

We made nice with the kids for a few minutes while the dog tried to run off the lethargy of a three hour car ride (Hank drives pretty fast; most people would need more like four hours to cover the same ground), and then Long Suffering Spouse and I said we'd be going to bed. Hank still hadn't brought in Cork's cage -- the dog spends his nights in our house in a giant cage that takes up a good portion of the new den; we had to move the baby's high chair to make room -- so Cork followed us to the stairs.

"Go back, dog," we urged him.

"Cork!" called Hank.

"Cork, come here!" ordered Older Daughter.

My wife and I started up the stairs.

The dog pushed in front of us. He's an amazing sight on the wood stairs. He seems to fall up. It sounds like he's falling, anyway.

Cork pushed his way into Younger Daughter's room and began washing her face with his tongue. Not surprisingly, this woke her up. A little. "Dog?" she said, more or less, and, after some more licking, she sat up in self-defense. "Do you want me to take him downstairs?" she asked. But Cork had charged out of Younger Daughter's room and into mine. "Yes, I see you," said Long Suffering Spouse, "but I'm going to sleep. Why don't you go to sleep, too?"

"Cork!" called Hank, still in the den.

"Cork, come here!" ordered Older Daughter. I think she'd made it to the bottom of the stairs at this point. Oddly enough, I think Hank and Older Daughter were both tired, too.

Cork decided at this point that Long Suffering Spouse was not going to present her face for washing, so he dashed back into Younger Daughter's room. I quickly closed and barricaded the door. Within a few minutes I heard that terrible scrambling, crashing noise that meant that Cork was heading back down the stairs. Within a few seconds thereafter I was asleep.

Miraculously, the baby stayed asleep the whole time. (Good girl!)

Still, the baby was awake early today -- but even with Olaf, Younger Daughter and the baby all downstairs, Long Suffering Spouse and I were almost out the door this morning more or less on time. And this was with letting the dog out to do what dogs must do and getting him fed. I had my coat on and Long Suffering Spouse was just about finished gathering up her stuff -- the car had already been warmed up in the driveway -- and Older Daughter started down the stairs.

"Are you leaving already?" She sounded disappointed -- and surprised.

"We were supposed to leave 10 minutes ago," I said.

But still there had to be more greetings and leave-takings. Even so, I don't think Long Suffering Spouse was more than 10 minutes late. In the confusion she did forget something she needed first thing, so we had to go back and get it.

Usually, when one has visitors one has the privilege of setting a time for their arrival. "Come at 5:00," we might say, or, "Come after dinner." There are two classes of visitors, however, who can set their own arrival times, our own schedules be damned, namely, immediate family and police officers executing search warrants. I'll leave it to you to decide which is more disruptive; right now, I'm too tired.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So funny and so true. I really hate when people come unexpectedly. Even if it's the kids or whoever. I might be getting way to fussy in my old age. When we were just kids my husband said to me one day after his own dad was in a terror of a mood, if I ever act like that I want you to kick me right in the a**....About 40 years later , which was a month ago, I finally had to tell him to bend over.