Monday, 31 October 2011

Apologies in advance

So, I got nagged by SOL that I had to update my blog. Pffft. Well, here it is. Updated. Happy? No? Oh, well I'll have to trawl through the fog that is my mind and see what I can come up with.

Lets see. Well, Dobby is now an army cadet. She should get her uniform Tuesday week. The week before our holiday she missed out on being accepted in her chosen netall team, so we decided to focus on Cadets. The first Tuesday back we hit the Southern Expressway and lobbed up at the Lonsdale Barracks. There are closer ones, but this is where her friend joined a few weeks ago.

We sat through the information session, and although she was given the chance to stay, Dobby chose to go home.

On the Wednesday we had parent teacher interviews. Seems Dobby is failing year 8. Time for action. One of the key points we discovered is that Dobby just doesn't put any work into exams or trying too hard. No surprises there I guess. So it was agreed that she would do some revision before any upcoming tests.

First one was a maths exam. She got an E in her end of term report. She sat the test on Monday and on Wednesday we found our her score. I am pleased to announce she got 84%, a B. Yep, my child is suddenly a B student. *Is proud*.

Anyway, just before we went for the interview she informs me she was having second thoughts about Cadets. I told her I wanted to see a list of reasons she should join, and a list of why she shouldn't, then I'd discuss it with her.

A couple days later she has decided to join after all. Seems her biggest worry was that she would feel she needed to join the Army after (something she has given thought to) but her real dream is to be a beautician, and joining the arm would get in the way of that. But then she realised that she could be a Cadet and still study for her dream. Well done.

Anyway, all that aside, not much else has gone on. I went and got my facial and toes done again on the weekend, followed by what was supposed to be a quick coffee with a friend. However, we ended up having lunch and a long chat. Seems she is going through a very tough personal time at the moment, and is quite down. Sigh. I tried to be supportive, and I also tried to explain that the reason she probably feels abandoned by her friends is that people who haven't gone through or aren't going through what she is, tend to not want to get involved, and therefore distance themselves. She thought that that wasn't the case, was it? Don't you always want to be there for your friends. Well, yes, but to a point. Now I feel obliged to check in every day to make sure she is okay. REALLY don't need that right now, but I will anyway. Because she is my friend and I do care.

While I was with my friend, Fluffy had to take Dobby for a follow up doctor's appointment. We took her for repeat blood tests and a mini medical for cadets last weekend, so this was to get the blood results. Previously we had approached the doc to find out why Dobby gets so angry. He diagnosed mild stress, but her thyroid was also a tad slow so he wanted to repeat that test.

He found that her thyroid has settled down, but she's still under stress so he has recommended a visit to the psychologist to give Dobby some help. I was supposed to phone them today but forgot to bring the card in. He also wants to see her again just to repeat the psyche test in early November, just before she goes. Guess we'll see how that goes. She had a friend over on Friday night, so she had to clean her room Thursday. We never thought she'd do it, but she did. And with little fuss. Good for her.

I also scored a laptop from work. I little white Macbook, which was the boss's. However, the screen doesn't work properly. So I tee'd up with our geek to get a friend here in Australia to look at it. I asked him to check out a link to a screen on ebay, which he did. So I bought it. $125 or so.

Then it sat here at the office for weeks and weeks. Finally, the geek suggested we could fix it ourselves, if we looked up on the web how to do it. It really wasn't hard.

So I took it home over the weekend. Fluffy opened the website, then followed the steps. We got stuck though because two of the screws were fixed too firmly in place. Even broke his little screwdriver set. What to do.

Luckily I have a lovely friend who's partner fixes computers for a living. So we phoned up and asked would they mind bringing over his tool kit, and staying for coffee and nibbles.

While he was there he said we've got it this far, may as well finish the job, so he installed the new screen too. Bless him! Dobby is very happy, and has a laptop sitting nicely on her desk now. All for $125 and a cup of coffee! When I asked him did he want a couple bottles of red, he said no thanks, he had plenty and it was a good excuse to catch up anyway :-) awwww!

I took some photos on the weekend, just playing about. If I get a moment I'll put them up.

So. This last two weeks has really been about Dobby. She has joined cadets, gotten a B in a math test, cleaned her room, had a friend over, had a doctor's appointment, gotten a new computer, and made extra money because she has kept her room reasonably clean. Good for her, she's also been on pretty good behaviour. Maybe we are seeing a short turning point?

Fingers crossed...

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Home sweet home

Okay, so hopefully this time this blog will work. Last time I tried to write one with my iPad, but while it let me write the title, it wouldn't let me enter any text in the proper place.

So lets try again.

Before I get into the holiday stuff, on Saturday I finally finished Bertha. What do you think?

I love her, actually. She's pretty cool for a first attempt I think.

Well, our holiday began on Sunday 2 Oct, with a flight up to Brisbane. We were supposed to move our clocks forward Saturday night but were so busy making sure everything was done we forgot. Luckily we had plenty of time, even with the car arriving fifteen minutes early.

The flight was uneventful and once we collected the hire car, we made our way out to see Fluffy's brother Dog Man and his partner. It was lovely to see them again, but once we were ready to leave we noticed that the rear right tyre was flatter than it should be. So the boys reversed it into the yard, pulled out the compressor and pumped it up.

Then it was back to town to visit my sibling SOL. She greeted me in her (un)usual way - fluffy dressing gown cause it was cold! Yes, the first few days of our trip were actually quite cool. Anyway, we called the hire car mob and they sent out the RACQ to change it.

Which meant, of course, that we could not take that car up to Gladstone to see the rest of the clan.

Then, us girls headed into Red Rooster for dinner fixings, getting up to all sorts of silly business on the way. The same girls then sat in front of the telly to watch crime night, through which we chatted most of the way. Poor Fluffy was left alone to watch Underbelly. I thought MOTH might keep him company so was rather surprised that he locked himself away back in his office. Poor Fluffy ended up just going to sleep in the chair instead.

Back into town we go on Monday morning. What fun we had, waiting, waiting. The lass behind the counter was concerned because it was taking so long. I think we were there nearly an hour. There were no cars available, and people were getting stroppy. The problem with us was that we wanted it for a long time, and they only had short term cars around. Most were due for a service, or like the one we eventually got, due to be decommissioned. Once the car was found, we then had to wait while it was washed.

The original car was an SS Commodore, late model in dark green. I loved it. It's replacement was a Ford XR6, equally nice but with a few more KM on the clock. She had to change the return date or the computer wouldn't allow it to come out. She was so apologetic, but I told her we expected there to be problems because we were just "drop-ins" so don't feel bad. The young bloke who brought our paperwork out to us said "you're out here waiting, so why don't I bring the car to you" which I thought was lovely, saved us going looking for it. He even reversed it right up to us so we could pack up the boot.

Eventually, all was sorted and we were on the road. A quick stop at Sippy Downs to hand over our tax to Steve and Jo, and then stop start traffic most of the way up home. We arrived late afternoon, to find the old place we used to live almost unrecognisable. Lucky I took the copy of the receipt they sent us too, because it had recently changed hands and the previous owners had not marked our payment into the books. Naughty!

We let everyone know we were there, and headed up to the old Caltex servo for dinner. That place sure has changed, and not for the better. Meal sizes were smaller and prices were double! Mum and dad came down and met us for dinner.

Tuesday we went into Tannum Sands to see Fluffy's parents. It was also Fluffy's birthday, but his folks forgot. He was not surprised.

After lunch we went up to see my folks. They gave us each a card with some scratchies and $50 inside. Nice!

I think we ended up with takeaway for dinner that night.

Wednesday we took mum and dad up to Mackay for the night. It was a long drive (no one bothered to tell me Mackay was a day's drive away from Gladstone when I suggested the trip).

This is us mucking up in the car...

We stayed in a posh 3 bedroom apartment, on the 10th floor, of Lanai Apartments on River Drive.

Here, Fluffy ponders the view...

The room was fabulous, and mother got to have a soak in a bath, which she can't do at home. We took a walk down to the local shopping centre before taking some time to relax. Dobby opted for a swim in the hotel pool,

while Fluffy waited nearby...

and after mum's bath and a quick shower for the rest of us, went to dinner at the Metro.

Noisy place, but lovely food and service.

Here are a couple of photos I took from our room just before we went to dinner:

This is the pool by night, from the balcony outside the lifts on our floor.

Thursday we had breakfast in the room then headed back to Rockhampton. We decided to stop at the big shopping centre there for lunch and a bit of a look around, getting back to Gladstone about 4.30pm.

Friday was a quick grocery shop, and an outing with cousins Elder and Teen for Dobby. Boy, those girls get up to some mischief. Dobby was not impressed... lol. Anyway, Friday night was party night. I put out lots of food, and as I did it in shifts, because people were arriving at different times, I found myself too busy to actually sit and spend time with everyone. But, I had lovely visits from Kerry and Esmond, my old Sunday school teachers, Rat and Wally and their husbands, Toni and Laurie, and Wally and Daff, our old neighbours who still live in the park.

It started about 4 and the last guests left by 8.15, so not a late night. Elder bought Dobby home when they came, about 4 or so, but made the mistake of telling the office they were coming to a party. I mean, a group of pierced teens, telling you they are going to a party in your park, would you be impressed? Of course, the park phoned me to check. And Dobby couldn't remember her site number either....

Anyway, it was all good.

Saturday we took Dobby up to Granny's for the weekend, and Fluffy and I headed into town to see what has changed. The main thing that struck us was that there were no familiar faces around anymore. And the amount of high visibility shirts and trucks that were around. The highway is full of truck after truck, after truck. That's all you see on the roads.

We visited the Auckland Point lookout, and spotted this storm brewing. I took heaps of photos but I'm sure you don't need to see all of them.

This is one of the best ones:

And this...

When we headed back to the caravan park, we were amazed at the water across the road and debris around. Turns out the storm we saw above swept through where we were staying with mighty force, and of course we had accidentally left the windows open. Fluffy's side of the bed near the window was all wet, and indeed the water had gone under the bed and pooled over my side of the bed!

This is the back patio, were the party guests were all seated the night before:

And this little pond was not there before either!

Needless to say we made sure the place was secure before leaving after that. Saturday afternoon I left Fluffy alone for some quiet time and went to see Moose for a Monty Python fix. I met her cats Bobby and Torana (a stray Rag Doll who has made herself a home under Moose's front stairs). While we were there Rat stopped by with her mum to check out Moose's Garfield collection.

Saturday night we had lazy tea, and Sunday was spent just quietly by ourselves. I think we went back into town for a look but not much else.

On the weekend, though, Dobby noticed a discharge from her belly again. So on Monday, while she was in town with Granny, Grandad and Aunty Tanya, I managed to get her an appointment at Granny's surgery to get some anti biotics as a precaution. I think I'll get Fluffy to take her back to her doctor this week so we can get it checked to make sure it's all good.

Monday afternoon we went down to see Fluffy's folks again and they gave him a fruit cake his dad had made. Very nice it was too! Still have a little bit left...

Monday night we had dinner with Rat and Wally and their husbands. It was lovely. Lots of laughs and Wally took a couple of photos. I'd love to see them, too, if she gets them up on FB at all!

The rest of the week was spent just visiting people and resting when we could.

Thursday it was time to stop at mum's to do the last load of laundry. While we were there dad's sister Joan stopped by on her way up north... to.... Mackay. Haha. So we had a cuppa with her, leaving just after she did and heading off to say goodbye to Fluffy's folks. We went back to pack and have a bite to eat, then back to pick up the washing and see my folks and sister Moose after dinner.

The plan was to leave at 7am on Friday morning, and it was 7.01 when we drove past the reception office. Nicely done!

As I had only had a cup of tea for breakfast, I didn't get far. I had to stop at Granite Creek for a loo break. Then poor Dobby was feeling car sick before Gin Gin. I found a chemist up the main street of Gin Gin, and got her some Quells. She also sat in the front seat for the rest of the trip, and slept most of the way to Yandina.

One thing we did get out of the car for, was a bad accident at Gympie. There had been a head on between a ute and a truck. The ute driver was being attended to and all traffic was diverted around the site. We had to go up over a hill, and like heaps of other people decided to rubber neck so Fluffy could have a smoke. But before they freed the driver the firies made everyone move on. We found out next day it wasn't a fatality as we thought, but the poor fellow had multiple injuries.

We made a couple of small stops but nothing major until we got to the Ginger Factory at Yandina. We had a late lunch, and when I was paying for it, the checkout girl handed me some tickets, saying "you almost forgot these too!" I thought they were complementary or something, but realised much later that someone before us had bought them and paid for them.

But when we thought they were freebies, Fluffy and I decided to use the train trip tickets, while Dobby stayed behind. The tour goes for about 15 minutes and is a dinky little steam locomotive with open carriages behind. An older group of people were in the seats in front of us, and one gent was giving cheek to Fluffy. Made it fun. I took a pic but won't put it up here because I have so many already.

Just near the factory is a customer of ours, so we stopped by and had a look around his establishment. He and his wife Jan had visited in January, and Fluffy and I took them out to dinner. So we were pleased when they returned the favour and offered us a bed at their home.

Their property is located up in the hinterland near Gympie, and it was so quiet. Totally restful. John cooked a barbeque, and Jan and I prepared the food. We ate outdoors in the cool.

We went to bed fairly early, but were woken at 4.30am by a huge storm. I stood at Dobby's window trying to catch a photo of lightening, but could only get this...

I think I need practice. Anyway, once the worst had passed we all went back to bed. Then breakfast about 9, and back on the road.

We decided to stop at the Ettamogah Pub on the way into Brisbane. That was fun. The place is beautifully made of wood, and is quite interesting. However, people kept texting me, and the house sitter called me (at which time I had difficulty getting off the phone to him). So I didn't get the proper look I would have liked.

Here's a couple of pics. The pub pic is the wrong one - the sky is too light, but I have been having issues uploading so won't change it now.

We scoffed a quick pie then headed into Petrie to see Pork Chop.

I haven't seen her since Wally got married, just before Dobby was born. SOL and MOTH came too, and they also brought dessert. We had cheesecake, a fruit and custard filled pastry concoction something like eclair but in a round ring, and a lovely sponge based fruit flan. Followed by crackers, cheese, kabana and ontions. Yummo!

Pork Chop's partner is a computer whizz, and had a media centre he showed Fluffy. Fluffy was taken, and as Mark had one downstairs, Fluffy bought it for $300. It is fully loaded with over 4,000 movies, television series, and other bits and bobs. Great invention! Pork Chop had also made me a lovely bag so I slipped my iPad and purse in that.

We made tracks about 2.30 or so and headed toward the airport and the DFO factory outlet shop. We were very good, and didn't spend much. I bought Dobby a little pink zircon necklace and myself crystal earrings (total $44) from the jewelers, and Dobby bought herself a hoodie. That kid's obsessed with hoodies. While she was paying for it I noticed my wallet was missing! Crap, mad dash back to the last shop and luckily there it was. Whew!

When we were on our way back to the airport, we saw this...

According to the news tonight it was pretty fierce. The airport was closed temporarily but our flight wasn't affected.

Our plane taxied down the runway just after 7pm, and we arrived early, just after ten Adelaide time. Our driver was so lovely waiting patiently for us. Home to drop the stuff, play with the very excited dog and cat, then bed just before midnight.

I was awake first at 8.30. The others didn't surface for some time. Today was unpack, defrost the big freezer, a couple small loads of washing and a huge grocery shop.

Then of course this. Tomorrow it's back to work, and no doubt feel like I need another holiday!

Thanks for reading, I hope I didn't bore you too much with all the pics :-).