Thursday, June 4, 2009

Catastrophes of the Pet Kind

Is it really safe to take a break from work and potter around the house? The catastrophes that unfold! Yikes! There I was cleaning the bird's cage, shaking the old seed into the garden, when Buddy the budgie from Buderim slid through the slot and winged his way to freedom.

I must confess I was secretly happy for him because I had been so depressed seeing this hapless little creature of flight imprisoned in a cage. Let's face it, he was depressed. Hunched sullenly on his perch facing the wall and jumping with fright if someone came near him. And when I tried to handle him he just sunk his beak into my finger until a big white welt appeared and I was screaming in pain. I don't think he liked me and quite frankly he was a flop as a pet! (No offence to budgie lovers.)

The wail went up. Justine was weeping and howling and thrashing all over her bed. "I want my budgie back. I want my budgie back. Now I've got no pets and Daniel's got two. It isn't fair. I suppose I'll just have to feed the cage.....I want a kitten....I want a kitten."

Well how could I disagree? A little girl can cuddle and smooch a soft little kitten. She can tickle its tummy and tease it with balls and string and wrap it in dolly blankets and mother it. But after the traumatic experience with Zoe, the highly-strung, attention-seeking pedigree Persian with extremely unaristocratic habits, we were somewhat put off cats, well at least pedigrees.

"Maybe we could try a plain old moggy, Andrew." I pleaded, when Justine's sobs had subsided. And so it was we found ourselves at the Animal Refuge that same afternoon, squatting among dozens of squawking kittens vying for a new home. We drove away with a pretty little grey with sprinkles of white and ginger purring smugly and Justine as content as a new mum. So far so good. Charlotte is a placid, peaceful puss with no signs of neurosis.

As if the new fur ball wasn't enough in the way of a new addition, the very next day Daniel picked up his electric guitar and amp, which he saved for from his holiday job at Maccas. I can tell you it’s got a GREEEAAAT sound, which seems to go on for hours.

We think we're suffering a bad case of deja vu listening to riffs from Wild Thing, Sunshine of my Love, Stairway to Heaven, Smoke on the Water and Beatles classics. Reminds Andrew of when he was the same age with his first guitar and garage thrash band. Life turns full circle.

Other strange things happen while at home on holiday. Like my brother-in-law comes to stay and plugs in his hairdryer and blows a fuse. The computers crash and even the hot water system goes down. A fact we discover when Jussy declares that the water for her bath is in fact freezing.

The only thing scarier is tackling the kitchen drawers. You’re familiar with the obligatory junk drawer that gets jammed with old lunch bags, candles, screwdrivers, wood glue, satay sticks, light globes; a catastrophe in its own right and another really fun way to spend a holiday but only after you’ve conquered the laundry cupboard full of old cleaning products. Yikes. Why do I get all the good jobs?

Such domestic challenges prepared me for my new home exercise program. Doing battle with the abdominiser and rowing machine can really work up a sweat. I alternate this with running our exuberant labrador Ben and Whisky, the one-eared Staffy, at the dog beach.

Come Saturday night I demanded that we grown-ups hit the cinema for a serve of Hollywood propaganda. Sometimes you need a good strong dose of larger-than-life fantasy to escape from the unexpected holiday horrors lurking at home.

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