Category Archives: parents

Worserer & betterer

New resolution: never blog about my crappy life. Because while it leads to some amazing messages and offers of help from my wonderful friends (that’s YOU), it also means that things get worse.

Since I blogged, my mum developed pneumonia and was admitted to hospital. Expected total stay 3 weeks. Which would be ok, given that she’s recovering, except that my dad needs help with dressing.

Also, my dishwasher and toilet both stopped working. But they are more easily fixed.

Anyway, with mum sick, I made some phone calls and discovered the absolutely amazing Commonwealth Carer Respite Service, which provides FULLY FUNDED OMG assistance & care. So dad has the low-level care he needs and if necessary we can move to a higher care model. Fabulous!

Which got me thinking about dealing with the Bigster’s Mystery Illness. One of the advantages of having last week off (other than that I was there to deal with mum) was the thinking time it gave me. I had got so caught up in coping that I’d forgotten to step back and ponder. So now we have afternoon arrangements that mean I don’t have to collect her every single day, which means I can increase my hours as work again, and I have some before-school for Otto (ditto) and I’m not working nights.

Note to self: schedule time for pondering.

Well. When I say not working nights. Last night, I learned to use some new software, baked muffins from scratch, did a load of laundry, folded mum’s laundry & took it to her, visited for a while, did some more of her laundry, switched all my work stuff to a new bag, sorted and folded, combed and braided Otto’s hair, packed away baking things, made some plans with the Bigster, talked to Fraser, convinced myself not to buy a camcorder and watched Once Upon a Time (omg how good is that show?!).

Oh, and the toilet seems to have Mysteriously Fixed Itself (yay).

Now if only I could find a time to be home for the Dishwasher Guy.


Posted by on July 18, 2012 in children, health, parents


And three weeks zipped by ..

Last time I counted, it was 6 weeks till we left.

Ah, heaps of time.

Now, it is three-and-a-half.

Just to put that in perspective:

  • The girls and I have three weekends left in Australia. This weekend, Fraser and I will be at BorderCon in Albury – so there are really only two weekends left before we go. And we want to have a party the week before we leave – so really only one weekend to pack things up.
  • I have a project to finish for a client. It involves writing a whole battery of PRINCE2 documents. That will be achievable.
  • I have another project to finish for another client. It involves lots more writing. That will be partially achievable, but I will probably have work to do when I get to Germany. The client is not happy with some of the work that I didn’t do, and has asked for me to work on that area. While her faith in me is touching and flattering, I am nervous that it might be misplaced.
  • I have two games to translate. The urgent part of one is half-done. I’m hoping to finish the urgent bits by the middle of the week.
  • I have all sorts of things to organise for our trip. More on this elsewhere. I need to stop overthinking the small stuff.
  • Mum and dad’s house has its first Open-For-Inspection on Thursday. I have not been there for a week. I need to find time to go there.
  • I still do not have a British passport. Nor do the girls have Australian passports (long story). Lots of chasing things up to happen on Monday morning.
  • Fraser and I need to get international drivers permits. We tried to do this on Saturday, but the RACV shop closes at 12 noon (where every other shop in the centre closes at 5pm).
  • I have to go to the luggage shop and ask if they can order the new model of Trunki for Otto. Failing that, I need to order one online. This is becoming urgent.
  • We need to organise parent-teacher meetings with the girls’ teachers. These would normally happen at the end of this term but they have been delayed to early next term.
  • Fraser and I need to move back to our “2 boxes a night” packing philosophy.
  • I need to do invoicing and tax. Urgently.

Skippedidoodah Skippediay

So, there was a skip. At my house. With a few of mum’s things down the bottom, but not many.

Friday night, all we did was padlock it.

Saturday, I workworkworked all morning and finally got to mum and dad’s at 12.30 or so (three cheers for Fraser, who took the girls to the German School Excursion all by himself). Then we went out to buy them some new furniture, as they had had their sofa and armchairs carted away earlier in the week.

Now, dad has a fabulous armchair. It is a recliner, very big and comfy, made by Moran. We paid over $1500 for it as a gift for his 60th birthday, 18 years ago. He loves it, but lately he has trouble getting up from it.

So after we looked at the sofa that mum likes, I asked the salesman whether he had any OMGElectricChairs – and he did, and even though they are a bit ugly, we found one that literally gets dad onto his feet and into a standing position before he has to leave the chair. And it reclines, too.

Result: 2 Electric Recliners (sooner or later mum will find it helpful) and a rather nice bronzey green sofa. (Actually, it looks a bit like ours, but it is not ridiculously pale-coloured).

They are to be delivered on Monday, which I think is foolish. Plan for now is that they will go into the garage initially, as we have to meet the interior designer at 4pm. 

Now I am considering whether we want to take dad’s Moran recliner, especially as I want to get rid of The Stinky Chair (TM).

Anyway. Skip.

Well, meanwhile, we have filled it. Including one carload from mum and dad’s, but the rest was ours. Fraser was a trooper and did most of it, I took about 15 minutes out from work today (when it became clear that the Bigster was well and truly stuck) to go out, direct, and clean out the shed.

I feel efficient 🙂

Even more so, because over the last 3 weeks or so I have been auctioning old books etc on eBay. So far, I have sold $350 of items. Not bad for about 4-5 hours’ work 🙂

There is one more thing that I want to get rid of, though. See, a couple of years ago, our old VCR died. And I went and bought a new VCR. Then I realised that we couldn’t program the TV to see the new VCR because we’d lost the remote control that is the only way to program our TV. So we jerry-rigged the old VCR to work, then we tuned IT in to the new VCR and basically daisychained the two of them together.

I found the TV remote control a month or so ago, when we gutted the sofa. Technically, we could change that setup – but it was going to be too much hassle to bother.

Then, last week, the VCR (the “new” VCR) started eating tapes. So I went out and bought a new one – which is a combo VCR and DVD player – because that was all you could get.

I looked at our entertainment unit and smiled. Not only could we get rid of BOTH VCRs (and associated remote controls), we could get rid of the DVD player and ITS remote control too. Whee! Down to two remote controls (and the one for the speakers – oops), at least until we go crazy and buy a set-top box.

Only it turns out that Fraser won’t let me throw out the DVD player, because it still works. Even though we have a new one, and we can’t watch two DVDs at once.

I should have expected this. After all, it was only a month ago that we finally got rid of the Beta VCR – and it hadn’t worked since before we started dating in 1992.

Oh yeah – and one more thing.

We got a flat!

It’s kinda small, but looks very nice. My friend is going to go and do an inspection asap, just to check it out.

It’s in Wuppertal, which is right next to Düsseldorf. And I found German language classes for children just nearby.

For a non-religious person, I am very superstitious. I firmly believe that something will come up – and it did, with remarkably little fuss.


Back to work now. Procrastination break over.


Dad update

The latest plan was to release him today, but transfer him to another hospital with physiotherapists and occupational therapists. He has torn some ligaments in his shoulder and they need to help him to recover the use of that shoulder – and, ideally, check on his walking (he uses a stick, may need to graduate to a frame).

Unfortunately, he tried to get out of bed during the night, presumably to go to the toilet. He ended up getting stuck halfway off the bed, out of reach of the call button, and spending an uncomfortable spell of time (hours? not sure) until someone came by to check on him. As a result, his shoulder is really uncomfortable again, so they will keep him in the hospital for a few more days until he’s ready to be transferred to the other hospital.

Such a stressful time.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 23, 2008 in parents


Good news day

Dad is still in hospital – will be released tomorrow, all being well. They still don’t have an exact cause but he’s in much less pain & is looking better.

I just finished booking all my remaining tickets. OMG. One is first class because if I book out of France I pay less for first class than I was going to pay for second class in Germany (huh). And one is full fare because it was only 6 euros more than the discounted ticket that had all sorts of scary conditions attached to it.

I leave in 10 days. OMGOMG.

I have one hotel left to book and then that is that. All done. Did I mention the OMG factor?

And I am having lunch with a girlfriend.

All’s well with the world.


Posted by on September 22, 2008 in friends, parents, travel


My Friday. Gaahhh.

7.45 Fraser wakes me up. It’s the day Fraser takes the kids to before-school care, so I have to get Otto dressed. Back to bed. BSW. Sleep.

10.40 Fraser goes to Accountant to do his tax. I should be going too but I have not prepared anything, because I Suck. I go back to sleep.

2.10 Fraser wakes me up. Kids have to be collected at 2.30 (last day of term) so I need to get dressed quickly so I can go and get them. Collect both mine, also Bigster’s friend who is coming for a play.

5.40ish Bigster’s friend’s dad comes to collect her. He’s quite interested in Agricola and comments that, “I’d like to play this … the description remindsme a bit of Die Siedler.” omgyay. We decide that when we are all in Melbourne again we should get together and play games. omg the hardship 🙂

6.15ish quick BSW. Cafe International and Thurn und Taxis.

6.45ish Biggie’s other friend and her family arrive for dinner

7.30 walk to pizza restaurant with Other Mum to buy dinner. Chat.

9ish they go. Fraser and Otto have major argument about pyjamas (does this make 5 nights in a row?)

10ish Settle Otto, agree that she can sleep in the big bed (F still in spare room due to virus).

10.30 Otto sleeps. I decide to go to bed too. Do teeth, settle self to chat with a friend for a while … and then …

11.30 my mobile phone rings. I miss the call. Consider leaving it but decide nah, better do the right thing. It was my mother: “Your father’s shoulder hurts and he is very weak, what should I do?”

Me: I’ll be right over.

Chat some more with Helpful and Conveniently Handy Medical Friend who says it’s the wrong shoulder to be his heart & is likely air in his diaphragm after the colonoscopy he had this week. 

Drive to parents’ house, arriving around midnight

Dad is frighteningly weak, needing help from me and mum just to get down the small step in front of their house (about 8cm). I am glad I brought the car down their driveway.

Drive to hospital, resisting urge to plant foot every time he winces. Not nearest 5-minutes-away hospital, that would make too much sense. 20-minutes-or-more-away-private-hospital, IF you don’t mind.


wait wait wait with occasional consults in between.

Doctor;s theory is it is a rotator cuff shoulder injury from the colonoscopy. Seems weird though, given that it came on very suddenly tonight.

Anyway, eventual decision was to admit him and ultrasound the shoulder tomorrow.

At 4.15 we gave up waiting for him to be admitted to the ward (it was in progress) and I drove mum home then came home myself. Logged in briefly to play some solo games to unwind and now it is getting light outside.

Things I did right:

– took eee pc with some game translation work I am doing (too lazy to email it off right this second)

– took French grammar book to work on

– made parents actually go

– pointed out how frail he is to the doctor

Things that were cool

– the nurse supervisor is the mother of a child at Biggie’s school. I know her quite well.

Things that were brought home to me

– it may be too late to even have big plans about next year. Right now, I feel guilty enough about gallivanting over to Europe in OMG12DAYS.


Leave a comment

Posted by on September 20, 2008 in parents



Lunch with my parents is always enlightening.

Today, the conversation turned to my drinking habits. Specifically, how quickly I drink – I tend to finish a drink in no seconds flat. Whether alcoholic or not, I’m always the first to finish.

My mother: “It’s lucky you never really took to alcohol, you would have been an alcoholic!”
Me: ???
Mother: “You never really drank very much at all.”
Me: ???
Mother: “Except for one time, and I was saying, “Oh she’s had too much to drink” and your dad was saying, “Leave her alone””
Me: ???
Mother: “And of course that was the time your drink was spiked.”

I decided to leave her in blissful ignorance – especially as Biggie was at the table with us.

I don’t drink much these days (I stopped when we decided to have babies and somehow lost the capacity) but, umm, I did. Quite heavily. In what I understand is typical for young women, I binge drank once a week. To excess.  For several years. Apparently, without my mother ever noticing a thing.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 2, 2007 in health, parents


Quote of the Episode

My mother, talking about waking up on Sunday morning: “I was so relieved to see that he was still alive. I really thought he might not be.”

Me (thinking): Um, this did not make you think to consult a doctor?

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 29, 2007 in health, parents


Dad update

He’s still in hospital, after a series of tests, mostly apparently focused on his heart. (Not sure why this is, when it would be the neck & head they’d be most worried about surely).

I spoke with him today & he said he’s probably going home tomorrow. They haven’t found anything wrong.

Both my parents seem to be happy about this.

I am not sure, and want to speak with the doctor. Because there’s no denying that something happened on Saturday night – and if they can’t find out what it was, then they can’t do anything to prevent another one happening either.

Memo to parents: Next time, call an ambulance.

Meanwhile, my brother & family went to Greece after all, although, obviously, they won’t be visiting the sites in the south that he had hoped to see.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 29, 2007 in health, parents



They’re keeping him in overnight (although they have no bed, so he’ll have to stay in the ER for now). They did an ECG, CAT scan, blood tests etc., and think that it may have been the prelude to a larger/major stroke. (yikes – that document basically says, “If you are Melissa’s dad ie you have all these 4 symptoms then it is likely that the TIA will lead to a full stroke”). They’ve referred him to a neurologist, too – mum heard the ER doctor on the phone, saying, “I think you really need to see this patient”.

So good that he went in, bad that he didn’t go in before, amazing that neither of my parents thought that a 3 hour ‘trance-like state’ was sufficient reason to go to the ER then & there. Apparently he thought he was talking on Saturday night and was moving his lips but no sound was coming out. 😦

What a horrible way to spend a 76th birthday – but if it gives him a better chance of having a 77th then it’s not quite as horrible as it seemed.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 27, 2007 in health, parents