Gunning For Spring

April 25, 2010

I skulked past the mirror the other day and thought, ooh, I am losing weight. I had got a little portly over the winter, and it was getting to be a nuisance, what with my fur on my belly dragging a little on the ground, but frankly I didn’t have the will to do anything about it. Nothing – and that includes fur friction – could have persuaded me to venture out in -38.  But now I am losing it and this is because – and I feel disbelieving myself, to be honest, but it is true – I have – wait for it – BEEN OUTSIDE. A LOT.

Today, it was 22 degrees. Plus. I BASKED. I rolled around in the dirt. I ate some grass. I fell asleep on the stairs of the basement and tried to ignore the smell. It was frigging LUSH.

The Mushroom, The Baby and my Dad have only been inside to eat and sleep since last Friday when, out of the blue, after a blizzard and a drop to -19, Saskatchewan was reminded by, presumably, God, that it was Spring and that blizzarding in Spring was not the way the whole Season thing worked.  She and The Baby have run and skipped and been to playgrounds and The Mushroom is now sporting the burn marks of someone who a) hasn’t been outside without wearing her Sheep for seven months and b) is a bit Irish. I think it all got to The Baby a bit yesterday, who awoke from a bad dream about, in this order, ‘Daddy! Slides! Ham!’ which does, indeed, sound like a bizarre and disturbing scenario. Too much sun, I’d say. Or too much stimulation, having been locked in a cellar with her all-singing, all-dancing, crazy haired mother since the end of September and, now, is able to view the world from a slightly clearer vantage point than on her mother’s shoulders through the head-size window.

The trees are starting to bud. The grass is going green. Someone (my Dad? Enthusiastic Teacher? Fluffy Usurper?) has removed all the turds from the garden. And the village is awash with the sound of quad bikes.

“Hey! D’ya wanna go quading?” asked Mystery Neighbour of my Dad. Mystery Neighbour had appeared from, seemingly, nowhere, and bore a dazzling resemblance to Maggie Philbin . I’m guessing he’s a neighbour, I suppose he could have been anyone, really. Maybe he was passing and saw my Dad and thought, he looks like a frustrated quadder, or whatever the word is for someone who quads. I don’t even know if you can, really, turn the noun ‘quad’ into a verb, but Mystery Neighbour did, and who am I to question his grammar? I’m a cat.

“Do what now?” replied my Dad, who had been minding his own business, sunning himself on the ‘deck’ (it’s not a deck. He bloody wishes it was a deck. The outside area of the Basement Suite consists of two concrete steps which, despite three goes with bleach and a desperate attempt with a bottle of lime-juice still smell unmistakably of cat wee. Not my wee. Not even Fluffy Usurper’s. It’s Volvo Cat, dirty little shit. It is, however, the only outside space they have, so my Dad insists on sitting there, although he does so with his eyes shut and his mouth open so he doesn’t have to breathe in through his nose).

“Quading! Wanna go quading with me?” Mystery Neighbour stood in the driveway, jumping up and down a bit. He was clearly very excited about quading. I found this disturbing, although not as disturbing as the fact that he had blatantly never met my Dad before, but was nonetheless asking him out.

“That’s a lovely offer,” my Dad said, looking round for a reason why he couldn’t go, and then finding one pretty quickly. The reason he couldn’t go – or, indeed, wouldn’t go – was long, made of metal and slung casually over Mystery Neighbour’s shoulder. “Why are you carrying a gun?”

“Hunting gophers!” Mystery Neighbour replied, grinning hugely.

My Dad is a complex fellow. He has some training in Martial Arts. He has been in the military. He, for many years, played rugby. His nose is not the shape he was born with. He likes to watch boxing. He likes to watch horror movies. He can contentedly watch humans beating each other up for real for hours. He is a Tory. He is an alpha male. But, paradoxically and unfortunately for Mystery Neighbour, he cries like a baby at the very idea of anyone hurting animals.

My Dad had actually gone a bit pale.

Mystery Neighbour was getting impatient.

I was keeping well out of it.

“I can’t do that.” whispered my Dad.

“Eh?” said Mystery Neighbour, but to no-one, cos my Dad had gone inside to sit quietly and think about gophers.

I was just thinking to myself, well, if people on giant shopping trolleys are whizzing about with guns, I’m going to keep a low profile for a bit and stay indoors until they get bored, but then I looked out the window and it was snowing again, so the decision was taken from me anyway.

What in the name of arse is  a gopher? Does anyone know?


A Wee Bit Older

April 14, 2010

It dawned on me the other day that, possibly, I spend far too much time thinking about, and writing about, the weather. In all probability simply the name of this province conjures up images in most people’s minds of a very long, very cold and very stark winter. I’m trying to think if Saskatchewan is famous for anything, but I can’t, actually, but this may be because I had never heard of Saskatchewan before my Dad announced he had got a job here which was, if my memory serves me correctly, the first time The Mushroom had heard of Saskatchewan either, but if it IS famous for anything, and I’m sure it is, I would hazard a guess it is for being very cold.  Ergo, by going on, constantly, about how cold it is, I am not, in fact, saying anything new. I should stop, really. I should talk about something else.



Whilst I was thinking about how I think about the weather too much, I also realised that, whilst I have been sitting on the window ledge thinking about the weather, things around me in our basement suite have changed. It has been quite remiss of me not to notice.

There are some small changes, like the fact that at some point The Mushroom put about nineteen strings of fairy lights up, presumably in a bid to make the place look less like a hole.

There are some fairly big changes, like the fact that The Baby is growing up, and is now over half The Mushroom’s height and says ‘please’.

 And there are some massive changes, like the fact that Fluffy Usurper is also growing up, and is now bigger than me, and urinates EVERYWHERE.  So, not only is our garden full of turds, not only does our doorstep smell of wee, now, our frigging flat smells of wee too.


In any case, the universal urinating seems to have made clear to The Mushroom that it is time to cut Fluffy Usurper’s bollocks off. Personally, I think shagging his sister was a good indication also, but I’m not in charge of these things.

“Right,” she announced, holding Fluffy Usurper at arms length and sniffing the area around the sofa suspiciously, “I’m going to make an appointment to get these off.”

My Dad looked uncertain. “Really? Do we have to?”

The Mushroom dropped him. “He’s weed on the sofa. Yes, they have to come off.  What’s your problem with it? You had Zeebs done.”

Yes. Yes, he did. I remember.

“I just think it’s a bit unfair that you won’t get your hair cut here cos you’re frightened of what they’d do to it, but you’re happy to get his testicles cut off.”

Two weeks ago, The Mushroom decided she needed a hair cut. She did. Her hair was down to her bottom. She had more hair than body. She was beginning to look, in fact, like a Troll Doll. An appointment was booked at a hairdressers in the nearest town. Off she went. Back she came. With exactly the same Troll hair.

“Why didn’t you get it cut?” asked my Dad.

“Because the hairdresser looked like Slash.” she replied.

“Sweetheart, so do you.”

The Mushroom, then, got my Dad to cut about seven inches off with the kitchen scissors. He did quite a good job, actually. It’s a little bit triangular, but I don’t think that really matters.  I don’t, however, think he’d be willing to remove Fluffy Usurper’s testiclods.

They do, absolutely, have to come off. I think I preferred The Mushroom’s scone baking to the new hobby of  Trying To Find The Wee. This new game manifests itself in The Mushroom wandering around around on her hands and knees sniffing corners, like some weird combination of a beaver and a glue sniffer.

Speaking of beavers, The Mushroom came back from a walk very excited recently because she thought she had found a beaver dam. She took a photo and showed it to my Dad, who laughed for about forty five minutes and ended up sweating and needing a lie down. I’ve seen the photo, and suffice to say it could only have been a beaver dam if the beavers were about 9 feet tall and in possession of cranes.

Incidentally, it is still snowing.