Apparently I screwed up royally yesterday. I had been in the garage and I stumbled upon an old pack of cat tray liners. Since Streak had her last losing fight (as distinct from all her other losing fights), she has been using the cat tray almost exclusively.
And I am the official remover of Streak's used kitty litter. It's not fun and I am clumsy, so I was really happy to find that at some point in the distant past I had bought a pack of cat tray liners - probably the last time Streak lost a fight and the vet said she had to stay inside until her stitches healed.
I proudly announced my discovery to LK. And that was my mistake. Had I just started using the liners, she would never have known about it because she so hates the notion of dealing with a cat crapping in her house that she won't even go into the bathroom where the cat tray lives. Too much grit on the floor, she says. Which is correct, but I've learned to deal with it.
But no, I had to tell Linda that I had discovered the cat tray liners. And she stared at me.
LK staring is bad, I know from experience. But the speaking-after-staring is even worse. Linda spoke.
"I told you about those yesterday," she said, "and you said you didn't want them."
There is really no way to come back from that without admitting that you weren't paying any attention to what she was saying. I did not try.
But with LK, payback is a bitch. Sure, she could just treat me as a guy who wasn't paying attention. But no, this was one of those moments when policy is implemented, forever changing the way we do things.
Tonight my darling said to me that when I told her about the cat tray liners that she made a decision that she would never pay attention to me again. "When I tell you you need new shirts and you tell me you will never wear them, I will buy them. Because I know you will wear them and wonder why I didn't buy more," she said.
"When I tell you that you need a new sweatshirt, I don't want to hear that you have plenty in the cupboard. I am buying it. And I know that you will probably love it so much that you will not wear anything else for weeks until I insist on washing it."
And so forth.
One of the things that retirement teaches you is that the future is, essentially, already here. Patterns of behavior, the ways we deal with one another, the duel to be the alpha dog --- well, I hope these are not etched in granite in the first year of retirement. Because right now, I am looking at the pendulum, and it has swung widely out of reach to the other side.
And all because Streak stopped taking a dump outdoors.