Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Katchup

This month I have been on break. This break is enabled by Ma who looks after Niece while she visits her mum over the Christmas and New Year period. This break has been longer than previous and I think I really needed it.

2018 has been a bad year for Niece's general behaviour. It's difficult to think of anything positive she's done though I have tried often to give her examples when discussing her behaviour with her. There have been so many examples of undesirable behaviour though. She is still pursuing boys, stating she likes one boy, then bullying and pushing her previous boy to resume the relationship. Her day groups have really had to rein in her behaviour. I have discussed with one of them that if the bullying of the previous boyfriend continues she must be spoken to very sternly. This has gone on long enough.

For those needing reminding, she was in a relationship with a young man but continued to flirt and kiss others. She told her boyfriend that she did this and lo! He broke it off. She refused to accept it. And every time she sees him she pushes to resume the relationship. Even though they are not a couple she accuses him of cheating on her if he likes another. On her last community access outing she told her support working her boyfriend is in Europe. So he is holidaying there, but he's certainly not her boyfriend. This behaviour has affected his enjoyment of the days they both attend I've been told. And continued for more than six months. So yes, time to really get serious with her. She won't listen to me anymore. Last time I tried, I received the whole eye roll and "here we go again!" spiel.

Her other day group has already had a very serious talk with her for the same reason (boys) and I've been told her behaviour there has improved as a result.

Her community access support worker has taken a promotion in the last couple of months of 2018. While I'm happy for her I am not happy for me. This has been a huge inconvenience. I'm going to have to train another. I really liked R (can't remember what I named her previously) because as a mother herself she was switched on to the bull. The last three outings for 2018 have been three different people, and Niece has taken advantage of at least one. She came home with a gift. It was a very small one but still, she'd conned her support worker into buying it for her. I had to remind Autism Queensland that this is not acceptable. You simply cannot fall for that or she will pull that stunt all the time.

Then to top it off AQ no longer provide their respite service. While Niece has been away I have had to source another provider. I manage Niece's supports myself and don't pay a third party to manage them for me. The NDIS portal is pretty useless as far as searching for a service provider. They have heaps of companies listed but no way of filtering them for things like short term accommodation. There are pages and pages. I think the number began with a 4. More than 4 so at least 40 within 20km of home. Possibly as high as 3 digits. How does one choose? You browse the first few pages, click the links, and see if the provider offers the service you require. Easy, right?

Hopefully I have found a provider. They have been very helpful so far but we are not yet at the stage of finalising anything definite. The co-ordinator is yet to make contact so we can do a meet and greet. I'm crossing my fingers because this is a painful process and I'm not keen to have to keep at it.

However, while she has been away I've managed to spend some quality time with MOTH, dining out on a voucher we received for Christmas, and going to see Aquaman. I really enjoyed that movie. A little corny in places perhaps but visually stunning. And I don't just mean Jason Momoa. We celebrated Christmas a little earlier this year. Grandson was promised to go to his other grandparents for an extended stay so we did ours around the 20th. I missed most of him opening his presents as I was in the middle of a phone call and didn't feel I could terminate it. And then it was lunch prep time so I really did miss it. So did MOTH because he had to attend an appointment and wasn't home when they started. He was disappointed. I did give them permission to start though as Grandson is 8 months old and was tired and restless. I did enjoy the day despite missing that.

Pa and Ma celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary at end 2018. On the spur of the moment MOTH and I decided to travel up there to join the festivities. It was a very quick visit. One day to drive up, the day of the celebration to catch up with everyone, then driving back the next day. It was good to see siblings and even Bro had managed to travel from interstate. He seems so much happier than I've seen him for a long time. We stayed at The Oaks on Grand. Lovely room and very central. The meal was good as some of Sibling #1's friends who have known the family for a long time joined in as well. The meal was great; there was no restaurant in that venue when I used to haunt it many, many years ago. That part was a nightclub. I had fettucini alfredo. A basic meal but done very well.

The drive home seemed long. Somewhere along the highway there was a fatal crash and the highway was closed in both directions. Traffic had been rerouted off the highway and through back roads between towns with no real signage to indicate we were travelling in the right direction. We judged that by the amount of traffic on the roads. And even on this detour, some idiot in a 4WD decided he could pass multiple cars and came at us head on. We had to slow to give them time to get back in their lane. I mean TRAFFIC ALREADY ON A DETOUR FROM A FATAL AND HERE'S THIS IDIOT MAKING SURE SOMEONE ELSE WAS GOING TO ALSO PAY THAT PRICE. I was so angry....

Elder posted a photo from a picturesque place nearby so we took an hour detour from the detour and decided to swing by. We all met up and dined at the local with her, her SO, the Grandson, and a couple of Elder's friends. It was a very pleasant diversion.

Teen had moved back in with us after trying to fly solo earlier in the year. She had split from her then fellow who was making life a tad difficult and putting a lot of financial pressure on her. She couldn't afford to live alone. A search for housemates proved futile so she had to break lease and move back. She's moved out again but on the day she was to move out, the lease holders decided they were not renewing the lease after February so she's stuck again. Why are young people so unreliable these days? If they were considering that why did they offer her the space in the first place? She does have a new fellow though who is very articulate and personable. He also looks a little like Jason Momoa, so we give her a hard time about that. They went to see Aquaman and she gave it a glowing endorsement ... "I didn't fall asleep".

So here's hoping that 2019 will be a better year for everyone, both financially and behaviour wise.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dusty's Scrapbook Part 3

This is it. The last plant. The last one. The last one to perfect. And I think... I think I have finally completed the tasks Mayor Epoch set for me...

And as I look back, I wonder at the journey it has been. It has taken some time and yet though the seasons have flown by, I feel very little older. It must be the air here. I don't know. Dry, dusty, yet clean. I don't know what went before but it seems to be slowly returning to right. I feel ... invigorated some days, tempted to dance and sing. I'm not very good a singing though. I can play the violin, play the strings in a way that can bring you to tears. It's beautiful after the sun goes down. I play while the sky darkens and the lights dance.

Speaking of which, the aliens are becoming daring. The "raids" are becoming more frequent. Even in daylight! I haven't really taken notice of whether this has happened since I first made contact.

I think I've mentioned the demise of Mayor Epoch who gave me the challenge. I've followed through regardless and passed my knowledge to his son, Mayor Chilliad. We have become good friends. Well, what choice did I have really? Spark chose him for a life partner so I must abide. They have a little one now. He is very ... determined.

Fuel and I have been bustling busy. Raising 12 children together, exploring space, fishing, and finding and cultivating cow plants has been ... a rush. Most of our children arrived in multiples so it has been a HUGE learning curve. Only the triplets Columba, Delphinus, and Carina still live with us. The others have struck out to find life on their own. Galaxia was Fuel's "gift" from the Outer Reaches. I wasn't sure at first but we managed to find a way. As a parent, we can only do our best I believe. What your children do with the wisdom you try to impart is up to them. You can only stand back and watch. Spark. Well, Spark. She has found her niche I think. I hope. She and Mayor Chiliad seem content at the moment but I have seen her out partying. At the Cliffs, the Ruins, and in the clubs. As far as I know she has cheated the system and owns no cow plants, even though they have a child. I am hoping that Mayor Chiliad does not like cake.

Cygnus became enamoured with the idea of vampires. She studied; it became an obsession. So much so that she left to live with and serve a vampire coven in Forgotten Hollow. I feel that Aquila too may have not matured in a way that I had hoped. He moved in with Rev Engine ... one thing lead to another and now they have twins. Fuel has never spoken of this so I don't know how he feels. He has little contact with his previous family. And I think I like that.

The very odd Cliff Dwellers proved to be very friendly once I got to know them well. When I had their trust, Precipice and Crag showed me the glory of the growfruit. It's beautiful. And perfect. Once when I was "lost" upstairs in their vast and confusing dwelling, I stumbled across a strange structure. Shaped much like an arched doorway. It brought back a subtle, elusive tingle of a show I may have watched as a child. One that involved a group of magic windows, one of which was shaped like an arch. There was a side panel on the doorway and I was compelled to experiment. Was this the evidence Mayor Epoch had mentioned? That may have been a yes.

I've learned to love gardening, including the cow plants. Getting my plants to perfect has taken such a long time of dedication and a lot of help from Carina's gardening group. I felt I needed a new hobby and so introduced the bees. Most of the time they are extremely beneficial. But occasionally ... OUCH!

I've built a rocket. Complete with all the upgrades! Fuel did help but I managed most of the work myself from parts salvaged and traded. I spent ages exploring and finding odd pieces of debris. I even managed to serve as a god once or twice for a civilisation of ... I don't know what. So many space miles. And suddenly, there it was! The wormhole. And I travelled through. A bumpy ride but so worth it. At the end was a blue planet. Unusual plants and other specimens to be found! Amazing! I've travelled far enough and notched enough miles to complete my collections and achieve my aspirations. They've even been recognised! By some ... distant murky institution I did not even know existed.

The last few years a new tradition has developed. Lotto Day. Everyone - or nearly everyone - buys a ticket in the lottery. One year, I WON! I REALLY WON! What do I do with all these funds. Fuel and I discussed this many times. But I did what I wanted anyway. What do I want with a new house with our own electricty supply?? I really like the one I have. Though an unrestricted electricity supply has its own appeal. Anyway, I bought a business. Specifically, I purchased the Mercantile from the Salamanders. So here I am. A business owner. I think I've finally made it.

And now ... now I think it's time for a rest. I'm sure I've done what I needed to do. Time to settle back, enjoy what life is left to me, enjoy Fuel, and finally get to know those grandchildren. I think I'll let the triplets run the business for me. Mmmm yes.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dusty's Scrapbook part 2

Is it wrong to have doubts about your children and the way you have raised them? I know I shouldn’t. She’s my daughter and I love her unreservedly. But it’s all just so… convenient. Just a little too convenient. And it doesn’t sit right. I shall never broach the subject with her. I don’t want to find out something I don’t really want to know.

I noticed something untoward when I dropped by the new Mayor’s house. I needed to get to know Acquisition faction but where to begin. He’s so reclusive I decided on a direct approach and took Spark with me. In hindsight it was perhaps not a good move…

Cygnus and Aquila were growing so very fast when Fate decided to expand the family yet again. Three rambunctious young ladies who keep us on our toes! Columba, Delphinus, and Carina. I loved having a full house. We broke tradition this time round and named our children after the stars. The stars are so beautiful here at night.

Spark seemed preoccupied. I wasn’t sure why but I had an inkling. And then I found out for sure.

As a mother I was worried. I hadn’t noticed anything going on. Not even any tension between Spark and Omar. All was normal. Or seemed to be. They seemed happy together.

And then, Omar ate the cake. He KNEW you don’t eat the cake. Did she whisper? Did she tempt? It feels like she did. She was free now to have who she wanted.

She mourned for a short time then picked up where she left off. It just seemed too, too easy. Now she and Mayor Chilliad are married. It was the weirdest wedding I’ve ever been to. I guess he doesn’t have many friends.

I wonder if this one will survive. She seems happy. Again.

I should be thinking of contacting the Cliff Dwellers again. It’s very odd. They are odd. Each time I visit the house I need to reintroduce myself and begin our acquaintance again. Precipice was one of my first friends but it’s like she’s completely forgotten…

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Oh! I forgot to mention!

We are now grandparents! Facehugger made his arrival on 30 April, a fine healthy specimen. He chose not to arrive at his home turf, but while we were at Gold Coast to attend Supanova.

Which I guess is fitting. His parents met at that event a couple of years ago, and here he is, trying to arrive there. The labour began while we were at the event on the Sunday. It created a small stir among the few who knew. Elder was very uncomfortable all day but did her best to carry on as normal.

That evening things were still happening although there hadn't been any dramatics like breaking waters causing floods. And then after a shower, she explained that she thought it might have gotten quite real. I phoned Teen who was still at home. An hour or more away. We waited for her to arrive then Elder, JCH, and Teen headed for the nearest hospital.

There were some complications as pre-eclampsia testing produced a positive result. That meant she wasn't going anywhere soon. It was long and protracted and he was finally born 10:28am on Monday. Everyone was exhausted but doing fine. High blood pressure meant that Elder wasn't coming home any time soon. She was devastated.

I had to make arrangements to stay an extra night so everyone could recover. Lucky for me the hotel was *ahem* accommodating. We travelled home the next day, leaving Elder behind.

So it's been almost three weeks now, and I've only just remembered to tell you. Old Timer's I guess. Welcome to the madhouse kid.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dusty's Scrapbook

I don’t remember much of the Before. I remember I was happy that morning. By lunchtime the sky had turned black, the sun blocked out, and the beings came. I don’t remember much of what followed. I try but the memories wisp and fracture like handfuls of the campfire smoke. I just know I am no longer that carefree teenager. I woke lying in the dust. My throat was dry, my eyes burned. In fact, when I finally managed to rise, everything was dry…

I didn’t record much of my new beginning. Everything was so different. I think I felt shell shocked, lost. The rules were different. Heck, the WORLD was different. I had to learn to fend for myself in this new environment.

Trash fruit were to be my main staple food while I lived here. Ugh. Really? Luckily they tasted a little better than they smelled. I needed to grow them from scratch and raise them to "perfect". It took a long time but I learned to garden, fish, and gather and identify those little plants in a place named Granite Falls. I learned how to make deodorising cream. That, and the shower tarp I caught at the falls made it so much easier. I didn’t have to travel to the hot springs to get clean. Not being able to shower every day took some getting used to! Murcantile Mutual stock the coolers so I knew I wouldn't starve. And I could sell what I caught and scavenged to support myself too.

Travelling and foraging is a great way to meet new people and I needed to make friends with a lot of people. I have happily made many friends. Lavender and Jeep were the first.

And across the way are a wonderful bunch of free spirits, the Freegans. While they are all great, Brennachan is the warmest soul I have ever met. She taught me a lot about Murkland and gardening. And dancing. We quickly became best friends.

And somewhere in there I met the Engine family. Rev, her partner Fuel, and their two children, Rocket and Diesel. One of the most poignant moments of my life; one I both treasure and regret. Rev was open, friendly, and welcoming. Fuel… the attraction was instant, magnetic, and undeniable. We couldn’t stay away from each other. I knew I couldn’t, shouldn’t but I was powerless.

Murkland. Beautiful in her own way. I think I’ve settled in quite well. An Emissary of the Mayor dropped by to “discuss my Murkland obligations”. Excuse me? It caught me completely unprepared. There are things I need to do to help the population. It’s scary but it means…

Suddenly I could ask. Terrified and excited at the same time, I took my heart and offered it to Fuel…

He said YES! And in short order he was divorced. I am truly sorry Rev for what we did to you. But my life with Fuel has been amazing.

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The Puffer Dome is popular. I've not be able to work out why. You take your life into your hands when you dine there! Maybe that IS the drawcard. Fuel always went directly to the fridge in the kitchen. Taking a cue from him ensured our survival.

I hadn’t actually met the Mayor. Or any of the Salamanders. They dine regularly at the Puffer Dome. The point of taking your life into your hands was bought home in a rather drastic way while Fuel and I were dining there… The Mayor’s eldest son has taken up the mantle now but no one sees him.

I was a good citizen - I paid my bills. That meant we could move on up in the world; to an actual dwelling. This even had a basement! And we were able to build it further for even more room. I really like it here. We even had room for all the things I needed to collect for the Mayor. There's even room for a rocket so I can explore space. I've found some interesting things there; space rocks, live coral, and even a wormhole! That lead to collecting some unusual plant life. I don't know what to do with those yet.

Ahhh, and the cow plants. They needed to be on deck before we could have children. Part of our contribution apparently. One I found in outer space. The other I grafted using my newly acquired gardening skills. They are wonderful but don’t turn your back on them! Or forget to feed them.

Children. They have been a blessing and yet the source of an infinite sadness. Tank and his sister Jet. Our eldest and first twins. All grown now with children of their own.

A daughter Spark. She’s the photographer. All grown and partnered with a young man we met at Granite Falls. They live with us now, but I can’t wait for them to move out.

This is a beautiful place. I learned herbalism here. I don’t get to travel here as often as I might like. I need to forage for rainbow fireflies for my rage relieving salve. I have a quota to fill and sell.

Another set of twins. Our beautiful boys Steam and Petrol. Oh my poor Petrol. He always seemed so desperately unhappy. We tried our best. My world darkened a little after he gave himself to the cow plant.

And Boxer, our last child. Well, I thought she would be our last. We loved our full house…

We were always close. I love looking back through these pictures. We pretended to worship the shower gods. It made waiting for shower days a little more fun. I didn’t realise at the time we’d managed to catch Boxer mid toot! Petrol hides through the day but sometimes we see him, still trying to contribute in his own way. Those crazy teens liked their selfies! We went on a family holiday to catch some foreign culture and help expand Boxer’s interest in archeology. It seems the only thing we caught was a bad case of fireflies. Oh, and Petrol caught a scorpion sting.

Travelling around has made me realise that though the dust blows through the canyons, Murkland isn’t all bad.

Home is where the heart is they say, and Murkland is my home. She’s dry and cracked but I love her anyway. Neighbouring Nukecrest is dressed in green; the complete opposite of home. The greenest spot is the Meeting Place, a local bar. It’s busy, but then again, it’s the only meeting place there outside of the flea market. I haven’t been there yet.

After all this time my heart STILL skips a beat when I look at him. He’s amazing and works hard to support us.

The kids have grown and the Vardo seems a little too large now. There is still so much I have to do! And yet, and yet …

Cygnus and Aquila. Welcome to our world!

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… … TBC … …