Strange Days

Strange day yesterday, ladies and lurkers. I had a lovely day’s Brisvegas Holiday Excursion planned with MM, EB, a BFF and her two kids. Started off instead by having to: grief counsel my father through his dog’s terminal illness (progressive spinal cord stenosis) as I ate my egg on Vegemite toast; guide him through the decision-making process, i.e. that he needed to man up and have the dog put down because it had reached the suffering stage and had no prospect of remission, let alone improvement; and then drive them both to the vet when I was so successful he decided to do it. Right then and there.

EB is a big animal lover and also his Grandpa’s favourite, so when he said he wanted to come too I thought it would be doubly good: for EB to have up-close experience of death before it was a much-loved person involved, and so that he could console his Grandpa.

As you will have guessed, I was wrong. We ended up that Grandpa did the male-of-his-generation thing and pulled a strong, silent act, while EB spent the next hour or more sobbing uncontrollably.

I was correct about one thing – it was best I was there to drive them both home.

So I returned to my parents’ house to race through the preparations for our day out.  All the while EB was insisting that he needed to do a Great Garbo (I vant to be alone), with me trying to nurture him while he grieved, but equally adamant  that we had to proceed with the outing and he had to come with us.  We had gorgeous clear, sunny but not too hot weather and the excursion went fabulously well for 6 hours – fun ride in on the ferry, lots of fun in various South Bank water features, great company, awesome Lego robots, kids even behaving beautifully.

And then, just as we were about to pack up the remains of afternoon tea and make our tired but happy way home, MM’s BF-in-the-world slammed his head into a post while running in the playground.  Straight away, a lump the size of a small avocado and the colour of hailclouds swelled on his forehead. Naturally enough, his Mum panicked.  The helpful staff at the cafe next to the playground gave me a cup of ice without hesitation – thanks Steam Cafe- and then the South Bank lifesavers gave us a plastic bag full of ice.  By the time we were on the ferry home, the lump was down to a third of original size and Mum had stopped hyperventilating.  Mostly.

The evening turned out well, with a lovely BBQ with my cousin and his husband.  If anyone wants a recipe for marshmallow and sour-cream salad . . . much nommier than it sounds. . . I now have one.

And an odd footnote:  my horoscope advised that my day would start well, but unavoidable complications and difficulties would ensue.


25 Responses

  1. I am so glad you insisted he go with you, both to the vet’s and later to Briz.
    Us oldies know that grieving is a solitary experience,but safer with loved ones around. You are a good mum, MM.
    BTW, being alone didn’t do Greta a lot of good… she died.

    • Thanks, Stafford.

      In my own aside, when I said “ladies and lurkers”, I should have made it “ladies, Stafford and lurkers”. Even though that wouldn’t have been alliterative.

  2. So, when does the replacement Council Declared Dangerous Dog arrive and what will it be this time?
    Given the nature of The Deceased, I assume your father is checking resumes of American Pitt Bull crosses for proven experience in cage fighting, child murder, cat killing and crapping in old ladies’ letter boxes.

  3. Since he’s listening to me at the moment – first time in 40 odd years – I recommended an adult rescue, picked on temperament (and size) alone. So I’m expecting him to rock up with an Irish Wolfhound x Dane, modified for Robodog Cage Fighting.

    Tell me more about the crapping in letter boxes, though – how do you train them to do that? You’d need a Basenji, I think – they’re the only breed that can climb that high.

  4. Around these parts letter boxes often lost their lids around the same time as the shelling of Darwin & they sit high on retaining walls waiting for the postie. So it’s usually the Resident Dog that takes aim at it’s own letter box, generally as a urinal but considering what The Scribe has trained his dog to do in Crowd Dispersal, anything is possible.
    Whatever he gets I hope you manage to keep it well out of range of Flotsam & Jetsam, they don’t deserve his taste in pets.
    Perhaps you could all chip in and get him a GM cloned Raptor for Xmas, that seems to be the best match in size and temperament to compensate for his loss.

  5. Oh my … I’m sorry about your Dad’s dog. It was probably always going to be hard but you did well to persuade him to take action. Our Dad wouldn’t listen to us and his cat lingered on, eventually dying in agony one day while he was down the street. It was awful – I’m still perplexed to this day while he would not put her down sooner but I think he just had some trouble facing the reality of the situation. It is otherwise not like him.

    Poor EB – it’s not easy sitting through a euthanasia experience even if you know it is the right thing to do.

    I hope you are all feeling a little better today.

  6. Thanks, Melbo. Father sparked a re-hash of events as I was trying to get home this morning, and I think I managed to convince him of the fact that a 27 kg dog who’s lost 4 kg of weight in the last few weeks was fading fast. Father argued the numbers with me until I said to him, “Imagine a 2 kg roast. His muscles had wasted that much off each hind leg.”

    Sometimes there’s a call for sentiment, sometimes for science.

    I’ll be sharing the story of your Dad’s cat with him, when next we speak. A cautionary tale indeed. Hope your weekend is smoother and happier!

    Of course, Q – I wasn’t factoring in the retaining wall nature of the front fence lines in your parts. No need to worry about my darling fur babies, though. I’ll do what I did with the Dear Departed Dangerous Dog . . . strictly segregated until proven otherwise. Father only comes up once or twice a year, anyway.

  7. Ah, Mel. The voice of reason.
    Just so I don’t seem too callous, I should explain that the neighbours who had their cats killed by this creature are probably still outside cheering and setting off fireworks and popping champagne corks at the thought of their neighbourhood finally being Wolf Free.
    I share the same sense of loss for Declared Dangerous Dogs as I do for the demise of Drug Lords and kiddy fiddlers.
    Still, I do feel for Elf Boy, it used to take me a full three days at that age before I was fit for polite society after losing an animal. Now that I’ve matured it’s closer to three months, so I sympathize with his Garbo leanings.

    Still, one positive has come out of this. I’m guessing that whatever medication they were using to calm down the dog is now free and available to be crushed to a fine powder and sprinkled on your father’s wheaties in the morning.

  8. You’d think so, but while my back was turned he took DDDD off the meds. Never could fathom the true reason, “He doesn’t need them” being the most sense I ever got out of The Enabler Father, but psychodynamically I think it was something along the lines of, “I love this dog more than most people, and he loves me back. Therefore, because there is nothing wrong with me, there is ipso facto nothing wrong with my dog. So my dog does not need psychotropic medication. QED.”

    Reads a bit like a Python skit when you write it down, actually. I can just imagine Cleese ranting while a rabid wolf devours his audience in the background. “But there’s nothing wrong with ME!”

  9. Most of the council declared Dangerous Dogs that I’ve encountered needed mood anti-psychotic medication at a similar dosage to that which their owners required but which they of course felt was completely unnecessary.
    I think the logic was ‘The dog is no more dangerous than I am so why shouldn’t it have the same rights and liberties as I do.’
    I suspect the dogs usually shared their beer, their syringes, and their marital beds – which explains why their wives had a tendency to flee them. (Flea, heh heh, do I get bad pun of the day prize?)
    Then again IMO most of the dangerous dog owners I’ve ever known belonged in the reptile cage at the zoo.

  10. Fleahehehehe. I see what you did there.

    Speaking of dogs, I’m off to visit Uncle on Monday. Since it’s already school holidays, I keep forgetting it’s the Queen’s Second Birthday. Do you think that’s anything like Second Breakfast?

  11. Only if there’s sausages and cake and some of the finest leaves of mirkwood stuffed down your pipe.

  12. FK.
    It’s like Vietnam here with all the bloody hornets and army choppers buzzing over my house. I think they’ve called in every single spare flying thing to compensate for our whinging about the loss of the F1-11s.
    My bogan neighbours (who the REA tells me have been given their Marching Orders from Bog Hollow since the night the police came to break up their last little party) have just arrived home with a carton of beer and a sack of sausages.
    Who do I have to bribe to get the flyboys to drop a bit of leftover agent orange over their deck on their next passover?

  13. Let me talk to my good buddy, Maverick.

    Agent Orange is tres tempting, but given your proximity I think you need something much more targeted. Maybe you can get some Stazi operatives, who may or may not have retired Down Here, to inject the bogans with ricin for you? A syringe cunningly disguised as a syringe ought to attract them.

  14. A syringe cunningly disguised as a beer can would probably be more effective.
    Well, the noise settled down, the Bogans behaved admirably, and the fireworks were absolutely spectacular – and in a novel move, this year the hornets managed to shoot fireworks out of their arse in an attempt to rival the glory of the F1-11s, so kudos to them for trying and for shooting orange flames into the sky over Bog Hollow.
    Plainly, someone has heard my prayers.
    We have lovely drippy life affirming rain here ATM.
    Which is wonderful as you were right – it did heat up around here and get quite steamy towards the end of the day.
    Hope you’re getting dripped on up there. xox

  15. Lucky you!

    We’ve only had a brief shower overnight so far, but there’s that weighty sense of expectancy in the air, I think we’ll get more. You needed it more than us, so I don’t begrudge you.

    Hilarious lines on the Clone Wars cartoon the kids were watching yesterday evening:
    “Take me to XXX(couldn’t really hear the name) Planet.”
    “But why would you want to go there? It’s only got mist and witches.”

    I thought of you and Catty straight away.

  16. Well, that pretty much describes my neighbourhood at this hour. All that’s moved since 4am is me and the leaves that have been getting dripped on.
    3ml of rain we’ve had from this Event.
    Piss weak effort, really.
    Looks like you have some hope of a drenching so I hope for your sake you get it.
    Well, I’ve got to say that I was dreading this long weekend because of the Bogan Partyapocalypse Potential of our neighbourhood and its not turned out as I expected.
    The drivers of the Pig Shooting Truck next door who, by report, have been asked to leave – behaved admirably despite the carton of beer and the 3kg sack of sausages that followed them home from woollies. Perhaps they’re trying to get back in the good graces of the landlord and the other tenants since their live performance of the Punch & Judy show brought the cops here at 2am 10 days ago.

    The Bloke was off around the corner at a mate’s place & he commented on the walk home that most of the Bogan Rentals were deserted. The Freaks, it seem, have elected to make a mass exodus to some sort of Bogan Paradise for the Labor Day Long weekend. And for some strange reason the people in nice houses around here who are normally invisible or polite and well-behaved had all decided to have River Fire BBQs and their polite, quiet and well-behaved friends and neighbours turned out en mass so that the gracious old Qlders around here were lit up like Xmas trees and filled with the sound of Functional Happiness. As opposed to the usual drunken & drug addled Bogan Fests that normally happen around here on River Fire weekend.
    The Bloke & I kicked back and enjoyed the ambience from our cubby & for a moment there, our lives were Bogan Free.
    I wonder if it’s just the novelty of a long weekend in October that’s brought on the Bogan Exodus or if this is the shape of things to come?
    You’ll have to go for a wander down to the tourist strip, MM, and tell me if there’s an unnaturally large supply of miscreants and freaks visiting your neck of the woods. Because for some freakish reason, all ours have magically vanished.
    Now if you’ll excuse me I have to compose a letter of gratitude to our illustrious leader for declaring the October Long Weekend and dispatching all the bogans to some place that probably looked like heaven on Friday & by now must resemble a dark & smelly corner of vomit-laden hell.

  17. Drenching has commenced. Looks like it’s going to be my ideal weather today – grey, gloomy, cold and wet. Couch and reserved copy of Charlaine Harris’s latest, here I come!

    When you say “Bogan Paradise” I assume you mean my break of the surf? When we came home and went to acquire some groceries yesterday, Woolies was an absolute asylum. Those few of who actually live here huddled in small fearful groups at the fringes of the aisles while the Long Weekenders stampeded up and down, bellowing their interactive shopping lists.

    “Jayden, do we need more barbie sauce? Jayden! JAYDEN!!”
    “Where do they put the bread rolls?”
    “How many kids are coming?”
    “I think I’ll get 3 kilos”

    It was as if my peaceful supermarket had turned into some sort of culinary Twitter feed.

  18. Oh, and I swear I heard a gunshot last night.

  19. Normally riverfire masks the sounds of firearms discharging into or out of bogan hands, no doubt they were confused at being away from their normal habitat and forgot to factor in that in in the quiet surfside surrounds of the east coast, their behaviour might stand out.
    Enjoy your drenching. It’s still cool and misty here so we might have a day of chores & I may cook the curry that I didn’t wind up stuffing into the slow cooker last night.
    A GF from the sunshine coast said she might come visit, which has made me wonder if there’s some sort of displacement equilibrium of nice folk & bogans, not unlike the sodium-potassium pump.

  20. Hehehe. Social Osmosis.

    So much for my lovely new book, I’m building solar-powered models with EB. Yes, I know there’s no sun. I’ve plugged in a halogen lamp.

  21. You are dutiful. I’d just give them a can of beans and tell them to learn to power it by farts.

  22. Then I’d just have to bodge up a catalytic converter out of the empty can.

  23. Well, my bogans are back, so I assume you’re missing a few.
    Care to run through woollies and do a head-count? And maybe the chemist as after chewing his way through 3kg of sausages, Jayden may well be in need of laxatives and an anti-emetic.

  24. No need to venture to Woolies – the streets are (mostly) safe again, it was lovely and quiet last night on our return from Uncle’s and I haven’t heard a trailer-trash name screamed at full volume for at least 12 hours.

    We tend more to hippy and surfing names, like “Serenity” and “Bodhi” and “Gnarlydude”, round here.

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