… old dog … new tricks …

I have been invited to seven different Thanksgiving dinners. And I woke up this morning with a huge smile on my face and not alone.

It’s the start of the winter holidays and so I am spending time, traveling here and there, caring for the homes and animal-friends of other people. This is how I spend most of the time between late November and late December and, too, the months of June through mid-September.

People who love me know I travel like this for reasons other than money, although money is one of the reasons. It is difficult for people to find someone they consider a mature, trustworthy adult who can be trusted with their animal friends, who will love the animals the way they do. I will. It is also difficult to find someone who will stay in their home without pilfering all of their liquor (though I have been known to make a dent) or have wild parties (though I am not opposed to the occasional bacchanal given the proper circumstance and guest availability) and, more importantly, won’t invade their privacy.

I won’t. I made a hard and fast rule from the day I started house and pet sitting: I don’t open cabinets or closet doors or enter rooms unless I have been specifically instructed and/or invited to do so. I bring everything I need with me. And too, I NEVER take a gig unless I have visited the house, had dinner with its owners and animal-friends, and made sure we are all comfortable with the “vibe” – which I know sounds new agey and crazy, but animals are way more sensitive than people and toward the beginning of my doing this line of work, I stayed in a place where the energy was quite bad, and no amount of money in the world is worth staying in an unhappy home.

So, here I am, on the road again, for the money and the other reasons, reasons which have resulted in my having been invited to seven different Thanksgiving dinners. Which is just how blessed and lucky I am that I have that many people who love me, who care about me, and who worry that I am taken care of, seen, loved, embraced, and made to know I am counted as “family” during the holidays.

tovey, russell and doggie 4

I woke up with one of the species in this photo licking my face this morning. Alas, it was not Russell Tovey. But, you know . . . count the blessings you have (and Rocky’s feelings won’t be hurt by this because he can’t read – Rocky, the dog who slept next to me last night – I didn’t want people who know me to confuse the possibility that “Rocky” was yet another poor choice in men I had made.)

I am a lucky man. And this holiday has already started EXTREMELY well – despite the fact that I am still waiting for the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol to arrive. I thought they were showing up to congratulate the winner of the $7000 a week for life prize yesterday but I must be wrong as I have yet to hear from them. I’m sure this nasty winter storm criss-crossing the country has delayed them. I’m sure I’ll be hearing from them at any moment.

That aside; yesterday morning I was still home and got to spend time with some rarely seen and delightful relatives. Then, left the homestead to begin my holiday house-sitting gigs but first I got to see my dear C for lunch. And he’s old enough to legally drink now. So we had lunch and cabernet. That was terribly wonderful and fun. He’s also someone I can say pretty much anything to and he doesn’t judge. That’s even more terribly wonderful and fun than the cabernet.

Evening came and I got to have dinner and delightful conversations and some more cabernet with my G family. And we watched DANCING WITH THE STARS and my boyfriend Derek Hough won AGAIN. Second year in a row and who knows how many times total. This time with Amber Riley from GLEE. I was really REALLY excited by this.

My stalker, Derek Hough - he just will NOT stop writing about me - and his partner, champion Amber Riley! So exciting.

My stalker, Derek Hough – he just will NOT stop writing about me – and his partner, champion Amber Riley! So exciting.

I headed back to my house-pet-sit gig and read for a while. Soon it was 1a.m. and I was not tired. I was wired. The combination of cabernet and really REALLY strong coffee which I had been drinking all evening made it almost impossible for me to unwind and sleep. I tried. I went to bed. This house has THE MOST comfortable mattress EVER. The bed was luxurious but sleep was – well – I fell into it off and on but I woke up at least once every half-hour or so and tossed and turned and tripped to the bathroom. All of which did not disturb in the least my darling Rocky, who had joined me a few minutes after I got into the bed.

Lord but I had forgotten how MUCH I love having a little, lap-sized dog curl into my hip or under my arm, and how amazingly cheering it is to wake in the morning and have the dog realize you are ready to get up and jump on your chest and cuddle and lick and kiss. Even though it was only 6:30a.m. and I was pretty exhausted from lack of sleep, I smiled and laughed and was filled with joy.


Yes, this has been a really good holiday so far. Now Publishers Clearing House … FIND ME.


2 thoughts on “… old dog … new tricks …

  1. Love you back. Spent tonight sipping (and I mean SIPPING as opposed to last night’s GUZZLING) cabernet and watching – I hope you’re sitting down – THE MAKING OF THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Never been one of my favorite musicals – in fact, I pretty much pooh-poohed it – but Audra McDonald and Laura Benanti and Christian Borle – I mean, what’s a person to do? I started crying AS SOON as the child auditions began. Pretty much wept off and on through the whole thing. Still not thinking I’m going to love all the casting but Audra and Laura and Christian – OH MY! Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for SEEEING and LOVVVVING me.

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