Jack!

A few weeks ago, after having done our heavenly duties for the day, a bunch of us critters were lolling around spying on Mom. We like to check up on her and see what’s happening down on earth. We’d noticed that she spent a fair amount of time moping by the compost heap, chatting to the spot where Alpha had buried Ralph’s mortal remains.

Zed-Boy snickered and gave Ralph the nose.

Hah! So that’s what they thought of you eh! Compost.

Gave that meanie Basset Hound a slap with my tail… Oi you! Be nice! We’re in heaven now.

Ralph was about to point out that there were reminders of all the animals except Zed-Boy down by the compost heap, but I gave him the nose too. No need to point out the obvious.

Skunk ambled up in his shambley long-legged way and plopped down next to us on another bit of fluffy white cloud. We exchanged licks and slobbers. I’m rather partial to that Skunk. He’s a gentle old soul. Pity I never met him in real life, but then again, if he’d stuck around Mom and Alpha would never have come looking for me – so I guess things worked out how they were supposed to.

I’ve lined her up another cat! Skunk announced. One the same colour as Ralph and me!

Whaaat? Yowled Ralphie. So soon? She hasn’t finished being sad about me yet.

Gave Ralph a withering look. Really? We don’t want her to be sad. We like it better when she’s happy.

Ralph grumbled and mumbled a bit and Zed Boy smirked. Honestly, sometimes I think that dog should have gone down below to Old Nick instead of being a heavenly hound.

Let’s see it then – what’s it look like?

Skunk waved his paw in the direction of the Woolies parking lot. There.

Ralph nearly fell out of heaven laughing.  That’s my replacement? He scoffed. That’s not a proper cat! That’s a cartoon creature.

Skunk looked a bit put out. The freckles on his nose crinkled up ever so slightly and his whiskers quivered. I sidled up closer and leaned on him a bit.

He grunted… oeff!

I feel so light and springy now I tend to forget that I’m still a bit of a pudgy Fudgie.

That’s a perfect kittycat Skunkers– he’ll fit in beautifully with that crazy family. Where did you find him?

Skunk admitted that he’d seen him lurking by the side of the road, all wet and bedraggled and had used his heavenly powers to entice the furball into the doggy parlour. He giggled a bit and confessed that he did not really imagine that Lulu, the parlour owner, would tidy him up as neatly as she did.

She’d taken a photo and put up a notice on their board outside with “Needs a good home”.

Ralph was still cackling and hooting – lying on his back with his manly wing-spurs flapping all over the place.

Skunk nudged me – Look… Mom’s checking out the pocket-Fudge’s paws.

Skunk always calls Gemma “the pocket-Fudge” because she’s brown and long but a quarter of the size of my own robust Fudginess.

We all held our breath to see what she would do next…

First she spoke to Alpha and he shook his head. Then she foofled around on her lap-top thingy. Tik tik tik.

Finally she loaded Gemma into the car and drove off – in the right direction.

Zed Boy was barking bored by this time and was trying to sit on Looseyfur, the little red devil.

Loosey just did a disappearing trick and poof! he appeared again next to Skunk. Zed looked around for somebody else to mess with but Slayer hissed and gave him the evil eye.

Mom and Gem walked straight into the parlour. She did not even look at the notice board. Skunk gulped. He closed his big brown eyes and concentrated hard.

She helped put Gemma into a cage and glanced up at the cartoon cat. Then she walked out and drove off.  I looked at Skunk… Is this part of your plan?

He did not reply but continued concentrating intently.

A bit later mom came back. She was about to walk in the door but she backtracked and read the notice. She went inside. We all saw her waving her arms around and pointing.

Heads were nodded. Gemma came trotting out and mom took another look at that cat.

More heads were nodded. Skunk and I were about to do a paw version of a high five when that wretched mom gathered up Gems and walked off to her car. Leaving her cat behind!

Zed Boy howled with delight. You stupid mutt! You can’t organise a darn thing.  Not even from heaven!

Poor Skunkie sloped off feeling very dejected. Even Ralph was a bit quiet. Slayer and Looseyfur looked at each other with slitty eyes. They’d always preferred Skunk to Zed and they did not like to see Skunk looking so downtrodden.

A few hours later Skunk gave a delighted whelp. Mom was hauling the cat box out of the spot where it lived and was getting back into her car.

We watched with glee as she drove back to that very same parlour and loaded that cartoon cat into the box.

The cat was safely on its way to his new home.

Skunk leapt around whooping like a crazy flying grasshopper and made faces at Zed Boy. Ralph was a bit put out and slunk off. Slayer and Looseyfur winked at each other and then went back to catnapping.

I smiled at mom with all my Fudgie fangs.

Thunderdog!

(I’m telling you mom – that Thunderdog is lurking up there!)

Feh! It’s that time of year again. I start panting and sidle up close to mom.

What’s wrong Fudges? She gives my ear a scratch. Is it time for your pill already… noooo – I think not.

I give her the nose. Move your legs – I’ll just cozy up here under your desk with you.

She looks at me – but there’s no space my woof. And it’s still sunny outside. The weather is just fine.

Ohhhh… It’s coming, don’t you worry.

I give up trying to squoosh all our legs under her desk.

She’s right, there’s a most inconvenient bar in the way. Was I a tad younger I might have had a go at gnawing it off, but my fangs are not quite as fearsome any longer.

Sure enough, the sky gets all dark and gloomy. Then it starts to rumble and shake – in my head anyway. There is an incredibly brilliant flash… and that Thunderdog bellows in the sky.

Ralph comes skidding into the bedroom – whiskers twitching, eyes wild. He’s not a fan of the Thunderdog either. He scrambles onto mom’s lap. She has to move her chair back – there’s no space for both of them under the desk either.

I scuttle around the bed and dive into my box.

Must say – my box is not too shabby now. In the beginning it was horrible. Mom had put a mat in which I could scrunch into position, but every time I moved the whole box made a lot of noise. Then she got the idea to cover the box with a duvet and put a big fat cushion in it.

Thought it might be a bit hot , but it’s nice and cozy and also a bit soundproofed. Almost as good as being under the bed. Sometimes Ralph intrudes, which is just rude – especially when he claims the fat bit of the cushion.

Edge – the grey kitty who now has a name– does not particularly like the noise either and burrows under Em’s material boxes when he hears the first roar.

Sjoe, says mom. What a bunch of sissies you furries are. Just smell this rain – it’s delicious.

Delicious! My woggley whiskers – now she’s really losing it. Come inside immediately woman and close that balcony door.

She hangs over the railing and catches some raindrops. Then a bolt of lightning cracks nearby and the ferocious growl of that mutt in the sky even makes mom jump.

Yah!

Dead Dog Blues

Recently our pooch passed.

Well – it would have been better had she passed all by herself but we had to make the decision for her. It haunts me still… in the dead of night… in the middle of the day – whenever.

My. Dog. Is. Dead.

Um yeah… know we did the right thing (and we had no choice) yet still feel ultra shitty and guilty too… and wonder who the hell were we to decided that it was time for our dog to die?

And she was not just any old dog.

She was Fudge – the dog with a blog – for eight freaking years that dog wrote her weekly blog (which also appeared in the Springs Advertiser) and entertained people around the world with her antics.

Everything she wrote about happened. Maybe some of the stuff got a little embellished here and there (a bit of canine licence you could say) but each and every single episode in the series of blogs happened.

Hundreds of them.

Seriously. Eight whole effing years that little doglet stayed glued to my side.

She smiled at me, bitched at me to play with her. Messed up my working routine when I was on a roll. Smooched me when I was feeling sad. Clawed me with her bear claw-paws, jumped on me, squished my feet, lay in the way and dished me unconditional love.

She knew her love was every bit reciprocated.

I understood what she was thinking… Hey mom! Get off your butt and let’s play ball! Or maybe…. Hullo – it’s dinner o’clock. Or sometimes just a fangy grin letting me know she was a happy little dog and loved her life.

I work from home – Fudgie was my constant companion.

She shed more than sixty trillion million hairs all over the house, our clothes, the beds… hell – we even found Fudge hair in rented cars in Cape Town when Fudges was in the kennels in Equestria.

The cleaning staff at the University of Pretoria rebuked Chris for bringing a dog into his office. He had a hard time explaining there had been no dog in his office.

My mom and daughters maintained that they knew Fudge had been around when they found her hair in their bras. Whether they came to visit in Pretoria or we all went to visit in the Cape.

Once I went to pitch a deal for writing “Sibo Fights Malaria” with a very elegant professor. He had this immaculate office with a round table that gleamed. Hauled out my Sibo books and plonked them on the table. The dude picked up the nano book and several little magical fibres of joy wafted down onto the table.

I inwardly cringed and nonchalantly swiped at them. They skittered across the polished surface – out of my reach.

Another time, without thinking I slipped off one of my pumps at a conference and joggled it around on my big toe…. then noticed that it had acquired a lovely (very obvious) furry lining between the sole and the side of the shoe.

Now there is this huge gaping hole in my hairless life.

I carefully open the door when I come in from shopping… Fudge would always wait by the door for me to come home… but there is no Fudge. No matter who else was left in the house, when I went out, Fudgie mooched by the door waiting…

For me.

Mom. The person who fed her, talked crap to her, foofled with her ears, scratched her chin. Let her lick my plate, my face, my ear. Dished her snacks. Stuck up for her when she demolished things she was not supposed to. Fed her pills. Carried her up and down the stairs when she could no longer manage them herself. Held her paw when she had fits, wiped up widdles, scooped her poop, wept when she was sick. Hated going away on holiday if it involved her having to go to the kennels and got pissed off with anybody who called her Pudgy Fudgie. She was a big dog on short legs. Oh, okay – she was a tad on the robust side too – specially after she got sick.

I used to go onto the grass to hula hoop and Fudges would charge out and deposit her ball at my feet. My play time was her play time. I had to learn to play ball and hula at the same time without dropping the hoop.

I carefully get out of bed at night (her baskie lived next to my side) but the basket is gone.

Her balls are scattered around the place… how she loved her balls. Waiting for Chris to get home from work each evening and play with her was a highlight. No matter how often Em or I chucked that ball – Chris did it better.

The neighbourhood kids loved her for her gentle nature.

The cats are confused. They look at me with question marks in their eyes… What did you do with our dog?

There is still dog-nose-art on the sliding door.

I see there is a thunderstorm forecast and shudder – only to realize that the mighty Thunderdog can no longer send her scuttling under the bed.

Often I am swamped by the realization that my doglet is no longer here. She’s not in another room. Or outside. It takes my breath away, stuffs up my chest and I want to howl and rage.

But mostly I just want her warm fuzzy body back to hug once more.

How I miss my furry friend…  love you Fudges.

Three lovely rays of sunshine

This is a tribute to three lovely rays of sunshine. Strong women who totally brightened up my life, and many others, over the years in various ways. They have all succumbed to the bastardly C – but not without a fight.

Somehow the topic of food connects these three lives that were not really connected at all – except through me.

Joansie and Kirstie were probably diagnosed around about the same time – a good few years ago now. You know how Facebook is – there are always things circulating about what to eat or not to eat; what’s good for you; the most miraculous veggie that cures everything; interesting herbs and all that shite. I’d see stuff and point it out to Joan, then email the same info off to Kirstie, who was not a FB fan. Joan would post funny chemo videos and I’d pass along those links to Kirstie for a laugh. I’d only known Kirstie for a couple of years and sometimes I think she thought I was a tad bonkers but she appreciated the fact that she could talk about her illness around me, and not pretend that she was fine.

One is always a bit reticent when a friend is sick – like really sick – do you pussy foot around the topic or do you just come out with IT.

Once Joan had been diagnosed she immediately made a FB group and regularly updated a select group of her friends. This made talking about IT easier. She was always so cheerful and upbeat. She recounted horrendous episodes in a funny way that had a person sort of laughing and crying at the same time. I so admired her take on life.

She’d often post pics of her hospital food – saying how delicious it was. Carefully describing the globs of stuff on the plate. But if I close my eyes the first image I get of Joansie is when we were at Helderberg College way waaaay back in 1979. We were in the dorm together – she was a year or so younger than me so whilst we were not really friends – the dorm was sort of family. Sheesh! She was always Miss Goodie-Two-Shoes. Neat and tidy, with a shiny face and her trademark sparkly cheerful personality. We hooked up again 30 years later in 2009 on FB. Her upbeat personality had not changed one iota. We all held her hand – virtually – commented on wig choices and then celebrated when Joansie beat the bastardly C the first time.

Kirstie embraced a really healthy way of eating after she was first diagnosed – she cut out red meat and alcohol and dived into the fresh fruit and veggie regime. It worked for her.

For a while…

Then the tumours came back with a vengeance. We went out for lunch in 2014 – no rabbit food shite that time – Kirstie was telling me that they had discovered the Spur had a special – two burgers for the price of one. She and her family had tootled off and taken advantage of the deal. I agreed that it was great value for money – only paying for two people. Hell no! She replied with a giggle – we ate two burgers each. We fell around the table laughing.

Another time we went for lunch in 2015 was also funny – although it wasn’t really funny. By that stage Kirstie was very weak and we got her a wheelchair to conserve energy. I wheeled her into the restaurant and everybody leapt to attention and started making space for us to sit down. No thanks – chirped Kirstie – I want to sit upstairs. She proceeded to climb out of the chair and made her way slowly up the stairs. The look on the faces of the other patrons was hysterical.

When I dropped her off at home later I wondered if I would ever see her again. I didn’t.

During the course of our lunch, we somehow got onto the topic of birds. Kirstie told me how she loved little birds and one day she wanted an aviary. A few weeks after she died, I was sitting at my desk, feeling really miserable when a little sparrow type birdie landed on the window sill, pecked at the window until I looked at it. It chirped away with its little head on one side and stayed there for a good few minutes, chatting to me. Suddenly I felt better – like Kirstie had come back to say I’m okay – don’t be sad.

We now call all the little birds in the garden “Kirsties” and make sure there is food for them.

My third friend, Anisabel, was the first to die. She had been to visit us on her way back from England and was looking really skinny. Great, but skinny. So skinny that I passed on a pair of my jeans and they fitted her with room to spare. Unheard of because she had always been considerably larger than me. We just assumed she’d been living a bit frugally overseas, had been walking a lot and had lost weight. Upon reflection, she was tired too – but again – I put that down to jet lag. She was so looking forward to starting her new life in the boondocks on the Garden Route – finally having a bit of money to start her own business. We were talking about making a recipe book “Surviving on a shoestring!”

Anisabel was a great cook. She made really delicious food and iced cakes like an angel. We’d been friends for ever. My children looked upon her as a family member, even though we were not actually related. She made wedding, fiftieth, eightieth and many fancy kids cakes for us. She loved reading as much as I do and we came upon a cheapskate method of gifting – we’d buy second hand books – often read them first and then pass them over. Worked a treat because you could then afford to buy three or four books instead of only one.

While she was visiting that last time, she bought a tub of Liquorice Allsorts at Woolies. She then proceeded to demolish most of them. I was vastly amused – I love the stuff too – but so many! Eish! When she left there were a few rattling around in the bottom of the tub. Here, she said. You finish these.

That same tub is now filled with breadcrumbs in the freezer and every time I use them – I think of Anisabel. She also tossed a peg at me whilst she was packing to leave. It must have been stuck on one of her garments and traveled from England with her. Here, she said. Have a peg. It was nice solid peg, so I clipped it onto the washing powder bag – never realising that I would in fact be having frequent chats to that same peg every time I do the laundry!

She was diagnosed with the bastardly C in December and given three months. No prolonged battle for her. She quickly made her peace with the world and cheerfully lived out those last few months – making jokes about how they would be able to use her for a lawn sprinkler because she’d been stuck with a needle so many times. She did not even reach the target of three months.

Anisabel passed in February 2015 and Kirstie in September of that same terrible year.

I remember Chris had a visiting professor from Jordaan and we’d been taking her around on Heritage Day – showing her all the cool stuff we have in Gauteng. We’d just left Maropeng and I was sneakily checking FB on my cell phone in the car. Went cold as I read a post from Joansie saying that the bastardly C was back. It was like a kick in the gut and to my shame (because this haunts me horribly) being still raw from Kirstie, I messaged her back something along the lines that I had had it with cancer – claiming two friends of mine in one year and she better bloody well be okay. She replied that she hoped she did not make it three! It was not in the same year, but sadly, oh so sadly – she was the third.

Farewell my sunshine-flavoured ladies. You are gone… but not really.

Signs of Global Recession

Disclaimer – I did not write this but whoever did is an absolute genius! It’s so funny. It truly broughy sunshine into my day for the moment!

I found it on Facebook last night.  If anybody knows who wrote it or where it comes from – please let me know so I can give credit. (You don’t have to be South African to appreciate it – but it helps.)

My neighbour got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

The Guptas laid off 25 Parliamentarians.

I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

If the bank returns your cheque marked “Insufficient Funds,” you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 ouncer.

Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

Parents in Sandton fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

My cousin had an exorcism but couldn’t afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her.

A truckload of South Africans was caught sneaking into Zimbabwe.

A picture is now only worth 200 words.

When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.

And, finally…

I was so depressed last night thinking about the economy, wars, jobs, my savings, Social Security, retirement funds, etc., I called the Suicide Hotline. I got a call centre in Pakistan, and when I told them I was suicidal, they got all excited, and asked if I could drive a truck.

 

Dog’s Blog #119

Think poor old Mom is losing it a bit, you know. She needs to get out more.

She chats away to me like I’m a person and can understand.

 I can, of course, but that is beside the point entirely. We understand each other perfectly – in fact, sometimes she does not even have to say a single word and I know exactly what she’s thinking.

You, on the other hand, are probably having a cynical snort and thinking – oh yeah – like what?

Hmmm… like I put my paws on her leg when she’s busy tik tiking away and she bends down and smooches my nose. I sniffle around in her hair a bit – like the way it tickles my snout. She looks at me with big eyes. I know she’s thinking she’d much rather be playing ball with me outside on the grass but she has to get this bit finished before she can move her butt one single inch. I slope off to the couch and sulk. Patience Fudge – she says to me– in a while. Blergh. Those ‘whiles’ can be very long.

Or… I look at her, then glance at the washing machine.

She flashes her fangs and says OK Fudgie wena. A quick one.

I flash fangs back.

Am not really looking at the washing machine of course – am looking in the direction of the door to the garage, where they stash my football. Off she goes, gets the ball and we play footie for a few minutes. Not long enough but better than nothing.

Sometimes I just have to sigh rather loudly and she leaps up going oh my gosh I’m sorry Fudges – it’s a whole hour past your supper time. Yah! Like I’m so starving my backbone is leaning on my tummy skin already. Am about to ring up the SPCA and lodge a complaint. Have no clue what a whole hour is but it certainly is one huge big lot!

If I’m really lucky she’s forgotten to cook my chicken bits and then has to open up a tin of that gourmet dog dinner instead. Yum.

Plus – she chats to me when we go on our morning rounds in the complex. Now this is really not cool. For two reasons. The first – am too busy sniffing up the news to listen to her yabbering, plus am having my own chats to the mutts behind the doors. Not always friendly conversations either, and the level of yapping is a tad loud.

Secondly, even I, the hound, have noticed that if people catch her talking to me, they look at her oddly. Clearly most sane bodies do not simply chat to their canines in a calm, friendly, normal tone, whilst enjoying a morning stroll.

Seems to me they either ignore them, yanking the leash in the direction they want to walk in, never mind the poor dog. (And lets furry face it – who is the walk for? The human or the dog?)

Or they yell. Our neighbors’ are always yelling at their mutts –SHURRRRRUUPPPP Marly – reverberates in the air.

Jeez lady! Your dog’s not deaf you know – you don’t have to use such capital letters. Yelling at us does not help – not one bit. In fact, it makes us confuzzled and we are likely to do the complete opposite.

A nice firm tone works much better.

Mom never shouts at me. She always speaks nicely – not even when I ate the couch or messed up their room. Heh heh! Too cool – she gets mad and uses capital letters on Alpha if he ever shouts at me!

He says I’m a spoilt brat. What rot! That is not one bit true. I’m a Fudge.

Ralph the pain in the ass cat

Ralphie was basking in the sun…

Seeing as he’d spent the whole night glued to my chest, snoring, preventing me from moving or turning over, I thought he was not really the one in need of a nap… so I gave his tum a tickle to wake him up!

He squirmed, wriggled and looked a bit like a furry snake with ears…

Daring me to tickle his tum again so he could snag my hand and rip my fingers to shreds. Daft cat…I’m not that stupid.

In case you are wondering what is wrong with his nose… he’s a dirty little weasel. His nose seems to lead the way wherever he goes (duh! but you know what I mean) and is constantly dirty and full of scrapes and dents.  Edge Kitty had a go at it the other day too. Not sure what Ralph did to provoke him, but he scuttled inside with a flap of skin missing from his nose.

I clean it with hibertane every so often (which he loathes) and then he looks like a fancy cat… for about 10 minutes!

The other day we had a dude coming for a braai – not somebody I know – he’d been imported from Holland to fix one of my lovely husband’s babies at work and Chris took pity on him sitting in his guest house alone.  (I wasn’t entirely sure that he would feel happy eating food that the cat had made… you know what they say… what you don’t know doesn’t bother you.)

Ralph was sitting on the counter supervising my salad making. He’d had his dinner, plus a few more pellets and an illicit drop of milk, but still he was hanging around.

I asked him politely to get off the counter.

He looked at me like I was crazy.

So I gently moved him onto the couch.

He jumped straight back onto the counter – typical cat fashion – let’s piss off mom when she’s in a hurry!

Every so often he would stalk across the bit where I was working (and he knows damn well he’s not allowed on) and eye out the potato salad. He’s not a potato fan… but this day he looked like he was going to bury his head in the bowl and snarf down the lot.

He kept sticking his whiskers into the grated cheese too. He’s not fond of cheese either (although Edge, on the other hand, will scoff a whole cheese sarmie given half the chance – bread and all).

Eventually I had a good idea… Oh Ralphie, I exclaimed. Lets clean your nose!

I headed off to the cupboard when I keep the stuff.

Hah!

He was gone in a flash.

Menopause Whine

My man likes to cuddle but I get too hot
He tends to forget that I’m losing the plot
About to combust like some pagan pyre
I feel like a blasted furnace on fire

I lie there and steam in a puddle of sweat
My body and hair are all soaking wet
I sneak out of bed – looking for air
Menopause is a bitch – it’s not freaking fair 

I’m awake half the night – thinking about stuff
When the alarm goes off – I have not slept enough
The day is soooooo long – I need a nap or two
But that’s not going to happen – there’s lots of work to do

I walk into a room and forget why I’m there
I walk out again and go back down the stairs
Then I remember – Oh bugger! Oh shit!
I went to fetch washing – yes, I’m sure that was it

So I go back up and open the washing basket lid
But the bloody thing’s empty – the washing is hid
Then I remember – it’s already in the machine
It’s around about then that I want to scream

I break out in yet another sweaty fog
Thank f*#k at least I don’t smell like a hog
Take deep calming breathes that don’t mean a jot
I’d like some wine now – my nerves are all shot

But wait, oh shite… it’s not even nine
That would mean it isn’t yet vaguely wine time
Close my eyes and swear under my breath…
This effing menopause will be the cause of my death 

My files are all messy – my laptop is a tip
I get beyond frustrated as I search for stuff and drip
My wretched cell phone has started playing hide and seek
Where on earth has it stashed the photos from last week

At least I am lucky that I haven’t got fat
But, let me tell you, there’s a reason for that
Instead of having blessed empty-nest syndrome
Three effing kids have found their way home

There’s never enough milk, bread or cheese
And the meals that I cook do not always please
The sink has magical properties it didn’t have before
It now fills itself up with dishes galore

Sometimes I go crazy… like… madly insane
The menopause faerie has gobbled my brain
If I shriek for no reason, they yell “Brewer’s Yeast!
Beef up on your bitch pills – take four at least.”

If filthy looks could kill – I’d be snug in jail
Having peace and quiet – I’d not be requesting bail
I wouldn’t have to think about what to cook or wear
Nor would I have to worry about doing my hair

But… now… thank goodness it is nearly time
To glug back a nice big fat glass of wine
I must have been a very wicked person in the past
By the way… how long does this friggin’ menopause last?