By Mary Bennett
As I walked to the steps and began to go up, I paused. I was not sure what to expect. Hopefully Isis, the eighteen year old cat would be sitting at the door waiting for me, or rather Zara, Tim and Jon. My dynamic trio, as I refer to them, are my grandchildren, they are like Isis’s children because she never had kittens and she has been a member of the household since before they were born. Although disappointed, she would be okay because I was there to replenish her food and water. Now Kirk and Spock, the one year old guinea pigs, would be another issue. Even though I was a source for more food, I knew they would undoubtedly squeal as soon as I turned on the light and walked the basement steps towards them. I braced myself, put the key in the lock and went into the house.
It felt cool, but not cold. I knew my son, Jimmie, had set the temperature to stay the same the entire time they would be away. However, I still worried if is would be warm enough for Isis.
I pushed the inner door to the house open and, no Isis. My heart immediately sunk. “Isis, Isis, where are you? Grammy is here. Come on Isis. Come out!” Still, no Isis. Now I felt cold and scared. Where was she? Oh, my God is she all right? No Isis. Slowly I walked through the living room, into the dining room and into the TV room. Still no Isis. “Isis, Isis, come on old girl, come on. Grammy’ s here!”
I paused. Tried to regroup my thoughts and went into the kitchen. There was a little water in one of the water bowls, but all the food was gone. “Oh, My God! Did they not leave enough food? Did Isis pass out from hunger?” Jimmie, Elizabeth and the children left less than 48 hour earlier and were to leave plenty of food and water to last until I came to do cat and pig duty. They were going to be away for a three week holiday in Australia with Elizabeth, my daughter-in-law’s family.
Still no Isis. I pushed the doo r the basement open further and call again, “Isis, Isis, come on old girl!” As I walked down the steps, I felt a knot come into my stomach. As much as I worried about Isis, I was not looking forward to dealing with the pigs. Kirk and Spock are quite chubby guinea pigs. If I had to admit it, I am more of a dog person. I am not too fond cats and I definitely don’t like mice, guinea pigs or gerbils . At least with Isis, I really did not have to handle her. Checking on her, replenishing her food and water and talking with her for a few minutes is what I had planned. As I turned on the basement lights and the pigs did not begin to squeal, I realized all my plans were not unfolding as I had imagined.
Walking to the pigs’ cage, there was no noise. I could not even see them. Now I felt really sick. Where in heck were they? I took a deep breath and remembered their little hut, the little purple plastic hut that sits right in the middle of their cage. Those little chubby butt pigs had the nerve to be hiding from me and being quiet on top of that!
Okay, get it together, I said to myself. Deal with the pigs and then go back to the hunt for Isis.
I put on my rubber gloves, positioned the blue bucket on the chair I pulled away from Jimmie’s workstation, got the large orange cutting board ready and stepped to the cage. I was really prepared. I needed to clean out the cage a bit of guinea pig poop and refill their food containers. One by one, I was going to take the pigs out, place them in the blue bucket and place the cutting board on top. I was worried that they might try to jump out and scamper away in the basement. With all the stuff down there, I might never find them. There were boxes and boxes of things, some things are scattered about and not even in boxes. There was more than enough stuff for them to get behind or under and never be found. The thought of it gave me chills.
As I opened the cage, I just knew the squealing would begin, but nothing. These pigs were very clever and brazen. Here I was to feed them and clean out their cage and not so much as a peep came from them. Okay, I took a deep breath, and lifted little purple plastic cage house that was in the corner of the cage, not in the middle where it usually is.
“Oh, My God!” There were no pigs. I felt faint for a moment and them hot and cold all at the same time. What the hell was happening? Isis was missing, but she could have been hiding somewhere in the house. Hopefully, she was still alive, just hiding. That made a little sense, but not the pigs. They have very short stubby legs, no hands and I am not sure of their brain capacity. How could they get out of the cage without help from someone? How could Kirk and Spock get out o their cage and down off the table where there cage is? What happened to Spock, what happened to Kirk and Isis?
Jimmie, Elizabeth, Zara, Timothy and Jon were counting on me to take care of their animals and their home while they visited with their Australian family. If I let anything happen to Isis, Kirk or Spock, I don’t think I could face them. I felt faint again and sick. If I passed out in the basement, I would just be there on the floor. I had the only key to the house other than Jimmie and Elizabeth and no one would find me.
I literally shook myself, gathered my self together, took off the rubber gloves, turned off the lights and went back upstairs. I retraced my steps back through the kitchen, into the dining room, looked again in the TV room, looked under the table in the dining room again, went back to the living room and looked under the coach and behind it. Where the heck is Isis? “Isis, Isis, Isis, come to Grammy!” I went out the front door. As I was approaching the entrance door to the house, everything went black for a second and then it seemed like a light came on.
I woke up. I was in my home, under the covers in my own bed; I had been dreaming. Isis was not at my house nor was Kirk or Spock. But, for a second, I wondered was my dream or nightmare an omen. It was creepy because later that same day I did have to go to Jimmie and Elizabeth’s house.
That afternoon when I arrived at the house, my actions seemed eerily familiar. They were just like my dream. As I walked up the steps to the entrance door, I took a deep breath. I summoned up my courage and went inside. After another deep breath, I turned the door knob to the inside door and pushed it open. Isis was right there, looking up at me and looking behind me for Zara, Tim and Jon. I breathed easier, the dream was not happening. The rest of the visit to care for the critters was fine.
Each of my 14 trips in 22 days went by uneventfully, but every time I parked my car and began walking up those steps in the front of the house, I had a flashback to my nightmare. Thank God, the bad stuff of disappearing pets only happened one time… in my dream. The joys of being a grandparent never end.