Grumpy and Pumpy go on holiday – by Helen May


helen-may-1114-150x150Following the “success” of our trip to America, Pumpy and I, Grumpy, have just come back from a holiday together. Some of the trials were the same as our business trip but more familiar: we knew how to handle the security guys who wanted us to be separated at the airport (be firm and wait for someone to check out Pumpy), and we knew how to manage the timezone change (change Pumpy’s “watch”). But there were some new challenges to overcome on a warm, sunny holiday.

Firstly, there was the challenge of the heat. It was close to 30 degrees Celsius most of the time and Pumpy is not a fan of the heat. Therefore, I had to keep him out of direct sunlight. He tended to hide under my clothes most of the time to keep him protected which was ok but I kept an eye on him, especially when I was getting hot.

As well as keeping an eye on Pumpy, I also had to keep an eye on his “drink” (Pumpy drinks insulin). When I used to take Pumpy’s older sister, Penny (short for “insulin pens”), on holiday, I kept her cool in Frio bags. I used one of these to keep Pumpy’s spare drink cool when out. It was a little big for his bottle but better than too small or not at all. Thankfully, Pumpy never got thirsty¬†when out but, for my peace of mind, I always kept it to hand.

Whilst it was hot and we were supposed to be on a beach holiday, I am not very good at keeping still so Pumpy and I went on long walks. I wear a fitness band and, although I did not go to the gym or climbing, my band told me I did more exercise than when I am working. This meant that I had to keep an eye on how much Pumpy drank and kept some food (dextrose) on hand in case he drank too much … which when the heat was combined with the exercise (and a little more alcohol than usual) happened a few times.

The other problem Pumpy and I experienced was where to carry him. In a cool, grey England, I have a few options to keep Pumpy close by such as clipping him to my trouser belt. However, being hot, I wore thinner clothes that didn’t always contain a belt. I tried clipping Pumpy to the waist band of my skirt which worked on thicker skirts but not on light floaty ones. I tried wearing him on a separate band around my waist but that got hot and, as well as being uncomfortable for me, I was worried about how the heat affected Pumpy. I tried wearing him on a band around my chest which worked when I was wearing a loose floaty top, but not when I wore a more clingy t-shirt.

In the evenings, when I wore a dress, I strapped him to my upper leg but I couldn’t easily get to him when he wanted attention and I didn’t trust the strap on my long walks. One of the easiest options was to put him in my pocket – this does not usually work when I wear jeans because he is too bulky but wearing floaty linen trousers, in the evenings, I had more space in my pockets and I made a little hole in the top of the pocket so he could hold on.

Then, there was the times when I did not want Pumpy with me. These times were short but I did not want to worry about him letting go or drowning in salt water when I went for a swim. So I would wrap him in my sarong and put him out of the sun when I was in the water. We were never far away and I would check up on him and connect him every so often for a little “cuddle”.

Comparing holidays with Penny to this one with Pumpy, I think Pumpy was less problem. Ok so Penny could hide away in my bag when she was feeling shy. But with Pumpy, I could go to the hotel bar or restaurant without a bag knowing his toys were close by if he got restless. Ok, so his toys took up much more room but I always knew where he was. With Penny, I worried less about how she reacted to “holiday substances” like sea water and sun screen and sand, but Pumpy handled the timezone change easier. Despite seeming easier with Pumpy, I also had Penny with me, just in case (and for old times sake).

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