Tuesday, 16 December 2014


Yesterday was one of the harder days. 

On Monday, Dad arrived home from Paris.  It was a work trip.  He felt generally manky, as you do when you have been in transit for approx. 24 hours, give or take a few.  However, he'd had an incident in the airport in Paris when he went to check in.  He couldn't speak.  He could think the words, but there was a disconnect and he couldn't get them out.  He was sped to the airport's medical centre and over the space of about 15 minutes, the ability returned.  He was monitored but otherwise fine.

While he was in transit, Mum made him an appointment for yesterday morning at the GP.  He duly turned up and was sent straight to the hospital for evaluation.  You were probably thinking, as were we, that he'd had a stroke.  At hospital it was confirmed he'd had a mini-stroke (a TIA, a Transient something Attack).  They wanted to do some further tests, which seemed fair enough - there's a heightened risk of having another within the space of a month, and you always want to know what damage has been done, I guess.

Dad had a CT scan on his head.  It showed a tumour. 

We don't know much more at this stage.  Dad had a further CT scan on his chest to check for other tumours and when I spoke to him last, the results hadn't been communicated to him.  He'd been put on steroids to start chemically shrinking what they'd seen in his head.  This morning at 10 he's having an MRI to check the tumour, to check for anything else and to put together a plan with the specialists, I assume.  I think he's having a skype session with the specialists (who are based in another hospital about four hours away) sometime this morning - possibly both prior and subsequent to the MRI. 

Mum called with updates during the day.  I think she's pretty scared but holding it together, because she has to.  I spent an hour on the phone with them last night, helping alleviate the boredom of an internal room in a hospital that isn't home.  We made jokes and chatted about my day.  Dad was pretty realistic, not downbeat but saying the conversation he'd had with the registrar was in hushed tones and suggested that things are pretty serious. 

My Dad is 58.  I love him.  I am trying to block out the noise and just take it as it comes.  God knows Mum and Dad don't need me to freak out.  I've been calling and texting my sister, who doesn't have a husband to hold her when she's feeling scared. 

Yesterday was one of the harder days.   

Thursday, 11 December 2014

purple palace progress

The work on the Lavender Loveshack continues apace.  There's been promises of being done with the painting by Christmas, but that's contingent on the weather continuing to play ball.

The builders will probably be glad to be done - P had a session pointing out a bunch of shonky repairs last weekend that remain uncorrected and I gave one of them a hell of a fright earlier this week.  I don't usually get home until the builders have left, but I'd had a ride and got home not too far off 5.30.  The front door was open and I could hear banging and sanding down the right hand side of the house. I was busting to use the loo, so I didn't walk round to say hi.  I hustled into the bathroom and when I popped out, the builder's son was at the kitchen sink having a drink.*  I swear his feet left the ground he got such a fright - he garbled an apology, I laughed and said of course he could help himself to water and he scurried outside to recover his composure, the poor thing.

With all the prep work and the patches of primed new weatherboards, the Palace is not very Purple any more.  I'm nervous about the colours I've picked going up (what if I haaaaaate them?  I'm not very good with this sort of thing).  I'm also nervous about the expense, both of the current work and what we have planned next.  We're going to re-line our bedroom and install a built-in wardrobe as the first task in the New Year, followed by a similar job on the spare bedroom (we can only do this one room at a time, you see, because we can only store one extra room's furniture at a time and still have a place to sleep that isn't the living room floor.  I'm not opposed to the living room floor, I should point out, but P isn't too keen.  He's got a point because the living room is very compact.) 

We've acknowledged to ourselves that we can't afford to do the extension/kitchen/bathroom renovations as yet, so we'll stick to whacking in a dishwasher in those zones, once the bedrooms are done.  Sweet, sweet dishwasher, I cannot wait to meet you.

There's also been talk of underhouse excavations and moving the laundry to a concreted space under there.  I don't think there's any point until we do the major works at the back, and we'll still have to walk outdoors to put on a load of laundry, even if it's under the house.  The washing machine presently lives in a utility shed in the backyard, which doesn't bother me nearly as much as I thought it would.  We don't own a dryer so everything goes outdoors on the line anyway, we don't hear the noise, and the lack of overhead lighting restricts my laundry days to the weekend, so I don't have a horrible constant pile of folding to do.

So, we're going to be pouring some $$$ directly into the house, rather than continuing to shove it all onto the mortgage in the name of reducing the ridiculous mound of debt.  I know that it technically increases our equity as well, but I have a cheap wee heart and it certainly doesn't reduce our interest payments! 

That is all very domestic and dull, but it's what's going on just now. 

*You might recall that our bathroom comes off the kitchen, part of a standard 50s lean-to addition to the old cottage.  Just charming.

Monday, 8 December 2014


The end of year party season has well and truly begun.  Case in point: it was not yet 3pm last Friday at a team lunch when one attendee grabbed her breasts in an illustration of the difficulty caused by her lovely (but possibly workplace inappropriate) backless top.  I'll have you know I was a model of propriety.  Oh, hey now, doubters: I had to get back to the office so I actually was well behaved, unusual or no!

The party got me in the holiday spirit.  I dragged P to a Christmas tree farm and thence to the Warehouse for cheap decorations.  We bought a ghastly Michael Buble Christmas CD and I thrashed it while adorning the tree with super! cheap! candy! canes! and scattering glitter on the floor.  My house smells just lovely, like pine and happiness.  I abhor pine scents generally - them old fake ones - but I cannot get enough of huffing my Christmas tree.  It's delicious and sends me straight back to my childhood.  The tree itself isn't as big as my family memories, at least in part because the space for it ain't so big neither.  I left the bottom largely undecorated, expecting the purrymouses to destroy it in five seconds flat.  However, they're largely unphased.  Cokes batted a decoration to get my attention last night, but then he also jumped on me, scratched my leg, ate my headphones and manufactured a spew on the living room floor all in an effort to wake us up to fill his bowl this morning, so I think I don't think he has a particular animus in relation to the tree.


I'm so desperate to be finished this year I've started drafting my usual end of year survey.  I'm still struggling with a pithy description of 2014, in large part due to denial that 2014 has in fact begun. 


On another, horrible note, I've had some very bad news that affects my Hat Friend.  I am sorely worried for her.  I don't pray, I think -- so I'm thinking near constantly about Hat Friend's situation and hoping for the best possible outcome.  It's scary when (a) things are completely out of our control and (b) your words sound like horrible, hopeless platitudes.  Words can be powerful. I need to corral them and winnow out the least effective, leaving something meaningful, I hope.