I thought it was strangely quiet in the morning. Normally my parents put on the television a little before 6 am, since for them that's sleeping in, and my father likes to put the volume up to ``Great Kanto Earthquake'' to save himself the bother of turning on his hearing aid. Days that I'm occupying my office this is fine, since it means I'm warmed up to consciousness before my alarm clock goes off. Days I can sleep in this is less comfortable as it results in burying my head in my pillows until I can drown out some of the volume or at least can cut my flow of oxygen enough to lose consciousness. After a couple hours of this usually my father goes to his work and usually turns the television off, solving the problem.
So it was nice, yet suspicious, that there wasn't a lot of noise. The television was on, but at a level common to ordinary people watching. I almost got up to investigate but I didn't want to spoil things. It was after I got up of my own accord (aided, I admit, by my mother telling my father about their flight on an upcoming vacation -- ``We've got exit row seats on the airplane'' -- which my father answered yes; she then asked if she had heard what she told him, and he had not) and learned why they hadn't really been watching television: they were cleaning out their bedroom.
A good, serious cleaning, too, one that gets everything that's piled up over the past decade out of the room to be sorted, and even gets the furniture moved out so they can get a rug shampooer in. I was surprised by this, but at least I knew what it was and what it all meant. Clearly this was beyond the understanding of the two cats. They could sort of understand moving things out of the bedroom as being something like the chaos that precedes a vacation which is already disturbing enough. But moving furniture on top of that was clearly the world descending into insanity. The rug shampooer -- everything alarming about the vacuum cleaner, combined with leaving behind water -- left the cats in a state of extreme nervous agitation. I found evidence of them being given catnip three times over the day. [ Edit: you know, I suppose it's possible they may have just taken it without waiting to be given the catnip. ]
Trivia: President James Garfield's weight dropped from 210 pounds to 130 pounds after six weeks of being bedridden following his being shot by Charles Guiteau. Source: Jerseyana, Marc Mappen.
Currently Reading: A Modern History of Japan, Andrew Gordon.