*This is a guest post*
We recently left our eldest home alone while we went to Cornwall – our favourite place in the world. My eldest has claimed for many years that he doesn’t like Cornwall. He is also using all of his annual leave up on foreign travel, so he didn’t want to go with us.
Which meant leaving a 19 year old man child home alone for the week.
We left him home alone for a night when he was 17 and for three nights last year, but this was the longest we’d ever left him. Clearly, he is very independent – he travelled to Australia and back, spending time in Malaysia and Singapore. But he’s not great at looking after things.
I must admit, I was very anxious over whether he would remember to lock doors and windows (or even shut them!). I was also worried about whether he would remember to feed the guinea pigs – and put ice in for them if the weather got hot. Lesser concerns included things like watering the plants in both the house and garden. If we all go away, we get my parents in to do these things, but clearly we weren’t going to ask when there was a grown adult at home who was perfectly capable of doing them.
We’ve got a very nice settee and carpet, and I worried about him having friends over and messing them up. (I wasn’t bothered about normal kitchen mess, just stains in the lounge.)
He informed us that he’d invited some work friends round for a barbecue – he didn’t ask us first. And we told him he could un-invite them. We have never met his work friends and didn’t want him having anything like a party. We would be happy for him to have one friend round at a time to keep him company. He complained that he would be lonely, but he would be at work all day. And he doesn’t actually spend much time with us at home anyway – he spends most of his time in his room watching YouTube.
So we went away and, apart from the occasional enquiry about the guinea pigs, I left him to get on with things in his own way. There was a heatwave while we were away (although not in Padstow) and I was particularly concerned about them overheating.
As soon as we arrived home, we noticed a soaking wet tea towel outside the front door.
‘Oh yeah, there was a flood in the downstairs toilet. I spent two hours cleaning it up, but it’s OK now.’
Interestingly, we are pretty sure exactly the same happened when we left him home last year – although he never admitted to it. We do know that the tiles in the downstairs toilet were damp and there was a damp smell in there and the lounge which lingered for months.
His friend was there and, judging by the luggage in the spare room, he may have been there for some time. Although, apparently, he ‘always brings lots of stuff just for a night’.
My daughter’s room was in slight disarray. He told us first that another (female) friend had slept in there, then that she had actually slept on the settee on the landing, using the duvet. There was no way anyone would ever sleep on that settee!
The discovery of two beer bottle lids in the garden indicated that he he’d had the banned barbecue. (This was later confirmed by our neighbours, who also confirmed that he’d been round there to ask if he could have an onion to cook for said barbecue!)
The flowers in the garden were mainly dead. I took it that it had just happened because it’s the end of summer, but my husband thinks it’s more likely they hadn’t been watered in the heatwave. One plant had also been damaged, which my son claimed to know nothing about. I actually did believe him on this, but suspect one of the barbecue guests had kicked a football at it and failed to own up.
He’d cleaned the guinea pigs, but not until the Friday, when I had asked him to clean them on Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest. I was also very concerned that Cedric had lost around 10% of his body weight and even took him to the vet, who could find nothing wrong. The rest of the family were convinced that my son might not have fed them as often as he should. I don’t think he would do that as he does care about the guinea pigs, even if he is a bit careless and forgetful.
On the plus side, the house was fairly clean and tidy and nobody had broken into it! It could have been a lot worse, but I wish he’d done as we’d asked with the barbecue and, if people did have to use the beds, that he’d had the decency to wash and dry the sheets afterwards.
It’s a bit strange coming home from holiday to a house that isn’t exactly as you’d left it. But it’s good practise for my man child for one day being home alone permanently – and realising that a house doesn’t keep itself clean and doesn’t turn its own taps off!