I don’t want to say I told you so …
Night had fallen, and the house was turning to sleep. For some reason, the long days of summer have made us early to rest and late to rise.
The human residents as they are.
The feline and canine residents like to test our abilities to tune them out.
Makeup brushes (the rattling, clattering stand-ins for hunt-able mice) are carefully hidden once their gift has been bestowed.
And usually, any casual barking is quieted early with one last lap in the “dog yard” and a bedtime snack.
This night, however, the barking continued. One bleat here, another there. Not rhythmic enough to consider pressing.
"Timmy" was not stuck in a well.
I'd like to clear that up right now.
"Lassie," however, was not convinced. She paced with fervor. Her nails were clicking against the uncovered floors in a way the silence of midnight tends to amplify.
Once the pacing had stopped, then came the bark. The dog's short, ear-piercing yips seemed to be all worry, as her body -- still curled tightly into a ball -- conveying no similar urgency.
Why? There was no distant thunder. No storms detected on the radar. I listened for the smoke detectors' low-battery chirp. Nothing.
I checked her sleeping charge, where she had stationed herself for the night. She quietly gazed up at me, curled up tightly on the boy's scatter rug of already-worn clothes. Unmoving.
Go to sleep, I whispered and patted her head. Her boy was not in peril; instead, he was inhaling deep sleep and exhaling snippets of a dream.
"Pink bunnies are actually danger-mice."
She was silent long enough for me to get back into bed and settle in.
Go. To. Sleep. I called from beneath the covers with the exasperation of a nearly new parent who hasn't slept more than two hours at a time since ... well, they can't remember when.
The husband tossed and turned, grumbled a bit but stayed silent. He who never gets to say “I told you so.”
Things didn't end well the last time he sleep-groggily demanded I get up and let her out at 3 a.m. to quell her barking.
It was a different nature that called her that night.
The black and white-striped kind, which requires a recipe of peroxide, baking soda, and dish detergent to cut its perfume.
This strange upset, I had convinced myself, would remain an unknowable intrusion: a leaf that tumbled across the window pane; a motion-sensor light several hundred yards away set off momentarily by some nocturnal creature's late night errands.
Wishful, blissful thinking.
The morning brought my dutiful husband retching halfway up the stairs, having gone only halfway down them on his morning quest for coffee.
I don't want you, dear reader, to envision the scene if you are midway through your breakfast. ...
Suffice it to say we don’t own a Roomba, but the potential horrors associated with the automated spreading of liquid fertilizer realized anyway.
“I don’t want to say ‘I told you so …’