Sunday, 9 January 2011

First blog post of 2011

It has been a difficult and stressful month. Junior was off school for the first two weeks in December due to the snowy weather. For a while it seemed like we would never see greenery again. I couldn't remember what the world looked like underneath the thick blanket of white. Being trapped in the house with a hyper seven year old was challenging.. to say the least. There are only so many board games you can play, fairy cakes you can bake, Lego models you can build and snowmen you can build. My Christmas decorations have never been up so early!

At long last school re-opened but three days into being back Junior took ill and had to spend a few days under a blanket on the settee. Thank goodness for Calpol and CBBC. Predictably, I then took his bug and spent Christmas in bed/hospital/my folks. Not the best Christmas on record it has to be said.

The M&S Honey Roast Parsnips and Nut Roast are still tucked away in the freezer for a time when we're completely back on our feet and can enjoy them. However, I'm not sure when that will be. This virus has really knocked me for six. On a good day I just feel hungover and on a bad day I feel like every cell in my body has been poisoned. Sometimes the thirteen steps to the toilet feels like Mount Everest.

Poor Dizzy Rascal, our hamster died on the 28th December. She was nearly two years old and so it was not a shock. She seemed bright enough but when I went to clean her cage I noticed (to my horror) that she had doubled in size. I was still so ill when I had to stagger over to the vets in my pyjamas through freezing sleet and wind. I kept feeling like I was going to pass out. It was a particularly emotional experience because it was three years to the day that I had to say goodbye to my faithful puss Bonnie, who died at the ripe old age of 17.

I whispered my tearful farewells to wee Dizzy in the waiting room and kissed her whiskery nose for the last time. I chose for the vet to take her away and do the kindest thing for her. He told me she was so swollen because of a fluid build up, most likely as a result of kidney failure. It was very difficult to say goodbye when she was still so alert and behaving normally. The lovely vet reassured me that I was doing the right thing and it was only a matter of time before she took a stroke or started to suffer. At least I can take comfort from knowing she wasn't in pain. I was kind of glad for the lashing rain on my walk home with the empty pet carrier since no-one would see my tears.

It's times like that - when you're desperately ill and emotionally weak - when you wish there was someone around who could make the impossible choices and pick up all the pieces. I get so tired of being the one who has to make all the difficult decisions and provide all the explanations. Sometimes I yearn for someone to hold me up emotionally and take the choices out of my hands. It was heart wrenching breaking the news to Junior that Dizzy had gone and wouldn't be coming back although he took it well and showed remarkable maturity and sensitivity. It was a comfort to take a bag of Dizzy's unused bedding, food and toys to the SSPCA animal shelter where they would be put to good use.

Poor wee thing. I broke my heart when I came home from the vets and started to clear away her cage. She had made this cute little pile of food, all neatly organised in the corner of her bed. I'm guessing she thought it would be warmer to have breakfast in bed. I know this will sound weird but I really miss her company.

On a brighter note we have a new member of the family. Baby. No, not a real baby! A furry one. Baby the cat arrived in the middle of December. I had some niggling concerns that he might not hit it off with Junior but I needn't have worried. Baby follows him around like a little lamb and it's sweet to see my rowdy boy showing the softer side to his nature. Check out what he has to say about life at his own blog.

Apart from a couple of 'weeing' incidents Baby appears to be settling into his new home. I contacted Sarah at Sunny Harbour (the shelter where we got Baby from) and she has advised me to keep things simple for a few days to reduce Baby's stress levels. I've to limit the space he has and in turn the inappropriate urination should mend itself. Fingers crossed.

I hate to think of my wee cat feeling stressed. Sarah has reassured me that his behaviour is normal, especially considering the stressful environment he came from before finding himself at Sunny Harbour. I wish I could make him understand that nobody is ever going to hurt him again. I guess even cats find it difficult to let go of the past.

Right, I'm away to scrape the snow off my car and give the engine a run. Need to make sure I can get Junior to school.


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