A Typical Saturday in Our House ©
By Michael Casey
Today 25th July 2015 is a Saturday, its Totoro our cat’s 4 month Birthday. My chest pain is reminding me that heart bypass has a price, to make me well, to stave off a potential fatal heart attack I had the Triple Heart Bypass 6 months ago now. Only I was told a few days ago that actually they did 4 grafts. I felt perfectly well before the op, I was reading Don Camillo. Now I feel 50% the man I was before the operation, then there is the chest pain. However in the end I’m not pushing up the daisies. I’m telling you all this as it’s hard to concentrate when you are in pain, and sometimes your very breath is taken away. So forgive me if I stumble as I tell the tale.
Watch the cat, or he’ll sneak out, so we shut the back door, so she’ll not sneak out. Our cat has confused gender, we were told she was a he when we got him, but he was not a him, but a she. If you find and count the nipples under the fur you have the final proof, Totoro is a girl.
Who wants tea, I ask like a dirty spoon chef, no reply so I ask again, nobody answers me, none of my 4 girls. Then the cat sneaks up and rubs himself, sorry herself against me, this both frightens and alarms me. I have scars up both of my legs where the surgeon harvested veins for my heart bypass. They are still very tender even after 6 months.
My left chest is still extremely tender too, if I brush the sheet against it while in bed then I scream. Getting up in the night means getting out of my bed naked, then getting dressed in pyjamas to avoid a Ninja Cat assault when I go downstairs. Totoro has discovered the fridge, she jumps on top of it so that she has high ground, 6 feet, from where she can pounce on anything that comes downstairs in the night.
But now it is morning and I’ve made my own breakfast, I am in fact chewing the 1st piece of my toast as I pop my 7 morning pills. You have to have them with food so my pharmacist told me, it’s a morning ritual now, a bag full of pills. My wife chirps up, can you give Eve her breakfast, she wants French Toast. Yes Daddy, you make it better than mum. And what are you doing? I ask. I’m reading the Bible is her reply, and so she is a big green covered on, printed in Mandarin. Converts will be the death of us.
So I get my daughter to get 2 eggs from the fridge, the cat having vacated her high vantage point. Then while she gets a bowl to mix the Polish eggs in I wolf down the last of my toast which has a covering of garlic and herbs mixed in the reduced fat cheese spread. The Polish eggs are like the Maltese eggs, the yolk is very bright yellow, not anaemic like some supermarket eggs.
My small daughter is pleased as she can now reach higher into the cupboard, in fact soon the cupboard door will hit her on the head, this is great news as it proves she is finally growing, at 11. Now I have the tools so I can get on with the job. French Toast for one, crack and whisk the egg in the bowl, add a splash of milk and a dab of butter. Then just stir.
Being a Shanghai Birmingham family once the bread is soaked in the egg I put it into the wok for cooking. We only had wholemeal bread in the house, so it was a new experience of French Toast a la wholemeal. Luckily my small daughter liked it, otherwise she would have been lumping it.
Twenty different conversations going on at the same time, the girls are off singing at a wedding later on, so a few lines of this hymn and that hymn. I’m just happy that my small daughter is getting taller, the plan is for my wife to be the midget of the family, my small daughter just has to out-grow her.
I think they sound worse than seagulls, another protected species, so I take refuge in the Italian barbers. I decided to give the Russian one a miss and go back to the Italian. I had tried the Polish barber before as well, I even had the mad witch Shanghai wife cut my hair a few times too. If only I could be Rapunzel, and not have to cut my fast growing but fine hair, which is everso everso silver.
The Italian was busy with a customer so I had to wait my turn, it was only 10.30am. It’s always interesting to listen in to conversations, you are sharing, or even stealing part of somebody else’s life. The Conversation Thief could be a future book title of mine, while I have that thought in my mind The Book Thief, the book, is the greatest book I have ever read, I would just love to have a pint of Stella Artois with the author.
So the customer was talking about Sky packages and how he nagged them and got a few deals out of it. His gripe was that long serving customers did not get the new deals. Which reminds me, Sky I’ve had you for 16 years plus now. It was the fact that my satellite had Phoenix Chinese tv which encouraged a young girl to come to my house.
So I should “blame” Sky for my wife and 2 bilingual daughters. Anyway Sky how about giving me, our house a free package of Sky. I’ll even write for Sky too, though Rupert will have to pay me for my words. www.michaelgcasey.typepad.com to HEAR 50 examples.
But back to the barber, a half bald guy had his hair washed and cut before it was my turn. I told the Italian to shear me like a sheep, it’s the quickest way. He was very quiet at first then I told him my tale. He may not have seen me for a year. It turned out that his mother had died back home in Italy.
So I offered sympathy and suggested that he talk to her photo on Sundays, which was the normal time he phoned her back home in Italy. She was 98, but as he said , your mama is your mama, even if she was a million years old. He showed me the photo of his mama on his mobile phone. This was a touching moment for him, and me too. This week a family friend a contemporary of my dad has just died, aged 90. The older generation, the war generation, the better generation, is dying out.
I came home shorn of my hair, looking years younger, apart from the fact that I needed a shave. So I had a shave and trimmed my eyebrows, we have a scissors with teeth in the bathroom. It’s a very dangerous thing, but I survived.
Aldi is next on my list, I have to shop everyday as I cannot carry tons of stuff anymore. It’s also a way of getting my exercise, a trip up the road and see if I can raise a laugh from the staff on the tills. Aldi staff really really work hard, that’s why they have “high” rates of pay. I asked the guy on the till was the manager slumming it by working the till next to him.
Then I get out my conversation starter purse, yes purse. A GorJuss purse, with a girl riding a horse printed on it. My daughter gave me it when my wallet sprung a leak. I always say it’s my daughter’s purse but my money. I did have my wife’s purse, then I said it’s my wife’s purse but it’s my money. Before that for years I had a plastic 35mm film canister, see how I have progressed, and digital cameras have taken over.
The guy on the till is smiling, so my mission is complete, so I balance out the weight of my shopping and prance home just like the horse on my purse. My dad, a blacksmith and a steel worker had a purse too, made from tick material, so I suppose it’s a family tradition.
I get home and cat jumps down from the fridge giving me a fright, if she ever gets inside the fridge it will be her having the fright. Then it’s the madness of getting ready for the Wedding, and reminding mum they need a lift to the church, its 2 miles away.
They drive off and the morning madness is over, just me and Totoro the cat home alone. Totoro decides to go and have a sleep in her basket, I feel tired too now, so I have a rest. Totoro purring in her sleep and me talking in mine. If only Sky gave me a free package and Rupert used my 9 books over 2901 pages, him paying me, now that’s something to sleep on.