Ironing Out The Bugs

On Thursday, Ken and I went away overnight. We didn’t need to—it wasn’t a special occasion or anything, but we’re planning a bigger trip in May, and here’s the thing: We have never left Atlas alone for more than one night, and up until now, either Kate or my parents have looked after him. But now Kate’s in school to become a veterinary technician and she’ll be moving to another city when she finishes this semester to do an internship, so SHE’S not available. And my parents are wonderful, but Atlas is a very active young dog, and when he tries to hug my mom, he literally knocks her down. So we were kind of stuck. But then Ken and I went to a banquet right before Christmas and became acquainted with a young woman in town who…TADA!…does dog and house sitting. She came over a couple of weeks ago and she and Atlas got along like a house on fire, ending the visit with him lying across her lap. So we hired her for a trial night and got ready to leave town.

Atlas: What you do?
Me: Just putting some old clothes in a bag. Nothing to be concerned about.
Atlas: Why does bag have wheels? Is toy?
Me: No, just easier to wheel out to the car. Don’t worry. Here’s a cookie.
Ken: See ya, nerd!
Atlas: What? Can I come for ride?
Me: We will only be gone for 5 minutes. Here’s a cookie. Go to sleep.

So we left him lying in his favourite chair, unsuspecting as he was. We drove down to a lake town, stopping at a couple of wineries along the way, and I was feeling pretty happy about the whole thing. Wine has a funny way of helping you avoid picturing your dog crying and whimpering while the sun goes down and he realizes he’s been abandoned. Am I being melodramatic? Obviously.

Anyway, we checked into the hotel, a very fancy and luxurious place that I still had money on a gift card for. Our room was beautiful with a huge king-sized four poster bed and a lot of weird Victorian era paintings like “Portrait Of A Man Standing In Front Of A Fireplace”–and he was. Within minutes of settling in, I got a text message from “Ivy, my virtual concierge”, who promised to help me with any and all needs I might have. So I texted back, “How do I make dinner reservations?” because I wasn’t sure how to call the hotel restaurant. I waited for a response. And I waited. And waited. Finally I texted back, ‘Ivy you’re not doing a good job at assisting me” at which point I received a very terse reply: “Call 65320 for dinner reservations.” But then, as Ken and I were trying to relax, I noticed several very large bugs on the ceiling, walls, and THE BED, so I texted her again with a picture—“Ivy. What kind of bug is this in my room?”

Well, before you could even say “I’m actually not an AI but a real person who is extremely flustered right now”, the response came: “It is called a brown marmorited it is a common harmless bug i will Maintenance come and remove it for you. I am sorry he made his way to your room.” And IMMEDIATELY after the message, there was a knock on the door. I didn’t know what to expect, but when I opened it, there was a guy standing there with a ladder and a roll of paper towels. We gave him the bugs, which we had carefully wrapped in toilet paper, and instructed him to let them outside. He looked at us like we were out of our minds, but nodded and left.

Then, fifteen minutes later—more f*cking bugs. We put them in a coffee cup and instructed Ivy to have someone come by and pick them up. The message? “I’m so sorry for the trouble. Would you like a bottle of white wine for the inconvenience?” And I was like, “You don’t have to ask me twice, you considerate quasi-artificial weirdo—send it on up.” So at a certain point, we were bug-free and wine-full. If only the pillows hadn’t been hard as rocks, it would have been idyllic.

I didn’t sleep much and finally woke up to a lovely message from the dogsitter, that Atlas had had a good night, sleeping on our bed, but had played, eaten, done his business, and was now sleeping in a chair, awaiting our arrival. So most of the experiment was successful.

When we got home, he was still asleep:

Atlas: You back so soon?
Me: Yes. Did you miss us?
Atlas: No.
Me: That’s actually ok, buddy. Have a cookie.

41 thoughts on “Ironing Out The Bugs

  1. You’re not alone; I was never able to have children of my own, and instead I repeatedly substituted a dog for children. In doing so, the dogs I’ve adopted over the years became my children and traveled with me everywhere (except to work). I absolutely refused to leave them at home unattended.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We’re planning a ten day trip in May, and he’s never really been without us for more than one night. We’re lucky that he likes his new sitter–she’s young and loves dogs, and apparently he had many cookies for being a good boi:-)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So, man standing in front of a fireplace. Hotel room art is always so beautifully evocative and cunningly rendered. Luckily, for me, they are always screwed securely to the wall, lest I try to steal them. Which direction was he standing? Was there steam?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brumph says:

    You’re lucky to have such a laid back boy that isn’t particularly bothered by your temporary absence. My dog greets me with a completely mental and energetic period of mad bounding excitement when I come back indoors after just nipping outside for five minutes to put the bins out.
    I tried to train it out of her, but not that hard, because, y’know, it’s kind of nice to have anyone being that pleased to see me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Aww, Atlas is such a good boy. All he needs is a cookie bribe and he’s all good, lol. Wow, I’m not sure what to think about Ivy the not so real/artificial concierge. Okay bugs would have freaked me the hell out in my hotel room, yikes! But you got free wine so it was a win-win 🍷🍷🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Better an emotionally adaptable canine companion than one, like we had, who became despondent when I went on business trips. She was a yellow lab who would lay on the couch, head propped, staring out to where my car should be under the carport. No doubt previous fur-members have behaved similarly for you. Having Atlas being emotionally independent must be liberating. Fingers crossed for your extended excursion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had a golden retriever once with such bad separation anxiety that she would chew the furniture when we went out. She was a rescue, and had been badly abused. We finally got a large kennel and she was fine in there for a couple of hours–felt very safe, and it saved our furniture too!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You know, they make a “motel” that is supposed to attract bugs, but you’re not supposed to make a reservation there! It’s nice that Atlas got by fine without you. You’d think cats would be more independent on their own, but that’s certainly not the case with Ody who would always get sick when I was away for a few days. And ever since I spent five days in the hospital in 2021, he’s been extra clingy because I’m the only human he’s used to and trusts and even when I leave for work at night he gets worked up!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It’s funny–we thought he was ok but this morning, we got ready to go out shopping and he acted really nervous. Hopefully, we’ll be able to go away somewhere nicer a couple of more times before the big trip, and he’ll get used to it:-)


  7. It’s a little sad when your dog gets along just fine without you. I’m very glad Atlas had a nice time and didn’t worry about your absence but, you know, you do still want to be missed a little bit. We traded dogs with someone at a dog show once because we had a dog who was very clingy and we thought it might help to have him go off with someone else. About an hour later she called and said, “This isn’t going to work.”
    So there’s definitely a balance. Our dogs should miss us some but not so much that they can’t bear to be without us. Especially when you’ve got a robot concierge sending you wine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • When we had Titus, we went on a trip and he was so upset that he broke out of the back yard and got picked up by the local dogcatcher. $275 later, he was one scared pup coming home. He hated that place so much that he never tried to get out of the yard again!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Our dogs are barkers. On the rare occasions we go out/away, they bark so much it drives the neighbours crazy. I think we’d need a live-in sitter. 😦
    Glad your Atlas breezed through the separation, and good luck for the trip. Pity about the bugs…-shudder-

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Our kids were the only ones we ever left our dogs with. When they all became too busy with lives of their own we stopped going away overnight. I swear I had an easier time leaving the kids when they were young than leaving the dogs. Seems wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

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