Sometimes a change of routine is in order.
That was the plan when Matt and I invited new friends and their dog to come over last weekend for a play date. Knoll, his wife Carrie and their dog Lola joined us Sunday afternoon for great conversation, flank steak and pupcakes.
The whole event was a big deal for Matt and me, because we rarely entertain. Plainly told, we are lone wolves who usually prefer snuggling in front of the TV with our pups. Matt will ruefully recount the nights he has endured “Housewives of New Jersey” marathons, as the dogs make forts with couch cushions and blankets.
By choice, I tend to spend most of my free time alone. And since my Granddad died a year ago, I’ve found myself isolating even more. As his primary caregiver, I was busy around the clock … and when Granddad died, I was left with a gaping hole in my life. A hole that I haven’t found a way to fill.
Lola and Charlie took to each other right away, chasing each other through the bushes out back, and around the lawn chairs … dirt flying in the air as they made each pass. The four of us laughed, and made small talk about how well our pups broke the ice. Lexie defiantly walked through the madness, slow and steady, undeterred by such shenanigans.
Back in the house, Charlie initiated wrestling matches with Lola. When she didn’t think we were looking, Lola snuck carrots from the vegetable tray. She washed it down by sneaking licks of peppercorn ranch dip. Lexie took a nap.
As we feasted on flank steak, potatoes and asparagus, we talked about work, family and of course, our dogs. Knoll and Carrie also have an elder dog named Twiggy who they left at home to get some rest. I got the sense that she’s similar to Lexie (they are both 14 and a bit frail), and it ends up they are facing some of the same issues as us.
For dessert, we shared delicious pumpkin oatmeal cookies baked by Carrie, and the dogs each got a pupcake from the Cupcake Station. Lola made out like a bandit because I sent two more home with her parents, so she could share with Twiggy.
As the afternoon progressed, I felt more and more alive. I had forgotten what it was like to have a new friend, forgotten what it was like to connect. This play date was breathing life back into my routine routine.
Saying goodbye to Carrie and Knoll was easy, knowing we would be sure to do this again soon.
Charlie and Lexie demand it.
And us human types really would enjoy it, too.
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