Law 0: A robot shall beware of the cat!
Yup, we've built Pedro, Looby Loo and I, with Biggle, who:
- sat in the box lid
- sat on the instructions we didn't need
- sat on the instructions we did need
- sat on the sorted pieces
- sat on my lap on top of the pieces I was sorting
- chased Looby Loo's fingers during construction.
But Pedro is built and the motor's have been fired up sufficiently to flatten the rechargeable batteries. So, it's tomorrow evening for downloading firmware....
[At least the IR tower installed OK.]
Now we have a very fine lemon madeira with lemon icing (possibly the best I've ever eaten--and my input was minimal) and fresh still lemonade.
Also achieved today: the planting up of an eggshell with cress seeds. (I can smell the cress seeds across the kitchen: now I remember why I wasn't going to grow cress again.)
I wrote in a letter to a friend this week, amongst oblique descriptions of the "remodelling" of the front of the house, that I'd characterise this year as the one in which I discovered the making of socks. To which accomplishment I may have to add curtains. With no Venetians to excecate, the front room was beginning to feel as private as a fish bowl. Net curtains--shudders--were becoming a necessity for at least the lower half of the windows. Or not. Even the ever-tasteful Robert Sayles' home furnishings department had hideous embroidered, scalloped, befrilled monstrosities. And the wrong size. The "café" ones were too short and the shortest length of the standard ones would have been way too long and would require shortening. Now, as a short-arse I'm used to buying off the peg and then pruning radically--every time I buy trousers. But doing this to ready-made curtains seemed ludicrous. I bit the bullet and bought the fabric by the metre and got out the sewing machine.
I bought voile in large green and gold checks. No nets. No grimy white. No machine embroidery. (I was briefly tempted by a solid purple, but resisted.) Home, I dithered for about three hours before putting scissors to selvedge (Knitting's safe: you can always unravel. Sewing's scary: you can't glue the pieces together again.) By nine, they were up. I'm feeling quite proud, almost proud enough to consider the lined floor-length replacements in cotton velvet or similar when we get some cash from the insurers.
Today, I taught Looby Loo how to use the sewing machine and an offcut from the curtains became a skirt for a Barbie princess. I don't think it's redeemed me in her eyes for refusing to buy her a "toy" sewing machine, but she did rather well.
Yesterday, Looby Loo sat in front (and when I say "in front" I do mean a scant three to four foot from the screen) of TV and videos, but did get to her swimming class, where they belatedly found a teacher. Very quiet. Has everyone gone away?
Today we did Howl's Moving Castle. I hadn't planned on going with LL since I wasn't sure she'd be interested. But she asked what was on and when told she said, "I know that. Seen the advert. I love it." in her I've-been-watching-too-much-TV staccato. So we went. Far scarier than Were-Rabbits with a more coherent plot to boot, except for the odd "I'm X from Y who's just been Z-ed..." clunking revelation. Fine cast of actors in the dubbed version too. And just beautiful to look at. So we both enjoyed this one.
Tomorrow, I think we have to find a museum or art gallery....
Booked tickets for Jetty Springer next year and super secret tickets for Beauty and the Beast on the last day of term. (Good thing LL doesn't read this too often.)
We may have builders arranged and bricks may be ordered--tricky bricks with odd point ends. Next door, meanwhile, have acquired a prop inside as well as the joists shoring things up outside. There's gonna be much rebuilding along here sometime.
Miss Manners says: "Do not use strangers' front rooms as an impromptu garage".
So, fortunately, we went to bed early. Otherwise I'd've been sitting on the settee in the, now ex-, bay window. We went to sleep only to be woken at 1.00 a.m. by a loud bang (only one, I recall, except there must've been three at least). It sounded as if it came from the back of the house and was loud enough to set off car alarms. Nothing out back; voices from the front. Went downstairs to peep out of front window, saw the car peeping through the hole in the front wall and decided to phone the police. Put on dressing gown and went out to see our car crushed into the front of next door's bay window, another car backed through our bay window and front wall, no driver, lots of neighbours, and chaos. Not carnage, tho'.
I got dressed, panicked until I found the cats, safe and hidden. Our cats, what with Big being deaf, never, ever go outside. So finding them was a worry. Looby Loo slept peacefully until I invaded her bedroom, at the back, put the light on and started looking for Little. Hung around outside, took photos, checked on location of cats again and shut one in the front bedroom.
We waited while the police, fire brigade, ambulance (not needed), man from the council, engineers, car removers arrived. We were a crowd. We probably only needed a live band and caterers for a really good night on the tiles, or at least, bricks.
Looby Loo woke up and was a little perturbed. Since we were going to have get all of us out of the house whilst the unwanted visitor was extracted, I got her up and dressed and she joined the merry throng in the fortunately balmy night. I made some jokes.
It was about then I noticed the footprints, bloody footprints, leading from under the settee in the living room up the stairs, in the bathroom, the front bedroom, and ending under Looby Loo's cabin bed. Little had moved. I got her out, examined the front left paw, cut, bleeding, profusely, but not arterially, and worried about glass. Called emergency vet who reassured me and I risked letting her be after an attempt at washing the paw. She hid. Eventually we winkled both cats out, put them in the cat carriers and moved them two doors down, where Looby Loo was drawing and colouring with G, who's only a little older than her.
Tidying the footpath proceeded apace. Our car was removed, so our next door neighbour could see the damage (less dramatic, but not trivial) to the front of her property. Then we got out of the way and watched while the Nova was hauled from the front of our house. Props were put in an hour or so later and some pro tem boarding put up. Not cat proof: I had to confine Big for the night. With help from the council engineer, our next-door-but-one neighbour, much debris was removed from inside.
At four-ish, I sat down and started to make a list:
- Make list.
- Cats to vet.
- Cats to somewhere safe and quiet.
- Looby Loo to school.
Eventually, at around five, we went to bed.
At seven, the bins were emptied. At seven ten, Looby Loo came in a snuggled up with M, Big and me (Little was under the futon and popped her head out). I did wonder if we all went back to sleep it would all go away. Then I got impatient, 'cos we couldn't do much until eight or eight thirty.
Rang D to ask for cat favours, i.e. lift to vet, housing for animals for a couple of days, lift to school for Looby Loo. Rang school and left message saying LL would be late in due to an emergency (school got the story later).
The vet went OK-ish. Little has couple of cuts on the paw and possibly a puncture wound under and into the central pad. So no bandages, but a lot of cleaning up, and a pain killing shot and antibiotics. It was only after the clean up we noticed the horrendous bruising on the front of the paw and leg. We think she may have been hit by flying masonry. There seems to be no signs of internal injury tho'. Fortunately, whilst she was still not right, a limp heap with no fight in her, her eyes had started reacting again. There's a possibility of fracture and of problems with the soft tissues healing.
We've chased the insurance company--car bit good, home bit not so--and seen the loss adjuster. If we ignore the musical instruments, we're more than covered. We're waiting for a structural engineer to come and I can't switch on the stove (cooking, water, heating) without getting the gas checked. Ought to get the wiring checked too.
So we're in limbo.
The culprit, who initially ran off, gave himself up. He was drunk, apparently.
There are three houses with varying degrees of damage, two cars written off (ours and the drunkard's) and two damaged (belonging to the same woman, unfortunately: she couldn't be roused during the night and got to see the devastation in daylight this morning), an injured cat, and one little girl who got stoically through the night, needed lots of hugs and hand holding this morning, but still marched off into school today, who's a small heroine. She even helped out with Little at the vet.
And, yes, it was only whilst wandering around Tesco looking for lunch that I noticed my jumper is covered in cat blood.
A wise old proverb says: "A car in the lounge is not worth two on the road."
Thanks for the kinds comments, folk. We'll be fine. And the temptation to blog from the roadside in the middle of the night was, as you saw, irresistible.
I was going to write about how my daughter is behaving, but when I threatened to post the truth--even anonymously--she said I wasn't to. So I shan't.
Suffice it to say, she could never behave as badly as the cat that pee-ed all over the box of rubbish for recycling last night.
Does this go any way to explain why I got up at 3.00 a.m. to make some space to put pen to paper?
As the day approaches the multi-cliche (no I can't remember where the e-acute has gone!) point, I know I left school carrying Looby Loo's cardigan as well as the rest of her clobber (and the umbrella... and the doorkey... ) but I didn't have it when I got home. Retracing our steps ("Go back! Go back! Go back! Go back to where you were!" to quote the immortal Blue's Clues) produced no tangible result save sympathy from a retired dinner lady.
Still, we'll get something extra next week to replace the sadly furry raspberries (that ought to be a band's name) in yesterday's fruit 'n' veg box.
And the bread machine's attempt at sabotaging last night's loaf didn't deprive us of an adequate, if stocky, supply of bread.
And the sun is out and it no longer rains in the kitchen. The
letter to thefirst salvo in the war against the neighbours is unsenthas yet to be fired.
And yet, the words "unmitigated" and "disaster" and "incandescent" and "rage" keep pairing themselves off for some kind of dance in my brain.
Enough. Now I can stand by the sink without an umbrella, I ought to wash up and cook supper.