Saturday, 20 September 2008

Mixed bag

Here's a nice thing. The girls and I went into town today, a different town from usual, we fancied a nice breezy drive with a spot of shopping at the end of it. When we parked the bus, I set our parking disk and went to the back of the bus to fold out the ramps. As I was crawling around in the back of the bus unclamping wheelchairs and topping up feed pumps, I became aware of the fact that we were attracting a fair bit of attention. Gathering my defences and professional bright "yes-we-are-an-unusual-family-but-we-like-it-that-way-and-we're-a-family-not-a-children's-home-any-more-questions?" face, I turned around to make eye contact with the crowd, a group of young teenagers all flying their trousers at half mast and generally filling the pavement with their presence. Deep breath from me and "Do you need any help there, can we do anything?" from them. Oops and deflate and shame on me. Double shame actually; when we had finished our shopping and came to pay, I discovered that my purse was not in my bag*. I ran back to the car, deciding that my initial impressions had been right, and that the offer of help was simply to distract me as my purse was being lifted. And there was my purse, in full view, untouched, on the passenger's seat by an opened window. I get very tired of people's assumptions about us; I think I need to sort out my own assumptions about other people too.

So, paid for our purchases, eventually. For some reason my bank has decided that I shouldn't spend money, and has taken to refusing to process payments I attempt to make. It has done this with credit cards for so long that I have now given up even trying to use them - it now claims that attempts to spend on them is unusual activity on the account, and freezes the account. Whilst this does protect against fraud, it does not protect their employees who then have to face the wrath of Tia. And it doesn't exactly protect their profits, since surely their money is made when I spend, rather than when I save? So today paying was a lengthier than usual process, during which Little Fish managed to remove Mog's boots several times and I managed not to kill her.

Home James, where the WoofCats decided to stage an intervention. They are not pleased. Seven days ago they were removed from a shelter, and were given their own flat to share with just three human beings, rather than 150 cats, several dozen dogs, half a dozen sheep and goats and countless bunny rabbits. They lived ten cats to a bowl of superbargain basement catyuck, and used torn up newspaper in their litter trays.

They deigned to enter our house and tolerated life here for a few days. Yesterday the Whiskas and Eco-Pellet cat litter ran out, and they were introduced to the joys of supermarket own brand. The WoofCats are united in their disapproval. All food is now to be sniffed at and rejected, both cats then follow me out of the room making piteous "feed the starving WoofCat" noises. Purring and fussing has followed, together with a jump and run for the food bowls (individual raised china PDSA approved bowls, with a separate dish for dried food and another for fresh water), followed by a slow creep back into the room if I have failed to follow them with alternative food. Strangely, the food disappears after about half an hour despite both cats having apparently been desperately sad and disappointed, and at least one of them on my lap or in my hair the whole time.

Today instead I was greeted by the sight of two starving WoofCats having taken matters into their own hands. Food untouched, dried food casually scattered about the floor (ComeBack likes to eat with his paws, not just his jaws) and the sight of two cats not on the settee, nor on the fur rugs, but firmly back in their cat boxes. The implications clearly being "Take us home to the shelter, anything is better than this". Feeling the love here, guys! I am not altogether convinced though; GoWay's bald patches are growing fur again, and ComeBack has adopted the rocking chair as his usual hiding place, I suspect this is a guilt trip rather than anything else. They'll have to try harder next time.

I'd show you photographic evidence but something or someone appears to have eaten my camera cable. It is not on the floor, behind the settee, stuffed down the corners of the cushions, stacked on the bookcase in any of its customary hiding places - perhaps the WoofCats have taken it hostage.

And the odd news - there are slugs in my fridge. I suspect they came in with the milkbottles, we've been wiping an average of four mini slugs off each bottle before bringing it over the doorstep each morning. But some of them appear to have avoided the cull. **I would have thought that the cold would shut them down, but when I picked up the eggs this afternoon a little black sluglet made itself known to me. Shudder.


*US readers, by this I mean that my wallet was not in my purse.

**It's that or the WoofCats' evil plans are coming to fruition.

Update: I interrogated GoWayand he reluctantly agreed to return the camera cable, but only so I could show to you how sincere he was in his attempt to be shipped back to Stadhampton.
He's also very interested in the idea of sponsorship; should anyone wish to donate countless foil sachets of super luxury Whiska Cat Heaven stuff he'd be very grateful. Well, he'd condescend to eat it. I notice though that the Bargain Chunks have once again been consumed by the invisible bowl-clearer, so I'm not inclined to take him too seriously.


Anonymous said...

What a special recepition--that's great.
Aren't cats interesting creatures! At one wedding I attended last summer the pastor was talking about how men and women are differet--the illustration he used-he said that men were like dogs in mannerisms and expectations etc. and women like cats! :>)
We have 3 cats and my kind patient husband gets up at night to let them in from the outside !

Anonymous said...

OOH! Wolf cats are smart!
I would have worried about the group of boys. Why do they wear their pants like that? It is also a fad here!
When my son was growing up he would have been really upset if I had bought pants so big they hung down to his knees with his but exposed like that! Times change. Can't wait fot these times go.
Glad your money was in a safe place and pusre untampered.
I have been having the same prob with one of my cards can't even get the debit card to work!!! I just hate them.

Robyn said...

lol cats are the master of manipulation. My cats wont eat anything without gravy in it, any sign of bowl at the bottom of their biscuits, they maw forever and if one of them is sick, the male follows me around mawing for ages until i figure out he is tryign to tell me something and clear it up...

i love them! sounds like they are already bringing extra excitement and fun into the household...brillant...

re the assumptions....know what you mean

Anonymous said...

How do you manage both wheelchairs in town? Or do you have carers?

Tia said...

It really depends.
If Little Fish is in her power chair then I concentrate on pushing Mog and clearing a path, she drives herself, and I apologise for the knocked over displays etcetera.

If we need to get into some of the less accessible shops then LF goes in her manual chair. I then either push one child and pull the other, or push one in each hand - one in each hand is easier but only works in wider spaces.

As a final resort, I push one child 50 yards, stop and put the brakes one, then go back for the other one, walk past the first child, put those brakes on, go back for the first child, and carry on in convoy like that. I only really need to do that on very uneven and narrow paths though.

I don't have carers who come into town with us but I do have friends and family who help out. And we rely on the kindness of strangers too - I have never ever had to leave one child on one side of the road alone, as soon as people see us waiting to cross they come over to help. I found that awkward at first but people are very kind. I do sometimes have to restrain them from helping us across a road when actually we're window shopping just beside the crossing, but apart from that people are kind!

It's the same on Sunday mornings - I walk both girls to church, and because we aim to be there slightly early (to do all the drop-offs) we're not usually walking with other members of the congregation. But if anyone is walking to the local newsagent's they will usually stop and help, and we always have volunteers to help us on the way home again.

Pushing three wheelchairs was interesting though!

Anonymous said...

wow. Am impressed. We struggle with just the one and me in my wheelchair!

Tia said...

I used to know a family with three girls, all with different degrees of CP. The mother would go for walks pushing the most able child, who would push the slightly wobblier child, who would in turn push the child who was most severely affected. I've done similar, pushing Little Fish as she pushes Mog or her baby doll in a buggy, but never quite managed a convoy like that! It's alright going straight but turning corners gets tricky.

I don't know how big your child is, but BIME (bath institute of medical engineering) have made a clip thingy to fit a child's car seat to an adult's wheelchair. No good for us as it doesn't work with a more complex wheelchair, but just incase it might be useful to you I thought I'd mention it.

We did at one point feed straps through the front of Goldie's wheelchair and hook her up to a team of Girl Guides to hike her up a hill - maybe some kind of trailer would work?



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