We are so lucky

I keep surprising myself with sadness. It’s not my thing – to be sad, down, unhappy. And this weekend, while I’ve been lifting Bubba into the bath, or talking on the phone quite normally, I’ve suddenly started sobbing. Sobbing, real sobbing. None of that graceful tears sliding down the face bullshit, heaving, sucking a breath only to be able to bawl again. I know that Alfie is gone, it’s real now, and I know he had a wonderful life and we were so lucky to have him at all – but the knowledge that I won’t see him snatching the last glance possible of me as I walk to the car with his nose pressed to the window in the back room, or that I won’t ruffle his glorious 1980s spiral perm chest hair again makes me so sad I’m nauseous.

But this weekend, amidst the sadness and whirlpool of grief, I’ve counted some blessings – because what else can you do?

Here they are:

- I have a sister who I can bawl and bawl to and she says all the right things and then bawls with me

- I have a friend who rang to leave me a message that was 90% her crying into the phone. I couldn’t call her back and she said that’s okay.

- I have a two-year-old daughter who takes her broken Mama and Papa by the hand and leads us in an intricate and elaborate Simon Says style dance-off, accompanied by her sweet singing of unrecognisable lyrics.

- We went to a wildlife park today, to lift our spirits, and the Viking hand-fed an ostrich that was taller than him and it was absurd and he smiled like I haven’t seen him smile in days

- I have friends who have dropped off flowers, cards and hot cross buns, sent texts, emails and comments that have truly softened the last few days

- I have a husband who has his own broken heart, yet manages to hold me tight when holding myself is just too much. He’s fucking amazing and, through some freakish crossing of paths – he’s my husband.

I am so lucky.

*thank you everyone who has been so wonderfully understanding.

*i typed this with one hand while holding Bubba while she watches Bubble Guppies. I’ve just realised she has been picking her nose and wiping it on my cardy the whole time.

 

Goodbye Alfie

If you’re looking for a laugh, or a lift to your day, I’m sorry but I can’t provide that for you today.

Today I’m in a cloud of sadness and fog after we said goodbye to our beautiful boy Alfie yesterday.

I’ve worried about this time since we got Alfie. Since he chose us as his family and exhausted us with his love. He was a dog. “Just a dog,” people say. I don’t even know whether I should really feel this hollow from his passing, but I do.

We had him for three years and one week. And for all three of those years he was the brightest, happiest, sunniest and most loving animal I’ve ever encountered. Some would tease us for how much we coddled him, letting him sleep in our arms, kissing him on the nose and telling him we loved him every chance we got. Now that he’s gone, I’m so happy that we loved him out loud. Given the chance I’d double the kisses, the hugs, the pats, the affection and the love. But sadly, we don’t have that chance now.

Alfie got sick a week ago. He had a day of vomiting that we put down to his habit of thieving food from the bin. After a couple of days he still wasn’t eating so we took him to the vet. They diagnosed a stomach virus and gave us bright pink antibiotics to give him. We used bubba’s panadol syringe to dribble the dissolved tablets into his mouth. We picked him up onto our laps and let him fall asleep lying between us.

A few more days passed and there was no improvement. He went back to the vet who thought, this time, he could feel something in his stomach. He came home for a night before the X-Ray. He was wretched. He was an old dog all of a sudden. Stooped over, in pain, crying in the night. We held him tight. He was sick again in the night and the morning before the vets. Taking Bubba to daycare I said my goodbyes at the house. Kissing him on the nose and telling him he’d feel so much better by the end of the day.

The Viking said Alfie wouldn’t get out of the car at the vets. Our energiser bunny of a dog, who would run for miles to chase a ball, had to be carried into the vets.

I spoke to the vets in the early afternoon. There was something suspicious on the X-Ray. How did I feel about surgery? I said “please, do whatever you need to.” I assumed, like last time, they’d go in, find whatever it was, remove it and we’d have him home the next day. I had booked an appointment for a facial. I could hear my phone vibrating as the therapist massaged my face.

I checked my phone.

Three missed calls from home.

I rung the Viking. Fear. Disbelief. We had to make a choice.

“No, that’s not right. Take a deep breath, I’ll call them and it will all be fine.” I rang the vet myself. Inside our little pooch they’d found perforations and poisoned tissue, caused by a stick consumed a month ago. If they operated there was only a small chance of survival – and a survival where he wouldn’t be able to function properly, absorb food, be himself. We had to let him go.

The dog, who one week ago was chasing bubbles and running on the beach, jumping on visitors and licking our faces, would never wake up again. We went in to see him, after he’d gone. Sleeping peacefully and looking so like a puppy that it broke my heart. We told him again that we loved him. We kissed his nose. We buried our faces in his soft soft fur and stroked his ears. We said goodbye. In english, norsk, maori – it all meant the same thing.

And now we’re home, and trying to find the best way to tell a two-year-old that her best friend who has guarded her and loved her since before she was even born, is gone. We said he’s gone to heaven and he’s happy, that Mama and Papa are just sad because we miss him so much. She’s been blowing him kisses and saying she loves him. I’m so scared she’ll forget him.

At the moment we’re lost. People go through so much more than losing a pet, but for us, this is losing a quarter of our family.

We went outside this morning and the last of our monarch butterfly cocoons was hatching. We’ve lost some of them, some were weak and took hours until they flew, if at all. This one came out big, bright and strong. It flapped its wings with pride. The Viking put his finger down and it crawled straight onto it. We went out into the open air and it sat happily on his hand. After a minute it flew up, circling us and our house, dipping and diving. It flew off strong and happy.

I’m writing this post because I don’t really know what else to do. For me, writing heals. And we need to heal now. The shock is wearing off and the pain of reality is setting in. I can’t fathom that our future babies won’t grow up with Alfie at their side, that our dream house with the huge section won’t feature a golden spoodle sprinting through the paddocks. He was so incredibly loved, and equally as loving.

We will never forget him.

Rest in Peace my darling boy.

Alfie – February 2011 – April 2014 IMG_1377

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A good old fashioned telling off

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Sometimes I just need a kick in the pants. And I haven’t really had one for a while – I don’t mean like literal physical abuse type ‘kick in the pants’ – I just mean a firm nudge to get on and do something. And then my wee friend Mary prodded me via Facebook about not blogging – and here I am. Mary is a lovely friend, and, in fact, a lovely person – but she’s got that tiny woman thing about her that I find a bit terrifying sometimes.

So – life has rolled around and around the last few months. We came home, we settled in. There were welcomings and catch-ups and cakes and cakes and cakes. All of our clothes shrunk somehow. I interviewed for two jobs. One sounded wonderful but I was told I was over-qualified for it, which I was slightly relieved about because my boss would have been about 8 years younger than me and, during my interview, told me how he thinks all of his staff should relive his recent caving experience. Caving? Um, I’d rather lie back here and let you remove my toe-nails with some rusty old pliers thanks. And also the enlarging of ass thing often doesn’t suit squeezing through tight spaces. Ask Winnie the Pooh.

I interviewed for another job. There were 4 interviews in total for this role, all with the same person. For the last interview I was told it was down to the ‘final one’ so it was just about negotiating. It turned out that we had different ideas about suitable payment. I kind of felt like I should be paid for the job I’ve trained to do for the last 15 years, he sort of felt like he should pay me about the same as a service station attendant. It was a bit disheartening but I’d been reading a lot about getting paid what you’re worth and, let’s face it, if I’d taken that wage I would have had to start a side-line selling office stationary on the black market. I also did a bit of a re-cap and realised that he asked me, in every one of the four interviews, how many children I had. Because having children kills off brain cells – right buddy?

Downhearted and thinking, “um, hello small town – is this all you’ve got?” I gave myself a stern talking to (Mary lives too far away for urgent call-outs) and thought ‘take control you non-caving old trollop!” (My internal voice likes old-fashioned put-downs). So I started my own company. Just like that. It’s actually not that hard and once I started it all happened.

Now I have more than full-time hours with my 4 contracts, and other contracts pending. I’m getting paid a fair amount to do a good job and I’m networking and having fun. Granted, I did order some heels and nearly put my back out after an afternoon’s wear but other than that I’ve slotted back into the ‘corporate’ world fairly well. Sure, there’s mother-guilt every time I leave Bubba, who now stands in her PJ and says “I go with Mama!” whenever I sneak out in the morning. And she knows where the power button is on the laptop so if I’m on it that bit too long she just shuts it off. Thank God for Autosave. But it feels good to get back into it. I gave my first presentation for a loooooong time the other day and I did not piss my pants, which is something to be proud of I think.

I’m going to keep blogging, but I have had to get my head around the fact that I’m not sitting in a city of 4 million any more, and if I slag off the lady in the bookshop (which I wouldn’t – because she is LOVELY) people might click on to who I’m talking about. It’s a bit of an adjustment, but I’ll get there.

And in other news, my tiny little baby is turning 2 on Monday. TWO YEARS OLD. This growing up business is out of control.

I hope you are happy and healthy and either basking in the sunshine or cuddling up with a cocoa and no bra on as you read this. I am considering patenting an invention that makes bras pop off the second you either sit on a comfy chair or walk in through the back door. Sure, there might be some issues for prudish visitors but, on the whole, I think it’s a goer.

 

 

My introvert addiction

I am addicted to shy people. Well, perhaps ‘addicted’ is a little strong, I don’t snort them up in public toilets or anything. I just love them. I always have. I’ve been thinking about it lately actually, about how the closest people to me are generally those least like me. I’m not sure what that says about myself but I do know that I feel most comfortable around people who are quiet, thoughtful, sometimes reserved and often shy.

My best friend describes herself as shy. The Viking describes himself as the polar opposite of me. The yin to my yang I guess. He is very, very reserved. When he’s on the whiskeys, less so, but generally he is a very calm, laid back kind of a guy. He’s not shy but he doesn’t do small talk and he takes a while to warm up to people. I, on the other hand, enjoy nothing more than a chat with a random stranger and ‘could talk the leg off a chair’ was a common theme in my school reports.

I remember chatting to a friend at university and telling her that I was intrigued by shy or quiet people because I just couldn’t understand how they could keep their opinions to themselves, and I felt like it was a privilege for me to find out what was going on in their brains. I’m fascinated by their self-control, I guess.

There have been a few of these ‘how to treat introvert’ infographics around lately, and I find them really interesting. The one below is so fascinating, it explains so many of my past dealings with my closest introvert mates, like the time I asked my friend to come along for a goodbye yum cha for a friend of mine.

“Who will be there?” she said.

“I don’t know, the guy and us, maybe a couple of others.” I said.

Of course we got there and my friend had hired out the entire restaurant and there were about 50 people bidding him a fond farewell over their porkrolls and morning wontons.

“Oh God,” said my friend, “Steph, I just don’t have the energy!” and I really didn’t get it. Energy? I thought loads of people would take the pressure off a shy person because there wouldn’t be the pressure to talk so much with so many others willing to hog the limelight. But after reading this infographic I understood.

What do you think? Are you an introvert? Or do you seek them out in a room like I do?

This infographic was created by Graphic Designer Schroeder Jones

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My new girl-crush

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I’ve made a new friend, and I’m kind of stoked about it. Some close mates of mine told me that their Great Aunt had been moved into a local resthome and that they were going to travel down to Taranaki to visit her over summer.

“Oh, I can go and visit her if she wants some company,” I said, chipping some of the tarnish off my rusty halo. I figured I would drop in once or twice, take Bubba to twirl for the delight of the oldies and that would be that.

But I was wrong.

Lyla, the lovely lady I visit, is absolutely gorgeous and just a delight to chat to. I LOVE my weekly catch-ups with her. When I first met her I thought she was so sharp and in pretty good shape so I figured her to be around 75 or maybe 80.

She’s 97. It’s just incredible. She taught yoga for years, in a church up north. After she’d been using the church for classes for around 6 years some locals decided that yoga was pretty much the work of the devil and she had to stop. She didn’t. She said, no – I’ve been here six years and I’m going to go for one more. And she did, much to the dismay of the local lynch-mob. While they were trying to bully her out Lyla’s grand-daughter was born partially blind.

“See?” They said – “that’s what you get for being so wicked!”

Can you even imagine?

One time I went to visit Lyla and she was tired, her and her friend had decided to take a wander around the sprawling grounds of the resthome (it’s huge and houses a hospital and community of retirement apartments too) the day before. They took off for such a hike that 4 carers had been sent off to hunt them down. They did it all on their walkers, up hill and down dale – I imagine they tied silk scarves around their hair Thelma and Louise-style but I have no proof of that.

During my visit yesterday Lyla was telling me all about a little party the home had put on for the residents and their families, an afternoon tea in ‘olden-day style.’ Beautiful hats were mandatory, scones and tea were served in lovely vintage crockery and old-time music was played while the revellers partied until the wee small hours of the late afternoon.

How lovely would that be? It got me thinking about the kind of yesteryear parties they’ll plan when I’m in a resthome. I talked about it with the Viking, we decided that the staff might dust off some early model iPads and we could all sit around in our cow onesies playing Angry Birds and listening to One Direction. Which sounded pretty shit by comparison really.

What do you think the icons of our generation will be? Please don’t say Justin Bieber. 

 

Getting my Griswold on

This is a sponsored post for www.oo.com.au

For the last few months I have been rubbing my hands together with absolute glee at the prospect of going Christmas-cray-cray. It’s our first New Zealand Christmas as a family, it’s my first Christmas here for four years and it’s Bubba’s first Christmas with more than just her Mama and Papa around. And we’re hosting it. I can’t wait.

I think I’ve been showing signs of becoming one of those slightly eccentric people who turn their whole houses into Santa’s grotto for some years now. I love colour, glitter, flashing lights and canned carols as much as the next three-year-old and I love the whole ‘a parade just exploded on my front lawn’ type of decorating that is taking hold now.

My only Achilles heel, my little smidge of Kryptonite is my husband. In Norway they keep their deccies fairly classy and low-key, and – get this, his family normally leave putting the tree up until December 23! And generally people don’t climb on ice-covered roofs to string up flashing Nativity scenes in -20 degree weather either. The Viking is mystified by my tinsel-obsession. He simply shook his head and walked away when I unveiled the elf hat with sewn on elf ears for him to wear. He tried to take Alfie with him but I’d already nabbed him and forced him into a Rudolph outfit.

I’m not taking any prisoners this Christmas.

So when I got an email from OO.com.au asking if I’d like to be set free on their awesome Christmas Decorations website I started foaming at the mouth a little.

I opted for some white LED lights, because I want to do this:

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And then, then I cut loose a little and got an LED Santa Sleigh! Because HELL YES! Obviously there are a lot of Griswold-wannabes with the same mind-set as me because this has since sold out,

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but, if your lounge needs some festive flashiness, I found this:

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Crazy-tall sparkly tree.

and this:

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Big, friendly, LED Polar Bear 

And elves on a see-saw, just because.

I love seeing more and more houses getting their Christmas glam on, and I’ve been fervently researching the latest trends in festive faberdashery (I just made that up, I’m aware it doesn’t make sense but I’d committed to the alliteration before I read it back). Over the weekend I joined a thousand other dedicated Christmas loving women (and about 4 men) in trekking around 9 houses that had taken part in ‘Deck the Rooms’ – which is a local fundraiser for Women’s Refuge. It was good fun and great inspiration. Note to self though – when looking around a very fancy house with posh lady owner sipping Pimms in kitchen, do not make jokes about slipping beautiful antique furniture into one’s handbag. You will find yourself ostracised from the group immediately.

How are your Christmas deccies coming along? Are you all over it or just over it?

If you’re interested in perusing the www.oo.com.au site I’ve noticed (she says while simultaneously checking the Christmas budget) that a lot of their decorations are now on special. Cheap and sparkly – two of my prerequisites for decorations, jewellery, clothes and nail polish. AND they deliver to NZ. 

 

Guy Fawkes? Really, New Zealand?

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Whenever I think of fireworks my first image is of a Twilight Guy Fawkes Gala Day at my primary school. I was about six years old and my Dad took me and my five year old cousin along to the Gala Day. Dad got to throw the lollies for the lolly scramble and would pinch pocketfuls of them so we could get a sugar rush without trying to fend off the big kids in the sweet scrum.

At the end of the Gala Day some bright spark decided to put on a Fireworks display. It was the 80s, I don’t think safety was a great concern and I remember we all stood in a big circle while someone’s Dad lit the fireworks in the centre. I don’t remember the show going on for long before a firework went shooting across the circle horizontally instead of going up into the sky. A little girl called Abby, who was a year older than me, was struck in the head by the firework. I heard her scream and saw everyone gather around her.

Dad picked my cousin and I up, and, I clearly remember him putting my cousin and I up on one of his shoulders each, probably to distract us, and using his long strides to get us away from the chaos.

In the following days my class made Abby a ‘Get Well’ card as she recovered in hospital. Eventually she came back to school with half of her beautiful hair gone. I think she was okay but I still think of Abby every time I hear about Guy Fawkes.

Having lived in Australia for the last few years we haven’t had the annual fear that Guy Fawkes creates. It’s not celebrated in Australia and fireworks, I believe, are only available for private sale in Queensland. Now, on the day after my first Kiwi Guy Fawkes I’m feeling particularly grinch-ish.

Why?

Why do we have a week of banging and explosions ringing? Nights of shivering and petrified animals? Drunks messing around with gunpowder – where’s the sense in it? Really, New Zealand? You’re better than that.

I’m not saying that, done well, fireworks aren’t spectacular. They are. The most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen were a few years ago over Sydney Harbour Bridge, probably millions of dollars worth of incredibly coordinated and fantastic pyrotechnics. But the fireworks that were shot at arriving guests at the Guy Fawkes party I went to at a university party in Hamilton in 1996? Not so much.

I’ve just signed this petition to ban private sale of fireworks in New Zealand. Who knows if it will work but it’s worth a try. If you want to sign it then go for it.

Why I will never go to a Foam Party

Foam parties - testing the limits of waterproof mascara and string bikinis since 1992

Foam parties – testing the limits of waterproof mascara and string bikinis since 1992

I would like to tell you that the Viking and I were sitting, hand in hand, retelling tales of our youth when the subject of foam parties came up, but in actual fact we were watching Gavin & Stacey. Gavin was dragged along to a foam party and, quite sensibly, thought it was shite.

I have never been to a foam party, although in my younger years I did think they looked ah-may-zing. Like, Oh My God! A friend showed me a photo of her and a bunch of board short wearing muscular types cavorting at a foam party in London and I thought, “phwoar – that looks like good fun.” But I never made it to one. Poor little foamless Steph.

I asked the Viking if he’d ever been to one. He had. Of course. Our youths were so different. My party locations were seasonally determined, summer = beach party or outdoor concert, winter = house or, when things got rural, woolshed parties. Growing up in Norway the Viking had all of Europe as his playground. Summers and graduation celebrations were generally spent in Spain or Greece, winters were closer to home, skiing in the day and warming the cockles in mountain cabins of an evening.

He said that after high school had finished him and about a dozen other young fellows went to celebrate on the Greek Island of Hersonissos. I had a ‘burn your notes bonfire’ in Waitara but that’s by the by. Back to Greece. So all the lads took themselves off to a foam party. My mind instantly conjured up images of debauchery, topless maidens swirling around in the foam and draping their soapiness all over my husband. Those horrible, slutty, imaginary teenage girls from the past!

I asked the Viking if that’s exactly what it was like. He insists that the state him and his friends was in on that island shaped them into a woman-repelling force. I have my doubts, strapping young lads with accents and piercing blue eyes – I wouldn’t have minded the odd drunken slur back in my hey-day.

Back to the foam – I asked if he’d enjoyed it. He said it was the worst party he’d ever been to. Factors I hadn’t considered came into play. Your beer tastes like Sunlight liquid detergent. When the foam evaporates you’re just wet, and then it gets cold. The Viking said that the foam at this party wrecked the sound system so the music stopped and it was more like a carwash than a party.

And then him and one of the boys wanted to go home and they waited forever for a taxi only to have one stolen from under their noses by a some lads who said that their friend had broken his hand and they had to just duck in and get him and quickly go to the hospital. The taxi driver said “sure sure if these guys don’t mind.” Of course the Viking and his equally as socially responsible companion said “be our guest” and the friends ran back inside to get their injured mate. As soon as they were out of view the taxi driver said “get in you boys, I’m not taking someone to the hospital, it’s too risky that they might blame me and I’ll lose my taxi. If you don’t get in I’m leaving anyway.”

So in they hopped and went home to the aromatic delight that must be 12 teenage boys sharing close quarters.

I’ve decided it’s all a part of me growing up, this not wanting to do the things I used to. Maybe I’m a bit slow off the mark with these realisations, but going to a foam party hold about as much appeal as drinking from the bladder of a baboon nowadays.

Have you ever been to a foam party? Or, given the chance – would you get soapy on the dancefloor? 

Floored by Princess Bride related news

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I like to think that when it comes to shameless 80s movies I can hold my own. I can’t quote entire scenes from The Breakfast Club like my older sister but I have perfected many a ‘Dirty Dancing lift’ in the above-ground Para Pool, sure I played Johnny whilst my pint-sized cousin go to be Baby every single time.

How Patrick got his hands so perfectly positioned so as not to expose Baby's undies was an ongoing mystery to my cousins and I

How Patrick got his hands so perfectly positioned so as not to expose Baby’s undies was an ongoing mystery to my cousins and I

Dirty Dancing, Stand By Me, The Outsiders, The Karate Kid, The Neverending Story, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Oh there were many, many a dreary Sunday afternoon spent in my pjs, munching on Buzz Bars and slugging back cold Milo watching those classics. Good times.

But there is one film that holds a special place in my youth, sure it didn’t have the spectacular final dance scene of Dirty Dancing, there were no adorable ewoks and nobody got slimed, but it had everything else.

The Princess Bride.

Are you with me on this? That gorgeous, dashing leading man. “As you wiiiiiiiiiiiiish” being called as he rolled down the hill. The angelic beauty of Robin Wright (Penn). The comedic mastery of the cast, I mean there was a giant*! A real one! This was before CGI, or whatever it’s called. Green screens? Never! They actually stabbed each other with swords, now that is acting!

Well today, my source of credible news, ie my Facebook feed, pointed me to this article. It was about Sal from Homeland.

WHO IS ALSO INIGO MONTOYA FROM THE PRINCESS BRIDE!

Got my bodywave, got my mo, got my sword - ready to roll

Got my bodywave, got my mo, got my sword – ready to roll

Hold the phone. Stop the clock. Shut the front door!

Of course I saw it as soon as I saw the photo, it’s no wonder Sal was my favourite Homelander, he was a friendly face from my childhood. He avenged the death of his father and had a curly mullet. What’s not to love?

With the death of his father finally avenged, Sal turned his attentions to protecting the world from terrorism. What a good bloke.

With the death of his father finally avenged, Sal turned his attentions to protecting the world from terrorism. What a good bloke.

I was astounded. What a career! Anyway, I felt compelled to inform the Viking of this amazing finding.

“You will never guess what I’ve found out!”

“Won’t I?”

“You know that movie…”

“You said I got to guess.”

“But you won’t guess.”

(This went on for some time).

“The guy from the Princess Bride who always says his name and wants to find his father’s killer is Sal from Homeland!”

“What’s the Princess Bride?”

And then I passed out on the floor. The man I love more than cat’s pyjamas and sliced bread and cherries on top has not lived a full life! I must have married on a whim because this, my friends, changes things.

This weekend I’ve decided to right the wrong in our house and have a family screening of The Princess Bride.

Have you seen Princess Bride? Did you want to marry Westley? Do you, in the privacy of your home, ask your partner to say “as you wish” – not that I’m planning to, or anything like that.

*The giant was played by WWF wrestler Andre the Giant. He was a hunka hunka burning love. My Dad’s favourite Andre the Giant story (to be fair I think he just has the one) is that AtG was cruising around South Taranaki during some sort of wrestling tour and stopped for a beer in a local pub. Apparently he bought a jug, which is the same as an American pitcher of beer, or about 5 normal glasses, or generally a shitload of booze. Anyway, he bought a jug and common standards are that one pours a jug into a glass and enjoys over a fair stretch of time. Andre the Giant downed the entire jug in one go. Like it was shotglass (according to my father). Oh Andre, I shudder to think how quickly you could have knocked over a kegstand in your college years.

The shish kebab saga – part 2

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Well, what a few days it has been. I tell you, if you’d ever like a little more drama in your life – feed your dog something long and pointy.

So after dropping Alfie at the vet we waited for an update and a decision about surgery. It seemed that the better he felt, the more likely he was to need surgery. Kind of ironic. Had he expelled the offending object from either end we may not have reached the decision we were forced to.

We transplanted his head with that of a tiger to make a fearsome beast with a comedy body.

That’s not entirely true.

We did, in fact, decide to do the surgery. Well, we agreed to the decision – we didn’t offer to wield the scalpel ourselves, just to be clear. The vet told me that the kebab stick was visible during the camera-down-throat process and had been snapped in two pieces (my guess of one clean bite was clearly correct) and was sitting ominously in his tummy.

I got off the phone and sobbed my little face off.

“They’re going to cut him open!” I howled dramatically. The Viking nodded sagely. Perhaps the hint of a single manly tear. I lay on the floor, beating my breasts without restraint.

We waited for the next call. Emergency wine was administered by a caring relative.

The phone rang. He had come through it well, but was tired and sore, and would stay the night at the vets in case anything happened. We were to ring and check on him in the morning and pick him up if all was well.

That night I slept surprisingly well. The Viking was up at the crack of dawn, which is rather unlike him. I asked why and he said that I had stolen all of the blankets. It turns out that Alfie sleeping on the foot of the bed acts as an anchor, preventing me from unconsciously wrapping myself in a duvet cocoon.

Our house is not a home without that pooch tripping us up in every doorway. Bubba’s scraps lay idly under the table, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to clean up dropped food from the floor.

When we went to pick up our boy he looked like he’d had a hard 24 hours. His normally long, tousled and glorious stomach hair has been shaved off entirely and he’s sporting a scar so impressive it makes my c-section scar look like a paper-cut. He’s exhausted and he’s tender, and he’s clinging to his Mama and Papa like there’s no tomorrow.

If there is a moral to this story I think it would be:

When it comes to meat, dogs are idiots. You could wrap an AK47 in a piece of schnitzel and a dog would swallow it whole. But you gotta love ‘em.

No more meat on a stick! Doctor's orders!

No more meat on a stick! Doctor’s orders!