Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Good news!

Apart from being understandably stiff and sore, Brutus is doing really well. He had surgery today to fix his dislocated hip and they've said he should be able to come home either tomorrow or Friday.

We have a long road to recovery ahead of us but he will recover and will get back to the way he was before ... hopefully slightly less pyscho! I just have to try to keep him quiet and relatively still for the next 6-8 weeks to allow the pelvic fractures to heal ... no mean feat! At least he won't feel like jumping around all over the place for a while yet .. poor thing!

Thanks for all the good thoughts and wishes sent our way. I know to some people he's only a dog, but he's a member of our family and we're all overjoyed that he's still here with us.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Update on Brutus...

Whatever you guys did, it seems to be working!!

Even though his dislocated hip wouldn't go back in today, everything else is improving.

He will have to have an operation to fix the hip back into place (does anyone have oodles of money to spare?) and will need to have 'cage confinement' treatment for 6 weeks or so to allow his pelvic fractures to heal but the internal bleeding is almost non-existent and the collapsed lung is slowly fixing itself.

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers and/or crossed fingers but please keep them coming .. we still have to get through the operation (either tomorrow or Wednesday).

Please send good thoughts and prayers our way...

Sorry to put a downer on people's festive celebrations, but our dog Brutus was hit by a car last night and it isn't looking too good for him at the moment.

He has multiple fractures of the pelvis, a dislocated hip and internal bleeding so any good thoughts, prayers or crossed fingers sent our way would be mightily appreciated right about now. Some thoughts and prayers for the poor couple that hit him would also be good as they are absolutely devastated.

I'll keep you updated.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Saturday, 19 December 2009

What an interesting day ...

Peter had been hassling asking me nicely to take the boys up to meet him at the block so we could have our first overnight stay in the shed as a family. Once I figured out that it wouldn't be hotter than Hades out there, I agreed to pack Peter's other car, the Pajero 4WD, full of the necessary stuff, the children and the dog and make the 2.5 hour drive, hopefully arriving in time for a late lunch. (I wasn't sure how my new car would go with the car fridge drawing on the battery for the whole trip, so I decided to take the car that had already done the trip numerous times.)

He sent me a text message at dark o'clock (aka 5:30am!) and then rang me at please-leave-me-alone-to-sleep o'clock (aka 7:20am), to say that he had finished work early and would be at the block a lot earlier than originally expected so, once I woke up a bit more, I tried to hurry the packing along.

We managed to leave the house and be on the road to the block a full hour and a half ahead of the original schedule, which I thought was pretty good considering that I didn't even have to go back to the house for any last-minute bits and pieces. I had remembered to check the oil and water in the car, put petrol in it so we wouldn't get stranded on the side of the road with no fuel, pack almost everything asked for (except the camera .. some scrapbooker I am!) and still managed to be nice to the children and the dog.

We were about 1.25 hours into the trip (roughly 100kms from home) and having a lovely drive, singing long to the music on my iPod because the radio station had just started to drop out, when the car started making a funny rattling noise. I thought it was just struggling a bit to get up the hill in cruise control and was reaching to turn the cruise control off when the car decided to save me the trouble and turned itself off.

So there we were trying to use the momentum to keep going as far as we could so I could pull off at a safe point, when Alex asks from the back seat, "Did you check if the battery was connected this morning Mum?" After wrestling the car to the side of the road (no power steering without power!), I turned and yelled smiled sweetly and explained that the blasted piece of crap car wouldn't have gotten us this far without the battery connected.

I popped the bonnet (hood for the Americans/Canadians) and had a quick look around the engine bay to see if anything obvious jumped out and screamed "Here I am!! I'm your problem right here!! Yoohoo!! Over here!!" and when nothing did, I rang Peter and said "Your car's broken. Come and fix it." After talking to him for a few minutes, I tried to start it and it worked so we limped along a bit further before the horrible rattling noise suddenly got drastically worse and the Pajero drove itself to the side of the road, threw up its metaphorical hands in defeat and cried "Rrrrr - rrrr - rrr - rr - r - ..... "(insert silence here), which I believe means, loosely translated of course, "Get out and walk 'cos I give up!"

I rang Peter again and he said he would come and pick us up but it would take approximately 1.5 hours for him to get to us. Biting down on the urge to scream at the world, I once again popped the bonnet and when, once again, nothing jumped out at me, I got the kids out of the car to stretch their legs by taking the dog for a little jaunt into the roadside vegetation for a potty stop. This little jaunt also afforded me the opportunity to curse, quite profusely, whatever gremlin had decided to pick this day and this particular long-range trip to befoul my best laid plans.

It was at this point that my subconscious piped up the reminder that I had recently rejoined the RAC roadside assistance service and also furnished me with the phone number. (All I can say is that as much as I curse our phone provider for so many of the mindless things they do, at least they provide coverage in the areas I need it.)

I managed to get through to a real person the third time I phoned and after explaining that I did indeed have a membership and have the $190 scar on my credit card to prove it, she finally accepted that a) I was a member, b) I was in fact a premium member and c) I was stuck on the side of the highway far from home with three kids and a dog. I then had to explain numerous times that I didn't know exactly where I was, apart from on the side of the main east-west highway across the state somewhere not too far past a turnoff to Irishtown (yes it's a real place). Then we got to the real doozy ... she asked what the problem was.

Being a non-mechanically minded person, my description of the problem was limited to some very poor imitations of the rattly noise along with a very weak follow-up of "it just won't go". Her response was "So it's not a flat tyre or battery then?"

Deep breath ... "No. No it's not."

"We'll have someone out to you as soon as possible. It could be up to a 2 hour wait."

I thanked her as politely as I could, then settled back to play the game of waiting to see who would arrive first .. Peter or the RAC man.

It was during this time that I started to wonder about the state of the world today. So many people drove straight past a car with the bonnet up surrounded by 1 woman, 3 children and a dog. Most of them seemed to purposely look in the other direction to avoid getting involved. i suppose they figured that in this age of mobile phones that I had already called for help and given that I wasn't jumping up and down on the side of the road like a woman possessed, that I didn't need their help. Trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here, people!

Anyway the RAC man turned up first, asked a series of questions then got me to start the car. It would still start but wouldn't stay started unless I kept the revs really high. He made the universal symbol for 'kill it' (dragged his thumb across his throat) and then pointed out that there was hardly any water in the radiator. (At this point I would like to remind you that I remembered to check the oil and water in the car and I topped them both up to the correct levels. I had also been keeping an eye on the temperature gauge and it hadn't moved from the halfway point .. at all!) In the process of trying to explain possible causes for the overheating that had caused the water to boil off, he managed to burn himself on the very hot engine not once, but twice .. not a great confidence booster but he was nice enough and he had come to try and rescue me so I let it go.

He couldn't fix it so he arranged for a tow truck to come and get the car (and us) and take it back to Northam to the workshop. I had mentioned that Peter was on his way from the block so he made arrangements for us to wait at the workshop for as long as it took Peter to get there. Then he got into his van and drove away leaving us, once again, on the side of the road in the middle of almost nowhere waiting for the next knight in shining armour to arrive, which he did in his lovely air-conditioned tilt-tray tow-truck with plenty of room for the kids and the dog.

Once we got to the workshop, we settled in for rather a long wait and I would like to say I'm very proud of the boys for the way they just took everything in their stride. There was hardly any fighting or niggling each other, no complaints of 'I'm bored/hungry/tired' and they listened and did as they were told. Thank heavens for small mercies .. and a handbag full of treats and a cold drink machine at the shop across the road!

Peter turned up a while later and we packed as much from the Pajero into the ute as we could and then headed back home. Again, the boys did really well, especially considering we had gone from an airconditioned car with plenty of room to a non-air-conditioned ute with not much leg room, arm room or any other kind of room. Throw the dog into the mix and they all acquitted themselves quite well.

We arrived home at about 5pm so, when all was said and done, it took 6.5 hours for the boys, the dog and myself to travel roughly 200kms. An interesting day out but not one I want to repeat in a hurry!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

A little advice

Having worked in retail over Christmas, I came up with some helpful tips for customers last year to enable them to get the best out of their shopping experience during Christmas in retail.

Now that I am back on the other side of the fence, so to speak, I have formulated some teensy-weensy pieces of advice for the braindead morons couldn't-be-less-interested-in-helping-you-if-they-were-dead teenagers masquerading as shop 'assistants' this Christmas.

  • Rolling your eyes at a customer who has just asked you to get something down from the top shelf, because you have a ladder and she doesn't carry one in her handbag, will get you filthy looks in return. If said customer is in a bad mood, it may even earn you a telling off, both from the customer and your boss!
  • Answering the phone, telling the customer you will have a look out the back, putting them on hold for 10 minutes while you finish your conversation with your co-'worker' (used in the loosest sense of the word!) about who is 'hooking up' with who, then going back to your phone customer to tell them you don't have any and won't get any more before Christmas, all in full view of an entire counter full of customers, is probably going to get you in trouble with the management. Try not to act surprised when you are caught out!
  • Comparing your customer's well-behaved child, who is restrained in a trolley with entertainment to keep them quiet, to 'devil spawn' and then asking, at full volume, 'why do people bring their bloody kids shopping at Christmas time?' will probably also get you into trouble with aforementioned management. Once again, try not to act surprised when you are caught out!
  • On the same topic, muttering disparaging comments about said child's parentage loudly as you walk away is also going to get you reprimanded by the big guy (be that the manager, Santa or God, who knows!) Whilst I can understand the stress involved in dealing with the incessant screaming of some children (been there; done that!!), do not take your frustrations out on one of the few children who is actually behaving and being quiet.
  • Telling a customer to have a proper look and they might find it all on their own, may earn you a slap upside the head! You are a customer service assistant; act like it!
  • Jumping the queue at the checkout because you are on your break and must have that bag of M&M's now, is likely to incite a mob mentality and you may find yourself being bodily removed from said checkout line by a big bikie type who just happened to shopping with his grandma. Don't mess with a bikie's grandma .. ever!

Now that I have exhausted my current public service abilities, I am off to find some more blog material presents for the rest of my family and friends.

Seven people down ... fourteen to go!

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Facebook is ...

many, many things; some positive and some negative. Lately I have found myself there more and more often and have been formulating a list of pros and cons in my head that I have decided to share with you all in the hopes of weaning myself away it.

Pro: It is a useful social networking tool
Con: What exactly is a social networking tool and why do we all suddenly need one?

Pro: Somewhere to play games
Con: Games that quickly become addictive and require an intervention to stop playing

Pro: A place to find people from your past
Con: Isn't there a reason why they're in your past?

Pro: You can keep up with friends on the other side of the country or even the world
Con: Because it is just so important that you know that they have been food shopping this morning or have gone to work with a hangover to rival the seventh circle of Hell.

Pro: You can stay in touch with family that you wouldn't otherwise get to see due to you all having such busy lives
Con: You have to monitor what you say and who you say it to for fear of family being offended or "disgusted at the young people of today"

Right at this very moment, however, I feel that Facebook was designed by people who have no life, to try and entice other suckers to sink to their level and lose whatever semblance of a normal life they did possess. And they have succeeded, in this house at least.

So as of now this afternoon tonight sometime this week month, I resolve to spend less time on Facebook and more time on my blog. That sounds fair doesn't it?

Oh wait ...

Swapping one addiction for another .. probably not such a good idea huh?

So now what? I know..

I'll read instead. That's got to be more of a mind-improving thing to do.

So whose blog should I start reading first?

Sunday, 6 December 2009

It's official!

Daisypath Wedding tickers

Presenting Mr and Mrs Brazendale ...
(Sorry for the picture quality. The sun came out from behind a cloud and shone straight into their faces just as the celebrant announced them to be husband and wife.)

I got a tear in my eye listening to them promise their lives to each other and watching the way they looked at each other made me feel all 'gooey' inside. To quote a fellow guest: "She looked at him like he was her favourite chocolate bar and she was just dying to eat him all up!"

The whole bridal party. There were four bridesmaids and two groomsmen .. each groomsman had two bridesmaids to escort everywhere .. shame for them that none of the bridesmaids are single!

The cake and the penguins (Clare's favourite creature) that Mum dressed up for her.

Cutting the cake.

It was a beautiful event, despite the 37 degree heat, and everything went off without a hitch on the day. The night before is a whole other story involving broken zippers on bridesmaids dresses at 10:30pm and then discovering stains on the same dress the next morning, but thanks to some good old-fashioned running-around-like-a-blue-arsed-fly by several people, all was fixed in time.

So even though I'm now feeling really old and decrepit due to my baby sister being married, I wish them nothing but the best for their future life together.

Oh, and here's hoping they hurry up and have some kids .. it's time for another baby around here and I'm certainly not having any!!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Overheard this morning ...

Peter was outside tormenting playing with and chasing the dog.

Andrew: Dad, stop being mean to the dog.

Brad: Dad's not mean Drew. He's just not very good at being nice!

Very quick with the witty replies this morning, aren't you Brad? Cheeky boy!