Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Personal growth - maybe?

I've gone through quite a lot of pain lately--what with my damaged ankle and now maybe as a result of  my Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) flaring up as a result - but I am determined to conquer it all--and believe me, I will!

I went shopping yesterday--easy task--but somehow managed to upset the 'oh so sensitive ankle'--OK -let's all give sympathy.....Maybe a bit more....OK! Enough!  She only plays up for sympathy--stupid blond ankle--when will she face reality??

But it made me realise this morning, after, I must admit, a rather uncomfortable time with her, that despite all that--what is an ankle and its pain?

I mean think of those who are without legs, or arms or their anythings..I am like a whimpering child..

I love the human spirit!

I love the way, despite anything, it just goes on...and sometimes conquers!  It is amazing what we can all endure and then accomplish - we are truly an amazing lot!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I promised never to parallel park...

When I was 16, after taking driving class summer school sessions, I eventually applied for my driver's license.   I passed the theory part - no worries--but then, ....the driving part!  I handled myself fairly well, including a hand-brake release on a steep hill, but told the officer that I could not parallel park.  Everything was going fairly well, when to my surprise we pulled up outside of the courthouse centre, (where drivers were being tested) and the officer asked me to parallel park between the 2 police cars sitting there.

I was devastated! I nervously attempted to do this impossible task for me, (legally blind in my left eye, with perfect vision in my right eye!)

I sort of made it into the parking spot, but in my process of doing so- slightly hit the police car in front of me, and yep!  Hit the police car behind me too!  I was devastated!  I turned to the officer and filled with disappointed anger yelled:

"Right!  So now you are going to fail me!  I told you it was impossible for me to do this task!  I think I did everything else OK--so go ahead- make your day! Fail me!"

He stopped and looked at me.  Sat for a few minutes in his seat next to me, then signed off on his report for my test.  Turning to me, he said:

"You passed.  But you must promise, never, never to parallel park!"

"Oh, Sir. I promise!  Why would I attempt it?"

"Well, OK then, here is your test result--congratulations--you have passed!'

I was so over-whelmed that I just jumped out of the car (after looking both ways) and almost did a victory dance!

Now, this pre-story leads to my main story which I will now lay out in front of you.....

About maybe 8-9 years ago, I had to pick my youngest daughter up from school, and take her to the doctor.  It was mid-to late afternoon, and I knew it would be impossible to find a parking place in the City due to this.  But I persevered, as after having to leave my office and then pick her up from her school, the task involved had taken more time than I had intended and we were now running late.  In luck I found a parking space, but it was a parallel parking one--in this case I was able to drive right into it.  I didn't damage the car in front of me, and feeling so happy with myself, Maddie and I jumped out of the car and ran into the Doctor's office.

Probably about an hour went by, and we had the test results of Maddie's exam, and were walking to our car, when I noticed 2 police officers (male and female) plus a regular person, standing outside of my car.  Wondering why, I walked up, stood next to one of the officers and stood there for a few moments, also, just looking at my car.  Then I turned to the male Officer and asked him.

"Officer, what are we looking at?"

"Do you own this car?" he replied.

"Yes!  Is there a problem?  Did something happen?"  I suddenly thought of a big dent on the other side where someone may have side-swiped my car and damaged it.  I started to feel awful. 

"Can you see how close you parked to the car in front of you. This young gentleman here cannot get his car out of his parking space, because he has no room to maneuver!"

"Oh", I replied, looking at his car and my front bumper. "But I had a Doctor's appointment for my daughter and was running late, and didn't realise and I feel so awful!"

"Did it ever occur to you that other people may also have appointments and this young man has been stuck here for a long time now.  This isn't a good thing!'

I felt terrible.  I turned to the young man and said I would call his appointment and explain and tell them how it was all my fault.  I really felt awful.  Maddie just stood there watching, not really surprised. She was used to me by now.

"It is all my fault!  I told my driving officer I couldn't parallel park when I was 16, and he made me promise I would never ever do it.  I did it didn't I?  I broke my promise to him and now have caused all of this trouble..I can't parallel park!  It's like I'm dyslexic with parking or something--does that ever happen to, I suppose not.  Now what?"

By this stage, the female officer shook her head, and got back into the police car, which was parked directly next to mine, blocking that lane of traffic..I think she had just given up.  I watched her walk away, and turned to the officer saying:

"I'm a bad person. What should we do?"

"First of all, how about backing up your car so that this young gentleman can get to his appointment, and then we will have a talk."

So I did just that.  I backed the car up, and didn't hit the tree behind me. Getting out of the car
I turned to the young man, and asked again if I could make a call on his behalf to his appointment, but he just shook his head too, got in his car, and drove away.

I walked around to the curb again and started talking to the officer still standing there.  Maddie was enjoying all of this, I think.

" Do you know that you have broken so many laws here, that I could throw a slew of tickets at you?  Why did you do this?"    I told him all about my driving exam experience, and how awful I felt.

"I've broken my promise, and now look what happened.  I knew I shouldn't have parked here.  But it looked simple enough.  Guess not, huh?"

"No, you did a pretty bad job of parking." 

He stood and looked at me, and I felt just really bad.  I mean I was to blame..I had made a promise and now had broken it.  I knew I should never have broken that promise!

Finally he turned to me, and putting his ticketing book in his back pocket, he said very firmly:

" I will let you go this time.  I think you have learned a lesson here. But you must promise not only me, but everyone who drives, that you will never ever parallel park again.  Is that understood?"

"Oh, yes, Sir!  I do most solemnly promise.  As you can see I obviously was right the first time. I can't parallel park!"

"OK, then.  Would you do me a favour?"

"Of course, what do you want me  to do?"

"Just go straight home.  Don't stop and park anywhere else today."

"Sure, Officer!  I promise!"

And then...I did just that!

Sidenote to this story: 

When I got home, Chris asked me how my afternoon had gone.  I told him it had been interesting.  (I figured he didn't need to know how stupid I was this time.)  He told me that he had received a call from the police this afternoon, and that apparently there was a problem with our car.

Looking at him in surprise, I said "How did they do that?"

Apparently according to my car registration they were able to trace my work office, and my office gave them Chris' phone number at his office.  While they were talking to Chris I had come out of the Doctor's surgery..and so the story continued.

That night I had to promise also again that I would never, ever parallel park.  It was actually getting easier to make this promise.  I never wanted to go through that again!

When I got to work the next morning, word had spread throughout my university office area, and everyone wanted to know why the police had a 'man-hunt out on me.'

They shook their heads a lot too. Funny that....

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strap's done it again!!

Well - Strap has been a really naughty dog this time.  We knew that when we first moved here that he was somehow escaping our fenced back yard and making his way over to the neighbours--but we just had thought that this had stopped, and that he wasn't doing it anymore.  More fools us!

Apparently he has been going over to the neighbours patio and marking his territory at night-time while we're in bed.  Then he shows up all innocent like at our back patio door in the morning and plays the innocent act very well! He's almost a bigger Drama Queen than Squirt!  He has this 'Look at me and how innocent I am look on his face', as he lays by our back patio door, waiting to give us love and attention.

So at first we were alerted to this problem by our next door neighbour, with a knock on our front door!  I invited her in, and although she was lovely, I could tell it had become a real issue.  Apparently Strap was weeing on their patio furniture- now no properly raised member of this family has ever done that--but then there is Strap!  So I took her out onto our patio, where she identified her culprit as he stood there ready for play.

Talk about an embarrassed parent!  I never went through this with my daughters!

We discovered that we needed to try to affix the side fence to the stone retaining wall by some method, as this was how he was escaping.  What didn't help the situation was the beginning of the rain!

As it was raining, it wasn't possible for Chris to get out to the fence and repair it, as he needed his power tools. so in the interim, we came up with the solution of locking Strap in the pool fenced area overnight (the sneaky time when he would make his Great Escape).  For 2 nights, even though it was sprinkling rain, he still had dry areas of protection to sleep, so we didn't worry too much about him.  Then the next night--the real rain appeared.  At about midnight I checked on him, and he was whimpering, (couldn't blame him), but told him that it would only hopefully be for a short time, and then I went to bed--under a dry roof, in a soft bed--not very good Mother material!

When I got up early the next morning, Strap was contentedly sleeping at the patio doorway!  To this day we can't figure out how he did this- we can only surmise that the pool gate didn't close completely when Chris put him to bed the night before!  But as it was raining, we knew he wouldn't have gone to the neighbours and left any nasty surprises. He doesn't like getting his feet wet!

But by that night it was not raining as much, and we took the chance that with a temporary block to the fence way, that we could go to bed and trust that Strap couldn't escape. Wrong!

When Chris checked with our neighbour the next day, we learned that once again the King of Wee had appeared.  So Chris invited our new neighbour over and together they inspected the problem area, and agreed it would be a tricky job.  But Chris went to the local hardware store to get his supplies, and Strap kept looking at me, asking for his cuddles and love.  But this time both Chris and I were in a discipline frame of mind, and I told Strap that he wouldn't get his cuddles because he was being too naughty.  I know it sounds silly--but I think he understood.

Chris arrived home with his hardware of extra wire, wood and large bolts and began the arduous job  in the humidity of the rain soaked air.  I offered to help, but he told me that there was little I could do (translate: you are not too strong, and this would kill you to climb this wall and assist!)  So I continued my stern looks at Strap, and as Chris worked on the escape fence, Strap watched and I must admit, did act somewhat sheepishly!

For the past two nights we have had to chain him up at night so that he can sleep under the patio roof, and yet have enough chain to do his own wees in his own yard.  He has been very accepting of this.  Maybe today the weather will ease enough to allow Chris to complete the Mighty Fence Block job, and then we can all breathe a sigh of relief, and take some of our sorry guilt away as we see Strap chained at night.  It is breaking our hearts. But Strap takes it like a good prisoner, and is obliging to 'The Gov, Sir!"

I think he may have learned his lesson, but after watching Marley and Me last night for probably the third time, much to Chris' chagrin,  I'm beginning to think twice about that!!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


A few days ago, I started to write a story about all of the strange pets and animals (err...friends of a different shape), that had entered our lives and noticed that except for some, I have written about them all over the years--I guess that is how much impact they have had on my life!

fantail goldfishOscar was maybe my second experiment with a fish - Lauren had one as a child, but as I knew nothing about caring for fish then, we discoverd that one day it just jumped out of it's small tank, and died....poor little Cleo!  We gave it a fish funeral--wrapped it in a gold box and buried it where we could place flowers when we wanted to...a sad day.....

But then one day, many years later, and I thought many years wiser (Yeah--dream on!), I decided we needed to have a fish again!

So, out of the blue I bought Oscar--He was a fan-tailed goldfish- a hardy sort!  Almost instant love happened between me and Oscar--the family thought I was crazy--but I was getting used to that reaction. So Oscar lived in a domed glass fish bowl, and swam around. Then one day, as Oscar was getting bigger and spreading his tail feathers, I decided he needed a bigger home--so I bought him a very large bowl--you know the sort --big, glass, sort of domed - could be a punch bowl if you were desperate!

Anyway--I cleaned it thoroughly. and then filled the bottom with blue crystal stones, I inserted some green plant for him, and then transferred him to his new home.  I placed him and his bowl on top of our large glass topped coffee table which was in our lounge room, and sat back to enjoy him.

It took him a couple of days to settle, and as fish do, he remodelled his new home where he thought it was necessary--that's OK--to each their own.. but we were beginning to discover each other.

As time went on, I discovered that Oscar loved to dance, as when I was watching TV in that room, and would have my feet extended on my recliner couch, I would jiggle them to the music, and Oscar would look only at me, and swing and swirl to my feet!  It was so fascinating to watch. 

I also discovered that he loved- LOVED- having a bath, and a new clean bowl! I know you are supposed to always net fish carefully and put them in a safe container while their home is being cleaned--but I just always asked Oscar to swim into my hand, which he did, and I placed him carefully in a large measuring cup of water, while I cleaned his home.  He used to wiggle and, you won't believe me, but sort of cuddle into my palm before I put him in his temporary home...I guess you had to be there, to see what I really mean..

Anyway, I would clean his bowl, and wash his blue crystal stones, and insert new plant etc, then just put my hand into the large measuring cup and ask Oscar to swim back into it.  He always did.  Then when I placed him in his new clean home - he would do a dance of joy!  He would swim around. and dive and inspect it all, and literally almost give me a large grin of excitement!  When I placed him back on the glass topped coffee table, he would just happily play away, but always stop to watch me, and just check if I was there.  He liked it when I sat in my chair on the couch, and danced with him--he LOVED dancing!

Well Oscar and our family spent a few happy years together, him dancing, and me dancing with my feet on my recliner!  Oscar always watched me- - he would swim around in his bowl and keep his huge bulbous eyes on me a lot.....although he didn't like it when I vacuumed...either the motion/vibration- or the sound--he just always preferred a one on one with me--dancing.

One year I noticed that the sun was sneaking in quite brightly in the early morning hours from our cathedral ceiling windows, and shining straight down on Oscar and his home.  Not good. So I decided to move him to my 'special desk' which was against one wall in the lounge room, and he seemed happy. We could no longer dance together, as it was in a more difficult position, but I was willing to sacrifice this fun until the sun moved a bit lower or higher--whichever way it goes when the seasons change.

Then  suddenly it was Christmas time!  I was happily shopping and discovered a laser-light Christmas village at a reasonable price--so brought it home, and set it up on the desk where Oscar now lived--I thought he would enjoy the fun----But I was horribly wrong.

Oscar was somehow affected by the laser color changing lights and he started to act strangely. It took me a couple of days to realise that he was in trouble, but by then it was almost too late.  I of course stopped the light display--but then I got up one morning to discover Oscar was dead and floating on the top of his home--his treasured palace! 

I don't know how long I cried, and felt such guilt - because I think it was my fault that the Christmas display killed him....but rest assured--he will never be forgotten--what a great Dude he was!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Strange mobile video calls

Yesterday morning I was in the Family room, when my mobile phone rang, it looked like a video call from Bron, so I answered it and happily said: "Hello! Uh, hello...hello...are you there?"  The image on the screen was blurry and the whole incident seemed strange. So I just hung up and went on with what I was doing.

Then about 15 minutes later, my phone rang again.  Another video call from Bron.  It must have been a glitchy call the first time, so again I answered, and eagerly replied: Hello!!..hello..hello?  Is that you Bron?"....No response...just a blurry picture...  This time I started to get worried--perhaps she fell and can't talk and could only just get her finger to autodial--perhaps she needed help and I was so far away!  If you know my imagination, a thousand thoughts went through my mind. 

So this time, I phoned her straight back, just a regular call - not a video call....and she answered all out of breath.  I asked:

"Is anything wrong?"
The phone in pants pocket
"No, just a really hot day, and I am trying to get the mowing finished...It is a really humid day out here today!"

"Did you just call me twice on the video phone?"


"Well. your phone called me and it was very strange."

"Oh, I get phone has a mind of its own.  It's in my pants packet--it probably phoned you!"

I started laughing, relieved that nothing was wrong, and said: "Oh, ok then.  Well tell your pants pocket that I appreciate the call, and I love it too!  I even love the other pocket and the shorts, and the person who is wearing the pocket!  I'll let you get back to your mowing--it sounds like a bucket full of fun!"

"Ok. thanks. I might switch pockets with my phone--control it better..."

"Ok!  Love ya, talk to you later!"

Smiling I ended the call and put my phone down again--that is one cheeky pants pocket!!