Tag Archives: McCat

;l.

The title of today’s post is brought to you by McCat, who joined me at the table on the laptop and somehow managed to type this ;l. into the Google search window AND hit enter. He also opened iTunes, possibly trying to find an appropriate musical message to accompany the emoticon. I’m glad he’s in a good mood.

Yesterday I stopped procrastinating on a core task – writing up a year planner with my timetable. If I had done this when I intended to, at the start of the holidays, I would most likely have done a bit more uni work and a bit less relaxing. Not that the relaxing hasn’t been fantastic.

I’m trying to develop a routine for the next semester, and the second-last week of holidays seemed a good time to kick it off. Up at 5:30, exercise 6:00-7:00, eat, get to work.

Today’s ‘get to work’ part started off with… well… taking the Yellow Dog of Happiness (who has been a bit down in the dumps) for a trot through the bush and a swim in the creek. I was more up for the trot than the swim, and had passed up swimmers for my pre-dirtied bootcamp shorts and socks from earlier, a fresh crop top and shirt, and my running shoes. Eyes peeled for snakes.

He had a lovely dog-only paddle in the first swimming hole, and as we trotted on down the track I pondered an impending visit from my paternal parental unit. I haven’t yet brought them to the creek. I must call them and get them to bring their swimmers. And maybe a fishing rod.

I spotted a faint track from the path to a shady spot on the creek bank and whistled the dog back to check it out. As I stood on the boulder overlooking a nice deep bit of creek, a school of eating-sized fish cruised by, followed by a dog-like splash.

Having taken a nice refreshing slide down the boulder into the creek, he paddled calmly for about three seconds before he realised the creek bed was far, far beneath his furry feet. He turned back to the mostly-vertical rock face. Oh SHIT, his face said. Quite futile even trying to climb out. Nevertheless he tried in vain to haul himself up with his front paws while scrabbling against, well, nothing with his back legs.

Stay calm, Dogface. I surveyed the surroundings as I stripped down to the crop top and my spotted undies. It was a big boulder, but either side was shallow bank covered by mangroves. Easy for a dog to climb out. Fixated on the rock face and hanging on with front paws for dear life, he could not be convinced to let go and swim to safety.

And so it was that I slid down the none-too-smooth boulder and into my new favourite swimming spot. Treading water just clear of the boulder, armpit-depth with my feet in the leafy mud near the edge. I tried to guide the hound around the boulder to the mangroves, but he would have none of it. Your hand is on my rump, clearly that means you can lift me out. He willed himself up the face of the rock, with me as his launch pad.

Admittedly I could now have swum around to the mangrovey bit and waded out of the water. But it was… creepy. And leafy. And there could be snakes. From water level, I could see the dog’s point.

Add rock-climbing to my skills list.

I gathered up the dry bits of my ensemble and we trotted on to his usual swimming hole, complete with jetty. Yellow Dog said no thanks. I said come on, Dogface, I’m still in my soggy cottontails, let’s get back on the horse. We swam. Neither of us drowned or were eaten by sharks. Passers-by failed to materialise until I had my shorts back on.

All up, a good morning’s work. ;l.

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Filed under Med School

Apparently Crazy Cat Lady

Our two cats are brothers, different colours but with virtually identical markings. They have lived indoors (and within the limits of the backyard, under supervision) for their fourteen years of life. This has given us all plenty of time to bond as a tribe.

McCat is most closely bonded to me, especially since his brother has become irritable with hyperthyroidism. We have a few things in common. We both like birds. We both like my armchair and its lambskin throw. We both like raw salmon and roast lamb (not together). For a while there, unbeknownst to me, we shared a bedside glass of water.

One of us is a little OCD.

At bedtime, McCat enforces the following routine:

1. Human is to brush teeth.
2. Human is to fill cat’s bedside water glass with fresh water.
3. Human is to top up biscuit bowl.
4. Human is to pat Brother Cat.
5. Human is to seek out Superior Cat lounging place; this step to be conducted under cover of darkness, simulating safari conditions.
6. Human is to advise Superior Cat of imminent bed entry.
7. Human is to stop faffing and get into bed.
8. Superior Cat shall drink water; four swipes of paw on beside table to accompany drink, indicating primal origins.
9. Superior Cat shall sit staring at Human until such time as Human switches off light.
10. Superior Cat shall patrol perimeter, ensuring all doors and windows secure.
11. Human is to assume supine position; left arm to be bent like tea-pot handle.
12. Superior Cat shall grace Human with presence between left arm and left flank; Human is to remain motionless until 4am.

The penalty for deviation from any of the above routine may range from gentle rebuke to forced sleep deprivation, with such penalties administered vocally, by strategic bladder-trampling, or by judicious use of paws to ensure Human eyes are open and airways clear.

Every so often I escape desert the McCat for education-related purposes, such as placements away, or conferences. The Girl does her best to meet his exacting standards of bedtime care, however as she has the Yellow Dog of Happiness to care for, as well as Brother Cat, McCat tends to develop abandonment issues and his vocal and paw-to-face admonishments eventually become unbearable. Or so I am told.

And so it is that I find myself on the phone to the cat. I am fluent in McEse, and though it pains me that my communications are delivered via speaker phone for all to enjoy, it does seem to settle him down.

I can only guess at what “Brrt, brrt, micmicmic meow” means, but I think it’s something like “Hello, honeycat, I’ll be home soon.”

Mock me and I’ll scratch your eyes out.

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Filed under Family, Travel

One Hand Clapping

McCat is asleep and purring on my arm, and my one`handed typing can’t keep up with my brain.

It’s Hiroshima Day. Please take a moment to reflect on world peace. Make it as long a moment as you like.

Today I had to go to the dentist in the city. Last time I did this, my mouth stayed numb for far too long and I felt all woozy, so I had an unscheduled overnight stay with my dad. This time, my girl and the Yellow Dog of Happiness came with me to drive me home.

We drove for three hours, got a great coffee, had a quick catch-up with my lovely Step-Ma, I tottled off to the chair; Girl and Yellow Dog had a stroll by the water. They picked me up, excessively numb and somewhat dopey, we picked up some sashimi to take home for dinner, and stopped near our old house to get the Girl a late lunch.

There’s an off-leash park around the corner from the house where we lived for seven years. Let’s take the hound there, I said, and you can eat your lunch before we hit the traffic again. Great idea, off we go.

Yellow Dog is much more in love with her than he is with me, but I convinced him to leave the Girl on her park bench. The two of us wandered across the dusty excuse for a park, greeting assorted small dogs and their owners in the appropriate way. All very harmonious.

Harmonious until behind us, a certain spaniel launched itself at the Girl’s face and stole a part of her lunch.

She politely and quietly suggested to the owner that he control his dog.

Loud enough for me to hear across the park, he suggested that she ‘stop eating for five minutes.’

For the last five months, the Girl has been working against history, genetics and a whole bunch of internal demons to regain the athlete’s frame she lost to sedentary work and too much of a good thing. She has been working HARD. And she’s looking and feeling great. She has muscles on her muscles. Her clothes are hanging off her.

There was a not-so-subtle implication in his choice of words, and I dare say it cut us both to the core.

As the portly man continued to rant at her, blaming her for being in a dog park and completely failing to apologise or attempt to control his dog, she calmly stood up and walked over to the Yellow Dog and I, obnoxious spaniel in tow.

The food obsessed spaniel climbed all over us for a full lap of the park, clawing at our legs and completely fixated on the end of the sandwich. No intervention. No apology. No manners. No accountability.

There was a time when I feared living outside the city because my differences would be more obvious and I thought I would struggle for acceptance. As I got to know the Girl’s home town, I formed the view that the anonymity of the city was a bigger threat. In a small town, people know who you are. Sure, they’ll know you’re the gayest doctor in town. But they’ll also know that if they egg your car, someone in town will know who did it.

He lives in the inner city and has a little rainbow name-tag on his spaniel. Chances are, he’s a friend of a friend. Would he have dared to unleash his stream of vitriol on my Girl if he knew the whole town would know by Wednesday?

Probably. People like that are like that wherever they live their unhappy lives.

But for us, this unpleasant encounter with the obnoxious man and his uncontrollable dog just underscored our growing distaste for the city, and cemented a feeling that our tiny town is the home we want it to be.

I’m so proud of the woman I love for the way she walked away. It implies a healthy stock of inner peace.

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