crime

It seems kind of like it has become almost a crime to be sick, or weak.. anything less than the perfect example of a human being functioning at 110% capacity. It is ok for children to get sick, I think, but once you reach a certain point it is not ok anymore. I think that point is once you go to high school. Whenever Stephanie is sick, her school sends me rude, accusatory text messages which say “Your child isn’t at school, therefore you are a bad parent because you either a) don’t know what they are up to when you shod or b) know that aren’t at school and are ok with that which is clearly ruining any and all future prospects for success they may have. Please call 1234 5678 to explain yourself immediately. Or else.” I didn’t copy it from my phone verbatim, but that’s pretty close.

And adults are not supposed to get sick either. Though we may have the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ in our legal system, it certainly doesn’t work that way anywhere else. You read articles about people overusing doctors and going there when they have run-of-the-mill things like a cold or flu or random throwing up virus that will go away after a few days but maybe part of the reason for that is because if you are sick, it is not enough to say you are sick and expect that your word has any value. If you are sick, your absence jeopardised the livelihood of your work place and the jobs of everyone else there, and by extension, their family’s and their children’s safety and security. And if you’re going to be inconsiderate enough to do that then you need

Video

morning wood explained

Certain phenomena and experiences restricted to the male of the species are quite fascinating to me, primarily because there’s really no comparable equivalent. Like morning wood. Or urinal etiquette and behaviour. How absolutely painful it is when they are kneed in the nuts. (It has been my lifelong dream to knee someone there so I can see how much it hurts but I have yet to find someone willing to let me try it.)

I found this video that explains it in a scientifical way. Very interesting. I like that whiteboard stop motion too.

letters

When I was a child, we took several long (interstate) car trips and one of the ways that we alleviated the boredom was by playing an alphabet game that my grandmother taught us. Basically you have to find signs or license plates starting with each letter sequentially through the alphabet. It has to be the first letter of the first word on the sign. Just finding them all off a list would be pretty easy but since you have to do it in alphabetical order it makes it more difficult and especially more frustrating when you see a sign for x-rays or XXXX when you’re only up to F.

When we moved back to Queensland and my mum and Neil both got their cars registered, they had consecutive number plates and there also happened to be a lot of that three letter combination driving around out local area. So they started a game where we had a list of all thousand number combos from 000 to 999 and we would cross them off if we saw one. Each of us had a list in our cars and every now and then we would bring them in to update against the master list on my mum’s computer and get a new copy. We never quite got all thousand marked off but there were lots. Neither of them still have those number plates anymore.

Probably as a result of these things I am always taking notice of the license plates of cars around me on the road. When my mum was having chemotherapy and then radiation and we were driving to the hospital and back lots, I had a mini-game I would play where I tried to see a plate from each state and territory. It’s fairly common to see them from NSW and Victoria around here and I think chances would be good I could see those both if I was only going to the local shops. WA and SA are much less common and it is really rare to see them from Tasmania, ACT or NT. I’ve only ever got the complete 7 once but I think there have been a couple of times when I got 6.

I find personalised and vanity plates interesting and sometimes I wonder the story behind them. Some I have seen recently are NTPRISE which was quite cool, as there were also some scifi type stickers on it and a decal declaring that it was “Mum’s Spaceship”. Though that one left me wondering why it said ‘spaceship’ and not ‘starship’. We have seen one that says R2D2 and several times we have seen MR KIM (I think my mum had a picture of him on Flickr) and that usually prompts someone to tell him to be at ease before he sprains something. The person who has TOLD U is really not a nice person because it leaves you forever wondering who they told and what they told them. I decided that HEXTIC have six children and their lives are very crazy.

When I see the normal not personalised type of number plates, my mind always translates them into TLAs (which is not a plate I have ever seen). So some of these I see and think they are fairly cool, such as FTW or FML. There are lots more that are fairly innocuous meanings such as HUD and LBW. I am concerned when I see FTL that someone will injure themselves by actually trying to go faster than light. There are quite a lot of LGB driving around this area as well but I don’t imagine that all of them actually are lesbian, gay or bisexual. My mum’s car is DPN which I have read people talk about when they are not hopeless at knitting. I feel sympathetic for the people driving around with cars labelled as POS but even that is not as embarrassing, I think, as it must be for the people driving around advertising that they are TTC (though hopefully not while they are driving) or telling people that they’ve had an IUI or a SVD. It’s a little bit TMI.

herschel

Yesterday we had to take a computer to Daniel’s work. To get there we have to go across the city and skirt the edge of the CBD. There is a street there called Herschel St and there is a sign pointing the way to go for it. Whenever I go past there and see that sign I get a funny little picture in my head of a person, whoever it is that is responsible for naming streets, sitting there thinking about what to call this street and then imagining the conversations between passersby with some amusement. In the street namer’s imagination, there are two people driving past and one of them says to the other, “Herschel Street? That’s a weird name.” And then the other person says, completely deadpan of course, “Yeah. That’s who discovered Uranus.”
And the street namer sighs in contended satisfaction of having provided everyone with such an opportunity for lame humour, thus brightening the world.

Today my grandmother is having an operation, basically an appendectomy but I think maybe more too, can’t remember. There is a thing with her ovary too and I am not sure if they are going to do something to that while they are there. My mum went to stay with them on Saturday so she can help after my grandmother comes out of the hospital. And then she is going to stay for a bit more since it is almost my grandfather’s birthday. 85. Last night we had Dory sleep over because she gets very sad when Mum goes away. She is a funny dog. She is fascinated by Zaphod. He was sitting under our barbeque which he likes to do because it is outside and the barbeque has a cover on it, so no one can see him. If we want to find him we have to lift the side of the cover and look, but obviously he didn’t take into account that some creatures have a better sense of smell than pathetic humans. So Dora was thrilled that she found him, although terrified, because he is after all a cat. And he was terrified because he is terrified of all other living creatures, so he was hissing and she was yelping and it was all rather annoyingly noisy.

She is a nice snuggler though. She gets right in under the covers and cuddles up to your side. I think if she is really cold she curls right up fully under the doona but sometimes she is very person-like and has her head out on the pillow next to ours. There is a lot of cute. When she first stayed with us ages ago she was obviously confused about why she was there and Mum was not and she would barely eat anything at all. She must know now that she will go home and Mum will come back soon too because she no longer does the hunger strike thing.

waiting

If I cut off mid sentence or mid paragraph, it will be because I am writing this while I am sitting in the car waiting for Abigail and Kristian to come out of school.

I have been having these appointments with a place that is supposed to help people get to being able to look for and hopefully find work. Though I do not “officially” have a disability, it is not the standard “let’s rewrite your resume and now you should magically have a job” type of place, it is one that is specifically geared towards helping people who for whatever reason have additional challenges making it harder to reach that goal. Gotta love the double standards in the “system”, in that they are happy to refer me to a disability job search helper while their social worker guy is content to sit there and listen to me struggle through explaining my brain and then tell me there is nothing wrong with me.

The lady I see at this place is nice; though she is a talker and it is small talk, meaningless utter rubbish with lots of positivity and bullshit and bleh. I suppose she has to find something to talk to me about when I have to go there every two weeks. One time I saw a psychologist who works there instead, so that she could assess my needs – she does that for the crazy people and there are different people that figure out what kind of help people need if they have like a physical disability or something. Though it was exhausting once again trying to articulate the contents of my mind, the good thing is that she agreed that I do indeed have some crazy and arranged a referral to a psychiatrist to try to help that a bit, hopefully so that I can figure out how to more easily handle things that usually make me want to hide under the bed. (I usually just hide in the bed because tall overweight grown ups are difficult to get under the bed easily.)

I have the first appointment with the shrink on the 18th of August and I am trying to stay hopeful that this guy will actually be able to help me instead of going all Scientology on me.

Some days I feel like I will manage and I will learn how to manage the world. And some days I … don’t. Sometimes I feel so hopeless and scared and inadequate and that makes me feel worried that I will never be able to be and do everything I wish I could, the wife I think Daniel deserves and the mother I want my children to have. That makes my eyes burn and my chest feel tight and I have to start making serious effort to distract myself from myself. Sometimes that works.

One day soon I am hoping that I can see a chiropractor who can do some magical clicky shite on my back and make it hurt less. I need to figure out when I can a) afford to go and b) fit it in with my Mum’s plans. She keeps going away to stay with my grandparents, who are not just people anymore, they are Old People. They get sick and have operations and it is all quite depressing.

intentions

I always want to write stuff down much more often than I actually get around to doing so. I always think but my thinking is often done simultaneously while also doing some other activity which does not lend itself well to pressing buttons on a keyboard, like washing dishes or folding clothes or driving a car. I would really love to have a peripheral device for my computer or iPad that I could dictate into straight from my brain. I know that voice recognition has gotten quite good but I don’t want to say things out loud. That is too hard. Even when it is only me there, it feels like it is too exposing to use my voice to express my thoughts rather than using a more tangible method such as writing or typing to record them.

I used to write my journal entries towards the end of the day.. when I was not completely exhausted at the end of the day. It has been a long time since that happened. I have always slept oddly – not quite turning off all the way, and when it was just Daniel and me I suppose the lack of interruption to my sleep and responsibilities that necessitated getting up at a certain time allowed me extra sleep that made up for the less refreshing sleep, maybe.

boring dancing

Yesterday while Daniel was in the shower, Abigail came and got into our bed next to me. We weren’t really talking, just both thinking our own waking up thoughts. Just as Daniel came back, Abby suddenly said, “Oh, it’s Wednesday today, isn’t it?” We agreed that it was, and asked her why that was noteworthy. “Because we have dancing on Wednesdays!”

So we were asking her about the dancing that they do. I asked if it was by yourself dancing or with someone else dancing. With someone else, she told us. “It is a bush dance called something* and you do it in couples.” I don’t know a lot about bush dancing (well, most dancing, to be honest) so I asked if you have to touch the other person. I mean that in a completely not wierd way. Turns out sometimes you do have to touch and sometimes you don’t. It depends on if you are the “top couple” or not.

“So you don’t have to put your hand on the shoulder and the other one on the waist?” I asked her, doing a vague demonstration in the air.
“No,” she assured me.
“Well they’re not gonna be teaching them ballroom dancing,” said Daniel, as if I should know this.
“But there are other…” I started.
“No, it’s not boring dancing, Daddy,” she said with an eyeroll in her voice. “It’s fun!”
“Boring dancing! Haha. I will have to remember that one to tell Kate,” I chuckled as I started to get up.

* She didn’t say “something”, she said a word, but I can’t remember what it was.

The tap in the bathroom sink has dripped since we moved in here. We have asked multiple times and been assured that it owuld get fixed and the owner is finally getting around to looking at it today. I think it might be fubared though. He bought new taps but apparently couldn’t use them because something in the old ones doesn’t fit. So he went to the hardware shop to get different ones but it turns out they don’t make those kind anymore. So now he is still fiddling with it trying to figure out how to fix it. The water is turned off which is kind of annoying because I have dishes to do, another thing to do which is a secret but I need some water for, and I am going to need to pee soon. Plus I need some stuff at the supermarket which I would like to get before it is time to get small people from school because it’s a nightmare taking them to the supermarket, and besides that, we have other secret stuff to do when they come back from school anyway.

reclusive

I feel as if I have been going through a particularly reclusive period. The energy required for the interactions with people is just too great. So I wait in the car for the children instead of going in to wait outside their classrooms. I let Daniel talk to people if someone goes somewhere or one of their friends comee to our house. I give people his phone number when I am required to give a number for something. It worries me sometimes that people will think I am rude or uninterested in them but I don’t know what I can do about that. I need my insulation, isolation, and I guess if people don’t like that then I don’t really want to talk to them when I poke my head out of my shell.

I have been scolded for not recording some of the kid-isms that I relate to my mother ;P So here are a few:

A little while ago they started school banking at Abigail and Kristian’s school. Each time they make a deposit they get a reward token and recently they both had enough tokens to choose a reward. Kristian got a calculator. He’s incredibly pleased with it. He likes to do random calculations and then come and show you the result. He asks what a number is and I have to translate it to words for him… Eighty-seven million, six hundred and fifty-four thousand, three hundred and twenty-one. Sometimes he ends up with tiny decimals or exponent answers and I just tell him it’s either a really big number or a really small number. When he first got it, he was generous enough to allow each of us to have a turn using his calculator. Usually I will try out the π button or the buttons if I am just messing with a calculator but because his is just a basic one, it doesn’t have those buttons. In that case, I improvise. 22 ÷ 7. I gave him back his calculator. “What is that?” he asks me. “Pi,” I tell him. “It’s a special number. If you have a piece of string that is from the middle of a circle to the outside, and then you wrap it around the outside of the circle, you will need that many of them to go all the way around – a bit more than three.” I could see him and Abigail considering this a moment, and then they both agreed that it was “Cool.”

A couple of days later I heard Kristian talking to Stephanie about his calculator. He’d paid attention to the way I got pi to show on the screen and took pleasure in coming to show me sometimes that he knew how to do that now. He showed Stephanie, and she asked him what it was. I’m certain I heard him roll his eyes as he answered her. “It’s pi!” (Duh! Don’t you learn anything in grade 7?) Then he explained to her how you got it to show on the screen. He is very much like me in that he only needs to hear information like that once and he will retain it forever. Obviously he hasn’t yet learned that most people’s brains don’t work the same way. I know I’ve talked to Stephanie about pi before and explained what the use of it is, but it hasn’t been important enough for her to commit it to memory. Kristian assumes that because he has learned about something, Stephanie should know it because she is older than him and should therefore have encountered this information before. And having encountered it, it should be stored in her brain.

It is interesting to see how children assume that their experience of the world is ‘normal’ and the same as what everyone else experiences, and then realising as they learn more that it is not necessarily the case.

report

A while back I obtained the coroner’s report relating to my Dad’s death and the car accident which was the.. contributing factor to that event.

Interesting reading.

Several reasons. One, I had kind of been hoping for pictures. Crash scene pictures or autopsy pictures. There were no pictures. What is annoying though is that one of the expert reports mentions photos, which I definitely didn’t get, but also, going by the page numbers on all of the things I did get, there are I think about 5 or 6 pages missing, which I suspect are probably the pages with the pictures. I’d enquire, but.. well, it took me something like 25 years to get the report in the first place. By the time I work around to being able to ask why they didn’t send me the gory pictures of dead bodies and smashed up cars, I’ll probably be a grandmother.

There were quite a few ‘eyewitness’ statements from other people who’d been on the road that day too, or who’d gone past the scene of the accident. It was interesting the way they described some things, which I’m sure were completely normal but quite emphasised the difference in technology between then and now – primarily, I guess, communication technology. They talked about driving along trying to find a house where the people had a phone that could be used to call an ambulance or if they would have to go to the closest town to find a payphone. I know there are a lot of people who think we rely too much on mobile phones and such devices, but in that kind of situation they’re certainly a great invention. Not that they would have made any difference for me, as my Dad was dead instantly and the rest of us didn’t have life-threatening injuries; but in lots of accidents people do have injuries that become more threatening the longer they have to wait for treatment.

Then there was what the people were actually saying. That was a bit of a surprise to me. Pretty much all of the people concurred that he was being a dickhead (paraphrasing) and not adequately adjusting his driving habits to account for the conditions on the day, namely that it was raining and the road was wet with reduced visibility. Because he was running late and in a hurry.

Oh, right. Well, fuck you too.

On the one hand you have pretty much everyone I ever met that knew him says that he was absolutely taken by me, that I was the sun and the moon and everything else, that he was the proudest father and completely wrapped around his little girl’s finger.

… but not so much that he could slow the hell down and take a little care with my life, his life, and the lives of his nieces and step-daughter as well.

I know he’s not the first parent to drive dangerously, or maybe stupidly is a better word, with children in the car, and definitely won’t be the last. But I didn’t think that my parent would do that. I didn’t think that my parent, who as a person professionally dedicated to protecting people and the law who should absolutely know better, would do that. It makes me wonder if he thought about his actions and the effect they would have on the people his life intersected with. Or was he one of those “but it won’t happen to me” types? It makes me angry that he didn’t think far enough ahead to consider the responsibilities he had.. to me, mostly, but to other people too. When you have a child you have a responsibility to be there for them and to take care of yourself so that you are able to fulfill that responsibility. Even when I’ve felt at my worst, lowest points, one of the things that forces me to try and to keep going is that I have three children and a husband who rely on me, and I don’t want to let them down. Even when I don’t care about myself, I care about them and I know that I have a role in their lives which I need to fill. Why didn’t he feel that way?

But…

Cause and effect, fixed points in time, chains of events… That event led to other things led to other things led to other things which ultimately led to Daniel and our children. My beliefs tell me that big things like this are planned, ahead of time, by our higher selves; so that we might all learn the lessons we need to learn in order to evolve and grow as spiritual beings. I definitely wouldn’t want to change anything that might lead to me not having aligned with Daniel in the place and time that I did. So maybe my father could have chosen to not follow the script we planned out, but if he’d done that.. What if this event caused by his stupidity – and undoubtably one of the focal causal points in my life – is the one thing that could not change while preserving all of the people and things I love about the life I have now? How can I feel anger at his lack of forethought and at his carelessness if in fact those traits were designed and planned on a higher level to put everyone affected in the right places for other important connections and lessons?

So I’m essentially of two minds about it all. There’s the whole ‘screw you, asshole’ sentiment that comes from knowing that your parent knowingly and non-essentially endangered your life; and then there’s the more enlightened acceptance that things happen for a reason that some part of me knows and understands as essential.. even if that part of me is not consciously accessible right now.

On a more scientifically curious note, though.. I already know that my memories of the day are in many ways less than factually accurate. I wanted to compare the few visual memories with actual evidence to see how they are similar and/or different, to see how the images recorded in my brain may have changed over time, to see if there is any other data inside my head that I have just not had the right triggering stimulus to unlock. So I’m still annoyed about not getting pictures.