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.

 

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School Holidays and other adventures

It seems the craziness of life just wants to keep me hurtling forward. No rest for the wicked they say, but surely I haven’t been that wicked.

Nothing ever stops. There just doesn’t seem to be a moment where I am just in a zone of peace and quiet, without a care in the world. There is always something going on.

So, this first week of the school holidays has flown by. I just don’t know where it has gone. It’s just full on crazy. We had plans for 2 outings a week during the holidays, but this week it’s been one. We had a really wonderful day trip to Lake Barrine, which is just up the road on the Atherton Tablelands. It was really quite a remarkable place. It is a crater lake, ie, a lake in the crater of a former volcanic vent. It is surrounded by the most amazing rainforest, full on tropical rainforest, heck, it even rained when we were there, even though it wasn’t forecast. The sounds of the Eastern Whip birds rang through the trees, amazing curtain figs went from high in the sky to the cool, crystal clear waters of the lake below. A multitude of fungi and strangler vines, huge towering giants of the forest reaching to the sky. It was really beautiful. Mum and Jack even spotted some of the very rare musky rat kangaroo, a small rodent sized kangaroo which live in the very specific habitats surrounding these crater lakes.

After a 5 kilometre hike through the rainforest, we headed on to Atherton, and lunch. At Atherton, they have an amazing IGA supermarket, where you can get all sorts of stuff, it’s like an Aladdin’s cave of food. After lunch, we did a bit of Op Shopping, and stopped in at a place called Crystal Cave, a shop which has, you guessed it, lot’s of crystals, as well as a good range of fossils and other geological wares.¬† On the roof of this place, in the main street of Atherton, is a Triceratops, and on the footpath at the front door is a velociraptor like those in Jurassic Park. So, obviously, the little dinosaur mad nut was in his element. He even got to hold rocks from outer space, thanks to the sales assistant.

The rest of the week has been filled with lots of jobs around the house, and the usual weekly stuff like shopping. It’s seemed like we haven’t stopped, although, apart from the one outing, we have been at home.

Last Saturday, I did a huge job in the back garden, it was the first rain free day for weeks, and so I got out and did a heap of work in the vege garden. I have planted cucumber, radish, lettuce, spring onion, spinach and some sunflower seeds, and all of them, apart from the sunflowers, have sprouted today. Yes, amazingly, everything apart from the flowers wasn’t there yesterday afternoon when I watered them, and this morning, nice neat rows of seedlings are now poking out of the worked over soil, only 1 week later.

A few of the other plantings have been suffering a little due to the prolonged overcast and wet days, but now, for the past week, it has been sunnier, and we are seeing a good recovery in them all. We even had a small harvest of beans in our stir fry tonight from the garden.

One of the grape vines is now fully trained onto the lower trellis wire, as well as the Passionfruit, and the Passionfruit has a couple of nice leaders just about ready to go up to the top wire of the trellis. The citrus plants are going well, and our birds eye chilli bush is producing well, supplying some nice zing in our pasta’s and other cooking. The food production is really starting to happen.

Our little lean to out the back of the shed is being rebuilt, I completely dismantled it, and am now rebuilding it, the main frame is completed, and now all bolted together rather than just screwed, making it more safe in the event of a cyclone. I have one section of roof back on it, and hopefully, all going well tomorrow, the roof will be complete. It is a bit taller than before, as it was so low that I was leaning over every time I was inside it, and 2 of the main beams of the frame were very weak and half rotted, so it really had to be fixed.

I also cleaned up the front of the shed, and have sealed it all up properly to stop it leaking, and hopefully, weather permitting, Jack and I will paint it in the next day or two. We have some old paint from the exterior of the house, and seeing we won’t be using it on the house again, it’s a waste not, want not scenario, so instead of wasting the paint, we will paint the shed, thus making the shed last longer too. Dad also got a big tin of paving paint, as the concrete steps leading up to the shed are not made well, the concrete is fairly fragile, not enough cement was put in the mix, so it is all pressure washed now, and to stop it deteriorating further, it will be protected by the paving paint. There is enough paint for that, as well as under the entertainment area of the verandah, so once that is sorted a bit more, it will get freshened up too.

Well, it’s just ticked over to midnight, so I must get some sleep, and until next time, smile.

Andy.

Calm

I am feeling relaxed and calm as I write. The last bit of the house renovations is just about done, the bench tops are all installed in the kitchen, I did it on Saturday, and today I cut the hole out for the cook top to go in, and put it all in place. We just have to wait for the gas fitter to come and connect the pipework to it, and then the Kitchen will be finished. The whole place has been in chaos since the beginning of the year due to tiling and the kitchen renovation, but now we are getting it all back to normal.

I still have the stress of finding a new doctor, it’s something that I will have to throw myself into this week, as I need a doctor who will help me manage this condition, but it needs to be a doctor who will work with me, not against me. Why are doctors so arrogant? They aren’t Gods, although I think a lot of them think they are. Working with your patient will always yield the best result.

Today I have spent a bit of time in the garden, which I really believe is my happy place. I got a lime and mandarin tree in the garden over the weekend, and have given them a good fertilise today with blood and bone, along with all the other food plants. I also ended up mowing the whole place, I was only going to mow the front yard, because I have been feeling wrecked and in pain, but ended up doing the lot. I was a bit of a mess when I finished, feeling a bit faint and also nauseous, but after sitting on the verandah, having a nice long drink straight from the garden hose (remember doing that as a kid? It is still good!!) and my cursed cigarette (something that I am planning on attempting to ditch again this week), I went inside and had some lunch, before I just couldn’t do any more and after a shower, had a sleep for an hour or so before I picked Jack up from school.

While I was sitting on the verandah trying to recover from the mowing, I watched the birds, some species of which I hadn’t seen in the garden before, and a multitude of of different types of butterflies, swoop in and out of the trees doing the most magnificent ballet routine I have ever watched. I also saw different types of skink lizard run around through the rocks and crevices, one type was rather large and had a brilliant red area running down from it’s head to it’s front shoulder. Last night, we even had a lovely little tree frog next to the front door, climbing the wall to get near the light for the bounty of bugs it was attracting. The Geckos are also making their presence known, one just cheerfully chirped just out my bedroom window. There are lots of little baby geckos around right now, and they are awesome little bug eaters, they stop a lot of the insects from making their way into the house, and we have no spider problems around the house itself.

I still have a few more tasks I want to sort out as a matter of urgency, like sorting all my tools out, because I have been the home handyman, I have been constantly doing stuff in the house, and the Granny flat where dad lives, and usually, when I am finished a job, I am too worn out to put the stuff away properly. So it’s all a bit of a mess, but now the big jobs are done, i am going to sort it all. Hopefully tomorrow, if I eel well enough to do it, or, more to the point, if I can push myself through the constant pain and fatigue to do it. I normally do, even though most of the time it is a struggle.

Well I might leave it here for now, I am barely awake, and the pain is pretty high, so I need to lay down, and hopefully, get a bit of sleep.

Andy.

Weirdness

I haven’t been bombarding the airwaves for the past couple of days, it’s been a bit of a whirlwind of days. Last week ended as it does, on a Friday, hahahaha, yes I know I’m funny, well dad joke style, and then on Saturday we had a day off. Well, sort of.

I managed to sleep in a bit, although 8 to 8.30 am is about the best I can do these days, even though I still wake like a zombie, and feeling like I need 3 years sleep. It’s just the way it is all the time now. We had breakfast, Jack actually made himself an omelette all by himself, with a little guidance from Mum, and he was really chuffed. I had a bowl of my usual cereal, one of those full of grain things with dried cranberries and tropical fruits. I don’t always eat breakfast now, like I never did before, but because I was trying to set an example for Jack, I started again for a while. I just don’t seem to feel like eating until around 10am, and if I don’t eat until then, I lose weight.

After breakfast, we headed down to Babinda Boulders, a really neat swimming hole, on Babinda Creek, a few kilometres from the little town of Babinda. I had been there before, and funnily enough, so had Jack, although in his mothers womb at the time, it was one of the places we went when she was suffering from the pregnancy. The swimming hole is at the joining of Babinda Creek with a small side branch waterway, and the water is mountain cold, and crystal clear. It is surrounded by rainforest, the bed of the waterhole being course sand and smooth rocks with no silt, so really nice on the feet. Green Birdwing and Ulysses Blue Butterflies float around without a care in the world. Mum came too, and she has fallen in love with the place as much as I have been, since the first time I went there over 9 years ago.

After about an hour of just floating around in the beautioful cool water, we got out and changed, and then went back into Babinda for a little walk around to see what was about, before we headed up to Belenden Ker Cafe, a non-descript little cafe in a 2 storey house next to the highway. We had heard about the amazing pies they make, so after finally finding it (it just has a sandwich board sign out the front advertising coffee and cake, with no other signage to even indicate it is even a business), we stopped in for lunch. All the talk about the pies was spot on. They were the best I have had for years.

After that, we took a drive down a side road, to Behana Gorge, just to see where the road went. It is not far from home, so it will certainly be another adventure soon. Apparently there is a waterfall there, although you need to walk to it. Then, we decided that going home was not an option just yet, so we headed out to Yarrabah, Mum hadn’t been out there yet, and took in the wonderful paradise once again that is this beautiful Aboriginal Community. After that, we were thoroughly tired, so a slap together meal was all we could manage to make and eat, before drifting off to sleep.

Sunday, we were out again, this time earlier, as we had heard about another fruit and vege market that is in Cairns city, Rusty’s Market. We hadn’t been in before, but after our Sunday morning visit, we have unanimously decided it will be where any fruit and veges we need will come from. It is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, which is great as we need to buy fruit and veges weekly. As our vege garden gets into production, we won’t need so much from the shops, but we will not be growing everything, we just don’t have the space, so we will still need to go there.

The rest of Sunday was a blur, even though it was only yesterday, I can’t remember much else we did, I was suffering pretty badly with fibromyalgia, so that is probably why I don’t remember. Getting to sleep was an ordeal last night too.

Today my body has been a rollercoaster ride, Jack has been back to school, and I just pushed on, mulching the vege plants, doing a bit of weeding, some cleaning, fixing some of Mums furniture that got broken by the removalists, and what ever else happened. Yes, today was bit like yesterday as well.

I started this post with the title, weirdness, and this is the part where I explain it. With everything that’s been happening, and the fact that since just after Christmas the main living areas of the house have been some form of construction zone, I have not felt settled.

Right now, we don’t have a functional kitchen, it’s nearly there, but we are having to use the laundry tub as our kitchen sink, and the BBQ, which fortunately has a gas ring burner as well, is our stove and everything else. The great big 8 seater table I made years ago is inside, currently being used as our kitchen bench. It really is too big to use as a kitchen table inside, that is why, up until the kitchen benches were removed last week, it was outside. It will go back out there once the bench tops are ready to pick up and I’ve installed them. Thankfully all the tiling is now finished and we have our house a little more normal. But it’s not quite there yet.

When I came up the street on Saturday after our day out, and saw the house, I had this sudden feeling that I wasn’t coming home just yet. It doesn’t quite feel like home. I am not sure what it is, I put it down to the fact that things haven’t settled down yet because of the renovations, but yeah, I don’t know, it’s just not quite home yet. How long does it take for a new place to feel like home?

I spoke to Mum about it today, and she agreed, she feels the same way. That is just how things go. As we make more of our own mark on the place, as the gardens get fuller, and everything settles down, it will feel more like home. I get these feelings sometimes, at absolutely random moments in time, that I almost have to pinch myself that we are actually living here now. Only last Friday, when I was stopped at the traffic lights on the way to pick up Jack from school, this wave of disbelief that we are really here rolled over me. It’s just so random when it happens, but so unreal. I guess once life returns to normal routine again, it will be alright.

Thursday, I will be seeing a new doctor, for the first time here. I am getting low on medications I need to stay mainly okay, and don’t want to run out. I have been procrastinating over it, but now with only about 8 days worth of Tramadol left, I really need to just get on with it. I really hope the new doctor is as good as my old one. I will find out on Thursday I guess.

Anyhow, I should get myself off to bed, I need sleep as always, and I have to be up early for the usual school day stuff. Goodnight.

Andy.

Ticking along.

Somehow or another, I have managed to get through another day. Yippee for me !!! I know, I know, wow wee, but when you are battling against your own body, or is that your body is battling against you, every single day, getting to the end of the day, having achieved anything at all other than getting up, and going back to sleep, is a big deal.

Talking about achievements, today I have managed to sort a few more things out, although I haven’t been able to spend much more than 5 minutes on a job before I’ve had to rest again for a bit, but I planted all the tomato seedlings we got on the weekend, finally hung the 2 hanging baskets with the Cucumelons in them, and, I have managed to fix the teeny little rust spots in the roof of my car where stone chips had started to become something else.

I used to be a car detailer for quite a few years, and learnt about fixing paintwork at an automotive refinishers as part of my qualifications (yes, car detailing is technical if you do it right). Even though I have the skills, and have also had the materials to do these little fix it jobs on my own car for at least 12 months, it’s either been my body against me, too many other things going on in life, or the weather hasn’t been conducive to doing car paintwork repairs. Now I live in a better climate, and life is starting to settle down a bit, I decided to push back against my recalcitrant body, and get on with it. The little chips had started to spider out from the original chips with little lines of rust forming under the paintwork, and the recent heavy rain had accelerated it a little bit, so it went from being a get to soon job, to a little more urgent. I also have a set of roof racks coming for my car, I bought them on Ebay, so I wanted to get it sorted before I fit them, otherwise the job would be harder with them in the way.

Right now, I have probably 2 more coats of paint to go on to them, and a little bit of cutting and polishing, and then it will not even look as though I have had to do anything. The paint is so well colour matched that it will not be noticeable in the slightest. I am so happy that I still have the skills, and am able to actually do it. There is a lot of other stone chips to fix, and a few small scratches as well, ( The roads in Victoria, Australia are not good for car paintwork, actually, they aren’t real good for any part of a car !!), but none were as urgent as the roof, and for now, they are only stone chips, they haven’t progressed into the more problematic rust as yet.

Apart from those tasks, I have also managed to do my washing, and changed the bed linen, which I am probably a bit anal about, I have to do it every Wednesday. Luckily, Jack is now old enough to help me strip and make the beds, so it’s not as big a task as it was even 6 months ago.

Well, for now, that is the little update, I am not great, but trying to get on with life, what else can I do ?

Andy.

Untitled

My brain is not quite with it enough to come up with a title today. It’s still rough, but at least I managed to do some things today. I was determined to.

After I got Jack away to school, I came back home, and set about sorting out a job that has been gnawing away at me for a couple of weeks. The verandah out the back sliding door is sort of fenced off, with a low lattice fence about 3 feet high, along the side and then across to the house in one section. The section that goes to the house has a gate, and this was the main bit bugging me.

The fence piece from the house to the gate opening was very wobbly. It was secured to the wall well, but where the gate hangs, it was just the framed lattice panel, with concrete nails attaching it to the concrete floor of the verandah. No post, nothing. So consequently, when the gate was opened and closed, it was swaying back and forth. It was also flat on the concrete, meaning that the timber was in a position to rot, given time.

So, firstly, I raised the panel off the concrete, to get airflow under so it wouldn’t rot. This was easy as the concrete slopes away from the house, so I got my spirit level and just made the panel level. Now, the bit near the wall touches the concrete for about 1/2 and inch, then it is elevated the rest of the way to the gate. The next bit was to put in some supports for the bit where the gate swings. I got some large brackets, which are made of thick galvanised steel, and placed one on the inside and outside of the end of the lattice panel, and then on the end itself, I got a much taller bracket, just as thick, and bolted the whole lot together. The brackets are now dyna bolted into the concrete as well. Then I rehung the gate, and now it swings well, doesn’t scrape the concrete before coming to a halt half open. The fence doesn’t wobble, even big heavy me doesn’t make it move.

The next thing was to completely clear out the fenced off section, and pressure wash it. Walls, roof, floor, the whole lot. Halfway through the process of cleaning it, it smelt like a swamp, the crap that was on everything was worse than it looked. Once I had finished, it smelt so nice, and everything is shining, it’s so clean. Once it had all dried, I moved things back in, set up Mum’s treadmill, and our outdoor chairs, and it just looks so much better than it did before, more organised, and CLEAN !!

Once I picked Jack up from school, I was done. I just couldn’t stay awake. I ended up crashing into bed, while Jack and Mum watched some TV. It was a bizarre sleep. When I first laid down, it felt like I was hallucinating. Honestly, I haven’t had that sensation since the one time I tried magic mushrooms.¬† I don’t know what caused it. I did end up sleeping, but it was a weird sleep. I don’t know if I should be concerned or not. I hadn’t taken any pills for anything before I laid down, so really not sure what brought that on. Has anyone else experienced that with Fibromyalgia ? Or is it something else ?

Anyhow, I better get myself off to bed, I am still very, or better put, extremely tired, and I need to keep being the best dad I can be for Jack, which means I have to be up at 7am.

Goodnight.

Andy.

Going to the markets tomorrow.

Today I gave myself a kick in the backside to try and snap out of the funk I have been in for days. It seems it worked to some extent, I still feel no different on the pain and fatigue front, it is really shitty to be honest still. However, I pushed myself through the day, determined to achieve something other than just surviving another day. I managed to vacuum and mop the whole place, did the washing, and even did a bit of work on one of my headlights, as it had become yellowed, as these plastic headlights tend to these days. It’s not perfect yet, but it is a lot clearer, and not yellow any more.

Tonight I have an arthritis glove on my right hand, as it is helping a little with pain relief, and I also have some ankle braces on both ankles for the same reason. Maybe, as these have been the 3 parts of my body that have been hurting in the middle of the night when I wake up, it will help me sleep better tonight.

Tomorrow, as a glutton for punishment, I am getting up at 6am to get ready to go to the markets at Atherton at 7am. We are hoping to get some bargains on fresh produce to stock up the pantry, and also, well I am anyhow, hoping to get some more food plants for the garden. A lemon, lime, mandarin, and a Pawpaw would be good. Chillies also.

Talking about the food plants, we’ve lost a few that we bought as seedlings, now we only have 2 lettuce and 3 rocket surviving, the rest just haven’t dealt with the recent climate well. The Passionfruit is going crazy, every night it seems to grow another 2 to 3 inches. I have beans that have germinated and are like the ones in the fairy tale. Yes, Jack and the Beanstalk, ironically. This afternoon I also saw that 2 of my corn seeds have germinated, along with quite a few of the spring onion seeds I sewed during the week. I didn’t check the peas, but yesterday they hadn’t surfaced yet. Our carrots seem to be chugging along well, and the only tomato that survived the weather, the cherry one, is doing well also. It seems that we will have to direct plant seeds, instead of seedlings, as they seem to cope better.

I also had a little win, I bought some shirts for Jack at an Op Shop before Christmas, not realising one of them was for one of the School Sports Houses, and I didn’t know which one Jack was going to be in at the time, but by happy fluke, nothing else, the one I got is the Sports House he is in !!! Incredible.

Anyhow, I have a big day tomorrow, it will start too early, and we will be going for a bit of an explore around the southern Tablelands after the market before coming home, so another 150km of driving, and the hard bit, thankfully, is first thing in the morning, going up the steep, narrow and windy Gillies Range. I don’t mind windy mountain roads, but it is a long climb, and you have to look out for twits that drive like loons.

I must retire to my sheets now, and snuggle for a good sleep, hopefully.

Goodnight.

Andy.