When I checked my personal mobile as I left the office this evening, I saw that herself had called me at 2. I rang her back. “Oh yeah, it was an emergency when I called you. The cat caught a mouse and brought it into the utility room.” “What happened?” I asked. “I shut the door and called Dad and he’s going to deal with it when he gets home.” Cravenly, I cycled home very slowly. Mr. Waffle opened the front door to me. “Did you find the mouse?” I asked. He had not. We both looked again but could find no trace. Could the cat have eaten it all, including the tail? She is certainly less hungry than usual this evening. Alternatively are there mouse body parts quietly rotting in an unseen corner of the utility room? It’s all to play for, folks.
Neither Mr. Waffle’s parents nor mine are particularly well at the moment and we have been tugged a bit in various directions. My sister-in-law was over visiting and she said reflectively, “You have a lot of responsibility: two sets of parents, three children, a cat and six chickens.*” I thought, yes, we do have a lot of responsibility and it may partly explain why posting has been a bit on the light side. Also, starting a new job (it’s still new to me, I started in February) is more tiring than you might think. And I am doing a work related course and there are assignments and I profoundly regret signing myself up for it in the first place. Sigh.
*In fact the chickens belong to our neighbours and we were only minding them while they (the neighbours) climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with their two teenagers. Yes, I am impressed as well. It did allow Mr. Waffle to send me this message when I asked if all was well at home:
Fine. Children still in pyjamas so am next door supervising hens.
Life’s rich tapestry and all that.
Mr. Waffle and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary on Thursday, July 28. As we got married before having children and when Mr. Waffle was in a different line of work, that was, then, a relatively quiet time of year. Now the children are on holidays; it is one of Mr. Waffle’s busiest times of the year and we go on our family holiday immediately after.
This year has been particularly difficult as for the last number of years, I have been able to take unpaid leave over the summer but it wasn’t possible this year. We kept our childminder on for the afternoons and signed the children up to a couple of courses and Mr. Waffle took up the slack. It was all a bit stressful. Unfortunately, herself was ill for almost all her course and the week before the boys were due to go on their course I got this plaintive email from my husband.
From: Mr. Waffle
Subject: Re: All well at home?
To my horror got a call from the sports camp I thought the boys were doing a course next week but apparently it’s this week. Will have to see if they’re willing to go for the last three days and if [childminder] can do afternoons. Also means we have no course for anybody next week…
In other words, it’s a busy time and we almost, but not quite, forget our anniversary every year. We tend to remember a day or two before when it is too late to do anything but scramble for a not entirely adequate present. For example, the internet tells me that crystal is the appropriate offering for a 15th wedding anniversary; I got Mr. Waffle a book and he got me flowers [very welcome flowers, I hasten to add].
Happily, this year, our firstborn surprised us and when we came home from work, the table looked like this:
She made us risotto for dinner with help from Daniel and Victoria sponge for desert and it was amazing.
Also, I still love my husband, which is great. He sends me funny emails. Samples below:
From: Mr. Waffle
Subject: Signs and portents
My laptop is being weird and currently refuses to open any files or programs.
Also five slugs in utility room / by back door.
I think I’ll call it a day.
From: Mr. Waffle
Subject: What is the best Irish term for Brexit?
I understand someone else came up with these terms but I am always glad to be consulted on matters of national importance.
A couple of weeks ago, the cat brought another pigeon into the house. This time it was not dead. Mr. Waffle grabbed the pigeon from the cat; trapped the cat in the utility room and chased the pigeon around the kitchen (I asked Herself about it – “It was terrible, the pigeon fell in my soup”. Terrible on so many levels). Eventually he was able to usher the pigeon out of the kitchen into the hall while the cat continued to scream blue murder in the utility room. Mr. Waffle said that the pigeon was somewhat dazed but it picked itself up and waddled along the hall and out the front door, somewhat to the bemusement of passers by.
On Saturday evening he rescued the cat from up a tree where she was chased by three small yappy dogs who have moved in across the road. We are not loving them. Mr. Waffle, however, is fantastic.
The other evening I was trying to print off the childminder’s payslip and the printer wouldn’t work. Michael sidled up to me; “Sorry,” he said, “but I think I broke the printer.” “How do you think you broke the printer?” I asked. “I dropped 10 cents down the paper feeder,” he said. I shook it and I turned it up and down but to no avail. “I’m not cross,” I said, “but how did you drop 10 cents into the printer?” Apparently he had been practising coin flips and it had just escaped away from him. After the last unfortunate demise of a printer, my clever husband had taken out a guarantee. €12 well spent. We now have another new printer. I think love is in the details.
Think of us having another delightful anniversary dinner in France. After all, 15 years is definitely worth celebrating.
Herself was returned to us last Wednesday after a wonderful week in London. Her aunt and uncle were very kind and she had all manner of treats and excitement including a trip to the ballet to see Swan Lake which she absolutely loved.
Although the weather was a bit mixed.
She was due to arrive back on Wednesday at 5 but her flight was delayed unbeknownst to me. I was stuck a bit late at work and rang Mr. Waffle to see whether our heroine had returned. “No,” he said, “and I am at the airport, so who is going to be home at 6.30 to relieve the childminder?” I flew home like the wind calling the childminder to tell her that I was going to be late. No answer. I rang the land line at home. Daniel answered.
Me: Hi sweetie, can I speak to K (childminder)?
Him: Yes, but do you want to know my news?
Me: Yes, of course, but can I speak to K first?
Him: It is interesting news.
Me: OK, sweetie, tell me your news first.
Him: When we came home from school the hall was full of blood and feathers.
Me: Oh God.
Him (with relish): Yes, and we found a dead pigeon in the corner of the drawing room.
Me (yelping): Oh God.
Him: Yes, and it’s still there.
Him: Yes, K has a phobia of birds (really, really is this a thing?). Michael and I locked the cat into the utility room. I hoovered up the feathers in the hall and Michael mopped up the blood. K showed us how to turn on the hoover from the kitchen. But we were too scared to deal with the body.
Me: OK, I’ll deal with it when I get home.
Return to the house. I readied myself with a shoe-box and a plastic bag. I went into the drawing room to see feathers, blood:
and a corpse in the corner:
I ran out again. Maybe not my finest hour [Daniel took the photo above]. Then the phone rang. It was Mr. Waffle. Herself had returned and they were wondering could they get a lift from the airport. Absolutely. I sped out, leaving the boys at home on corpse watch.
I picked Mr. Waffle and herself up outside the airport.
Me (to daughter): Welcome home my darling, did you miss us?
Herself: Um, no but I did have an amazing time.
Me (to husband): I have slightly unwelcome pigeon news.
On his return, he disposed of the corpse. What a man. Glad to have our firstborn back and despite herself, I think she might be a little glad too. And she brought us all presents.
Is it true, Hodge, does nothing taste as good as thin feels?
I was 47 on Thursday. It was a bit unsatisfactory. For a range of reasons. Firstly, I was at work, having decided that it would be inappropriate to take a day’s holiday too early in the new job. I think that was a mistake. Secondly, I had arranged to meet someone for lunch when, really, I would have preferred to go somewhere nice on my own and then a couple of other people came and even though all of these people were very nice, I ended up being the conversational glue holding everyone together and that is tiring.
Thirdly, when I came home that evening, I turned around and headed out the door with Daniel who was singing at the school first confession that evening. We were there about 7. The priest was late. We only finally emerged about 9. Daniel got to sing a verse of one of the hymns with a smaller group and it all went well, so he was pleased. I had hoped to have a celebratory birthday take-away (the excitement!). But, fourthly, by the time I got home after 9 it was really too late. Then, fifthly, I trudged disconsolately to the fridge to get a birthday dinner of cheese and crackers only to find that the cat had got into the fridge and food was scattered everywhere and she was wolfing down some chicken scraps. Under the pile of chicken, inevitably really, was the cheese which I had been hoping to eat.
All in all, sub-optimal. On Friday, Mr. Waffle proposed that we go out for a nice dinner on Saturday to make up for the debacle of my birthday. Babysitter and restaurant were booked. Poor Mr. Waffle, this morning he had to do some urgent work thing and around lunch time he started to feel ill. He retired to bed. About 4 we cancelled dinner and babysitter and, as I type, he is still in bed having eaten nothing since lunch time. Oh woe.
Inauspicious, I feel. However, if you sent a card or an email, please know that this year of all years, it was welcome. Also, herself bought me Toffifees which was pleasing. Daniel and Michael made me a card. Daniel tried to give me €50 of his money and Mr. Waffle bought me this picture. So not all bad either.
Updated to add: I forgot to mention my birthday message from vodafone –
Please note you have reached 100% of your monthly data and will not be able to use data until your next allowance begins on 15-03-2016. To purchase our best value data freetext INFO to 50226 or for more details visit www.vodafone.ie/datacharges. To continue using data for the remainder of your billing period, freetext NO DATA BAR to 50226.
I moved on to a new tariff last month and the man said I had more data than I would ever need. I see.
Updated to add: My father said to me when I told him of my various woes “forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit”. I had to look it up (having only done Latin for a couple of years and never having liked it much). Possibly, it means, one day you will look back on this and laugh. Thanks Virgil, not yet though.
The cat is constantly starving. I do feel for her. As my sister pointed out, just because she is fat, doesn’t mean she isn’t hungry. But the vet says she has to have a waist and we have to limit her food intake. We are conscious that she is already supplementing her diet with random rodent snacks so are trying to feed her relatively limited amounts. She does not find that pleasing and she prowls around the kitchen whenever we are eating or preparing food in the hope of leaping up and stealing something from the table. It’s a constant battle and despite our vigilance she often gets away with stuff; scurrying off delightedly with a leftover chicken bone or the ham from one of the children’s sandwiches or some other delicacy.
Recently, we inadvertently and, I confess, foolishly left the fridge open. Quick as a flash, the cat got in and grabbed the cold roast beef left over from Sunday dinner. It was an enormous piece and she scooted under the armchair set aside for her use with it clutched between her jaws which were stretched to maximum capacity. She stayed under the chair making the most extraordinary growling noise at all comers. I picked up the chair and the Princess bravely picked the cat up. Then, I began to attempt to wrestle the roast beef from the cat’s jaws of death but to no avail. She clutched it firmly growling the while and struggling against the Princess’s iron hold. I was afraid to pull too hard as I really thought that she would let her teeth be pulled out rather than yield her piece of beef.
The Princess eventually managed to prise it from her and like the lion in Jim, “she slunk reluctant to her cage/snarling with disappointed rage” or, in her case, the armchair in front of the fire. She had the last laugh, of course, for what could we do but feed her roast beef until it was all gone.