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WLS – The hard way to love yourself

I’ve been dreading writing this post, as it’s one of the few times I don’t want to do a PSA. Those that know me will know that I prefer to shout loudly from the rooftops anything in my life which may be controversial. However, this time, I don’t want the stress of airing my dirty laundry and would rather cower in the corner in anonymity. And yet, I feel a strong sense of obligation to those who need someone to speak out for them.

In September this year, I had a gastric sleeve. For those that don’t feel like clicking the link, short story, they cut away 70-80% of my stomach (Let me quickly interject that I am in no way advocating weight loss surgery). I decided to be open and honest about this, because I just can’t lie. I suck at it and hate it. I lied briefly to those around me, who would see me during my recovery period, and then had to blab out the truth because the lying killed me.  I was a lighter weight, but still had a BMI of over 35 and had three major weight-affected conditions: 1) I was told that within two years I will have type 2 diabetes, 2) I have hypermobility and the extra weight makes a massive difference to mobility, collapsing joints and a crap load of pain, 3) I have asthma which weight affects, albeit mildly.

I mention these because the point of this post is to open up dialogue about my operation and others, and to highlight things people say that they may not think is inappropriate. A surprising amount of people have asked me some form of inappropriate or really personal question. I am fully aware that no one intended it to be that way, so this is merely to help others in the future. If you have asked me any of the below or said anything like these, please don’t feel this is a dig. I assure you, I hold no ill-will and know it came from a good place 😉

  1. In 90% of the conversations I’ve had about my WLS, the first question has been: Was it NHS or Private?
    • Please don’t ask us this question – there is no right answer! The NHS means we’re wasting the tax-payers’ money and going privately means we’re rolling in the dough or heavily in debt. It’s an incredibly awkward question and the equivalent of asking if you own your house, is it mortgaged, on benefits or rented.
  2. How much did you weigh before?
    • Pretty sure I don’t need to tell you why that’s inappropriate.
  3. So, you’ve cheated. 

Now, luckily, I’ve never had anyone dare say the third one to me and mostly I’ve had supportive responses, which was not what I expected. However, many of my bariatric friends have had people accost them with their judgements on this ‘quick fix.’ So, I would like to highlight some aspects of WLS for you.

Weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. It is bloody hard. So much harder than the movies and TV shows will make you think. It is always the last resort. You are having major surgery (yes, it’s keyhole, but someone cutting away 80% of your stomach, putting a band around your stomach or rerouting it all, is major surgery, no matter how you look at it). The recovery period lasts anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 weeks and often more. You run the risk of death. Not just from going under, but from leaks and sepsis, which is not as rare as you would like to think.

If you ignore the initial risks, you then need to take into account the following:

  • Almost all WLS requires a pre-op diet, which is designed to shrink your liver for easy access. In most cases this requires either a 1000 cal limit a day for anywhere from 2-8 weeks, or a milk only diet. This is where you are allowed 4 pints of milk, 1 oxo cube drink and 1 small pot of sugar free jelly a day. That’s it. For at least 14 days. So, consider this when chatting to a person who had WLS: There is a good chance this person chose not to eat at all for 14 days. Don’t dare tell them they couldn’t follow a diet or didn’t have the perseverance. I did this diet. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done and I had an incredible sense of achievement from it.
  • A lifetime of change.
    • Foods you loved before, you will now either not love or be completely unable to eat. For bypassers and some sleevers, chocolate and sweet foods could result in dumping syndrome: palpitations, extreme pain and fatigue, and a good day or two on the loo, with everything flying out both sides. Again, you may think this is an easy way out of dealing with cravings. It’s not. It means every party you go to, every event, will be stressful, filled with temptation that pulls at your heart and filled with people asking you why you aren’t eating.  You run this risk with every new food you try. For some people, it’s not just sweet things. For me, it was chilli. I can now no longer eat chilli and that’s not a lesson I’m willing to learn again!
    • How you eat changes completely. You now need to follow the 20-20-20 rule for the rest of your life. Leave 20 seconds between bites, chew each bite 20 times and finish after 20 minutes. You can also add ‘eat only bites the size of a 20p coin’ to the list. In addition, you’re not allowed to drink anything while eating and need very small portions.
    • WLS is not a quick fix – it lasts for 2 years and after that, you need to stick to these rules religiously, or run the likely risk of picking up all your weight again. This happens often. However, those that do stick to the rules, manage to keep it all off.
    • Pain. So much pain.
      • Some people have incredibly long recovery times after the op. I was lucky and was back up to ‘normal’ (albeit with pain) within a week or two. Friends have suffered in serious pain for over 6 weeks.
      • Eating is agony. I’m 12 weeks post op and still have to lie down each time I eat. As the food goes down, it’s as if it I’m swallowing a knife (regardless of the food, thick yogurt does this, too). Then, as it settles in your stomach, it’s tries to find a way to fit and you’re stuck with a good 20 minutes of pain, food rising back up (trust me, when it doesn’t fit, it lets you know!) and general discomfort. And, for the love of god, don’t try bend down after a meal. The food finds the easy way out!
      • A gastric sleeve often results in a lifetime of reflux and heartburn. Yay for us.
      • After you’re fully healed, you will still have the risk of getting food stuck. Cue agony, fatigue, and pretty much all the ‘dumping syndrome’ symptoms, apart from the evacuations, mentioned above.
  • Learning to talk about the weight loss. Whether you’re telling the truth or have a cover story, it is a huge thing in your life. Someone with a cover story has the stress of keeping that up and making sure they don’t contradict themselves forever (and please, please do not judge these people. Society has left them with little choice but to keep it secret). Those of us who choose to tell the world, have to then face criticism and also figure out when to tell people. I had a lovely lady tell me yesterday that I look great for a woman who has a 10 month old. I was quiet and then blurted out, rather loudly and suddenly “I had a gastric sleeve!” Obviously, the poor woman got a shock, as did I and probably everyone else in the room. I had been trying to figure out whether to just say thank you, or admit that it wasn’t ‘natural.’ And my anxiety overcame me…rather loudly. It’s a constant balancing act, which we often fail at.
  • It may not work. Nothing in WLS is concrete and there are people these surgeries don’t end up helping. It’s a hard truth, but one every WLS patient must face.

These are the things we deal with because we have to. Please do not for a second think that this was easy for any of us. Before you judge, ask yourself if you could put yourself through all of this?

Cutting back to my story, I was living my life under a heavy cloud. I was unimaginably miserably and knew I was taking my life, my partner and my children for granted. Two weeks before my op, I was bed-ridden for three days in tears because I caught a glimpse of myself in a video. My appearance made me physically ill. I wasn’t the person on the outside that I was on the inside. I didn’t go out, I didn’t have fun with my kids, I wasn’t giving them the life they deserved and I sure as hell wasn’t giving myself the life I wanted. This op has changed my life. Merely being booked in for this op, having the balls to go ahead with recommendations and doing something about my weight, took a huge weight off. I am so incredibly proud of myself. My mental health didn’t change with the weight loss, it changed with the decision to do something about it. I suddenly me again. I still struggle with depression and anxiety, but at perhaps 10% of what it was before. I run with, laugh with and cuddle my children daily.  I walk with my head up. I smile and mean it. I love myself. No amount of stigma, judgement, pain or discomfort can take that away. I’m proud of my decision and my move and you should be proud of me too.

So, if you’re looking for what to say to a WLS patient, here is my advice:

  • Ask questions. If they’re telling you about it, they’re open to questions. Just be kind and respectful of their privacy. They can tell you whether or not they don’t want to talk about specifics.
  • Instead of saying how thin they look, tell them how healthy they look. I’ve had a few people comment on my weight loss, but those who tell me I look healthy have made me feel wonderful.
  • Congratulate them on doing something for themselves and the hard work it takes.

We each have to live our lives to the best of our abilities and those who have undergone or who are thinking of undergoing WLS know that we aren’t or weren’t doing that. If you had the chance to love yourself again, wouldn’t you jump at it?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Made-up Miscarriages – Your anxiety is ‘disproportionate’

There are some aspects of my life that I would rather talk about, but, for personal reasons, have decided it’s better not to. It’s because of this that I rally against the stifling of ‘taboo’ talk and why I try to spread awareness of issues that people feel they have to keep quiet about.

Since giving birth to my son, I have become increasingly aware of the sheer volume of women who have suffered miscarriages and how difficult they find it to talk about. Perhaps I notice it more, or perhaps I’ve started to surround myself with mums or women trying to conceive – whatever the reason, I’ve been determined to spread awareness and make these mums feel more able to talk about their experiences and acknowledge their losses.

Never did I imagine that I would join these women in their grief and confusion. I have recently had two miscarriages and have been faced with medical professionals that not only won’t investigate what happened, but who don’t believe me. Below is my story – I apologise about the length, any details that may seem graphic and about the terrible writing.

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I am not responsible for your newsfeed

I’ve recently had a ‘Facebook purge.’ This is not something I’m particularly good at, for two reasons. Firstly, I don’t like upsetting people, despite having a temper and occasionally going on an offensive rampage; I really don’t like the idea that what I say or do, could hurt someone. Secondly, I like to keep in touch with people from my past and I love Facebook for that specific reason.

Most would think my purge was due to the Parisian crisis and the ‘anti-refugee’ nonsense that is spreading through most of our newsfeeds. In truth, I was hurt a few days prior by someone, whom I had considered a friend. She posted a rather nasty and hurtful article about parents ‘arrogantly’ posting photos of their children.*

Now, I’m no fool. I don’t expect everyone to enjoy the constant stream of baby photos, to like every one of them or even to give to give them a second glance. What I do expect, however, is for my ‘friends’ to show a modicum of respect and intelligence.

Who the fuck are you to insist that I stop posting photos of my son, on my Facebook profile, because you don’t want children? Well, whoop for you. My posts in no way suggest that you should jump on the breeding bandwagon. In fact, by the sounds of it, you probably shouldn’t. I post stuff about my child, on my newsfeed, for my enjoyment, not yours.

Facebook has these fancy features, called ‘hiding,’ ‘unfollowing,’ ‘blocking’ and ‘unfriending.’ It may be hard for you to understand, but:

I am not responsible for your newsfeed and I do not expect you to be responsible for mine.

I have often been annoyed by people’s incessant posts of their children (21 photos showing a child holding a dead bird) or photos of their pets’ poop and so I have simply unfollowed them. Facebook has made it really simple for me to decide what appears on my newsfeed and so I choose to use these features – why is it so hard for you to do the same?

If you don’t like something that I post then hide it, unfollow me, block me or unfriend me. Frankly, I don’t care either way. It’s been a long time since those actions offended me. I understand that you’re not keen on your newsfeed being filled with photos of children, but understand that, whilst I have other aspects of life that interest me and I don’t define my personality by motherhood, nothing is more important to me than my son. My partner and my child are my everything and I love posting about them.

I post for other reasons – I have family and friends in South Africa that love to see photos of my son’s development and I love to have these memories pop up on my feed a year later – but mostly, I post because I want to.

*For my hypocrite and irony seekers out there (and there are many), I am aware that this too is a nasty and hurtful article.

How to speak to expectant mums – a guide for existing mothers

Following on from my previous post, I have decided to do a list of advice for mums on how to deal with pregnant women.

I’ve only been a mum for 9.5 weeks, so I claim no expertise, but I do understand where a lot of you come from. I’m not berating you, but just hoping that this post will help you to help others through their first pregnancies.  I’ll try make this as succinct as possible.

1. Listen.

Pregnancy to a first-time mum, is an incredible experience. Some may find it terrible, some may find it amazing, but most of us find it a roller-coaster of new experiences. A friend’s response to my pregnancy announcement was ‘congratulations on becoming a living science experiment,’ which is absolutely true. Every pregnancy is different and most women want to share that experience. It’s the biggest thing that’s happening in our lives at that time (if we’re lucky) and we may find it difficult to talk about anything else.

Expectant mums know that you know better, but what’s happening inside of us is huge. Let us experience that and tell you. I found it increasingly difficult to finish a sentence after announcing I was pregnant. I was constantly interrupted with unwanted advice or someone else’s pregnancy story. I remember one morning announcing that I felt like death. I wasn’t able to continue because I was interrupted with a lecture that started off with “Hah!  You think you feel bad now, wait until you’re 9 months pregnant.” I’m not exaggerating when I say that only a half hour later was I able to interrupt the tirade with ‘I feel like death…because I have a cold.’ 

It had nothing to do with pregnancy. Try to realise that you may know more about pregnancy and childbirth, but that sometimes, we just need to talk and you may not know what we’re about to say.

2. Wait until…

These words were incessant throughout my pregnancy. As I mentioned in the first post, you have experienced your first pregnancy, let us have ours. The tiny flutters you first feel when you start to feel your baby moving are possibly the most exciting thing that has ever happened to you. The last thing we want to hear is “wait until the kicks start, then you won’t be smiling.”

Some women experience intense round ligament pain. The appropriate response to this is not “wait until you give birth, then you’ll know what pain is like.”

Likewise for new mothers: what we feel when our little human grabs our fingers for the first time is indescribable. We don’t want to hear “Awww, wait until s/he gives you their first smile, then your heart will melt!” It’s melting now. Let us experience every second of this amazing journey, in the moment – not waiting for the next milestone to amaze us.

3. Horror stories (expectant mums please skip ahead)

Come on, guys. You know the drill – don’t bombard pregnant women with horrific child birth stories. You all know this, and yet, that’s all I seemed to hear when pregnant. We know it’ll be bad, we know we are completely unprepared, but your stories certainly won’t help us sleep at night.

I heard some doozies during pregnancy: blood on the ceiling, near-death experiences, stillbirths (Seriously? Mentioning miscarriages or stillborn babies around a pregnant women is completely unacceptable. I shouldn’t have to tell you this) and botched c-sections. I heard one positive birth story in the whole ten months.

I now understand where you’re coming from, having my own horror story. Part of healing after a trauma is talking it out of your system and birth can be extremely traumatic. Mine was and I talk about it all the time…to people who have been there before, or people who were there. I found myself retelling the story to a friend who hasn’t any children yet and I really regret this. She did ask and she was well aware it was a bad birth, but it’s still not something she should know. There are plenty of easy births that happen. On the day I gave birth, there were two women that I know well who gave birth to two healthy little boys, in under three hours. It’s not uncommon.

So, quit using pregnant women as your psychologists. Seek counselling and heal yourself properly – don’t spread the fear.

4. It’s still early

Three of the harshest words you could say to a pregnant woman. Does the fact that I’m only 7 weeks pregnant make my pregnancy null and void?

You are basically telling me that there is a high probability of me losing my child.

Don’t.

5. Sympathy goes a long way

As aforementioned, every pregnancy is different. Your round ligament pain could have been a light ache, whereas another women’s could land them in hospital. Don’t assume that the woman complaining about pain at 7 weeks pregnant is experiencing the same pain you experienced. Try to sympathise with her and realise that she isn’t being a hypochondriac; she, quite possibly, is in agony. I felt like I was being split in two when John started to move, as the adhesions caused by my endometriosis were literally tearing.

Morning sickness is not amusing. I remember rushing to the bathroom every hour and when  I returned with mascara running down my face and blood-red eyes, people would laugh. And yet, when someone came down with a bug and vomited once, there was endless parade of people ‘checking up’ on them. I felt isolated and as if my pain and discomfort were somehow less important than that of a non-pregnant woman.

Pregnancy doesn’t make it easier to deal with sickness, pain or discomfort.

Perhaps this wasn’t as succinct as I’d hoped. There are many other snippets of advice given to pregnant women (sleep while you can? What a joke.), but, in short, just try for a little compassion and put yourself in her shoes.

It is simultaneously the worst and most wonderful time in a woman’s life and it’s okay for her to feel that way.

It’s not a case of black vs. white

I’m not sure why I woke up thinking about this, but I am sure that this will probably result in negative feedback, that being said, this is something I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I have no intention of offending anyone and if I have, I hope you’ll understand that it wasn’t meant.

I grew up in this wonderful country and I was raised to treat everyone as equals, regardless of religion, culture, sexuality or race. Colour has never been an issue for me and it took me a long time to realise what an issue it was for everyone else. South Africa has come an incredibly long way and I, for one, am proud of us as a nation. We’ve kicked anarchy in the head and so what if we’re stuck with cretins running our country – push ’em out and move on. We’ve dealt with a lot worse.

However*, there is one thing that I’m struggling to deal with – how we as South Africans have started to deal with race. I was once taught that it’s not politically correct to refer to ‘blacks’ and ‘whites,’ but rather black or white people. We are not a colour nor an adjective. We are all people, we just happen to come in different shades. Having said that, I’ve always believed that talking about issues helps us solve them. I remember an interesting comment from a colleague in the UK who visited SA: “I have never heard a nation talk about race quite as much as in South Africa.” It was an interesting observation, but I think it’s healthy. Our history is based on race issues. We (I use that term loosely) fought apartheid and won, as much as the Germans have the Holocaust to deal with, our cross to bear is race-related. Talking about it, joking about it and bitching about it is our nation’s form of therapy.

However, what was once an open platform now seems to have one of those terrible signs that we used to see everywhere, with one change: “Geen Blankes.** It seems as though white people are no longer allowed to voice our opinions on race-related issues and/or South Africa’s political state. I’ve always spoken openly about political issues and race (and sexuality and religion…etc.) and while I’m well aware that I’m not black and that I haven’t suffered, I am African and I live here too. Don’t take away my right to speak.

While in University, I had a wonderful ‘diverse’ group of friends and we all felt free to say whatever we wanted and joke about everything. Just as someone will tease me for being ginger, I was teased about being white and alternatively, I teased my friends about being black. It was an open, honest environment – we made light of our history. When I started at Uni, there was one person who made a drastic change in my life, without even knowing. My friend Nonny rocked up and my door and decided to introduce me to everyone. Long story short, I got to know a lot of people in a very short time and found they actually liked me. I went from an insecure, shy and moody post-adolescent to a confident woman…and a lot of it is thanks to a girl I used to mission around arm-in-arm with, calling her my fashion-accessory, making light of a current fad of preppy white students, making ‘friends’ with a black student (it was strange, but it was definitely a thing for a while). My friends were my friends not in spite of our differences, but because we could make light of them.

Before you go off at me, I’m not advocating that everyone goes around slinging racial slurs, but I do think we’ve taken a little step backwards. I would like to be able to have an open discussion that mentions race.  For Pete’s sake, I was chatting about my cat and actually stopped myself from saying ‘black,’ in fear of offending someone. I know this is my problem, but it’s something that I think a lot of white South Africans feel these days. We even fall short when describing a person. Imagine this: A man forgets his change at Checkers. The cashier is a white woman, about my age (still under 30, thank you!), she asks her friend to run after him and give him the change, but I can almost guarantee you that when she describes him, she’ll say he’s tall, with a small nose and brown eyes. The poor sod would have disappeared changeless before she mentions that he’s a black guy wearing a checkered shirt. I want to be able to mention race without people assuming I mean anything negative towards that race. I am not racist. I have never been and I never will. By mentioning someone’s race, I am not showing that I have ill-will towards them, I’m mentioning it because it helps me get whatever point I need to across, even if it’s something as simple as returning change.

If we write a political statement, say on Facebook, we’re swamped with angry, sometimes violent, comments about how we don’t have a right to say these things. Yet, we live in this country too. I’ve never felt as separate from my black friends, even those I consider family, as I do lately. I don’t believe I have the right talk about politics or race anymore.

I generally don’t do politics… it’s not my thing and I couldn’t be arsed. This kind of post is definitely a first for me, but it’s my way of saying I love my country. I love my country so much so that it hurts. Unlike others, I have a British passport, I can bugger off to another continent if I so please. I don’t. I’m a first generation South African. My family chose to live here. My parents loved this country so much so that they moved back to SA right in the middle of what they thought was about to be a civil war. My grandfather was taken to that terrible seventh floor, where they used to make you bungee jump sans cable (obviously, as he turns 84 on Sunday, they couldn’t prove that he was helping out a Chinese couple, as they suspected and which he was). My folks were at every ‘Free Mandela’ thing in the UK that they could get to, wearing hats and sunglasses, as they knew that the SA government was watching and recording faces, so they could stop them coming back into the country. I was born here, 10kms from where Shaka was, out of love for this country.

I have the ability to drop everything today and move. I could go live on the dol and stare at people’s shoes on the tube in a second. But*** I don’t want to. I chose this country. If that doesn’t make me African, what does?

All I’m saying, is that it should no longer be a case of black vs white, but Africans vs our pathetic government.

*Those that heard my rampage on sentences starting with a conjunction, this is my poetic license. It applies to *** too. 

**After much Googling, I still can’t find the spelling, so I hope this is right. 

 

Dishevelled with a Merlot grin

This isn’t an easy post to write, as it’s about a serious topic, rather than mind-numbing ramblings. Not too serious, well not for you, but for me it rather is.

I have some large changes to make in my life and I’m a tad scared to make them. I’m not scared of change, far from it, but rather I’m scared to continuing to change. The last three years of my life have been about upheaval, nomadic tendencies and constant change. I haven’t wanted to stop moving for more than three months. I could say this was a ‘phase,’ but before this period I too had to change every six months – a big change – be it moving house, job or relationship. In fact, in one day, I managed to lose my house, my job and my car. At the time I was flabbergasted at my bad luck, but it turned out to be one of the positive turning points of my life. Further confirming my unspoken theory – that to keep running will solve everything.

It’s this theory that’s currently bothering me. When I returned from London, I promised myself that wherever I landed, I would stay – so to speak. So I landed in Joburg. I lasted 5 months, granted at a torrid company (although only three months there) and off I popped to KZN, under the strict promise to myself that I shan’t move for at least a year.

Well, I found paradise in a log cabin…that turned out to be the 12th level of Hell (read my first ever posts)…and off I popped to Scottburgh…under the strict promise that I wasn’t to move for a year. It is here I find myself, but I find myself alone. Although surrounded by people, I feel utterly and completely alone. Any poor bugger with the misfortune of asking me how I am, will get an honest answer (not something you’d wish upon yourself…but perhaps your enemy). I have stresses I can’t talk of to those around me (aside from aforementioned poor buggers who I don’t see daily). I know this post may arouse interest and screening questions, but they will get nowhere. My stresses cannot be spoken in Scottburgh. Nor will they. They’re not life-threatening, nor disastrous, nor life-changing, I suppose, but they’re stresses.

And the only way I know how to change this is through change itself. In Scottburgh, there is no one to talk to, few to drink with and after 6 months of either living here or nearby, I’ve realised, there never will. I convinced myself that there would be someone beautiful and perfect waiting for me the other side of sanity, but I find myself swirling deeper into the abyss that is stress and self-absorbtion and know that I will be too blind to see it should it actually occur.

(Apologies, this is turning into a long one).

A touch of honesty – baring of soul so to speak – I’m a rebel…with a cause. I’ve long wanted a family, a kids, settling down (not in the white picket fence, kind of way, the traveling the world while pregnant, stupid kind of way). Lying to myself about my age is no longer possible. I know 28 isn’t all that old, but I’m hell of a broody, always have been and… to be honest…I just want to stop now. The chances of me having kids are less than the average person (or should I say woman?), perhaps not significantly, but it entirely depends on luck in my case. More so than the average person, at least. And with each year, my chances decrease. I have friends who’ve had children in their early, mid or even late 30s, but they don’t have my constitution. I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being a realist. And staying here is helping nothing.I want someone, not anyone, that someone. Yes, I do believe in that someone – illogical as it may be. I want someone who loves me regardless of what I wear, look like or act and I want that person to want what I want – an additional person to share the awesomeness of life with.

I’m loathe to move. I love my house, but I’m slowly on the way to losing the parts of me that make me…well…me. I’m not breath-taking, or utterly vibrant, I make very little difference in people’s lives, but after years spent trying to find myself, I found I actually liked, if not loved myself. And now I’m disappearing. Sucked deep into the same abyss I mentioned above.

I do not want to be this person. Should I move, will it change? I think it will. I’m not looking to move far, just an hour away, but somewhere where I am me, with no obligations, no preconceptions, a place I can truly be me….and a place with people my age. but I hate myself for even thinking of once again moving.  I feel I’m incapable of spending a year in one place. Should it not change, I’m not sure what I’ll do…perhaps see someone to still the swirling…who knows.

For now, I wait for my finances to secure themselves, so I can decide whether or not to change. For better or for worse. To see if I can find myself and to see if I can find someone who wants me as I am now – disheveled with a Merlot grin.

 

(side note to a friend: Yes, I started a lot of sentences with a conjunction. 1 point to you and 1 point to poetic license).

The boggle-eyed handbag dog

I think I’d best admit that, without my psychotherapist and only wine, not vodka, in the evenings, I’ve resorted to blogging. I’m afraid you’d best get used to it. So, without further adieu, I present to you, my newest irk.*

Summary of my house/Guns**/living situation: I’m on a property with three flats facing a sea filled with disgusting dolphins. One is occupied by me (flat, not dolphin, don’t be gross), the other by a lovely old lady that can’t figure out the TV power button and the other by…. (dum…dum…dum…dum) the Caretakers.

Although nice enough, my problem thus far has been that, as some of you know, the owners specifically told me I’m not allowed to tell the caretakers that they’ve given permission for me to have cats – some sweaty, petty problem previously – until they return from their 3 month sojourn in Oz.

The first month of the Guns’ existence at my flat was filled with secrecy, taping down the curtains and generally being rather spy and secret like. Not surprisingly, they don’t trust me as far as they could throw me (it didn’t help matters when I told my friend ‘Be quiet about the Guns, they’re supposed to stay secret,’ within accidental earshot of them).

So now they return on Monday. Panic starts to well when the daughter arrives early. She’s come to set the place up for their arrival and stay an additional two weeks. She kindly brought with her the caretakers’ Chihuahua and her own motherf*cking large, male cat.

I’m not going to go into details about the cat, except to say: Who takes theircat on vacation with them and lets them roam? Highly unfair to territorial animals, if you ask me. Secondly, he’s twice the size of the Guns, about two years’ old and very, verynot-fixed. He’s got veritable bowling balls going on down there. I can see nothing but trouble coming my way, with 3 male cats at each others’ throats.

However, the handbag dog is just great. He’s actually smaller than my 6 month old cats. This dog is just plain arbitrary. I know that Chihuahuas are generally nasty looking animals, but this poor bugger takes it to a new level. I’m sure he’s thicker than a walnut, but he still has this very large, golf-ball pitted skull.

So, handbag dog skitters around the place, with his one eye way bigger than the other and perilously close to being cross-eyed. He then sees Axl and has a little chase. Good on him, not a single bark. Skitter, skitter, skitter, but it’s half-hearted. Axl puffs up into one big walking cactus, hisses and runs like a Shark out of Loftus.***

I manage to get him in, the handbag dog has all but skittered off, and I close the security gate. The back door is wide open, but the cats seem ignorant of this, so they perch at the security gate, waiting, watching. Well, Slash waits, Axl occasionally musters up the courage to have a peek (at nothing) and then shoots back behind the couch.

Finally, the big ol’ scary, boggle-eyed handbag dog skitters up to my security gate. Slash puffs up into a larger, sitting cactus. He doesn’t even bother to hiss, he knows he doesn’t have to. Handbag dog stops…pauses…and then dashes away.

Handbag dog = 0

The Guns = 1

Let’s hope this winning streak continues to the curious case of the mammoth cat.

  • *Not sure I can use this as a noun, but I’m going to anyway. Poetic license and all that crap.
    **The cats, Axl & Slash – read further blogs to find out more.
    ***Special reference for my cousin. Just cos they’re being made to wear pink, doesn’t mean the Bulls won’t kick the Sharks’ asses 🙂

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