Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Good riddance 2014

And so the last day of 2014 dawns hot and humid. And still. Did I mention there is no airconditioning in this house? We have this...

... but if there is no breeze blowing outdoors there isn't much air movement indoors. The only fan just stirs the hot air about. As fans do.

I'm happy I think to be seeing the back end of 2014. It's been difficult. Not the caring side of things really, they haven't been too bad considering. But financially, wow.

The argument with the bank goes on. They won't negotiate, even with the collectors they've appointed. So where to go from here, we shall see what 2015 brings. I hope something works out.

Yay! The weather finally cleared and I can catch up with the washing. Fan-bloody-tastic. I have decided I really like seeing the laundry floor. I don't care that it's the same floor as the rest of the house, I like seeing it. Hello floor!

I think I mentioned that Niece has only one set of sheets. Apart from the winter ones. I really need to look at buying more but she has a king single and sheets are really hard to come by. I think I've only seen them at Target. I took a quick peep yesterday while looking for something else but didn't see any. I probably should have bought a single bed, but I had visions of her trying to sleep with her feet poking over the edge. Heh.

The Christmas tree is up. Yeah! Squint hard, you might see it.

It's the only decoration I have left after the move. I hope Salvation Army managed to find a good home for the rest, and the tree. The very odd looking black and gold foil tree. *ha! that one might have been difficult to adopt*

Niece took her first flight to return to her mum for Christmas. We made our way to the check in queue. I decided against just bag drop so I could check that a request I had made was noted on the booking. It seemed to take forever to get to our turn. Why does it always seem to take forever? I like to make sure I have at least half hour between when I'm checked in and boarding. We had less than that so as far as I was concerned we were cutting it fine. The chap at check in *justin* just laughed. Cutting it close, says he, is checking in 5 minutes before boarding. We made it through security just fine and then had to find the gate. Niece figured out which direction to go to find the gate, until we got to a junction which said that gate 26 to 36 were down this way. She couldn't figure out if 29 came before or after 26 and 36. I had to make her stop and think as she kept trying to guess. But she worked it out.

She was nervous and excited but the Qantas cabin staffer seemed to be lovely. She and the girl at the boarding gate were very helpful. The cabin staffer escorted Niece down the skywalk, across the tarmac, and on to the plane. I waited a little but left it then before take off when MOTH sent me a text to say he was bringing the car round.

Since then, it's been very quiet at home. Ma tells me that Niece survived the trip and to the time we last spoke, had been behaving herself.

Christmas Eve eve we invite Stan over for dinner. He brings with him a bottle of wine and a pottery wine cooler. The wine is my second favourite *yay!* and the cooler is lovely. He leaves it with us as a gift. It's a lovely evening as of all the Club, I like Stan the best.

The day after Boxing day is off to celebrate with Bestie and her family. It's great to catch up with them again, and friends we only see at her house. We meet a new one as well. It's a great way to spend the day.

A friend who has relocated to Sydney has come back to visit her daughter. She comes over for dinner, and bearing cheesecake. Sara Lee admittedly but I'm not going to argue! Yummmmm! Dinner is a simple one - steak and salad with Sizzler style cheese bread. Okay, the others have beef steak, I have kangaroo. I much prefer that to beef. It takes me a little while to work out how to do the bread as the non stick pan is now sticking and the cheese burns to the pan instead of toasting on the bread. I switch pans and presto! Cheese bread. It goes down well.

Today is nearly over but it's still way too hot. I am so missing airconditioning! How did we ever survive without it... ??

Saturday, December 13, 2014

What a year...

I can't say I've found 2014 to be a good year. Here's hoping that 2015 is better. For all of us.

I'm also not sure if this house and I are going to get along either. Nothing much has gone right since we moved in....

Now it's Jerome's turn to be sick. He has tummy ache and it's all over the place. And he's puked under the table. All this at 4:30am. And I have to bathe him to get him clean.

Last night, MOTH found something sharp with is foot. It then disappeared. Until I found it. Twice, with my foot. Seems something had broken. Or a box had some broken glass in it. The silly thing is that I've unpacked most everything and I didn't notice anything chipped. I'm sure I would have!

I look at Niece's sheets. She sweats so much there's a nasty stain on the bottom sheet. I confess to not having washed the sheets for a while. A big no no for me, but I haven't had the chance. And the bloody rain won't stop. So I point it out aaaannnnndddd .... it's not a sweat stain she tells me. It's a vomit stain. On her only set of sheets. And it's been nearly two weeks since she was sick... UGH!

I have to wash my doona cover where Jerome has left traces of himself. And my bottom sheet as well. But it's still raining. Off and on, but it's not good drying weather. And here's another crazy thing about this house. The outside rows of the rotary clothes line aren't long enough to take the full width of a queen sized sheet. WTF? Did only single bed users live here? Bloody hell.

But it's still overcast with light misting rain so I have only washed the doona cover and one of my queen sheets from last change. See, no time to wash or dry anything. I really want to see my laundry floor! Niece's sheets will need to soak over night. Luckily I have my airer for the basic clothes drying. Best $50 I've spent getting into this place.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Back on deck!

Yes! Back on board the internet train!

You just don't realise how much you miss it till you haven't got it, right?

I had hoped for good things with this move but it's been a week and I'm not so sure. Time is slipping through my fingers and the bank account is leaking money like a sieve. It's incredible. I estimate we've spent about $9,000 on the move so far and it's still not done. Of course, that does include rent on the previous house and a replacement couch. But still.

On inspection, yes, this can go here and this can go there. But it doesn't. Finding places for things has been a challenge. I bought a new lounge suite to replace the old ratty one. Elder and Burrich took the old sofa and recliners. Get them here and... no room! My desk is relegated to the back corner with my back to everything. There's simply nowhere else to put it. MOTH lost his full size desk and has gone down to a little workstation.

Spaces in this house are weird shapes. The little cupboards you can see either side of the stove? About as big as the ones you would put the sliding rails for a teatowel. Except they have shelves instead of the rack. The one above the range hood? It's about 3 inches deep so obviously only for show! The pantry? Anything tall like the spaghetti cannister must sit on the bottom shelf (floor) because no other space is tall enough. The linen press in the hallway isn't deep enough to hold a bath sheet folded into thirds. It's crazy.

Jerome has picked up some bad habits, scratching at furniture. And I'm sure there are claw marks in the sill above the loo that weren't there when we moved in. Like the fat thing has tried to jump up but missed. More than once.

Niece has lost the plot and regressed. She's reverted to doing things she knows aren't allowed, and I even have to dig her out of bed in the morning. We had been in the house three days and she comes down sick. And uses the bathroom basin instead of the toilet. End result? A basin full of vomitus and blocked drains. Which effected the whole house. Even the toilets. And no plumber for nearly 48 hours. When he did get here, it was worth the wait. Young and goodlooking with not a crack in sight.

Tee has had her roster changed so we won't be getting the Thursday afternoon/evening long break anymore. We've had to look at splitting it into two lots of two hour breaks.

The school hadn't actioned our change of address for the bus so we have to take Niece to the old house for pick up every day, and be there for her drop off in the afternoon. Luckily, we STILL haven't got all our gear from the house so we have a reason to go there. But it's still annoying.

Niece came down with her vomiting bug Monday evening but seemed okay by Tuesday evening. I came down with a tummy bug Thursday afternoon and I'm still recovering. I'd like to think I was losing weight while I starve myself but nope, nothing happening in that area!

It's been raining every day since the move, or threatening storms and my laundry is piling up. And that's not to mention all the curtains I have to somehow wash and dry from the old house. I've even had to buy a clothes airer as there is no internal clothesline here, and no space to mount one.

The 'net is back on after a week's wait and I haven't begun to touch my assessments. Not since I began the house searching and move. SO MUCH TO CATCH UP ON!

So yeah, one of the worst, most protracted moves I've ever undertaken. Remind me next time I think of moving to kick myself in the butt and leave things be, right?

Monday, November 17, 2014

It occurs to me ...

... that it has been a while since I last wrote. Quite a lot seems to be happening at once!

Niece had her Senior Formal last month. It was Hallowe'en themed. It wasn't a full on thing, dress was Hallowe'en themed, smart casual.

We bought a new dress for her. And in typical fashion, things didn't go to plan while we were getting her ready!

She was supposed to wash her hair the night before. She didn't. It was greasy as heck Thursday afternoon when she came home from school. She washed it. She didn't wash it properly and it was all greasy and yet sticky underneath. Back to the shower to do it properly. Her hair is very fine and lacks volume; alas doesn't tolerate shampoos with sulphate. Which rules out most volumising shampoo. Okay. A quick blowdry upside down and hope for the best. Nope, no better. Curls. But I don't have a styling wand so had to make do with my straightener. It didn't quite work properly. No styling mousse either. Hey, I don't style my hair do I.

She put on her dress. And I laughed. Naughty me. It has a side zip, and once again she had put her arm through the zip and was trying to zip it up.

We found some make up ideas on Facebook and had bought some face paint to work with. Alas, the brush turned out to be less than up to the task so it didn't work as well as it might. However, I wasn't going to pay >$100 for a professional face paint kit! We made do. Orange and olive green eye shadow painted with black bats. A green tint in the lippy and presto! Hallowe'en themed.

We arrived at the venue and escorted her to a group of friends. Some of the boys seemed to be in costume but most of the girls had taken the opportunity to dress up and they looked beautiful. MOTH and I knicked off to the nearest shopping centre to waste two and half hours as it wasn't worth returning home just to turn around to come back again. It was about half hour drive home.

Suddenly the house hunting is underway in earnest. I thought we'd ease into it but nope, full on. Endless searching on realestate.com.au and trying to decide which surburbs we want to look at. The school gives me an idea of what areas will do the bus run and mentions that one of the suburbs I chose was outside that so we could live there, but we would have to get her to school ourselves. One of the others was in a different school catchment. What does that mean for other suburbs? We take this to mean that we will choose a suburb and see what happens. There's nothing available in our current suburb within our budget. They're small, 3 bedrooms, and around $370 to $380 a week.

While the current way of thinking is not to pay more than 1/3 of your income in rent, I will happily pay up to 1/2 as I am very fussy. Very fussy. It must look right. It must feel right. It must be clean. I won't live in a place I consider a dump. Most anything that is less than 1/3 of our current income falls in that category I'm afraid. And I won't pay top dollar for a place I will never be happy in. Did I mention I am fussy? Most of the houses we looked at were over 1/3 of our income.

The ones we like in the outer suburbs are the same or newer but $350 to $360 a week. A good saving but higher fuel costs as we drive to and from the school twice a day. Hmmmm. We look at a suburb a little closer. It's a lovely area but the housing is around $360 to $370. Just under half. Suddenly, my calendar is full of reminders about inspections. There are a couple of suburbs we could look at with cheaper rents, old housing commission homes but the areas don't have great reputations. So many nice houses to look at in other surburbs, and we're busily putting in tenancy applications. But they're all knocked back. So depressing!

We look at everything from houses to units. And some of the units were lovely but way too small! I put in an application on one before viewing and what a disappointment. Lovely lovely lovey but only enough room in the living area for 1 x 2 seater couch, coffee table, television unit. And behind the couch, 1 metre to the kitchen bench. Upstairs though were 3 generous sized bedrooms. I think I'd rather the space in the living area.

One pops up in our area. MOTH loves it. It's 3 bedroom and there are a lot of people at the inspection. I like it but I'm not sure quite how I feel about it. However, it DOES have a proper clothes line. They are surely getting rare these days!

And then suddenly, an offer! On the house MOTH really liked. I liked it too but I think he liked it better. And the same day when I contact agents to withdraw any applications we had, I find out we had successfully secured a townhouse. That one was our second choice. 3 bedroom, brand new. Pet friendly. Airconditioned. *the new house doesn't have this. cue trepidation!* Brand new I say! Not hugely spacious, but we could manage. And not far from the local tavern either. I don't think noise would have been a problem as it was set some distance back from the road. Oh wait. That was the one we were shown. But we did express a preference for one in that row. And MOTH informs me that we also had a very good chance on another in a nearby suburb. MOTH did this inspection by himself. *the first time Tee didn't turn up early so i couldn't go* It had an unusual layout that MOTH liked and I liked in the photos.

So now, all systems go while we sort and pack. And try to coordinate things so that it all comes together. Visitors. Volunteering weekend. Graduation. Assessments for my diploma. It all falls at the same time. Wish me luck people!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Looks like I've lost another week

How does time manage to fly by so fast? I simply don't know. I blink and it's days later.

So far *ahem* study seems to be going well. I've completed two assessments of my third unit now and I'm still ahead. I should be working on assessment three even as I update this but you know. Nothing is more urgent than doing housework and such when an assignment is due. This one shouldn't *hopefully* be too difficult; a report discussion some options provided in a scenario.

Jerome has been a .... well, almost a different cat. I don't know why. He runs about wanting me to play with him. That is, chase. And feed him. And he tolerates pats from strangers. And YOWL! Demand, demand, demand. He's so vocal lately!

Almost like a different cat.

He asks for breakfast at 3.30am these days. Occasionally I can hold him off till 4.30 by telling him to shut up, it's too early. Just lately instead of mrrrrting at me until I wake, he's started punching me. He sits at the side of the bed level with my head, stands up and hits me with his paw. Whatever he can reach. First time it was my face. Lately it's my hand. Yoiks.

Did I mention about moving house? There's no way I can continue to pay the current level of rent so at lease it, it's somewhere else we go. I've no idea how we're going to fund it. Moving is expensive and we need to have the new bond before we can take up a new residence.

I can't help myself though, I've started looking already. I probably shouldn't because we can't move for a month at least. The worst part is that we are limited in choice by the school. If I want Niece to continue school I need to be conscious of where the school boundaries lie. There are some suburbs I can look at, but others are out of the area. And all the cheap government funded rents are waaaaay outside.

I've got my priorities right though! Looking at accommodation to see what's about in my price range - not much that's up to my standard. The joys of champagne taste on a beer budget. And I've managed to ... pack one carton. Whoo! Go me! I really should get on that.

Still haven't figured out what to do with Niece over the Christmas break. Maybe Pa can come down and take her back. And then I can go up and bring her back. Ah, who knows. My head wants to pop just thinking about it. Just like Teen's when she was in Grade 2. School made her head pop. Her teacher thought it hilarious.

Elder will be visiting next month too. She thinks she's here to attend stuff and cadge a free bed. Little does she know she's going to be sorting boxes....

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

You must be so tired, she says.

And I am. So very tired of it all. And nothing seems to sink in.

The constant lying is wearing me down. Even Tee is losing patience with it. She tries to explain that it's not good but the message isn't sinking in. Today I told Tee to just come out and be straight. Call her on it. Don't bother worrying about hurting her feelings but be straight and to the point. Ma told me to never let her get the manipulative upper hand because she will take you for all she can. I passed that on to Tee. I really don't see any other way to deal with it. Trying to get her to think of other's perspective is a waste of time. I know an active fantasy world is part of her condition, and maybe I could make allowances for that. But the constant lying about every little thing has me at my breaking point.

Where is your foot towel? No answer. Don't know. What did you do with it? Don't know. Don't know where it could be. Eventually she tells me she didn't start with one. I let it ride a bit and tell her to get one. Today I ask, did you wash the potato before you put it in the pot? Yes, she says. That's the truth. And one glance at the pot proves it's not. Every. Little. Thing. I'm fast reaching the point where I'm going to explode. Again.

Even Tee commented today she is getting tired of having to constantly try to assess if it's the truth she's getting or not. Especially since the topic is boys. And having to pull Niece up on inappropriate behaviour - waving to strangers, smiling and giggling at boys, and loud comments about ones she thinks are cute. She tells me that even the respite notes have mentioned the boy mad bit. It's driving me crazy. Especially since SHE DOESN'T BEHAVE LIKE THAT WHEN SHE'S WITH ME.

But last weekend we went to Riverfire. I warned Niece that it would be loud. And she was pretty good. No meltdown or anything. But she did find the jet flyover loud, jamming her hands over her ears and shaking with her mouth open. Until I told her "CONTROL IT" and immediately she stopped. Sometimes I don't know what's genuine autistic behaviour or just attention seeking.

We went with Bestie and her family. This year we didn't have to wait for another family and got to the venue in good time. An easy choice of position and even some plastic chairs. Niece seemed to enjoy herself. She had her face painted. But then, so did Bestie's daughter, Bestie, and myself. I love that bit. It was very windy but fun. Bestie's daughter, Niece, and I danced while we waited in line for the face paint. Bestie was in the queue for balloon animals with her son. MOTH and Bestie's hubby were around with the chairs.

I had a great time. And at the end of the evening we took a slightly different way home and it took about 20 minutes. Beautiful.

I've submitted another assessment piece and been graded competent so that's two units down. Yay! I've completed them early as they didn't need to be finished until 18 October. My tutor is happy with my progress. They've released the next two units early so I've begun the first assessment of one of them. I'm doing a Diploma of Event Management. And it seems like about a billion other people are too. All I can do is hope that I manage to get some work out of it when I finish.

Niece cooked dinner tonight. Didn't do too bad a job, except for the whole damned lie about rinsing the potato. But she was happy to cook. It's easier if I do it but I have to let her learn, right? I can only hope that if she goes to visit her mum that she shows them what she can do. And doesn't revert to type.

I have had contact from her previous case worker to find out if she was coming to visit. And maybe they can help with funding, and arrange some things for her and her family to do while she visits. Sounds all right, but there are so many other factors we need to consider. Her previous case worker is too optimistic I think. Heh. Ma and I need to think about how to get her up north. When. I don't really want her here over Christmas, but I don't want to leave MOTH alone over that period while I escort her north. MOTH can't come because of Jerome. But the case worker suggested maybe they could get funding to put Jerome into a cattery or something while we're aware. Not sure I'm comfy with that. I have separation anxiety. Oh wait, that's Jerome, not me. *ha!*

And then there's where would she stay. Ma might take Nephew and Niece can stay with her mum. There's no way they could stay together. There's no way she could stay with Ma. And where would I stay? With Elder? With Teen? And somewhere in there we have to move house. How is that going to work? I can't leave MOTH to do that by himself. So many things to think of...

Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh Jerome!

And I'm watching Miss Marple and trying to figure out who is playing their bass so loud at this time of night. Suddenly it dawns on me, it's from the TV. Yes, it's been that kind of week.

Jerome has been bugging me for food. Again! He had his supper at 5:30pm and now, 3 hours or so later, he wants food again. And I worm him regularly. He's a marvellous cat but his voice is so Siamese yowl.

The Niece has been giving herself grief this week. Her penchant for telling tales has had her in a bit of bother. She has told Tee that her boyfriend has put pictures of her on his Facebook. This is a little worrying. However I can't figure out, and questioning her doesn't provide an answer either, where he may have managed to get the photos. I write a note in the diary for her teacher. I get a call to discuss the matter. A girl Niece travels with on the bus has told her that P had uploaded the photos. Investigation by the teacher who has spoken to the girl and her mother indicates that neither of them have a Facebook account. No idea where the pictures could have come from. And P isn't at school to ask them. Teacher reassures me that she has no idea where they could have gotten the pictures either has they aren't allowed tech at school. No phone in other words. And they aren't in the same class. I mention the tale Niece has told Tee about getting into trouble. Teacher knows nothing of this, she hasn't confiscated any notes and if anyone else has she's not been told. And as far as she knows, Niece would like to be friends with P but he isn't interested.

So. It seems that Niece's penchant for fantasy has gotten her into a great deal of trouble. And not just her. And when I confront her, she tells me that it was all a lie. Even the girl on the bus was a lie. So she's told a tale that has not only gotten her into trouble but a lot of other people as well. And even after explaining this, and the fact that *we've discussed this before!* she can't say that P is her boyfriend if he isn't! She shows me pictures she says he's given her. But he hasn't. He's given them to the girl on the bus. Niece has written OXOX on the bottom and crossed out the other girl's name. *rolls eyes*

And she'll probably feel bad and think about it for about half a day while I try to convince her that P is NOT her boyfriend and to think about all the other people she got in trouble. Not to mention that if she keeps going everyone is going to point and whisper that she's the girl who tells lies and no one will have anything to do with her. But they'll all know about the girl who tells lies. And then it will all go back to where it was at the beginning.

I have finished my first unit! Yay! My tutor is very pleased as I am ahead with my study. This cluster *two units* finish on 18 October 2014. I have one assessment for the second unit to go. My tutor has made arrangements for the next cluster to be released early. Apparently part of my course also involves the gift of an iPad. On loan of course until I graduate. Then it becomes mine. Haven't seen it yet. Maybe it will arrive this week.

It's been decided that we will be moving at the end of the lease. The landlord has offered another 13 months with no increase but the current rent is just too high to sustain. We've registered for the National Rent Assistance Scheme but am not quite sure what it means. Lower rent in NRAS properties but so far they all seem to be townhouses. The agent was adamant that putting our current residence into the system was not feasible so MOTH is no longer worried about staying with the same agency. I think I could cope with a townhouse but MOTH isn't.

And then hopefully we aren't too constricted in our choices by the school. Catchment areas you know....

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Week That Was

I survived Oz Comic-Con. And I didn't even manage to get many photos.

The call for volunteers to arrive on Friday went out. I managed to arrive at 2pm and still there were plenty of people there ahead of me. I found some other Front of House volunteers in the queue. We chatted while we waited. I fronted the desk. What's the first three letters of your last name. T.A.T. He echoes me. T.I.T. I correct him and he's very embarrassed. I think it's hilarious. And every check in the following couple of days I remind him my name is T.A.T.

Bump in is in full swing. We're separating the wrist bands which are all in sheets. It's tedious stuff but has to be done. Some of them are pulling them apart with no worries in the world but I'm terrified I'll tear them. I guess I shouldn't have worried considering. But my feet are killing by the end of the evening. We break for pizza and everyone has fun stacking the boxes to see how high a tower they could make. I think they managed about 50something boxes. I get to collect my shirt. The crew colours are ... lime green. Lovely. I've eaten three slices but I'm still starving. There's a Subway across the street and I tuck into a 6 inch sub as well.

A 7am start today. That means I have to catch the bus out at 6:05am. Nasty. Front of House staff have queuing priority for check in as we need to be on the ball and ready for 7am. I attach myself to a group at a table who are dealing with bands and bags and scanners. Whoo. Seems I'm on 'bagging and tagging'. One of the other girls laughs and tells me they do that in a morgue. Close enough I say. We have a quick orientation and then it begins. It doesn't seem well organised to me and I don't really get a break till nearly 2pm.

I'm not the only one who thinks it's not well organised. But I manage to go on break and .... I'm lost. I can't remember where the volunteer headquarters are where our bags and stuff are stored. All supervised and issued a number and everything. Uh oh. I wander around looking for it. And eventually I ask. And it seems I walked past it at least once. I didn't recognise the doors. Duh!

Lunch is a mess. There are only the canteens inside the venue. We get a lunch voucher but there's no dedicated line and we have to take our chances with everyone else. Sheesh. Who thought of this? I line up with the general crowd but someone swings by and tells me to jump into that queue there because that's going to be a dedicated one. About time. And I finally get something to eat.

Rest of the afternoon I spend helping patrons put their wrist bands on. There's too many of them to bag and tag so they've been left to do it themselves. So many in fact that pay at the door patrons were getting in faster than those with prepaid tickets. Volunteers get a free autograph of the organisers choosing. It turns out to be Booboo Stewart. Apparently he was the baby werewolf in Twilight and is also one of the mutants in X Men: Days of Future Past. I line up toward day's end but am told with others that Booboo has to leave and to come back tomorrow. I did manage to get a photograph with Jason Momoa though!

I don't get back for the autograph. But I did manage to get time off to attend a panel. Jason Momoa's panel. He's a lovely bloke. And very funny. Swears a bit when he gets carried away. I also manage to get away to fetch an autograph from Eddie McClintock of Warehouse 13. He's so friendly. I'm on outdoor duty today. No one wanted that. I know I didn't because ... well, sunshine. And stuff. I did have sunscreen with me but even a 50+ will only protect me for about an hour. Luckily it turns out to be a fairly shady spot on a shady day and hardly anyone queuing at all.

I don't feel like the lunch in the canteen so I think I'll drop by one of the little barista points on the landing outside. They have some sandwiches but nothing special. Looking through the windows seems to indicate that the Subway across the road is busy. Ultra busy. And I don't have the time or the inclination to trundle any further afield. I should have thought of it though. I totally forgot that a block or two further down is ... Southbank. Silly me.

Feet are dead at days end but it has been worth it. The Teen is here to visit and we've arranged to meet at the venue. When she arrives I ask if I can leave for the day. They have no problem with that and when I tell her to wait for me, one of the organisers who has been sorting wrist bands hands her one and tells her she's ok to go in. She's delighted.

And when she's in she finds the Magic the Gathering tables. Snaps them and sends to the boyfriend. Who is totally jealous. Mission accomplished. I grab my gear and we take a wander around the stalls.

She's here for a week but I only get to see her Tuesday and Wednesday as she's busy with friends and gigs. Barbie sleeps over on the nights they're attending gigs together. It's a noisy house. Luckily Niece is off on her first respite weekend in months so misses most of it. Friday night Teen, MOTH, and I were going to go for dinner but she finds that a payment she'd forgotten about has come out of her funds. We stay in and she and I have fun with the limited stock I have in my bar. Facebooking is so much more fun when you're three sheets to the wind I say.

And in this I still have an assessment to complete and submit. It's the last one for this unit and then I will have completed the first unit of my Diploma of Event Management. One down, oh so many to go. There are four assessments in the second unit and I've completed two of those as well. I'm terrified about the third. It's a negotiation role play, done with the tutor over skype. Yoiks.

Ah well, no backing out of it is there! Better get on prepping for that....

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Unit 1 copy unit 1

It's been a busy busy week!

Huh. Just about to test Android NFC transfer but got halfway into the other room and remembered I've packed my other phone away. Never mind, I'll see if I can borrow MOTH's. Oh darn. He has bought himself a new, you beaut cover for it. It weighs a ton really and actually screws together to encase the phone. But hey! At least he won't damage the phone if he drops it. Unless it's on his face while he's web surfing in bed. Or he'll damage something anyway. Did I mention it weighs a ton?

Things have died down a little on the Niece front. There was a small hiccup the other day when I caught her swearing at the neighbour's child who was playing noisily in their yard. She's been excited this week thinking about attending the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food class with her school. It's a four week course that teaches food health, preparation, storage, and other food like things.

The school has finally confirmed that she will be doing an extention year next year. Finally! At least now I know what is going on.

Boys. Yes, she told me about the boy. Of her own accord too. Well, with a little manipulation. Heh. She hides the sketch book she's been working on. I remind her that I will find out what she's bee up to. On the way out of the house the next day to meet the bus she mentions "I don't get in trouble at school. I do at home but not at school". I tell her that of course she does. I know. Sneaking about won't hide anything. Besides, your teacher will tell me. That's what parent/teacher interviews are for. That afternoon she brought me the book to see. I didn't mention that I'd already peeked at it. And that's how I found out about Patrick. *ahem*.

I have my volunteering assignment for Comic-Con. Oh dear. I'm sure I didn't volunteer for this section but I've been allocated to Front of House. FoH looks after the entrance with ticketing, wrist bands, show bags, queues, and maps among other things. It means a fair bit of outdoor work too. I don't like outdoors. I burn easily and I will have to be continually swapping between my sunglasses and eye glasses. Hopefully the way I read the information sheet is correct and rotation is high. And I found some 50+ sunscreen on the shelves the other day. I am very fair skinned so that will protect me for about 45 to 50 minutes I think. On reflection I am pretty sure I volunteered for queueing - autographs. Ah well. The other volunteers seem to be friendly - we have a commmunity page on facebook - and some of us have been chatting.

And at the same time, since I am obviously a glutton for punishment, I have bitten the bullet and enrolled in full time study. A diploma level so it's only 12 month duration. It is very full on though with the aim to lodge one assessment piece a week. I'm two down for my first unit and assessment one for my second. So much study! And I'm wondering why the heck I signed up for this. I've forgotten how much I like my spare time. *cough*

Monday, August 25, 2014

Past your bedtime girl!

Just lately Niece has begun to get sneaky. I guess most teenagers are sneaky. I've found out she has a boyfriend. And they've been getting into trouble at school for writing letters and holding hands. Tonight she's busy drawing. It engrossed her long enough to miss her bed time. She's normally pretty rigorous about that. And then she hides what she's been doing when I tell her it's bed time. Now I'm pretty sure that whatever she's hiding has to do with the boyfriend. I'm finding it difficult to bite my tongue, especially since I am not supposed to know about said boyfriend. Now I'm sure that my teenagers weren't saints, but they weren't so blatantly obvious that they were sneaking. I nearly always found out though! But since they were a bit more compos mentis I also might not have minded so much.

Either that, or I'm getting old and cranky. Certainly something about this particular teenager is setting me on edge.

Knowledge of the boyfriend came from Tee, with a request that I not say anything as that might jeopardise any chance that Niece will tell her anything in the future. Yes, I agree, but boy is it annoying!

Finally I get word from the temp panel that there is a position opened up that I might be suited for. If I get it, I would start on Monday. *today* Oh, they are 'chatting' to another about the position. One of them seems stuck on "academia" but I am not sure what he's getting at. I have worked in a University, "academia" is no different from any other section of the uni, despite what they may think. I don't get the position.

But that might be just as well. I have girded my loins and enrolled in full time study. The course starts Monday. *today* It looks like they would like at least one assessment piece each week to conclude the study on time. There are also role playing modules, and a presentation module. OMG I hate those. So terrified of doing anything like that. Always have been and always will be.

There's an odd noise I can hear. I think it's from outside. Something seems to be scuffling outside the screen door. And now the screen is rattling. Jerome gets low and rushes to the doorway. I follow. Aaaaannnnnd it's the brush turkey, pecking at the door and investigating the mop and bucket just outside. Silly turkey.

I really want to go to Oz Comic-Con. Really. The fact that Orlando Bloom is making an appearance has nothing to do with it! Really. Jason Momoa will be there! It's not really expensive to get in but by the time you add up the cost of the autographs and photos... But then again, it's the same for Supanova I guess. For something to do I look at the website to see if they have volunteers. Yes! They do. Sooooo, guess what I do. And a couple of short days later I receive an email to say I've been accepted. w00t! *ahem. nope. not excited at all* We shall see how volunteering there compares. It's a little different already in that there is no pre event orientation for me to attend. And they'll give me an autograph token for one of the guests of their choosing. Be interesting to see who I get.

Now I just need to try and get saving so I can afford autographs of the ones I want!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Dear Diary, it's been a while since my last entry...

Well. Learned something new. I use a mouse, not the touchpad on the laptop. And look at that! Apparently the touchpad uses gestures. I did not realise this! Fast learner, me.

The only reason I found out it uses gestures is that it stopped working. *screech* I popped the lid open and ... nothing. Black screen with a white mouse pointer. ARRRRGH! It's only about twelve months old. I turn it off. And on. No change. Repeat process about three times. Well. Dammit. I disconnect it from the AC plug. Nope. Nothing. I unhooked the AC connection from the laptop. More than once. And nope, nothing again. Well, heck. What now? I drag out the manual. Oh! Look! The trackpad uses gestures. Huh. But no help as to the problem. Ummm. What next? MOTH has taken over the driver's seat and is trying the things I have already done. Nothing again. I'm trying to see what the status lights mean. There's one on hard *all the time* but I can't see what it is. Then there's the power light. And one that seems to be the disk light. Wireless. Caps lock. Num lock. And what's that one? I can't see the symbol properly. The manual is no help at all. Eventually I decide that the only other option is to pop out the battery. MOTH is still in the driver's seat so he takes it out. I have to tell him where it is. And it works. Thank heavens for that! I'm breathing a lot easier now.

It's been a rough few weeks. Niece has begun the process of "settling in" I believe. Her demeanor has changed; she's surly more often. She lies around not doing much. Her behaviour and manners are becoming inappropriate more frequently. Suddenly she's angry at something *i suspect a cat* and suddenly has a face like a thunder cloud. Tee *her companion. have i mentioned her before??* doesn't know what to do. I kid her out of it, but I'm not impressed. Her jobs are becoming "half arsed". She's beginning to roll her eyes when she's asked to do something. She's stopped taking notice of her grooming. Her hair is no longer done neatly and she gets cranky if I make her redo it. Siiiiigh. All these things Ma told me she does and I thought I was escaping.

Moose arrives and we drive out to the airport to collect her. I'm excited because I don't get to see her often. Our plans are to check out the renovations at a nearby shopping centre, and hit the Ekka. We visit the shopping centre. It has expanded quite considerably, taking over some of the parking. It looks like something that should exist in the city, in a plaza somewhere. Shiny black walls, lots of glass, gold touches. Very upmarket. When MOTH and I stop here we hit the butcher in the food market and order from the hot box. It's always something different, but it's all been good. Moose seems to enjoy her wagu beef burger.

Friday we go to the Ekka. If you pre-purchase your tickets you can get discounted rail travel to and from the event. I like this. And not only that, but if you show your ticket you can get a 30% discount on a return day pass for any other day of the event. Yesss! I know that either Elder or Burrich will be going so I purchase them a ticket. Moose and I look at the animals but don't go through the baby farm. We're more interested in the cat show. That's sponsored by Whiskas and they have a brief information session where you can find out a little about the various breeds. And pat them. Love it.

I buy a dagwood dog from the kiosk just outside the animal pavillion. They have the best 'dogs. We wander briefly through the food hall. One of the stalls sells bagels. Moose has smoked salmon and avocado, mine is smoked salmon and cream cheese. They taste wonderful. We spend some money on new eyeshadow *i can be a sucker for that!* and sweet things.

Moose leaves and I have a couple days to gear up for a visit from Elder and Burrich. All three of us end up going to the Ekka and I leave them mid afternoon to enjoy the arena and night events. When MOTH picks me up from the railway station he tells me that a car in our street had been fingerprinted. Some butt wipes have stolen all four of the wheels. The owner is a young lad, still on his red P plates. This means he's had his license for less than a year. I'm angry on his behalf. How dare some low life help themselves to other people's belongings? They really need public whippings for people like that. It also means that MOTH isn't willing to leave the side gate unlocked for Elder and Burrich and we make room in the garage for them to park there car. The car with the stolen wheels is a sports car of sorts, Burrich only owns a Rio. I guess he's lucky.

Elder makes a comment about the laptop not working. And before I know it MOTH is busy telling her about how he had to remove the battery to get it to work. Now hang on a minute!

Niece is rude again. Very rude. To Burrich. Because he had the gall to be in the toilet when she wanted to go to bed. I make her apologise, she smart mouths me afterward about Burrich's response and I send her to bed with a flea in her ear along with a warning not to get up early because I would still be angry. Elder hugs me afterward and exclaims she hasn't seen me in "mum mode" for a long time and she's glad she's outgrown it!

Next morning Niece is a now show till I dig her out of bed at 10:20am. But it seems she's yelled at the neighbour to "shut up" because they were out talking to visitors on their patio. I explain to her that was very inappropriate, she should have been awake, how the heck would he know she wasn't, and he has every right to be where he was doing what he was. And then I kept her doing chores until after 3:00pm. She seemed chirpy after that, but I'm beginning to remember why and how much I hate teenagers.

Why did I take her on again ... ?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

"Explore". So says the catalogue.

Feeling a little more relaxed than last post. Think those cyber hugs may have helped.

So I'm looking through the David Jones *a high end department store* catalogue. And so much fashion and beautiful women. Long and thin. These photos must be 'shopped, even the men. No one has skin that smooth. And as I flip through and the occasional shiny catches my eye I'm wondering where are the toys? Nope, not a tech thing in sight. Only fashion. DJ's you disappoint.

Things are getting hectic. Jerome growls all the time. Sheldon gets naughtier every day. Penny sleeps on the bed to avoid it. Roll on collection date.

Moose's visit and the Ekka roll closer. I wonder how I shall fund that? The ticket price for an adult is $29 and that's just through the gate. Showbags, food, rides, everything else is extra. I'm lucky in that most of the things I like to look at don't cost extra. The animal farm! The lambs birthing! The horses! The cattle! The poultry! The cats and dogs! The food hall! Yeah!

The Elder will be arriving mid August. She also would like to touch down at Ekka but isn't sure she can afford the gate price. That's ok, we can find something else to do that won't cost as much. It's almost a shame she's visiting August and not September. There's something I would love to do September but I don't want to do it alone.

The Teen gives me the date she will be visiting. September! But ... she arrives on the last day of the convention I want to see. Bummer. That's no good to me at all. MOTH isn't geeky enough to enjoy something like that, not really. And then if I did pay for his entry, what do we do with Niece? She doesn't get respite till the following weekend. Talk about lack of timing! Ah well, my wallet wouldn't allow me to go anyway so I guess it doesn't matter and I'll just have to drool from afar.

Up and early for a city trip. I have to catch the 6:30am bus. The information session starts at 7:50am. I'm registering for accreditation for Volunteering Queensland for a major event coming up. I attend the session, provide my ID, a photo for the background check. Then off to station 2 for uniform fittings. Ooohhhhh. I'm totally bummed. Tailored shirts. TROUSERS. Terrible. I wear tailored shirts but they don't fit well usually. And I NEVER wear trousers. I just can't get any to fit. There is no other option though. The tailored shirt is 3/4 sleeve and white. Isn't tunic length either. Great. The trousers are a taupe colour. A kind of darker beige. And having dealt with the company supplying the uniforms before I'm not surprised. I never liked any of the options they had back then either. Anyway, I try them on. I have to go up a size in the shirt, it won't button across my belly. That makes it too big in the shoulders. I try the trousers on. Hipsters. I didn't expect anything else really. ALL trousers are hipsters on me. And an inch gap in the small of my back. I hope the shirt will be long enough to give plenty of cover over the top of the pants. Which don't have much stretch so sitting is going to be a problem. Why do designers never allow for these things?? Luckily I find out I can have them altered. And if they are paying for alterations I am going to have the heck altered out of them, right? Right.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weary, weary, weary

On the edge at the minute, wishing the Monetary Gods would cut me some slack. Always struggling and no relief in sight. This is so hard....

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Too many choices.

It's going to be a busy week coming up....

Tee comes for her second visit. MOTH and I volunteer to take her to one of the other shopping centres. We have so many to choose from. But for shopping, the local one is not so great. Good for food with three supermarkets to choose from, a green grocer, and heaps of cafes and restaurants. But very little by way of shopping. Once at the centre, MOTH and I go one way, Tee and Niece the other.

Actually, trying to think of things I've been doing surely is a brain drain.

I've been paid a small bonus. Whee! I pick up my layby. Hello refurbished little PS3. I love you. What games will I pick? I have four. Lollipop Chainsaw. Very linear and cartoon like with a cheerleader and zombies. Ratchet and Clank. It's fun and rated G I think so Niece can play if I feel generous. The other two are exact opposites to that. Strong story lines, great graphics, and complicated play. Should be interesting. I think I should play them during the day while Niece isn't at home, but I often end up doing other things. Then the only time I can play them is after she goes to bed and I'm too tired to play them.

Niece and I had our first dust up. I can't complain really, it has only taken five months. That's pretty good. For a teenager. I find I am running out of patience, I seriously don't know how Ma managed. I'm finding I am having to mentally grit my teeth as I explain something for the umpteenth time, recheck her work, constantly explain things she hears on television *somehow a 36 year sentence gets translated to 136, but details of ads are registered just fine* and endlessly explain overuse and wastage *for example a roll on deodorant should last more than 3 or 4 weeks yes?*. I know that's what I'm being paid for but oh! Sometimes it's wearying.

I receive a letter to advise that I've made it through to the next round of checks etc for the big volunteering gig toward the end of the year. I know it sounds odd, I mean, volunteering right? And no guarantee you will be selected. This one is orientation for accreditation. I don't know how long it will last but the only suitable slot involves an 8am start. This means catching the 6:30 or 6:48am bus. And in winter. Go me! MOTH wasn't keen on an 8pm arrival home time or being left with Niece all day on the weekend. Ah, the sacrifices I make.

An ex work mate from ages ago is having a Norwex party. I can't make it but place an order. She offers to drop it off to me. Sure thing. She arrives and brings some limes from her tree. Over coffee she assures me they are Tahitian limes and sweeter than the regular ones. And actually they are. We chat over coffee for a while before she heads out. It was great to see her again.

A couple of weeks go by and I think I would like to grab some more limes. This time I think it's my turn to collect from her. I tell her that if I bring my driver *moth* then I will have to bring Niece. Or I can bring the GPS. Just let me know her preference. She opts for the GPS. Oh. Okay I guess. No problem. This shall be an adventure.... However, when I get there on the weekend, I'm grateful to have the time away by myself. We drank coffee, discussed life issues, and authors. It was really great to catch up and I hope we can do it again.

It's tax time. I really should look at that shouldn't I. I have tried to get a payment summary using the online self service but am not able. Dang it. I'll have to visit the office. I phone the tax agent to make and appointment; she suggests we visit an office that is quite a way out of our area. Oh. Never would have thought of that. Sure why not, and we'll take a quick peek at the shops while we are there.

My name is in the queue and we head for a seat. I look at a woman whose face reminds me of someone. She looks at me and suddenly smiles. Hello! As soon as she spoke I knew who she was. I worked with her many years ago! She chat while she waits for her daughter to do a change of address. It was great to catch up. After what feels like a while but really isn't we're seen and our request processed. The Customer Service Officer is a very pleasant chappy and provides the information I want on a piece of paper as the official documents will take at least a week to arrive.

That done, there's a little pocket money and we treat ourselves to a Sizzler lunch.

Tee takes Niece out for her Thursday outing. They get back and .... Niece doesn't have her bag. Uh oh. They look in the car, nope, not there. Oh dear.... I phone the shopping centre and report the loss. It contained her wallet. And a container. I remembered the container later. It hasn't been handed and and they will contact me if it is. That's all I can do. I can't convince MOTH to go back to the shops and look. Someone will find it and hand it in he says. I don't get a phone call, and still haven't. Tee assures me that it wasn't left in Target and Niece put her wallet in the bag as Tee carried the tray to the table. So. I guess Niece has good taste in bags right?

Now I get to sort out what cards were in the wallet and see if I can arrange replacements. One of them was my library card. I guess the only consolation is that I keep her keycard and just that morning I removed her pension card to take to Centrelink and hadn't yet put it back .... That's good, right?

Monday, July 07, 2014

Quick link update....

Supanova. Family oriented fun for a great day/weekend out or those who take their costuming *cosplay* seriously. Supanova Pop Culture Expo

Sunday, July 06, 2014

It's been four months now....

And it occurs to me that I've been very slack and not updated my blog. Not only have I not updated, I've also not been reading blogs. Even playing games has died off quite a bit. SHOCKING!

Mostly I can't remember what day it is. I think this sums it up.....

Things are progressing slowly in the garden. We've come to the conclusion that we will have to relocate at the end of the lease. It's too expensive to continue but I so love the location! The neighbour popped over for a quick visit. His house is up for sale but the council had a concern regarding possible access to his pool. Apparently a kid could climb over our fence and get to his pool. Hooookay. *thinks about this* They would have to climb a 6 foot vertical paling fence. Then over the top, drop several feet to their ground and then to the pool. We do have some trees close to the fence but the retaining wall on their side would bring them to a quick halt I think before they got to the pool. Still, it has to be done I guess.

Any work in the garden is stopped since MOTH had a bit of a tangle with the little chainsaw on their last outing together. I'm minding my own business *unusual, yes i know* and I hear him call. Hon, I need some help. I go to see and he has two fingers on his left hand held straight and pressed together. Plenty of blood and I get to see if I can dress them. Up to the hospital and he ends up with about three stitches in one, and some superglue on the other. He's very, very lucky.

Supanova Sydney crops up. The lineup looks great! I so want to volunteer! Yes, I think I will. Getting to the city? The venue? Naaaaah, burn that bridge when I cross it. I get accepted. Swwweeeeet! What now? Oh look! My frequent flyer rewards program says I have almost enough points to get very discounted flights. Both ways. But not quite. I've booked one way and hope I manage to accrue enough points to make the balance. I've sucked up to Froggy and she's agreed to house me for the week. MOTH is left home with Niece. Not a great pairing but hey! Supanova you know!

We have a couple things planned while I'm there. Visit The Rocks and Darling Harbour. Check out her local area. Visit her workplace. We must find that Lindt store.

Wednesday is a good day to check things out. We ride the train. Whoo! THEY HAVE DOUBLE DECKER TRAINS! No, I wasn't excited at all. And LOOK! THE BACK OF THE SEATS MOVE SO YOU CAN CHANGE THE DIRECTION YOU FACE! The inner child and geek are very much appeased.

In the city we didn't look at the Opera House up close. Everyone one does that. Sufficient I have a photo with it in the background. We rode the ferry and sat right at the front outside the cabin. The breeze was crisp but it wasn't icy. Everyone has a photo of the Bridge, but I'm more chuffed I have a photo of the underneath of the Bridge.

Somehow in the rush to find Lindt, we missed Darling Harbour. Maybe next time. We didn't find Lindt but another chocolate shop instead. We were impressed with this one as the counter assistant offered to charge Froggy's phone while we looked around the store. That's customer service! The shop was Josophan's.

I rode the trains solo into the venue for the event. I wasn't available on the previous day for the orientation briefing so I had no time table for my breaks and my team. That's ok, I can work with that. As long as I know my team. I found that out and just fit in with the rest. Whoo! Our team is allocated to line control for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. *that's jaime lannister from GoT* Envy of some of the other teams! I would have been just as happy to line control for John Barrowman. Bruisingly busy but oh yes indeedy!

Partway through the final day, Nikolaj had to cancel the rest of his appearance. I was on break when the news was delivered. A bit lost for the rest of the day I think! The volunteer PA apologised for sounding a bit abrupt when she delivered the news. I wasn't worried, I wasn't there. But, she said, she wasn't mad at me as I was doing a totally awesome job. Yay!

Dinner that night with the rest of the Volunteers. We had some great people at our table. A couple from our team, a woman who usually attends the Green Room, one who works with volunteers on the Floor *maybe front of house, not sure* and a ring in from a different area. Two of the blokes shared an $80 dish - 1 kilogram of steak, 1 kilogram of ribs and a whole pile of chips. They got trough it! I had to catch the train home that night after supper and that walk from the station to home was freezing! The coldest it had been all week.

The Niece is on school holidays. She finally has a companion for government funded visits for five hours a week. Tee is young, younger than the Teen. She's tall *she mentioned 6'3"* with piercings and purple/magenta hair. So bubbly and fun. She seems to also like some of the things that Niece does. Like Adventure Time and Black Milk Clothing. That one is new for Niece, she was gifted her first piece for her birthday. Loves them to bit.

School results have arrived for Niece. I had often wondered why she seemed to cope at work when at home she had difficulty staying on task. Ah, there you go. She has problem staying on task at work too. The overall results though were excellent per her teachers. That's all we can ask.

Teen and Elder have each just moved house. Funny they have done it within a couple of weeks of each other. Now I have two new addresses to remember.....

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Coffee time!

Back on the webs! And I think I got a windburn from going too fast. Whew! What an exciting ride!

I realised just today that it has been nearly six months since I finished work. It has gone so quickly. And I can't say I have missed it. I feel so much better these days. Much happier, more relaxed. I don't have to deal with other people if I don't want to, and I'm loving it. If it wasn't for the fact that our welfare system insists that as I'm healthy I must find work I would never work again. Even the fact that the income MOTH and I receive each fortnight only covers the cost of our rent doesn't phase me much.

On another note, my iron levels are all up in the air again. I've completed a second course of injections but they haven't had much effect. This time my whole bloods also seem to have some clumping so my doctor wasn't sure whether to trust the test or not. Since I have to have more tests in about six weeks and I don't feel any worse, we're leaving it as it is and checking again for the second tests.

MOTH has managed to come down with a nasty viral thing. It started like a sinus headache and went from there. The poor fella has been coughing up a lung for the last few days. He hasn't gone up to join the Club often so he doesn't pass any germs around the old people.

The Niece went off to respite for the weekend. I like the peace and quiet when she does and it doesn't seem long enough. She's no real trouble but it's nice to have the the time alone with MOTH. Niece seems to enjoy it because she gets to see a girl named Zoe whom she seems to get on well with. Another couple of weeks and she's off for the weekend again!

I've been applying for jobs all over the place... well, no not really. I'm fussy about what I apply for. But I'm not thinking anything is going to happen in a hurry. I've been applying for jobs for more than twelve months now and in all that time I've only had one interview.

I have had plenty of interviews for different things. I have had another interview with Centrelink, our welfare agency. I've had an interview with my jobsearch network provider. They can't do anything to help me yet as I haven't been registered as unemployed for thirteen weeks.

I applied for a hardship payment through my superannuation fund to get some of the money I've paid in. I don't qualify though as I haven't been on welfare for a continuous period of twenty-six weeks. I guess from the wording that doesn't take into account any waiting period I would have had to serve before Centrelink paid me. This means I am not eligible for any assistance until mid September.

A quick visit from Elder. She and Burrich are between houses at present, having moved out of the place they were renting. They have been offered another house but it won't be ready for a couple of months. She dropped back Sheldon and Penny. Things didn't take long to get back to normal. They've been here a couple of weeks and the spats have begun. So far, it's not too bad but it's early weeks yet.

MOTH and I decide to spend some time at one of the larger shopping centres. We haven't been there for a while and it has been updated. And oh wow, has it been updated! Now it looks like one of the fancy CBD arcades. Polished floors, shiny black tiles on the walls, gold accents. Very upmarket. I felt like I should have been wearing a suit and high heels. But only briefly!

I have been notified that I have been accepted as a volunteer for Supanova Pop Culture expo again, this time in Sydney. This is great because I get to kill two birds with one stone - attend the expo and visiting time with my sibling Froggy. I can't wait! I only had enough money to book a one way flight and use some of my frequent flyer points for a discount ticket. Hopefully I can still get a cheap fare on the way back!

A friend of mine is hosting a Greatest Morning Tea in support of the Cancer Council. But it's really an afternoon tea. It's a fund raiser so I pay $10 each for the three of us to go. I haven't seen this friend for many years. So long in fact that her youngest daughter was about twelve or thirteen and is now a fully qualified painter and working for herself for a couple of years. It was great to catch up with her. I've eaten so much! A little of her house has changed since I was there last! What hasn't changed is the fact that the park is still there, still full of gum trees. And tucked away in the top of one of the trees was a koala. It brought back good memories.

Another interview this week. I have volunteered through Volunteer Queensland for the G20 which will be held in our city. I have made it through the phone interview and the face to face interview. I just need to wait until early July to find out if I have made it any further. Not really worried if I don't, though being successful will look good on my resume I think.

It meant a trip into the city for me. Yay! I haven't been in for ages! Some things have changed, certainly new shops are in place in the mall. I caught the bus just before 12noon thinking I would catch the train. But then I decided to stay on the bus all the way into town. It takes a little longer I think, not sure. We left the bus stop at the shopping centre and hit the roundabout. Oh, ok, we aren't going the way I thought we would..... wait up. The bus continued to do a full circle around the roundabout and exit on the highway where I thought we should have been going. There you go, I'm not crazy after all.

It was nearly 3:40pm when I arrived home and in all that time, the interview took only ten minutes....

Mind, I did spend money I didn't really have in an effort to sample a pork and prawn dumpling with a dash of soy sauce. It was delish. I managed to eat it with chopsticks too. Reminded me of the time I was eating a noodle dish outside a teppanyaki place with tables full of Asians. I was the only one using chopsticks....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tapered I am

There seems to be some discussion in the USA about proposed changes to the way ISPs provide a service. I haven't read any of the detail so I'm not really sure of the changes but it sounds like the way they work here.

We have a choice of ISPs who provide a broadband service. They all have different packages and plans. They all charge whatever the heck they feel like for their plans and service. And yet they all use the same infrastructure. Each plan has a download limit; if you go over that your service is tapered and you pay a huge chunk of extra charges. Tapered means slowed. To somewhere between dial up and ADSL. Closer to dial up I think.

Non payment of your account also means tapering or suspension of your service. And that's where I am. I have caught up but the service hasn't been restored. IT'S SO SLLLLOOOOOWWWW that I haven't really bothers to update my blog. No unnecessary trying to use the web.

I'll get back to update if my service is ever restored to normal.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Blinked did I.

Time seems to be racing away so quickly. Has it really been that long?

The Niece seems to have settled in well. Her teacher has advised that she has transitioned very well. She seems to enjoy the school.

I am on the iron supplement injections again. I have completed the first course but there wasn't enough improvement so I have to continue the injections for a second course. I'm nearly finished that but still feel very tired. I think my body can't decide what it wants to do. I have even quickly researched some foods that are high in iron to include. Hopefully these help. One of those is kale. I haven't sampled that one yet. I'm not big on boiled green leafy vegetables. I can eat spinach in a salad but not boiled. I've also read that kale can be bitter. Not quite game enough to try it. Another inclusion is kangaroo. Luckily I don't mind this, much better than beef. Odd to think isn't it that Australia is likely the only country that eats its national emblems!

The budget is very tight at this point. Unemployment benefit pays only $460 a fortnight. Combined with MOTH's pension is only enough to pay the rent. It is very hard but I'm lucky enough to live in a country that does have a welfare system.

I am thinking of applying to my superannuation fund under the hardship provisions but I don't meet the criteria yet. I'm not hopeful. And then I have to decide which of the bills have priority as the amount I can claim is capped. Fun and games!

One of my old friends is wrapped in The Walking Dead. I really must look at this series. I only managed to catch the first episode and it didn't grab me straight away. There has been so much talk about it that I really should look. Another series that had promise is Hannibal. Looks great but again, I've only managed one episode. If I think about it there is so much viewing I haven't seen that I would like to!

I've missed a call from the school. Uh oh. But the call isn't returned until the afternoon. Ok, so it's obviously not urgent! They want to know what we have decided about Niece's future. They have mentioned that she can continue for another year at the school. Her previous case manager contacted me to advise a transfer of funding and at the same time mentioned that Niece's previous school would like her to return there for another year to transition through their work placements. This limits her options drastically as job opportunities for special school students in that area are scarce. A limited retail or Endeavour Foundation. I want her to be as close to independent living as she can and working as well. I've discussed this with Ma and she is very happy to agree. We think it better that she continue here. Niece is very disappointed as she was looking forward to returning home at the end of the year. She came to me after her shower and said she'd decided to stay. I reminded her she would have to return to live with her brother whose behaviour has not changed. She is happy to stay here. Now.

Niece has fallen in love with Adventure Time, the cartoon. To the extent of taking the characters as "imaginary friends". She says they're imaginary, they aren't real, and continues to talk to them like they are. Her imagination is so vivid that you can listen to a one sided conversation, complete with inflection, responses, laughter, and jokes. It's a little ... worrying. I dismissed it until I found her making beds on the floor for them. Time to draw the line. I think she still talks to them but a little quieter so I don't notice as much.

The Teen texts me. To tell a tale of typical Teen-ness. She says she wanted to be gluten and lactose free to be good to herself. She orders a pizza gluten free. And then proceeds to order three different cheese toppings.

The Elder is moving house at the end of her lease. Till she can find a new abode, she will be moving in with her Outlaws. This means she can't have Sheldon and Penny with her. So, guess where they are going? Yep, back with us. For about two months. I hope that's all it is too. Oh wait, now if MOTH tells Wombat he will become a rooster and crow about it for days. I must remember to remind him not to mention it. Elder promises to make sure they have been flea treated before they arrive. We shall see what Jerome thinks of this.....

Monday, April 07, 2014

Supanova 2014

Gold Coast Supanova 2014

The last couple of weeks seem to have flown by. I don't have work to measure my week by anymore! How sad is it that I no longer necessarily remember what day it is? Very sad, that's how sad.

Niece had a day off from school. Sick. I don't like it when kids get sick for some reason. I know by the end of it with Teen, she was claiming sick so often I didn't know if she was genuine or not. I sent her to school most of the time. This is a ploy I think I will have to take with Niece. She woke up late for school and spent half an hour in the toilet. I think she was just sitting avoiding getting ready. She claimed sick. I said she could go to school. And she ended up staying home. With a strict warning that if she was sick the next day, she wasn't going to respite or school camp.

She went to respite for the weekend. It was a weekend stay with only the three girls. Usually the respite 'guests' are boys so this was a special weekend. I was curious how they would go together. When we picked her up on the Sunday we were told she had a good time with one of the girls and had spent a lot of time giggling and having fun. Excellent news, although not so great was the imaginary friend thing, her favourite cartoon characters. I must remember that she is very open to suggestion!

Senior school camp is this week. Niece will be away for four days. It means packing everything and making sure it is all labelled. The school has sent home a list of what sort of things to pack. I help Niece with this and we check to make sure all her belongings are marked. This is not quite so bad as a fair bit of it is already done from having previous stays in respite.

It's a very quiet four days.

It's the weekend of the Supanova and MOTH and I decide we will head down a little earlier than previously planned. This way we'll miss most of the traffic. We find the motel and MOTH delivers me to Reception and heads out again. I go to check in.

I have the pre paid booking but the credit card is declined. Uh oh. Well, I thought that would happen. But the debit card declines as well. Panic sets in as MOTH has left, they won't honour the booking unless I can come up with the $200 bond. No exceptions. They won't take a normal ATM card. I don't even know how much is in that account. But there goes all my spending money for the weekend. Why does that always happen?! Luckily the hotel is near a shopping centre and I can locate an ATM. There isn't enough in that account but I can manage to scrape enough together with that, cash in my wallet, and drawing against my overdraft. Which I DEFINITELY did not want to do!

At least I have a place to stay. But I don't get to go out to dinner on Sunday night with the rest of the volunteers. Bummer.

The apartment looks ok on the surface. The kitchen looks lovely. Yes, it has a full kitchen. I check the draws and cupboards to find where everything is. Ummmm I see pots, a pan, toaster, jug, crockery, utensils .... where is the cutlery? Oh. Found it. Kitchen has an island bench. With cupboards. I get to the bedroom. Oh. Disappointing. I can see that the bed is not up to the usual hotel standard. Something about the bedspread is offputting and I'm reluctant to touch. But I do. When I'm ready for bed I turn it back and .... stains! The underside of the 'spread has had staining. URGH! I am REALLY fussy about my bedding! And the sheets are thick but soft. And occasionally the springs in the mattress creak when I move. Yes, the bed is that old. Think I should leave them some feedback. On the up, I have a main bathroom and an ensuite. Spoilt for choice.

I'm on line control again. This time for Emmanuelle Vaugier. She has done some roles with Smallville, Two and a Half Men, Lost Girl. The line is busy, but not terribly so. My only regret is that I have only one life... Ha! Actually what I regret the most is that as I'm working, I don't get to photograph a lot of the costumes and there are plenty of good ones. Steam Punk is big this year. Oh, and Adventure Time as the voice artists are on the guest panel.

I will post what pictures I did get separately.

By end day one, my feet are killing me.

Rock up today and oh! Nicole taps me on the shoulder and tells me, Lovey, I need you to go to photo booth today. Fair enough. I'm directed to photobooth and given a quick induction. I'm to stand at the exit and direct the traffic. No problem. I do this for a while, then am sent to another point to be the barricade so people don't go beyond a certain point. Oh again.

I don't have any freedom of movement here and OH LORDY MY FEET HURT. I think they're going numb. Well, maybe not quite. But it turns out I'm forming part of the barrier at the edge of guest access so I get to see them all as they go past to take their breaks. WHOO! One of the voice actors strides down the walkway back to his post, his PA not in sight. He's quite tall, his paces long. Soon after she comes running by. She's short....

Another guest swanns by. Again. His PA is not too far behind him. She looks at me and grins. He's a free spirit she says as she rushes by.

I chat to the patrons as I stand minding the walkway. One of them is dressed from the Pokemon labs. We start chatting pokemon and she mentions she was going to bring her Fennekin plushie but it didn't fit in her lab coat pocket. I asked her what that pokemon looked like. She then proceeds to pull her Nintendo DS from her pocket and checked her Pokedex to show me!

This day is pack up. I stay behind a little, don a high vis vest and pitch in to help dismantle some of the exhibition. After a time I go to help bring in the metal barricades. Despite a call for help over loud speaker only two of us end up working this job. After about 45 minutes of helping on the floor I've had enough and quit to go 'home'. If I thought my feet were sore earlier it's nothing compared to now. I can barely put one foot in front of the other and I still have to walk back to my hotel.

After a day like that I thought I deserved a spa. It's one of those that's built into the bathtub. I hate those. They're never wide enough to accommodate my Rubenesque figure. I made sure the water level was above the jets, adjusted them to suit and pressed the button. GLUB GLUB GLUB! Press the button! Quick! Yoiks! These jets are VERY POWERFUL! And ummmmm pointing upward. I aim them down, and it's still not right. Water on the walls this time. I've pushed them down as far as they will go, but the jets are still very powerful and shoot across the top of the water. The only way I can prevent the spray is sitting upright and pushing my thighs to the bottom of the tub. That's too much bother after a short time and I turn off the spa. There's water all over the floor, and the bath mat is soaking. Ooops. But I'm giggling too much to worry.

Check out time and I get my bond back. Just as well.

Think I'll nap when I get home...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Two two B or not two two B...

I've just had a flashback for whatever reason. Perhaps I'm reliving my childhood? And my love of the Three Investigators? I loved then so much better than Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.

It's been four months now since my bloggers have updated. One I know to be on the slack side *slacker!* and one ... I don't know. He used to update regularly. I hope all is well. Maybe he doesn't have time to read and blog anymore.

Ma and Pa seem to have settled into the new place. The Nephew has been spending time helping them tidy the garden a little. I have yet to see it and hopefully I will get up that way for a peek.

As mentioned in the last post *i hear the dogs beginning to howl* MOTH has been finding spending time with the club having an adverse effect on his well being. He hit the withdraw-from-social-contact low. This is not a good sign and means time to intervene. I decided to go for a picnic. The weather is lovely and the days are warm but not humid and hot. We decide on wraps for lunch and I've bought a small container of shortbread as well. Lunch basket packed and we head out.

We've decided on the cottonwoods or Sutton's Beach. It's going to be a bit of a drive. But the battery light comes on. And stays on. Oooookay, maybe the car is just running diagnostics. I's been known to do that. Suddenly the car slows and other lights start popping on. Uh oh. By the time we make it to the nearest shopping centre and find a park, the radio is switching on and off and the dash lights and readouts are doing the same. Battery! we chorus together. As the fates would have it, the car park sign reads full but up one level and immediately there is a spare space. We park and call RACQ. By the time they turn up and look at the fault, it's too late to head out for the picnic as we will have to head back to pick the Niece up from school.

I don't mind, the RACQ chappie is very easy on the eye. He's also tall, long legs and a tight butt as he leans over the engine.

And it seems there is a problem with the alternator. We limp back home and I get a taxi to pick Niece up from school.

I've been selected as a volunteer for the Supanova Cultural Expo for the Gold Coast event. Whoo! Induction is today. Luckily I don't need the car. I jump the bus. Hello bus, it's been a long time. I arrive at 10:30am, a little early. There are a couple of other volunteers waiting. And it seems I'm actually an hour early, not half an hour. Oops. But I'm cool with that, I've packed a lunch for myself so I have a little something to eat. The day lasts until nearly 3:00pm. I spy a couple of familiar faces from the last event, but not the ones I was hoping to see. I think it might be best for me to stay down there rather than try to drive an hour for an 8:00am or earlier start each day. I've booked my accommodation expecting to pay a deposit but no, it's debited the whole amount. Whoops, my card is now overdrawn. And after reading the fine print on the web page it seems that this hotel chain is one of the ones that subscribe to the totally stupid rule of $200 charge up front. To cover "incidentals". Ridiculous! How the heck could I rack up that much in incidentals in a single room over three nights?? *grumble* Even the you beaut 5 star Royal Pines world class resort and golf course doesn't charge much more than a couple of dollars up front at check in.

I decide to branch out and see if my Foxtel is now connected to the internet. Yes, it seems it is and 'on demand' is now activated. I decide to test it and MOTH and I settle in to watch Thor: Dark World. The lights are out, MOTH is comfy on the floor, I have the recliner and it's a very comfy way to watch movies. A little cheaper too as Box Office on Demand is $5.50 or so a movie.

The Niece will begin catching the bus to school soon. She's excited and after this morning, so am I. So much easier than driving. Which might actually spoil me. Maybe....

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Honeymoon is Over

Yesterday while sitting with the Customer Service Officer, I noticed she was using a vertical mouse. I'd never seen one before. Or heard of it before either. It looks an interesting concept. I've been suffering overuse injuries a lot lately. Too much gaming I guess. It's certainly curtailed my activity the last couple of days! Not good, I've had to resort to reading!

MOTH and I decide on a day out to go to the movies. We still have a couple of vouchers left from Christmas. What movie to see is the big question. I suggest 300: Rise of an Empire. MOTH can't remember seeing the first one but he's happy to give this one a go. I book on the web but there only seems to be V class screenings available. I look to see what that is. *i've never been to a V class screening before* Okay, bigger seats, bigger screen. Prices are a little more than normal but the voucher covers most of the cost. The movie is loud, lots of blood, war, killing, maiming, men wearing not much at all. For once, most of the women wore more than the men. I liked it. So did MOTH.

I'm fast running out of the money Centrelink thinks I have. Poor MOTH is confused because they keep changing his rate of payment. Who knows. Hopefully things will sort themselves out very soon and we can get on with trying to make ends meet.

Seems that one of the 'pets' is now a permanent employee. Hardly unexpected but I'm betting that her position wasn't advertised either. Not that I thought there was enough work for her to do on a permanent basis as it seems she isn't picking up any of the work I left and Admin2 is doing most of it. They have a temp in to do the conference things I was working on. Poor Admin2 gets none of the good stuff.

I thought MOTH had been doing well on the lower dose of the antidepressants. I'm not sure though. I could never say that tact has been his strongest point. Special K has now asked him not to mention her sister in her presence. Her sister and brother in law join the Club occasionally and she is not liked. Wombat has been rather narky of late and it's getting the the point where MOTH has been thinking of walking away from the Club. Special K has asked that he not, but I can't see this latest request going over well either and he may just walk away after all.

The Niece seems to have decided that she's comfortable. Comfortable enough to work herself up. She had a small behavioural slip but a talk about inappropriate behaviour, expectations, and a distraction soon had her back on track.

The Elder has finally had her surgery. Well, I can't really say finally as the wait was not very long considering she was on the public waiting list. Keyhole surgery is a marvelous thing, isn't it! Certainly they do things differently from when I had mine. But hopefully this will put an end to the pain though she will be feeling uncomfortable while she sorts out what food her body will and won't tolerate. That part can be fun!

I haven't heard much from The Teen. She's working full time and seems to be enjoying herself. I'm hoping this is so and she will progress really well. She is still spending time with Barbie, but nowhere near what she used to now she's working.

Buffy went on 'holiday' for a couple of days. That was peaceful. Even Jerome relaxed. She's back now and Jerome isn't quite sure what to feel. I laugh at the faces he pulls sometimes. He's begun to spend a lot of his nights curled up at the top of the bed between our pillows. Sometimes he shares one of our pillows, laying his head on it and looking all cute and fluffy and black. I just wish he wouldn't shed so much black hair. Yoiks! It's everywhere!

Tried a new dessert recipe. Blueberry cheesecake roll ups. They are a little fiddly to make but oh, so very nice. The Niece and I baked some for a taste test and I should really go and finish off the rest so we can have them tonight. Yes, I think I should do this now... before I get distracted....

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ads are repetitive!

Buffy seems to be settling fine. I can now get her to sit and stay when I feed her. And she'll sit when I ask her to. Not so great on the stay when she's not eating. Holes in the garden too it seems but that's new. Maybe she's bored. Not being a dog person I rarely venture outdoors.

Niece is in the house. Things are cruising well. So far. Well, it's been a week, I might as well take this week as good. *ahem* She likes the room. She loves the school. She's made some friends and even has an invitation to afternoon tea in the coming week. From all I've heard before this is very different from home. A lot of the house rules here are different from before so it's a big change. Fingers crossed it continues!

Not working is fun. Almost. Now if only I can think of a way to use this unemployment to generate an income. Hmmmm. Being lazy sure had its downfalls.

Jerome is not liking having the dog about. He now resides at the front end of the house and rarely ventures down my way unless he knows it's after dinner and Buffy has been sent to bed for the night. I have had to close blinds to keep them away from each other. Exciting times here!

Almost finished the round of iron injections. There may be some improvement as I don't seem to want to nap twice a day. Just once. One more injection and then more tests to see how it worked. I'm hoping that will fix it. For this round.

Another email pops up. I haven't yet contacted any of the carer groups. Perhaps I should? Things are going well right now but I guess I should. I like to take things slowly but perhaps I am taking it more slowly than I should. The old case worker is very enthusiastic and checks back with me regularly. Oops!

MOTH and I still have movie vouchers to use. We are debating which movies we would like to see. Divergent? The new 300 movie? Captain America? There are plenty I would like to see but finding one we both agree on can be a bit difficult. I will watch action movies. And I will watch the kids ones too. The Lego Movie! Peabody & Sherman. I'm sure I watched that as a cartoon when I was a kid. I love going to the movies, especially when someone else pays.

Elder and Burrich were down to attend Soundwave. Sometimes I think I would like to go and see the bands and soak up the atmosphere. Then again, maybe I'm too old to cope with SO MANY KIDS! MOTH rode the train up north to help tag team the driving. They brought a ute with them to take back what they could. We did a swap. A bookcase in, Elder's gear out. MOTH returned and set up the bookcase for me. Again, Elder and Burrich ran out of time so MOTH packed the ute. He works hard my MOTH.

I love my bookcase too.

And with some of the stuff gone from the garage, I can find some of my books to put in the bookcase! Yeah! Reading time. Back later peeps....

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Buffy v Jerome

It's hard to find things to update when you think you spend most of your time at home. Or do you? It feels like nothing ever happens but if I strain the grey cells a little I might think of something.

I have my payout from work. Not a lot but I hope enough to get me through. I've been to Centrelink for income support but I need to serve an income preclusion period. It means that you don't get any welfare payments for a certain period of time after you have received a termination payout from your employer. For me, that ends on 15 March 2014. The only problem is the way the tax rules are applied means they make the calculation based on the gross amount you receive. And my actual net amount was about $4000 less than that. I'm thinking I might have to pimp out MOTH for the last couple of weeks to pay the rent. Not sure how much I'll get for him though. Unless I can pass him off as an antique.... Hmmmm.

Things are slowly falling into place for the arrival of Niece. The room is ready but we are still working out how to get her gear here. And more importantly, a bookcase that Ma has given me. Wooden. Three doors, mostly glass. It's kinda big. A previously worked out plan has changed because two of the people involved have changed their minds and will no longer be making up the convoy, and likely not helping load/unload either. Elder is hoping to take as much of their gear back home as they can manage on this run. We're working on alternative plans.

A new boarder moves in. MOTH has volunteered to provide temporary accommodation for one of Teen's friends dog. Her name is Buffy. She's kinda large and boofy looking, but a pleasant enough girl. At this point *she's been here about four days* she hasn't barked much which is a definite bonus. I so do not like dogs barking!

Jerome was not impressed at first and refused to go down the back end of the house where he might have to walk past the door. That's changed and now he spends a bit of time down that way. Buffy is excited to see him and desperately wants to play. That's when she barks the most. Jerome is having none of it.

MOTH and I were having a bit of a chuckle as we realised that she's somehow, in the mess that is our garden, managed to find or dig up an old moose leg that belonged to one of Fred's toys.

At the moment, Buffy's ribs are showing. Her 'mum' can't understand why. Could be anything really. However, seeing as we seem to be able to fatten animals up *without trying* we'll see how she goes over the course of her stay.

While discussing the blood test results as mentioned last time, I find I'm also vitamin D deficient. Sigh. That means a supplement. Or maybe more time outdoors? Neither appeals but at least with Buffy here I can take a bit of outdoor time if I go pet her. Maybe?

I've purchased some hair colour. A toner actually. It's supposed to be so good it turns your hair white. It's vegan so you can leave it in for ages without damaging your hair. I decide to run a test piece behind my ear. This area has dark roots and blonde ends ranging from light to dark. I washed my hair first. Only to discover that someone had upended the shampoo bottle and I had actually washed my hair with conditioner and conditioned with shampoo. Oh dear. I added the toner and left it to dry till that afternoon. Thankfully I had to wash it out so I managed to shampoo and condition properly this time. Annnnnd result? Zip, zilch, nada. Not a skerrick of difference. Ah well. Maybe I can find something to do with it. Maybe I and put a bit of it into Niece's hair. She's blonde already so it won't be too drastic. If she's good.