Okay. It’s been nearly two months since Michele shuffled off this mortal coil and I am starting to discover a rhythm to my daily existence. For what it is worth, here is a typical evening at Chez Mark.
Normally you arrive home between 4:30 and 5:00. There are chores. Cat water to fill, kitty litter to sift and empty. Perhaps a trash can to empty followed by a brief jaunt, in the now cold evening air, to the dumpster. Dinner is next. Depending upon the emotional barometer the previous weekend there maybe leftovers for easy heat-n-eat. Or not. Cooking, and the subsequent cleanup can easily consume an hour or so. (Get it?)
By now it’s 6:00 or maybe 6:30. Several hours loom before a reasonably bedtime. This is where buying a laptop three years ago really pays off. One laptop plus a WiFi router, a comfortable couch, a throw, and two cats makes for a cozy hour or two in front of whatever the Tivo has captured. The older, larger cat adores having her ears rubbed. But only when she is on the back of the couch or easy chair and you are seated in front of her; so you have to raise your arm uncomfortably to reach, she is the cat and you are the staff after all. Stopping before she is satisfied results in the top of your head being pawed relentlessly until you start again.
The smaller cat loves to curl up on the throw and sleep. This is nice as it warms your legs where she lays, and the companionship warms your soul. Various web surfing activities ensue while Alton Brown does his mad scientist routine or Jon Stewart pillories the day’s “news.” Eventually the battery runs low in the laptop or the Tivo’s collection of tripe wears thin and thoughts of sleep start to make sense. Perhaps a chapter or two in the latest Neal Stephenson novel, or an hour of CSI on the other Tivo before yanking the plug on another day and trying to sleep.
Sleep comes easily some nights and barely at all others. There is no reliable bellwether so you have learned to accept getting up and spending another hour or two puttering around the desk until exhaustion overcomes the internal slide show keeping sleep at bay. Some nights you give in and take a Xanax to chase the twin phantoms of what if and how come away. On those nights when sleep does come easily it does so quickly, and mercifully your dreams do not intrude on your waking in the morning.