Friday, November 28, 2008

Help Whether I Want It Or Not

Lancelot helping me take a photo of a quilt block.
I doubt you realise the difficult circumstances under which I post my blog entry each day. The older stories are from a file of stories I've written over the years and I simply cut and paste them into the draft window. I then read and edit the story to make sure it's easily understood by all. Other entries, like this one are typed as I go. With both types of entry I have more help than I really need.

Take now for example. Lancelot is lying, draped over my lap, head as close to the keyboard as he can get and regularly stretching a paw up to suggest a better key for me to click. I've learned to type around cats and dexterously remove paws as I go without missing a beat. From time to time Lancelot tires of just lying there and stretches his whole body. This always results in his head and upper torso ending up on the keyboard. Lancelot tends to create damage proportional to the importance of the text - the more important the text the greater the damage done.
"Why don't you put him off your lap?" you ask? Because he'll just jump right back on. It's no good suggesting I put him out of the room either. Our house is the open plan style and apart from locking him in the bedroom, where Graeme is still sleeping, he can always make his way back to me. Now let's just consider what would happen if I locked him in the bedroom with Graeme for a minute ... no, best not to I think about it. It wouldn’t be a pretty sight.

Actually, Lancelot's presence on my lap isn't the worst that happens while I type. I can cope with the wayward paws and head. I'm used to them. One thing I've never been able to adjust to is when one of the other cats decides to challenge Lancelot for my lap. It begins with Lancelot looking far too comfortable and either Guinevere or Tristan deciding that my lap is the place to be. Guinevere will then jump on the lounge near the computer; hop onto the CPU which is just inches from my lap and to the left and then tentatively bat Lancelot with a paw. Depending on Lancelot's humour at the time, he will either ignore the subtle hint to give someone else a turn or he'll growl a warning that he's not in the mood for any funny business. Neither reaction makes the her back off.
Guinevere will slowly climb onto my lap (via the keyboard) and move in behind Lancelot. She'll then begin washing him. Guinevere's usual strategy to get rid of a cat that's where she wants to be is to wash its head. She will wash that head until it's quite soggy, if the offending cat is stubborn enough to try to hold his ground. If Lancelot doesn't take the hint and hop off my lap, leaving Guinevere the sole possessor, she will begin moving closer and closer to him until she's just about pushed him off my lap. This is when I intervene. Past experience has shown me that I'll be the one to come off worst in this battle, as Lancelot digs his claws into any fleshy part of my body that comes to hand, or rather to paw, in order to get a better hold on his territory. A battle then begins with Lancelot batting Guinevere with one paw while holding his ground with claws in my leg with the other. In case you're wondering, I've stopped trying to type anything by this time. Both cats are put on the floor and I'm able to get back to work for a few minutes. Guinevere usually manages to be the one to hop back up first. Lancelot contents himself with sitting next to my chair and glaring at Guinevere who is blissfully unaware of her brother's feelings.
If Tristan is the one who wants to depose Lancelot, I get up pretty quickly and head him off at the pass. Lancelot and Tristan are sworn enemies and have been ever since Tristan arrived as a cute little ball of orange fluff three years ago. While Lancelot will put up with quite a bit from his sister, he will not tolerate Tristan even looking like he's contemplating deposing him from my lap. A battle to the death (or at least that's what it sounds like) results when Lancelot jumps down from my lap and fires the first shot. Tristan is no angel in these matters either. He loves nothing better than to taunt Lancelot and has even been known to begin an attack when Lancelot is peacefully sleeping somewhere (usually, but not always, on my lap).
So, now you understand. It's pretty much a miracle that you get to read anything of the happenings at Spring Rock.
Tristan also helping. He might look like he's just sitting there but take special note of that paw near the corner of the block. He kept dragging the block out of shape each time I tried to photograph it. I think Tristan was aiming for the artistic, abstract effect.