There’s just no stopping in a white zone.

I dug out a suitcase from under the house today. Brought a clear wallet with some empty bottles to decant smellies into. Tried to find another pair of yoga pants for the flights, and failed. Admittedly, I only tried one shop, but I don’t want running tights, and I don’t want tracksuit pants, I want in between, none of which I could find.

Still doesn’t feel real though.

Trawling through Erika’s photos to find my favourite one of her that showed her sweet and kind nature, was not a good hour or so. I was a complete mess to be honest. I was doing the ugly cry, and my head was so congested at the end of it, ugh.

Still, in amongst the snot and sobs, I had several laughs at our shenanigans, so it wasn’t all bad. As Glennon Doyle Melton says, “Grief is the receipt you get for loving someone.”

In other news, we had Archie’s 8th birthday this weekend. He had a great day, although we managed to get to Ben and Jerry’s too early to get his ‘Pupil of the Week’ reward, that remains in the bank for another day. We had a family dinner in the evening, all the meals were lovely and we had a good conversation too.

I’ve also been pottering through my clothes and bags. I brought a new bag, which means an old one needs to go. I ended up putting two bags into the charity pile, Archie’s old welly boots and some other clothes that I do like; but every time I put them, on I take them back off again. Times change.

As I pack for the funeral, I am going to review what I’ve got in the spare room. Do I need it? Do I use it? Would I buy it again at full price? If not, it’s going. I have a weight on me I’m trying to shift.

Tomorrow, I’m taking my running stuff to work. It’s time to get back out there again.

I’m not ready for this

Whenever we are going away; I herd clothes as they either come off the ironing pile or Mt Foldmore, to the spare room. I also add ‘stuff’; spare chargers, tea, coffee, gluten free food. I’ve just been grocery shopping and picked up some snacks for the flights, as I’ve got form of getting delayed back to the UK.

Today I’ve started putting things on the bed; a dress, boots and bag for a funeral.

I’ve typed those words, and still it doesn’t seem real. Especially not for Erika.

Bereavement doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Most of the weekend we’ve been in party mode for Archie, so I’ve just pottered on getting the house ready. Ticking things off a list kept my mind busy.

Today we went to Werribee Zoo to see the dinosaurs they had on exhibit there. Archie told me a story the whole way down, we parked up, avoided the puddles in the car park, I got a coffee then we walked around the dinosaur models.

After we’d been on the bus and had lunch, I was peopled out. Archie asked to see the boat by Hippo Beach, we ended up going round the rest of the zoo, my anxiety growing. Sitting in the car at the lions, it was all I could to hold it together. I tried not to be too short with Archie as he took his turn in the car. We headed back to the exit and toddled around the maze, which made me laugh and relaxed me.

I drove home, he played in the back of the car, then got car-colepsy, I listened to Kermode and Mayo’s podcast. Dropping him off at home, I turned around and went back out to get lunch accoutrements.

I saw someone I knew at the shops and funked talking to them – I didn’t have the head space. I explained why I’ve needed to increase my anti-depressants to the pharmacist, just about holding it together.

I’m home now, getting ready to start meal prep for the week. I’m going to have a bath and an early night tonight. We start all over again tomorrow, we also should get a date for the funeral, I can then book my flights. And finish my packing.

Father’s Day, weekend redux

Had an odd Saturday, on the one hand – excellent as I got to meet one of my favourite humans; on the other sh!t-house because of a poorly managed night out that left me in the middle of a room on my own staving off anxiety. C’est la vie.

On Friday night Osher Gunsberg shared on Instagram he was whizzing into the Melbourne Writer’s Festival, and was doing a signing in the Atrium at 12:30pm on Saturday. I told Hubs I wanted to head into the city to get my book (re) signed, as I’d brought a signed copy from Booktopia.

We headed into the city to watch Archie play hockey, his last session of the season, which means no more running by the Yarra for me on a Saturday for a few months. But I  spent a half an hour there doing the VA thing, supporting a project I’m passionate about. We drove into the CBD proper from South Yarra; driving past Melbourne Football Club training in a park, watched by fans from the sidelines. No extra security in sight, you can’t imagine any club in the Premiere League doing that.

We parked up, and went to get coffees from one of the coffee shops in the Atrium. I ordered a croissant for the boys to share, and a pear and almond friend for me. Both came out cold, which we weren’t expecting (#brrrr), but they were tasty. The boys headed off into the city to a model shop, I sat on a chair and started to read Osher’s book. I’d been saving it since I knew I’d inhale it, and I must say it’s been a PITA having to go to work and do stuff.

Then suddenly there he was. I’ve got an odd relationship with him, he’s a major party of my life, even if he has no idea who I am. I’ve been listening to his podcast since he was still living in the USA, so we worked it out that was five years. I think I was also the only person in the queue who doesn’t watch the Bachelor(ette), if anyone tries to get anything other than sport or cartoons on our TV at home – good luck.

Osher was as sweet and as gracious as he is to his guests on the podcast; he came round the other side of the table to meet us, when I got my phone out to take a photo, whoever was with him (his manager Lauren maybe?), offered to take a picture. For a nanosecond, I hesitated, then put my arms right round him and leant my head against his. We talked some more, he signed more in my book and after saying ‘Give my love to the girls’, I kissed him and left so other people could get a chance to spend some time with him.

I would so love to talk to him for hours though. It’s not like my schwarm for Tom Hardy or George Clooney; it’s more like how I feel about Stephen Fry, Oprah, Cmdr Hadfield, Brené Brown or Mel Robbins.

—o0o–

In the evening, I’d been invited to an 80s night at the RSL with some of the school mums. I brought my ticket from someone I’d never met and arranged to meet people in the foyer at 7:30pm. I arrived to find no-one waiting, and when I posted in the event on Facebook, I then found out that two separate dinners had been organised without anyone asking if I wanted to join either of them.

Okaaaay.

One school mum rescued me, introduced me to a friend of hers who arrived shortly after me and went back to finish her meal. We made small talk, two more people arrived that this lady knew, but I don’t follow the VFL so a lot of the conversation I watched. We went upstairs, I stood there while we tried to work out where to sit or stand, as there was nowhere free.

Texting my running buddy that as it was Father’s Day, I wouldn’t be able to meet with her as we normally do on Sunday mornings; having said that I then messaged ‘I’m not sure how long I’ll be out for. I’m standing here like a lemon with no one talking to me‘ As I typed it, my anxiety bubbled up and within three minutes over the text conversation, I was out the door and heading back to my car.

I wouldn’t mind, but I’d been updating Instagram stories with my exploits as I was so excited about going out with new people. Sigh. Bless her heart, she checked in on me first thing in the morning to make sure I was ok.

I was ok once I got home and talked it through with Hubs. We sat up in bed and read together like the old married couple that we are; I’m currently on American Wife, which is frickin amazing.

Sunday morning we were up and at ’em, outside of bacon and eggs and on the road to Werribee Zoo, we got there early, arriving in time to hop on the first bus heading off on the safari at 9:50. Archie wanted to show Hubs around as Hubs had never been there before. We got up close to the animals, walked round the African part, had a coffee and were out the door in two hours flat. Perfect timing as it was getting busy as we left, we had parts of the zoo to ourselves, talking the whole way round. We saw so many birds too it was wonderful. From Superb Fairy Wrens, to honeyeaters, eagles, kites and little Red-browed finches who look like they’re wearing superhero masks.

I also have perfected poached eggs, I think I’d done them once or twice before this weekend, but Archie and I did some serious YouTube research, cracking the eggs into a tea cup is the way to go folks. It’s amazing how you can learn stuff online so easily now.

Bring out your dead (again)

Hubs and I had a new experience today, we both went to the GP together. He’s been off sick with a chest infection since Tuesday last week and was not getting any better. I had to go back for some blood and a CT scan results. I’d booked my appointment late last week after I called the surgery for my results; but when Hubs was still in bed after Peanut and I got back after being out for six hours, I hopped online and made him an appointment at the same time. Best laid plans, he was in and out on-time, I was over half an hour late going in.

This was after waking up late too. Talk about a Monday :)

Hubs first, he’s had a chest x-ray today, and changed antibiotics. He’s also been signed off until Wednesday this week, back to work on Thursday morning. Officially the longest time he’s had off sick since I’ve known him. Proper man flu.

Me, I’ve got no structural issues thank goodness, however when I got my bloods done my white blood cell count was raised and then CT scan (which was the following week) also showed inflammation and congestion. My ears are also crackling, so I’ve still got sinusitis.

Peanut, thankfully is cruising along, no coughs or sniffles, which considering the amount of infections going around this winter is amazing. I’m aware that I’ve just hexed us now.

In other news, in no particular order:

  • I had an RDO on Friday, took myself off for a float, which was blissful. Then to the Richmond IKEA which was less so, aside from the bunfight it is to get in, the café was really short staffed, only one coffee machine was working and it was chaotic as a result. I should have driven down to the Springvale one, but thought that was crazy as I was already half-way into the city. After getting stuck on Hoddle Street (new and improved and widened, natch) I might as well have…
  • We had our Mothers’ Group ‘we have turned seven’ party yesterday (Sunday). All but one family were there, which was amazing. Instead of presents, we all chipped in for a trip to a massive play centre, and a good time was had by all.
  • I’m back to bullet journaling.
  • Peanut gravely told me that he doesn’t want Ickle Baby Bot bath bombs from Lush any more, he’s too old for them now. We brought Big Blue, Yellow Submarine and an orange one I can’t remember the name of. instead. He walked round the whole store, sniffing and investigating everything.
  • With Hubs in bed, Peanut and I have been to the cinema, zoo, the party and round the shops to give Hubs the time and space to sleep. Like most seven year old boys, if he’s cooped up for too long he gets cranky. It’s been a busy weekend, but we’ve had the best time. I love hanging out with him. We did 5.75km round the zoo, chatting away. He leant over to me in the movie (Incredibles 2) and said ‘I think we ought to get an ice cream Mama’ I agreed with him so we snuck out, snuck back in again and I wiped his face afterwards crying with laughter.

I am going to blog more often, I’ve missed you guys!

Out of the war for attention

I’ve not posted before about this, simply as life has been crazy-busy. However the world is quiet and an opening gambit to the conversation wandered into my head today, which is usually a sign that I need to write it out.

Here is said gambit:

This month our family received a mild ADHD diagnosis for Archie. Six months of interviews, appointments, tests and questionnaires were funnelled down to a half-hour long conversation in a small breeze-blocked room, in an almost impossible to find building on La Trobe campus. A diagnosis arriving on a train too late to make a difference to this school year.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being fidget-bottom to 10 being someone who cannot sit still and charges around like they’re on speed, Archie ranks between 2-3. Low. So low that on some tests, he didn’t even reach an ADHD diagnosis. So low that he will probably grow out of most of the obstacles he’s facing now as his processing awareness increases. So low that with the help of some routines across home and school, (the new school year starts at the beginning of February here), and supplemented by breaking down instructions into smaller chunks, it’s manageable. We’ve talked with the school and are heading in to see his new teacher early in the term.

We’ve already begun making changes. Hubs and I no longer listen to the radio or podcasts when we’re trying to get Archie to concentrate on anything. Before we get out the car when we’re shopping, we talk through what we need to get, where we’re going, ask him to choose what shop is first. We talk through in the morning what each day will roughly look like and what he needs to do to help us out. If there is too much going on, Archie goes into passive mode and just tunes out. He’ll sit there quite happily watching the world go by, this can be because he has done something to his natural conclusion, or because he’s got too much in his head and can’t hold on to any more. One suggestion from La Trobe was if Archie can do something ten times, making him do it twenty times will. not. help. him. Processing auditory instructions is also hard work for him. Therefore, if you ask him to take his shoes off, put them away, empty his bag, get changed and choose a snack after school <overload of information going in> <switches off>

So instead we do, ‘Archie shoes off and away’.

Then, ‘Empty your bag buddy’.

Then, ‘Do you want to get changed?’

Then, ‘Do you want ham or cheese with your biscuits while I get dinner ready?’

In the morning he has four things he needs to do. Get dressed, eat his breakfast, clean his teeth and do his reading. Then he can play, or watch or have the iPad for 10 minutes. It’s taken a while, but we’re now at ‘What do you need to do in the morning before you play?’ stage and he will remember. He won’t always agree with it, but he knows that these things have to get done first, despite what he wants to do. Archie has always been busy, he didn’t want to sleep in case he missed anything. He also used to take himself off to the book corner at Kinder when it got too much and too noisy for him, he can regulate himself and his emotions well. If he’s interested in something, he will follow that trail to the nth degree and not come up until he’s done, or he’s hungry.

Our bright as a button, walking encyclopaedia of dinosaurs, volcanoes and marine life; our noticer of bugs, shapes in clouds; the boy who can recall playgrounds he visited when still a toddler, our boy who’s got a memory like an elephant, now has a label attached to him.

My parents (known as Aged Parents after Port and Starboard’s father in Coot Club for as long as I can remember) and I have often joked about how I bred my brother as penance for me being such a horrible older sister towards him. P was exactly the same as Archie, one thing Aged Ps have stressed already is that the reports written by school and the psychologist are already trying to get Archie to conform to others. To sit down, shut up and take his lessons on board while not disrupting others.

On a FaceTime call this week over Christmas with Aged Ps; we managed to interrupt Archie, he waited patiently with his mouth open and then calmly finished his sentence. P used to do exactly the same thing, thirty odd years ago. We all had a giggle about it on the call, then we discussed how we could ensure our happy, vibrant, chatty boy remains so. Doesn’t get all his fizz drained out of him, doesn’t become apathetic and switched off at school. Hubs and I both want Archie to be inquisitive, challenged, strong, resilient and independent. When he struggles with things now, we ask him “What can you do?” not what can’t he do. We tell him “You’re a strong independent boy, let’s figure this out”. He said to me yesterday,”You’re a strong independent Mama, let’s figure this out!”

Indeed!

try

Christmas and New Year break

Let’s have a recap on what I had planned over the break:

  1. Hubs didn’t have to go away, so he was at home on Christmas Eve after all. We spent that evening with Manny and Auntie Susie, Peanut opened some presents they’d brought over. We wrapped the rest of his to put under the tree while watching the Classic Album program on Graceland. It was a program I’d watched on TV in the UK, brought as a DVD and not watched, it turned out to be perfect wrapping viewing. And as it was nice and gentle, perfect wind-down viewing too.
  2. Christmas Day we opened up presents with my parents on FaceTime, had our boiled eggs and soldiers and then headed to the Botanic Gardens to have a picnic with Hubs’ dad and his wife, Pa and Nonie. It was lovely, but very hot, so after a couple of hours we headed home.
  3. Boxing Day, Hubs went to the cricket to meet up with a friend and his son, Peanut and I stayed home. During the day I developed a sore throat; we went for pancakes in the afternoon to just to get out the wee man out the house and were promptly caught up in a traffic jam of people trying to go shopping in the sales, we then spent a good hour at a playground running off some energy and maple syrup. When we got back, we pottered about, as Hanno was due down, so I got his room ready. We played with Christmas toys and generally had a nice day, Hubs came home, I croaked at him and we watched The Descendants.
  4. Sunday lunchtime, we caught up with Pa and Nonie again, and Hubs’ brother and his family, we had a nice meal, exchanged more gifts, chatted and enjoyed ourselves. We came home and watched It’s A Wonderful Life, Peanut watching the whole thing. That’s my boy! Hanno went to the cricket all day and came back a bit windburnt, but happy.
  5. Hubs and Hanno went to the cricket on Monday together, my cold was in full flow, I just took Peanut to the local shops, he played in the local playground for a while, we then went to Target and brought some stuff in the sale, ate sushi and went home. exciting stuff.
  6. Tuesday, we went to the zoo (with everyone else in Melbourne) to celebrate our nephew’s first birthday. It was broiling hot, there were queues everywhere, but we had a good time. My nose running notwithstanding.
  7. Wednesday I stopped sneezing long enough to watch Star Wars with Hanno, at a 9am showing. Most odd, not only because we had to hunt for a coffee shop in the morning, (this is Melbourne, there should be coffee everywhere!), but also because people were eating popcorn at 9am too. Not sure the 3D added anything to the film, I’m looking forward to going to see it with Hubs in 2D on a normal size screen where I can see all the screen. We loved it, Hubs watched it today (Saturday) and seems a bit non-plussed by it all.
  8. Thursday was another hot day, so we toddled off to Doncaster early, had a coffee, wandered around in their air-con, had some lunch and headed home when us adults were getting ratty with all the other people meandering along, stopping for no reason and talking five deep in a narrow walk-way. I finished off one book, read another in one sitting, the whole house was asleep by midnight. Hubs snoring like a train, so I went down to the spare room and just got off to sleep, when Peanut woke up with the fireworks and came into me. After an hour of ‘They’ll finish soon, don’t worry’ I was just getting off to sleep again, when the cat decided he needed to run around, (he’d been shut in all day as it was so hot, then with the fireworks predicted he hadn’t gone out in the evening either as we’d never get him back in again). Just dropping off, Peanut needed to go to the bathroom and dragged me with him.
  9. Friday, cold returned in full force, I spent the day in bed. Moving for refreshments and not much else.
  10. Today I went to the GP and have been given horse-sized antibiotics to take, two doses in, I do feel heaps better. Hence me updating the blog with this and moving the page of books from last year to a post too. Mind you, I really shouldn’t have driven this morning, and almost passed out in the supermarket. I got lots of funny looks for wearing a hoody I can tell you, but as I was shivering, I needed to. Hubs has taken Peanut to a Twenty20 match at the MCG, they’ll be back later tonight.

All in all, it’s been successful, but not what I thought the break would be. I would dearly like to stop getting sinus infections particularly over Christmas! I’ve not caught up with all the people I wanted to, I’ve had to rain check on too many of you, I’m sorry.

Nevair mind, I’m off to start my first book for the year, and have another snooze. I’m good at snoozing.

Knees up Mother Brown

(Apologies for the ear-worm BTW).

I’m just going to type and hope this comes out in some sort of cohesive flow, but I’m not promising anything. I blogged the other day about last week and how it was hard work for me, physically and mentally. It was my last week with Mum before she had to go home, instead of going to the cinema or doing anything sensible, I was stuck in bed and feeling very sorry for myself.

Mum’s visit this time around fairly flew by, no sooner had she arrived, then all of a sudden she was packing to go again. I took her to the airport yesterday with Peanut to help us both and help him understand what was going on, many tears were shed. Then some more when over dinner Peanut asked where Granny was. Hubs had just got home, he came into the dining room to find me weeping at the table trying to explain that I wasn’t hurt, but I was sad and that it was ok to feel sad. Trying to find the language for Peanut to understand was difficult, but I did the best I could. I said that when we tell each other we love each other, it feels nice in our hearts; but when we say goodbye, it hurts in our hearts as we miss people when they’re not with us. I also said that we miss Nanna Helen, Hubs’ mum who had passed away before I met him. Peanut seemed to understand this ok, as he said that Granny was on a plane going back to Grandad this morning, that Mama was hurt and sad and she missed Granny and that Dadda missed his Mama too.

Holy moly, talk about breaking you open.

Last night I drank far too much, ate too many chocolates and watched Grand Budapest Hotel . I’d inadvertently chosen probably the best film to take me out of where I was, it was fantastic, Wes Anderson back to his best, Ralph Fiennes was so funny in his role, I asked Hubs to get it for me for Christmas.

Waking this morning with a medium sized hangover, only adverted from being a stonking one by drinking lots of water every time I woke up last night hot, (yes – that bad). I had breakfast, prayed Peanut wouldn’t poop (sorry if you’re eating) and got us out the house on time and in one piece, to be nearly squashed by a truck that pulled out on me at aroundabout.

Today I had my first follow-up visit with the Osteo regarding my knee, I wanted to wait for as long as I could for the swelling to go down, but not too long I hampered my recovery. I’ve got exercises to do on the hour, every hour. I also have to ride an exercise bike at the gym each lunchtime and go into the hydrotherapy pool as often  as I can before now and Monday night which is when I’m seeing her again. Poor Jo, all she’s done is fix me this year.

I started 2014 thinking about what words I wanted to take me through the year and chose ‘Fit’ and ‘Strong’, ooh the irony. I’ve fallen down the stairs and bruised my coccyx; I aggravated my hip socket when I fell out a yoga pose; found I have weak ankles and glutes; hurt my shoulder in a boxing class; had gastro twice, ‘flu once and heaven alone knows what else. My GP says I’m the healthiest sick person he knows – thanks! I was in better shape, at least, not as broken, before I started trying to get fit and healthy.

As for ‘Strong’, I don’t know. My mental state fluctuates a lot, I’m aware that I’m stuck at the moment and struggling, I can tell that a lot of my belongings are going to head out the door to the charity shop this weekend. The pantry and kitchen cupboards are also going to get pulled out and organised, and if I’m feeling adventurous, I’m going to go through my books too as I need to dust the shelves prior to Christmas decorations going up somewhen next week.

This past week I’ve been more anxious than normal, partly because I was worried about work, not being there and all. This was exacerbated when I got into work on Monday to find that the two days’ worth of work I’d done the week before last to reconcile a weeks’ worth of correspondence while I was on leave (in Canberra with Mum), had utterly vanished into the ether, never to be seen again. I’ve since recovered what I could, done what I could; but until this afternoon, I was out of sorts as I struggled to find correspondence in four separate places that I’d logged and cleared off my desk. The four separate places are just the way the systems ‘work’ at work. However, the spreadsheet where I keep everything updated daily which is my Lonely Planet guide for the whole Department, the network lost all my changes in it from the week before last, only going back to the beginning of the month. So much for versions, autosaves and not ever losing anything, not ever again. Maddening.

Here I am, with my foot propped up on a box under my desk, missing my yoga, missing my running, feeling utterly miserable that I can’t do any exercise. I am so grateful that I haven’t done any huge damage to my knee, but yet again, I have to go back to the beginning and start all over again. Both my GP and my Osteo think I had a Baker’s Cyst; nothing like ‘Tennis Elbow’ it’s named after the person who first described it. I know I’m lucky, very lucky. With a bit more luck I may be running again by the end of the year. Until then, I’ll do my exercises, ride a bike and walk backwards in the pool. And not have a drink until Christmas day.