Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smiley Saturday

I just found a great site with a regular "Smiley Saturday" feature

I love the idea of getting a laugh every week, though some would say that my life is one big comedy. In the spirit of the piece I will tell you a story from our local paper that made me chuckle this week.

There seems to be a lot of activity in the drug squad recently, with many hydroponic marijuana operations being shut down in the area. It must be the previously mentioned good agricultural practices!

Anyway, this week the drug squad were in action again. They raided a unit in the town centre on the basis of "information received". It was a highly organised top secret operation with surveillance, vans with darkened windows, the whole show was there. The time came and the squad ran to the chosen unit shouting and waving battering rams. The only people privy to the operation were the drug squad, and the press.

Meanwhile some policemen had come to the same block of units on a totally unrelated matter and were watching the action from a balcony when a neighbour came out to watch too. (I imagine there was actually quite a crowd of onlookers knowing Cairns.) There was a break in the action and the neighbour invited the uniformed policemen in for a cup of tea. Very nice they thought, not everybody is anti-police, there are some good citizens left, and in they went.

Inside the unit the good neighbour had a small hydroponic drug farm set up, along with smoking gear and some injecting gear and drugs in full view. Um...he invited uniformed policemen into his unit for a cup of tea!

The traffic police were also standing by idly watching when a car drew up next to them to watch the show. casually glancing into the car they saw several bags of a dry leafy substance on the back seat. Mmmmm they thought, a few questions later another drug haul was off the streets. Apparently the driver of the car was waiting for the police to leave to make a delivery.

Really I think it could only happen in Cairns.

{ I just noticed, my last post brought up an adsense advert for gas detecting equipment.....they didn't need it. }

Thursday, June 26, 2008 at work

Son #1 loves his job bending and shaping steel into the vast air conditioning ducts and vents you see in public buildings. He comes home at night covered in grime and sweat, exhausted with his labours.

After pausing only to eat anything that stands still long enough he just has time to fit in six solid hours on the playstation before falling into a deep and dreamless sleep, happy with his lot.

I ask him about work and get grunts and shrugs in return, but they seem like positive grunts and shrugs. Today on the way home he slumped asleep in the passenger seat and I asked the standard question, "So, what did you do today?" Grunt, shrug, snore.

No, today, I decided I wanted to know exactly what had he done. Well, apparently, yesterday one of his co-workers had done a fart so smelly that they had to evacuate the shed that they work in. Today #1 had got his revenge by going over to his co-workers station and dropping one in return, the older and wiser colleague had remarked that it was an amateur effort and son #1 had responded with a "Just wait".

They had to evacuate the building again. He was very proud of this, the evacuation had been for a longer time. On return to the shed his coworkers had welded a plaque for him. "Air**** fart league--- Son #1: 5 points, co-worker: nil". I can't wait for the update at the end of the season.

"Really," I said, " and did you do anything else today?"

"Oh yes," he said getting enthused with the story telling. "So and so keeps stealing my lighter that I use for the welder to light his cigarettes, so I fixed him good. "

"How did you do that then?"

"I set my lighter on full flame and broke the adjuster off. When he lit his cig it took BOTH his eyebrows off. It was cool. Everyone laughed at him."

"So, is it like that every day, did you do any work?"

"That was work."

This is why they have "Men at Work" signs. To warn people with heart problems that they may see men actually doing work and it may bring on a heart attack.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Small man, big plans

Child #4 has always had an enquiring mind, which explains why I'm on first name terms with the ambulancemen, policemen and firemen of the area. I have A LOT of stories about things he has done in the name of "science", most of them unbelievable. Here's one of the latest.

Child #4 has been watching Megastructures on Discovery. Really, I should know better after some of his mechanical triumphs; including dismantling the air conditioners, removing the car seats and taking apart the mower. The security for household tools in our house would defy a Navy Seal team and an SAS squad working in close harmony.

(Tradesmen visiting our house are encouraged to keep all tools next to them or locked in their vans. They always look at us in that slightly strange "ooh look neurotic parents way", until they come back to collect their missing tools.)

Anyway, today's project. I was busy doing something important, like breathing, and was distracted from constantly monitoring #4. Then came a voice from outside, " Go on, stand on it."

" No."

" Go on."

I don't know why but I had to look. Child #4 had built his own megastructure inspired by a bridge. He had bridged the grand canyon (ok, a ditch in our back yard that is about six feet wide) with planks, rope and half an old trampoline frame. (Yes, he was responsible for the "half".) The whole thing was held up in a sort of suspension arrangement by the springs from the trampoline.

In the spirit of scientific endeavour he wanted child #3 to test his construction. He must have had doubts about it or he would have tested it himself. Child #3 is an innocent soul, the victim of many of #4's tests, but he doesn't learn. For instance, worms aren't poisonous, even after they've been microwaved. The microwave however had to be retired.

The problem with this test scenario was that this particular ditch in our back yard is in the process of being filled with rubble and old bricks. #4 had built his bridge and lowered it over the chasm with some sort of self made pulley system. It showed great ingenuity, flair and imagination but not much in the way of safety.

I set off for the back door in time to meet #3 coming in to report what #4 was up to. He may be learning after all as he hadn't been tricked onto the bridge. The same can't be said for the chickens.

#4 had taken some corn and thrown it onto the bridge to encourage the chickens on to it, followed by the cat, as I watched the bridge held, held, held, wobbled and then crashed earthwards in a scene reminiscent of some giant building demolition, only with feathers and a rocket propelled cat. I ducked to avoid a couple of springs as they pinged off the side of the house, and caught the cat.

So egg production will be down for a few days, shock does that to chickens, and #4 is rebuilding his bridge with more springs. He's trying to overcome the one dozen chickens and a cat weight limit. The cat is still #4's best friend, curiosity may indeed prove her undoing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trials of the DCS

My sister's baby (DCS thinks she's ten months old, post pregnancy brain fog) has just introduced DCS to the delights of a newly crawling baby. I gleefully left her a message about troubles to come.

I remember finding out child#2 could walk when I found her on the stairs ( child#1 had helpfully opened the gate). Of course child #1 introduced us to the joys of climbing by climbing into bed with us after we had put him in his cot. My children all walked very early, ( my friends maintain this is because I used to forget where I had left them so they had to find me, but that is not true, not entirely anyway).

I will miss the look of panic on DCS's face when she goes to a child free house and becoming engrossed in adult converation suddenly hears a crash from a neighbouring room....ah the memories.

I will not see the look of horror when Georgia finds something intimate in another room and brings it in to show polite company, or the sight of a newly resurfaced kitchen floor early on a Sunday morning. Resurfaced with eggs, flour and cornflakes that is.

DCS showed the way when, as a small child, she escaped the confines of our back yard. She could only walk with the aid of mothers large dog and had escaped by scaling the fence using the dog as a ladder to undo the gate. After leaving the yard the dog had helpfully waited while she used him as a ladder to reshut the gate. Imagine my mothers horror to find her one year old missing from the back yard, surrounded as it was by a six foot fence, the gate still shut.

DCS was found wandering the streets holding on to the dog for support. Of course she was completely naked. I think she still wanders the streets attached to dogs, but now she is dressed, I hope.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Say what?

Cairns base hospital hasn't grown at the same speed as the population. This leads to backlogs in the ER at peak times , its not unusual for there to be six or seven ambulances in the car park caring for patients awaiting admission.

Peak times are Friday and Saturday nights with a load of PFO's (p****d and fell over) and any other day or time of the week really. Part of the weekend problem is that the admin department doesn't work on the weekends, so patients with heart attacks and such stay in the ER until they can be admitted to wards on the Monday.

This of course had led to "political interest" with whoever is in opposition visiting and saying, "Ooooh, shocking, if we were in power we'd do something." and whoever is in power promising vast amounts of money but no action, and never, under any circumstances, visiting.

This week a visiting politician (in power, had no-one warned him?) visited and on a sunny Tuesday afternoon there were seven ambulances caring for patients in the car park. " You have to expect bottlenecks " he said and swanned of. The paper with no other interesting tidbits decided to interview the patients in the ambulances.

The point of the story. One lady said it was "Shocking" how long she had been waiting. The same thing had happened last time she came in an ambulance. She said , and I quote, " After two hours waiting I started to feel ill, so I went home." Say what? Did she not feel ill when she called the ambulance? or does she have one booked on a speculative basis on a weekly retainer in case she requires emergency admission?

Perhaps this explains part of the bottleneck problem at the hospital?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Update on the snake bite incident

Would you? The report of the snake bite incident which started as a small anonymous paragraph in our local paper has gone international. But would you? His picture is in the paper.

The quotes are pure North Queensland, as was his impromptu cure for his predicament, rum, good for all evils. ( Curing and causing.) You don't have to go out of town for a snake experience though. This picture is from a suburb in the inner city.

Living with the wildlife around here makes for interesting times. This picture is of a five meter croc that was caught next to a school in Bamaga
before being brought back to Cairns to a croc farm. When one of these monsters is caught it is kept in the local watch house (police station) until transport has been arranged. This leads to a fall of in arrests for being drunk and disorderly....wonder why?

And finally, how they catch them.
Would you really want to be after a five meter croc in that tinny , and be tempting it over for a snack with a dead chicken?

My latest run in with the wild life was this morning when I saw a lizard outside the shop in the carpark. They are not dangerous ( I think) but the lizard was certainly in danger of being run over so I decided to scare it back into the grass at the back of the shop. I circled (warily) around the lizard and approached it in the hopes it would be scared and run away. The **** thing chased me. Cue middle aged woman running across the carpark with her hands in the air, uttering slightly girly screams.

The lizard promptly vanished leaving me running across the car park away from nothing. mmmmmmmm. Well every-one knows I'm a bit dotty so I'll probably get away with it. I've been trying to identify it with no luck, I think it was some sort of giant skink as it was at least eighteen inches long and smooth and brown.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Creepy story challenge

I love Helium, that's the website. It gives me a chance to write all sorts of different things and get feedback on them. It has certainly developed my writing to the point where I am earning some money at it.

I decided to stretch myself and enter a few of the creative challenges, and I am quite pleased with this effort. Bear in mind I have only just started story writing, but I'd love some feedback.

Short stories : Hunting

Anna shivered in the cold night air and hugged her coat closer around her body. She hated being out at this time of night. It wasn't fair that she was expected to go out at in this weather on her own. It was freezing. She thought that tonight some one else would have gone, but no one volunteered.

The rain glistened in puddles under the intermittent streetlights. They seemed further apart than usual, and she scurried between them, her stilettos echoing in the empty streets. Momentarily she thought she heard other footsteps

The things people ask us

Some questions are repeated more than others.

My particular favorite is " Do you sell panadol." I can ignore the irritation but one my colleagues has now spent enough time in retail that she could join a secret police force hunting out people who ask daft questions and torturing them. Her favorite answer to this one is " No, we sell paint, go to the hardware store for panadol."

This often leaves a stunned look on the customers face as they stand gasping and pointing hopelessly at the panadol stand. The worst moment, when she responded to this by saying, " Well if you can see it why did you ask." We have tried explaining to her that the question is just a sort of alternative for "I'd like some panadol.", but she's not having it. Luckily in this small town most people know every one else, and every one knows she can be "grumpy".

A large amount of time on public holidays is spent responding to phone calls asking if we are open. I can understand the calls, I mean it's a public holiday. You can see the people sat at home asking each other, " It's a public holiday, do you think they're open. I know I'll call and find out."

They ring us, we answer and then.....well one customer in three hangs up without talking, we answered, we're open. This is irritating but I get it. One in three customers says " I was ringing to see if you're open," to which we reply, "Yes 8 till 8". A polite explanation of the call. After twenty calls irritating but ok. It's the final one in three that get under my skin.

I answer the phone and a voice says " Are you open?" My option for reply. " Yes, eight till eight." (Gets very boring very quickly.) My preferred reply, " No, I come in on my day off to answer the phone and tell people we are closed." or " No." and hang up. Neither option is really a good one, but sometimes I'm tempted, very tempted.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

No shame....a coincidence

I've been writing some articles on herpes for someone, and it so happens that in my research I have seen a lot of pictures. Definitely more than I would like. Apparently as well as the obvious areas it can pop up on other parts of the body such as the arms.

The coincidence is this. One of the girls called me over to look at a rash on a man's arm. "OOoh" I said, "what a coincidence, I know what that is that's.... " At this point I realized that the man had his girlfriend with him. Oh, how to proceed. As that thought went through my head my mouth continued, "That's herpes" ( don't worry too much the shop was empty.)

They looked at each other and she said " I know where you got that from...." Woops I thought. But she continued, " That's playing rugby and getting all sweaty and rubbing about among all those men." Well actually it turns out her theory isn't so far from the truth so that's all right then.

I advised a swift visit to the doctor for confirmation and treatment, and mentioning shingles to him he said, oh yes I had that before, it looked like this. Well why aren't you at the doctors I thought, the rash was dotted all over his hand and forearm, and hurt, and had been there for three days. To me a visit to the doctor was in order, to him a late night visit to the chemist on the way to the pub was in order.

The no shame part? As they left the shop she's cheerfully calling to him " Ha Ha herpes boy, who's got herpes? ha ha"

I got the impression the pub was still the first order of business, followed by a drunken visit to the twenty four hour doctors at closing time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ain't love grand....seriously

Today my husband reminded me why I married him in a quite unexpected way.

The doorbell rang early, and I answered it, in a shocking state as you can imagine, hair, face and clothes all on backwards.

It was for my husband and as I wearily made my way back to my pit I heard the visitor say "Your wife doesn't half look rough in the morning." Hurumph I thought, like I care at quarter to sparrow fart in the morning. But I caught my husband answering, " What do you expect on four hours sleep? After a shower she'll be great, she always is, what about you? You'll still look like you." Aaawww shucks.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My den

A blogging friend of mine has decided she needs a she-cave. The reason being that there is no space in her house, and after all men have the shed/gargage/den thing going so why not the women?

I like the idea so much that I am eyeing up one of the children's rooms, saying things like it's good to share (whilst meaning that I won't have to).

My plans so far:

In my cave I shall line two walls with shelves for books.

I will have two desks, one for my laptop to write and one for the sewing machine, half finished craft projects and things I can't find a place for.

There will be filing cabinet, unused. There will be a fridge, used, with a lock.

The desk drawers will be booby trapped so that I can find a pen and paper when I need them, and scissors. There will be no phone but there will be a buzzer I can press when I hear it that will give my daughter an electric shock so she answers it, it's always for her anyway.

The doors will be strong, and spray child and husband repelling gas if interefered with in any way when armed. However they will be stable doors so I can see the rest of the house.

There will a nice view of the garden and a day bed. Ahh. Anything else I need?

I'm glad I'm not having babies in America.

Apparently some health insurance providers are refusing cover to women with a history of c-section.

Now my first delivery was normal.

My second delivery was what would be called a crash section. A lot of running around screaming. That was the staff...They were very professional in the room but I could hear outside as they rang surgeons, yelled at the junior doctor that had let it get to that point, yelled over the phone to Spain to my consultant who was on holiday ( great timing by me), shouted for porters and cancelled an operation where the lady was already on the table. There was my husband threatening to kill the previously mentioned junior doctor, and the hospital administrator in a corner talking on three phones to security (remove doctor), a lawyer ( possible law suit) and the consultant (so he was on two phones) from Spain.

I heard running footsteps as a different consultant arrived from I think a transporter module (star trek) and I was being pushed along the corridor to theatre with said consultant already weilding the knife as a midwife tied his mask on. Just as I started to panic they put a mask over my face and I woke up with a baby, healthy, and a husband, ten years older.

I didn't have the time, and the staff certainly didn't to discuss whether a c-section was a good choice. It was the only choice.

My next pregnancy ended in a trial of scar, failed, followed by an emergency c-section at 35 weeks. Emergency seemed to mean an hour or so in this case, but the circumstances were very different. If I'd had an American insurer I would have had no cover, no choice, and probably a handicapped child.

My fourth delivery was a planned c-section. Planned on the day I had the pregnancy test, by the doctor. He'd had enough, and frankly so had I. While they were in there they re-tied my tubes, twice, and cut them.

So this move is to lower the planned c-section rate, c-sections done for convenience. The rich will still get their planned sections. People like me who have emergency c-sections will not get insurance cover, and will not be able to have planned c-sections, where's the justice in that?

I am morally against c-section for convenience, and can assure any women that recovery from a normal delivery is much smoother. There are good reasons for c-sections, medical and non-medical. Stopping cover is an idiotic and short-sighted ploy fron the insurance companies.

I do predict that the first woman who has a disabled baby as a direct result of this move will also be the one that changes the law.