Post-Thanksgiving Let Down

Abby with “her chair” in background

Every day MEH (My Engineer Husband) heads out the door to work around eight. Our ten-year-old black lab is used to this routine. Walked and fed, she jumps up into “her chair” and settles in for the morning. She waits until the door closes, casts a final look at me to make sure I’m not going anywhere except to the dining room (where I write), then she puts her head down and goes to sleep.

But not today. Over Thanksgiving weekend our daughter was home from college. Truth is, she’s Abby’s “real mother.” Last Wednesday, before we picked up our daughter from the airport, Abby was on high alert. She followed me around the house all day; she knew something was up. When my cell phone buzzed with an incoming text message she rushed over to my side and wagged her tail. When we got home from the airport, she was ecstatic, and she kept her eye on her real mom all weekend long—until we took her to the airport yesterday.

9:30 This morning it’s been hard for her to get back into routine. (Me too.) Feeling restless, I decided to edit on the couch instead of in the dining room. Abby jumped up onto her chair but her eyes kept opening. After a few minutes, I heard a chirping sound—at first I thought I was hearing things, but then Abby lifted her head and looked at me as if to say: “Aren’t you going to check that out?” When it chirped again, from somewhere upstairs, I headed up and discovered the smoke alarm battery was low.

I replaced the battery and returned to the couch. By this time Abby had jumped down from her chair and was sitting down in front of me. It was going to be a long day. She stared at me. Then somewhere outside someone started up a leaf blower….then another. Abby’s ears were perked up. Stupid lawn care companies.

10:13 I picked up my iphone to write an email to a friend, sending her the (above) photo of Abby.

“Abby is now on high alert—she usually sleeps in the chair in the distance, all day. But today she won’t leave my side, someone’s outside w a leaf blower and one of our smoke alarms is chirping …. No rest or editing for the weary. Must be my cue to write a blog…”

Mid-email Abby nudged me. Maybe she has to go out… I mean, most days she’s just fine from six a.m. until at least four in the afternoon, but you never know…

I put the email aside and snapped on her leash, heading outside for a walk. Nothing. Back inside. Back to the Abby stare down. 10:35. I got up and got a snack (okay, if you must know I had a powdered donut). Abby wanted some of it, but there was no way. I finished the donut and gave Abby the plate to lick (apparently there was a way). For some reason powdered donut crumbs are her new signal. She finished licking the plate then headed over to her chair and jumped up. She settled in and closed her eyes.

Back to editing. Still hard to concentrate—but then again, I miss Abby’s real mom too. 11:45 I finished a little editing and headed to the kitchen for lunch. Tomorrow maybe Abby and I will both have an easier time getting back into routine. 

But then what will I blog about?

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving (like we did). Are you having trouble getting back into your routine? What about your pets? 



  1. Julie Luek says:

    Oh cute story. Our 9-year-old weimar was a happy, tail-waggin’ boy this weekend too. My son was home from college and,oh, how he loves his boy. And the HS daughter was off for the week.

    All the kids are back to school, the husband is back to work and dog-dog is back to laying on the bed, post-run,and missing the busy house of Thanksgiving.

    Me too.

    • I love weimaraners! Beautiful dogs! Sounds like you can really relate to Abby and my feelings… here’s to another busy house for the end of year holidays… I’ve already started the countdown. You?

    • Julie Luek says:

      I love having my family around me for holidays– it’s all I ask for. Sigh, and I guess the gray, smelly beast too.

      Yeah, Weimars are great dogs. We rescued him when he was five, so he has a host of weird habits. I kiss his nose daily and remind him he is one, lucky dog!

      How many kiddos do you have?

    • Two… but both in school away…

  2. I’m feeling a bit antsy today, but not our lab, Belle. She’ll also be ten in about a week. Along with our eleven house-guests, we had four of the four-legged variety–three labs and one golden retriever. They all went down to the beach together twice, and both times they played for much longer than is usual for her. She’s been snoring soundly almost non-stop since they left, including as I type this.

    Good luck with your edits, Julia!

    • Ah, yes… that would’ve done it for Abby too. Sounds like you had a busy and fun Thanksgiving! The edits are coming along; hope your writing is going along well, too. Happy writing!

  3. Well at least it’s not just me! I have been antsy and fidgety all morning, and my cats are being terrors after our being gone for two days. I just can’t seem to make this feel like a regular workday. Post-holiday, close to my deadline, heading into pre-holiday… too much unusualness for routine, I suppose.

  4. E.J. Wesley says:

    We were out off and on most of the weekend, so our dogs are enjoying my sitting still today. 🙂 Glad to hear you all had a good holiday!

    • I know what you mean… when we’re gone a lot, Abby’s always glad when she can have us near all the time again. The life of the writer’s dog! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving, too, E.J.!

  5. So sweet. My dogs’ routines get disrupted on a regular basis, because of crazy schedules that happen at random times. It’s often difficult to get back on track. Today they’ve been following me around and trying to climb into my lap when I sat on the comfy chair. That’s fine except that they are both 60lb dogs.

    Now to get back to some sort of routine.

    • I’m glad you understand about Abby’s crazy schedule, Lisa… and about her following me around! As for climbing on the lap, I can see how that would definitely inhibit effective work flow! 🙂 Here’s to getting back to routine!

  6. Must be something in the air. I’m unsettled and my cats have been too. The stress of the holidays? (By the way – Abby is THE cutest). Here’s to ALL of us getting our crap together tomorrow.

    I’m sure you miss “real mom” terribly. I hope that part eases up a bit, too. She’ll be home soon for Christmas. Keep reminding Abby of that!

    • “Here’s to ALL of us getting our crap together tomorrow.” << YES! to that! I've passed your cute compliment onto Abby (she says thanks!) and I've also reminded her that "real mom" will be home soon 😉 Thanks for your support, Melissa!

  7. Oh, that is so sweet!
    I hear you. My house is so empty with daughter gone, houseguests from Ireland gone. Henry (little dog) and I are both a bit bereft today.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Maryanne, and that you could relate! “A bit bereft” is a perfect way to describe it. Here’s to a more settled rest of the week for all of us…you and Henry, Abby and me! Thanks for your visit to my blog, nice to meet you!

  8. Aww, Abby is such a sweetie. Isn’t it funny how they can read us, and just ‘know’ when somebody important is coming home for a visit? Dogs are the BEST.

  9. Lola and I are both fidgety today. It’s nice to be home after our Thanksgiving trip, but we can’t seem to settle. Maybe we just needed a play day. We’ll work tomorrow. 🙂

    • “Can’t seem to settle…” exactly how we’re feeling too. Last night Abby zonked out in her chair… so I’m hoping today she’ll do the same. As you say, it’s a work day! Hope you and Lola do the same 🙂

  10. Twelve year old Sebastian, our black lab/shepherd, was thrilled to have his person home from college for Thanksgiving week. He’s normally a very lazy old man. He whined at her bedroom door so long she told him he could come in. She put her laptop down and was ready to pet him. He picked a ball of yarn out of her knitting and took off with it. (My daughter was not as amused as I.) Another day, he pulled clothes out of her laundry basket and dropped them on the floor until he had enough for a bed, then took a nap. The entire week went like this. He’s 12 going on puppy, especially where his person is concerned.

    I took today off to make Christmas wreaths with friends. I should be able to settle into my work routine tomorrow. Sebastian’s person will be home in three weeks, and his real mom (our oldest daughter) will be home for a few days at Christmas.

    • Awww, Sebastian sounds adorable. I know what you mean about the lazy old man, that’s Abby (well, woman…) most of the time. Abby loves napping on the laundry, too–something she does when her boy, our son, is home! “He’s 12 going on puppy…” EXACTLY! Making Christmas wreaths sounds like so much fun, Robin… here’s to a quick three weeks for all of us until the real moms get home, can’t wait 🙂

  11. Ann says:

    Awww, that is SO sweet! It’s amazing how perceptive dogs are. Sweet puppy…..give her a hug & snuggle from her Auntie Ann! (…and Sunny Pup says hello!)

  12. Poor Tebow goes into a little tailspin when the activity dies down too. I’m sure he’s not at all sure why our son was here for four days — then is gone again. They are such sweet things but you wish you could tell them that things are going to be okay.

    • I love how you put it, Jamie: “They are such sweet things…” Exactly right. I bet Tebow is glad you’re not empty nesters yet, like us. Sometimes Abby looks at us like she was stuck with the un-fun gang 🙂

  13. Barb Riley says:

    Well I’m not at the stage of kids coming home from college just yet, but we did travel (to my mother-in-law’s) for Thanksgiving, and I’m actually having no trouble getting back into the groove of my routine at home. 🙂

    My dog has her own chair just like your Abby, and we have the exact same crate for her. Too funny!

    • Barb!! I’m so happy to see you and glad you had a nice Thanksgiving but even more glad you’re back home in your routine. I love that you and I are dog-chair and crate twinsies! 🙂

  14. Erika Marks says:

    Am I EVER struggling! I loved that picture of Abby (Hi, Abby!!) and I completely appreciate how hard it is to get back into the routine. It’s funny–when I’m away, I long for my routine, so why is it so hard to get back into it when I return? Yeesch. Maybe I’ll go procrastinate by thinking about that for a bit longer 😉

    • I am exactly the same way. Why oh why is the grass always greener, Erika?! Maybe I’ll think about that for a while longer and join you in procrastinating! (p.s. Abby says hi back… actually today she’s sleeping so she’s saying nothing 🙂

  15. I know this isn’t the point of the post whatsoever, but I just have to say that I love how you write! It’s takes real talent to retell such a detailed account of one’s day and still hold the reader’s interest (I could see the donut and the powder, and Abby happily licking the plate). And it really made me feel like I was there all along 🙂

    I have THE hardest time getting back into a routine after vacations or holidays, and every once in a while, I’ve been known to sulk a bit on my day back (blame it on writer mood swings). Which, come to think of it, is funny since I don’t even have that much of a routine to begin with!

    • You, dear Natalia, just made my day… THANK YOU!! Can you see my beaming smile all the way in Texas? I’m glad you could see the whole day! (Did I mention the plate is orange, we have fiestaware, and MEH wondered why it was next to the couch when he got home from work? 🙂

      I think this is another way we’re writing twins, I must admit to a bit of sulking on occasion as well (decided to leave that out of the day’s story), and like you I find it curious since I don’t really have much of a routine. To me the key is feeling like things are predictable, and if I lose that? I’m likely to be a basket case…and a bit sulky, too.

    • I see your beaming smile and I send one right back! I actually started laughing as I read about the fiestaware 🙂 So thankful for friends like you who bring laughter to my day!

  16. Isn’t it funny how our pets can commandeer their spots? Reggie has his own chair also. Woe be to those who try to sit in his chair. He will bowl you over, then climb into your lap, even though he is 45 pounds, and sit tall and straight until you say “uncle.”
    Oh, and I swore that when I got him, he wouldn’t be allowed on the furniture. *sheepish grin*

    Glad that you and Abby had a happy Thanksgiving. I hope Abby got a bit of turkey to go along with that powdered doughnut.

    • I know all about those “won’t let him/her” swears… for instance, Abby sleeps on our bed, and we swore THAT would never happen but when we broke the swear, she was a cute little begging 8 pound pup… now 65 pounds on my side… YIKES! *sheepish grin* here too!

      p.s. no turkey for Abby this year, we had a vegetarian Thanksgiving! Maybe this weekend we’ll remedy w/ a turkey…

  17. Aw, I loved this post, Julia. It felt like the opening to a really sweet story, with a really strong voice – yours… food for thought? Hope you feel more into your routine now, and Abby too – she is such a sweetheart xo

    • Aw, thanks, Abi, you’re so kind!! Glad you enjoyed it, and yes, we’ve settled back into routine… with 18 days and counting ’til it all starts again with everyones’ arrivals for the Christmas holidays. Can’t wait! How’s your holiday prep gearing up?

  18. Oh that sounds lovely! I spent most of yesterday afternoon wrapping presents and a bit of time today buying a few more extras, so all is going well so far! Tree will go up next weekend, then we will all start to feel REALLY christmassy!

  19. I don’t know who loves routine more at my house – the two dogs or myself! We moved three months ago, and have finally found our way into a routine that satisfies all of us. It revolves around walks (of course!), meals, “play time” and nap time for them/desk time for me. It’s a good life and I like it.

    But inevitably holidays get us off track a little bit, usually for the best of reasons, like having children home or parties to attend. We’re always happy to get back into our groove once the festivities are over.

    • We haven’t moved in a while, but I can well imagine how long it would take us (and Abby) to get back into routine… we can barely manage a different kind of day after all! Here’s to happy routines of meals, playtime and nap time — and of course writing and reading! 🙂 Thanks for your comment and your visit to my blog!

  20. Wasn’t Thanksgiving yesterday? No? Well, yeah, I guess I’m having a hard time getting into the swing of things, too. Kids have everything under the sun jam packed into the next few weeks and I don’t think there are really 24 hours in a day. I swear someone keeps fast-forwarding the clock.

    Glad I’m not the only one! And as far as Brogan (my Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier) he has been given a few extra peanut butter treats and bones trying to chill him out. Maybe it’s the seasons changing again but he is acting quite squirrelly as well.

    Do dogs like whiskey? 😉

    Fun post! xo