Thursday, 25 December 2014
So this week I've had 3 immunisations for impending overseas travel, a visit to the optometrist and against my better judgment, another visit to the dentist.
The results of which are that I'm ready for a trip to India later in the year, I have to get glasses, and although I had to have two more fillings, I'm finally pretty much pain free.
The photo above is my view from the chair, the mirror reflects the beach outside, so I try to relax by watching the paddlers and boats and dog walkers going past. It probably helps.
Tuesday, 23 December 2014
Out of interest on the above website, check out the suggested functions of the cowbells:
'Cheers' I get, but 'Fighting'? I guess they might be handy to swing at your neighbour should they not be cheering for the same person you are, or perhaps if they are constantly ringing the bloody thing in your ear!
So how did it all play out? Well I eagerly followed the progress online of my ship (the OOCL HONG KONG)..
..which docked in the middle of the night on the scheduled day and about 8 days later my shipping agent told me the goods were cleared and ready to pick up. The Closer then spent an hour in a queue then an hour dodging large trucks and speeding forklifts in the shipping yard before getting finally his hands on the boxes, which he stored under highly armed guard at his Melbourne base.
..and so ends my short-lived importing career. I've learnt a lot - I'd certainly deal with the same company in China again (with is more than I can say for the shirt people in Australia), but I also know about the extra hassle (and costs) that come along with shipping directly - I was lucky to be able to use my homies to get the gear upon its arrival - but I doubt they want to repeat the process anytime soon (unless I am actually importing ice and they get their cut).
So I'll end this lengthy post with the final correspondence from my contact in China:
Wish these cowbells would be popular with your clients... Fighting...
while the local criminals are plotting their next attack, I'm doing the final preparations for the Oceania prizes..
swimming caps & goggles
Monday, 22 December 2014
One of these cuties has to head off to work, the other one will spend the day tumbling around the house with his sister and his Nintendo DS.
Saturday, 20 December 2014
Each year Jon joyously brings out his herd of Christmas Reindeer and arranges them tenderly on the lawn.
And each year they are vandalised almost nightly by the local neighbourhood hoons. Last night's attack was particularly heinous...
Monday, 15 December 2014
The Dentist-lovers amongst you might think this post demonstrates why you should go to the dentist (regularly), where as I think it demonstrates why you should NEVER go to the dentist. EVER. Nothing good can come of it.
So. When I finished my last full time contract in July, I told myself I would finally have time to go to the dentist and get a checkup and make sure everything was ok and perhaps get that chipped tooth looked at. So I did, and got it all sorted out and that's the end of the story. Except I actually didn't. Because I hate going to the dentist, it's expensive and it hurts. And then when you do go, they find lots of other things they want to do to you which will also hurt.
So I didn't go, and then I didn't go some more, and then I continued to not go.
And then I woke up at 3.15am on Friday covered in sweat and with a throbbing tooth. Dang. So being the courageous and brave and very responsible person I am, I booked an appointment with the dentist that morning.
After a few hours at work I headed to the dentist and explained my woes (including explaining my tendency to ignore dental issues). So he took a look and an x-ray and um-ed and ahh-ed (I prefer to think that he didn't gasp, but maybe he did) and then he explained that I had two options.
Option 1: Attempt a root canal, which would be tricky as there was already a filling in the tooth, and it would take a number of weeks/months, and cost $1500 bucks.
Option 2: Remove the tooth. He recommended this option as it was the very back tooth and said I wouldn't notice it, nor would it be visible. It would cost $200 bucks and be done straight away.
So I was happy to go along with option 2 as the last thing I wanted to be doing was returning to the dentist heaps of times and forking out heaps of bucks for the pleasure.
Now I had always imagined that pulling out a tooth would take 10 seconds and be very straight forward (just like in cartoons except without the bit where they attach the string to a horse). Turns out it's harder than that. It took almost an hour of yanking and jiggling and pushing and pulling and cracking (it broke into three) and then worst of all, in order to get purchase on the remaining bits, he had to drill into my jawbone. It was awful - the smell of burning bone was terrible and I thought I was going to spew. In the end it came out but it certainly was a lot harder than both of us were expecting and patients were queuing up outside in the waiting room as a result (I bet they just couldn't wait to get inside that surgery for their own fun). I'd had to get two local anaesthetic injections and consequently I was numb to my eyeballs and in shock at the sheer amount of force that was used. So I abandoned the thought of going back to work and went home and straight to bed.
As Jon was working I only had a couple of hours before I had to drag my still-numb face off to pick up the kids from school then take Zali to horse riding. It was while she was riding that the anaesthetic wore off and I was hit with the full force of the pain. It was pretty bad but luckily her lesson was only 1/2 an hour long so I was able to speed back home and take my one remaining Panadene Forte tablet I had left over from my ankle surgery a few years ago. It did the job magnificently and fifteen or so minutes later I was super relieved it was all over and even ready to go out for dinner with friends.
Unfortunately it wasn't all over and 2 hours later the pain was ramping up and my mood was spiralling downwards - we drove home via the supermarket where I grabbed a few different sorts of painkillers, none of which did any good at all, unless I doubled the dosage. And so the night and next day blurred into a pain and painkiller fuelled cycle. I didn't get one single minute of sleep on Saturday night as the over-the-counter tablets weren't doing anything and whilst I had some Endone (like morphine), which was really pleasant, it kept me awake and only lasted 90 minutes, after which I was right back where I started from.
So by Sunday morning I was a wreck. Thankfully my brother-in-law Rob, who is no stranger to pain himself, having suffered multiple sporting injuries and tooth trauma, had a supply of panadol forte and other good drugs. So first thing Sunday morning I collected his stores and finally got some good pain relief. The only thing was that the relief only lasted for about 2 hours, while packages said to take four to six hours between dosages. There was no way I was able to wait that long, so by the end of the day I recon I'd consumed more Panadol Forte than I had food, which is not at all good, especially coming off the back of the large amounts of over-the-counter stuff the day before. It really hurt though, so I didn't feel I had much option.
As well as providing the good drugs, Rob also recommend a nice combination of tablets for sleeping which thankfully worked a treat on Sunday night.
All this time I thought the pain was normal after an extraction - after all it was too soon for there to be any infection, and the Dentist said it had all gone ok in the end. So I just couldn't understand why on earth he had sent me home, on a Friday (thus with no access to him over the next two days), without a prescription for painkillers. So the first thing I did on Monday was ring up and ask for one (and complain about not being given one in the first place). The receptionist said I should get the dentist to take a look just in case while I was there so despite sitting in a dentist's chair being the last thing I ever wanted to do, I went down there and let him take a look.
And whaddayaknow.. turns out I had this thing called dry-socket, which occurs in 2-5% of patients where (stop reading if you feel queasy) a blood clot doesn't properly form over the site of the extraction, to cover the bone and allow healing behind it, so the bone and nerves remain exposed to everything, causing a lot of pain.
And I've just read on the internet that this is more likely to occur if you have a 'traumatic' extraction. tick. The website describes the condition as leading to 'severe pain'. tick tick and double tick.
So I got my panadol forte prescription and the wound got re-dressed and hopefully things will go better now. I can at least almost last from one recommended dosage to the next which is a big improvement.
So I think we've all learnt something from this experience. I certainly have, and as such I have cancelled my appointment for later in the week for a general check-up and clean. Just to be on the safe side.
Sunday, 14 December 2014
I really enjoy making the kids invitations for their parties - I'll miss it when they are all grown up. Actually maybe I'll just keep doing it - it will be their cross to bear. Anyway my favourite ones were the spider ones for Zali's Creepy Party and the map-in-a-bottle pirate ones for Jett's pirate party. You can check them out over in my kids party collection I suspect that the days of 3d invites are over however I'm still having fun with the straight graphics. The last two invites used the light painting images we made a few months ago - I really like the one we did for Zali today. ..
We get them printed at BigW for .15c each - so much cheaper (and more fun) than printing them ourselves or buying a booklet of them.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
As previously discussed, Jon ran the 64km Bruny Island Ultra yesterday. He entered this race for the sole purpose of qualifying for the much more interesting Cradle Mountain run which is 80-ish k. There are other ways to qualify such as doing a North Face 100k race, but this is by far the easiest route, combined with a sub 4 hour time in the Triple Tops race earlier in the year.
The ultra is quite unique in that you can start anytime you want after 4am, you just have to finish by 2:30. Jon chose to start at around 6am, which meant that we caught up to him just before the spit which separates North Bruny from South Bruny - about 2.5 hours into his run.
At this point Jon was looking pretty happy and running quite smoothly. I noticed he hadn't made quite as much progress as the same time in 2012, but he wasn't far behind which was good. Jon's preparation for this race has been pretty haphazard in terms of both training and sleep. In fact the last two weeks he's been working so hard that he hadn't had more than about 5 hours sleep per night and there were at least two nights with no sleep at all. So not the ideal taper to say the least. We both knew he was going to suffer today, the question was how-much, and would he make it to the end in time. If he didn't, that would mean having to complete an even harder race to get that qualifying time.
So, it was good to see he was travelling along ok at just over 1/3 of the way through. Phew! We gave him some watermelon, re-filled his water, and drove ahead 5k to meet him at the turnoff to Alonnah. This is one of my favourite spots to wait as the views are really nice and it's the halfway point of the race as well as the point where the runners start to cross from the east side to the west side of the island - a real milestone.
And after a while he arrived. Looking decidedly less good than 5ks ago. There wasn't much we could do but refill his water, give him more food and send him onwards with the hope that he would improve. It was still too early in the race for him to fall apart. He may have lost his form, but hadn't lost his sense of humour - his parting words where that he was going to 'smash' the next leg over to the township of Alonnah. As I rolled around on the ground laughing I could only think he meant 'smash' as in the way a glacier 'smashes' down a valley over about one billion years. In fact his not-so-blistering speed was something I had to watch out for for the rest of the race - we'd say goodbye after a support stop and he'd shuffle off. Then I'd pack up the car, round up the kids, find my keys, get something out of the boot that I'd forgotten, get in, start the engine and Jon was still so close to the car he was in danger of being run over as we pulled away.
Anyway we shot off to Adventure Bay to get petrol and visit the fudge shop while he 'smashed' the leg across to Alonnah. Unfortunately the leg actually smashed him, as when we caught up to him again he was walking on flat ground and asking for painkillers as he was starting to hurt pretty badly (not in the normal, this running for 3.5 hours hurts kind of way). We drugged him up with nurafen and then went to wait just few kms ahead, just to check he was ok. And much to our relief he actually looked a little better when he arrived..
So we left him and drove ahead 5k to Lunawanna. As we waited the kids posed on the beach for some photos for me..
They were having a pretty good time. Jett was mostly engrossed in The Hunger Games book so he mostly stayed in the car, but they both happy watching all the goings on on the race. As I noticed in 2012, by this point in the race the solo runners sort of stay in the same order, so at each support point you know when your runner is coming by the appearance of the runners in front (last time it was Pink-Sock Woman). This time around Jon's fluctuating condition meant that I'd see different people before I saw him, but they still all belonged to the same herd of runners moving along at more-or-less the same pace as Jon. Except for one guy. The guy we originally called 'Fast Runner Guy'. As he was really fast. So fast that when I first saw him hammering along I assumed that he'd started after Jon as he was clearly going to blast by him and finish hours ahead. But then he got cramp. Bad Cramp. Lying-on-the-ground-in-agony-cramp. So there-after we called him 'Cramp Guy' - and while he stayed ahead of Jon, he didn't get much further ahead, in fact by the end of the race Jon was actually pegging him back. At almost every support stop Cramp Guy would end up doubled over in pain when he stopped to get a drink. We also drove past him once running along backwards up a hill, trying to avoid calf cramps I guess.
So by this time we'd well and truly hit the gravel road and the start of the hills. Denny's team ran past with the happy expressions that could only be found on relay runners and solo runners with better drugs than the ones we had. Nevertheless, Jon was still going along ok. He was moving decidedly better than when we saw him suffering near Alonnah, and importantly, he had enough time up his sleeve to be able to walk as he needed to. Which was often. Which gave us plenty of time to enjoy the scenery as we waited at each stop..
And so he slogged on until the final 10k, where the hills got steeper and the pain was coming back. We hit him up with some more nurafen, the I pulled out my biggest weapon.. Zali. She escorted him up and over one of the steepest hills and down the other side (which was apparently just as painful by that stage), until he was within sight of the finish..
The finish is at the lighthouse on the right hand side hill..
Then we left him to cover the last 4 k to the finish alone. I let the kids out of the car to run up to the lighthouse to meet him at the finish line but unfortunately I got stuck in a bit of a gridlock trying to park so I didn't make it in time. So the photos are of right after..
Happy faces all around! Jon did around 7:30 this year which an hour slower than last time, but given his dodgy training and last couple of weeks, that's pretty good. And given how much he was suffering so early on, it's really impressive. In fact, aside from Cramp-Guy who managed to hold him off, he finished ahead of the rest of his herd of, by then, very decrepit looking runners, including Flouro-Guy, Gut-Buster-Guy and Blue-Shirt guy. Anyway, the time doesn't matter anymore - he's qualified for the Cradle Mt run now and he's got 14 months to prepare for it - hopefully he'll get a good nights sleep or two in between then and now!
Saturday, 6 December 2014
We probably visit Bruny Island 3-5 times a year for various reasons including paddling, running, bushwalking and general touristing with friends.
Monday, 1 December 2014
When I did my walk around the Labillardiare Peninsula recently I got to the end of the Peninsula and looked across to Partridge Island and hatched a plan..namely to round up my family and the family of experienced sea kayaker Dr Evil (John, Kim, Marcus & Zara), and to sea kayak to Partridge Island for the night. It's about a 9km journey each way mostly along the coastline with a small hop across to the island.
The first stage of the plan was easy - it just took one email to convince Dr Evil and get him onto the job of convincing his family. It was a bit harder to convince Jon that we wouldn't need a helicopter on standby or at the very least a support boat trailing along behind us the whole way. He came around in the end, either that or I just went on with preparations anyway.
The last piece of the puzzle was getting hold of 4 double sea kayaks and a trailer, and we were fortunate to be able to borrow from an orienteering friend of ours who had everything we could possibly need.
So with the gear collected, dry bags packed and life-jackets donned we found ourselves here, on Jetty Beach, at 11am Saturday ready to go:
And then we were away!
The weather on Saturday was pretty good, we had light trailing winds. The water ranged from green to deep blue. 20 minutes later we stopped at the newly declared Luncheon Beach, just around the point, for lunch.
Then back on the water for the 8k paddle down to Partridge Island
We briefly checked out the beach at the south end of the Island, before heading down to the jetty at the north end.
After getting settled the next thing on our agenda was to catch some fish for dinner.
Jon caught a couple almost immediately but they were too small. Luckily we had a backup plan that involved lashings of marshmallows and chocolate.
The next task was to explore the internal part of the island. There was once a farm here and we could see the remnants of it with a few apple trees and oak trees as well as a large Norfolk Pine. Currently the introduced plants and weeds are battling it out with the natives, and it seems like the blackberries are beating everything so the faint tracks marked on map were difficult to follow and petered out in a mass of blackberries. It would clearly be a good place to visit in late January!
Interesting we didn't see any wallabies or pademelons and the grass was long and lush. I read that rabbits were eradicated from the island some years ago which would also help.
Returning to the campsite we lit a fire and all had a nice evening playing with fire with surprisingly few casualties.
Whist the kids were fascinated with matches I was fascinated with the pruning saw Dr Evil had brought with him. It was so handy to cut nice sized logs for the fire (from fallen wood of course) and not something you would normally have with you camping. Kayak camping is an interesting mix of car-camping (whereupon you bring everything), and hiking (where your priority is to travel light). When you pack a kayak the biggest concern is volume rather than weight so you can take your pruning saw and your heavy lilo and your cask of wine, but you can't take your regular camping chair (as it's too long). Dr Evil told me that it's not unusual for kayak-campers to pull whole ovens out of their boats. Whilst this all sounds like the perfect way to camp (I mean who could pass up a pruning saw and cask of wine), kayak camping does have the problem of being more susceptible to weather than other forms of camping and some time during the night I woke up due to the sound of the wind picking up and the waves crashing against the shore. In my sleepy state I started going through an inventory of the food we had and wondering how long it would last should we be stuck here for the day or longer waiting for the wind to calm down.
Luckily when I finally got up the sea didn't look nearly as bad as it sounded and we packed up and pushed off on schedule at around 9am. The early departure was so that we would beat the even stronger winds forecast for the afternoon. The little bay we launched from was still nice and calm and green while the rest of the sea was grey and ominous looking.
The wind ran slightly behind us which was good. That wasn't to say it was a calm journey back, in fact the the first leg across the bay was pretty wavey and bumpy but we all felt happy and stable in these wide boats.
Then before we knew it we were back on the beach and packing up. I had been fighting off the Fleming Flu all night and day so by the time we hit Jetty Beach I felt decidedly unwell so no more photos from me as I just focussed on getting the kids into dry gear (they were always warm enough when we paddled but the moment we hit the shore they would be freezing), and getting gear into the back of the car.
And so our 24 hour adventure came to an end. It was really good fun and I think it would be good to paddle down to Cooks Beach at Freycinet sometime, then camp the night and go up Mt Freycinet the next day, then paddle back on the third day. Taking a kayak rather than walking down would make it easier to get all the water down there that you need, plus the coastline is pretty nice along the way.
Dr Evil pointed out that my creepy-bug experience while camping at the Hellfire Cup proves that the event is still cursed. First Fire, then Flood, then of course Plague, or Pestilence if you like. Can't believe I missed that.
Anyway, from Pestilence the whole tent situation moved quickly on to Bloody-Annoyance when I broke a tent-pole while trying to put gaffer tape over all the holes in the tent floor. Tent poles are hard to replace at the best of times, and after checking I couldn't pilfer from my old macpac due to different diameters, I realised I was going to have to go back out to Anaconda.
The tent is one year old but has a 2 year warranty which is great but I was worried that Anaconda would insist on taking the tent from me and sending if off for six weeks somewhere to assess the pole and discover if the fault was with me or with them (and just quietly, my guess is that it was with me). In anycase once they saw the state of the tent floor they would know I was some kind of weirdo tent abuser and I would be barred from the shop forever.
In all honesty, the best I was hoping for was that I would be able to buy some replacement poles and be done with it.
So I drove out to Cambridge and went in and explained that I broke a pole. They confirmed my fears that they didn't stock replacement poles but without even asking me HOW I broke the pole, they just gave me a whole new tent and said they would use my old tent's poles as replacements for other people (let's hope they don't offer out the tent floor as well! - I did explain to them the it was 'well worn') . So I guess one of the benefits of buying a tent from a supermarket-like camping store is that they don't have time to assess every single warranty claim that comes in. Their easiest and probably cheapest option is to just replace without question and move on, which is what happened. so yay!
Monday, 24 November 2014
For the last four days I've been volunteering as a timekeeper at the Helffire Cup - a possibly cursed 4 day mountain biking event featuring 8 different stages and many different formats (sprints, relays, enduros) . I say possibly cursed as its two previous outings have been plagued by fire and floods. This year everything went really well so and I think the creators of the event finally got to demonstrate what they had in mind when they conceived it.
I was part of a team of four or five, and I was more involved in the automatic timing system side of things rather than the human backup system of writing down plates and times. I did this because I actually have a lot more interest in event timing systems, and I am also very bad at anything to do with numbers under pressure. Once I worked out the system (RaceResult) I was able to make myself useful by generating all sorts of new reports and results as required, and also trouble shooting a few things which was good fun.
So anyway - I saw a lot of this:
and also a lot of this!
This event involved camping out at Kellevie and I had a nice little tent setup as you can see below. That's the kids tent under our marquee with blue rubber mats for comfort. They were actually quite handy as it did get quite wet on one of the days.
What I didn't realise was that under the surface of my idyllic little camping spot lurked ferocious tent-eating bugs. I found out when I came to pack up the tent on Sunday and I noticed the tent floor was dotted with about 15 little holes about 5mm in diameter. They weren't tears or rips, just neat little circular holes that look similar to the effect you get from embers on clothing or carpet (I know this as I noticed Zali's polar fleece has returned from a girl guides camp pockmarked with ember holes which is a little bit of a worry!).
When I lifted up my tent to look underneath i noticed there were corresponding holes in the ground underneath the tent.. like this.. I've taken the liberty of drawing some non-artistic impressions of what the bugs looked like - ferocious I think you'll agree.
So it's all kind of horrifying - as it means that while I was asleep in my tent, some ferocious bug emerged from it's creepily large hole in the ground and ate its way INTO THE TENT! WHERE I WAS! aaargh! There were no bugs inside the tent as i packed it up so perhaps they came out at night, partied, then retired to their holes for the day.
And it wasn't like i was camped anywhere exotic - it was just a regular paddock as you can see.
After examining the tent I packed up the rubber mats and found that some other bugs had unsuccessfully tried to eat their way through them too ! The blue fragments around these holes are their little mouthfuls of rubber mat I'm guessing. They must have been cross they couldn't make it all the way through to join the party! If they had they would have looked like this I'm sure (note party hat and drink).
So yuk. And also now I have to fix the tent - although I am pretty glad it was the kids cheap tent rather than my new macpac tent - that would have been way worse.
Saturday, 15 November 2014
There's a lot to be said for keeping a blog. Especially when you have kids who just grow so fast!
We started going to the Huon Show the year we moved back here - in 2006. Life was different then - I wasn't working (ok - so right now that bit is the same) - but the children were little - so it was quite the palava to get them anywhere - let alone to the show. It was still worth it though..
Here they are in 2006:
I can't find the original photos from 2007, but I still have my compilation that I posted here:
Yep. My yearly dagwood dog - A tradition I have maintained.
In 2008 there's proof the kids were growing - but only up to the bouncy things, rather than the big rides..
Also I got my best photos of the dog high jump in 2008. This year the winning dog (Nelson) didn't quite clear 2.30. In 2008 the winner (Sprocket on the left) cleared that height to win.
Growing up in 2009..I'm not sure why we have the photo of Zali swimming - although I guess we possibly had swimming lessons before we drove down to Huonville. Something we wouldn't attempt any more as it is a lot busier now - best to go early.
Unfortunately it looks like I was a bit lazy with the camera in 2010-2013 (although Jon probably has some on his phone) - but here they are so grown up in 2014..
As you could imagine it's a completely different experience going to the show now. Strollers and nappy bags are replaced with wallets and show bags - and much talk of budget limits. Today I lent Zali my watch and we just met up at specified times as they both roamed free with their cousins and one of Jett's friends. We still park in the paddock though - which smells of the show before you've even gone through the gates. Granny almost always comes with us which is nice - although we also allow her to roam free and meet up with her at the Dog Highjump at around lunchtime.
I've got more to post about this years show - but it will have to wait - it's been a big day with the show, then I had a meeting in the city, then straight onto the school fair - until we finally arrived home after 7pm feeling sunburnt, wind burnt, broke and exhausted!
Yesterday Jett and I were doing some errands in town while Zali swum. We happened to walk past a Smiggle shop (colourful stationery that the kids love) and here is the ensuing conversation:
So. When I got home it turned out that Jon had in fact purchased a tablet, but not a laptop - Jett was confusing that with the Windows 365 subscription he'd got for us all. Anyway - remembering that the last time that Jon made a secret laptop purchase it was for this Macbook Air, which, as I happened to be at home to intercept it when it arrived, has been mine ever since. I guess I just need to clear my schedule for next week and I'll have a tablet as well.. cool!