It's been quite a tiring week, one way and another.
Richard was away in Egypt for four days, so I was on my own. The first time, really, in about twenty-two years. There have been the odd day or two - when Richard was travelling, and the boys at youth camp, for instance - but I don't think I've been alone with just the cats for four days in a LONG time.
It would have been easy, I suppose, to let the days drift by with no structure at all, but Sophia ensures at least that I get up when I'm supposed to, and eat when she expects me to. Not that I tend to lie in bed in the mornings, anyway; once I'm awake I have to get up.
On Tuesday, as well as helping at Tots and hunting for turkeys, I had to wash my beanbag. The reason is that when I got up, it was immediately apparent that a male cat had got into the house. The cats' feeding dish was totally empty, and there was a dreadful smell in my study. Tessie, our youngest cat, sometimes leaves a little calling card which isn't particularly pleasant, but it's nothing like the stench of a male cat. And I found where it was - a large wet patch on my beanbag. Ugh.
I blotted what I could with kitchen roll, and sprayed with cleaning spray, but it was soon obvious that I needed to take more drastic action. So I found the large plastic sack we were given when we bought the beanbag, and emptied the polystyrene beans into it. Then I washed the cover by hand, rinsed and spun a couple of times in the washing machine, and hung it out to dry.
When I got back from my walking, I aired out the study, but couldn't seem to get rid of the smell. I checked every square centimetre of the floor on hands and knees, and the curtains, but simply couldn't locate it. It seemed worst near my desk. It took quite some time before I finally realised the smell was from the kitchen roll I'd used to blot the worst, and had then - without thinking - put in my bin! Emptying the bin solved that one, thankfully.
By late afternoon it was dry, so I put the beans back (a process which was NOT easy, particularly on my own... but I managed with very little spillage) and all was well.
On Wednesday, I made my Christmas puddings and a little over three kilograms of mincemeat. Remarkably efficient, since I don't usually do anything for Christmas before the start of December (other than the cake). I'm not entirely sure what we'll do with three Christmas puddings and all that mincemeat, with just the two of us, but no doubt will find some way of using them.
On Thursday, I decided to clean the living room furniture with our three-in-one shampoo machine. I'd been thinking about this for some time as they were beginning to look a little grubby, and it's the end of moulting season for the cats. But first I needed to vacuum them. And, procrastinating about both, I realised I needed to clean out some kitchen cupboards.... and then thought of ways of slightly reorganising them.
So I did that, and then vacuumed and shampooed, and then did my regular Thursday upstairs cleaning, and made the bed with clean sheets and duvet cover... it was 4pm by the time I'd finished everything!
Richard got back very late Thursday night - or, rather, 2am Friday morning. We did our supermarket shopping on Friday around 9.30am when he woke up, and bought a couple of chickens since I couldn't find a turkey. He popped into the office for a couple of hours, so I made a pecan pie, having found some pecans at a new local shop that sells nuts and coffee beans. I had forgotten just how long it takes to shell 180g of pecans...
The meal went well, with eleven of us (including two children) sitting down to a feast with a mixture of American and British dishes. We talked about what we were thankful for; and although I am thankful for many things - my family, my health, this house, and much more - the one thing I felt overwhelmingly thankful for, as I looked around the table, was our dishwasher!