Confessions of a fur-mama

 

Be warned, there’s something in here that may be genuinely distressing to anyone with even half a heart. Doubly so if you love dogs. But there’s also some funny things too, so, it’s all good. Read on.

So, we’ve had our rescue fur-baby a couple of months now. We’re still trying to untangle that mangled little mess that lives inside her head. We don’t know much about her. We know she’s an older dog. We know someone has been nice to her at some point. We also know that someone (or someones) hasn’t.

How?

Sadly, by her physical scars. And, even more sadly, by the psychological scars that little by little, she’s allowing us to see.

One example.

A training clicker.

The sound terrified her the first (and only) time we tried to use one. We were mystified. My hyper-perceptive vampiric sleuthiness (it’s a thing) was stumped. And then the penny dropped some time later. The sound is identical to a cigarette lighter. Now put that together with some of her smaller scars and…

Well…

If I ever meet the ones who did that to such a gentle, loving animal (or any animal), then my ‘no-biting-humansrule may become more of a guideline.

But in the meantime…

She’s sprawled out on her favourite (for she has many) fleecy throw, snoring and farting away to her little heart’s content. She’s still in that ‘can’t-quite-believe-it’s-real’ phase and gets really panicky if she does something wrong. Our hugs and reassurance still puzzle her.

We are now dealing with some separation anxiety issues. Which, to me, is a good thing. It means that’s she’s now attached to us. It means she trusts us (as does the sitting on my foot with her back to me). But she’s getting over them. She knows we’re definitely Team Fur-baby now.

We’ve learned this about her:

  • She hates puddles and getting wet
  • She already knows ‘high-five’, ‘shake hands’, ‘roll over’ and – bizarrely- how to cross the road safely (!)
  • She learns very quickly
  • She pulls like a train and loves her rope toys (if you have a dislocated shoulder, she could easily reset it for you. However, if there’s someone you don’t like and wish they had a dislocated shoulder, it wouldn’t work. She’d just call 999/911. She’s about bright enough to.)
  • She can be hyper focused, but also easily distracted (ha! she takes after me!)
  • She’s obsessed with food. Especially chicken (nope. Not me. Well, the chicken part.)
  • Even more than being given food, she loves finding it herself.

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: No! Pleeeeeease! Don’t go!

And then, when faced with a puzzle ball containing treats…

ME: I’m just going out, Pup, I’ll be gone ten minutes.

DOG: (30 minutes later) Nom-nom-nom. Did somebody say something? Nom-nom-nom.

She’s also very communicative. She lets you know in no uncertain terms what she wants. And doesn’t want!

Do parents of small human children have this problem?

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Okay, let’s get your harness and lead and everything on and you can go out.

DOG: Don’t wanna.

ME: Then you can’t go out for walk.

Five minutes later…

DOG: I wanna go out for a walk.

ME: Then we’re putting your lead and everything on.

DOG: Nope. Nuh-uh. No way.

ME: You know the rules.

DOG: (grumbling) Pfft. Ohhh, alright then.

Gets harness and everything on (with much muttering on her part).

DOG: Don’t wanna go now. Spoilt my fun.

ME: Oh, we are going now!

10 minutes later…

DOG: Woweeee! This is the best day ever!

And nearly an hour later, after lots of (shall we say) negotiation as to route, we get back. I’ve enjoyed the fresh air. She’s enjoyed the stretching-her-legs.  And the sniffing. There’s always lots of sniffing. Grass verges are like Facebook for dogs. “Hmm. Nice post. Just leaving a comment…” We’ve both enjoyed the exercise. She is nicely worn out.

So what does she do next?

Run around the house like a thing possessed and then charges out like a mad fool into the garden.

Surely she can’t still have some reserves of energy in that little furry body? Have I not walked her enough?

Nope.

She is simply running out to survey her kingdom. For she is… Wonder Pooch! There she stands: ears up, tail up, right paw up, in full-on protection / surveillance mode. Have there been any threats to the kingdom in her absence? Any pretenders to her throne? Any evil crows, seagulls or (heaven forbid!) cats with a wicked design to overthrow her benevolent rule? Are there any individuals (regardless of number of legs) who have dared trespass upon her property to upset those under her kindly protection?

Nope.

Okay, all good.

And she trots back into the house again.

She plonks herself in front of the fire and gets back to one of her favourite jobs – destroying her rope toy.

All’s well with the world. I have protected you another day, my beloved hoomans. Chomp chomp chomp.

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CDO – as it should be

Did I ever mention the OCD?

I’m not sure I did.

Vampires have it. Big time.

The thing is, nobody’s ever called it that before. Yes, we have our issues, just like you. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder just happens to be one of them.

Disorder?!

Why call it disorder?

What an irony.

Disorder is the one thing we can’t stand. I mean, I say ‘we’ – once again I’m probably speaking for myself here. As ever, if there’s a fellow vampire out there that wants to contradict me, go ahead, make my day.

Honestly.

It really would make my day. Sometimes being a vampire is like being a traffic warden.

Very isolating.

And just about as popular with the public at large (unless you count the airy-fairy ones you get in teen romances).

But at least we don’t have that “Come and egg me” uniform to contend with.

Where was I?

Yes.

OCD.

There’s a myth that the way to prevent a vampire from returning to its coffin it to scatter seeds everywhere. The vampire must stop and count each and every one before returning to the coffin, by which time, the sun comes up and – boof – it’s not the seeds you have to worry about, it’s the large vampire-shaped pile of dust you have to deal with.

Well, first of all…

  1. Coffins. Nuh-uh. I mean, Why? So restrictive.
  2. Sunlight. Painful, yes. Damaging, yes. But hoover-bothering pile dust-hill? I think not.
  3. Counting…

Ah, well. Ever eaten biscuits in bed? Could you sleep until you’ve extricated every. single. last. crumb from the sheets? No.

Same here. It plays out like this…

Mythical vampire: Ah! Some human has scattered seeds to prevent me from returning to my resting place. I must count them! One mustard seed, two mustard seed, three mustard seed, mwa-ha-ha…

Real vampireSeriously?! I just hoovered, like twenty minutes ago! And now I have to do it all over again!

It’s not so much the seeds that bother me. Just little things out of place or not they should be…

  • Phone receivers not put back quite right on the cradle
  • Toilet seats left up (but that could also be a female thing)
  • Items not tidy on a supermarket shelf (the amount of times shoppers have mistaken me for an employee and asked me where the beans are – why is it always beans?!)
  • Picture frames not quite straight on a wall
  • Stamps not squarely stuck on an envelope
  • Wallpaper patterns that aren’t perfectly matched up
  • Undone shoelaces

Oh, I’ve lost count of times I’ve walked past people and muttered ‘Shoelaces‘ at them! DO THEM UP!!!

And quit with the ‘jaunty’ angles! Put things straight! Has nobody ever heard of a – oh, what’s that thing you call with the bubble in it that helps you get a straight line? – Spirit Level! That’s it.

And if I can’t remember it, I can imagine that might be the issue with everyone else too. My mistake.

And now I have to go. Literally. I can see out of the corner of my eye that my clock isn’t hanging straight. When the ‘big hand’ says ‘o’clock’, it actually looks like 1 minute past… Gahhh!

Fetch me a ladder!

See you soon.

 

Strictly Come Prancing

Or Rudolphing, or Dashing or Whatever.

Though I don’t think there was a reindeer called Whatever. But there should have been. He’d have been the world-weary one at the back who got the full brunt of the other reindeers’ dietary habits. He’d be the one with the peg on his nose. He’d be the one demanding emissions testing for reindeer and other magical flying animals.

So, yes, it’s that time of year again. And instead of everyone singing “I’m Dreaming Of A Wet Christmas” (just like the ones we always get), the weather is doing something very strange… It’s been snowing.

Yes, folks! It’s time for the Christmas Foxtrot!

Snow, snow, thick thick snow.

Well, hopefully. Hopefully?

Depends, I suppose. There can be winds. People simply complain about losing their dustbin lids. Never mind the roof tiles, bridges being shut down. There can be heatwaves. People simply whinge about it being too hot. Never mind the sunburn, dehydration and general dangers.

But one snowflake…

And people lose their freaking minds and turn into apocalypse preppers. Everything closes down and you can’t find toilet paper for love nor money. Because yes, when the end of the world comes, those extra rolls of double-soft quilted embossed will be so handy.

I don’t know if things are different from when I was little, or whether it was just because we didn’t have a car (long story) but I don’t remember all this end-of-days obsessive panic. Or perhaps it was just because I was a child and saw snow as lovely stuff that I could play with during – say it in hushed tones of reverencesnow days.

The grammar school I went to was surrounded by 6 foot high (2 metres) hedges and when a friend and I went out walking / mischief-making, we found ourselves walking well above the level of those hedges, and probably on top of a few abandoned cars too, unwittingly. There might have been a bit of ‘wittingly‘ about it had we known.

As we headed across the school playing field (with rugby posts poking apologetically out of all the white stuff), we saw a helicopter overhead. Being the ‘friendly’ sorts we were, we decided to wave to it. Oh yes… we waved and waved.

And it started descending onto the field.

I don’t know if there is a land speed record for ultra thick snow, but I think we may have broken it. We both charged back home and waited for the worst. What the heck had we done? We were both pretty sure it had been a military helicopter and our imaginations were running wild. We were praying we weren’t going to get into major trouble…

And that evening, our curiosity was rewarded, if not our panic. The news came on.

“And in local news…”

Which is what they used to say before the now ubiquitous ‘News Where You Are‘ (does nobody know what ‘local’ means anymore?)

It was a great story. A pregnant woman, living in a tiny village cut off by severe snow fall had gone into labour. No way in or out of the village was possible. A helicopter from the local airbase had been drafted in to get the woman out and off to the nearest hospital. But disaster had struck. The snow was so bad, the helicopter couldn’t see where to land.

And that was when the ‘miracle’ happened…

The crew of the helicopter suddenly saw two figures standing a few yards from the woman’s house, waving them down frantically, before disappearing into the drifts.

Yup. You guessed it. It was us. It was our village.

Anyway, hospital reached. Baby born. Everyone doing fine.

Stay safe everyone. And remember – getting your prayers answered is good, but sometimes it’s nice to be the answer to someone else’s prayer…

Keep your toilet rolls handy…

 


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Time and tide wait for no vampire

Eight months.

Yikes.

Yeah… sorry.

I know I normally disappear about June or July and pop back up again in September or October.

This year was a bit different. The summer was rubbish, but then you knew that already.

We’ve moved again. Had to. Well, I say ‘again’, but it’s only ‘again’ for me. The hubster is swearing on any and everyone’s life that he’s never ever, ever (with extra ever) going to move again. It was a long and drawn-out process and one which was bereft of wifi.

Modern savagery, right?

How did we survive?!

I don’t know, but the trauma will no doubt last for a while. Just joking. But it was a nuisance.

I’ll just check my bank baI can’t.

No time to go food shopping, I’ll just do it onlidang.

Ooh, I need to email Bob abou- Gahhhhhhh!

#FirstWorldProblems, as they say.

Anyway, we’re here now. And I’m able to talk to you again. I’m really glad about that. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed talking to you.

Okay, at you then.

Blame the jet-speed brain again. That’s how eight months have gone by so fast. Or so slowly. I don’t really know which it is. Another weird thing about being a vampire – our (is there an ‘our‘, or is it just a ‘my‘? I don’t know…) sense of timing varies between brilliant or non-existent.

And when I say ‘varies‘ what I actually mean is – it’s one thing or the other, baby. No in-betweens for this puppy.

(Did I ever mention that my favourite clock runs anticlockwise? It’s so much easier to tell the time by it…)

So either

NASA could set the clocks on the Space Station by us/me.

or

I do everything now in a minute

Mind you, that second one’s more a Welsh thing than a vampire thing.

Historically, it could have been a vampire that named The Hundred Years’ War (116 years). Or The Thousand Days’ War (1130 days). Or The Thirty Days War (304 days)…

But not The Eighty Years’ War – that one actually did last eighty years.

I was walking back home with the hubster today after a little trot into town. I confused him. I often do. I mentioned something about a lady in a Burberry scarf walking on the other side of the street. She looked so smart.

Then about ten foot-dragging minutes later, with much reflection and cogitation on my part, I wondered aloud whether our dog was alright on her own (oh yes! That’s another bit of news – we have a little rescue dog now).

Did I say ten minutes?

Apparently it was less than a few seconds. The hubster was puzzled as to why I was so concerned whether Scarf Lady would need to be let out for a poo.

Yeah…

(((cringe)))

Til next time. Promise not to leave it eight months.

 


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Let’s Dance

An inevitable move is approaching. A vampire can’t keep their head down forever. Except on a sunny day. But this is Britain, after all, so… no…

Taking a break from keeping the heads down, the hubster and I decided that, given that there’s not a blue moon due any time soon, we would throw caution to the wind and socialise. The operative word here is caution. On so many levels. We went bowling.

Yes.

Bowling.

Essentially throwing a  heavy lump of plastic at a bunch of other bits of plastic (or wood – not sure which), hoping that they’ll connect and fall over. So then, the opposite of what we all try to do in our daily lives – which is not knock things over. I mean, since we’re first able to walk around by ourselves, our parents and well-meaning adults move everything possible out of our way so we don’t knock everything over. For years, it’s

“Be careful!”

“Look where you’re going!”

“Watch out for that [object]!”

“Mind you don’t knock [item] over!”

And then you find yourself in a bowling alley in rented shoes, and suddenly you’re let loose with a load of deadly balls and told to go nuts.

What?!

As we all know, knocking a few things over is usually annoying. Case in point: there’s a whole bunch of YouTube videos about cats knocking things over and I don’t hear anybody congratulating the little furballs…

And what is it about bowling that suddenly makes it alright to do strange little dances?  Who does that in everyday  life?!

“I just put the milk back in the fridge… oh yeah ah-ha.” [does an elaborate wiggle/fist-pumping combo]

“I’ve just done the washing up and I’m doing the robot.”

Well, if you get excited over doing the washing up then it’s because of one of two things :

one you’re extremely easy to please or…

two  dinner around your house must be an adventure because if washing-up is such a big thing then… yikes?

(You know I’m joking!)

And those shoes… Yes… they say you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Well, a good thousand or so people had probably worn those shoes before me, and I still don’t have a clue about any of them.

Okay, so I didn’t walk a mile in them. It just felt like it. Okay, I didn’t walk at all. I may have tottered, strolled, skipped (slightly), skidded and occasionally ended up on my backside in them, but that’s besides the point.

I also saw a sign in the same place for a silent disco. So how does that work? I mean, yes,  I know how it works, but it got me wondering… what happens if you go to a silent disco with someone you like and they want to make a move?

What happens when they want to listen to something really smoochy and you just want to listen to Uptown Funk?!

I reckon there’s going to be a whole load of mixed messages going on right there…

And the potential for a whole load more YouTube videos.

 


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You know it makes sense.

Don’t look now…

I’m being very good today.

I got up.

Hey, don’t I get brownie points for that?!

Things have been getting a bit weird around here. Oh, okay then … weirdER.

I recently realised that I’ve been living in this country a quarter of a century. Nearly ten years in my current location. And that’s way longer than I ever tend to spend anywhere. Normally, after about 5 or 6 years, people start noticing things, and life starts getting awkward.

Then I move on. In fact, it’s normally a lot less than that. But, I guess that’s a big city for you. Noise, smells and a whole big bundle of Couldn’t-Give-A-Toss. This is a place where people would prefer to barge into you and say ‘sorry‘ than say ‘excuse me‘ and go through all that lengthy hassle of waiting a whole two seconds for you to move out of their way.

Sorry, I put ‘move‘ in bold because when I looked up at the screen, I realised I’d typed ‘love‘ instead.

Freudian slip?

I’d like to think so.

Sounds better than ‘Omigosh, my typing sucks‘.

But I think I’ve seen you. You’re the person that always says ‘thank you’ when I stop to let you go past. You always seem concerned whenever you see someone who may be in distress, and you’re always the first to help when you find that they are, rather than pointedly staring at your phone instead.

Talking of which, I saw someone the other day, walking along a tempestuous pavement, glued to their phone screen. Oblivious to everything else. They say flying is simply throwing yourself at the ground and not hitting it… Well, this guy practically flew, in that case.

Foot + pavement-bump + diverted attention = Faceplant

Or so you’d think…

It was a spectacular save.

He fell.

He got about three quarters of the way down.

He righted himself.

He carried on walking, still glued to the phone.

Now that’s style.

I salute you, young sir.

At least folks like him aren’t the cause of my current predicament.

Ah yes, that.

They’ve found me again.

Well, I think they have. And no, I’m not entirely sure who ‘they’ are, exactly. But ‘they’ have an unerring knack in discovering creatures like myself and, er, encouraging us to be geographically adventurous. I’m sure there’s some kind of -ism or -phobic that covers this, but let’s face it, you’re  never going to get anybody out with placards protesting.

Well, you may do, but it’s going to have to be at night, so probably not much to be achieved there.

Dysons and glowsticks at dawn it is, then!


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A hot topic

Wow, I was on a full-on whinge last time, wasn’t I? Sorry about that. Blame the weather. Go on, blame it. I intend to.

It’s hot here. As in, Tarmac-melting hot. 38 degrees. Certainly way hotter than my body temperature. Now, at this time of year, it’s usually safe for me to come out of my hidey-hole and embrace the autumnal lusciousness.

Only there’s very little autumn about, and even less lusciousness.

As I’ve said before, clothing is an issue for an everyday vampire. There are two choices: Cover up/overheat or wear less/burn. There is a third option: Hide. Guess which one I opt for.

Of course, there are occasions when I do have to leave the house, so wearing pale colours is my only option. And when I say pale colours, of course I mean white. I. am. not. going. to. wear. pink. Ever.

I’ve had people inform me that goths shouldn’t wear white. You know the types… So I just smile and let them carry on with their rant. Because that’s what you humans do, isn’t it (present company excepted)? They see this metaphorical snapshot of you and launch into a judgment based on that fleeting glimpse.

It’s like, the other day, someone slapped my wrist for making a joke about something that has, in the past beleaguered me and caused me a lot of personal anguish. ‘You can’t make jokes about that.’ he said, ‘You don’t know their story. You don’t know what they’ve been through.’ And you don’t know what I’ve been through, so shut up.

So, because I’m ‘so obviously a goth’, I’m not allowed to wear white. Okay, mate, whatever you say. But it’s not like I can tell them the truth, is it? I bet you’d like to be a fly on the wall if I did that?

So I’ll wear what I want. It’s quite sweet, because when small children see me, they’re convinced they’ve just seen an angel.

But conveying your personality to the world via the medium of fabric (and ink) is such a human thing, isn’t it?

How often have you seen some poor teen out there, swelteringly encased coffin-like in black leather despite hot weather warnings, with so much melted black eyeliner on that they’ve stopped looking gorgeously waifish and now just look like an anxious Alice Cooper?

To all the gothlings  out there:

You are allowed to forego the black leather, you know.

Gothling: No, I must wear head-to-toe tight black leather. How else will ordinary people know what I am?
Ordinary people: You’re an idiot. We just guessed.

See you in A&E. Heatstroke.

Oh, and going off at a tangent (so what’s new?) There is that one staple that the snapshot-judgement-jumpers always pounce on me for.

Tattoos.

I don’t have any. Nope, not one. Oh, I mean, I love getting the odd henna tattoo when I go on holiday. Like memories, they fade…

Well, I made an interesting discovery the other day. I can’t actually have them. They won’t take.

Yep.

You read that right.

They won’t take.

I know, crazy, eh? Now, before I get started, Tattoo 101, as they say. In much the same way that some believe that chips (=fries) come from plastic bags in the freezer, many people believe that the only way to get a tattoo is to visit a tattoo parlour. Which means if you were a sailor living 400 years ago, you were screwed. Let’s get the principle straight. sharp object+ink, piercing skin= tattoo. I know. My mates used to do it in class. Usually Maths (compasses!).

One guy I know was trying to do “Unforgettable Annie” (his current girlfriend’s name; seriously, he should have just had a ‘fill-in-the-blank’). Unfortunately, the poor lad’s pain threshold wasn’t that high, so he got as far as ‘Unforget‘ and passed out. She dumped him. But he never did forget her, so…

Anyway, this is why I (and probably anyone born a vampire) can’t have tattoos. Again, please let me know if you happen to be the exception to the rule. I was drawing with one of those lovely free-running ink pens (sharp object+ink: still with me?) and, distracted by someone talking to me, I rammed the pen into the lid with a little more force than usual. Of course, it wasn’t the lid, it was my thumb.

It bled like a pig. And then stopped. And a couple of hours later, it was healed. As usual. But I had a black spot there. Oh great, I thought. An accidental tattoo. And it looks like a blackhead. Wonderful.

Until the next day. To cut a long story short (too late), my thumb spontaneously opened up, spat the ink out, and closed up again. I wish I’d filmed it now.

And that’s why vampires (well, born ones, anyway) don’t have tattoos.

Do you want a moral-of-the-story? Ych. It’s the same as ever. Don’t judge people when you look at them. Or, actually, just don’t judge. Full stop.

“I have that within which passeth show. These but the trappings and the suits of woe.”

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2, Page 4


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Go on…