I awake to two reproachful glowing green eyes looking into mine. There is a paw on my nose, thankfully with claws sheathed. I suspect he thinks my nose is like some sort of "push start" button, capable of bringing his hoo-mans to life. When my eyes open he issues a soft "mrrr" noise and pushes harder on my nose. I have apparently forgotten to close my door, and Sirius Black Cat has decided that at 6 am it is time to get up.
Bleary eyed I walk out of my room into the tsunami-like debris masquerading as my house.
A garment steamer has been abandoned in the middle of my living room.
The fridge is virtually empty, the bright bulb revealing only pizza boxes and left over Chinese food.
There is a mountain of shoes at the front door, dropped there in haste as opposed to being cleaned and promptly returned to their shoeboxes as per my normal habit.
Both sinks have a mountain of dishes, and one is topped by a precarious tower of crushed Coke Zero cans.
Lipstick ringed coffee cups clutter every counter and table top, set down in various stages of consumption and never picked up again.
There is a pile of mail and flyers, including things like my income tax return and unpaid bills.
There are no less than seven laundry baskets scattered around, as my laundry strategy appears to have been to collect more laundry baskets in order to contain the growing piles.
The trouble is I no longer know which is clean and which is dirty, and each one is topped with soft black fur as the cat has apparently claimed them as new beds.
The dog stares at me mournfully, and the reproach in the cat's eyes are magnified twice over in the amber eyes that share sadness at far too much time left on her own.
I remember staggering home last night in a state of exhaustion, the Intrepid Junior Blogger fixing me with a stare and saying: "Oh, do you still live here?", a nod to my absences of late and perhaps the only notice I will get that she has missed me.
It is the day after Dancing With the Stars, and I feel like I have been run over by a very large and heavily loaded truck.
It was an amazing experience that began months ago, slowly building towards the crescendo finale on Saturday evening when several local celebrities (I still hate that word, as I am a writer and not a celebrity) paired with their dance partners to raise money for the Fort McMurray SPCA. The night before some of the women in the competition also participated in The Catwalk, a fashion show fundraiser associated with Dancing With the Stars Wood Buffalo, and adding another layer of fun-filled exhaustion to the experience.
Dancing With the Stars Wood Buffalo was a tremendous success by any measure, with over $70,000 raised in voting alone. It was a fun evening of dancing and friendly competition and great food and..it was exhausting, something I had never expected when this all began months ago.
There are so many people to thank, so many stories to share, so many posts to write - but today I just savour having completed an experience that was challenging and wonderful and utterly and completely out of my comfort zone. And it is all because of one thing, the one thing that made me agree to devote my time and energy to raising money for the SPCA.
It was all about a small black cat with glowing green eyes who came to us in the SPCA cat room and who now completely owns our hearts.
In the end it was all about Sirius Black Cat.