Bra-less days

Carless days were a thing in New Zealand for a year back in 1979. You chose a day and your car had a sticker of that day and on that day you couldn’t drive the car. Why you may ask? There was an oil shock and it was one of the ideas of the ‘Think Big’ of the government.

Did it work? No. The idea was scraped after a year. Thursday was the most popular chosen day. Black market for stickers became a thing. For two car families they just chose the other car for the day. We only had one car. I don’t remember much about it apart from that.

This was my thought today as I dressed. Bra-less in a long sleeved polar neck black top and long comfortable pyjama bottoms and fluffy socks. Do I have a business online conference call planned you might wonder. No. I merely wish to make an attempt at normality. I made an effort. I haven’t brushed my hair in ages. All I do is run my fingers through and it’s done. I’m due for a bath. Life is not normal at the moment as you well know.

I made the decision to make our cats indoor cats for the duration of the lockdown. I decided this one week in after reports of the possibility of the COVID 19 being present in animal fur. It was a tough decision. Some might question whether it is a sensible one. It is done. It is not a popular decision. The cats are not impressed by this decision. I don’t particularly like it either. Our cats are ‘flu cats.’ What do I mean by that. Well, they fell ill with cat flu when they were kittens and that is how I began looking after them. They survived and recovered. However they are left with weak immune systems.

For cats to return to an indoor life after coming and going at all hours of the day whenever they felt like it, well it’s a huge adjustment. Every door and window has been checked and rechecked to see if the gap is big enough to escape. None so far. I have left the front door open by mistake when getting a delivery. No one escaped. Luckily. I have cats who dislike or distrust other humans. I hear a growl from one of them when a car passes the window, I hear scampering to the back of the house when a delivery van comes up the driveway. They are better than a watchdog or a goose. Sure they wouldn’t defend me but they’d give me a heads up and a fighting chance.

I cannot imagine my cats smooching with the neighbours begging for food and a belly rub but I just don’t know. What I do know is they sometimes fight with one of the neighbour’s cats and for that reason alone I decided to bring the cats indoors.

Call me ridiculous. Call me over-reacting. I really don’t care about opinions of others who mean me harm or ill will. I care about my cats and the human I live with. I don’t want to wake up and wonder could I have done better. Is it stressful for all involved? Sure. They know something is up. They know this is an unusual situation. I do too. Hell. I made coffee today with masala chai and milk. Just because. It tastes unusual. Not bad really at all. Will it become a trend. Unlikely. There is a milk tea coffee in Asia made with condensed milk. I’ve had it. It’s different. It’s super sweet. This is not like that. Better. So maybe it might become a trend. You read it here first. Remember that. My ridiculous thought might go viral. Ugggh. That word.

Train to Busan. I watched the film for the third time. Great Korean zombie horror by the way. Highly recommend it. Watching it for the first time under lockdown and the film has a weirdly documentary feel to it. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean. Society at it’s best and worst.
Other Korean films to watch:
Parasite
A Taxi Driver
Poetry
Looking forward to the day that Pachinko becomes a film.

I haven’t felt like writing lately. I haven’t felt like reading either. I am here today wishing you all the very best. A virtual hug from a distance of at least 2m using fake fur gorilla extending arms. If I haven’t commented or read your blog. Forgive me. I really thank God that I am sober at this time. The strength that I needed when I decided to become sober is still with me. It was always in me as it is always in you. Be strong when you need to be strong but don’t be afraid to be wimpy too have a good cry too. It’s hard to be brave when you are feeling scared. Stay sober with me.

Today like yesterday I stay home to save lives. Thank you to all the essential workers for our water, power, sanitation, health, medicine, factories, computer systems, internet, infrastructure, transportation, mental health, funeral services, food, deliveries. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Sober as a discarded plastic blue milk bottle top.

Sleep

Never underestimate the power and value of sleep.

I have always placed importance on sleep. Right throughout my life. I cherish my ability to be able to fall asleep quite readily until I can’t.

In my late teenage years I would lie in bed waiting for sleep to come. It always came later than my bedtime. It infuriated me. At the time I didn’t recognise it as insomnia. I didn’t realise that my time clock was functioning a couple of hours behind. This is normal for teenagers. Again I didn’t know this at the time. I didn’t really think about turning on the light to read in the space between awake and sleep. During those years I had turned my back on reading, I was more interested in drinking and trying to fit in. Luckily I found my way back to books a few years later. And sleep came as easily as it did before.

Now I again treasure books and surround myself with them as if my life depends on them.

The other time I couldn’t sleep was right after giving up alcohol. I would lie awake and wish for sleep to come. Sometimes it never came. I kept saying to myself to be patient. Close your eyes. Sleep will come. But it didn’t. I must have gotten some winks because I woke up exhausted and wreaked. Becoming sober was difficult because I lost so much sleep. I had bad insomnia. I didn’t get dry horrors. I didn’t suffer from hallucinations. I didn’t really crave alcohol too much. I was tired of drinking and I could see an early unnecessary death at my lack of ‘stop’ when drinking. It must have been about 3-4 months before my sleep got back to normal. It was a tug of war between is it worth giving up drinking to feel so wretched with the lack of sleep. I persevered and kept believing in it will get better, sleep will come back. Thank God it did. I do not think light of my ability to sleep well. It is a habit practised everyday. It is something to be looked forward to and enjoyed. Sometimes we get less than we need. We adjust and make time to get to bed earlier. To make sleep a priority.

Sleep. Invest in a comfortable bed. Good sheets and blankets, duvets that you can afford. You will spend a third of your life in bed. So it should be enjoyable. A good night’s sleep gives you the strength to face the next day. It revives. It restores. It allows our body and mind to rest. Although they don’t seem to rest at all. The body is forever mending itself. The brain is dreaming. Most of which we never remember and can’t make head nor tail of it. Regardless sleep is important.

I am thankful I have a roof over my head. A warm bed. There is no war or violence that prevents me from waking up at any sudden sound of danger. I am grateful for the softness of the sheets. The more you wash them the softer they become. The rituals the cats perform before sleeping is as peaceful as can be. The mandatory circling. The mandatory licking and preening. The stretching and the final position chosen. Sleep achieved. They don’t overthink, they no longer worry about their next meal, they feel safe. They are home.

Our rescue kittens have transformed into relaxed cats. Sure they run and hide with the occasional stranger in the house. They growl at cars from the windowsills. They dash in the opposite direction at the sound of an engine when outside. For that I am glad. Protection from cars is instinct.

I watch them sleep. It brings me joy. With the cast on my leg I seem to go to the loo more often at night. And with that, the movement of the duvet, the light turned on, the sound of the knee scooter making its way to the bathroom. One cat has dutifully woken up and accompanied me each and every time. Her care for me just warms my heart. Lately she comes sometimes. I put that down to the fact that she believes she can trust me to be alone on the loo. She believes the bone to be healed. She believes that I am okay.

Watching them sleep, one curled up into a ball, neat and tidy, tail encircling the body, the other one sprawled out, underbelly showing, untidy and relaxed as cat-possible, as I said it brings me joy. They no longer bother to wake if I roll over, or adjust the pillows under my leg. They carry on sleeping. They feel safe. They feel protected. They feel loved. They are content. They have a home. That is all.

Sleep well.

A Purring

I’m one of those people who like to get everywhere early. Punctual. I allowed for traffic and the unforeseen hurdles. So I planned for bad traffic and a delay at the post office picking up the parcel. And low and behold we were more than half an hour early for our vet appointment. There was no traffic at all. It was smooth driving, interrupted occasionally by a wailing cat. He wasn’t happy. Perhaps he thought he was being returned or abandoned. Who really knows. Maybe he didn’t like the music on the radio.

He sat patiently in the waiting room, caged and smoochy. Was expertly avoiding eye contact with the two dogs and the other cat. All was well. We waited. The canary sang behind the counter. The parrot was grumpy. A blanket was thrown over his cage. He napped after that. It was the afternoon of a heat wave.

Once in the consultation room the purring began. A reluctance to get out of the cage, a shyness to show off his inside back leg. Once it was done he was fine. He behaved like a champion, all 4.2kg of him. He has grown, a lot. We met him when he was 400g. He has come a long way.

It was nothing. It was a war wound, a bite or a scratch, licked to death with a ring of bald skin. Made it look worse than it was. He was thinking why did we bother, I could have stayed on the couch. Antibiotics were offered. We obliged. Pills twice a day for the next five days. Ten pink pills to shove down his throat. He won’t like me for ten moments. I wish for a short memory.

Life without booze is freedom. Early appointments are now a possibility. My head is on straight. I can face whatever life throws at me. Okay except the ice machine. I haven’t won that battle yet. The wooden spoon is not winning again the ice buildup. I have jabbed with a bbq fork. And a large knife. Still not working. Patience. Will try again tomorrow. I have read the manual. It’s useless. Might need to call customer service. Will assess if that’s a must tomorrow.

Picked up pizza tonight, washed it down with fizzy drink. Pepperoni, chili flakes extra. Pizza eaten sober is quite delicious. I didn’t opt for the larger pizza. I chose regular. It’s all gone now. Every bite was hot and crisp. Just right. Not a crust left in sight. Today was a carefree day. No gym, no cooking. A be kind to me day.

Two months sober. Yesss. Pizza was my sober treat.

Waiting for the vet

Attempt to visit the vet yesterday was thwarted by one of my cats. The one that needed to go. I underestimated his determination to want to get outside. Hence, I got home and he was outside wherever and my appointment was looming. No cat. Cancelled appointment. Apologies and rebooked for today. With fingers crossed that he walked in the door later that night. He bowled in at 10pm. I greeted him and then raced to block up the cat door. Tape and cardboard. Lots of it. Mission complete.

The wait continues for the vet. Two unhappy cats who wish to be outside running in the grass pouncing on cicadas and other crawlies. They are going stir-crazy and I hope they don’t get too stressed that they pee somewhere they shouldn’t. The litter tray is unused. They haven’t needed it in some time. They always go outside now.

Heat wave still with us and they are stuck inside. (We are stuck inside.) Unhappy about it too and letting me know. They did so well until 6am. I am still not a morning person and despite that they can do no wrong. Our cats get away with murder. They are spoilt rotten. They deserve it. They flop down when they see one of us coming and demand a belly rub. They wag their tails with delight. I think they might have been dogs in a previous life.

The windows are slightly open, the safety latches firmly allowing a breeze but nothing further. Their attempts to check and recheck are to be commended but there is no escape this time.

Why am I “punishing” the cat that doesn’t need to go to the vet by keeping her inside? Well yesterday I had her “trapped” outside instead. Then I worried that she would think she wasn’t welcome. She came back home in the evening. No hard feelings.

I care for these creatures better than I care for myself. I am selfless with them. As it should be. They had a tough start in life. Rescued cats always do. Now they live a life of exploring, sleeping, eating and unconditional love.

Did I mention that we are still feeding a neighbour’s cat. Not by choice. He is a thief. He steals into the house at odd hours of the day and night and helps himself. He does it around the neighbourhood to other homes too. He is notorious. He should be the side of a house. I wait for the day he can’t fit through the flap. He gets shooed away and yet he still comes back. A persistent one.

He was the one that got stuck in the other neighbour’s treehouse for 4-5 days. And survived. Silly moo.

I’m sure our cats are enjoying this new sober me. No more wine breath.

Managed to somehow stand on a cat’s tail last week. Sober. She forgave me. How could I have been drunk all this time last year and never do it and then once sober go and do it. Of all the odds. Felt so terrible. She still loves me. All is forgotten and forgiven.

The house is quiet. A resigned feeling of what will be will be. They are sleeping again. Peace is restored. Until the cat cage and the journey…

Day 46

Went to the gym, the supermarket and then the library. Had a whole food brunch of toasted muesli, fresh mango with milk after getting home.
Froze the leftover mangoes, 29c each. Very cheap. Bought five.
Froze the pomegranate arils from two pomegranates.
Bought vegetables, fruit and fish.
I have lost 3 kilograms since becoming sober. That is without trying.
I am adding new food into my life. I am not banishing food as such. I am making better choices. That’s it really.
Today is a good day.
Listening to WBGO while I organise the kitchen bench. Late night jazz is much better than day time jazz. This afternoon it sounds like elevator music. I could go for another station but it’s like a comfortable coat. Snug.

I have scaled back my mini habits to the recommended FOUR. I have placed the other three into another category. I am learning to be kind to myself.

I appreciate the supportive comments as I embark on this journey of mine. I feel light in the fact that there are so many hands helping me along the way. I have many book recommendations from readers also. Thank you. My list to read is getting longer. I am starting on a new one, Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth.

5:30am and the sun is coming up and I am going to sleep. My neighbour’s light was on. Early to rise, early to bed. I wish that were me. Eventually I will get back to that. Exercise, better food, sober, mostly caffeine free. I am not after a quick fix. I am after a better lifestyle. I love the changes I am making. Proper sleeping hours will come back. I used to drop off to sleep so quickly. Patience.

My cats look happy and confident. They are spoilt rotten. Rescued brother and sister, they arrived scared and wide eyed over a year ago. They are growing up. They always make sure to nap within sight of me. One of them loves to sleep on woven supermarket bags. Simple tastes. On top of or inside, she doesn’t mind. Right now they are outside exploring the jungle of the backyard. Bird watching or roof climbing I presume.