Posted by: peterhact | August 21, 2012

Why doesn’t he get it?

The S&D cat module seems to have a problem with the idea that if he miaows at me all the time, I will pay him lots of attention. Today, while I was on the phone, he was in a complete little world of his own. He wanted to come in. he wanted to go out. he wanted a drink. he wanted a bit of food. Hmm.

I took the screen out of the laundry window, put a plank over the sink and opened the window. There. now he can get what he wants and leave me alone. Is it ever so simple? Not when the S&D Cat module is concerned. Miaow! Miaow! “what do you want?” pick cat up, push through window. CRASH! hmm. back into the house, check the cat cave (laundry), find that the plank has fallen in the sink. right. reattach the plank, leaving the cat in the laundry. BANG! scrabble, scrabble, THUD! what the hell was that? The S&D cat module has jumped on the plank, it has fallen into the sink, and he has panicked, thinking that I intend to bath him. do I have  “You don’t have to be insane to attempt to bath a cat, but it helps” tattooed on my forehead? Would I even contemplate bathing a cat when I am running low on bandages and dettol? not on your life.

right. reattach plank with heavy duty clamps, check trajectory, make sure cat scratching post (in pristine condition) is outside the window for landing site, close door and answer the phone. Why is the cat scratching post in pristine condition? because he doesn’t sharpen his claws on it. he prefers the door frames, the wire mesh on the windows, my lounge and, I am pretty certain, the sharpening stone.

Finish the phone call and go outside to see if he is out there. Nope. Hmm.

Softly call his real name to see if that will madden him enough to jump out to attack me. “B*****s!” It has worked. Too well. Now I am running around the backyard with a broom to fend him off. he is yowling and slashing. Finally manage to get inside and close the glass sliding door.

Did I mention that he is pretty old and seems to not get the concept of glass sliding doors, even though the door has a range of stickers at cat height on it? (thanks kids, for the stickers) He is thundering towards the door. This is not going to end well. In a panic, I throw open the door and scream “Get away, you damn cat!” this has the desired effect as he loses his balance and rolls to a stop at the door mat. now I am being subjected to the hurt look. This is the look he reserves for visitors, who all think that I am exaggerating. This look says, “Look at me, I am such a nice cat, but HE treats me badly.” under the hurt look, you start to feel like maybe you should let him in to relax on the sofa,  if he shreds it a bit he might feel better.

It is the ultimate in cat hypnotism. There is a bug that makes cysts in your brain that makes you love cats. it is called toxoplasmosis, and usually rats get it, but humans can get it too. even though the cysts would probably fail after trying to get people to love the S&D Cat Module. Nothing is that good.  Cat hypnotism is different. you feel bad for making the cat feel bad, and it takes a strong mind to realise that you are being hypnotised.

This is when the sliding door is closed, the curtains are drawn and I go and make a coffee. Unfortunately, the all areas access miaow can find me.

At least it is the end of the day. I remove the plank, close the window, put the screen back and lock it, put the highly smelly cat food in the bowl, then close and lock the laundry door – the inside one. I go outside and open his door to the cat cave. He saunters in, doesn’t even look at me, and I close the door. Another day over.

I wonder why he can’t use the window? Why doesn’t he get it?

Because a cat has staff, Dogs have masters.

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Posted by: peterhact | August 21, 2012

The perils of late night photography

There are many things that you see when taking photos at night, some are interesting, some are a tad strange and others are downright dangerous. The interesting things can include lake reflected lights, thunderstorms, interestingly lit buildings. These things I like. The strange stuff can include a steamed up rocking car, security guards who take a very keen interest in what I am photographing, police who also seem interested in why I am up on top of a mountain on a really cold night, and tourists who are up there too – with no clue that the bit they are looking at is in fact the Canberra CBD, not parliament house. The “Guide” that they have with them has no clue, either.

The dangerous stuff includes the drunks, the shady characters, the hoons and my personal favorites, the drivers who insist on doing 20 in an 60 zone, with their high beams on. (startling other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians) They each have their own personal points to watch out for:

1. The Drunks: usually, cold nights seem to stop these people from venturing out of the pub. For some reason, there was a group of them down at the lake, looking at the purty lights. In hindsight, they had probably driven there. These people seem harmless, but are very annoying. It is only when they make a grab for the camera that you realise you are in trouble. Luckily, I subscribe to the “walking very fast away towards my car” philosophy. if you hurry off, they don’t seem to want to follow. Security guards and police also seem to materialize around these people – always a good thing.

2. The Shady Characters: I am buggered if I know what they are up to. The lake has never been a place for shady deals, there are far too many lights and other people. But they usually sidle past, avoiding the camera completely. Never a problem, set the flash to stun and they soon leave.

3. The hoons: the 70 zones on mountain roads are there for a reason. the roads are steep. sitting an inch from my back bumper won’t make me go faster, in fact it may make me slow down. if you want to drive like a maniac, please do it when I am not around. I really dislike the prospect of having to pull your mangled body out of your car when you hit a kangaroo, the side of the road or another car, cyclist or pedestrian. (yes, some people like to walk down roads in the dark, in dark clothing)

4. The highbeam slow drivers: Two words for you: buy glasses. High beam lights are no good in street lights. If you can’t see, get your eyes checked. really.

Then there is the wildlife. Wildlife gets its own back when you are standing on a hill and something crashes through the brush past you. Or you are walking up a path and it suddenly gets really crowded with animals. Its enough to not need a toilet stop on the way home. all manner of things can greet you at dusk or dawn, or in the middle of the night. kangaroos mostly. There is the odd feral swan or duck that wants to see if you have any food – fingers appear to be a new form of snack.

Down by the Lake, it is usually swans. Don’t use your flash, they don’t react well…

Sometimes, I wonder how I manage to get photos at all.

 

One visitor seemed to think that old cats aren’t still set on wholesale destruction of “nice things” like lounges. I cannot have nice things. I have children and a cat. One group decorates nice things with crayons, play-dough and plasticene, the other tears huge gashes in fabric, sharpens his claws on wood and generally makes everything have that “velociraptors were here” look about them.

Leather lounges are not cat proof. Cats love leather lounges. What else gives you a place to sleep, a place to pretend you are a velociraptor and able to gut the lounge before crawling into the hole in the lounge like a sabre toothed cave cat? I am tempted just to seal the hole with electrical tape, but that could end with a scene from alien as the maddened cat rips up through the lounge and between my legs. Visitors probably wouldn’t understand. Actually, some people just don’t seem to understand that cats are not all fluffy and cute. (The S&D Cat Module was cute. he was. once upon a time. Okay, maybe not cute, but certainly less scary.)

I decided to let the S&D Cat module out of the Cat Cave (Laundry) into the house for some “Together time” last night. It took me till 1am to capture him and put him back in the cat cave. It took a few hours this morning to put the house back into a state of clean, and throw out a rug that had been reduced to fluff. Somebody had a load of fun with the rug. Good job it wasn’t an expensive or important one.

He is now outside, refusing to come in, telling me that he is very happy out there thankyou very much and he will call when it is time to come in. (His calling involves miaowing for a few hours until I feel like I am going slightly mad) Sometimes, I just don’t understand why I listen to visitors or their crazy ideas, I mean, he is happy, why mess with the formula?

Then there is the sudden appearance of rain. Rain causes cats to become small balls of static, or wet or a combination of both. Rain is also accompanied by large amounts of screaming that it is raining, the cat is getting wet and they have reconsidered the offer to come in and have graciously accepted the offer. Now LET ME IN! Depending on my mental state, the cat is either let in straight away, or in the case where I am at the end of the miaowing, left out to understand that cat nagging will. not. work. really.

Currently, we have had a small dose of maddies. The S&D Cat Module is tearing around the house, leaping off the lounge, flying past me as I sit in my work chair and skidding on the tiled floor. There may or may not be a couple of involuntary 360 degree spins in there. I have herded him in to the cat cave. I have thrown food in, closed the door and am listening to him dismantling the washing machine. It isn’t my fault that the lid was left open. He is lucky I wasn’t running a soak or spin cycle. (the spin cycle would be funnier, like an overgrown hamster in a treadmill)

Looks like tomorrow is a rainy day. The S&D Cat module will be up at his usual time of 6am, screaming to be let out. How long till he realises that its raining? in a split second after being let out. Oh, well. Better get some sleep before it is cat alarm time.

Posted by: peterhact | August 9, 2012

The good old dating scene…. where did it go?

I have mentioned that dating is pretty cut-throat these days. I have mentioned that online dating is a scary place, especially when you find that the nice girl you have been speaking to turns out to be a hairy bloke, who thinks that your parents mis-named you and your name is actually the female version of your name. (there are more worrying things that surface when you find out that you have both been chatting to a bloke, eg. how do you exit stage left)

What I have found particularly confusing is that, once a site matches you to another person, it is not as simple as catching up with them and off to your new happy life. Oh, no. That would be really easy, wouldn’t it? The reality is that before you actually meet with the person, you have to answer several questions, explain your turn ons and turn offs, (although the longer I am single, a turn off is when they turn out to be a bloke, (aaargh) and a turn on is that the girl has a heartbeat) and finally, if the negotiated pathway to love hasn’t ended in you being chucked into a blackberry bush, left sitting like a fool in a cafe because they came in, saw you and chickened out, you get to meet a possible new partner.

Before there were the kids, it would have been a lot simpler. It probably would have involved a pub, lots of alcohol and waking up next to a woman that for whatever reason had chosen to stay, or (more realistically) had been so drunk that driving wasn’t an option, nor was coherent speaking – taxi drivers love the woman who cannot speak, they have to play 200 questions to find out the basics, like at least the suburb. Many have been disappointed to find that they live a suburb away, but what woman wants to walk home alone in the dark?

Not to say that my friends aren’t trying to help me find my next love of my life. Of course, I have no intention of dating anyone’s sister, co worker or their wife’s best friend – nice try guys, but there has to be more fish in the sea than people that if I was dating, you’d get to see more of. (mainly without upsetting your partner – ogling a bloke’s girlfriend is ok, if in the case of a co-worker; your sister, on the other hand, that is just wrong. eeew) The kids are just as bad. “What bout her, daddy, you like her don’t you?” Nine times out of ten, the person is obviously married – the 9 foot tall man mountain is a dead giveaway, or they are very, very young. (kids operate in the assumption that if you are over ten, you are old. Daddy isn’t that old, grandpa is much older, so these people are ok) There is an excruciating moment of embarrassment as daddy turns a shade of pink, which is seized on by small helpers. “are you excited daddy? why have you gone a funny color?” this only makes the blush worse, and probably creates a small amount of mirth for the person at which the small helpers are directing me.

Then there was the case of the nice lady at the nature park, the volunteer who was very happy to assist us with learning about lizards, gave her binoculars to my youngest son (a bad move, he was smitten) and explained to the kids all about the animals they might see. She was a nice lady. So nice, that every weekend after that was an opportunity to meet her again. (the kids wanted to go there every time. It was cute, but devastating as she wasn’t there every time we went back, maybe she could see the signs of small boy infatuation)

That was the olden days, as I explained to my kids. You saw a nice lady, asked her if she was seeing anyone and if she wasn’t and was interested, maybe you would have a coffee and a chat. Those days have been replaced by the internet, chat, confusion and the fear that the nice lady turns out to be a hairy bloke, just as confused as you by the whole new dating scene.

Then there is the whole rejection by a “match”. There are subtle ways to let people down easy. Many ways to say no. unfortunately, getting a rejection online is just as soul destroying as it was in the olden days. You pick yourself back up, and try again. This is worse than selling – the number of “no” should be 9 in 10 times, recently I have noticed that it is more like of the 30 women you approach, 29 say no. the other one finds out you have kids and is washing their hair. permanently. I am surprised she has any hair left.

Here I am, Divorced, I can cook, I can clean, I have kids and it seems that the perfect match is the one person out there who wants me to send money so she can come to Australia to meet me. Shame. I have no money to send. Looks like I will be alone for a while longer then. At least I have the kids.

I am not depressed. I am disappointed. How is it that for the recent census results, women outnumber men in canberra, but I can’t find one to be my friend and partner? drop your standards, ladies. The Hairy bloke and I deserve a chance to speak to a real woman, not other blokes, missing the good old dating scene, stuck in the new dating scene and confused as hell as to why we are continually being matched to men, when there are less men than women here. Oops, got to go. just got a message from a new person, named Steve. Looks like a new one. Time to explain that my name is spelled correctly, I don’t like blokes in that way and sending an email to the dating site probably gets lots of laughs in the office.

Posted by: peterhact | August 6, 2012

Why Cats are far superior to Humans (and Dogs)

Ok, Time to write the next installment  in the S&D Cat module chronicles. Funny, I don’t remember leaving this page open with a new post ready to go. Or that inane title. Hmm. The S&D cat module is purring again. He is up to something. Yes, I noticed that he has been typing, but I guess to understand the type of intellect I am dealing with, you need to see it for yourself. Tonight, the S&D Cat Module has outdone himself. His typing seems to be hitting random keys that he thinks makes words. in his language, they probably mean something. what hdljgfglnbcdiuerwbds means is anyone’s guess. maybe it is gloating about the nasty litter box I cleaned tonight. I mean, there are some things I don’t understand, like how a cat of his size can produce that much uuurgh. I was dry retching in seconds. through a gas mask. with air freshener pumping sweet vanilla into the room 24/7.

As for the title, Cats are not far superior to humans. He cannot:

1. operate a tin opener:

although in a cat world, there would be no tins. therefore, no tin openers required. There probably wouldn’t be any humans, dogs, birds, mice or cats. The cats would eat their way to extinction.

2. manage to keep his litter in his box:

Am I being sexist? no, male cats seem to have greater kicking power. Litter is deeper outside of the litter box. though after a few beers, blokes cannot hit the trough. small boys have terrible aim. maybe it is a male thing.

3. open doors:

Open doors might lead to other cats, humans, dogs and, this is worst case, you understand, birds getting in. this would lead to bad things happening to a cat, the house, and ultimately, mostly the cat when the humans worked out what caused the trashed, stinking and feather covered house.

4. close doors:

where do kittens come from? probably was born in a barn.

5. recognise that when someone is on the phone, meowing continuously is deemed annoying.

of course, in a cat world, there would be no annoying phones, all attention would be on the cat and we would do as we are told. Unfortunately, not the case. Cat complaints are not appreciated whilst on the phone. Not just to me, but to the person on the other end of the phone.

6. operate a gun:

there is a murray magpie that screams at him when he is napping. If he could work out how a gun worked (not that I own one) and how to pull the trigger, there would be one less bird in the world. Probably less people, dogs, mice, rats. Lets face it. if a cat had a gun and could use it, things would be very different around here.

7. Work as a part of a team:

this will never, ever happen. cats just don’t do teams. or (shudder) work.

As for dogs, loyal and subservient to humans? says it all, really. How can something with that many teeth and a bark that has the power to put an elderly cat into a coma be loyal and subservient? if cats were the ancient wolves, there would have been no domestication, just a systematic extinction plan for all humans. except the slaves. you need slaves. Who else builds monuments and statues dedicated to cats?

The S&D Cat module has discovered that, while dealing with the litter, I filled his bowl with entrails and offal. Not my own, but an unnamed beast. He is busy making short work of it. this is busy and tiring work. he will have a nap afterwards, in the sun. now, where is that damn bird? Screech! screech! ah. right on cue.

was I laughing? no, I don’t think I was. ah. I smiled, did I? I was reading a funny article. You are very fluffy after the bird scared you? he got you again, did he? what is that? no, I am not buying that. no guns in this house. you can’t work it anyway. What do you mean, “make my day”?

In life, we help other people all the time. Sometimes, it is a simple direction to a location, other times it is explaining how to use the VCR. The helper feels good helping the helpee (I know it isn’t a word) the first time. This is fine. Problem solved. Next.

If the helpee is asking for help from a helper and it is IT related, all bets are off. No matter how many times you explain to a non computer user how to use the computer, there will be more questions, more problems and eventually, the helper is the one who needs to seek professional help. They become the helpee, and the new helper is the psychiatrist, who is very happy to help, after all, they get paid large sums of money to help.

Why is this so?

For a start, helpees that need a helper are usually family members. They have a special control at their disposal, the Guilt Mechanism. This control prevents the attempts to charge large sums of money for your help, which probably pays the shrink for their help. The Guilt Mechanism also prevents helpers from ignoring pleas for help. you are trapped. It is help or be damned. (off the christmas list, no presents, invitations to family get togethers cancelled)

So now you are stuck. Helping someone to understand the computer, the mouse, the internet, email, printing.

Here are the individual hells related to each:

The computer: There have been books written to help non computer users become proficient computer users. Really. In plain english. The reason that family members never get them is simple: you don’t cost money. (you probably do, but the guilt mechanism took care of that when the VCR wasn’t working properly) The books may be fantastic, but they aren’t free. Unfortunately, explaining how a computer works is like teaching a cat to sit and roll over. You know what you have in your head, but some things were never meant to be explained in a language that you have lots of trouble using: the dreaded calm, pleasant and above all devoid of human emotion voice that your mother uses with her friends. around a coffee table, comparing notes about who did what and whatever happened to your nice young lady, you know, she was a bit strange, but you don’t seem to keep them, do you dear?

If you can master that voice, you are already on the way to deal with family computing 101. Then life throws you a road block.

The Mouse: The first time I mentioned that there was a mouse in the box, the family member I was helping took to the hills, screaming. So I unpacked the computer, set it up, set up the operating system, and waited for them to come back. (there is a method to this madness, if you set up the computer with the helpee present, there are over 200 questions that will be asked.) Right. so the mouse is a little plastic thing with a tail that is actually a cord. It is not furry, it does not squeak (it does if it has a ball and hasn’t been cleaned in a while (shhh)). Pretend it is a way of moving the little arrow around on the screen. See? now you try. These three words seem harmless. the mouse is pretty easy to get after a while (month) to do what you want and if you click the buttons, things happen. Unfortunately, buoyed by the successful knowledge gain of the mouse controls, there is a whole lot of clicking going on. windows are closing, things that you had carefully set up are disappearing and the family member is having a wonderful time. shame you aren’t. Then they want to see the internet.

The internet: DO NOT let family members listen to Nice People in Computer Stores. They are there to a) sell things, b) shift slow stock and c) make money. They are not there to help, they are the antithesis of help. One family member was happily using Dial-UP after they were told that ADSL wasn’t available to them. It was, I called the ISP myself. The Nice Man in the Store disagreed. He managed to stitch up the family member for a new computer (what the? the other one was a month old) dial up connection and the complete office package. The sum they paid was staggering.

Step the family member through setting up the internet, if they haven’t got a disk from the ISP. Make sure they click only as needed and nobody gets hurt. If they are in another city, invest in VoIP. the three hour phone calls will not be charged lightly. Now they are on the internet. good. Also remind the family member that clicking on ignore when the internet security software asks to update is never a Good Idea. It is there to protect them, however an inherent fear of the world of ICT works just as well.

Email: No email. email is broken. I could write a book on email alone. not going there.

Printing: Printing is always fun. The printer needs to be on, with plenty of paper and ink (or toner) in it. If none of these things have already occurred, leave it in the box. I will set it up when  I visit next.

oops. Got to go. I will be late for therapy. No, I can’t help you write me an email.

Posted by: peterhact | July 31, 2012

Welcome to Australia! A guide for new arrivals.

New arrivals to Australia means that you chose to come here for a holiday, you are an immigrant, you are a refugee. Doesn’t matter why, you are here now.

Welcome.

There are a couple of things to be aware of, important things about this country, its flora, fauna and the people.

Lets start with the country.

1. Australia is a very big place. It is massive. There are wide expanses of nothing, no towns, no cities, just a road. Consequently, there is a distinct lack of water in the interior of this big country. Australia has deserts, mountain ranges and in these areas, things do grow here, but if you are new to Australia, eating any of the plants you find will probably kill you, so don’t bother.

Closer to the Ocean, there are cities, there are towns, there is an abundance of water and plants. Again, don’t eat the plants, if you don’t know what it is, it will probably kill you as well. That isn’t to say that there aren’t towns in the interior, but they are very widely spaced out.

Most new arrivals never go anywhere near the centre of Australia. For that matter, neither do the locals. Some older Australians become a strange nomad called the grey nomad, who travel in herds of caravan pulling cars, motor homes and set up camp where the view is good, and there are already signs of other grey nomads. These people have decided to see the bits of Australia that they read about in magazines. Unfortunately, those places disappeared when the magazines were published. many are friendly, but there is the odd few who don’t like change. By change, I mean anyone who is not like them. Steer clear of them. They will say all manner of nasty things about you, even though they have never seen you before.

2. The Flora of australia is designed by nature to survive in dry places, wet places like rainforests, and everything in between. Most of the australian native plants are going to hurt you in some way – either by being covered by prickly leaves or being toxic. Eucalypts are very toxic. Koalas can eat them, not humans.

3. The fauna of Australia falls into 2 distinct categories:

1. Things that can kill you

2. things that probably could kill you, but haven’t yet.

Australia has a large number of poisonous snakes. It has a large number of snakes, but there are some really nasty ones here. A python can bite, then leave you alone, but a King Brown keeps biting till you are dead. This snake is not very nice at all.

Some of the creatures found here look harmless, but they can hurt you. Kangaroos can kill with one kick. Wombats are made with steel reinforced bones and a layer of concrete for blood. Driving into a wombat is like running into a brick wall. They always survive encounters, but your car, your family or both will be wrecked. Platypus are funny looking, but have poisonous spurs on their back legs. Can you see the pattern emerging? everything here is dangerous.

There are two other natives to watch out for, they are:

Spiders – Australia has a large number of killer spiders. It has a couple of harmless ones, but the risk you take to identify the nice ones may end with a bite from the nasty ones. Avoid spiders.

Marine animals – We get great white sharks here. Nothing great about them. We get small poisonous octopus, jellyfish, strange fish that look like stones that can kill, stingrays, in fact, avoid the sea. It is easier.

There are apparently animals called the yowie, and the bunyip. Having never seen one, but have heard about them, they are equally dangerous.

Right.

So a pattern is emerging. There are things that can kill you, plants that can kill you, the land can kill you, it is a really dangerous place.

Now for the people.

Again, there are two types here:

The ones who are happy that you chose to visit / live here

These people are everywhere, They are helpful, they are kind and they make your stay if you are a tourist a fun one. If you have come here for a fresh start, they might be your neighbours. These people don’t care where you are from, They are happy that you are here.

and

The ones who aren’t.

These people are convinced that your arrival coincides with the lack of jobs, lack of housing, the economy is in trouble, you name it, it is all your fault. Don’t try to win arguments with them. You won’t. Don’t try to explain your reasons for coming here. They don’t listen.

Funnily enough, many of the people protesting that you have taken their jobs haven’t ever had one. But if they wanted one, it is gone. You have it now. It is all your fault.

Topics to steer clear of until you understand them are Politics and Sport. Politics is just too hard to understand, pointing out where they went wrong only gets you in more trouble. If you are living here now, you may need to vote. Here is the education that you never thought you needed. If anyone asks who you voted for, keep it to yourself. The correct answer is no answer.

Sport takes years to understand. Football is not always soccer, rugby is either union or league, and there is also Australian Rules football. (don’t worry if you don’t understand what it is all about, most australians don’t get it either)

One small but important tip is that you should either learn english (not australian – learning australian may get you into trouble as the catchphrases used by characters like Crocodile Dundee are usually never used in cities) before you arrive or after you arrive. (if you are a tourist, bit tricky) Speaking english allows you to converse with the locals.

You will hear a strange language. Australianisms were born here from the colonial and convict past. The language is pretty earthy, but there are people who use proper english – usually people who have moved here a while ago.

It is only a small introduction to Australia, but there are the key things to remember:

1. If you go to the deserts and remote areas, take plenty of water.

2. Most plants will kill you.

3. Most animals, insects, marine life will either kill or make you very sick.

4. Avoid or ignore certain people.

5. Learn english.

Good luck!

Posted by: peterhact | July 23, 2012

Healthy Weight and the S&D Cat Module

As was pointed out recently, we were at the vet. Now there was an Issue Raised that is (apparently) All My Fault. The Search & Destroy Cat Module is overweight. Considerably. I asked the vet to take into consideration the copious amount of winter fur that the S&D Cat Module is currently carrying, but he blames me. (the cat, not the vet) The vet has suggested a couple of things of interest, but he suggested (at this point I cracked up laughing) an exercise regime. Picture a large cat on a treadmill.  I would have to hang up a whole tuna at the other end, blowing any attempts at a diet change. The vet claims I am not taking him seriously. He is correct.

The S&D Cat Module is not overweight. his is just a bit bigger with his winter coat. The way the vet was talking, he is a pillow or cushion with legs. This is not correct. He is still prone to maddies, overly large cats cannot do that. He can still smack the snot out of other cats. Overweight cats get puffed raising a paw. He is just big. He can chase the birds away from our vege patch. Overweight cats would have a heart attack trying to get up the stairs. (we have a raised backyard) He can clear wheelbarrows in a single bound, he can climb trees, (although getting down seems to be trickier than getting up – cue wailing cat 5 feet off the ground) just don’t laugh, otherwise the sudden burst of speed rivals a cheetah. Overweight cats cannot climb trees. they cannot run, jump or attack. Hmmm.

I suggested the vet continue the checkup – maybe by checking how low the cat stomach is hanging down – I am a bastard sometimes. There are several places that have Do Not Touch written on them. The big one is his bum, but vets disregard the warning, usually with the torture device known as the thermometer. Call it whatever you want. sticking it there seems not to be as much fun as vets make it out to be. Hell-o!

The stomach is also a place of do not touch.

Cats are like venus flytraps. they lie on their back in the sun, with the tantalising soft belly hair inviting you to pat them. Do so, and the trap snaps shut. four paws and lots of claws hold you, the fangs do the rest. The kids like to use a peacock feather to demonstrate this. It cracks them up. The S&D Cat Module ends up with a face full of feather, and the kids survive till next time. ( I DO NOT Laugh at this – at least in earshot)

There are other places, but nobody seems to do anything to them. they are boring places.

The stomach is where the vet has to put his hands to check for lumps, check the size of the kidneys and make sure that the cat’s heart is beating regularly. He always warms up the stethoscope after the nasty “Got your hand” incident. It was his fault (the vet, not the cat) – the cat had been shaved for an operation, the stethoscope was cold….

I am certain a picture is forming in your head.

I am certain that it doesn’t include flailing, screaming or trying to extricate a wedding ring that is hooked on a tooth, holding the poor man’s hand in place.

So we have the checks done. the S&D Cat Module is now on reduced rations, one of those tiny tins for fussy cats. he can eat as much dried cat food as he likes and drink plenty of water. The S&D Cat Module is not a happy cat. It is all my fault. How come I am eating steak when he is eating cat (shudder) food? Easy. since buying smaller portions, I can afford steak once again.

Posted by: peterhact | July 21, 2012

Talking about dating…

Dating. That daunting exercise to find another ms or miss right. I thought I was over the whole dating scene when I got married. Now that I have been separated and divorced, I find myself in the unique position of trying to find that special someone again. Unique? not really. I am one of very many people who have had the deck of cards shuffled so that they have to go out and look again. Back in the day, gosh, 15 years ago, I was able to grease the wheels of the love train with alcohol. Now, in the brighter light of sobriety, I have no way to hide my imperfections, no quick road to love via a copious amount of bundy and cokes. I am naked, exposed to the world, (not literally. In canberra, I would be cold and dead) and you see what you get, no mystery here any more.

So, who am I for the prospective love interest? what talents have I that could attract a mate? can I puff out my chest and beat it to show how tough I am? (I could, but then I have to stop and wait for the stars to go away from my eyes) My mother told me to list my positives. Hmm.

1. I can Cook. And, (apparently this is surprising) enjoy doing so.

2. I can clean. I really don’t like to clean, but if I didn’t, I would end up on one of the nasty programs about disgusting houses. I think it is easier to clean now.

3. I can listen. Sorry, what did you say? (kidding)

4. I know I am losing my hair. It really doesn’t worry me. Honestly, I am not shaving my head, and I don’t have a comb over. Advanced Hair? pass.

5. I can… (censored) a lot. I am not making this about prowess or anything sordid. It has been a while, but I am sure I can remember what to do. eventually. It is like riding a bike, right?

6. I am good with kids. Mine or other kids. Little known fact: I worked as a clown for a while. with kids. at parties. the memories are always there. Other little known or littler known fact: I used to work for the YMCA as a Leader, which meant I can help small boys learn not to wet the bed. Not so good with girls, but my 7year old daughter is an education all by herself.

7. I don’t drink. I can, but I have small kids with me on weekends. Hangovers and 5 year olds don’t ever work out well. I have scaled back to once in a blue moon.

8. I have no clue about fashion. If you tell me that you want peach throw rugs on a green leather lounge, sure. (this is also a negative – I think black jeans, ACDC tShirt & Flannie is the height of fashion. (kidding))

9. I have no plans right now, want to take it really slow? sure. I would like to ensure that the person I am with is my wife before… oh, I don’t know, I kick the bucket. That gives you a window of at least 40 years.

10. My parents all live very far away. There will be no interference from them.

I suggested the negatives, but she couldn’t see the point.

1. I wear a suit every. working. day. I don’t dress up when at home on the lounge, after hours. I can dress up for a restaurant, but if the kids are with me, maccas have no dress codes.

2. I have no fashion sense. At all. if you tell me that something looks good on me, and it isn’t uncomfortable, I will wear it.

3. Full Moon influences me. (I don’t grow fangs, claws & copious amounts of hair, but the S&D Cat Module does)

4. The S&D Cat Module.

5. Did I mention the S&D Cat Module?

6. I do enjoy being on my own – in small doses.

7. I talk to myself, but that is because I have kids, a psychotic cat and no adult interaction.

8. I have mentioned the S&D Cat Module already, right? You meet him, you survive, you are the woman for me!

9. I am not interested in being mothered. I have one. two would be a bit awkward.

10. I am working until 6. every night.

So now I will cast my net and see what I can catch. The thing that scares me the most is that I am going to have to go on a date, make conversation and try to impress while not trying to bignote. I will listen avidly and pray I remember her name, what she tells me and what I need to respond with. It is like juggling chainsaws. Get it wrong and there won’t be a second chance, but there may be more chainsaws coming to visit soon.

The S&D Cat module is having a bit of trouble with his clicky hips. In the morning, the Canberra Winter makes everything including old cats slow and grumpy. The fog is not much fun either. After all, a bird in the fog is a BIG Surprise when you are looking for a warm and comfy chair to relax on. Then, in the afternoon, after the obligatory brain roasting in the sun, cats are slow for completely different reasons. They are not cold blooded, they do get rather hot in the afternoon sun, especially with a thick winter coat. Having a bird shatter his period of calm is just not on. He suffers from a bout of fluffyitis, and the bird usually exits, not from fear of the cat, but from the cloud of hair. The damn stuff gets everywhere.

Ah, cat hair. It keeps him warm, but it also seems to be shedding, growing back, shedding, growing back and filling every small corner of the backyard with a coating of hair. If I shed that much, I would be bald. and cold. I sweep it into a mass to be thrown in the bin, like a pile of leaves for the compost bin. (cat hair doesn’t compost well) and he insists in checking it for small squeaky things, chasing through it, spreading it back around the yard. Sigh.

The weather is a bit strange, these days of double-digit sun are welcomed, but it seems to be a prelude to Something Bad. The S&D Cat Module is convinced that we are going to enter the Great Ice Age, he is prepared, he has moved the cat igloo to face away from the door, and he will be fine in the post apocalyptic days of cold. If I freeze, well, there are a few meals to be had on me. or of me. The way he looks at me, as if he is working out the choice cuts is very disturbing. Purring whilst doing it just makes it all the more unnerving, I think the day is coming where he will be the last thing I see, dribbling above me as he pins my arms to the bed. Uurgh.

Cats seem to go funny in the head as they get older, resulting in the amusing tongue hanging out or the dribble that could fill a bath. Last time we experienced a major dribbling issue, I thought that it was raining and the roof had a leak. He was right above me on the bed headboard. Thank god I don’t sleep with my mouth open. come to think of it, do I? eeew.

The kids decided at 6am to let him into the house. what they think is actually 7am isn’t. The S&D Cat Module woke me with the kneading of my chest till I was a softer, tenderised cushion. or steak. I just don’t know these days. He seems to not understand that the cat pad, the room with the igloo in it is his room. He has also started stalking the kids. They think he is playing, but I know better. If he knows where they are when the cold snap comes, he can ensure that food is close to hand. It could also be that we are about to have a very hot spring and summer. this has not yet been thought of, but spring and summer when hot leads to my ultimate cat cooling method, also called the Baby Bath of Doom. He hates that bath, but he loves being cool. It is such a struggle to fight between no bath and hot and a bath and wet but cool.

There was a frost this morning. This is not good. I hope that he is wrong, and I am right….

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