Lots of birthday’s, and very tiring days

We have come to the end of our birthday blitz, with my brothers birthday on Tuesday, and him going back home, and back to the depths of winter, after a small break for him in lovely warm north Queensland.

On Sunday it was Jack’s birthday, and I did, only for the second time, the crazy thing of a birthday party. It went well……., but a few truths about things were also unearthed, we discovered our thief, the one who broke into the cars and stole a few things off the verandah, is the brother of one of the boys who came, this brother was trying to case the joint while he picked up his brother. My superhero senses noticed it straight away.

Anyhow, 2 of the boys I have decided are bad news, and have told Jack to steer clear of them from now on. I also discovered talking to his teacher the next day back at school that he has been led astray by these boys, so between me and Jack’s teacher, we are implementing Plan A, divide and conquer, Jack is a good kid, and smart, but he is very easily led.  Last night I gave Jack the drum, and today he implemented a few tactics to get some better friends. He had 3 boys over on Sunday, and the third boy was awesome, very polite, and smart. I also found out the following day that the nice boy, lost his mother a couple of years ago, so Jack has more in common than he realises.

My birthday was last Thursday, a week ago. I have officially turned the age of the meaning of life, the universe….everything………….42. Hahahahahaha!!! Yes, I am a Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy fan, well, sci-fi in general is my thing. Jack got me a golden elephant statuette, and 2 T-shirts, one with Iron Man, and one with the DeLorean from Back to the Future. They go well with my 2 Star Wars T-Shirts and my Doctor Who one !!! I also got some gift cards, so have bought myself a brand new cotton doona cover, a new body pillow, a small usb radio for when I am working outside in the garden and my nearly ready art studio, aaannnddd, I can’t remember what else right now, but I still have dollars left on the gift cards, so it’s not finished yet.

Jack got a huge amount of Lego from me, from my big score the other week, $1000’s of Lego for $80. He got some gift cards as well from Mum and Dad, and he combined them, and was able to buy a Lego Train Set, as well as a couple of smaller kits, and he will be buying a Lego Thanos Minifig as well. My brother also got him a larger set of the Marvel Spiderman Lego, with Spiderman and Venom and a couple of their battle machines.

Yesterday, we said goodbye to my brother, taking him up to the airport in the morning, and for most of the rest of the day, we collapsed in a heap. When you have a visitor, combined with back to back birthdays, you go out a lot. It is exhausting when you are fit and well, it’s something much worse when you have a debilitating health condition. So yeah, I am a bit run down right now.

I decided I needed to have the therapy of gardening today, so after I took Jack to school, I went out, weeded all the vege gardens, planted the next lot of tomato, capsicum and bean seeds (so we have continuity of production), got some other gardening done, and then set my attention on trying to finally get my art studio set up.

Dad still has a bit of stuff in the shed, but I got the shelving all in the right place, vacuumed out the dirt and rubbish all over the place, and reorganised the shelves with all my bits and pieces. I also had to seal up a wall joint, as once I moved one of the shelves, I discovered daylight coming down one corner. I used silcone, then ran sealing tape over it as well to make sure. There is also a little bit of sealing work to be done across the bottom as well, so I will need to get a couple more tubes of silicone tomorrow to get that all sorted. I have a fair bit of the framing timber to build the framework for the lining of the shed, so once I have a bit more energy, I will have to get some lining boards too.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it will be the earliest for a week, but I really need it.

Goodnight.

Andy.

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Meltdown

Today I had a freaking huge meltdown. I am one of those people that doesn’t go off much, I am the calm and collected one, but when I go off, I go off. It’s a family trait, my Mum and Brother are the same.

For weeks my mother has been in this mire of self pity, she also has fibromyalgia, but instead of accepting it and getting on with life as best as possible, she has immersed herself in the internet, the tv, food, and just self pity. She’s put on weight, I did also, I was in a bit of a funk as well, mainly because she has been and it tends to drag those around you in as well. I snapped myself out of it after a week, but she had got to the stage where the internet and TV was more important than putting the empty milk container, or tuna tin, into the recycling bin after she’d emptied it, which was like 12 inches below, under the bench.

Jack has also been not listening and doing the basics of the things I expect, I don’t expect much, but it’s not hard to put toys away after you use them, or put the washing IN the basket, not right beside it on the floor. Now we have a new family member, a younger dog, in the house, leaving shit everywhere is just asking for disaster. He’s also been just, pardon the bad language,  fucking plain rude to me, and I destroy myself making sure he has as good a childhood as I can manage, which, is much better than most able bodied fathers do with their own children.

There is a bunch of other things that have accumulated, like Mum saying she won’t put up with Dad’s shit anymore, but not really making it clear to him. He is a petulant child all on his own, and he is just so full of shit, and his own self importance. He probably won’t ever stop being a shit, but letting him think it is okay, is just becoming an enabler to his crap behaviour.

Yeah, yeah, I’m venting. I let fly this afternoon, at Mum and Jack, I told Mum outright that I was sick of her wallowing in self pity, that leaving rubbish within inches of the bin was just fucking bullshit, and that I am in agony ALL THE TIME, and am severely fatigued ALL THE TIME (she isn’t even remotely as bad with fibro as I am yet, she even admits it), but I still get off my arse and do shit, even when physically I feel destroyed.

In the time she’s been in the wallow, I’ve painted the side fence, installed solar security lights, still stuck to my laundry schedule (she’s run out of clothes a few times, as she has just not bothered to keep to her schedule, and she only has to wash her own clothes and bedding, I do 2 peoples stuff, and the extra kitchen and bathroom washing), done the lawn mowing several times (Dad just doesn’t bother, he sits arguing with strangers on Twitter all the time, another example of his shitheadedness), I get Jack to and from school every day, make meals, take mum out shopping when she wants (she doesn’t drive), I am just a fucking slave, and it is just too much. I really just feel that nobody realises I am actually a human being, I’m just the car driver, the home help, whatever. I am at the point that I don’t even think a holiday would help me not feel this way.

When I made dinner tonight, just after I exploded, Mum actually got up and started doing some stuff. Jack did too. After dinner, Jack made sure he put his dishes in the sink, and mum got straight up and washed them. It’s nice, but really, should it take you losing your fucking bananas to get others to help out ?

We all live here, shit, shouldn’t we all do our bit? I’ve even had some thank you’s from Jack, but, I told him that right now, all I can see that is is that I lost my shit and it’s not genuine, just I guilted him into it, and that for me to believe it, it needs to continue. I am sort of over window dressing, it needs to be genuine, and I need to not be a fucking slave.

Being as ridiculously unwell as I have been recently, doesn’t help. Fibromyalgia unwell, everything else is fine, since I have been getting flu shots and taking probiotics, the respiratory illnesses have become a thing of the past. This week, I have had to sleep from when I brought Jack home from school, until dinner was ready, 3 times. I have also felt like my head was going to explode, it’s not pain, just pressure. Body pain has been ridiculous, and as much sleep as I get just doesn’t do much at all.

Well, I am going to stew a bit more, try and sleep, and see you all later.

Andy.

 

Fur baby

Tomorrow, we are going on a 150 km round trip to Mareeba, to visit a Dog Shelter. We may have found a new member for our family.

This is the first time we have decided to go down the shelter dog path, and Max, the dog we will be looking at, is a cross between a Pomeranian, Staffordshire Terrier, and Chihuahua. He looks beautiful, all white, and is apparently good with kids, so on the face of it, sounds perfect for our family.

It’s been nearly 5 months since we lost our beautiful girl, Smudge, the Jack Russel Terrier, a dog that had been a part of my life, through good and bad (even the ex bad) for nearly 17 years. It is still in my mind, how we lost her, until she had her stroke, I had never heard of a dog having a stroke. But, despite all that, the memories of the joy she brought will stay with me forever.

Tonight, after I tucked Jack into bed, I went out and retrieved the dog carrier out of the shed, cleaned it all and reassembled it, as we had it in 2 parts, we used to use one half for Smudge’s bed, with a nice high loft pillow and a blanket inside. It is now reassembled, hopefully with no lingering scent of Smudge (I don’t want Max doing anything in it because of another dogs smell, if we end up bringing him home)  and is in the boot of my car. We, Mum and I, have kept it hush hush from Jack, as if we go there and he doesn’t fit us, then there won’t be disappointment, but also, it will be a hell of a surprise if we rock up to pick him up from school with a dog !!!

Anyhow, short and sweet tonight, I need sleep, last night was the second night in a row I have been woken around 4.15am, last night it was 2 cats brawling right outside my bedroom window !! The night before the smoke detector. Hopefully tonight it will be a good, full night sleep.

Andy.

Chillagoe, a bit of catching up

I hadn’t realised that I had been so tardy in getting these up.

We went on a big outing a few weeks back to Chillagoe, which is west of Cairns, about a 3 hour drive. It is an old mining town, mainly tin, but other metal ores were also mined around the place as well. It is also one of Australia’s biggest sources of marble.

Below, a few photos of the day………

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This is the site of the old abandoned smelter. Back in the 1990’s, when I first went to Chillagoe, you could walk right around those old structures, nowadays, it is all fenced off, with quite a well designed viewing area, and signage telling you all about the place.

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This is one of the 3 Chimney’s at the site, this was apparently the main on.

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This is a different perspective of the site, showing all three chimney’s the one in the centre was for the powerhouse.

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Even in the wasteland around the site, these beautiful flowers were trying to make a go of it.

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This was where the ore was crushed in the first stage of processing.

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A closer up shot of the powerhouse chimney, which was a different design to the others, it had flat sides, whereas the other two were round to the top.

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After touring the old smelter site, we headed a further 30 km northwest, on the hunt for fossils. Apart from a small piece of petrified wood, we only ended up with a few nice pieces of jasper. This is the Walsh River, beautiful cool and flowing water, and it is so remote out there, it was just serene.

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Another shot of the Walsh River from the road crossing.

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Red termite mounds and Brahman Cattle, you certainly know you are in Northern Australia when you have that view.

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It takes a fair bit of gravel road driving to get out to Chillagoe and beyond, and there are these amazing limestone tors all around Chillagoe. The dirt and dust, and the occasional 3 trailer Road Train is worth the effort.

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One of the truly massive limestone caves that dot the area. In the 1990’s we went into one called the Donna Cave, with all those stalagmites and tites, and they are amazingly beautiful, it’s amazing what happens when you just add water to limestone, and wait a few thousand years !!!

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The limestone ranges, with those red termite mounds that are synonymous with Northern Australia. I’ll leave you with the below closer shot of the scene above. This trip made me realise just how much I love the Savannah Grasslands and Woodlands across northern Australia.

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Andy.

Plugging away at keeping going.

It’s been a while since I last wrote, and I thought I better get back on the wagon, so to speak. I am also sleepless tonight, as I had all the signs of a flare up of the fibromyalgia earlier in the day, and then by 6pm, it was coming on strong. It used to be that I would get about 24 hours warning, now it seems to be about 6. My signal, that a flare up is imminent, is the delightful IBS.

Anyhow, I am always of the mind to keep my mind off of it. When I woke this morning, so exhausted that I seriously thought that after dropping Jack to school I would go back to bed, I instead came home, and levelled off the next bit of ground out the front, and planted the second Strelitzia we bought a few weeks back. I have a few plants to get in, 2 Heliconia’s, 2 Canna’s, a Lemon Grass plant, and half a dozen other things, that are supposed to control cats, ie, keep them out of the yard, well deter them anyhow.

The Canna’s and Heliconia’s were on hold until the fence which they will be going against was painted, and hopefully, by tomorrow afternoon, the fence will be done, I have 1 coat to go on the palings, the rest of it, posts and rails, are finished. Then, a whole heap of basalt rocks need to be moved, and then the area levelled and cleaned up, then the babies can be planted. I even ended up painting the steps in front of the shed with paving paint.

I never tackle these tasks in one hit, it’s just too much for my fibromyalgia, so, it may sound like I did a lot, but in reality, it wasn’t that much, and was fairly spaced out, so basically, I would do 15 to 20 minutes, and then need to rest for a good hour or so before tackling it again. It really sucks having fibromyalgia.

I can’t believe that only a few years ago, I would do heavy work all day, no problem, and then work half the night doing the same thing as well. I used to fit tyres and vehicle accessories all day, some times having to lift 100kg vehicle assemblies on my own, quite often whilst lying on my back, while fitting them back onto vehicles. Now holding a bag of shopping for any longer than need be is a struggle.

Anyhow, short and sweet tonight, I have a little adventure to write about soon, last weekend we did a nice 500km+ round trip for the day, and it was really an awesome day, so I will share a bit of that with you next time.

Andy.

A trip to Tully and back

Monday, the last day of school holidays, saw Mum, Jack and myself get in the car and go out for the day. We took off at around 9am, and got back nearly 8 hours later.

We had an absolutely awesome run to Tull, about 1.5 hours south. Tully is known for having the highest annual rainfall on record in Australia, 7.9 metres of rain (7900mm, or about 311 inches). So, I guess the next thing is, what is there?  Well, here’s a few things.

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This is the Golden Gumboot, complete with it’s Giant Green Tree Frog,  a major draw card for Tully. It is also a lookout, where you can get a good view of the Tully Sugar Mill. Below is the plaque in front of it.

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Then, dotted around the main street are these, very decorated rubbish bins………..

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The red gumboots were Jack’s favourite, I preferred the below one…..

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So this is the view from the top of the Golden Gumboot. Tully Sugar Mill, with a diorama in the foreground. It looks like the sugar mill will probably be going full tilt soon, as the sugar cane is nearly ready, and it looks like they have got the place ready to go now.

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Here are a couple of the little Cane Train Locomotives, Tully 12, and Tully 15. The may be small, but they cart 100’s of tonnes of cane each time they go to the mill.

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This is the close up of the diorama, the first image is hauling the cane, in the days before the Locomotives, it was all horse drawn tramways then.

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This is the cane cutters loading the carriage………..

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and finally, the farmer with his dog and horse in the cane fields.

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After we left Tully, we headed on over to Mission Beach. It is a lovely beach, where you can look over the water to Dunk Island, a popular resort. Mission Beach was hit by a pretty nasty cyclone a few years back, and it appears to be struggling to recover. It is pretty run down, when I was there 9 years ago, it was an upmarket holiday destination, now it is a bit overgrown, and needs a real bit of elbow grease. I declined to take any photo’s there, as I was a bit shocked, but below is a common road sign in this area. This is the home of the Southern Cassowary.

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Next, we headed west toward Silkwood, where we had some lunch at the Roadhouse, and then drove up the Valley behind Mission Beach and Innisfail. This takes you to Mena Creek, but before we got there, Jack and I took a dip in a swimming hole I knew about from when I lived here a decade ago. The water was just so nice.

At Mena Creek is Paronella Park. It’s recently been the location of a new Australian movie, don’t ask me the name, not quite sure, but Paronella Park was built by a love struck man, and he wanted to build a castle in the jungle. Below is the main bit you can see from the front, a pretty impressive tower. The site also includes a hydro power station, built by the chap who built the park.

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Below this very wobbly suspension bridge is Mena Creek Falls, and Jack was a bit nervy to be on it, but we just had to get the shot !!!

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After leaving Paronella Park, we drove on up to Innisfail, where we ended the day with these very colourful banana’s in pajamas. Innisfail is a huge sugar cane and banana growing area, it’s also where Jack was conceived all those years ago.

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Well, I hope you enjoyed this little bit of a travel story, it’s nice to have something nice to write about !!!

Andy.

Quality time.

I always try and pass on the things I have learnt, important skills, and other things that might come in handy through life’s journey. Today, Jack and I painted the front of the shed. I taught him the right way, to get the paint even, no drips, nice and neat. And he did a fantastic job. We Also did some more sealing work around the back of the shed, getting it ready to paint as well, and some gardening. He just loved seeing how to do all theses things.

For a reward for his hard work, and bloody great work too, it turned out really good, I took him down to Babinda Boulders for a swim this afternoon. Mum was tired, so it was just me and Jack. We had a good drive down there, and spent about an hour and a half in the icy cool water, and it was so refreshing after sweating our backsides off in the morning.

We stopped in at the local supermarket for a treat after the swim, and then did a bit of back road driving on the way home, checking out some of the side roads on the way back. It was worthwhile, as we think we have found another great swimming hole a lot closer to home !!

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I am going to try and get one of the sides of the shed ready to paint, and if lucky, get it painted too. I am trying to get it sorted, especially the sealing it up to stop the leaks bit, because I am going to line the inside with insulation and boards, and turn it into my art studio. I have so wanted a specific space just for painting for so long, and now the opportunity is here. It may not be ready until mid May, as the shed dad is getting built is delayed, yet again, and I can’t do the lining work until his stuff is out of the old shed and in the new one. I can almost see it now, but not quite yet.

I am also looking at some windows, I need to replace the window in the back of the shed with a decent one, as the current one is just a perspex one with plastic frame, and is very crazed and stained, so a bit bigger, glass and aluminium framed one, is really what I want to put in. I have been looking at them at the Recycle Shop, and they are a real good price, but really don’t want to get one just yet until I can virtually just put it straight in, as I don’t want a glass window just sitting around on the off chance that it might get broken before it gets put in. I need a decent window, not only for light, but airflow, it is just a shed, so I need to be able to get it cool enough to sit and work in.

Last night, my one remaining cherry tomato plant was destroyed by the neighbours cats, they snapped it clean off in a fight, and knocked over several pots which have small desert roses in them. Luckily they survived, but unfortunately, the tomato plant is beyond saving. It really sucks, because of the 4 I had growing, 3 succumbed to wet weather and crushing heat early on, it survived, then went really ill as it first flowered, so I did a bit of work on it and managed to resurrect it, carefully cutting it back to help it get strength, and it came back really beautifully, started flowering  again a couple of days ago, and was doing very well, and then the cats snap it off.

I am actually pretty pissed off about it. It is actually illegal for people to leave their cats out at night around here, and our neighbour has three of them that they feed outside, never let inside, and just let them kill everything in sight. I am getting some plants to get rid of them from our yard, apparently they don’t like Coleus plants, so we are going to underplant all the trees around the boundary of our property with them. Plus, we are keeping all the citrus rinds and grating them up to scatter around, as apparently cats hate that too. If it doesn’t work, I will be getting a trap, and if they stray into it, they will be going to the pound. I really don’t like animals that obliterate native wildlife, like cats do, and the fact they are coming in and wrecking the garden irks me as well.

Anyhow, I must get off to bed, it’s late once again, and I really need to get some rest, I have been over doing it for days, and it is really taking it’s toll.

Andy.