As I’m looking to get rid of my excess stuff ready to move, my friend from Primary school who’s spent the last 14 years living abroad is moving back from Cairo to the UK. She’s looking for all the things I can’t take with me, electrical stuff, a car, some small furniture for a small house. How fortunate is that?!
Mumsie: Is there anything you want, before you go (to America)
Wendy: it’s difficult to ask because all the things I want are probably thongs that are special to you too
Mumsie: Oh, I’m going to have to get rid of lots of stuff.
Wendy: The black and white Rackham that I bought dad for his birthday?
Mumsie: Oh good! I’ve never liked that, I managed to get him to keep it in his office for a few years but then he moved it into the front room. I was going to ask you if you wanted it
Wendy: the Bullova watch, I remember him wearing it as an everyday watch
Mumsie: Oh yes, that’s probably quite valuable because it was the first of the new modern watches. It doesn’t work and might not be easy to get fixed without damaging it’s value
Some blog posts are easy to think of, difficult to write.
They’ll probably be the better posts, if they get written (and copy edited).
Meanwhile, you’ll have to wait
My parents genes
Drop in guests
Long cotton vests
Cats on the internets
Men wearing kilts
Children on stilts
A car that can go
Being able to sew
Spare case of merlot
Raindrops on roses
Whiskers on kittens
Warm woollen mittens
Something nice to study
phoning up a buddy
Being in my nuddy
- Cautious. Ignore her and she’ll come to within an arms length of you – stroking distance
- Companiable. She likes to be in the same room as everyone else, out of reach, where she can see and hear but not be ‘hassled’. She’s companionable in a cautious way.
- Picking her up. Not easy. She doesn’t like it. With me she’ll tolerate it for a few minutes. I’ll pick her up, stroke her then put her down before she starts to struggle. Best to pick her up when she’s dozing in a favourite place before she’s fully awake to run away.
- Toys. Her favourites are small balls, she’ll watch string and ribbons but rarely really goes to the kill
- Night singing. In the evening, sometimes at night. She will wander empty rooms ‘calling’ in a deep howling sound. As if she’s calling her kittens to her. I normally let her call a few times then call back. She reacts by running to me in an excited way then we have an intensive stroking session as if she’s pleased and relieved to have found me.
- Other cats. She is fascinated by them, likes to watch them. Is terrified when there is no ‘glass’ between her and them. One neighbours cat gave her nightmares and made her jumpy for days. She hasn’t learnt that her sheer size makes her scary. She doesn’t chase them off, but she runs after them when they’ve runaway from me!
- Tail wagging. She uses her tail to express her emotions. Very cute, almost like a dog! She chases her tail when she’s bored or frustrated
- Chatting. When I come home after a trip she will ‘chat’, meow, for 10 to 30mins depending on how long I’ve been away. She also chats when she wants me to go to bed or something is happening (another cat in the garden). She’s used to this being a ‘conversation’ she meows, I imitate her… …feels good to me, I think she likes it too
- Food. She appears to have a poor sense of smell, she doesn’t react to catnip, cheese, fish or fresh meets. I’ve tried her on all sorts of cat ‘treats’ she doesn’t seem to react to any of them. Prefers dried food. She’s used to being fed twice a day (8am, 7pm) on dry food. She prefers her water to be placed on her normal house roaming route rather than by her food. In my house this turns out to be on the landing or in the hallway. She does drink out of the toilet if the lid is left up. She likes to eat spiders, flies and butterflies. Spiders are fun.
- Regularity. She’s fairly regular within an hour or so of eating. She likes to be fed around 6am but can be ignored
- Sight. Laser lights? She doesn’t appear to see them, don’t bother
- Sound. She is more sensitive to sounds than the average cat. Talk softly to her and she’ll warm to you
- Sheds. Loves to be brushed. Needs to be brushed. Moults more than the average cat. The sound of running your hand over the brush will normally bring her running towards you.
- Sleep. She likes me to go to bed around 10pm. She goes to my bedroom and starts calling me. If I ignore her she comes downstairs and starts walking on and around me. She’s used to sleeping on the bed with me at night
- 6 beds. I mainly use these to reduce the amount of cleaning in the places she likes to sleep
- Green chenille throw. Once it was nice, then she got her claws into it. When I put one of her beds on it she prefers to sleep next to her bed on the throw
- Scratching post. She likes to run to this, and around it. Its as much about being a toy as a scratching post
- Jute hall rug. Her clear enjoyment of lying on this has made it hers
- Clockwork feeder. Good for weekend trips away
- Continuous food dispenser. For 3 night trips
- 2 carry cases. One is the case she flew into Britain in. I find it too big for standard vets trips because she’s so heavy. The wicker basket works well to take her to the vet for her annual check-up
- Micro chips. She has 2 microchips in her neck, a USA and a European standard chip. They were used to record her rabies status, and the USA one is associated with a long since unused website that has my Seattle address registered as owner. Only a USA vet can change this. I’ve let her rabies vaccinations lapse.
- Balls. For fun, I’ll bring her current collection with her
- Brush. Only the one at the moment. Probably good to have a few. Always brush her outside because of the sheer volume of fluff generated
- Nail clippers. She actually bites her nails, keeping them short herself. This is a good way of her cleaning her teeth. I check them every now and then by stroking her when she’s next to me then quickly whipping out the clippers and doing a claw at a time. For some reason she seems to be fairly tolerant of this as if she knows it makes her life more comfortable
I get sad just thinking about it. I’ll get to stay the first night with her. I’ll get to visit her before I leave.
Her new family will post pictures of her on Facebook. She’ll be happy, she’ll be much less stressed than travelling in the hold of a plane for 9 hours then moved from temporary home to temporary home. The flash makes her look a bit woozy in this picture, but there’ll be no drugs involved in her journey. She hates the car, and cries all the way. It must hurt her throat. I’m not looking forward to moving her. I am looking forward to her being moved and settled.
She’ll probably even forget me.
After moving there will be many more blog posts, Minneapolis is just so interesting and very beautiful. Today a lady was telling me about the cherry tree blossom in spring, how it’s magical like a fairy-tale world. She talked about going north to see the fall colours. She clearly loves it here (I’m in Minneapolis). The skies are often blue, even in the winter.
People open their windows & doors to catch any breeze that might wander by
Official warnings of a ‘heat wave’ and health concerns because Britons are not familiar with how to behave safely, healthily in hot weather
Tempers and temperatures are rising
From my open doors and windows I can hear the family frictions of neighbours in the surrounding streets, beyond my immediate neighbours. When they shout I can hear what they say. Shouts blown in the breeze to me.
Living alone, I have no-one to shout at.
Living alone, I have nothing I want to shout at anyone about. I don’t recall ever shouting at people that I lived with. But it must have happened and I’ve conveniently forgotten it in the peace of my own home. No-one wants to invite shouting into their home, it must just happen somehow.
In the heat Sampo and I lounge around in the shade. She tells me about it, but doesn’t shout.
Windows and doors are closed when the thunder and lightening hit. As if the world is objecting to all the shouting and demonstrating this by shouting right back with a stormy temper beyond that of any mortal. Unlike Sampo, I love the thunder and lightening storms. The sound of rain pounding on the roof and the way they whipe the slate, garden and street clean.
I love my mum
She’s 78. I’m banned from mentioning aging. She moans about her 93 year old sister being ‘needy’ wanting mum to come with her on weekend coach tour breaks. Apparently, even if they have separate rooms her elder sister is an insufferable talker who’s deaf. Hmmmmm….. it’s been remarked that I take after this maternal aunt. Must remember to listen, even when I’m deaf.
Mum and I chat a couple of times a week. This is a new thing. It started when I was made redundant in 2009 and I nominated mum as responsible for knowing that I was ok on a day to day basis. Having no regular schedule, there was no one to ‘miss’ me. I called mum at 7pm each day and she had instructions and neighbours numbers to follow up with if I didn’t call and didn’t return her ‘why haven’t you called’ calls. Obviously all this safety infrastructure was not put into emergency action. What it did do was it gave me an excuse to call mum every day, for no real reason. We’d chat if something occurred to us, or just share hello’s if not. A nice habit. One I’ve kept up on a weekly basis since then. A habit that’s been easy to increase since dad died.
Since dad died our calls have been more light hearted and chatty. I’ve enjoyed them much more. They make me love mum even more.
Over the last year the quality of her voice over the phone has changed. I can’t tell if this is my expectations and fears or an actual change. She is still a quick thinker but the ‘crackle’ that I associated with old people dominates what I hear. I hear what she says, but the voice is not the her voice of my youth, and later adulthood. It’s the voice of a delicate old lady.
I love my mum
An open house at the Wendy house was advertised in the window of the Estate Agent and on their mailing list. It’s first showing was on Saturday, 5 potential buyers. 3 turned up. 60% turn up felt poor. Their feedback? I littered down the street and watched the visitors turn-up then leave. It took them less than 10 minutes to look around. It’s a small place, but still, I wasn’t encouraged. Summary feedback
Too expensive: Small, neat Asian couple in a large family car
I’ll show pictures to my girlfriend: tall Caucasian man, about 35, on foot in t-shirt and jeans. Booked a 2nd viewing with girlfriend on Tuesday.
Offer 25K below asking price: French couple that I didn’t see who live in rented accommodation nearby made an offer on Monday.
I said the offer didn’t offend me but I’d like to wait for a few more people to view the Wendy house (on Tuesday) before making a decision on that offer. They increased their offer to £16K below asking price and added some unacceptable time constraints. My estate agent explained why the price was acceptable but I can’t accept their time constraints. They discussed it on Tuesday night.
Wednesday – house under offer subject to contract, off the market in less than a week at a good price. Nice result. Lets hope the buyer and I stay together to completion.
Sampo has found herself a new home near Birmingham. Upgrading her home to a quirky Georgian house with an adult family. I’ve known one family member since 1987 when we dated for a year. We visited mum and dad in that time. I tried to prompt mumsie to remember him
Me: “The tall skinny one with a curly quiff”
Mumsie: “They were all tall and skinny dear”
The Estate agent responsible for selling the Wendy House offered me the opportunity to give feedback on the details they’d produced, before they were published. I suggested a few changes that raised the profile of a few desirable features.
The agent didn’t confirm receiving my feedback or making any changes. After a couple of weeks I included the following (blue text) in an email to the Agent. The Agent replied in red..
With a good attitude the Agent would’ve recognised my point about size and suggested a phrase to conveys the double size parking space. On one occasion I’ve had 3 small cars parked there. I’ve suggested “Offload parking for 2 cars”, that saves the lazy estate agent the trouble of measuring my drive.
I’m annoyed by the Agent’s attitude. Based on this, and other examples of their sloppy attitude and service, I will have no qualms about changing providers at the end of our contract.
<rant probably not finished, just temporarily paused>
For some reason today my spirits have been unfeasible low.
I took dad’s Tissot into a watch makers to have the movement replaced. It stopped soon after I inherited it. For some reason I asked the watchmaker to give me the old movement.
“I’ve never seen the movement of a watch close up”
“I can show you now if you’d like”
“I want to play with it, poke it around, take it apart, can I have it with the repaired watch?”
He agreed. I didn’t really understand why I wanted it.
In the evening I watched a TV programme about Niel Sedaka. Mumsie had chosen “this is our lost song together” for dad’s funeral. I searched for the song on you tube and found a Swedish version by Agnetha. So many small reasons to cry. I guess this is melancholia, seeking-out the sadness. Feeling self-centred, lonely and guilty for letting myself wallow in these feelings.
Seattle, 2006, I’m 43. A weekend phone call home. Dad always triages the phone calls. One phone is next to his computer. He doesn’t chat, but I’m prepared with a question primed by my annual medical check-up
“Dad, how old was mum when she started the menopause?”
“56 and we’re still suffering!” She was 66 at the time
I was still giggling when mum picked up the extension line…
I heave the heavy fire door open and hold it for the escaping lunchtime throng. Many pass without eye contact, talking chirpily to each other or striding into the heart of the building. A few catch my eye, silently nodding their head or muttering a thank you. Toward the end of the crowd a fellow offers to take the door holding role. I accept.
People not acknowledging my small gesture had enhanced the power of my invisibility cloak and my urge to drop the door and walk into the canteen leaving them to battle the door one by one. This fellow’s xray vision confirmed he too was a superhero.
Would you like me to follow-up with Joseph, waiving my overhead costs, to supply you with a blog post tailored to you and your damp proofing needs? It’s tempting. Entertaining letter with absolutely no evidence that he has any idea about the contents of my blog. I am slacking in publishing despite lots of stories from both the Route 66 tour and the Turkey escapade
I am 100% responsible for authoring everything on this website, except a few identified quotes.
Marketers are able to find my email address and they often email offering to produce blog content for me. The letters they send are a standard format that shows no awareness of my blog style, content or theme. Normally I file their emails under “junk”, ignoring them and they move on. Occasionally one will be persistent, sending multiple related emails with well crafted text designed to engage me in the possibility of letting them use my blog to host their content. Lucy, email below, is an example of a persistent marketer. Unlike previous emails this one provides email addresses that appear to be hosted on the domain of an agency promoting it’s digital marketing services. This might actually be legitimate! http://www.click.co.uk/
I’ve written to Lucy and quoted my fees and conditions for hosting her content on the Wendy House. You’ll be reassured to know that I’ve informed Lucy that any blog post provided by her team will be overtly credited to them and will incur fees to cover my costs – legal review, copy editing, insurance, my time and other incidental expenses such as a bottle of champagne for me and a new luxury scratching-post-tower for Sampo. I wonder if Lucy will reply.
Tonight is my first wide awake night since the 1980’s
I don’t know why, though going to bed, sleep, at 9pm last night probably led to waking at 3am, feeling bouncy and full of energy. 6 hours continuous deep sleep seems like a good dose. I’m not bemoaning my current wakefulness. It seems I’m just slightly out of synch with the majority of people living in this time zone. In the 1980s I used my wakefulness to go clubbing, read prolifically, socialise with local nocturnal misfits and drink copious amounts of tea. Good times brought to an end by my first serious romance. A healthy sex life definitely aides deep and long sleeps.
Today, a gentle pre-sunrise has seen me sort a pile of paper mail into 4 neat piles including a huge one that’s gone straight into the recycling bin. Gosh, I’m way too organised this morning! Freshly laundered sheets don the bed, waiting for my tomorrow night’s flop into the world of sleep. Sampo doesn’t seem the slightest bit disturbed by my pottering around the house. I love how she adapts easily to my changing ways.
I don’t spend much tome looking at myself in the mirror. I catch a glimpse when brushing my teeth, or a fuzzy glimpse after I bathe as I throw my towel around trying to wrap myself in dryness.
But my hands are almost always there, tapping on the keyboard, gathering food, lifting a glass. I see my hands many times a day. They show my age. I still remember the smooth skin of their youth and notice the miniscule mosaic shapes of age emerging. They get enough attention, I don’t care to draw the attention of others to my hands. Until I saw a little light magic in a Turkish gemstone. Zultanite.
The stone changes colour depending on the light source. Captivated by the magic of perception reflected in this gem, on my Turkish holiday I purchased a ring. Green in fluorescent light, strawberry pink in sunlight and Topaz coloured in another light who’s source I’ve yet to identify. Mixed reflection when mixed light sources are nearby. It makes catching a glimpse of my hands more joyous.
I fancy there is a genie of the ring and maybe there’s more magic that will change the colours in my life. I’ll rub it and see…
The country feels ‘rich’. Rich with water, it’s very green with many fields full of healthy looking crops. The countryside is littered with Dams and windfarms. The roads are smooth surfaced and clearly being resurfaced regularly.
During my 2 weeks there I never saw a beggar, though they clearly have many very poor people. The poverty is evidenced by the many people doing jobs that rarely exist in places like the UK or USA. These people are selling food and flowers to drivers through the Istanbul traffic jams on a 3 lane motorway.
Surface power adapter exploded – sparks everywhere. Just before I went to the airport for a long, long trip. A quick l;ook online shows that these power adapters are getting poor customer reviews for lasting, like mine, under 1 year. Tush and Pah!
Dixons at LHR doesn’t sell Surface power adapters. At Atlanta airport, none of the 4 technology outlets sold surface power adapters. It’s still covered by a warrantly but all my documentation is at home so that’s no use to me. I’ve ordered one online for delivery to the hotel. 1-3 days. I hope it arrives before I leave for my next destination. Amazon’s tracking service makes it look likely
I suspect a dearth of posts for about 3 weeks, but dont worry, my camera is working overtime and the stories are flooding in …
My body’s stopped grieving.
Only 6 months after his passing, is it my Britishness that leaves me feeling a bit guilty? Shouldn’t I be upset for longer, is this ‘improper’. It feels right and doesn’t hurt anyone so it can be right. I miss dad, but that’s not the same as the tired, distractedness of grieving. Sadness happens in everyday life, grieving is different. Maybe now, now the grieving has stopped, saying goodbye makes sense, feels right.
Bye bye dad, miss you, love you.
Retirement home: No onward chain
Five word Flash Fiction Friday (5F).
Watching a mellow, slim, attractive man saunter along the sidewalk.
Briefly glimpsing a reminder of those intense, happy feelings that accompany falling in love.
I’d forgotten that I’d forgotten that unique, addictive high.
A fleeting insight too quickly lost.
Summer is coming. It might be unseasonably hot (for the UK). Climate change. Meanwhile, Minneapolis has hair-static overload. Together these natural forces make shorter hair an attractive option. Like well sown fields, I’ve got a fresh crop. It’s got a swirly bit at my crown. Crown, how very British.
No hair dye. At 50yrs those are my natural silver streaks. Looks like I’ll have to wait at least another decade for the ‘arctic blonde’ look.
No-one should need to classify my gender in the process lf my purchasing an energy certificate for my home. How annoying. I won’t be using this service
I’ve been driven around different desirable areas in Minneapolis (thanks Peggy Pearl!) and will get some home choosing advice from a professional realtor. For now, these are the things influencing my likely choice of Wendy House in Minneapolis.
Warehouse conversion in downtown Minneapolis as a home because:
- Meeting neighbours. Making friends, in lifts, in corridors, in the shared facilities – garden, gym, swimming pool, garage, other social spaces
- Managing structural maintenance. Apartments have management companies. I won’t need to find, interview service providers and make arrangement to let them have secure access then check their work and follow-up if there are any problems.
- Size appropriateness: Not too big, not too small, not too many bathrooms to clean, no huge basement or loft to fill with stuff that I don’t need or use. Under the bed is enough space for unused stuff….
- No snow shovelling to get my car out. A warehouse apartment must come with some form of covered, maintained garage.
- In home Sampo care. Some apartments provide a service for caring for your pet while you’re away
- Walking places. The sidewalks downtown will allow me to walk to places (temperature permitting) like a range of restaurants, shops and galleries
- Bus services nearby. The Minneapolis bus services were pretty good, the city centre provides a central hub enabling me to get all over the place easily, not just use the ‘local’ route that goes through the village.
- More people like me. Single, no children living with them and elderly.
Arts and Craft’s house in a village style location in suburbia as a home because:
- Commute time and traffic. My work place is in a suburb with some very nice villages within easy distance with relatively light traffic (compared to Berkshire or Seattle)
- Can’t hear neighbours. I love living in a detached home, though I’ve had a lucky history in town homes (terraced housing)
- Garden for Sampo. Sampo has always been an indoor cat, but she does enjoy a wander in the current Wendy House garden and watching the other cats and birds play there
- Property space for the price. I can get more square footage for my dollar. Feels like more of an ‘investment’.
- Gardening. The relaxing pleasure of planning, planting, caring for, and watching my own garden grow
Have I missed anything that you think it’s important to consider? How would you rate the value of things. Not hearing the neighbours is a fairly weighty requirement…