Today I remembered a funny incident from a number of years ago (13 to be exact). Many of you know that I'm LDS. I spent 18 months doing missionary work in Southeast Florida when was in my early twenties. Right after I returned a neighbor arranged for me to house sit and watch her kids while she and her husband were on a cruise. That was perfect for me as I didn't have a regular job yet.
So I went over there. We had a great time. All three kids were in school during the day, so I got them up in the morning, drove them to school and then took care of things in the evenings. Her kids were a dream and the week flew by. The night before the parents were due home, the parents called me and asked if I'd be OK if they took one more day. They were enjoying their vacation so much they wanted to take a little more time. I didn't have any other plans, so I said it was fine.
Utah in the spring can have wonderful sunny afternoons followed by frosty nights. The kids had a great time playing in the yard after school. Really the only issue I had was the cat (I'm allergic) but as it was outside most of the time I survived.
The morning of the "extra day" dawns and I got the kids fed and started herding them out to the car for the drive to school. The little girl went out, and came right back in, crying hysterically. Between her sobs I could only make out the words "cat" and "driveway". I went out to see what was going on. Yep, the cat was in the driveway, but I had a feeling the way it was lying on its side was probably not healthy. I'm not sure what clued me into that concept but it may have been the way the sunlight was gently dancing and sparkling across the frost on its fur. I'm no animal expert, but I watched plenty of "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" as a child and I was fairly positive that fur isn't frosty or sparkly by nature.
I went over to check on it, and sure enough, the 14 year old cat had lived his long, happy life and picked that night to exit this mortal life. I retrieved a towel (pronounced "tow-el", not "tal" like so many in Utahns say it) and tried to gently wrap up the body. Unfortunately, rigor mortis had set in. Rigor Mortis is a scientific term based on an old Latin phrase that loosely translates to mean "you might need the snow shovel to pry the cat carcass off the concrete". Frozen feline fur. Need I say more?
I finally got the cat wrapped up and set aside so that the parents could decide what to do with him when they returned. Planning a kitty funeral was definitely not on the list of things I could cover for the vacationing parents. So we added a little discussion about life and death and God's plan for all His creations to our morning drive and added a special family prayer that the kids would be comforted throughout the day and got them off to school.
At the end of the day when I brought the kids home from school the boys ran downstairs to their rooms to drop off their book bags. Instead of "thud, thud, thud" as they ran down the stairs, it was more of a "thud, thud, slosh". Turns out that the little girl had been playing with the hose the day before (which was fine by their family rules) and she'd even very carefully coiled it back up against the house when she was done. The part she missed was getting the water turned ALL the way off. All night long it had trickled down by the foundation and slowly flowed out across the family room carpet. These kind of things can go unnoticed when you're in a strange house that has its own unique and unfamiliar noises.
I called my folks, got their shop-vac and they helped me round up some fans and it all turned out in the end.
It's funny though, how sometimes the stars align and all the crazy starts oozing out the edges of life.