The truth is that life has been truly, madly, deeply bonkers and busy this last ten days; too busy even to brag about my brilliant welcome-to-mum beetroot soup. Because, although I say it myself, it was rather good.
Mum arrived on one of those early morning flights about ten days ago and kept going all day. She didn’t have much choice. Bertie dog was ill and passing blood – my courtyard was a mess – and so we spent the first afternoon scrubbing down the paving stones and then had an hour-long appointment at the vet’s (he’s since recovered after lots of tests and mega doses of antibiotics). After the vet’s I had an hour to prepare dinner, change and get my head in gear for a meeting with a publisher in Carlton. I only just made it as I ran into heavy traffic and had to ditch the car and jump on a tram.
Our second day started well and ended badly. We took Bertie for an afternoon walk in the park and went off the path and under the trees to avoid the sun. Don’t ask me how but, within minutes, a stick with attitude had singled out Mum’s leg and gashed it in two places. What would have been a bandaid affair for me or you, resulted in a major wound for Mum. Just as Bertie had stopped bleeding, Mum started, ruining her new shoes in the process. Yikes!
We got an appointment with the unpopular male doctor at my local practice the next day. He’s a belligerent, opinionated kind of medic totally lacking in any bedside manner. Mind you, Mum can be quite a tour de force herself especially when it comes to insisting that they use her special dressings the had brought from England. Was she planning to have wounded legs? Did she fear bashing her legs so much that it turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy? Sometimes I do wonder. Mum is the one who banged her leg on bed post in Singapore, had a similar stick incident on a beach in the Mornington Peninsula and, on a holiday in Cornwall in 2001, dropped a TV on her head. That really was quite a drama; she had tried to tilt the television downwards but it wasn’t fixed to the bracket so toppled over.
This is not to make light of her recent wound. Her leg was very sore and swollen but, more than that, Mum was furious it had happened and frustrated at not being able to swim, walk Bertie and help me clean and clear out cupboards in preparation for my renovations. I probably added to her frustration by running around like a mad chook flipping from thing to thing – writing grants and feature articles, buying a finger glove and special chicken-flavoured toothpaste for Bertie (he’s got a bit of plaque on his teeth apparently), doing the body corporate accounts (I can’t make them add up), clearing out cupboards (Mum is appalled at the stuff I have amassed – “you never used to be like this”), taking stuff to my local charity shop, testing paint colour on the walls, and toing and froing with the builder and other suppliers on everything from shelf heights to electrical points, Laminex samples, tiles and telephone points. Renovations are like migraines; you’ve got to go through it to know what it feels like. Believe me.
Then I’ve been emailing the folks back in England and dipping a toe in world of eBay to sell some of my clutter. So far I’ve sold a dress and am two dollars out of pocket. It sold for a dollar and I underestimated the postage. And talking of toes, my sister in London has dislocated her toe and it hurts like hell. She got out of bed in the night to attend to her husband who has had major knee surgery and has his knee in a brace. Are we accident prone in our family or just Drama Queens, or both?
Anyway, in between all of this whirling around, we’ve had some lovely moments of R & R: a lazy lunch in the garden with gorgeous rose wine, lunch at a local cafe in between a gentle bit of window shopping and, the highlight, a visit to Tim and Bruce in Hepburn Springs where we sat on the veranda watching greedy cockatoos nibbling on pears, read books, chatted about all and sundry, and had a beautiful dinner (Chicken Coronation, none the less, and Nigella’s plate trifle). With renovations looming in my own house, it was gorgeous to get away.
I came back wondering how I could de-clutter not just my house but my to-do lists. And I’ve come up with a way to make combing Bertie’s ears less of a chore (see my last post about the bossy groomer). Getting out the knots and grass seeds is one thing, but food gets stuck in his hair and makes it all matted and he hates it when I try to comb it out. So, short of coming up with an edible chicken-flavoured comb, I bought a hair grip, one of those Lady Jane things, and I pin his ears back before he eats. As he gobbles up his food in about 30 seconds, he doesn’t even notice and it works a treat. The only thing is that I get the giggles as his little face looks so funny with his ears back. So I have to work hard at keeping a straight face when issuing the SIT and WAIT commands. These are two of the commands we’ve got down pat unlike leash walking…
On Sunday morning, he yanked on his lead and nearly pulled me down the front steps. My sandals caught on the step and my foot got bent back and I ended up with a huge bruise and rather sore toes. What was I saying about our family and the Drama Queen gene?