“I’m going to London for the week,” my beloved spouse informed me.
“What can go wrong?” I thought.
It turns out, quite a lot.
- The new school term starts, no-one knows when they finish school, where their school shoes are or if their uniforms still fit (they don’t).
- The Wi-Fi password isn’t working and we can’t watch any movies.
- The dog managed to damage her leg and is limping around on three feet looking embarrassed and miserable.
- The cat died.
This is how my last 24 hours (almost) broke down…
16:00 Husband leaves to go to the airport.
17:00 Children discovered miraculously that school starts tomorrow and despite all assurances discovered that pencil cases, shoes and uniforms have somehow evaporated. I engage in a search and rescue mission to find enough to go around.
18:00 Dog 1 finally reaches the end of his patience with Dog 2 and injures her hind leg. Dog 2 begins limping miserably. Knowing it was her fault, but trying to pretend it wasn’t. I resolve to take the dog to the vet on the way to work in the morning.
19:00 I relax. Children are clean, used actual soap (I checked). This is importance because arriving home on Saturday from 3 weeks away I saw a note on the fridge reading, “Luke and James showered yesterday” – which referred to the day before yesterday.
20:00 Children getting ready for bed, I’m in a pair of Star Wars pyjamas. Screams alert me to an emergency. I find the cat in the throes of a seizure and then going limp. Panic ensues. Owner of the cat gets hysterical. I give him an overdose of rescue remedy, grab the cat, wrap it in a towel and hustle the oldest son into the car to hold the cat. We race madly across town to the last remaining emergency vet only to arrive with a very ex-cat. I pay the exorbitant cost of a vet to tell me the cat has expired. We negotiate burial and cremation, and I turn down the memorial urn and plaque. We settle on cremation. I realise I am still wearing the Star Wars pyjamas.
21:00 The bloody gate won’t open. Oldest son has to scale 6 feet of vertical steel and find a fork to jimmy the lock. Armed neighbourhood guard arrives and crazy woman in Star Wars pyjama pants tries to convince him that this is actually her house. Oldest son’s bed has to be forensically cleaned to remove evidence of the cat’s demise. (Oddly enough, Google kept serving me a GDN ad for a forensic cleaning service only last week. What clever little boys and girls anticipating my needs. Do I need to fear a conspiracy?)
22:00 Finally calmed down grieving children and collapse into a chair for a cup of tea.
23:30 Remaining cats remind me that I missed the evening milk run. Milk in a china saucer (no cat bowls), poured in front of them in case I taint it by pouring it out of their view.
00:00 Bed. And prayers. Lots of prayers. Lots of heartfelt pleas to the divine, who is probably laughing his celestial socks off.
05:00 Alarm goes off. Mad rush to leave for school. Forget to take dog to vet and decide she can wait until tonight when I will pay triple the amount for a vet to see the outcome of her hubris.
08:00 Arrive at work. Phone husband to let him know about the cat. Get the distinct feeling that he thinks I should have done feline CPR, driven faster or somehow wrought a medical miracle. Also get the feeling of extreme relief that he didn’t have to deal with it.
08:30 Colleagues welcome me back and ask me if I feel rested. I look at them bemused. Rested? HA!
11:00 Remember that children will at some point need to be collected from school, but have no idea when. WhatsApp parent group in the vague hope someone else will know. They don’t.
12:00 Remind me why being a grown-up was something I wanted to be?
Our beloved Siamese, Sinatra, passed away from a heart attack last night. It was quick and apparently painless (although I think the vet told me this in an attempt to make things better – after all, who is going to tell a bereaved pet owner that their cat was in excruciating pain?). He was only 6 years old and apparently his death was the result of years of in-breeding by humans in the attempt to create the perfect cat. All cats are perfect, but there you go. I shall miss him immensely, his loud voice, his bright blue eyes, his contempt of all living creatures and his warm little purring body next to mine. I can only believe he has gone to pet heaven.
Goofy Freya, on the other hand, deserves neither sympathy for her three-legged state nor the massive amount of tender care she’s got as a result. Bonnie Prince Charlie showed remarkable restraint despite the numerous trials she has put him through, but having his bottle top stolen from under his nose was going too far. I have a sneaky suspicion she is putting on a show in order to garner the special treatment she is now receiving.
My life is dictated by children and animals. I have no dominion over them at all.