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When we were kids, sometimes The Mom would go away on holiday. Pre-divorce, sometimes she would accompany Your Father and they would be away for what seemed like ages at the time but what was actually probably closer to a week, maybe ten days.

Before they left, she rushed about frenzied with activity and stress. She cooked: everything we would consume for the foreseeable future was prepared, labled and thrown in the freezer. Whatever poor sap had agreed to look after us for the duration of her time away, was given a series of lists and instructions which amounted to – and I’m extrapolating here – what I can only assume were quite close to zoo keeper’s instructions. You know, don’t feed the animals, yes they’ve had their shots but be careful they can be nippy, and under no circumstances are you to feed them sugar. If they do get their hands on it, the bathroom has a lock, go in there and wait it out. Godspeed. Actually, that’s maybe closer to the instructions one would give to someone caring for their Gremlin, but never mind. Meme chose.

Crazy D and L’il Sis are, of course, more than capable of looking after themselves, and actually even when The Mom is around they do take care of themselves quite well, judging by their Facebook posts and the pictures I see. But when The Mom leaves you don’t just have to take care of yourself, you have to actually be the Stand In until she comes back.

Yo’ud be forgiven for thinking that since there are only adults living in the Mom’s house that this wouldn’t be an issue. But it is. Because all the pets look at her as The Mom too, and whilst she’s away they expect a certain level of service to be adhered to. They don’t do change well, the pets, and any little thing can set them off.

When I was left in charge for 72 hours (and keep in mind that when I was about sixteen and L’il Sis barely 12 years of age The Mom went away for a weekend and left her in charge not me, so this may have actually been the first time ever I had been in charge for more than an hour at a time) Poochie immediately sensed the Mom was not coming back soon. She looked at me as if to say, What in the hell have you done to drive her away? We only have the one and you’ve fecking ruined it!

The Mom had thought in advance to stock up on Poochie’s favourite bickies so I just opened the bag and put it on over her snout, like a feed bag. She was willing to give me the benefit of the doubt after that.

But it was an exhausting three days. And I didn’t clean anything. L’il Sis and Crazy D would’ve had to do a bit of cleaning. By the time The Mom came home I was beat. Even as it stands now, I can barely be arsed doing the minimum of life and household administration. I don’t know how she does it nor how she has done it all these years, but suffice to say I am very glad she’s back. Especially since having learned that the ducks did not get priority place in the feeding queue. The ducks have always slightly worried me. They have edge, and there are a lot of them. If I’d been L’il Sis or Crazy D, I’d have made damned sure they got fed. But then, when I was in charge they were bolder and came up on the deck. They would’ve come inside if they could’ve.

And though that would’ve made the house a total disaster, hygiene-wise, I think I may have been awarded extra points for style. It’s not every day one comes home to find a flock of semi-domesticated ducks in the kitchen.

Actually, on second thought… Well, it’s not quite obvious to me why I’m never left in charge.

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