Monday, February 29, 2016

Teeth, roadworks, and pupil free days...

Today has been fun. It started at 2am. I was awakened by the brain frying combination of throbbing and stabbing pain in the joint of my right jaw. The pain was so intense that my lips and tongue hurt. I took two neurofen plus, and when those did nothing to dull the pain after an hour, I also took four panadol (yes, I realise that is more than the prescribed dose). The pain failed to subside and when the Grumpy Old Man rose to the sound of his alarm at 6.30am, I told him I hadn't slept and would not be going into uni today - I'd work from home after some more hours of attempted sleep.

Around 7.30am, a council worker knocked on our door to tell us the roads encircling our block are all to be ripped up and relaid in the coming three days - and could the Grumpy Old Man please relocate his car if he intended to leave the property in that time.

The work commenced immediately, and loudly. Needless to say, I only managed to doze over the next four hours.




When I finally got up at 11.30am, it was to the sound of Bryn and Ari squabbling over the prime position on the couch. To complete the trifecta of frustration, I realised today is a pupil free day at the primary school. How wonderful.

I have big plans for finishing off the family flash section of my creative artefact this week, and so it seems I'll be working into the night after the road works break for the evening and the younger boys go to bed. Coffee will be administered intravenously.

Meanwhile, I'm going to have to do something about the situation with my teeth. I can't continue to have sleepless nights from the pain, or take so much medication (God only knows what it's doing to my kidneys), but the wait is 11 months - I may have to find a way to afford the private option because the status quo is ridiculous.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Revving the engine... Giving myself a pep talk.

Right back into it all tomorrow.

It might be the middle of February, but it feels like my year is just about to start after a long period of 'distractions from real life'.

I did a count up this morning and when I get back from Geelong in a week's time, I will have been away from home for seven weeks in the past six months. That is a LOT for me. Before the trip to Iceland, the longest I'd been away from my family (without any kids) was three nights, and that was when I went to Wellington fourteen months ago. So, I'm looking forward to a long spell of just being at home, in the routine. Going to uni and working during the week, and being at home and present for my kids on the weekend. We all desperately need that routine right now.

I also need to get on top of my health issues. I'm on a slew of medications right now - both prescription and over the counter. I need to take better care of myself. So getting back to basic whole foods, regulating my sleeping again, getting plenty of fresh air and movement - you know, doing all the stuff that nurtures my body and doesn't let my emotions rules my world.

Having Harlem helps. I have to get up by 7am for him - it's like having a baby again. I can go back to bed after he's been toileted, fed, and played with on the weekends, but during the week it'll help move me along.

I'm anxious about being behind on my research. There is nothing to do but keep going. It won't be a great first week because there is Summer school, but everything I manage to do will be more than I had done up to that point and if I just keep a steady pace, I'll get there. I always do. I can't let external fears affect me. I just need to keep in mind I will be fine. I'll be better than fine, I'll be great - as usual! I really am the only person who knows exactly what I am capable of achieving. I got this far because of me.

Ah, a good pep talk never goes astray.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

What's up? It's February already???

I've been so busy these past few weeks there just hasn't been any time to update the blog. This afternoon is the first time in a very long time I've had the house to myself and not been so exhausted I just wanted to sleep. So, here we are guys, and it's almost the middle of February. At the end of this the intermission I took from my degree comes to an end, my guide dog training concluded this morning. There will be follow ups in one month, three months, six months and twelve months from now, but those only go for a couple of hours or so.

I was feeling very burned out from the PhD, I have to admit, and even this time last week was still dreading going back to it, but this week I'm starting to feel the pull of the work again - which is a good thing. I've started thinking about what I need to launch myself into next week before summer school.

The boys are back at school and so far, so good. The issues we were dealing with last year are not squared away, but we're hopeful that this year won't be as trying, only time will tell. Wouldn't it be nice if problems and issues in family life were as easy to resolve as those in the workplace. It would be nice to be able to just check things of the list. Kid skipping classes, sorted, check! Kid experimenting with swearing in all settings and in several languages, sorted, check! That would be great! Can we order that system on Ebay?

I love the internet for keeping up with distant friends. We recently arranged a games night via Skype, participants were located in west, east, and outer east of Melbourne, as well as in Hungary - how cool is that? It will be good to get back to meeting people in person though, too.

In January I shut down my Facebook page - too many upsetting associations. I started a new one with a much smaller group of friends, mostly family and a few friends, but a very small group. I still have access to my old pages for things like photos, but am not operating from that page. This meant setting up a new page for Harlem, but as yet I haven't set up a new page for the blog, not that I really need to, per se - I can still access it from the old page.

Harlem is slotting into the family so well! He has completely stolen the Grumpy Old Man's heart - which was a massive coup as the GOM is a confirmed cat person and proud. He says it's because Harlem is so well behaved. I have to admit that really is a bonus - getting a dog who has already been raised through the most difficult labrador stages and trained right from puppyhood.

I've become a bit of an advocate for guide dogs - unavoidable really - and last night I found myself writing an email to the principal of the boys' high school because, it seems, they allow students and staff to bring pet dogs to school, and some of those dogs are allowed to get about off lead. While I'm sure the dogs are probably screened in some way for behaviour (maybe the students and staff need to provide evidence of puppy training, I don't know), this still poses a problem for assistance dog users who might access the school. Guide dogs released a campaign last year called, 'Take the lead' to raise the issue of off lead dogs interfering with or even attacking guide dogs. Apparently one in three guide dogs have been attacked by other dogs who were off lead. This can result in the guide dog needing to be retired if it becomes anxious and cannot do it's job. As well as this, off lead dogs can simply distract guide dogs (despite their training) and that puts the guide dog user (the handler) in danger because the dog has taken it's eye of the job.

In other Harlem related news, our loungeroom underwent a makeover... Let me show you...

So, it looked like this. At Christmas we briefly swapped the position of the black chair and the red couch with it's back to the camera because that situation the black chair better once my egg chair (which I got for my birthday) would arrive...


And now it looks like this...

From the same angle...


From the other side...


This is my egg chair - or my nest, as I like to call it - I spend an inordinate amount of time in this chair, the movement of it is so soothing! Please excuse the dog hair on the rug, Lukas assures me he'll get to it right after school (vacuuming is his job)...


Inside my side table is of the yarn I plan to use of my next project (which I was going to start in December, but, well... There's always next December, right?


And a gratuitous photo of my baby boy - there will be many photos of Harlem on the blog from this point on...


I got something else new last week...


Once they're properly healed, I want to put spikes in, like this...


I'm thinking of adding another couple later, but three in one go was about my limit this time around!

There is so much more I could catch you guys up on, but this post is long enough for now! 'Til next time, then...


Teenagers and the failing parent...