Memories of the conversations with my cat – 71

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

This is Chester.

When I come down to the writing room he’s sitting on the table next to the keyboard.

I take this gesture to mean that he’s not trying to be confrontational.

He’d be sitting on the keyboard if that was his intention.

Or, perhaps he’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security.

I try to read his expression, forgetting that cats down have expressions, just a single look.

Contempt.

I sit down and we’re now eye to eye. Could it be that he is doesn’t like the idea of looking up at me? Might that almost suggest that I am the master and he is the cat?

Perhaps I’m just tired and writing too much into it. Maybe he just saw a mouse and wanted to get an overview of where it might have gone.

Plenty of hiding places in this office. Chester knows some off them himself because there are times when I can’t find him.

Then he deigns to speak. “I think it’s time you cleaned this room up.”

It seems it’s a universal request from everyone, grandchildren included.

“Sorry. Not sorry. I’m going for the grumpy grandfather’s study children are forbidden to enter look. Piles of books, shelves overloaded with more books, messy tables, and papers scattered everywhere. And nowhere to sit because seats are places to pile more stuff.”

He looks around.

“Done a good job of it then. How do you find anything?”

“I found you.”

“I wasn’t hiding.”

“Oh, I thought you were.”

I’m sure there was that imperceptible shake of the head in disdain, before he jumps down and leaves.

Dodged a bullet there. I was sure he was going to complain about his food … again!

In a word: Deal

Deal or no deal.  That was a game show on TV once, involving briefcases.

Then, if you win…

It’s a big deal!

Or, of course, it is if you get in on the ground floor, which is to say, you’re one of the original investors, it becomes a great deal; it’s meaning, taking part in a financial transaction.

The word ‘deal’ along with big, great, tremendous, and once in a lifetime, feature prominently, but if you are like me by the time you invest the pyramid is about to collapse!

Then you’re in a great deal of trouble, meaning a lot of trouble — at the time, it feels catastrophic.

Or you’re working impossibly long hours to enrich the others above you, it a good deal of effort on your part for no reward.

Or deal with a problem, which is to say cope with or control, though if it’s a problem child, good luck with that.

But enough of the depressing descriptions,

When you play a card game, the first thing to happen is to deal the cards.

The second is to ask yourself if the dealer is dealing from the bottom of the deck, even if it looks like the top.

My father called these dealers ‘card sharps’.

Then there is a piece of wood commonly called deal, usually thin and square though not always so; it can also be a plank of pine or fir.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 71

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

This is Chester.

When I come down to the writing room he’s sitting on the table next to the keyboard.

I take this gesture to mean that he’s not trying to be confrontational.

He’d be sitting on the keyboard if that was his intention.

Or, perhaps he’s trying to lull me into a false sense of security.

I try to read his expression, forgetting that cats down have expressions, just a single look.

Contempt.

I sit down and we’re now eye to eye. Could it be that he is doesn’t like the idea of looking up at me? Might that almost suggest that I am the master and he is the cat?

Perhaps I’m just tired and writing too much into it. Maybe he just saw a mouse and wanted to get an overview of where it might have gone.

Plenty of hiding places in this office. Chester knows some off them himself because there are times when I can’t find him.

Then he deigns to speak. “I think it’s time you cleaned this room up.”

It seems it’s a universal request from everyone, grandchildren included.

“Sorry. Not sorry. I’m going for the grumpy grandfather’s study children are forbidden to enter look. Piles of books, shelves overloaded with more books, messy tables, and papers scattered everywhere. And nowhere to sit because seats are places to pile more stuff.”

He looks around.

“Done a good job of it then. How do you find anything?”

“I found you.”

“I wasn’t hiding.”

“Oh, I thought you were.”

I’m sure there was that imperceptible shake of the head in disdain, before he jumps down and leaves.

Dodged a bullet there. I was sure he was going to complain about his food … again!

In a word: Deal

Deal or no deal.  That was a game show on TV once, involving briefcases.

Then, if you win…

It’s a big deal!

Or, of course, it is if you get in on the ground floor, which is to say, you’re one of the original investors, it becomes a great deal; it’s meaning, taking part in a financial transaction.

The word ‘deal’ along with big, great, tremendous, and once in a lifetime, feature prominently, but if you are like me by the time you invest the pyramid is about to collapse!

Then you’re in a great deal of trouble, meaning a lot of trouble — at the time, it feels catastrophic.

Or you’re working impossibly long hours to enrich the others above you, it a good deal of effort on your part for no reward.

Or deal with a problem, which is to say cope with or control, though if it’s a problem child, good luck with that.

But enough of the depressing descriptions,

When you play a card game, the first thing to happen is to deal the cards.

The second is to ask yourself if the dealer is dealing from the bottom of the deck, even if it looks like the top.

My father called these dealers ‘card sharps’.

Then there is a piece of wood commonly called deal, usually thin and square though not always so; it can also be a plank of pine or fir.

How much time do we waste simply waiting?

Have you ever wondered how much of your life you have spent

a) waiting for a doctor’s surgery or hospital appointment, and

b) waiting at the end of the phone to reach customer service or a public servant

c) waiting at traffic lights

d) waiting for busses, trains, or ferries that seem to be always running late

In the first instance, I have had a lot of recent experience with injured children and spouse, and, more recently myself.

What bothers me is that they give you a time and place and issue all the threats around the place if you don’t turn up on time, but it seems to be perfectly ok if they are late.

It could be for some perfectly logical reason but most of the time they don’t tell you why they’re running late, and sometimes don’t even apologize.

Then there are the chairs they make you sit in, obviously specially designed so you do not get comfortable, especially in hospitals.

But the most infuriating aspect?  Just how small the waiting room is and how often it is overcrowded with people also waiting to see a doctor.

They ask if we remain respectful but after an hour and a half in those chairs and not treating us with that same respect they ask for, I’m surprised I have only witnessed one case of the angry patient.

In the second instance, there are two circumstances I take issue with.

The first is where you have to select from an automated phone menu and what you want isn’t one of the menu items and there’s no catch-all just disconnection, and

After waiting patiently on the line for up to thirty minutes or more you hear the connection, you think you are about to get to an agent and the call disconnects.

That is only one step removed from being connected … back at the selection menu and then sent to the back of the queue.

I’m sorry, but this technology is no advancement but I doubt if we will get back to the ‘old days’.

Of course, there is that other major advancement in telephone answering technology, voice recognition.  I’ve been on the end of it, and quite frankly, it just doesn’t understand me.

Odd, I Know, because I speak very good English with no accent.  Perhaps that’s the problem.

I can’t wait for the first humanoid robots.  I hope they can understand me better than the inhuman phones do!

Now, where did I leave that…

There is a saying ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’.

For a long time, in days before the current technological age, I didn’t really understand what that meant.

Until now.

How many times, in the last few days have I heard the question, “Where’s my mobile phone?”

It seems we can lose almost anything else, but without the phone apparently, we are completely lost.

Then, the other day I heard, “We aren’t able to cook dinner because the microwave oven is broken.”

How did we manage in the days before we had such devices?  I know my grandmother used to have a wood stove and cooked everything, from bread to a roast to make a cup of tea.

I don’t think I ever had a cup of coffee at her house, but I have a lot of memories of some amazing food.  No such thing as electric kitchen appliances, or a microwave oven, not in that house.

We had the same experience ourselves when one of the fridge/freezer units broke down, and severely restricted what we could cook and store, especially the freezer.

And perhaps that’s the problem.  We take so many things for granted and live a life that is centered around convenience.

What would happen if those conveniences were taken away?

Certainly, for me, I know what it’s like to lose an important piece of equipment and having to improvise, but I’m not sure how we would react if we had a real catastrophe.

I haven’t lost my phone yet.

Let’s hope it never happens.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 69

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

This is Chester. He’s looking for a cool spot to lie down.

We’ve been having something of a heat wave for the last few days, temperatures soaring above the mid-thirties, and nearly as high as forty degrees centigrade.

So, this morning we watched the ice hockey, and even Chester stayed the distance, not so he could smirk when the Maple Leafs lost, but to channel the idea it was cold somewhere else in the world.

And it worked for a while. Having been to the ice hockey in Toronto in person, I know just how cold it was.

After that, it was a matter of leaving the doors opens to let what breeze there was flow through the house, so Chester first sat by the front door, then the back door, then came out to see me.

Time for the air conditioner.

Yes, we have air conditioning, and yes, the cost of electricity in this country is horrendous.  It was why we had solar panels put in.

I just leave it as long as possible before turning it on.

I thought about toying with him, but he’s sitting on the keyboard looking angry.

Now was the right time.

Is it a holiday, or are you just ‘going away’?

Some people we know have come up for a holiday in what could be described as a very touristy location.

But is it for a ‘holiday’?

They have come from one state and are staying in what could be called an apartment, not a hotel.  They are here for a week.

So, they have a kitchen of sorts and can cook their own meals, unlike staying in a hotel room and having to eat out or in the hotel restaurant, and the apartment has a mini laundry.

How much different is this to being at home?

Perhaps we need to have a definition of the word ‘holiday’ and its variations.

A lot of people use the term ‘vacation’.  Others use the term ‘leave’.  Leave’s a difficult term because it can cover a number of types such as annual, sick, and maternity.

But whatever we want to call it, is it when you’re taking some time away from work.

But is it when you go ‘away’, that is to say anywhere but home?

You say, ‘I’m going on vacation.”

We say, “Oh, where are you going?”

Some say camping.  Is that any different than staying in an apartment, or even a holiday house?  Still all the same chores, cooking, cleaning, washing.

Some might say they’re staying with relatives either on the other side of the country or on the other side of the world.

There are those who go camping.  Just mind the bugs, wild animals, and bears.

Some stay in self serve apartments where it’s just like being at home, only somewhere a little different.

But to truly have a holiday in every sense of the word, it seems that can only be achieved by staying in a 5-star hotel, or by going on what is a more recent phenomenon, embarking on an all-inclusive cruise where you don’t have to do anything at all.

For me, I’ll stick to the 5-star hotels.

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 68

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

20160902_093736

This is Chester.  We’re both a little tired this morning.

I spent a little too much time on the next few chapters of my NaNoWriMo project and lost track of time.  It was going so well, I thought it best not to interrupt the flow of words.

But…

This morning, after getting to bed about 2:30 am, I found it hard to get out of bed.

Fortunately, as usual, I had the cat alarm clock wake me out of deep sleep to be informed that it was breakfast.

I looked at the clock and saw it was 6:30 am.

I mean to say, Chester was with me at 2:30 when I was writing, and he didn’t tell me that it was time to go to bed, much earlier than I did.

I think he enjoys torturing me like this.

So…

I get up, get him breakfast, some smelly fish food that even he turns his nose up at, and go out to the writing room with the intention of getting on with the story.

Next thing I know, there’s a gentle tapping on my forehead,

I wake up and it’s Chester.

What? I ask.  You can’t possibly want more food.

No.  I thought you were dead.

That’s amusing, he sees me asleep in bed and doesn’t think I’m dead.

How could you think that?

There are only two reasons why people become inanimate in their chair, they have suffered a heart attack or stroke, or they’re dead.

What about simply falling asleep because they’re too tired, and their faithful assistant didn’t tell them to go to bed earlier?

Look, let’s not make a beak deal out of this.  I was concerned.  Perhaps I won’t be next time.  A final glare and he jumps down off the keyboard, which left a page of endless d’s on the page I had been working on.

Perhaps he’s getting old and forgetful, or, suddenly he realises I mean more to him than just giving him food and cleaning the litter.  No, stop deluding yourself.  You’re his friend, he’s not your friend.

Oh, well, for a moment there…

Is it a holiday, or are you just ‘going away’?

Some people we know have come up for a holiday in what could be described as a very touristy location.

But is it for a ‘holiday’?

They have come from one state and are staying in what could be called an apartment, not a hotel.  They are here for a week.

So, they have a kitchen of sorts and can cook their own meals, unlike staying in a hotel room and having to eat out or in the hotel restaurant, and the apartment has a mini laundry.

How much different is this to being at home?

Perhaps we need to have a definition of the word ‘holiday’ and its variations.

A lot of people use the term ‘vacation’.  Others use the term ‘leave’.  Leave’s a difficult term because it can cover a number of types such as annual, sick, and maternity.

But whatever we want to call it, is it when you’re taking some time away from work.

But is it when you go ‘away’, that is to say anywhere but home?

You say, ‘I’m going on vacation.”

We say, “Oh, where are you going?”

Some say camping.  Is that any different than staying in an apartment, or even a holiday house?  Still all the same chores, cooking, cleaning, washing.

Some might say they’re staying with relatives either on the other side of the country or on the other side of the world.

There are those who go camping.  Just mind the bugs, wild animals, and bears.

Some stay in self serve apartments where it’s just like being at home, only somewhere a little different.

But to truly have a holiday in every sense of the word, it seems that can only be achieved by staying in a 5-star hotel, or by going on what is a more recent phenomenon, embarking on an all-inclusive cruise where you don’t have to do anything at all.

For me, I’ll stick to the 5-star hotels.