Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bad day at the office!

Today was one of those days where everything was destined to go wrong from the moment I opened my eyes (at 5:30am might I add).   It started off when the heavens literally opened up on me during my morning run.  I'm not talking a bit of English drizzle - I mean good, proper, bucketing rain!!!  There was so much rain that it was pooling everywhere and a bus drove past sending a huge tsunami sized wave right over me!  Not funny!  I was about 2 or 3km away from home at this point so by the time I got home I literally looked like something the cat dragged in.  At least I can be thankful I decided not to do the coastal run otherwise I probably would have been blown off the top of the cliff. 

First stop of the day was Josh’s swimming lesson.  After circling the car park for over half and hour trying to find parking (and there is NOWHERE else to park other than this particular car park) we finally found a space 10 mins after the lesson had started!  I was livid and Josh was howling in the back of the car.  What to do now???   As this was the same car park where I had not so happily received a $200 parking fine on Monday I decided to go in with both kids in tow and complain.  I was just not in the mood today.  Unfortunately the 18 year gym manager really wasn’t interested, so to stop Josh from wailing I had to resort to bribery (a great parenting tactic if I don’t say so myself).   As Josh has been so desperate for a pet and has talked about nothing else for the last few weeks, I suggested that we go to the Pet Shop and get some fish.

Phew, a happy boy again!!  Off to the Pet Shop we go.  (I should mention that just about everywhere I go at the moment I have to carry a potty with me as Hollie, not so long in her ‘big girl pants’ does not yet have the greatest bladder control.  As I have not yet figured out where all the public toilets are, I have just resorted to carrying a potty everywhere I go as its very handy to have in those frantic  ‘wee wee’ moments.  So far today we’ve had to have a wee in every car park!! )  After a good few minutes of trying to choose ‘the perfect’ two fish, we ask the shop lady to get them for us.  Josh is so excited at this point to FINALLY be getting his own pet he is hopping from one foot to the other.  “Could we have the junior fish tank started kit with two fish please” I ask.  “Of course” she say, “I’ll get the tank ready for you and then you can come back on the weekend for the fish”.  I almost get whiplash as I spin round “Sorry” I say, “did you just say we can’t take the fish today????????????” “Yes, you need at least three days to get the water ready before you can put the fish in it”.  Oh god, here we go again – I’m sure in my day you used to be able to chuck a goldfish in a bowl of tap water and it would be just fine.  “You don’t understand” I protest, “I really need to take those fish home today.  I’m sure they’ll be fine.  Otherwise you can break it to him” I half jokingly say glancing over at Josh.  “But they’ll die” she says.  “And………” I’m thinking……I’m about to have to deal with my second melt down of the day”  After a couple of seconds of silence I realise I’m not really thinking of the poor fish and mutter “okay, we’ll just take the tank today then.  “Too Easy” she replies all cheerily!  Grrrrrrrrr

Second round of bribery of the day and we are off to the mall to get milkshakes (via a quick stop in at the doctors to register and make and appointment).  Another ‘wee wee’ in the car park and we set off in the lift.  We arrive in the doctor’s surgery and it is HUGE.  Far bigger than my old surgery back in England.  The waiting room is enormous and open plan with a pharmacy on one side.  It also looks right down the long corridor with all the doctors’ rooms leading off it.  It is pretty full today too.  I double check that no one needs a wee and then settle the kids on some chairs whilst I go and speak to a receptionist.  Two seconds later I am back at the kids after discovering that they are not taking any new patients until the end of July.  Wow, this day really is just getting better and better!!  Final wee check and this time it’s Josh who’s desperate.  I leave all the bags etc on the chair in the waiting room and quickly take them down the corridor into the disabled toilets.  This may be too much info, sorry, but just as I am mid wee Hollie decided to pull the lever under the shower and this massive fountain of water come blasting out of the wall all over her and she just freezes (probably in shock).  There is not much I can do except shout at her to move out of the way.  Finally I jump up and turn it off!!  I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this point.  Surely this kind of thing only happens on comedy shows!!!  Josh is now rolling on the floor laughing and Hollie is literally drowned – with water even dripping off her eyelashes!  I very quickly realise that I have left the bags on a chair in the waiting room, so I can’t even get her changed (luckily I have spare clothes, the one advantage of potty training).  I have no choice but to walk back down the corridor with a soaking wet and dripping child back through the pharmacy and waiting room as if everything is perfectly normal!!!

All this and it wasn’t even lunchtime yet!  

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Spider Dance!

When is rains in Sydney it really RAINS!!  I was just on my way out to the gym this evening and as I grabbed the keys and ran out the kitchen door I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by the rain!!  Not because I am afraid of getting wet (ok, well maybe a little) but because I have learnt that the scary and deadly funnel web spiders a.) love rain b.) get washed out of their burrows when it rains so are more likely to be wondering around and c.) come out in the dark to hunt!  Check on all three of these, so I head back into the house and walk the long way around to the car, grabbing a torch on my way out (which also just happend to be a transformer) so that I can check where I am walking, just incase I meet anything I don't want to.  This may seems a little crazy but it's one of the many rituals I have become accustomed to since moving to Australia - and all because of the spiders!!!!

No! They do NOT enhance the view!!
Here are a few rituals I have become accustomed to since we moved:

1.  Before putting any shoes on - tip them upside down and shake!!   Master J has become very good at planting plastic spiders inside wellie boots - gets me EVERY TIME!!  I think I'll need to lie down in a dark room to recover the time a real spider falls out.

2.  I absolutely HATE spider webs.  They are everywhere and i swear they just appear out of nowhere!  Some of them are pretty spectacular I'll admit, but it still doesn't mean I have to like them.  I have kinda got used to seeing the huge ones fairly high up on trees or railings with those enormous yellow legged spiders sitting in the middle of them.  So far I have never seen one of those spiders actually move, so as long as I can see them I'm ok.  What gets me are the webs that you can't see in the bright sunlight.  I have walked straight into a few and the reactions is always the same - sheer panic!! Arms flying in the air, hair shaking, legs jumping up and down, cold sweats......... it's the spider dance (please try not to laugh - I'm sure you'll all be same!!)  I can feel the web on my face and and I am terrified one of those big spiders will have got caught in my hair or is crawling down my arm.  So my defence now is to walk with a stick out in front of me, to break any webs before walking into them.  Don't worry, I try not to do this out in public but ALWAYS in my garden!!  I have a stick at every door (we have 3) and I wave it around in front of me whenever I go outside.  So normal has this become that the kids don't even think I'm crazy!!  I'm sure I must look like a deluded blind person by any onlookers who happen to walk by.   Mother Nature is probably frowning down on me right now!! (or laughing - who know!).

The one with the yellow legs!
3.  The laundry! - A task I have to do most days has also got to be done with the utmost care.  Our laundry room is outside, so before I even go out to it I have to check my shoes and put them on (especially after rain).  I then wave my stick around (with a pile of washing under my arm) and set off down the short path at the side of the house.  The light switch is on the inside of the laundry room wall which poses a problem......... I won't go inside without the light on (this room is exposed to the garden so anything could be in there) and I can't see the light switch to switch it on.  I am too terrified to put my arm around and "pat the wall" to find it in case I touch something scary.  So my treasured spider stick comes in handy once again!!!!  Everyone here keeps telling me how huntsman spiders do not have webs and they just sit on walls.  They are also the size of my hand (so I'm told).  I have not yet come across one but I know it is only a matter of time, which is why it is very important to keep my stick with me at all times!  The day I see one of those on the laundry room wall will be the another day where I will have to lie down in a dark room to recover!!!

Can you see how big t hose webs are??  And how well hidden they are too!!!!
4.  The funnel web spider..........if you google it, it will tell you it is one of the most deadly spiders in the world and can kill a human in less than an hour if a bite is untreated!!  This little bugger scares the shit out of me!  Excuse my language but imagine having him hanging out in your back garden????  It was Easter Sunday when I realised just how careful we have to be.  I was was supposed to hide the eggs in the garden on Saturday night but it was raining and I didn't fancy getting wet, so I left it for Sunday morning.  Mr D was entertaining two excited kiddies and as I stepped out the back door, I happened to look into the recycling bucket and noticed a "not so nice" looking spider.   Instantly I got cold sweats (I can't help it).  I shout over to Mr D to come and dispose of it quickly before it gets out.  He takes one look and says "I think that's a bad one!!!"  Oh great!!  Off I go to get the book and we identify it as the funnel web!!  Slight panic when we realise just how deadly it is. And it's just sitting there at our feet!!!  

How scary does he look?
We moved the bucket and it sprung to it's feet rearing it's fangs up -Holy Shit is all I could muster!! (sorry again for the language) "Get rid of it, do something QUICK!!!" I yell to Mr D  "Wait a minute, let me just get a few photos" is his replies!  Mmmmm, I won't repeat my response!! Anyway, Mr funnel web did not last much longer than that thankfully!!  

A few days later we paid a visit to the Reptile Park and one of the 'crazy' rangers there gave a demonstration on how to 'catch' the funnel web.  All you have to do is get an empty jar and a piece of paper - coax the spider into the jar, slide the paper underneath so you can turn the jar up and then pop the lid on.  Simples!!  YEAH RIGHT!!  I will be standing up on a table if I saw one in the house, not least trying to coax it into a jar!!  He then proceeded to tell us that once you have caught it you have to drive it to the nearest hospital and hand it in so that they can extract the venom to make the anti-venom!!  Something which is apparently very important.  OMG, if catching it isn't bad enough - I am then supposed to have it in the car with me whilst I drive to the hospital?????  Fat chance!!!!!

So anyway, as you can tell, my spider phobia is getting much better I think and as long as we don't meet in a dark laundry room - or at all, we'll all be fine!!