Category Archives: wah!

In the name of progress.

The greenie in me is sad.

We have started getting some trees lopped down in preparation for our extensions.  Even though we live in a patch of suburbia, on an averagely small suburban block. (About 680 sq m) – we’ve still had trees around us. And I like it that way. They provide some privacy – screening from the neighbours. Shade. General ambience. And birds.

So it goes against the grain to get rid of any. Well – the native trees anyway. I couldn’t give a stuff about the others – or the tangle of shrubbery (as per our Valentine’s day pruning epic…)

The time has come, though. Time for some of the bigger trees to go.

Five years ago we cleared along that back fence :

but neglected to poison the shrubs we cut down

and it all grew back. And up.
(Where the heck did those casuarinas spring from?!)

So, back to the future – I mean the present-  the gum tree – to the right – is not actually in the way of the extensions – but it’s been sick for a while – presumably something like dieback.  It’s also right on top of the sewer line that runs along this side of our back fence – and we’ve had some root blockage issues there – so there really wasn’t a choice . It had to go. Even if every other time it died back, and we thought ‘oh dear, I guess we’ll have to cut it down’  it would get all this new growth and provide nice shade on summer mornings.

Like tree euthanasia, really.
So I’m coping with that one going.

We also have to make room in that back left corner of the yard –  (like for a trampoline that I had the genius idea of buying last Christmas) – so a couple of scraggy casuarinas in the left corner came down too.

What I’m really sad about though, is the paperbark tree closer to the house. My paperbark.  From our bedroom verandah – and indeed our bed – you feel as if you are up in the treetops with the birds!

And, given that it’s on the north side of the block, it makes good shade.

But it’s right in the way of where the new lounge room is going.

And even if the walls could have been designed to miss the trunk, the roots would wreak havoc with the foundations.


The rest is coming down tomorrow.
(Other random smaller trees along that fenceline have also got the chop.)

I’ve been a bit emotional about it all day today.

The only plus (and you’ve got to find pluses, don’t you…?) is that now I can see OUR gumblossoms, that, in their quest for the sunlight, have been adorning the neighbour’s yard.

And on the agenda will be planting nicer native shrubs in other places around the fence line to make up for our environmental vandalism.



Filed under australiana, renovation rescue, wah!

Roll up for the magical medical mystery tour

It’s an interesting journey I’m on here at the moment. I’ve got the joint stuff happening… the ‘most likely it’s arthritis’ thing. The thrice daily doses of Panadol Osteo have taken the edge of it, but not really stopped it. It’s been still a bit random. I wake up in the morning wondering “Hey body, what part is going to be the worst today?”, but my left wrist has been the most recalcitrant. The right shoulder has still been letting me know it’s not done with the whole pain thing. And in the past week my right elbow decided to get in on the act. (Up till then, the elbows had abstained but I guess it’s the whole peer pressure thing.) The knees have, on the whole, been surprisingly well behaved. (Touch wood).

When I talk to people they express surprise that it hasn’t been diagnosed with pathology. I can’t help but wonder the same thing. And I have to admit I’m not entirely happy about just popping pills ad infinitum, yet I’m wussy enough to be quite happy with that aforementioned edge taken off the pain I’d originally experienced. So I take them religiously.

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Filed under it's just another manic mum day, wah!



Right now I’m starting to become convinced that someone out there who doesn’t like me very much has a voodoo doll in my likeness.

I don’t think they want to kill me – they just want to torment me.

Last night I hobbled up to bed with a sore left ankle, and a sharpish muscular pain near my left shoulder blade. Both bothered me a fair bit during the night – I woke a few times, disconcerted to find that they were still really sore. (I’d been hoping that once I relaxed into sleep they’d go away – but obviously I hadn’t relaxed into sleep an hour or two into it!) And pondering what I would be able to do today to help – eg. overdose on voltaren tablets? Ice? Beat myself about the head to take my mind off it?

I had a huge sleep in, and by the time I woke properly they had actually calmed down a lot.I’ve taken the precaution of wearing joggers (with my orthotics) all day, and basically trying not to do anything to aggravate either.

The thing is, this is not an isolated incident.

Over the last few weeks my left knee has been playing havoc with me – and cramping my style a bit with my swimming, mainly. Which is not good when my kicking is my only strong point. Thing is I can’t pinpoint what part of it is sore – it’s as if someone is wiggling at something inside my knee – but in a slightly different place each time.

I’d been thinking that walking was aggravating it, and so I’d eased off on that – but last week (with no swimming during the holidays) I’ve gone tramping up and down the beach a few times (as my regular blog readers will attest), and – no problems. If anything I’ve been sore in behind my right knee. But a different kind of sore!

Before you dismiss my voodoo claims as being absurd – I have to point out that this sort of thing has been going on for months and months. Some days one or other foot might start throbbing – no rhyme or reason for it. Next day – all fine.

All relatively minor inconveniences in the scheme of things, but, given that I’m doing the old lady creaky back thing when I get up in the morning anyway, I could really do without someone sticking pins into me like this.

Problem is, now that I’ve identified the cause – how the hell do I put a stop to it?!!  🙂


Filed under wah!, what the???

Another weekend bites the asphalt.

wearyI was tired last night.  I even made it to bed not long after 9.00, which is  early for this little night owl. I was actually eyeing the clock before dinner,  wondering how the family would take it if I signed out before making that happen – but didn’t quite have the guts to carry it out.  (There’d be a rebellion – and that’s just talking about the Other Half.) I did renege on chopping up sweet potato to roast – and threw on a pot for rice instead,  muttering that there should be some law against mothers having to prepare dinner if they’d done more than, say, 50km riding that day AND had had a bad sleep the night before.

I’ve had bigger weekends, so I don’t quite know why I was so stuffed. Just two early mornings to go ride a bike (43km and 60km respectively) ?  When I’m about to do 5 consecutive days of riding bigger distances than that? What am I? A wuss?!) Perhaps it was being serenaded most of Saturday night by the Other Half’s chainsaw impersonations. (I very definitely woke up tired AND grumpy at 6.15am on Sunday.)

On Saturday morning we rode into town to meet up for coffee with the early bird community ride cyclists.  We are opting not to leave home at our usual ungodly hour of 5.40am to ride 23km plus another 30 odd for the community ride before returning the 23km home. We now leave at a much more sane and civilised 7.15, ride in, have coffee and a second breakfast with the other riders, then bolt home in time for M. to rush the girls to netball by 10.00, and me to have a shower and head up there half an hour later.

At netball I usually end up in the canteen all day, plus doing odd jobs round the clubhouse, so I don’t actually sit down very much. I did manage to stand and watch the last half of Ms 10’s game from two courts over – so I caught the action, in full cinematic colour, when, at the end of the third quarter, she sailed through the air at the end of the goal circle trying to catch an errant ball meant for her, but in reality heading way over the baseline. So did she. (Head way over the baseline that is. )  Only she didn’t bounce.  She went sailing through the air, then went SPLAT.

Everyone gasped in horror, and the Daddy – standing next to me – sprinted for her (right through the other game).  Me – no good in a crisis – thought I should do something constructive, and bolted for an icepack (wtf?) before racing over to them. He had checked her out and had her standing by then –  but  all I could see was the bloodied graze just above her lip.  Apparently I carried on a bit (I was so shocked that my baby had faceplanted…) and won’t live my “ohmigod, ohmigod”  reaction down for some time. “Even if it WAS really bad” – he said – “you shouldn’t panic them.”  So much for my First Aid qualifications huh. There are some people who are just not meant to be frontline in any sort of situation, and I’m one of them.

Despite her Mum’s reaction, she was very brave and tough – and not hurt as badly as one might have imagined.  The worst of the injuries were the usual netballer-style skinned knees and elbows, and she was amazingly stoic as we cleaned her up and found something to cover the knee. It took her out of the game for the last quarter, during which time her team played pathetically and lost the small lead they had – so she is feeling quite important, as if she is the lynchpin of the team. I also think she can’t wait to show her teacher today.

I called it a day just before 4.00 – leaving the eldest still playing her last game.

Sunday morning we’d arranged to go riding with another tandem couple.  Why the 7.30 start I’m not sure. It’s winter! It’s cold! (It’s early for someone who likes to sleep in on Sundays!) We rugged up, and we loaded up our two new front panniers and put them on the new front racks just to see how the bike handles with them. No problems. The rest of this week will now involve final decisions on what clothes and gear we will actually take on our five day tour. (Which is only one week away!!!)

For some reason I was a bit weary after 60km and didn’t achieve a lot the rest of Sunday, other than starting to copy maps of our intended route. I spent a lot of time on Google Street view, sussing out any road choices where they might be applicable. How cool is Street View for that sort of thing?!! What did we do without it?

And then, late afternoon, Himself suggests we go for a walk down on the beach. He hadn’t been there himself since all the storm action. So I squeezed in another rather unplanned half hour of exercise.

I think I earned my early night.


Today – Monday – The papers have been dumped on my front footpath, so I’ll need to do them .. despite the fact that the delivery coordinator hasn’t returned my call asking for confirmation on how much they actually pay for this run.  I’ve just left another message on their answering machine which I hope conveys how irritated I am that she hasn’t called me back and also puts the wind up her that I might actually decide not to do it after all.  (Oh well, payment negotiation, ambit claims etc, are worth a try…)

I noted that I was happy to fill in, but, depending on how much they pay I might not continue, AND I can’t do it next week as I’ll be away. [So there!]  I ran out of message time then. Don’t you hate that – when you’re on a roll with a message, especially one of a lecturing variety, and you get cut off by the BEEEEEP.

I’m going to leave half the run for Ms 10 to do – the parts which only require one side of the road to be done, so she doesn’t have to figure out zigzagging across the street.  It’s probably a good introduction to money earning for her. Even if it’s child labour. Somehow it doesn’t seem quite so ridiculous her earning a pittance as it is for a grown-up with a rusty B.A.

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Filed under miscellaneous minutiae, wah!

The addict.

Our ADSL connection dropped out last Friday- coincidentally at the same time that Telstra (our home phone telco) dealt with a crackling noise on our phone line. (The adsl connection had been dropping in and out randomly the whole day the phone was crackling – an indication to us that the whole thing was most likely a line issue rather than a handset issue, not that that stopped Telstra from warning about the $105 call out fee if it turned out to be our equipment and not their line.)

Unfortunately I realised that the broadband connection was gone completely after the technician had left – and so I was left, at just about close of business on a Friday, looking down the barrel of a whole weekend without internet. Telstra washed their hands of it and insisted that I had to put it through my ISP.  (The call centre people even managed the miffed and accusative “You chose not to use Telstra as your ISP” tone to perfection) – even though they are the line supplier anyway. (And they wonder why they have a bad name!)

The ISP robot voice took my phone number and said the fault had been registered and would be attended to within 48 hours.  Great.

So there I was on a rainy weekend (the usual all day netball affair was washed out on Saturday), wondering what to do with myself. I composed a post in Word on my computer, mostly trying to keep my sense of humour – calling for suggestions for my list of 50 things to do without internet access – the starter for which was : “Realise that you can still actually use a computer when it is not connected to the world.”

Now that it is Wednesday and I didn’t get a chance to actually post it, it has kind of lost its currency, and I’ve somewhat lost my sense of humour. After all, the most logical thing for me to do without internet access is to clean my damned house, but of course it takes more than being thwarted from twittering, facebooking, emailing and blogging to put me into a cleaning mood.

It did make me realise what a pathetic addict I am.  Using the computer without the internet access was, to me,  like drinking decaf!  It didn’t feel right, somehow, and it didn’t give me the same fix.  I’d catch myself sitting gazing at the modem lights, willing the blasted connection to hold. The orange light would flicker, flicker, flicker, then turn green. I’d hold my breath.. and count, keeping an eye on the Skype icon in my system tray – a real test of the connection.  Mostly it would hold for 15 -30 seconds, then drop again. It did tantalise us with false hope for a full half an hour on Sunday afternoon before dropping out again.

A few times I’d get a quick fix. My computer tech guy (aka darling husband)  patched in my computer through the wireless and bluetooth and whatever to his mobile phone wireless connection.  I quickly caught up on some blogs, email and twitter  but time was limited.   It was like being desperate for a coffee, at last being served a decent cappuccino, but only getting to gulp down a couple of mouthfuls. I’ve never smoked, but I daresay I was looking desperately like a smoker who’d run out of cigarettes desperately inhaling the passive smoke.

We survived the weekend, but since Monday we’ve been on this frustrating exercise through our ISP technical support who (apart from calling me “Ma’am” every sentence in a hard to understand sub-continental accent, which starts getting me a mite bit riled up) first insisted on changing settings in the modem that has worked fine for years, then asking me if I had another modem I could try. (Yeah sure, like we keep spares all over the house…. NOT.) I got the ‘not our fault callout’ fee threat from them as well – so we wasted another 24 hours while M. procured another modem from a colleague, new cable lines, and set up isolation testing.

The damn thing connected for a full 50 minutes (while we were watching a show on telly), during which time the ISP sent me a text saying ‘you’re showing online, all fixed then, so we’re closing the fault.’ (well, words to that effect.) Then of course it dropped out again.

It stayed on all night, then dropped out again in the morning, and would not connect all day. I called tech support again and then got the message that they’d  called their ‘supplier’ and it should be fixed by close of business Thursday. I also keep getting robotic voice messages on the home phone telling me that it is still being looked into.

Deep breath. OK. One week of pretty much no internet. I haven’t got the shakes or anything… really….

It connected again last night with the borrowed modem, so we brought our modem over close to the phone socket (eliminating possible cable issues) to experiment with that, and of course lost the connection. Ah-hah! It’s your modem then, you might think. But then the borrowed modem that had worked wouldn’t reconnect for the rest of the evening- until we went to bed of course – this morning the log showed that it then got itself connected for 11 hours.

It’s now been up for about 12 hours – and I’ve been drinking it in like the addict I know I am, even though it’s on a spare laptop which is just not the real thing, but better than nothing.  I know the next step is to re-test the home modem, but I’m afraid that we’ll be back on the same old merry-go-round again.  My Tech Guy is away for work overnight, so I won’t be able to get my fix tonight  if it all goes pffft again.

I think I might now have spent enough time online today, so it’s time to prepare myself for another day of “decaf” – or one of total withdrawal.  If I’ve not managed to leave a calling card around the traps, I’m sure you’ll understand, and if you don’t see sight nor sign of me for another 24 hours you’ll know what’s happened. Not quite necessary to send out the search parties, but you  might need to send out the men in white coats.

Wish me luck.

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Filed under it's just another manic mum day, wah!

I can see clearly now.

I just ditched the course I was doing. I feel like a mix between a failure, and a strong-minded woman who knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.  I don’t do the poker face thing too well, but I avoided discussing my decision with M. until a skype conversation when he was at work yesterday (and heading away for 3 nights.) Yep, I’m a chicken.

I knew he’d try to talk me into chipping away at it, and at least finishing out the semester. Like a canoe marathon, or a long bike ride, you know. And to be a role model for the kids and all that.

But I basically didn’t want to be swayed. I also knew I’d then cry, and he’d get frustrated, because he doesn’t know what to do with me when I cry, and basically it’d ruin a good weekend.

Short of the concept of me getting a hotel room for two weeks (along with a laptop and internet access) and him taking over the running of the household and wrangling of children for the duration, I couldn’t see a way in which I could teach myself what I’d been failing to grasp over the past term in class, and then complete the projects required.  (Even that wouldn’t have worked, because I needed help.)

I swear, in anything IT,  you either need to be young and/or have no family commitments (thus hours in a day to sit playing around on the computer), and/or a certain degree of artistic flair.  (I have none of the above.)  It probably also helps to not have the computer in the lounge room. (I do.)

Yes, maybe I do have (too) high expectations of myself. Possibly I could have handed in some half-assed projects just to scrape in with a pass for the semester, but that is not my M.O. If I do something, I want to do it properly, and I certainly want to understand what I’m doing.  Given I wasn’t doing the web design with a view of immediately finding a job in the field at the end of the year, I weighed up the pros and cons of trying to finish a unit for the hell of it, or whether to do with the knowledge what I have done in the past – take it, and then experiment at my own pace.I guess I’m a slow learner in that respect, but I’m trying to take comfort from analogies of fine wines, and even casseroles.

The frustration of not grasping the concepts was really getting to me, and over the past few weeks I felt like I was operating in a fog. I couldn’t ‘get’ things, I couldn’t remember things, and I started feeling dumber and dumber.  (I also swear that the pace of the coursework ramped up suddenly into hyperdrive.) Things I was sure I might have understood normally were just going  over my head, with an accompanying glazing over of eyes. And I suddenly had a passionate dislike for the whole web design thing  – something that had previously had my eyes lighting up, and the catalyst for signing up to the damned course in the first place.

It was also affecting other things that required brain power. Like writing.  The mum who could blabber away on her blog couldn’t think of anything interesting to write – and the woman who was invited to submit articles to a new website couldn’t come up with a coherent paragraph.

So, here I am. Decision made, and enacted. I’ve written the emails to head teacher and teachers, and I’m hoping that with the weight now lifted I’ll be able to start thinking clearly again.

And try and figure out something else to do with the rest of my life.

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Filed under it's just another manic mum day, lost in procrastination, wah!

Great preparations.

With our 5-day (550km) tandem touring trip looming, M. and I have been getting ourselves prepared. (I wonder why I can’t concentrate on TAFE work…I should just ditch all ideas of study or work, and be a full time family holiday and tour coordinator. )

We’ve decided on a route and I’ve booked, so far, 3 out of the 4 night’s accommodation. My dream bike touring getaway would be to be totally spontaneous, but when you’ve got a time frame to work within, and it’s school holidays, then it’s best to be a bit organised. Also, being mid-winter, (albeit NSW, Australia-style) I don’t fancy trundling around in the late afternoon as the temperature plummets looking for a place to stay.

We also threw our ambit claim of 4 nights babysitting at the grandparents, and, I think, managed to persuade them that the girls were old enough to entertain themselves (by catching a train to go shopping) at least one or two days. Phew.

The biggest preparation has involved getting set up for as-light-as-possible luggage. We haven’t done a multi-day tandem ride carrying all our own gear before.  We already had two bike panniers, (aka saddlebags) but M. has bought us new front panniers (and racks).

And then of course, there’s the clothing, because you need to be able to stay dry and warm, but you don’t want to be weighed down excessively.  On and off bike wear to be considered, with winter temps and the possibility of precipitation dictating a few new purchases – like shoe covers, waterproof bike pants, long fingered bike gloves (me – I didn’t have any), and other bits and pieces, as well as lightweight travel pants to be worn at night (to be worn with our polypropolene thermal underwear!)

I would say that, between us, we’ve bought more cycling clothing in the past few years than other new clothes  – probably gives you an insight into the shabby state of our normal wardrobe.  I love new bike gear – it cheers me up in the same way more normal women feel about ‘shopping therapy’- but shopping for it still doesn’t come without angst – for me at any rate.

You know the feeling of dread you get when you try on a new swimming costume/bathing suit? (OK, so not all women will feel it, but many will identify.) Well, that’s how it is with cycling clobber, unless you’re trim, taut and athletically terrific.

I’m not.

I might give off the air of athleticism (and body to match) when I spruik about our bike rides, but sadly I don’t have the figure to match. Something about cycling long distances, and then stuffing my face full of  “energy” to replace that which I’ve outlayed. (You do the maths… especially taking into account the warped logic that has me continuing to eat ‘whatever’ for the next few days, without burning up the calories at the same rate.) And a cycling posture doesn’t exactly work the abs…

Imagine ‘jelly belly’ if you must – you’d be on the right track.

Trying to haul on close fitting lycra in a cycling shop fitting room is an ordeal destined to bring on a bout of depression. Trying to avoid that by online shopping doesn’t help, because the size charts mock me from the computer screen as I disbelievingly circumnavigate my waist and hips with a tape measure, and compare.  And ask – if I’m an L in unisex, or WL or WXL, then heaven help women who are larger than me who want to get into cycling for fitness and weight loss.

Why put myself through this? – you might ask. Why wear the lycra? It’s not to look like a wanker – as many non-cyclists might think.  It’s actually functional, and more comfortable when you’re riding. True story!  I just wonder if they downsize women’s cycling clothing, in particular,  as a disincentive to fat bottomed girls who might dare to ride bicycles – however beautiful Queen might have them. (No wonder the girl on the record cover is barely dressed! They didn’t make bike nix in her size!)

Even trying on not-so-close fitting lightweight travel pants in a shop last weekend left me down and despondent. I found something comfortable – recommended by the shop assistant (who was wearing a pair at least 3 sizes smaller than fitted me). It was the least unflattering of several that I tried on – but I opted to wait and scour the internet when I got home for a darker colour in the hope that it would have a slightly better slimming effect than the light beige in the shop. (There went one afternoon last week – but at least I found some.)

But throw in a currently trim AND  fit husband shopping for the same type of stuff, and it’s just about wrist slitting time. I’m trying not to reach for the chocolate for consolation.

All that said, I love it when we ride. We went out this morning, and did 60-odd km with some other riders, and didn’t do it tough at all. OK, burnie quads on a couple of climbs, but fitness factor was ok.  (Could have done with a Nana Nap this arvo, but I’ll put that down to getting up at 6am.)  We should fit in a few more rides before we set off (from Sydney) on the 14th July.

And hopefully I’ll solve my remaining clothing/gear  issues before then, and maybe even manage to drop a couple of kilos by the end of our ride, if not before. But given the appetite that I get when I do ride (and for hours afterwards), and the comfort eating when I get down about trying on clothes, I’m not sure how I’ll go.


Filed under double trouble, on yer bike, wah!