Pffftttt! to you

My husband decided he would improve the ambience of our bathroom a few weeks ago.   I’m not quite sure how he thought he could do that, as we had the bathroom renovated about 18 months ago and I was quite satisfied with the outcome.  I didn’t have a functioning toilet for three weeks during construction, but that’s another blog.  It all ended well with a little help from the public toilet block two streets away and a finished, fancy, up-to-date Beautiful Homes design with a spa that I could have done the backstroke in.  There was nothing that it needed.

My husband apparently thought differently and being the fan of gadgets that he was, couldn’t resist the latest odour-fighting accessory that had been doing the rounds on the ad breaks between the 6 o’clock news and CSI Miami.  A fancy, battery-operated, movement-sensing fragrance squirter was just the thing, in his opinion, to fight off those lingering nasties that we all live with but don’t talk about.

I wasn’t altogether convinced of it’s authenticity and besides, I had a stash of essential oils, essential-oil soy candles and enough incense sticks to last me, so I was good to go for at least 10 years.

Still, it found it’s way into the bathroom and onto a ledge about three feet above my head so I couldn’t reach it to get rid of it even if I had wanted to – so it stayed put and every now and then it would emit a  lemon-scented hiss whenever anyone or anything got within cooee of it.

For the first few days I found myself looking around for large, scuttling things and checking the doors and windows before it twigged.  It was particularly disconcerting on the first evening being confronted by some wild, spitting beast hiding in the toilet bowl.  I have a vivid imagination when half asleep and under duress and it took me at least two hours to settle down after leaping around in the dark and getting a good workout before my husband turned the light on.

He might not think it’s so funny after he steps on that squeaker that I’m putting at his side of the bed when he goes for his afternoon nap after an all-nighter next weekend.


Renovation blues

renovateWell the bank manager has given the nod, the husband is home and everything is in place for the impending renovations – with the exception of the builder.

He’s been missing in action for a few months now on a big job somewhere near the city and harder to get hold of than the proverbial needle in the haystack.

I can only assume that he is still doing the job but I have the signed quote attached to my hip and his address stuffed into my ‘important file’ in my less important filing cabinet just in case.

He was supposed to start last month.  Hell, he was supposed to start early in the New Year, but the Queensland floods created a deluge of their own with builders of every genre massing to rebuild, remodel and remain out of my reach.  There’s not a builder available within 200 miles of my immediate area and I’ll be darned if I’m paying travelling fees as well.

The disadvantage I have is that I live on an island.  Transport costs and materials are going to be more expensive because of it.  The one advantage that I have is that my designated builder lives on the island and will be only too happy to get the job done when he is free – apparently.

I’m now waiting for him to get back to me after playing phone tag for a week to let me know if he is going to be held up with his current job or I will be waiting another two months to be woken up at the sparrow fart to enjoy a day of sawing, hammering and dust while trying to set my computer up in a temporary ‘office’ well away from the commotion.

I’m looking forward to having a new, larger office, a new improved veranda and a second bathroom but I want it done now.

In the meantime, I will be hiding the excess funds in a secret location well away from my 007-licence-to-spend husband or I could end up with a pink elephant that he just had to have before somebody else got it.

On writing…

writeI like writing blogs.  I find it relaxing and therapeutic, especially if I’m bagging some authoritative nameless entity that has given me past grief.

I have always been reasonably good at putting words together.  My university essay success was primarily based on fifty percent knowledge and research and fifty percent good waffle.

My mother used to tell me that I should have been a writer or a journalist.  Hell, she practically made me eat the dictionary when I was in school and made sure I went and looked up anything I didn’t understand rather than ‘be lazy’ and try to elicit the information out of her.

My old English teacher, Mrs Clarke, was another reason for my good grammatical grasp.  I say ‘old’ because to a 15 year old, anyone over 30 years old was practically ancient.  Mrs Clarke was a member of the blue-rinse set and was always impeccably groomed.  She was no nonsense, no sympathy and no excuse for no homework but she was brilliant and she taught me a good deal about knowledge and waffle.  If you were going put it down on paper, you did it with as much flair as you could muster, regardless of how much research you had done.  Knowledge was a good thing but the written word was much more powerful when written well.

While mathematics was never my strongest point, I had a talent for telling a tall tale and tongue-twisting the truth a little.  It didn’t take much effort to excel under Mrs Clarke’s watchful eye.  This went very well until my third year of high school when I got a new squeaky-clean Teacher’s College graduate who knew it all.  I can’t even remember her name now but I can remember her disbelief when I turned in a term assignment, a book full of short stories and poetry, when she tried to tell me that I couldn’t possibly have put such a thing together without some kind of copyright infringement.

This was about all my mother could stand, as she had seen me put this book together at the kitchen table in the last two nights before deadline.  I was nothing if not a ‘last minute Larry’ when it came to essays but once I got into the ‘zone’ I did well.  It didn’t take long to perpetrate a prose or two when I had nothing better to do with my time.  Mum saw red when she saw the red derogatory scribble at the back of my book and made a beeline for the school.  Sadly, I wasn’t there to witness the event but I did get a higher grading and transferred to a different English teacher posthaste.

The years have gone by and I had planned to have hit the big time by now but the work that it takes to put a book together, to plot, to plan and remember every detail takes a mammoth mental effort.  I know, I have tried.  I admire the J. K. Rowlings of the world that believe in themselves enough to spend years in the wilderness scratching away at their dream until it becomes something more tangible.

My writing, unfortunately, takes a backseat to my health and the mental clarity I lose because of it.  I’m hoping for better days, however, while I make a living proofreading and putting together documents which is all good practice for any future meanderings I may take a moment or two to produce.

The vet lament 2

vetpayMy dog is back from the vet’s.  Not the million-dollar dog.. the other dog, the healthy one – but he’s fast racking up points to take the crown for the-most-money-I’ve-ever-spent-at-the-vet’s award in the foreseeable future.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my dogs and I would spend a small fortune to ensure their quality of life was probably better than mine but I’m starting to believe that some vets aren’t in it for the love of the job any more.

It’s been a long time since I have seen a vet give a freebie to a heart-broken, penniless dog lover who couldn’t afford even the smallest of comforts for their sick or dying companion. This is one of the many reasons that I absconded from the last veterinarian’s establishment a few years ago. They had grown too big for their own good and the almighty dollar was like the holy grail enshrined in the back room of the practice.

Anyway, back to the dog at hand and the fees and charges.  Apart from the arm and leg that was extracted from my wallet, I was charged two consultation fees for two ongoing days, extra charges for extra blood tests and fungus scrapings and two overnight stays with food when my dog was only there for one night. Good thing we caught the last one on the long itemised printout before we left and managed to get a refund.

Once again, my only consolations were the love of my dog and a good pet insurance plan. We will get a good portion of that back in the coming weeks, which is a good thing because he is being booked back in for ongoing consultations and weekly injections for a skin irritation that can’t be cured with a couple of drops and a few tablets.

I haven’t told him yet as he is busy milking the woe-is-me song for all it’s worth and enjoying all the attention.


I recently spent a couple of days at the hospital as a guinea pig for some upcoming drug trials.  I hadn’t been looking forward to them to be honest but as I was a growth hormone deficient adult and the trials were for growth hormone impact testing, I fitted the criteria.

I’ve been without growth hormone for about 15 years, thanks to a brain tumour removal and lack of pituitary function, so it has had a reasonably big impact on my life.  The trials are a way of testing to gauge the benefits of an injectable growth hormone on people like me.  As far as I’m concerned, if there are benefits then I’m in.  The fact that I get free growth hormone for eight months is no small bonus, as growth hormone is expensive in this country and it is not on the government access list even though the health benefits for me would definitely outweigh the risks.

I fronted up to the hospital at 8 am and was met by a likeable man who took me for a tour into a veritable rabbit warren of corridors, lifts, sliding doors and test rooms before I finally reached my destination and met the head study guy, a pleasant endocrinologist who I will just call Chee.

Chee sat me down and did all the usual things like asked questions, handed me a questionnaire, took my blood pressure and freaked me out with what was to come.  The first thing I had to have done was have a cannula inserted so that my blood could be taken while I was relaxed and under stress while exercising.  I was a tad keyed up about this, as I have had many bad experiences with the ‘find the vein’ game over the years and it has never ended well.  My veins are pretty bad but over the last couple of years they have decided that they don’t like the game either and have disappeared.  I had explained this to the doctors by phone, in an email and in person many times and they assured me that they were pretty good at it and that it would be no problem.

I was sweating even before I started to exercise as the doc took what looked like a supersized needle out of the cupboard and proceeded to put the tourniquet around my arm and tap my ‘veins’ or where he thought a vein might declare itself eventually. I asked him about giving me a local so that I didn’t feel anything, as this was going to be a long process and he smiled and told me that he would try and get it in ‘the first go’ and not to worry.  As he was talking to the veteran of the pain and agony of cannula insertion, it didn’t hold any credence as far as I was concerned.

He found a spot down on the inside of my wrist at pain central and started tapping, produced the needle again and started to push it in.  I start tapping on the wall with my free hand to try and distract myself from the shards of pain shooting up my lower arm but it wasn’t working.  I took a quick look and there was no joy. Not a drop of blood in the tube.  The doc shook his head and told me he was going to try the other side.  I almost passed out.

After about five minutes of tourniquets and tapping he declared that I had the worst veins he had ever seen and told me he was going to use a local so he could happily dig without causing me any more grief.  I sighed with relief and after that it was plain sailing until he positioned the cannula successfully into a cooperative vein.  As there was no pressure on the other end of the tube at that point in time, for reasons unbeknown to myself, the blood gushed out, and kept coming.

By the time they got it under control, I was lying in a mess that looked something like a kill zone.  At least he got the vein though.

The rest of the morning passed in a blur of stress tests and exercises that broke my ‘no pain no gain’ barrier.  I had to come back the next day for some more of that and in one month’s time will have to do it all again.

The one positive to come out of the two days of hell was the half-decent hospital cafe that made a killer iced chocolate to go.  That will probably be the only thing that will get me back there for the next instalment.

Bottoms up

My mother is going into the hospital this week, she informs me, for a colonoscopy.  I’m going into the hospital too for two days this week to be a guinea pig for some experimental drug trials but this has all been overshadowed by the impending anal probe.

Nobody likes colonscopies, however.  I’ve been there and done that before and I don’t plan to have some nameless specialist poking around in my nether regions again in the near future, so I can understand my mother’s reluctance to participate in the proctology program.  I have assured my mother that she is just another bum in the queue of many and that they have seen them all.  She is not mollified, however, and states that while they may have seen many, they haven’t seen hers and there lies the rub.

I often wonder why proctologists do what they do.  Was there a lot of money in it, or was it the job that nobody wanted and there were a few vacancies, so they thought they would give it a go?  Maybe they do really enjoy their work but I’m not touching that summisation in this post or any other post, for that matter.

I ended up getting to the bottom (pardon the pun) of the real problem with my mother.  Not only are they going to be doing a colonoscopy, they will be doing an endoscopy at the same time.  I reassured her that they won’t be using the same probe for both ends and if they were they would be sure to sterilise it beforehand.  I think she nearly fainted.

Dog days

vet2I took my dog to the vet today. Again.

I take my dogs to the vet more than I go to my general practitioner.  And they cost a whole lot more than a general consultation.

Ruby, my beautiful Bichon Frise, has a regular appointment for a urinalysis and an anal gland check. Yes I know, too much information, so I will just call it a wee and a bum squeeze and leave the rest to the imagination.

I’m on a first-name basis with my vet these days. Considering that I probably paid a good portion of her mortgage in the first half of last year, it is not surprising but she still insists that I collect the urine sample myself.  The logic of this escapes me, as the end result is the same and she’s the one getting paid.

For the privilege of the do-it-yourself urine collection, I have to follow my poor dog around with a small tray for days before I can catch her in the act.  She’s become so paranoid lately that not even her favourite treat can coax her ‘to go’ when I am within a twenty-metre range of her back end.  A recent attempt resulted in urine everywhere but in the designated receptacle and a spooked dog who wouldn’t come near me for 24 hours.

I’m surprised that I haven’t been asked to perform the ‘bum squeeze’ myself but there’s a surcharge for that one so I guess I won’t be standing in the way of a profit anytime in the near future – for which I am extremely grateful.

My dog, for her part, conducts herself reasonably well, although she does try to crawl under the table and hide the moment she walks in the door.  She’s seen enough bum action in the last few months and she knows what’s coming, so I can’t blame her. It’s the aftermath that’s the problem.

She won’t talk to me for hours after we get home.  I guess she feels a bit ‘put out’ and wants to share it around. Whoever said that a dog can’t reason or understand has obviously never owned a dog.

She is off the hook next month. I have to take her brother, Angus, in for a teeth clean. As he is the drama queen of the pair, I can’t wait for the epilogue.