Cat Stew

Sometimes wonderful views take your breath away. This was taken on our last holiday. While my partner and son slept I would sneak out for an early morning run. The run would take me along a path which ran along the edge of Lake Thun. It was just stunning.

Sometimes it’s other things that take your breath away.

Last night I had made a stew. I left my steaming plate of food on the kitchen table while I delivered our son his stew and 2 tons of tomato ketchup. Crash. On my return to the kitchen I had an out of body experience. We have a very accident prone boy cat. Yes you have guessed it. He was lying in my stew. Waiter there appears to be a cat in my food. He was covered in gravy and vegetables completely oblivious to the world. He seemed most puzzled when I pushed him onto the floor. He was even more puzzled and slightly terrified as the dog decided to feast on the four legged plate. My option b meal, a cuppa soup was far less appetising.

I’m still finding bits of stew strewn around the house.

Usually the dog won’t have anything to do with the boy cat. His bestie is the girl cat. However today it’s a different story. Now he’s discovered the boy cats talent as a mobile dinner plate. He is hopefully following him around trying to be friends. Let’s hope the boy cat has learnt his lesson as tonight it’s a curry.

World War petZ

All hell broke out today. Sat with a hot drink trying to convince the laptop that the Excel Macro I had just produced was in fact perfect and not full of errors WHEN

The two cats and dog started scampering around the house like crazed banshees. Chairs crashing into walls, photos knocked off tables, books sent flying. I found the Living Room in a state of destruction as if World War Z had broken out. Three pets clawing and scratching at the bottom of a large sideboard. Oh bugger have we got a visitor and it’s the hunt. Annoyingly the sideboard had a small gap at the bottom big enough for a hiding space but too small to squeeze my hand into. Wonderful going to have to move that 8 tonne chunk of wood. Have to try and rescue the trapped creature.

Could it be a scary House Mouse

Could it be a deadly little shrew

OR is it

one of these little plastic Dalek (Dr Who) megalomaniacs.

Yes after breaking my back, trapping my fingers and squashing my toes – the sideboard was finally moved to reveal a DALEK. Yes the little darlings had been having a fantastic time warping adventure game. The pets excitedly claimed the prize and continued the game in another room. Well that was 2 hours well spent. Unfortunately now the 8 tonnes of wood have to moved back and the pets can’t help because they are too busy saving the earth from a Dalek invasion. Deep Joy!!!!!!

Put the cat in charge

I was blog chatting (or whatever it is called these days) with a friend today and somehow politics came up. When I say politics I mean really silly politics. Our politics is grim. Very grim. One of the only fun elements is when one of our smallest parties enters the elections. The Monster Raving Looney Party. It’s almost as if Monty Python had entered politics. It was started in the 1960s by the musician called Screaming Lord Sutch.

This was the Party who had a real cat called Catmando as its joint leader for 3 years.

Some of its brilliant policy ideas have included:

  • Make the tax system more complicated so that it is harder for companies to find loopholes
  • Make it illegal to walk under ladders
  • To prevent global warming all buildings will have air conditioning units on the outside
  • All politicians should paint themselves permanently from head to toe in the colour of their party
  • All socks to be sold in packs of 3 in case you lose one
  • Introduce a 99p coin
  • To save money they would only operate our nuclear missiles at weekends
  • Build a really big wall (or hang on that’s not one of the Looney Parties policies).

The scary thing is that actually some of the ‘crazy’ policies they came up with have over years actually become rather sensible and have been adopted by the government. We have pet passports now and who was the first party to propose them. They jokingly proposed 24 hour licensing for places selling alcohol (had been very restrictive hours) and a few years later it became law. Back in the 1960s they campaigned to have the voting age reduced to 18 (now the law and how was this ever considered a mad idea).

Sadly they never quite get into government. Maybe because the looney vote is split. At the last election you had the Looney Party, plus you had a chap called Lord Buckethead, some guy dressed as a fish finger and some chap dressed as Elmo.

Some would argue that recent governments have been infiltrated by loonies.

What am I wittering on about. I don’t really know. I think the point is that when the world seems really bleak and sad. When you want to just stand outside, look at the heavens and scream. To hear your own tears raining down on this increasingly alien land. Just sometimes the only thing that keeps you going is a bit of silliness. It brought me back from the edge. Our dip into politics today certainly made our son laugh. It made him forget about his worries for a few minutes.

If the Looney Party has indeed a track record of starting sensible policies off then maybe they should come up with a policy of banishing sadness and anxiety. Maybe in a few years it becomes reality. I could vote for that.

Top Cat Trumps

Our son has always loved Top Trumps. It’s the same ritual every time. Before we play he loves to line the cards up in order for each of the categories. Clearly the girl cat is not a fan of straight card lines. Apart from the cat the other thing which frustrates our son with the game is that he has to rely on me to read out the text on each card.

We continue to try and work together on our son’s dyslexia. Some progress is being made. Although he still struggles in general he now can just about spell the player names from his favourite football team. He can spell my teams player names as well. ‘Loser’ covers that one.

But for all the progress he still can’t read the books he is so desperate to enjoy. This is made worse when he hears other kids talking about the stuff they have read. So I have bought him a reading pen. Basically it’s a pen shaped scanner with a headphone. It reads out scanned text. He has used them sporadically at school and they do give him a sense of independence.

We have opted for the C-Pen Exam Reader. Will report back on its performance. However today a very happy boy enjoyed reading a comic by himself. Plus the scanner works on Top Trump Cards. The signs are good.

Jelly Bean Challenge: How many ScoobyDoo movies and episodes have been made?

Different sites have different numbers but going to use these as our marking scheme

Shows (not including cross overs and stuff not including Scoobie) – 406

Films – 39

Specials – 11

Total about 456

My guess was 350. Son’s guess was 399. So again I visited the Jelly Bean Lounge. This time no bullet in the chamber – lucky to select normal apple flavour. However due to earlier attempted cheating I was forced to select a second bean. This time I can confirm blood flavour is revolting.

The next challenge was set by a random question setter we have found on the internet. The question is how many types of poisonous snakes live in Australia. Apparently the answer “too many” is not specific enough.

Theology and jelly beans

I often feel out of my depth as a parent. Somedays I feel really out of my depth. Today was such a day.

Dad I struggle to believe in God somedays. Does this make me a band person. I don’t want to go to hell”

I tried to find the words. I told him how pure and good he was. I bumbled on about it being normal to have these thoughts. How it didn’t matter what I think or what anybody else thinks – it’s his choice. About how it’s up to everyone to make their own mind up. How he has so many years left to think things through. But it wasn’t good. It was a mess. My partner who was a Quaker would have known what to say. How to reassure. In my current tired state I can hardly string a couple of sentences together. I was really struggling.

🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈🐈

I don’t know how many times the pets have come to my parenting rescue.

Dad come and look at our cute girl”

This was the moment the girl cat decided that she wanted her tummy tickling. Suddenly theological questions are put to one side as the cat takes centre stage. This has bought me some much needed thinking time.

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We had the big reveal. If we won the lottery which of the following activities would be our favourite and which would be our least favourite thing to do.

  • Live in the Amazon jungle for a month
  • Climb Everest
  • Go into space
  • Sail to the bottom of the sea
  • Drive around a racetrack in a F1 car.

Me: Too many spiders and snakes in the jungle for my liking – so this would be the least likely option I would choose. For me it would have to be Space or Everest. I think the chance to see our beautiful planet from space would just swing it for me.

Son: Least favourite was the F1 car. Surprisingly he didn’t opt for the jungle because he didn’t want to see the damage we are doing to it. He opted for the trip to the bottom of the ocean.

The jungle cost me so I got to play jelly bean roulette. I can report back that ‘rotten milk’ flavour is not good, not good at all.

Today’s challenge: On Christmas Eve we were watching a TV show talking about Home Alone. It started to talk about a couple of big plot mistakes in the film. But before they could tell us what they are we had a power cut. So the challenge is to watch Home Alone again and see who can be the first to spot a plot mistake. Again the loser has to play Jelly Bean roulette.

Christmas comes early

Another trip to the fracture clinic and our son is super happy. Yes he’s still in pain, yes he can’t use his right hand but the Doctor has said the magic words

“I’m afraid you need a few more rest days so it’s another week off school”.

So it’s no more school until 2019.

To someone who goes through so much anxiety because of school it’s an early festive gift for our son. Does cause problems for me but seeing our son more relaxed – it is a price worth paying. More work can be done at home (updates permitting). The car will have to survive a few more weeks without some much needed and overdue garage TLC. Tonight I will desperately check out which food stores can home deliver this week. Like many kids with Aspergers a visit to a busy supermarket is hell on Earth.

So I sit down with a cup of tea and the laptop. One eye keeps checking out the Harry Potter movie on the TV. The pets come to join me on the sofa. Then it’s return of Windows update madness again. Surely we can find a more convenient way of maintaining our Computers. One which doesn’t stop the world turning. So so thankful my ancient tablet is not Windows based.

I am reminded of a recent conversation with our son. He was convinced that computers should be completely redesigned and remodelled taking lessons from nature. Namely the shark. Some sharks that live at the depths of oceans and seas, for example the Nurse shark, can drop to the ocean floor and enter into something equivalent to our deep sleep. But other sharks like the Great White can’t do this – they need to keep swimming. Our Son reliably informed me that much evidence suggests that they effectively reduce brain activity down to a minimum in one part of the brain while the other part of the brain continues normally. It could be that the spine which is responsible for swimming may have some operational independence. In effect part of the brain shuts down to sleep and the shark continues to swim. So we should redesign the computer processor so that part of it can be updated while the other half continues to work. Dual processors should easily facilitate this. Sounds good to me sat here with laptop displaying an “out to lunch” message on the screen. But it does raise the question how much of our lives would be transformed if we let kids with a different take on life start designing our world.

Anyway let’s watch Harry find the Chamber of Secrets. Maybe at the end of the movie my laptop will grant me a couple of hours operating time.

Pets feel

Our pets give us so much entertainment and bring much needed smiles to this broken house. They have really helped get us through the last couple of years. Yes they can be terrors but humans can be oh so much worse….

But I think one pet needs a special mention. They big boy cat. He is such a softy. Even when the cats could venture outside he was not really an apex predator. Never worked out how to hunt. The girl cat would frequently bring him some live offerings. But the boy cat would carefully paw them, then roll over – I suspect he was hoping the vole would tickle his tummy. Strangely the vole would scurry off into the hedge counting it’s blessings. The boy cat would frequently get stuck in the tree requiring rescue. He was petrified of the cat flap so we had to cover it up. He had a favourite type of toy. He would only play with our son’s Dr Who Dalek plastic figures – nothing else. You would see him searching the toy box in a desperate attempt to find the elusive evil masterminds. He has worked out how to open door handles so he gets free run of the house.

But he was also inseparable from my partner. He would follow her about and he always seemed to be on her lap. When my partner went out the cat would sit at the front window and wait for hours until she came back. Sadly you can’t explain bereavement to a cat. I’ve got no idea what the boy cat is thinking. I can’t confirm that he is grieving like we are. But I know one thing for a fact. Every night he sleeps where our partner used to sleep and you frequently see him at the front window. I suspect he’s waiting for her to return.

Vivid Dreams

For some reason I have been having some really vivid dreams recently. All of which are on the bizarre side of life. It’s probably a bit of the dreaded sleep deprivation – currently operating at zombie level so apologies if this doesn’t make much sense.

At the weekend I dreamt that the Queen was taking an open top train to Redcar (a seaside town on the east coast of England). For some reason I was on the way to catch a glimpse of the train. Somehow I managed to get lost and was getting increasingly annoyed as I kept arriving at the Middlesbrough Football stadium rather than the embankment overlooking the track. I woke up as I was sprinting down a road as I could hear a train passing close by.

Then the night after I had a Jurassic Park dream. A family holiday driving through Scotland. As we drove past Glen Coe a large wall loomed in the distance. I remember telling our son about this being the first Dinosaur Park in the UK. Apparently it closed a few years back and the Dinosaurs set free. We drove a bit further along the road and came across a brontosaurus feeding on some trees in the distance. I got out of the car to take a photo but didn’t see a green dinosaur close by. When the green dinosaur started coming towards me I sprinted back into the car but forgot I had the window wound down. Woke up just as the dinosaur (from the description reliably informed by son that it is one of these chaps) stuck his head in the car and started licking me.

Last nights dream had your intrepid hero carefully constructing the Millennium Falcon (Star Wars) from matchsticks. The last stick was placed with a surgeons precision and I stepped back to admire the masterpiece. Unfortunately at the same time a very large cat (culprit below) decided to sit on it. I woke I’m sure with a scream. I have to own up that today I have been given that cat a hard time. The cat has not yet been forgiven……

One of those days ….

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings. The toilet blocked. Then I burnt our son’s toast (having just used up the last slice of bread in the house). Then when I moved to the only other viable breakfast option, cornflakes, the only bottle of milk had gone off ( you know the milk that is supposed to be fresh for 7 days!!!?). So it was the balanced apple, grapes and packet of crisps option. Couldn’t find the school tie. Then we missed the school bus. So quick drive to school – completely off plan, so son upset. Go shopping but half way round and I realise the wallet is back at home. So back home.

I was in need of the strongest coffee ever before returning to the shopping. The caffeine lifted my spirits so its back to the shop. But where are my car keys. Looked everywhere. Don’t you just hate it when you lose something you have just had a few moments ago. One hour later – still no sign. Then I realised the obvious – PETS. Dog innocent. Cats happily asleep on the chair. The chair where I sat and had my caffeine fix. Now I understand. And guess what – cats lying on keys. Very funny really.

So it’s back to the shops, get to the checkout and realise (again) that my wallet is still at the house. As Pink Floyd would say “one of those days”.

I suspect the UKs Prime Minister is feeling like she is having one of those days today. At least they won’t need to provide so many teas for her government after this morning. The rate ministers are resigning she might be phoning me soon.