My Mum arrives tomorrow

Vacation!  I know that sounds strange, that my mother visiting me turns into a vacation but it really does.  As a woman I work seven days a week, only the location and the tasks change. For five days a week I am at my regular job as a paralegal 8am to 5pm and then on the weekends I work my second job, that being my home, laundry and housework being the “work”.    While my Mum is here the second job goes away, because Mum and Norman take care of all of the tasks that usually pile up for me at the weekends.

When Mum is here I get home from work to a clean house, laundry done, pets fed, and dinner on the table.  It is an absolute joy.  Tomorrow will be a bit chaotic but come Thursday I will come home from work and sit down to a dinner of stew (always my absolute favorite meal that my Mum makes) and then get to kick back with a glass of wine catching up on a years worth of news.   On Friday the left over stew will become a really wonderful curry, and on Saturday morning we will set out for a serious “mooch” hitting all of our favorite Thrift Stores.  I really don’t need any new clothes, or any stuff to be honest with you but there is nothing I enjoy more than going to Thrift Stores with my Mum and finding some treasures that I never thought I needed or even wanted to be honest.

The next five weeks will be my annual vacation and to be honest I can’t wait.


Why did the chicken cross the forest?

Following on from my posts about the weird and wonderful things that my animals have brought home I will tell you a story about Dweebe, my long departed Chow/German Shepard Cross.

One Saturday morning, many moons ago, I was sleeping in while my husband was working his weekend job while putting himself through college.  I woke and rubbed my eyes and heard, strangely enough, a gentle clucking sound coming from the corner of the bedroom.  It occurred to me that a gentle clucking sound is not what I should be hearing in my bedroom on a Saturday morning.   I looked over and saw Dweebe, sat in the corner of the bedroom with a live chicken in her mouth.  The chicken appeared to be in no distress whatsoever and was apparently quite content to be in Dweebe’s mouth as if being in her mouth were a normal part of the chickens day, she just looked at me and clucked.   “Put it down sweetpea” I said to Dweebe and she dutifully laid the chicken on the ground and I picked it up and checked it for any injuries.  There were none.  Apart from a little Dweebe slobber the chicken was in perfect shape and she clucked as I held her under my arm.

At this point I realized that there was a huge and gaping hole in my plan to rescue the chicken.  I was naked.   I knew I would have to return the chicken to the forest from whence it came but I had now put myself in the situation where I was cradling a live chicken under my arm naked.  As I said, my husband was at his weekend job so I could not say to him “here sweetie hold this” while I got dressed, although to think about it can you imagine that scenario?  You are happily sleeping and your spouse wakes you up, hands you a live chicken and says “hold this while I get dressed”.

I stroked the chicken’s head and pondered my predicament.  I had six cats and four dogs.  The idea of gently laying the chicken down and getting dressed was not really an option, the cats had already become curious and were looking at me warily from the bedroom door,  the possibility of the chicken suddenly attempting to escape and flapping around the bedroom would result in a four dog, six cat, one chicken horror movie which would result in me hiding under the bed in an attempt to save myself from all of the claws and teeth and fur and feathers and heaven knows what else.

With the chicken tucked firmly under my arm I picked out my clothes, jeans, long socks, a sweatshirt, boots for I knew where I would be going to return the chicken.  My subdivision was built on the edge of a large swamp.  Several years prior someone (I am assuming a marine as they are the most transient in this area) thought it would be a good idea to keep chickens and turkeys in their back yard.  They moved on and they left the chickens and turkeys to fend for themselves in the swamp.  I would be woken on regular mornings by the Cockerel crowing and it was obvious that the chickens had formed quite the colony in the swamp.

It took me almost thirty minutes to get dressed as I swapped the chicken from one arm to the other while I pushed my legs into jeans and my arms into a sweatshirt. She clucked occasionally, but seemed content and she perked up as I left the house.   I wandered out to the garden and closed the gate behind me so Dweebe could not follow me.  The cats however were not so constrained by silly things like gates and I walked down into the swamp Pied Piper like followed by a procession of cats wondering what I was about to do.The further I got into the swamp the less cats followed me, it of course involved wet feet, and as we all know the one thing cats hate is wet feet.

I pushed through the swamp and eventually came to the clearing where the chickens were living.  There were some in the low branches of the trees, some scratching about on the swamp floor, and they looked at me warily as I entered their domain.    I gently set the chicken down and she quickly fluttered her wings and landed on a low branch next to another chicken.  She began clucking and no doubt telling her fellow chicken what had happened to her.  As I turned and walked back to the house followed by the last of the cats I could hear the conversation.  “Well you would not believe what happened to me this morning”   Other chicken “what was that dear?”  “well I was just minding my own business then suddenly I was in this dogs mouth” “ooooooooh do tell”.

So that happened

This morning I couldn’t get back to sleep so I decided to get up and watch the Dr. Who episode  from last night.  As I sat there with my tea, scrolling through the DVR menu to find it, a tree frog hopped left to right, in front of me across the living room floor heading for the love seat.  Sensing a moment of “eek” in my future when I would no doubt find said frog, dead and dessicated, the next time I vacuumed under the love seat I set out after it and managed to cup it in my hands and release it onto the Canna by the pond outside.

This afternoon, as I was taking a tea break by the computer, Pootle (one of my cats) shot in through the cat door with “something” in his mouth, which he promptly lost under the piano.   He poked away at various parts of the piano and the bookcase by which it sits for about five minutes, until he gave up finding his prize and zipped back through the cat door to no doubt go and find another “something” to play with.  I took a flash light and decided to look for the “something” (hoping it was something harmless such as a lizard or perhaps another frog) but despite my best effort could find no trace of Pootle’s “something”.

My Mother arrives for a visit in three days.    I sense an “eek” moment in her future,   although considering that in the past my various and sundry animals have brought so many weird and wonderful things into the house she should be used to it by now.   Still I must remember to warn her.



The madness of cats

As all cat staff know, cats for the most part are hedonistic creatures, and the entire world revolves around their comfort and well being.  Generally they will find the most comfortable place to sleep (and seeing as they tend to sleep 20 hours a day that place is very important).

Since Cueball died Ellie Wyatt has taken to sleeping on his “nest” a large storage box topped with a cushion and a blanket.

However, as any cat staff knows the confounding thing about cats is not only will they be able to find the most comfortable place to sleep in a house, and use it on a regular basis, they are also able to ferret out the most uncomfortable places to sleep.  Exhibit A.

Apparently on top of a couple of pens on a dresser, squeezed in between my handbag, some photo frames, and a basket where I keep my bits and pieces that I need for gardening and cuddling a bottle of multi-vitamins is the ideal place to sleep, for a cat.

I suppose I should be grateful that he doesn’t just shove all of the above items off the dresser as he prepares to sleep which is Lari’s way of doing things.

I have known cats my whole life.  I swear I am not even half way to beginning to understand them.


You have to look with better eyes than that

I have not blogged recently, simply because I have had nothing to blog about.  I have not felt like going outside other than for the task of hanging out laundry.   This is unusual for me, normally I would hurry through my household chores so I could spend time outside with my camera and catch up on what nature was up to in my yard.  Recently though my heart was just not in it, I could not see the point in it.  I busied myself with work indoors and left my camera on the computer center neglected.  It was almost as if, with his few last breaths, Cueball had hungrily eaten up all of the beauty in the world and taken it all with him. He had not of course, life was going on as always without him.

No, beauty never went anywhere.  What Cueball had taken with him as he lolloped across the Rainbow Bridge, on the way to his undoubtedly joyous reunion with Judy, was my ability to see it.   Raw, swollen, tear-stained eyes are not the vehicles fit to transport images of beauty to the centers of the brain that can fully appreciate them.   But, as the tears subsided and the swelling went down, tiny flickers of beauty occasionally filtered through, but my brain, still burdened with its grief, blocked them like so many invading hordes.   It felt somehow unseemly, as if taking any joy in the smallest of things would be an insult to his memory.

Today though, as I was hanging out my laundry, I glanced at the bird bath and smiled when I remembered the day that Cueball zigged when he should have zagged while chasing Judy around the garden and hit the birdbath head on.  While the concrete bowl went one way and the concrete base went the other, Cueball was no worse for wear and simply looked at me with a puzzled expression on his face “what?” he appeared to ask  “did I hit something?” .  The smile turned into a laugh and slowly, like an early morning fog lifting as the sun rises, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a baby lizard, no doubt this year’s clutch, learning the fine art of hunting on the Sweet Autumn Clematis.

I finished hanging out my laundry and went into the house to retrieve my camera, wondering what else I might have missed while my vision was impaired.   The first thing I noticed was the Dahlias that I planted this spring are now blooming, and yet I had completely failed to notice.

The Beauty Berry bush, a gift from the birds years ago, had flowered and was now covered in a glorious show of purple berries.

The Caladium, again that had been planted in the Spring, were putting on an incredible show in the shady area between the rose arbor and the vegetable garden.

Most important though, there were butterflies everywhere.

I felt as though I had awakened from a deep and unending sleep, eyes closed tight shut, unable to rouse from the darkness of misery.  As I stood there, in the middle of the patio, watching all the life go on around me, I realized that no matter how deep and dark some moments seem, they are never so deep that you cannot crawl out the other side, where there had been tears, there would once again be smiles, and where there had once been gloom, there would again one day be sunshine, and lizards, and butterflies, and laughter.

Did I ever tell you about the time Cueball ate the bathroom?