Most of the time I would agree that to focus on the ability of people who have a disability is a good thing. Yet, there are times when the disability really has to be acknowledged for the hideous and limiting thing that it is.
Losing more function can be frightening, depressing, soul-destroying, frustrating, not to mention bloody impractical! At the end of several weeks which included all of those things, there ARE some things to be thankful for.
1) I have an amazing partner who despite losing the last remnants of his ‘walking’ and ‘standing’, only managed to lose his sense of humour for a day here and there. Without that wit and comic relief, I’m not sure where we would be right now.
2) We are fortunate to have supportive family, friends and workmates.
3) There are some bloody awesome Norweigans out there who made the molift hoist equipment.
4) It doesn’t matter how stressed you become, the cats still give you cuddles. Sometimes two at a time.
Not quite sure why this thought has suddenly popped into Andrew’s head, I just respond: ‘Yes, that’s the dime that you still have right?’
‘Yeah. Well, yesterday I was at the vending machine, and it was the anniversary of his death yesterday and the machine wouldn’t take my coin. I thought it was a New Zealand 10 cents, but when I picked it up to look, it was an American quarter.’
In Australia we often find New Zealand 10s and 20 cent coins but American ones are not common at all. It didn’t surprise me when Andrew told me he’d kept the coin. But the morning’s lesson didn’t end there. Andrew proceeded to tell me how American quarters were once made largely of silver but that became too expensive in the 60s and they then used copper in the centre. He told me that I had to check out the coin’s edge where you could clearly see the copper centre. Indeed you can and there is a large portion of a Wikipedia page dedicated to explaining how the Washington Quarter – a silver coin – came not be made of Silver but rather the “clad composition with Flanagan reverse.” (Sounds like it could equally be an olympic diving move to me)
I imagine that some people may visit Andrew’s house and wonder why there is a quarter stuck to the wall, just as I first asked why there was a dime stuck to the bed head. Yet I will know and remember the quiet moment when Andrew recalled his brother. It’s much like the moment I share with mum each year on Anzac day when we compare the state of polish on our shoes as a way of remembering my grandfather. The coins and the shoes are both obscure yet personal references that only family would understand and when Andrew shares this with me, it’s a lovely moment of feeling like family to him.
‘You might have to explain to your international readers what budgie smugglers are’ says Dad upon me entering the house.
Oh. Oops. Didn’t even think of that.
Then again, I know that my international friends seem exceptionally well read and would probably know what they are anyway. I on the other hand am still occasionally stumped. I had to write to Isobel (of Isobel and Cat fame) recently to ask whether ‘cream crackered’ was a term familiar to her, or whether it was well known. Cockney rhyming slang it turns out. Last week, I learnt about ‘Pinkertons’ on the back of watching Ripper Street. (There are times when wikipedia is really indispensable).
So, back to the budgie smugglers. In case anyone isn’t familiar, it’s a slang term of men’s speedos / swimming costumes and seems to be used often in reference to our now current Prime Minister given his fondness of sport. It takes a man with a good body (think well built surf life guide), to be able to get away with wearing budgie smugglers without looking pathetic. It’s something about the way they droop with water… the swimming costume that is. I refuse to even contemplate Tony’s actual anatomy. Ew. Sick. Now.
So dad reckons I need a glossary of terms for my blog. Really, there’s only a few you need to know to follow the plot. Here they are:
Sometimes people ask me what exactly a Scroobious Pip is, I just reply – ah, that is the question! The story was a childhood favourite, written by one of the two great masters of nonsense – Edward Lear, an epileptic depressive who had a great love of his cat Foss.
My unconventional partner / boyfriend (depending on your preferred terminology). (Andrew associates partner with gay cowboy movies, I associate boyfriend with sounding 14 and temporary). Unconventional? Well, we don’t exactly fit the traditional model. We live separately. I work full time. He doesn’t. He’s domestically competent. I’m domestically challenged (except for light bulbs, I do those). I think the only thing traditional about us is he takes out his own garbage. My mum always taught me that men should do tyres and garbage.
Definition of Andrew? mischievous, Naughty. A 4 year old trapped in a 40-something year old body. An extremely talented artist (if only we could convince him of this) combined with a largely gentle soul. I say largely. He isn’t known for being a placid calm driver – especially if you take a disabled parking spot and you have no disabled parking permit.
The oldest of Andrew’s two cats and the most like him in personality – bloody naughty!
Andrew always said that if he couldn’t have a dog he didn’t want anything. Then after a while he decided a cat would be ok. As long as it was a girl cat. And black, or tabby.
So he adopted a ginger boy who certainly lives up to the tag Ginger Ninja. Andrew wanted a dog… well he’s doing his best to mould Pickle into a dog. Surprisingly, Pickle is mostly complying.
Recently, an ambulance officer referred to Pickle as a ‘caramel cat’. This has earnt him the title of ‘o Caramelle’ (said with a ridiculously corny French accent!)
Named after the white primer used in painting, Gesso has developed his own fondness for paint. While every other cat has stood in the paint just once, Gesso has done it at least three times… if not more.
Gesso is medium haired and deaf.
He makes you work for his affection but strangely we just seem to love him even more for it. When he actually lets me cuddle him for a little while, I feel that I’ve won a great battle / been included among a privileged few.
Gesso is frequently also called ‘the white cat’ (with the emphasis on THE), or squirrel.
And that’s half the fur family…
Licorice and Saffron
I don’t think it’s quite right for me to write about the two separately, for they really don’t separate you see.
That’s Saffron (8) on the top and Licorice (11) on the bottom. Two undeniably fat couch potatoes of cats with an everlasting number of hugs and smooches to give.
Licorice hates the vacuum cleaner. Licorice hasn’t figured out that each morning when I go to the fridge to get the food, she doesn’t need to follow me as I am just coming back with it. (Saff waits patiently in the bathroom). On the whole, Licorice is the gentle giant; except when at the mothership and it’s time to go back in the cat cage.
Saffron on the other hand, is reasonably ok with the vacuum cleaner but scared of all things new. Strangers / Visitors – check under the bed and you’ll find her.
PS: Mothership = home of my mum and dad a.k.a Cat Hotel.
So there you go dad. A glossary. Complete with pictures. Have I forgotten anything?
Dame Nellie has a lot to answer for. Try this iPad app she says. That was over a month ago.
Spelltower has taught me something. It’s not that Qaid is a word to use a Q without a U. (Although wordpress is objecting to this word – not found in dictionary!)
What I have learnt is that Andrew is more competitive than I thought. In ‘pink mode’, he has a score of close to 10,000. As does Nellie. Me? Humph. 7,588.
It would appear that all the years of scrabble that was played in Andrew’s family has paid off. Our family weren’t really scrabblers… we did dabble in a bit of 500. Invariably my mother won by bidding misere. She was the queen of misere. (Mum, did you know that the word is derived from French meaning ‘poverty’? I know this because I had to look up how to spell it!). Alternatively, my father and I ‘allowed them to win’ by us going out backwards. (My dad had a habit of bidding, if but for one Ace in his hand).
Which brings me back to my modern day dilemma. Addicted to spelltower. Hmm… Andrew is excruciatingly competitive. It would be fun to beat his high score just to watch him while he had to counter it. Fortunately, I think Andrew can safely continue about his paintings because I have very little hope of toppling his score. So, today, I’m determined to throw off my spelltower addiction for something else. Cleaning is really what is required but I’m afraid in a contest between spelltower and cleaning, the app is going to win every time! (Besides, I’ve already vacuumed for the day). So, instead I may dabble in a bit of painting myself… we shall see.