Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Okay, Vodafone...

I know I don't use my phone much, except for texting replies to Herself asking if the meeting I'm in the middle of is over yet, or if I'm having a nice day when I'm having a horribly bad one... I know you'd probably not be pleased that I haven't bought a fone with shiny new things on it from you in quite a while. BUT... sending me a text advert at six in the morning -- especially a morning after I'd had a particularly restless and broken night's sleep -- is NOT the way to win me over. Nor Herself, either, you twits. (She got one too.)

I mean it isn't even like I have any notion whatsoever now what it said.

Okay, then. Just piss off.



Thursday, September 10, 2009

How Herself lost the toe of her sock

Grandchildren... You love 'em... Both the ones who made slippers of the cat... Or the ones who parachuted from the shed... Or the ones with the waggily tails...

"Time to get up," Herself says from the side of the bed. I grumble my eyes open and stare at the ceiling for a moment wondering what planet I'm on.

It's been a tough last half week, getting up a bit of energy to go back to the day job. But I reckon I may be up to it. We'll see this morning if I can ease into it quietly. Peaceful like. Without any fuss or bother. That's the plan I intend sticking to.

So, as Herself is wrestling a foot into a pop sock, I tumble out my side of the bed and innocently switch on the radio.

It wasn't my fault Morning Ireland was turned up to Maximum on the dial.

HUGE waves of bad news ROARED out of the speakers as I stood there blinking, my brain only half awake and totally unaware of why my hair was flapping backwards like the ears of a basset hound puppy dropping down a well.

Over on the other side, Herself's foot rocketed through the pop sock, through the slats of the wardrobe door, through the stud wall and kicked the teddy bear on the spare room bed neatly in the arse.

I tottered to the volume control and blindly turned the damn thing down.

"Grandaughter toddled into here yesterday, by any chance?" I asked.



At least I now knew how my day was likely to go. And it did.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Blog and more blog

"But you're very young in that picture," Herself says, looking askance at the new Avatar image I've posted.
"So?" I ask.
"What about the one I took of you in the garden? That's a better picture."
"Yes, but I have that as my Social Networking avatar at the moment."
"Why can't you have it on your blog as well?"
"Because someone might visit here and recognise themselves in the story of the Smelly So-and-So on the bus and give me a slap the next time they see me."

She's not convinced.

Anyway, I went and started another Blog, called Our Daily Junk Mail which is going to have nothing except unsolicited items from our letterbox in it. I started with a Clothing Collection Label. In some years time I am sure it will appear quaint and interesting. There's an inexhaustable supply coming in our letterbox, so it will have more material if you check back later.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Writing it down

Health, death, mental health.... probably everyone is sick of me writing about these now, but here I go again anyway.

I was thinking of my father a lot when I was lying around in hospital and resisting the urge to count the ceiling tiles, or the number of reflectors in the light fitting, or any number of other things to pass the time. In particular, I wondered how he managed to keep his cool, for he had a temper, when told he had to stay in hospital for a couple of weeks at a time. I was not a good patient by Day Three and the notion of staying any longer just wasn't winning any favours from me at all. Lucky then they managed to get the results and reports they wanted in time to send me packing that very day. They didn't have to: I was already packed!

To make up for getting out of hospital, I dreamed about it every night for the first week home. I would dream I was lying on my hospital bed and that I was staring at those hospital roof tiles and I would half awaken and see my own old ceiling and my own curtains and wonder what the hell had gone wrong and why were my familiar things in the Unit and why was Herself beside me? And finally I'd wake a little more and shake it off and try to sleep a deeper sleep.

When I did, I'd drift off into dreams of snow, or great hills of newly ploughed earth. There were buses to catch that drove along the Tymon North Road near my father's house. Generally they took me places I didn't wish to go and I'd spend the rest of my dream returning on foot, not lost, but out of place, inconvenienced rather than panicked.

In one dream, my father and I were walking together somewhere on the Northside in a baked summer housing estate, on our way home through unfamiliar territory. We stopped to join a house party after a funeral and soon were separated inside a house that became a pub, whose garden became a car park in the strange way of dreams.

In another, I crossed Tymon Park alone in winter, a wet winter with exaggerated hills and hummocks. Machines were working in the rain to construct banks by the lakes and people were coming and going in little knots on unknown errands.

I remember back in the real world, away from dreams, how my father had been told he had a tumour in his bowel and how he'd undergone surgery to remove that tumour, how he'd asked that I be informed of the outcome so I could explain it to him slowly and in terms he could understand. I told him all that has been told to me: how the surgeons had opened him up, taken out the tumour, been satisfied that they had caught it in time before it spread to his lymph nodes, and how they had taken some nodes away to test to ensure he hadn't any other problems.

He listened carefully and asked me to repeat everything to him so he could let the realisation sink in that he was going to survive. He was discharged from hospital, attended to by the district nurse for a number of weeks, then reported dutifully to the oncology unit of St James Hospital each appointment for chemotherapy.

One day he said to me: "Did I have cancer?"

I was taken aback. It transpired that no-one, myself included, had mentioned the word at all until he had seen the Professor and the Professor mentioned it in passing. Cancer, to my father's generation, meant a one-way ticket and he was aghast that the word had come up.

I was shaving the other morning and recalled him asking: "Did I have cancer?" I remembered my own doctor, a couple of weeks ago, looking at me and saying: "You were a very sick man."

I can sit and write the details of my infected salivary gland and how it swelled up and ultimately started pressing my tongue into my airway. I can relate how in another hour or two I reckoned I would have choked to death without medical attention. But somehow I'm still like my father, hooked up to his chemotherapy drips week after week (or fortnight after fortnight, I now no longer recall accurately the intervals involved in his case) wondering, after all that he'd gone through, if he had had cancer. It must be some kind of mechanism we humans have to get through a tough time, to see the creature leaping towards our jugular and still find a way to duck, roll, run away and at the end think: "Was that what I think it was?"

How strange.

Early this morning I dreamed my father was in a similar ward to the one I'd been in and as I was passing I called into him. I realised his only trouble was that his diabetes medication was acting up and that a little sugar would help him avoid a crisis. I wandered corridors looking for a sugar bowl and when I found it I was again on the Tymon North Road on my way to him. He was waiting near the bus stop, 100 yards away. As I walked towards him I awoke, an old feeling of worry about him heavy on me. I decided to get up and start my day rather than return to the dream.

Tonight I'm trying to stay up longer to maybe tire myself into a deeper sleep. But I think by morning I'll be visiting with him again, worrying for him.

It's strange -- I never dream of him dead, lying on the cold floor of his kitchen. You'd think I would but I don't.

Ah, sure...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Mitsy in the sky...

My Aunt Kay's toy poodle is galloping across the sky this evening, scut tail and all.

It's a good day for pictures in the sky. We saw a bunny rabbit with big floppy ears, a man in a periwig, and Jabba the Hut wearing sun glasses.