Friday, February 27, 2009


It's been a hectic few weeks to say the least. I haven't posted anything because it all just seems so negative and who wants to hear me whinge really? Well... consider this your warning! I'll post shortly about the birth plan meeting and pics but for the moment I'll review why I've been quiet since the 24th.

After the theft of my wallet and the bank accounts being drained you'd think I'd pretty much used up my bad luck for awhile. As it turns out, I must've run over a cart of nuns in a past life. The bank could not start the process of investigating without the police theft report number and cannot reimburse without investigating - ergo, report number is important.

It should've been simple to get the report number - ring the police, get the number, relay to bank. "Should be" is not the same as "is" however. The constable who took the report stuffed up. Royally. I spent the entire week trying to sort the matter out.

First, it'd take a day to process before it was assigned a number. Then another... and another. Then they were confused - they didn't GIVE report numbers, maybe I'd like to speak to a different department? They said I could order a copy but had to fill out forms, pay and 'wait a week or two'. The next helpful person I spoke with flat out could not find any record of any report ever being made and suggested I speak to yet another department. Saturday we were transferred through the ranks to someone I rather hoped had a penchant for chewing incompetent underlings out. (Or up. Preferably into small little pieces...)

After listening to what had happened (and being provided with dates, names and times of those I'd spoken to) he left to see what he could turn up. He called back to say it'd was never filed or lost but either way I'd have to come in to re-report it in person. I can't tell you HOW impressed I wasn't by that. They not only had done zip to investigate, recheck footage at the cafe, check for possible footage or a description from the clerk at the place the money was withdrawn where they might have been on security/atm footage... they didn't even know there was a report TO investigate for a whole week! He'd located the constable who took the report and either lost/didn't file it - apparently not the first time with her - and written her up which of course totally makes up for the stress and delay in being able to reclaim our money with the bank. NOT.

In the meantime Nic gets another call. The senior officer has found the report. It was filed...eventually... it was just lost as it was filed under Acmi Cafe instead of us, so it'd been shoved under a pile of 20 other reports. Good news - I don't have to re-report it and it has a report number. Bad news - I've already left and while I'm sitting in the parking lot another police officer comes up and asks for my licence. I tell him he's not going to believe it (and he doesn't) but it was stolen - I even have the police report number (albeit as of only 5 mins ago) so he can confirm. He queries if I know why he's asked for my licence. Um. Well. No. To be honest I'm not sure what I could have done while sitting in a parking lot for the past several minutes.

"Your car registration is expired."

HuhsayWHA? *blinkblink* NO WAY. I look dumbly at the sticker as my brain is struggling to do the math before I oh-so-intelligently manage, "But I haven't got any renewal notice...?" He does a search and informs the car is registered to our old address, which is irrelevant because it's not Vicroads job to inform us it was due. (Mind you our old address is the one we've not lived at in almost THREE YEARS... and which I did inform VicRoads of. I know because I've got the paperwork and rego sticker here last year, my licence was posted here etc!!!)

It dawns on my poor befuddled brain the date it expired was the date the fire reached 8kms away from us and I'd been preoccupied with possibly loosing everything and maybe even me if I couldn't hook up the trailer and dogs quick enough. Not that I wasn't already quite worried given the previous week of knowing the fire was close, knowing some who who were in affected areas, throwing out my back, the normal gripes you have at this stage of pregnancy (nasty braxton hicks/prelabor ouchies etc disrupting sleep), a funeral, the wallet being stolen and bank accounts drained, trying to postpone bills, reorder cards/licences, convinced Nic's work to forward pay half of the fortnight he'd already worked so we had some money and pinnacle of joys - trying to get sense out of a dozen different departments of the Vic Police for a week to get the report number to start the process of getting our account credited. Thinking to randomly look at the little car registration sticker on the passenger side of my car and read the writing backwards from the inside was the last thing on my mind!

I've babbled out the story and he's flatly uninterested, continues droning out the details of the fine, I'm sure thinking something like, "Geeze, can't this lady even come up with a halfway plausible story instead of something that crazy?!" (Hey, I'm living it and I almost don't believe it!) I look down at the fine... $600... and my brain flatlines on me. I'm miserably attempting not to break down and manage to tell him that the whole string of crappy happenings aside, the absolute irony is I was only even there because I was told I had to REreport the theft because the constable who took the theft report didn't file it and no one could figure out which end was up for a week. Officer Charming just replies, "Well. I'm sure we'll catch the person.... don't worry, it's just money!"

By the time I've got home I'm exhausted, I've had enough of things going badly for the past few weeks and my hormones are staging a coup - they're fed up with my practical, rational side insisting on dealing with things and are staging a proper Sook-fest like it or lump it. Some thief steals everything and the police can't even bother to file a report correctly or investigate but they sure are on the ball when it comes to making my life more difficult! (Got to love those late pregnancy hormones!)

After my sook, I ring VicRoads. The lovely lady on the other end informs me my registration expired. I'm aware of this and point out we never got the renewal notice. She informs me it's registered to our old address and when I point out we've not lived there 3 years come April she replies, "Oh... we should have been notified." They were notified. "Oh. Well if we were notified, then our computers must not have refreshed." I then point out if their computers hadn't refreshed I'd be years out of registration - not mere weeks. The previous notice was sent to our current address and the sticker that just expired likewise, so obviously I DID provide it and it was effected. She agrees this sounds just a bit weird, she chats with her manager and tells me I have grounds for filing a grievance with Vicroads for their error. I need to send copies of the report, reference the conversation recording number and write it out.

To boot, I've ended up with a few days of some sort of food poisoning? bug? which granted me a acquaintance with our bathroom. Nic couldn't get off either so let me inform anyone who hasn't had the pleasure that being sick, 36 weeks pregnant, BH's/prelabor/back out, with a hyper 3 year old, paperwork/red-tape and normal household stuff it's even less fun than you might imagine! ;p ;p ;p

Thursday I figured I'd be past the contagious stage if it was the flu and was still tired but well enough (read: I had a pulse) I wanted to go to agility. (Hopie had done SO nice the week before!) Murphy still being in a peevish mood, when La was throwing the ball for the girls that morning, Hope and Verity reached it at the same time and Hope pulled up sore. Nothing bad but I didn't want to run her sore and actually cause an injury, so I took Si so I could still go through the exercises. Bad news - dogs who've not gone already gone through foundation with this club cannot participate in foundation as a substitute. My instructors kindly volunteered to play the role of 'my dog' so I had fun but poor Si was so dejected... she'd taken one look at the agility equipment and began singing with joy, only to have me tether her and go play click-n-treat with a human instead! Quelle horreur!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Happy birthday old man

I'm sure on what would be your 11th birthday, you're running around with Bria, Bella, Cian and the friends we knew over the years who are waiting for their own families at the Rainbow Bridge.

I'm sure you started the morning by gobbling enough liver-garlic birthday cakes to stuff a small army - you never were one for moderation. There are heaps of cherry tomatos here you'd be disgruntled to miss out on picking.

I rather imagine after that you launched into a pile of brand spanking new toys waiting to have their squeekers removed and stuffing spread everywhere so you could run wildly and skid, tossing the "snow" in the air to catch and roll in without being cold.

I hope your afternoon yields a field full of nothing but tunnels - no weaves anywhere.

If it's heaven it's got to have a prime napping spot for you to snooze nearly buried beneath a pile of huge fluffy doonas fresh off the wash line and warm, just waiting for you to burrowed in.

But I do wish you were doing all that here, it's not the same without you.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Not. Happy. Jan.

I had intended to come home and write up a happy post about a nice day out shopping at a childrens market and the sustainable living expo with good company - and that part did happen...

I did have a lovely day out with Sif and the adorable Ari at the childrens market. I've been hanging for this since Dec as I knew I could get a lot of very nice stuff at far less than it'd normally cost which being a frugal bargain queen I loves! My haul - 29 pieces (onesies, shirts, pants, dresses, jackets, sleepsuits etc) in brands which retail $30-60 ea (Absorba, Jack and Milley, Seed, Paradise Baby, Purebaby Organics, Minihaha) for avg $1.75 ea. We then rode the train in to the city for the Sustainable Living festival and met up with Jayne, Liam and Sienna.

At the very end, we stopped in Fed Square at one of the cafes. I'd sent Nic out to a different place to get La some food. When Nic got back and handed me the change, I discovered my wallet had been stolen!

I was NOT being careless either - I had my arm looped through the handles, so that it couldn't be snatched and was pushed behind me with my hands/arm resting on the side of the purse with the 'bulk' of the bag wedged between my back and the (solid wood, no gaps) bench to keep it out of peoples sight and reach. I did not leave it and was in physical contact with it the whole time. My wallet was out long enough to hand Nic enough to get Laurent something to eat (while telling him to get something smallish and inexpensive because we're on a tight budget atm - which the thief would have heard me say...) and then put right back in. Sif and Jayne were both directly facing me from across the table, less than a few feet away and under a security camera, in the cafe's "Safety Zone" just outside their doors - which according to the security guard who reviewed the footage missed the thief by a few centimeters due to angle. So whoever did this was an absolute pro to be able to get into my purse to pinch the wallet without me feeling anything or anyone else seeing them and had cased the area and security very carefully to know to avoid how to be in the shot. Absolute SCUM...

And the only reason they were able to get the money is because the bank decided to change our cards without asking us from standard bankcard that requires a PIN to one which accepts the easier to fake (esp if the cashier is lazy) signature. So we make our police report and get home to cancel the cards but it seems around 10 mins after they pinched it they drained the account and left us with about $2. Generally I try to tell myself if someone steals maybe they have some really desperate reason but right now I've had a very stressful, crappy week and am not feeling very charitable so I hope karma drop kicks them into the next millenium!

Monday, February 16, 2009

33 week MW appt this morning.

  • I am normal (well, as I ever am)
  • The dogs and kitten are as sure as La is that the MWs are there to see them and not me. ;-)
  • BP is normal
  • Squidge#2 measures at 33 weeks which is entirely appropriate for 33 weeks
  • heartbeat is normal
  • head is down
  • the bits of bubs I thought were very pokey little back and bum are indeed a pokey little back and bum
  • I miss having a bladder capacity of more than 0.003mL, especially when it wakes me up multiple times a night
  • next meeting is birth plan meeting at 36 weeks by which point I will have hopefully switched into baby-mode. It would probably be useful to do so sometime before the baby actually pops out. LOL (Right now it's all La, dogs, training, house, birds, stuff that needs fixing around here etc! *g*)
We are still officially boring. That is all.

Oh. Forgot to mention. MW noticed Aussies are curious, nosey creatures given the permanent fixture of a dog stationed at my head or feet throughout the visit and watching curiously as she did the exam, took BP etc and asked if the dogs will be with me throughout the labor. "Yeah, probably. They were nearby through most of La's." Not a batted eyelash. Innit grand? :-)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

As a birthday follow-up, Nic ended up surprising me at the end of the night on my birthday with a little cake and a surprise gift - a TomTom One GPS navigator! Now those who know me know 1.) I am not generally 'into' technogadgets... they're interesting but I can generally think of a million things that are higher interest for me and B.) the average gnat has far superior navigational ability to me and reads maps better as well. However I have to say, I LURVVVVVVVS my TomTom!!! Ohmygosh. Coolest. Thingamawatchie. Ever. I've tried to get lost with it and you just CAN'T. Major brownie points to Nic!

Fire-wise... this is a smoke shot facing toward Gembrook - turn the other direction and it's bright, clear blue skies and sunshine. Weird isn't it?

Fires are now pretty well looking like we're out of any danger, the weather has cooperated enough they've been able to do a lot of preventative stuff though before it heats up again, so it's actually good news despite how smokey it looks. Apparently the Bunyip fire has now covered
27,200 hectares, up from 25,000!

This has been such a up-and-down one but one that despite feeling sort of stressy in points (read: fires) still has had an over-riding lovely vibe to it.
  • Lots of good stuff and feeling powerfully blessed... no other word for it, we're in such a good place and so much "GOOD" is just everywhere. Which is just, well, GOOD!
  • Feeling unexpectedly confronted by the fires, the idea of loosing our home and stuff (yeah, it's 'only stuff' and we'd rebuild but I'd still be devastated to loose the home we've built over the past few years, photos, objects we've collected from our trips together etc) and number of people we know who have both survived and suffered under them.
  • Saddened by the loss of one of the Aussie club members who passed away when she should have been around to enjoy the world for much longer.
  • Enjoying my day out at the Melb Pet Expo with Sierra who spent Saturday playing meet-n-greet with the public. La contributed to excitement when he went with Nic to look at other exhibits and spent time adoring the rats (he LOVES them) with one apparently crawling up his pants (!) as well as 'accidentally' nearly ending up with a snake after he touched the cage door and it fell off! Leave it to La...
  • Fed up with someone who refuses to accept where their own choices have landed them because everyone else but them is apparently responsible but pleased with myself because it's not upsetting me as it usually does.
  • Very much enjoying my little man - who among other things has started this really whacky singing - just randomly and LOUDLY belting out totally off-beat, out-of-tune, nonsense lyrics with the wholehearted ENTHUSIASM only 3 year olds and drunks can manage.
  • Training on Thursdays and Sundays. Geeze that's great! Seriously- just being out doing stuff with the dogs around other people who are of a similar mindset is something I missed so much and am enjoying every minute of! LOL
  • Looking forward to the next midwife visit tomorrow and also doing a bit of shopping/crafting of bubba cloths soonish.

Completely random but cute pic. Itty Bitty Kitty is clearly a genius - he's doing his sums!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Remember the Chinese curse?

"May you live in interesting times?"

We spent the past few days pretty much picking up and trying to continue preparing for if there was a shift and we had spot fires here. They had sent an alert to residents to be aware of and watch for possible impact but not a full warning for direct impact zone. At any rate, there is still more to do today so that's what I've been doing all morning and will continue to be doing. At least I will go into this labor very fit right??? *G* Mind you I'll be glad enough when things are boring enough I can sit down and just do a bit of crafting at home or go shopping for bubs. (I have been woefully slack in the later department... lol)

The good news is that after briefly raising the alert the other day they then downgraded it last night and through this morning it's stayed there, albeit we're getting a bit of ash from backburns. So Nic is back at work, which I'm less than entirely comfortable with because I'd much rather have him here to help me round up the critters and hitch the trailer if we need to leave. It'll mean I need to get La into the car, hitch the trailer (my main concern - very heavy and difficult for me to hitch) then load the dogs, kitty and as many of the birds as I can cram into carriers in the car/dog trailer with some of our (prepacked) stuff. The sheep I'd have to leave, hopefully they would be able to just move through the paddocks to clear areas as the firefront passed.

To inject a bit of humor, after the thought we might have to call 000 for fire, last night we did have to call 000 for nothing to do with fires! At 2AM, a guy comes pounding on the door to say our cows are on the road and one is hit. Initial 2 am brain fog (...but we don't have cows...) quickly vanished as the potential for trouble dawned (cattle in road+night+morons speeding around tight blind curves+other morons doing the same=BAD) so Nic grabbed a torch to wave people off while I rang the police. The guy left while Nic was grabbing the torch - have a feeling he had tied a few on and didn't fancy getting a DUI. Some minutes after Nic sees a big SUV coming and frantically waves them down before they round the curve. Turns out it's the police - not realizing they passed the crossroad they'd been given as coordinates and are about to plow full tilt into the cows. Eventually the cows got to where they belonged - the gates were wide open, so some idiot must've had a prank. The neighbors who own them are older and apparently didn't hear the ruckus of the cows being pushed through their front yard to the lane to the paddocks! I'm sure they are wondering what happened when they went out this morning and found the erm.... "evidence" of the cows romp liberally splattered all over their front yard! Roadside grass is evidentally a bit richer than the cows are used to...

It's a funny sort of birthday mood today. Still feeling a bit antsy about the fires which you'd think would make it feel just grim and serious but also very blessed to still be here and not in the situation others are in which is a pretty freaking awesome 'birthday gift' in and of itself when you think of it.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Not a huge lot to report here... the day has been pretty quiet and bizzarely normal despite knowing all that's going on only a short distance away, at places we visit pretty routinely. At 3pm we got an alert on the CFA website that the Bunyip Ridge fire was extending a warning to people who lived in the areas of East Beenak Rd to Pack Track in Gembrook that while the fire was not currently posing a threat there was an increase of fire activity in the area which had the potential to impact directly. Both areas are 9-10kms from us by road, a bit closer as the crow flies. There's also been 3 grassfires in Gembrook, mostly having 2 units respond and currently safe status.

The Bunyip Ridge warning hasn't been raised to a full alert thankfully, at least as of the last update at 7:30pm, so I can only assume that they either are having success maintaining the line at this point. All day we've been able to see and hear the big helicopters buzzing back and forth overhead though and the fire is still going strongly in it's 6th day.

The idea of our home being threatened by these fires is really getting to me at the moment. Mostly the sense of 'will it, won't it, maybe, probably not' hanging over our heads and this being our first major threat making it that much more 'real'. I'd like to think it won't turn into anything, hey this house has been here since 1911 right? So I'm trying to stick with the practical preparations but I can't help but wish this bushfire was a tornado. Those I grew up with and feel a lot more confident about judging and coping with.

I'm so grateful that we're unaffected and have been so much luckier than so many by far - so many have lost their lives, their family or homes and everything they've had. The selfish bit of me would still rather this was all far, far away and there was nothing more dire to think of than dog-training, baby stuff and what sort of bread I feel like making for toast tomorrow. It seems surreal that instead of that normal stuff there could be a big fire like others have faced that takes everything at any time. It's even more damned creepy to think we could go to sleep and the winds could suddenly bring the fire to our doorstep, larger than life. I keep trying to sleep and having this horrid image of us sleeping through it which I know is paranoid and undoubtedly ampliefied by whacked out pregnancy hormones that a safety alert that's not even a full warning has me being so morbid... but it's still creepy to think about as a real thing that could happen really to us.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Just to let everyone who has heard about the bushfires know...

We're all safe here. We're not super far from Bunyip but safe enough at the moment and feeling very blessed to be so. There's been nothing worse real close than 2 grassfires, one small and one medium in Gembrook but both have been quashed safely. Fingers crossed nothing else comes closer or gets more severe although winds are predicted to pick up tonight.

We're glad that most of the people we know who are in the areas are safe, aching for those who have not been so fortunate and thinking of those whom we're unsure of and wishing all the fire crews and Army safety and success as they work to get the fires under control.

For those overseas who may not have heard, Victoria is currently being devistated by violent bushfires in many areas all around the state after a month of high temperatures and dryness, including the other day when it hit 46.3C (115+F) with winds of 67kph (about 42mph). The Bunyip fire is listed as having burned 24,500 hectares (60,540 acres) and that's only one blaze. Current death toll is 66 people statewide with many more expected to be found, with over 600 houses lost and a couple of towns pretty much burned to rubble. They are saying it is worse than Ash Wednesday, the last worst on record.

It is mind-boggling, humbling and scarey to contemplate, even more so when it is not yet over.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We meet again, Mister Tail!

Itty Bitty Kitty playing Ferocious Ninja Death Warrior battling The Evil Lace Tablecloth does not realize IttyBittyKittyTail is not Evil Lace Tablecloth.

Itty Bitty Kitty is NOT amused the human observed this monumentally embarassing judgement of error.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

And it just keeps getting better!

I've got to say, life is pretty darn great at the moment!

La is doing well, I'm doing well, Nic is doing well and Squidge v. 2 is growing steadily with only a few more weeks to go! Things are still quite relaxed, although in the next few weeks we'll start to finalize preparations for her birth when our midwives come over next.

In the meantime, training has started back up last week which brought with it a behaviour discussionand tracking workshop. Then Sam who owns Veri and Hope's sister the fantabulous Jahzzy made my week with an offer of Bob Bailey's dvds which are already in my hot little hands this evening! (Thank you soooo much again Sam if you're reading!)

As if I weren't already bursting at this spate of lovely happenings, on Monday I got a phone call from the agility club regarding a spot opening up. With La chattering LOUDLY while the lady was trying to talk it took several seconds for it to tick over in my brain that this wasn't Hastings but the other club - the one I've been on a waiting list for oh... two years, hoping to get a spot in! Oh. My. There are no words for how excited I am! So Hope and I are starting this evening! (After this long, even if I was in full labor I'd be crossing my legs and down there at as fast a clip as I could manage! LOL) Besides being an excellent club the classes are also late enough in the evening Nic will be able to watch La (and in a few weeks bubs too) which has been a major hold-up with most classes as he is gone from very early till quite late at night and we've no family here to babysit otherwise.

And just because this seems to be the week for doggy happenings, while at the HDDAP meeting I also ended up volunteering to be on the General committee and we'll be at the Melbourne Pet Expo's Aussie booth, probably with Sierra. So we should have a lot of fun with the puppers coming up!