Watching the storms.

Yesterday we had a pretty impressive storm outbreak, brought on by the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Penny. After lunch, Jack and I went off for a little drive, as the sky was looking menacing to the south and west of our place, and, of course, my favourite photographic subject is storms.

We headed a little east and north of home, trying to get a good vantage point of the storms across open ground looking back towards Walsh’s Pyramid, away from power lines and any other man made structure that wasn’t photogenic. It’s hard trying to get a good landscape shot without power lines, and I hate power lines. We sort of left our run too late, as we found a spot, and the storm was really advancing towards us very quickly. I did get a couple of shots, not lightning, the ultimate goal, but the storm was menacing.

This was taken not long after we got out of the car. The sun was still illuminating the foreground. That is Walsh’s Pyramid, the pyramid shaped mountain on the left. The foreground is a sugar cane field in fallow.

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Only a few moments later and the sun was rapidly vanishing, and so was Walsh’s Pyramid !!!

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This was the view to the west of our location, which was at a place called Packer’s Camp., a very turbulent sky indeed. The wind was astonishing as it came over. Under that rain on the left is where we live. There is a mountain about 900 metres above sea level in that rain.

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As the cloud front came upon us, this was the view of the sky to the north. Amazingly blue, with the menacing blackness over our heads.

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We quickly decided that staying out, trying to find a better location to get more shots was a daft idea, the wind was gusting very strongly, buffeting my little car very noticeably. And the rain, it was almost impossible to drive. The water was accumulating on the road so quickly (and these roads are made to cope with a big deluge and drain well), that it was like driving through a pond, the water was 3 or 4 inches deep just from what was falling from the sky.

After a slightly nerve wracking drive the 10 kilometres home, we pulled up in the carport, went out the back verandah, and found 2 inches of water across the rear verandah, it was raining so hard that the drain couldn’t get it away quickly enough. I ended up going out in the rain with the shovel, and dug a trench about 3 inches deep to get the water to flow away down the slope, it was raining so hard, just 10 seconds out in the rain meant you were drenched right through, and the rain was cold !! The trench worked rapidly, and it drained off, even while it was still pouring down. We ended up with 60mm of rain in the space of 30 minutes. in the old scale, that’s probably a bit over 2 inches. In 30 minutes.

Later in the evening, we had a round 2, with lightning flashing intermittently to the west and east. I went out by myself after Jack went to bed, but didn’t capture anything worth sharing. It was nice to see some lightning return after a couple of weeks of nothing.


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Today, it has rained a bit, we’ve had about an inch of rain again, but nothing as spectacular as yesterday. We woke this morning to a bit of a disaster from our elderly dog, we have to contain her during the night in a playpen, so she doesn’t do her business all over the house during the night, we have a tarpaulin under it so if she does anything, it goes on it, and not the floor, and we just take that out to wash it off and clean it. She is very old, nearly 17 years old, and a Jack Russell, she is an awesome dog, but just getting a little incontinent. Dogs, or any pet for that matter, are for life, and you just have to take that getting old will happen.

The disaster was her best yet though. It was contained, but all over the tarp, her bed and bedding, her, it was just full on, and it stank so bad. Even when it was all cleaned up, the smell lingered, and we sprayed every version of room deodoriser we have around. Some just made it worse, as their scent, mixed with, well, the smell of shit, was more revolting than the smell of the shit on it’s own. I know, it’s hard to imagine air freshener making it worse, but trust me, it did. I ended up going over the entire floor, even though it wasn’t on the floor, with a very strong bleach and water solution with the mop, and after that, the smell was gone. I think the bleach dissipating into the air actually killed the smell that was lingering. Tonight, you wouldn’t even know there was such a mess this morning.

My fatigue really is a problem right now. It just doesn’t seem to want to subside. The pain is going from uncomfortable to bad on a roller coaster over the days, today wasn’t so bad on the pain front, but then I have had all sorts of gut issues, and nausea. This fibromyalgia is just sooooo fun !!!

It wears you down.

Andy.

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Having wins when losing

The fatigue and pain have driven me into being very absent minded at times recently. I had a spell late 2017/early 2018 when I thought I was losing my mind, so forgetful and just felt like I was going crazy. This isn’t quite as bad, yet, but it is certainly disconcerting to be going through it all again. I also have moments during the bad patches of fatigue where I start slurring, the result of a slight stroke a few years back, when the hospital put it down as a “migraine”, and then a week later they discovered, after I went back with another excruciating “migraine” that my blood pressure was through the roof and I should have been having either a heart attack or a stroke.  They never actually tested me to see if I was, but gave me pills to bring my blood pressure down quickly. The slurring is just one thing, I also tend to let go of things unexpectedly with my left hand and my left foot drags when the fatigue gets bad as well. Oh, what a barrel of laughs my life is !! At least I can say it’s not dull !!!

Today I had a pretty major win, I still had to get school shirts for Jack, like, the ones with the school logo on them, as that is the requirement. I went on a whim to town (well, I needed smokes, so that was the real reason), and decided to take Jack along and go look at the Op Shops, as Jack loves Op Shopping. I have scoured them for school shirts for weeks, to no avail, and then today, I walk in to the Lifeline Op Shop and there they are, 4 school shirts. I was going to buy 3 brand new at the school, as I had failed to find any, they are $30 a pop, so just to keep him clothed for school for 3 days, it would have cost me $90, a lot of money when you don’t have much to go around. Today’s stroke of luck cost me $16 for all four. So, I saved big. It’s nice to have a win.

Apart from that little adventure, I have been completely wrecked by fibromyalgia, we’ve had the vinyl floor removed ready for tiling, I’ve named all of Jack’s school stuff, and, well, I can’t think, mind block. It’s been a crazy day. Right now, I need to go to bed, hopefully, hopefully, I will sleep all night and sleep in tomorrow, I should be so lucky. We shall see. (I apologise now if any of this sounds disjointed, it’s just my head).

Andy.

Doing my best

With everything that life has thrown at me, the second most worst thing is Fibromyalgia, it is certainly the most debilitating, but my ex, and everything she threw at me (figuratively and literally) was the worst. But this is about the fibromyalgia, it’s in the present, the other in the past.

I have been wrecked for days. Not sleeping well, until last night when I had a can of Wild Turkey and cola before bed although I rarely drink, at least it kept me asleep all night, although I did wake up early again, who knows why, but my body, as exhausted as it is, still wants me to be awake at 6.30am. I have had at times excruciating pain as well, so a full blown flare up is under way.

As crap as I am, I have been promising Jack that I would go out on my pushbike for a ride with him, a decent one, so he could show me how well he is doing with the bike riding thing. Well, half awake this afternoon at around 4pm, we went for a ride, first it was to the park just around the corner, I wasn’t sure how far I could push him to go, but we got there in a breeze ( I haven’t ridden a bike for waaaayyyy to long). So we rode through the park, and down to the highway. Still, he was going great guns, doing it all easy, and even I was doing pretty good, all things considered.

We got the the highway, and I bit the bullet. The tyres on my bike were a bit soft, not flat, but nearly there, so I decided that we would ride into town. The highway is about a third of the way to town, so we went across when there was a break in the traffic, and kept going. Down past his school (which was a good test, as we may be doing the bike to school thing together every day when school starts), and on to the service station to use their tyre inflator. Once I did that, my bike was even easier to ride.

Last year, I bought myself a ladies cruiser style bike, very retro, it’s powder blue and white with some tropical themed trim, and a bit of tan on the seat, pedals and handlebar grips. It was my very first new bike in my entire life, every single one I had had in the past was secondhand. Yes, you did read correctly, even though I am a man, I bought a ladies bike. It is easier for me to get on and off, as it doesn’t have the cross bar so high, and with the fibromyalgia, coupled with all the problems I have with my back from breaking it in 2005, I need something that is easy to use. It has a wide seat, I do have a more than ample backside, and those swept out and angled back type handle bars, so I don’t have to lean forward to ride, I can keep my back nice and straight and upright. I have to say, it is so much more stylish than any men’s bike, men’s bikes usually come in a range of black or grey, and usually are mountain bikes, which, unless you are a mountain biker, suck.

I was really stoked at how well Jack did with the ride, we ended up going right into town, which is 4 kilometres, and then back again, which is a slight uphill ride all the way. I think he was thrilled to do it, and especially seeing me out riding a bike, I think he didn’t think I could do it !!! To be honest, I am really stoked that I managed to do it too !!! And, considering this was the first time I had gone for a decent ride on the new bike, it blew me away as to how easy it was to ride, it is such an awesome bike.

Before our little outing this afternoon, we went into the city, as Mum wanted to buy a new TV.  She ended up buying a 50 inch screen one, and after watching an action movie on it this afternoon, all I can say is, wow ! Its Ultra High Definition 4K, and with the new Blu-ray player she got, it is just amazing sound and clarity of picture. I now have my TV back, it’s only 32 inch, but that is perfect for my bedroom, and it’s nice to have my TV back in my room so if I want to watch something on my own, I can.

Anyhow, I am completely wrecked, my evening painkillers are beginning to kick in, so I should attempt to get some sleep I guess. Goodnight.

Andy.

The Midnight Hour

Here I sit as the clock enters the midnight hour. I have been up since 7.30am, and although tired, am still a bit wired. I have managed to squeeze a little bit of “me” time in each day for the past 3 or 4 days, don’t know how, but it is helping me to become a bit more settled into the new life than I have been so far.

For the past couple of months I pretty much haven’t had “me” time, it’s been go, go, go, packing the old house, cleaning the old house, driving 3,500km, cleaning the new place, fixing the new place, unpacking all our stuff, and now finally, everything is starting to settle, so now, I am finally getting a bit of time to chill.

Up until the past few days, I have been so exhausted by the time I have had dinner, that not long after, I have had to go to bed, because I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. I haven’t slept well either, although that hasn’t really changed, the pain from the fibromyalgia has been really bad, so interrupted sleep has been the order of the day, or more specifically the night, for weeks.

Mum has been unwell, as I said in a recent post, today she wasn’t good first thing this morning still, but has slept almost all day, I checked on her at lunchtime, because I hadn’t seen her, and she was starting to improve, and then after almost the entire afternoon asleep again, she finally was able to eat all her dinner, and actually stayed up and watched Django Unchained with me tonight. She even sounds better and has more energy too. She’s been ill since Saturday, so today was the first sign of improvement in all those days.

Today, I over did it first thing, as soon as I could I mowed the lawns, as they desperately needed doing, trying to get it done before it got too hot, but it was already warm, and very humid at 8.30am. By the time I was finished at 9am, I was feeling very woozy, I felt nauseous, and extremely tired, so I sat in the cool for a while, after having a shower because I was dripping with sweat. Later in the day, I sat and sewed the buttons back onto the new couch cushions, but didn’t do too much else outside, as I also ended up with a thumping headache by lunchtime. It wasn’t until about 6pm, that I realised the cause of my headache. I hadn’t had a single cup of coffee all day, and it was caffeine withdrawal. I immediately had a coffee, and woosh, the headache was gone. I had gone hours with this headache, if only I had realised sooner that coffee was the solution !!!

I also broke in the new BBQ tonight. We had sausages with salad for dinner, so I decided to fire up the BBQ and not heat up the inside of the house, so cooked the sausages outside. I have already come to the conclusion that it is the best BBQ I have ever cooked on.

So after all of today chores, we ended up with a monsoonal downpour late this afternoon, and it was a glorious thing to see. After all the gardening of the past few days, with the hot weather that has come back to us again, the garden needed a drink. I have been watering the new plants enough for them to survive, but now the whole garden has had a good drink, established and new plants, as well as the lawn. I refuse to water lawns, I like lush lawns, but don’t like watering them, the sky has to do that, and the grass has to learn to survive on that.

Jack has been working away at trying to learn to ride his bike today again as well, and he is certainly making progress, not a pro yet, but he is getting the hang of it. It’s nice having a garden where he can actually have the space to safely practice, and now hopefully, learn how to ride.

Anyhow, it’s now halfway through the midnight hour, so I will now attempt to get some sleep. My brother arrives from Melbourne in 2 days time, so still a few things to do before he gets here, but then, hopefully, I will be able to chillout a bit more over the Christmas break.

Andy.

Chewy lollies are nice.

I am sitting here after a busy day yet again, chewing on a fruit flavoured soft chewy lolly, thinking I am in heaven. Why does a small square of essentially just sugar make me feel so happy ? It’s strawberry flavoured, if you must know.

Maybe, it’s giving me such enjoyment because this is the first time I have had a moment to myself, except for when I collapsed into bed mid afternoon as the body, and the fibromyalgia fatigue got the better of me. It sucks having a chronic health condition like this, but still need to do everything that a single parent needs to do, like, everything.

Normally, I do have a little help these days, Mum will cook dinner or make lunch, which is a godsend, but for the past few days she has been laid up in bed with a virus that has knocked her for a six. So I have had to do it all again, and make sure she is okay as well.

I did 3 loads of washing before 8am, then went out and got some things from Bunnings, which included a gas bottle refill, and now I know my new secondhand BBQ, which was free, but cost over $1700 just 2 years ago, works like a new one still. I just don’t know how people can be so wasteful, spend $1700 and 2 years later throw it away. Anyhow, their loss is my gain.

Jack has been doing more painting today, his art is amazing. I know, I know, all parents think that, but he has actually won awards for his. And his photography as well. I will have to get some photo’s up of his work, so you can see it for yourself. I guess he was bound to inherit something from me, and being a good artist and photographer isn’t too shabby a thing to inherit from my genes.

Apart from the things I have already listed from today’s effort, I pruned all the plants around the garden as well, and now our garden is coming along quite nicely. We have planted about 60 plants in the garden since we arrived here a month ago. It was an established garden when we moved in, but very neglected and a lot of plants were just about dead. Apart from one tree, I have managed to resurrect them all. It’s amazing.

I love gardening. It is just so relaxing. That might sound crazy in some ways, because it is hard work too, but it relaxes my mind. I have too much going on in my head most of the time, I appear pretty chilled to most people, but inwardly I am wound up, nervous, anxious, pretty much a mess. So gardening is medicine. It makes everything go away.

Talking about the whole anxious/nervous thing, last Friday, we went to the local Carols by Candlelight, and it was the first time I have been out in a social environment like that since moving here. It was a strange sensation, I am always on the look out for my ex, but now, she is over 3500km away. Because of her schizophrenia, it was always a worry living in the old place, because you just didn’t know when you would run into her, and because she is a schizophrenic who is prone to act violently, I just didn’t want to have Jack witness that, or me have to experience that again. So every time we went out, I couldn’t relax. Now I have to learn how to.

Anyhow, enough of my ramblings tonight, I must try and get some sleep before it’s back into the daily grind again tomorrow.

Andy.

Outing to Yarrabah

Today, we went off on a pure “just drive and see where we end up” outing. Just Jack and myself. My Mum is unwell, so I figured that if we went out for a little bit, she could have some peace and quiet to rest.

After a breakfast of bacon and eggs, we headed off to Yarrabah, an Indigenous Community to the East of Cairns, on the other side of Trinity Inlet. It is a bit of a drive, I thought it was closer, but was so well worth it. The drive had us meandering through the sugarcane fields, and after the downpour we had yesterday from Tropical Cyclone Owen, a lot of the streams were flowing. This was the first time we went to Yarrabah, so didn’t know what to expect, and it was also Jack’s first time going to an Indigenous Community. There are certain things you need to observe when entering Indigenous communities, and you must have the utmost respect for the place and it’s people.

The drive took us up over the mountains, which was quite a climb up and over the range, but the whole thing was worth it. Below, is a photo overlooking the bay that fringes Yarrabah, who wouldn’t want to live in this slice of paradise ??

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We wandered on down from this amazing vantage point into the community below, and as we pulled up at the beachside, a lovely old Aboriginal lady in a wheelchair was having her morning wander around, and we had a little chat. She was an amazingly friendly and warm woman.

We then wandered onto the beach, where we discovered that 2 shipwrecks also inhabited the waters just off the beach. It was a popular photographic subject with both myself and Jack.

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Jack was trying to get the best angle.

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The western headland of the bay also was quite interesting and picturesque.

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We then decided to head back home, but took a detour before getting home to have lunch, which included a feast of Lychees we got at a roadside stall on our travels. Below, is the Western flank of Walsh’s Pyramid, with water streaming down some ephemeral waterfalls due to the heavy rain yesterday.

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We also happened across this colony of Fruit Bats, or Flying Foxes, which just so happens to be not far from our new home. I have been itching for a bit of an explore, but due to all the work we have needed to do, this has been the first proper opportunity.

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All the usual crap with fibromyalgia is happening still, and we still have tonnes more work to do, but it was nice to just kick back for a few hours, and start to explore our new home.

Andy.

I should be asleep

I am thoroughly exhausted, having been running on empty for weeks now. The move, the crap beforehand, and now all the stuff we have had to do since being here has been full on. It’s go, go, go all the time. I don’t know how I am managing it. I really aren’t managing it, it’s more like going from one urgent matter to another. You just have to go with the flow.

So, right now, it is under 7 hours away from when the next tradies arrive to do some work on the house. I really should be fast asleep, re-energising for the new day, but I have found myself sorting out my DVD collection into some sort of order, my mind is buzzing, and even though I feel like collapsing, I can’t switch off. I really have been burning the candle at both ends.

I know a massive crash is going to happen, it’s not if, but when. I hope it’s within the school holiday period, because then I can still handle all my obligations fairly easily.

We have done massive amounts of work every day. I have, for example, drilled multiple holes into concrete today to lift curtains in 3 rooms, unpacked and set up half the Christmas stuff, assembled a new bed, cut Jack’s hair, attended his enrollment interview at the school, done shopping, come back and unpacked artwork, and then done all the sorting of the DVD’s. Tomorrow, it’s out after the tradies leave to look for plants for the garden, and look for more furniture, and if we get plants, the afternoon will be planting.

Anyhow, I am going to attempt to sleep now, hopefully it happens.

Goodnight.