Tuesday, May 29, 2012

But what are you going to call me now...?

She wails. She's about to have a birthday and won't been a Teen much longer. What else can I name her? She's been the Teen for so long I may as well keep it.

What a week it's been! There haven't been enough hours in the day.

Last week the budget worked out and MOTH and I made a dash north to visit Ma and make sure she was behaving herself. A big ask, I know. She will be fresh from hospital but not taking things easy - there is just too much to do and not enough people to do it for her. And being bush bred and a tough cookie, she won't slow down or ask for help either. Stress is a big issue but there is no relief in sight.

So, home from the conference on Saturday lunchtime with enough time to do the washing and repack for a departure on Monday morning after I drop off the work car...

Finally on the road and I get a call from the GM. What do I know about a work car with a cracked windscreen? Whaaat? It wasn't mine, I know that much. Are you coming in he asks. Ummmm noooooo. He managed to get it sorted without me though. Whew.

We stop off at Ma's place for a short time before we head into town to camp at Mouse's. Apparently the kids are home from school as Niece and Nephew greet us at the front door with very loud voices. Eventually Ma and Pa arrive downstairs and there is happy laughter all around. I had expected a flood of tears. Only Mouse knew we were coming. Ma happily informs me that if I had arrived a couple of days before there would definitely have been a flood of tears. She still isn't coping very well. Mouse has choir tonight but will forsake it if I don't want to go with her. I'm happy to go but then we won't have time for a bottle of Brown Brothers moscato. She ditches choir.

Today I will spend the morning with the Teen while MOTH goes with Ma and Pa to the hospital. He will ask about his medical records while he is there. I text Teen to ask what she is doing. Grocery shopping but she has no way of getting to the shops and getting it home again. I guess a taxi is rather expensive. I tell her I will pick her up. Whhhhhaaaat???? She didn't know I was in town either. The Elder did, she guessed from my last blog entry *smarty bum*. While out shopping we come across Wookie. Someone I could have done without seeing. She is Subs sister and Elder has been trying to avoid her. She and I chat for a while then I move on. Teen laughs at the way I did that *when she took a breath, stood up, said i had to keep going and started walking. she followed* We dropped by Elder's place of employment for a quick chat. Mu-um, she says, I got dressed in a hurry and realised that I am wearing the top I cooked dinner in last night. I've got pasta sauce on it. Can you please buy me another?? *wow. that's almost as good as the teen* I buy her a new top and jeans. She spies Wookie out the front talking to an apparently mutual friend and tries to hide but the friend calls out to her and she has nowhere to go.

Off to grocery shopping and drop Teen home. It's the first peek at the unit where she is staying. The living area is large and the place seems clean. Much better than previous abodes!

Head out to Ma's place to look after Rabbit and the kids. Not sure if her Respite Lady will be out today and Ma has to head back to hospital to see the doctor. Ma and Pa arrive early and Ma heads me off to sit and talk for a while. I keep her occupied on the couch while Rabbit wanders about and Niece and Nephew go off to do their thing. MOTH and Pa gravitate toward the garage to sort out a new antenna for the car. Spend the next day with Ma and Pa as they take Niece and Nephew to the Pediatrician. Pathology first to feed the vampires; Ma stands when the Nurse opens the collection room door. Hold up Granny she says, this lady comes first while she flashes a cheeky grin at Ma. Then to collect the kids for their appointment. We wait and while we wait a woman comes in with three boys. Some people just have no clue how to parent! They run in circles yelling and shouting, playing with the water dispenser and the suction valve on the wall. Stop it she says, we're in a hospital but they take no notice *hardly surprised there! i manage to catch the eldest boy's eye and he slows down a little* We don't get away from there until nearly 2pm.

Ma treats me to lunch at Coffee Club and who is sitting near us? Wookie, her mother and Nan. You just can't get away from some people!

State of Origin night and Teen asks us down to her local. She's recently started work there and seems to be enjoying it. They do have a policy though that means staff are not allowed to drink there *i think due to some fracas that occurred once* but it has been relaxed tonight. I'm surprised when Elder, Burrich and a friend join us as well. It's a good evening and MOTH manages to catch up with an old acquaintance who seems to be a regular.

Now it's Elder's turn for a visit and we swing by her place. It's ... not what I expected. Burrich is apparently in the process of moving in and there is stuff everywhere. She's not feeling very chirpy at present and they still need to find a doctor for Burrich. He's had today off sick and needs a medical certificate. We spend a little time at the shops before she needs to leave. Of course, it's EB Games. While we chat, she shows me a game and offers to buy it for me. Payback for buying her the clothes. Sure! I can't wait to get it home to look at it.

Back out to check on Ma and have dinner. She shows me the report she has received following the autism spectrum test that have been done for Niece and Nephew. Oh my. They're shocking. The brief paragraph on their background is wrong. Nephew's name appears multiple times in Niece's report. A quick glance seems to indicate that even the results tables are exactly the same. It looks like a very shoddy cut and paste job. This is the sort of effort she has been battling for years trying to get help for them and respite for herself.

She treats us to KFC. She likes to watch the soaps so I sit on the couch and read while they're on. I glance up and Rabbit is dozing on one side. I poke her awake. We laugh at her jumping. I go back to the book and look up again later. Rabbit has dozed off again. I look at the other side. It's catching - Ma has dozed off too. BY GOD, I say, and almost fall off the couch laughing as they've both jumped a mile high. Probably not good for Ma's ticker....

Made arrangements to cook dinner for Mouse today. We've been there for a week and not managed to spend much time with her. We had wine left over from a previous purchase the day before, this one a sparkling red. *Brown Brothers again. i love that label* to have with roast beef. It turns out well and the wine goes down a treat.

Home today, and we get lost. Stopping in a new shopping centre to stock up on road snacks and buying fuel. How can you get lost in a servo? But we did. The line markings were confusing MOTH says. There are way more stops for roadworks on the way home than on the way up. 80km for 4 kms, 100 for 2, 60 for 5 and down to 40 then back to 100km. And MOTH growls. Why are there stretches of road where the limit is 60km and not a road worker in sight??? We make good time though, stopping only to change drivers. Lunch is packed in the cooler so a quick toilet break and check the front tyre is the only stop. *i ran over something. something HARD that jolted MOTH something terrible. i think it was a bit of blown tyre thrown up by the vehicle in front* Jerome is not in sight when we come in. I look for him and suddenly he answers. He runs to me and chatters on, smooching about my ankles and shins, standing on his hind legs and giving me full body bumps in greeting.

He's been a little paranoid ever since. It's ok Jerome, I promise I won't leave you again unless I'm off to work. I promise. Till next time. And I'm hoping that won't be too soon!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Conference week

The tutorials begin the week this time. All is quiet and it's a small break after the rush of last Sunday. It also gives me breathing space to work on the app before the demand kicks in on Wednesday.

The tank has come in! True, it's not quite what I was expecting, but hey! It will do!

I head out to the lawn to watch.

The booths are mostly set up. We have a cut out at the stand and some are game enough to have photos taken... We have a wii at the booth. We are offering a prize and the geeks are happy to have a go. Admin2 badgers me to play but I don't like to do that when people are watching. Eventually a passing geek talks me into it. I've never played the game before and get a score of 586. It's not the best but it's not the worst either. *i'm happy. and now i think i want a wii. or maybe an xbox. i miss that...*

I'm waiting for the Gala Dinner. I've arranged the 501st for delegates and I hope they will like it. Not many people know about it and I've kept it that way so it's more of a surprise. I think it goes over well.

I've organised for them to arrest one of the speakers and take him from the stage. But OH NO! Everything is running about fifteen minutes ahead of the run sheet and 501st have missed their cue. The speaker went shorter than time and fled the stage quick smart too. Luckily, I had asked C her opinion about it before adding it to 501st run sheet. The GM took the stage, called the speaker back and arranged the 'arrest' photos. I didn't see the speaker again after so don't know if he enjoyed the experience. I'm told from those who could see that he was in seventh heaven.

I didn't feel well and left before Axis of Awesome.

Budget day and luckily this month is a three pay month. I decide that the bills can wait - MOTH and I will trip up north for a few days. I arrange with C and K to have the week off.

The conference is finally at an end. I'm doing pack up duty with Admin2 and it's between 1600 and 1630 when we finish. I don't like driving a work car in the dark so I had booked an extra night. We decide to stay. We haven't spent all the budget for the week, so we have dinner at the pizzeria. I have carbonara and MOTH a pizza. We sit, talk, wind down. The carbonara is absolutely delicious. We've arrived, been served and eaten within forty-five minutes. I crash after watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and don't stir till after 0600 the next morning. Excellent sleep for me.

Head out the next morning and within mere seconds MOTH says you probably should have gone that way. Things deteriorate from there. Karen tells me to go one way, MOTH tells me another but today he is a terrible navigator and says That way while vaguely waving his hand around. I take several wrong turns. I'm getting frustrated and stressed, MOTH is getting angry too. He asks if I put the right destination in when I started. Yes, I did. He is going to reset it just in case, has a go at taking it off the mount and gives up. Things are getting worse. I duck down an empty side street to do a U turn. We're still arguing and in the few seconds it takes me to pull in and turn, I've not checked the mirror and someone slams on the brakes and beeps their horn. A few seconds in an empty suburban street. MOTH thinks later that she has come around the corner pretty quickly too.

Karen tries to take us back in her original direction and MOTH throws his hands up. Just go where she says. I do. We're on the motorway in a very odd way *it looks like we are going south when we need to go north* and all is good for a time. We pass exit 24, looking for exit 23. Guess what! ... ... It's blocked off. No exit 23. Or 22. Or even 21. We take the next and come home a totally different way.

Finally home! And as I come in the door, MOTH is looking at Jerome. Jerome is looking at me and when I speak, he meows and runs to me, twisting around my ankles and telling me how good it is to see me. He's on the bed, nuzzling my hands and purring like an engine. He's barely left my sight since.... and yet, I have to leave him again...

Friday, May 18, 2012

I've been so busy!

I can't believe that it's been two weeks since I last updated! And I've not even kept notes...

It's the lead up to the conference. The last week and I've been running around like a chook with my head cut off. Last minute things like hoping some of the collateral arrives at the office before then!

It does, and I have made arrangements for it to be virus scanned before distribution. Yes, it's a USB stick. The sponsor has asked they all be scanned but I've managed to negotiate a higher than normal quota. I've tripled it. I have also managed to get two of the GTs to help with the task. I distribute the sticks and wait for them to come back to me for their final scan. There are 6 from each tray. And about 10 trays. This afternoon I ask Admin2 if she can help. Sure she can do that. I have one day to do it. It's the last day before we all leave for the Coast. I ask Admin2 for help. I'm sorry, she says. I can't, I'm busy.... (!)

My favourite GT sends and email. HE'S LEAVING! OH NOES! Now I think I am really going to have to work on finding another job. But I'm still close to my long service leave. Do I give that up or wait? I think I will wait a bit longer.

This week has been so rushed!

I've been enjoying myself a little more. C is finally trusting me to do more so I am being kept busy. Very busy.

One of the work projects has come to an end. That means no more tape changes. No more monthly report writing. And now that the conference has come to an end for the year, I have no idea what my duties will be. Perhaps I might not even have a job for long...

We've been told that for the gala dinner we will need to sit at a work table with named places. I hate that. Hate it a lot. I work with Admin2 and don't like her enough to spend time at the same table. Closer to time, we are given the option of seating ourselves. I jump at the chance and send an email to say MOTH and I will 'free range'. Fave GT edits that to add a bracketed "like crazy chickens" and the jokes come flying. Complete with chicken suits with the GT's head.... Conference girl comments on it - the nonsense YOU started, she says.

Dinner will be provided for staff on Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights. Partners costs won't be covered but they are welcome to attend as well. I reply to say I won't attend any. The girl employed by us to help with conference stuff is somewhat stunned when I tell her 'none'. I tell her that MOTH is just as likely to say 'nah, too expensive', 'can't be arsed' etc. And he will. The venue is 5 star with 5 star prices. Think a 12 inch gourmet pizza for $30. We can drive to the nearest KFC and get something cheaper thanks!

I've collected the work car and I think I'm set for the next week. The house sitter is arranged so Jerome won't go hungry. Saturday comes and off we go. I take MOTH with me, although this year work will not be covering any of his expenses outside of the conference social functions.

As I go to check in, C is there. She tells me she is about to call me and asks if we will be joining everyone else for dinner. It seems that work is required to pay for a certain number of people anyway so if that number don't turn up, he can take one of the paid meals. I check with MOTH. He says ok, so dinner tonight is taken care of. Hopefully for both of us.

We have been trying to use an app for the conference program and proceedings. It works on smart phones and devices so you don't need printed copies of the program for everyone. It got buggy and the vendor tells me it will be right when the Apple store release the update. I grit my teeth and soldier on. One of the Managers has been trying to use it and gets cranky. Hey! It's not my fault! I can't help it and I've asked questions... I didn't write the bloody thing! ... ... siiiigh. It works fine for a day then gets buggy again... This isn't going to be pretty.

The work room is set up and I go to keep working on the conference app. IT'S WORSE THAN BEFORE! I decide that I have to let C know now.... I've been talking to the vendor and although they are helpful, they aren't giving me much I can work with. One of the GTs has noticed a massive packet loss and not only is it occurring for my app, it's also the conference network in general. Panic stations everyone!

I decide to quit for the day. The GT is still working on things, and I miss C when she comes to see what is happening. They contact the vendor and apparently their data centre is at a complete stand still. Not helpful Jan!

I am working on Mother's Day. It's Sunday and my work day starts at 0745. It's the start of a long, busy and often boring week.

That night, as MOTH and I return from buying our dinner, I get news that Ma is in hospital... What am I going to do? I want to visit but I don't think I can. C tells me to do what I need but I decide that I can't do much at present and continue on.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Living on a ... rush?

The conference is only a week away and I'm feeling very pressured now. I am not sure I will get this task finished in time. But I don't know who else can help me as everyone is as busy as I.

Anzac Day this week. A day to give thanks to our fallen for the sacrifice they made. Stan travelled out to Longreach for the ceremony. He was gone for a week. I arrived home from work to find a parcel on my bed. Stan had bought back gifts. I now have a FUSCHIA t-shirt. It's a tight fight but well good enough for home wear.

The sun has set and the night is getting dark. I'm minding my own business when Jerome starts to call. Yowl would be more like. Or yodelling. Uh oh. That tells me he's definitely not happy about a trespasser. I look out the bedroom window and I think I can see a shadow. Jerome continues to call. He's very loud! I unlock the front door and yes, there's a cat sitting at the top of the garden steps. I shoo it away. Or I try. It just stares at me. I shoo it again and it heads down the steps. I can see it silhouetted under the street lamp. They're sneaky but I am too. I stand there and sure enough, it comes back. I chase it again and it walks away. I stand out there like a fool for a few more minutes but it doesn't return.

It's a time for Police cars I think. I'm on the bus and there are three of them parked in a bus stop. There is blue and white checkered tape closing off the top of the stairs. Uh oh. What's going on here???

The Elder tells me it's Starlight week this week. Her employer works to raise funds for the Starlight Foundation, a children's charity. I think she even managed an extra day at work. She was totally chuffed. AND she got to wear her pyjamas to work. Why can't I do that? Oh wait, I had to retire my mad fave Jim Beam jammies. That just wouldn't work.

Starlight Foundation is also a favourite charity of the 501st Legion. I get off the bus and there they are! Brilliant! I am rushing to the next bus stop and I only have my bus fare in my pocket. I wish I could have taken photos! It turns out that I did have enough time after all. I had forgotten I had actually caught an earlier bus and now had twenty minutes for change over. The costuming this group wears is amazing. Not something tacky, but Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group.

This morning I go past the bus stop where the Police were parked. The steps are still roped off but today there is a sign advising a partial collapse of the bike path. I hope no one was hurt yesterday.

I'm not in the office today. I have training so I'm out of the office. I've not done this training before and it's usually two days. They've squeezed it into one. I'm expecting a loooong day. The course starts at 10.30am and I'm not certain of the location of the training room. I arrive at 10.00am. Early I know but the trainer is already there. I apologise for being early; he directs me to the coffee and continues to pack up from the previous class while we chat look at some of the pictures hanging on the walls.

Closer to 10.30am and others start arriving. It looks like I'm the only woman in the class... but no another turns up. This training is for my department at work and I know the other lady well. We fill out our forms and the training begins. Yes, people I am now a First Aid Officer. But goodness knows how I became that. CPR was up first. I can't even remember if I actually used the dummy. I think I did. Briefly. I DID get to use the defibrillator. *whoo!* That's easy because it tells you what to do.

CPR finished and .... everyone else left. That left just me for the Senior First Aid certificate. Ummmm. The trainer gave me a multiple choice questionnaire to complete. Take a guess he says and we'll go through it when you finish. The first ten questions had been included in the CPR training so I started from question eleven. There were thirty questions in all. When I finished, we went through them all. I got five wrong. He was impressed, considering I've not held a certificate before. He did a quick demo of bandaging a bite, use improvisation for a wrist splint. Showed me how to use an epipen, an asthma puffer with an improvised spacer. We ran through a couple of scenarios. Someone has fallen over and hit their head, split their lip and hurt their elbow; which one would you treat first?

So, somehow, I'm a qualified First Aider. And the whole process took ... two hours...

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Time is aflying!

The conference is looming and it all seems to be going too fast! MOTH still wants to come with me but I think this year will be more expensive than the last. We were told partners get everything. And perhaps they do. Just not everything everything. I'm thinking I will have to fund his lunch on a few days instead of having it supplied.

The week started off well too.

Been so tired lately. I can't even bring myself to cook a decent meal. You know, with vegetables and all that. I guess MOTH could do it but it hasn't even occurred to me to ask. Tonight I decide on a premanufactured chicken schnitzel with a fried egg. I'm talking to MOTH and dishing the food onto the plates. The egg is not dead. It throws itself from the pan to the floor. MOTH smiles and takes pity on me, even 'keeping' it after I offer him mine. He 'reassures' me while eating that there are no gritty bits so all worked out fine. Sheesh.

I'm a little later this morning and the line of traffic to get under the bridge is taking its time. The usual assortment of motorcycles go past, lane splitting in an effort to get ahead. I hate that. It's dangerous. Suddenly I notice the scooter which has just gone past has two front wheels!

A conference meeting today and I think it's my turn to supply the snacks. Usually Bee does it. I get up early and make cheese scones. I think they are pretty good. None of them came home so I guess I wasn't the only one.

It's a bus day today. I'm staring out the window and plotting the bus's next move. I do that sometimes especially if I don't ride the bus very often. I don't know why. Left here, I think. The bus goes right. Oh. I must have got it wrong. A passenger in front calls out YOU'RE GOING THE WRONG WAY! Nope, I was right. Now the driver is confused. So is her sidekick. I think they are learning a new route and the driver map seems to be marked wrong. She doesn't know how to get out of where she is; streets are really narrow here and there is no room for a bus to turn. One of the young passengers directs her down a side street and back across the traffic. We've effectively done a loop and are on our way again. I'm later than usual. But not too late.

I'm driving home and I can see red and blue flashing lights in the distance. Wonder what's going on there? I get closer and I see a police vehicle cross to the wrong side of the street. The lights are still flashing. I have enough time to notice that it has parked in front of an ambulance. Behind the ambulance is the paramedic. Parked on the footpath is another police car. Police get out of the car just parked and run toward the back of the unit complex. I can't see anything from the road. A little further down, a motorcycle policeman is headed that way with lights and sirens.

There's nothing on the news bulletins later that night that could have clued me in. *sigh. only time i'm actually interested in something and all is quiet*

Finally home for the weekend. That is, it's Friday and I'm finished work. MOTH has had some work done on his teeth yesterday and his mouth is still a little sore tonight. A light easy tea; he's cooked his winter supply of pea and ham soup so we have that. I had chicken mince out and decide that we can have it for lunch tomorrow. But I cook them up later that night and we snack on them. Miss Fisher's Mysteries is on and I settle down to watch that. And read a book.

It's raining this morning. In fact, it rains all day. MOTH is cooking roast pork. I make an apple crumble for dessert and send him to the shops to collect cream or icecream to go with it. He gets both. Cadbury caramello icecream in fact. MOTH comments that he hopes the crumble topping cooks through. The last few times I've made it, it browns on top but is still floury down near the apples. It's done this for as long as I can remember. I turn the heat up a little. Perhaps that will help? Time passes. OOPS! I can smell something crisping when it shouldn't be. I rush back to the crumble. I forgot I had turned the temp up. It's beginning to blacken on top, just. Juice from the apples has bubbled up and begun to caramelise in places, burn in others. And when I dish up, it's STILL floury underneath. *just can't win* I tell MOTH that maybe I won't bother to cook it anymore. He disagrees. The pork is amazing, the crackling perfect and dessert is accompanied by a chilled glass of wine. Marvellous.

Not raining so much today. I wander out and while outside I decide to pull some weeds while the ground is soft. I grab a handful of ferns. Ugh! It's tough. I don't have a garden fork. I keep tugging. Eventually it comes out but I've probably wrenched my shoulder from its socket. Well, not quite.

So much to choose from lately. Do I play WoW? Do I facebook? Do I watch telly? Do I read? Reading is winning the battle a little lately. It's that Song of Ice and Fire series. I've got to reread the first volumes before I can get to the new one, right?