My cat is not stupid.
He turns feral at the very sight of his cage and will endeavour any manner of trick to stay out of it.
First comes the spreadeagle approach. Taking advantage of the fact his owner only has two hands, he spreads his four legs out through the bars so that everytime I've freed one paw, three more are hanging on for dear life, thus ensuring you can't push him in. Failing that, he bites and scratches.
He knows what cages mean. They mean being propelled at full speed in a metal contraption on wheels to the vet, meeting two big scary dogs in the doorway at the other end, and having a thermometer shoved up your bum in a most undignified manner.
All the way to the vet little Mr is mewing his head off, attacking the bars of his cage. Then, as soon as the vet lifts him out he goes all docile and does as he's told. The vet assures me cats are just as easy to handle when I have to give him eyedrops, three times a day for seven days. The vet has a twisted sense of humour.
It's heartbreaking enough being the sole perpetrator of these evil acts; kidnapping and caging an innocent animal, then forcing him to torturous poking and prodding by a man in a lab coat. (That's the way I imagine an animal must see it). But whats worse is how easy vets make it look - and therefore how stupid you must be - when pussy has made mincemeat of your arm, torn the living room apart and disappeared in fear for his life, while I'm still standing there holding a little tube of splattered, and let me assure you, unused liquid.
My cat is not stupid.
I woke up, got dressed and went out to get some milk. Once back in the car I decided against going home. I kept on driving for an hour and found myself in the Wairarapa instead. For international readers this is one of New Zealands famed wine regions known for its pinot noir. I did a Sideways Movie kind of trip for a pint of milk.
Life is an adventure and you have to be ready for it. Admittedly, this won't work everytime. I could not call the office and say "Postpone the meeting, don't know when I'll be back," fly to America and scoop an Oscar next year. I am pretty sure I could not steal Brad from Angelina, or Angelina from Brad for that matter - she is so hot she could steam up a straight woman too. There are limits to what we can wish for. The best method is to work with what you got.
The point is using these two little words; I CAN. You have a choice to do something or not to do it. It's up to you. Work with the choices you do have to create the ones you want to have.
Today is not a good day for spontaneous wine tasting tours so a nice cup of tea will have to do instead of a tasty chardonnay while soaking in a claw foot bubble bath. Plus I had better do some work so I can pay for the luxury hotels in my future.
Here's some good advice if you have to take a child to a restaurant. Don't.
If you must delude yourself that they will be on their best behaviour then be prepared. Take crayons and paper for them to amuse themselves. This will tide you over until the first drink arrives. Then they'll be bored again.
If you're smart order their food first. Explain to little Johnny that "fries" are "chips" and yes it will be just like McDonalds. Try to relax and talk the adult talk with the people you came here to see. The kids will start to attack each other but don't panic. When the dispute with the forks has been settled their meals will arrive. They will then proceed to fling half of it around the room.
You're so frazzled rescuing flying chips that you just want the waiter with the raised eyebrow to go away. You point to the menu and take your chances. Make that two bottles of wine please and hurry...
The kids are now complaining loudly that the 'nuggets' they ordered don't look like nuggets. "Well of course they don't," an adult hisses. "They don't come in a bright yellow McDonald's bag here."
You try to explain how the chef lovingly crafted this meal out of homemade breadcrumbs and fresh chicken breast just for them. They don't care. It isn't food and they're not eating it. It's much more fun to play with.
Meanwhile adults eat their meals very slowly (but gulp their drinks very quickly) because in between mouthfuls they are berating Sally-Ann for interrupting diners and Johnny Junior for running between tables and stepping on the nice lady's coat.
At last! Ice-cream! That keeps them quiet for two whole minutes. Then we can shuffle these kids outside. A collective sigh of relief goes around the restaurant.
Mummy is outside explaining to her darling that "It's ok for Mummy to have a few drinks, I'm not flying the plane home today honey..." (And no she wasn't so drunk she was confusing her mode of transport, they were actually catching a plane).
All adults look at each other in desperation and part ways. A good time was had by all; all the patrons who did not sit at our table.
Last week was Information Overload and Overdone. Not just any Information Overloading or Overdoing either; mental, emotional, physical and researchical. I was busy, working and socialising simultaneously.
Ok there's no such word as researchical, I made it up. But I feel like I've used up that meagre 15% our brains can handle and am entitled to make up new words. I've earned it baby. I'm a genius super mum single gal career woman about town. I've got it all worked out - being perfect is easy!
Until things get out of control that is.
If everything just goes according to my To Do list then there isn't a problem. The problem is having a To Do list in the first place and accordingly life doesn't fit around it. When you're snowed under you get just how human you really are.
I was in career mode with back to back meetings all day (thankfully mostly in cafes around town upping the caffeine intake to get through it all). Yeah real tough. I also kept up the social butterfly end and attended the Wellington Walk on Air Fashion Extravaganza and ensuing VIP party afterwards. That was murder of course. The music was too loud and I must be getting old because I left early.
(Don't get me wrong, the show was fantastic, the party fab but I had too much to do, my period had slammed me in the face and there was a tickle starting in my throat).
The weekend did not head into cruise mode either, although it was marginally better than the previous weekend; a full speed wreck when guests stayed for a week with a bubba who hasn't learnt the sleeping patterns of the world yet through my paper thin walls.
I hadn't caught up on my own sleep yet but decided to vie for the Single Housewife of the Year Award anyway by baking up a storm for my new guests with bread, vanilla cake and cute little cheese muffins with smoked paprika sprinkled on top - the japanese themed dinner party went down well too. And yes, there definitely should be a category for Single Housewife because we have no husband to put the rubbish bin out or mow the lawn!
By Sunday I was more like Desperate Housewife. I was in bed coming unglued at the seams and refusing to come out from beneath the covers. I barely managed to finish an article for work that morning before a pounding headache, sniffles and some kind of delirium set in. It wasn't part of the plan but hey, I phoned my mummy and she took my daughter off my hands, I took the phone off the hook and stayed up far too late watching a program about human frailty. How very ironic.
Critters of all kind cannot expect the Welcome mat in any home, but my cat has just discovered the delights of inviting them in himself. To my horror the cat invited a weta to play on the kitchen floor (see attached picture). Although they do no harm they are not the kind of guest you associate with warm fuzzy feelings. God was having a bad day: "Let's get a Grasshopper, cover it in sticky toffee, spit roast it on a rotisserie and see what we've got eh?"
At first I thought "I am NOT removing that thing while it is still alive." So logic ensued that if I closed the hall door and left the cat to deal with it, in the morning I would be able to scoop up a dead weta (with a ten foot pole, protection gear and a 44 magnum incase a leg twitched) and dispose of it in the rubbish. But logic on a Saturday night with a bottle of wine doesn't work.
The cat tossing the thing in the air way above my head did not help my jitters which I why I chose to run and hide instead of confront fear, but in the morning things were worse. It's been three days now and there is no sign of the creepy-crawly.
Weta's are renowned for coveting damp dark areas like your shoe for instance; a very popular holiday destination. Now, whether the critter survived the cat and hid, or whether the cat thoughtfully disposed of his playmate outside I don't know. My shoes have been inspected and there's zilch.
But I don't want to take any chances. The house should be vacuumed sealed, cordoned off by the police, experts sent in, cat interrogated under a bright light and God reprimanded.
If Watashi Wa Salary Woman has had any luck with the cockroach then her advice would be greatly appreciated. Admittedly my critter doesn't fly but it is after all, only a matter of time before the cat brings home another toy to play with, if the original isn't still lurking somewhere...
Occasions on holiday that have the "What the...?" Factor:
When you're playing "I Spy" with a five year old and you say "I spy with my little eye something beginning with P," and they yell out confidently; "Pharmacist!"
When you sink into bed after a hard day, smell something bad, sniff closer and face plant yourself in a pile of cat poo hidden in the duvet.
When you play Pictionary with a five year old and they have to draw pictures so you can guess what it is to win; then they draw a house and claim it stands for "India."
When it suddenly seems a good idea after three bottles of wine to keep a fire going by cooking the books - because you've run out of crappy DVDs to burn. (Don't ask, call the latter a science experiment).
When you play Monopoly with a five year old who's never done it (it says on the box it's for eight and over) and she creams you with hotels on nine different spaces by the end.
When you feed the cute sassy ducks waddling onto your porch - and coo how lovely it is to see nature up close and personal, then have to wash duck poo off the deck afterwards.
When you go for a ride on a boat and forget to take the cover off the motor propeller.
When you have to pack up, come home and take said five year old to school on freezing winter mornings. What the...?
Think it's time for a holiday again.
I don't know about mornings. I always thought they were overrated and preferred to sleep through them whenever possible. Occasionally I would make a concerted effort to see a morning by staying up all night and stumbling home for breakfast. Eventually I had to grow up and get a real job. This was a shocker. I resolved then and there to get a job where I could work my own hours. Smug in my success I then had a child and that screwed everything up.
Children are notoriously famous for embracing mornings. I am notoriously famous for embracing my pillow. As the young redhead needs to be educated - so that in fifteen years she can gain sufficient skills to leave home and leave me to sleep in again - I resolved to make the best of it. (It should be noted that at that point she will finally be sleeping off the nights before while I will be wide eyed and chirpy having lost the habit of a lifetime thanks to her.) I use my mornings to exercise myself back into shape and - famous last words - they can be used to write myself awake. But according to this philosophy my morning still starts at 1pm.
I don't know. Something called "Life" annoyingly seems to get in the way. By the time the errands, housework, interrupted phone calls and the quick coffee called breakfast gets done the day is gone.
Then the day goes something like this; school rings and says your child is sick. You bring the child home and nurse them better. Then you get their sick. You bring them home and nurse yourself better.
It's a well known fact that meetings and appointments are clocked up back to back at the most inconvenient times. This is when friends and people need you urgently right now!, not later, and then unexpected crises weave themselves into the middle of that.
Take these examples that happened to me recently; the cat got attacked by a dog, my ex rang up having a nervous breakdown, someone pooed on the beanbag and hid the evidence until I stepped on it (on my way out of course), the car broke down, the computer broke down, my mother rang to say she was changing her will and needed me at the lawyers office right away...
Then it's time to pick up the redhead. And work? I'll get onto it first thing in the morning! Should be no problem...
It was a beautiful lunch date for which I was paying. And with a beautiful lunch date comes an etiquette that any self respecting human being knows (except for the millions who can't afford or don't rate beautiful lunch dates because there are more important things in life). Anyway, the rule is, when someone else is paying, you don't order the dish that is three times more expensive than everyone else's.
This guest obviously wagged the Respect Others Class in...um...school. This guest finally took the icing - and would have literally licked it right off my cake had I ordered that - when lunching at the superb LaBella Italia in Petone.
While I set the tone by ordering the Gnocchi in tomato and basil - it was just lunch after all - the lights went on at home for the following two guests; the first ordered the same and the second opted for pasta. But not the third. "Oh!" she said eyeing the menu. "I'll have the crayfish!"
Almost choking on my latte - I realized it was my own fault. This smacked of deju vu. I should have known.
Two nights previously we had dined at Il Casino and she had insisted apon the Lobster Bisque. That was after the $60 bottle of wine and before the impromptu singing performance with the piano guy (once the $60 had been drunk of course). Someone has obviously not told her how you exercise restraint.
But when that kind of attitude gives you the bravado to ask for a dance with Brendan Cole at the Dances with the Stars After Party I can almost forgive it.
I'd have loved his response had I interrupted their dancing to say "Be warned! She'll fleece you dry with her lunch order!" (However, beautiful as my friend is, Nicky Watson got in first). But given Brendans "bad boy" judging, I can only surmise he would have said something similar to what he said about Tim Shadbolt's dancing, if he had been at lunch with us. He might have exclaimed "What the hell was that?!"
Next time darl, take the cake, not the crayfish! Er...well you know what I mean...and can I get Shane Cortese with that please?
Ahh, the delights of cable TV. At the touch of the button I can now confuse myself even more with the astonishing array of absolute rubbish at my fingertips. I felt compelled to watch two hours of Jennifer Lopez explain her life simply because I'm paying for it (I've never watched anything by Jennifer Lopez other than a vague glance at the tabloids to see who her husband is this week). Unfortunately I cannot watch the lifestyle of a gnat on The Animal Planet at the same time to really get my money's worth. But my real fear was becoming some kind of couch potato information junkie. I can rest assured. The information is not there. It still is and always will be in your bog standard library.
To paraphrase the words of Eddie Izzard; "I do the easier form of research; I let the research come to me. Oh, a program about sharks. Now I know all about sharks!" Except according to Nat Geographic or Animal Planet, the only other animals on the planet besides sharks are crocodiles. And although I do love history, the history channel is history. I've learned nothing new since studying it in high school. Come to think of it, I suppose historical stories can't change much really...
Rialto should help. Rialto is where I wanted to up my intellectual cultural bent. Except I've seen all the good ones at the theatre. Really, pay TV is only good for sport and I don't do sport. So I didn't do it in my package either.
The indignity of such an omission almost saw the TV installer walk out on the job. My brother was outraged. "But what can I watch if I come over for dinner?" He spluttered (conversation is overrated apparently). "Why would you want to come and watch sport with your sister anyway?" I reminded him. The dispute was settled.
I turned on TV to see if anything was on. There wasn't.
I kept waiting to get bored but it didn't happen. Watching a play about four generations of working class women during the Depression where people wore drab clothes and had no sense of interior decorating seemed kind of, well...depressing really! I wasn't sure I was prepared to have a miserable time at a depressing play in yucky weather. It's not what Friday nights are about. But I can reassure you that this one is definitely about the Depression and not about putting you in one.
Geraldine Brophy directs and the amount of effort put into the actors little nuances indicates she knows how to bring people alive, not just a script. The characters were colourful, painting the subdued set in wonderful hues. Mother and daughter Kate and Miranda Harcourt steal the show as Granna and Iris, Jane Waddel plays Mary and Ellen Simpson is Jeannie. Other notables include Jed Brophy as the brother-in-law, Katherine McRae as a protest leader, Michael Whalley as the teenage son and Rachel More as 'lady friend' Molly McNairn.
Written by renowned playwright Renee, it needed good actors to lift her words and keep them up where they belong. It's like turning on tv to see what's on and getting drawn into a drama. Renee thought a new generation would find this of historical interest and she's right.
I wonder what I'm going to do this Friday night then?