2010…a Whole New Year to enjoy!

It has been so long since I posted. The whirlwind of Christmas preparation and family life seemed to take over and overwhelm me but today, five days into the new year, I have found time to come back to being me! How wonderful is that. As everyone left for work and the house was silent I lazed in bed, knowing full well that I had to get up in case the ‘drain man’ arrived before I was dressed. Yes! you are right, the saga of the rats in the loo still prevails. But before I wander in the bowels… pardon the pun, of my sewer, a greater emergency yanked me from my horizontal lazy ponderings… Alfie cat decided to vomit beside my bed then wander across the room just to spread it further. Ugh! 

The trouble with my cats is that, over Christmas they became accustomed to delightful delicacies fresh from the kitchen, which they enjoyed tremendously. Now the ‘boys’ are notoriously difficult to please and we have exhausted the shelves of all the local supermarkets trying to find a cat food they will eat. Just when we think we have cracked it, they go off it and refuse to eat it. Imagine what fresh food did for them! well I imagined their thoughts easily. ‘And what do you think this is?’ ‘You want me to eat what?!’ Once again we work our way through packets of food only to throw them out the next morning. A battle of wills ensued. Who is going to give in? Us or them? Those big yellow sad eyes of the ‘starving’ cat who has to eat such awful stuff. The fear they will go hungry. The guilt because we ask ourselves, ‘are we good pet owners?’

Suppertime and Alfie places a paw on the table and looks longingly up at me. Shadow sits on the dresser opposite Harry watching him eat, watching for that moment a morsel of ‘real’ food comes their way. We decide not to give in and feel triumphant when they eat with gusto, the food we finally think they like… Until, that is, the rude awakening this morning. Was this my punishment for giving him cat food? Ah well, back to the guilt trip!

At 9am, as promised, the drain men come along. I explain carefully that it isn’t the rats that are the problem but more to the point was how they were getting in and chewing through the pipes into our downstairs bathroom on a regular basis. Our heads filled with nightmares of fractured pipes and diggers removing the concrete paths in the garden etc. So having ressured them that we were concirned for the drains they open the manhole to place a cctv camera up the pipes. The poor man nearly fell in when as he opened the cover, our rodent friend darted from one pipe into another… Well, at least he knows we aren’t exaggerating. Unlike his version of the size of the creature! I have seen these fellows myself and they represent little more than a large mouse size. When we lived in the country we had decent sized ones that would never have fitted into the pipes let alone lived in there! These are small black creek rats, come to the houses for some warmth, quite cute and cheeky really but sadly the health hazard and damage done to our toilet and sewer meant we had to deal with them. I was delighted to find that the sewer and pipes were in perfect condition. All work previously carried out on the the advice of Sam, the environmental health pest control man, and yes we are on first name terms, meant that no rat could come up the sewer and that Samuel Whiskers here, was resident within the pipes and caught on camera. Thankfully for us, he was only one, sadly for him he must be lonely. We have to be hard here.

Harry, as you all know, is totally intolerant of anything that moves and is smaller than a cat, coupled with the intolerable smell of dead rat somewhere impossible to find beneath the floorboards before Christmas and the gifts of several from the cats within a few days of the drain being capped, meant his tolerance was zero. He came home with some viscious looking alligator traps which I duly baited with a cracker and peanut butter but which Mr Whiskers duly ignored… so you can see my predicament and the one thing that has dominated my life for several weeks. Still at least I know I am only fighting one now…. Woman versus rat! and I know who is going to win!… I think.

Christmas was wonderful, I had family and friends around to share with us over a period of four days and again after the new year. My pain levels were intolerable but the sheer pleasure of the wonderful time helped me to carry on. Now Harry and Tabby are back at work I can relax more. I have plans, many plans. Catch up on things I have to do, spend more time painting and writing. Knit and crochet more, plan meals properly and work my time management skills to my utmost best. The house is clean and tidy again, decorations down and put away for another year and I can find me again. Then tonight as Harry comes in from work he looks rather like a snowman. In disbelief I look outside and see the wonder of heavy falling snow.

I take a moment to watch it, capture it on camera, and enjoy the magical glow as the reflected light fills a darkened room. What a wonderful start to 2010. Four days of glorious sunshine and crisp clean air followed by the clean, fresh look of newly fallen thick snow. I watched my daughter and her boyfriend build a snowman in the garden… from the warmth of the upstairs window.. He’d never made one before in his life. I thought then of the little things we all bring to each other. Tabby builds one, no matter how small, every time we have any snow, tonight she shared the simple pleasure with James and it made me think of all those little things we are to other people, the things we say or do, all make a difference to the way they are thinking, even if it just for a moment. Like the thoughts and emotion a snow covered garden makes us feel, the memories it triggers, we are all here to make life a little better for those around us.

I am sorry for my little rat friend and wish it could be different but hey, apart from that so far, 2010 has been a fantastic start to what I pray will be a wonderful new year to enjoy! Happy New Year to you all.xx

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