Travel bug bites

It’s been a while.  Between illness, travelling and new hiPad pics 195obbies I haven’t given much thought to writing this blog.  Although I should.  I have been asked more than once to keep this blog going and so I shall endeavour to do my bit for the literary world.

I have had a few highlights in the last few months, one of which was that overseas holiday that I was so busy procrastinating about in one of my last blogs.  It turned out alright in the end and laid my travel paranoia to rest until the next time.

We started the trip on a high with a hired limo to get us to the airport.  I was a bit reluctant to leave the plush leather surrounds and the free sodas to get into the confines of Qantas cattle class but as I got to watch the latest movies on the flight over with a set of headphones that drowned out the screaming baby a few rows in front of me I was reasonably content.

The concerns I had about my pharmaceuticals and my portable fridge were unfounded and with my specialist’s letter in hand we breezed our way through the Phuket airport terminal into a wall of humidity that would have put the Queensland tropical weather to shame on its worst day.

After ‘OMG, the heat’ and ‘why did I bring a jacket?’ we settled into our air conditioned taxi and hung on for a nail-biting  30-minute breakneck ride through Phuket to our resort in Rawai.  I was really not sure what roundabouts, red lights or pedestrian crossings were for anymore as they were completely ignored by everybody as drivers went for gold to get to their destinations in the shortest amount of time with complete disregard of impact statistics and safety regulations.  I saw five people on one scooter, four on another and one old scooter with three adults, two chickens and one dog on board.  There were also people in Tuk-Tuks, in the back of utes, in cars and pushbikes topped off by a multitude of massive tourist buses dodging the lot of them.

After three days my husband was zipping around in the traffic like a pro with me on the back silently screaming and mentally telling him to hit the brake.  We zoomed through red lights with the rest of them, dodging anything and everything that came our way.  I wasn’t quite sure whether it was my husband’s skill that got us through it or the skill of everybody else getting out of our way.

We moved from Rawai to Patong and discovered ten different ways to say no to the spruikers and stall holders at the various markets wanting us to buy everything from T-shirts to tattoos.  I also discovered paraflying and spent a nail-biting few minutes sailing high above Patong beach taking in the view and not worrying too much about travel and accident insurance.

For my first time overseas I think I did okay.  Apart from one bout of food poisoning I came out virtually unscathed with a new appreciation of just how lucky I have it here in my own country with services that I take for granted.  True, I could have more in life but I could always have a lot less like some of the people I saw in Thailand…and for that I am grateful.


The week from hell…

I’m recovering slowly from the week-that-shat-itself with a minor migraine and a stiff drink of diet coke.

I managed to sail a little too close to the metaphorical mind snap this week and it is a testament to my resilience and chocolate that the week-that-was is now at an end and the dust has almost settled.

I say almost because I’m still waiting for the wicked witch from the back blocks to send me another defamatory email telling me that I’m a lewd, disgusting watcher of pornography of which  she managed to view on my 21-inch bedroom television screen a few weeks ago.  The fact that her house is about 40 metres away from my bedroom window and it would be impossible to see unless she had a pair of binoculars or is right up against the back fence is not lost on me – and a little creepy.  The fact that the closest I have come to watching pornography would be Chris Hemsworth’s bare chest in ‘Thor’ recently is even more disturbing if she considers that pornography.

In between my viewing of so-called pornography I’ve managed to steal all the lemons off her lemon tree in her backyard.  She apparently is going to install security cameras to catch me in the act – of what I couldn’t say – but good luck to her.  I would like to know who is stealing lemons and watching pornography, too.

The crux of the problem is that we sent this evil toad a letter a few weeks ago asking her if she would do something about her trees, as they were causing us a few problems.  Discussion of the problem and a solution nutted out would have been a nice option and one I would have expected.  There are obviously a few roos loose in her top paddock and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

I fired off a rebuttal-type email to let her know I wasn’t a viewer of pornography, wasn’t a lemon thief and wasn’t a pushover.  I wasn’t the captain of the debating team in university for nothing but  I’m pretty sure she is  throwing an eye of a newt into her cauldron and damning me to hell as I type.

Two hours after that unfortunate email I found myself stranded on the island because of high winds with an impending all-important specialist appointment to pick up my all-important medications and my travel letter for my impending all-important overseas trip.  I managed a phone consultation and then I managed to receive the wrong prescriptions in the mail two days later.  I have a 15-year medical relationship with this rather lovely endocrinologist but he has the organisational skills of a mud skipper.  I’m living in hope that when and if I receive my growth hormone prescription in the mail next week it will be the correct company and the correct dosage.

My shat-o-meter was in fourth gear by the time I had spent the fourth day this week trying to work out what I could do to keep my meds cool on my all-important pending flight with various airline representatives and I’m still none the wiser.  Can I buy a special battery-powered container to carry on board to keep my meds cool?  ‘No you can’t’  or  ‘You might be able to if the battery size has less than 100 WH but you will have to switch it off for lift off and landing but we aren’t sure’  or  ‘No, you can’t but we can give you an ice bucket on board to keep your meds cold’  or  ‘No, we can’t give you an ice bucket.  That is not our policy’  or  ‘No, you can’t use our fridges’.   WHAT THE?  I will have another go next week but I can’t guarantee I won’t insult somebody’s intelligence.

A couple of other random events at the end of the week like my father going into hospital and my son flying under my trouble radar – which in itself means trouble  and my shit-o-metre flies into overdrive.

And of course it’s raining.  Not the pleasant pattering-on-the-roof, walking or singing-in-the-rain type.  No.  The hammering, torrential, cyclone-velocity-howling-wind type of rain.  I can’t get my dogs out to pee.  They will get their delicate paws wet and that’s not on, oh no.  I’m on pee watch right now.  My dogs don’t discriminate.  A shag pile rug is as good as dry grass and the wetter it gets the more hiding places they find.

Just as well I’m a nice person.

My new eyebrows

I went out and got myself a pair of new eyebrows the other day.

Sounds a bit weird when I say it like that but nevertheless, that’s how it happened.

I’d been thinking about it for a while, as I was sick of ‘looking’ sick and having no eyebrows made me look like I had some kind of medical condition.   While, yes, I did have a medical condition – I didn’t really want it to involve my eyebrows.

I found the perfect solution to my dilemma online with cosmetic tattooing.  I wasn’t sure about the authenticity of the ‘look’ but I found the perfect cosmetic tattooist who used a gentle ‘feather’ approach that could be almost mistaken for real hair in the brows.  I’m not sure what I was worried about really – I’m covered with tattoos – but while my body is my artistic temple I didn’t want my face looking like a painted Barbie doll.

It all went pretty well – or so I thought until I spotted my husband’s face when I breezed into the lounge room later that day.  He didn’t say anything but right now  they are a little dark until they settle and I have my second session to add lighter ‘hairs’ is finished.  As my face is quite pale by comparison I guess they will take some getting used to.  I’m not quite Morticia Addams but I’m sailing pretty close to the wind as far as he is concerned.

I’m not really bothered.  For a long time I’ve had either very little hair or a penciled line to frame my eyes, so anything more than that is going to look a little odd for a while.   Besides, I’m not the one who has to look at them all the time.

So far it’s been plain sailing but then again I’m not much of a social butterfly.  I will be testing them out at the local diner on Friday night for our usual island gathering.  I think it will be safe to assume that if nobody stares at me for more than five seconds straight unless they are speaking to me, I will be flying under the radar.

I’ve lived with the weirdness of no hair, some hair, bandanas, no eyebrows, lots of tattoos and very pale skin for some years now.  If I can find a way to enhance one thing about myself – kudos to me.

What I’m grateful for…

I was invited to do one of those ‘three things per day that I am grateful for’ in a five-day challenge recently.

I don’t normally go for requests but it seemed feasible enough to me to pay homage to the origins of my gratefulness, so I gave it a whirl.

I covered the usual suspects in the first two days, like my husband, my family, my home and my friends and then I really had to think about it a bit.

Just what are the other ‘things’ that I am grateful for?  The things that escape my notice while I’m negotiating this often precarious, interesting, volatile and sometimes mildly mundane life of mine.

I am grateful for my husband’s cooking.  That’s what I am grateful for.  I can’t cook for nuts.  While my husband is away at sea it’s Lean Cuisine all the way.  Microwave ready in four minutes.  Easy-peasy.  I don’t know what my son and I survived on all those years but I must have cooked a passable dinner or two at some stage in my life while my husband was away, as we are all still here.

I’m grateful for my hair.  I have finally hit the volume-and-shine jackpot after years of illness and very few brushworthy hairs of note.  I have finally turned a corner on the right medications and my hair is making it’s way down to my waist.  I plan to get it there and flaunt it for all its worth.

I’m grateful for flat shoes.  Anything over two inches high is a vertigo no-go zone for me.  I like comfortable, flat, dependable shoes.  I have a better grip on this earth and on my faculties, as I am not living in fear of falling on my face in the latest must-have fashion essentials.  Kudos to those who try and do well at it.  My sympathies in 20 years time for the irreparable damage that has been done.

I’m grateful to the woman down the road who saved my dog from being mauled to death by a much larger mutant dog from around the corner.  My dog is grateful.  My vet is even more grateful.

I’m grateful for deodorant.  Yes indeed.  There are people out there who could benefit a little more in the way of personal hygiene with the use of a good-quality personal deodorant.  I like to keep an extra spray can in my bag for when I’m out and about.  You just never know.

I’m grateful for chocolate.  Who isn’t?  It’s a happy snack, a sad snack and an anytime snack.  Enough said.

And I’m always grateful for Johnny Depp.  The man is brilliant.

…and the list goes on.  It isn’t complete and it probably never will be.  Being aware at times of all the ‘things’ in life that we could be grateful for is an eye opener in itself.

Just another day…

I really like my electrician….

He lives locally, which is important, as I live on an island.  He works on the premise that  ‘if you’ve got the money, then he has the time’.  To be fair he is reasonably priced but he has been shafted so many times by our local island skin flints that he makes it a rule these days to be selective.  Thankfully, I am one of the chosen, as he is quite good at his job.

As far as listening to instructions outside of his electrical realm, however, he falls into another category.  Mere male status.

He fronted up last week to install the fancy leadlight fittings that I had purchased and he proceeded to blaze a trail in and out of my house to his truck to collect all of the necessary bits and pieces that he would need.

After his the third time out the gate I asked him if he was going back out the gate again could he please shut and lock the gate behind him, as my dogs would be out before he could blink to check out all and sundry smells in the immediate vicinity.  He nodded his head and stared at me.  I should have recognised that blank look for what it really was.

Approximately 10 minutes later, as I was holding the ladder the electrician was perched on, I heard a terrible screaming  and rushed outside to see my two fat Bichons running for their lives towards the gate and a larger, ferocious looking mutt being chased off by my neighbour who then informed me that the aforementioned mutt had my Bichon, Angus, in a death grip before she managed to scare it off.

As Angus had shot into the house and under the ladder to hide in the corner, it was impossible to see how much damage had been done to him but the electrician soon learned a new vocabulary as I pushed him and his ladder aside to get to my poor quaking dog who was beginning to howl.

To cut a long story short, my dog had three rather large puncture wounds in him and had to be taken to the vet for sedation, antibiotics and various other medical administrations.

Apart from the trauma for my poor dog, the entire day cost me approximately three times my original estimation for light installation, as I had the gate fixed up so it would never again be left open.  I’m thinking of adding an extra-large spring to flick back on any potential offenders in the future.

As for my electrician, he beat a hasty retreat after the job was done and I received a half-price guilt-induced bill  in the mail.

I’m back…..

Well I’m back.  It’s been a while.  Nearly a year in fact.

I will now use the old cliche that ‘life got in the way’ but illness and time has a way of not playing fair… and so here I am.  I hope to be able to add reasonably regular content this time around.  I will also attempt some half decent stories every now and again.

I have my good friend Jo to thank for bringing me back from the writing dead.  She has started her own blog and I don’t want to be outdone.  So thank you Jo.  I hope to be critiquing your blazing good foray into legendary writing status in the near future.

For the record it has been a nearly interesting 12 months in parts.  I’m still soldiering on with my MT work and making a half-decent attempt at pegging doctors’ and their linguistic idiosyncrasies.  I fear I will never reach the great heights of MT elitism but I’m earning a regular income and that has got to account for something.  I’m not aspiring to great levels, simply because I would like to have a life and health restrictions limit me to part-time MT semi elitism only.

In the meantime I will be finding at least one or two days per week to jot down my thoughts and process the flickerings of literary creative goop bouncing around between my ears.

Stay tuned….

The credit shuffle

My son recently tried to expand his trust horizons and hit me up for my credit card number to make a purchase because he didn’t have a credit card.  The statement that he would pay me back after my adamant refusal to cough up didn’t hold much weight considering the thousands of dollars he had amassed over the years in loans, payments, presents and free lunches.

To be honest it was more than my lack of confidence in my son’s ability to control his expenditure that was holding me back, it was my lack of confidence in the banking system after a past-but-not-forgotten incident of fraud that could have been avoided if the bank’s so called ‘Falcon’ had been a little more diligent on his nest that day.

I’m a reasonably paranoid person.  My husband has another name for it but I won’t go there.  My Internet transactions involve my banking website and a small collection of trusted sites that I use on a regular basis.  I rarely deviate and I don’t like surprises.  My husband, however, is a different beast and I could find myself with two of something that he just had to have on eBay while he was bobbing around in the middle of the ocean with nothing to do one night.  When I saw an exorbitant tag way out of my safe-transacting price range during a general paranoid Internet check, I trained my sights on him and let him have both barrels.

To his credit, he managed to look like a stunned bunny caught in the bright lights momentarily because he wasn’t really sure – until he saw the statement.  He stopped sweating, shook his head and pointed triumphantly to the code next to the transaction – GB.  As he hadn’t been to Great Britain – ever – he was momentarily off the hook and shoved out of the way as I made a beeline for the phone to yell at a hapless banking operator instead.

After a 20-minute wait imagining our money disappearing at a rapid rate, I was finally put through to an operator who then put me through to a special fraud operator.  At this point I asked the special fraud operator if I hadn’t caught the faceless freak’s transaction what would have happened?

The simple and disconcerting answer to that was – nothing.  But they might have picked it up after three more large transactions.  So it was a good thing that I was online when it happened, they said.  Furthermore, they said, it would also have to be proven that we didn’t actually spend that money ourselves and when that was cleared up it  would then take at least eight weeks to get our money back.  It would also take two weeks or more for our new credit cards to be sent out in the mail.

Oh yeh?

I managed to get our new credit cards in less than a week by express post.   I also got our money back into our credit card in less than two weeks after a relentless campaign of twice-daily phone calls until they finally got sick of me and conceded defeat.  I take exception to being told that I might be lying about spending money in a country that I have never been to.  I also take exception to being told I will have to wait eight weeks for money that I haven’t even spent to be given back to me.  I’m pretty sure the bank has me on a special list with a red flashing light going off whenever they see my phone number on the screen – but I don’t care.  To be complacent and apathetic is worse than being vocal and annoying as far as I’m concerned.  At least I get my say and I get my way.

Give my son my credit card number?  I don’t think so.  I don’t even want the bank to have it.