Monday, 25 June 2012

Stupid oven

So about the only exciting that has happened in the last few weeks is that my oven went kaput last night.

Boring, yes?  It's been raining.  And raining.  I've not worried too much, the laundry just dried in the loungeroom.  But it does mean it's been cold and wet.  Real winter weather.

This last week has been an interesting one.  Boss went to Sydney on Wednesday evening.  It's a good time for him to go because it's fairly slow here.  That means plenty of slow time for me.  I get my chores done and i can take a bit longer over lunch.

Friday afternoon I got a call to say the deed has been done.  Boss is in his late 60s and wants to retire.  But being a one-man business, that means he has to sell up.  He's signed all the paperwork and the cheque has changed hands I believe.  Whew.  It's been so long coming that we had all but given up hope.

What does this mean for me?  Good question.  In the near future, nothing.  My job won't change.  The new management doesn't want to mess with a good formula so for now it will be just waiting.  I believe they want to bring in an expert to review the work we all do, and allocate jobs accordingly.  The best thing from my point of view is that I'll have back up.

Now, as to whether I get that back up before the 10th of August is another thing.  I have a friend coming to visit and would like to take a couple days off, but Boss will be in Scotland visiting his daughter.  So we'll have to wait and see.

The froggies are doing well.  Their names appear to have stuck - Petitie is the smallest, Niggs is the middle sized one, and Tub-O-Lard is the big girl.  I am sure they are all girls, but who knows?  Fluffy and I and Dobby cleaned the tank out on the weekend.  Huge job that is.  Fluffy has said he will help me every time, about once a month, and carry it outside and hose it for me.  This time, Dobby and I took all the stones out (there are large river rocks and tiny gravel in there - I did the river rocks, she did the gravel) and I washed them in hot water.

Fluffy also relocated the water heater to under the waterfall where the pump is.  And he turned it up a notch.  See, if the frogs are males, they might croak if they think it's mating time.  This is done with the light left on longer and the water temperature turned up.  Fluffy cranked it up a degree.  Last night we both did a double take because we thought we heard the quietest of croaks.  Can't be sure though, and it wasn't repeated.  Just have to see.  But they still bring me joy.  I can sit and watch them do nothing for hours.  Drives the other two insane because I run a monologue when they are actually doing something.  My favourite bit is feeding time.  Lots of fun.  That Tub-O-lard is soo quick!  And yet, she is the one you can hold in your hand.  She is quite placid.  Lovely.

Anyway, so life has been  motoring on quietly.  Just the usual endless round of work, sleep, fight with the teen.  Until last night I thought I would bake seasoned chicken halves and potatoes.  About an hour in, Dobby was in her room (wish I could say cleaning it, but that would be a lie), and I was in the office, when suddenly there was a deep boom sound, and the lights flickered.

She and I both rushed out to the kitchen, and the only thing we could figure is that the oven crapped itself.  We turned it off, waited for the element to stop glowing, then turned it back on again.  It didn't heat up.

When I phoned Fluffy he suggested we check to see if it had tripped the oven switch in the power box.  I went for a look and one was indeed different to the others.  But I didn't touch it because I'm not convinced.

See, when you turn the oven back on, the indicator light lights up.  And when you turn on a hot plate, it makes the usual ticking noise it always did.  This means that power is getting through.  But the plates don't heat up.  So something is not right.  I'll get Fluffy to check it out.  Then we have to pull it out and clean it before we can call the landlord...

Oh well, looks like take away tonight.... pity that....

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lake Albert

So just a short post today, and then only because it was requested.

This last week has been odd.  I've been kind of sick with a cold, but the tablets the doc has me on for pain seem to be working wonders on my back.  That's great.  I haven't made my appointment with the pain clinic yet, because I'm too lazy I think...

This weekend, though, has made me wonder if I shouldn't.  Thursday night Fluffy and I did some shopping.  Dobby went to the shopping centre after school with friends, and stayed to watch a movie.  Fluffy and I went to do the grocery shopping and pick her up when she'd finished.

We walked in, and before we could even grab a bite to eat, he said he just wanted to stop at the phone store to find out if they had any help for him with getting his phone to play music through blue tooth in the car (which runs through is stereo).

Forty five minutes later we were done.  They talked him into a new phone and updating his plan.  Sucker.  Haha.  He is very happy though with his new phone.  He's gone onto a plan similar to mine, but he gets a discount and I'm still paying for his previous handset with my plan.  Something wrong with this picture I'm sure.

Anyway, after walking around aimlessly while he did that we had not time to shop.  So it was a nice sit down meal while we waited for Dobby.

That meant that she and I had to shop Friday night.  She was supposed to find beads for Kids Club she was hosting at the rally on the weekend, but she couldn't find any.  We stopped at the cheap shop and she found paper and pens to make Chatterboxes instead.  While there though, she got some ideas for other crafty things they can  make.  Good O then, that'll keep them amused next time.

Then we had to do the grocery shopping.  By the end of the night, going home and unpacking it all, preparing dinner etc, my back was quite sore.

We decided that we would leave for Meningie early Saturday.  It was a long weekend, but Meningie is a couple hours drive away.  So we were up with the chooks Saturday and ready to go before six-thirty.

Unfortunately we had a bit of a snag.  Fluffy is an ace at pulling the van out of the tight spot it has to go in.  But it was dark, and the landlord hasn't picked up the garden rubbish he said he would get, so that was blocking part of the way.  During his struggle to get the van out, Fluffy accidentally hit the front veranda support with the awning on the van.  And it was stuck.  If he went forward, the back of the van would hit.  If he went back he ran the possibility of ripping up the awning.

Being the legend that he is he gently ran it forward, back, forward, back, until it was clear enough for him to pull the van out away from the house.  We were then on the road just a few minutes from our preferred time.

The run down was lovely.  Not much traffic.  A quick stop at Tailem Bend for fuel and food, and we were on the road again.

We arrived not long after eight, and found someone had parked their car on our site.  They were in the shower... but apparently the car had been there all night, according to our neighbours.  Odd.  Anyway, eventually he moved it and we could set up.

Because it was a smaller site, we only needed to roll out the awning and put up Dobby's tent.  Too easy.  Time to wander around and see who was about before morning cuppa even.

After cuppa Dobby did her thing with the kids.  She had help from another teen, and they decided to take the kids for a walk first.  Then back to camp to make the Chatterboxes (folded paper with numbers, colours and affirmations written on them).

The kids seemed to have fun, and indeed some of the Chatterboxes made further appearances over the course of the weekend.

We had plenty of time after that for lazing about.  The only thing left was Happy Hour at four, and club hosted dinner (sausages with a bring a plate salad) at six thirty.  A lovely, lazy day.  But boy, was it cold!

I took plenty of photos of the sunset (as usual).  Not bothering to put them up here, you've all seen them on Facebook.

Sunday it was sooo bloody cold in the morning.  I think it got down to about 3 degrees.  My Achilles tendon started to hurt a bit, as it does when I am on my feet a lot.

Morning tea was at ten, followed by treasurer time (where we pay our fees) and Club Game.  I don't recall doing too much standing around.

I did walk into town though, with one of the other mums and Dobby, so perhaps that contributed, but through the course of the day my foot was so sore I could hardly walk on it.  I hate limping.  It becomes habit.  I have been trying to walk normally and not limp for some time, but the nipping pain that lingers still makes it hard.  How it was impossible.

The rest of the day was so quiet.  Fluffy had a nap, I almost did.  Most of the families went for a drive, and the family of the lass who helped her with Kids club (who was also sharing her tent for the night) took her with them for the afternoon.  Aaah, bliss.  Nothing to do, no time limit, plenty of nibblies.  I just spent the time reading, and downloading a couple of extra books onto the iPad.

Dinner was toasted sandwiches, then we had the SAPI Mini Olympics.  That was fun.  I stood there taking photos, but did participate in one event.  I sucked at it, but it was still fun.  All the cool people ended up on the Swedish team.  They are the funniest of the group.  Each team member was given a country and an event.  Mine was Germany, Archery.  The events were things like throwing little bean bags into rings or the furtherest across the room.  Where I was standing as a popular spot...  I narrowly missed a few bean bags to the feet.

They also had bouncing a tennis ball in team relays, twirling hula hoops, and throwing plastic plates (discus).  Dobby one a medal for shot put (throwing the little bean bags the furtherest).  It was actually a fun night, but then  most of our Socials are.

Sweden won, followed by France.  Australia and Germany tied third and Jamaica came last.  I had a laugh though because Inga from Sweden kept telling the Jamaican kids their flag was upsidedown... and they believed her...

Monday morning was pack up time.  It's always hard to leave.  This time I got to go home with a bite to the finger from Bruce the Galah.  It's come up in a suspicious spot now, so might have to keep an eye on it.

There is no rally in July, but we are all gathering for a Port River Dolphin Cruise so I'll make sure I have the camera out for that.  After that is the AGM rally, where we will officially become the Family and Friends Caravan and Camping Club.  Very exciting....

Sunday, 3 June 2012

It's soo good...

to have hubby home again.  This last couple of weeks have been, well, interesting.

You may remember I said Fluffy was going on a Boys Road Trip across the Simpson Desert.  It's been raining a lot here in Adelaide, so we were not sure what was going to happen up north, but apparently it wasn't bad at all.

But before that...

Dobby has been saying she is quitting cadets.  That has been a huge bone of contention in our family.  We strongly want her to keep it up - she's only just earned her hat for goodness sake.  She only offers the reasoning that she is falling behind at school.  Now, I have to tell you, we accredit that to poor time management, laziness and an unwillingness to change.  However, she is 15 so we were forced to listen.

In Fluffy's absence I was not willing to pursue this, however she had talked to her counselor at school, who suggested we sit and discuss it like adults.  She prepared Dobby with points of reasoning, including compromises.  I still strongly resisted, and this lead to Dobby storming off.  I realised I couldn't let it drag on anymore and was forced to admit defeat.  This saddens me terribly, but I recognise that she needs to make her own decisions.  But, as I knew it would, it didn't last long.  She spent all last week doing assignments, but sadly, doing just the smallest bit before ditching them in favour of Facebook or Skype, or texting her friends. 

Again this weekend.  It's taken her all week to do an assignment that should have taken no more than two hours.  However, I cannot say anything as it leads to a fight.

Anyway, enough of that little rant.

Her father's adventure, however, is a wonderful tale.  He was offered a place on this trip by a fellow caravanner.  He, of course, jumped at it.  The fellow in question, lets call him Bob (he's a builder, don't you know), is a very mild mannered, pleasant, quiet fellow.  Most of the time.. tonnes of fun otherwise.  His whole family are beautiful people.

So Fluffy bid us all farewell on Thursday the 24th, with his car all packed up with camping gear and a box of food, and headed up to Bob's place.  He called me when they were on their way to meet the rest of the pack, and that was the last I heard until the Saturday night.

Dobby and I got off to a good start.  Thursday we went shopping after work, grocery that is, and I made us dinner while she finished unpacking our purchases.  Friday we had a gathering of other "desert widows" to attend.  There were actually only two of us with husbands on the road, a 3rd who is a good friend, a 4th who is a workmate of the hostess, another who is a single mum, and the last whose husband is a soldier in Afghanistan.

As usual, we had a lovely evening.  I took up two bags of clothes that sadly no longer fit, and the next day I got a lovely message from the hostess saying that she got lots of goodies for her upcoming cruise and was very happy.  That's good to know.

Saturday, Dobby spent some time on her homework, and I ran a few errands.  I'm sure we did something else but it escapes me right now.  Saturday evening I promised Dobby Chinese dinner.  One around the corner does a family pack which used to be cheap but is creeping up in price.  It had 3 meat dishes (we chose beef and black bean, sweet and sour pork, and honey chicken) plus a container of vegetables, a container of fried rice, 4 spring rolls and a bottle of drink.  Still great value at $40.

While there I got a message to phone Bob so I could speak to Fluffy.  It was lovely to hear from him.  he was telling us that one of the boys had a brand new swag.  Through the night the rats had chewed through the canvas, through the interior, and bit him on the face.  Nice!  I found out today, that the bush telegraph really does work fast up there, that by the time they got to Birdsville two nights later, they already knew about it, because of one fellow who they told at a little pub.

I won't go into details of where they stopped here because it's too confusing for me, and Fluffy is otherwise occupied, but perhaps in a future one I'll give more details.

I can tell you, though, that they had a lot of fun.  They saw emus, camels (including a couple loaded up with a traveler and his goods), eagles, chicken hawks, and other native birds.  A flock of emu actually almost caused an accident.  They decided to race across the road between cars, then double back and almost wipe out the next car!

They crossed three states - South Australia, Queensland, and Northern Territory.  There is a triangular marker at the junction of these three, too, which they took photos of.  They traveled the Birsdville Track, Oodnadatta, Strezleki Track, Innaminka, William Creek, and various other little places (if you want to have a look on your map).  There are road warning signs out there.  In the event of rain the roads are closed due to the dangerous conditions.  They are clay and very slippery.  Apparently there are huge fines for traveling on those roads while they are closed too.

From Birdsville they took 4 days to cross the Simpson Desert.  Photos show miles and miles of nothing but sand hills.  With a single two tyre track winding over them.  You are obliged to call every few kilometers that you are on the road, so that other travelers are aware of you as you cannot see over the tops of the dunes.  4WDs are also supposed to have tall orange flags attached so that they can be seen.  The going was tough, but Fluffy said they saw plenty of other vehicles on the track, too, so it must be a popular thing to do.

In all they were gone ten days.  He said that they had written slogans in the red dust and mud on the back windows of the cars, which some readers may find offensive, so please be warned.  They included such gems as "Sorry Ladies I'm Gay", "Poofter", "Will Suck For Beer" and the one on Fluffy and Bob's car "Just Married".  That cracked me up.  Fluffy reckons he'd yell out "Wife!  Have you got my coffee on yet?" and Bob would make him a coffee and cook breakfast... Hmmm not sure that went very far to making him self sufficient, do you?

So, anyway, back to Dobby and I.  That Chinese dinner did us Saturday, Sunday, and Dobby finished it Monday.  Have to love that.  But things went bad for us from Sunday when we started discussing the cadets issue.  We finally resolved it Tuesday evening with a lot of tears and some home truths from both of us.  It hurts, but I have accepted she is quitting.  She has something on this Tuesday night, but I told her she has to have her gear all packed up ready to take back next Tuesday.

Wednesday was a terribly busy day.  She had netball straight after school.  I sometimes pick up a friend as well as her, and when I do I have to bring her almost back to our place.  It's also guitar day.  This week, however, the friend had other arrangements, so we decided to stop for dinner at Hungry Jacks, and sat outside guitar eating it. 

After guitar it was straight up to the hairdresser.  We didn't get home until 8.30 pm.  Long day.  Tuesday I cooked us cranskies and vegies for dinner, Thursday it was stir-fry and rice, and on Friday we had spaghetti while she did more work on her assignment.

Saturday morning I had a doctor appointment.  It was a follow up to one the Saturday before (I knew I did something else - she was supposed to have one too, but had a head cold and stayed home). I had a few things to talk about but he focused on my increased pain.  The doc sent me for a CT scan on my lower back to find out what's going on there, and changed some of my medications.  Saturday he reviewed the results and it turns out I do have some Facet issues - the tiny joint to the right of my back bone on my hip.  It's just wear and tear but terribly painful.  He wrote me a letter for a pain clinic but tells me they are very hard to get into.  He also is happy that my pain medication routine seems to be working, although this weekend I have been in agony.  It's girlie time, and that has been playing havoc with my back.  I have actually been in intense pain all weekend, and didn't even get any sleep last night (which I couldn't even blame on the fact that hubby was home!).

When I got back from the doc we did a quick clean of the house, and went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  Quite a good movie.  Kind of chick flick-ish, funny, poignant, and one I would probably see again.  Then it was home, finish some last minute stuff before Fluffy came home.  It was so lovely to see him and hear his tales.  He has a full face beard (which makes him look a lot like his brother, although taller and better looking).  I suspect it will come off tomorrow, though, sadly.

Back to work for me, he's got some cleaning up to do.  All their gear is full of red mud and dust.  You should have seen the cars.  Boy.  But the dog was happy Dad's home.  Very happy.  And so am I.  Now I just need to convince him it's my turn next... haha.

I do have some photos, but won't put them up till I have Fluffy's permission which ones to use.  He's a bit reluctant yet, because all the boys are pooling their pictures, which will be great.  When I am allowed, I'll pinch some.  There are some good action shots, and some lovely nature ones.  Good sunsets.  Can't wait to share them.