Sunday, March 28, 2010

The things you do for children

Lauren is 26 but that doesn't mean she's any less my child than she was twenty years ago. The only difference is, while I'm still doing all the "Mum" things, what constitutes a "Mum" thing has changed.

Lauren and most of her work colleagues and miscellaneous spouses are going to Malaysia and Thailand for a week. She's spent the last month packing and scrubbing her house from top to bottom (can't go away and leave the house dirty). Part of her packing has been for her and her partner but the largest part has been for her pets. That's my "Mum" thing at the moment. I'm the pet babysitter while she's away.

This afternoon Lauren and Andrew turned up in two cars and started pulling things out from in the boot and behind the seats. The first thing to come out was the cage of birds. Two budgerigars named Clive and Hummingbird. While Andrew took them into the house I collected the next wave - Logan the dog. Then Lauren brought Jesse the cat in. While Lauren and I sat in my office letting Jesse acclimatise, Andrew brought the big things in. There was
  • the dog house with its associated bedding;
  • the yellow "Mr Happy" bag with Logan's food, rewards, chains, leashes, dishes and toys;
  • the green bag with the birds' toys, seed and treats; and
  • the blue bag with the cat's food, dishes, blankets, toys and litter tray.
The birds are the easiest. They're sitting on the dining table. I'll just uncover them in the mornings, make sure they have food and water, clean the cage when it needs it and cover them again at night.

I already have two dogs in the back yard, one of whom is not at all socialised and who attacks any other animal that goes near him. This means that my own cat, Bridgit, can no longer go into the back yard and neither can Logan.

Logan is inside the house. He's a good dog but he has a tendency to follow me around and, as soon as I stop moving, he flops down and goes to sleep next to my feet. If I move, I step on him. His play mat is in the entry with all his toys and his house is in the dining room. I have to make sure he goes outside at regular intervals - on the lead as he doesn't come very well. I have to take him for daily walks and also take him back over to his place every morning and pick him up from there every afternoon so he has some free off-lead time.

Jesse is in my office with two blankets, food and water bowls and litter tray. I have to keep him confined at least for a few days to let him settle in and also to keep him away from Bridgit. Neither Jesse nor Bridgit appreciate the competition of another cat. He's used to having other people and Logan around all the time so he cries when he's left alone for too long.

Bridgit is confined to my bedroom. She doesn't get on with either Jesse or Logan; one being a rival cat and the other being a big, boisterous, over-friendly dog. Luckily she spends a lot of time sleeping on the bed anyway and has food and water there so hasn't really noticed she can't get out yet.

I've had the visitors here for three hours now and haven't had a moment to myself. I'm not sure I'm going to last the week.