Saturday, August 18, 2007

Entertaining and vaccinating

It’s been quite busy week. College started back on Monday. Fortunately we don’t have any students to teach yet – they’re still applying and enrolling – but we’ve just moved to a new office with half the number of filing cabinets and no shelves instead of lots of shelves. So there has been much unpacking of resources and much attempting to rationalise these and arrange them into less space than before. It’s quite hard to make folders smaller.

Last term, we were allowed some choice as to which room we would like for this new office. We chose one with a nicer outlook than our old one, but the crucial thing was that it was rather bigger. It was four windows wide instead of three windows wide plus an alcove. It’s unusual for things to get better rather than worse in the world of the public sector, so we were all excited about this extra space and made great plans for it. Then one day we passed the room that was to be ours, and workmen were stripping it out… and building a new wall which cut the room down to three-window width. So it’s actually smaller than our previous one.

It would have been quite funny if it hadn’t been so annoying.
At home, we’ve had Daughter 2’s aspiring-actor boyfriend staying for some weeks (he lives down south) while he rehearsed for the play he’s now performing in during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. (This is more or less the only work, or as I tend to think of it “work”, he’s done this year – and I mean work of any variety, not just acting. Don’t get me started on this subject. Hmm.) Anyway, he’s been occupying our only spare room, Daughter 1’s former bedroom. Then last Friday, five of Daughter 2’s friends arrived to stay (two boys in Daughter 2’s room, which has one of those pull-out beds under the bed) while the three girls plus Daughter 2 slept, sleepover-style, on mattresses in the sitting room.

The friends departed on Sunday and then on Monday, aspiring-actor boyfriend’s parents arrived for a few days, to see Edinburgh and his play. They slept in Daughter 2’s room while she camped on her brother’s floor. Then, to add to the complications, my niece came on Tuesday to stay till Friday – yesterday. She actually slept at my mother’s, but was around here quite a bit. On Thursday, aspiring-actor boyfriend’s parents departed, and since it was my niece’s last night in Edinburgh, we had my mother and my aunt down to a meal.

So, while this has all been quite fun, I haven’t exactly been idle, which explains why I haven’t been doing a lot of blog activity.

This morning we took Cassie and Sirius to have their second injections. We don’t yet possess a cat-carrying basket, but when I took them for the first injections, I just put them in a slightly see-through plastic crate with a lid that folds down in two halves. No great problem. This time, husband was around to help, so we got a kitten each and put them into the crate. Or at least, that was the idea. We actually picked up a kitten each and these took one look at the crate and suddenly turned into squirming furry dervishes with fourteen legs between them, each of these legs kicking out in a different direction and not at all conducive to going into a box. No sooner had one kitten been crammed into the box and the lid slammed shut, than we had to retrieve the other one from behind a sofa (not an easy task – they move fast) and then we had to open the lid again to insert the second, whereupon the first shot out faster than the speed of light and zoomed into some other inaccessible corner. I had no idea they were so strong. I thought they were little fluffy toy-type things, not steely-muscled warriors armed with a thousand tiny, sharp claws.
At last we managed to force Sirius into the box when Cassie was already in it, and fell back, exhausted and sweating. Then we looked triumphantly through the sides of the box to savour our victory. One kitten only. We were amazed. We were so sure that, during our incarceration of Sirius, Cassie couldn’t possibly have escaped. We were there! We would have seen her! But we looked sideways, and there she was in the kitchen, poised for further flight.
We won eventually and the deed was done. The strange thing was that, at the vet’s, they behaved like little fluffy angels. You want to extract one kitten for the vet to stick a nasty needle into him? Certainly. I’ll just sit here in this box. You want to put him back in while the same happens to me? No problem. Now I should go back in the box? Of course. Home again, they went calmly to sleep. Husband and I drank coffee from quivering mugs and wondered if a sedative would help the next time. For us, I mean.


  1. Pets are ever so interesting... and exhausting, aren't they? :) And, at least your little ones behave at the vet. My dog gets nervous on the way and it a mess while we're there; losing clumps of hair, and they wrote on his file "better if away from "Mom", too nervous around Mom". Ahem. Lovely. :) Your sedatives comment make me chuckle aloud. I know the feeling well. :) Glad to read a post from you. Missed you!

  2. Judging from your tale, trying to put kittens in a box is akin to trying to put a genie in a bottle!

    The new office sounds quite annoying. I hope you get some peace and quiet to recover from the various house guests, pleasant as they were.

  3. Ha! Funny story about getting the kitties into the box. I have the same problem (halved, though, I only have one) every time mine has to go to the vet.

    I saw on a TV show the other night the suggestion that the travel box should be used daily as a bed, somewhere "nice" for the cat to go during the day, so it won't freak out when it's time to travel.

    Yeah right. My cat hisses at the box as it walks past. I don't think that's gonna work, somehow!

  4. It is a pain getting them into the box.. I find that if I put the travel box into a small room like the bathroom for a few days before they need to travel, and feed them in the same room, then on the day they travel they get fed in the bathroom, the door is shut, and they are, after they've finished eating, bundled up in a towel and unceremoniously shoved into their box. It has to be done quickly as the cats share the same box. Much yowling ensues.
    And they are perfect angels at the vets too and little demons before.

  5. Street angels, house devils?

    I warned you about them there kittys.

    Chain mail suits for everybody, methinks.

  6. I just know animals can read minds! Our dogs quiver the minute they hear me thinking about the vet!

  7. Sounds like yuou've been having fun!! Why do vets have such a soporific effect on our cats, I think fear just makes the cats behave! Hope you're settling back in at work and the game of musical beds is over - sounds like a lot of work!
    Kim x

  8. You've got to love optimists. You and your husband are clearly positive thinkers! Pity the kittens didn't just toe the optimistic line.

    Visitors - lovely to see them, lovely to see them leave.

  9. We sometimes see our vet socially and then the dog gives him a good telling off! She has less courage when she's there; usually hops onto his scales without being asked as if to say 'if I do this bit now can I not have the needle bit?'
    Did you have a serious talk with daughter's boyfriend's parents about their son's lack of prospects?
    Lovely philadelphus.

  10. Oh Isabelle, you are so funny! You beat James Herriott hands down - you must keep all this blog writing and put it into book form one day - I'm ordering the first copy right now!!!

  11. Kittens in a box eh! Fancy trying that old trick! We tried to transport a wee ginger kitten from a country town to Melbourne and, within 30 seconds flat, the kittenc had clawed its way out of the box and started its protest by emitting the most horrible howls and smells! We turned around and took it back to its birth place! My aunt was not impressed, and every time the grown kitten produced a litter of kittens she would tell me 'It's all your fault, you should have perservered!' (She thought spaying was cruel, and blamed every other cat (many feral) in the neighbourhoodas well! But me, mostly!
    I am pleased you enjoyed afternoon tea with your grandmother and the Carlton Ware. My family used to hoard these things because they were too good to use! I ask you!!!

  12. I was going to ask if that glorious blossom was quince blossom, but I see some smart person in the comments knows that it's philadelphus. Don't you just love the internet?

  13. I think your work was cruel to get your hopes up like that!