Freedom!!!

Yesterday James and I went to Bendigo by train. It was James’s first time on a train and he loved it. He kept raving about how comfortable it was.  How first class was so good to provide a fold down table that he could rest his lap top on so he could play games.  How it made it so much easier for me as I didn’t have to drive – well I wasn’t complaining about that – and at $29.00 for the two of us to go one way – that isn’t even as much as fuel and wear and tear on my car would cost me.

Elise picked us up at the station, we did some shopping, enjoyed a coffee then back to Elise’s for lunch. Mundane stuff but made nicer because we were together.  James’s appointment was at the Fracture clinic at 1.45 pm but we had been told to arrive a little earlier as we might get in sooner.  Shall I just say I’m glad we were amongst the earlier appointments as by the time we had been there an hour the line up at Reception was out the door, there were no chairs left and it was a good thing that some of the older people were in Wheel Chairs as at least they had a seat.

James had another xray then saw the Doctor who was lovely. You know you have a good Doctor when he introduces himself, shakes everyone’s hand and asks your names then proceeds to talk to James one on one without patronising him and even managed to share a joke or two with him – mainly about making sure he didn’t hit anyone and if he did make sure he didn’t break anything!!!  The Doctor was very pleased with how James’s hand had healed. The bone had regrown (it’s six weeks since the break happened) and although when James makes a fist, the pinky finger is slightly out of alignment with the rest of his fingers, he wasn’t worried.  As the Doctor said – “James is young and that will resolve itself in time.”  So we were discharged and not required to attend the clinic again and headed back to Elise’s so James could wash his hand (which after six weeks was decidedly revolting) before we took him to McDonald’s for a special treat.

A  bit more shopping where I managed to get the right size jars I wanted for the chutney’s and pickles I had been making as Christmas presents and we checked out the Kangaroo Flat Library where Elise joined up. James and I found plenty of books so even though Elise only wanted to borrow one book – she had to borrow four as we both wanted to have a good look at the books we had found.  Elise was very impressed with the library and in Bendigo all the libraries in that region are liked together so she can borrow from any one of them with just the one library card and can return her books to any one if she can’t get back to where she originally borrowed her books from.

A movie and into bed at a semi reasonable hour as we were all exhausted. This morning we headed home after breakfast at Macca’s cause Elise had forgotten to get Breakfast supplies in – well that was her excuse – and a quick side trip to Spotlight to get some wool for Mum and more sock wool for me. It was marked down to $4 a ball, compared to $11 normally, but I was restrained and only grabbed a couple of balls.  Elise wanted to come home and pick up the few bits and pieces she had left here and she was happy to bring us home and again it was nice not to have to drive.  She has just left to head back to Bendigo and Ralf, who no doubt by now, thinks he has been abandoned.

James is over the moon that he is now free of the cast. He can’t do any contact sports or even ball handling sports for the next six weeks – not that he does those anyway – and then he should be right. He tells me it feels really weird and that his arm is all “light” after having the cast removed. It was only a half cast so goodness knows what a full cast would have felt like….lol.

Life can now settle down. Only another week until both Nicola and James start school.  I picked up and paid for their school books on Tuesday – over a thousand dollars for books and fees – so much for a free education. The uniforms and shoes I had bought earlier which spread the expense a bit at least.

I think we are all going to kick back and relax this last week.  Nothing is planned. Instead we are going to enjoy the fact the broken hand saga is behind us, celebrate the final week of school and chill out and spend time together. With Nicola in Year 11 and James in Year 7 it’s going to be a busy year.

 

This, That and The Other

I can’t  quite believe how long it is since I have blogged.  I have missed it…..sort of…but to be honest it’s so chaotic around here that blogging was the very last thing on my “to do” list. I have kept up with reading everyones blogs though which has helped keep me sane.

James - School concert

We had the final Primary School Concert a couple of weeks ago. I say final because its the very last one that one of my children will be performing in, no doubt the school concerts  will continue as they are a fantastic way to fund raise. With James in Grade Six this year our primary school days are ending.  I will be the first to admit that James hates being the centre of attention.  He would much rather be on the sidelines looking on so for him to be up on stage in front of a hall full of parents and children is a big thing but as always he pulls on his “big boy pants” and gets on with it.  This year there was a very happy smile at the end of the concert and I was greeted with “thank goodness that’s the last concert I will ever have to do”.  I didn’t like to tell him that no doubt there will be many more moments when he will be front and centre.

We have also had the dramas of Elise’s car breaking down yet again and me having to drive to Bendigo the Thursday before the concert to take Elise to Uni and bring her home.  The Daewoo is still in Bendigo in a non going state.  We, or rather Elise, bought a Mitsubishi Magna that weekend and she loves it.  It is cheap to run, is automatic which she says is wonderful with the tight parking at uni and it’s comfortable and (crossing fingers) reliable.  Of course there were the usual dramas of getting the car road worthied and the tyres balanced, the actual registration and insuring of the car was the easy bit  but it all worked out in the end.  Both Ashley and I are so thankful that she now has a good car to drive (we were very disappointed in the Daewoo) as Elise is doing a lot of miles at the moment as she has practical placement here in Swan Hill every Monday for the next couple of weeks and has to go back to Bendigo Monday nights to be at Uni first thing Tuesday.

Of course there is the usual unexpected happenings on the home front.  The fence between us and the neighbours is up but the garage the men were supposed to have been building has stalled. Not sure why but no doubt they will get around it to…..hopefully sooner rather than later. The fence is all packing sheets that come up with bulk lots of other fencing sheets. Our friend saves them for us when he knows we have a project on.  We get the benefit of a lovely colourful and cheap fence, he gets the benefit of not having to store them or try to dispose of them.  It’s a win win situation and I truly do love a fence of many colours.

New Fence

There’s a new man in my life……”Stanley”.  My wood stove.

Stanley

The plumbers came and put in the flue and it’s all systems go.   More details on Stanley another day but trust me when I say there is one very happy cook typing this post.  Last nights roast was magnificent…..as was the bread I have made, the fruit cake, the biscuits and various other items. Can you tell I love using my new stove…..vbg.

There was a small hiccup to our day last week despite Stanley being operational- well big hiccup as it turned out. There was a bulge in the plaster in the passage right where the kids shower is.  Ashley cut a big hole – and I do mean BIG – to discover that ants (not white ants thank goodness) had filled up the cavity to the lowest stud with dirt and were happily living there.  It looks like the shower has been leaking for a while too as most of the dirt was mud and now we have to have the shower repaired and new tiles put in.  Even our builder was shocked when he came round to inspect the damage. Thank goodness for insurance as it’s another expense we just don’t need at the moment.  The good news is the insurance is through and the builders should be here tomorrow to make a start.

Leaking Shower

On the gardening front – I’m just starting to get organised for Spring Planting. The weather is slowly but surely warming up and we have had wonderful sunshine and even some days of rain which has lead to me being a happy gardener.  I planted potatoes – from those that had sprouted in the cupboard – the other day and sweet potatoe.  I refuse to Pay $6 or more for a bag of seed potatoes that I wouldn’t even get meal from when I have potatoes reporoducing themselves in my pantry.   I bought a huge cabbage while I was in Bendigo for $4 – it was the size of a basketball and locally grown which was nice and Nicola and I spent a couple of hours preparing and freezing it into meal size portions.  The cabbages I planted did no good at all.  Too crowded I think – obviously my vegie garden has to grow size wise in order for me to get decent crops.  I have picked out the area I want to grow pumpkins in – the chook pen would you believe. Once the pumpkins are up the chooks won’t both them and the ground is nice and fertile from the girls so I should (crossing fingers) get a good crop.  Pumpkins are priced at $4 a kilo and over at the moment and sweet potatoes aren’t far behind them so I’m determined to grow all I can.

I really wanted to get some sheep for their fleece but also for meat but Ashley said no. Luckily he swapped some work for meat with a friend and now I have two sheep cut into chops and roasts in my freezer. I swear those sheep were dinosaurs looking a the size of the chops and my freezer is now full to busting with lovely home grown meat that Elise and I saw being cut into chops and roast. Is there anything better than seeing your meat be prepared right in front of you.   I saved all the fat from the dog bones and spent yesterday rendering it down to tallow or is it Lard?  I can never remember.  I’m going to have ago at making soap with it.

Crocheted Lap Top Cover

The crafting side of my life is going ahead in leaps and bounds. Heaps of knitting, crochet, spinning and even some felting. Wool is the great leveller when the going gets rough I have discovered. There’s nothing like creating something out of wooly goodness to make all the “crap” stuff fade into insignificance.

Despite everything that has been happening we have had fun motor bike riding.  With the really lovely weather it was beautiful riding around checking out all the cattle tracks on a friends farm and generally exploring.  As always there is trouble getting the bikes to start. Who knows why – probably because the bikes just sit in between being used or maybe cause they know that James and Ashley will end up riding them through creeks – regardless of the reasons this time it was my turn to push Ashley as he tried to start the bike.

Me Pushing...puff, puff

Not my favorite of occupations and in the end he took pity on me and tied the bike to the car and pull started it that way.

Pull Starting the Motor Bike

 

 

Update on the Patients

Yes you did read right – patient is now plural.  Elise is still sick, details in a minute, and now I have Nicola running a temp, nasty cough, sore throat and sore stomach.   No vomiting yet thank goodness and I ‘m hoping rest will cure whatever this bug is.  There was an article in the local paper this morning that a bout of Gastro is doing the rounds so it’s possible Nicola has picked up that.

I finally got a Doctors appointment for Elise yesterday (Thursday) with my Doctor. He said Elise’s weakness, dizziness and nausea is caused by dehydration and she needs to drink more.  We did point out that she was – but he said with the amount of vomiting she did it will take a while to rehydrate the body. He also sent Elise for another blood test as there was a bit of an “anomily” in the first test that he wanted checked more closely.

Guess who really didn’t like that idea especially as the only vein they could find was a deep one and in the same arm that she had had the previous blood test and drip.  The Boss Pathologist had to be called in to extract the blood.  Got to admit he was good though. All over and done with in about 30 seconds which was a blessing all round.

Doctor M. thinks that Elise may have Glandular Fever which he said is common in young adults of her age.  We have to wait until Monday though to get the results  as Doctor M is away until then.  Because Elise is 16 she had to speak to Sister at the clinic as Elise hasn’t given me authorisation to collect her results.  It was all news to us that we even needed that kind of permission.  Anyway we are now playing the waiting game.

I had rung the college to say that she was still ill and the lady in charge of the Year 10’s just rang back and said not to worry about her school work that she would see Elise’s teachers and see if there was anything that she could work on while she was at home.  It is beginning to look like Elise may not return to school this term but they said that was ok and would work around any challenges that Elise and the teachers may face due to this extended illness. So we have had a win there.

I have spent the morning cooking trying to get some meals prepared and into the freezer for any further emergencies or for when I’m so tired that cooking is the furthest thing on my mind.  I could have started at 5 am this morning as I was awake worrying about the girls – but thought that just maybe I shouldn’t.  As a bit of craftiness I have dyed some more fabric (last nights effort to distract myself) and am in the process of washing them out this morning.  They have turned out really well and are a lovely bright spot for today.

Is it possible I could run away from home?  Is it permissable for a Mum to run away from home?   Nope forget that – they would all track me down and drag me home screaming.  You have no idea how much I am looking forward to my Ballarat Weekend.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday all to myself with just lovely crafty people to associate with and learning something new.  Ashley gets to play nurse.

No Sewing Today

Instead I have spent the entire morning down the street with Elise and Nicola outfitting them for school.  Finally I think I might actually be all done with buying their books, pens, clothes etc.  There are still some text books to pick up and pay for but I can’t get them until after the 19th of January and I still have to buy Elise a Mathomat which we forgot this morning but I think we are done.  The girls are now going through their books, labelling them, Elise is dishing out advice by the bucket full for Nicola and I’m staying well out of the way….vbg.

Each year I know that it will cost and arm and a leg to get the kids ready for school but nothing prepares me for the acutal cost of it all. Shoes are a prime example.  The girls have to wear either lace up black school shoes or “T” Bars – both of which, quite frankly, I consider hideous but that’s the school rules.  In the end I bought both of them lace up shoes.  Same brand. Same style.  Different sizes and of course different prices.  Elise’s were $100 while Nicola’s were $90.  Can someone explain that to me?  Luckily we found hidden in the cupboard a school dress which with very little altering will fit Nicola nicely so that was one less thing I had to buy.  Even stationary was expensive.  Arrrrrrrr!!!!  Never mind it’s all done now and I only have James to go.  At least his school supplies are cheap/cheaper.  He has plenty of school clothes (mainly hand me downs from Nicola) but since he only has to wear a Yellow Polo shirt and blue shorts they are pretty unisex thank goodness.

At least it’s cooler today so Ashley went to work this morning with James and got lots done…yipee….so that was two less people I had to deal with this morning. Now I’m off to read blogs and discover what everyone else has been doing – which is hopefully a lot of crafty stuff as I’m having withdrawals but after all that shopping the brain is on meltdown….sigh.

A Presentation, A Graduation and A Birthday

We have definately ended the week on a high here at Calidore’s house.

Last Sunday was Cleo’s Birthday.  She is 17 – a ripe old age in anyones books especially for a dog.

There was a bit of a health scare for her earlier in the week.  Her back legs are becoming increasingly weaker but after a visit to the vet (the first one since 1990!!!) and some anti inflamatories she is so much more comfortable.  Now we are trialling some injections – one a week for four weeks – to try and build up some tissues between the joints to give her a little more comfort.  Despite all this her appetite hasn’t declined and she is the same sweet natured, loyal and loving dog that she always was.

Thursday night saw the family heading in two different directions.  Elise received a Distinction award from the College for all her hard work through the year.  Wonderful news as she has really battled at times this year with having no maths teacher at struggling with some of the other school work.  It just goes to show that hard work, and lots of hours of doing homework, really do pay off.

Unfortuantely her Presentation night ended up being on the same night as Nicola’s Graduation Night from Primary School.

This was the first time that the Grade Six Graduation was held at night.  It worked well for so many parents who work and can’t get time off as the hall was filled with families celebrating another milestone in their childs life.  Unfortuantely for quite a few of us – it meant some juggling to see our other children’s big night as well.

As always though in these difficult situations our family pulls together very nicely.  My Mum, James and Elise’s best friend (and my other “daughter”) Belinda went with Elise to cheer her on while Ashley and I went to Nicola’s Graduation.

James declared that “even though it will probably be very boring I will go with Elise cause she needs more family than just Nan to be with her”.  Not a bad thought for a nine year old.

In the end it all worked out very nicely.  Ashley and I saw Nicola’s Graduation and the teachers had obviously been told to hurry things along a bit as they were finished in plenty of time for us to get to the Town Hall and we were able to see Elise receive her award.  A satisfactory outcome in the end.

Friday was the last day of school for James even though he didn’t offically attend.  We popped up to the school long enough to drop off Teacher Christmas presents, wish everyone a Merry Christmas and collect the school chooks as we “chook sit ” them during the long hot summer. It’s one less job that the Vice Principa has to worry about.

Ohh and speaking of Vice Principals  – Mr C. is retiring at the end of 2009 after a long and very distinguished career as a teacher.  He is one of those teachers who instinctivly knows how to make a child feel that they are capable of achieving anything but on the other hand all the kids at the school know just how far they can’t go if they don’t want to have him dissappointed in them.  So now I have another quilt to make – a retirement gift.  I’m thinking of a school house pattern but will wait until the Christmas break to start searching and deciding on what I want.  A lap quilt I think – but it will be a big quilt as Mr C. is well over six feet tall.

Working

Well so much for my good intentions of keeping up with my blogging.  I do have a good excuses though.

Friday I went to Hay (yes there is a town called that in New South Wales) about two hours from us to help Ashley install some ceiling fans and power points in a house that he has worked on previously.  It was actually a really nice drive if you don’t count how dry everything is and that part of the road is dirt and disected by cattle grids which make an tremendous racket and shake the work van something shocking if you don’t drive slowly over them.  We arrived around 8.30 am and had finished and were on our way home by 3.30pm.  Lovely people to work for and as they own the local take away shop we had lunch there.  Honestly they make the absolutely best hamburgers with the lot  I have ever tasted.  Yummm!!!!!!

Saturday was spent pricking out new lights for the dining room, kitchen and entry.  I have the entry light but am waiting on an electrrican (ie Ashley) to install it for me.  The dining room and kitchen lights had to be ordered but should be here soon.  Not a lot else was achieved.  I was incredibly tired from Friday so elected to let everyone else amuse themselves and have a nanna nap guilt free.

Sunday was Bathurst Racing day (cars)  and Ashley goes to his mate Graeme’s for a mens day in the shed. They drink, eat, watch the race, debate how they could have done it better and just generally bonded.  Graeme’s wife picked Ashley up and dropped him home so I didn’t even have to leave the house…yipee.  The kids and I spent a little bit of time in the garden then relaxed indoors not doing a whole lot.  I did get the Bricks and Stepping Stones quilt loaded onto the gammill and have the quilting pattern drawn out that Nicola picked.  Now just to find time to quilt it.

Part of this morning was spent at the school sorting out with James’s  Teacher and Principal what we can do regarding the bullying that is happening to James at the moment.  He is so frightened of this kid and has got to the stage that he doesn’t want to go to school or on camp.  They are both in Grade 2 and you would think that kids that age have more things to do than bully someone.  This charming child (not) throws a hissy fit if James and his mates play football and he doens’t get the ball everytime…with the end result of him hitting, punching or kicking James where no little boy should be kicked.  The teacher is at her wits end.  He is so bad that she can’t sit him with anyone else in class and he sits on his own. Both the teacher and principal (without either of them disclosing any details) have said there are major problems at home and this is an end result.  At the end of our meeting Ashley and I left feeling like things were moving forward and more steps are being taken to protect James and to help this child.  Even James was much more confident when he came home and for once I didn’t have him in tears telling me he was hit again.  The school is very pro active on Anti Bullying – but all attempts to show this child what he is doing wrong has been to no avail.  I’m not saying my son is an Angel – but there is no way that he is provoking this child.  Instead James is the sort of boy who would welcome a new playmate – providing he plays fairly and is a good sport.  Time will tell if it resolves itself.  I have a feeling that the end result may be that this child could be expelled from the school.  Not something that anyone wants but if left unchecked I shudder to think what he will be like in his teenage years.

The rest of the day was spent shopping and buying Elise a new mobile phone.  Hers fell out of her pocket on Friday and was handed in today.  Unfortunately whoever picked it up from the class room or school yard – decided that as they couldn’t access the phone they would drop it in a puddle in the oval instead.  Elise said she was no where near the oval on Friday so “human hands” have been at work.  Funnily enough mobile phones don’t like baths and it is now “dead” – well unless Ashley can revive it and somehow I think that’s doubtful.

Tomorrow, so long as there are no other disasters,  Ashley and I are out at that huge shed again – working on installing lights in the new cool rooms which have been built.  He had better think twice if he thinks I’m climbing any ladders to put in light globes.

I really must remember to pack the camera to show you the progress.  If I have it right where the work truck is standing is now two new coolrooms the height and width of the one you can see there.

Off to make a cuppa and continue on with my book.  I bought the last in the Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini “Brisinger” and I’m loving it.  If only there weren’t so many interuptions I might be further along.  If by any chance you’re tempted to skip the books and watch the movie “Eragon” forget it.  The books (in my humble opinion) are much, much better.  The movie glosses over too much for my liking where as I find the books have much more depth and detail and lets face it are a darn good read.

World Teachers Day

It is, according to the school newsletter and the internet when I did a search,  World Teachers Day today so James decided to take his teacher Miss O’D. some flowers.

Nothing less than a bunch of Red Roses – the highly perfumed kind – would do.  I think he’s a closest romantic….vbg.

I’m sure Miss O’D will enjoy them – I just hope she survives all the thorns that they come with……ouch.

 “The mediocre teacher tells.

The good teacher explains.

 The superior teacher demonstrates.

The great teacher inspires.”

William Arthur Ward 

 

What a pity it isn’t “Wives who help their Husbands Day”.  I am off to Woorinen (about 15 mins from home) to help Ashley lay wires for a new house in a trench and do all the associated bits that go with it.  Luckily there is a cool breeze blowing and plenty of shady trees as the sun has a real sting to it and as for the flies…….ohhhhhhhh!!