Sunday, 27 December 2009

Boxing Day Blues

We went to see Sherlock Holmes tonight.  I couldn't hear much, because there was a young (probably 12 year old) boy behind me, who was giving his friend a running commentary on the film.  I couldn't get mad with him, 'cos he was so carried away, and didn't even see me turn around and glare at him.  His friend was trying to keep it low, and a couple of young girls smiled shyly.  That will make it two Christmas movies so far, the other one being Avatar, which we all loved.

I fear that the Machinist is growing weary of all the constant care needed for Bobby.  I've started to help him now, to encourage him to keep on just a while longer, as Bobby gets stronger.  We have a sort-of routine for him, but who, pray, can ever be prepared for their pet being bitten by a deadly snake?  Bobby is moving around more and more and peeing a lot.  We have to wrap a disposable nappy around his middle, then pull on pantihose to keep the nappy on.  We both chuckle as we do this.  Gotta keep it light...

The rain has been falling steadily for two days now.  Everybody is loving the cooler weather.  Even the spiders.  They're coming inside, despite our efforts of pest control.  Sam found a huge white-tail spider on the corridor ceiling.  "Make sure you kill it, won't you?" I asked him.

"Of course I will mom".

My point of view is this:  when I venture out towards the creek, or through the paddocks, I expect to see all types of Australian wildlife.  Creatures of all shapes and sizes and toxins.  But woe betide when they venture into my home and garden. 

I teased the Machinist that after 16 years of country living, I was good and ready for city dwelling.

We all know that's not true, but I am fed up with creeping and crawling things.  There was even a couple of snails stuck to the side of the front door to greet us earlier this evening.  While I dislike this type of invasion, I can't bare to kill them either.  The Machinist has no mercy, knocking them down and crunching them....

Everybody is extremely tired.  I think we all need a holiday from a holiday. We've lived in a blur this past week.  I actually look forward to the dust and grime of the Shop, which starts on Monday. How can you truly 'rest', when, at the back of your mind, there's so much to do?  So much potential?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Dreaming of a White Christmas (Even Tho We Have a Wet One)

This Youtube video really tickled my funny bone - especially as if features bad boy Robbie Williams singing A White Christmas.  I mean - you don't picture him singing such a family favourite, do you?  Anyway, hope you enjoy!

Merry Christmas

It has been raining all day and I am grateful, so grateful, because it is the closest thing I'll have to a white Christmas.  Friends and family have been coming and going all day.  We've just returned from wishing our neighbours a happy Christmas and our clothes are damp and pleasantly cool from nipping outdoors.  Everything is prepared for tonights dinner with friends and we've moved our Bobby into the lounge, so that he, too, can be part of the celebrations.  He is starting to move around more and more.  Here is a picture of him next to the tree.  6 days ago, he couldn't move and we had to periodically turn him from side to side.  Now, he is lying like "Frogman".  The Machinist has to follow him around with a disposable nappy, so that he doesn't pee on the carpet.  He is our Christmas miracle....




Merry Christmas to you all.  Good will to each other...

With love,
The Machinist's Wife

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas Menu

I spent the day in the kitchen today, preparing Christmas fare.  We will be eating, sleeping, reading and swimming tomorrow.  Preparation is the key for relaxation.  How smart am I?

On the Christmas Menu:

Lunch: Potatoe salad (chats, mayonnaise, chives, spring onions and crispy bacon), BBQ Porterhouse steak, grilled chicken and seven layer salad (mayonnaise, eggs, crispy bacon, lettuce, avocado, cheese, garden peas).

Dinner: Warmed slices of duck on a circular bed of pan fried potato medallions, clothed in green oakleaf lettuce with a large (side) salad of cherry tomatoes, snow peas, asparagus, avocado, cos, roasted macadamia nuts and walnuts with an orange dressing.

Mini chocolate Christmas cakes with chocolate sauce, topped with holly and berries (green and red winegums, cut into shape)

Trifle:  chocolate sponge (leftovers from the mini chocolate Christmas cakes) soaked in sweet wine and marsala, cherry compote, pitted cherries, custard, cream.

Ooops! What was that?

Another three kilograms have just crept up on me...

Strength to Strength...

Would you believe that the day after Bobby got bitten, another baby snake crossed Sarah's path on the way to her car.  Sam and his friend managed to kill the snake, chopping it into three parts.  When the Machinist and I arrived home from having the Machinist's wound dressed, the head of the snake had 'travelled' about 600mm away from the very place Sam had left it. 

Shudder...

Snakes.  Horrible things...

Bobby is getting better each day, albeit slowly.  He still can't stand up, but he's eating three meals a day now, with orally syringed water every one and a half hours.  His nose is wet.  He wags his tail.  His bulging eyes have returned to normal, and although there is still discharge coming out of them, he doesn't have that 'far away' stare.  This evening, when the Machinist was spoon feeding him his beef & vegetables, some of the food fell on the Machinist's hand, and Bobby eagerly stretched his neck, making sure he got all the morsels - just like a dust-buster. 

This is very encouraging for the Machinist.  "Babe, do you realise that the hand with my wounded finger, is the same hand that holds Bob's head so he can eat and get stronger?"

Monday, 21 December 2009

Pet and Home Maintenance

Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses.  I'm learning more about mine as the days go by - especially when faced with unpleasantries. I can set a good mood amongst family and friends. I can lift spirits. I can encourage and comfort. I can communicate well and enable others to communicate as they should.  But... I cannot face the distress and helplessness of sick people and animals.

The Machinist, on the other hand, is excellent at caring for the sick and frail, as he did with our beloved Bucko here and here. I admire this quality in him so much.  He checks his Bob every hour, waters him, via a syringe, changes his soiled bedding, washes his butt with Dettol and dries him down.  Then he washes all Bob's soiled towels in water with bleach and eucalyptus oil.  It's been three days and each day, the Machinist has administered vitamin C by injection and orally by syringe.  All this from a man who couldn't change his own baby's nappies without dry renching. 

And talking about dry renching, I think the Machinist's stomach for 'smells' is getting tougher.  Today, he and I had to clear the blocked septic pipes.  I check that things are working smoothly, going where they should go, into the septic tank, while the Machinist rams hoses down the septic pipes, via the breathing hole. It's a nasty business, but someone's gotta do it. Unfortunately, our pipework is old and consists of ceramic pipe, narrowing to polypipe.  Each time we get a blockage, the Machinist declares that soon, real soon, he's going to '....rip all these odd pipes out and put plastic ones in...'.

Fun fun fun.

And with all that stinky trauma, on a hot and sticky day, we decided to claim some R and R for ourselves. 

I need to work on rustling up a decent Christmas spirit...

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Dramatics

BOBBY

The Machinist had gone to let the dogs out of their kennel (if left outside, the young Shih-Tszu's bark all night and besides - Bobby keeps them company and calms them down). As he was making his way to his regular latrine, Bob was stumbling like a drunk. The Machinist's worst fears were confirmed when he inspected Bob's eyes and noticed that his pupils were dilated.
"Babe, will you just check out Bob for me?  He doesn't look right.  I think he's been bitten by a snake, but I don't know how it would have gotten into the yard..."

At the sound of 'snake', my heartrate increased threefold.  I couldn't think, but wanted to 'do' and couldn't focus what to 'do' first. 

"We need to get some Vitamin C into him.  Oh, and Robert recommends strong black coffee, too.  Where IS the Vitamin C?  I put it in the medicine cabinet.  It's not there now..."

"Here it is, Babe.  Calm down..."

Bobby must have been bitten prior to 11pm Friday night, before bedtime, which means by the time we noticed his agitation, he would have had the neurotoxin circulating his bloodstream for 8 hours or more. This is way too late, and you have to identify the type of snake to receive the correct anti-venom, otherwise the administration of the incorrect anti-venom can be fatal. (We lost two dogs previously on the same day - 22 December 2002, due to snake bite). 

And so - for the past 50 hours we've treated our beloved Bobby with Vitamin C injections, antibiotics, Vitamin C by mouth, strong, black coffee and lots of water.  He is mostly paralysed and incontinent.  He can hear us, blink his eyes, wag his tail a little, but he can't move positions.  We have to turn him ourselves, (so he won't get cramps) change his bed, dry him, disinfect him.  Our laundry is his intensive care ward....

THE MACHINIST

Between Bobby's various home treatment, the Machinist attempted to work at the Shop.  He started cutting the alluminium coving for the kitchen floor and kitchen ceiling (skirting and cornice).  Being pre-occupied with thoughts of Bobby's health, the Machinist cut his finger on the circular saw.  It is totally mangled, and a friend had to take him to the emergency.  I had to go to work at the winery, and the worst thing was not knowing how both were faring during the course of the (long) day.  The Machinist now has to wear a finger pouch, and each time we tend to Bobby, I have to wash the Machinists hands and arms, as sometimes, the poison can seep through the skin (and fur) of the pet, onto the skin of a human, so it is better to be cautious and wash every time the 'patient' is handled. 

The vet advised that Bobby has come through the worst part of the bite, and he has a good chance of recovery, even though it doesn't look like it at present.  Paralysis can take a couple of weeks to get over (hopefully), so while my darling Machinist is the main care-giver for his pet, I will continue to be the main care-giver for my Machinist.

**Even though God created all creatures, I often fantasise about Him magnetising every snake off the face of the earth**

Shudder.....

The Multi-Functional Room

The absence of our washing machine during the course of the past two weeks, due to the repairs of a faulty circuit board, has been extremely trying.  Our laundry has been out of sorts too - somewhat like an upset stomach full of gas and bloating, only our laundry has been bulging with a collection (a vast one at that) of bacteria-infested clothing belonging to 5 family members, plus sheets, towels, tea towels and overalls. Talk about irritable bowel syndrome...

.
Alas, the laundryroom's regular tenant has now returned and many -  MANY -  items of clothing have since flirted between washing machine, tumble dryer and clothes line.

Today, however, the laundry has gained a new tenant: the presence of our lovely Bobby (The Staffordshire Terrier) has changed it's function from washing room to Intensive Care Unit...

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Facebook: A No-Brainer?

The ornaments were finally added to the tree.  Not all of them, mind you.  Some of them were boxed up ready to go back into storage.  Some, I left out to attach to gifts; - not only Christmas gifts, but any-time-of-the-year gifts.  The baubles always look celebratory and melodramatic. I like that about them. For added impact, Sarah has painstakingly popped bowl fulls of corn and threaded them, resulting in festive drapery with a movie-theatre aroma throughout our living rooms.



"That must have taken her ages"
"Yeah, as if we haven't got enough to do"
"I wouldn't want to thread all that popcorn"
"You wouldn't catch me threading it, either. She was up really late and finally fell asleep, with her laptop and a Bob (our American Staffordshire terrier) on her bed - with bowls of popcorn all around her.."

It's fun eavesdropping on Mancubs*...

(*Man-cubs:  Not a boy.  Not a man.  A boy becoming a man - MW interpretation)

I thought about the time it would have taken our Sarah to do this task, which she had planned and enjoyed.  She knew there were a thousand more important tasks at hand, but this one had relaxed her.  It was a no-brainer. She didn't have to think.

I have a serious penchant for jobs, projects and hobbies whereby I don't have to think.  Facebook is one of them, - even though I've had a love-hate relationship with it for some time now.  I am of the opinion that quality is better than quantity.  I don't need 486 (or more) 'friends' to prove my popularity (or not).  There's no way anyone could keep up with that number of people anyway.  Nor could they offer each of those Facebookers the friendship they deserve by regular communication. 

Recently, I went against my own self-induced grain. I 'friended' a lovely gal who I had known on a Yahoogroups*tm group some years ago.  She responded very warmly.  Before I could write back to her, I went through a few days of having to leave the house.  I didn't want to fob her off with a 'how are you?" or such, and made a mental note to write a decent, chatty response. 

Days turned into weeks turned into months...

Then, to my shame, I received this note through my email, courtesy of Facebook:

"Hello, do you use this? Wondering why you invited me here a month ago, only to get the silent treatment ???? I dont' mean that rudely, just really wondering what's up."

In my moment of regret, and not wanting to seem, or be - a hypocrite, I deleted this 'friend', amongst others who I hadn't communicated with in ages -  from my Friends List.  This morning, however, a note from my darling cuz, regarding a close childhood (but recently deleted) friend from England:

"Im so sorry to tell ya helen J.A. died today, bbe xxx"
And so I realise that Facebook is certainly not a no-brainer.  I will be re-thinking my attitudes towards a few things, actually.  But then again - it's that time of year for self-reassessments.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Anybody?

This is what our dining room table has looked like for the past two days:










Hopefully, someone, somewhere, sometime, somehow will git the time and inclination to deck the halls with them.  If not for a tree that looks shamefully naked, but also, that we can enjoy a festive dinner ON the table.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Paranormal Activity

Last night, we went to see this movie:



I wouldn't recommend it, not because the story line took too long to get to the crux of the matter.  Nor that it looked amateur-ishly made, as in all the scenes, a hand-held video camera was used.  Not even because the sound quality was under par.  But rather, for the reason that films like this Creep. Me. Out.  I can handle ghosts, vampires, werewolves, axe-murderers, psychos etc, but the paranormal and supernatural are a fact of life and not to be messed with.

It didn't help that last night's storm brought with it dampened pollen spores playing havoc with my histamine excretions.  It didn't help that mosquitoes rejoice with wet muggy weather and their appetites increase.  Nor did it help that we had a late glass of orange juice.  And each time I got out of my mosquito net covered bed, I thought on the movie and freaked myself out.

The house is awfully dark in the early hours of the morning. I have to pass through two rooms and a corridor to get to the bathroom and thereby the first aid / supplements / medical cupboard. The house is awfully noisy in the early hours of the morning, too.  I have to pass through two DARK rooms and a corridor to stand in the light.  Time slows down and a lot can happen - in the mind of an imaginative Machinist's wife during the course of the journey.

I am grateful that the Machinist was sleeping facing me.  I am grateful that the Machinist was sleeping noisily. But most of all, I'm grateful for daylight...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Today, We Relax

It looks as if a storm is approaching from the west.  The dogs sense it - large pupils, pacing, panting.  It's muggy inside.  A variety of birthday scents fill the house; bubble bars, soaps, essential oils and fizzy bombs.  In the kitchen there's still a lingering aroma of buttery lemon herby chicken, baked yams and carrots, sauteed cabbage and potato mash (pontiacs).  This is overpowered by the familiar baked chocolate sponge cake - a prerequisite for the finale black forrest with chocolate ganache.

We're off to town to see a movie and the thought of an air conditioned theaterette is promising.  The Grands won't be accompanying us, as we usually return way past their bedtime.  They like nothing more than to have the security of a routine, which anchors and comforts them in their later years.

Today, there is no guilt, for it is the celebration of a birth. Today, we relax.  Today, we live like kings and queens.

Another Main Player

Happy birthday to my first-born daughter, Emma-Lee, who we renamed "Zola Bud" when she was three years old, 'cos she could run barefoot with the same speed.  Things are different now, though, as she would rather create 3D images and dream of Pixar.  Lots of love, me Emsie.  Mwaaah xx


Sunday, 6 December 2009

Family Bonds

For most of their years, we've home educated the Young Adults (fondly known as the Ya-Ya's).  Neither the Machinist nor I are qualified teachers, yet believe that parents have a vested interest in their children and thereby can bring about a love of life and learning in each of them.  The transition from school educated to home educated wasn't always easy, but thoughts of self doubt -  thankfully - didn't last for long.  The exultation of living life together twenty four hours a day held us captive.  We have flirted between home, work and pleasure for the past 16 years and oftentimes, these aspects of life have blended into one.

It's strange, really, when you consider our varied backgrounds.  The Machinist is an only child, whose mother married thrice which resulted in traumatic and sometimes physically abusive relationships, neither of which were suitable to raise the Machinist in.  He therefore spent his young years with his Ouma and Oupa who loved and cared for him deeply and completely.  Nevertheless, his lonliness was always evident.  I, on the other hand, although being born into a larger family, still experienced this same lonliness.  My maiden family, to this day are dispersed over three continents. 

Perhaps this is why we both cherish the notion of family.

There comes a time, however, when the chickens need to explore out of the coop. This fact of nature is not easy for the Machinist and I.  The Ya Yas still live at home with us, we know that we truly have their hearts, yet their instrinsic destinies are calling them by invitation.

"All the more reason that you and I remain best friends, Babe", emphasises the Machinist.

And with tears in my eyes I respond "I know, Machinist.  I know..." as I consider the joy of my first-love.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Main Players

Since the twentieth of November, we've had three birthdays in our family, which have kept us running, organising and scratching for gift-money.  Firstly, the Machinist.  I love this pic of him.  My verile, hands on, get-the-job-done man (if you know what I mean).  Gulp.  We celebrated his birthday poolside.



Secondly, my dear dad - aka - Grandpa, who just turned 84 and still has an active mind - especially when it comes to his favourite topics: Politics and Christianity.  (He's knowledgeable in most things, but those two are his first-loves).


Finally, my middle child, Sarah-Mechelle - aka - Miss Marple.  Let's just say she has a knack for figuring things out.  My homegirl just turned 21 and she still doesn't have a key to our (front) door.  Please don't hate me for putting your pic on my blog, Poppet.  Love you. Mean it.



There's still two more family members to go before the end of the year, but I'll be sure to embarrass feature them here on the Machinist's Wife's blog. 

Oh, and in addition to our birthday-busy-ness, we've also been working on the Shop.  More pics of that to come tomorrow....