Sapph's Blue Cat
Unlike my perfectly good self, poor Sapphire is allergic to a lot of things.
Several very common grasses, dust mites, dogs (but only if Milly licks her) and cats. Throw in the classic trio of asthma, excesma and hayfever and mix in a seven month episode of Whooping Cough, ear infections and permanently puffed sinuses and we decided that it was worth a referral to an allergy specialist.
Four months after having her arm pricked and spotted with liquid allergens, Sapphire had eight fortnightly injections with tiny doses of those same evil beasties to reduce her symptoms.
Last week, the raised, itchy red lumps on her nurse-scratched arms didn't look promising. "Nope, that's just not good enough young lady," Dr S said. "You need two weeks of twice daily nasal sprays and then another visit here for your third skin test before we start your second round of injections."
Considering that Sapphire's 'nasal spray' is actually a little-known asthma inhaler meant for the mouth with a baby's teat stuck on the mouth piece and a sliver of rubber nipple snipped off, she's been impressively sanguine about it all.
Therefore, as interested - and determinedly non-purchasing - onlookers at a recent art auction, it was a bright and breezy blue cat partially hidden behind some recognised (read: price-of-a-new-Corolla-pricey artists) that caught her eye.
"Ooooh if I was rich I'd buy that one, Mum," she pointed, disdainfully ignoring the Clifford Possums, Blackmans, Dickersons, Picasso (!!!! etching), Bromleys, Norman Lindsay sketches, Pro Hart's oily shite and a couple of Whiteleys. "After all, it's probably the closest I'm ever going to get to having a cat of my own," she smiled.
My big brother Rob and his wife WC had clearly done their homework on Aboriginal artists and were there to bid. Sapphire and I were there to be entertained and after three hours, we were still sitting there utterly mesmerised as the auctioneer ploughed his way through hundreds of different pieces.
After a particularly beautiful central-Australian Aboriginal painting went for $20,000, the blue cat came up. It was by no-one famous, wasn’t a signed print: just a picture that no-one wanted in their office anymore. I grabbed WC’s bidding card and bid.
"SOLD to number Forty Nine for thirty five!" Woo Hoo!! I had never been to an art auction before, let alone bid at one....
Sapphire couldn’t believe it and because she’d spent several hours hearing the auctioneer say ‘Ninety five’ when he meant 9500, she said, “Oh Mum, thank you thank you thank you! But did you just spend $3500 on this picture for me – what will Dad say?”
I rang Love Chunks immediately. He could hear the ludicrously high prices being called out by the auctioneer in the background as we spoke and I said, “LC, I didn’t mean to, but I’ve bought a painting.....” I swear I could feel his heart stop beating from a postcode away until thirty five was revealed to be just that - thirty five dollars. "You can't buy a frame for that."
When we got Sapphire’s huge picture home she propped it up in the hallway, admiring it.
But only for a small moment. The next thing we heard in her disapproving nanna voice was, “Oh man – there’s boobs in it!” Sure enough, in the far right hand side of the picture, there was an upside down topless woman.
A week later, the picture was still out in the hall and the focus had shifted from the bright blue moggy to the upside boobs with candy pink nipples.
"When are you putting your boobs in your room, Sapph?"
"Geez Mum it's not boobs I'm allergic to!"
The blue cat is now above her bed and is the first thing I see when I walk into my daughter's room. After the boobs of course.