Sunday, August 31, 2008

Room in the house

Do you know a certain song that used to be on children’s television? It’s about an old woman whose house was too small. She went to some wise person who advised her to take her cow into the house. But the house was still too small. So the wise person advised her, in successive verses, to take in her horse, pig, chickens, ducks, geese and so on. When the old woman complained that her house was STILL too small, the wise person told her to take all the animals out at once – and this did the trick: suddenly her house seemed so much more spacious.

Much the same happened to us this weekend. Before the weekend my husband and I felt somewhat sad about our frequently depressed son-in-law; our other daughter’s actor boyfriend, who spends much of his time doing nothing and the rest of it doing very little; and our son, whom we’re missing so much since he left home.

And then two things nearly went very very wrong – but didn’t quite – so we feel better!

On Friday evening, Cassie Cat wandered through into the living room and we all noticed that she was walking oddly. Her back legs kept collapsing. Panicking, we rushed her to the emergency vet, who thought she had been poisoned, maybe by slug pellets in a neighbour’s garden. There was a mysterious green smudge of something under her chin and she’d started to twitch. However, this story ends well: she was put on a drip all night, given antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and by the morning she was much better. She has bald bits on her legs from having the drip put in and is rather offended with us, but she’s fine.

(Which all cost £254. She herself cost only £30, so we could have bought 8 new cats instead, but of course we love her too much and anyway we have enough cats. Definitely.)

On Saturday, our beloved son was to come home for the weekend for the first time since starting work as a junior doctor. His birthday was on the Friday so he was coming home for cuddles, presents and cake. He’s working at a hospital about two hours’ drive away from here (and is living in the country, half an hour away from the town where the hospital is) and I haven’t been happy about this from the beginning. Apart from not wanting to part with him, I was worried about his driving when tired from long shifts – and just worried in general about all that being on the road: to and fro from the hospital and also coming home sometimes. He's a good driver but roads are dangerous places.

I wouldn’t say that the male members of the family have exactly mocked me for my fears, but they have certainly dismissed them. They’ve been too polite to call me a fuss-pot but that has been the subtext. Nevertheless, when our son phoned – as we were bringing Cassie home from furry-hospital - to tell us that he’d crashed the car, I didn’t say “Well, I told you!”

He was going round a bend when the wheels lost their grip and he went sideways into a wall. It turned out that there had been two previous accidents on the same spot that very week, and there was oil on the road. It had just started to rain and so the oil-water combination had created a slide. And I also suspect that some weeks of 85-hour day shifts followed by a week of 13-15- hour night shifts would certainly not make it easier for him to avert disaster. Fortunately he wasn’t going fast and equally fortunately - since he at first slid to the opposite side of the road - there was no one coming in the other direction.

My husband set out to collect him (he was half-way home) and we’re only too glad that the boy is all right. Unlike his car. He got his cake. There are now some complications, since he needs a car (he starts work again tomorrow night and is living in the country, half an hour from the hospital - as above).
But, well. When you think that we might have been down to two children and one cat in the space of sixteen hours, we’re feeling very thankful.
For now.


  1. Oh, dear.

    Well, as my husband likes to say, "Things can be replaced. People can't." I'm so glad your son and your small fur-person are alive and well.

  2. My goodness! Well if you have any fingernails left at all after that, you are a stronger woman than I! Glad your brood, furry and otherwise, are well.

  3. Yes it's funny how what seemed to be important can just disappear in a flash when the bigger things in life kick in. So glad that both events had a good ending. Z xx

  4. The bro looks like a film star in that top photo!

  5. There's nothing like some real drama to help us appreciate the sheer joy of peace, quiet and ordinary.
    Best wishes

  6. Hi Isabelle Glad everything worked out all right in the end hope life runs smoother for you now.
    Hugs Mary.

  7. Certainly makes you count your blessings when events like that occur.

    Hope life settles for you all:-)

  8. Oh Isabelle. Thank heavens your family is intact.

    And I laughed about the buying 8 new cats. Our greyhound's tooth extraction cost over $500 and I pointed out that as he cost approximately $136 we could have purchased four new greyhounds for the same price ...

    Funny how it doesn't work like that.

  9. Glad boy and cat are both fine. I know all about the dangerous pairing of young males and motor vehicles!

  10. Oh, I'm so glad they're both all right.

  11. Glad they're both well, and there are blessings to count!

  12. oh, pheeeew!

    Disaster averted: thank goodness. Sometimes these little mishaps make us aware of the good things:
    Yes, he may be further away, but he still IS!

    (as opposed to Isn't)

  13. Oh dear Isabelle - my vandalised property pales into insignificance. I'm so glad Cassie is okay now (but sorry about your wallet) - still, they are worth it, aren't they? Kitties have a way of purring their way into our hearts.
    You didn't say whether your son's car was insured, but even so it is a shock and then a nuisance to be without your wheels for work. I'm glad he is okay - looks happy enough at his birthday party!

  14. There is nothing like a little perspective, is there. I am so thankful son is fine, and you got to have your cuddles and cake. Not to mention the cat. The rest is unimportant. They are fine!

  15. OhMyGosh! What a scary weekend you've had. Did Cassie get into some poison or something? I know just how you feel with the vet bills -- having spent much more on surgery than our free little kitty cost us. But, like you say, we love them, so what else can you do?

    As for DS, in spite of the lack of automobile, he's looking cute as ever. So happy that accident wasn't far worse!

    You need a little rest with your feet up!!!

  16. So glad your lovely son is ok. And the little fur baby. How lucky you are so attentive to the cats, or she could have died.

  17. Oh My! I'm so glad everyone (and everycat)is okay!!!

  18. No wonder you are feeling a little frazzled! Do cats and boys have any idea how much anguish they cause us? I must say that I laughed aloud at the thought of eight new cats being cheaper than repairing the one you have!!