The cheesecake is in the fridge, it is Election Night, and I sit here very very scared. I will not tempt the wrath of high upon the thing. Anything can happen. We could face more years of The Bulldozer. Yes, a man who chooses to play soccer with 8 year old kids in dress shoes and most of a suit. He could have really hurt that poor kid.
I chose not to work this election. That turned out to be a good thing because I got a Non-Covid cold just over a week ago and haven’t been feeling the most awesome since.
This year, it was not hard to do this. After Dad getting so ill at one point we faced the possibility of him heading into aged care, and honestly it is not ok with me that so many elderly people are taken care of so poorly in our country. They’ve worked hard all their lives and they deserve good care and decent food.
And let us not forget those victims of the fires still living in tents, and the flood folks without homes.
Just over 30 minutes to The Antony. I wish everyone a lovely election evening. :)
The kitties had a most wonderful time with everything being moved about and cleaned and therefore it is like they got a houseful of new sleeping places and things to play with.
Over the course of the weekend we did many loads of washing. Because the weather was nice and warm we were able to dry the rugs out in the nirvana.
Cuckoo cat was constantly trying to make Happy Cat give up her sleeping spaces so Cuckoo could sleep in them. Happy said no, heck no, and nonononono.
Somehow the two of them made this nest out of a freshly washed rug placed on the lap of Carter. All weekend it was back and forth with this nest – Cuckoo, Happy, Cuckoo, Happy.
By the end of the weekend The Other Half’s new office was starting to take shape.
And the shelves began to fill.
Once the new store room began to fill, I was able to mop the floors for the first time in a while.
Nice and shiny! :)
Essentially three wardrobes were amalgamated into one – many of the “fancy” clothes were packed away for another time, and just a small selection left out in order to take up less space.
This wardrobe now has a shoe rack instead of clothes, plus some jackets, ponchos and jumpers.
And this wardrobe, which is in the first store room, was left completely empty. We have a plan for this space, it just might take us some time to enact it.
Overall many of the jobs we wanted to do over this weekend did get done, and a couple of them which did not get done are in the process of being done on this Anzac day long weekend we are having now.
Today we went to the dump as it was closed for three of the four day Easter long weekend and we assumed it would be very busy on the Easter Monday when it was open.
Still a few pictures to be hung up, and a few things I am still deciding what I want to do with them. Like the DVD rack – I actually do not have a DVD player anymore so why the heck am I hanging onto DVD covers? I could easily just get something like this and store them away in a much smaller space.
Let me start by saying we do not “Easter”. We live in a tourist town which becomes impossible to navigate starting the Thursday before Easter, and remains pretty much that way till late Tuesday. The plan usually is to bunker down and do whatever we feel like at home.
On Thursday I went to the pool with two of my Thursday ladies who come into the studio on Thursdays to art together. We have been water walking together for a few weeks now plus we do aqua aerobics from time to time.
It is school holidays here and some smart cookie booked in a birthday party for the same moment as Aqua Aerobics – neither group was very pleased by this turn of events. We found it somewhat amusing. We had a lane to ourselves and walked for an hour and 20 minutes. Sometimes we do an hour, sometimes two, sometimes one hour then Aqua Aerobics for an hour.
After a quick change I attempted to dash home – the traffic was already Not Great, Bob! – to pick up The Other Half then we did a quick Donut run for the Thursday art people, then to the chemist, then back here.
This year The Other Half decided he wanted to move his office and games room back in together and give me his old office as a store room for the business. In part because the kid next door constantly plays basketball which is not especially conducive to work that requires a brain. He better turn out to be the next Andrew Gaze with all that bouncing.
It is now 5:15 on Easter Monday and we have mostly finished the taskings we set ourselves. It took almost the entire four days. I am exhausted and have zero desire to move from this chair but I will have to put dinner in the oven soon.
We have decided we would like to Rabbitgoo the windows on the driveway side of the house as there isn’t anything pretty to look at out of those windows. I would much rather see rainbows! We did Mum’s front door area in December last year – these pics were taken on a Not Sunny day. We get ours from Amazon – it is very easy to apply. Though possibly a little swear inducing.
It is all worth it in the end though! Look how pretty.
Friday was mostly spent sorting things, moving things to new rooms, and creating general chaos. All of this is business stuff for mailing things – and it was all in The Other Half’s gaming room which was a bit annoying overall. It was taking up a lot of space!
There was an early Saturday morning Bunnings trip. I said we must go when they open to avoid the insanity and we mostly did avoid it but 7am is very early to be at the hardware store especially pre-coffee!
A TV was mounted on a wall to save space..
A kitty space was fought over.
My Kallax was cleaned and rearranged. I re-sorted all my oils into alphabetic order. Yes I am that OCD person.
That is L to Z. Every 6 months or so I go through and re-sort them as they are forever making new oils.
Shelves were built in The Other Half’s new room as the old Kallax were staying in the work store room
How did it all turn out? That will be another post as this one has got quite long! :)
I started watching Leon The Lobster not long after he was first brought home from the grocery store. I am obsessed. But the most recent video has me completely shook – did you know lobsters MOULT? I had no idea!
Speaking of crazy crustaceans about which I had no idea, have you ever heard of lawn shrimp? We’ve had a few weeks of very wet weather here and one day we discovered a bunch of pink bugs that looked exactly like mini shrimp in the laundry. I googled “shrimp bug” because they looked like shrimp and discovered there is such a thing as lawn shrimp!
Normally found in forests and suburban gardens, where they live under logs, mulch, and leaf litter. Each summer on warm moist nights, following periods of rain, they often emerge in large numbers to invade low-set homes, pet’s bowls, swimming pools, and other alien human environments only to dry out and die with the morning sun. Queensland Museum.
So there you go, two things I never knew about until now. Only one person I have asked had ever heard of lawn shrimp before. Did you know about them? Did you know lobsters moult?
I just got a call from the AEC about working at the not-yet-called election. They are expecting it to be mid-May.
I had already been thinking about whether or not I wanted to work at this one. I mean with COVID being a thing, is this really something I want to do? At the last election I was second in charge of the booth and that brought with it a series of roles I had not done before, but I did enjoy almost every minute of it.
On the other hand, it has been many years since I have been able to spend a Federal election night at home with a great piece of cheesecake and Antony Green. I had this pleasure a few weeks ago at the South Australian election and at the end of it Antony said he had an announcement and scared the heck out of me. I thought he was about to retire NO NO NO this will never be allowed.
Sure the money would be nice. I could maybe treat myself with an overnight trip to Sydney or Canberra or something fun like that.
I’m still of two minds but I can take a little time to decide – it does not appear our PM is planning to call the election anytime soon.
For those of you in Australia thinking of giving election work a try, click here to register. It is 100% worth a go.
One reason I don’t post so much at my blog as I once did – I simply don’t have the time to write the well thought out posts that I once did. But I realised today I need to stop being so.. I’m looking for the right word.. not snobby.. not structured.. maybe controlled is the word I am after.
A blog is a place for me to share my thoughts and I need to do that more. So I will try.
The Other Half went camping this weekend so I was here by myself for two days. The last time he did this I completely threw my sleep schedule out of whack. I wasn’t able to sleep while he was not here and ended up staying up almost till daylight.
What was I worried about? I don’t know. Maybe I read too many murder mysteries or something. But this time I was prepared with Restavit which is an antihistamine that helps me to sleep. To be perfectly honest I needed it for anithistamine reasons as well – the wattle is blooming and I always react to that. The first night I took two and I slept the best I have in a long time. I only needed one the second night.
Since we last talked I have myself been camping. I actually enjoyed it though it could have been called glamping. One of the local campsites has ensuite sites which have a full private bathroom right there for the hirer of the site to use. I could easily do camping if that was how it always was.
What if I forget – this is why I need to write things as they arrive to me, off the cuff, less editing more me. We went to Aldi the other night and the European lady in front of us checked out then went over to the packing area – just after we finished checking out she came back and said to the checkout lady – what price are your lettuces?
The checkout lady said I have no idea, I don’t keep track of the prices of everything. The European lady said “it says here $5. These I will return to you” but she said it in a way I cannot quite remember now. I loved how she said it and when we went off to Coles I said it to the other half exactly that way a bunch of times but for the life of me I can’t remember it anymore.
So you can expect some silly posts to come to you as a surprise in the future. :)
My Dad peacefully passed away at home on Thursday the 9th of December 2021.
Words will never explain my feelings towards my extraordinary Dad. As a young person I firmly believed that by the time my Dad would be old enough to die, they would have invented a cure for death. Here we are many many years later, and no such cure has been invented.
He did it his way in the end, which was waiting for us to not be in the room with him. I’d been there with him almost every minute of the preceding 6 days since he was placed into palliative care, sleeping just one room away with my subconscious tuned into his every breath. Not going to lie there wasn’t a lot of sleep had and the quality of it wasn’t great, but what Dad needed was more important than what I needed at that time.
I had gone with the other half to get his daily scripts of morphine and another drug they use – usually either Mum or The Other Half would go. As the weekend was coming up and we’d had some trouble sourcing these drugs from our usual chemists the doctor had ordered enough for the weekend and we finally had found a pharmacy that tends to stock plenty of them given they supply all the local nursing homes.
While we were gone Mum had gone upstairs to send some emails. When she came back down he was not breathing anymore. She called The Other Half kind of in a panic saying she thought Dad was gone – I was just coming out the door of the shopping centre so The Other Half motioned and yelled out the car window that I should hurry.
We got back home to discover Mum was right. The geriatrician had been right about a fast decline. But Dad had also been right too – it was just a forgotten thing at that moment. It wasn’t until my Adelaide family arrived for the funeral that my Aunt reminded me..
On the 29th of October after the geriatrician sat Dad down to tell him the diagnosis, we came back here and sat out in the nirvana to have coffee. Dad called his sister (my aunt) and said “they’ve given me six weeks to live”. My sister and I looked at each other quizzically – no time frames had been mentioned and the geriatrician had been very specific with us about that – saying she couldn’t say how long it would be but that she thought it would be rapid.
Dad passed away exactly 5 weeks and 6 days later.
Many people find death scary but something that I have learned as part of this process is that I am not one of those people.
It might not sound right to anyone else but I was really happy for Dad. When his body had let him down nearly ten years beforehand, he coped very well with that. He did not cope at all well when his mind chose to let him down. Watching him go through this constant confusion and agitation and distress was hard for us all.
The hardest moment for me during this time was when I had to leave Dad in the dementia unit that first day. He just wanted to go home. I just wanted to take him home. So when it came to palliative care I was determined it would be at home as he would have wanted it to be. Mum was not so sure to begin with but now she is convinced it was the right and best thing for us to do. I am so glad we chose it, not only was he comfortable in his own home but we were able to be comfortable there and we could be with him 24/7 which would not have been possible in hospital.
Two things really helped me through this time. The first is going to sound quite crazy but it was a TV show I discovered earlier this year called The Casketeers. This is a TV show about a funeral home in New Zealand. The traditions they have around death are far more beautiful than ours – our traditions tend to keep death at arms length. One of their traditions is to dress the body and thanks to having seen that, I chose to do that for Dad.
The other thing was a book I was reading in the week Dad was in the geriatric unit called “Smoke gets in your eyes” by Caitlin Doughty. On Amazon it says of this book – “Exploring our death rituals – and those of other cultures – she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying.” – it really helped me with my attitude to all that was happening.
On returning home to find Dad had made his departure, we sat with him while we waited for the palliative care nurse to attend and issue us the required paperwork. We sat with him while we waited for the funeral home to arrive and collect him.
While we’d been waiting I realised letting him leave the house was going to be the hardest and most emotional moment for me, but I need not have feared.
The wonderful team who arrived read the room perfectly and when I said “do you want us to leave the room while you do what you need to do” – they said of course not, you have been caring for him, you can help us if you want. They made me a part of the process of his leaving the house. I even got to wheel him out on the stretcher and load him into the van. I can’t tell you how much being a part of that meant to me. Thus I did not lose it as I had expected I would.
There certainly have been tears during this time. I’m sad for my Dad who worked so hard for so many years and retired too late to enjoy what he had earned and travel as he wanted to. Covid kicked off the month after they retired so the world cruise, trips to Hawaii and Italy did not happen.
My Dad was always there for me whenever I needed him and this year I have been able to return that favour to him. He would be tremendously proud of how strong I was for him. I am still shocked at it myself. Dad taught me so much about myself during this time and I won’t ever be quite the same, but in a good way.
I am concerned there is going to come a day when I fall in a heap but I’m learning that for me grief is not really quite like that. It is the small moments when I least expect it – when I went to Aldi and saw someone wearing a similar pair of shoes to Dad’s – when the airconditioner at our hotel didn’t work and I thought I’ll call Dad, he’ll know how to fix it before realising I can’t call Dad. I can never call Dad again.
I will leave you with this thought from the speech I gave at his funeral, which was honestly the best funeral I have ever been to and a fitting send off for Dad with over 100 people attending and many more watching online.
At the end right before he entered palliative care Dad became very impatient. He would say Let’s go, let’s go. What do we do now? What’s next?
What would he want me (us) to do next? Dad’s biggest regret was that he didn’t travel while he could have. He could have taken holidays or time off from work. He could have asked someone else to step up to the plate and be the reliable one for a while. That thing you have always wanted to do but kept putting off – stop doing that to yourself. Take the holidays you are entitled to. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may. Seize the day. All that stuff from the Dead Poets Society movie – but this time, let us all actually DO IT.
Because they are not inventing a cure for death, friends.
instead I would like to sit here and update you on the goings on. How did this begin? Back in March 2021, I talked with my sister as my parents flat out refused to go to the doctor at all, for anything. I was worried about Dad as he’d started to have some memory issues and to be fair I was convinced these issues were related to his not having the vitamin B shots he was supposed to have regularly.
So my sister and my nephew came down for a visit and we took Dad to the doctor and he passed the memory test. We got him a blood test which showed he was low in vitamin b as expected, so we got that shot done and expected there to be an improvement, which there kinda sorta was, for a short time. And luckily he now had a new doctor who was quite good at keeping them coming back for other things so he could monitor what was going on.
As the months went by there was quite a bit of sudden weight loss – 16kg in total – which concerned the doctor so he sent Dad for more tests, and to a dietician, and then one night I got a phone call from Dad about 10:15pm where he was telling me there was this strange woman in the house trying to steal his phone. He seemed super agitated and I wasn’t quite sure what the deal was so The Other Half and I went over there.
Dad was convinced that Mum was.. not Mum. This person looked like Mum and spoke like Mum but was most definitely Not Mum, according to him. I called his doctor the next day and did a telehealth appointment and that got us on the road to finding the most awesome geriatrician – she is wonderful. She ordered a new battery of tests one of which was the MRI which got us to a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia with a side of Capgras delusion, which is essentially –
Capgras delusion is a psychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusion that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member (or pet) has been replaced by an identical impostor.
So that diagnosis was a few weeks ago and ever since I’ve had to be the circuit breaker between Mum and Dad, I’ve had to spend the majority of my time over there. We’ve had a team of folks put into place to help us most notably being the older persons mental health care team.
We were told the decline would be fast from here and it has been very fast. There are a few motor disorders which tend to come with this and we’ve had issues with his swallowing, sometimes things go down the wrong way.
We also got a bit of reduplicative paramnesia which kept telling Dad he was not at home when he was. The easiest way to solve that was to put him in the car, drive him around the block, and then get him to direct us back home.
Mum has really struggled with all of this, and last Tuesday she couldn’t cope anymore. We ended up in hospital, and then Dad was sent to a secure dementia unit to see if we could adjust his medications somewhat and whether maybe his delusions might lessen in a different place. Also they wanted Mum to get a decent break because it has been 24/7 for her for weeks now. So she was banned from going to see him for a couple of days and that meant it was all me.
Lucky for me one of my customers was the first nurse I saw when I entered the unit and she really made my first day so much easier. She also got the visiting times waived for me so I could go in whenever I was able to, and I’ve spent about five hours each day there this last week, I took Mum in for her first visit and now we are alternating visits.
Lucky for us he did not have any capgras with her while I was there and she’s been in for another visit on her own since without any such incidents. It might have helped that I told him the unit was secure and “mother 2” as he calls her is not allowed in.
Where do we go from here? I really am not sure. We have family from Adelaide coming up for a visit next week and we hope he can come back home for that time.
We have managed at the moment to stabilise his weight due in large part to me constantly presenting food to him plus my awesome packed with nutrients protein shakes.
Work has become last priority at the moment which is not great for work but it is necessary just now. We need to do what we need to do.
So now I’ll go take a shower as I’ve had a lazy morning in my jammies writing this post, drinking my coffee and relaxing for the first time in ages. Then I’ll put in a couple of hours work before I head in to visit Dad at 4pm.