never let it be said

Recently I attended a workshop on a new learning management system, run by an outside presenter, in our school. It was only a small group of four teachers including myself and the presenter.

The day before the workshop all three of the other attendees (female) were informed that they had all missed out on internal promotions. My experience of these people meant that I was not surprised that they had not been selected and they certainly proved why again during the workshop.

They were enthroned prior to the start of the workshop, and while I assisted the presenter in his set up (I was not in charge of the event, merely showed some initiative and goodwill) they ignored both of us while they loudly bitched about the school admin and the people selected for positions. They continued despite it being obvious that the presenter was ready to start. He had to wait for them to pause for breath to commence.

Alas, then it was found that the connection to the new system was very, very slow.  The poor man apologised, made many phone calls to ascertain where the problem was and was informed that the boffins were onto it. Unfortunately, it didn’t improve all day. It worked, but it was like dial up speed, not high speed that we expect these days. It was not the presenter’s fault in anyway, and there was nothing that could be done in the short term. We could still learn the system though and ask questions.

The trio carried on all day about it, and the presenter kept apologising, but they paid no notice to good manners. The mantra throughout the day was either a negative about the school, or a complaint about the internet connection.

Food had also been arranged, but they barely uttered a word of thanks, and what was, was very grudging. One woman had to cite every allergy she had, even going online to make sure she got all the facts to share. I am fast developing the opinion that those with the minor allergies (everyone seems to be gluten intolerant these days) are often the most vocal about their food requirements. I have witnessed people with life threatening allergies being less vocal, more self-sufficient and just getting on with life.

I was professionally embarrassed by my colleagues. I know that I am not responsible for what my colleagues say and do, but I do think that they owe a certain loyalty to their employer. No doubt they were disappointed, but surely this was not the forum to air their grievances? Their attitude and behaviour impacted on our learning experience, and no doubt the opinion of the presenter.

Flamingo Dancer being Flamingo Dancer, I did want to unsheathe my stick and beat them silent, they were already senseless! I felt that they not only let the school down, but themselves as well. They are poor examples of resilience for our students. I wanted to tell them to grow up and take their complaints outside, but instead tried to occupy the presenter with inane small talk to deflect his attention. I know I failed miserably. Until now I had an indifferent opinion about them, but no longer, and I will never trust them in the future.

To me, being an adult means k nowing there is a place for everything, and a time for everything. This was neither the time nor the place, though I suspect they will never realise.

Condolences to those suffering under the wrath of Hurricane Sandy. After our experiences of floods in 2011 I can imagine the hardships and loss that some people are suffering at this time, and our best wishes and kindest thoughts go out to all, at this time. Stay safe.

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vegetating in the country

It is difficult to carry off eau de chiot in pearls and heels, but if anyone can, I will, naturally.

I have the distinct impression that I smell of Augie Dog today as he slobbered/chewed/hung off my trouser pants legs this morning as I left for work. One week in the country and I have a new early morning routine- feed Augie, take Augie outside for a toilet break (hopefully in time!) and watch the birds in our eucalyptus trees until I need to leave for work. In the past it would have been watch the early morning news as I ate my breakfast. Not having cable TV or the internet (or even a land line phone) has helped the new routine along as well, but Augie and his routines, or rather, lack of routine, has taken over our lives.

Daughter1 and Mr Boy came for lunch Sunday, the first time they had seen the house. Daughter1 said it looked like an amalgamation of all the houses we had lived in over the years, and as if our furniture had come home! I can’t argue on either count! The baby blanket that I purchased through Etsy for their expected baby arrived during the week and D1 brought it to show me. Pink on one side and a bright monkey pattern on the reverse side. Her Daddy, Mr Boy, likes monkeys, hence the monkey motif. There are pink flamingos, there can be pink monkeys too! Don’t even try to argue, I am a displaced person living out of boxes, and not to be messed with in the short term, or any term for that matter.

After just one week living in the country and two snake encounters (the second we identified as a brown tree snake) I am finding it very hard to remove myself from my rural retreat and re-enter the world of education and work. For the two days of the weekend, it as if we live in our own little cocooned world and then Monday morning reality arrives and it is hard to switch on the grey cells, but needs must.

Things uttered around The House on the Hill:

“I thought the light was on outside, but it is just the damn sun!”

“What are you looking for?”  – “My lost youth.”

“No, Augie, no, AUGIE, NO! Damn, where’s the mop?”

listen to the serenity

I anticipated being welcomed by an estactic Augie Dog when I arrived home from work, yesterday, but he preferred to nap and so the Happy Family movie I was playing in my head all the way home will have to roll another day! Son reported that Augie had been a good puppy dog, and we had no pee or poo issues all day!

The drive to and from work is longer, but actually an easier run than my previous drive. This morning as I drove the connecting road to the freeway a car flashed its lights at me, which of course normally means traffic police ahead, but in this instance was to warn me that a dead wallaby was on the road ahead. Poor little thing, I do hope some nice person moves it off the road before the trucks complete the job. Not quite a job for a Flamingo Dancer in pearls and heels…

BIL and his cute granddaughter (aged 4) popped in yesterday morning when only Son was home with Augie. I think they came to meet Augie. Augie was most taken with the little girl as she ran around and made noise. He probably scared her a little, or a lot, as he put his paws on her shoulder (she is a tiny 4 year old, Irish genes!) but no doubt Augie loved having another pint sized person! It is nice to know that family can just pop in without a major planning exercise now. I actually have some cousins living further down our road, and no doubt will reconnect at some stage.

I love the solitude and the privacy. We live behind our front native garden and wall of tall eucalyptus gum trees filled with rosella parrots, and maybe a wallaby. The previous owners have planted staghorns and other ferns beneath the trees, but it is so dry and hot that they aren’t looking their best, and I must admit we haven’t exactly been sprinting out to water gardens as yet. There is a sprinkler system with timers, and two large water tanks providing 10,000 gallons of water, but that is a job for another day.

The temperature is expected to be 37C today and the fire alert is high. Luckily (?) the bush land directly behind our block of land has already burnt right to our fence line, so hopefully we won’t face a fire threat in the near future, but we will have to have a fire plan, and soon.  A train line runs along the other side of the hill and trains can spark grass fires, so one must be prepared.

It is a different world we live in now. It can be hard and unforgiving, but at the same time it is beautiful and nourishing. I know it will prove to be the right place for us. This morning I took Augie outside for a run and I was standing on the lawn, watching him play, the birds were singing in the trees, and I could see across the valley to the hills in the distance. Life was good. Life is good.

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Augie takes over

Moving day was the nightmare that was. Monday was an incredibly hot day, and towards the end we ran low on energy, but the dramas with the buyers continued when they requested a pre-settlement inspection on the day we were moving out.

We had four moving men, two moving vans (we had to use mid sized trucks to be able to negotiate the driveway) and the buyers: husband, wife and child spent about an hour and a half inspecting the house. The final complaint was that the weep holes in the brick work were too wide, to which Mr FD replied, “Mate, I’m not rebuilding the house for you!” Even the agent told him he was being ridiculous. I just wanted to ram the end of my floor mop up his … but instead went to the farthest end  of the house.

And, AND he asked if we had to connect the electricity for them! I repeat, he asked if we connected the power for him! At this stage, I was ready to turn his head into a Halloween pumpkin, but the realtor sensed murder was about to en enacted so he managed to finally scoop them out the door. It was at this stage I decided I would leave the family bathroom tub in need of a dust…

Then our bank didn’t have the settlement documents ready for the booked time, and settlement had to be delayed for a half hour, which could have allowed any party to pull out, but eventually it was done, but the bank didn’t follow along the lines of our understanding, so there are still some issues to work through! Further reason to distrust banks, in my opinion.

The moving men, were congenial and made every effort to work carefully, but as the day wore on and they grew tired their care factor shrank and so all the carefully marked boxes got moved into any, and every, room, so now we have to search the entire house if we need anything specific. I spent most of Tuesday walking in circles trying to sort boxes and locate items that it seemed important to one of us that we find immediately.

My sister arrived with dinner and I could have kissed her feet. We now live only 10 minutes apart, in different towns but a very easy drive, so we can see more of each other. Sister brought Mother Flamingo Dancer to our new house on Tuesday morning, and though Mum had great difficulty getting out of the car, and negotiating the two inch rise into the house she appeared to enjoy her visit. I now live about 4 streets away from her care facility.

I ventured out to buy groceries in the afternoon, and had to drive passed a road side fire. Even though I drove to the opposite side of the road, the heat from the fire was intense through the closed car window. Luckily, the fire burned away from the road and so it had moved on a bit by the time I made my return trip.

Augie Dog moved in late Tuesday, and as Son  had to go out that night, Mr FD and I were left at home to moan about our aches and pains and dogsit Augie. Augie is 10 weeks old and he likes to chew things; poop and wee. He is so cute though that we all melt despite the mess. Of course, Son and Mr FD have poop patrol which was my condition, one of my conditions to agreeing to a dog.  Augie trots behind me as I wander the house looking for lost things, until he is exhausted then he flops and sleeps, while I still wander the house looking for lost things. The boxes, I must add, do work a treat to keep Augie boxed into the areas where he is allowed.

Third day in our House on the Hill, Son walked outside to find a brown snake sunning itself on the stone steps leading to the top terrace, which was going to be Augie’s patch and where the clotheslines is situated. Son watched as snake slid into the stone wall face. I went to phone the local snake catcher, whose number I already had stored, but despite messages left on his office phone and mobile, twenty four hours later I am yet to hear from him. Note to self not to rely on the advertised snake catcher.

I also called the pest control man, who said that he didn’t really handle snakes and to call his wife who had some numbers of people who did. So, I phoned his wife and she gave me two mobile numbers. The first snake man said he would really like to help me out, but he is was in Western Australia until December, by which time we both agreed he probably would not be able to help us. The second man was an hour’s drive away until the end of the day, and if the snake wasn’t in my house wouldn’t come until day’s end. So again, he was of little use. Pest control man phoned back to say he was now just down the road and would come to have a look, which he did, arriving with a steel rod with a hook (stick envy, here people) to pick up snakes. Naturally, by this time the snake could not be sighted, no doubt deep within the wall, and providing the pest control man with a “city slicker” story to tell his mates.

I also managed to emasculate Mr FD in the process (my job here is done) by calling in another man to handle the snake. Mr FD’s knee pain had driven him to find comfort on our bed and so I hadn’t disturbed him at first snake sight, so when the pest control man arrived, Mr FD had to prove he knew how to live with snakes. Son and I just wanted to live without snakes, but of course that isn’t going to happen. Did the damn thing have to appear the first week, though? The previous owner left a note instructing us to “keep the door from the garage to the house shut at all times, as there are snakes about!” Any further proof required to convince us was provided by the discarded snake skin hanging between the branches of a tree on the terrace.

The telephone company had no record of our application to connect a phone service, so we are relying on mobile phones and ipad for communication. It also means no cable television, but there has been little time for that anyway.  The ensuite shower bath creaks when we stand in it, and if it wasn’t a ground floor bathroom I would be worried, but we have always had plans to remodel it. A plus was the discovery of a brand new white shower base in the garage, which will fit perfectly, so one win!

A small kangaroo, or it might be a wallaby, as we haven’t been able to sight clearly through the trees as yet comes to eat in our garden each morning , so I am thinking the vegie patch might require a fence, as well as Augie needing  his own yard.

So three days in we have had fire, pestilence and no technology. Welcome to life in the country!