Tuesday, August 31, 2010

some humour thanks very much, I liked it anyway

So on Friday night on the telly, there was a repeat.
And it was the one with the the old fashioned big lawn mower giving the Roller and house windows a bloody good spray of driveway gravel, by accident, before a big party.
I larfed and larfed.
And then, the nerds in a different show.
It was LOL, and the kids were looking at me.

hmm They have not got a clue...

Monday, August 30, 2010

gurk 2010

Morunghurk 2010
Some Clan Pictures of Easter 2010 with Sunday Lunch and Spoons. Ahh, Easter.
Speaking of spoons, the Peanut Gallery developed a similarly Loud game of TEXTAS.
Joan and Alan had returned from a trip OS just before Easter, and were trying to fit into the local time zone and get some sleep/food/drinks in the right order, but there was more, it was the end of Daylight Savings...
We arrived Thursday evening- 320km, left at 4pm. Gurk at 7:30pm. Good trip. Took homemade wines, vinegar, made up my guacamole for the gang...  Better company, tried the new Pinot gris and an older shiraz. Hmm.
Friday was dull, with mist, not warm, but not chilly either. Some slept in. Quiet day, catching up news too. Scrabblers Scrabbling.
Saturday was better all around. Quiet too. More Scrabbling, cards
Saturday afternoon I went with a party back to the Cave, just a 30 minute walk Down the hill, and downstream. Some pics were taken last year.
Saturday evening meal- PIZZA! And then SPOONS! After the maddening satiated SPOONERS bled off to bed, Pete shove a few kilos of Beef in the bread oven to slow cook til lunch the next day.
Sunday Morning. For some there was a Physical Torture Routine- A Ride and A Run by Some. All returned, smiling...
Sunday Lunch- I was one of the designated spud peelers,  with 1 peeler at the time=======
(peeler utensils- 1!!!???, then 3 afterwards---hmmmm)
9kg peeled, and cut up, then cut up again.
La Chef and Anne organised a beautiful spread.
Kay and Terry, Carol and Ned came up to lunch with us all.
party of 40 odd or more?
jus wunnnerfull
then drove home after to pick grapes nex day
  One day in the life-     Drinking, Talking, Eating...     
Another day-     Sunday Roast- Slow cooked for 14 hours- the meat literally fell apart

Sunday Roast

The Spread, and a chef

SpoonsThe Tension--------
The Peanut Gallery------

Game One --------
Bon outlasted Pat
Game 2------------
I forget who won this one
Tony Ford. Copyright © April 20002004, 2009, 2010 . All rights reserved. Site Revised: jul2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Golden Anniversary Celebration

This weekend, I managed to finagle four teeners to come with me to my folk's 50th anniversary.

Al drove us to The Big Smoke, and we called in on a friend to pick up some cast off PC equipment.

We all talked on the way, with an ipod going of course, not my style, but what ever gets us there...

Golden Anniversary Celebration

This weekend, I managed to finagle four teeners to come with me to my folk's 50th anniversary.

Al drove us to The Big Smoke, and we called in on a friend to pick up some cast off PC equipment.

We all talked on the way, with an ipod going of course, not my style, but what ever gets us there...

The girls had returned the previous evening from a week long trip to Canberra. It sounds like they had a great time. I have yet to verify the points of interest visited- there are TWO full camera 1Gb sd-cards to go through, shots and vids... There was the obvious discussions about who's bus stank more from travel sickness, and how many stops for those (poor) people.

Frzledaxxler did not have the brainticklers all the way for once, there was no TURN THAT DOWN I CAN HEAR IT TOO YOU KNOW from me. Amazing. Unless one side was not working. I may have missed that.   In fact, maybe the phone music was all he had and could not 'waste' power in case some one TXTD him, or called if they had enough credit!

My friend gave us some old printer and scanner, the printer can be used to make CDs look great too. Only thing was. The poor guy smokes, inside, and all the gear stank the car out for the weekend. I smoked until a while ago, only a pause mind you, so I wonder about how much I put people off back then. 

So we got to my brothers' place, and his partner and their kids were just finishing off setting the tables out,  waiting for everyone to arrive. I had made up some bolognaise sauce and penne pasta, my two other brothers had brought along their specialties- chow mien, and a lamb stew. One sister had a child starring in a celebration of Bourke and Wills expedition, up in the country, and another on camp, so those descendants were missing, and baby brothers partner was taken out with a migraine, six out, and #2 had three kids working but there were still a LOT of people for lunch. The missing sister supplied cake ingredients for baby sister to make and bake a HUGE slab of mud cake.

We all got stuck into a wine or beer, then soup a la the hosts, then the mains, and all was consumed with relish.

Little sister asked me to say a few words before we cut the cake- I vigorously said NO and pointed at #2 brother instead- he accepted the challenge and he eloquently read from baby sisters card to mum and dad- an off the cuff performance done so well.

We left it at that, short warm words- thanking these two people for being there for us, remaining together in all the adversity and joys that had buffeted them and us. Even Dad kept it short, and Mum was asked to say something too (always hiding) this time, and so she thanked us for being there- short words again. Dad was pretty misty eyed I think as his #2 son read out the card. Not often is that seen.

And so alll departed except me and the kids- we had arranged to overnight with at my brothers place insead of travelling all the way back east- then we could drop Al off at a uni open day, and check it out ourselves too. The kids behaved well, and no canterkerous anti bed time goings on, a good night. Brother #3 got out some DVDs-

To see us all together, getting along, was amazing to see. Two became eight and now is twenty eight. With more to come. Tarnia would have enjoyed  it too I think. 

Its hard to imagine now what she would have said about a day like that. We all change a bit over time. My bother and sister have achieved twenty years married, little brother nearly the same. Tarn and I would have had thirty years together this year, our marriage twenty years next April. Next month is going to be a bastard.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A years worth of fads

8 months into the year, and a shower ponder today was- My Fads so far this Year, or hobbies and obsessions.

January and February I was worried at the start about continuing in more IT education.
So ended up enrolling for Cert III of IT at the TAFE and trying to not repeat the OH&S section
(don't ya love TLAs?).*

March and April, the portable vineyard, making wines. Started rereading Terry Pratchetts' Discworld novels.

May, fixing the girls computers and mine, backing it all up

June and July- repairing, altering the website, maintain the home web and the girl's new pcs. Should I move the TV and put the girl's pc's in the family room too. Vetoed!!!

July and August, chase up a weather monitor, setting it up, distilling the rejected wines, repairing the car, unblock the sewage. Enjoying th e weather station.

This month- Blogging and tax

All right, not really faddish behavior, just the bee bonnet thing, next thing, once under, forget the last, is a shame really.

Forget?! yep, listen to this:
For instance, I was asked to order some tickets at 9am Thursday morning but then, was not asked after all, but that was the key time to be at the tax accountants! Because I tried to finish off some recorded TV programs last night, and made it 20% of the way, I slept through the alarm, the news and just caught seeing the boys off to school. When I jumped up for brekky, I was reminded of the tickets, and THEN the appointment! ARGH! Called them, "no sweat tone! see u 2morow!"

Sorry excuse, too many things not important, lucky I am not on a rig offshore Louisianna...

*three letter blah b' blah blah blah


Wow. The girls have been away on a school camp since Monday.

The house has been so quiet. It's not that I am missing them, just at the moment I am a bit sad that their big brother may be out of the house within a relatively short time, to start his new life. Then I will be a target of three, not four, 'Gimme your money Please'. Or will I still have four?

I am going to vacuum their room. As usual, it needs a skip to clear it.
No matter the relentless Please Tidy Up, there lies a rub. They must be deaf.
Well, not a skip, just a tidy up. I filled a bin once with the crap hidden everywhere around their room.
It was pitiful, my back ached for ages, my lips were like string.

After they started off on Monday, I spent ten minutes tidying up a pile of old hand me downs, or too small now, and a bunch of hardly worn out footwear. A huge pile of formerly expensive stuff, not worth a penny. Off to the opportunity shop with it. And somehow, they were not happy to get it. Like dhito rolls down hill. What? I know some of it was really good, years ago.

That was days ago. Tomorrow night they return. Will they be tired, happy to be home? The boys have done the same school trip years ago, I should remember, but I do not. Is that a bad parent? I know people that remember everything.

Do I run on automatic all the time? Or fit so much in I cannot remember everything because it is all important? My sister says I try to too hard to do too much all at the same time. Me?  I see that, but it will not change anything. Women cannot have it all! I can do more than one thing at a time.... See, moved off target again.

At least the kids will remind me.
As usual.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Washing, laundry like

Tarn used to hang out the washing in a particular way. Undies, 2 pegs each, on the inner line. Coloureds separate from underwear...

The last makes sense. I once washed everything and a particularly favourite bra of hers changed colour. Now she did not have many, she was a tightwad. So I got into a lot of trouble- well?

From then on I separated stuff. Back then it was at the laundrette, we usually went together. North Adelaide laundrette patrons may have stared if only I did it all,  wouldn't you?

As I mentioned. The bras. A smaller collection could not be possible? I cannot go into this too much as my sample group is small, so unless you tell me, is less than handful in the drawer normal?

As she had such a small number of the dang things. She would wear them and wear them. I could tell when they were worn out a lot when there would be a frown and a surreptitious reach under the arm, then a look of relief. The support wire that had escaped was slipped back into position.  Or the beautiful bounce was a bit more bouncy than usual as she raced around, late to something.

When the kids came along, I had to insist that I was not going to be in the way of increasing the clothing item options, please, pamper yourself I would insist. So in the end, I think she may have had a few more, not counting the nursing bras.

When I do the washing now, its most usually only on the weekends, a Saturday. Friday night is the laundry call out.

If all the weeks washing- school uniforms, Volleys, backyard and best clothes are not in the wash Friday night, there is a very early wake up reminder to get your stuff in the washing basket quick-time. And the beautiful sleep-in naturally expected is really rudely interrupted, HAHAHA.

So I start the washing day (yes, it takes all day) as soon as I arise, prior to breakfast if possible. Which sometimes is midday... Anyway, besides the point how much I like to sleep in.

First, is the weather going to be considerate, and then what was washed last, the last time? The blacks or whites? This is to make sure that any lint that may be left over from the last wash does not clash. Its such a fuss to get the kids to brush their own clothes free of lint- so let's get it right dad!

Then off for brekky or brunch, or lunch... And then remember to pull the crap out and hang it all out when the spin dry finishes- pretty important on a Sunday!

I pull the larger items out first, a pre-sort for the hanging out. All get a shake (as per old instructions from Tarn), which drops all the small stuff back in the bowl. And then all the small stuff piled on top, and march out with a large basket of wet clothes, or sheeting/towels.

First on the hoist is the socks, jocks, undies, the small stuff, with no sorting or preference- 1 peg each. In the end will have 5m of just the smalls around the inner line by the end of the washing cycle! Five people, seven days- should be 35 pairs of socks and jocks each! Nearly. You would think so, but lately, people seem to be stretching things out...

Then the rest of the clothes, towels, dishcloths, bedding. This line is 8m long, and then the next line is filled up which is about 10m long. The outer line is about 12m long, and if that gets full, there is the 10m line under the veranda.

Like I said, once a week washing can be a big day.

Then there is the sorting and putting away. Here I ask that the laundry is brought in if I am making up dinner. That can be a mistake- pegs are cheap but jerking stuff clothes off the line just catapults the pegs all over the yard and garden. The mower gets a terrible time later.

Sorting- basket upended over the lounge floor, and the kids reluctantly sort it all out. I get left with folding up mine and the towels. If there is ironing... Well, maybe it gets done only if a special event is on.

Later on, I see that the clothes are bundled into the kids rooms, and maybe put away. Another big day.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why be a single dad, 2nd try

To be a single dad these days has not been hard. Rocky?

I am a just an ordinary SOB, and proud of it. My kids are now teeners, and show pride in themselves and look up to me, or ignore me. They are pretty resilient too. Teeners.

I accepted a challenge ten years ago, never thinking that I could not raise four kids after their mum died.

Common sense, try to keep a to a budget, all helps. Having had a stern and kind pair of parents was a good idea. Although one keeps sending me emails that I thought would make her blush 'n stutter and plain tell someone off for using that the language a while ago! The net...

Along the way people have been there for us. I have tried some counselling and medication and even tried a new relationship. All of those things may have helped steer my boat, and may not have. I like to keep some things to myself.

Still here, still going, despite personal misgivings. Still navigating a rocky stream. Still thinking I can give it a go alone.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Daggy Dad, Doing It Alone, First Installment, Why be a single dad?

The other day I was asked by a friend and relative to put some words togther about how I felt about grief, my perspectives, and the challenges of that emotion. (sunshineinabluecup) Not sure I did the piece right, but it was honest enough I think, to show that I was affected deeply, and  to show the world I could manage raising four children nearly all by myself despite the circumstances.

The children have not had their mum Tarnia around for nearly the last ten years after a car accident.

I was the eldest of a large family, and knew what running a house full of kids was like, the chores to be done, the joy of clan gatherings. So I want to share what I can do, have done, the achievements, the low points, life as a single dad of teenagers after ten years. The humour and pathos.

At the time of the car accident I had just started a new job, two days in and attending a safety meeting when I was taken out to the managers office to be confronted by two policeman with serious looks an their faces, the managers a duplicate. Bad news. A car accident on a picnic day out took Tarnia away from me and her so special children that had been longed for for so long.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Done my bit for democracy today

Well, I may have missed jury duty ‘cos I was on an oil rig, and then when I was ready, they didn’t need me. What a come down.
But. I did not mind doing something civic, gotta look after our version of democracy.
Well, the electoral commission did take up my offer this time as a citizen wanting to do his civic duty. And it is well paid too: to number off and count the punters offerings to the gods of chance- 15 hours work!
The standing around can be a pain, the slow times sitting waiting for the punters is advanced time wasting too. Some people are so rude!
But to be a part of this process was to be an insight into the other side of the democratic process.
Not just turn up and scratch a few numbers and nick off, but to process voters, mark them off the roll, to be there as part of the huge public turnout.
To see people I knew and say hello, and to catch up with a few words to old acquaintances.
The first ten minutes was a bit of a shocker, getting the routine down, wishing I had had a few minutes brush up on some procedures, but I did not take too long to get right into it.
There was no buzz of revolution, some were so bored and or annoyed at the compulsory requirement. I think that is a bit selfish, I bet they would not want a degradation of the local hospital, or roads, and this is just a ‘good’
And AJ took part in his first election. Just had to get Fzledazzler to wake him up- 2pm!!! And proud to see him there, couldn’t keep from smiling with pride. I just caught him on a break too.
One of the procedures is to ask the punter whether they have voted in the election already. What? And the typical answer was, “No, why would I do that, once is enough”. I’d rule their name off and then give them their marked forms, and send them off to scratch something on them, saying Don’t leave them in the booth and mark the forms as directed!
A funny voters form was noticed in the count later- one part was marked ’1′ in all the boxes. Another had a squiggly figure five times instead of the preferences.
The tiring part was leaning over a table that was too low. My knees and back and thighs and quads are all tight. Can’t have everything.
I would do it again, I feel good for doing it.
The team leader was professional, there were a couple of beginners like me, and the team on the polling booth worked well for never having met before.
each other before.
Yeah, done my bit for Oz democracy today.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Procrastination Personified

Lately, when it comes to tax, I do it every 2 years, cos I am not a millionaire.

I started last Tuesday to make the effort to do it again, as I drive, I use medical facilities, so I better.

I collect all the little pieces of paper I have to, to justify running my life my way.

I do not need a shoe box anymore, just a little D6 envelope. And stapler. An excel spreadsheet. A pen.

 Pa-thetic. (In a Scottish brogue, sounds grrreat)

This year I have a little business to run, so upgraded to two envelopes...

Have I made enough to justify paying the tax-man, all the extras charged and collected? That is a good question. We'll see. That's all in another envelope.

Oh oh, no, that makes three. Well, I bought a box of 100 really cheap years ago- so cheap there is no gum, you have to sticky tape them closed. You know, look after the pennies, and pounds look after themselves. Yeah, right.

So I think I have it sorted. And another pile of paper appears from under it all. Start again.

There is an appointment with an accountant next week. I have been him seeing each year or so since last century. Late last century. That's a weird way to say for over a decade. The date was made last week.

I have been hounded from a different direction altogether for an income statement for a while now. Obviously a  profit and loss statement not quite nearly enough for some people. A tax return statement please sir.

The accountant will get a big slice if there is anything to get back, but it's like the law. Like voting, death and consumerism. A fair cut of the profit.

Anyway, the old stuff is in a blue folder, full with the envelopes and old bills. The previous years accounts are still all over an armchair, nearly sorted, just the new stuff to double check. Since the day before. Been somewhat busy.

The current stuff is dutifully filed in a plan vanilla manila folder, in a drawer of the filing cabinet, with three envelopes. I plan on being more efficient for next year, when its due, it will be ready!

I have had a nearly child free night tonight. For about 100 minutes. Maybe sit down and finish that pile.

Apart from taxiing them (the immediate descendants) all around town.

Two off to a girlfriends' pizza and movie night, and making up for a mix-up at work. A pizza made by the eldest boys for the three of us was downed with a beer for those that can drink. A really nice simple affair, then off one split.

And then drop-offs and  pickups. An obligatory cuppa with my in-laws, swapped some stories. Quiet inconsequential talk, and left two with their pop for a big day out tomorrow. Fifteen kilometers, four hours, the petrol.

Home for the gap in the buzz, a nap in front of the SBS movie.

A taxi door slam, and back to the clickety clack of the networked teens, and I am back here, finishing off a piece about avoiding that pile of work on the arm chair.

I am about to crash, as I have a long day babysitting the proles at the polling booth ahead, and then counting their scratchings to vote in another boring committee. And getting a few dollars for the effort.

I do love this place.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Bitter Sweet Connection to Kevin (6°) Who? Shaking in my Socks.

Tonight I am Shaking in my SOCKS. Connections. Past Catching Up.

Reading through a friend's post on Facebook, I caught someones comments on his pictures. He was staying in a large city in a Scotland that is having a comedy festival. Obviously he was there to cheer on the Ozzies there, even though he is from Glasgow.

 I knew the commenter! It was Mandi.
What a great thing to find out.

And This is What Was Really Weird!
Seeing that persons name, and another persons name on a card I picked up earlier today.

Today I was tidying up someones room (they will remain nameless to protect myself them). I picked up an old xmas card (2009! old?) and the address on a it; from Peter Klein. Okay, better make sure it's in the address book, yes, there it is, he has not moved, but has a new friend, that's right, good! And well well well (3 holes in a desert). (The mother of his kids was also another mutual acquaintance in this long short story, which could be another story). Card filed. In another pile...

The connection; My friend Pete and Mandi were good friends back where and when I went to college thirty years ago! Mandi had summer vacation work locally, and Pete and I college were students, engineering and geology respectively, also trying to get some vacation work.

I met Pete during O-week thirty years ago. Pete was an ambitious sort. He was right into 3 or 4 things. Music, cars, tennis and girls, see, 4 things at least.Pete went through an apprenticeship, then a draughting internship(?) Anyway, he had a yellow SLR5000 Torana when he had finished the intern time, and a you beaut sound system, enough to blow your ears outHis dad was an engineer, don't know whether that is significant, but he traded the car to do an engineering course, at a country college. he was also right into Bjorn Bork, The Tennis Player. Pete even dressed like him, god, he would have been the stunt double. Head bands and all.

There were concerts and stuff, the usual O-week celebrations; beer, boys, girls and parties.
A mate from the previous year, Nick and I were going to try to sneak into see a band, The Flowers (back then), but the security was too good. So we went to the top of the hill, and drank. A clear chilly late summer evening, looking over Floara Hill campus before it went Suburban...
Me, royal reserve port, less than four dollars a bottle, cheaper than a six pack of beer, and not as heavy.

We introduced ourselves to some other would be concert crashers, Pete and his friends, all first year students. And then someone passed me a joint. My first. No immediate effect at all. Nothing. So Nick and I talked to these guys until the sun nearly came up. I tried to chat up one of the greek arty farty new girls back in the residences. No, we  talked crap until the sun came up, and there was no port left in the bottle. Nothing 'happened'. I think she thought I may have been gay- a waste of her time.  

The after effect- shit, I was so stoned man!! Ignoring a chick like that! And she never really talked to me again in the following years. The port and the numbers had made me impotent!
Or the shyness of "careful, first contact with an alien!".

Pete, Nick and I remain friends. Nick is so camp I cringe even over the phone. Pete has two boys, and is successful government consultant or something. And they are both a long way away. Same with Mandi.

More connections.

In this 'college' town, there was some drilling going on for gold. There was need to log the core. The students in town were not offered the job, but some Girl from another college or old mining town ended up with the job!
The boys and I were not too happy- but se la vie (?).

For some reason, I had a spare room over the summer, maybe because the other house mates went home to mummy and daddy or a vacation job- what ever. And I met this chick, and mentioned to her that there was a room free to share the rent with. Tarnia would not mind because this Chick was going out with Pete. 
And so she moved into one of the spare rooms. I think we all had a great summer time, double dates etcetera. I think. Mandi told us once that she tanning out the back of the office when she was logging core, in a monokini... 

The house that I had was woeful, a real student rental- the shower was not a shower as the hot water heater was sitting at the same level as the bath, and the outside toilet actually leant to the left. (Imagine you were drunk trying to relieve your self  late at night in a strangers loo that had a lean...)

The next time I met her, I was in the desert  between The Alice and Brisbane, near No Where. On arriving at the little drilling rig, arrangements were made that the other geologist would finish off his work, and take off the next day, and that I should knock off.  I drove the stupid little Mitsubishi 4 wheel drive back to the camp to get a meal and bed. Excellent, 700km through a wasteland, and boy was I was hungry and tired.

As I got there, a small figure comes running towards me, a girl! Yelling HELLO TONY!

What the?

It was my old house mate, Mandi. 

My brother served a meal to a "Grease" star once, and sat down for a yak to this pilot who really must know Kevin Bacon, huh? Small world. I am 23 degrees from Kevin Bacon.

meeting up with Mandi in the outback, spooky. Seeing her online tonight. Spooky as I had seen a xmas card sent to me by her old boyfriend.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Space tonight, or night skies, Out My Back Door, or A Black Hole?

Tonight in the west was Mercury, Venus, Saturn and Mars!

There was a huge ring around the Moon , and ghostly remnants of jet exhaust trails, going through the ring. I told the descendants all about it!

The Frzlar did not twitch a micro buttock muscle.

The girls liked it and
#1 had a look and said wow.
That was satisfying.

We both grabbed our digital cameras to record the event.
My shots have some dots. #1did better
The picture at left has Venus with Mars to the right and Saturn below. If you look carefully enough... Missed Mercury by that much... time

Monday, August 16, 2010

08 August thanks, and Night at The Opera

08 August

Well, today
 [as I showered today, pondering the state of the universe- like how cold it was this morning (like, -2°C!),
 and whether or not to turn 25 lites of oxidised yukky alcoholic Pinot Gris into brandy, 
and who to thank for such a nice day]

as I walked thru the house I noticed that Emmy was recording Queen onto her new desktop... Night At The Opera to be precise.

And I am not supposed to wear Rip Curl gear. Apparently. [I mean, the old pullover is old, but very nicely embroidered too.]

Anyway. Yep. The girls like my CDs of Queen, and Jethro Tull, 'Aqualung'. Fant-bludie-astic. Saves downloading some megabytes too.

Not sure what Tarnia would have said about Jethro- the song in particular is not really for tweenies, but she did not like old Jethro as much as I do.
But I am impressed that I have influenced the four kidliewinks that much, so far.

Back to original thought to post- I was reading National Geographic, and then went to check some of the places written about on the net on Google Earth. And after, while I was showering, I thought I better (not praying mind) thank someone for- the net, like DARPA and IBM etc. And I suppose Bill Gates too. And other smarter people, nerdy like me, that push us into the What If zone of existence. Where the current situation is ignored (like grief or hunger or screaming wife and kids) and another problem is solved!! Like inventing fire.
[ But that leads onto why there would not be nooky in the cave that night, long, long ago,
 unless there was a nice piece of roast Grizzly and its pelt to lie on next to the fire. 
And ever present hope that the neighbors won't come to take back their wood. And pelt. And Meat... ]

They say necessity is the mother of Invention. Sometimes I reckon it is just Laziness. Or Lust. Money? Look at Patent Lawyers.

So Thanks everyone involved in my happiness this morning- I can check out Baku, and Redwoods in California, and watch the ABC Landline in the comfort of my little castle. .  And the kids have turned the heater up to 20°C- darn them- costing me money...

Gifts from the Dead

When my wife was lost in a car accident, she left legacies. Here are some of them. Four great kids, a menu and a house. A promise unfulfilled, a trip to Venice. In some ways she had also prepared me in case something should happen to her, weird.

In the ten years since Tarnia has been gone, I was helped through it by my in-laws who moved in while I worked in the oil game. We had other carers to help them too. Because there were four kids, eight, five and twins six months.

Some of her legacy:

I love my big bruvver!
The eldest boy is voting this week! His driving licence is on hold for lack of time, and visits to the pub seem to be for a drink, not a binge. And his mates, both the guys and dolls, are all fine people too. His hobbies have changed, all the dinosaur names do not run off his tongue like they did when he first started school, way back when, where he would be up the front of the school at assembly, giving a talk! His blog is great, and he has heaps of insights that I would not have dared to even think of at his age.
Tarnia would be a bloody proud parent.
At the moment, finishing school is a priority.

Dancin' in the Street
Frazler, #2, was a bit of a handful the last two years or so. The teen years kicked off with an amazing "poutful" of cheek. He left primary school straight into late teenager-ship. Or thought he did. I think he is way better, and I respect his attitudes now he wants things so he knows he has to work for it. We seem to get along so much better, threats of loss of The Bike, time out, all that seems to have calmed him down. I am more than sure that Tarnia would agree that he is a copy of her brother,looks and sounds like him even and that he would make her proud too. We made a quarter pipe with his mates for the backyard last year. He had lost a front tooth in a fall, and I was so upset. I thought his little dirt jump was no good, so let us build something together. He cannot wait to have a beer.

Nearly 6 weeks old.
The Girls are tweenies. Fashionistas almost! But I don't allow them that much freedom- no Paris Hiltons here thank you. Nearly finished with primary school, they are both really doing well. They are pretty and smart, and think they can twist me around their thumbs, nearly. They are great to have around, with the two of them, and it appears to cut down friends coming around a lot, at least up to now. Now keeping a cool room is impossible. A junk yard more like it! Every year there is need for a wheelie bin! Ah weweeel.

Over the years there was an regular number of items on the menu at our place.

One was Chow Mien that Tarn got off her mum Bev.  Tuna Mornay. The Egg, Bacon and Cheese Quiche. Roast Beef and Veges. Spaghetti Bolognase. I learnt these dishes years ago BC, before children. We were travelling around Australia and to England with my work, but I knew when I came home there would be a really nice dinner coming up. Some I could not really carry on with are Apricot Chicken, Salmon Patties, not my style. I have yet to try them out on the kids, so who knows. White wines were often drunk with a dash of soda thank-you. A cup of tea, two sugars please, were her staple beverage. Coffee and beer were not, unless the coffee was brewed up!

This is Tarns house. Of a Victorian era style.

We had moved there after a year living in a nearby town while she diligently looked for a place for us, that we could afford, and that she really liked.
 I was literally "dragged" off an oil platform in "the middle of the Pacific Ocean" for lunch to visit this place, to approve of her choice! What could I say? She had at least half of the deposit ready, I had better chip in too! And I was sent back again before dinner. What could I do?  Those were the days, the boss was nice about the trip in and out, and I think Tarn was grateful. I liked it 'cos it had a shed, a garage, a wine-cellar, irrigated gardens, big trees and fruit trees. Simple. I think Tarn liked its simplicity, its old fashioned style, the High Ceilings, the what is known now as the Piano Room with its' huge mirrored mantle piece highlight and the Huge Bath Room where you could swing a cat in each hand around and around... It did not have a an en-suite- but there were plans to fix that...  I like it and to replace it would be a shame. I don't think I could buy another one near my folk's place, and the kids should be out and on their own within a decade. Won't they?

I would have liked to go back overseas with her, the return to Europe would have been momentous...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bees and the Bonnet

Hi again.
I have been set a target.
Like the bees in the bonnet, I have been buzzing and buzzing.
I have looked at the end from this way. And then from that way.
Been very distracting.
The completion itself won't be satisfactory.
Which way to go? I am stuck. History hisses at me.
But I have to set this down if only to justify the time.
I will do it, I must, I must.
Otherwise I will go crazy because I want to do something else that is on my imaginary list.
The calender is there with a list, I will go there!
And I want to bullseye the target, really hate missing the whole thing.
I like completing things, like a book, always finish my books.
Starting things, depends on the outcome. Pleasure? Satisfaction? Completion?
Procrastination more like it.
Back into it, cut the buzzing, the playing.
Catch ya round like a rissole.

Accomplishing small tasks and the satisfaction

14 August

Leaks and money.
I do not really like spending money when I know I can do something around the house myself for less than getting it done for me. Plus, I did it. I am not a really big DIY fan, but some house maintenance is just too expensive. I have some Scottish genes in me too.

After summer this year, the leaking gutters around the veranda finally annoyed me so much that I was going to replace it, before winter. Since we moved into the house the guttering had had small holes, but not enough for me to bother fixing it, as we were in a drought, and any free watering of the vegetation I call a garden, and others weeds, was good enough for me.

But now it was getting so bad that the sky had a line through it next to the bullnose veranda, and I was worried that whatever moisture we got may ruin the flooring. And it looked bad.

A week later and it was complete, all done by myself. Replacing the old crappy guttering was not too cheap, but cheap enough. The posts needed dry rot cut out and raised so no pooling of rain water occurred anymore. The tools in the garage were rotated and the ladder well used. The pry bar was heaven sent. The last guys to install the guttering never thought it would have to be removed, the buggers. Now a paint job is required when the steel has had some weathering.

An acid bath had not unblocked the pipe.
Two weeks ago, shower water flooding the path outside finally gave me the irrits.

Once again, the DIY gene was at me. Off to the the hire guys up the road and back with a sewer rooter, or rotor rooter, what ever the name was, it was a dirty name for a dirty tool.

I knew exactly what had to be done. Again. Seems like every year or so, the bathroom plumbing outside had to be unblocked. I blame the council planted swamp trees, not my Plain Tree, Apple Tree or The Grape Vine.

The first time, it was the councils turn. A new sewer pipe from the road to the fence. Then it was $150 bucks for two guys to spend twenty minutes playing in the backyard unblocking the pipe. A few years later it was my turn, removing the rest of the old pipes from the fence to the path. Then it happened again. Right. Hire a tool. Eighty bucks. Great.

But it happened again. Another trip down to the tool hire. Fixed it and was back less than an hour later. The guy at the counter could not print out the receipt, so a freebie! This time, after I had cleaned out the roots, he took the deposit of forty bucks as the full payment! Wow. Love that place. The shower is now pleasant again, and the path dry.

Noises in the kitchen
Yesterday I was determined to do more than the usual (yet again).

Morning break time presented an opportunity.

I rolled the refrigerator out and took off the back to catch the noisy motor in action. For at least the last few years, the ‘fridge had been annoyingly loud in its corner of the kitchen. A few months ago I rolled it out, and thought that the fan motor needed bracing to stop the knocking sound, so loud it interfered with conversation. That fix did not keep the noise down very much. I asked some people what they thought. “New fridge”, ”New Condenser”, “How old is it?”. Hmm. At least the floor was clean in the corner.

Obviously a two thousand dollar ten year old fridge should not give up the ghost like that!

So yesterday, off with the back cover of the fridge again. Tapped the axle of the fan motor. Movement. Wobbled it to see if bearing were loose or tight. Loose.

Rang the electrical appliance fixer-uppers; “Nah, just washing machines”, and “Yeah? New motor? About forty dollars, call out will be another forty five.”

So I pulled out the offending sound-maker and called back to the second guy, who helpfully said, “Type? Dunno? Bring it down?” Dang- no replacement in stock to take away? And what about the food? Bugger it. “Okay, see you in a bit.”

Ten minutes later, thirty dollars less with a second hand reconditioned clockwise turning motor that had installation instructions but no plug just wire joiner twister things in my hot sweaty hand, I set out to fix the fridge.

Well, it was a bit more than that. My glasses kept falling off as I was on my knees peering into the bottom of the fridge, and the wires had to be cut, the fan swapped from the old motor and the motor put the right way in and the wires joined, screws screwed in, etcetera etcetera, and it all made my back twinge and whinge and hurt. I plugged the cord in, sat back and switched it on, with my fingers crossed.

Bingo, little bewdy worked. The floor had had a second clean in as many months and I could read the paper in peace over brekky.

In conclusion: All Missions accomplished under budget and with deep satisfaction. Next mission?

02 August measurement obsession?

02 August

measurement obsession?

I had a thought that with the new weather monitor I have installed-
 I have a LOT of measuring thingos around the place.
Steel rulers, 1ft and 1m
other rulers 4 or more
Measuring tapes, 2 x 30m, 2 x 3m
Micrometer electronic x 1
Logarithmic tables (35 years old!)
matching slide ruler for above
Refractometer for Sugar in grapes
Alcohol measurement- spirts x 1
Alcolol measurement wine and beer x 4
Multimeter x 1
Cooking thermometer x 1
Clocks with temp/humidity x 3
weather stations x 2
Hi-Lo mercury thermometer x 1
Compasses x 3
Distilling temperature gauge electronic x 1
Brewing thermometers x 2
Scales x 4
measuring spoon sets x 3
measuring jugs x 4
Computers x 6
levels x 3
palm pc x 1
calculators x 4
'basic language' handheld sharp programmable calcu;ator
fever health thermometer x 1
sports heart rate watch x 1
electronic microscopes
kid microscope
too much stuff- hard to find it Right Now happens a lot.

27 July weather monitor

27 July
weather monitor
The old pc is getting bogged down, no cd to fix it- got a 'newer pc' instead. With win7pro too. from zacks school as a 2nder. taken since Friday night to get it up to what I want- but still cannot get the bloody printers to work... , and got a weather monitor- what I have been lusting for for a few years.- All Thanks to a goverment kickback, which reminds me- gotta see that accountant soon for 8/9 and 9/10.
Added the weather site, and it is working well as of very early this morning!
Other updates|
#1 son made it to 18, we had a good party with no hassles, well the homemade fire fountain was a bit of a fizzer, the first ione was kicked UNDER a car parked next door, DOH what the?. Anyway. I like his friends- a good bunch.
Fraser been a little harder to monitor- helping himself and organizing a very busy social life- has a job with the local holden place cleaning up after school twice a week. Compared to last year, a dream.
The girls are growing up- get a bit of cheekiness now, and the room...
Could rattle on for hours.
Not tho.