The Computers

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Still not really ‘feeling it’ in terms of the whole Christmas thing. For those of us who are not at work there is no staff Christmas do to get dressed up for and go along to, no overpriced rubbish meal or dreadful disco while colleagues you used to respect demonstrate an appaling lack of self respect and dignity.

So last week I went out with my eldest son to see The Computers, a local band who are in the process of making it big – deservedly. https://www.facebook.com/#!/thecomputers

I should add, it was me that wanted to see them, I got the tickets, the friend I was going with pulled out and my eldest reluctantly agreed to come along and keep me company so the ticket wasn’t wasted.

When we arrived he spotted some friends and joined them, I decided that hanging around the edge of a group of teenagers would probably just look predatory at worst, creepy at best, so I left them to it.

I did spy him once or twice during the gig, draining his glass and getting into the melee in front of stage.

The gig was awsome, loud, dynamic and some really well crafted songs – I loved it. So did my son, so all was well.

Afterwards there was a party, planned to go on until the early hours. My son naturally would have liked to go and I was tempted to let him as a life experience.

But it is at times like this (11 o’clock on a weekday night) that you realise you are not as young as you were. I definitely didn’t want to go to a club, hang around sober with hundreds of drunk teenagers, listening to music loud enough to make my ears hurt. What I wanted was to go home, have a cup of tea and settle down in my nice, comfy, warm bed.

It was a non – contest, we came home. We agreed that if he wanted to go out late with his mates he should really organise that without having his 49 year old dad tagging along.

Home, in bed, ears ringing, feeling tired, I thought maybe I had been hasty, maybe I would have enjoyed the party, maybe it would have been fun. But the bed sure felt nice and I know my limitations!

Pets

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Yesterday I came downstairs to find our utility room awash with hundreds of small brown feathers, covering the floor and fluttering in the morning breeze. Both cats were sat outside look suitably proud/guilty so it was not possible to tell which one was the bird murderer. I hoovered the feathers and got on with the day.

It was just as we were about to leave the house to take my son to the cinema that the culprit revealed herself. Evidently bird had disagreed with Siouxsie, the older cat, and she was ‘poorly’ on our bedspread – and the bedroom floor – and the landing. After manically clearing and cleaning everything (and still getting to the cinema on time) I found myself pondering how we came to have 2 cats.

Our first cat was bought in a flurry of maternal instinct just before Annie found out she was pregnant with our first son. Named Billy, this was an approximation of Bilī, (the Hindi word for cat) We were working with  children who spoke English as a second language at the time, and it seemed natural after having gerbils called Eka and Du’I (One and Two).

Billy met a sad end while we were away on holiday. When we got back our housesitter said she hadn’t seen the cat for a few days, she had kept putting food out (indicate overflowing cat dish) but hadn’t seen Billy for a few days. A hunt around the outside of the flats later we found that Billy’s nemesis, the dog from the end flat, had finally caught her unawares.

To placate an upset 2 year old we let him choose a new pet. He selected a goldfish, and we breathed a sigh of relief at the prospect of a short-lived pet that would help us to teach about the circle of life etc. I should add at this point that ‘Fishy’ – as she was named – is still very much alive and well. She has a huge tank that takes up half a kitchen counter, survived a house move involving two days in a margarine tub and a Christmas in a bucket due to a broken tank/flooded kitchen type incident.

With the power of the internet, (not readily available when we got her) we now know that goldfish can live for upwards of twenty years. The World Wide Web is full of stories of fish in their twenties living with the parents of their previous owners (now grown up and left home), all still bearing suitably childish names such as Splish, Splash and Goldy.

Anyway, back to the cats, we moved house (with the fish in a tub) and eventually decided to get a new kitten – enter Siousxsie.  Suze is a model cat, apart from over grooming when she is anxious. She sporadically goes on Cat Prozac’ when her daily routine of sleeping and eating and….not much else, becomes too stressful. Although sleeping on the roof of the beehive doesn’t bother her in the least.

Then a couple of years ago a friend presented us with a scruffy, abandoned fluffy white kitten with some black bits. He came on Halloween and was named Scooby – obviously. Quite possibly the stupidest cat to ever walk the face of the earth, he kept us amused constantly with his filthy, muddy nonchalant, mouse catching, unhygienic antics. These sadly came to an end when the postman rang on the doorbell one Saturday and asked if we had a black and white cat, as he’d just run one over.

“No” I replied, “ours is white and black.”

Postman Pat just looked at me…

Scooby was much loved and much missed, but not irreplaceable apparently. One night last winter Annie and the boys went out, only to return a couple of hours later with a tiny black Russian kitten. Called Koshka, which is Russian for she – cat, she has settled into the hubbub of family life.

The joy of having two black cats to sit on the stairs in the dark and bring dead rodents into our house is immense. All the warm places, hidey holes and comfy chairs are permanently occupied and there’s always someone to sit and keep me company if I need it. Also, this year’s American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cat of the year was also called Koshka (http://www.pawnation.com/2013/11/22/aspca-names-cat-and-dog-of-the-year/)

which I will take as a good omen.

The best laid plans

Or, more fully;

 ‘The best laid plans of mice and men, often go awry’.

Or, even more fully;

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(From Robert Burns’ poem ‘To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough’)

The fact that this blog was going to be titled ‘Christmas is coming…’ should be ample evidence of the truth of the quote. I was going to get into the whole December, cards, present buying, carol singing, decorations going up vibe. But after a busy and stressful week with a sick (ish – mostly snotty) child, I’m not feeling so festive now.

In fact, the most festive thing in our house at the moment is the Christmas themed toilet paper. I can’t help but think that this doesn’t really evoke the true spirit of the season. Although I will concede it could be quite cathartic if one had really had enough.

So – this week didn’t go as I had planned. I had a list of things I wanted/needed to get done and had mentally planned out my days accordingly, a mind map of my week to come. I have job applications to fill in, the housework slipped last week and I was going to have a catch up, some ‘me’ time at the skatepark if the weather held up, read some more of my book, get a haircut. All these things interspersed with several meetings – none of which I was looking forward to. In the end most of those things didn’t happen – except the meetings, hurrah!

The first meeting was with senior officers from the local health service. I arrived on time (early even!) took my jumper off and realised the sleeve of my freshly pressed blue shirt had been ‘snotted’ – extensively. I brazened it out and kept myself sitting at an angle to the table so it wasn’t so obvious. I think I got away with it, but it was a warning for what the week held in store.

A similar amount of disgusting slime has adorned my clothing for most of the week, in spite of my best efforts to remain clean. I had to do an emergency trip to the shops to restock on tissues and lots of time has been spent entertaining the poorly one. Work has been put off, trips cancelled, the cat hasn’t been to the vet, shopping needs to be done the skatepark was left unskated etc.etc.

 This week did not go as planned, what does?  Plans change, things go off kilter and in the end you need to take a deep breath and go with the flow. I guess I can always get my hair cut next week, I can blog about Christmas nearer to the big day, I will catch up with myself and make some new plans (or ‘a list’ as it’s referred to in our house) and start again.

P.S. The alternative to the quote from Burns is this proverb;

‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’

Maybe that should have been my motto, it sounds more like me than the other one.