Monday, 25 April 2016

ANZAC Day: 101 Years - Lest We Forget

Today marks a couple things, 22 years since one of my Great Grandfathers died - on Anzac day, sad as he was a veteran. 23 years since Mum and Dad got engaged - yep, on Anzac day. And 100 years since Anzac day began, while I also can't believe it's been a whole year since the Anzac memorial thing at Te Papa was unveiled.
Only five days left of April 2016 - this year has gone incredibly fast and it's concerning!

They're saying it's getting more and more important for our younger generation to remember our ancestors who were part of the war/s, to know their stories and pass them on. But I only ever met one out of my three Great Grandfathers as the other two had already passed before I was born. I hear the odd story now and again but I can never remember the finer details or who they belong to, which is sad.
The only story I know, although I'm not too sure who it belongs to on Mum's side of the family, is the bath theft. I'm not sure whether it was normal back then, or just in this battalion, but the lower ranked soldiers weren't allowed to bath - only the head honcho's, so to speak, were entitled to have one. I'm not sure how often or why. Could you imagine lugging a bath around in battle? Probably cast iron, and not even being able to use it?
So, they stole it. My Great Grandad among them, took it, hid it and they all got a bath. lol if it was my Grandad's Dad, then I can actually imagine it, as my Grandad was a bit of a comedian himself!

It's been a busy month filled with milkings and fencing and the like. I've just had another cool weekend milking with Hamish and I left on Sunday night with my car boot filled with some amazing produce from their garden. I've given them some feijoa's because we've got so many, and sent a bit of baking their way to the cowshed as well. He said at the end of milking just before he ran off to do more jobs that he'd left a few pumpkins in the back of my car, but I didn't expect to open it to find five pumpkins - a couple I've never seen before or even tasted, as well as a massive basket overflowing with kumera (they're blimmen huge too) and potatoes. It really warms the heart, being surrounded by so many good people.

Our day today has been filled with so many things around home, we're trying to tidy up a few things as well as make some areas a little more dog proof - currently the little munchkins have a few exit points out into the paddocks next door and into the vege garden, therefore the compost bin. Yum, not. So while Dad was playing tractors spreading dirt around and flattening some areas after all his time playing with dirt prior to Christmas (there were just massive mounds of soil...) Mum, Nick and I fixed up the garden gate - changing the hinge system around a bit, adding more rails so Tessa can't just hop through the gaps, and raised the entrance area with dirt and terracotta chips so they can't go under the gate either.
Kills ten birds with one stone really, stops the dogs from getting in, means we can now open the gate in or out, preventing another common mud area into the garden by spreading the terracotta chips, and well spreading the terracotta chips was a job that's been waiting for like, four years lol.

And Dad, playing tractors (haha) spread all the dirt and Nick rode around on the four wheeler towing an old pallet (makeshift harrows) so it's now finally ready to have new grass seed spread. Tidied up all the fencing stock - posts, rails, etc., and pulled up a few old tree stumps along the boundary so we can carry on with the last section of iron fence. Thus stopping the darling munchkins from escaping through another point. Only issue now, Tessa can squeeze her little body between the wires on our post and batten fence - it's like, ten wires, I don't know how she does it. While we did fix up something so they couldn't get into the front yard, darling Tessa is proving her Terrier jumping ability is in perfect condition, so she just leaps over anything in her way.
It's a serious hassle, but they're never outside on their own anyway so it's not too big a deal thus far.

I'm preparing myself for a busy week, although I don't have any work on again until Friday, my social life is suddenly busy! Dinner with Chantelle and Sam tomorrow night, which will be great to catch up with them again. I'm off to the movies with someone else on Wednesday night. Thursday night is our young farmer meeting - although I'm not sure whether I'll go or not yet. While Friday night Mum and I are going to a girls night thing, should be fun. I probably sound like a social butterfly haha, but I haven't been out "socialising" all month!

Oh yeah and bonus, I saved up a massive amount of money to get my car fixed up - ya know, that airbag issue? I was told the part would be anywhere between $400 and $600, plus all the extra costs involved. Anywho, I got a nice surprise from the auto electrician who I don't like seeing all that often but I like him more and more the cheaper the costs are, when he said it was just a bit of faulty wiring - about $150 in total. Completely stoked. Phew!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Keepin' on Up

Life is a bit of a yo-yo act, one day is good, another might be a bit more on the bleh side. So you stumble through that day and the next day is OK again. It's weird, frustrating too. But I grow used to it after a while.

Yesterday was a day off for me, which included a slight sleep in until 7:30 when I forced myself up -  knowing the two little dogs we have managed to accumulate would need food, love and attention - like they always crave. Mum and Dad left early, about 5am to go do some spraying, where they would be all day. And Nick eventually left too for a date with the new girlfriend. Happy times, I guess.
Except that yet again I had a day all to myself with no clue, whatsoever, on what I could occupy myself with. Other than dogsitting the little munchkins who are actually a heck of a lot of trouble - especially when you add Frodo and Pippa into the mix. Eventually I decided to mow some more lawns, which has sadly turned into a common occurrence for me and they simply won't stop growing. Every hour or so going and getting the dogs and taking them for another run around outside for 10 minutes or so. Then popping them back inside and continuing with the onslaught of greenery.

That took up a few hours, I stumbled across a huge pile of feijoa's under one of our younger fruit trees so brought them all inside, and I was still going a little bit crazy so I then hauled out the vacuum cleaner and played around with that for a bit. I find the day slowly melts away when I keep giving myself jobs to do, sad I know, on my one day off. I guess I just get bored being on my own - I never realised how important it is for me to be around people, every so often speaking to someone who is actually able to speak back (without barking) can be quite pleasant. I just forget, until I'm by myself again.

At some point in time I found myself a nice comfy spot on the top lawn in the sun, to sit and watch the dogs run around like goofs for a while. They're playing tug of war over a willow branch and Pippa found it simply fascinating and also joined in on the fray - going slightly berserk herself. haha

But it's been a nice, sunny week and I'm now back at work again for a two week stretch - before taking three days off to get some repairs done on my car. The Airbag Occupancy Sensor, under my seat is playing up and needs replacing - so that'll be a day or two at the auto electricians to be sorted out. Airbags can come in handy from time to time, so fixing it is probably an unfortunate, necessary evil!

Saturday, 2 April 2016


Wednesday was going great. Dad and Nick had gone in separate directions to spray gorse while I did a morning milking. I came home and got a heck of a lot done at home with Mum. Went to town, registered the dogs, did some groceries. Came home, ate hot cross buns for lunch ( did some work around home, precooked a lasagne for dinner, among other things.
Then I decided to make a brownie, some for us and surprise our neighbour - who seems to like it a fair bit - with some too. However I was gutted to discover we had run out of coconut (so, so annoying after just having bought a few grocery items that morning...) so back to town I went - just a short trip this time, to buy some. I guess you could say that when I want to do something, I'm pretty determined to do it!

Life is great, I got home after listening to some funny story by the radio presenter, feeling amused, I opened the front door with a grin on my face - then I saw the look on Mum's face and mine dropped. She was in the lounge, looking horrified, pacing the room with her cellphone up to one ear and the landline at the other. Within a split second you know something has gone wrong - is it Dad, or Nick?
She's saying things like, "how far away is the ambulance?" and then to me, "It's Dad," then I suddenly realise and feel my hands starting to shake a bit. He's been stung by wasps. He's seriously allergic - called being anaphylactic - and it could kill him, very fast.
Mum is on the phone to 111 and to the person Dad has gone to for help. A lady is driving him as fast as possible to meet an ambulance half way to save time, and Dad later told us he thought he might die from a car accident instead - because the lady was so stressed out!
By now Nick has also found out, so he had to simply abandon his spray gear and get home asap to drive us to the hospital - there was no way Mum would be in any state to drive, let alone the motorway in peak hour traffic.

As time goes on we slowly peace together the information, Dad was happily spraying gorse - as you do, quite a way out of our normal district, but he decided to take the job anyway. There was no cellphone reception, so we hadn't heard from him all day. That morning a neighbour to the property he was working on asked if he could come over sometime to have a look at some work there too - the people seemed friendly enough so he figured he'd have a quick look then, before starting work.
Sometime in the late afternoon he suddenly came across wasps, one flew into the sleeve of his shirt and stung him multiple times before he managed to get it out. Then others came and stung him on the head.
He said he couldn't do anything but stand there and take it - thinking, oh crap. The more you move around the more likely they will attack even worse. Once he'd gotten away from them (I can't believe this) he grabbed a couple antihistamines to slow the reaction down, packed up his spray gear onto his ute (in quite a state of panic now), jumped into the ute and hightailed it to the people he had spoken with earlier. Where he asked them to call an ambulance, call Mum and help him. They called Mum, and she called the ambulance for them, by now they're in the car and on the road at very high speed, where they eventually met an ambulance at an intersection that was waiting for them.

They had helped him with some adrenaline medication, opening the vial (he doesn't use an epipen) and drawing it up so that he could administer it. Looking at the needle and syringe, the poor people were ghostly white and couldn't watch him stab it into his leg. Except that he took too much, he thought you needed 1ml of it, but you're only meant to have half of that - so his heart rate skyrocketed and his whole body got the shakes.

It was about 6pm by the time we got to the hospital in Auckland, you're constantly not knowing what's going on and hoping like heck that he doesn't drop back into a secondary reaction - like he did last time, a few years back. Nick and I dropped Mum off at the emergency entrance, then tried to figure out how and where we could park, it is seriously confusing in there.
But when we arrived Dad was, thankfully, sitting up and happy, although he was in the bed right outside the nurses station in ED. I guess you could say, happy as you could be after you've been stung 6 or more times, overdosed on adrenaline, getting one scary car ride and then a ride in an ambo, then getting to sit in a bed wearing a beautiful hospital gown...that has "Hospital Property" stamped all over it, just in case someone wanted to steal it.

He had to stay put for observation, with a drip and blood pressure monitors and everything attached, and eventually we were moved into the "Observation" ward, where we were promptly forgotten about - although they all deny that. He needed to stay put until six hours were up - that's the time frame you can relapse in, so we all sat and waited for 10:30pm to roll around, so we could soon go home. As I said, they forgot about us. What seemed like the main charge-nurse was an absolute horror and they all claimed they are understaffed. We kept trying to get some attention - Dad's drip is empty and still hooked up, is that a problem? Can we see someone? Is anyone coming any time soon?
Each person we saw looked at us, averted eye contact and said that they couldn't help us but they would be 'right back', or 'would send someone who knew' or, 'some other lame excuse', before quickly leaving in the other direction.
They failed by putting us in a thoroughfare, because we always saw them. I guess to them we looked like dogs in a pound - looking up with those little puppy eyes, but the people adopting can't adopt every one of them and is looking for someone in particular, so they don't stay in the vicinity for very long so as not to gain any unwanted attention. You know how it goes, if you're not currently on death's door, they don't want to know.
It was after 11pm when Mum started stamping her feet, Dad's in pain, we're all dead on our feet, Nick and I needed to be at work in a few hours and they all kept promising someone would come, who never did. They said 10:30 was the cut off time, it was over an hour past that, what was going on?
So miss grumpy scary charge-nurse eventually came, as did the earlier doctor he saw. They muttered a few things, she yanked out the lure in his arm, and almost threw us out the door. Nick and I had lost where we had parked the ute, (underground but not really underground carparks are confusing). We were finally home by 1am, eyeballs falling out.
Nick had to be up again at 4:30 and me at 6, so Thursday was a really long, hard day for us all. But everyone was still very much alive - thank goodness. That's the important part.

What was interesting was the things that had happened throughout the day. Like, when Mum and I were out and about I had to quickly call *555 on my cellphone while Mum was driving because there was someone driving through the main road of our town in a very dangerous manner. I later said that I wouldn't often call anyone off my phone, so to quickly try and dial a number I sort of froze - not quite knowing where to go to do it.
Put in the password, click the phone icon, click contacts, no - that's not right, eventually I found the keypad and eventually got into the system, but it took so long. I realised after that that you can just tap "emergency" rather than putting in your password, and it instantly goes to the keypad while also bringing up the option to look at your medical ID. An iPhone gimmick that Mum didn't know about, and not many people do so that in an emergency someone can get your name, medical and next of kin information if they can't get into the phone. So that night we mentioned it to Dad and he and Mum filled theirs in, as they never knew about it.

We also saw through Facebook on a town page that fire engines and ambos were heading, lights and siren, along the road that Nick was working on - he also hadn't been in contact all day, but we soon found that he was fine anyway after we called him.

And Mum, with her scary intuition, had had a song playing in her head recently - a "Farewell" song she said they sung at school - and she knew something was going to happen so she had been keeping a really close eye on what was happening. It just so happened that we hadn't been able to contact Dad, and she admitted she would've only been concerned at about 8 o'clock that night - he could've possibly been lying on the ground for hours and no-one knew where he was or how to find him. It's scary to think about and scary to think about how much we've come to rely on technology to tell us that everyone is OK.