Wednesday 11 April 2012

Snorus Chorus

Out of sheer habit I almost grabbed Pinnie's red leash the other day when I went for a walk down in the paddocks but then sadly remembered that the best dog in the whole world is now pushing up marigolds. The sentimental part of me almost took the leash for a walk anyway for old time's sake but then I thought, "What if someone sees me dragging a leash with no dog attached to it?", so I didn't.

The ache lingers but I must not let my dead dog side-track me from today's topic which is snoring. No, my topic isn't snoring but it is if you know what I mean?

Lots of people snore. Perhaps someone in your bed snores? Someone in my bed certainly does and his name is Cossack. Yes, the very same man you have come to know and love through my Blogs spends two-fifths of his sleeping-life totally silent, thank the Lord for that, two-fifths nostril-whistling what he thinks are melodious tunes like 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and one-fifth snoring like a dysfunctional chainsaw.

I suppose I cannot punish Cossack for his nocturnal crimes as he is unaware of them but what is a woman supposed to do when frightened into wide-eyed sit-up awakeness by the sudden onset of his chainsaw routine?  Sometimes I discuss my options with Coss such as sleeping on the sofa now and then or suffocating him and he seemed to prefer the former option so I either do that or else I just turn Lloyd on FM 101up louder. That helps.

Occasionally, when I am in a silly mood, I play the cutest little bed-time game with Coss who doesn't seem to mind participating in the least. In my school-teacher voice, I ask my sleeping spouse,

"So who's the naughty boy then?"

Coss answers with only a few more revs of the chainsaw so I raise his hand high in the air for about twenty seconds. He doesn't even notice so, when my arm gets tired, I drop his hand and it clunks down, often onto his own nose which stops the snores abruptly after a bit of a shocked snort.

The other technique that works well is tickling Cossack's nostrils but he tends to react by assuming I am an extremely annoying mosquito and swatting me hard across my hand. That is not very nice of him but the good news is that he then tosses and turns and the snores stop for a wee while. I had to do this repeatedly a couple of weekends ago because we turned the clock back for Daylight Saving and he took the liberty of snoring for a whole extra hour, bless his soul.

It's a wonder I could do an honest eight hours work for Neville today after the horrific night I had. It was about 2 am, I think, that I resorted to nostril-tickling after which came a tremendous bellowing from Coss  followed by gurgling noises so terrifying I was nearly catapaulted out of my very own skin.

It was a commotion like you wouldn't believe could issue forth from a throat and two little holes in a man's nose and I truly thought my Coss was experiencing death throes of the kind that kill you so I passionately grabbed him and hollered sweet nothings into his chest. Then he went silent. Completely silent.

I checked for a pulse in his neck but there wasn't one but that might be because I had the wrong part that doesn't pulse. In fact I think I got Cossack's artery and Adam's Apple confused.

"COSS! ARE YOU OK? COSS! ", and I shook him vigorously and started CPR but forgot how many chest compressions to do so blocked his nose tight while I tried to remember.

Next thing my silent corpse started laughing because, as it turned out, he was playing a very cruel wide-awake joke on a distressed spouse. It was shocking to think that Coss could pretend to be dying just to test the strength of my feelings for him so, in a daze of relief,  I found myself staggering to the fridge for a consolation-to-my-frazzled-nerves munch.

I was delighted to find an Easter-egg behind the marmalade and was about to eat it but then didn't because it belongs to my Cossie-Wossie.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Dog-Blog : A Heart Condition

It's hard to believe that Pinnie, best dog in the world, is now buried in our front- yard with marigolds planted on top of her along with a vase holding several red hibiscus flowers.

When going through a valley of sadness like this, it is easy to wish we had never got that foxy-spaniel cross thirteen years ago that grew into the best dog that ever lived, but that is futile thinking because we did have her and she did have us and what a sterile life it would be if we knew no love or loss.

I should have realized Pinnie's poor prognosis that day last year when I had to carry her home up the last hill after a short walk in  the paddocks behind our house. She just went on strike there and then and I had no choice but to look a right goof-ball returning home with a rotund dog and four paws protruding at right-angles from my chest.

A state of denial is a blissful one. We thought Pinnie's expensive heart-pills would rescue her and ensure near immortality but of course a heart does eventually stop beating.

For a while I doubted Cossack had any true fondness for Pinnie  because he sometimes came out with harsh words like, "Get off that sofa, Pin!", or "Bern, your beep-beep dog ate my pineapple lumps!", but he cried as much as I did when the best dog in the whole world succumbed to the vet's injection.

We were both grateful though when her body slumped peacefully for her discomfort was over.

But what do you do with the daily little events that cause you to react instinctively as if your dog is still mooching around? Like yesterday, Coss spilled some tuna on the decking and I called Pinnie over to do her usual slurp-slurp clean-up but then I remembered that she was dead and dead dogs cannot lick up tuna.

I expect her at the back-door with damp nose against the glass but when I look there is no damp nose with a dog attached to it. How can we walk on the beach without Pinnie to fetch the sticks we throw into the waves? What is there to laugh at with no dog to bark ferociously at a hunk of driftwood or a seagull?

Why do I go to fill up her water-bowl when the sensible part of me knows she is gone? Obviously, the mind takes a while to adjust to sad new chapters on our lives. We want to pretend for just a bit longer that things are as they were.

Sure, Pinnie drove us crazy at times. Did she obey basic commands like, "Quiet Pin!", when she barked and barked and barked and barked and barked at every visitor, even a friend?  No, she didn't.

Was Pinnie a thief? Indeed she was. When we caught her licking out a stolen jar of 'Nutella' under the sofa, such was her menacing snarl when we attempted to remove it from her that I wondered if she had originated in the very pits of hell. Fortunately, Pinnie was all bark and no bite, all spark and no spite.

She was a ghetto-dog through and through, of unknown but probably dubious parentage.  Yes, Pinnie had faults but she also had brown eyes of velvet kindness and ears so soft that when Coss and I took her to the vet last Saturday, I wished for an insane moment that I could do a Van Gogh and claim a bit of just one ear for a souvenir. Of course I didn't because that would be weird but I can truly say with hand on totally unbiased heart that our dog had the most beautiful ears, not only in New Zealand, but anywhere dogs are between here and infinity.

Thank you, Kristen, for demanding a puppy on your 10th birthday. Thank you, Ben, for fighting with your sister over who loved that puppy the most.  Thanks, Trish for those walks on the beach and a huge "Thank you" to my mother for being so good to Pinnie while Coss and I had busy lives and our children had grown up and left home.

Perhaps I should walk on the beach sometime soon. I'll go early on a sunday morning and noone will see the condition of my heart when I throw a stick into the sea and it just washes, un-fetched, back on shore.

Sentiment has its place but so does gratitude for what is lent to us for a season. Thank you Pinnie.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

In Which Modesty is Desperately Chaste

Once upon a time there lived a young girl who, in order to protect her privacy, we shall henceforth refer to as Netsirk, which is her real name spelled backwards. Before she got a real job in Notgnillew she worked on an orchard with her mother, also known as Mum, and I shall also spell that backwards to protect that fine woman's reputation.

The following story did not unfold at the mother's current workplace and unless my memory serves me incorrectly, the address was strictly highpathetical.

Anyway, this once-upon-a-day turned out real hot and Netsirk was sweltering in thick grey trackpants. Eventually she could stand it no longer and was about to faint under the vines.
"Why didn't I wear shorts?", groaned the daughter for the nineteenth time.
"Look Netsie", her mother said in total exasperation, "There is noone around for miles except you and me so just work in your undies, for goodness sake".

"Shall I?", Netsie asked hesitantly but then came to her senses and, before you could say 'Derierre', had pulled off those horrible thick grey trackpants. All of a sudden she was flitting from vine to vine like a chirpy fantail, her secateurs flying through those kiwifruit tangles as if caught up in a tornado.

The liberated lass did take the precaution of draping her horrible thick grey trackpants over a nearby wire in case someone, like a certain Slovakian tractor-driver, should chance along. It was very important to her that, in but a flash of flesh, she could reclaim her modesty.

"Mum", the daughter said happily, " It is such a wonderful and free feeling wearing just undies out here in the glorious outdoors!".
"Oh, that's very nice indeed", replied the mother, "But you call them undies? Looks like a sling-shot to me".

At 2.55pm Mum suggested they start heading back to the Smoko-Room and that is when dear little Netsirk lost a garment and her mind at precisely the same time. Frantically she searched the overhead-wires for those ugly grey trackpants but how futile the effort for they were gone! Completely gone. In fact, they were as gone as Micheal Jackson and in circumstances equally mysterious.

How poor little Netsie ranted and raved, hollered and panicked! Oh, how desperately she longed to go to Smoko and get a nice cold refreshing drink with her mother but of course her buttocks couldn't turn up in only a sling-shot. The rest of her was decent enough but totally embarrassed buttocks cannot be left behind, if you will pardon the pun.

So, crazed with excessive emotion, Netsie got on the quad-bike and tore round and round the entire orchard block calling out for her track-pants as if they had ears maybe. Her mother kept right on working as there was no point both of them getting hysterical.

It was 3.07 pm now and Netsie screeched to a halt in front of her mother.
"Momsie! Please help me find my pants!", she begged desperately.
So Momsie took off her leather pouch, pulled her teeshirt away from her waist and surprise, surprise, Momsie gave painless birth from her navel to her daughter's ugly grey trackpants.

Yes, that twisted woman had hidden them up her tee-shirt and secured their invisiblity by squashing them flat against her stomach with her waist-pouch.

Netsie stared in disbelief at her ugly grey trackpants and didn't know whether to laugh or sob so she wrestled her mother to the ground.

"Where is da Crazy-Lady?, asked a certain Slovakian tractor driver when Netsirk finally ran into the Smoko-Room just as the others were leaving.

"Oh, she's a bit tied up", explained Netsirk and gulped down a Coke.

And apparently Momsie was.

Saturday 4 February 2012

"Goodnaht Coss-Boy"

When Cossack just wants to blob after a hard day's work he is a bit undiscriminating when it comes to what he blobs in front of. Basically, he will watch any old crap on TV and I get bombarded with shoot 'em ups and car-chases and sirens while trying to pour my entire heart, soul and guts into a blog here in the office. I tell you, it contaminates my train of thought something dreadful.

Now, so as not to be unfair to Coss, let me make it quite clear that, unlike some social deviants, he can differentiate between TV and real life. He is not a serial killer or weirdo but I truly believe he would intervene if I were being attacked. He would leap on my assailant after only about two minutes hesitation and chop his head off with a shiny sabre, thereby making him a monogamous killer only. That is not nearly as bad as a serial one.

However my spouse can be ungrateful as well as heroic. Take this morning for instance when he searched forever for his vitamins before finally accosting moi as to their whereabouts.
"Oh, your vitamins. Coss, I've simplified things in the medicine cabinet by putting everything in alphabetical order. So your vitamins will be near the back behind the Ural effervescent sachets and Vermox worm tablets but in front of the Zovirax tube. I reckon I'd make someone an incredible P.A with my organisational skills"

"Yeah, you may as well get paid for what you are good at", Cossack muttered and then made a joke that he laughed at all by himself about me being an expert 'Pain in the Ass".

That's when I grabbed him by the ear and escorted him to the sofa.
"When couples have been married as long as us, Coss, they need to bond more so sit down."

His eyes lit up with anticipation of who-knows-what until I snuggle-buggled up to him and started up the first of a whole series of  'The Waltons' I had hired from the library. Believe it or not, Coss had never watched a single episode in his entire life.

No "Goodnaht John-Boy" and "Goodnaht Mary-Ellen"  featured in Cossack's childhood memory-bank. I knew there and then that this serious deprivation was responsible for his corrupted head and he needed urgent re-programming. The Waltons, that large and loving and poor but rich family who resided so blissfully beneath Walton Mountain were exactly what the doctor ordered.

Coss stared at the screen in disbelief at first when a raggedy bunch of kids in denim dungarees ran around the screen but he and I watched three episodes without interruption, I kid you not.

When Elizabeth's sick racoon died he wiped away a tear which I think was genuine or it may have been a result of me twisting his head so hard in order to eyeball him and check whether or not he deserved an 'Emotional Warrant Of Fitness'.

When Grandpa got merry on the Baldwin sisters' "Recipe", Coss laughed his head nearly right off and when Mary-Ellen ran away I noticed a little paternal concern contort his features just as if it were his own daughter chasing a sweet-singing minstrel into the sunset.

Honestly, all the appropriate emotions were forth-coming from my Coss so right now I am recording the miracle in this very Blog and thinking smugly how I personally had transformed him into a man who values all that is wholesome and beautiful..

"Good naht, Coss- Boy!", I called affectionately from around the office door to the sofa.
'Good naht, Bernadette", he replied affectionately from the sofa to the office.

But then I saw him grab the remote and pollute the precious moment with, "Well, raht now I maht just watch me a bit of good ol' violence".

And the living-room was assaulted with a blood-curdling scream with enough decibels to raise the corpse of Grandpa Walton.