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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Light's off, Nobody's in

“We do charge, but it’s only a couple of pounds,” said the vet ringing up £4.70 on the till; her couple of pounds not chiming with my idea of same. Were the transaction being reversed, the Eyeore in me could expect around £1.20.
“And if it’s returned so that we can re-use it, we’ll refund you.”

Why on earth wouldn’t people return to have it re-used and be refunded, I snorted to myself edging Lolly into the truck-battered car. How lazy is that. How rich must they be.

I was feeling a little chastened, truth be told, for when the vet had asked if Lolly had been licking her stitches following her recent spaying, I had answered in the enthusiastic affirmative, expecting vicarious praise for this intuitive self-healing, which I had assumed would reflect well on me, fine mother of fine dog. Not for the vet to frown at fuckwit mother, mutter expensive-sounding things like “infection,” and rustle in a cupboard for a clear lampshade thing that is fated to keep Lolly from her bits for the next ten days.
“Just slide it onto her collar,” she said, “through the little loops.”




Once home, I snapped it on (with some difficulty I must say: never be conned by an instruction beginning “Just …” anything), patted her head, fed her a biscuit and went upstairs to stare at the study which would be prelude, in efficient households, to making a start on tidying it, and not mere introduction to several hours of blank inactivity.
Within scant seconds, and rescuing me from my torpor, I feared that we were having our second earthquake in 12 hours.
Much as the house shook last night, rocking our sturdy sleigh of a bed til I wondered if I were being auditioned as a Bucking Bronco Mother Santa, so massive thumps now resonated through the floor, and the stairs, and the ceiling, and I ran down to find that Houdini Lolly had managed to do in reverse in seconds what had taken me some cross minutes of finger-snapping pain (recalling Dyson belt issues). Namely, thrash around with sufficient violence to shake free her plastic prison.
I found it hurled like a Frisbee about 20 feet away, an item already well the worse for having been in our temporary ownership for about half an hour and making me fear for my £4.70. Shoddy plastic rubbish.
Meanwhile, well pleased with herself, Lolly looked, very much: That’ll be the end of that little episode. Very much: Get you, Mummy.

So I had to fix it back on again, but this time with no more Mrs Nice Guy tenderness. Delving much deeper into choke rate on the scale of Dog’s Chances of Living til the Weekend, and since then she has sat, as humourless and posed as Whistler’s Mother, dazed and confused and imagining a wax doll with my face on it which she could bite. Staring into a middle distance where life was good and the recent past hadn’t happened. Reminding me in essence of myself, frankly, following ten minutes at a Slide’n’Splash.

A friend (slim, gorgeous, athletic) had told me What Fun this evil dump was and I was fool enough to believe her. So, when we went to Portugal, I was happy enough to line up with E and the nippers and take my turn swooshing down some fabricated spinning tunnel of hell perched atop a greasy tyre before being plonked deep in a soup of fetid water rich in other people’s sweat and spittle. On landing, at neck-snapping speed, hard, in a slap on my back, to be immediately engulfed by a wave of grimy germs, piss and chlorine, with my straps in jeopardy and what the children call a wedgie happening down below, I could only wonder, in all seriousness, whether I had actually died or not. Whether that had been it. And whether I minded much.

Then I had to sit hunched, under a towel-for-a-blanket, all but catatonic, rocking slightly, while E and the children merrily continued sampling all of the other rides in turn, sometimes more than once; which took about four hours.
The stripping of dignity conferred by motherhood frequently makes me weep metaphorically, but this time it was almost for real.
With E, we are merely married: our connection is but a happenstance of chance with a little love thrown in, so I can ignore his hearty joy at the place, but the children share genetic material with me. How can this be so when not one jot of empathetic understanding passed their faces or informed their chat with me. Indeed the little buggers tried to cajole me into having another go Because I Might Enjoy It this time.

Sometimes you can only marvel at how little you are known.

Something similar inside Lolly is telling her that life has gone truly awry. Worryingly still, she sits, urging the two or three neurons which constitute her brain to re-position the broken pieces of her jigsaw. She needs her touchstone back.

That time in the Algarve, I at least knew that Things Would Get Better and, if the dog would only hurry up and learn English, I could take the opportunity to lard this occasion with a little stuff about gratitude, and taking for granted, and Mother is Best.

All she knows is that you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. And she doesn’t even really know that because she is a little bit thick.

It’s going to be a long old ten days for both of us.

Of course, “us” is “her.”
I’m fine.
As long as I get my £4.70 back.

37 comments:

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Milla, you write a fabulous blog! That picture is great and I'm so glad you managed it. If I can do it, anyone can - I'm completely thick when it comes to technie stuff.

Crystal xx

Bill said...

One of the best ever. Tears still trickling down the cheeks. Of course, I actually remember the good bits of the Slide 'n' Splash.

Hannah Velten said...

Really entertaining blog, Milla. Shame about doggie, though! Bless her - what a face. I can't stand those flume things either; as you say, floating around in everyone else's gunk - yuck!

Pipany said...

Oh God, the kids think I've finally lost the plot as I sit here laughing like a drain - they DO laugh you know, a sort of gurgling squelching sound much like I'm doing now...oh well, as I was saying Milla, that was hilarious. I love the image of Whistler's mother - poor Lolly - and as for the wedgie!!!! Been there and got the painful memories. Never again! Brilliant stuff Milla xxx Oh and well done - a piccy!

Fennie said...

After a hard day, Milla, that is just the tonic I needed. So funny. Wicked! Pick of the Week stuff! But poor, poor Lolly. And stop feeling sorry for yourself in Slide n Splash - not that (hangs head) I've ever done it, whatever it is. Can't be worse than the lampshade thingy anyway.

lampworkbeader said...

ooh sympathy Milla, from a woman who has inadvetantly gone down the black hole at Butlins in a moment of abstraction. Glad to know that the term 'wedgie' is an almost international term.
Love and kisses to the dog.
LWB

lampworkbeader said...

p.s. Loved the blog...

bodran... said...

Bill behave! Poor milla.
And Milla you've been fibbing to me your house looks strangely tidy c'mon girl don't let me down!
great blog and a great dog ! xx

softinthehead said...

Hysterical, chortling away here at your description of the waterslide. The picture says it all, I think most dog owners have such a picture. I know I do. The expression says "Now what did I do to deserve this indignity?"

Cait O'Connor said...

First I was amazed at your dog being able to get the collar off and then as I read on I was laughing so much... Great blog.

mountainear said...

Milla that was such a good read. More. More. Please.

elizabethm said...

Oh Milla, that was just fabulous, have been driving husband mad with lunatic chortling. And a picture! I suspect I have days at work that make me look like that without the excuse of the lampshade. Totally with you on waterslides, work of the devil. How anyone can think they are fun is just impossible to contemplate.

KittyB said...

Country Lite with a picture - what on earth is happening? However, what a sweet little dog. I see why you secretly love her.
Had me in tears of mirth about the water park. I'd almost go back to school sports and hockey in the snow and communal trickly showers than have to do 'fun' things like water parks (and Center Parcs, who invented that particular hell?)
Keep up the good work!

Preseli Mags said...

A picture at last! Lovely Lolly, even if she's got a lampshade on her head. Exactly the same happened to Pollydog - she's survived and is now back to her former idiotic slightly thick self.

I loved the bit about the waterslides, but can't agree. I'm afraid I actually like them! Even to the extent of leaving poor Brian to babysit while I went off for a play at Center Parcs. Brian says I don't have an inner child, I have an outer child...!

kissa said...

Poor Lolly.
Very funny blog. Wedgies, flumes bring back memories of times disgraced.

aims said...

Those plastic cones sure do confuse the hell out of pets..cats too btw!

Very funny girl -

Expatmum said...

Tee hee. Gorgeous photo! I am just wondering here, if I can somehow rig a similar device up on my four year old son who is in that lovely phase of hands-down-the-front-of-his-trouser all day? I have a little plastic funnel in the kitchen that might be just the right size.....

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Yup entertaining as ever and pooooo see the favuoritism of Bill - who has completely deserted us at PC now . . . ok, ok so you are married to him . . . but that is not a good reason for him to ignore the rest of us . . . revvs chainsaw . . .avoids all low slung bushes and sulks.

Exmoorjane said...

At last I get to see the famous Lolly....and have to say, a cutie non? Worth every fragrant dropping. Even more cute in an Elizabethan ruff. I used to love it when the vet gave us one for our cat - my inner sadist adored watching her crash into doors as she miscalculated (no whiskers to do the job).....and the wobbling walk....
I refuse even to think about a waterslide.....just wrong on every level. jxxxx

Kathleen said...

Poor little Lollyhas the same confused look on her face that Celeste had when I finally wrestled her to the floor, stuck a knee in the crook of her neck and strapped the lampshade on her head. After several ear-splitting seconds of Husky screaming complaints, I let her up, stuck out my tongue, and declared "I won." She retaliated immediately by playing the poor handicapped puppy and peeing on the floor.

In spite of all that while I read your post, I laughed till my sides hurt and Celeste had to come running to see if I would be okay. We are in mid-crisis again with her - an ear infection. Back to wrestling her to the floor, knee in the neck, stabbing the giant plastic syringe into the ear cavity to apply the secret medicine. Nothing like a screaming dog to bring the neighbors around, checking to see how much of the dog I have flayed with my dull paring knife.

I think she does it for her own pleasure.

Frances said...

Hello Milla,

Here I am back again, to send best wishes to the recuperating Lolly, aka The Muse.

xo

Wooly Works said...

I laughed till I cried!

The thought of returning one of those cone head collars is so funny--are people really able to do that? Our Bloke destroyed 2 of them in 2 weeks and we held the shards of the second one together with silver tape because I wouldn't spend $20 (!) the third time. I actually taped the thing to his neck to he couldn't get out of it!

I've been to the Slide 'n Splash parks as well, and we actually call your experience a "fresh water enema." Lovely thought, considering how fowl the water really is.

Give my best to Lolly. She'll make it. I know it because the Lab from hell made for 16 days, even though I didn't think I would.

Maggie May said...

Poor Lolly! Had to laugh at her escapades! In all the years of having pets I had never ever gone for a vet visit & got off as lightly as £4.70. Most of the things my tearaway cat got up to cost me 3 digit figures! Most expensive cat in the world, bless him. He lived to age 21. Had to work to keep him!

KAREN said...

What a great blog :o)

I'm so glad Molly-dog didn't need a plastic lampshade when she was spayed - I'd never have coped!

As for the Slide 'n' Splash - my fear of water is legendary. Just the memory of how chlorine smells is enough to make me nauseous...

IrishEyes said...

That was gorgeous and a tonic!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

CAMILLA said...

Milla darling, what can I say... absolutely fabulous blog, I laughed till I cracked my sides, hankie is now seriously soggy.

Oh Milla, what a darling Lolly is, the wheaten is just GORGEOUS, brilliant picture, give a hug to Lolly for me. I remember having to fit one of those lampshades on Big Bertha years ago, poor darling she loathed it.

Camilla.xxx

DJ Kirkby said...

Oooh you are funny! I will be back.

Maddie Moon said...

Aw, £4.70 well spent, I feel, for cuteness factor alone.
Made me smile hearing about your Slide 'n' Splash experience, I'm sure I've been to the same one in the Algarve. Sadly, I didn't whoosh, I got stuck and went down at a snail's speed trying to dodge the kamikaze kids flying past my ears.

Lane said...

look at Lolly in her lampshade. So cute:-)
We had a German Shepherd who had to wear one once. She could hardly fit through the door.

Some people's idea of 'a couple of quid' is so off the mark isn't it?:-)

Swearing Mother said...

Great pic Milla - a dog with a comedy lampshade collar, naughty to laugh but just couldn't help it.

What a great blog you have, and thanks so much for commenting on mine. Will be returning ASAP for a proper good read, you sound so much on my wavelength, it's scary!

Potty Mummy said...

Surely the name 'Slide and Splash' rang a warning bell?

the mother of this lot said...

Came to say thanks for visiting, and can't remember when I had such a good laugh!

Great blog! I'll be back to scour your archives later!

LittleBrownDog said...

Poor, brave Lolly. If it's any compensation, once the thing is off, she'll have forgotten all about its very existence within - ooh - about ten minutes, if she's anything like my dog. If it doesn't involve biscuits, it doesn't register.

And a picture, too. Milla, I am impressed! (And she's every bit as gorgeous as I'd imagined. Only it's a bit of a shame she and Brown Dog will never make beautiful music together now...)

Pondside said...

What a blog - had to read three at once as I've fallen behind. I'm in complete agreement with you re anything that has the word 'fun' or 'slide'in the title. That goes for Water Slide, Fun Park and anything having to do with sliding downhill in the snow. I count the hours and days until I can stop pretending to have fun and go home. Ah, but the kids have wonderful memories and think their mum was a good sport!

Maggie May said...

Its me again! Please come over to my place as you've been tagged!

bionicwoman said...

very entertaining blog and what a gorgeous looking dog! Thanks for your comments on my blog and you don't have to worry about saying anything relevant or useful. Just to know that there are people out there reading helps! I'm completely new to this whole blog thing so it's useful to read a really good one like yours!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

very funny! I winced at the wedgie and the filthy water. fingers crossed for the £4.70 eh?
Pigx