The term man cave is often attributed to the 1993 book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. And no, I never read Dr. John Gray’s trendy tome. The planetary reference makes the title catchy but really it’s just stating the obvious. Men and women are different. I don’t need a book to explain that to me. I’m married. And I have two daughters. I’m already an expert.
My man cave is a media room located in the bowels of our basement. When you turn off the lights and close the door, you only see the glow of the ancient computer and the hockey puck sized Roku box that sits atop it. The cave is home to a 2005 55″ Sony TV. Even after adjusting for inflation, that set cost significantly more than my first car.
The Sony was worth every dime. The POS beater I drove for three years in the 70’s? Not so much.
There are also two recliners and a leather couch. Our lazy-ass Golden Retriever considers the couch to be her personal property. She loves when we have a house full of guests but only if they sit somewhere else.
In short, it’s a perfect man cave.
A few nights ago, I grabbed my pillow, slipped into my hooded bathrobe and decamped to the man cave. The wife was ailing…and snoring. Letting her sleep in the bed full of cats was an excellent idea for two reasons. First, I would get a decent night’s sleep. And, more importantly, such a seemingly selfless gesture would earn me spousal brownie points. That currency always comes in handy.
I crashed on the couch. The room was very quiet and very, very dark. Once the leather warmed, I headed off to Sleepytown. Sweet dreams are made of this.
Four hours and twenty-one minutes later I was awakened by a snuffling in my face. The Golden Retriever had come out of her coma in the upstairs bedroom and discovered that I was MIA. But, good news, she had found me.
“God, your breath,” I said pushing her face away. “Go lay down.”
She stood there, panting in my face. If she was expecting an invitation to join me on the couch, she was in for a disappointment.
“Go lay down, I mean it.”
She collapsed on the floor next to the couch with a disgusted snort.
The door to the man cave was now open. I didn’t bother getting up to close it. I was too warm and cozy. The mayor of Sleepyville was calling me and…
Two hours and seventeen minutes later, I awoke to the ding, ding, ding of a cat id tag hitting the Formica top of the coffee table next to the couch. My eyelids fluttered. The room was bathed in the gray predawn light coming in through the open door. The cat sat up and stared at me.
“I’m not getting up,” I whispered to the Costello the cat. I didn’t want to disturb the dog. With any luck I could get another hour of sleep before the canines demanded outside access.
The cat blinked.
“I’ll feed you a little later, okay?”
Costello understood. I could tell. He turned to leave. What a wonderful cat.
Sleep beckoned, I started to shut my eyes.
“Urp, urp, urp!”
I peered into the darkness. I could see the silhouette of the black cat hunched over on the table.
Hairball, I thought. He’ll be okay. This wouldn’t be the first time I slept through this ordeal. I squinted for a better look. Whatever Costello was bringing up was on its way.
And he was heaving over my wireless keyboard.
I sat up with a snap, swung my feet over the couch and promptly stepped on the sleeping canine carcass. The dog instantly stood up, almost taking me to the floor. I managed to push the cat away from the keyboard. Now straddling the sweatshirt I left behind last night, he continued to heave. Still dancing around the waking dog, I smashed my shin into the tabletop as I brushed the sweatshirt to the floor.
” Urgggerack!” No hairball. Instead, he left behind a puddle of glop in the center of the table. Satisfied with his work, the cat jumped down and left the room.
I saved the keyboard and the sweatshirt. No harm no foul…except for the throbbing leg pain.
The Golden was now up for the day. The big fluffy tail was wagging and she was looking up at me expectantly. I didn’t have to be clairvoyant to read her mind.
“Out! Out! Food! Food!”
“Okay, fine,” I said. That was all the encouragement the big girl needed. She scooted past me and ran up the stairs.
Like it or not, I was wide awake.
The cat alarm worked just fine.