When I worked, I taught high school, raised two sons, taught Sunday School, was a social military spouse, put on plays at Wildlife West for the Leos (part of the Lions Club), and I never felt too busy. In 2006, I retired. Now I am so booked, I feel like this is an essay on “What I Did This Summer or This Fall.”

We had three family birthdays, some in restaurants, some in homes. We attended the wedding of a dear friend, in the bright autumn sunshine. Then there was a wonderful party up at Paako to celebrate fall with the best food ever. Today there is a zoom meeting for the Route 66 Arts Alliance, while last Friday we visited the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Museum to see an incredible exhibit called “Magic,” by Jane Maclean. This weekend I remember spending three days and two nights taking care of my oldest son, Will’s, home and animals. I need a job so I can catch a break!

Believe it or not, house-sitting was a relief. I had the remote and all the popcorn I could microwave. While I was packing to go, my two cats, James, the Magnificent (26 lbs.) and tiny Piwacket, both beautifully black with green eyes, sat on the bed and critiqued my wardrobe choices. You could hear James thinking, “Why is she taking her nightie? She better not be gone overnight!” Cats choose you and they think they own you heart and soul. I knew my homecoming might be tense, I was right.

If you think this is total fiction, you do not own a cat. All dogs love you no matter what, but cats??? Not so much. The day before I left, James was in my lap almost stopping my breathing and biting me, yes biting me on the chin. Piwacket just cried. It was only three days and two nights. Geesh!

When I arrived at Will’s, his dogs, Socks and Jingle, met me with slobbery kisses. They weigh about 50 pounds each. The four cats, not so much. The old cats, Merlin and Annie, lay on the only couch and dared me to. I sat on the chair. The new cats took one look, hissed loudly, and took off, spilling a water dish and a food bowl. Thanks guys. But I did have the house to myself, and the remote was mine all mine. They have Disney Plus. Yeah!

I watched all nine episodes of a new Doogie Howser. It takes place in Hawaii, and I recommend it for kids and adults. It is more than a redo, it is a treasure of good family writing and comedy. The star is 16 year old Lahela Kamealoha, an excellent doctor dealing with teenage angst and hospital emergencies. Her mother, Clara, is also a doctor. Her father is a surfer dude, a former accountant and now a food truck owner. He sells Rainbow Ice and leis. Lahela has an older brother, Kai, and a younger one, Brian Patrick, whom she butts heads with every day. This show is worth watching.

When the family wedding was over and the planes had landed, I gave Will his keys to his kingdom back. Then I had to face… the cats at home.

Piwacket ran and jumped up, putting his paws on either side of my neck and biting me on the ear. James, however, was not to be consoled by my return. His reply to my homecoming was, “Talk to the paw.” He actually turned his back on me and did not give me absolution for my sins for two and a half days. There is a famous quote, “You have never been ignored until you have been ignored by a cat.” Too true.

I could start a retirement business, watching houses, but I really do love those cats. “Crazy ole cat lady on the hill,” to quote my loving husband, Bill. Roaring Mouse still retired, looking for a bit of a breather, out.