Liz Marsh

When I first moved into my own apartment, I was nervous. I had lived with my family and then a rotating cast of roommates for my entire life, so I had never really been alone. I told everyone that my No. 1 fear was murderers and rapists. In truth, it was silence.

I was absolutely terrified to come home to a quiet house.

As I assume most adults learn at some point, the silence became my favorite part of living alone. My house was an oasis of calm, and I loved it.

It’s been this way for years now: just me and my very old dog living our perfect, extremely quiet life. But because I am not a person who is content with the status quo, I had to drink a couple bottles of wine and fuck it all up.

First came the new puppy. A friend posted a picture of a dog she had rescued in a parking lot. Over a bottle of chardonnay, I decided that this dog’s name would be Louise and she would come live with me.

Spoiler alert: 12-year-old dogs and 12-week-old dogs will not be friends. They will fight constantly. They will bark and scuffle and walk poorly on a leash together.

My second great decision was made over a bottle of pinot noir. My sister and brother-in-law, desperate for a vacation, were trying to figure out what to do with their kids. “I’ll take them,” I said, without thinking. “It’ll be fun. I’ll just stay at your house for a week. We’ll have a blast!”

Spoiler alert: If you are a childless person, you should agree to hang out with children for a matter of hours, not days. An afternoon, sure. But a week? DON’T DO IT.

My niece and nephews are super cool kids, and I love them. But holy hell do they like to talk. They will talk your ear off. They like to talk to you immediately when you walk in the door, and they don’t stop talking until they are unconscious.

Three children. Two dogs. One auntie.

Mid-week, I finally snapped. I’d had a particularly bad day at work, one which didn’t end when I left. There was traffic the whole way home. It took me almost two hours to go 11 miles. I stopped at the grocery store to get dinner, only to learn I had left my wallet at work. I was exhausted and frazzled by the time I got home. As soon as I walked in the house, I was almost taken out by a cartoonish fracas happening in the living room. Dogs and children tumbled around and around each other. There were tails and paws and limbs flailing, dogs barking, children yelling.

“Everyone shut up and stop moving!” I yelled. They did neither.

“Shhhhhh!” I whisper-pleaded. They did not shush.

My voice got very low and serious. I was about to Hulk. “SOMEONE HAND AUNTIE THE WINE.”

They all stopped and looked at me. My nephew handed me the bottle. I took it out to the porch and shut the door behind me.

The kids and the dogs would have to fend for themselves a little bit longer. Auntie needed some peace and quiet.

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