It Can Still Gloam Inside

Last night after work I went to Coles to buy the makings of dinner.

I was hoping to go through the self-serve checkouts. Despite being very indignant about their invention to begin with (having spent many years as a checkout chick myself), I now much prefer them, especially after work, when I don’t feel like talking to anyone. Instead I was drafted to the register of an actual person, an older woman, easily in her late 60s.

She studied the things I was buying, easily concluding I was making spaghetti bolognaise. ‘Oh!’ she exclaimed, please with herself for recognising my intended meal, and by what came next. ‘This looks like my recipe!’.

I felt terrible, because money is tight right now, and I’d purposely selected the cheapest way to cook it. I’d forgone things like bay leaves and wine and a good parmesan for the very basics. I felt terrible because she was far too old to be standing for long shifts and what happened in her life that she still needed the income?

She passed me the bags and I stared at her nails, well maintained, painted a light pearl pink and I wished her a good night and meant it and already she was focussing on the next person over my shoulder.

Turn & Face the Strain

In 2005 I wrote a thesis about the ways in which feminist authors used science fiction as a means to test theories of community that weren’t based on patriarchy, or which had overcome patriarchy.

It was awarded the highest mark available, my supervisor praised the final product and then I slipped away from academia, into six or seven years of routine boredom, depression and, at times, horror.

I have never reached my potential, except maybe here, online, for my own amusement and to build and stay safe in communities where less consequence exists when it comes to failure. No-one will punish me for failing to update this space for months at a time, for falling back on pictures and hurried sentences, for re-hashing old stories with new spin.

In 2005, I pushed myself. I quit smoking and took up French theorists. I challenged, correctly or not, the assumptions of feminism made by those much more experienced than myself and I believed I had a right to do so. I occupied a space by choice and felt I belonged there.

At some point after I started believing the lie I told myself and everyone else that so long as I kept my mind occupied, mostly with books, it didn’t matter if wasn’t pushing myself anymore.

Doing that led to new routines, routines that could be defended for short periods of time.

I can’t do that anymore.

Could She Be … The Most Naughtiest Girl In The World?

Yesterday we took Delilah to Sydney Park to meet up with some friends and their respective dogs. Here we have from left to right, Tats and his boy Rupert, Jonathon and his boy Robbie and B with The Naughtiest Dog in the World, Delilah. Despite how it looks, B has not also become a father.

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Over the weekend, Delilah ate half the back cover of my copy of ‘The Book of Basketball’, which to be fair is one of the most casually sexist books I’ve ever read and I felt like tearing the cover off myself.

The following morning she chewed up a pen and exploded ink everywhere and walked around looking like the police had taken her paw prints for their files (they should, she’s trouble).

At the park, she faked being a delightful puppy for as long as she could, but there’s one thing she is never able to resist, and that’s mud. We looked away for two seconds and turned around to find this:

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Oh Delilah.

Here she is being carried across a grated bridge, which she is too scared to walk across. Look how quickly her bravado disappeared:

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We stopped for coffee at the Sydney Park café, which is always an experience as dogs mill around mostly unattended while their owners are distracted, impatiently waiting for a caffeine fix.

My attention was drawn to a short woman, cheerfully puffing away on a cigarette and chatting to every dog or owner who walked by. Her dog was a giant Rottweiler named Satan, who she incessantly called whenever he left her side for a moment.

The pair eventually came walking past us and she stopped to give Delilah kisses and discuss her cuteness. Delilah and Satan circled one another and for a split second I was distracted and looked away, when all of a sudden there was squealing and cries of ‘Delilah!’ and I turned back, expecting to see Satan running off with Delilah clenched in his giant jaws.

Instead, there was poor Satan standing there while Delilah vigorously humped his face which she had mounted and clamped onto.

“Look at her! Dominating Satan, the big, scary Rottie!” Satan’s owner laughed.

That’s out little girl, and we wouldn’t trade her for any other dog (unless she eats any more pens).

Gonna Party Like It’s The Weekend!

B and I have been battling the plague for a few weeks now, plus B had bronchitis, plus I waited 12 weeks to see a physio because I thought the pain in my hip would go away by itself and instead it hurt so much I couldn’t sleep so our house has been a bit tense, in the most loving way possible.

I think everyone is looking forward to the weekend: us so we can sleep, Delilah so she can sit around Barry’s shoulders like a stole all day and Wuz so Delilah is out of the house and she can eat her own food without the threat of puppy attack.

I must say, I am happy with how Wuz has handled Delilah’s arrival. She does not like her new sister, she would prefer she did not exist, but if anything it’s made her more chummy with me in particular, like, “Can you even believe this jerk? She has to be trained to know where to pee! Remember when I was a baby? I knew right from the beginning!”. I let her reminisce, smiling to myself as I remember the years where I couldn’t move without Wuz pouncing on me, the time when she jumped off a two-story balcony when she was chasing birds, the time when she fell in the toilet.

Short memory, Wuz.

This weekend Delilah starts puppy preschool. Hopefully lessons include: don’t eat garbage, don’t roll in wee, stop chasing pugs.

The rest of the weekend I am going to spend curled up in the lounge room with a spread sheet and a list of places we want to see in Japan and I’m going to start planning our itinerary for December and January and on Saturday night we are going to crack open a well-deserved bottle of red and book accommodation in Tokyo for Christmas and New Years.

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Bring. It. On.

He’s My Puppy Daddy!

There’s something special about the way men fall in love with animals. Particularly big, broad-shouldered men.

I’ve seen it before: my dad, despite being openly disappointed in his children’s decision in the late ’80s to choose a small black poodle at the RSPCA over more masculine dogs, came to love Paddy dearly. In fact, Paddy’s untimely death a few years later was one of the few times I’ve ever seen my dad cry, and was certainly the first time I’d ever heard him say he’d miss someone.

He also has a very fond relationship with my parents only remaining cat, a female Burmese called Tom.  Tom is small, but very heavy because she is all muscle from years of turning her nose up at Whiskers and hunting for live rabbit. Dad loves Tom, Tom loves Dad. Dad respects her independence and they have a similar pain threshold. My dad has returned from work dragging many a broken bone before and so when Tom returned from a hunting trip with a very limp tale, Dad did what he would want someone to do for him: grabbed her, put her tail back in place and let her get on with things. Her tail now stands tall and proud.

B is a board-shouldered man and he has fallen very hard in love with Delilah.

I have lost count of the number of times he has cooed sweet sentiments and I’ve blushed and said, ‘Babe! That’s so sweet of yo- …wait. Are you talking to me or the dog? Oh.’.

In the mornings I get up to the site of him wearing Delilah around his neck like a stole. He trims her claws and defends her from The Wuz and hasn’t exactly said I’m not allowed buy her clip-on bows to wear in her hair. When we go out for brunch, he orders her chicken from the kitchen and organises puppy play dates with other cuties (and their equally cute puppies).

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A few nights ago The Wuz and I sat on the couch and watched disdainfully as B and Delilah wrestled on the floor. We don’t need their love.

*sniff*

This weekend will be the real test of Delilah’s cute though: she’s meeting Dad for the first time, a vocal critic of a) corgis and b) his children owning any kind of pet. History would suggest though, that she’ll melt his heart.

 

 

A Pupdate!

Living in a two people, one cat, one puppy household means our days start before the sun comes up and ends well after it sets, but finally I have time for an update:

- Delilah came to us able to fetch and sit on command. In the last week she’s gotten big enough to fit her mouth around a tennis ball, which means she brings it to you when you’re lying on the couch blobbing out and drops it at your feet and looks at you with her gorgeous puppy eyes and suddenly you have the energy for one more park visit;

- She loves big dogs. She loves to get them to chase her and then she stands underneath them so they can’t catch her … except for Sky, her Husky friend, who’s discovered when she does that, he can just sit on her;

- It took her two weeks, but she’s finally acknowledged there is a cat in the house;

- Now she eats the cat’s food whenever she gets the chance;

- She can undo the fly of your jeans by sitting on your lap and digging at the zipper. She loves doing this;

- Yesterday her cage door wasn’t locked properly and she spent the day roaming the house. When we came home we discovered Bad Things, like a bottle of shampoo under the lounge and an out-of-print sci-fi novel with its edges nibbled. We discovered a Good Thing that made this all ok: despite being out of her pen, she still returned to it to pee. The puppy is housetrained! We can leave her out all weekend when we’re home! This is such great news for us and our carpet!

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Delilah.

Today I was discussing dating protocol with a friend, and imparting what little wisdom I have on the matter, when suddenly I remembered a fantastic example from my past where a guy I was meeting up with told me he were close by and then just never showed up, never messaged, never called. It was a total Chuck Cunningham Syndrome moment.

A few months later I was talking to my then-therapist (I wasn’t seeing a therapist because of  Chuck, the laughs I’ve gotten from telling that date story more than made up for it) and she asked me to make a list of what I wanted in a relationship and it was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life.

Nowhere on the list was children.

Very high on my list was not living in the city forever and owning a dog, having someone who it felt like I was on a team with, someone who made me laugh and was kind.

Nowhere on my list was earning big bucks, but having enough to travel was a priority.

I was telling my friend about the list today, saying everyone should make one and then use it when they feel unsure about a person.

It gave me reason to think about my list.

Chronic illness knocked on the head what little desire I might have had for children and I’m still super happy with my decision.

I have a boyfriend who makes me laugh many times a day and who keeps my worries in check to the point where I hardly have any and when I do, I can see them far more logically than I’ve ever been able to before.

We’re going to Japan in December and will spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in Tokyo.

We both have jobs that satisfy us and allow us to do things like take trips.

He’s my best friend and favourite person to be around.

For months we’ve been talking about moving further out from the city, somewhere that allowed us a lot more space, was a move in the direction we want to eventually take and it would mean we could get a dog.

For months we discussed dogs and what kind we’d like to get, settling pretty early on a corgi.

About 5 weeks ago I contacted a woman who shows corgis and very occasionally sells them if they can’t be shown. I expected she’d tell me to wait until next year, but instead she had a pup who she might want to sell in a few weeks.

We waited anxiously for about two weeks and then she contacted us and asked us if we wanted to buy the pup we’d already been calling Delilah.

We picked her up on Saturday and she’s gorgeous.

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And now we are four …
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Putting The ‘Ow!’ in ‘Meow’.

On Wednesday night we took The Wuz to the vet because she is long overdue for vaccinations and I wanted some advice on how to overcome Newtown’s notorious flea problem.

It was never going to be fun, The Wuz hates traveling in cars and cried the whole way there and no amount of Dark Crystal fandom from the receptionist was going to persuade her everything was ok (The Wuz’s “official” name is Fizzgig).

She sneezed on the vet, she ran away from the vet, she didn’t want to get weighed, she had two needles, a flea tablet and a worm table and she was pissed.

Thursday was the first day in a long time I didn’t trip over her on my way to the bathroom, which I thought was strange and when she eventually walked down the hallway, it was clear something was really wrong. She was walking like she was drunk and her eyes couldn’t focus and when I picked her up she meowed like she was in pain and scared.

Having never seen her sick, I didn’t know what my response would be. Now I do: I crawled into bed and cried.

Thankfully, B was there and took charge. This is a man who is mildly allergic to cats and lives with one who frequently sneezes on him, yet who has taken to her with great gusto. This is a man who frequently works with her sitting on his lap, or creepily watching him from her perch, the man who I overheard calling her ‘sweetheart’ one night recently as he tried to shoo her back in out backyard.

He took her to the vets and they gave her an injection to get her temperature down and kept her for observation. He rang at lunch time to check on her. He came with me last night to pick her up and give me moral support while the vet talked about what a bad patient Wuz was.

Then we took her home and gave her lots of hugs and kisses and she seems well on her way back to normal Wuzness.

We love you, Wuzzy!

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On Dads and Dogs

“Do NOT get a dog. Just don’t do it. It is the worst thing to do, getting a dog. Don’t get a dog, they will tie you down.” – says Dad, the man who was married at 21 and had three children well before he turned 30.

He says this while cradling two of his three grandchildren, just after we’ve discussed the dread my older sister is feeling about her impending international travel with a five-month-old.

“Easier to kennel a dog than a kid.” – says me, 31, owner of no children but in possession of a bowl of corn chips.

Dad stares into space. “That is true, you can’t kennel a kid, I suppose.”.