My parents and sister are on vacation for a few days, so I’m house-sitting. I’m happy to do it because this is as close as I’ll get to a vacation of my own. Sadly, I’m here 6 days a week anyway, so it’s not even close to a vacation, or even a stay-cation for that matter: this is a “non-cation.”
If I was on vacation, I would keep a journal. So this week, while they are out having fun, I’m documenting my Noncation.
8:30 am: Wake up completely against my will. My sister, Shelly, is already texting me. “The list is on the fridge.” My instructions for the coming week: feed the fish in the morning, feed the cat at night, feed the turtle someday.
“Ok. You guys gone?” Of course they are. My step-dad, Rob, insists on leaving for any vacation at the crack of dawn.
“Yeah, we are near Tuna Canyon.” Only 20-30 minutes away. Rob must be getting soft in his old age.
“Oh you just left. Have Fun! Remember to be mature!” I won’t put Shelly’s business on the Internet, but trust me, this last instruction is crucial.
9:30 am: Jess stumbles out of bed. “Mom, I’m hungry!” Me, too, so we get dressed and head to The Reyn Coffee Shop for our favorite cheap breakfast.
I want to take more pictures but I feel rude. I wish I had my notebook with me, so I can take notes on what I’m thinking and observing right now. OMG, I’m a real writer!
The new owner chats with us about recent problems he’s having with the kitchen staff. The chef doesn’t want to make any of the changes he proposes. He needs a new server and would like to promote the dishwasher, but she wants nothing to do with it. I tell him Jess needs a job. He smiles and suddenly no hablas Ingles. Esta bien, por que no hablo Español either. I love this little coffee shop. It’s one of my happy places.
11:00 am: Take Jess and her laundry to her boyfriend John’s house. They are preparing for a 3-day tuna fishing trip in San Diego, a gift from John’s grandpa. It’s an opportunity she may never get again. I hope she doesn’t kill John. That would be so rude.
12:00 pm: Go home. Jess is taking her brother, Drew, to see a movie at 6:00, so I will bide my time until she calls for my taxi services again.
5:00 pm: No word from Jess. I call; she’s not taking Drew to the movies. He’s decided to go by himself at 10:30 pm. Like hell. I tell him so. He’s not happy. I don’t care.
5:30 pm: Pick up a basket of laundry & its owner from John’s house. I drop them off at home and make sure Jess and Drew are set for the night.
6:00 pm: Arrive at my parents’ house. Let the noncation begin!
7:30 pm: Swanky dinner at Sizzler with my roommate, Joe. Phillip the cashier compliments my strawberry toes. Says his grandma would love them.
9:30 pm: Start my own laundry and plop down in front of a computer.
I grew up in this house, and it always scared me to be alone in it at night. It’s over 100 years old, creaky and crumbly. When I was young my bedroom was on the 2nd floor, and when everyone else was asleep I’d imagine an axe murderer wandering around downstairs. Even as a teenager and young adult, I always worried that someone was trying to break in somewhere. I had to turn on every light in the house, and conduct frequent window and door checks. I’m almost 40 now. Every light is on. Window and door checks are conducted frequently.
9:31 pm: Kids call to tell me they miss me. They are 19 and 14. Joe is home now. I am only 15 minutes away. They’re ridiculous.
11:00 pm: Kids call again to tell me they miss me.
12:30 am: Finally too sleepy to care about burglars and axe murderers. I drag myself around for one last window and door check, perform evening house-sitting chores, and decide which lights to leave on all night. I chose the laundry room and kitchen.
12:45 am: Kids call again to tell me they miss me.
1:00 am: Finally fall asleep, despite interference from Shelly’s cat, Sahara.