#439 The gift that keeps on giving

Heeeeey, I’m still here! I know, I know…. what happened? I had this blog and I really loved writing, and then this pandemic happens and I’m stuck at home for weeks and weeks, there’s no better time to start writing more, right? RIGHT?

Turns out I’m wrong. Lockdown with your husband and your five year old in a comfortable house is by far not the worst thing in the world that can happen to a person. But not having anything else to do as a distraction while Hawkeye hangs off me every minute of every day while The Mister has the excuse of work to bury himself in his laptop? Turns out I’m only good with that for a stretch of time that’s significantly shorter than the 13 weeks that it’s been since I last saw the inside of my office and had work to do. In fact, it’s even shorter than ten or even eight weeks. Essentially, my brain melted and I just couldn’t bring myself to write. This, I’ve been assured, is fairly normal. Everyone is suffering in one way or another with isolation or cabin fever or lockdown brain or any number of other things, so I’ve moved on and forgiven myself for not writing a word.

Today however is a bit different because, well…. this just wrote itself. So I’m going to tell you a little story about a conversation that took place today in our house and you can laugh at me as much as you want and it will please me to no end because LOOK! I’M WRITING SOMETHING!!!

Let me give you the background. Our cat, Mr Darcy, has spent the last ten years mostly sleeping on the couch. He was never a normal cat from the first day we picked him up from the DSPCA, and he pretty much stayed that way until about a year after we bought our house. I decided, the second summer, to let him out into the garden and see what happens. And lo and behold, Mr Darcy went from being a couch potato to being an outdoor-indoor cat for the past year. And during these warm days he’s practically outdoors all the time to the point where his black fur is starting to get a reddish tinge from sunning himself so much.

But that’s not the point. The point is that after a decade of not even being able to lick a spider to death (I’ve witnessed this lack of result first hand) and a whole year of swanning in and out of the back door, he has finally found his inner feline and is behaving like an actual cat instead of an alien in a cat suit. He’s prostrating himself in sunny spots, he’s climbing fences like a pro even though he almost never tries to scale anything higher than the couch indoors, and as of the past month, he has started leaving me…. presents.

If you have ever owned a cat you know what kind of presents I’m talking about. The first was an eviscerated rat halfway down the garden path. The second was a dead blackbird on the porch. The third was a neatly decapitated pigeon in the grass. You know… cat presents.

So today when The Mister looked out the window with a frown and muttered to himself about what the hell the cat was stalking before diving into an online meeting, I went outside and had a look.

It was a baby rat and he was toying with it. I stayed fairly far away, not wanting to disturb him with his business, and went back inside. But a little while later I looked back out and what did the furry feline bastard do? He got BORED and WANDERED OFF, leaving his prey twitching and gasping for breath in the grass! I admit I may have panicked a little at this moment, not sure what the best course of action was with a stunned rodent on my lawn and a five year old jumping up and down in bloodthirsty excitement behind me while my husband was busy interrogating some poor woman during an online job interview at his desk in the living room. So I fell back on what I normally do in situations where there’s a spider terrorising me in the house – I dropped a glass container over the said rodent and scuttled back inside, determined to wait for the Mister to come and take command of the situation.

So what’s the funny part of all this? I’m getting there. It actually has nothing to do with the cat, or the rat, but the conversation that followed some time later when I spotted that same glass container sitting in the kitchen sink, full of hot soapy water, and heard The Mister’s footsteps entering the kitchen.

“Oh,” I said faintly, staring at the soapy water in some strange fascination. “You dealt with it.”

“Yeah” he replied wearily. I looked up over my shoulder to see his face. Distaste was still lingering in the set of his mouth. “How d’you do it?” I asked. I had thought about what could be done and all I could recall was my college roommate describing how she had to feed mice to her pet snake. They had to still be alive for the ball python to want to eat, but stunned enough not to hurt the python. It wasn’t giving me any good ideas.

“I hit it with a shovel,” he said. I turned around and threw my arms around his neck, holding him tightly. “I love you!” He squeezed me back and then I heard his voice grumbling in my ear. “Next time, you’re doing it.”

Aaaaand that was gonna be the end of it. But a little while later, I went into the living room where The Mister had settled back down to his computer for work and chuckled about how that conversation might sound out of context. “I hit it with a shovel” “I love you!” I mimicked back to him. In my mind I was constructing plausible scenarios involving friends helping friends move dead bodies. You know the saying. And then I did the thing I normally do because it’s the 21st century and also because I’ve been a social hermit for 13 weeks – I put it up on Facebook.

Aaand once again, that would have been the end of it, except that it’s Facebook and I’ve just given ammunition to any number of people to crack jokes at, so there’s no surprise that a little while later when I check back, I have comments, and the first one is from an old friend with a wicked sharp tongue. We shall call him the Wanderer.

“If it lasts more than 4 hours, you should have him consult a doctor,” he wrote.

I’ll be honest, I should have known better, because I know the Wanderer and his M.O. and how I didn’t spot the joke right away is frankly beyond me. Once again, I blame lockdown brain. It has slowed down on me to the point of molasses because over two hours later, we’re cleaning up the kitchen after dinner when another notification catches my attention and my eye skims over the Wanderer’s comment again on the way lower down before it jumps right back up. I reread the comment.

Oh god, he made a sex joke. Well, of course he made a sex joke. He always makes sex jokes! This is the guy who taught me the phrase “that’s what she said!” Pretty much the only comments he ever leaves me on my facebook are innuendos so I burst out laughing, both at the joke (belatedly) and at my own idiocy.

“Oh my god” I exclaimed in laughter. “I just got that! The Wanderer was making a joke! I can’t believe I didn’t get that earlier!”

The Mister glanced over from where he’s wiping off the ceramic hob. “Didn’t get what?” I stepped over to him and showed him the conversation thread on my phone. He chuckled and I kept laughing harder and harder until I had to lean against the door. In the meantime, our five year old just stood there there, looking between us utterly confused. “What’s going on?” he demanded to know. “Why is mummy laughing so much?”

“It’s not important,” The Mister said, trying to divert his attention. There’s no way either one of us was trying to explain the joke to him so I tried to get control over myself again by getting busy emptying the dishwasher. But I just couldn’t suppress the giggles that kept bubbling up. “I better not tell him that it took me so long to get what he said. I’ve been sitting on it for an hour!”

Before I had a chance to think about what I said, I felt hands on my hips as the Mister came up behind me to give me a quick peck on the cheek. “You might not want to tell him that either, honey,” he retorted and walked away.

I stood there dumbfounded for a moment while I rewound my own words in my mind before the meaning sunk in. Because, clearly, my brain-to-mouth filter was malfunctioning significantly today. When the double meaning finally penetrated (ha ha, see what I did there?) I doubled over, holding my stomach laughing. I actually had to brace myself on the counter I was laughing so hard and the only sound I could make was high pitched wheezing. The Mister was laughing at me from the doorway and eventually I managed to force some words out. “OH GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE I SAID THAT!!! THIS IS JUST THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!!!!”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw The Mister doing a fistbump. “Yessss!” He whispered to himself “I’m funnier than the Wanderer…”

And there you go, ladies and gentlemen. The longest sexual innuendo joke ever told that includes cats, rats, shovels, and the slowest light bulb moment ever. Enjoy, and I hope to see more of you soon. Well, soon-ish.

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