Sunday, 18 January 2009

Wake up

Hibernation is now entirely over. I do hope this is A Sign for the end of winter as a whole, though the imminent February holidays stuck in a orange and brown cupboard teleported from 1976, dressed head to toe in fleece with Mamie cooking audacious stuff from tins and evenings spent around a roaring Sudoku book suggest otherwise.

The CFO left Big Mama, the last tortoise to be released from the crisper, on the draining board to thaw yesterday while we went to the shops. When we got back she was wandering around the worktops rather perkily, risking life and shell. Big Mama is our champion tortoise, liberated from the den of evil that is Animals Express (In a country with notoriously lax animal sales laws, Animals Express rivals a number of zoos in other countries. You can get a Wallaby with baby for €500, an albino peacock, a snowy owl, any number of endangered and terribly dangerous reptiles. It's insane.). Some previous owner has written '6' on her in pearlised pink nail varnish, but she is way harder than that suggests. What she lacks in personality, she makes up in .. actually nothing, come to think of it. But she's slightly less dull than the others.

The house once more resonates to the monotonous sound of shell banging against plastic container. The graphs derived from the tortoise weighing spreadsheets are showing a cheering upward trend. Endive consumption is at a record high. The CFO, however, not content to bask in the warm glow of his successful tortoise husbandry, is fretting about parasites, and the shape of Tortank's beak.

"When you take Oscar to get his nails cut, will you take Tortank along too?"

"What, you want him to do some kind of two for one? Don't you think he'll be a little surprised if I pull a tortoise out of my pocket?"

"That beak needs looking at"

"'Bonjour Monsieur Vet, does this tortoise's upper lip looks ok to you?' I mean, what do you think he's going to do about it? You saw what he did with the penis.. He hardly has an unblemished record with our livestock"

I am thinking of happier things, like names. The CFO refused to name the baby tortoises until they had survived hibernation. Although we mainly ignored that directive, it does mean we now have two tortoises that need names.

This one:

is currently "number 4" (that's endive on its chin, not a growth), I had sort of tentatively thought of naming it Hadron Collider, but I'd be keen to hear any other suggestions.

This one:

"number 5", is entirely nameless.

I would offer prizes for the best names, but my current track record is chequered. Grit, who won the Advent Calendar STILL hasn't received it. The Belgian postal service is a bunch of thieving bastards. So, I will try and send the winner a prize, but with no guaranteees. Go! Name my torts!

Inspired by this saga of rebirth and reptile genitals, I had a bath this morning with my new Korres shower gel (discovered stocked in one of our recent pharmacy trails! Result!), and took a long hard look at myself in the mirror. The one at the end of the bed, not the bastard evil mirror in the bathroom. It wasn't that hard a look. I'm not a total masochist.

Good points: thin arms and shoulders. Abdominoplasty scar now almost totally healed. Yes, I had cosmetic surgery! Smite me with scorpions if you feel inclined. When I'm feeling coy, I say that I had an umbilical hernia repaired, which is true. Except they only found out about the umbilical hernia when they were doing the tummy tuck. It hurt like a bastard, but it was totally worth it, hence good point four: flat stomach.

Bad points: terrible, terrible arse, flat and saggy. Giving up Power Plate was perhaps not the greatest idea I have ever had. Stretch marks. Serious disproportion between top half and bottom half. General grey-blue, loose, tortoise-esque skin tone.

None of this distresses me greatly at the moment, I find. I think I've lost the intoxicating physical memory of how it felt to be really thin. It's a couple of years away now, and I don't miss it so much. When I play 'would you rather' with myself ('would you rather be ten percent thinner and ten percent stupider' or 'would you rather be ten percent prettier and ten percent fatter' or 'would you rather have your hair back but huge calves'), I seem to come out happy to be me (unless the bargains involve eyelashes. I'd give up a lot to have those back..). I often wonder whether I will be a wasted, bony elderly lady, or a plump one. I still can't tell. I hope I continue not to care.

Just, in the immortal words of Fuck You Penguin, MOISTURIZE, TORTOISE. Goes for me AND Big Mama.


Lisa said...

Well, the baby tortoises got essentially the same reaction as the tiger cubs that are playing across the screen on Animal Planet right now. Much cooing and an annoying high-pitched voice making sounds a the poor creatures. Lucky for them, it's not real time, unlucky for the cats clamoring for attention and getting between me and the computer monitor. Their ears are now standing up and they look peeved.

I would love to get a tummy tuck. So it wasn't horrible? Hmmmm. Encouraging. And I'm with you on the need for moisturizer. I can't take back all the hours of sun exposure, but I can drink more water, eat better and slather myself in product.

redfox said...

The thought that it could in some world be anywhere near the end of winter is enough to make me sob with jealousy. We are deep in the stage where it snows and snows, and gets no chance to melt before it snows again. Sadly there would never be any chance that the neighbors would have shoveled the sidewalks before it snowed again, because they are fuckers. There's nothing quite as cheering as plunging through piles of hillocky old half-frozen, half-powdery snow every day. Someday I'll be able to wear cute shoes again. Someday.

Grit said...

i really didn't know you had to fuss about with tortoises that much. i thought you could just chuck them in the garden and come back in ten years to see what they were up to. oh well. i suppose they are off the potential pet list now as well.

along with kittens.

littleanomaly said...

#5- How about "Thor the Thundertortoise!" ?

My word is "cously" which sounds kind of surly so this is my vote for T#4.

Completely Alienne said...

I can;t beleive winter can be over yet, it's far too cold here for that. And I know I am going to be a fat old lady. And I don't care about anything much at the moment as I am thinking about maltesers.

Helena said...

I think you should name your tortoises after the best word verifications people get in your comments.
Mine is ricer. Unimaginative and not a tortoise name, but culinary at least.

More than a Mother said...

That made me chuckle :)
God I'm so jealous you've taken the plunge and had a tummy tuck. Two twin pregnancies in two years has wrecked my body beyond belief, but I'm just not certain about the scar. Mind you, since I have vowed never to show my midriff again, I'm not sure it would make much difference ;)

katyboo1 said...

If I had a tuck I'd have to start taking in all the other bits and before you know it I'd look like one of the tortoises. I just can't do it. The only good point is eyelashes and then it's downhill all the way here. I shall stick with looking like a badly stuffed pillow with acne.

Tilly has just named her pet pretend snake Hengist. You could try that for one of them.

Oscar's favourite words today are Mini Golf. How about that for the other one?

WV is Wockl, which I like better than either of the previous names.

Mr Farty said...

Sorry, my brain's stuck on "Shelley" for #4 - something tells me this name may have already been used.

WV is "Poroos". Poroos the tortoise. Hmmm. Maybe just leave him as #5? "Number 5 is alive!" No wait, that's been done too. Drat.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I had to chip in with the name, Caillou, or Caille, for the pretty one!

I read your earlier blog on the penisectomy - Absolutely hilarious and frightening at the same time! x

(Very) Lost in France said...

Jaywalker - tortoises in a crisper..? Enlighten me! Yay, good for you on the tummy tuck front. I'd love to have one but I don't know where they'd tuck it. VLiF

Elsie said...

Smart, flat-ab’ed, beautifully dressed, and sans distress. The conference in Amsterdam will be the perfect venue for all this glamour, and provide a little break from viking beards in bed.

Liberty London Girl said...

Bless the weepette. My mama has just complained that I haven't any whippet pics on my blog yet. So demanding.

Tortoises names: hmmm.I'm just not v gd at puns. I'll start thinking.. LLG

River said...

We all know what tortoiseshell used to be used for, so name one brush and the other comb. Or perhaps dish and spoon?

Jaywalker said...

Lisa - the worst bit was having the drains removed.. Slither slither slither cable out of your groin! Excuse me, I am going to vomit in my bin now.

Redfox - it's only a pathetic fantasy. Winter is still going on. I am wearing a filthy skiing jacket to work. Pah.

Grit - and puppies of course. All pets are satanic. Even fish require regular flushing away. Stick insects might be ok?

Littleanomaly - Thor is good. The CFO would be totally unable to pronounce it. He can't do english TH sounds. Bonus!

CA - maltesers and pints of tea. And hot water bottles and escapist reading. Lovely.

Helena - I quite like ricer! WV tortoise names. Good plan.

Morethanamother - I don't regret it. My stomach still isn't remotely presentable, but at least I can release myself from the evil crotchless death grip of Spanx.

Katyboo - mini golf, wockl and hengist. They are all good.

Mr F - I think something would be wrong if a tortoise was poroos, no?

Woman - caillou is very nice. I like a lot. It looks a lot like one.

VLiF - behind my ears I think. I don't dare look.

Elsie - also, grey, cold-sored, scaly, dirty, heading for a room full of bearded dismal mittel-europ lawyers. But you are an angel to allow me to believe there might be a tiny vestigial scrap of glamour in there somewhere.. I will report back, I promise. Maybe I will even bring the camera!

LLG - I agree with your mama, weepette pictures would only add to the perfection of your blog. The gorgeous hairy sausage dog staring lustfully at the crumble was already wonderful though.

River - bad lady! Or, glasses?

Z said...

WVs have certainly become more word-like of late. Mine is stesupee, which looks silly in English but rather good if you add a couple of accents and pronounce it in French. I can't think it'll suit a tortoise as a name though. My next dog, if a boy, will be called Huckleberry, but I don't think that suits tortoises either, unless you dress them in a straw hat.

I wouldn't mind a tummy tuck, but they'd not know where to stop and I'd wake to find most of my skin gathered together and stapled round the back..

A Confused Take That Fan said...

It's funny how you drop massive things into conversations very casually, so I almost have to read it three times to see if I have understood it right. So you had a tummy tuck? When?
Slowly finding more things out about you and you are so intriguing.
You bought a dog too.(I am catching up) He is gorgeous. I immediately started googling whippets as I would like a doggy too, to take with me on my lonely walks around the streets with the buggy. How is Oscar settling in?

Jaywalker said...

Z - it was weird at the hospital, they were complete body fascists. I was in pre-op and the anesthetist kept saying "Well at least you aren't too FAT. We get some DISGUSTINGLY fat people here and the results aren't nearly so good". It was very disturbing. He would happily have stapled most of me behind my ears.

CTTF - I have emailed you a paen of weepette love.

La Belette Rouge said...

Can you use nail polish remover to get the nail polish off of her shell?

No smiting you, envying you.Tell me how you feel about your new belly button and the scar? These are the two things have prevented me from considering a tummy tuck. The endless IVF's have made me have an estrogen rich tummy that I would like to have cut off.

Red Shoes said...

Maybe Nakata, from Kafka On The Shore. Such a nice, slow old man.

Or Frigr, my current WV. It sounds like a good expletive, and therefore could surely be applied to a tortoise naming. FRIGR! Wait, I've changed my mind. After saying it aloud and with emphasis, it sounds rather more offensive than maybe it should.

Hm. Back to the tortoise name drawing board. I do love the name Tortank. What are all the existing names? How many tortoises are there, anyway? I have lost track. Or rather, I have never had track.

Mr Farty said...

Oh! Oh! Tortoise + crisper = Rocket!

You're welcome.

ptooie said...

I too am fascinated to now (somewhat) know someone who has had a tuck. A good friend of mine had a breast reduction a couple years back, she went down 3 sizes I think. I've been thinking about it but if I make the chest smaller the stomach would look way worse and I don't think I could let myself surgically fix everything...
The only turtle name I have floating around is Tuck (he's a wonderpet. Mildly alarming/annoying children's show.) My wv is glorym, which I believe is a religious person with a speech impediment.

Juci said...

My name suggestions: Scooter and Leffe. Don't ask me why, they just popped up last night while I was trying to help a feverish, blocked-nosed baby fall asleep.
I did smirk when I imagined how the CFO would try to pronounce Thor, though - or should I say 'Zoch'? It might be worth it just for that.
Why is it though that francophone people can't be bothered to pronounce English properly? I mean, not even the names. My husband and I get a huge kick out of listening to Belgian radio presenters murder English names. (Michel Jaqueson, anyone?) I was reading a book the other day which had the words 'Hugely enjoyable' written on the cover. I read it out loud in a French accent - we were in stitches for minutes.
WV suggests 'snesche', just in case.

Ink and Indigo said...

My grandmother used to look after my aunt's tortoises in the same way she'd look after her kids (she was always on crack or lambrini, I can never remember which) and one day one of the pack of tortoises committed suicide. We found it belly up at the bottom of the pond. Have you got a pond?

Jaywalker said...

Belette - It's not great, the scar, but it's such a massive improvement I don't care.. The belly button is not as good as the original, but better than the strange hooded thing that passed for one pre-op..

Redshoes - Six. Three have been named by children so have Pokémon names (Carapuce, Tortank, Salameche). Then there's Big Mama. So only 2 remain to name. Thankfully you don't often have to call for them as you would a dog, so expletives are not totally out.

Ptooie - I haven't been tempted into anything else yet, but I can see how I might be. Yes! Whole new body please! Damn the expense/pain/danger!

Juci - your names are great actually. Sleep deprivation obviously suits you. I might try to get the CFO to say 'Thor' just for kicks.

Inks and indigo - ah, but are we sure it wasn't pushed? Lambrini dens are notorious for such things. No pond here, but easy access to getting chewed to death.

Red Shoes said...

Ahh, Tortank is a Pokemon name. No wonder it sounded vaguely familiar.

WV is Traphya. Sounds vaguely tortile. Sort of like the Greek goddess or tortoises. Or would that be Torphya? Who knows.

Or, you could name one of them Satchmo. I've always liked that name for a bulldog, but you could have it for a tortoise, I suppose.

vanessa said...

Oh joy to have discovered your blog! I've come over from kitschen pink, and I'm going to be thanking her heartily for the recommendation..................... I've enjoyed what I've read so far enormously, and look forward to being a regular reader.............

Jaywalker said...

Red Shoes - it's rather wonderful, but I think you should keep it for your bulldog. I am thinking I will put a poll in the sidebar now that I am madly adding content everywhere..

Vanessa - Welcome! It's nothing like hers over here. Hers is all beautiful and welcoming and delightful. Here it's all oversharing, squalor and moths. I go over when I need to feast my eyes on something non-horrible. I wish she was my mum, actually.

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