Monsoon.

The monsoon has really hit us over the last week. Since last Thursday, we have had over 1000mm (3.28ft) of rain. Yep, that’s wet.

To our south, Townsville copped a hammering yesterday, which has continued today, leading to a Natural Disaster being declared. It’s local water supply, the Ross River Dam, went from near 50% capacity a few weeks ago, and is currently overflowing at 140% capacity. The highway between here and Townsville, and south of Townsville is cut due to major flooding.

The weather system, which moved quickly over us that has caused all this is now starting to march back towards us, and today, we have so far got 100mm of rain, and it’s not over yet. At one stage, we got about 40mm in about 20 minutes.

This evening we got an impressive, if only brief thunderstorm, only lasted about 15 minutes, but was nice to watch from the safety, and dry, of the verandah. I love thunderstorms, it’s my thing.

Jack has been going well at school, there is an app where the teacher makes notes during the day, and he is doing good. I can check it from home. The teacher and I can also send each other messages if need be. It’s a great idea.

Our tiler has been making good progress tiling the house, we have been in a state of disorganisation during the process, but it is starting to come together now. Our tiler only has 1 arm, but he is doing a sweet job, much better than any fully able bodied tiler. He has laid about a third of the tiles now, and grouted a huge area today, so now we have half the lounge room back to normal. He’s been laying the tiles in a way that means we can still live in the house and get around. Honestly, he has been awesome. Tomorrow is the kitchen, so take-away dinner is on the cards, seeing we won’t be able to use the kitchen again until Saturday.

Talking about Saturday, the local markets are on on Saturday, and hopefully, by the time we have had a wander around down there, we will have some farm fresh veges, and fingers crossed, some more food producing plants to plant in the garden. Tomorrow, I am thinking, even if it’s raining, that I will get out and plant some seeds for beans and peas, and do a bit around the garden. At least in this climate, working outside in the rain is enjoyable, as it isn’t freezing cold.

Anyhow, I must go now, I need sleep, I need to be up early to get Jack ready for school, and I have to move the refrigerator out of the kitchen before I drop Jack to school so it’s out of the way when the tiler arrives.

Goodnight.

Andy.

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Successfully back to school.

Jack has had a somewhat successful first day back at school, at his new school. He was so excited until this morning, when it dawned on him that he would not know anyone, and I guess was nervous about trying to make new friends. He is one of those children that makes friends easily, he’s a nice kid, so I guess that’s why, but he is also shy when he meets new people. As it went, the Good part of the day, according to him was he has made some new friends already, the bad bit was as it is a new school, and a lot bigger than the 2 previous schools he has been to, at lunchtime he got a bit lost. But it was easily sorted.

We’ve had a chilled afternoon since he got home, and now after dinner, his favourite spaghetti bolognese, he is safely tucked in bed.

Just before dinner time, Dad came over wanting a hand with something. The something was to go and pick up a treadmill, as usual, his timing was shocking. He really hasn’t a clue and is really quite selfish. I was supposed to cook dinner, but ended up getting Mum to, so I could help him. So an hour after we were supposed to have dinner, hence making Jack late for bed, we had dinner.

The other part of the frustration of having to go, which, if I didn’t, he would have carried on like a 3 year old, it must be a thing of blokes that age,(yes USA, you know who I’m referring to there), was that he is rapidly becoming a crap driver, and it was belting down with rain, he wasn’t concentrating on driving (I actually told him to stop looking at me and watch the road), was speeding, and it was just generally scary. Not happening again, I think I’d rather deal with the 3 year old, than get seriously injured in a car crash because he is so shit at driving.

I also had to put up with his boring diatribe of how smart he is (he isn’t), how he spent all of his sons childhoods going to university (which he has never used the qualification, so completely pointless, other than to use to big note himself), which meant that the time he could have actually been a parent to us, he wasn’t. I know both myself and my brother are pretty angry with him, he spent all that time away from us for no good reason, and he’s just become more arrogant because he has a university degree. He’s actually pretty dumb. Say’s more about the lack of standards at university than anything else, considering he walked out of there with a degree.

I really don’t know how I managed to get through the whole drive up to the other side of town and back without just going off at him. I did, but then when I got back, I was just in such a foul mood that I have been irritable ever since. I spoke with Mum after Jack went to bed, and she wasn’t surprised, about any of it. Apparently he has done the same when they have gone anywhere recently together, although Mum avoids it most of the time and goes with me everywhere instead. Honestly, now we have all had some separation from his bad behaviour, it’s actually quite shocking to see how bad he really is. It isn’t that he is any worse than before, he isn’t, it’s just that it’s not up in our faces 24 hours a day now, and sometimes we don’t see him for a couple of days now, so when we do, we see he hasn’t changed, and how bad he really is. It’s hard to deal with.

It’s one of those catch 22 situations, you feel like unloading on him, but you know it won’t make any difference. If you give back to him as good as he dishes out, it just makes it worse. He happily dishes it out, but can’t take it himself.

Anyhow, this is what this blog is about, I apologise, but don’t at the same time, for unloading all that crap and venting my spleen, is a way of getting it out without a major catastrophe. Also, I guess, it makes some of you realise that you aren’t alone, because I am sure I am not the only one who deals with crappy people like this.

I must go to bed, I am exhausted, and need to be up early again for the next day of school.

Goodnight.

Andy.

My boy goes back to school tomorrow.

It’s been quite an extended school holiday for jack. With the move, coupled with the bad time of the year to do that when it comes to school, he has been off school for 11 weeks. I could say “yippee”, crack open a bottle of some highly intoxicating beverage, and celebrate, but it has never really been the case with me and Jack. I love having him around, most of the time. Yes, he drives me crazy at times, you show me a child that doesn’t drive their parents wild at times. But, I will feel this great emptiness tomorrow, after I leave him at school in the morning. I always do.

I will come home, and it will be quiet. It will feel like something is missing. I won’t be constantly nagged “Daddy, daddy, daddy”, every 5 minutes with some new discovery or just mundane little thing, but I will miss it. I think, the fact that this time around, having been such a big break, it will be worse.

In some ways, I am looking at this first week as a circuit breaker. So much has happened in the past 4 months, that I am really worn to bits. Today, I collapsed into bed at 2.30pm, exhausted. If not for a few last minute things I needed to do for Jack, like a quick trim of his hair, and make sure he went to bed at the proper time (not that I doubt mum would have made sure anyhow), I probably would have forgone dinner, and slept until the morning. It’s not that I worked my backside off today, but it is the accumulation of everything, now coming to a head. I said to Mum an hour ago that I am likely going to spend a lot of this first week of Jack back at school in bed, asleep.

The worst thing about having woken up to make sure things went as they should, is that I awoke a zombie. Then, after getting out of the fog that was enveloping my head, I have then struggled to get back into sleep mode, even though I am dog tired.

I did do a few things today, I mowed the lawn, which is not a huge job, half an hour and it’s done. I also went and picked up some seedlings of some pink desert roses, they were 50 cents each, so I got six. They will be great statement plants when they end up where they will be planted and have grown. Pretty, and pretty hardy as well.

So, in a few hours, I will have to be up, make school lunch, and get the boy off to school. Back to the regular routine, sort of, finally.

Andy.

I don’t know what I’m doing….

Living with this crappy ailment means half the time, I don’t know what I am doing. Ground down by pain and overwhelmed by fatigue, you lose your mind. I can get up whilst thinking about what I am about to do, like go and make a drink, or hang the washing out, and by the time I have walked the 3 metres from one side of my bedroom to the door, I will be wondering what it was that I had got up to do. It’s absolutely crazy.

If I get distracted, by something else, or someone suddenly talking to me, that’s it, it will take ages to remember what it was I was up to again. I know now that it’s all fibromyalgia related, at first I was really concerned I was getting dementia real fast or something, but then when I had a better patch with the fibro, it got better again.

I have had a really weird day today. Plans thrown out the window, firstly, because of the weather, we were going to a market, been planned for the past week, but now we are under a tropical storm, that has dumped nearly half a metre of rain on us in the past 36 hours. So, we could drive a couple of hundred km’s to get there, as the direct, 30 km route is too dangerous in this weather, it is very mountainous, very narrow and winding, and very prone to landslides with heavy rain. The prospect of driving all that way, although I was excited to go to the market, was not exciting at all.

So, I spent, and wasted 2 hours this morning waiting for a bloke to come and buy my trailer, who never ended up showing up (the second one now), then he organised to come this afternoon after 4 pm. He still never showed up, and now wants me to wait until next week. Then he might not still buy it. What is wrong with people ??? We decided after the morning debacle, to head out anyway, but closer to home, not half a days driving.

We went to a few Op Shops, which was productive, we got a few things we were looking for, and then went to Bunnings for some stuff to finish off the kitchen renovation. Then, I treated mum to lunch, and we wandered around the shopping mall for a bit, got a few other things we needed, then headed home to be back in time for the chap who never showed up.

We pottered around this afternoon when we got back, I contacted another potential buyer of the trailer, who is just as fickle as the previous two I have discovered, put the last 2 handles on the new kitchen cabinets, tidied up my tools which were spread everywhere, cooked some steak for dinner, and now, I am just about ready for bed.

We have had so much rain, it’s incredible. While driving around today, it was torrential. In some ways, it was time to come home when we did, with basically rain so heavy that even on well drained roads the water was at least 2 inches deep, and with even deeper puddles where the rain was frantically trying to get away, it was exhausting. You have to be on your toes when it’s that wet, especially with so many lousy drivers out as well. Since I started writing this 20 minutes ago, we have had 25 mm of rain, or about an inch. I told you the rain is heavy.

It’s actually funny. Last night, I went to bed at this time, and we have basically got exactly the same amount of rain as the same time last night. This time last night we had had 189.3 mm, today, up to now we have had 186.9 mm. The rain is supposed to be like this for a few more days, and it is currently being slated by those in the know to be the biggest rainfall event in over 2 decades. Crazy, the first few months we have been here, we have had the highest daily temperature ever recorded here, and now we are experiencing the wettest period in over 2 decades.

The past couple of days have also been tough. Every time we have gone out, and then returned home, we have been expecting to let Smudge out after being inside in the air-conditioning to do her business, but she is not here. Same in the mornings when we get up. You get so used to having a pet around, I mean, 17 years is a long time, that it is all the regular things you do automatically that catch you off guard. I am sure it will be some time before we get past this, she was such an amazing little dog. Gee I miss her.

Andy.

I lost my best friend yesterday.

For nearly 17 years, she was my best friend. She went through everything with me. She was there during the worst of the time I had with my ex, and it was her that kept me going. Smudge, the best little dog I have ever owned, left us yesterday.

For the past week, I was concerned, she was not quite herself, although she was eating well, and enjoyed her afternoon walks still. She even was belting around the yard with Jack on Monday afternoon, just like a puppy. It was the little things, the smallest things that I noticed that would be barely perceptible to anyone else.

On Wednesday afternoon, she started to have a bit of trouble with her back legs. Not much, just a bit weak. She was also a little moody. Then, yesterday morning, both Mum and I woke to her crying. She had soiled all over the floor where she slept in one of those little pet pens in the lounge room, she was always an inside dog, she was a Jack Russell Terrier, but when our fog of waking abruptly out of deep sleep at 5am started to lift, we realised she was bent leftwards, she couldn’t straighten out, and she was falling over. Mum picked her up, and she was covered in muck, so she took her in to give her a wash, while I cleaned up the rest of the mess.

After her wash, she sat with mum for an hour, and went to sleep, but she was ever so compliant, not at all like the feisty little dog she has always been. We knew that things weren’t right. Once I had cleaned everything up, and got her bedding clean and into the dryer, She woke, and mum, needing to go to the loo, put her down, and she was still the same, bent and not able to stand. She was obviously distressed about it, so I picked her up, and cuddled her, which made her calm and relaxed again. When jack got up, I had a quiet word with him about it, before he came out of bed, and said that it didn’t look good, to prepare him for what might be going to happen. Me and mum, although we hadn’t said anything to each other, had already thought that this was the end.

Once it was time for the Vet to open, we went down, and took her. I knew that was going to be the last drive in the car. The vet looked her over, and without a second thought, told us what we had suspected, she had had a stroke. We are not the type of people to make an animal suffer for our own selfish reasons. The vet told us that it was highly unlikely that she would probably last the day out. You never want to make the decision, but we had to. Jack and I went out to the reception while the procedure was done, and then we went back in when it was all over. I’m crying as I write this still. I wanted to write yesterday, but just couldn’t.

Smudge had an amazing life. She had lived in four states, Western Australia, where she was born, New South Wales, Victoria, and finally, in her last couple of months, Queensland. She had travelled from one side of Australia to the other on more than one occasion, and from top to bottom and back again. She had flown on planes, rode on trains, had a ride in a semi trailer truck, and countless road trips in the car. She had numerous doggy friends, but only ever took to the immediate human family, and up until Jack, didn’t like kids, the result of some nasty little shits when she was a puppy.

When she first met Jack, when Jack was only 3 months old, and she was 9, I was apprehensive as to how she would react, but she took ownership of him, and every moment they were together, she was right there by his side. When he went to school, she would look for him, and when it was time for me to pick him up, she knew he was going to come back with me, and her excitement at the prospect of him coming home was obvious.

We are now without a pet, but Smudge was more than that. She was my best friend. We knew the time was coming, we were fearful that she wasn’t going to make it to our new home, but she did, and she handled the trip well. 17 is a long time for a dog to live. In dog years, she was a very old lady indeed. She was loved, and also she loved us. She wasn’t a pet, she was a member of the family. Although the events of yesterday are fresh in the mind, it is the memories of all the joyous moments that are coming into my mind. She most certainly was the most amazing little dog I have ever known. I dare say, that I may not even be here if it wasn’t for her. She protected me at times when I needed protection. She gave me comfort when I needed comforting. It will be hard for any other dog to stack up to her.

Rest in Peace my little Smudgee, you will ALWAYS be in my heart.

Andy.

I don’t normally drink…

Let me correct that, I do drink, lot’s and lots of water and coffee, but I don’t normally drink alcohol. When I was younger, I used to drink a lot. My life before becoming a parent, and physically useless due to this wretched illness, was a rather interesting one.

I guess my first real time of probably going overboard with drink was when I worked as a stockman. I worked on some very remote properties, like, hours away from the nearest town sort of remote, I mean, the next nearest neighbour would be 1 or 2 hours away. After a tough day mustering, or yard work, that first cold beer goes down without touching the sides, the second and third go pretty quickly as well. Then, when you got the chance to go to town, which is basically a town with a few houses, a small and overpriced store, and a pub, you would buy tonnes of Coca Cola, and several bottles of rum. And 3 or 4 packets of rolling tobacco and enough papers to last out the tobacco. You sort of get sick of beer, which was kindly supplied by the company, so the rum was your after 4 beers and go to bed drink. One night, after a bad break up from a girlfriend over the phone, I drank a whole bottle of rum, I mean, not the pissy little 700ml bottle, a 1125ml bottle, over a litre of straight, very strong rum. My workmates watched me destroy myself, and then one of them gave me the rest of one of his bottles as well. I spent the large part of the rest of the night vomiting and hardly conscious. Amazingly, and to my colleagues dismay, I didn’t have even a slight hangover in the morning !!

After I left there, I went on to work as a commercial cleaner, a car rental agency manager, and a manager of an art gallery, which all involved consuming a lot of grog, the cleaning job was because the boss loved to get drunk too, the car rental manager was due to wining and dining tourism accommodation owners to get trade from them, and the third, well, art gallery exhibition openings are more or less the rich snobs excuse for a booze fest.

Then I went and did what any sensible person with a drinking problem does, I worked on a vineyard, growing wine grapes, then on to working at a winery. The winery deal meant that we went home with a case of free wine every 2 weeks as part of the employment conditions !!! That’s where I learnt that 6am isn’t too early, as if that’s when your working day ends……….

Since my ex became ultra violent about 2005, not long after our wedding, I stopped drinking. If you are blind drunk when someone tries to smother you in your sleep, you probably wouldn’t make it. These days, I very rarely drink. I can go months and months, and even then, if I do have one, it is one, nothing more. I enjoy it more now, I like the flavour, and I buy good stuff, not just the cheapest so I can get the most. I can’s stand beer, even though I used to drink the stuff like water before. It makes me ill.

So for 14 years I have drunk hardly anything. It was a good choice. I guess if the ex hadn’t killed me while I was drunk, the drink would have. Funnily enough, even though I drank so heavily for about a decade, I had tests, including scans, of my kidneys a year or 2 ago in the search for a diagnosis for why I was so unwell, and my kidneys are actually in better nick than they should be for someone my age. It’s always nice to know that something is working well still !!

The couple of weeks have been tough, and so tonight, because the pill packets for the pain medication says that alcohol enhances the effects of the pills, so be careful and don’t drive, I had a can of Wild Turkey. I need sleep. I need to feel rested. I need some relief from the crap I have dealt with for weeks with the fibromyalgia. So, I decided to enhance the pills. As I write, it seems to be working. I certainly don’t want to make a habit of it, I am trying to get rid of my other bad habit, smoking, I don’t need a new one to replace it.

An

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Hmmm.

Feeling so wrecked for the past few days has been very difficult. I have somehow managed to drag myself through the day, even though I am sleeping poorly because of the fibromayalgia pain. It is so damned frustrating not being able to get comfortable in bed to sleep, you lie one way, your hip hurts, you lie another way, your shoulders hurt, or lying on your back, which doesn’t feel right to me, makes everything hurt. It’s matter of picking the least painful position to sleep and then hope you get some.

When I am like this, I feel a complete failure. That is the source of the related depression. You just can’t do anything. I feel like I am failing Jack, failing myself, just………, failure.

I hate it when I have stuff mapped out and planned, only to have this hit me, and then it’s just a huge game of catch up for weeks until I get to a point where I can make headway with the tasks I have underway. Sometimes, well lot’s of times, MOST OF THE TIME, I don’t even get caught up before it hits again, so I have this snowball affect happening, where everything I have going on just gets put on the back burner and gets further and further behind.

I hate how I, at 41, am in such a state, that I need to live at home with my mother again. Don’t get me wrong, it is easier knowing that when I am as bad as I am right now that there is someone around to help, but it does suck it out of you knowing that you just can’t manage completely on your own anymore. I will admit it, I’m man enough, it makes me cry at night.

Today we had to go shopping. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t be eating. Mum doesn’t drive, so I had do that. Well, we went out at around 10.30am, and got back around 2pm, we had our new floor tiles delivered this morning, so couldn’t go earlier. The later in the day, the more mammoth the task gets for me. Just driving up to the shops 15 kilometres away is arduous when I am like this.

Then, dealing with all the sensory overload while out just makes it worse. We stopped in at a fake plant place because mum wanted to see what they were like, and as soon as I went into this small, overcrowded with stock shop, and with the smell of stale human urine, I needed top get out, so I went out and waited beside the noisy, busy road, to have a smoke, as the claustrophobic feeling was one thing, but the stink was just too much.

After we went there, we went to the shopping mall, where we got a frozen drink to keep us going until we got home, and the noise was unbearable in the food court, as I guess, and from experience, all food courts in shopping malls are. Mum wanted to sit down but I was clearly not coping with it, so I said I didn’t want to, and walked around with our frozen drinks while we did the rest of the grocery shopping. They had some very noisy (and pointless) performance (you know, some dance school exploiting very young girls to make more money, while plastering the young girls in make up that looks good on nobody) on in the centre of the mall, which really didn’t help either. After we managed to get the groceries in the trolley, we ended up with the worlds slowest checkout operator, it felt like I aged 50 years while the transaction took place. What should have been about a 20 minute grocery shopping experience took 40 minutes, yes, that is how slow the operator was. I mean, I had 3 bags of groceries (well, if I packed it, it would have been just 2 bags…).

After we got home, we had a late lunch, I flopped onto the couch, and tried to interact with the rest of the family watching a movie on blu-ray, I was too wired from the outing, but too tired to move. I was bored crazy, even though it was a movie I actually enjoy, I was just too tired and not focused enough to actually enjoy it this afternoon.

When Mum, Dad and Jack took the dog for a walk this afternoon, I went outside and watered the garden, I just had to do something where I felt like I had actually achieved something. Doing the shopping I guess was an achievement, but actually doing something other than that mundane task was what I needed. Even watering the garden was tiring, but at least it means the garden will keep growing, and I will be able to enjoy it when it does.

Anyhow, I need to go to bed, I dread it at the same time as yearning for it, I need it because I need sleep, but I dread the almost certain possibility that tonight will just be another crappy night of sleep.

Andy.