Dec 282009

Alpha Geek’s uncle is busy keeping our holiday interesting. Christmas morning he almost set fire to the kitchen.

Let’s back up a little for some background. For the last few years—four? five?—Devant has been the proud papa of a brain tumor. At first it started off small, just a wee malignancy. Eventually it grew up and had to be evicted. Earlier this year Devant underwent a successful surgery to have it removed (under that Canadian health care system that apparently doesn’t work at all).

While the tumor was in residence, it naturally affected Devant’s brain in various ways. He was largely unaware of these effects until it was gone. For example, he developed a degree of paranoia, believing that there were people out to get him.

Little Devant is gone now, and Devant’s brain appears to be functioning normally again (well, as normally as it ever did). However, he still retains the memories of what he thought and perceived while hosting his tumor. They are, to him, perfectly real and valid memories. He still believes that there are people after him, and is now incorporating this belief into things that are happening in his life.

It drives Alpha Geek quietly nuts, because he wants to debate the whole thing logically. Devant is perfectly capable of being logical, within the framework of his perceptions.

To me, logic is like salt. It’s very nice to have around, it adds flavor to things and a certain amount is even necessary. But it doesn’t have to be in everything and too much is bad for you. So I’m perfectly happy to accept Devant’s premise on its own terms, give it mental house room for the purpose of discussion, and then put it away after we’re done.

“There are people after me, you know,” he told me this morning.

“And you decided to stay with us?” I teased him.

“Well, I didn’t know they were after me. But I think they may be following me.” He pondered a moment. “They put a GPS tracking unit in my head, during my surgery,” he added.

“Then they don’t need to follow you, do they?” I pointed out. “They already know where you are.”

He brightened. “That’s true, they won’t be following me, will they?” The prospect seemed to reassure him.

Back to Christmas morning. Devant brought his own special cereal that he likes to have for breakfast, a self-made combination of oatmeal, granola… and plankton. Or as he calls it, “pond scum.” It amuses him that I refer to it as his “pond scum cereal.” He adds a little water and heats it in the microwave for five minutes.

Friday morning his finger must have slipped, so that instead of setting the microwave for five minutes, he set it for fifty.

Devant does not like to be in the room with the microwave when it’s running. Because of the radiation. So he set the microwave for (he thought) five minutes, and then went back downstairs. And fell asleep.

The microwave read 39:14 when I came out to investigate the burning smell and opened the door. Vile smoke billowed forth. The bowl was infused with carbonized pond scum.

We opened all the windows and turned on the house fan, and later showed Devant how to use the “quick minute” button that simply adds a minute to the time every time you press it. That way even if his finger slips it’ll only be one more minute. Last night he spend half an hour or so scrubbing out the microwave until it was even cleaner than when he got here.

And of course we will give him a hard time about it for years to come. Friday afternoon, at Christmas dinner, we moved things away from the candles when he reached for them. We told him he was over his quota for setting things on fire.

Settling In for the Holidays

 Cat Tales, General  Comments Off on Settling In for the Holidays
Dec 232009

The kids are out of school, Alpha Geek has one more day to work. We couldn’t quite manage to work up some snow, but it is getting very… brisk at night.

Alpha Geek’s uncle, Devant, has come south for the winter. His normal habitat is Ottawa, but he’s making a migration to (relatively) warmer climes for the next couple of weeks. This year he’s staying with us during his visit. I’ve spent the last week or so fretting, because the only place we’ve got room to set up another bed is our unfinished basement. It gets awfully chilly down there at night and I worried Devant would get too cold.

“He’s from Canada,” Alpha Geek assured me. “He’s probably going to think we keep the house way too warm anyway. He’ll be fine.”

Devant got in last night; this morning I found he had moved up from the basement and was asleep on the couch. I told them the basement got cold at night.

Nonetheless, he seems happy enough to be here. He hasn’t seen the boys in years, and wanted to stay with us so he’d have more chance to do so this visit. He’s been telling them his stories, which is what grandkids and nephews are for.

Duchess is less than thrilled about this strange person in her home. When she’s nervous about strangers she retreats to the basement. This stranger is in the basement. He has invaded her little sanctuary and she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

Normally we keep the bedroom door shut so she can’t get in, but today I’ve been leaving it open so she can hide under our bed. That gives her a safe place to retreat when the strange new person is moving around. Before I did that, she was getting so stressed out her tail was fluffing up with anxiety.

Devant accompanied me to the grocery store this afternoon, so we could get him some things he likes to eat. He mentioned that we might get some chocolate chip cookies.

“Director can make those,” I responded, grabbing a bag of semi-sweet morsels. “He’s been wanting to for a week or so anyway.”

The Director loves to make cookies. When he was little I showed him how to make cookies just so he could feel like there was something he could do, during a period when he was having trouble in school and feeling kind of discouraged. Now he loves to make them because of the positive associations he has with cookie-baking.

He also commiserated with his uncle about my unreasonable attitude towards food in my car. Poor Devant got a bag of chips at the store as we were checking out—but I wouldn’t let him eat them in the car.

“Yeah, she won’t let anybody eat in her car,” sympathized the Director.

What can I say, I’m peculiar about my car.