Wednesday, January 31, 2007

leafblowers - among other mind-boggling concepts

I think it is one of those "there are two kinds of people" categories.

There are those that dunk bickies, and those that don't. (My mother always told me that The Queen never dunked her biscuits - that just made me feel very sorry for HRH.)

There are those that can roll their tongues and those that can't. (I am a roller).

There are those that have seen The Titanic, and those who haven't. (One of the few - it is now a badge of honour.)

And then, there are those who approve of the use of leaf blowers.

I am afraid I am not one of those.

No, darn it, I am felicitous that I disapprove. I think that they are a waste of fossil fuels, natural minerals and manufacturing labour, they create environmental disharmony and a superior attitude for those who DARE to DISTURB peace on earth.

And why is it that there is a fairly inverse proportionality of psychic energy between emotional wellbeing and the number and decibel level of leafblowers in direct proximity? It forms one of those "chicken and egg" conundrums, doesn't it?

A very good veranda friend and I were discussing the abuse of leafblowers one afternoon, and we came to the conclusion that Queensland Health should be advised of this phenomena so that they could cut down on a lot of useless data collecting and focus instead on the future intentional use of leafblowers in a neighbourhood so they could do a pre-emptive psychiatric shoring up or something.

As you can see, there had been the interference of a leafblower or two in the above conversation to cause such an outcome.

Anyhow - I had great intentions of having a much better day than yesterday in terms of productivity.

I can't really blame the leafblower - there had already been the waiting for the pharmacist to open hit the day had taken. And I suppose I could add the two pots I failed to do in the morning wash up, therefore seeding another massive wash up in my future. Then, there is the unexpected bill appearing in my mailbox this morning. (I really must check inside that brick mansion more often). And the sudden appearance of the lawnmower man - blocking my driveway - this morning.

But all that could have been overcome, I am sure. My mind was in the right place, I was psyching myself up, I even had my coffee plan built in to my pre-paper to-do list.

Hey - I had already made pikelets, almost finished the washing up (see above), fixed the lunchbox (and made my own - woo hoo), mentally written and discarded several dozen blogs (darn - there were some beauties too), waved off the child, set up a session with a friend, done emergency shopping and had the to-do list open and ready for attack. So it wasn't all lost, and I had only been up since 4.30

I am not saying I blame the leafblower - however, I do feel that it is not total coincidence that a screaming assault on my senses and sensitivies at approximately 8.49am this morning (for about 26 seconds - I did have presense of mind to fly to the window and beg the lawnmower man to cease and desist) and the drop in efficiency and performance levels towards the productive outcomes of the day both occurred.

I did actually get a list created, by the way. Of the 26 possible boxes to tick for "today", I have ticked 12 - and of the 16 additional written on things, 4 have been done.

Okay, so a lot of better people than me out there would scoff - but I have BIG THINGS on my to do list.

See, where it says "Unpacking", it means unload those 2 suitcases that have travelled 1900 kilometres in the last 3 weeks of January, through 4 houses, several crises and changed plans, eventualities for things of earth, water and culture and a 7 year old girl's and frazzled mother's life.

And where it says "Folding", it means fold your whole wardrobe, including
- the half that got lived in an out of during the above and had required washing so during moments of sanity were laundered and tumbled and tossed into a pile in the living room and lived out of for the past 3 days;
- the half that remained in the suitcases that have been lived out of for the past 5 days; and
- the half that were discarded during the packing process 3 weeks ago and never quite got put back...

Where it says Living Room - well, let me just say that maybe my starting line is a bit behind that of the average scoffer, who doesn't have to deal with me (you may understand that is a big handicap) or my 7 year old, who regards this room to be a craft workshop where her maid is a little tardy...

So of those 12 little ticks, you can see that 4 little ticks are really projects unto themselves. (come on, I did put all that folding away - that counts) (okay - how much should you dock for the hanging?)

I have a wonderful to do list template - I made it myself (rather than face some task one other day in my life - procrastination is a habit I have formed into a lifestyle) - and the first thing on the list is "Write List" - so that one item is already ticked by the time you print it!!!

I also have phone calls as check boxes. Forgot to write on appliance guy. But 60% of those that made it to the original list were called.

Oh - and then my honey got home from work early. So that was another phone call - and another tick. A big tick (with a smiley face and heart on it :D)

There - blog written - another tick - I may even have waded to the other end of today's tasks by tomorrow - but I am pretty happy with today's outcomes.

Except for the leafblower. Anyone else got leafblower issues? Or maybe some to-do list tricks? I think I may need to seek help - on both!!!

Anyhow - I had better go and sweep the driveway now - me and my big mouth!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Today's To Do List - or "Whatever happened to Tuesday"

It had started so well, too.

I awoke early and refreshed. Admittedly, it was yet again 4.30am - I think it must just be my waking time these hot summer days (okay, new member of family Eddie, the cutest kitten in the universe, may have also had a little to do with it).

I got my grapefruit quotient in a breakfast, too. Normally, that is a surefire way to keep this ship aright and full steam ahead.

I got the first load of washing on. This includes my daughter's other school dress, so you can see that preparedness was evident early on.

My princess was (a) dressed, (b) fed, (c) groomed, and (e) lunchboxed when she walked out of the door. Maybe she wasn't a total ball of sunshine, but I count that mark as a pass. I mean, she wasn't screaming, crying or begging - I am not the worst mum in the world if I don't fold at the first "I don't feel so well" try on, am I? It is the second day of this school year, and I am hoping to move our "absenses" to a sub 20 figure this year - my strategy is to keep it to the days where she is actually sick and see how we go with that. (BTW - for those suddenly worrying about the neglect of my poor child, I will do a spoiler and say that she did not get sick at school today).

I had an appointment at 9.30. I think it is the hour between waving my daughter off to school and when I had to leave myself that the first signs of rot set in.

You see, I made a mistake and started to read. I have a confession to make. I am a reading addict. Yes, all very "My name is Jeanie and I have no power" it seems, with the old woodpulp and ink - and the 1s and 0s around here too - you aren't entirely blameless, internet community.

Anyhow, what with the intense need for sluicing due to Summer juices, the many distractions on offer and Eddie's very existence (did I mention the most gorgeous ginger feline?), it took every minute of the 13 I had up my sleeve to get from point A to appointment and find a park (I love living away from the city!!!).

So - snarked it, it seems. Appeared unruffled and managed to bluff my way through - I have no ideas what I was really saying, but the lady made all the right noises. May not make any perfect part-time solution magically appear, but it can't help but to dream...

Darn it - then I remembered what I was meant to do during that 1 hour recess between bus and appointment. Given my financial circumstances at the moment, it is a wise to ensure that both the budget and shopping list are followed to the letter - and despite good intentions, neither had been created for this fortnight.

Got home with only enough provisions for the 2 days before I shall venture abroad again, I had drive and purpose to get today's list done and dusted, just as soon as I ate my lunch.

Just after lunch, a friend called - well, let me just say that on all levels, I made the best choice here and sat down and we talked and listened and conjectured and laughed. Sometimes you just gotta do that with friends, you know.

Ah, but the phone call was over and still there was a child-free portion of the day - and I only had to put down laundry, compost, recycling, unpacking, folding, fixing beds, putting clothes away and sweeping/washing/vacuuming all floors on to the to do list and some of it should have disappeared by now, surely?

Oh well, I spent a bit more time in England during the Revolution, caught up on a few weeks blogarama, processed some of the stuff that went on during my (ha ha ha) holidays and downloaded and uploaded photos.

And then my darling daughter came home from school - and we both needed a little us time. I give it to her so rarely, as I am always being busy. Instead today I filed that and we talked, sang, dug out recorders and played...

Since then I have actually finished that 1st load of washing - and the compost did go into the bin.

My daughter has found some old cardboard and crayoned and cut out a vast array of vegetables.

I have my darling awaiting me patiently on IM. My daughter and I are about to concoct something for dinner - it will involve pork and vegetables. And then we will all have a wonderful evening.

(An aside - my daughter has just brought me in a present. Giftwrapped in leftover bookcover contact is a white piece of scrap paper (good girl - she goes through my printer stash like no-one) with my name artfully printed - and within, a black rectangle with a red end. A wand, apparently - she knows what I needed today!!!

Oh, and I wrote this blog. There is always tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Frustration at 4.30am

I have a theory about insomnia - if you can't get to sleep in 20 minutes, get up and do.

So, at 4.30am, I got up to do...

But blogger was not going to do, and due to my inability to get in and on with the job, all those wonderful inspirational thoughts that come with a fresh dawn have been sapped

Might I just suggest that if you have too many beans, have 2 7 year olds bickering from 6am to 8.30pm (with intermissions of best friend's forever) - that will knock the beans right out of you.

Anticipate more such inspiration tomorrow. Good night...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

At Loggerheads (in a manner of speaking)

Wow – it has been a very full-on year so far (well, on the me-scale it is very full on. For super-achievers my accomplishments rate possibly lower).

I have spent some quality time with my daughter and my darling. I have had guests – although they did have to make their own beds and get their own towels on arrival. Another resolution that would have failed had I made it. I have attacked the garden (and it didn’t attack me back too badly).

Anyhow, although I could fill the computer coffers with plenty of drivel about it, I have to be mindful of my time and effort (daughter and darling still available for love and companionship, although former is finding it with Round the Twist and latter is finding it through tidying – mmmmmwwwaaahh gotta love that man), and also mindful of your attention span – so I will try to include brevity (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha). To this end, I will only give you 3 highlight of the year this far.

Loggerheads: Nature at its most wonderous

On Wednesday, our guests Nicole and Don shouted us a visit to Mon Repos to see the turtles. How ashamed am I that I now live 12 minutes from a turtle rookery, in a house that has been in my immediate family since 1982 and this is the first time I went there?

Anyhow – not sure whether it was because Nicole was thoughtful enough to pre-book or the fact that we had a 7 year old with us, but we were in the first group. That gave us about enough time to put on insect repellent and jump the long queue snaking towards the carpark.

Turtles are wild animals that do not perform on demand, so if a turtle doesn’t come up to the beach and lay for you in a timely manner it is your own bad luck. Perfectly understandable, but they must have had enough irate tourists to reiterate that several times, both on the tickets and verbally while we were waiting.

I don’t know whether it was because high tide was at 8 that evening or it was full moon, but we had to wait (from 6.30pm) only 20 minutes before news came of the first turtle and we were ushered to the beach. (Apparently, the week before, the wait had been until 2am. They have a stage show with the rangers lecturing to entertain should that happen)

We learned many amazing facts while she dug the nest, about the procreation and lifestyle of turtles – I am sure many internet patrons would wish for a turtle’s life. Those who surf for sexual favour would appreciate the copulation procedure, those with infertility issues would love access to the reservoirs that a female turtle can use to fertilise her eggs, and no doubt those of a literate bent would appreciate how delicately our guide, Jimmy, negotiated such questions with a front row audience of the under 10s!

The back flippers digging the nest were awesome to watch – turtles have similar bones in these as in the human hand, and the scoop and deposit is choreographed wonderfully. She took a while to dig, so we also learned about the turtle constellation that appears over Mon Repos for the season and what measures practical conservation has been implemented.

Some other advice (apart from the ticketing). If your baby is screaming before we go to the beach, chances are it won’t enjoy the experience of coastal wind whistling around its ears. If your child doesn’t have the patience to sit still and watch nature unfold, wait until another year, find a babysitter or have one of the adults sit out – not a good experience for the child or those around it. If you are warm enough waiting in the queue, have another jacket as the wind can be cunning. Dress for comfort – and if you have wheel or joint requirements you may be in trouble, as the beach and dunes are not designed with ability or style in mind. If the ranger has told you not to use the flash yet, don’t use the bl**dy flash yet!!!

Then K53106 laid her 4th clutch of over 100 eggs for the season, relaxed in hormonal bliss as 30 odd humans all sat around her in awe. Nature is incredible.

At 9pm, those who chose to leave early (ie us – 7 year old had almost had enough and I know the nature of that overtired beast) snuck back, trying not to spook any turtles wishing to surf ashore for their own clutches (unsuccessfully, it turns out). On the way, I was bitten by an insect of indeterminate origin in the waist of my pants. Bugger.

Bubbles at the Barrel

Another touristy thing we decided (okay, our guests dragged us) to visit was The Barrel. A kitsch establishment celebrating one of Bundaberg’s beveragical contribution to society (the other is more costly, stinky and frankly, of no use to the party concerned.)

It was quite quaint. We propped up the bar and did the taste testing (know well their Ginger Beer, Lemon Lime Bitters and Sarsaparilla due to family history, was very impressed with Lemon Ale – less so with the sweeter Peachee and Apple Ale (as I do not have THAT sweet a tooth) and took one look at the Burgandee and sprinted!!!

The lasting feature for me, however: while our tourists were being interviewed by the local newspaper (page 5 pinups the next day) my 7 year old became hot and thirsty. Now, I know from practical experience that giving her softdrink is not the answer but no water was available so I purchased a mixed ½ dozen at the outlet.

She didn’t react too dramatically, unlike me when I reached the next shop and realised I had failed to collect my change. I got home after their closing hours, so left a rather pathetic message rambling about my dilemma.

They rang me the next day, had a laugh about it and the money was waiting for me to collect at my convenience. I like that – people can be great creatures!

Bush Mechanics

Just have to do a little rave about small town mechanics, and mine in particular. When I first came here, I followed the advice of a family friend and booked my car’s service at a large, well-known garage. They were good, I will give them that, but getting in was akin in timeframe to medical establishments and they consulted and charged in the same manner.

When I hit a mechanical emergency, Wednesday next week was not good enough, and so I found the local bloke – and I cannot sing his praises higher (well, I won’t anyway, as my darling may have a problem with such extoliation of another male!)

At the last service, I outlined one problem that I was having with the car. It sort of felt like it needed to fart and got the chugs occasionally, which was a problem when driving the distances I can on occasion through terrain that is far from the local mechanic (or mobile range). He fixed that problem and charged me a very reasonable price.

Unfortunately, it turned out that, after 150km, it was not fixed. That was okay, as our next family trip could be done in my darling’s car and I could deal with that problem next year (or this, now).

Which, too, would have been foolproof, had not something gone wrong and darling’s car would not go. At all. In the local grocery carpark as we were all set to head. My darling has been discussing the virtues of rejoining the RACQ for several months now, and we realised the futility of merely talking about it.

But then, one call to my mate the mechanic and he came and fixed the problem pronto – no charge.

And yesterday, I took my belching beauty back to him, and he found dirt in the carby, which he fixed in a backfire and handed back to me working fine – again, no charge.
Of course, he is probably relying on my repeat custom and word of mouth I can do for him – which he will get!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Salutations 2007

I never make Resolutions. Too much like a hurdle just waiting to be knocked down.

So here are my wishes for this year.

I wish that a certain friend of mine can find some light and some joy

I wish that certain relatives of mine can find harmony and joy

I wish that my daughter can find new friends and lots of joy

I wish that the perfect job will either form in my mind or the neighbourhood (and my bank could get some joy)

I wish for my lover to find the perfect job nearer to me (not mentioning associated joys)

I wish for more rain to fall judiciously, more opportunities to do things I love doing, and, of course, to be a better mother...

So salutations for your new year - I also wish for you what would give you joy.